This week there were a number of interesting developments in cloud infrastructure circles, including a cloud deal or two and Hewlett-Packard's new strategy to "vaporize" data centers.

First of, EMC announced on Monday that it is acquiring "cloud computing" firm Cloudscaling, which specializes in building cloud management implementations based on OpenStack open source technology. It's not a big deal -- less than $50 million, according to sources at Bloomberg. Cloudscaling, founded in 2006 and based in San Francisco, raised more than $10 million from investors including Trinity Ventures and Juniper Networks Inc.

In another announcement, HP said it has joined VMware's super futuristic EVO:RAIL iniatiative. And, at the same time, it also announced that it's in the business of vaporizing silos.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 14:34 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Investing.
Keywords: HP, EMC, Virtualization, VMware, EVO:RAIL, SDN

The Software Defined Networking (SDN) movement has a few core leaders that have been around since it sprouted from the grass-roots academic environments of Stanford University and Berkeley, where we imagine networking geeks called for revolution in nearby coffee houses. Dan Pitt, Executive Director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), is one of those people.

Though not exactly a pure revolution -- after all, SDN and open networking have already created billion-dollar startups such as Nicira -- there is still a core charged with defending its openness from the assault of darker, propietary forces. That's where Pitt and the ONF come in, guiding standards development and integration.

Pitt spent twenty years developing networking architecture, technology, standards, and products at IBM Networking Systems in North Carolina, IBM Research Zurich in Switzerland, Hewlett-Packard Labs in Palo Alto, Calif;  and Bay Networks in Santa Clara, Calif., where he was vice president of the Bay Architecture Lab. Pitt became vice president of Nortel's Enterprise Solutions Technology Center, spanning nine cities on four continents. 

From 2002–2007 Pitt served as dean of the school of engineering at Santa Clara University and holder of the Sobrato Chair in Engineering. Dan received a B.S. in mathematics (magna cum laude) from Duke University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois. He has fifty publications and one patent to his credit.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 10, 2014 at 02:37 am and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Interviews.
Keywords: SDN, ONF, Dann Pitt, Cisco, OpenFlow

In a move to extend the reach and penetration of its Blue Planet management platform, optical networking vendor Cyan Inc. (CYNI) has added support for Cisco and Juniper routers.

By adding new "element adapters," Cyan's Blue Planet will be able to automate, provision, manage, and monitor Ethernet services across Cisco ASR 901, ASR 903, ASR 9000, and ME 3600 platforms as well as Juniper MX960, MX480, and MX2010 platforms. By using open standards, this beefs up Blue Planet's status as a Software Defined Networking (SDN) product by extending its functions to a huge swath of the IP routing market, which is controlled by Cisco and Juniper.

Now Cyan's optical switch customers can see the switches and routers together from within Blue Planet. Previously, Cisco and Juniper hardware required separate proprietary interfaces for configuration.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2014 at 16:23 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Applications.
Keywords: SDN, Blue Planet, Cisco, Juniper, Cyan, Optical

Software Defined Networking startup Pica8, which was named as one of the leaders in our SDN Revolution Report, has been busy lately. Last week, the company announced $12.5M in new financing. Today, it announced that it is offering a free trial version of its network operating system (OS).

With the SDN land grab on, Pica8 is stealing a strategy from Web 2.0. The strategy takes a page from the "Freemium" model of many Web applications, whereby a stripped-down free version of software is available to gain more exposure. It's a good marketing strategy to enable more people to try out SDN tools and start experimenting with their hardware from a roster of suppliers, which are listed here.  

The company's PicOS, a networking OS based on Linux, can be plugged into commodity hardware to build "bare metal"switches and routers using SDN tools such as OpenFlow and Pica8's own Open vSwitch (OVS) implementation. Pica8 says the OS is easy to install using a boot loader and automated provisioning tool called Zero-Touch Provisioning. Customers that download the trial version and want the full licensed version can later turn on a full license at any time.

Read all about the battle between SDN starups and incumbents in our exhaustive 30-page report on the market, "The SDN Revolution: An Ecosystem Report."

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2014 at 14:37 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN.
Keywords: SDN, Network OS, Linux, vSwitch, OpenFlow, Bare Metal Switching

Every day we read about a massive new data breach. Today it's AT&T and Yahoo. This comes after huge security incidents at Target, Home Depot, and JP Morgan in which millions of accounts were compromised. It's clear that the era of the cloud and big data means big opportunities for the hackers. 

In today's news, AT&T is warning customers that an insider illegally accessed the personal information of an unspecified number of users, according to Threatpost. The compromised data includes Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. 

In a recent article I did, I was surprised to find that some people said that security threats aren't any worse than they use to be. I disagree. It seems like if the hackers to break into JP Morgan, Target, and AT&T in less than a year, it's worse. Nowadays, every time I fill up the gas tank and swipe my credit card, I think about an angry hacker in Russia looking for my data on the other end. 

Enter Software Defined Networking (SDN) technology, which many experts believes has the potential to change the way we deal with security threats. If you think about it, security solutions are a hodgepodge of applications, many of them linked to specific networking appliances. 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2014 at 14:05 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Applications.
Keywords: Security, AT&T, JP Morgan, SDN

On Thursday, the Rayno Report hosted a social chat on #Webcalestorage on the CrowdChat platform, sponsored by Coho Data. We spent an hour talking about looming trends and challenges in scaling storage systems to meet the demands of Webscale data centers.

It turns out, some of our contributors, many of them storage system managers, said that it's not just about webscale. Some of the emerging demands of storage will also yield similar benefits for smaller systems.

Some of the top demands were: Build an interoperable, open, easily scaleable storage system whose costs will scale linearly. 

This entry was posted on Friday, October 03, 2014 at 16:18 pm and is filed under .
Keywords: Webscale, Webscale storage, Storage, Coho Data, CrowdChat

SAN FRANCISCO -- This week I spent some time at Oracle World, marveling at the vast Oracle empire, sipping cappuccino next to the Oracle America's Cup yacht, and watching Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison configure cloud applications with his typical swagger.

It was impressive. As I wrote this week on CMSWire.com, Oracle, under Ellison's technical direction, has quietly amassed a huge array of integrated technology ranging from communications protocols to HR applications

Yes, despite stepping down as CEO, Ellison is still running Oracle. The fact that he does his own demos is a plus

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 02, 2014 at 17:01 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Applications, Investing.
Keywords: Oracle, Larry Ellison, OpenStack, Cloud Computing, Databases, M&A

Pica8, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup developing "white box" switching systems using Software Defined Networking (SDN) technology, today announced a $12.5M Series B funding round from a group of investors led by VantagePoint Capital Partners, Cross Head and Pacific Venture Partners (PVP), bringing its total funding to date to over $20 million. 

The funding as the SDN market heads into its next phase of development, as the "hype"cycle has passed and many startups are getting into the nitty-gritty of customer deployments. Many of the early market leaders are now going back for Series B or C rounds. Some will raise even larger rounds than Pica8, and some won't raise any money at all.  

In short, 2014-2015 will be "make it or break it" time for many SDN startups, as we predicted in our SDN report

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2014 at 15:09 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN.
Keywords: Pica8, SDN, White Box Switches, Cisco, NSX, Venture Capital

You may have heard about the "Webscale" phenonemon, in which large cloud-based service providers, including social networks, are required to build massively scaleable data centers. One of the biggest challenges: Scaling storage to match the requirements of Webscale data centers. 

By some estimates as many as 50% of data centers will have Webscale requirements by 2017. This week we'll be holding a social chat covering how #webscalestorage has some of the same requirements of networking and computing technology in large data centers: Open standards, commodity hardware, and massively scaleable architectures.

Join us on Thursday at 2PM ET/11AM PT for a #Webscalestorage chat, on which we'll discuss these trends. You can mark your calendars by going to the CrowdChat page, which will we use to run the chat. Coho Data is sponosoring the chat. 

The hallmarks of many webscale technology solutions include more open and flexible technology including a software-defined approach, similiar to what's happening in Software Defined Networking (SDN), whereby open software controls large arrays of massively scaleable hardware. A great example is Facebook's work with the Wedge, which we recently outlined in our report

The same trends are taking hold with Webscale storage. The flavor of choice appears to be 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). A survey of 200 enterprise executives and adminstrators shows that one-half of survey respondents have deployed 10 GbE technology with about 13% more planning to deploy technology within the next year, according to the 2014 State of Web-scale Storage Report, published by Coho Data and Actual Tech Media

There's clearly a movement to consolidate around Ethernet, because of its simplicity and pervasiveness in networks. Data-center managers indicate the will to consolidate around Ethernet-based storage technologies, which are replacing other storage technologies, including Fibre Channel. A full 87% of respondents are already running some kind of Ethernet-based storage protocol —  iSCSI, NFS, or SMB — in their data centers.

But Ethernet is just part of the picture. Webscale storage is a complex issue, and new architectures will be brought to bear. This means introducing new models for storage including a "scale out" architecture, broad standardization, and applying elements of SDN to storage networks, whereby more open and sophisticated software can scaleable masses of commodity hardware. 

These are some of the trends we'll take a look at on Thursday in our Webscale storage chat, which will include many experts including real-life storage architects and customers. Go to the CrowdChat page now and mark your calendar

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 15:24 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN.
Keywords: Webscale, Storage, 10 GbE, Fibre Channel, Coho Data

Hunter Newby, the CEO of fiber company Allied Fiber, believes the policies of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States are impeding investment in telecom infrastructure -- and it may be creating a crisis in the world of "dark fiber."

Dark fiber is the building block of networks. It's fiber cable that has been laid in the ground but not yet "lit" by being connected to networking equipment and services. Think of it as a digital Interstate system. Newby says that Fed's 0% rate policies have driven money into other asset classes and diverted money away from more challenging infrastructure projects, which have longer term benefits. He says we need a more aggressive national fiber infrastructure policy. 

His arguments make sense. Investment in infrastructure can have beneficial results. Recently the Rayno Report published research results showing that investment in gigabit broadband can boost GDP. I've also written here about the puzzle of the plummeting money velocity: Since the Fed has implemented 0% interest rates and injected $4 trillion into the banking system, money velocity has collapsed. See the chart below from the St. Louis Fed, for proof.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 13:58 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN.
Keywords: Dark Fiber, Google, The Fed, Hunter Newby, Allied Fiber
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