Commentary
Content posted in October 2009
Metro Wi-Fi: RIP?
Commentary  |  10/30/2009  | 
Rapid technology evolution and economies of scale argue against municipalities as wireless service providers. As for metro Wi-Fi, I think the future is clear. It's the wrong technology for the job.
IT and General Counsel Together At Last - Or Not
Commentary  |  10/30/2009  | 
General counsel and IT need one another. The GCO needs IT to provide guidance on technology choices near the beginning of the eDiscovery cycle, and IT needs GCO for guidance on legal and business considerations.
Scaling Backup Deduplication With Clustered Storage
Commentary  |  10/30/2009  | 
In my last entry I looked at scaling single system solutions, and in this entry I'll take a look at scaling backup deduplication via a storage cluster approach delivered by companies like Sepaton and Exagrid. The idea here is to make adding capacity and performance as simple as adding another node to the cluster. Each time you add a node, capacity and performance scales with it. This may be ideal for the enterprise and even for rapid growth mid-tier companies.
Debunking Utilization As Justification
Commentary  |  10/29/2009  | 
If I sit through another presentation or sales pitch that tells me how a product will save me money by raising my storage utilization, I'm going to get violent. Ever since the development of the SAN, vendors have been extracting money from users based on promises that their new shared disk array, virtualization widget or storage management application will pay for itself by increasing the customer's disk utilization. For ten years now, we've spent a lot of money but the savings have been elusive
Data Deduplication Update 2 - Scalability
Commentary  |  10/29/2009  | 
As we continue our tour through the deduplication maze, one of the battle cries of data deduplication suppliers is how well their product scales. Scalability, however, is in the eye of the beholder. In the deduplication system space, this results in the classic battle of the single box storage system vs. a grid or clustered storage system. In the software space it raises questions.
Dell and Juniper Team Up
Commentary  |  10/28/2009  | 
The rapidly evolving networking market took another unexpected turn when server powerhouse Dell teamed up with network equipment supplier Juniper. Dell will now resell Junipers MX Series Ethernet services routers, EX Series Ethernet switches and SRX Series services gateways, which all run Juniper's JUNOS operating system software.
Emulex Heads Backwards At 80 MPH
Commentary  |  10/27/2009  | 
Today Emulex announced the general availability of its "UCNA" to channel partners. However, I think it's important to be clear about what they have actually announced: they are making ServerEngines' 10GbE NIC available to channel partners. There are neither FCoE nor iSCSI capabilities on the card; it ships with Ethernet support. From all indications, it's a ServerEngines board with an Emulex logo.
Data Deduplication Update Part One
Commentary  |  10/27/2009  | 
Now that EMC's acquisition of Data Domain has settled in, it makes sense to take a look at the state of the deduplication market. It seems that much of the controversy in this space has subsided in recent months. Partly because two of the larger competitors now have the same business cards, but also because the systems and technologies are getting better. The discussion is moving beyond how does dedupe work and towards what can these systems really do for you? This is a needed step on the road t
Education Is The Name Of The Game At SNW
Commentary  |  10/27/2009  | 
Everyone should understand why the educational value of trade shows still makes them an industry necessity even in difficult economic times. The semi-annual Storage Networking World (SNW) conference, held recently in Phoenix, Arizona, serves as an illustration. SNW is a joint venture between Computerworld and the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA).
The Truth About The FCC Proposed Rules On Net Neutrality
Commentary  |  10/27/2009  | 
Ever since the FCC announced their proposed rules on net neutrality, there has been massive misinformation from news outlets, commentators, politicians, and political groups. The proposed rulings repeatedly state that the provisions are subject to network management, don't impede law enforcement or emergency preparedness and don't require providers to allow illegal activity, such as copyright infringement or pirating. Anyone who says differently is either misinformed or lying.
Cisco Creates Global Market Opportunity
Commentary  |  10/27/2009  | 
By entering into the compute business, Cisco immediately alienated its long time OEM and reseller partners (such as HP, IBM, and SUN) that built long and strong relationships with the company. Effectively, systems vendors had to face a hard truth: they had to find alternative providers for products being sourced from Cisco. Why continue to OEM, or resell, products from a competitor's portfolio? The cash flow would only serve to support this new competitor.
Exchange 2010 Changes Storage Demands
Commentary  |  10/26/2009  | 
Exchange has long been a prima donna when it came to storage. Large monolithic databases requiring high IOPS and clusters that required shared storage made Exchange the first Windows app on most SANs. With Exchange 2010, Microsoft's traded space for IOPS, eliminating single instance storage and log shipping for shared disk for high availability. Time to rethink storage for Exchange.
Data Center Wars Escalate As Cisco Retrenches
Commentary  |  10/26/2009  | 
Data center virtualization cries out for new servers and networking. Cisco overengineered its first offerings; round two is looking better.
SuperComm 2009: Brocade, Ixia, NTT, Mu Dynamics, Cisco, and NetOptics
Commentary  |  10/24/2009  | 
Visiting vendors and talking to product managers is the only reason I go to shows. On occasion, I participate in a panel or give a presentation, but what I really want to do is see what vendors have cooking. SuperComm, while not an enterprise show, has quite a few vendors that service both carriers and enterprises, and often products tend to flow from the carrier to enterprise market as bandwidth demands rise. Keeping an eye on what they are doing tells us where the enterprise may be heading.
Carriers Renew Focus On SMBs
Commentary  |  10/23/2009  | 
AT&T and Avaya create a dedicated sales center for small and midsize businesses, while Sprint forms a Small Business specialty team to develop new products and services.
SuperComm 2009 Keynotes: Long On Vision
Commentary  |  10/22/2009  | 
Two keynotes by the leaders of ATT and Cox Communications covered topics near and dear to their respective hearts. Neither were particularly earth shattering, but getting the birdseye view from the executive suite is useful because it informs us of companies' directions, goals and priorities.
Will There Be Tiers Of SSD?
Commentary  |  10/22/2009  | 
I heard at Storage Networking World (SNW) that once storage finally moved to Solid State Disk (SSD) and there were no longer mechanical drives, there would be no more need for tiered storage. Everything will be on SSD, it will all be fast and no one will care. Will SSD end the need for proper data management or will there be tiers of SSD?
SuperComm 2009: From The Floor
Commentary  |  10/22/2009  | 
Verizon CEO Predicts Doom And Gloom Over Pending Ruling
Commentary  |  10/21/2009  | 
At Supercomm 2009, Ivan Seidenberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications keynote, kicked off the day with a rousing talk about how broadband is changing our lives and why the FCC should butt out of setting Internet policy. Luckily I was traveling and couldn't attend or I'd have been tempted to pull a "Joe Wilson" and shout "You lie!"
Network Neutrality: Reconsidering Flat-Rate Internet Access
Commentary  |  10/20/2009  | 
Later this week, the FCC is expected to release details of a newly proposed policy addressing network neutrality. These rules, motivated primarily by a desire on the part of the Obama administration to encourage openness and innovation on the Internet, are also mired in intense political debate, some of it ideological but much of it driven by a corrupt system of campaign finance. Corporate donors are staking out their turf and finding compromise won't be easy.
Qlogic Gives Emulex A Black Eye
Commentary  |  10/20/2009  | 
With exclusive design wins at NetApp & IBM, and offering the only single chip CNA you can get from EMC today, QLogic continues to pommel its competitors.
Cisco Retools Its Router Line
Commentary  |  10/20/2009  | 
Since its inception 25 years ago, Cisco has been synonymous with routing. The company rolled out its most significant router upgrade, Integrated Services Router Generation (ISRG 2) since 2004 and focused on enhanced video transmission capabilities, more virtualized services, and reduced energy consumption as the means to maintain its market position.
Enterasys Revamps Switching Line
Commentary  |  10/19/2009  | 
Enterasys, which has been languishing in the Ethernet switching market, is trying to breathe new life into its products. To entice small and medium businesses, the companys S-Series features high performance switching, resilient power, and enhanced management functions.
ECA: Value Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
Commentary  |  10/19/2009  | 
eDiscovery vendors and analysts - including myself - are coming out with a raft of product and commentary about Early Case Assessment (ECA). However, we might be assuming a lawyerly acceptance of ECA that just isn't there.
GlassHouse Technologies: At Your (IT Infrastructure) Service
Commentary  |  10/17/2009  | 
GlassHouse Technologies just held its debut analyst day and clearly communicated what it does and where it is going to the analysts in attendance. Looking more deeply at GlassHouse reveals its response to the greater transformational trends in IT infrastructure that impact virtually all businesses.
External IOV and Data Center Politics
Commentary  |  10/16/2009  | 
I, like some others, have been concerned that the convergence of storage and data networking could in many organizations end up bogged down as the storage and networking teams fight it out over turf. Some may decide that reducing from two cables each for 10gigE and Fibre Channel to just two 10gig cables isn't worth the trouble but that's means duplicate infrastructures end to end which will hit the budget pretty hard. External I/O virtualization could be the answer.
Day 2 - Live From SNW
Commentary  |  10/13/2009  | 
Continuing our Live from SNW series, our first few entries for today are going to be catch up from yesterday's final briefings. As before these are all coming rapid fire so I ask your continued patience, these are very much first impressions.
Live From SNW - Day 1
Commentary  |  10/12/2009  | 
Unified Communications Battle: Cisco Versus Microsoft
Commentary  |  10/12/2009  | 
As another umbrella technology which is attempting to integrate ease-of-use and transparency on top of an incredibly diverse collection of services, unified communications is a worthy effort. A new report, which says the overall enterprise UC market will generate $7.8 billion in revenues in 2010, sheds interesting light on the relative strengths and positioning of Cisco and Microsoft. Here are some salient excerpts.
When It Comes to eDiscovery, Even Walmart Can Get It Wrong
Commentary  |  10/12/2009  | 
Mimosa Systems' excellent (and entertaining) Know-It-All Guide recently reminded me of an older but still relevant case, Testa vs. Walmart, and the giant retailer actually lost it. The mid-90s case is still relevant because the same practices that led to Walmart's loss happen every day in business. The settlement was small at $50K and Walmart could readily afford it, but do you really want to go there by making the same mistake they did?
Politics And The Data Center
Commentary  |  10/12/2009  | 
While ideally we would build our data centers with the products that best enabled us to provide services to the rest of the organization, making decisions about design philosophies like future-proofing, best of breed point products vs. integrated solutions, etc separate from turf and power politics, I've been reminded a couple of times recently that we don't live in an ideal world.
Research Shows Cutting Costs Not A Gov IT Priority
Commentary  |  10/8/2009  | 
I started my career in government, running the IT operations of a college within a large state-funded university. While that's a far cry from the scale of federal agencies, I don't think the mind-set necessarily is. First rule of government: If you don't spend your budget, it'll be given to someone who will. We did our best to make great and clever use of the funds we had for the benefit of students, faculty, researchers, and staff, but I understood that a dollar saved was never going to trickle
Here Comes SNW
Commentary  |  10/8/2009  | 
SSD Onslaught Spotlights Defrag Debate
Commentary  |  10/7/2009  | 
Let's stipulate that the proliferation of solid-state drives is a fact, and that, based on their high performance, SSDs are in the process of rapidly moving from a high-priced consumer curiosity into an increasingly popular data-center storage technology. So now the big questions revolve around dealing with a whole new set of disk "gotchas."
Extreme Networks Expands its Low End Product Line
Commentary  |  10/7/2009  | 
Extreme Networks has made its mark largely by delivering products to large companies. However, the company recently extended its edge switching line, with devices that may appeal to small and medium businesses.
Stratify Tells You What You've Got
Commentary  |  10/7/2009  | 
In this morning's announcement, Stratify used a catchy phrase for their integrated ECA/review platform: "Know What You Have." They are not the first vendor to use a phrase instead of a coined name to identify a product's function, especially when the function combines multiple products or services.
What Do You Do When the Fire Hits?
Commentary  |  10/6/2009  | 
Go proactive with your eDiscovery purchases. Form interdisciplinary teams, vet eDiscovery vendors, and purchase the optimum tools you need to tame your litigation wildfire.
Cloud Storage For IT
Commentary  |  10/6/2009  | 
Brocade For Sale: QLogic Should Acquire Extreme Networks
Commentary  |  10/6/2009  | 
If HP acquires Brocade, expect the event to ripple through the industry. Other major server vendors will move to counter Cisco and HP by acquiring a similar array of Ethernet and Fibre Channel adapter and switch technology. In this scenario, QLogic would be at or near the top of the list of acquisition targets, and QLogic shareholder value would soar....if the company has Ethernet switch technology and products to round out its portfolio.
Cisco, Tandberg, And The Future Of Videoconferencing For SMBs
Commentary  |  10/5/2009  | 
Last week's announcement that Cisco was buying videoconferencing heavyweight Tandberg sent shockwaves through the industry. But as the dust clears, observers are starting to figure out what it might mean for the small and midsize companies that actually use the technology -- or might want to if videoconferencing better met their needs. And already smaller competitors are showing that they still have something different and valuable to offer SMBs.
FCoE Isn't Just Another Protocol
Commentary  |  10/5/2009  | 
My esteemed colleague George Crump views FCoE as just another protocol you can run in your data center if you think it fits your needs, as opposed to what he says is the near religious movement that some vendors would lead you to believe it is. As an old network guy, I can't call an application that requires as many changes to the network itself as FCoE does.
Mellanox Loses focus
Commentary  |  10/2/2009  | 
Mellanox was once a company with a laser-sharp focus on the HPC market. Innovation in InfiniBand switches and ASICs helped them accelerate to the top of the HPC food chain. Not only did they have great products, but the company managed to execute well and mount strong share gains. Now, Mellanox' focus seems to be shifting away from this area.
The Perfect SAN Array
Commentary  |  10/1/2009  | 
Back when I wrote for PC Magazine, we did an issue once a year on the Perfect PC. It assembled the best features and performance parts from the various systems we'd tested over the past year, and with the help of the art department, we'd combine them into our idea of the perfect PC. Today I'd like to do the same for a SAN array, discussing the specs of the perfect midrange array.
Virtualizing I/O
Commentary  |  10/1/2009  | 


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