Dan Raffo, over at our sister blog Storage Soup, reports that Brocade is cutting between 5% and 10% of its workforce today. Sources told Dan that the job cuts will come mostly from the storage side of the business rather than on the IP networking side, which made a big splash this week when IBM and Brocade announced that IBM would OEM Brocade’s Ethernet products. This is the first series of layoffs reported at Brocade since the storage networking vendor bought Foundry Networks last year.
Aruba Networks emails me quite often with wireless LAN customer wins. Either it is signing more customers than other WLAN vendors, or it simply publicizes its wins more often. Usually I don’t bother to write about this customer news, but a couple of recent announcements have caught my eye.
First there was Aruba’s announcement that Carnegie Mellon University has just completed the deployment of 1,540 802.11n access points across its campus. Aruba said that Carnegie Mellon was particularly attracted to the company’s Adaptive Radio Management (ARM) technology, which simplified access points deployment and maintenance. The school was also attracted to Aruba’s Policy-Enforcement Firewall (PEF), which provides identity-based security, Quality of Service (QoS) control and traffic management.
Meanwhile over in Australia, IBM announced that it had won a contract from the government of New South Wales, to design, deploy and manage wireless LAN infrastructure for 463 secondary schools. IBM will install Aruba technology in all of those schools, providing wireless connectivity to more than 200,000 students and 25,000 teachers. That’s a big contract and a lot of access points.
How appropriate. The swine flu hysteria is generating new email spam. If Monty Python’s Flying Circus was still in business, they’d put together a wonderful skit about this. (Spaaaaam, oh wonderful Spam!)
Cisco IronPort reports that messages about swine flu now make up 4% of global spam messages.
Here are some of the subject lines you will be seeing in your inboxes soon:
- Swine flu worldwide
- Swine flu in the USA
- Swine flu fears
- First US swine flu victims
- Swine flu in Hollywood
- Salma Hayek caught swine flu
- Madonna caught swine flu
Those last two subject lines are particularly devastating to anyone who is a fan of bad 1990s comedies co-starring Matthew Perry or mediocre 1980s pop music.
On the heels of today’s huge news that IBM has signed an OEM agreement with Brocade to sell IBM-branded Brocade (formerly Foundry) switches and routers, Juniper and IBM are reaffirming their ongoing alliance.
I received a press release this morning from Juniper specifically detailing the joint work Juniper and IBM are doing in cloud computing, such as Juniper collaboration with IBM to develop a single data center fabric for cloud computing with its Juniper’s Stratus Project.
Juniper also pointed out that the Brocade OEM agreement is only part of IBM’s larger Dynamic Infrastructure announcement today that highlights a new series of products and services from IBM aimed at helping enterprises build next generation data centers and move into cloud computing. Juniper is a critical participant in IBM’s strategy, Juniper points out..
In the Juniper announcement, IBM vice president for enterprise initiatives Jim Comfort said:
Juniper is an important supplier of networking products. IBM is already a reseller of Juniper’s Ethernet switches and routers and we continue to look for opportunities to expand this relationship to provide increasing choice for our customers and the flexibility to support their dynamic infrastructure needs.
This week Cisco announced a bunch of new cloud-based security and collaboration products, including a new cloud-based intrusion protection system (IPS) and Cisco ASA 5500 Series 8.2, with a new botnet traffic filter. The company also announced that is re-branding the WebEx MediaTone Network, a series of eight data centers around the world that make up the WebEx cloud, as the Cisco WebEx Collaboration Cloud. This cloud network now offers enterprise IT departments policy control over WebEx meetings, empowering IT to set policies about desktop sharing and file transfers. It also offers global load balancing and intelligent routing, making sure that users enter the WebEx cloud through the best ISP to the most convenient and least taxed data center in the network.
However, what caught my eye in this series of announcements was a new WebEx blade device designed for the ASR 1000 router series. The WebEx Node for ASR 1000 basically transforms Cisco’s ASR 1000 router into a node on Cisco’s WebEx cloud.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say a company wants to hold a WebEx training session for 500 employees. In the old days, each of these 500 employees would log onto WebEx individually across the wide-area network (WAN). With the WebEx Node blade, the ASR 1000 router acts as a broker between the users and the WebEx cloud. The blade establishes a single session with the WebEx cloud. The 500 employees connect through the corporate firewall to the ASR 1000 router and the router connects to the WebEx cloud. By having just one connection to the cloud, shared with hundreds of employees, an enterprise can reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed. This will be especially handy when a company wants to stream high-definition video or send voice-over-IP and/orlarge data sets through WebEx. Companies will avoid WAN bottlenecks and employees will enjoy a better user experience.
Broadcom is making a $764-million hostile takeover bid for Emulex, a manufacturer of storage networking infrastructure, such as host bus adaptors and I/O controllers. Broadcom, a maker of wireless and wired networking semiconductors, appears to have Emulex’s emergent Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) converged network adapters in its sites.
Cisco, Brocade and other networking vendors are evangelizing the concept of converged Ethernet for data centers, where storage and data networks are converged on a single network fabric. FCoE is a key element of this movement. If it takes off, convergenced Ethernet could reduce the number of network connections on servers and simplify data center networking in general.
If Broadcom succeeds in grabbing Emulex, it would be well-positioned to produce the semiconductors that enable this new networking paradigm. Emulex leadership, however, seems uninterested in selling out to Broadcom. Broadcom first approached Emulex about a merger in January, but Exmulex said ‘No thanks.”
Working on my story about learning games and the launch of Cisco Mind Share, I couldn’t help but think of two other games I’d been pitched by vendors recently, one by NetQoS and the other by Cisco itself.
The former, Network Rockstar Challenge, was a Guitar Hero/Rockband-themed Flash game with some nifty production values: Professional voice over, slick art, the whole nine yards. They even give you two characters to choose from, complete with backstories and multiple outfits.
The long sound loading time and rock star trappings had me hoping for a network-themed rhythm game, but in the end it was a pretty standard 10-question quiz show. So much for my dreams of binary beat boxing.
Cisco’s Edge Quest 2 has you pilot an ASR 9000 Series Router around 5 white rails, picking up green IP packets and network disruptions, which look just like IP packets but are red.
If you’re curious, you can check out a somewhat chiding video review of the game’s precursor, Edge Quest 1, at Network Performance Daily, which is oddly enough owned by … NetQoS. Or better yet, play it yourself at Cisco’s website.
While both are priced right for this economy (Free!), user comments make me wonder how much time networking professionals are really interested in spending on corporate-sponsored timewasters, particularly if they’re worried their jobs are on the chopping block.
As Erick Parsons, a networking professional, wrote back to me:
I’m still in class doing the CNAMS curriculum and am quite busy with that and work. When I catch up on ACL’s and test for that (my first priority at the moment) I may find time to get to the mindshare game. [...] I’ve only the demo right now and haven’t had a chance yet to install it.
The game-vertisements lack much educational value, while longer games seem to be asking for too much of a commitment from some users. What’s a bored keyboard jockey looking to better himself to do?
Maybe there is hope. The most fun I had was actually with another Cisco mini-game, the Binary Game. Your task is to knock out rising rows of binary equations by calculating their value. There’s some handy guides and while I’ll stick with my base 10 system, thank you very much, it strikes a great balance between learning and semi-mindless Flash game fun.
Games Networking Pros Play:
- Cisco Edge Quest 2
- Cisco Edge Quest 2, no registration required
- NetQoS Network Rockstar Challenge
- Cisco Binary Game
Have any more games to add to the list? E -mail me or leave a comment below!
D-Link, a vendor of network and storage hardware for small and midsized businesses, announced last week that it will begin offering full lifetime warranties on its xStack switch line. This warranty applies to any switches bought on or after March 31, 2009. D-Link competitor Netgear also provides lifetime warranties on its switches.
Looking up the vendor food chain, HP ProCurve has been offering lifetime warranties on its hardware for a long time, and it extended that lifetime warranty to wireless LAN vendor Colubris when it bought that company last year.
In this economic climate, I wouldn’t be surprised if other networking vendors introduce this kind of investment protection as they try to hold onto market share or attempt to steal market share from leading vendors like Cisco.
Congratulations to our Cisco certification product giveaway winners:
And thank you all for participating! You may have noticed that two extra winners made the list. This was because SearchNetworking.com’s IT career and training expert, Ed Tittel, wanted to pitch in the two extra CCENT 640-822 Network Simulators left over from his previous contest: Cisco Press Supplies the Prizes, I Decide Who Gets Them!
Like his previous contest, Ed got to decide who our contest winners were. If you’d like to know how he decided, here was his method and message to all seeking certification:
I alphabetized the list of names, then rolled dice to randomly walk the list of unselected names to pick the winners. If you don’t like the results, please rail against the laws of probability, not me!
What I noticed in the commentary from everybody is a renewed focus on the technical side of work, and a desire to improve upon your skills and knowledge bases. If you keep this up, it may not make much difference in the short run while our economic crisis works its way through the financial and other systems. But in the long run, self-improvement nearly always leads to improved employment situations and circumstances as well. Good luck with your exams, and with your career development paths.
As I was walking the floor of VoiceCon’s exhibition hall today I noticed that Brocade had a rather large booth at the show, with quite a few sales guys patrolling the perimeter.
And I didn’t see the word Foundry anywhere.
I asked one Brocade rep what a company known best for its storage networking products was doing at VoiceCon. He explained that Brocade was in town to promote Foundry switches as a platform for supporting IP telephony. Brocade bought Foundry last year and Foundry has had booth presence at VoiceCon in the past.
But there’s no trace of the Foundry brand at the booth. Just Brocade. It looks like I’ll have to stop referring to them as Brocade/Foundry. The Brocade rep said all Foundry products will be branded as Brocade switches for now on.
I haven’t heard much from Brocade since it bought Foundry, and I’ve been wondering about how the merger has been going. It looks like it’s moving forward with a single Brocade brand, so customers better get used to referring to their Foundry switches and load balancers, etc., as Brocade boxes.