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Rethinking the Network

Michael Bushong

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Top Stories by Michael Bushong

It is no surprise to anyone that everything in IT these days is very cost conscious. It could be that your IT organization is run as a cost center, in which case the primary metrics all revolve around cost and schedule. Or it could be that IT is a direct part of your revenue stream, in which case you have to operate at scale, which involves getting a handle on costs. Whatever the model, you are very likely involved in more than one cost conversation today. This dynamic is not unique to networking. On the server side, we have already digested a few transitional changes that have structurally altered the cost curve for server procurement and management. Where we used to scale up individual servers at the expense of both CapEx and manual server administration, virtualization allowed us to abstract individual servers into a larger pool of compute resources.  This chang... (more)

Silicon: Merchant vs. Outsourced

If you talk to folks in the networking industry about switching hardware, you probably don't get more than a few sentences in before you hear the words merchant silicon, typically followed closely by commodity hardware. There is some confusion in the dialogue about these topics, and I think it stems from a lack of clarity around why this matters and how silicon development actually works. Let's start with why merchant silicon matters. When people talk about merchant silicon, most of the time they fail to really clearly specify what it is they want. There are basically two reasons... (more)

Short Ts

There's been a lot of hullaboo in the last few years about the current cycle of disruption in IT:  Public Cloud, Private Cloud, SDN, DevOps, Everything-as-a-Service… the list goes on and on and every vertical, every field, and every niche is feeling the churn.  Every day there is no shortage of opinions "for" and "against" something in tech that is emerging, in decline, or re-emerging.  There is one aspect to all of it though that is largely ignored:  "The Short 't'." Every System in Summary Figure 1. A summary of any given system. Let's have a look at Figure 1.  It represents a... (more)

Smartest-Person-in-the-Room Complex

A few weeks ago, I came across one of those LinkedIn stories that pop up in everyone’s feed. Basically, it was an advice column dedicated to answering a question from someone who asked if he should leave a company that made stupid decisions despite him telling everyone what the right answer was. The comments section of the article was particularly one-sided as everyone sided with this individual, suggesting that if the company’s leadership team had such big egos that they never listened, he ought to find somewhere else to work. I find this type of response maddening. There is ... (more)

Where the Puck Is Going: Analytics

Sports fan strategists like to throw around the famous Wayne Gretzky quote: I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. The corporate implications of the quote are self-evident: plot your strategic course to where you think the market is going. Setting your sights based primarily on the current State of the Union is a surefire way to get passed in high tech. So where is the puck going to be? The current dialogue is all about software-defined everything. A couple of years ago, it was all about OpenFlow. This year, the conversation broadened somewhat to include... (more)