Monthly Archives: May 2014

SDN Strategies Part 3: Juniper, Dell, Brocade, Alcatel-Lucent

By | May 3, 2014

In the third part of this series examining vendors’ SDN products, I discuss Juniper’s network overlay approach and three other vendor strategies for tackling software-defined networking.

In my last post in this continuing series on vendors’ SDN strategies, I looked at SDN products from Cisco, Arista, and HP. In this blog post, I will examine the various ways Juniper, Dell, Brocade, and Alcatel-Lucent/Nuage approach software-defined networking.

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SDN Strategies Part 2: Cisco, Arista, HP

By | May 3, 2014

In the second part of this series examining vendors’ SDN products, I look at Cisco ACI, Arista’s programmable approach, and HP’s commitment to OpenFlow.

In the first part of this series on vendors’ SDN strategies, I discussed the SDN landscape and the most recent InformationWeek SDN Survey, which showed that most vendors have a long way to go when it comes to explaining their SDN plans. In this post, I’ll examine SDN products from Cisco, Arista, and HP.

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SDN Strategies Part 1: Vendors Vie For Market, Mindshare

By | May 3, 2014

It’s a land grab in the software-defined networking market, with heavyweights and startups rolling out an array of technologies for automating the network.

While software-defined networking is key to every networking vendor’s product strategy, that doesn’t mean IT is buying the message. In fact, InformationWeek’s most recent SDN Survey shows that most vendors earn a failing grade when it comes to explaining their plans.

Read more about the SDN market and vendor positioning…

SSDs: A Guide To Using Flash In The Datacenter

By | May 3, 2014

Silicon is the darling of the storage world: Out with spinning disks, in with flash chips. There is a lot to like about solid-state storage. It offers faster I/O, lower latency and power consumption, and instant-on from sleep states for lightning-fast access to cold data, all from smaller components easily adapted to a variety of form factors. Indeed, flash memory’s miniscule use of space and power are a key enabler of mobile devices and the reason SSDs are displacing HDDs in most laptops.

But in datacenters, where storage requirements are measured in petabytes, not terabytes, flash must be used opportunistically. Despite the claims of some solid-state proponents, the all-flash datacenter is still years from becoming a reality, as described in InformationWeek’s 2014 State of Storage report. But the price per bit differential between flash and disk is narrowing, albeit from a very wide gap, meaning it’s rational and economical to use SSDs in more and more applications.

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Malaysian Flight 370 Foreshadows Many Unanticipated Consequences of the Internet of Things

By | May 3, 2014

The hunt for a missing Malaysian Flight 370 Boeing BA+1.15% 777 has transfixed the world for more than a week. For an aircraft of this size and sophistication to utterly vanish is unprecedented in the history of modern aviation. With little for investigators to work with, perhaps the most important piece of information hinting that this was no accident, but a deliberate act by someone on the plane, was provided by an aircraft data transmission system that is a nascent form of the Internet of Things (IoT). Indeed, this incident would be a 21st Century version of the Amelia Earhart mystery had it not been for automated systems designed to regularly send data from the plane via either ground stations or satellite uplinks, known in the aircraft business as ACARS.

The Malaysian Airlines incident, with investigators forced to rely on remotely collected data in lieu of actual physical evidence, highlights the varied uses, both intended and opportunistic, of telemetry that will be routinely collected and communicated from devices as small as your shoes and as large as aircraft and ocean liners and illustrates both the potential and unexpected consequences of the coming era of pervasive connectedness. Indeed, there is a lot more to IoT than fitness bands and smart smoke detectors.

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The Changing Face of Software Defined Networking: Addressing Actual Business Problems

By | May 3, 2014

Software defined networking (SDN) has evolved from the slick new technology only a network geek could love to a key pillar in new strategies designed to simplify and automate network configuration and service management. SDN controllers, the brains running these next-generation networks, were once synonymous with OpenFlow, the network control protocol used to manage centrally manage traffic. However, as SDN visions have grown beyond low-level data switching and routing, the role of controllers is expanding to include holistic management of security policies, application settings and physical and virtual network configuration. Although there’s still plenty of confusion born from SDN’s genesis as a university research project, the reality is that  SDN represents a foundational piece in building cloud infrastructure and what is commonly called the software-defined data center.

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The Cloud As IT Disruptor: Andreessen and His Startups Show Why

By | May 3, 2014

Information technology has always been a tumultuous enterprise, and every era has its share of inspiring innovation and disappointing flops, however the nexus of cloud, mobile, social and big data technologies means this era of technology history is more exhilarating than normal for both end users and IT practitioners alike. I plan to explore these topics and more in this column, where my interest is to share what’s new and exciting in IT and discuss the implications for business and consumers alike. To kick things off, I’d like to look at the effect cloud services are having on enterprise IT strategies, vendor business models and the two poles of an ongoing debate: is the cloud revolutionary or evolutionary?

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How Cloud Will Transform The WAN

By | May 3, 2014

The cloud’s capacity to upend long-standing IT practices — and vendor business models — knows no bounds. Having changed the way IT organizations deliver applications and infrastructure, now cloud services are changing the way they design, deploy, and manage wide area networks.

That change comes none too soon for respondents to our InformationWeek 2014 Next-Generation WAN Survey. While 68% of respondents see demand for WAN bandwidth increasing, a percentage that’s up dramatically from the 34% saying the same in our 2012 survey, just 15% of 2014 survey respondents are bringing new services or more capacity online now.

Read the details in this InformationWeek digital issue cover story.

How the Internet of Things Will Change Your Business

By | May 3, 2014

Think the Internet of things is just another tech trend, long on theoretical potential and short on practical reality? We’ll admit that chipped basketballs and “smart shoes” feeding fan apps with real-time stats and graphics are sexy — the NBA and other major league sports will likely be early IoT adopters. However, we believe that more mundane uses, like extending equipment monitoring and control systems, as well as some innovative new possibilities, particularly those leveraging the ubiquity of smartphones, can make IoT ­a profitable strategy for a broad range of industries.

In this report, we’ll cut through the jargon to discuss exactly what IoT is and how and where to apply it. Our focus is on the sorts of IoT scenarios businesses large and small might use to increase reliability and efficiency, reduce costs, improve the customer ­experience, even build new services

State of Storage: 2014

By | May 3, 2014

If you just look at vendor financials, the enterprise storage business seems stuck in neutral. However, flat revenue numbers mask a scorching pace of technical innovation, ongoing double-digit capacity growth in enterprises, and dramatic changes in how and where businesses store data.

Among almost 250 respondents to our InformationWeek 2014 State of Enterprise Storage Survey, all from organizations with 50 or more employees and involved in storage strategy or operations:

  • 68% have data replication in production use.
  • 61% use SSDs for general databases, up from 45% in 2013.
  • 47% use Fibre Channel SANs, down from 51% last year.
  • 31% say they keep enterprise database/data warehouse data indefinitely.
  • 25% use multiprotocol arrays now and plan to add more in the future.

In this report, we discuss changes on tap for storage admins this year:

  • Solid state will augment hard drives throughout the storage ecosystem — use flash wisely, and you could get all the benefit for short money.
  • Virtualization will help IT simplify, automate, and optimize data management, application placement, and ­capacity expansion via scale-out storage systems.
  • Cloud services will become a legitimate tier in the enterprise storage hierarchy. But beware of new data silos.