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Will Software Defined Networking Actually Happen?

As a writer for the IT media, conference speaker, and co-host of the Packet Pushers podcast, I cover emerging networking technologies often. The new tech that comes across my screen ranges in value from “I can’t believe that got funded,” to “Why has no one thought of this before?” and everything in between. As a big idea, software defined networking (SDN) seems to generate about that same range of responses from network engineers. Some networkers think that SDN is an extraordinary technology that’s going to change the world of IT. Others see SDN as yet another in a long string of quirky networking ideas that never gained acceptance. In fact, as I’ve read responses to my SDN-related content over the last few years, I believe that more folks are in that latter camp. SDN is a fad. SDN is a buzzword. SDN will go nowhere useful. SDN will eventually fail to have a universal impact.

I understand the cynicism. After all, for a long time, networking had lapsed in an innovation coma, with nothing especially exciting coming along to really shake things up. Yes, Ethernet’s gotten faster. And that BYOD thing got everyone excited a couple of years ago. But for the most part, we design, build, and operate networks the same way today that we did fifteen or more years ago. The core underlying protocols have grown up or had new knobs and levers added, but generally speaking, if a networker of the past fell out of a time warp and into a design project today, it wouldn’t take them too terribly long to catch up. Read More »

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The Art of Ambassador Programs: 5 tips from a geek

July 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm PST

Cisco Nexus 9516 SwitchAll right I confess I’m not that kind of geek. I admire and work with many IT engineers, but if you need me to configure a Nexus switch you’ll be out of luck. I am a geek though, and I know about building successful B2B and B2C Ambassador Programs.

Before I start sharing my 2 cents, let’s take a look at what I mean by Ambassador Programs. Below are three major types. This is a simplified scenario but these large buckets help clarify.

Ambassador Program Types

1. Cast of Thousands: this type of program focuses on amplifying large volumes of content externally. Membership is open to anyone who registers, and includes automated content delivery, gamification, and tracking, where participants are rewarded for their actions in real time. Actions include low-hurdle social media tasks like sharing existing content to social media networks, rating a product, or entering a contest, but can also offer more challenging projects like writing a review, helping users solve problems, and communicating with potential customers. Ideally, ambassadors’ actions are integrated with a CRM platform in order to track ROI. Top participants are identified and nurtured, and in some cases transitioned into the second type of program (below). Read More »

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The Internet of Everything: An Opportunistic View from the Clouds

The Internet of Everything (IoE) describes machine-to-machine (M2M) compute entities that track and measure real-time data that can be used to build out a data history for analytics that could be used to optimize the quality of life. The opportunity is represented by devices used in a person’s everyday life that are connected to the Internet, have the ability to learn a person’s consumption behavior, and embody the goal to improve the efficacy of services and goods delivery and consumption. Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers says that the Internet of Everything could be a $19 trillion opportunity. 1 Read More »

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Technology Behind the Surface

What do Walt Disney World, The Matrix, and Big Ben have in common?  On the surface they do not share much.  Each of these is special because everything that makes them tick, pun intended, are hidden from view of the consumers.  We all intuitively know there is a great deal of complexity behind the scenes, but it is intentionally hidden from the users.  This is the behavior consumers of cloud-based services also expect, even in the datacenter.

Today vendors are working hard to make their products and services more consumable in a nearly seamless fashion.  They are accomplishing this by adding abstract control layers, open APIs with robust development kits, and enabling cross platform integrations.  The recognition is that in today’s virtualized datacenter and the Internet of everything no technology is an island any longer.  Efforts have to be made to make interoperability a priority in order to provide the polished experience that consumers have grown to expect.  The question being answered is ‘Why doesn’t X communicate with Y?’ Read More »

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Decoding UCS Invicta – Part 2

Solid State Drives (SSD) 101

In part one of this series we covered the internals of HDDs and some basic techniques manufacturers use to increase performance. In part two we are going into a deep dive of Solid State Drives (SSD), how they work, and some caveats.

Solid State Drives (SSD)

The solid-state drives (SSDs) have a simple unit where one or more bits are stored: the “NAND Flash Cell”. So, this should be easy! Right! Lets see.

The SSDs are constructed like a Lego where the smaller piece is the “Flash Cell”. We aggregate multiple “Flash Cells” into a “4KB Page”. The amount of “Flash Cells” in a “Page” depends on the amount of bits the “Flash Cell” can manage. Now, here is the first caveat, a “Page” is the minimum writable unit in SSD. Even if you need to write a single bit, you would have to write an entire “4KB Page”.

We take “Pages” and group them into “512KB Blocks”. Here comes the second caveat, “Blocks” are the minimum erasable unit in SSD.

This causes a phenomenon known as the “write amplification” effect in SSD. If you need to erase a single bit, you need to modify and entire “Page” (the minimum writable unit), but you can only erase a “Block”. The drive needs to read the “128 Pages” that made the “Block”. Next it erases the “Block”, then write back the 127 unmodified “Pages” plus the 1 modified “Page”. Read More »

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