My and ESG Lab Analyst Aviv Kaufmann's impressions from Interop 2014.
Now that a few days have passed since returning from Interop and Las Vegas, it seems like a good time to recap my visit. As expected, there was a lot going on, and not just new product announcements. There were announcements from both Aerohive and Arista stating their intentions to go public with IPOs. Both companies have reported tremendous growth and are now looking to get to the next level.
One theme that resonated throughout the week was “transformation” – especially from a number of end-users that I spent time with. These organizations were transforming not only their IT infrastructures, but also their people and processes. A few examples of this transformation included...
Only a few days ‘til I head out to the glittering lights of Vegas to attend Interop. If you are interested in networking, this is one of the highlights of the year for you as it marks one of the major events for announcements. So many in fact that you may have a hard time keeping up with all of them! Keep in mind that is a good thing.
Last week I attended the Open Networking Summit and was able to listen in on a few keynotes, talk to a number of vendors, and even manage to host one of the panels. Overall the time was well spent as industry buzz is still very high around SDN and this show provided some good examples of how organizations were evaluating, testing, or even deploying SDN solutions. Here are some of my takeaways.
While many are gearing up for another season of IT shows, those of us in the Northeast as still digging out from a very snowy season. The idea of escaping the polar vortex for San Francisco, Barcelona, or San Jose (RSA, Mobile World Congress, or Open Networking Summit) sounds really good to me. Fortunately, I have the privilege to chair a session at ONS this year along with some great speakers from Tail-f, Intel, Goldman Sachs and ONF, so I will be able to get away - for at least a few days!
It’s no secret, BYOD and mobile devices are changing the way we work, play, and communicate with each other. As a result, the demand for wireless networks is very strong and ESG's IT spending intentions research survey data indicates that expanding wireless networks is one of the top-five most-cited network priorities for organizations. The timing is perfect to talk about expanding the WLAN, as the volume of new mobile wireless devices entering the workplace always tend to spike after the holidays. Many of those in IT that I speak to have stated it is not uncommon to have over a thousand new devices hit the wireless network in January.
This week I was invited to go to the NFL offices in New York to hear about a partnership announcement between the NFL and Extreme Networks. I’ll get to the announcement in a minute. But, first how cool is it to have a press conference in the same room – actually the same table -- that all 32 teams and Rodger Goodell sit at to discuss the future of the NFL. Plus the 47 Super Bowl rings on display in the lobby was definitely a photo-op moment. Now back to how this relates to technology
As virtualization and cloud technologies become more pervasive in enterprise data centers, it has become clear that the network needs to change to better enable the business. For years large complex environments have struggled to overcome lengthy network and network services provisioning times. Software-defined networks (including network virtualization) have become a beacon of hope to enable organizations to overcome these issues with legacy networks and become an active enabler for modern data center environments.
These changes have resulted in new roles being created and a shift in power, especially in the server domain. It is really interesting then to investigate what may be the start of another shift in power, one in the network space.
Gigamon announced the next round of enhancements to its Visibility Fabric solution. The added features will help service providers and large enterprises deliver granular filtering and forwarding of relevant data across very large and rapidly growing network environments. This should ultimately result in more targeted information to feed management and analytics engines, which in turn will accelerate the ability of service providers and enterprises to create new services and make important business decisions.
2013 has certainly been an interesting year for the SDN market. It was chock full of announcements from vendors outlining their SDN vision and roadmap. Probably the biggest and most anticipated announcement came from the current network market leader Cisco.
The much anticipated Cisco ACI launch occurred today in the venerable Waldorf Astoria in NYC, just as John Chambers had predicted a little over a month ago at the Interop conference keynote. This launch was centered on the solutions created by the Insieme team (officially part of Cisco as of today).
This morning the private equity firm Thoma Bravo announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire industry leading network management firm Empirix.
For those following Empirix, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that they were acquired considering their inclusion on the INC 5000 fastest growing company list. In fact, last year alone it grew 22%, citing significant growth from tier 1 carriers. Clearly the Empirix vision and real time management solutions are resonating with its service provider and enterprise customer base.
Thankfully, with the Acela working again, I was able to spend the day at the Javits center with the newest member of ESG networking team, Will Reich, speaking with IT decision-makers and practitioners, attending presentations, and visiting with vendors (and see demos) at the Interop Show. While not the same size and scope as the spring show, the trip to NYC is far easier than Vegas and there were a good number of attendees for the show.
After a nice walk from Penn Station to the Javits Center, we were able to hear John Chambers’ standing room only keynote speech.
Over the past year, the SDN train has been rapidly covering ground with new companies, open standards initiatives, and ecosystems being introduced. It is the ecosystem part that most intrigues me. The ability for large players to bring together an ecosystem of companies to deliver SDN solutions to customers who choose to partner versus develop their own. Over the last few months or so, we have seen ecosystem announcements from VMware, Juniper, and others and now HP is taking the concept of SDN ecosystem to a new level with a SDN SDK, Training and Certification and a SDN App store.
After three action packed days at VMworld meeting with VMware and walking the expo floor, I now find myself reflecting on all those meetings while flying home. Overall, VMworld continues to impress--the attendance grew once again, with about 22,500 in attendance, and many of the sessions were either standing room only or overcapacity. Clearly organizations continue to see value in attending and the appeal is extending beyond just server virtualization. As VMware looks to expand its virtualization footprint to networking and storage, build out management capabilities, and host a public cloud, the show will attract IT staff from those domains as well.
As I had expected prior to the show and reported last week, networking played a major role in this year’s event. The big announcement was around VMware’s NSX and its ecosystem of network partners.
One of the stated intentions of VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger was to expand virtualization technologies to encompass network and storage. Pat Gelsinger repeatedly emphasized the importance of networking to VMware. While many in the networking space probably figured out networking was important to VMware a year ago when it acquired Nicira for over a billion dollars, this show enabled VMware to showcase the progress it has made in the last year and demonstrate a leadership role.
Next week VMworld kicks off at the Moscone center in San Francisco with much anticipation. I am looking forward to hearing about their integration efforts and enhancements to their networking solutions. More specifically, the NSX solution, now that they have a year under their belt with Nicira – it wasn’t quite fair to dig too deep at last year's show – I think the acquisition had only been completed 2 weeks (or was it 2 days?) prior to the show.
This year however, should contain a lot more content for those interested in networking...
Recently, Extreme Networks announced its global reseller partnership with Lenovo as well as its inclusion in the EMC VSPEX program. Both announcements highlight the ability to create integrated computing platforms (ICP) leveraging Extreme networking equipment.
Cisco Live was held this week in Orlando Florida. It was a well-attended event with over 20,000 people in person and another 250,000 viewing over the web. Over the course of several days Cisco described its overall direction, announced a number of new products, and even provided a sneak peek at upcoming Insieme solutions.
This week attendees of Microsoft Tech Ed are getting their share of great food, music, and entertainment walking the streets of New Orleans. However, they are also there to learn about new and interesting technology from Microsoft and its partners. With all the interest in software defined networking, there will no doubt be plenty of discussion and announcements about SDN this week and Microsoft’s NVGRE solution. One of the interesting announcements came from Emulex as it threw its hat into the SDN ring.