The Network Hub

A SearchNetworking.com blog


July 26, 2011  11:45 AM

Software is the network, so Juniper snags Microsoft’s Muglia



Posted by: rivkalittle

In a further sign of just how important software is becoming to the network, Juniper Networks named former Microsoft executive Bob Muglia as vice president of its newly formed Software Solutions Division.

Juniper has always touted it’s end-to-end JUNOS operating system, but the company has more recently placed heavy focus on providing cloud computing network infrastructure, which is heavily dependent on software for automated provisioning and granular management. Muglia is no stranger to cloud computing software, having headed up infrastructure software and cloud platforms at Microsoft as one of his many roles over his 23 years there. Muglia was booted out of his position there by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this summer.

Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson (also a former Microsoft exec) said the company will now centralize all of its software initiatives in the new division, including software for Juniper’s SRX Series, vGW Series security products, MobileNext core for mobile operators and Junos Pulse mobile device management tools.

In a comment to Network World, Muglia offers up some insight into where Juniper’s software play and its new focus on the application-driven network:

“The emergence of cloud, heterogeneous devices connecting, and applications (executing) in a much more automated state creates an opportunity to bring software into the network and connect to all devices,” he says. “Networks are configured and managed by manual processes, people with mice and keyboards, and separate from the application infrastructure. There is no way to deal with the scale of the amount of configuration changes in the network to ensure the reliability and consistency of the environment. Networks will be applications driven; applications are at the center of intelligence and business value. The infrastructure as a whole is being driven by the applications. Juniper is very well positioned to take this on with QFabric for cloud and a single operating system platform. There’s not a lot of legacy mess to clean up.”

Juniper is certainly making a good case for its cloud strategy with new technology announcements and high-level execs, but shipping actual QFabric product will be an important first step to gaining market share in the world of application-centric cloud networks.

July 21, 2011  4:48 PM

Take my company, please: Brocade, Alcatel-Lucent seeking exits



Posted by: Shamus McGillicuddy
3Com, Alcatel-Lucent, Brocade, Cisco, Dell, Force10, Foundry, H3C, HP 3com acquisition, HP Networking, Juniper, mergers & acquisitions, Networking

With Dell buying Force10 Networks, Brocade seeking a buyer and Alcatel-Lucent looking to shed its enterprise business, does anyone want to be in the networking industry anymore?

Which narrative would you like to believe?

  1. The networking industry is more competitive than ever with Cisco faltering and companies like Juniper and HP gaining market share.
  2. Cisco owns the market and everyone else is fighting for scraps, hoping to make a graceful exit.

Can they both be true? In recent years we’ve seen companies build up their networking portfolios in an effort to compete head-on with Cisco, only to make a quick exit after those efforts made them into an attractive target for acquisition.

As Henny Youngman might have said: Take my company. Please! Continued »


July 18, 2011  4:48 PM

Cisco confirms layoffs, sells set-top box factory



Posted by: Shamus McGillicuddy
Cisco, Cisco CEO John Chambers, Cisco layoffs, Cisco Live, Networking

The axe finally fell late this afternoon. The long-rumored layoffs are official at Cisco.

Just days after the conclusion of Cisco Live, the company’s annual customer conference where William Shatner delivered a keynote and Grammy-winning band Train played a private show for attendees, Cisco Systems confirmed today that it will cut 6,500 jobs from its global operation. An early retirement program will account for 2,100 of the lost jobs. The rest are layoffs, apparently. This represents a 9% reduction in Cisco’s full-time workforce.

Cisco noted that “15% of vice president level and above” employees will get the axe in this move, signaling that Cisco trying to streamline its management structure (and perhaps cut some of its higher paid employees by targeting executive suites).

Cisco also removed an additional 5,000 jobs from its payroll by selling an old Scientific Atlanta cable set-top box factory based in Mexico to Foxconn Technology Group. This move amounts to Cisco outsourcing the manufacturing of set-top boxes to a third-party in order to reduce costs.

These moves are part of Cisco’s “Comprehensive Action Plan” for simplifying the company, improving corporate focus on core businesses and reducing annual operating expenses. As part of that plan, CEO John Chambers laid out a goal earlier this year to reduce expenses by $1 billion.  I presume that hiring Shatner and Train to appear at Cisco Live last week was just a drop in that billion-dollar bucket. Still, as you were swaying to the sweet, sweet melody of “Hey Soul Sister” did you think about how that Grammy-worthy performance was probably costing someone a job?


July 12, 2011  3:24 PM

HP Networking: We are taking share from Cisco



Posted by: Shamus McGillicuddy
Cisco, HP Networking, Networking

While Cisco Systems uses its annual customer show, Cisco Live, to showcase new products and features that it hopes will sustain its position in the networking industry, HP is touting recent market data that shows it gaining market share. HP says it’s gaining that share at Cisco’s expense.

Mike Banic, HP Networking’s vice president of marketing, told me today that HP is taking share from Cisco because of its architectural approach. Most notably, HP’s FlexNetwork architecture, which the company articulated at Interop Las Vegas. A key tenet of this architecture: Use beefy, feature rich core switches to flatten the network and eliminate the aggregation layer in both your data center and campus LAN, thus reducing capital outlays and operational expenses.

Banic said HP’s market share rose 2.5 points to 12% of revenue in the Layer 2/3 switching market, according to Dell’Oro’s market research. Banic claims this gain came at Cisco’s expense. Cisco’s shared declined to 68.2% from 73.1% a year ago. Banic also highlighted that HP enjoyed modest gains in both the wireless LAN and the enterprise routing markets.

Aside from the TCO savings of HP’s architecture, Banic said customers are also attracted to HP’s integrated security (via the Tipping Point brand it acquired with 3Com), a consistency of user experience across devices, lower prices, lifetime warranties on some product lines, and its Intelligent Management Center (IMC), a 3Com-based network management platform that is notably capable of managing a large number of third-party network devices, including hundreds of Cisco products.

Banic said both major HP Networking product lines (the 3Com/H3c products and its home-grown ProCurve products) are seeing growth. While HP has gained on Cisco in recent quarters, Cisco’s market share remains dominant. Also, networking pros appear satisfied with most of Cisco’s products. SearchNetworking.com recently surveyed its readers about their recent buying habits and attitudes toward Cisco and its competitors. The survey revealed that the majority of self-identified Cisco customers are satisfied with Cisco today, but they are willing to consider another vendors’ products. They identified Juniper and HP as the two top vendors they are looking at. Sixty percent of Cisco customers who said they replaced Cisco products with competitors’ gear in part of their network identified price competition as the top consideration in their decision.


June 21, 2011  3:01 PM

Stepford vWives: When your spouse comes to the tech conference



Posted by: rivkalittle
EMC, emcworld, tech conference, VMware, VMworld, vwife

stepfordwifeToday I learned the meaning of the term virtual wife (vWife). No, this is not some virtual instance of a physical wife that can be provisioned on demand to share the load of washing dishes and changing diapers while running a multinational corporation. Nor is it some hot elfin chick you “meet” on World of WarCraft.

A vWife is actually the bored (yet very supportive) spouse of a VMworld or EMCworld conference attendee.

Using the website Spousetivities, vWives can sign up to join their vSisters at the spa while their husbands are “better focusing” on the conferences. Spousetivities bills itself as “the fun side of tech conferences,” which at first lead me to believe that at last, some gossip blogger would expose all of the extramarital activities that take place at tech conferences. Instead, Crystal Lowe, the wife of VMware genius Scott Lowe, uses the site to promote her side events with related prizes and discounts for tech spouses looking for a good time (but not that kind of good time).

I applaud Lowe for taking the initiative to start what appears to be a viable small business, but I pose this question to bored tech conference wives (or husbands) everywhere: Wouldn’t you rather save a village than tag along to a conference at which you’re not required to attend?

Before you get offended, it’s not like I’m suggesting you “stay home and get a life,” which is what one of our TechTarget Networking Group editors said (and frankly what I have thought when passing you wives laying by the pool while I traipse off to another interview). Instead I ask, why not raise money for virtualized data centers in, say, Haiti, where an entire nation’s school system can be made functional with two physical servers hosting a couple dozen virtual machines?

Far be it from we, the SearchNetworking editors, to demand that vWives or anyone else not have a good time. By all means, party down vSisters. I just wonder: could you be doing more?


June 9, 2011  4:57 PM

Avaya going public again



Posted by: Shamus McGillicuddy
Avaya, IPO, Networking

Avaya is going public again. The scion of AT&T and Lucent Technologies, was a public comapny once before. Back in 2007 private equity firm Silver Light Partners bought it out and took it private.  Now it’s looking to take Avaya public again with a $1 billion IPO of about 20% of the company.

You may think of Avaya as a telephony and unified communications vendor, but it has a significant share of the enterprise networking market since acquiring bankrupt Nortel’s enterprise business for $900 million. With that deal, Avaya gained telecommunications market share and inherited a modest enterprise networking business. And Avaya is definitely making a go of it with that networking business.

So what to make of this IPO? In a press release, Avaya said it would use the money raised in the IPO to pay down long-term debt, among other things. Silver Lake Partners certainly isn’t desperate for liquid capital. It just made billions by selling Skype to Microsoft. It never hurts a successful vendor to unload some debt, so I’d say this is a good thing.


June 9, 2011  4:56 PM

Software-defined networking should focus on Layer 3 … at least for now



Posted by: rivkalittle
layer 2 networking, open source networking, openflow, software-defined networking, virtual firewall, Vyatta

The talk around software-defined networking at Interop last month may have centered around OpenFlow and and Layer 2, but at the Cloud Computing Expo in New York City this week, Vyatta was talking software-based networking for Layer 3 – or more specifically the use of virtual VPN, firewall and intrusion detection appliances for cloud-based applications.

Vyatta has been preaching the open source, software-based network for years now with a focus on routing, but at the Cloud Expo, the company’s vice president of marketing Tom McCafferty focused on how Vyatta’s virtual instances of firewall, VPN and intrusion prevention appliances can be used to apply policy and protection to remote application access at a fraction of the price of going physical.

As an example, McCafferty explained how Dell’s virtual desktop service places one virtual Vyatta appliance per customers for each desktop – a strategy that would be staggeringly expensive if done with physical appliances, not to mention not nearly nimble enough to keep up with the fluidity of virtual desktop infrastructure.

But if Vyatta is all about the software-based network, what about all the buzz around software-defined Layer 2 networking? McCafferty has some doubt.

I need them [OpenFlow believers and vendors] to prove that someone is going to buy it,” jokes McCafferty.

If OpenFlow were to take off and Vyatta could integrate with an upstream OpenFlow controller, Vyatta’s software could then act as a virtual switch to rival Cisco’s Nexus 1000v, certainly providing better manageability than VMware’s own switch, McCafferty says.

But companies pushing OpenFlow-based switching and architecture are going for a “Cisco and Juniper displacement” sale that is much more daunting than selling virtual firewall and VPN appliances.

While those guys fight for Layer 2, I’ll be selling Layer 3,” McCafferty quips.


June 9, 2011  4:56 PM

Software-defined networking should focus on Layer 3 … at least for now



Posted by: rivkalittle
layer 2 networking, open source networking, openflow, software-defined networking, virtual firewall, Vyatta

The talk around software-defined networking at Interop last month may have centered around OpenFlow and and Layer 2, but at the Cloud Computing Expo in New York City this week, Vyatta was talking software-based networking for Layer 3 – or more specifically the use of virtual VPN, firewall and intrusion detection appliances for cloud-based applications.

Vyatta has been preaching the open source, software-based network for years now with a focus on routing, but at the Cloud Expo, the company’s vice president of marketing Tom McCafferty focused on how Vyatta’s virtual instances of firewall, VPN and intrusion prevention appliances can be used to apply policy and protection to remote application access at a fraction of the price of going physical.

As an example, McCafferty explained how Dell’s virtual desktop service places one virtual Vyatta appliance per customers for each desktop – a strategy that would be staggeringly expensive if done with physical appliances, not to mention not nearly nimble enough to keep up with the fluidity of virtual desktop infrastructure.

But if Vyatta is all about the software-based network, what about all the buzz around software-defined Layer 2 networking? McCafferty has some doubt.

I need them [OpenFlow believers and vendors] to prove that someone is going to buy it,” jokes McCafferty.

If OpenFlow were to take off and Vyatta could integrate with an upstream OpenFlow controller, Vyatta’s software could then act as a virtual switch to rival Cisco’s Nexus 1000v, certainly providing better manageability than VMware’s own switch, McCafferty says.

But companies pushing OpenFlow-based switching and architecture are going for a “Cisco and Juniper displacement” sale that is much more daunting than selling virtual firewall and VPN appliances.

While those guys fight for Layer 2, I’ll be selling Layer 3,” McCafferty quips.


June 1, 2011  2:57 PM

Cisco as managed services provider?



Posted by: rivkalittle
Cisco channel partners, cisco managed services provider, MSPs


Cisco promises it won’t be the next Amazon EC2. Really.

Execs have repeatedly said this year that the company would not become a hosted applications or infrastructure provider. Instead, they say Cisco will sell equipment for enterprise private clouds and carrier-based public clouds. But last week, Light Reading reported that Cisco will sell hosted managed services from its own data center for telecom operators to resell them to SMBs. That’s only borderline public cloud, right?

Cisco spokespeople said the company is not “quite ready to go public on this” and would return with more information when possible. According to reports, Cisco’s new SmartOps program will provide remote network and applications management to be white labeled by telecom operators aiming to get into the SMB market.

There are, of course, a few issues here. For one thing, Cisco’s much prized partner channel is filled with managed services providers (MSPs) that often serve SMBs. These smaller channel partners already struggle to compete with the likes of AT&T and other operators that have more money and resources. Will this make Cisco their competitor as well as their provider?

What’s more, Cisco is in the process of reorganizing its business in light of sagging financial performance and weak sales outlook. Part of this reorganization aimed to dump consumer-oriented businesses, including the Flip camera division and refocus on core networking technology innovation and sales. What’s to say moving into managed services will help with this reorganization?

Finally – and maybe most important to network engineers – when the largest and most successful networking vendor becomes a managed services provider, is this a sign that the cloud really will make your jobs obsolete?

We’ll stay tuned for details.


May 24, 2011  3:31 PM

Juniper’s switching revenue dives in 1Q11. Bounceback expected



Posted by: Shamus McGillicuddy
Dell'Oro, Juniper, Networking, switches

Juniper Networks’ EX switching business nosedived in the first quarter of 2011, so what does it mean? The people who run the numbers aren’t forecasting doom and gloom at all. However, they would like to see Juniper get more sales engineers out in the field.

Juniper’s switching revenue dropped by 23% and ports shipped dropped by 15% on a quarter-by-quarter basis from 4Q10 to 1Q11, according to networking market analysis firm dell’Oro. However, dell’Oro director Alan Weckel pointed out that sales were still up on a year over year basis (up 22% in revenue from 1Q10 and 51% in ports shipped). Also, the industry revenue as a whole sank by 12% in that same span of time.

Juniper competitors will point to the numbers and say juniper sank further to everyone else. Weckel says the numbers are not reflective of Juniper’s technology but of market timing and a challenge with sales execution.

“On the modular side they started shipping new 40-port line cars for the EX8200 in Q410,” Weckel said. “There was a lot of pent up demand for those line cards, and that bolstered the Q4 number and weakened the Q1 number.”

Weckel said Juniper’s QFabric announcement also caused a lot of uncertainty toward the end of last quarter, which affected sales a bit as customers tried to figure out how the EX line and the QFabric line would coexist.

Weckel said Juniper’s biggest challenge is growing off the current base of customers for its $100 million switching business. “To do that, you need to repeat $5 million deals on a regular basis. That’s fairly challenging,” he said.

Juniper’s biggest challenge right now is hiring enough sales engineers to keep its market momentum going, he said. “Their technology from a competitive landscape perspective is really quite good,” Weckel said. “It’s really more about execution. Their track record to get to $100 million was fairly impressive, so having a quarter breather, especially around QFabric, is not something to get too worried about. I’ll be looking closely at it to make sure it corrects in the next two quarters.”


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