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Posts Tagged ‘Gigamon’

Most of the focus of software-defined networks (SDNs) has been on how it impacts the layer 2/3 switch vendors. The industry seems to have moved off of this notion that it commoditizes the underlying infrastructure, but recently another question has come up. Big Switch recently launched the company and related products, one of which is called “Big Tap,” that provide traffic visibility functionality similar to what one might get from vendors such as Gigamon and VSS. This has raised a question: are SDNs a death knell to the traffic visibility vendors?

I looked at this and then talked to a number of customers, including Big Switch, and I believe the information that one can get out of an SDN-led product to be very much complementary to the traffic visibility market, not competitive. Think of “Big Tap” as being traffic visibility light where they provide a very basic level of information. The level of information that one gets from the dedicated vendors is much richer and more granular than what one would get from Big Tap.

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The long-awaited IPO for DDI (DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management) finally happened and, like Splunk the day before it, BLOX rocked. It opened at $16 and got as high as $23 and change during the trading day, settling in nicely at just under $21 per share.

It’s nice to see tech IPOs back and doing well. A few people have asked me if I thought this IPO was sustainable, and my answer each time was an emphatic “YES,” for the following reasons.

First, despite some of the recent tech misses this quarter, technology is on the upswing. I think the recent quarterly misses were more due to internal execution problems than a weak macro. So a good tech market will itself fuel more interest.

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March Madness wrapped up this week with Kentucky winning the NCAA tournament and coach John Calipari finally getting to cut down the net and get his ring. Of late, the term “One and Done” has become synonymous with Coach Calipari since so many of his players come to play for a single year and then make the jump to the NBA.

Well, this week another organization is trying to become synonymous with the term “one and done,” and that’s IT control vendor Infoblox. On Tuesday, Infoblox announced the release of its “Automation Task Board” which is designed to enable cross-function, multi-step, time-consuming tasks with a single mouse click. One and done. Additionally, since the solution simplifies complex tasks through its automation engine, the tasks can be pushed down to lower-level IT professionals, including help desk personnel, instead of always having to call that highly compensated CCIE who’s always too busy to attend to things right away.

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Being in my mid 40s automatically makes me a fan of 80s music. There was a Bonnie Tyler song that had lyrics that went “Where have all the good men gone and where are all the Gods? Where’s the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds? Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?”

Despite her incredibly bad 80s hair, it was a pretty good song and reminds me a lot of my IT days back in the 90s. We were those white knights on steeds and were viewed as the all-knowing, all-powerful IT group – The Q (Star Trek reference) of our generation. Now, the dirty little IT secret was that we engineered it to be that way. IT procured all the devices, all the applications and controlled the entire end-to-end experience. If a user experienced a problem, IT could ride in on its steed and quickly solve the problem because IT owned the entire lifecycle of the application, so troubleshooting, while difficult, was doable.

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When it comes to managing the network, even realtime monitoring isn’t fast enough anymore. You need to be able to predict what will happen next. I’ve recently started tracking a technology that can help with this challenge.  There’s no name for this market but I like to think of it as the Traffic Visibility Networking (TVN) market. 

Let me explain.  IT has evolved more the past five years than maybe any other five year period in history.   We have made our environments more virtual and more mobile.  We’ve brought consumer technologies into our environment and pushed traditional IT out into the cloud.  All of this to improve resource utilization and to create a more flexible IT environment – and it’s worked!

However, there’s a downside to all of this too.  IT is now much more complex that it was even five years ago and this is creating a widely increasing complexity gap between IT skills and IT’s ability to run the environment.  I’m not saying IT is any less smart, in fact the IT guys I know are far smarter and more savvy that I ever was in my day but complexity is outpacing knowledge. 

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