Zeus Kerravala

Author Archives: Zeus Kerravala

Mitel’s acquisition of Polycom has game-changing potential in UC market

After months of speculation, Mitel finally pulled the trigger on acquiring Polycom for $1.96 billion.Competing in the unified communications (UC) market means having to butt heads with not just one, but two 800-pound gorillas named Cisco and Microsoft. The combined “MiPolycom” will be a much bigger, stronger, $2.5 billion revenue company—much more capable of competing with the big boys.Mitel’s acquisition of Polycom is a bit of an unusual situation. Polycom is bigger than Mitel in both revenue and market cap, but Mitel was able to secure a $1.05 billion loan from Bank of America and Merrill Lynch to complete the deal. Under the terms of the agreement, Polycom will continue to run as a separate business unit under Mitel and will retain its brand. Rich McBee, Mitel’s CEO, will be the CEO of the combined organization, which will be headquartered in Ottawa, Canada.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Seceon’s analytic approach brings security into the digital era

In the Star Trek episode, The City on The Edge of Forever, Spock found himself in a primitive setting with the task of building a radio to contact the Enterprise.Edith Keeler came in and saw Spock and asked him what he was doing. Spock sarcastically answered, “I am endeavoring, ma’am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins.”The normally emotionless Spock was clearly frustrated with working with tools that weren’t designed to solve the problem he was facing. I’m sure security professionals today face the same level of frustration. It’s been well documented on this site and other publications that we are rushing headlong into the digital business era. However, security professionals are working with tools designed for an era long gone. Traditional security devices do a great job of protecting the perimeter of the business, but they don’t help protect against insider attacks, persistent threats or any of the challenges associated with security a digital organization.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Hyperconverged infrastructure requires policy-based security

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is one of the key building blocks of next-generation data centers. Originally, HCI was deployed primarily by small and medium-sized businesses that wanted a faster, easier way to deploy data center technology such as servers, storage and networks. Over the past few years, HCI adoption has skyrocketed and is now being deployed by large enterprises looking to shift to a software-defined model.Initially, HCI was driven by start-ups, most notably SimpliVity and Nutanix. But recently Cisco, VCE and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have jumped into the market, and Juniper and Lenovo have formed a partnership that will likely lead to a combined HCI solution.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Hyperconverged infrastructure requires policy-based security

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is one of the key building blocks of next-generation data centers. Originally, HCI was deployed primarily by small and medium-sized businesses that wanted a faster, easier way to deploy data center technology such as servers, storage and networks. Over the past few years, HCI adoption has skyrocketed and is now being deployed by large enterprises looking to shift to a software-defined model.Initially, HCI was driven by start-ups, most notably SimpliVity and Nutanix. But recently Cisco, VCE and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have jumped into the market, and Juniper and Lenovo have formed a partnership that will likely lead to a combined HCI solution.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Hyperconverged infrastructure requires policy-based security

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is one of the key building blocks of next-generation data centers. Originally, HCI was deployed primarily by small and medium-sized businesses that wanted a faster, easier way to deploy data center technology such as servers, storage and networks. Over the past few years, HCI adoption has skyrocketed and is now being deployed by large enterprises looking to shift to a software-defined model.Initially, HCI was driven by start-ups, most notably SimpliVity and Nutanix. But recently Cisco, VCE and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have jumped into the market, and Juniper and Lenovo have formed a partnership that will likely lead to a combined HCI solution.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

The Network of 2020, what should CxOs expect?

Being an analyst I’m often asked to look ahead and predict what markets will look like in three to five years. Recently, I’ve been asked that if I were to design a next-generation network, which would be fully operational by 2020, what would it look like? The network industry has gone through more change in the past two years than it had gone through in the previous two decades so a network in 2020 will look significantly different than the networks of today.Predicting the future is obviously challenging but sometimes it’s better to look back to understand what the future will look like. In networking, there are many lessons we can learn from the last 20+ years where networks have evolved to be able to meet ongoing application and business needs. The innovation was obviously necessary but each time something new was bolted on to the network, there was a price to be paid. For example, WiFi being deployed as an overlay means having to manage two separate networks. Below are the top lessons learned from legacy networks over the past two decades.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

The Network of 2020, what should CxOs expect?

Being an analyst I’m often asked to look ahead and predict what markets will look like in three to five years. Recently, I’ve been asked that if I were to design a next-generation network, which would be fully operational by 2020, what would it look like? The network industry has gone through more change in the past two years than it had gone through in the previous two decades so a network in 2020 will look significantly different than the networks of today.Predicting the future is obviously challenging but sometimes it’s better to look back to understand what the future will look like. In networking, there are many lessons we can learn from the last 20+ years where networks have evolved to be able to meet ongoing application and business needs. The innovation was obviously necessary but each time something new was bolted on to the network, there was a price to be paid. For example, WiFi being deployed as an overlay means having to manage two separate networks. Below are the top lessons learned from legacy networks over the past two decades.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Arista takes aim at core router market with Universal Spine

The concept of using switching infrastructure as a replacement for a core router is certainly nothing new. Years ago, vendors like Foundry Networks and Force10 tried to make the case but were unsuccessful in their attempts. Although the switches were beefy and had massive port density they were missing some key features such as MPLS support, the ability to support a full Internet routing table and carrier class resiliency. From an economic perspective, the cost per port on a switch is about one-tenth what it is on a router, so there is a financial argument to be made but the products just didn’t have the technical chops to hang with big routers.Arista Networks is now taking a shot at this market again but is taking a significantly different approach to the market. Arista is attempting to disrupt the core router market by replacing the big boxes with a distributed spine, similar to the way the company disrupted the legacy data center switching market. Spine-Leaf configurations are well accepted today in big data centers and cloud providers but this wasn’t the case just a few years ago as there was a certain religion around big chassis deployed in multiple tiers. Continue reading

Chuck Robbins rewires Cisco

When Chuck Robbins took over the CEO position at Cisco from the popular and iconic John Chambers there was a tremendous amount of speculation as to whether Robbins would just continue the path that Chambers was going or would he run Cisco his way. After less than a year, Robbins is coming out of Chambers shadow much the same way Steve Young did when he took over the QB position in the post Joe Montana era. This week Robbins restructured Cisco’s enormous engineering unit to better align with market trends. In an email to the company Robbins outlined his plan to create four engineering groups. Bob Brown covered the basic structure of the reorganization in this post, but I’ll go into a bit more detail.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Cisco’s acquisition of Synata brings search to Spark

Last week the Enterprise Connect trade show was held in Orlando, Florida. The show is the collaboration industry’s largest event and because of that, there were dozens of vendors that issued press releases touting the latest and greatest innovations in the market.One announcement that I thought flew under the radar was Cisco’s intent to acquire privately held Synata. Jim Duffy wrote a short article covering the news but the importance of this acquisition hasn’t been discussed.Explaining what Syanta does is fairly simple. It lets user search encrypted files and messages, even if they’re stored in cloud storage drives. Cisco will use this technology to enhance its team-messaging product, Cisco Spark.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Alcatel Lucent Enterprise brings pay per use to the network

It seems like we can buy almost anything as a service today. Servers, storage, applications and collaboration can all be purchased using an “as a service” model. Recently Sprint introduced both Workplace and Mobility as a service to add to the growing portfolio of consumption-based products. In our consumer lives the Amazon button turns consumer goods into a service. The one piece of technology that’s still difficult to buy as a service is the network.Earlier this month, I authored this post discussing how the network needs to evolve into this kind of model.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Pica8 overcomes white box obstacles

The evolution to software defined networking (SDN) is well underway. ZK Research (I am an employee of ZK Research) shows that almost 80% of organizations are interested in the topic, although fewer than 10% have actually deployed the technology. This means there are a huge number of organizations trying to understand the best way to deploy SDN. One such way is to leverage the cost benefits of a white box switch with some sort of standards-based technology such as OpenFlow. Low cost hardware, industry standards and a few best practices should make for a relatively straightforward deployment. Not so fast. Not all white boxes are created equal. While all white box switches do offer compelling economics, they are known to have some performance issues. White box switches deployed as a top of rack (ToR) need handle tens of thousands of flows.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

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