The Network Hub

April 28, 2009  4:08 PM

Juniper and IBM reaffirm alliance in wake of Brocade deal

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

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.

April 23, 2009  5:51 PM

Cisco puts the cloud computing on edge router blade

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

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.

April 23, 2009  4:29 PM

Broadcom takeover bid for Emulex about converged Ethernet?

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

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.”

April 9, 2009  5:55 PM

Network games galore, but who has time to play?

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

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:

Have any more games to add to the list? E -mail me or leave a comment below!

April 6, 2009  3:50 PM

D-Link offers lifetime warranties on switches

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

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.

April 3, 2009  6:41 PM

Cisco certification product giveaway winners

Tessa Parmenter Tessa Parmenter Profile: Tessa Parmenter

Congratulations to our Cisco certification product giveaway winners:

  • Sailingswede
  • Kuroiinu
  • ITM
  • Jimbarino
  • Mukul
  • Smasiello
  • Maji
  • Indytex1
  • Criggl001
  • B3nny0

And thank you all for participating! You may have noticed that two extra winners made the list. This was because’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:

Dear contestants,

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.

Best wishes,
Ed Tittel

April 1, 2009  4:16 PM

What is Brocade doing at VoiceCon?

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

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.

March 30, 2009  8:18 PM

Conficker worm to strike April 1

Tessa Parmenter Tessa Parmenter Profile: Tessa Parmenter

Although Microsoft Conficker/Downadup infections were not a major threat a couple months ago, sources ranging from Brink to The New York Times (Computer Experts Unite to Hunt Worm) say that on April 1, 2009, the worm will be  programmed to run a mystery doomsday attack.

For those unfamiliar with the threat, it has been considered the biggest botnet ever. According to Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center, on March 4, 2009, a peer-to-peer (P2P) mechanism has been added to the latest iteration of the worm — making this the fourth evolution (Conficker A/B/C and now D) since October of 2008.

No one knows exactly what the worm will do on April Fool’s Day, as much Conficker disaster speculation abounds. While some guess it will bring down the Internet, such a feat would run contrary to the very nature of botnets. A network of viral computers usually send out spam — swindling victims out of money. If the Internet were down, whoever started the threat wouldn’t make money. However, using the zombie computers to ping a site at the same time to create a denial of service (DoS) attack would be much more likely. This would enable the creator to steal confidential corporate data (Source: ABC news “Conficker Computer Worm Threatens Chaos“).

The good news is that if you haven’t been infected by Conficker already, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t. Computers on your network that have legal licenses of Windows and up-to-date anti-virus software won’t be subjected to the threat (Conficker, Downadup worm hype?). Take contributor Eric Ogdren’s Microsoft Conficker worm offers attack prevention lesson if you’re worried.

If you’re still worried, let’s just hope then that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN)-bird gets the worm.

March 20, 2009  8:04 PM

Cisco certification product giveaway

Tessa Parmenter Tessa Parmenter Profile: Tessa Parmenter
Software Download

In light of Cisco’s Unified Computing announcement — and to coincide with the wrap-up of IT career and training expert Ed Tittel’s Cisco Press giveaway, we thought now would be the perfect time to run yet another Cisco certification contest. In the event you missed Ed’s contest, there is still time (until April 1) to redeem yourself. CCNA Secuirty 640-553 Cert Flash Cards Online

As it is the first day of spring, would love to spring for your certification training material to help you in these tough economic times.

What type of material, you ask?

Six CCENT 640-822 Network Simulators

Two CCNA Security 640-553 Cert Flash Cards Online

Since these network simulators and flashcards are online, this means we can finally open up our contest to members outside of the United States!

As IT Career JumpStart blogger, Ed Tittel, writes In today’s job market, prospective employers want it all:

An abundance of candidates to choose from means that employers can become extremely selective about whom they’ll bring on board to fill open positions…That means advanced degrees, serious certifications, and lots of direct relevant experience are what it takes to get through the door and on board these days.

If you find yourself lacking in any of these areas, now’s the time to go to school, keep working (or volunteering if you don’t have work), and start adding certifications to your resume. And we would like to do everything in our power to aid you with the certification process.

If you can follow these two steps, you can qualify to win the Cisco certification product of your choosing.

Contest Details:

First: Post to our blog (by clicking on the “comment” link at the bottom of this post) with responses to the following 5 questions:

  1. What is your job title (if you are a student or not working just write “full-time student” or “unemployed”)?
  2. If applicable, what type of business do you work for?
  3. What TechTarget websites do you use?
  4. What do you use that site for?
  5. What are your biggest work-related challenges?

Second: After you post your entry, send us an email so that we can contact you if you win. Make sure to include:

  1. Your blog comment username
  2. Your exam of interest (either the 640-822 or 640-553, but not both, please)

We’re giving you until midnight of April 1 to respond. Contest winners will be chosen by Ed Tittel who will guest post for us on April 2 with the contest results.

Good luck to all, and thanks for participating!

March 20, 2009  7:52 PM

10 Gigabit and 40 Gigabit Ethernet market passes $10 billion mark.

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

The pipes are getting bigger and bigger. This afternoon Infonetics Research published a new report claiming that the market for 10 Gigabit and 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) grew by 47% in 2008 to $10.8 billion. These numbers include optical transport technology and shipments to both enterprises and service providers. Most of those port shipments were 10 GbE, the firm said, but 40 GbE port shipments nearly tripled in 2008.

Matthias Machowinski, Infonetics’ directing analyst for Ethernet voice and data, said that 10 GbE port shipments in particular are driving overall growth in the Ethernet market. Enterprises are pushing to bring 1 GbE connections to desktops, which requires 10 GbE uplinks to the network edge. Because of this trend, 10 GbE port shipments grew by 78% last year, compared to overall Ethernet market growth of 2%.

The first pre-standard 100 GbE port shipments are expected to begin in late 2009. I’m already starting to hear from a few vendors about how they’re going to position themselves for that.

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