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NetApp’s CTO, Jay Kidd, is a featured speaker at Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) 2014 Storage Industry Summit on Tuesday, January 28, in San Jose, CA.  SNIA’s one–day Summit is themed “The Future of Computing – The Convergence of Memory and Storage through Non-Volatile Memory (NVM)". This summit will offer critical insights into NVM and storage, filled with networking, working group meetings, keynote presentations from industry luminaries, valuable workshops and sessions, and deep-dives from companies leading the way in NVM.  Co–located with the SNIA Annual Members’ Symposium on January 28, this summit will offer critical insights into NVM and storage. Speakers from companies leading the way in NVM will deliver a comprehensive deep–dive on the issues needed to consider this technology.  You won’t want to miss it!  See you all there.


Guest Blog : John D'Ambrosia, Ethernet Alliance, Chairman


On October 15th and 16th the Ethernet industry gathered at the Ethernet Alliance’s Technology Exploration Forum (TEF) 2013: The Future of Ethernet.   I have always looked forward to these events as I see the participants who show up to be the Ethernet Alliance’s industry Technology Advisory Board.  And with Bob Metcalfe, the Father of Ethernet, keynoting the event, as well as leading an innovation panel, we had quite the time this year.  From an intriguing full two-day agenda (http://www.ethernetalliance.org/the-future-of-ethernet-agenda/) to a packed room of industry experts and participants, there were a myriad of topics with accompanying perspectives represented at this year’s TEF to explore.


From my own personal background, I am known for my work with driving higher Ethernet speed efforts.  I tend to see things from these speed-tinted glasses, but Ethernet is more than just about speeds and feeds.  As Bob Metcalfe put it - Ethernet is a brand of innovation!  With everything moving so quickly, there is less time to get things right and all stakeholders, from the component vendor to the system provider to the end user, ultimately need to work together.   Let’s use Metcalfe’s Law to describe these consensus-building activities, where the value of our consensus building grows as a function of the number of people that gets involved.  As you involve more people in such an activity, the contributed perspectives will help all to see the entirety of the problem that is faced, rather than their own perspective.


The key to Ethernet’s success has been its ability to evolve to support the needs of industry.  The TEF events provide the industry with the opportunity to voice their opinions and discuss the potential evolution of Ethernet.  So what opinions were voiced this year?

  • The need for more speed continues unabated. As the “Next Speed” guy, I wear this target on my back, and yes, I did get asked when would we see Terabit Ethernet.  The industry has reached a point where many of us just don’t see any slowdown in the exponential growth of data that we are being forced to address.
  • Ethernet is the wireline background for many applications throughout the Ethernet ecosystem.  While IEEE 802 wireless technology is enjoying broad market success, Ethernet is its wireline backbone, and it is important that these two technology areas continue in a synergistic fashion.  Members of the wireless community are asking when 40GBASE-T will support 100m, as this would be necessary for  higher efficiency / capacity wireless access points in the future.  Objectives for the current IEEE 802.3bq project are only 30m targeting data center applications, so it will be interesting to see how the Ethernet community will address this need. 
  • Further feeding this exponential growth rate is the development and deployment of emerging applications, such as Vehicular Ethernet.   I particularly enjoyed this topic, as it tied into a point that Dr. Metcalfe had made about Ethernet: build it and the applications will come. Yes, by the end of the decade we are talking about potentially 300 to 400 million ports nominally per year of Ethernet.  The reality is that given the millions of cars on the road every second of every day, the potential impact on the ecosystem infrastructure is obvious. From streaming of video to making vehicles part of the Internet of Things, this influx of new users to drive consumption and creation of data will provide an additional impetus on network traffic from wireless backhaul to backbone networks to data centers.   
  • Cost continues to be major issue throughout the Ethernet ecosystem.  It was noted how 40GbE technology is being used to enable higher density, lower cost 10GbE deployments.  This is a hallmark of the Ethernet industry – finding a way to do things at lower costs. 


  The economic concern didn't just apply to technology being deployed, as some were concerned that investments in new technology might be hindered due to the lack of research dollars.  

  • The promise of photonics integration. The panel organizer and moderator, Dale Murray of Light Counting, had an admirable angle to this session - “Go beyond the hype!”  A lot of material was presented and a lot of debate between the different panelists ensued as various technologies were positioned, from silicon photonics to InP photonics to VCSELs.  This panel had it all.  The promise of SDN technology was such a hot topic that two separate panels were warranted.  Software Defined Networking has lots of promises!  It will make all hardware plain vanilla.  I’m not sure how the rest of the Ethernet ecosystem feels about this.  As someone who focuses on solutions at the physical layer it is not clear to me what sort of impact SDN will have on the design of the physical layer, as opposed to how it will impact how the physical layer is used.
  • Collaboration between different Ethernet industry standards groups / alliances is important.  Ethernet is more than just a single technology, as it runs throughout the entire ecosystem and the more aligned these groups are the better they can serve the industry.
  • Innovation is alive and well!.  As Bob put it, he is innovating on innovation; he's gone Meta.  Perhaps it's because he is a professor now, but putting this man in front of a white board was exciting, simply because he was so passionate about Ethernet innovation.  It made all in the room think about all the opportunities available now. Bob Metcalfe certainly did and frankly I think it is safe to say he was excited by what he saw. 


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the individual(s) and should not be considered the views or positions of the Ethernet Alliance.

Produced by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), the 2013 Analytics and Big Data Summit offered insights into this fast growing market segment. Led by SNIA’s Analytics and Big Data Committee, the agenda for this event was specifically designed to provide IT professionals with responsibility for information management and storage with valuable advice and implementable, ROI–focused solutions.  There are a many events dedicated to “big data,” but at our Summit, attendees were sure to gain knowledge from IT professionals, hear presentations from and talk to technology vendors, users and consultants about “best practices” on how to get started with as well as how to leverage analytics and big data applications and systems.  The 2nd Annual Analytics and Big Data Summit
 was held on the final day of SDC 2013 (September 19th, 2013).  Nearly 150 people attended the Summit to hear various perspectives on big data analytics trends and solutions. You can now download many of the presentations from the Summit as well.

The SNIA Storage Developer Conference celebrated its 10th Anniversary during the week of September 16th in Santa Clara, CA. With nearly 400 attendees, this year’s conference was another achievement for SNIA. A first time SDC attendee said in their evaluation response, “This was absolutely fantastic. The presentations were interesting, the atmosphere was conducive to discussion, and the people were very friendly.” We heard similar praises from many other attendees.  In addition to a successful conference, the SNIA SMB2/SMB3, iSCSI, and Cloud Interoperability Plugfests had a good turnouts. A plugfest participant shared this feedback: “Plugfest is extremely helpful as there are so many different vendors to test against with our SMB products. Also, the presence of the actual development engineers means that issues can be resolved very quickly.”  SDC 2013 presentations will be available to the public for download in December. Mark your calendars for next year’s event on September 15 – 18, 2014, again at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara.



SNIA Analytics & Big Data Committee


The ABDC is a SNIA Committee that is dedicated to fostering the growth and success of the market for what is generally referred as Analytics and Big Data, and more generally, the use of data storage resources and services by analytics and big data applications and toolsets.  If your company is a SNIA member, there is no fee to join and participate!  The ABDC mission addresses marketing outreach, education, and collaboration with other industry bodies relative to Analytics and Big Data efforts. Also, the ABDC will closely follow of the advancements in Analytics and Big Data science, product offerings and business models from academia, industry and the research community.

As a Director on the Board of the Ethernet Alliance, I am constantly inviting and challenging those in the industry to share their latest and greatest implementation of technologies and innovative practices. Recently I posed a  question to the extended Ethernet Alliance audience and member companies specifically and asked who was implementing software defined networking in their environment.  I received an overwhelming response filled with different implementations, use cases, and best practices.  It was very encouraging and it got me to dig a deep further about who specifically in the networking space was contributing to this concept best.  Software defined networking, according to Wikipedia, is a form of network virtualization in which the control plane is separated from the data plane and implemented in a software application. This architecture allows network administrators to have programmable central control of network traffic without requiring physical access to the network's hardware devices.  That’s a pretty straightforward and clear definition.  More over, I would add that software defined networking decouples network control (learning and forwarding decisions) from network topology (junctions, interfaces, and how they peer).

I work for a storage company.  That is apparent to most who know me and follow my various outbound publications. What may not be as apparent is my deep-rooted interest in how certain networking companies out there are game changers in this entire space.  Given the neutrality and industry promoting goals that being on the Board of the Ethernet Alliance provides, I like to explore the new and exciting offerings out there.  One such game-changing networking vendor is Arista Networks.  This company is not only shipping best of breed products, but it’s also led by one of the most successful women in high tech. Brownie points for being fabulous and forward-thinking female. Jayshree Ullal is leading of team of some of the best and brightest in networking, and providing programmable networking is one of the things they excel at.  Her blog post about SDN is quite informative and offers compelling insight. 

A couple months ago, they announced a new series of switches that offer a flexible forwarding path that supports advanced functionality through Software Defined Networking. These products enable architectures well suited to interoperate with SDN controllers for network-wide virtualization, virtual machine(VM) mobility and network services, without compromising performance.  The speeds and feed match at the bare minimum and exceed as their norm compared to any of the competitive offerings.  The Arista 7150 Series offers up to 64 wire-speed 1/10 GbE ports or 16 40GbE ports, the largest Layer2/3 and multicast scale offered today. The 7150 Series supports VXLAN tunnels at wire-speed, supporting workload mobility between physical and virtual machines. It enables 40GbE ports with port-to-port latency of 350 nanoseconds for Layer 2/3 forwarding. Advanced network services, such as Network Address Translation, IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol, and congestion management are, for the first time, available on a single system, providing unprecedented flexibility.

It’s no secret that I am a big advocate of Big Data and Analytics.  Being the co-chair of the SNIA Analytics & Big Data Committee, it is a topic that is on the forefront of my mind and focus daily. When it comes to SDN, I like to explore how it plays in the Big Data, Cloud, and Web 2.0 specifically.  The advanced Latency Analyzer (LANZ+) functions provide application-level microburst detection, congestion monitoring and analysis essential to optimize big data and other performance-sensitive applications. The flexible forwarding path enables new packet formats to be parsed and forwarded with deterministic performance and provides investment protection.  Talk about an innovative process! Along with open EOS APIs these new switches offer monitoring, analysis and forensic capabilities for both coarse and fine-grained views of data flows and network activities; including stateless load balancing and network analyzer functionality.  It doesn’t get much cooler than that in the networking world.  Do you want to combine multiple ports into a single aggregative port for better scaling and simple network migrations?  No problem - additional AgilePort capability allows four individual 10Gb ports to be combined into a single 40Gb port. Sweet.

Being on the lookout for cool functionality in the networking world will always be at the forefront of my mind.  After all, without networking we would all be a bunch of nodes floating around without any hope of a connection

Big Data is not a new phenomenon per se, but the analysis and conclusions that are drawn from large datasets are now becoming more significant and valuable for business and organizations as a whole. Big Data has existed for a long time, but the need to manage and process Big Data has become more and more significant in today's modern computing environment.


The fact of the matter is that, on average, data is growing by 2.5 Exabytes a day which equates to 90 percent of the worlds total data being created in the just the past two years!  So, it’s certainly a newer phenomenon as it pertains to the high growth rate of data.


There is so much buzz because literally each and every day, whether it is through scientific, financial, healthcare, ecommerce, video surveillance, or social media, users are creating massive amounts of data and in turn requiring the need to manage this ever-growing amount of information. The entire industry is facing the challenge of not just dealing with the large volume of data, but learning how to actually process it in the enterprise. If companies are unable to process and analyze the data both efficiently and effectively, it will unfortunately begins to lose its value.


Analysts state that this year alone we will hit a volume of 2.7 Zettabytes of global digital data.  Furthermore, by the end of 2012 more than 90 percent of the Fortune500 will likely have at least some Big Data initiatives under way. But the industry is still in its infancy. Big data in 2012 will likely be dominated by preliminary projects which means that there will probably be fewer than 50 full-scale big data projects (10 petabytes and above) worldwide.  Analysts are also stating that 38% of all companies are planning business intelligence SaaS projects before the end of 2013.


Management of data has always been a necessary challenge.  Fortunately, we have intelligent ways of doing so, more robust now than ever before. Data will always grow and expand – that is inevitable.  It’s how we analyze and manage it that will keep us in control intelligently for that’s what makes a huge impact on how businesses are run.


This is not a threat or challenge but rather a phenomenal opportunity. The challenge of handling vast quantities of data has been around since the beginning of the digital age, which is particularly relevant for someone like me who works for a leading storage company.


But overall, there has always been more data than companies can actually analyze.  The new difference is that nowadays, our ability itself to collect and analyze tons of data is exploding as well. 


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