Zeus Kerravala

Author Archives: Zeus Kerravala

Digital businesses need a smarter network edge

As the world has become more cloud- and IoT-centric, the network has increased in value. That is why there has been so much focus on network evolution, particularly in the data center and the wide area network.One part of the network that has lagged in innovation, however, is the network edge. Over the years, the edge of the network has been considered by many to be a commodity. And for many businesses, it is in dire need of a refresh. I’ve talked to some organizations that are running network edge infrastructure that’s approaching 10 years old and haven’t even had a software upgrade in years.[ Related: Getting grounded in intent-based networking ] The network edge needs to evolve However, in the words of the esteemed song writer Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a changing” — and so is the role of the network edge.To read this article in full, please click here

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins: Get ready for the network’s next act

Cisco’s annual user event, Cisco Live, is being held in Orlando, Florida, this week. While Orlando is home to DisneyWorld, Universal Studios and other places where fantasies come true, the one thing that isn’t make-believe is the turnaround of Cisco since Chuck Robbins took over as CEO. When the baton was passed to Robbins in August of 2015, Cisco’s stock was trading at about $25/share and had been moving sideways for years. Today, it’s trading at about $45/share and at a 17-year high, and the turnaround is well underway.Cisco goes back to the network How did Robbins get Cisco’s mojo’s back in such a short period of time? The answer lies in its roots and a refocus on the network. In fact, when Robbins took over as CEO, I wrote a post outlining some priorities for him as he stepped into the role. My first point was to approach IT through the lens of the network. In the years leading up to the transition to Robbins, I felt Cisco had tried too hard to prove itself as a server and traditional IT vendor instead of staying true to networking.To read this article in full, please click here

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins: Get ready for the network’s next act

Cisco’s annual user event, Cisco Live, is being held in Orlando, Florida, this week. While Orlando is home to DisneyWorld, Universal Studios and other places where fantasies come true, the one thing that isn’t make-believe is the turnaround of Cisco since Chuck Robbins took over as CEO. When the baton was passed to Robbins in August of 2015, Cisco’s stock was trading at about $25/share and had been moving sideways for years. Today, it’s trading at about $45/share and at a 17-year high, and the turnaround is well underway.Cisco goes back to the network How did Robbins get Cisco’s mojo’s back in such a short period of time? The answer lies in its roots and a refocus on the network. In fact, when Robbins took over as CEO, I wrote a post outlining some priorities for him as he stepped into the role. My first point was to approach IT through the lens of the network. In the years leading up to the transition to Robbins, I felt Cisco had tried too hard to prove itself as a server and traditional IT vendor instead of staying true to networking.To read this article in full, please click here

Automation critical to scalable network security

Securing the business network has been and continues to be one of the top initiatives for engineers. Suffering a breach can have catastrophic consequences to a business, including lawsuits, fines, and brand damage from which some companies never recover.To combat this, security professionals have deployed a number of security tools, including next-generation firewalls (NGFW) such as Cisco’s Firepower, which is one of the most widely deployed in the industry. Managing firewalls becomes increasingly difficult Managing a product like Firepower has become increasingly difficult, though, because the speed at which changes need to be made has increased. Digital businesses operate at a pace never seen before in the business world, and the infrastructure teams need to keep up. If they can’t operate at this accelerated pace, the business will suffer. And firewall rules continue to grow in number and complexity, making it nearly impossible to update them manually.To read this article in full, please click here

Automation critical to scalable network security

Securing the business network has been and continues to be one of the top initiatives for engineers. Suffering a breach can have catastrophic consequences to a business, including lawsuits, fines, and brand damage from which some companies never recover.To combat this, security professionals have deployed a number of security tools, including next-generation firewalls (NGFW) such as Cisco’s Firepower, which is one of the most widely deployed in the industry. Managing firewalls becomes increasingly difficult Managing a product like Firepower has become increasingly difficult, though, because the speed at which changes need to be made has increased. Digital businesses operate at a pace never seen before in the business world, and the infrastructure teams need to keep up. If they can’t operate at this accelerated pace, the business will suffer. And firewall rules continue to grow in number and complexity, making it nearly impossible to update them manually.To read this article in full, please click here

End-to-end data, analytics key to solving application performance problems

As someone who used to work in corporate IT, I can attest to the fact that in general, workers and IT are at odds most of the time. Part of the problem is the tools that IT uses has never provided the right information to help the technical people understand what the user is experiencing.That is why help desks are often referred to as “the no help desk” or “helpless desk” by the internal employees. Users call the help desk when an application isn’t performing the way it should, and IT is looking at a dashboard where everything is green and indicates things should be working.Traditional network management tools don’t provide the right information The main reason for this mismatch is that traditional network management tends to look at the IT environment through the lens of infrastructure instead of what the user experiences. Looking at specific infrastructure components doesn’t provide any view of the end-to-end environment, leading to a false sense of how things are running.To read this article in full, please click here

Increased programmability brings more options to networks

Options. Everyone needs options. Whenever I travel somewhere with my wife, Christine, even if it’s for a weekend, she needs to check a bag. When I ask her why, she says, “A girl needs options,” hence the oversize luggage.While it’s been easy for someone like my wife to have options, network engineers have never really had the same luxury. Network switches were typically built with fixed functionality, so an organization would need to purchase a wide range of equipment to meet all their needs. Network professionals need greater flexibility from the network Recently, the chip manufacturers have been building more programmable, flexible products. One of the examples of this is the Cavium XPliant processor that is the silicon that powers Arista’s 7160 switch. Another example is the Barefoot Networks Tofino processor. In addition to being one of the most scenic places on the planet, Tofino is a powerful system on a chip with a fully programmable parser and pipeline. The chip supports 256x 25 Gig-E Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) at speeds of 1, 10, 25, 40, 50, and 100 Gig-E.To read this article in full, please click here

Increased programmability brings more options to networks

Options. Everyone needs options. Whenever I travel somewhere with my wife, Christine, even if it’s for a weekend, she needs to check a bag. When I ask her why, she says, “A girl needs options,” hence the oversize luggage.While it’s been easy for someone like my wife to have options, network engineers have never really had the same luxury. Network switches were typically built with fixed functionality, so an organization would need to purchase a wide range of equipment to meet all their needs. Network professionals need greater flexibility from the network Recently, the chip manufacturers have been building more programmable, flexible products. One of the examples of this is the Cavium XPliant processor that is the silicon that powers Arista’s 7160 switch. Another example is the Barefoot Networks Tofino processor. In addition to being one of the most scenic places on the planet, Tofino is a powerful system on a chip with a fully programmable parser and pipeline. The chip supports 256x 25 Gig-E Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) at speeds of 1, 10, 25, 40, 50, and 100 Gig-E.To read this article in full, please click here

Increased programmability brings more options to networks

Options. Everyone needs options. Whenever I travel somewhere with my wife, Christine, even if it’s for a weekend, she needs to check a bag. When I ask her why, she says, “A girl needs options,” hence the oversize luggage.While it’s been easy for someone like my wife to have options, network engineers have never really had the same luxury. Network switches were typically built with fixed functionality, so an organization would need to purchase a wide range of equipment to meet all their needs. Network professionals need greater flexibility from the network Recently, the chip manufacturers have been building more programmable, flexible products. One of the examples of this is the Cavium XPliant processor that is the silicon that powers Arista’s 7160 switch. Another example is the Barefoot Networks Tofino processor. In addition to being one of the most scenic places on the planet, Tofino is a powerful system on a chip with a fully programmable parser and pipeline. The chip supports 256x 25 Gig-E Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) at speeds of 1, 10, 25, 40, 50, and 100 Gig-E.To read this article in full, please click here

SDNs and NFV are complementary and core components of modernized networks

The terms software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are often used interchangeably, which is incorrect.  In a sense, the two are tied together as companies start using NFV as part of their SDN plans but that doesn’t have to be the case.Enterprises could maintain their current network architecture and shift to NFV or they could roll out an SDN and never leverage the benefits of NFV, so it’s important to understand what each is and the benefits of both.[ For more on SDN see where SDN is going and learn the difference between SDN and NFV. | Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters. ] What is software-defined Networking SDNs are a fundamentally different way to think about networks.  Technically, SDNs can be defined as the separation of the management, control and data-forwarding planes of networks.  Many people, including technical individuals read that definition and say, “So what?”, but the separation of these planes has a profound impact on networks and enables things that have never been done before.To read this article in full, please click here

SDNs and NFV are complementary and core components of modernized networks

The terms software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are often used interchangeably, which is incorrect.  In a sense, the two are tied together as companies start using NFV as part of their SDN plans but that doesn’t have to be the case.Enterprises could maintain their current network architecture and shift to NFV or they could roll out an SDN and never leverage the benefits of NFV, so it’s important to understand what each is and the benefits of both.[ For more on SDN see where SDN is going and learn the difference between SDN and NFV. | Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters. ] What is software-defined Networking SDNs are a fundamentally different way to think about networks.  Technically, SDNs can be defined as the separation of the management, control and data-forwarding planes of networks.  Many people, including technical individuals read that definition and say, “So what?”, but the separation of these planes has a profound impact on networks and enables things that have never been done before.To read this article in full, please click here

SDNs and NFV are complementary and core components of modernized networks

The terms software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are often used interchangeably, which is incorrect.  In a sense, the two are tied together as companies start using NFV as part of their SDN plans but that doesn’t have to be the case.Enterprises could maintain their current network architecture and shift to NFV or they could roll out an SDN and never leverage the benefits of NFV, so it’s important to understand what each is and the benefits of both.[ For more on SDN see where SDN is going and learn the difference between SDN and NFV. | Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters. ] What is software-defined Networking SDNs are a fundamentally different way to think about networks.  Technically, SDNs can be defined as the separation of the management, control and data-forwarding planes of networks.  Many people, including technical individuals read that definition and say, “So what?”, but the separation of these planes has a profound impact on networks and enables things that have never been done before.To read this article in full, please click here

Nvidia’s HGX-2 brings flexibility to GPU computing

GPU market leader Nvidia holds several GPU Technology Conferences (GTC) annually around the globe. It seems every show has some sort of major announcement where the company is pushing the limits of GPU computing and creating more options for customers. For example, at GTC San Jose, the company announced its NVSwitch architecture, which connects up to 16 GPUs over a single fabric, creating one massive, virtual GPU. This week at GTC Taiwan, it announced its HGX-2 server platform, which is a reference architecture enabling other server manufacturers to build their own systems. The DGX-2 server announced at GTC San Jose is built on the HGX-2 architecture.To read this article in full, please click here

Nvidia’s HGX-2 brings flexibility to GPU computing

GPU market leader Nvidia holds several GPU Technology Conferences (GTC) annually around the globe. It seems every show has some sort of major announcement where the company is pushing the limits of GPU computing and creating more options for customers. For example, at GTC San Jose, the company announced its NVSwitch architecture, which connects up to 16 GPUs over a single fabric, creating one massive, virtual GPU. This week at GTC Taiwan, it announced its HGX-2 server platform, which is a reference architecture enabling other server manufacturers to build their own systems. The DGX-2 server announced at GTC San Jose is built on the HGX-2 architecture.To read this article in full, please click here

Building IoT-ready networks must become a priority

The Internet of Things (IoT) era has arrived, and over the next few years, billions of devices will be connected to company networks. How many? ZK Research has forecast that by 2022, there will be 80 billion connected devices. (Note: I am an employee of ZK Research.) ZK Research Given many network managers struggle running today's networks, adding orders of magnitude more devices certainly won’t make life better. Even if it seems IoT may be a few years off, it’s critical that network professionals start prepping their network now.To read this article in full, please click here

Building IoT-ready networks must become a priority

The Internet of Things (IoT) era has arrived, and over the next few years, billions of devices will be connected to company networks. How many? ZK Research has forecast that by 2022, there will be 80 billion connected devices. (Note: I am an employee of ZK Research.) ZK Research Given many network managers struggle running today's networks, adding orders of magnitude more devices certainly won’t make life better. Even if it seems IoT may be a few years off, it’s critical that network professionals start prepping their network now.To read this article in full, please click here

The future of storage is here

Sometime in the past couple of years, Gartner introduced a term called “Shared Accelerated Storage” (SAS) to describe what’s next for the industry after all-flash arrays. I’m not sure when they first used the term, but it was the very first bullet in its 2017 Storage Hype Cycle, indicating its relative newness as a market category.In its Hype Cycle, Gartner has a rather long and complicated definition of what SAS is. The easy way to think about it is that it brings the benefits of network-based systems and direct-attached systems together by leveraging a number of new technologies, most notably Nonvolatile Memory Express— or NVMe, as its more commonly known.  To read this article in full, please click here

Access management is critical to IoT success

Onboarding devices has always been kind of a pain, but IT has managed to muddle its way through the process.The bring your own device (BYOD) wave hit created some problems. Still, many organizations allowed employees to bring those devices onto the network by shifting the responsibility to the end user. What happens, though, when there are so many new devices that IT can’t keep up? Or when devices are brought in without IT’s knowledge? That’s the trend businesses are about to face as the Internet of Things (IoT) goes mainstream.[ Read also: Network World's Corporate Guide to Addressing IoT Security. ] The IoT era is here, and it’s about to make IT’s life a lot more difficult The IoT era has arrived, and I say this because more and more companies I talk to are connecting non-traditional IT devices, such as lighting systems and point-of-sale devices, to the internet without uttering the phrase “IoT.” It’s no longer this futuristic thing that we ponder and pontificate over.To read this article in full, please click here

Access management is critical to IoT success

Onboarding devices has always been kind of a pain, but IT has managed to muddle its way through the process.The bring your own device (BYOD) wave hit created some problems. Still, many organizations allowed employees to bring those devices onto the network by shifting the responsibility to the end user. What happens, though, when there are so many new devices that IT can’t keep up? Or when devices are brought in without IT’s knowledge? That’s the trend businesses are about to face as the Internet of Things (IoT) goes mainstream.[ Read also: Network World's Corporate Guide to Addressing IoT Security. ] The IoT era is here, and it’s about to make IT’s life a lot more difficult The IoT era has arrived, and I say this because more and more companies I talk to are connecting non-traditional IT devices, such as lighting systems and point-of-sale devices, to the internet without uttering the phrase “IoT.” It’s no longer this futuristic thing that we ponder and pontificate over.To read this article in full, please click here

When it comes to hyperconverged infrastructure, the hardware matters

At Nutanix's .NEXT user conference last week, the company certainly flexed its software muscles with a cornucopia of new products and a roadmap to becoming the next big enterprise platform vendor. To achieve this status, Nutanix has shifted to selling software and letting its customers run its stack on their preferred hardware platform.There is currently a wide range of hardware partners supporting Nutanix, including Lenovo, IBM, and HPE. However, the vendor that has done perhaps the best job at providing the widest range of options for Nutanix customers is Dell EMC.To read this article in full, please click here