SDN/NVF A Work In Progress… And What Progress!
Jul28

SDN/NVF A Work In Progress… And What Progress!

The math is simple: mobility plus Big Data plus the Internet of Things/Everything plus analytics mean networks – datacenter, cloud and at the edge – must handle bigger workloads faster, and IT budgets can’t even come close to addressing these requirements with current technologies. Which brings us to this week’s OpenDaylight Summit, where software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) will be trumpeted as the technologies that can solve this equation. Whose vision(s) of SDN and NFV will prevail is still very much in question, but what isn’t is the need, and the progress that has been made so far. There are four use cases for SDN/NFV, said Neela Jacques, Executive Director, OpenDaylight, in a phone interview with IT Trends & Analysis. The first is visibility and a better level of unification and orchestration, and while it’s the ‘least sexy’, it represents the biggest opportunity over the next 3-4 years. Customers “are frustrated with existing network management”. The other three use cases are: “trying to do real time management of your network, which is closest to what we consider traditional SDN”; NFV; and the fourth is cloud. Each of these use cases bleed into each other, he said. “At the same time that SDN and NFV are coming up, you’re seeing a shift from proprietary to open-based solutions.” Which leads us to ODL. ‘OpenDaylight is a highly available, modular, extensible, scalable and multi-protocol controller infrastructure built for SDN deployments on heterogeneous multi-vendor networks. In English, instead of jargon, OpenDaylight is meant to handle any level of networking with pretty much any software or hardware. With top backers such as Brocade, Cisco, Intel, and Juniper, OpenDaylight has the business support needed to back up its technical boasts.’ Back in May Jacques stated that the networking industry has embraced open source as the right path forward for SDN, and that OpenDaylight has become the industry’s “de facto standard” open source SDN project. There are over 300 developers working across company lines to deliver a common and interoperable SDN and NFV platform that anyone can see, contribute to and use. ODL members include Brocade, Cisco, Dell, HP, Intel, IBM, Ericsson, Huawei, Oracle, NEC, Microsoft and VMware. A month ago ODL announced Lithium, its third open SDN software release. It also announced the OpenDaylight Advisory Group (AG), consisting of enterprise, telco and academic users who will provide technical input to the OpenDaylight developer community. Foundational members include representatives from Telefónica I+D; AT&T; Orange; CableLabs; JArizona State University; Comcast; Caltech; China Telecom; Nasdaq; Deutsche Telekom; T-Mobile; and China Mobile. According to recent numbers from IHS Infonetics: -the global NFV hardware, software and services...

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Cisco Extreme Makeover: Meraki, Cloud & Software Licensing
Jan28

Cisco Extreme Makeover: Meraki, Cloud & Software Licensing

Towards the end of 2012 Cisco anted up $1.2 billion for Meraki, a developer of wired/wireless LAN and security products managed via the cloud, and primarily targeted at SMBs. While SMBs are at best an adjacent-market opportunity, “Meraki filled a hole in the company’s portfolio”, it has been wildly successful, and has been one of the “consistently strong performers at the company over the past few years”, said analyst Zeus Kerravala. Fast forward two years and Meraki (and Cisco) is getting an extreme makeover as the company looks to reinvent itself once again, ‘rewriting the rules of IT’. Meraki is being re-launched as an enterprise class, cloud-managed IT solution. The company also is announcing Cisco ONE Software, which offers a simplified solution to the most relevant, frequently-used customer scenarios in the data center, wide area network and local access networks, according to John Brigden, SVP of Software Strategy and Operations. “Cisco ONE is a big deal, and it’s an important piece of our larger software strategy in a world where value is increasingly delivered to customers through software.” In an editorial briefing prior to the announcements, executives said the latest developments help them change the conversation from selling systems to selling outcomes. We’re the fifth largest software company on revenues, and the third largest SaaS provider, said Brigden. Cisco’s Rob Soderbery, SVP of Enterprise Products and Solutions, said enterprises are dealing with three big ideas: digitization; simplification; and new models for IT. Businesses are being disrupted and at least 70% are prioritizing and accelerating IT, especially cloud-based, cloud-managed IT. To address this rapidly evolving market Cisco has embraced the cloud, and cloud-enabled network management, he said. The idea behind the new and improved Meraki is to make the network as  easy to operate as your iPhone, said Soderbery. The acquisition was never just about Wi-Fi or SMBs. It’s about making any network of any scale manageable via any browser. It’s about making the network so simple that customers can deploy and troubleshoot it from anywhere without sending IT people to set up new sites, he said. Meraki has added more than 50,000 customers since the acquisition, and grown 108% in the last 12 months, said Soderbery. Now they’re taking it upmarket to large enterprises. Cisco ONE software suites, currently 13, are broken into three categories (called domains): Data Center (covers both networking and compute [UCS]); WAN (Intelligent WAN [iWAN] to connect branches & campus); and Access (wired switching and wireless). The domains are broken into three solution layers: Foundation (includes core networking, security and systems software along with network and energy management); Advanced (advanced software capabilities that are specific...

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They’re Baaaaaaaaack: IBM Announces z13 Mainframe
Jan14

They’re Baaaaaaaaack: IBM Announces z13 Mainframe

Due for general availability on March 9, IBM’s z13 mainframe is targeted at three of the hottest IT trends – mobility, cloud and Big Data/analytics – and Big Blue’s mantra that infrastructure (i.e. hardware) matters. “Every time a consumer makes a purchase or hits refresh on a smart phone, it can create a cascade of events on the back end of the computing environment,” said Tom Rosamilia, SVP, IBM Systems, in a prepared statement. “Consumers expect fast, easy and secure mobile transactions. The implication for business is the creation of a secure, high performance infrastructure with sophisticated analytics.” From a revenue/profits perspective, hardware has been on a downward spiral, which is why IBM has moved its focus elsewhere. However, while mainframes accounted for just 5% of its revenues (2013), services and software were estimated to contribute around 25% of revenue and close to 45% of operating profit. “People say the mainframe is dead,” said Vernon Turner, an analyst at IDC, “but we say, hmmm, that’s a $4.5 billion tombstone.” IDC reported that IBM sold 2,700 mainframes in 2013, up from 2,300 systems and $4 billion in 2002. A more recent report states that System z revenues declined 35% year-over-year in IBM’s most recent quarter, so the timing for a new version is right. What makes the z13 different from some of our previous offerings is our integrated approach, particularly for customers that have to serve mobile users, said IBM’s John Birtles, Director, z Systems. Some of its benefits include: -the first system able to process 2.5 billion transactions per day built for mobile economy; -the ability to do real-time encryption on all mobile transactions at scale; and, -the first mainframe system with embedded analytics providing real time transaction insights 17X faster than compared competitive systems at a fraction of the cost. Organizations are focusing on transaction rates, security, flexibility and the cloud, said Birtles. Do they move work to the resources or resources to the work? “All of those things are traditional mainframe strengths, so people are looking to mainframes”. IBM says the z13 system represents a $1 billion investment, five years of development, exploits the innovation of more than 500 new patents and represents a collaboration with over 60 clients. For those dealing with the growing mobile explosion, it helps address the cascade of events – including comparisons to past purchases, data encryption and decryption, bank-to-bank reconciliations, and customer loyalty discounts – that cause a “starburst effect”, where a single transaction can trigger as few as four or as many as 100 additional system interactions. This starburst effect can create security vulnerabilities at each interaction point. According to...

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IBM’s z13: Powering New and Next Gen Mobile Transactions

IBM announced the new IBM z13, which it described as the most sophisticated computer system ever built, delivering scale and economics together with real-time encryption and analytics to meet the safety and performance expectations of businesses and consumers in the mobile economy. The z13 system culminates a $1 billion investment by IBM over five years of development that resulted in over 500 new patents. The z13 solution was developed in collaboration with over 60 IBM enterprise clients – underscoring the company’s singular commitment to providing higher-value, innovative technologies to its customers. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM z13 – The Mainframe that Makes Mainframes Cool Again

One of the things that is fascinating about the technology market is that things cycle. What made the mainframe initially successful was the massive amount of I/O it could handle, which remained largely unmatched even as technology advanced to client server. This is because we didn’t seem to really need terminals anymore. However, with the rapid ad-vancement of personal mobile connected devices, like tablets and Smartphones, coupled with advancements like 5G and Mu-MIMO, there is suddenly a need for massive I/O and the z13, IBM’s just-announced mainframe, is uniquely suited for those tasks. Suddenly the mainframe is cool again! For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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