Networking's Mojo Returns

By Larry Dignan  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Opinion: Meaningful changes are afoot in the networking area.

The network is back. For the network administrators in the room, that statement may not be much of a shocker.

But for other casual observers—including me—the networking industry hasn't been terribly exciting ever since Cisco Systems was briefly the most valuable company in the world during the dot-com boom.

Since then, networking overall has been, well, a yawner. However, meaningful changes are afoot.

Cisco CEO John Chambers alluded to the newfound network enthusiasm at the company's recent analyst meeting in New York, but I took his comments with a grain of salt. After all, Chambers is always "cautiously optimistic" and has "healthy paranoia."

Now I'm starting to believe the industry is getting its mojo back (except for companies burdened by their own issues—good luck integrating the merger of Lucent Technologies and Alcatel, for instance).

As Senior Editor Paula Musich reports here, application acceleration controllers and gear that optimizes WANs are becoming critical.

Why? Information workers simply aren't hanging out on the corporate LANs anymore, and technology managers want to consolidate offices.

The rub: WANs have this latency issue that makes it really tough to shuttle applications around over a network.

Fix that issue by using WAN optimization to shuttle applications, and a miniboom may be on the horizon as this equipment goes mainstream.

Juniper Networks, which on Oct. 16 expects to roll out equipment to deliver applications faster, is one company hoping to bank on widespread usage.

"Now we are seeing deployments in the hundreds of sites," said Mike Banic, senior director of product marketing at Juniper.

With any luck, the network may actually become the computer—albeit a decade after networking execs started preaching about it.

Meanwhile, the evolution of networks has enabled SAAS (software as a service). No news there, but what Salesforce.com is up to may get your attention.

Senior Writer Renee Boucher Ferguson reports here that the company is nearing an inflection point that could get it the critical mass needed to go toe-to-toe with the big application vendors.

The secret weapon: A new development language and platform that would bring enterprise-scale custom software development capabilities as a service.

Of course, the next iteration of Salesforce.com's plan—not to mention the application ecosystem it is building—wouldn't be possible without (you guessed it) the network.

Contact eWEEK Executive Editor/News Larry Dignan at larry_dignan@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.com's for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

Business Editor
Larry formerly served as the East Coast news editor and Finance Editor at CNET News.com. Prior to that, he was editor of Ziff Davis Inter@ctive Investor, which was, according to Barron's, a Top-10 financial site in the late 1990s. Larry has covered the technology and financial services industry since 1995, publishing articles in WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine. He's a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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