Content posted in June 2010
Cisco's Vision Of Trust And Security: Building It With Or Without You
Commentary  |  6/30/2010  | 
I am pretty impressed with Cisco's breadth and depth of vision on where the information technology is heading and the role of the network in that vision. One item stuck out during Pamasree Warriors Keynote address today, and that is the requirement for trust and security in the borderless endzone, borderless Internet and the borderless data center. The inference I take from that is that security and trust have to follow information and services as they are accessed and located in the varying zon
3Com Leave A Bad Taste? Have a Tic-Tac.
Commentary  |  6/30/2010  | 
I've been surprised in the past few weeks as people I respect have been saying they're wary of buying switch gear from HP/3Com because they still have a bad taste in their mouths over 3Com's temporary exit from the enterprise market a decade ago. With server virtualization driving most data centers undergoing the most significant network redesign since the 20th century, eliminating a tier one vendor because previous management made a mistake 10 years ago seems short-sighted to me.
Deduplication And Solid State Disk, A Perfect Match?
Commentary  |  6/30/2010  | 
Solid State Disk (SSD) is the medium that storage managers are looking at to address storage performance problems in their environment. Deduplication is what they look at to address out of control capacity requirements. Rarely do you see the two technologies linked, but these two may be a perfect match.
Shake Up Your APM
Commentary  |  6/28/2010  | 
One of the challenges surrounding APM is figuring out what do do with our legacy management tools. Sure, end-to-end APM makes sense in a new, greenfield environment where we can drop in a just purchased suite of tools to provide holistic monitoring. There are many software tools that can help us accomplish this. However, the reality is that most IT organizations have already invested in an array of framework or point management solutions. The challenge for them is how to eek more performance out
Motorola Shows Support-Oriented Flexibility With Latest 802.11n Offering
Commentary  |  6/26/2010  | 
Motorola casts a big shadow across a number of wireless niches. The communications giant dominates the public safety communications market, and it has scored a body blow in the battle for smart phone supremacy with the Droid franchise, and it's 802.11-based wireless products continue their impressive evolution. I recently caught up with Dr. Amit Sinha of Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Solutions unit to talk about his group's latest offering and Motorola's competitive differentiators when it come
HP Opens Age Of Converged Networks
Commentary  |  6/25/2010  | 
The week's announcements from HP's annual Technology Forum brought the new world of converged data and storage networks into the mainstream. HP's new blades and Proliant servers have Emulex silicon providing 10Gbps Ethernet and FCoE as standard equipment on the motherboard and in optional mezzanine cards. Since Qlogic supplies the cool new Virtual Connect 10Gb/24 port switch module both companies get to claim a design win.
Extreme Makeover Network Edition
Commentary  |  6/25/2010  | 
Extreme Networks is a company with a history of delivering high-performance, high-availability Ethernet switching technology. The company's very first product won Best of Show award at Networld+Interop, and by 2001 Extreme had won the award five consecutive years with one innovative 1Gb product after another. In 2002, the company introduced its BlackDiamond modular switches featuring leading-edge 10Gb technology. By 2002, annual revenues for Extreme rocketed to over $400 million. Between 2002 an
Why You Need To Demand Standards, Now
Commentary  |  6/24/2010  | 
In technology, there is lots of talk about the need for standards for this or that technology. I am an unabashed proponent of standards. There are lots of very smart people who work on standards either as part of their job or on their own time. The standards get pushed through the working groups, are ratified by the standards bodies, and are published to the world. Then those people move on to other things while vendors scramble to implement the standards in their products and update their data
Rogue Hunter: How To Track Wild Access Points
Commentary  |  6/24/2010  | 
Rogue access points (AP) can show up on a network for any number of reasons. A user may set up an AP so he or she can bring a laptop to the break room and still have an Internet connection. A contractor or an internal engineer may set up a wireless router to create a test network and then forget to disable it at the end of the test. People who set up unauthorized APs usually don't mean any harm, but that doesn't make it harmless. If you think attackers aren't looking for wireless connections or
HP BladeSystem G7 LOM: A Milestone For Converged Networks
Commentary  |  6/24/2010  | 
Converged networking is not an event. It's a continuous process that will unfold over many years. Seamless to customers, none of its many parts noticeably different from each other, but from the beginning and end, they are very different from each other. Within this continuum are milestones that stand-out because achieving them is required for convergence to succeed. One such milestone is the monumental decision by server vendors to embed a converged networking chip on their motherboards, a.k.a.
Cloud Update: Providers
Commentary  |  6/24/2010  | 
As we continue through our quick update of the cloud storage market, this entry will focus on the providers. I describe this group as the data asset holders and as predicted last year, this segment is getting crowded in a hurry, with big names and ones you never heard of. Cloud storage providers are coming from everywhere; software companies, storage hardware companies, server hardware companies, managed hosting services, telecommunications companies and E-commerce book retailers. Providers will
SMB Storage Replication: Acceleration VS More Bandwidth
Commentary  |  6/24/2010  | 
With the cost of secondary storage and bandwidth plummeting, does it really make sense to invest in expensive acceleration solutions to service your storage replication needs? Faced with tight capital budgets, small organizations in particular should consider a "backward thinking" approach. Today, you can get 5TB of Amazon S3 storage for $150/month, and for another $100, you can get a nice fat business class internet pipe to ship your storage there. Compare that annual operational cost with the
Cloud Update - ISVs
Commentary  |  6/21/2010  | 
The cloud storage market consists of three segments: Independent Software Developers (ISV) that put a face on cloud storage, providers that actually hold the data assets and cloud storage hardware and software suppliers that arm the providers with the solutions they need to hold and manage those assets. Over the next few entries I'll provide an update on how each of these segments is doing. First up is what I believe is the most important aspect of cloud storage, the ISVs.
Six Questions To Ask Before Buying End-To-End APM
Commentary  |  6/21/2010  | 
While the market for end-to-end APM is heating up, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before plunking down your hard fought IT budget on new tools. With several dozen APM vendors in the market, it can be confusing to weed through the marketing hype and determine what capabilities you really need. While good overall requirements will guide your decisions, be sure to ask the right questions before getting too far down the path with a vendor. I've summarized six key questions to
Emulex & ServerEngines: A New Beginning or Armageddon?
Commentary  |  6/18/2010  | 
Emulex may have surprised a few people with their purchase of ServerEngines; however, many in the industry knew for some time that the company was sorely lacking control of their own destiny with regard to their struggling FCoE offering. Those keeping track of the players in the FCoE space have watched Emulex run around for nearly two years promoting the heck out of privately held ServerEngines, and ultimately it appears as though Emulex will have to cough up an absurd pile of money to finally b
Desktop Virtualization May Break Storage
Commentary  |  6/18/2010  | 
As day two of the BD Event drew to a close, the closing keynote was delivered by Peter Levine of Citrix. Mr. Levine gave an excellent presentation on desktop virtualization and closed with a warning for storage vendors. The key issue is the impact that desktop virtualization will have on storage capacity and I/O demands, and desktop virtualization vendors need help addressing it.
Axeda Announces New M2M Developer Connection
Commentary  |  6/17/2010  | 
Axeda has been providing connectivity and monitoring magic for a wide range of machine-to-machine (M2M) applications for years. By both connecting and monitoring the health and functions of far-flung devices including ATMs, kiosk-based services, distributed medical equipment and many other scattered nodes, Axeda's Platform plays a significant role in stitching together networks out of end devices that aren't necessarily obvious candidates for the typical contemporary client-server paradigm. The
Openness vs. Privacy: The Important Role Data Redaction Plays In Data Privacy
Commentary  |  6/17/2010  | 
Data privacy is a hot topic for all enterprises, both private and public, and data redaction often has an important role in these efforts. That said, redaction is a term that some IT organizations have never heard of. Even if they have, they would probably be hard pressed to define it or explain its importance to their organizations, but that situation is changing quickly as organizations realize that redaction offers a solution that balances the need for data openness with the need for data pri
Stupid Firewall Tricks
Commentary  |  6/17/2010  | 
Firewalls have a bad reputation in many organizations, but it's not always the firewall's fault. Often, organizations use firewalls in places where they aren't really needed. For example, common practice dictates that we should place firewalls with stateful packet inspection enabled in front of Web servers. But does this really make any sense? Why perform stateful packet inspection on a stateless protocol? Why use a firewall in front of Web property when 99 percent of the requests are allowed?
Conferences, Trade Shows and Field Days
Commentary  |  6/16/2010  | 
Sitting in the lab during the four days I have to get any work done between conferences, I'm struck by how different the events on my calendar this spring and summer have been. I've been to vendor/user love fests, end-user education driven events, classic trade shows and now I am on my way to my favorite insider-only deal-o-rama, an invite-only geek fest. Very different events but each seems to serve a target market pretty well.
Network Automation In The Field
Commentary  |  6/15/2010  | 
Has virtual Networking met its match? I mentioned last week that network automation holds huge potential for network architects. It gives you control of not only the normal behavior in your environment, but it extends this to allow you to check configurations before they are deployed, monitors changes in the network and take corrective action, and in the case of our test, gathers important statistics and detailed information and sends it to you for further analysis.
Cofio's Unique Approach To Deduplication
Commentary  |  6/15/2010  | 
Deduplication, at least from a backup standpoint, is about efficiently storing data on a backup device. Some suppliers leverage either block-based incremental, continuous data protection (CDP) or source-side deduplication to increase the efficiency of data going across the network to the backup target. Cofio's AIMstor application takes the unique approach of using all of the available techniques for maximum optimization across the network and on secondary storage devices.
Adaptec: R.I.P.
Commentary  |  6/14/2010  | 
On June 9, Adaptec Inc. announced it's changing its name to ADPT Corp. as part of the sale of its storage business, including the Adaptec brand, to PMC-Sierra Inc. Adaptec managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by missing the transition from direct-connect SCSI storage to networked storage. In 2010, a slew of companies find themselves at a similar inflection point.
Ready For Open Source WAN Acceleration?
Commentary  |  6/14/2010  | 
Open-source products have always had a place in enterprise IT. Administrators and engineers usually have some open source tools around, whether on production systems, in a test and dev lab, or in an skunk works playground where folks can knock around ideas and try new things. Consider how open-source alternatives have reshaped the Network Management System (NMS) space. Not so long ago, if you wanted to get a taste of a truly robust enterprise monitoring solution, you had to drop serious cash on
Verizon Wireless Expanding Skype To Feature Phones
Commentary  |  6/11/2010  | 
Verizon Wireless says that more handsets, including normal feature phones, will be able to use the Skype application.
Deduplication As An API
Commentary  |  6/11/2010  | 
In my last entry I discussed the value of primary storage deduplication. In that entry I stated that for the benefits of the technology to be realized the storage vendors were going to have to get it implemented. This can be done via a third party appliance of course but many vendors are trying to figure out how to do this themselves. If they don't have the technology fully baked at this point the development cycle may be too long and the storage system supplier may be at risk of missing the boa
White List Or Black List?
Commentary  |  6/10/2010  | 
I have spent my week deep in thought on how to secure connections from third-party business partners into my organization. Many of these partners work as an extension of the company, such as outsourced development and operations. These partners have access to source code, business documents, and other sensitive data we would prefer that no one could get to. Data theft is a serious concern, as are other issues, such as a malware infection that hops from a partner's system onto our network.
iPhone 4 And High Performance Coolness? Here's Hoping!
Commentary  |  6/10/2010  | 
It was inevitable: you don't sell a bazillion iPods and iPhones and not get a sense of what users want in the next version. Apple certainly delivered, with new video capability, a front camera, video calling, a lower price point, more processing power, multitasking, and so on. This is cool stuff in a platform that already cornered the market for cool. From a wireless network administrator's perspective, a couple of features have me jazzed.
Justifying APM
Commentary  |  6/10/2010  | 
As the economy crawls out of recession, organizations will examine ways to improve the quality of their application services, and many will turn to end-to-end application performance management (APM). While the business case for APM varies based on the type of organization, all organizations must develop the ROI as an initial step. Business units that rely on critical applications to drive revenue or internal efficiencies cannot afford to experience application performance issues or application
The Case For Lossy Compression
Commentary  |  6/10/2010  | 
A key tenant of the international society of steely eyed storage guys (ISSESG?) has always been to give back to users exactly the same bits they stored. This has lead some ISSESG members to look askance at technologies like compression and data deduplication that could, if things go wrong, violate that tenant.
Do We Need Primary Storage Deduplication?
Commentary  |  6/9/2010  | 
With the recent buzz around a few new primary storage deduplication products, I've seen the question of primary storage deduplication's value come up more than once. After all, if you are managing your storage correctly there shouldn't be much duplicate data, especially on primary storage right? Sure, and we all archive all of our old data to tape as soon as it has not been accessed for 90 days. Even in a well-managed system there is redundant data on primary storage, so deduplication's benefits
Emulex and ServerEngines Finally Wed
Commentary  |  6/8/2010  | 
As far as I know, there are no statistics for unmarried corporate partners, but Emulex and ServerEngines announced on June 7 they would join the 55% of couples that marry within 5 years of cohabitation and finally wed. It's easy to see why after test driving the car for only two years, that Emulex decided the performance of ServerEngines technology was outstanding and acquired the company.
Do We Deserve Universal Broadband?
Commentary  |  6/7/2010  | 
Looking through the new National Broadband Plan, I have to wonder: When did broadband access become a right? This beefy document (seventeen chapters, almost four hundred pages) carries an undercurrent that says "America needs this". As an educator, parent, small-town public official, and technologist, I can relate to the noble goals of the National Broadband Plan. If robust Internet connectivity can cure society's ills, then bring it on. But I can't help think that as honorable as the Plan's goa
Five Boutique APM Vendors To Watch
Commentary  |  6/4/2010  | 
The shift from infrastructure management to application management for enterprise organizations has resulted in a renewed interest in end-to-end Application Performance Management (APM). When we reviewed APM products two years ago, it was one of our largest lab reviews that we performed. We tested suites from BMC, Compuware, Indicative (purchased by Nimsoft), NetIQ, NetQoS, Network General, Nimsoft (purchased by CA), Quest Software and Symantec (spun back out as Precise). Those vendors continue
FCoE Adapter Market Noise
Commentary  |  6/3/2010  | 
A series of news items and blog posts have me worked up about the FCoE adapter market. First Emulex and Qlogic both managed to find evidence in the the latest Dell'Oro Group market research report that they were gaining market share. Frankly it was a bit Orwellian reading the battling press releases. Then my fellow NWC blogger Tom Trainer asked the engaging question "Are Converged Network Adapters Suffocating the Virtual Machine?" pointing out that some CNAs might consume more than their share
If It's Not Broke, Break It
Commentary  |  6/3/2010  | 
In my last entry ( I covered some of the challenges that legacy storage vendors have when adding previously unthought of capabilities to a storage system not designed to support them. At some point though does it make sense to start fresh and leave the legacy platform behind, basically breaking what isn't broken?
The Challenges of Legacy Storage
Commentary  |  6/3/2010  | 
Sometimes it's tough being a legacy storage supplier. To maintain backward compatibility, your early success sometimes becomes your greatest inhibitor. We've seen some of these legacy vendors struggle to bolt on capabilities like virtualization and thin provisioning to existing platforms. There is foundational change being driven by hardware advances like Solid State Disk (SSD), Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Massive Array of Idle Disks (MAID).
WAN Security Challenges Abound
Commentary  |  6/3/2010  | 
Protecting information and corporate assets has always been a tricky business, and today's computing environment just adds to the complexity. Remote offices and mobile users need just as much protection, and possibly more, than headquarters employees who sit behind carefully constructed layers of defense. SaaS applications and public cloud deployments mean sensitive data travel outside traditional network boundaries. And the Web presents a never-ending fountain of malware.
A WiliGear Walks Into A Bar...
Commentary  |  6/3/2010  | 
I'm a fan of the underdog. I love to see small players make good in the world of dynasties, and I am tickled pink with what Open-Mesh is doing on the cheap while the likes of Cisco, Aruba, Meru and the other wireless big dogs continue to fetch an ever prettier penny with their wireless solutions.
Tomorrow's Network Automation Today
Commentary  |  6/2/2010  | 
Switch infrastructure vendors are leading the way in opening up a broad set of capabilities for network engineers. Network automation, or network scripting, combines the functionality of network infrastructure devices with simple scripts that empower network engineers to move beyond passive network monitoring and post-mortem analysis to real-time adaptive networks. The question is will it work and how can you use it in a practical manner?
WAN Encryption: Just Do It
Commentary  |  6/2/2010  | 
One my philosophy professors asked the question "Where is your car parked?" I told him where I parked it. He then asked me how I knew it remained where I left it. "Is it possible," he asked, "that a group of pranksters picked it up and moved it elsewhere?" I'd pulled that prank, so I knew it was possible. Then he asked, "What if one set of pranksters moved your car elsewhere, and then another set of pranksters moved back to the spot where you left it by coincidence? Would I know?" The exercise g
Application Performance Aggregation: The Next Wave In Cloud APM
Commentary  |  6/1/2010  | 
As organizations start the slow move toward cloud computing and begin deploying more of their infrastructure in off-premise private cloud environments, the challenge of end-to-end APM becomes increasingly complex. Application Performance Aggregation (APA) as the next big wave in end-to-end application performance monitoring (APM) and where the APM market will be in a few years.

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