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New Tumblr Log

I don’t post much here, but I have been collecting interesting quotes of note that I come across on my new site: Abner’s Net Net. Mostly IP networking, with a little business and unified comms thrown in for good measure.

Posted in Admin.


Farewell IDC, Hello Juniper

I’m going to Juniper Networks. After two tours of duty and a total time of 10 years at IDC, the time has come for me to bundle up what I’ve learned and apply it. I’m not going to say much about what I’ll be doing at Juniper, but rather take this opportunity to say thanks to my colleagues and clients at IDC.

I owe Lee Doyle and Cindy Borovick huge debts of gratitude for their guidance, friendship, and butt kicking. Lee is one of the few analyst managers who doesn’t consider himself an expert just because an analyst who works for him covers a topic. He understands the intersection of telecommunications and IT in a way few others can compare. Cindy has one of the best BS filters I’ve ever seen. I’ll miss her “…that’s a good point, but I don’t think so because…[insert much better point here]” Those of you in compute and storage would be wise to raise her stature in your counsel.

The list of IDCers with whom I have shared many wins and a few losses is long and global. I learned a ton from all of you. Please don’t be strangers when you come to Silicon Valley.

My IDC’s Enterprise Communications Infrastructure practice is in good hands. Petr Jirovsky has been a joy to work with. His models and data products are world class. For those of you working with Petr, I implore you to listen closely. He speaks softly, and carries large sticks. Clients will see more of what Petr has created over the next year and it rocks. Jonathan Edwards has been coming up to speed quickly on telepresence and the future of real-time communications and collaboration. Keep an eye on him, he’s becoming an influential fellow.

If you are interested in my replacement, keep an eye on Lee Doyle’s twitter stream. If you are interested in *being* my replacement, let me know.

To my clients:
Thank you for all the questions and for all of your nuanced, spun, and honest answers to my questions. I’ve enjoyed incredible access to your smartest engineers, executives, customers, and investors. I will miss that access as it has been a fun and rewarding ride. I’m proud to count many of you as friends, mentors, and now some of you will become my sworn enemies whom I will crush… but I digress.

To those who provided me with career guidance over the last several months – a big thank you, you know who you are.

FAQ:

Are you moving to Silicon Valley?

Yes. We’re moving to Silicon Valley. If you’re connected to me on Facebook, you’ll see more on that front there.

Why network infrastructure instead of unified communications?

I almost went the UC route. I’ve had a blast investigating UC and telepresence. Unified Comms and collaboration is a fragmented gong show of a market and I’ll continue to keep tabs on it. My UC knowledge certainly won’t go unused. In the meantime, network infrastructure is getting interesting again. Over the next few years, CIOs will have to decide how deeply they want collaboration applications and compute/storage resources intertwined with the network while HP/3Com will create a new pricing environment and the adoption of IT architectures in building network devices shifts the way we think about the value of the network.

I was lucky enough to be able to choose from multiple sets of brilliant people and companies. In the end, the Juniper job was the best fit for me right now.

Why Juniper?

Networks from Juniper deliver video, clouds, voice, branch applications, etc easier, cheaper, and faster than the other guys. Juniper has phenomenal technology, great customers, and a growing set of offerings for the enterprise. All the major components are on the table and leading customers are more receptive to investigating alternative network suppliers than any other time in the last decade. While I think I have a good handle on Juniper’s SWOT, if there are things you think I should know about Juniper, for better or worse I’m all ears. Always.

We told you about our uber secret widget strategy recently…

This is not the first job offer I’ve had while working as an analyst at IDC. I’ve had a number of soft offers over the years and two other times where discussions advanced beyond the beverage in hand stage. While you are discussing changing your life on one front you have to continue to do your job on another. I’ve always honored NDAs and that continues.

You recently gave us a bunch of advice on our networking strategy… how much was it tainted by this?

It wasn’t. Juniper as an option for many has grown with additions to their product line and other investments that serve enterprise customers. My advice to consider them as a vendor has grown at a similar pace. I have a long history of promoting dual vendor networks to mitigate security vulnerabilities and to ensure a standards based network that does not force unwarranted refreshes, support contracts, or dependence on proprietary protocols that could get stranded. This move doesn’t change those longstanding tenants. (Unless of course you are talking about a Juniper only network :-)

I’m one of your former analyst colleagues, will you ply me with alcohol and fancy dinners?

You?!? No way.

Posted in Admin.


Control the client vs control the traffic – the iPhone points to an expensive inflection point

Client issues still plague enterprise WLANs and a host of other network problems. Client devices are wonky, built on razor thin margins, and can proliferate widely with few controls. IDC’s VP of Security research, Chris Christiansen calls this problem “managing the unmanageble.”

The ability for a network owner of any sort to control a client is on a long downhill slide. (Play tape of explosion in the Internet of Things, BYO PCs, etc) Fortunately, the ability for a network owner to monitor, shape, and control the traffic on the network is rising as the cost of cracking a packet declines. The problem is we won’t get there fast enough – especially at the edge of the network.

As evidenced by the outrage in this Techcrunch post on Apple and AT&T’s struggles handling the incredible traffic generated by iPhones, we are currently facing a bit of a nasty inflection point. Devices are now officially too hard to control, while it is still too expensive to apply the level of intelligence in the network needed to let go.

Your thoughts?

* Hacking the iPhone has a long history and while I was the first to point out it was an issue (horn toot), I’m wondering if any iPhone app developers have been asked to change their app based on the type of and volume of network traffic the app generates. Bueller?

Posted in IDC, Networks.

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My take on the John Chambers Keynote at Cisco Live

Posted in Admin.


Twitter Application IP and Domain Names for Sale

I’ve been  kicking around an idea for a twitter application for a while – based on some of the occasional gold nuggets that fall out of twitter and my inability to capture or share them. I went as far as buying a ruby on rails book to determine the difficulty of what I wanted to do, talking to a couple of developers, and buying up domain names connected to the endeavor. Problem is, I have a job that I’d like to keep and no time to either seek out a developer or attempt to do it myself. So, if you fit one of the following profiles, I’d love to hear from you:

1. You would like to buy the domain names and twitter IDs outright.

2. You think you can develop my app given investment and guidance from me.

3. You have a twitter related application company looking for a revenue source and you’re open to a combination of 1 & 2

The domain names:

BLOGATWITTER.COM

TWEETFORWARD.COM

BLOGATWEET.COM

BLOGA.TW

FLLW.TW

FOLLOWTHATWEET.COM

FOLLOWTHATTWEET.COM

What skills do you need to develop this app?

1. Mad RSS parsing skills – as in consuming and manipulating, not producing.
2. Knowledge of how to build an app that scales REALLY BIG while using minimal bandwidth and compute.
3. Intimacy with the Twitter API and well as the ability to produce an API that can be easily consumed by twitter clients.
4. There are a few other bits that are relevant, but if you can deal with the above, we’re probably good.

Posted in UC & Collaboration.

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Are Web-managed switches a standalone market?

Background:

IDC tracks Ethernet switches form factors by modular/chassis, managed fixed configuration and stackable, and unmanaged switches for 18 vendors.  A little more than a year ago, a vendor came to us and asked if we could break “web managed” switches out of our existing segmentation. We determined at that time that web managed switches consisted of switches we were currently counting in both our managed and unmanaged segments. We then proceeded to speak to all the other vendors of web-managed switches, a number of merchant silicon vendors, and several direct marketing / resellers who sell lots of low-end network gear.  At the end of this process we determined we could estimate the size [a] and market share of the web-managed switch market. However, the most significant definitional difference we could identify between managed switches and web-managed switches was the inclusion or lack of, respectively, a console port on the switch.

Today:

We noticed one of our competitors is now tracking the web-managed switch market. So what say you makers, sellers, and buyers of web managed switches. Is this a market with defined competitive or logical boundaries or one that will take over the unmanaged switch market for reasons we couldn’t identify? Did we make the right call?

Considerations:

When making changes to either taxonomy or adding quarterly segments we ask at least following questions:

1. Is the new segment a subset of an existing segment or an entirely new market?

2. Will this new segment last for some time or is it just a feature that will be absorbed into existing market segments in less than 5 years?

3. Does this feature or function fundamentally solve a problem existing products can’t solve? Bonus if is a disruptive force in the market.

What kinds of comments are looking for?

1. We’re wrong about the console port thing, there are other aspects of a web-managed switch that set them apart.

2. Examples of technical or political dynamics  facing web managed switches that will either cause web management functionality to stay constrained to a limited number of switches or proliferate to a wide(r) number of switches.

What we’ve said in the past and our current position:

The problem lies in how to properly define web managed switches vs. the unmanaged switches on one side and the managed switches on the other in order to enable meaningful vendor to vendor comparisons.  It is nearly impossible to put web managed switches in 1 category only. On one side we have HP ProCurve’s web managed switches which have no CLI, no SNMP, no other management protocol, just an HP web manager. HP considers these unmanaged, and always reported these as such. These switches also follow the original idea behind creating web managed switches – having a product with unmanaged-like (read low) ASP with a little bit of management functionality. HP sells 1M+ ports of these switches each quarter, a fairly substantial number. On the other side stands Netgear whose web managed switches include majority of existing management protocols, their ASPs are in some cases even higher than Netgear’s regular managed switches and now Netgear even sells Layer 3 models. The lack of CLI is the only feature that Netgear uses to determine whether or not the model is web managed or not. These switches have all characteristics of managed switches and comparing these to HP’s web managed switches would be misleading. Other vendors fall somewhere between HP and Netgear. Interestingly though, 3Com’s Baseline Plus SFP we managed switch models even support CLI, so that is not a fool-proof distinction either.

Bottom line update:

While we are glad to size and even forecast spending on switches with this feature, we have deemed that publishing market share based on this feature does not represent a fair view of the market.

If you can’t comment, but you made it this far, please at least register your feed back in the poll. Thanks!

Petr Jirovský contributed heavily to this post.

Side note: Consider this an experiment that while isn’t offical IDC business is obviously heavily connected to what we do.

Posted in IDC, Networks.

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It’s alive!

I had to fight a little bit, but after 12 months of no posts, I finally upgraded from a broken Movable Type 2.6 install to WordPress 2.7. While I’ve advanced a mere .1 on the version number, the last seven years have been kind to the blog software world. WOW. What a difference. It looks like it will take a bit to clear up the mess as comments are still a little whacked, but the heavy lifting is officially over. Since I didn’t have to install my own SQL server or muck around with 50 different config settings, getting a blog up and running certainly does not feel like the geeky endeavor it was in 2002. Thank you WordPress Gods.

If you’re interested for some reason:

Posted in Admin.


Now shorter, but more often…

Due to a change by my hosting provider, this site is officially broken for the time being. If you are interested in following what I have to say, I’m semi-active on Twitter. So come on over and join the fun. Hopefully I’ll be able to get this site back up and running sometime soon as it has been a fun, if inconsistent 6 years.

Posted in Admin.


When Technology Fails, Try Process: iPhone instore activation

Since the iPhone OS wasn’t up to the task of thwarting the haxor community, Apple is taking (being forced by AT&T?) the step of forcing customers to activate AT&T service at purchase.

Given the length of time it took to unlock the iPhone I (3 months) it appears Apple did a decent job attempting to secure the iPhone SIM. Despite that, someone at either Apple or AT&T is convinced they lost out on revenue from iPhones that were purchased and then unlocked and used on other carriers or even as wifi only devices.

Posted in Security Trends.

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Revision3 vs. MediaDefender

As entire businesses migrate online, what happens if they start attacking each other?

Here is Jim Louderback’s postmortem on the attack that took his company down over Memorial Day weekend. And more from Arstechnica

I think we’ll need some more lawyers who can understand tcpdump packet data.

Posted in Security Trends.

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