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Network Computing's Best Stories of 2012

From SDN to cloud to 802.11ac, Network Computing's reporters and bloggers brought their insight and expertise to the biggest stories of 2012. Here's a sample of some of their best work.

It's been a busy year in technology. Clouds, both public and private, continued to dominate the conversation about where and how IT can provide services to business users. The mobile invasion carried on with its relentless march into the enterprise. Microsoft released a new OS in an effort to keep Windows relevant during the long, slow decline of PC dominance. SSDs gave storage admins a new angle to argue over in the price vs. performance debate. And software-defined networking swallowed entire industries from San Francisco to San Jose.

Our bloggers and reporters covered these and other topics in great detail. Here's the best of their work from the past year, including analysis and how to's.

Networking and Data Center

SDN Is Business, OpenFlow Is Technology

Software-defined networking (SDN) and OpenFlow aren't the same thing. We'll clarify the technical differences and discuss a more important distinction: SDN emphasizes applications that drive network usability and business requirements, while OpenFlow is a technology to link an SDN controller and network devices.

GoDaddy Outage a Harsh Reminder That Enterprises Need DNS Redundancy

GoDaddy's September outage proves that whether threatened by internal errors or outsider forces, enterprises need to ensure that their DNS is safeguarded just as much as mission-critical data.

Cisco's Answer To SDN: Open Network Environment

Cisco introduced Open Network Environment, its take on software-defined networking, at Cisco Live. Learn how it's approaching SDN.

4 Essential Books for Network Engineers

Books made from ink and paper still have appeal--and serve a purpose--for network and IT pros. Here are four that no network engineer should be without.

Arista Outpaces Cisco Again with FPGA Switches

Arista's 7124FX switch uniquely puts customer programmable FPGAs at the edge of the network for microsecond application processing.

How To Configure Cisco Nexus 5500 Virtual Port Channel

Cisco Virtual Port Channel (vPC) technology enables multichassis link aggregation (MLAG) in Nexus 5500 data center switches. This article walks through how to create a vPC domain between two Nexus switches, including code examples and configuration tips.

How to Speak Data Center: Power Vs. Energy

IT pros need to learn the proper language to communicate with the data center facilities team. Lesson one: the difference between power and energy.

Wireless

The Downsides of Big Wireless

Wireless networks have changed in a big way in the past 10 years. Take a look at how it used to be, and how Big Wireless has changed wireless networking.

Tablets Cause Wi-Fi Stress: Truth and Fiction

Don't fall for vendor scare tactics about an impending iPad-fueled WLAN-a-geddon.

Reality Check on the 802.11ac Wireless Standard

Vendors are introducing 802.11ac products--are you ready for the wireless standard? Here's what you need to know.

802.11ac: 5 Steps to Prepare for Next-Gen WLANs

The 802.11ac wireless standard will be ratified in 2013, and pre-standard consumer hardware is on the market. Follow these five steps to prepare now for the day when 802.11ac comes knocking.

Storage

Storage Virtualization Options: The Pros and Cons

Network Computing takes a close look at the pros and cons of available storage virtualization options.

Apple's Fusion Drive: An Inside Look

Apple's Fusion Drive, a hybrid of SSD and hard disk, revs up iMac performance while also providing terabytes of capacity. PC makers should pay attention to this powerful combination.

Are SSD-Based Storage Arrays Doomed?

Our blogger examines SSD-based storage arrays: Are latency and cost drawbacks? What about reliability?

Storage QoS: The Next Frontier?

Storage quality of service (QoS) aims to make storage performance more predictable without the need to over-allocate resources. We'll look at the ins and outs of this emerging concept.

Voting Machines Should Be as Secure as Slot Machines

Casino gaming machines undergo independent scrutiny to certify their reliability. Shouldn't voting machines get the same treatment?

Storage Hypervisors Vs. Software Defined Storage

New technologies are emerging to streamline storage environments. Whether you call those technologies storage virtualization, storage hypervisors or software defined storage, IT still has to be persuaded to embrace them.

Cloud and Mobile

Can Android Replace Windows?

Android has given Microsoft the first really credible competitor to a major new version of Windows in more than a decade.

Stack Wars: OpenStack Vs. CloudStack

What are the differences between OpenStack and CloudStack? Here are some things to know.

Cloud Computing Comparison: Infrastructure as a Service

Network Computing provides detailed information on 12 IaaS vendors, from Amazon to Terremark. Readers can download features charts with more than 60 data points and compare details on services, SLAs, pricing and more.

Slideshows

10 Android Apps for IT Admins

IT admins can't clone themselves, but they can get darned close to being two places at once by using mobile tools. The following Android apps, several of which are free, offer handy consoles for network mapping, remote client administration, cloud management, Wi-Fi analysis and more.

9 Data Centers: Unexpected Beauty and Creativity

Most data centers are boring boxes--but not all. Take a look at a data center that houses a supercomputer in a chapel, or an underground data center with James Bond-styling, or a solar-powered data center, and much, much more.

Holiday Gift Guide

It's the time of the season to make a list and check it twice. We've assembled a holiday wish list for work and play, including tools to improve your mobile life, gaming gadgets, and tablet alternatives for those who already have, or don't want, an Apple in their stockings. Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio

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