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Posts Tagged ‘network management’

It’s certainly been an exciting month for Extreme Networks. Earlier this month, the company closed the acquisition of Enterasys and announced earnings that Wall Street liked so much that the stock shot up 20% to a five-year high.

And this week the company announced its new Summit X770 top-of-rack (ToR) switch. The X770 is a 1RU switch but has a whopping 104 10 Gig-E ports on it, which makes it the highest-density 1 RU switch that I know of. Alternatively, customers can get 32–40 Gig-E ports from the switch.

Why might anyone need this many ports and that much bandwidth in a single RU switch? Well, the answer is bandwidth, and there’s certainly no shortage of new bandwidth-generating applications in the data center today. Extreme is focusing this particular switch on “Big Data” environments, which is a sound strategy given the momentum behind big data today and the reliance on the network.

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While much of the technology news this week has been dominated by data center announcements, there is more to IT than software-defined networks. This week, session border controller vendor Sonus announced the version 4.0 release of its flagship SBC 5000 product line.

The 4.0 release gives the SBC a more significant role than it has had in the past. Historically, as the name might imply, an SBC is used at the border of networks to manage and secure IP sessions. Sonus is now positioning the SBC as an internal device that controls traffic moving across network boundaries, as well as traffic moving within the enterprise network. This means being the control element for LAN, WAN, off-net and mobile traffic.

Additionally, most engineers consider the SBC to be a device that manages voice traffic only. Sonus now wants the SBC to handle all types of multimedia traffic, particularly video. The emphasis on video certainly doesn’t imply that video is more important than voice, chat or other collaborative applications. It’s just that video is a beast to manage because of the amount of bandwidth it generates. The Buggles wrote a song in the 80s called “Video Killed the Radio Star,” but in IT video kills the corporate network, if not managed correctly.

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All eyes are on Orlando, Florida, this week as Cisco Live gets underway. With all due respect to Interop, the show formerly known as Networkers has become the place to be if you want to learn what’s going on in networking, with over 20,000 in attendances this year. I don’t think anyone would deny the fact that virtualization has become a huge issue for not just server managers but also network managers. In fact, in last year’s ZK Research/Tech Target network purchase intention survey, we asked what technology product was consuming more time and resources compared to the year prior. Server virtualization was the No. 1 response, with over 31% of respondents showing just how big an impact virtualization is having with network managers.

Just a few short years ago, network managers couldn’t have cared less about server virtualization, as it was a technology that was used to improve the utilization of servers and had little impact on the network. Obviously, things have changed significantly over the past few years as the use of virtualization technology has expanded past consolidation.

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In networking, there’s no hotter place to be than in the data center. We’ve seen many of the traditional vendors attacking this marketing with bigger, faster and denser core switches, each trying to one-up the other. However, the startup activity has been at the top of rack (ToR) as these new companies are trying to disrupt the status quo with software-based solutions. Not software combined with hardware, but software running on an off-the-shelf switch from one of the many ODMs that are out there.

This week, Cumulus Networks came out of hiding with its Linux-based operating system designed for data centers where programmability is the differentiator. Cumulus, like other ToR vendors that came before it, such as Pica8, Plexxi and Pluribus, uses a “white box” and dedicates all of its development energy on software, leaving the hardware design to the guys who can do it faster and cheaper than a startup could.

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I’m not sure there’s a city that’s more synonymous with fun than New Orleans. The home of Mardi Gras, several Super Bowls, Bourbon Street and Jazz Festivals is always a great place to visit if you’re looking to have some great entertainment. Well, there’s an event that tops all of them for fun, and that’s Microsoft’s North American Tech Ed event.

Tech Ed is the event to go to if you’re a Microsoft professional or developer. It’s the most fun and happening place if you’re looking to learn about the latest and greatest in the world of Microsoft. Two of the hotter areas of interest for the Microsoft professional today are the cloud and virtualization. At this year’s Tech Ed, Application Deliver Controller vendor F5 is demonstrating new features that can bridge the gap between the physical, virtual and cloud environments.

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