Tom Nolle

Author Archives: Tom Nolle

Sparking the next cycle of IT spending

Who, in the entire IT space, wouldn’t like to see an uptick in tech spending?  Enterprises would see new purchases easier to make, vendors would make more money, and technologists in general would have a new sense of excitement and mission.  It seems like we’ve been stuck in a do-more-for-less rut, but the past offers us some evidence of how we could get out of it.If you were to plot of the growth in enterprise IT spending versus GDP growth for the US over the entire life of information technology, you’d see not a hockey stick but a series of peaks and valleys.  You would see that there are three clear periods or cycles where IT spending has significantly outstripped GDP growth, and that we’ve been in a trough ever since the last one ended in about 2000.  We’ve never had two decades pass without another cycle, so what’s wrong?  Answer: Nothing’s driving one now.To read this article in full, please click here

Why the cloud will never eat the data center

Sometimes it’s hard to see gradual changes in technology paradigms because they’re gradual.  Sometimes it helps to play “Just suppose…” and see where it leads. So, just suppose that the cloud did what some radical thinkers say, and “absorbed the network”. That’s sure an exciting tag line, but is this even possible, and how might it come about?Companies are already committed to a virtual form of networking for their WAN services, based on VPNs or SD-WAN, rather than building their own WANs from pipes and routers.  That was a big step, so what could be happening to make WANs even more virtual, to the point where the cloud could subsume them?  It would have to be a data-center change.To read this article in full, please click here

Why the cloud will never eat the data center

Sometimes it’s hard to see gradual changes in technology paradigms because they’re gradual.  Sometimes it helps to play “Just suppose…” and see where it leads. So, just suppose that the cloud did what some radical thinkers say, and “absorbed the network”. That’s sure an exciting tag line, but is this even possible, and how might it come about?Companies are already committed to a virtual form of networking for their WAN services, based on VPNs or SD-WAN, rather than building their own WANs from pipes and routers.  That was a big step, so what could be happening to make WANs even more virtual, to the point where the cloud could subsume them?  It would have to be a data-center change.To read this article in full, please click here

Why the cloud will never eat the data center

Sometimes it’s hard to see gradual changes in technology paradigms because they’re gradual.  Sometimes it helps to play “Just suppose…” and see where it leads. So, just suppose that the cloud did what some radical thinkers say, and “absorbed the network”. That’s sure an exciting tag line, but is this even possible, and how might it come about?Companies are already committed to a virtual form of networking for their WAN services, based on VPNs or SD-WAN, rather than building their own WANs from pipes and routers.  That was a big step, so what could be happening to make WANs even more virtual, to the point where the cloud could subsume them?  It would have to be a data-center change.To read this article in full, please click here

How to avoid the network-as-a-service shell game

I can’t tell you how many times one of my clients or contacts has complained about the difficulties associated with getting network-budget approval. If I’d never met a CFO in person, the description these people gave me would have led me to expect something like a troll or a zombie, bent on eating projects and maybe people, too. Do we wear garlic when we visit the CFO, or maybe do a chant before the meeting, or might there be a more practical approach?CFOs aren’t just trying to mess up a good technology project (at least most of the time), they’re trying to validate two basic financial rules that govern technology procurements.  Rule One is that any project must advance a company’s financial position and not hurt it. That seems logical, but it’s often difficult to assess just what the return on investment (ROI) of any project is.  Rule Two is that you don’t want to buy equipment that you’ll have to replace before it’s been fully depreciated. The useful life of something should be at least as long as the financial life as set by tax laws.To read this article in full, please click here

Microsoft’s Nuance deal might trigger a new IT spending wave

OK, help me understand this. Microsoft just spent almost $20 billion to buy Nuance, the company that supplies the popular Dragon speech-to-text tool. Microsoft already has speech-to-text available in Windows 10 and through Azure, and even a partnership with Nuance. Nuance’s single big jump in stock price in its history coincides with Covid and WFH, which is now (hopefully) passing. Nuance revenue boom? Apparently, ending. The Dragon product? Incremental to Microsoft’s current position. Health care vertical? Interesting, but not a cash cow.To read this article in full, please click here

Will open networking lock you in?

There’s open, then there’s open.  At least that seems to be the case with network technology. Maybe it’s the popularity and impact of open-source software, or maybe it’s just that the word “open” makes you think of being wild, happy, and free—whatever it is, the concept of openness in networking is catching on. Which means, of course, that the definition is getting fuzzier every day.When I talk with enterprises, they seem to think that openness in networking is the opposite of proprietary, which they then define is a technology for which there is a single source. That suggests that open networking is based on technology for which multiple sources exist, but as logical as that sounds, it may not help much.To read this article in full, please click here

5G: Time to get real about what it will be used for

We all know the old saw about pushing a strand of spaghetti uphill, and I’ve got to wonder whether that’s what we’re now doing with 5G.  5G resources What is 5G? Fast wireless technology for enterprises and phones How 5G frequency affects range and speed Private 5G can solve some problems that Wi-Fi can’t Private 5G keeps Whirlpool driverless vehicles rolling 5G can make for cost-effective private backhaul CBRS can bring private 5G to enterprises First, 5G is going to happen because of the orderly process of modernizing wireless networks.  It doesn’t need “justifying”. The problem is that vendors want 5G to be revolutionary and transformational, rather than orderly. Second, that need to seem revolutionary has pushed 5G stories to the boundaries of sensibility.To read this article in full, please click here

SD-WAN may be the key to smart network services

If you stop and think, a lot of our expectations about network services are really about personality—our own.  We’d like our services to work, well, the way we work.  We’d like them to know us, to tune to our needs, right?  Do you think that some giant global interconnect with hundreds of thousands of elements is going to be able to do that?  Nope, which means personalized services will have to come down to the only piece we really own—the lowly network edge.We learned decades ago that you can’t make giant networks user- or service-aware.  Awareness of this sort, which is known as “statefulness” in network-speak, means sticking little pieces of a virtual-you into the network to represent your interests. Maybe these pieces are an entry in a routing table, or maybe they’re a policy stored in some repository and sent to the devices that handle your traffic, but they’re individualized if what they’re doing is to personalize.  That just doesn’t scale.  Not only are there too many little pieces, network traffic could get reconfigured or a device could fail, and all at once your personalizing pieces aren’t even where your traffic Continue reading