Steven is Principal Analyst for Enterprise Networking at GlobalData, covering networking hardware and software for the data center and enterprise, including switching, routing, SDN, SD-WAN, and related technologies. This includes NFV for enterprise, automation, AI/ML for networking, location services, and the convergence of networking and security. Steven will also be covering the new edge, as the network edge evolves SD-WAN and IoT and the opportunities around re-inventing the edge as companies move towards digitization. Steven's technology career began over 25 years ago in Fortune 500 IT for retail, where he was a network architect. Prior to Global Data, Steven has served as Managing Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where he did his own testing and writing, Principal Network Analyst for Network Infrastructure at Current Analysis, and most recently at Cisco Systems, where he worked in Data Center switching, Cloud, and Enterprise Switching.
• The acquisition of Silver Peak by HPE is complete and will be beneficial overall, creating a complete offering with SD-Branch
• The SD-WAN market is still hot and a new wave of consolidation is on the horizon.
In July 2020, HPE announced its intent to acquire one of the leading SD-WAN vendors, Silver Peak. Silver Peak has been fighting it out with big competitors and doing very well for itself. Along with Versa, Cisco, and VMware, Silver Peak are considered to be among the top contenders in the marketplace today. HPE and its Aruba networking division have generally been considered the number two competitor in the campus and branch networking markets, but the Aruba proposition has not been able to get recognition or traction in the SD-WAN market. HPE was a very early adopter of the SD-Branch concept, but unfortunately was too early for a market starry-eyed with SD-WAN enthusiasm. Continue reading “HPE Completes Acquisition of Silver Peak”→
• Systems that have incurred excessive technological debt are brittle, especially when confronted with change.
• Long delays in updates have down the road costs that should not be underplayed.
The concept of technological debt is one that was originally for software development. But the reality is that technological debt can be had across a functional system as a whole. Old servers, old storage, old networking, old security, all of it can incur technological debt. Technological debt is a hard subject, with some dismissing the idea out of hand or downplaying the difficulties caused by excessive amounts of technological debt.
There is a good example of recent real-world technological debt causing and continuing to cause significant problems. In the United States, Congress authorized additional money, $600, to be added to unemployment checks at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. States each run their own unemployment benefit systems, the U.S. federal government supplied the money to the states, and the states used their existing unemployment benefit systems to distribute it. Or at least that is what was supposed to happen. Continue reading “Technological Debt Kills Flexibility”→
• Public awareness of data privacy and data mining is increasing which will lead to greater regulation.
• IT needs to be the trusted advisor on these topics to help with business planning.
The recent hearing with four of the biggest tech companies (Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook) on Capitol Hill was regarding the power these four firms have across the spectrum and the possibility of anti-monopoly action against them. The undercurrent that runs through the public is the sheer amount of personal data these four companies have on their users and how they use that data. The average citizen isn’t worried about the possibility of Amazon co-opting their products and making their own, or Apple possibly squeezing them out of their app store. Continue reading “IT’s Advisory Role is More Than Just About Technology”→
• The technology industry has a habit of making absolutist statements around big trends.
• The assumption that all use cases are knowable is the root of tech industry absolutism.
The technology industry has a strong tendency to make absolutist declarations, particularly regarding the big trends. For instance, the battle cry of “everything will be in the cloud” has been reverberating in the industry for years. There are tons of workloads in the cloud and more every day. But not all, like the cloud fanatics have been screaming for years. Continue reading “The Big Trend: One Size Does Not Fit All”→
Technology company employees need to enable reinvention, even if it will diminish their current product line.
Buyers can and should scrutinize how a technology vendor handles reinvention due to technological or economic change.
Companies in the technology space often talk about reinvention, a renaissance in which the company will not only take a bold new stance, but also produce a new product or service that will rapidly become the majority of their business. Some companies have even done it and are held in the highest esteem. The best example of that would be Apple, which went from virtually moribund in the 1990s to a powerhouse in the early 2000s. Continue reading “Reinvention Isn’t Easy”→
Tech companies must take ethical action when society and the law are unready.
Customers are increasingly demanding that companies use suppliers that are ethically sound.
The technology industry moves fast. Often it outpaces the society it serves from a social and legal standpoint. In this gap, it ethically falls to the tech industry not only to restrain itself, but also to set examples and to educate until the social and legal parts of society catch up. The latest example of this is facial recognition technology. Continue reading “Lead with Ethical Behavior or Your Customers Will Leave You Behind”→
• There has been widespread evidence of layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs at IT vendors, partners, and their customers and more economic pain on the horizon
• Individuals can help each other, paying forward with job introductions, recommendations, and encouragement
Times are tough for enterprise IT vendors. The economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit them hard. Some IT vendors, particularly the ones involved in cloud or collaboration have of course seen great increases in business, but the traditional vendors and of course startups are taking a beating.
• Trade shows are a tech staple, but compelling reasons to question them exist.
• The human interaction aspects of trade shows provide strong benefits.
The Convention. The Show. Some tech industry trade shows are so iconic that they are only known by their initials. Spring and fall trade shows are a staple, with great amounts of vendor and service provider time tied up with these conferences. Months and months of planning for attendees, speakers, sessions, food, and entertainment. Vendors have whole teams that do nothing but handle show details, booth hardware, transportation, and promotion. Somebody has to make sure the keynote intro is at an ear-splitting volume with a concert-like light show and features a walk-on song from Imagine Dragons for the CEO. A gradual shift over the last 20 years away from generalized third-party hosted shows with multiple vendors in one market have more or less yielded to vendor-specific shows, where other vendors show up, but exist in a careful détente. That has led to overall more shows each year. The big shift that had been going on was away from some cities where the costs for customers and visitors were pricing the very customers the trade shows are for out of attending.
Then COVID-19 hit. Now the spring tech show circuit is looking pretty grim with cancellations abounding. Even the storied service provider focused Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was cancelled, for very understandable reasons. With the next few months of conferences either cancelled or imperiled, perhaps it’s time to take a look at the concept of the ‘big tech conference’ overall. Because sometimes the convention ends and the thought occurs: Was travel really necessary for that information? Continue reading “Maybe it’s Time to Rethink Tech Trade Shows”→
• With growing bandwidth needs due to things like Wi-Fi 6 and video, options like POL can provide long-term investment protection benefits
• POL can reduce operating expenses, both administratively and from a power/cooling standpoint
The networking journey is always one of change, yet there are some technologies that we’ve used for literally decades that are not up to the challenges of growing bandwidth and device density. Indeed, new services such as Wi-Fi 6 are driving the need for more bandwidth, especially on the backhaul. Copper Ethernet cables are a great example of where a great technology is beginning to run into the harsh limits of physics. To achieve even 10 Gigabit speeds excessive care has to be taken with thick, less flexible cables and distance limits of 100 meters for properly installed cabling systems (Cat6a or Cat7). With bandwidth rising to 40Gbps and 100Gbps and beyond, it becomes a matter of much discussion on how we support networks going forward, especially in new construction. Nobody wants the expense of upgrading a building’s network cabling because bandwidth needs have exceeded its limited capacity.
The new year and all the changes in the world, both political and otherwise, can cause uncertainty and stress.
Planning can rationalize the risk and reduce stress and feelings of helplessness.
Our connected society is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gives us the sum of human knowledge in the palms of our hands. On the other hand, it makes us hyper-aware of political, geopolitical, climate, human, and economic problems on a 24/7 basis. As IT professionals, we are affected by the challenges from the constant bombardment of the world’s problems, and it takes a toll on everyone’s decision-making processes. Continue reading “2020: Planning Is the Cure for Uncertainty”→