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.
IT security issues are being exacerbated by unregulated auto-update mechanisms.
Systemic and fundamental change to a centralized, approval-based update system is necessary.
A simple rule of thumb for complex systems is that wherever simplicity is added, there is corresponding complexity added elsewhere. For instance, in early PC computing, only software updates were required when the latest version was bought. Bug fixes sent to existing users were exceedingly rare, as they required physical media. With the advent of the Internet, physical media was gradually shunted to the side as bandwidth increased. Bug fixes were suddenly available to anyone who wanted to download and install them. Then came auto updating. Software began to reach out on its own to check to see if it were up to date and, if not, updated itself. Bugs were eliminated and security enhanced. In turn, this enabled rapid iteration software development and the so-called ‘fail fast’ mentality for startups and app developers. After all, if the app was flawed, a patch would simply be applied as fast as the developer could make it. Continue reading “Real Security Demands a Fundamental Change to Software Updates”→
The spinoff of Dell from VMware is long-term good for VMware customers.
Enterprise IT buyers and enterprise IT rivals to Dell need make no changes for the immediate future.
On April 15, 2021, Dell announced plans to spin off its VMware business, which will likely net Dell around $9 billion (USD) that it can used to pay down debt or go on an acquisition spree. Dell currently owns 81% of VMware, which it gained during its acquisition of EMC in 2015. Beyond the obvious need to reduce its debt, it is widely believed that VMware (which still had its own stock) and Dell will both have higher values when they are evaluated as separate entities. Michael Dell will remain chairman of the board for both companies. Continue reading “Dell to Spin Off VMware – Steady as She Goes for Now”→
Business and IT have long treated each other with suspicion, to the detriment of both.
Ongoing changes to business and IT require a re-structuring that puts the business and IT hand in hand.
Corporate culture by its very nature requires people to specialize in specific areas of the business. People settle into their roles, becoming masters of the tasks, priorities, and policies that define their area of expertise in the company. The theory is that management has the broader overview and can provide the needed information to guide the overall company direction and ensure smooth operations. The reality is that most managers, including some members of the C-suite, also operate with their domain as their primary concern.
• Enterprises and organizations have long ignored business continuity / disaster recovery (BC/DR)
• BC/DR is a fundamental business duty like insurance, not an optional expense
Yesterday, French cloud provider OVH suffered a fire in one of its data center complexes in Strasbourg, France. It entirely destroyed one unit, damaged another and caused the shutdown of the rest of the units on site. Thankfully, no one was hurt and OVH is working on restoring service. But an entire data center is gone, along with parts of another. Not down, burned. Gone. Fried. No realistic chance of recovery, not anytime soon if at all. The fire was so hot the metal walls of the building deformed. Continue reading “After a Fire Isn’t the Time to Buy Extinguishers”→
Edge computing is a real thing, but distorted and extended beyond reasonable use cases by FOMO.
Smart edge computing plays are not generalized, but specialized, and they do not play on hype.
The first conversations around the concept of edge computing were both interesting and enlightening. The basic idea was that compute resources needed to be closer to the actual workload in situations where real-time or very near-real time decisions need to be made. Latency could not be tolerated, so cloud or even corporate data centers were out of the question. Examples given were automated materials handling, manufacturing, and – of course, technology marketers’ favorite old trope – self-driving/automated vehicles. All but the last example sounded perfectly reasonable and lined up with customer needs, both today and tomorrow. Continue reading “Already Over the Edge (Computing)”→
• Microsoft has placed its Azure Quantum service into public preview
• Learning and software development are the first step in a long quantum computing journey
In a blog post, Microsoft has announced public availability of the Azure Quantum cloud service, which has been in closed beta testing for a while. All three of the biggest cloud providers, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud (with IBM), and Amazon Braket, now offer some form of quantum cloud computing. The original vision of quantum computing was much more centered on the idea that enterprises would buy quantum computers. But the operational and facility requirements for the current generation of quantum computers are too steep. Cloud computing is the natural choice for quantum computing, outside of the biggest research institutions and nation-states. Continue reading “Microsoft Opens Azure Quantum Cloud Service for Public Preview”→
VDI is getting attention again with work from home here to stay.
VDI is great on paper, but in reality is only practical in certain niche use cases.
One of the joys of technology is the sheer inventiveness. New concepts, new technology, even old technology used in new ways; every time something new appears, the industry speculates endlessly about possible applications. But sometimes good ideas end up not being the world-changing solutions that their inventors and cheerleaders had thought. Usually this doesn’t mean the technology goes away, just that it is most suited for niche applications. But the bigger the initial hype, the longer it takes. The best example of that is virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). It’s a concept that’s been around for decades now. While this is an over-simplification, VDI allows companies to host desktop operating systems (primarily Microsoft Windows) in their own data center and project them virtually to an endpoint, which is a piece of software installed locally on another computer. To the end user, once they’ve started a VDI session, they see a standard corporate desktop, regardless of what they have installed locally. This can also be done with individual software instead of the entire desktop. Continue reading “Virtual Desktops Still Don’t Cut It for Most Organizations”→
Optical technologies are vitally important for networking; copper has reached its physical limitations.
If the deal cannot be consummated, it will be a huge blow to Cisco’s optical technology ambitions.
In July 2019, Cisco announced its intent to acquire high-speed optical interconnect supplier Acacia for approximately USD 2.6 billion. (GlobalData subscribers can read Emir Halilovic’s takeand my take on the proposed acquisition in 2019). On Friday, January 8, 2021, Acacia announced it was terminating the agreement, claiming that Cisco had failed to obtain the necessary approval from the Chinese government. In response, Cisco has filed suit against Acacia in Delaware to block the termination of the agreement, claiming it has met all the conditions required to close the deal. Continue reading “Cisco’s Acquisition of Acacia in Jeopardy”→
COVID-19 is not over, despite promising news of vaccines.
Tactical thinking is the way through for vendors and customers in 2021.
There are a number of very promising COVID-19 vaccines in the works, and that’s good news for everyone. But this good news isn’t a signal that suddenly all is well. COVID-19 is still a reality, and the logistics of manufacturing and distributing enough vaccine for everyone is decidedly non-trivial. The temptation is to point to an event or date and say that things will just return to normal on that day. There is also a mistaken impression that once the majority of people are vaccinated, the world will snap back – figuratively – to January 2020 with the same expectations, plans, and motivations. The announcements of promising vaccines, the turning of the year, the swearing in of a new American president, a January Brexit, none of these things are oft-wished-for, decisive breakpoints, just more challenges. The reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s course, and there is no going back. Instead, we need to deal with the reality of the world in front of us, changed greatly by the pandemic. Continue reading “COVID-19 Isn’t Over and It’s Still Tactical Time”→
• Hype can push IT into picking a trendy technology rather than the one that best suits the situation
• 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are both great technologies, but shouldn’t be exclusive solutions
One of the big buzzwords in the last several years has been 5G. This technology has been so hyped that one would think it would change society in ways that will propel us instantly into some kind of Jetsons future. Part of that hype has also been around attacking Wi-Fi and setting up the conversation as 5G vs Wi-Fi. Providers of 5G, particularly private 5G, have a vested interest in making it an either/or decision. But absolutist views of 5G or even Wi-Fi for that matter miss the point and do a disservice to the enterprise customer.s Continue reading “Don’t Artificially Limit Your Choices Over Hype”→