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

Posts Tagged ‘virtualization’

Earlier this year, Riverbed released a product known as the “Granite Edge Virtual Server Infrastructure (VSI)” to optimize the performance of many of the applications that it’s core product, Steelhead, does not. 

For those not familiar with the differences between Steelhead and Granite, the traditional Steelhead product optimizes the performance of file-based applications, such as Word and Exchange, through a number of acceleration technologies such as compression and TCP optimization.  Granite addresses block level applications such as database and virtual machines. 

While the continued growth of Steelhead demonstrated that there were a number of “killer apps” for it, the killer application for Granite was not obvious, since there aren’t that many block storage based applications run in the data center. 

This year’s VMWorld kicks off this week in San Francisco and I’m expecting the typical huge audience.  One of the reasons why VMWorld has become the premier show that is has is because virtualization itself is changing.  Virtualization used to be a tactical technology used to consolidate servers.  Have 10 servers?  Consolidate that down to one or two.  The architecture fundamentally stays the same, just fewer physical boxes. 

Virtualization today though is a much more strategic technology.  It powers the cloud, desktops are being virtualized, storage is being virtualized and data center operations are being automated.  However, being more aggressive with virtualization does bring some new risks to enterprise IT.  To understand what some of these are, ZK Research and Xangati, a cloud and management solutions provider, recently ran a survey looking at where companies were with cloud deployments, where they were going and what the challenges were for future deployments.

This morning Oracle announced the acquisition of Xsigo Systems and there has been a frenzy of media coverage around it, primarily because it follows VMware’s acquisition of Nicira, creating speculation of future acquisitions and many implications to the future of IT. However, some of the positioning of this acquisition was just flat out wrong.

I first want to dispel some of the myths about what Xsigo does and the type of vendor it is. I’ve seen it compared to other SDN vendors, such as Nicira and Big Switch, but Xsigo is not an SDN vendor. From a very high level I would agree that Xsigo creates virtual network connections through software, so I guess it may be technically correct, but it isn’t an OpenFlow-based software controller that can automate the configuration of network changes, which is what “SDN”s have largely become. Xsigo is virtual I/O. The company sits between servers, storage and network infrastructure and virtualizes I/O connections, and does a great job of it.

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.

I was on a flight earlier this week and watched one of my favorite movies – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It made me think about how the movie, and even the original TV shows that dated back to the 60, gave us a look into where technology was going and indeed has gone today.  I’d like to point out some of the more advanced technologies in Star Trek.

  • Virtual resource mobility. About a quarter of the way through the movie, the Reliant attacks the Enterprise and Mr. Scott tells Admiral Kirk that he’s diverting all power to life support.  A few moments later he diverts the power to phasers as they attack back.  Juxtapose the fluidity of IT resources that the Enterprise has compared to current IT environment.  Mr. Scott was able to move a compute resource — power — to the system that required it most, as business policy dictates from a centralized management console.  If Mr. Scott had to go manually move from silo to silo, the Enterprise could not have been agile enough to respond competitively.  This is a great example of why organizations should look to virtualization and pooling their own IT resources.

The struggles at Cisco have been well documented over the past year or so.  Much of the reason for this is large number of executive departures that have left Cisco over the past few years.  Here is a list of the more notable ones in recent memory:

  • Tony Bates, SVP of Cisco’s enterprise, commercial and small business division is now CEO of Skype
  • Debra Chrapaty, SVP of Collaboration became Zynga’s CIO
  • Dan Scheinman head of Cisco’s media business resigned when Cisco shut down Flip
  • Nawaf Bitar, VP of Security is now a GM and SVP of Juniper Networks Emerging Technologies division
  • Jayshree Ulall, SVP of the Data Center, Switching and Services business unit is now CEO of Arista Networks
  • Doug Gourlay, VP of Data Center Marketing joined Jayshree at Arista to become VP of Marketing at Arista
  • Jeff Hirschman, engineering manager of Cisco’s Gigabit Switching Business Unit also joined Arista to be VP of Engineering
  • Ben Gibson, head of Cisco’s enterprise mobility solutions marketing business is Chief Marketing Officer of Aruba Networks
  • Dayle Hall and Chris Kozup, both marketing managers that worked for Ben at Cisco joined Aruba shortly after
  • Joe Burton, CIO of Cisco’s Unified Communications group is now Polycom’s CTO and GM of Enterprise and service provider

But the churn in executive talent started when Mike Volip and Charlie Giancarlo left several years ago.  Those departures coincided with Cisco’s implementation of its “boards and councils” management style.  The boards and councils approach isn’t the sole reason Cisco has had people leave.  The lack of growth in Cisco’s stock price has been an issue for some as well.  Looking at the list of places where the execs have landed, other than Bitar, it’s all start-ups or high growth companies.



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