Ethan Banks On productivity.

7-Nov-2014: Press Releases From Meru, Gigamon, Big Switch + Dell


I receive a steady stream of press releases from networking vendors. I don’t have time to cover them all (or even most of them) individually, because there’s only so many hours in the week. Even so, I find many of the releases to contain genuinely interesting news. I thought I’d try echoing the press releases that are the most interesting (at least to me) periodically, with a few analytical comments.

If sharing industry news in this way is not the sort of thing you want from this blog, please let me know.

‘Meru Center’ to Accelerate Deployment and Ease Management of Wi-Fi and Open-standards SDN Applications

“Meru Networks® (NASDAQ:MERU), a leader in intelligent Wi-Fi networking, today announced Meru Center, a new software platform that gives organizations a central networked application provisioning engine and management dashboard, along with the new Meru App Store. The App Store offers a variety of applications, including Meru-developed and open standards-based software-defined-networking (SDN) applications.”

So, we’ve got a wireless vendor taking an SDN path similar to the one blazed by HP — SDN for their infrastructure, coupled with an app store. Good stuff. I believe that SDN makes the most sense when ease-of-use consumption is prioritized. If SDN is going to make complex networking functions easy, then I think the app store idea is a great way to go about things. I’m not sure how much impact this will have on Meru’s fortunes, but this certainly can’t hurt. If you look at Meru’s overall financial numbers over the last few years, they are trending up, heading towards profitability.

Read the entire press release here.

Gigamon Announces Industry-Leading Active Visibility Solutions for High-Volume Traffic Monitoring

Gigamon® (NYSE: GIMO), a leader in traffic visibility solutions with the innovative Unified Visibility Fabric™, today announced the upcoming release of a suite of industry-leading solutions that will offer Active Visibility for high-volume traffic in both scale-out and scale-up architectures for next-generation business infrastructures.”

The Gigamon play is visibility fabrics. The big idea is to use a series of span ports or taps to pump a copy of network traffic into a Gigamon appliance. The Gigamon appliance then selectively copies traffic via filters and rules to tools (packet capture appliances, IDS/IPS, flow analyzers, etc.) that can analyze that traffic. Once just about the only name in the game, Gigamon has been under threat from cheaper (but less capable) alternatives like Big Switch Network’s Big Tap solution. But Gigamon has come charging back with additional visibility fabric functionality that can do clever things like packet de-duplication, kind of a big deal if you’re monitoring lots of data and/or the same data streams coming from different points in the data center depending on where you’ve placed your taps.

With this announcement, Gigamon is aggregating traffic at 40Gbps and 100Gbps data rates, including an option the single fiber pair 40Gbps BiDi optics. Good stuff. Don’t rule Gigamon out. They are still the technology leader in this space.

Read the entire press release here.

Big Switch and Dell Announce First SDN/Open Networking Fabric Solution Now Shipping

“Big Switch Networks and Dell are now shipping hardware, software, and services that enable Dell to bring key hyperscale networking technologies – SDN software and open networking hardware that enable advanced data center designs – to a broader audience. The two companies are shipping the Dell Networking S4810-ON switch and will start shipping the Dell Networking S6000-ON switch in November, along with Big Switch’s Big Tap SDN Controller software and Switch Light OS.”

All aboard the white box switching train. Match the hardware of your choice with the network operating system of your choice. Customize the networking stack in a way that suits your business, but don’t feel you’re married to that networking stack forever. Big Switch has a heck of an operating system. I’ve spent a little lab time at that CLI, and what BSN is offering is intuitive & powerful. On the hardware side of things, Dell is one of the leaders in the open networking space, aggressively partnering with Cumulus Networks and Big Switch on the OS side (plus offering their own FTOS), preaching the gospel of openness and choice. Dell’s big value proposition is taking the fear of a white box, open, mix/match switching approach by offering support for the entire networking stack.

Open networking is the future of networking as I see it. Integrated stacks of networking hardware and software simply can’t last forever. The economics are simply against it in the long run unless Cisco, etc. shift to meet the market. Expect to see more traditional networking vendors shift to offering white box options so as not to get left out in the cold…like, you know, the dinosaurs.

Read the entire press release here.

By Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks On productivity.

You probably know Ethan Banks because he writes & podcasts about IT. For example, he co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

This site is Ethan on productivity--not tech so much.

Find out more on his about page.