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Plexxi Pulse – Gartner’s Coolest Vendors in Enterprise Communications

This week, Gartner analysts Andrew Lerner, Tim Zimmerman and Joe Skorupa named Plexxi one of four “Cool” Vendors in Enterprise Communications. In Lerner’s own words, cool is defined as “the ability to help customers address challenges in new and innovative ways. These challenges could be in terms of cost, management, agility, operations, etc.” He specifically points to how Plexxi “provides a programmable and self-learning switching fabric that dynamically configures inter-connectivity via an optical backbone ring.” See Lerner’s full summary of the report here.

In this week’s PlexxiTube video of the week, our own Dan Backman analyzes what happens to the network if a central SDN controller breaks or is unreachable.

Check out our best SDN reads of the week below:

Service Assurance Is Critical for NFV & SDN

Light Reading analyst Ari Banerjee comments on why service assurance is critical to NFV and SDN technological success. In my opinion, this point is actually a big deal. The implication here is not just that connectivity is no longer the bar but also that IT environments have to be sufficiently instrumented to measure the appropriate experience. This could mean anything from completion time to jitter to reliability. There will undoubtedly be a few buckets, so users shouldn’t have to specify in gory detail for every application, but this does muddy the waters some. You can’t just declare five nines reliability and call it a day. These metrics will then roll up into the rest of the business, which means a tightening of the link between the business and IT – a good thing in my opinion.

SDN & the Programming Pushback

Andrew Conry-Murray of InformationWeek highlights the growing pushback against the theory that network engineers must become programmers as SDN becomes more prominent.

I think the debate about whether everyone needs to become a programmer is pretty lazy at times. We tend to think about everything as binary. But the reality is that even with a programmable layer on top of (or alongside or wherever) the network, you still need people to make the network work.

There will be an increase in people working closer to the applications. The end goal of the network is not to connect everything so much as to deliver some useful experience. This will gradually mean that the network and applications become a little tighter in terms of collaboration. This isn’t necessarily through direct programming, mind you. Abstraction makes all of this a bit easier. Express intent (what do you need from the network, in terms you understand), and then have programmatic layers translate intent into behavior.

Does Thinking about a Networking Lifecycle Make Sense?

Dan Kusnetsky of ZDNet answers the question, “Does thinking about a networking lifecycle make sense?” He points to the industry standard to assign routine cycles to systems, storage and applications, and weighs whether we should do the same with networks and network equipment.

Here’s my take. The biggest reason people leave networking gear in so long is that it is prohibitively expensive to buy. The pricing structure of the networking industry at large has been skewed because there is a virtual monopoly. With little competition, Cisco has been able to keep demand high (and hence prices and margins).

SDN is interesting, but not just because of the technology. It is leveling the architectural playing field, which lowers the barriers to entry for new players. This creates more competition, which will exert downward pressure on pricing and margins.

If devices are cheaper, they don’t have to stay in place quite so long to justify the expense. Sure, the switching costs matter too, but even if replacing a box was easy, it wouldn’t happen previously because it was too expensive to rip out.

The biggest thing to change going forward is the organizational inertia around buying patterns. People need to get emotionally and intellectually prepared to handle a different way of buying and refreshing gear.

The post Plexxi Pulse – Gartner’s Coolest Vendors in Enterprise Communications appeared first on Plexxi.

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More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

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