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Contributing Writer

Day 1 of Interop: Avaya, Cisco, Juniper and lots of technology chatter

May 10, 20113 mins
Cisco SystemsCloud ComputingData and Information Security

Discussions go beyond data centers and clouds

It’s Tuesday AM in Vegas and the official start of the 25th Interop trade show. I arrived yesterday, got some early meetings in, and I’ve already heard my share on industry banter. Here are some quick highlights:1. I was quite impressed with Avaya’s Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA). When you think about data center switching, you tend to naturally gravitate toward Arista, Brocade, Cisco, and Juniper but meeting with Avaya quickly reminded me on the historical technical depth of Wellfleet/Bay/Nortel. What I really like about VENA is the upgrade path. Rather than “rip-and-replace,” Avaya suggest virtualizing the core switches (using SPB) while clustering the access servers. This provides redundancy, lower latency, and eases management. In phase 2, you move on to virtualize the whole enchilada. Pretty slick.2. Met with Cisco CIO Rebecca Jacoby who discussed how Cisco manages its own IT. Rebecca provided some good data: Cisco has already virtualized 80% of its server pool. The coompany has identified 1300 business applications and 57% of these run on UCS servers and partner hardware. When asked about IT skills, Rebecca admitted that IT is in a state of transition. Her team is made up of IT generalists who are then supported by functional technology specialists. She emphasized that “communications skills” and “internal IT culture” as the areas where IT needed the most improvement. Rebecca also said that IT must become a change agent with cloud computing, “IT needs to know when and how it is better than cloud alternatives and make sure to communicate these differences to business leaders. When cloud computing presents a better alternative however, IT should be driving the changes.”3. I had dinner with some Juniper Networks folks. As expected, Juniper is taking the QFabric message to large data center owners all over the world. Everyone wants to hear the story today, so I’m expecting a fair number of customer wins soon.4. What about David Yen bolting for Cisco? I believe it was the proverbial “offer he couldn’t refuse.” Cisco needs David and David is an old server guy. If I hear more, I’ll blog it.5. All of the networking chatter was interrupted last night when the news came in that Microsoft bought Skype. Wow! Big move but it also signals a growing trend out of Redmond where innovation is a function of acquisitions rather than development. 6. I’m meeting with HP later today to talk about its announcement. While everyone at Interop is talking data center, HP announced a number of high-end boxes, network management software, and security devices for campus networks. Is HP zigging while others zag? More soon after my meeting.Enough writing, on to breakfast buffets, roulette tables, and more networking meetings.

Contributing Writer

Jon Oltsik is a distinguished analyst, fellow, and the founder of the ESG’s cybersecurity service. With over 35 years of technology industry experience, Jon is widely recognized as an expert in all aspects of cybersecurity and is often called upon to help customers understand a CISO's perspective and strategies. Jon focuses on areas such as cyber-risk management, security operations, and all things related to CISOs.

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