With about 15,000 registered for Interop 2013, the Mandalay Bay resort and casino was bustling with activity last week. The spring Interop show tends to be jam packed with vendors and attendees and this year did not disappoint. As you might expect, the topic of software-defined networking dominated the show floor, as well as many of the keynotes and sessions. What you might not have expected, therefore, was that a big honking physical network switch would take Best of Show honors.
They say April showers bring May flowers, but for those in the tech industry, we know spring shows bring lots of new vendor product and solution announcements. And this year is no different. From a network perspective, it has already been a very busy year with numerous announcements coming at pretty frequent intervals. Just last week, leading into Interop, HP announced a significant upgrade to its FlexFabric solutions portfolio for data center networking, solutions that HP claims can drastically reduce network provisioning times and provide greater levels of automation.
Living in New England, the changing of the seasons always seems to bring anticipation of good things to come. Coming off a cold and moderately snowy winter, the spring brings about change, the return of our ability to see our grass, and the ability to go outside without three layers of clothing.
For those covering the networking space, this spring has been one chock full of announcements. In particular, there have been a slew of announcements related to software-defined networking technologies prior to the Open Networking Summit taking place next week in Santa Clara, CA.
It has been hard to keep up the sheer volume of announcements in such a tight timeframe, but here is a quick recap of the more notable ones I saw and are generating interest.
Last week I attended the HP Industry Analyst Summit, a two day event in Boston to tell industry analysts what is going on at HP. This year’s summit had a very different feeling from the last one I attended two years ago.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives are having a significant impact on organizations' campus and branch network environments. In fact, one could argue that BYOD is rapidly becoming BYO3 as employees bring smartphones and tablets to work along with a laptop and all these devices are most likely leveraging corporate or guest WiFi services. It is not uncommon for an enterprise to see wireless connections spike by thousands of devices after a major holiday or new product release. However, this can create significant issues for IT when trying to deal with a surge in connections and contain any security threats. Legacy networks that require separate management of wired and wireless environments only compound the problem.
2013 is certainly starting off well for companies in the software-defined networking (SDN) space--just this week we have witnessed both an acquisition and an investment as more vendors seek to take part in this emerging market. Keep in mind, the week isn't even over yet!
Last week Cisco rolled out its unified wire and wireless solutions to better address challenges created from BYOD initiatives during Cisco Live in London. This week it is announcing a slew of new additions to its Unified Data Center Strategy that include additions to the Nexus switch family, an expansion of Cisco ONE strategy, and a new cloud connect solution. Makes one wonder about what they will announce next week....
The overall themes of this recent announcement were around the ability to scale the network, extend the data center to the cloud, and create a more open network environment.
HP made a big splash this week at Interop NY by announcing 9 new OpenFlow enabled Switches, 3 new software-defined networking (SDN) services, 3 named customer SDN solutions, 2 HP SDN applications and a Virtual Application Network (VAN) SDN OpenFlow Controller. Too bad it wasn’t closer to the holidays, I could have put that to the “12 days” music and done a music video blog.
With the cast from Stomp drumming up the audience to start the day, Paul Maritz took the stage for the last time as CEO as the torch was handed over to Pat Gelsinger. Although Pat said that he would continue with the same strategies that Paul had put in place, he very quickly announced...
ESG research indicates that organizations continue to consolidate data centers, and increase their use of server virtualization technologies. In fact as organizations mature their virtualized server environments beyond the benefits of consolidation, they are able to leverage it to drive greater agility. Data from the 2012 IT spending survey supports this observation as building out private clouds was among the top-ten IT initiatives for 2012.
As a result of data center consolidation, connectivity between geographically dispersed data centers is becoming more important for business continuity and load balancing. While organizations may recognize the benefits of a private cloud contained within the four walls of one data center, many see the potential to extend those capabilities between the consolidated data centers. However, to do that, organizations must be able to perform live migrations of VMs across potentially long distances. Depending on distance and network type, that task may be much easier said than done.
VMware executives have been openly talking about the software-defined data center (SDDC), so it makes sense that they would acquire a company like Nicira which is focused on software-defined networking (SDN). I use that term as an umbrella to describe all the companies working to add programmability, open standards, and centralized control to the network. Nicira’s specific role in the SDN ecosystem is network virtualization. Nicira leverages a centralized controller and virtual switches to deliver network services that enable very large, very complex (read multi-tenant and heterogeneous), and highly virtualized environments to become more agile and flexible.
Last week I attended CiscoLive in sunny San Diego--well sort of sunny, apparently San Diego was suffering from "June Gloom," which resulted in mostly cloudy days--but I digress. It was a great opportunity to hear from Cisco executives like John Chambers and get caught up on the latest and greatest from Cisco. I'll start with my thoughts from the John Chambers keynote.
In last month, two companies in the traffic visibility network/intelligent management aggregation network/network packet broker area (depending on what you call it) consisting of Anue, APCON, Gigamon, NetOptics, and VSS Monitoring - were acquired. During the Interop show in May, Anue was acquired by Ixia and just last week VSS monitoring was acquired by Danaher. Ixia is in the test and measurement space and Danaher will place VSS monitoring in its Enterprise Communications Group that includes other well known test and measurement companies like TekTronix and Fluke. These acquisitions didn’t come as a surprise as ESG published a research brief back in February on this segment and indicated this area was heating up--and speculated that there would be activity in this space. Why did we think that?
Software-Defined Networking or SDN is making a lot of noise in the press right now (this blog included), yet many are still confused about what SDN is and the best way to build one. While many enterprises are just beginning to explore this technology, large telcos and cloud service providers are much further along, testing and deploying SDN technologies in production environments. There are, however, a number of different technologies or approaches that can be used to create a Software-Defined Network. Depending on which vendor you speak to, the answer will vary. I was reminded of this during a recent conversation wtih ConteXtream, an emerging technology vendor in the SDN space that offers a different approach to SDN.
Having left Las Vegas in the rear view mirror and enjoying a lengthy plane ride home gave me time to reflect on my time at Interop 2012. As the title of this blog indicates, many that I spoke to felt as though the show this spring had a definite network focus. You might be saying, duh, it is a networking show, and you would be correct, but there seemed to be less cloud washing and more about the Network, like Software-defined Networking, support for BYOD environments and even low latency Ethernet.