Zeus Kerravala

Author Archives: Zeus Kerravala

Riverbed delivers the hyper-converged edge

Hyper-converged infrastructure in the data center has been all the rage over the past few years. In the data center, hyper-convergence is a system with tightly integrated compute, storage, network and virtualization technology. Its main value proposition is to simplify the architecture of the data center and enables it to be controlled through software. Despite the strong value proposition of hyper-convergence, the technology has remained focused on the data center with little applicability to the branch. The irony of this is that branch offices are often the lifeblood of organizations and is where the majority of work is done. Despite the criticality of the branch, the technology deployed in these locations is often old, inefficient and performs poorly and can often put businesses at risk. WAN outages cause application outages, which directly costs the organization money.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Riverbed delivers the hyper-converged edge

Hyper-converged infrastructure in the data center has been all the rage over the past few years. In the data center, hyper-convergence is a system with tightly integrated compute, storage, network and virtualization technology. Its main value proposition is to simplify the architecture of the data center and enables it to be controlled through software. Despite the strong value proposition of hyper-convergence, the technology has remained focused on the data center with little applicability to the branch. The irony of this is that branch offices are often the lifeblood of organizations and is where the majority of work is done. Despite the criticality of the branch, the technology deployed in these locations is often old, inefficient and performs poorly and can often put businesses at risk. WAN outages cause application outages, which directly costs the organization money.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Cisco flexes some data center muscle at Partner Summit 2016

Cisco’s reseller event, Partner Summit, kicked off this week in San Diego. The event is normally a big one for Cisco as thousands of its resellers gather to be updated on the latest, greatest plans for Cisco. All eyes are on Chuck Robbins as this is the first Partner Summit held under his watch as the company’s CEO. The event kicks off today and has already seen Cisco make a couple of significant announcements in the data center.This morning Cisco announced its intention to acquired Silicon Valley based, CliQr Technologies for $260 million. The 105-person company provides application centric cloud orchestration that enables customers to model, deploy and manage across bare metal, virtual and container environments regardless of whether the infrastructure is on premise or in a private or public cloud. The technology will be used to help Cisco customers move to a seamless hybrid cloud model where the information can be moved between clouds, and resources can be provisioned across clouds. CliQr’s technology is already tightly integrated into a number of Cisco data center products including ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) and Unified Computing System (UCS).  To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please Continue reading

Cisco flexes some data center muscle at Partner Summit 2016

Cisco’s reseller event, Partner Summit, kicked off this week in San Diego. The event is normally a big one for Cisco as thousands of its resellers gather to be updated on the latest, greatest plans for Cisco. All eyes are on Chuck Robbins as this is the first Partner Summit held under his watch as the company’s CEO. The event kicks off today and has already seen Cisco make a couple of significant announcements in the data center.This morning Cisco announced its intention to acquired Silicon Valley based, CliQr Technologies for $260 million. The 105-person company provides application centric cloud orchestration that enables customers to model, deploy and manage across bare metal, virtual and container environments regardless of whether the infrastructure is on premise or in a private or public cloud. The technology will be used to help Cisco customers move to a seamless hybrid cloud model where the information can be moved between clouds, and resources can be provisioned across clouds. CliQr’s technology is already tightly integrated into a number of Cisco data center products including ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) and Unified Computing System (UCS).  To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please Continue reading

Fibre Channel is still alive and kicking

In 1897 the great American author, Mark Twain was rumored to have stated, “the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”. In the tech industry, Fibre Channel could make the same statement. It seems that for years, the death of Fibre Channel has been speculated, as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) or even IP networks would be the death knell for the more traditional storage protocol.However, Fibre Channel is still alive and kicking. It’s certainly not the high growth market it once was but the market has maintained about a $2 billion run rate over the past few years. The big driver for the continued investment has been the rise of flash-based storage. The value proposition of flash is speed so it makes sense to deploy a storage network that is as fast as possible.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Security product solves the network Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

If you’re a physics fan like me, you’ll know the famous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle that states you cannot know a particle's exact location and velocity at the same time. If you shine a light on the particle to see where it is, you change the speed or direction causing a big problem for particle physicists.  Network security has a similar conundrum. Every organization wants the best possible security but often any kind of increase in network visibility to improve security requires a reduction in performance because of the overhead associated with that task. A ZK Research (I am an employee of ZK Research) study last year revealed a couple of interesting but not surprising facts. The first is that almost half the respondents claim they must continually make trade offs between network performance and security. The second one is that a little over a third of the respondents actually turn security features off, that is make the environment less secure, in order to maintain performance. So security professionals are always in a state of juggling performance and security.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Gigamon brings big data analytics to security

The IT security environment has changed significantly over the past decade. Ten years ago, network security was certainly challenging but straightforward. Most organizations had a single network ingress/egress entry point and protected it with a high performance firewall. Today, the environment is completely different. Technologies like Internet of Things, cloud computing, software defined networking, BYOD and mobility have made IT much more complicated than ever before. The increase in IT complexity means more attack surfaces and more entry points that need to be protected. IT is now facing an asymmetric challenge where the security team must protect dozens or even hundreds of entry points where hackers merely have to find one way in. Putting a firewall at every possible entry point, which includes branch offices, wireless access points, consumer devices and IoT endpoints would be prohibitively expensive and complicated to manage.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Why VCE customers should embrace, not fear, Dell’s merger with EMC

2015 was filled with many big technology acquisitions, the most notable of which was Dell dropping a whopping $67 billon for EMC. One of the most interesting questions that has been raised regarding the acquisition is what happens to the EMC Federation companies, most notably, VCE (disclosure: VMware is a client of ZK Research).VCE was founded as a joint venture between three market-leading vendors – VMware, Cisco, and EMC – to deliver a converged solution comprised of products from the three companies. In October of 2014, VCE announced it was acquiring controlling interest in the JV from Cisco (VMware was a minority shareholder).To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Riverbed acquires Ocedo, accelerates its SD-WAN timeline

Riverbed has been the market leader and de facto standard in WAN optimization for well over a decade. When Riverbed first launched its flagship product, Steelhead, the company took off like a rocket, proving to be a panacea to almost all private WAN woes. In fact, one network manager once described Riverbed to me as “network crack,” meaning once you get a taste of it, you need to continually get more.However, times have changed and more and more organizations are evolving to SD-WANs. This doesn’t obviate the need for WAN optimization, but it certainly shifts the emphasis to other technologies. The SD-WAN space has been filled with startups because the traditional vendors, like Riverbed, were slow to come to market with solutions.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Cisco launches tool to uncover shadow IT in the enterprise

"You can't manage what you can't see" is a popular saying in the network industry. Historically, it's been used for traditional network management, with the thought being that one can't fix a problem on the network without having visibility into the applications, traffic flows, and infrastructure. Recently, though, the meaning of that phrase has changed as "shadow IT" has become increasingly popular. Shadow IT is when lines of business or individual users purchase their own cloud services without any involvement in IT. The problem today is very real. An interesting data point to support this comes from a ZK Research report that showed that 96% of organizations claim to be running cloud applications that are not sanctioned by IT (disclosure: I am an employee of ZK Research).To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

How network segmentation provides a path to IoT security

Earlier this month I attended Cisco’s Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai (disclosure: Cisco is a client of ZK Research). One of the things I liked about the event is that it showcased a wide variety of uses cases across a number of different vertical industries. Some were in the ideation phase, some were early stage, and some fully deployed. While many of the use cases were quite different, there was one point of commonality, and that’s the need for security.The Internet of things (IoT) poses quite a different challenge for security and IT professionals. Traditional cybersecurity is becoming increasingly difficult even though most IT devices being connected have some basic security capabilities. Now consider the operational technology (OT) being connected to our company networks to enable IoT. These are devices like medical equipment, factory floor machines, drills, shipping containers, and other things that have no inherent security capabilities and the most basic network functions.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

10 most important networking acquisitions of 2015

Big money2015 was a big year for mergers and acquisitions in the networking industry. Here are the ones that are most likely to have the biggest long-term impact on the industry.Check Point Software acquires Hyperwise and LacoonAlthough these were small acquisitions (both in the $80 million range), they were notable as Check Point rarely makes acquisitions. Check Point has been one of the leaders in combatting threats that go through a firewall, but more hackers are now finding ways to get around perimeter security. These acquisitions help Check Point’s customers fight the security fight on other fronts.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Arista steps outside the data center with Cloud Connect solution

The rise of virtualization has had a profound impact on the technology industry. In the networking industry, perhaps no vendor has ridden the wave of cloud more than Arista Networks. The company was founded a little over a decade ago, and today it is a publicly traded company with a market capitalization of over $4.6 billion. However, almost all of Arista's revenues today come from selling products inside the data center. The company was one of the most aggressive vendors in pushing the concept of a spine/leaf architecture as a replacement for a traditional multi-tier network. This week, Arista announced its first solution that is outside the data center. The Arista Cloud Connect solution connects public and private cloud data centers. Moving into the data center interconnect market is a logical extension for Arista and highlights just how far merchant silicon has come over the past decade.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Juniper steps up its data center game

This week, Juniper is holding its "NXTWORK 2015" customer summit in Silicon Valley. At the event, Juniper made a number of data center announcements. These announcements come about a month after Juniper rolled out its "Unite" architecture aimed at the enterprise campus (disclosure: Juniper Networks is a client of ZK Research). While the two announcements are aimed at different parts of the network, there is a common focal point, and that's helping businesses build networks that are cloud-ready. The Unite architecture was focused on simplification, whereas Juniper's play in the data center is more about customer choice and automation.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Cisco’s Lancope acquisition aims to improve network security from the inside out

Enterprise IT has gone through many major shifts over the past several decades. The industry currently sits in the midst of another major transformation as more and more businesses are striving to become digital organizations. The building blocks of the digital era are technologies like cloud computing, mobility, virtualization, and software defined networking, which are significantly different than legacy technologies.But what about security? In addition to new IT tools and processes, businesses need to think about how to secure the digital enterprise. While the technologies listed above allow us to work and serve customers in ways we never could before, they also create new security vulnerabilities.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Arista launches new security feature to cover growing East-to-West data center traffic

Five years ago, almost all of the traffic in a data center moved in a North-South direction. Traffic moved from one server through the different tiers of a network, passed through the core, and then up to another server. Enabling security and application optimization services with this model was fairly simple. Put a big, honking firewall or ADC in the core of the network and all traffic would pass through these devices.However, the past few years have seen an explosion in East-West traffic, primarily driven by servers and virtual machines (VMs) talking to each other and to database systems, storage systems, and other applications in the data center. Typically, East-West traffic never passes through the core of the network, where it can have the benefit of security inspection. Also, the volume of East-West traffic is rapidly becoming a much higher percentage relative to North-South. This makes it easier for a piece of malware that may have breached an unpatched server to spread laterally. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Verisign introduces free, privacy-focused public DNS

When it comes to domain name systems (DNS), there are a lot of choices available. Yesterday, Verisign introduced a free, public Domain Name System (DNS) service that respects users' privacy.I think we're all aware now that much of the information we put into websites is often sold and used for good and bad purposes. We search for certain restaurants and all of sudden we're being pushed coupons for it. We update our LinkedIn profile and now we're being approached about jobs at competing companies. When we purchase an item online with a credit card, the number may be stolen. Even though there are risks, we still do those activities because they make our lives more convenient, and for that we're willing to deal with the consequences.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Arista expands its portfolio with 25, 50, and 100-Gig data center switches

It seems 10 Gig Ethernet (Gig-E) technology has been the de facto standard in data centers for the better part of a decade now. Frankly, 10 Gig-E is still a lot of bandwidth and is fine for most businesses. However, it cannot cost-effectively meet the bandwidth requirements of next-generation cloud and web-scale environments. Sure, there's 40 Gig-E, but that's actually four 10 Gig-E "lanes" bonded together, so the cloud provider would likely have to install at least twice as many switches, along with all the cabling, space, power, and cooling required to meet the needs of today and the near future.This is the primary driver behind the development of the 25 Gig-E standard. Compared to 10 Gig-E, 25 Gig-E provides 2.5-times the performance, making it much more cost-effective. Since the 25 Gigabits of bandwidth is provided in single lane, it provides much greater density and scale than 10 Gig-E. Also, deploying 25 Gig-E provides an easy upgrade path to 50 Gig-E (2 lanes) or even 100 Gig-E (4 lanes).To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Mobile devices pose biggest cybersecurity threat to the enterprise, report says

Earlier this month, Check Point Software released its 2015 security report which found that mobile devices have become the biggest threat for today's enterprises. I like the fact that more vendors are doing their own studies and sharing the findings. Cybersecurity has so many facets that it's very challenging for IT departments to understand where to focus their energy, so surveys like this help.The survey revealed something that I think many businesses have turned a bit of a blind eye to, and that's the impact of mobile devices, primarily due to the wide acceptance of BYOD. The last Network Purchase Intention Study by ZK Research (disclosure: I'm an employee of ZK Research) showed that 82% of businesses now have some kind of BYOD plan in place. Even heavily regulated industries like healthcare and financial services are putting BYOD programs in place because of pressure from the lines of business. Years ago, CEOs and managers didn't want consumer devices in the workplace as they were considered a distraction. Today, businesses that do not allow workers to use mobile devices are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here