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

Posts Tagged ‘VMware’

Remember this blog post?

It’s my now infamous “Bell tolls for thee” blog that I authored just after VMworld last year. This was the blog for which I was so soundly flogged by the VMware community in the comments section, and even received a few nasty emails. (By the way, I do want to thank all of the people who comment on my blogs. Whether you agree or disagree with me, it’s always good to have the feedback. 

– BACKGROUND: VMware, the bell tolls for thee, and Microsoft is ringing it

Well, it appears the bell has indeed rung for VMware. Late last month, VMware held its most recent quarterly call to go over financial numbers, and all appeared well. After announcing a record December quarter and great earnings, VMware management lowered the boom. The outlook for the current quarter and the current year were both substantially lower than consensus estimates, marking several consecutive years of slowing revenue growth. 

For decades, networks have been built on closed, proprietary infrastructure. It’s what’s allowed vendors to create unique features and differentiate themselves. Those features are what have enabled the networks to be as reliable, secure and resilient as they have been in the past. However, over the past couple of years it seems that “open” has become the new black when it comes to network infrastructure and every major vendor now has some degree of openness, although may not be 100% open (I’ll define later). Recently, though, I ran across a startup called Pica8 that is, by far, the most open networking vendor that I have seen to date.

Before I get into the specifics of Pica8, let me define why open networking has become all the rage and what it actually means.

Earlier this week Cisco and Citrix made some noise when they announced an expanded partnership. The partnership brings together the market leader in networking and data center infrastructure and combines it with the market leader in desktop virtualization. The expanded partnership should be a “win-win-win” for both organizations and their customers, as the two companies can bring their respective strengths together to deliver greater functionality through joint development. Some partnerships are nothing more than PowerPoint integration, but this one should have some teeth. As much as I like this partnership, I’m a firm believer that Cisco should pony up the cash, stocks or whatever else it needs and actually buy Citrix.

I’ve covered Cisco for many years and I’ve long felt that Citrix would be a great acquisition for the company. Cisco has stated through the years it didn’t want to be an application vendor (although UC manager and wants to deliver infrastructure). Citrix is infrastructure, it’s just application infrastructure. Given the current trends of cloud computing, BYOD and device evolution, Citrix would certainly command a hefty premium over its current $12 billion market cap, but I still think it would be worth it. My personal belief is that if an acquisition is a good acquisition, you can’t really pay too much. For example, if Cisco had paid 10x what it did for Selsius, would anyone really care now? After all, that technology purchase eventually made Cisco the market leader in VoIP. Conversely, if an acquisition is a bad one, then you can’t pay too little. There are many examples of this so I won’t make anyone look bad by mentioning one.

VMworld is about a month behind us now and I’ve had a little more time to noodle on the joint survey I did with virtualization management vendor Xangati. There was a tremendous amount of energy at VMworld and the show floor was one of the biggest and busiest I’ve seen in a long time. This might give one the impression that the VMware franchise is impenetrable, but the survey shows differently.

Before I go through some of the data, remember the survey was answered by current VMware customers, so the data is likely to be skewed pro-VMware, which makes the data even more surprising. VMware has had a virtual (pun intended) monopoly on the market, but there does seem to be some chinks in the armor that could be exploited by another solution provider.

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?”

Amid all the noise of last week’s VMworld event, data center specialist Brocade augmented its vision for software defined networks (SDN) by announcing support for VXLAN to its ADX application delivery controllers (ADCs). To date, all of the VXLAN and SDN announcements have been focused on traffic on a single network within a data center. The ADX enhancement is meant to interconnect traffic between networks. This could be a virtual-to-virtual network or virtual-to-physical network.

As far as I know, Brocade is the first vendor to address moving traffic to another network that is distinct from a particular VXLAN-based overlay network. From what I understand, Brocade chose to add this functionality to its line of ADCs versus Ethernet switches because the ADX has some unique features that switches lack, such as stateful failovers, load balancing and the ability to maintain high availability. Bringing the ADC into the mix gives Brocade a unique plan in SDNs that can extend what it does at layer 2-3 up the stack at layers 4-7.

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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