Enterprise Networking Recap: Virtualization, Infrastructure, Career Skills and More

Jude ChaoGreetings! It’s Friday again, and with one big show and two full weeks to discuss, we’ve got plenty for you to catch up on. Here’s what we covered at Enterprise Networking Planet.

The big news out of VMworld

VMware unveiled its NSX network virtualization solution at VMworld last week. Sean Michael Kerner covered the announcement and spoke to Martin Casado, VMware’s networking CTO, who gave him plenty of details on NSX.

The platform has plenty of supporters. Dell’s jumped on the NSX train with its new S6000 switch. Arpit Joshipura of Dell Networking told Sean about the S6000’s fresh air cooling technology and how the switch supports better collaboration and convergence. Security vendor Fortinet, meanwhile, leverages NSX to secure traffic on virtual networks at the hypervisor level and foster more dynamic communication and enforcement between machines both physical and virtual, as Ryan Potter, the company’s director of strategic alliances, explained me at the show.

And when it comes to NSX, we have more in the queue, including integrator interviews and demos. Tune in next week to learn about how other vendors plan to leverage the technology in their solutions.

Solving virtualization’s challenges and seizing its opportunities

The future’s looking more and more virtual. Server virtualization has become commonplace, and thanks to NSX, network virtualization seems poised to follow. This switch brings challenges, though. Vendors came to VMworld ready to demonstrate their solutions to the visibility, automation, and orchestration demands of virtualization and their methods of securing virtualized environments.

Many of us tend to think of virtualization in a macro sense, but security startup Bromium thinks of virtualization in micro terms—literally, microvirtualization. Bromium’s vSentry endpoint security solution uses Xen to create hardware-isolated micro-VMs for protection that the company claims is far superior to software sandboxing or other popular security methods. Bromium CTO and co-founder Simon Crosby told me all about it in an interview.

Did you think we forgot about SDN?

Of course we didn’t. While at VMworld, I met Pere Monclus, co-founder and CTO of SDN startup PLUMgrid. Monclus had plenty of strong opinions to share about the right and the wrong way to approach software defined networking. We also talked open standards, OpenDaylight, and what’s next for the company.

Cisco, meanwhile, plans to further its exploration of SDN applications at the new AT&T Foundry in Atlanta. With the support of Cisco and other partners, the innovation center will work towards standards-based network solutions. Sean spoke to Bob McIntyre, VP and CTO of Cisco’s service provider group, about the networking giant’s contributions to the Foundry.

New infrastructure concerns for enterprise networks

All this new technology will put a strain on the enterprise’s network infrastructure, of course. Bandwidth and uptime demands continue to rise, and architectures continue to spread, forcing enterprises to rethink the very backbone of their networks. It’s time to consider fiber, according to Arthur Cole. He lays out a compelling argument for glass in the data center and gives some tips for maximizing the effectiveness of a copper and fiber mix. Art also discusses new infrastructure developments emerging in response to the evolution of the data center and offers sound advice on how to make your network infrastructure more energy-efficient.

Networking market news and career skills

Changes in networking technology naturally drive changes in networking markets, as what enterprises buy reflects what they expect to happen. This week, Sean covered a new round of research forecasts from Infonetics Research, which reveals some interesting insights about the business. Led by F5, the Application Delivery Controller (ADC) market is on the rise again. The same can’t be said for WAN optimization or the PBX segment of the Unified Communications (UC) market, though.

And sales isn’t the only realm affected by industry trends. Jobs are, too. While most jobs require a certain amount of continued professional development, few careers demand it more urgently than IT. Networking jobs in particular are looking at a broad change in expectations (and, according to some, a large drop in numbers, too). If you want to keep your skills up to date and your resume ready for anything, check out Elizabeth Harrin‘s guide to the top five technical skills today’s networking professionals need.

That’s all for now. Check in with us next week as we cover the news, trends, and companies shaping the networking world and the future of enterprise connectivity, and in the meantime, enjoy your weekend!

Jude Chao is executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.

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