In previous years I have not really spent a lot of time in the World of Solutions. This year I decided to force myself to to “walk the floor” and look for interesting and new products. Here is what I found interesting this year.
Booth Babes – Enough please.
There were two companies with booth babes, both of whom I was interested in reviewing. However, I won’t have anything to do with a company that demeans people to promote themselves. In my experience, a company that uses booth babes is a sign of bad management culture (strip clubs, short term thinking and self promotion are common in such companies) and you probably don’t want products from that type of organisation.
Event organisers – time to ban this practice
I spent some time looking for companies that were delivering MPO cabling solutions. There were two companies on the show floor, Commscope who are the proud owners of the Systimax cabling line (who knew) and Panduit.
The common scope solution was particularly interesting for a few reasons-notably they have a reasonably complete MPO cabling solution which I have previously referred to as click clack cabling. I was able to see MPO patch leads and discussed the current delivery of 12 core and soon to be available 24 call and planned availability for 48 core MPO cables in the future. I saw the different solutions for modular cabling units that clip into patch panels for both LC and LH connectors.
The use of MPO cabling solutions means that, clearly, the idea of craft file installation is over and that pre-manufactured cables will be purchased in the future. I also like the idea of using and reusing cabling as you need within the data centre, and because the MBO cabling can be removed and redeployed – although you will need a fibre tester to validate cable that is redeployed, this is still far more efficient and green then simply throwing all the cable into the trash.
And if you are going to remove and reuse your backbone cabling, you will need to use suspended cable trays – possibly under floor but more likely overhead. Add that to your data centre designs.
I stopped briefly at this stand as I had previously used the product some 10 years ago and wondered what had happened. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this product is that it remains true to its roots it, its intention to be the fastest and most scalable solution for collecting SNMP data from devices on a global network. Claims of supporting up to 80,000 ethernet ports and their data from a single server at customer sites are really quite interesting.
The product is really quite different from other network management solutions in that it focuses explicitly on just SNMP data at massive scale. It does not attempt to extend far from this core activity. This focus means the product is really quite delightful to look at and to use and might be worth anyone looking at. The company has been in business for a number of years and quietly working with some very large customers – Fedex is used as testimonial and you don’t see that very often.
The EEM feature of IOS is seriously underused and has features that are not really recognised by most engineers. Davra has developed a graphical console using a web interface that can create and install EEM scripts onto routers within your network. Ivan Pepelnjak at IOSHINTS has been blogging extensively about EEM with some amazing examples of what can be done. For more ordinary mortals, the Davra software can build and deploy EEM applets and remove some of the complexity.
While I have some concerns about their pricing strategy being too expensive for the use case, this is a technology company to watch. The software has an amazing web interface, requires a unique approach to solving problems but has some very interesting possibilities.
The death of CS-MARS means that companies like ArcSight for security logging, analysis and threat reporting are boom industries. Arcsight is my current favourite for longevity, maturity of product, and speed. And it’s an appliance – like that too. Virtual is nice, but it’s still to early for real time services.