At Cisco Live Europe last week, we finally saw some of the results of the partnership between Cisco and Apple. It was stressed that this wasn’t the end-result of the collaboration, simply the first deliverable result. It’s interesting enough on its own to make we wonder what else is on the roadmap.
Tech Field Day Events
When first learning about Platform9, it was easy to overlook what they are offering. They’re essentially offering OpenStack via a SaaS platform. It’s easy to overlook the implications of that.
At Tech Field Day, we heard from three different components of Dell EMC’s not inconsiderable family. The first was an update on VxRail, their hyperconverged infrastructure offering. I knew this was going to be a different type of presentation, because in the overview, they were upfront that they’d be going over what’s been working for the merged division, and where they were falling short. Most companies will be honest when asked about their shortcomings, but not every one will put it directly into their slide deck. It’s a frankness that I found refreshing.
Riverbed is working in the growing field of SD-WAN. The SD-WAN space seems like it’s ready to explode in 2017. I’m on record as predicting we’ll see the space’s first big IPO this year. Riverbed is growing within the space, having acquired another SD-WAN company, Ocedo, a little over a year ago. The company now has over 300 customers and is currently providing about 1,600 free trials of their software. They’ve been around in the WAN optimization market for a while, and are now starting to combine the two solutions in unified devices.
At Networking Field Day, Juniper Networks gave details and a technical deep dive into their Junos operating system for their routers. They specifically went into great detail about some of the automation now available. It’s genuinely impressive. But I really enjoyed how the presentation started.
Kentik takes an interesting approach to monitoring. They know a lot of people aren’t thrilled with tools taking in NetFlow data, as it doesn’t really work great with the rest of the networking toolset. The company didn’t want to throw NetFlow out with the bathwater. Instead, they try to throw a broad a net as possible to gather as many metrics on network performance as possible.
The big problem with a DDoS, especially one like Mirai, is how to discern real users in all that volume. If you simply “cut the hardline” and shut the network off, the DDoS was effectively successful, bringing you offline and disrupting business. Mirai made this particularly difficult, with it’s glut of IoT devices directed at the target. An effective solution needs to be able to keep your network running, and identify legitimate traffic from the noise. Enter Big Switch Networks’ BigSecure Architecture.
I saw Barefoot Networks at Networking Field Day last week. And the primary takeaway I got was how hard it is to design a standard network switch, and ASICs in general. What I never realized was the latency involved in this process, which is kind of funny for networking equipment. They laid out the problem as enterprise customers go to the network equipment companies and ask for a feature. If it’s a big customer or enough people ask for it, the equipment folks need to go to their software team to see how they are going to implement this, then go to their ASIC team to have this designed into their hardware. After all this time (often several years), the equipment maker then produces the switch. This equipment is now many years delayed from when that feature was needed, which is now locked into the hardware, and enters a completely different networking landscape. Barefoot Networks totally rethinks this idea.
Comparison can also be a powerful tool. When framed against your peers, it can show you how something is relatively performing. In enterprise IT, it’s easy to get caught up in absolute metrics. We all have targets of how many IOPS we need, or how much latency is too much. But comparative metrics are also important. It would be nice to know if with an identical network setup, someone is getting substantially better performance overall. If nothing else, this give you an idea of where to start looks when problems come up. Most network monitoring and analytics focus on raw numbers without a comparison context. Nyansa’s Voyance solution puts it front and center.
Abstraction as a tool is nothing new. But a new trend I’m seeing from recent events is combining it with intentionality. This moves the abstraction from a tool to overview complexity, and into the ability to manage and direct it. At Networking Field Day this week, I saw such an implementation from Anuta Networks and their NCX network orchestration solution