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.
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”→
• 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”→