Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

December 9, 2008  2:51 PM

Overheard: Cisco steering towards video

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
suraj-shetty.jpg Earlier performance-enhancing technologies, such as MPLS, helped support video as one of many applications. Now it’s time to address video as the main application.

Suraj Shetty, as quoted in Cisco, anticipating video tsunami, builds up network smarts

I’m keeping an eye on the Cisco Media Processing platform. The takeaway is that Cisco is taking another step to position themselves as the company that’s going to help network administrators handle video traffic better.

Cisco marketing is pushing the idea of “Medianet.” The idea is that an intelligent network will understand what format to convert the video and then the hardware will transcode the video so it can play on any device, including digital signage (another area Cisco has been positioning themselves as Number 1). Video transcoding converts the content into different formats so it can be viewed on different types of devices. It’s key to managing bandwidth and storage and it’s been a real brick wall for video.

The first product for Medianet is called the Cisco Media Experience Engine 3000, otherwise known as MXE. It’s expensive — $50k — and I’m not quite sure yet who the customer is. Cisco also introduced the Cisco Advanced Video Services Module (AVSM). It’s part of the Cisco ASR 9000 edge router. The literature says AVSM enables “terabytes of streaming capacity at the aggregation edge while simultaneously offering content caching, ad insertion, fast channel change and error correction.”

December 8, 2008  8:24 PM

Overheard: How does anomaly-based monitoring fit into tomorrow’s security picture?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
We knew that the volume of new attacks and the vectors used were only going to increase, so we chose to stay ahead of the curve with a behavioral analysis system. I believe behavior and anomaly-based solutions will be most effective long term.

Jamie Arnold, as quoted in SUNY’s Binghamton Monitors Network with Lancope’s StealthWatch


I spent part of the morning reading about anomaly-based network monitoring. In October, IBM announced that they would no longer sell the IBM Proventia Network Anomaly Detection System (ADS). Stealthwatch seems to be getting a lot of buzz, especially with college campuses whose biggest threats probably come from right inside the network.

December 8, 2008  7:12 PM

Overheard – Facebook Connect is like Beacon without the marketing sleeze

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
om_malik.jpg Facebook Connect, which was announced in May and is being rolled out this week, allows you to use your Facebook login to access Facebook’s partner web sites, then broadcast what you are doing on those sites to everyone on Facebook. It’s like Facebook Beacon — minus the marketing sleaziness.

Om Malik, Social Web’s Big Question: Federate or Aggregate?

Alex Howard did a great job summarizing some of the issues surrounding Facebook Connect. I’m watching to see how long CNET uses it as a way to register. Will they keep it — or quietly drop it?

December 5, 2008  6:13 PM

Overheard – Lean production and specialization are at odds

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
earll_murman.jpg The hierarchical and rigid structure [of the traditional organizational structure] results in extreme specialization of job functions and a large number of job classifications; it is incompatible with the team approach of lean production, in which workers perform many tasks and have few job classifications.

Earll M. Murman, Ph.D., From lean production to lean enterprise

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December 3, 2008  10:43 PM

Overheard – What does an Infiniband server switch look like?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Product manager Robert Stromer demos Cisco SFS 7000 Series InfiniBand server switches.

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Brock, from Saint Paul, MN shows off a new cluster from Penguin Computing – including the storage controller and the InfiniBand switch.

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December 3, 2008  1:42 PM

Overheard – Virtual port technology provides user with reliable wired-like experience

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
radio-wave.jpg With the introduction of virtual port technology, the common pooled resources of virtual cells can be partitioned into multiple virtual WLANs, with a unique WLAN for each user device; the dedicated virtual WLAN moves with the user as long as his device is connected to the wireless network.

Mirko Zorz, Meru Networks brings virtualization to wireless LANs

As with wired switches, the network has full control over the resources and services allocated to a given device. Because the device is “sandboxed” in its own virtual WLAN, the user has a highly reliable wired-like experience, with full access to appropriate resources yet protected from disruptions by other users’ network demands. When devices are partitioned into their own dedicated virtual WLANs, the network can control client behavior in ways that proprietary client driver extensions and AP radio management technologies cannot – without adding any client software. As with virtual cell technology, virtual port technology is fully based on IEEE 802.11 standards.

December 1, 2008  5:49 PM

Overheard – IBM takes a page from Apple when building Blue Business Platform

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
thomas_yung.jpg The model we tried to emulate in the project codenamed Blue Business Platform was to think just like the Apple iPod model — the iTunes Store (Smart Market), iPod (Smart Cube), and the iTunes desktop application (Smart Desk).

Thomas Yung, IBM Blue Business Platform morphs into IBM Smart Business

December 1, 2008  3:38 PM

Overheard – Who wants to be Obama’s National CTO?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
elizabeth_corcoran.jpg Silicon Valley is chattering about who will get tapped to be the nation’s first “chief technology officer” in the Obama administration. There’s no doubt the job will be a tough one but could offer one surprising perk: a quiet way to cash out of a stock portfolio and invest in, say, Treasury bonds, while significantly deferring any capital gains taxes.

Elizabeth Corcoran, Obama’s CTO: It’s Not About The Money

But the job that the Obama team has in mind seems to be less about setting a lofty vision statement for the government and more about orchestrating tactics to get different agencies to cooperate, share best practices and live up to the goal of creating a “more transparent” government.

December 1, 2008  2:51 PM

Overheard – Replacing Infiniband with 10GE

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
dan_tuchler.jpg Sure, it’s proven, and a lot of people use it. But like many proprietary technologies, it also has some unappealing characteristics. It demands specialized expertise. It’s not always as fast as advertised. It’s not completely reliable. It certainly doesn’t work and play well with others. Yes, we are talking about InfiniBand.

Dan Tuchler, Incoming: 10 Gigabit Ethernet for HPC

When it comes to reducing capital and operating expenses, one infrastructure is simply better than two — or more — and the HPC environment is no exception. High-performance computing clusters that use an InfiniBand interconnect also use Ethernet. Ethernet is necessary for user and storage connectivity, and for the management network that orchestrates the cluster. Replacing the InfiniBand interconnect with 10GE to create a single, all-inclusive infrastructure will cut hardware and power costs, and simplify manageability. And, that infrastructure combines high performance with low power needs and a sufficiently low latency for many HPC applications, making it an excellent fit for technical and budget requirements.

December 1, 2008  1:04 PM

Overheard – Data mining collective intelligence

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
thomas_malone.jpg For most of human history, people have lived in small tribes where everything they did was known by everyone they knew. In some sense we’re becoming a global village. Privacy may turn out to have become an anomaly.

Dr. Thomas W. Malone, as quoted in You’re Leaving a Digital Trail. What About Privacy?

This New York Times article is about a bunch of kids at MIT who are trading their “privacy” for a free smartphone. The article ends with this quote by Dr. Thomas Malone, the director of the M.I.T. Center for Collective Intelligence. He’s got a good point. I remember stories my grandmother told about kids listening in on her parent’s “party line” or how the small-town operator in our upstate New York town was such a gossip that if you had something confidential to share, you would NEVER use the telephone.

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