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AI World Conference & Expo · Boston, MA · December 11-13, 2017

Posts Tagged ‘data center’

Who is John Galt? That’s the famous opening line from the literacy classic, Atlas Shrugged, by one of my all-time favorite authors, Ayn Rand. If you’ve read the book, you understand the meaning of the question. If you haven’t read it, I’ll explain. The question is meant to be a sarcastic phrase used to respond to questions that have no answers, or questions whose answers have no point. For example, “Why is America so fascinated by reality TV?”: “Why do my kids’ hockey bags smell so bad?”; “Why won’t the Obama administration allow for a one-time cash repatriation holiday?”; and “Why can’t the city of Cleveland ever have a decent sports team?” The answer is a simple “Who is John Galt?”

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. First, part two of the movie comes out in October (I guess another question might be, “why do all great books make terrible movies?”) and this past VMworld in San Francisco has made me ponder another unanswerable question – “Why do IT silos still exist?”

Brocade last week released its quarterly earnings and also announced that long time CEO Mike Klayko would be resigning his position at the company.  This ends a lengthy tenure for Klayko who joined Brocade in 2003, through the acquisition of Rhapsody, and then was named CEO in 2005.  

One of the questions I’ve been asked often is what kind of CEO should Brocade hire to replace the flamboyant Klayko?  I think the incoming CEO needs to be a nuts and bolts person with good operational strengths and also someone with a channel background to continue what Klayko put into motion.  Despite the flat stock price over the past several years, it’s hard to argue the company isn’t well positioned to take advantage of current trends such as cloud computing and virtualization. 

To understand why I feel that way, let’s look back at the Klayko tenure and the positives and negatives which put Brocade in the position it’s in now. 

Cisco added to its long list of acquisitions after recently plucking off Silicon Valley-based Virtuata. Virtuata is a provider of virtual machine and cloud security and will be incorporated into Cisco’s data center group, which is run by former Q-Fabric chief David Yen. No financial details were given but the company only has 15 people, so it’s likely to be a relatively small deal for Cisco.

This is typical of Cisco, which either buys large, market-leading firms like Tandberg or WebEx, or very small technology companies that can be dropped into existing business units. Considering the Obama administration has yet to grant a repatriation holiday, and is unlikely to prior to the election, this is likely to be what we will continue to see from Cisco regarding domestic acquisitions.

This move makes sense for Cisco for a number of reasons. First, security remains the biggest inhibitor to cloud and virtual environments, so adding a security product into the mix makes total sense. Virtuata is also a technology company, making integration into Cisco’s existing products such as its Unified Computing System (UCS) and Nexus-based Fabric much easier than if it had been a product company with a large install base.

Juniper Networks has certainly seen its ups and downs over the past few years. The company is trying to move into new areas while its historical base of strength, routers, is under attack from not only arch-rival Cisco but also a number of other vendors trying to crack the router code, such as Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei. While the potential for share loss is always there, routing has always been something that Juniper has excelled at and, despite a more competitive landscape, I think Juniper will maintain its current market position.

A good indicator of this is the recent announcement from Verizon that it was selecting Juniper’s PTX Series router for its converged MPLS core. PTX will enable Juniper to converge all four of its IP networks onto a single MPLS network, saving Verizon millions in the long run. Without PTX, Verizon would have been faced with the daunting task of upgrading each of those networks separately. With more video, mobile and could computing traffic coming, and coming fast, having a single, converged network provides many advantages over trying to run multiple independent ones.

Sometime in the past month Brocade stealthily launched a community forum (community.brocade.com/openscript) for its ADX Application Delivery Controller (ADC).  The Brocade forum will be powered with Brocade’s OpenScript Programming Engine, which is a PERL-based scripting interface to allow Brocade ADX administrators to create custom functionality for its service provider customer base.  

The use of PERL is a good decision for Brocade as it’s well adopted in service provider environments today so the barrier to entry should be fairly low.  As powerful as PERL is though, the real leverage with this announcement will be from the OpenScript Community.  

The community allows Brocade administrators to ask each other questions, share scripts and collaborate with one another.  In essence the community site facilitates conversations and collaboration between customers that have deployed ADX.  If executed on correctly, the community can create value for all Brocade customers. 

Despite the on going feud between Cisco and HP, the two IT giants put aside their difference and jointly collaborated to co-engineer a Cisco Fabric Extender (FEX) blade that will be the network inside an HP BladeSystem chassis.

There are certain expressions we use in life to describe situations that are so improbable that the issue we are talking about will likely never happen. Expressions such as “when Hell freezes over” and “when pigs fly” are a couple of them. In tech, we could have used the expression “When HP and Cisco work together” as our own version of this as the two companies have become bitter, mortal enemies. The Procurve group at HP spends most of its airtime describing why Cisco is too expensive. In fact, I was at an HP customer event a few months back (not as an analyst, I went with a few IT people I knew) and the HP presenters spent 90% of the time just bashing Cisco instead of talking about their own products.

Last week the White House announced that Vivek Kundra, the first ever federal government CIO, will leave his position in August.  Prior to Kundra, federal IT was considered about as aggressive as Lebron James in the NBA finals.  When Kundra took over that post in 2009, he became best known for his “cloud first” policy for all federal agencies, which resulted in a plan to shut down over 800 federal data centers.

However, it’s worth noting that he modernized the federal government in many other ways.  One of Kundra’s initiatives was to modernize the government through consumer technologies like iPads and Google mail.  At Yankee Group, the consumerization of IT is one of our primary research areas and Kundra’s ability to consumerize the government is taking that to the extreme.

So where does the government go from here?  Whoever is named the successor to Kundra cannot take their foot off the gas.  For the first time ever, the US government has the opportunity to show the world “what’s possible” when it comes to technology.  There will be some challenges to come for Federal IT between CIOs but that doesn’t mean the brakes will be put on.  Life goes on and so should the modernization of the Federal government.



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