Content posted in January 2011
AirMagnet Enterprise 9.0 Takes WLAN Security Up A Notch
Commentary  |  1/31/2011  | 
The tidal wave of mobile devices washing over the enterprise these days is on everybody's mind. We all have our own frames of reference and reasons to care about the running invasion of portable devices and the insatiable demand for networks in the air, and AirMagnet comes at it from the security angle with its new Enterprise 9.0. Wireless environments are dynamic enough to keep us on our toes when things are healthy and everyone is behaving themselves, but human nature is never far away, and so
IT Pros Vote Cisco in FCoE Switch Brand Leader Survey
Commentary  |  1/28/2011  | 
Cisco recently swept the FCoE Switch Brand Leader Awards for the second year in a row, based on responses from IT professionals who participated in an IT Brand Pulse Brand Leader Survey. The results demonstrate that the IT community recognizes the leadership role Cisco has played in converged networking and FCoE.
Planning the Interop Network Has Begun
Commentary  |  1/27/2011  | 
The planning for the Interop network kicked off with engineers from the participating vendors meeting in person or via audio conferencing. The kick-off meeting starts the long process of designing the Interop network, which will ultimately support tens of thousands of users and devices, both on the expo floor and around the conference. It's a daunting task for seven days of network activity. This year, the goals of the Interop net are to showcase IPv6 support, interoperability among vendors, clo
Imation To Close Tape Plant
Commentary  |  1/27/2011  | 
In a move that the Tape is Dead Marching Band and Chowder Society will take as yet another victory in its battle to have magnetic tape join drum memory, mercury delay lines and its punched-paper cousin on the scrap heap of obsolete data storage technologies, Imation announced that it is closing its Weatherford, Okla., tape coating plant.
Broadcom Raises the Bar for CNA Technology
Commentary  |  1/26/2011  | 
Broadcom recently unveiled the BCM578x0, its latest generation of 10Gbit Ethernet ASICs for LAN-on-Motherboard (LOM) and NIC applications, and the first in a new class of converged network adapters (CNAs), or converged NICs (C-NICs). The new family of ASICs includes several innovations that raise the bar for CNA technology and provide a glimpse at the capabilities of the next generation of high performance Ethernet adapters.
Give Me Unlimited Data Or Give Me Death
Commentary  |  1/25/2011  | 
If you haven't seen the latest T-Mobile commercial touting its $10 4G data plans, you should. I won't totally give it away, but it's pretty humorous. The spoken line, "Sometimes you just gotta pay more to be ...slower. It makes sense if you don't think about it," is delivered by the AT&T character in a perfectly monotone, yet arrogant way. The 30-second spot got me wondering just what you actually get for $10 from T-Mobile, and what you might get measured in real applications from other data pla
EMC Takes The Offensive In The Storage Wars
Commentary  |  1/25/2011  | 
With its January blizzard of announcements, EMC has launched an across-the-board offensive. By doing so, the company is broadening its horizons as a wide spectrum information infrastructure company. That does not mean it has neglected its storage roots--far from it. Announcements at both the enterprise-class and midrange storage system levels have opened new fronts for EMC to contend against competitors.
Brocade and Dell Enhance iSCSI Storage
Commentary  |  1/25/2011  | 
Since the introduction of iSCSI storage in 2004, the population of 1Gbit iSCSI storage arrays has grown to comprise almost a third of all disk arrays shipped each year. Connecting servers to all those 1Gbit iSCSI SANs requires only a generic port on a server LAN-on-motherboard (LOM) chip, or 1Gbit Ethernet NIC. No special Ethernet hardware or software is needed because IP networks don't discriminate between NAS/SAN storage traffic and LAN traffic. That's because the iSCSI protocol is transparent
TamoSoft Wi-Fi Tools Worth Looking At
Commentary  |  1/24/2011  | 
Keeping a critical wireless network up and high-performing takes good design, sound policies and effective tools. Thankfully, Wi-Fi support tools have evolved along with wireless technology, and we have plenty of options to pick from. At the same time, some tools have steep learning curves and big price tags that keep them on the wish list, but out of reach. And then there are tools like those offered by TamoSoft, whose robust feature sets don't cost a fortune or require an engineering degree to
Is NFS A Viable Protocol For Converged Networking?
Commentary  |  1/20/2011  | 
Last week's "Ethernet Has a Goldilocks Problem" post generated some thought-provoking responses, but one really caught my attention: If we are to suggest that iSCSI is a viable alternative storage protocol for converged networking, where does that leave NFS? After all, storage vendors are increasingly pushing NFS as an alternative to iSCSI for the storage of virtual machine environments. If it's good enough for VMware ESX, doesn't it deserve a place at the adult table when discussing converged n
CA Technologies Steps Up Its Focus on Security
Commentary  |  1/20/2011  | 
CA Technologies has long had a strong presence in security; its CA ACF2 and CA Top Secret solutions for the mainframe world (z/OS) immediately come to mind. However, the company is making a notably strong push in security with a vision of Content Aware Identity and Access Management (IAM), as well as a focus on securing virtualized environments. Of course, CA Technologies is not unique among its competitors in evolving the security market, but what CA Technologies is really doing is illustrative
EMC Hosts A 'Record-Breaking' Event
Commentary  |  1/20/2011  | 
EMC has spent the first couple of weeks of 2011 building what it hoped was excitement for the "Record Breaking Event" here in New York on Tuesday. After receiving a cardboard broken record via FedEx, and innumerable e-mails, I braved the freezing rain to attend the dog and pony show. Some of the announcements indicate that EMC gets that it has to stop promoting the storage priesthood and make its systems more accessible.
Announcing Network Computing Pro: For IT, By IT
Commentary  |  1/19/2011  | 
I am very happy to announce the launch of Network Computing Pro. NWC Pro is a subscription service with access to more than 450 technical analyst reports covering topics in application optimization, cloud computing, data center, storage, virtualization, wireless and more. Written by our cadre of Network Computing real-world experts and InformationWeek Analytics analysts, Network Computing Pro is the ultimate resource for IT, by IT.
Cloudy, With A Chance Of Networking
Commentary  |  1/18/2011  | 
After a busy week of talking with Meraki, Aerohive and startup PowerCloud Systems, my head is spinning a bit after hearing about the cloud-oriented trio's advancements into new niches. Wireless providers are venturing into wired networking, a major acquisition has taken place, and one vendor makes commodity-class hardware compete with enterprise-grade components using a new and interesting approach. The cloud is heating up, and the lines between wireless and wired networking are blurring. If the
vSphere Tops Hyper-V in Disk I/O
Commentary  |  1/17/2011  | 
As a user of server virtualization tools, and a follower of the market, I've always thought that VMware's lead was evident primarily on the management side of the ledger--with vCenter integration, vMotion, Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and the like. Microsoft Hyper-V, I thought, was a competitive hypervisor that needed a bit more age in the bottle to develop the features that I love in vSphere. Then Overland Storage hired my firm,, to test its SnapSAN S2000 in both environ
Nirvanix Gains Increased Market Traction With Triad Of Cloud Solutions
Commentary  |  1/14/2011  | 
I blogged about Nirvanix here on Network Computing back in November, and opined that the time to execute with cloud offerings is now. I have been following Nirvanix closely since then, and speaking candidly with its customers. It is clear that the company is executing well, providing substantial value to its existing customers, gaining new customers and fine-tuning offerings in order to take the competition head on. Nirvanix has its sights set on the high end of the competitive spectrum. The com
Mathias On Mobility: RIM's BlackBerry Far From Doomed
Commentary  |  1/13/2011  | 
The iPhone and Android handsets are cutting into Research In Motion's market share and the consumerzation of IT poses an even greater threat, but an enormous installed base buys time to adapt.
Network Error Disables Fire Department
Commentary  |  1/12/2011  | 
I try not to use this blog simply to indulge in schadenfreude, but I just couldn't resist when I found that the Tokyo Fire Department's emergency call center was down for over four hours on Jan. 5 due to a network error that a few lines in the switch config file could have prevented.
Bring-Your-Own Laptop Won't Help VDI
Commentary  |  1/11/2011  | 
When I made my 2011 predictions, I didn't hold out much hope for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). I don't think that the upsides in moving to VDI--fast ROI, reduction in operations expenses, security enhancements, etc.--are enough for IT shops to change what they are doing. And I mean any type of VDI, from the traditional remote desktop that Citrix and Microsoft have offered for years to the newer VDI products that run as virtual machines on a desktop or off removable media, some of which w
More on Advanced Erasure Codes
Commentary  |  1/10/2011  | 
As we've previously discussed in "What Comes After RAID? Erasure Codes," forward error correction coding is a leading contender to replace parity RAID as disk hardware evolves past the point where parity provides effective protection. The question remains: Are Reed-Solomon and related coding techniques the inevitable replacement for parity in the RAID systems of the future?
Ethernet Has A Goldilocks Problem
Commentary  |  1/10/2011  | 
We're in the midst of a collision between data center networking and enterprise storage. Convergence is the clarion call from the halls of storage giants like EMC, Brocade, NetApp, QLogic and Emulex, as well as from networking powerhouses like Cisco, Intel and Broadcom. Although everyone seems sure that the future will converge on Ethernet, it is not clear how we will get there. Gigabit Ethernet is too slow for converged I/O, and 10Gbit hardware and cabling remains prohibitively expensive. Propo
Verizon's On A Great Roll - But What Does It Ultimately Mean?
Commentary  |  1/9/2011  | 
The brass at Verizon Wireless have got to be pleased with where things are going these days. Of late, the mobile giant has had some big press releases and rollouts, and there's no doubt that different camps in several markets are taking note. If the only criticism that Big V faces this week is that CEO Ivan Seidenberg's keynote at CES was boring, the company's strategists must be hitting on all cylinders. But despite Verizon's immediate huzzahs, recent goings on in the mobile space have also gen
Nearbuy Leverages Micro-Location For Retail And Warehouse
Commentary  |  1/7/2011  | 
For many Wi-Fi systems, location displays and tools amount to little more than functional eye-candy. Even the best WLANs are subject to the laws of physics and radio frequency propagation, and can often speculate only ballpark locations without RFID and GPS augmentation. Startup Nearbuy Systems looks to change all that with its new Micro-Location solution, and the company has retail spaces and inventory storage facilities in mind as it spins up. But will retailers and shoppers bite?
Scientists Suggest Microfiche For Long-Term Archive
Commentary  |  1/6/2011  | 
It's no secret that we, as an industry, are struggling with the challenge of storing digital data for the long term. And now a pair of academics are suggesting that microfiche--that analog medium we've been using for decades to store old newspapers--could, with 2D barcodes, be the solution to the long-term data storage problem.
Data Centers: The Next Frontier For WAN Optimizers?
Commentary  |  1/6/2011  | 
Signs of the increasingly pivotal role that WAN optimization is playing in the enterprise can be seen in the emergence of hybrid cloud architectures within corporate networks. As Mike so poignantly pointed out in his blog, the simple ability to run a VM does not make an application ready for the cloud. If developers are to leverage on-demand services, such as Amazon's EC2, they need to rethink how they architect their software to leverage a hybrid cloud environment.
13 Technology Predictions For 2011
Commentary  |  1/5/2011  | 
From Android tablets to "Windows 8," SSDs to Google Checkout, our columnist gazes ahead to the coming year and forecasts a baker's dozen of major developments.
Wi-Fi Direct Just Might Kill Bluetooth--Are You OK With That?
Commentary  |  1/4/2011  | 
In late 2010, I blogged about Wi-Fi Direct's arrival. Though ad hoc wireless networking has been allowed under 802.11 operations since the standard was a baby, it wasn't exactly easy to execute. Now, Wi-Fi Direct puts a friendly face on device-to-device wireless communications, and some predict that it will seriously horn in on Bluetooth's place in the grand scheme of personal connectivity. Wi-Fi Direct has higher speeds and longer ranges than Bluetooth, so it's easy to see why Wi-Fi Direct may
My Five 2011 Predictions
Commentary  |  1/3/2011  | 
What's going to happen in 2011? First, we'll continue to see some cool technology and use cases in cloud computing and unified communications, but I think adoption of both will be slower than expected. We will also start to see more about Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) standards compliance and interoperation, particularly with FCoE and multipath routing protocols like Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) and Short Path Bridging, though I am not convinced that the networking i
Dedupe Dos and Don'ts
Commentary  |  1/3/2011  | 
Data deduplication, at least for backup data, has made it to the mainstream. However, it's important to remember that the term "data deduplication" applies to a relatively wide range of technologies that all manage to store data once, even when they're told to store it many times. Since all of these technologies are sensitive to the data being stored, nowhere in IT is the term "your mileage may vary" more true than in dedupe. As 2010 winds down, I figured I'd share a few tips on how to get the m

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