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SDN Journal: Blog Post

Plexxi Pulse—SDN Goes to College

There is no doubt that software defined networking has the power to improve network performance

There is no doubt that software defined networking has the power to improve network performance on college campuses. University networks demand flexible and reliable solutions and many institutions are turning to SDN to save time, increase efficiency and reduce IT costs. A few of the articles below analyze this very opportunity.

In this week’s PlexxiTube of the week, Dan Bachman answers the commonly asked question: “Is Plexxi’s Big Data fabric for Hadoop only?”

VMware, Cisco Build Rival Data Center Teams

Mitch Wagner wrote a piece on the strategy behind Cisco and VMware’s data center partnerships this week in Light Reading. For the better part of two decades, we have seen the “Best of Breed” era in IT. Solutions have been cobbled together by companies (or integrators) after picking the best of breed solutions for each point component within the broader solution. What VCE and Exadata teach us is that companies will succeed if they handle the integrations for the customer. The first step is to partner, but more consolidation within the in the industry will follow. Over time, we will end up with pre-integrated solutions that are offered by a smaller number of large players. This re-verticalization of IT will fundamentally change how we buy and deploy infrastructure, which will remove some constraints and create additional requirements on the underlying platforms. I don’t think this will play out immediately, but we likely will see a different competitive landscape five years from now after a long period of relative stability.

SDN a Growing Movement on Campus

In a contributed article for EdTech Magazine, Aletha Noonan identified that software defined networking has potential in higher education settings. In my opinion, university environments frequently have a diverse set of traffic types that tend to vary fairly predictably with time of day. During the day, someone in the life sciences department might be doing genome mapping, and then at night all of the students come back to stream content. From a university perspective, not all of this traffic is equal, and an SDN environment allows for dynamic treatment of different types of payloads. Additionally, with fiber connecting buildings, there is a lot of opportunity to do more interesting treatment of traffic between buildings (or in the case of I2, between cooperating campuses). The sweet spot in the .edu space will be how SDN gets married to high-bandwidth transport—together they seem to be a potent combination.

Cisco: Debate Still Raging Over Outlook in Software-Defined Networking

In a post on the Barron’s TechTraderDaily blog, Tiernan Ray covered Cisco’s software defined networking solution. I think that talk like this about SDN, especially as it relates to margins, is a little bit imprecise. Software defined networking is not the reduction of margin because there is functionality in software. The truth is that even the hardware-driven networks that have existed forever get the lion’s share of their functionality via software already. A typical R&D split is on the order of 90-10, with software taking up most of the investment. What we really have is a pricing imbalance. As SDN takes off and hardware becomes less differentiated, we will see a shift in pricing from hardware to software. APIC is notable because it is a software product that gives CSCO another point of monetization. The real threat is not software. What SDN represents is an architectural shift that levels the playing field to some extent. Cisco has built a stronghold with very high barriers to entry because no one can catch up to 30 years of feature development. If there is an architectural reset, competition gets stronger. And competition will drive price down (and likely margin as newer companies could have a lower margin threshold to gain market entry). The question is how will Cisco compete in a more price-sensitive environment? My guess—they squeeze the supply chain first, then go after their resellers. Cisco will pull more of that business in-house, seeing VCE as a successful GTM experiment. When the EMC relationship erodes completely, they replace it with their own business. This leaves partners in a lurch. The biggest resellers will gobble up the smaller resellers at lower margin. Cisco recoups some of that, and they can keep margins buoyed to some extent. There is disruption here. There will be share moves, and the resellers are perhaps in the most vulnerable position.

Cisco Cutting 6,000 Jobs as CEO Forecasts Stagnant Growth

Peter Burrows covered Cisco’s recent earnings report in a piece for Bloomberg this week. This seems to happen every year, and with a company this large, you kind of expect it. It is not uncommon to place bets, see what works, trim, and then double down on the bets that panned out. The comments about margin pressure because of software are probably a bit imprecise. The vast majority of R&D expense is on the software side already—it’s just that the pricing mix favors the hardware. SDN will drive a change in pricing mix. That by itself doesn’t necessarily hurt margins; think of it more as a shell game of where money goes. SDN represents a new way of doing things, which means that Cisco’s strength from 30 years of feature development doesn’t mean as much. It opens the playing field some, and that brings competition. Competition will drive pricing pressure, and with that comes margin pressure. Cisco will combat that by squeezing the supply chain and then gobbling up their resellers’ business. Small and medium-sized resellers will be at risk as Cisco claws some of that business back, using VCE as a blueprint for how to go more direct. Large resellers will consolidate business (at lower margin), and Cisco will mitigate the margin pressure some. The real shift is competition.

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More Stories By Mat Mathews

Visionary solutions are built by visionary leaders. Plexxi co-founder and Vice President of Product Management Mat Mathews has spent 20 years in the networking industry observing, experimenting and ultimately honing his technology vision. The resulting product — a combination of traditional networking, software-defined networking and photonic switching — represents the best of Mat's career experiences. Prior to Plexxi, Mat held VP of Product Management roles at Arbor Networks and Crossbeam Systems. Mat began his career as a software engineer for Wellfleet Communications, building high speed Frame Relay Switches for the carrier market. Mat holds a Bachelors of Science in Computer Systems Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.