Seriously, we are in very deep trouble. Getting out of this will require a lot of creativity, and maybe some luck too.
Well you should know that analysts and vendors are lining up to give networking pros advice on how to save money in 2009.
Today I received an invitation from Enterprise Management Associates for a January webinar entitled How to Reduce Network Management Expenses in 2009. EMA vice president Dennis Drogseth will examine how automation and an integrated life cycle approach to network management can reduce costs.
Network Instruments sent us a list of the “Top five ways you can be network hero in 2009.
Info-Tech Research Group has also published a list of Eight Ways to Slash Network and Telecom Costs by Half. I won’t publish them in full since Info-Tech would rather that you spend $195 to get the list from them, but here are a few brief examples of things you can do:
Brian Johnson, director of public relations for Trapeze Networks, called me last week and implied that Meru Networks is receiving favorable coverage from Gartner over Trapeze. Gartner placed Meru in the visionary quadrant for the second year in a row, while Trapeze slipped from visionary status to niche player.
Johnson revealed to me that Tim Zimmerman, one of the Gartner analysts who wrote this year’s Magic Quadrant, is a former employee of Meru Networks. I checked around and indeed Zimmerman was director of industry marketing for Meru Networks from Octbor 2007 to January 2008. Johnson also pointed out that Gartner’s former research director for wireless LAN technology, Rachna Ahlawat, is currently the vice president of strategic marketing for Meru.
Johnson explained that Trapeze has had a good year and is a superior company to Meru. He said it “stretches the imagination” that Meru could be ranked higher than his comapny.
“We have a higher market share than Meru,” Johnson said. “We have more OEM relationships. And we are a public company with a large bankroll behind us while Meru is a private company that is rapidly burning through its cash… In terms of ability to execute, I think that Trapeze has a higher ability to execute than Meru can.”
Johnson also told me that Trapeze brought eight products to market this year and three of them won awards (I looked through a list of press releases on Trapeze’s website and didn’t see that many product releases, but perhaps I missed a few). He also pointed out that Trapeze won the largest wireless LAN deployment in the world this year when it closed a deal with the University of Minnesota.
Johnson was reacting to a story about the Magic Quadrant which I wrote last week. When I talked to Mike King, Zimmerman’s coauthor, for that story, he told me that Trapeze’s downgrade was reflective of its relative silence on the market since it was acquired by Belden over the summer. He suggested that things have slowed down at Trapeze while Belden goes through the process of absorbing it. And he predicted that Trapeze could lose some key OEM partners when its deals with those expire in a few months. All this can be fairly typical for mergers and acquisitions. Motorola experienced a similar decline on the Magic Quadrant when it bought Symbol Technologies, but it has since rebounded and is now identified as a market leader by Gartner.
Now any industry veteran will tell you that analysts take jobs with vendors all the time and research firms like Gartner commonly hire analysts from the vendors they cover. Ahlawat left Gartner for Meru in June of 2007 so it’s been well over a year since she’s had any relationship with the firm. However, Zimmerman left Meru less than a year ago, so it was worth my talking to Gartner about this issue.
First I talked to Andrew Spender, Gartner’s vice president of corporate communications. He said Gartner employs a variety of measures to ensure that its analysts are independent and objective.
“First we have our principals of ethical conduct and our code of conduct which all our analysts sign up to as soon as they join the company,” he said. “They have very intensive training in what that code of conduct means and how they need to adhere to it. It’s very specific in terms of accountability.”
Spender also said that no piece of Gartner research is ever the work of one single analyst.
“When you buy a piece of research or become a Gartner client, you obtain the research from Gartner, not from an individual analyst. Each piece of research is peer reviewed. Our community of 650 analysts have a formal obligation to do peer reviews of other analysts’ research to ensure that any kinds of inconsistencies, any errors of data collection or any errors of conclusions are challenged and corrected before the research sees the light of day.”
I also spoke to Larry Perlstein, Gartner’s ombudsman (Gartner is the only analyst firm I know of that employees ombudsmen), about this matter. He has already conducted an investigation of Trapeze’s complaint.
“Basically I didn’t find anything that made me concerned that there was any real fact in Trapeze’s issues. The analyst that they expressed a special worry about, who was formerly at Meru, was there for only a very short period of time, about three months. It wasn’t clear that anything in that involvement was going to dramatically influence this particular piece of research. Most of our analysts come from vendors. As part of our hiring process we try to ensure that people have the capacity and potential to be balanced and objective.”
On the same day that I spoke to Johnson at Trapeze about this issue, I happened to chat with David Callisch, vice president of marketing at Ruckus Networks. Ruckus is another niche player in this year’s Quadrant, ranked a little lower than Trapeze.
“Tim Zimmerman and Mike King are both very stand up guys,” Callisch said. “I thought we had a pretty mediocre spot on the Quadrant, but to be quite objective, who are we to say? Vendors always think they deserve a better spot… But Tim and Mike did a lot of due diligence. I think they did a good job even if we got a lousy spot.”
He said that Gartner placed Meru high probably because the firm likes the innovative single channel approach Meru takes with its access points, which solves voice roaming very well. He said he has doubts about whether this approach can scale as well as more mainstream wireless LAN technologies, but he doesn’t fault Gartner for giving Meru high marks for their technology.
Callisch went on to call out Trapeze for its acquisition by Belden. He said Trapeze has a very good product line, but it had marketed its technology poorly, driving down the value of the company.
“They ended up being sold to Belden for pennies on the dollar and that hurt the valuation of other [wireless LAN] companies” he said.]]>
Gartner has published its 2008 Magic Quadrant for the wireless LAN infrastructure market. The most noteworthy change from 2007′s Quadrant is the rise of Motorola. Last year Gartner identified Cisco and Aruba as the two leaders in a crowded market. This year, Motorola has joined them as a third market leader.
HP ProcCurve (which purchased Colubris this year) and the newly merged Enterasys/Siemens Enterprise Communications both advanced from niche player status to visionaries. Trapeze Networks appears to have taken a step backwards since it was acquired by Belden, slipping from visionary to niche player.
Meru Networks remains in the visionary quadrant, although it is on the cusp of climbing into market leader status.
To see more in-depth analysis of this research, check SearchNetworking.com on Tuesday, Dec. 9.]]>
The notoriously frugal Cisco is tightening their belts a little tighter, more or less shutting their offices over the holidays and freezing hiring for a bit. They hope to save $2 billion, which isn’t small change even for the world’s largest networking equipment provider.
They also are looking to cut travel expenses, and since Cisco insiders tell us everyone at the company flies coach to begin with, we guess that means more TelePresence. Layoffs, however, are not planned, at least for now, according to Dow Jones Newswires:
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) doesn’t have any layoffs planned at this point, according to Chairman and Chief Executive John Chambers. …
Chambers, speaking to analysts at a conference hosted by Credit Suisse, said that if the company was to have layoffs, it would be a one-time event, rather than a string of events.
Sounds like he’s hedging his bets, just in case, but it might be tough to cut the fat from Cisco’s already lean (for a company of their size) operation.
Aruba isn’t so optimistic. The company announced they will be cutting jobs to reduce operating costs by 10%, though the exact number getting laid off is unknown.
This is despite Aruba’s record revenues last quarter, which, according to Farpoint Group’s Craig Matthias, came at a price:
“If you look at Aruba’s margins, they have eroded some, and obviously discounting is a heavy element in winning deals,” Mathias said. “So I’m expecting that their margins probably won’t improve much with their sales. But this is an industry that will continue to grow, and it will accelerate into the future.”
It also calls into question what wireless vendors keep whispering to me: Their equipment — and business prospects — are counter-cyclical. The theory goes that wireless is a great way to cut costs: No more having to futz around to rewire desk connections, less physical wiring to lay down, etc. etc. But with such a crowded field of vendors, even the winners might have a tough time staying or getting profitable.
Ali Ashtari, 43, a computer and hi-tech equipment buyer for Iran’s defence industry and nuclear programme, was hanged after admitting he worked for Israel. It is the first known conviction of an alleged Israeli agent in Iran for almost 10 years. …
Behind their backs he allowed the software he bought to be subtly doctored by Israeli computer engineers before it was imported to Iran. Ashtari confessed: “Mossad’s goal was to sell specialised computer equipment through me to Iranian intelligence organisations.”
The case echoes the FBI’s warning not too long ago about Cisco knockoffs as potential Trojan horses, but this time, the threat was apparently real — or at least real enough for Iran to take action.
Corporate espionage is a very real threat, as Intel found out recently, but people aren’t generally executed for it.
As for me? I’ll stick with the IT spying antics of Chuck — a little less realistic, perhaps, but fewer people end up getting killed. In this clip, Chuck and company use social engineering techniques — one of network security’s weakest points — to infiltrate the opposition.
As Cisco unveils the latest addition to the wireless certification line up, its voice CCIE certification is getting a refresh, which had at least one analyst worried some voice experts will be left in the cold.
Cushing Anderson, program vice president of IDC, is concerned because the new voice CCIE, which will go live in July 2009, will be based on Cisco Unified Communications Manager 7.0 software. At that time, a Cisco representative said, the old test labs using Cisco CallManager will no longer be available.
Anderson said Cisco CallManager 4.0 will likely remain in some enterprises for years to come. Unified Communications Managerr was released in September, and many enterprises have no immediate plans to upgrade just yet.
“If people are still using older stuff, shouldn’t people still be able to test on the older stuff?” he asked. “That’s frustrating to me.”
Christine Yoshida, senior manager of learning and development for Cisco, said the sharp cut off date means Cisco can cover on a wider range of UC concepts.
“It’s a more robust, comprehensive skill set that we’re able to test,” she said. In addition, she said, those interested in specifically supporting CallManager will still have CCNA and CCNP certifications.
Over at the InternetworkExpert blog, reaction has been positive, ranging from “At last !!! Yahoo !!!” to “Great! Ive been waiting for these for a while.” Brian Dennis also breaks down the software and equipment that will be used in the updated lab.
What are your thoughts? Is Cisco dropping CallManager too quickly, or does their push on ahead with Cisco Unified Communications Manager give you happy feet? I’d love to hear your opinion.]]>