Something for Everyone at Interop Las Vegas 2014

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • The upcoming Interop event in Las Vegas will offer lots of sessions and workshops from fellow IT professionals and experts to attend and get current on your interests.
  • Take part in the social gathering to meet old friends and make new ones. Personal networking is as important as anything in your career.

Interop is next week and I am looking forward to catching up with old friends, peers, and colleagues and making new acquaintances. Still, the draw for me is meeting with vendors and attending a few of the presentations over the course of the event. The content this year is very solid and there’s something for everyone.

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The SDN Application I Want to See

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • SDN applications are not exciting to enterprises and aren’t generating much interest.
  • SDN applications that drastically improve operations and application performance are a vendors’ ticket to success.

We know that network congestion impacts application performance. The physical network matters because bottlenecks in the physical network will impact overlay networks regardless of what some folks at VMware want you to believe. We also know that some applications have more stringent demands than others. Real-time media such as IM, voice, and video are affected more by long delay and delay variability (jitter) than lack of capacity. Audio and video CODECs can adjust for some degradation based on network conditions, but let’s face it, those adjustments are a precursor to unrecoverable poor quality. We also know that other applications are more tolerant towards delay and jitter like email or HTTP. Read more of this post

Asking ‘What’s the Point of SDN?’ and the Impact on Adoption

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Many enterprises are struggling to find a reason to invest in SDN when what they have in place works well enough.
  • There will not be a killer app for SDN.  Rather, enterprises will adopt SDN as their data centers needs evolve over time.

I recently attended and presented at the SDN and OpenFlow World Congress in Bod Homburg, Germany, and while I was there, I had a chance to talk to some enterprise IT attendees who were investigating SDN for their organizations.  The common question through most of the discussion was: “Why should I use a SDN?”  Luckily, I started my talk with that very question. Read more of this post

If You Want Enterprise Networking to be More Responsive, You Have to Give IT the Tools

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

•      IT’s virtual networking goals are far less lofty than what vendors, analysts, and commentators want you to believe but those goals are no less important.

•      Enterprise IT simply isn’t prepared for the breathlessly stated goal of delivering applications on demand in 5 minutes or less.

If you only listened to the selling points behind software defined networking (SDN) and the software defined data center (SDDC), you’d get the picture that enterprise IT is on the cusp of delivering complex enterprise applications at the drop of a hat. You’d think that business line managers are technically savvy enough to define what they need and fill in templates with the correct information. Read more of this post

VMware’s NSX Is an Opportunity to Innovate, Not a Declaration of War

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • VMware’s NSX is not a declaration of war on any networking vendor.  It is much more cooperative than competitive.
  • Network vendors need to add value on top of NSX to remain relevant.  Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to add value.

VMware’s NSX is a network virtualization platform that provides a number of benefits for interconnecting virtual machines to other virtual or physical resources.  The virtual network is independent from the underlying network; the virtual network is programmable and responds quickly to VM changes; and new physical or virtual services can be inserted or removed easily for scaling in/out or adding new services.  NSX is a technology that enables new capabilities and it is not a declaration of war as some commenters have excitedly said.  Network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) still have plenty of room to innovate and provide value outside of virtual networking. Read more of this post

Advances in Campus LAN Products Continue Rapid Growth

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Campus LAN networking has been evolving for years without receiving as much of the limelight as other technologies.  That is going to change.
  • Technologies such as SDN and multi-path Ethernet are making their way into the campus LAN and offer similar benefits.

While data center networking has been getting the lion’s share of press and analyst love in the last few years, campus networking has been undergoing a rather quiet and steady revolution that is just as compelling as data center networking, and it’s getting more so.  The campus LAN already has a great deal of automation happening at the network edge, with capabilities such as network access control not only detecting hosts and users and granting access, but also configuring VLANs and applying QoS policies based on the user, the device, or the network.  Many of the networking platforms, with help from a policy server, can enforce policies based on a variety of characteristics. 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

Hyper-Competition Returns to Enterprise Networking

J. Caron

J. Caron

Summary Bullets:

  • Huawei’s entrance is making the news, but networking market competition has been increasing across the board from a number of suppliers.
  • Increased enterprise networking competition sharpens the minds of suppliers and certainly benefits buyers.

The past two years have seen a remarkable resurgence in competition within the market for enterprise networking technology.  While there has always been a fairly strong collection of suppliers in this area, the emergence of Cisco as the dominant market-share leader has relegated true competition to those vying for small percentage points gained in geographical, segment or vertical niches.  Now, however, with transitions taking place in terms of multi-gigabit bandwidth demands, wireless integration and data center architecture, all players in the market sense a new opportunity to challenge the incumbent. Read more of this post

Interop 2012: Virtualize, Mobilize, Exercise (Bring Walking Shoes)

M. Spanbauer

M. Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:

  • Interop 2012 promises to be larger than the 2011 show, a good sign of enterprise interest and investment in network technologies.
  • Mobility, virtualization, fabrics, and cloud services will dominate much of the discussion surrounding the trade show.

With the 2012 Las Vegas Interop just over a week away, inquiries and invitations have been flooding in.  From wireless to fabrics to virtualization and everything cloud-related, there is a great deal of energy and excitement around enterprise challenges and how best to address them (with a great deal of differentiation between offerings).  UBM has brought together a compelling track list and the open sessions are almost certain to be full every day, so get registered and get to the rooms early to ensure a seat.  Last year, many popular sessions were standing room only, and this year is almost certain to command similar audiences.  Virtualization challenges, evolving management platforms, and vendor interoperability will be key for data center-centric pitches, while most campus and organizational issues touch upon consumerized IT and the host of challenges around BYOD. Read more of this post

The Anti-Consumerization of IT

B. Washburn

B. Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Business IT support of consumer-side computing and communications long predates talk ofconsumerization.’
  • Consumerizationdrives complexity;IT departments will spend more to manage it all.

When people talk about theconsumerization of IT,’ the concept that technology starts in the consumer market and then spreads into the business, often what they really mean is:Why doesn’t my company support my iDevice?”  Consumerization is an effective shorthand term, but it does not reflect reality; the trend was around long before the term was coined, and technology-wise, there is not much new. Read more of this post