Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Network Field Day 25 May 12-14, 2021 - A Changing Networking Landscape

Here we go, Network Field Day 25 (NFD25) is May 12-14, 2021. It is a good line up of presenters and delegates so check out the full event schedule at the NFD25 website. First point, I thinks this NFD shows the changing networking landscape. Yes, some big network brands are still the focus but it is interesting seeing the list of presenters. What previously were second or third options for many companies are being first or second. Second point, the influence of a larger single vendor is slowing changing and the ecosystem is changing with it. I'm exciting to hear what all these sponsors have to say. Below I have some quick thoughts on some of the companies that I know something about.

Aruba/HPE - Just keeping up with all the changes and improvements Aruba has been doing can be tough now. They have built an impressive networking business around the Aruba product family and I believe they are a serious network vendor that enterprises should be evaluating. I'm looking forward to hearing what updates and product innovations they might have to share.

Juniper - It is going to be interesting to see if Juniper can make the sort of inroads that Aruba did in the Enterprise networking space. With Mist, they have a real chance and expanding their campus networking solutions seems to be a big goal for the company. I think their challenge is winning back trust after really stepping away from that market to focus on their core routing platforms. I'm pretty sure there will be a lot of talk around AI/ML.

Nokia - I have been hearing positive things around Nokia's networking products for a long time. I unfortunately haven't had the opportunity to actually work on and use their gear. I am hoping Nokia is out to change that and perhaps provide easier ways for those of us who aren't as familiar with their products to have the opportunity to learn more and perhaps see some good demos and use cases where they really shine.

Obviously, I will be asking each company their IPv6 plans, capabilities, use cases and such. I think there is a lot more weight to the question this NFD because of the White House OMB Memo M-21-07. Federal agencies need to put a focus on getting IPv6 deployed, and products that don't support IPv6 are going to have issues. So I won't be satisfied with some of the dismissive answers of the past like "our customers aren't asking for it" or "it is on our 3 year roadmap" or "we have IPv6 support, but I'm not familiar with it, can we get back to you?" Those presenting should know and understand IPv6 at this point, and it is NOT my job to explain it to you, justify why it is needed, or what the market for it is, seriously, that ship has sailed. We are in the early majority stage for IPv6 adoption and it will only accelerate from here.

If you are at all into networking then I encourage you to follow along live for the events on the Tech Field Day website or keep up with the activity via twitter by following the hashtag #NFD25. 

- Ed

In a spirit of fairness (and also because it is legally required by the FTC), I am posting this Disclosure Statement. It is intended to alert readers to funding or gifts that might influence my writing. My participation in Tech Field Day events was voluntary and I was invited to participate in NFD25. Tech Field Day is hosted by Gestalt IT and my hotel, transportation, food and beverage was/is paid for by Gestalt IT for the duration of the event, if travel was involved. In addition, small swag gifts or donations were/are provided by some of the sponsors of the event to delegates. It should be noted that there was/is no requirement to produce content about the sponsors and any content produced does not require review or editing by Gestalt IT or the sponsors of the event.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Security Field Day 4 - Cisco Security Update - Tetration all the things

This time around Security Field Day 4 was all about Cisco Tetration. It seems they are focusing on how to solve security policy creation and management via big data and machine learning.

Rob Tappenden did the overview of Tetration, giving the background about why the product is around and why it is important. The goal is securing application workloads across on-premises Data Centers, Campus ang Cloud. It ingests IP data and is able to make policy enforcement decisions based on that data set, which is collected and analyzed over time. Tetration is doing data correlation and pattern matching to help define policies and also to determine if an application is currently matching an existing policy already defined.


Here is Rob's video:



Tim Garner then walked through the details around the policy process and operations of how Tetration does what it does. It was an interesting demo to watch, mainly because I have not had the chance to be hands on with Tetration at all myself. You can learn a lot about how a product functions by watching others use it. Tetration leverages both an agent and also flow data. The combination is likely the approach many with take as it gives the most complete view of the network. The demo had systems running in AWS with the agent installed, therefore exposing all the IP and network connectivity. The agent is able to do policy enforcement based off what you publish through Tetration and it is possible to run a simulation of your policy to see the impact prior to deploying it.





Here is Tim's video:


Then a more developer focused presentation was given by Remi Philippe, walking through a standard CI/CD workflow using Github and Jenkins to show how a developer would integrate and use/interact with Tetration. It was useful to see, but I am skeptical how many companies have operational team that are adopting Tetration and teaming with their developers in this way. I'm sure they are out there, but I am guessing that the majority of application developers are for more interesting in APM solutions like AppDynamics (owned by Cisco), New Relic, DataDog or Dynatrace than accommodating the operations team around Tetration. Because APM is code integrated and has an agent, I am doubting the desire of the app teams to run multiple agents on a host. The moment something goes wrong in an environment, the first thing that is turned off is security policy, firewalls and anything that might prevent the application to talk on the wire to each other. If that fixes it, then that agent or process isn't turned back on again.

Here is Remi's video:


I believe, over the long term, Tetration has to be integrated with AppDynamics and ThousandEyes (owned by Cisco) and have a single agent able to provide data to all those services. It also needs to support third party APMs because not all teams chose the same tooling and Cisco needs to open up there ecosystem to support that. I'm not sure that Tetration really isn't just the big data part (with a security angle) that all the APM providers already include as part of their product and that Cisco, over the long haul with have to reposition the produce around that story. I am speculating that it is a feature of a bigger product family over time. Only time will tell.

I will update the post when the video becomes available but you should be able to find them here when they post. You can also check out some of the other delegate's thoughts on the presentation such as Michael Davis, go check out his thoughts.

- Ed

In a spirit of fairness (and also because it is legally required by the FTC), I am posting this Disclosure Statement. It is intended to alert readers to funding or gifts that might influence my writing. My participation in Tech Field Day events was voluntary and I was invited to participate in XFD4. Tech Field Day is hosted by Gestalt IT and my hotel, transportation, food and beverage was/is paid for by Gestalt IT for the duration of the event if travel was involved. In addition, sometimes small swag gifts were/are provided by some of the sponsors of the event to delegates. It should be noted that there was/is no requirement to produce content about the sponsors and any content produced does not require review or editing by Gestalt IT or the sponsors of the event.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Security Field Day 4 - A quick virtual hit of security

It has been awhile since I paid close attention to what is going on in the security space so I am excited to catch a few sessions with the Tech Field Day team for their Security Field Day 4 event happening tomorrow, Oct 21 virtually. You can catch everything live tomorrow and ask questions via twitter, just use the hashtag #XFD4 and cc: @techfieldday so those who are participating can ask your question live to the presenters.

Looks like the day will be with Cisco, and I think they need to impress, there are a lot of security companies out there with fantastic brands and products, this is a tough market. I hope they bring out the ThousandEyes team to talk about integration with AppDynamics to elevate Application level security and end to end monitoring and telemetry. I guess we will see what they have to say shortly!

Join me - you can hit the main website at https://techfieldday.com/ to watch live, it is 11-12 and 1-3pm PDT.

- Ed

In a spirit of fairness (and also because it is legally required by the FTC), I am posting this Disclosure Statement. It is intended to alert readers to funding or gifts that might influence my writing. My participation in Tech Field Day events was voluntary and I was invited to participate in XFD4. Tech Field Day is hosted by Gestalt IT and my hotel, transportation, food and beverage was/is paid for by Gestalt IT for the duration of the event if travel was involved. In addition, sometimes small swag gifts were/are provided by some of the sponsors of the event to delegates. It should be noted that there was/is no requirement to produce content about the sponsors and any content produced does not require review or editing by Gestalt IT or the sponsors of the event.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Cloud Field Day 7 - VMware Cloud on AWS

For those who are traditional VMware enterprise customers you are likely comfortable with their products and technologies and rely on it daily to help keep your company up and running in a highly available configuration. Adoption of public cloud, that is a different story for many. If you have not been keeping up with the innovations and use cases around public cloud you might be caught off guard by the adoption and scale that it is providing to many enterprise customers, some of them might even be your competitors. VMware recognized this gap and decided to brave the waters by partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to make VMware Cloud on AWS. For anyone who has followed the public cloud market, you will be familiar with how daunting that can be for a well established enterprise software company like VMware. A lot of other software companies have tried and failed to move their solutions and buying patterns to a public cloud model.

Remarkably, I think VMware pulled it off. At least for now. They released a solution to help customers run workload in AWS and take advantage of their existing investment in VMware. They extended that to the scale and flexibility that AWS provides while also providing native hooks and features from AWS that extend what an enterprise can leverage from both VMware and AWS. Granted, it is not like going all in native AWS, but, for many companies that effort is incredibly daunting and likely too large an undertaking for any one team. A major workload migration of applications and services for many companies requires multiple projects and years to complete.

VMware is helping address this gap by allowing enterprises to migrate workloads into AWS but still leave them in their native VMware format. The tools and constructs (Software Defined Data Center or SDDC) that VMware customers are used to stay the same, so they can just leverage running them in AWS. This flexibility gives customers more time to determine what is the right environment, cost model and workload placement for their needs. Long term, I still believe that most customers will figure out how to properly leverage native cloud services (from all the public cloud providers) but this solution is a smart way to address an immediate need that will last several years. I think of it as the "easy button" for enterprise IT teams who need to have workloads running in AWS to help support their organization.

Day 1

Day One of VMware Cloud on AWS


The day one presentations at Cloud Field Day 7 focused on an overview of the offering, a deep dive into the networking and how that works, details into data center extension and hybrid cloud, and finally how to do migration and the tools available to you. If you are not familiar with VMware Cloud on AWS then watching these videos will go a long way to understanding what is offered. It is a unique offering, even though VMware has agreements with Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud the integration and partnership is different. I won't belabor the points of how they are different, theses presentations were all about the AWS offering, just know that the work and partnership has been more extensive. I would recommend the migration and networking presentations if you already know a bit about VMware Cloud on AWS, it helps to explain how you will leverage what they have built out.

 


Day 2


Day Two of VMware Cloud on AWS


The day two presentations jumped into specific services and attributes of the solution. It went over virtual desktop using Horizon 7 on top of VMware Cloud on AWS - I'm not entirely convinced this is any better than Workspaces that AWS provides, but it does keep things the same if you have already deployed Horizon 7 on-premises. DR as a Service (DRaaS) was up next showing off how to leverage SRM, very straight forward, they really did make this part easy for admins. No cloud service offering can go to long without bringing up Kubernetes (K8s) and this was no exception. The offerings and options are pretty overwhelming so check out the video for more information if K8s is your thing. If you want to integrate your VMware Cloud on AWS with native AWS services then you need to have a method to make that integration work. They presented on how this functions (it is slightly different than if you are used to using AWS service endpoints). Many organization who want to leverage application streamlining make use of marketplaces and pre-build packages to make standing up well known applications and platforms a bit easier. VMware has a cloud marketplace for that purpose. I'm not sure how viable their marketplace will be long-term given the ease that you can deploy from the AWS Marketplace to a VPC and leverage that native ability but it is a "nice to have" in the current transition for those that can't deal with porting their apps or platforms.

So what does this mean for enterprises running the full suite of VMware products and technology?
  1. You have a relatively easy way to getting your existing environment running in public cloud - but it really isn't public cloud in how the IT market defines it. You are leveraging public cloud infrastructure and a few of their constructs but you are really running VMware SDDC as a Service.
  2. You will be paying to run your existing application and platforms in AWS but you won't have as much control over size, scale and costs as if you were to do the effort to port and move to AWS.
  3. You will have to address a shared administrative role and permissions (VMware is running the environment in AWS for you), some enterprises that is a deal breaker.
  4. You need to evaluate the benefits this solution versus starting to adopt public cloud in an incremental way and port or migration your applications to a native cloud architecture.
  5. You can potentially reduce or completely decommission any data centers you operate for disaster recovery or high availability reasons and leverage VMware Cloud on AWS and scale as needed.
  6. You could use VMware Cloud on AWS to potentially spin out a division or company and then hand off that infrastructure, applications and platforms to a new team with much less headache than moving things out of your data center.
  7. You will still have data gravity problems, they just won't look the same as they do for public cloud services.
  8. You will need to have a savvy networking team as the requirements around VMware NSX and AWS networking services are not going to get easier.

If you decide to watch the videos and you have a question feel free to hit me up on twitter (@ehorley) and use hashtag #CFD7, that way others can jump in to help if I missed it. I'm always interested to hear a different perspective or view about a technology, let me know what you think about VMware Cloud on AWS and if it is a good solution for the market right now.
- Ed

In a spirit of fairness (and also because it is legally required by the FTC), I am posting this Disclosure Statement. It is intended to alert readers to funding or gifts that might influence my writing. My participation in Tech Field Day events was voluntary and I was invited to participate in CFD7. Tech Field Day is hosted by Gestalt IT and my hotel, transportation, food and beverage was/is paid for by Gestalt IT for the duration of the event if travel was involved. In addition, sometimes small swag gifts were/are provided by some of the sponsors of the event to delegates. It should be noted that there was/is no requirement to produce content about the sponsors and any content produced does not require review or editing by Gestalt IT or the sponsors of the event.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Cloud Field Day 7 - All virtual but still a Tech Field Day event in every way

Adapting to the times is a given in the technology field and the current worldwide crisis around COVID-19 has forced some changes for Tech Field Day events and the Cloud Field Day 7 event starting April 22, 2020 in particular. We will be doing everything online and while I will miss getting to hang out with many of my friends and colleagues who will be participating it is nice to know we can continue to contribute and engage in this fashion.
So check out the live feeds and videos, it all starts Wednesday morning at 8 am PDT. The line up of sponsors is good. We will be hearing from these sponsors over a few days, check the site for specifics:

If you decide to watch and you have a question during one of the live sessions feel free to hit me up on twitter (@ehorley) and I will see if I can get it asked. You can also just use hashtag #CFD7 and others can jump in to help if I missed it.
- Ed

In a spirit of fairness (and also because it is legally required by the FTC), I am posting this Disclosure Statement. It is intended to alert readers to funding or gifts that might influence my writing. My participation in Tech Field Day events was voluntary and I was invited to participate in CFD7. Tech Field Day is hosted by Gestalt IT and my hotel, transportation, food and beverage was/is paid for by Gestalt IT for the duration of the event. In addition, small swag gifts were/are provided by some of the sponsors of the event to delegates. It should be noted that there was/is no requirement to produce content about the sponsors and any content produced does not require review or editing by Gestalt IT or the sponsors of the event.