The Relevance of Networking at AWS re:Invent

This year was my first re:Invent and it was an impressive event. There were over forty-three thousand people in attendance and the show occupied a number of hotels along the Vegas strip. It wasn’t just that there were a lot of people there, it was that there were a lot of people who wanted to be there – after attending hundreds of trade shows and user group events you get to know the difference. There was a buzz and excitement at the show that reminded me of early VMworld and TechEd shows. Sessions were sold out and queues were long as people waited for the doors to open. All the attendees I spoke to had specific reasons for attending; many were in the process of moving to a cloud first strategy and were there to learn. Clearly the main point from the keynotes was to remind everyone that AWS is continuing to innovate and provide services to help organizations of all sizes transition to cloud by offering the greatest breadth and depth of capabilities for a cloud platform, thus, making it easier for organizations to make the transition to the cloud and ensure AWS has capabilities for all possible use cases… thus potentially expanding its already dominant forty plus percent share of the market. On the expo floor it was good to see a mix networking companies attending to help customers better understand how to connect to the public cloud. In fact, ESG research on network modernization indicates that the top impact that organizations have reported that public cloud computing services has had on their network strategy is that they’ve integrated their data center and WAN links to create a seamless network that connects on-premises and off-premises resources (38%). That is why it was important for companies like Cisco, Juniper, and Arista to be at re:invent to talk about how they can enable seamless connectivity from the data center to the cloud for hybrid cloud environments. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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DEW17: Storage On Steroids (& Cloud and Networking)

LAS VEGAS: Digital transformation is the (current) be-all and end-all, but for IT vendors, it’s all about building and selling the products and services that facilitate the DT journey, and in the second segment of our preview of a plethora of pithy product pronouncements, Part 2 we look at Dell EMC’s more mundane announcements, while Part 3 will focus on the revolutionary new payment program that turns CapEx to OpEx and might even help reduce the fear of vendor lock-in. As the dominant enterprise storage vendor, there were a number of storage announcements, including a heaping helping of software-defined storage news: a new release of ScaleIO; Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) platform updates; IsilonSD Edge enhancements; new and updated Dell EMC Ready Nodes; and a preview of Project Nautilus, a new software-defined solution for storing and analyzing high volumes of streaming IoT data. “While software-defined everything is a critical piece of IT transformation, the reality is that we’re still early with regard to the ability of enterprises to consume software-only offerings,” said Jeff Boudreau, President, Storage, Dell EMC, in a prepared statement. “Offering software-defined storage offerings for on-premises and the cloud, in a variety of deployment models including ready nodes, allows us to meet customers where they are today and take them where they need to be as they transform their IT and their businesses.” Available now are Dell EMC ScaleIO Ready Nodes and Dell EMC VMware vSAN Ready Nodes, with availability on the new PowerEdge servers scheduled for mid-2017. Dell EMC Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct Ready Nodes are scheduled for June, followed shortly on the servers, while Next, ScaleIO.Next, ECS Dedicated Cloud Service and IsilonSD Edge are also expected out soon. If IT is now all about transformation, storage is all about flash, and the two are inseparable, noted Mark Peters, practice director & senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group, in a prepared statement. “… All-Flash and scale-out storage solutions — capable of delivering both the high performance and rich data services needed for today’s demanding applications — are critical elements for any enterprise that wants to achieve IT transformation.” Dell EMC made a number of flashy announcements: the VMAX 950F, up to 4x faster than the nearest competitor; XtremIO X2 delivers new levels of efficiency for VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) and large scale snapshot use cases, with 3x higher capacity, 25% better storage efficiency on average and 80% better response times; Unity All-Flash storage models feature up to 4x larger file system capacity, 8x increase in density and sub 10-minute deployment; SC5020 midrange hybrid storage array offers up to 45% more IOPS, 2x greater capacity and market’s lowest hybrid array $/GB;...

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Dell 3.0 Takes Center Stage at DEW

Austin, Texas:  The critical question arising from the inaugural Dell EMC World event — at least for me, an IBM, HP/E and Dell/EMC/VMware investor — is what makes Dell’s prospects any brighter than those of its two main competitors, IBM and HPE, and the trio of enterprise vendors offering more limited portfolios — Cisco, Oracle and Lenovo? IBM has seen its sales shrink for the last 17 quarters, HPE is just shrinking, and the other contenders can only offer partial solutions — predominantly networking and datacenter servers, DBMS software and appliances, and devices, respectively. From its humble roots in Michael Dell’s college dorm room, the company has scaled the PC heights, added servers, storage, software, networking, security and services and, with the completion of the EMC acquisition, is now grappling with the IT industry’s largest acquisition and largest debt load. It has also added significant resources in enterprise storage (disk, flash and software-defined), virtualization (VMware), cloud (Virtustream, Pivotal and ECS), networking (SDN/NSX), all-in-one appliances (VCE) and security (RSA). Of course there is a lot of overlap too, and while the combined companies may point out the differences, many others will be concerned about the similarities. We’ve already seen signs of tighter focus — i.e. the sales of the enterprise content division, services and software units, and the (lower-than-expected) SecureWorks IPO — and the first workforce reductions, 2,000-3,000 jobs are expected to be cut, out of 140,000. On the good (?) news front, Dell moved into top spot in server shipments for the most recent quarter, while HPE held on to top spot in revenues; shipments grew 2% year-over-year, while revenues edged 0.8% lower. Even better, EMC was named a leader in integrated systems, and the acquisition should strengthen that position, although Gartner cautions that uncertainty will plague the new Dell-EMC-VMware combination that brings ‘multiple overlapping and competing integrated system strategies under one roof.’ The results were equally ambivalent for enterprise storage, where revenue was flat while shipped capacities shot up 12.9%; EMC tied for first place with HPE ($1.6 billion each) while Dell came in third place with a revenue increase of 14%, up to $1 billion. Prior to the acquisition EMC was pushing a software-defined everything strategy, and it’s unlikely that focus will change under new ownership. The current evolution of IT is offering customers a couple of choices in pursuit of shrinking data centers, lower CAPEX and OPEX and the ability to leverage the cloud: some form of do it yourself versus an all-in-one solution, and hardware versus software lock-in (and that at the end of the day, there’s no getting away from software lock-in), Manuvir Das,...

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Trends in Software-defined Networking…

I recorded a free webinar on trends in software-defined networking. In this webinar, we explore the trends in Software-defined Networking: how it has evolved from data center uses to support WAN use-cases, support for security, new programming models such as containers, and more. We examine how it offers different models to support traditional networking professionals, DevOps users, and how Layer-2-based software-defined networks differ from pure Layer-3-based systems. The topic I mentioned is that there are so many different definitions of SDN. There’s data center SDN, wide area SDN (or SD-WAN), cloud networking, SD-LAN (something new), container networking. Not everything is settled, but it’s worth looking at differences and characteristics so that we don’t bucket all of them into this big single SDN category. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Cisco: from CLI to cloud

With DNA, Cisco is prepping for a future where network devices can be managed from the cloud. At last week’s Cisco Live, I heard about how Cisco is working to change how network devices will be managed in the future. This will be a gradual evolution, rather than a sudden blockbuster change, but will require some adjustment for traditional networking administrators accustomed to CLI. Network admins are accustomed to configuring and devices one at a time and devices performed tasks locally. Of course, they have communicated with other peer networking devices using protocols such as BGP to exchange routing information, but the network has been fundamentally a distributed system of independent devices. Some centralization is possible with network automation tools that perform configuration settings on many devices, or more recently, SDN controllers such as Cisco APIC or OpenDaylight, which have started to create an architecture that coordinates a large part of the network. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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