Posts Tagged ‘Cisco’

Akamai is holding its Edge user conference this week in our nation’s capital. There may not be much going on in Washington these days, other than arguing over whether the Washington Redskins should change their name or not, but there appears to be a lot going on between Akamai and Cisco.

At the event, Akamai announced that it would be integrating its Unified Performance technology into Cisco’s ISR-AX branch routers to optimize WAN performance and hybrid cloud performance. The partnership extends Cisco’s Intelligent WAN or IWAN, solutions designed to deliver a wide area network that is cost-effective but still optimizes the performance of web- and business-critical applications.

Cisco’s IWAN offerings currently consist of WAN optimization, Application Visibility and Control (AVC), security and other optimization techniques. This partnership extends the Akamai caching and content delivery capabilities to the branch by effectively making every Cisco ISR-AX a mini Akamai point of presence.

Akamai is holding its Edge user conference this week in our nation’s capital. There may not be much going on in Washington these days, other than arguing over whether the Washington Redskins should change their name or not, but there appears to be a lot going on between Akamai and Cisco.

At the event, Akamai announced that it would be integrating its Unified Performance technology into Cisco’s ISR-AX branch routers to optimize WAN performance and hybrid cloud performance. The partnership extends Cisco’s Intelligent WAN or IWAN, solutions designed to deliver a wide area network that is cost-effective but still optimizes the performance of web- and business-critical applications.

Cisco’s IWAN offerings currently consist of WAN optimization, Application Visibility and Control (AVC), security and other optimization techniques. This partnership extends the Akamai caching and content delivery capabilities to the branch by effectively making every Cisco ISR-AX a mini Akamai point of presence.

It’s been an interesting past few months for Cisco’s CEO John Chambers. The company’s stock has had a nice run over the past year, rising from $17 to $27, but recently has fallen to a little over $23. The company has continued to drive well above industry average margins, making Cisco one of the most profitable tech companies out there. But Cisco recently announced it was laying off about 4000 workers. One could say that he’s a lot like Katy Perry in the way they dance (remember “Cisco Inferno” to kick off Cisco Live a few years ago?) and that “he’s hot and he’s cold, he’s up and he’s down.”

Cisco has been criticized for being late to articulate its vision of the evolution of the data center, but yesterday, the first full day of Interop, Chambers had another up moment. After a six-year hiatus, the CEO of the world’s largest networking company finally made a return to the main stage at Interop.

On September 25th, Brocade held its annual “Tech Day” conference. This yearly event is normally a pretty geeky show where the company talks about things like Ethernet Fabrics, software defined networks (SDNs), and other exciting topics like the transition from 16 Gig to 32 Gig FibreChannel. This year’s conference included its fair share of geek talk, but new CEO Lloyd Carney did take the time to give an update to the business and talk about the market at a high level.

There were several underlying themes to Mr. Carney’s keynote, but the main, high-level theme was focusing the company. Historically, Brocade has played in many markets across both the enterprise and service provider landscapes, particularly with its IP portfolio. Moving forward, the company will channel its resources almost exclusively into building products that can accelerate the transformation of the data center.

For many reasons, I think this is the right decision for the company. First, the data center is where the action is. Last month, I got the results back from a joint ZK Research/Tech Target Network Purchase Intention Study that indicated that the momentum we saw in the data center last year would continue into this year. Data center and wireless LAN were, by far, the two highest-rated networking initiatives for the upcoming year. Virtualization, SDNs and cloud computing have forever changed the data center network, and it’s this change that gives Brocade a shot at taking some share. One the principles by which I conduct my research is that significant share shift only occurs at points of market transition, and the data center is going through more transition today than it has in decades.

This morning, Extreme Networks announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Enterasys Networks for $180 million in cash. Extreme is funding the purchase by pulling $105 million from its $205 million of cash on hand and then borrowing $75 million from a new credit line established. Extreme will buy Enterasys from the Gore Group, which acquired the company back in 2006 for $386 million. Around the same time, Gore had acquired Siemens Enterprise with the idea of creating an organization that could deliver an “end-to-end” UC-data solution.

The concept was sound, but in practicality, the UC solutions from Siemens Enterprise are widely deployed on Cisco networks. Considering the challenges Siemens Enterprise has encountered while rebuilding its portfolio over the past five years or so, creating any kind of resistance in its customer base is the last thing the company needed. So, instead of pushing a combined Siemens Enterprise/Enterasys solution, the sales force gave customers what they wanted, which was Cisco most of the time.

This morning, Cisco announced its intention to acquire Whippany, New Jersey-based WHIPTAIL for $415M. For those who don’t know WHIPTAIL, the Cisco press release describes the company as a leader in “high-performance, scalable solid state memory systems.”

However, if you look at the WHIPTAIL website, the company describes its products as “The First Family of High Performance Storage.” So, which one is it? Well, both really, as the company offers highly scalable, flash-based storage arrays, and if you look at the specs on these products, they’re fast. How fast? Well, WHIPTAIL can move data faster than the Buffalo Bills can choke away a fourth-quarter lead (I included this just for Duffy). I think Cisco is being careful in its choice of words, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

First, the WHIPTAIL products – the company has three main products to its storage family. The high-end system can scale up to 360TB of storage at 4 million IOPS. The low end of the product line is a product that ranges from 3-12 TB at 250K IOPS, so it has quite the range of from the low to high end. These systems aren’t designed to replace massive enterprise storage systems but rather to be used where speed of storage is critical. Bare metal applications, video transcoding and analytics, such as HANA, come to mind. The continued growth of digital content combined with the Internet of Things will increase demand for big data and analytics, requiring faster-performing data access, which is the value proposition of WHIPTAIL.

It’s been about a week since VMworld ended and we’ve all had time to digest the event and the implications for the IT industry. This was VMware’s 10th VMworld conference, and the milestone show certainly didn’t disappoint as the almost 25,000 attendees were treated to many new products and themes from VMware and its partners. I thought the show contained many subthemes to the high-level theme of “virtualization,” but many questions still linger. From my perspective, these were the main themes and the questions still left unanswered:

  • Networking. The show was highlighted by the launch of VMware’s network virtualization platform, NSX. During his keynote, CEO Pat Gelsinger discussed how the network was the next area of IT to be transformed by virtualization. While I think Gelsinger is right and virtualization will have significant impact on networking, I think it’s not a fait accompli that VMware is the game-changing vendor. First, I thought the reaction to NSX was somewhat muted at the show compared to the media coverage. Part of the issue is that VMware has been talking about this product since it bought Nicira, so many might not have considered it news. The second issue is that most of the audience was made up of server managers, people who really don’t have much interest in or knowledge about networking. In fact, when, during the opening keynote, when Gelsinger was au pining about the joining of network and compute technology, Twitter was lit up with comments like “I can’t even get my network and server teams to talk to one another.” So this raises two questions: Are enterprises set up correctly to take advantage of NSX? And if not, will network managers embrace NSX or will they prefer using technology from a network vendor?


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