NetEvents EMEA Press & Analyst Summit – Portugal – Day 1

NetEvents EMEA Press & Analyst Summit – Portugal – Day 1

NetEvents Portugal 2012 opened with a keynote from the CEO of South African telecommunications provider, Neotel. Sunil Joshi’s presentation, entitled Emerging markets – New technologies, new opportunities, new business models, discussed how mature markets, such as the USA and Europe, could learn from the leapfrogging of older technologies that less developed countries have achieved.

“Innovation is about doing the same old in a different way,” Sunil said. He used as examples the Post-It note, the Tata Nano car and the iPad, as well as services such Shaadi.com, 23andme.com and zipcar.com.

He said that reverse innovation was happening, where companies developed products in mature markets and exported the results to emerging countries where they evolved. They then re-imported those evolved technologies and products back into mature countries.

As an example he used GE, which invented a ultrasound machine for emerging markets, and sold it for $15,000 – much cheaper than the price in a mature economy. It was then re-imported to rural areas of the USA, where its low price meant healthcare organisations were able to afford the devices.

In the same way, in Africa mobile technologies are being used for banking, for trading, and for education.

“Everyone is looking for more for less,” he said. “But emerging markets can leapfrog older technologies and go straight to 4G rather than go to 2G to 3G to 4G.”

Joshi highlighted a number of areas where Tata Communications, a major shareholder in Neotel, is using this model. They included the InstaCompute Cloud offering, supplying and provisioning ATMs in India, and global telepresence.

“Tata is not just a telco any more,” he said.

He concluded by talking about Tata’s global telecommunications network, and was then joined on-stage for questions by NetEvents Editorial Director Manek Dubash.

Debate I – Taming the BYOD beast
Panellists: Steve Hook, Product Marketing Manager – International, Aerohive Networks; Markus Nispel, Chief Technology Strategist, Enterasys; Shehzad Merchant, VP of Technology, Extreme Networks; Nigel Hawthorn, EMEA Marketing Director, MobileIron

The second session of the day was led by Vishal Jain of 451 Research.

Jain discussed mobility trends in the enterprise.

“BYOD goes beyond the coolness factor here,” he said.

He then shared some research which found that enterprises are dealing with fragmentation of their IT landscape. Enterprises buy iOS and Android mobile devices, where it used to be iOS and RIM, and in the next 24 months, non-enterprise supplied devices will experience a 74% increase.

He then asked the panel when enterprises should think about BYOD.

Merchant said: “Two years ago. Today, most IT managers see users managing up to four devices each – tablet, laptop, desktop and phone. There’s no one solution.”

Hook agreed: “The network manager needs to consider BYOD at the design phase of the network – if you’re giving access anywhere.”

Nispel said: “Any solution needs multiple technologies – you can’t control it, users demand BYOD.”

Hawthorn said: “BYOD is also about legal, HR, and business processes, not just IT.”

Nispel said that IT needs to think about how infrastructure can support mobile devices, and needs to migrate enterprise applications to a cloud based model to enable universal access.

Jain asked how BYOD could be managed.

Hook said: “It’s a case of set and forget – devices and policies need to be set up and managed.”

Merchant said: “There are basically two users – the device holder and the infrastructure team – and their success factors are different. I’m a user, I buy a smartphone and to have it working is all I want. For IT, they know that’s happened and I can block it if the user tries to do something malicious.”

Hawthorn said that users should be treated as adults, not just locked down, otherwise they would simply rebel. “The user experience is key,” he said.

Jain asked if the solution was always going to be a complex mix of solutions.

Nispel said: “This is normal – you always need the best solutions if you’re running a network infrastructure. There’s no single solution to a complex problem, you need to plug in components as you need them.”

Merchant said: “BYOD is a phenomenon not a problem. So that’s why there’s no single solution.”

Jain asked what the network manager could do.

Merchant said: “It’s not just about providing connectivity. There is compliance to consider and permitting access to specific resources.”

Nispel said: “In many countries, if you wipe a personal device because you tried to wipe corporate data there are legal implications, especially in Germany.”

Hawthorn said: “Ten years ago, IT was forced to adopt web security by HR and legal, IT just wanted it to be open and to work. It’s the same thing now – IT should provide thinnest layer of security possible.”

Jain asked the panel to summarise.

Merchant said the big trend was consumerisation of IT and since IT doesn’t know which device people are using, they need greater visibility. Hawthorn said IT should open up and see it as an opportunity for change and to make users more productive. Nispel agreed that visibility was key. Hook said that the user wants access on demand so it is up to IT to know what to supply and manage it for good of the user and the enterprise.

Debate II – Head to Head – Enterprise, Service Provider, Cloud Data Centre – who’s first to ride the SDN revolution? (And where’s it taking them?)
Panellists: Arpit Joshipura, Vice President of Product Marketing, Dell Networking; Markus Nispel, Chief Technology Strategist, Enterasys; Shehzad Merchant, VP of Technology, Extreme Networks; Mike Banic, VP Global Marketing, HP Networking; Charles Ferland, Business Unit Executive, IBM

Ian Keene, Vice President, Gartner introduced and chaired the session, which would see the vendors making a three-minute elevator pitch and the analysts responding.

He opened by noting that SDN is riding up the hype cycle. He said that previous NetEvents saw one of the first unveilings of SDN, and that interest has since grown across a lot of different user types. “It follows the fashion of reinventing old ideas – just like the cloud goes back to mainframes,” he said.

Keene said that all vendors needed a story on SDN, even if they didn’t have any products yet, pointing out benefits of the technology, including centralised policy-based control of the network.

“In this way, policies are not set on routing tables in 500 different routers,” he said. “And some vendors claim a 50% reduction in opex.”

He said that OpenFlow is only one flavour of SDN and is not the only one but that it is rocking a very large boat: the $50 billion networking market.

“Will enterprises adopt DIY routing control – Google and large carriers will, yes, but most enterprises?” he asked. “It’s a good question: who will benefit and deploy first?”

At this point, the first of the vendors made his elevator pitch.

Joshipura (Dell Networking) said: “I don’t agree with your definition – there are three solutions and directions available.”

He said there are overlay hypervisors such as those from VMware and Microsoft which manage the pipe from the outside, and will need a layer 3 switch. Second are the legacy vendors who, he said, will drag their feet because they have the most to lose, with 20 years of investment. Third are green field sites, especially in academia with no incumbent, and who can afford to can take more radical approach.

Nispel (Enterasys) said that SDN is here to stay and that it can bring sustainable value to the enterprise. He said Enterasys’s predecessor Cabletron invented SDN, not Stanford University as Keene had said.

He said SDN provides a programmatic interface into the network to alter switch behaviour in order to provision services. “SDN is good for large web-based companies such as Google and large service providers but for others who just want business value from their IT, the value proposition is different,” he said. “They would be buying packaged solutions.”

Merchant (Extreme Networks) said that the advent of SDN was driven by trends including mobility, cloud, a changing workforce, and cloud sourcing of applications. All cause stresses on the network, he said. SDN is mainly about the separation of control and data plane but is also about centralising control, network abstraction and programmability.

“You will also be able to get applications and solutions from the community not just vendors,” he said.

Banic (HP Networks) said the market benefits from SDN who benefits from SDN, in the form of applications that provide simplicity and automation. “IT today doesn’t write their own applications – instead, most buy complete solutions,” he said.

“Early adopters are embracing SDN but it needs a standard so we have OpenFlow today,” he said. “It does away with the vendor’s own CLI and proprietary management system.”

He said that network appliances such as firewalls and load balancers would be replaced by SDN applications, and that software-defined network would enhance automation, removing human middleware.

Ferland (IBM) said that cloud providers would be the prime beneficiaries of SDN. “The automation of workflow is much easier with SDN, and we need a new way of doing networking as the DARPA-era protocols are outdated,” he said. He said the enterprise would benefit because of a POD deployment – dynamic workloads within a container environment – using OpenFlow while connecting to a legacy infrastructure.

Analyst Bilderbeek said he had heard nothing from the vendors about cost savings from SDN. “Enterprises will go to the cloud, so SDN is not on their radar,” he said. “They should think about good enough networking not SDN.”

Banic responded that cost savings come from more automation so you don’t need so many expensive experts – you need to take humans out of the process.

Joshipura said most web companies are not virtualised and their networks run at 70-80% utilisation. The enterprise’s virtualised datacentre creates network traffic because of orchestrated movement of virtual servers, he said.

Merchant said that the reality is that SDN will get deployed as a specific solution for a specific problem, such as better capacity utilisation, network virtualisation, automation or BYOD.

Nispel said that SDN can save money but that users need to scope the problem properly, pointing out that what is advantageous for a company such as Google does not necessarily apply to most enterprises.

Nispel then said that his company’s chips ran more flows through the network at one million per chip, 60 million per system. Merchant said his company could do better. He said that enterprises were looking for deployable solutions not a DIY approach.

Ferland said that customers for SDN applications included big data analytics needing to optimise performance.

An audience member asked about network management and how enterprises could use SDN to save money, specifically for tasks such as adds and changes.

Merchant said it would take time to get to SDN: “You cannot manage what you cannot see, so visibility will be the first priority,” he said.

Banic said network management is important but that SDN allows you to do smart packet forwarding for tasks such as load balancing, and that this goes way beyond network management.
Joshipura said that SDN needed a standard to connect to layers above the controller, to enable SDN input to and visibility of processes such as VM orchestration.
Debate III – Mobile + Cloud = Risk + Opportunity
Panellists: Steve Hook, Product Marketing Manager – International, Aerohive Networks; Jan Guldentops, Director, BA Test Labs; David Howorth, Area Vice President Global Services – EMEA, Verizon
Introduced and chaired by Joshua Budd, Consulting Director, IDC CEMA, Budd said that mobile and cloud are hot topics.
“We have reached an important milestone with mobile, social applications, broadband,” he said. “And the cloud means that this is a new platform which is very dynamic and very disruptive. It means millions of users, billions of devices, trillions of things accessing the Internet.”
Budd said challenges include managing that data, making something useful out of it, with lots of work still to be done, including security. “The World Economic Forum sees cyber-attacks as one of the top five global risks,” he said.
“Data management is also a key challenge, along with secure network connectivity when connecting to the cloud. How do you store and access huge volumes of data?” he asked.
On the role of the cloud, Howorth said: “Our role is as an integrator and gatekeeper. The challenge for the enterprise is governance, risk and compliance, so there needs to be transparency about controls, auditing, so that customers feel they have visibility into what is going on.”
Guldentops said: “You need to find the right people to manage IT. One of the myths around cloud is that it’s simple but it isn’t because the technology is the same as ever – it remains complex.”
Hook said: “The costs to the enterprise when moving to cloud can reduce dramatically as long as control of data and interests of users are being looked after.”
On compliance and data location, Howorth said that the difference between enterprise grade and consumer grade cloud is support and response times.
Guldentops said that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys, so customers signing an SLA need to use common sense and to understand what their needs.
Hook said his company gives customers the choice either to use their own cloud or to provide it for them, so management can be done in the cloud or in a private datacentre, so the customer retains control.
Guldentops said security used to be about perimeter security to keep the bad guys out but now, with four times more devices, you need authentication systems and identity management.
Howorth agreed, and said that most security breaches are found by third parties not by the data’s owner. He said that access is one element of security but that the same mistakes are being made as 10 years ago. What is required is vigilance, he said.
Closing Keynote: Networking the Virtual Enterprise
From Arpit Joshipura, Vice President of Product Marketing, Dell Networking.
Joshipura said that the key takeaway from his session is that “networking is hot again”.
“We are now in a virtual era. We have gone from mainframe to client server to virtual. Now it means flat topologies in the datacentre,” he said. He highlighted the huge growth in traffic, and argued that new networks and architectures were needed.
“Innovation begins in the datacentre,” he said, and with innovation comes increased efficiency because of scaled up services, mobile applications and users, and virtualised technologies.
Joshipura laid out his vision of the network-enabled enterprise, separating the logical view of the datacentre into three buckets: fabrics, converged infrastructure, and software.
He said we were victims of the sins of the past. These include scaling modular network chassis each time we needed more capacity, a process that is now unsustainable, along with the Spanning Tree protocol and wireless networking.
So, Joshipura said, fabrics need to change – they need a boost. He said that today’s datacentre fabrics are optimised for north-south traffic, in which data travels to and from the servers to the outside world.
This is not the way today’s flows move, he said.
“Today’s workloads, such as Web 2.0 traffic, generate data inside the datacentre and you can’t run that traffic all through the core just to get to a VM in the next rack,” he said. “So vendors started packaging systems – compute, network, and storage.”
Additionally, Joshipura said, switches suffer a death by features, which illuminates their complexity. Along with the CLI, this is a 20 year-old way of accessing information, he said.
So what to do?
“Networking in the virtual era needs to scale-out the core of the network fabric using a distribution core architecture, with leaf and spine connectivity that’s optimised for east-west traffic,” he said. “Layer two and layer three switches will still be around but there will be simpler ways of managing topologies.”
He predicted we would see more converged infrastructure. For him, FCoE is core, along with next-generation storage fabrics and compute, which allow you to move data within the rack. On the software side, multi-tenancy, open APIs, and orchestration are core.
“We’ve seen all this before,” he said. “We moved from big boxes to small boxes in network, compute, and storage – all became cheaper, using less power.”
Also on convergence, Joshipura said the big trend is high bandwidth connectivity such as 40GbE fabrics to the top of the rack and 10GbE to servers, along with SDN and virtualisation. In this way, you can automate the network, he said.
This, for Joshipura, is the future of network innovation. We will see the emergence of scale-out network fabrics, converged infrastructures moving to next-generation compute block, and then SDN.

He then moved to a Q&A session with Manek Dubash, NetEvents Editorial Director, after which the session closed for lunch.