Commentary
Content posted in April 2011
The Future Of Networking On Display At Interop
Commentary  |  4/29/2011  | 
Saying there is a lot of change in networking is like saying the sun is hot. Virtually every aspect of networking in the LAN and the WAN is developing new core protocols and technologies to meet growing demand. Networking isn't just about bigger, faster, denser. The changes are about smarter networking that discovers optimal paths from point to point, ensuring zero packet loss. The changes are being driven by (and are driving) server, storage and network virtualization. And the changes are about
Intel Atom Processor Offers Storage Value
Commentary  |  4/29/2011  | 
Using a low-cost Atom processor from Intel in a storage system can lower costs, improve power efficiency, and take up less rack space while also providing acceptable performance.
Cisco Attacks Multi-Vendor Networks
Commentary  |  4/28/2011  | 
The right network, from Cisco of course, can drive innovation, productivity, and enable new business models.
Distributed Core And East-West Routing--The Network Is Changing
Commentary  |  4/28/2011  | 
Applications and data center infrastructures are changing, and this puts a strain on conventional IT architecture. A number of recent announcements have really put this in perspective, with key network infrastructure components devolving from a centralized "hub and spoke" model to one that might even deserve to be called "cloud." Two key harbingers of this change are the shift from "North-South" to "all direction" network traffic and the decentralization of network device intelligence.
Time To Get Off The IPv6 Fence
Commentary  |  4/26/2011  | 
We've known for almost 20 years that IPv4 addresses were a dwindling resource. Yet here we are.
What's Next In Storage Interfaces
Commentary  |  4/26/2011  | 
Storage infrastructures need the ability to handle more random I/O, deliver higher IOPS performance, and take away some of the load from the primary CPU.
Big-Time Reality Check-- Haiti
Commentary  |  4/26/2011  | 
In technology, as in life, it's all too easy to take what we have for granted. Chances are, right now you are personally equipped with more technology than was used to put the first man on the moon. And though most of us tend to be technologically loaded for bear these days, we're always on the prowl for the faster, lighter, higher capacity, shinier, cooler and generally better. Most of us are fortunate to exist in our high-tech personal bubbles, where the basic needs of food, clothing and shelt
Tape Summit Predicts Tape Renaissance
Commentary  |  4/25/2011  | 
Summing up the recent Tape Summit in Nevada, the basic message was that tape is not only about to see a resurgence but rather a renaissance. This would seem to be counter-intuitive to many, but the claim has merit. Let's explore that and see why, since IT will be the major benefactor if the claim can be proven.
Amazon's Cloud May Seem Magical, But It Isn't
Commentary  |  4/22/2011  | 
By now you have heard that Amazon Web Services had a massive disruption yesterday, affecting Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) instances in the company's northern Virginia data center. The disruption was/is long-lived (Amazon's dashboard is still showing problems), and certainly blew any claims for an annual uptime of 99.9 percent, which is 8.76 hours downtime per year. In fact, it likely blew 99.8 percent uptime, which is 17.52 hours of downtime. While 99.8 percent sounds good, the fact that some s
No Happy Ending To The Fable Of 'Zodiac Island' And The Cloud Storage Provider
Commentary  |  4/22/2011  | 
Alas, the tales spun by vendors, analysts and other cloud computing cheerleaders that paint the cloud as an infinitely expandable, reliable and affordable kingdom--where "The winter is forbidden till December/And exits March the second on the dot"--are as fantastical as Camelot itself. WeR1 Production, which produces the syndicated children's show "Zodiac Island," is learning this lesson after Binky the sheep and Sonny the tiger went to the bit bucket.
Facebook Tools For Building Brands
Commentary  |  4/21/2011  | 
HyperArts' Tim Ware is teaching businesses how to use reveal tabs, iFrames, and other development tools to lure fans and market companies.
BufferBloat And The Collapse Of The Internet
Commentary  |  4/21/2011  | 
It seems that every few years there's yet another prognosticator that the Internet is about to collapse. Once it was the stellar growth in bandwidth demand driven by the phenomenal increase in Internet-connected devices. At other times, it was the lack of Net neutrality (see this video). Still other times, it was sinister attacks on BGP or the fact that we've run out of IPv4 addresses.
The Future Of Networking On Display At Interop
Commentary  |  4/20/2011  | 
Networking isn't just about bigger, faster, and denser any more. Virtually every aspect of networking is developing new core protocols and technologies to meet growing demand.
Aruba Networks Brings Layer 3 To Wireless Mesh Networks
Commentary  |  4/20/2011  | 
Wireless mesh networks have always been big on promise, but often disappointing on performance. It's no secret that the marketing folks for wireless vendors can be a bit adventurous with range and throughput claims, and that many wireless mesh products just don't live up to the hype. Part of the problem has been the traditional repeater-style "lose half your throughput with every hop" principle, which can be exacerbated by poor network design. Aruba Networks addresses pretty much all of the pote
Keeping RAID Alive
Commentary  |  4/19/2011  | 
When it comes to protecting data on disk, few technologies are more universal RAID; it faces challenges in the future data center, but is hardly alone in that.
Do Iron Mountain And Cirtas Exits Mean The Cloud Is Falling?
Commentary  |  4/19/2011  | 
Last week, market research firm Gartner let it slip that Iron Mountain was shuttering its cloud storage service, and reliable sources are telling me that cloud storage gateway startup Cirtas has let its marketing and sales staffs go so the company can concentrate on improving the product. Is this a trend? Is the cloud falling? Will we be left choosing all our IT products from the five families ... oops ... remaining suppliers: IBM, HP, Dell, Oracle and Cisco?
Schwartz On Security: Talking Risk Equals Reward
Commentary  |  4/18/2011  | 
Understanding your business's risk appetite will help you get the money for the security threats that matter.
Keeping Up With Facebook Platform Changes
Commentary  |  4/18/2011  | 
IFrame page tabs and "secure browsing" together are causing headaches for many Facebook business page operators.
Amplidata Builds 'Unbreakable' Storage
Commentary  |  4/15/2011  | 
While I stand by my position that we put too much of the responsibility for keeping our data safe for the long term on storage systems, as I wrote in Long Term Retention:It's More Than Media, I also believe that you bet on different horses for different courses. Startup Amplidata's new AmpliStor system has most of the features on my wish list for storing large data objects like medical images or rich media.
Mathias On Mobility: Cisco At A Crossroads
Commentary  |  4/13/2011  | 
Cisco's core problem is that it is too big, and it has a product line and service mix that is complex even for an analyst to understand.
Solid State Storage First Step: SSD As Cache
Commentary  |  4/13/2011  | 
Though it's reliable and can boost performance, storage managers still struggle to properly apply solid state technology for maximum benefit without the need to rearchitect storage infrastructure.
Wherever You Go, There You Are
Commentary  |  4/13/2011  | 
Location-based services are big business. People are simply fascinated with knowing where they are, and the precision available today to the location-curious among us is nothing short of amazing. Whether leveraging the GPS constellation of satellites 12,000 miles above us, or using Wi-Fi access points to put users on a floor plan, location services are fun and fascinating. At a recent training seminar, I was treated to the back story of an interesting location app used at the famous American Mus
Putting Controller-Based Networks' Security Risk In Context
Commentary  |  4/12/2011  | 
OpenFlow is starting to gain some buzz in the industry, with a demonstration at the upcoming Interop show in Las Vegas and vendors starting to adopt the protocol. However, as others begin to learn about OpenFlow and controller-based networking, complaints about single points of failure and single targets of attack get fired off in an almost knee-jerk reaction. Let's stop and take a breath. Single points of failure and single points of attack are common issues in networking and, frankly, have bee
Iron Mountain Digital Steps Out Of Cloud Storage; Nirvanix Steps In
Commentary  |  4/12/2011  | 
Well, it appears again that companies that are good at one thing won't necessarily be good at trying other things. Iron Mountain Digital, the public cloud offshoot from Iron Mountain--the company that stores papers in caves and giant vaults and drives around in vans all the time--has collapsed.
Xiotech Makes ISE Continuously Available
Commentary  |  4/12/2011  | 
While replicating data in real time does a pretty good job at protecting the data from loss in the event of an array--or larger--failure, replication alone does nothing to ensure that the applications that access that data keep running. If there's a disaster, there had better be a recovery procedure or our apps could be offline a long time. Xiotech, with ISE Continuous Availability, is the latest vendor to come up with a solution that not only keeps the data safe but also keeps it available even
Welcome To The WAN Optimization Shell Game
Commentary  |  4/11/2011  | 
In the early days of Ethernet switch vendors, IT organizations would routinely hear vendors profess to deliver better line rate performance at 20 percent less than the market leader. The catch, because there was always a catch in this industry, was that performance was only achievable in specific circumstances. Turn on port monitoring or enable encryption and Ethernet switch performance would skid to a halt. A similar story may be brewing in the WAN optimization space. While vendors, such as Blu
The SNW Report: Lots Of Flash, Cache Is King
Commentary  |  4/11/2011  | 
This week I kicked off my spring trade show and conference season at Storage Network World at the Santa Clara Convention Center. It was the first time in recent memory that the show was in Silicon Valley, the center of the tech universe, and that seemed to have brought out a crowd with more end-users than in the past. Aside from the all encompassing cloud, I heard a lot of buzz about flash memory based products, especially those using flash as cache for other storage systems.
Getting Real About SSD Performance
Commentary  |  4/8/2011  | 
Solid state storage has moved beyond the learning stage and storage managers are trying to decide how to best use the new technology.
InteropNet's IPv6 Plans
Commentary  |  4/8/2011  | 
One of the more interesting aspects of attending Interop is seeing the demonstrations that the InteropNet team is putting on. At the upcoming show, the InteropNet is running several IPv6 capable networks that are supporting both exhibitors and attendees. This marks the first show since Interop returned its Class A address space to ARIN in 2010. If you are at Interop, check out the various InteropNet locations offering IPv6. I caught up with some of the InteropNet team by phone to talk about IPv6
Add A Dash of Trellia To Thicken The Mobile Management Stew
Commentary  |  4/6/2011  | 
And I thought that the Wi-Fi space could be fast moving ... It seems like every time I turn around of late, there is yet another mobility management vendor with a story to tell. Given that one analyst report after another hammers us with the fact that mobile devices are taking over the world, it makes sense that the management of these devices is a growth market unto itself. The latest player in this space that I've gotten wind of is Trellia Networks. Like its competitors, Trellia answers many o
Tenuous Chains Of Trust In Digital Certificates
Commentary  |  4/6/2011  | 
Hot on the heels of RSA suffering an attack of unknown origin and resulting in a loss of unknown data with an unknown impact, news that certificate authority Comodo issued nine fraudulent certificates that browser vendors and OS vendors have had to issue a patch for highlights the fragility of the security systems that protect your data in transit across the Internet. In Comodo's case, neither the root CA nor any of Comodo's systems were compromised, according to its own incident report. Rather,
Practical Analysis: Cisco's Conundrum
Commentary  |  4/5/2011  | 
Why John Chambers' memo to employees underplays the challenges ahead for the world's largest networking company.
Airesham Redefines Wireless Convergence
Commentary  |  4/4/2011  | 
Been in IT long, Sailor? Anyone who has spent any time at all in IT in the last decade is familiar with at least a few different variations of the concept of convergence. Whether we're talking about voice over IP, streaming video, or how the low-voltage world of fire and security systems are migrating to the IP network, convergence has been all around us for so long that we hardly notice it anymore. But now WLAN startup Airesham is redefining convergence, as an exciting and strange new breed of
Obama Upgrades Campaign Website For 2012
Commentary  |  4/4/2011  | 
A Facebook app encourages people to join the campaign and invite their friends, and the website solicits donations.
Long-Term Data Retention: It's More Than Media
Commentary  |  4/4/2011  | 
The other day I managed to get one of those rare moments where I was sitting with a group of storage guys that worked for vendors but weren't trying to sell me any thing, not even their companies' ideas. The topic of the conversation turned to long-term archiving, and I realized that we--as an industry--have been spending too much time worrying about where we store our data and not enough about how.
Narrowcom To Unveil Wi-FiBASE-T
Commentary  |  4/1/2011  | 
The wireless LAN market is unusual in enterprise IT: It deals primarily with end users and features an unreliable physical medium, and getting a wireless design right requires experience beyond what most systems administrators posses. But all that is about to change, as leading WLAN chipmaker Narrowcom unveils Wi-FiBASE-T, a wired variant of the familiar protocol. By leveraging commodity Ethernet hardware, Wi-FiBASE-T reduces cost and improves reliability and performance. The initial wave of pro
FCoTR To Take Over The World
Commentary  |  4/1/2011  | 
Market research firm The D'Plata Group today released its sesquicentennial report on the future of data center networking. One surprising prediction in the report was that the still experimental Fibre Channel over Token Ring protocol will become the dominant data center storage protocol in 2020. The report uses the now familiar hockey stick-shaped graph to indicate that FCoTR sales will start small in 2012 but will grow exponentially, exceeding Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet in ma


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