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.
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.