In A Software-Defined Network, Does the CLI Even Matter?

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • The main benefit from SDN is that managing devices via the CLI will come to an end.
  • Putting the final nail in the CLI coffin will require vendors and administrators to think differently.

Whenever I talk to Arista Networks’ Doug Gourlay, I always ask when the company is going to make a GUI manager for their networking gear.  It’s something of a running joke, because Arista doesn’t have one, preferring to focus on making its products integrate with others; let someone else make a GUI manager.  Other vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Brocade, Cisco, Dell, Extreme, HP, IBM and Juniper have a similar strategy, which is to make their switch products controllable via APIs and make their network managers capable of much more robust command and control processes. Read more of this post

SMS Texting About to Go the Way of the Dodo Bird

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Research firm Informa has found that traditional SMS text messaging traffic was eclipsed by chat app traffic for the first time during 2012.
  • Mobile chat apps from BlackBerry, Apple, WhatsApp and others continue to eat into carrier text messaging revenue with freely available chat services, but this emerging cacophony of services may end up costing IT pros as well.

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today.  As I write this blog post, I think I can actually hear the sound of my old 14.4k modem crackle into life back in 1992 as it jacks into what was then the known online universe, namely CompuServe.  You see, SMS is apparently dead or at least dying.  Like the Princess phone, punch cards and of course CompuServe itself, that 20-year old bastion of sanity, of reliable, ubiquitous and above all ‘simple’ text-based communications has had its day. Read more of this post

What Does Management Mean to You, How Big is It, & Can It Be Done?

 

Mike Spanbauer

Mike Spanbauer

  • The IT management toolkit consists of at least a dozen or more management tools to address element management, event stream correlation and trending, business process automation, virtualization control, to name a few, it’s a complex task to integrate and one that falls to consulting or the DevOps.
  • APIs and pre-tested integrations will become priority feature enterprises will evaluate when making technology decisions.

Gone are the days of being able to choose a point management product for a specific problem or vendor device and installing that parallel to other, dedicated task tools.  Today’s IT management buy centers must also evaluate the integrations with their existing toolsets, many of which were not tested by the vendor.  Network management vendors partner programs assist in integration and testing with other vendors but are limited to a small subset of third parties that joined the program.   These systems include element management, virtualization software, an event framework for operations and security streams, server and storage optimization tools, network tools, business process toolsets all of which should, but may not work together today.  The list of an average enterprise management software is much longer, rarely integrated well, and a hurdle to greater IT efficiency.  Much of this integration falls to a role that has always been a jack-of-all (integration) trades, the DevOps administrator. Read more of this post

Is Your Network Ready for the Software-Defined Data Center?

Mike Spanbauer

Mike Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:

  • The software-defined data center is a concept that encapsulates networking, virtualization, storage, orchestration, and ultimately, a truly agile framework.
  • Orchestration and manageability must be designed into a solution, rather than being bolted on, to yield the best results.

It became evident during VMworld that the notion of a software-defined data center is central to VMware’s strategy.  However, when you pause a moment and reflect on where the tech industry has been heading for the last five to ten years, it is easy to see elements of this notion accelerating over time, really coming to dominate design principles across the disciplines that constitute the DC (storage, compute, network, and operations platforms) in the last few years.  Software-defined networking (SDN) is perhaps one of the most visible or actively marketed software-defined concepts, but when one realizes that virtualization is just another software-defined concept (compute/machines), it is easy to see the theme encompassing practically every element of DC technology, not to mention platforms and applications already being managed as software elements themselves.  The logical question here is: If all elements within a data center are software-controlled, then what about the technology characteristics of fabrics, SPB-M/Trill, FCoE, and more of the physical network elements?  The answer is that the technology differentiation of the devices which constitute the infrastructure does not go away or diminish with the SD DC, but rather becomes instrumental as the devices themselves must each integrate with upper-level orchestration platforms (i.e., VMware vCenter/vCloud Director).  Read more of this post

Device Specialization Portends Further BYOD Frustration

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Vendors Amazon, Samsung, Google, Apple, and even Microsoft are rushing to either fill or invent gaps remaining within the iPad-dominated tablet marketplace with an array of device sizes, media capabilities and increasingly improved access to enterprise collaborative services.
  • This will leave IT professionals to expand management policies through separate, pure-play mobile management solutions. Thankfully, though collaboration players themselves are seeking to do more than simply support mobile devices.

Like many, I tuned in for a few moments to watch last Thursday’s special news conference put on by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, where the outspoken entrepreneur unveiled a new array of portable media devices, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD family of tablets. I was heartened to see the company directly responded to Google’s recent market bombshell, the Nexus 7 tablet, with a number of device sizes and features tailored to those who prize both high speed (dual-band WiFI and 4G LTE) as well as high (ok improved) audio and video fidelity. This is a good thing specifically for the Android market and broader tablet industry. At least it will make for a very interesting, more competitive holiday season, especially once Apple’s mid-sized device hits the streets. Read more of this post