Networks Generation

Aug 21 2009   8:45AM GMT

Still Summer – Still Cloudy…

Steve Broadhead Steve Broadhead Profile: Steve Broadhead

Tags:
Cloud Computing
D-Link
jetNEXUS
ProCurve
Solarflare
Trend Micro
Wifi
WLAN
Zeus

It’s a very interesting scenario when you work for yourself and summer arrives.

People go on holiday. Which is very annoying when:

a) You’re trying to finalise dates for the next series of test projects and
b) You’re looking for news in the networking world to blog about.

Frankly, almost nothing has been announced in the world of networking since June. And anything that has been talked about has had the word “cloud” in it. Then we read an analyst report that says Enterprises are not up for the cloud. Well, I don’t think they’ve any choice, if the work I’m currently involved with or have lined up is anything to go by.

That and the increasingly wireless world. I note that BT is celebrating reaching the half-million point in terms of Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK. Given that its goal is to create a million, I wonder what the odds are on this happening and when? Will femtocell deployment produce WiFi replacement or just a coverage extension and therefore encourage more WiFi delivery?

Of course, if you can connect to anything anytime, that becomes irrelevant, so long as tariffing is flexibile and affordable. My current test project involves A N Other company wot provides session persistence across all types of connections from wired Ethernet to mobile data. The question is, as a subscriber to a mobile data service, if you had to pay extra to get this type of (admittedly very useful) always-on connectivity, which always includes some type of compression/acceleration as well, how much would you pay for the privilege? One of the key markets for this type of product is the operator itself so, unless it can generate revenue from its customers then there is no market.

Which brings us tidily back to the WiFi hotspot market. Let’s hope the next half-million deployment is more affordable and reliable than the first half-million… I should get a clue from visiting the US next month to carry out phase II testing on ProCurve’s acquisition last year of Colubris WLAN technology. This is the first I’ve seen which is really geared towards hotspot (rather than Enterprise) type delivery, so it’ll be great to put it through its RFC2544 paces.

Meantime, I’m checking out if the Cloud works as a means of providing the level of update speed required for AV and related security defences by taking a look at Trend Micro’s Smart Protection Network as part of its OfficeScan product. Rather than using a classic stored signature database, the Trend uses “the Cloud” for all its updating. Should definitely be a better approach but let’s find out.

Then there’s load-balancing in the cloud, c/o Zeus and load-balancing on a USB Memory stick c/o jetNEXUS. The latter is a really cool idea I’ll be putting to the test in the next couple of weeks: take an old server, add someone who’s fairly clueless technically but wants to get some use out of their old gear and maximise performance on their new servers and give them a memory stick with a simply instruction – plug it in!  Meantime, on the Zeus front I guess we’ll be looking at taking traffic management in the virtual world as close to 20Gbps performance as possible – a far cry from what VMware was capable of not that long ago… A similar project is in the pipeline with another old client of mine Solarflare. 20Gig of virtualness via a single NIC/Server combination….

I wonder if anyone will ever ask me to test an Ethernet switch again? D-Link where are you?

Well, I didn’t get a holiday this summer and it doesn’t look like I’m going to get one this autumn either. Don’t get out the violins, instead check out the www.broadband-testing.co.uk website where there’s plenty of new material, including the mobile phone/data testing stuff and lots more to come in the following weeks as you can tell. Oh, and here in Andorra, I have been able to accompany the excellent weather with totally gluggable rosado wine at precisely 1€ a bottle…

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