Rethinking the Network

Michael Bushong

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Top Stories by Michael Bushong

Big Data is quickly overtaking SDN as a key phrase in today’s networking lingo. And overused already as it may be, it actually has a lot more meaning and definition compared to SDN. Big Data solutions are designed to work on lots of data as the name suggests. Of course they have been around forever, talk to any large bank, credit card company, airline or logistics company and all of them have had applications running on extremely large databases and data sets forever. But this is the new Big Data, the one inspired by Hadoop, MapReduce and friends. High performance compute clusters specifically created to analyze large amounts of data and reduce it to a form and quantity that human brains can use in decision making. What makes today’s Big Data solutions different than its more traditional large database based applications, beyond the sheer datasets being analyzed, i... (more)

Automation through workflow state

The benefits of automation are well understood: more agile service provisioning, faster time to insight when there are issues, and a reduction in human error as manual interaction is reduced. Much of the premise behind long-term SDN architectural advantages is steeped in the hope that SDN will help enable and ultimately promote automation. But while centralizing control has significant operational advantages, by itself, it doesn’t actually address the most important requirement for automation. If automation is going to be more than just reducing keystrokes, there will have to be... (more)

Smartest-Person-in-the-Room Complex

A few weeks ago, I came across one of those LinkedIn stories that pop up in everyone’s feed. Basically, it was an advice column dedicated to answering a question from someone who asked if he should leave a company that made stupid decisions despite him telling everyone what the right answer was. The comments section of the article was particularly one-sided as everyone sided with this individual, suggesting that if the company’s leadership team had such big egos that they never listened, he ought to find somewhere else to work. I find this type of response maddening. There is ... (more)

Plexxi on Cisco on Arista

[This post is intended to examine potential strategic implications. I am not trying to evaluate products or determine the relative value of competing solutions.] John Chambers was quoted in a Barron's blog last week talking about Arista. The entire article is worth reading (it covers a lot more than just Arista), but I want to highlight his comments specific to Arista: When I pose to Chambers that Arista Networks, the Santa Clara, California startup that is storming the data center with very successful products, is the “most serious competitor” the company has, he replies “Not ev... (more)

What Is Application-Centric Infrastructure?

With the launch of Cisco's software-defined networking startup Insieme expected tomorrow, our industry is about to hear a lot about "application-centric" everything. So what does "application-centric infrastructure" mean? First, some basics: Networking is about connecting computing devices and systems so they can share data. Networking infrastructures are built with a combination of hardware such as gateways, routers, and switches that manage the movement of the data as well as software applications that enable you to do things like access the Internet and send email. As you co... (more)