The Lippis Report Analyses

A new issue of the Lippis Report is published approximately every two weeks. These reports contain not only links to the latest podcasts and industry white papers, case studies, and webinars, but also industry analysis from Nick Lippis, a world-reknowned authority on corporate computer networking, with over 15 years experience. Below you’ll find links to those analyses which are free to read and provide the opportunity for discussion as well.

Lippis Report 223: An Open Approach to Network Automation

nick_podium2Modern day networking is labor intensive. Configuration, monitoring and change management are manual processes for the most part. In fact, at the last Open Networking User Group (ONUG) this past Fall at Credit Suisse, most IT business leaders said that one network engineer supports approximately 120 networking devices such as a router, switch, etc. Compare this to 20,000 servers that a single engineer manages at a hyper scale firm and you can see that networking needs automation. Manual networks are not helping IT business leaders who are feeling pressure from business unit managers demanding self-service IT delivery on par with cloud providers such as Amazon, Azure, etc., but without the implied loss of security, visibility and control. Case in point: at ONUG in Boston hosted by Fidelity Investments, large financial service firms showed what happens when they offer business unit managers on-demand virtual machine (VM) creation and deletion; the trend lines showed exponential growth, demand and consumption!

Read the rest of this article »

Comments Off on Lippis Report 223: An Open Approach to Network Automation

Posted in Lippis Report

Lippis Report 222: Cisco Preps ACI for General Availability: What to Expect

nick_podium2One of the biggest networking events this August is the general availability of Cisco’s ACI or Application Centric Infrastructure. Cisco has been shipping its Nexus 9000 series of switches in what is called standalone mode, which is an ultra-fast data center Ethernet switch, since November 2013. Nexus 9000 orders tripled from 180 in Q3 to 580 at the end of Cisco’s fiscal fourth quarter. Cisco promised as part of the Nexus 9000 release that these switches can be deployed in what it calls “ACI fabric mode.” ACI fabric mode promises to reduce operational cost, increase agility and link applications to network infrastructure like never before. The manifestation of fabric mode is ACI, and it’s now entering general availability. In this Lippis Report Research Note we take a look at ACI from a point of view of what it can do for Data Center architects today.

Read the rest of this article »

Comments Off on Lippis Report 222: Cisco Preps ACI for General Availability: What to Expect

Posted in Lippis Report

Register with the Lippis Report and get instant, free access to thousands of industry white papers, case studies, presentations and podcasts.

Register Now. Existing User? Login.

Lippis Report 221: HP Invests Heavy in Unified Wired and Wireless Network Infrastructure

nick_podium2 Ever since the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007, mobile computing has never been the same. In just six short years, the smartphone industry is selling nearly 500 million devices a quarter, according to Gartner, and there will be 50 billion devices, including laptops, smartphones, iPads, tablets, non-IT devices, etc., connected to wireless networks by 2020. For the past several years, BYOD or Bring Your Own Device projects have been the largest budget spends for IT departments worldwide, thanks to each user connecting up to three devices on average with Wi-Fi being the preferred wireless network service. As mobility connectivity has been on the rise, wired connections to enterprise networks are still growing, albeit at a slower pace than prior to 2010. From a network design, operations and management perspective, these networks evolved at different paces and with separate management and operational models. The networking industry has been working to unify or converge wired and wireless management to ease operations, increase security and user experience. In particular, increasing complexity or operational cost is driving the need for unified wired and wireless, in addition to the increased use of Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud computing as a more flexible IT service delivery model. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review HP’s approach to unified wired and wireless networking.

Read the rest of this article »

Comments Off on Lippis Report 221: HP Invests Heavy in Unified Wired and Wireless Network Infrastructure

Posted in Lippis Report

Lippis Report 220: How Open Is Cisco’s ACI?

nick_podium2Cisco’s acquisition of Insieme Networks enables the next generation of data center automation led by Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and the Nexus 9000 family of switches, which is comprised of the Nexus 9300 series fixed switches and the Nexus 9500 series modular switches. In addition to offering rich programmability features, industry-leading layer 2 and layer 3 forwarding, and advanced behaviors, such as VxLAN routing, the Nexus 9000 switches run in a fabric mode commonly referred to as ACI. ACI is an architecture that enables the automated deployment of applications across the network using Application Network Profiles. These profiles use a common declarative policy language that automates network configuration. The policy creates an application dependency map that spans applications, compute, storage and networking across data center, campus and WAN to enable cross-functional application troubleshooting and performance optimization. Critical to expanding ACI is the new Opflex protocol that enables an open source community to leverage ACI for policy-based automation for all data center devices (more on this below). ACI delivers the complete ability to provision, manage and monitor applications in a fully automated workload creation world. This is the Holy Grail of IT as it enables business resiliency and lowers OpEx. But the two big questions that many have been asking are: “How open is ACI, and can I trust it?”

Read the rest of this article »

Comments Off on Lippis Report 220: How Open Is Cisco’s ACI?

Posted in Lippis Report

Lippis Report 219: What Is Happening to Open Networking?

nick_podium2It was so simple; the separation of network hardware from software through a protocol called OpenFlow would open up the networking industry by injecting innovation into a vertically integrated industry. Specialized network hardware, called routers and switches, would give way to low cost white box alternatives, built in Asia, that were centrally controlled by software running on x86 commodity hardware. The networking industry would split into three parts: those that sold data forwarding gear, controller software and network applications. Well, that was 2010, and the reality is that this model of Open Networking has not materialized in the enterprise market—perhaps in a few operator and hyperscale networks, but not the real markets: the enterprise and public sector environments. Open Networking has taken on a life of its own. Overlays or virtualized networking are coming into their own; white box solutions without OpenFlow are being piloted in the enterprise and deployed in select cloud providers and operator networks; Linux is being considered as a network operating system to enable automation and normalize management tools across compute, storage and networking. The wide area, and in particular, branch office networking is about to undergo a fundamental change, thanks to new open networking solutions entering the market that promise radically lower cost, centralized policy provisioning control and service enablement. Hardware appliances are under attack in both branch office and data centers as vendors start to offer network service virtualization or NSV. Open networking security, or the lack thereof, is now coming into focus as is the killer SDN application: IP storage. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we provide a snapshot of the fast-pace changes occurring in Open Networking.
Read the rest of this article »

Comments Off on Lippis Report 219: What Is Happening to Open Networking?

Posted in Lippis Report

Lippis Report 218: ONUG vs. OpenStack, Open Compute and ONF

Nick
A quick look at the board of directors of the Open Network User Group will make it obvious that ONUG is driven by some of the world’s biggest IT business leaders of networking technology. Leading financial, insurance, retail and logistics companies are all active members of ONUG. That alone sets it apart from the many other organizations with “open” in their name. In keeping with their goals, all ONUG events are intentionally kept to a manageable size so that members can meet their primary objective – which is to network other ONUG members.

Read the rest of this article »

Comments Off on Lippis Report 218: ONUG vs. OpenStack, Open Compute and ONF

Posted in Lippis Report

Lippis Report 217: It’s Network Service Virtualization in the Enterprise rather than Network Function Virtualization

NickDuring the October 2013 Open Networking User Group (ONUG) meeting, the ONUG community prioritized nine use cases based upon budget development and propensity to buy. The top three use cases were open branch office networking, open overlay or network virtualization, and integrating layer 4-7 network services to eliminate appliances into overlay networks. All ONUG use cases can be found here. Of particular note is the integrating L4-7 network services ONUG use case as its main focus is the elimination of hardware appliance, be it in the branch office and data center. A knee-jerk reaction to this use case was to define it as Network Function Virtualization or NFV. But these discussions ended with the realization that NFV will not work in the enterprise market. In this Lippis Report Research Note, I explain why and introduce the term “Network Service Virtualization.”

Read the rest of this article »

Lippis Report 216: Arista’s 7500E Breaks Multiple Test Records In Most Comprehensive Review of its Spine Switch

Get the White Paper

NickBack in August of 2013 we reviewed the Arista 7500E in Lippis Report Research Note 212. Nearly six months later the Arista 7500E is the most widely deployed spine switch of this new class of 288 40GbE modular switches. Over the past few months the Lippis Report with Ixia tested the 7500E for layer 2 and 3 unicast plus multicast performance, congestion management, demanding cloud traffic performance, power consumption, the ability for its VOQ buffers to be adjustable, if its 64-Way ECMP hash works as advertised and performance tested its 100GbE Line Card. If you’re building a cloud network, then you need to read this report first. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we deliver the most comprehensive test and review of Arista’s 7500E modular data center spine switch.

Read the rest of this article »

Lippis Report 215: Cisco’s Nexus 9000 Re-defines Software-Defined Networking

nicklippis.jpgIt was back in February of 2013, during the Open Networking User Group, or ONUG, hosted by Fidelity Investments in Boston, that one of its board members told me “We could wake up in the morning and Cisco will have an open networking solution that changes the industry.” Well, November 6th 2013 was that morning. Cisco acquired Insieme Networks and with it, addressed networking’s biggest complaints that have been voiced far and wide; that is, data center networking is too over-subscribed, ridged and not flexible to support on-demand workload creation and movement. These and other complaints are perhaps best articulated in an October 2010 blog by James Hamilton, VP and Distinguished Engineer on the Amazon Web Services Team, titled Data Center Networks Are In My Way. Since then Insieme’s engineering team has redefined networking, as we know it, manifested in a product portfolio that will not only change networking but the IT industry. There are multiple value propositions embedded in the new Cisco product line, which I’ll cover here in the Lippis Report over the next few quarters. But for this Lippis Report Research Note, we review the new Nexus 9000 series of data center switches, which Cisco promises is the most port dense and power efficient plus fastest packet forwarder and programmable data center modular switch in the industry. The Nexus 9000 series represents a familiar starting point on the journey toward a new era in software-defined networking.

Read the rest of this article »

Lippis Report 214: Open Networking Disrupts the Storage Market

nicklippis.jpgThe dialog over open networking often goes something like this: The networking market is fundamentally changing. The established networking vendors will realize lost market share and revenue if they don’t open up. Network switching will become commoditized and offshored to Asia. While these may be true statements, one unknown inter-related trend is evolving, and that’s open networking will disrupt the storage market. The Storage Area Networking, or SAN market, and in particular Fiber Channel, is costly and difficult to configure. Ethernet networking has evolved to the point where early adapters, cloud providers and hyperscale firms are starting to consider transporting storage traffic over the same Ethernet network as user traffic. While 10GbE and 40GbE switching possess the attributes to support storage, open networking’s automation and programmability are the final pieces to the architectural puzzle to enable fully converged data and storage networking. Over the past year, VCs have poured 10s of millions into new IP storage firms to take advantage of this shift in the storage market, including Ceph by Inktank, GlusterFS, Sheepdog, SwiftStack, Scality, Hedvig, Riak CS and others. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we explain the new open networking and storage market that’s emerging.

Read the rest of this article »

Lippis Report 213: We Are Entering Software-Defined Networking 2.0

nicklippis.jpgIt’s been a few years now that the industry has been working toward delivering a Software-Defined Networking market. The model that kicked off SDN was a Stanford definition that split the data and control plane, connecting them via a new standard protocol called OpenFlow. As OpenFlow was being standardized, the open networking movement entered other parts of the networking market, such as virtualized networking, visualization, programmable networking and white box networking. A broader new SDN 2.0 model is emerging that includes a wide range of use cases and technologies that promise to fundamentally change not just the networking industry, but the IT value chain and, in particular, the storage market. At ONUG, SDN 2.0 will be front and center as ONUG Board of Directors including  Bank of America, CitiGroup, Gap Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase, UBS, and other IT business thought leaders discuss how SDN 2.0 is impacting their IT infrastructure. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we provide a rough sketch of SDN 2.0. To get the full version, you need to come to ONUG!

Read the rest of this article »

Comments Off on Lippis Report 213: We Are Entering Software-Defined Networking 2.0

Posted in Lippis Report

Lippis Report 212: Arista Sets New Standard in Modular Data Center Switching with 7500E

nicklippis.jpg
The IT industry is at the beginning of two massively disruptive trends: cloud and mobile computing. Distributing computing tools or the ability for a small number of operational personnel to manage tens to hundreds of thousands of servers is one of the major scale forces driving cloud computing economics being leveraged by cloud providers and enterprise IT. In fact, the number of servers per rack has grown from 20 to 40 in 2010 to 60 to 80 in 2013; a trend that will only continue. Along with unparalleled server density increasing, application access via mobile devices is driving massive east-west and north-south data/traffic, thanks to content being distributed across many servers within cloud facilities. From a networking perspective, all this adds up to increased number of higher speed server connections into leaf or Top-of-Rack (ToR) switches and subsequent ToR-to-Core (spine) switch connections with the ability to support ever increasing “Brownian motion” type traffic patterns. High density and performance plus low latency demands are signaling the need for a new generation of 10/40/100 GbE modular switching in private and public cloud infrastructure plus high-end data centers. Enter Arista’s 7500E that’s designed to address the growing need for 10/40/100 GbE switching within demanding virtualized data center environments. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we dive into Arista’s 7500E as it’s a beacon of what’s to come from many other suppliers over the next 18 months.

Read the rest of this article »

Comments Off on Lippis Report 212: Arista Sets New Standard in Modular Data Center Switching with 7500E

Posted in Lippis Report

Lippis Report 211: Cisco’s Catalyst 6800 Adds another Ten Years to Catalyst 6500 Series

nicklippis.jpgBack in December of 2012, we published a research note titled “Why Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 Series Will Be Around in 2025.” While it was, and still is, a bold prediction, Cisco’s latest Catalyst introduction, the Catalyst 6800, provides yet another proof point that this prediction will be reality. Modular switches are big IT investments, with longevity assumed in the purchase. Cisco communicates longevity by continuing to invest in research and development, adding platform value with backward compatibility of previous investments to migrate forward—that is, no forklift upgrades and extracts maximum value from past purchases, delivering investment protection and trust. Cisco does this better than most and is rewarded for the design philosophy. Consider that the Catalyst 6500 is the most deployed campus backbone switch. Cisco’s investing hundreds of million of dollars on a Catalyst innovation roadmap with the 6800 being the latest result of this investment. In this Lippis Report Research Note, we review the Catalyst 6800 and reiterate that this Catalyst will be in operation well into 2025.
Read the rest of this article »

Comments Off on Lippis Report 211: Cisco’s Catalyst 6800 Adds another Ten Years to Catalyst 6500 Series

Posted in Lippis Report

Lippis Report 210: HP Networking Is Poised to Capitalize on the Software-Defined Networking Market Transition

nicklippis.jpgHP has been an industry leader when it comes to Software-Defined Networking (SDN) as it sees an opportunity to accelerate its growth in the networking market during a fundamental transition point. HP’s SDN strategy spans from the data center to campus and branch office networking. Its strategy includes solutions across all three layers of the SDN architecture, including the infrastructure, control and application layers.

HP’s SDN strategy is extended by inclusion of management as a critical element to enabling SDN adoption for greenfield and hybrid deployments. At the infrastructure layer, HP supports open programmable interfaces into its networking hardware portfolio. At the control layer, HP is releasing its Virtual Application Networks SDN controller in the second half of this year. At the application layer, HP has demonstrated and announced several compelling applications and use cases with real customer deployments. HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC) now also includes SDN management elements for each layer of the SDN architecture.

In this Lippis Report Research Note, we explore HP’s SDN strategy and offerings, and offer an approach to pilots and deployment.

Read the rest of this article »

Comments Off on Lippis Report 210: HP Networking Is Poised to Capitalize on the Software-Defined Networking Market Transition

Posted in Lippis Report