Posts Tagged ‘Infrastructure Management’

As most people who follow the networking industry know, Juniper outlined its vision for software-defined networks (SDN) at last week’s Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas. I’ve had a bit of time to digest the information, answered a number of questions about it, and I thought it was time to share my thoughts on what they announced and the impact to the industry.

First, summarizing what Juniper announced, they began the presentation with a number of myths regarding software-defined networks and then articulated Juniper’s principals of SDNs. I’m not going to repeat these, but if you missed the webcast, Jim Duffy’s article does a good job of highlighting them.

Citrix held its annual industry analyst event last week in Santa Clara and I left with a favorable view of the company’s short- and long-term prospects based on current IT trends. The company has always had a niche position in the IT space dating way back to the WinFrame and MetaFrame days. Prior to being an analyst, I actually worked for a Citrix reseller and was fully certified as a Citrix engineer. I chose to go down this technical path because I had a belief that the standardization, security and management capabilities that thin-client computing brought was the way the industry would go. With centralized management, the highest level of security, and no local PC problems, what could be better?

However, the market didn’t really play out that way. Sure, almost every large enterprise I worked with used Citrix in some capacity. Typically, its primary function was to deliver a subset of applications to people like consultants, call center agents or other task-based workers based on the fact that it was easier to manage and easier to secure. Despite the strong value proposition, the penetration rate of Citrix never reached much more than 10% in most companies and there were several reasons for this.

In theory, software defined networks (SDN) are this generation’s next “big thing” in networking. The promise of SDNs is to decouple the tight linkage between the physical infrastructure and the software running the network. This can help cloud providers manage their networks better, allow for true multi-tenant networking and aid in the movement of virtual machines. It’s so hot right now that almost every mainstream network vendor has an SDN strategy, as has given rise to many startups.

Last week, under the sunny skies of San Diego, Cisco held its annual reseller Partner Summit. The setting was fitting as the show itself indicated that there are sunnier skies ahead for Cisco and its Partners.

Cisco and its relationship with its huge reseller base is one of the most talked about topics in the networking industry today. Competitors accuse Cisco of taking too much business from its resellers, and Cisco, of course, steadfastly defends itself. My belief is that the truth is actually somewhere in the middle, where Cisco has a very good relationship with its partners but there are some chinks in the armor.

However, I do think the changes announced at this year’s Partner Summit indicate an improvement to the company’s channel strategy and will smooth out some of those issues.

Last week EMC launched its eagerly awaited VSPEX architecture. VSPEX is a turnkey reference architecture made up of best-of-breed partners to deliver an end-to-end cloud solution. The solution, while led by EMC, also involved collaboration from such partners as Brocade, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and VMware. VSPEX is another option for customers who do not want to build their own from scratch nor want a converged solution like VCE. It’s a proven solution that’s been validated by EMC.

One of the main points that I think was missed by much of the press around this announcement is that it can bring a solution to the mid-market. For all the hype and media attention VCE has received, it’s really not that appealing to mid-market companies. It may work, but it certainly has a premium price tag attached to it. Since VSPEX has various different configurations (14 in total), there are a number of lower-cost options that use infrastructure like Brocades ICX switches. So while there are many expensive cloud offerings out there for large enterprises to buy directly, VSPEX is an affordable channel play. Channel partners can customize it for different customers and even put their own brand on it if they want.



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