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Cisco HyperFlex system upgrade targets hybrid cloud

Cisco has added to its hyper-converged infrastructure platform tools for running and managing hybrid applications split between public and private clouds. The latest technology in the Cisco HyperFlex system makes it a stronger competitor in the market, analysts said.

Cisco introduced this week the 3.0 software release for HyperFlex. The announcement came a day after Cisco said it would acquire Skyport Systems Inc., a maker of highly secure, cloud-managed, hyper-converged systems.

In general, HyperFlex combines software-defined storage and data services software with Cisco Unified Computing System. UCS integrates computing, networking and storage resources to provide efficiency and centralized management.

The latest release packs a lot more Cisco software into HyperFlex, which should improve interoperability and simplify support, said Dan Conde, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., based in Milford, Mass. “Cisco has taken many of the assets that used to be separate in their stable and made it available under a single [HyperFlex] umbrella.”

The new features should also make HyperFlex more competitive and useful as a hybrid cloud platform, analysts said. In the hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) market, Cisco has lagged behind rivals Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Nutanix.

Software added to the Cisco HyperFlex system

HyperFlex customers now have the option of Cisco AppDynamics integration for monitoring performance of applications running on HyperFlex and across clouds. Other cloud-related management software available for the HCI system include Cisco Workload Optimization Manager (CWOM) and CloudCenter.

CWOM helps IT staff determine the resource needs of workloads. CloudCenter provides application-centric orchestration.

Other new features include support for Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtual machine (VM). HyperFlex supports the more popular VMware ESXi, but Hyper-V is often used to run Microsoft applications.

Release 3 of the Cisco HyperFlex system also contains support for Kubernetes-managed containers, making HyperFlex friendlier to developers building cloud-native applications.

Along with cloud apps, companies can run more enterprise applications on HyperFlex. Cisco released validated designs and guides for running Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and Splunk software.

The most prominent use case for HCI systems is running business applications on a general computing platform, according to Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill. Roughly 30% of enterprises use HCI for general computing, followed by private cloud at 19%.

Increased scalability in the Cisco HyperFlex system

Cisco has increased the scalability of HyperFlex. Customers can raise VM density by joining HyperFlex systems into clusters, which can now contain up to 64 nodes. The previous maximum was eight.

Cisco has also added support for stretched clusters, which makes it possible to have nodes span multiple geographical locations.

Overall, analysts expect the new features to help Cisco add to the more than 2,500 companies using HyperFlex today.

“This announcement, combined with the market still being ripe for adoption, is a great combo going forward,” said Mike Leone, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “It will be interesting to see how the customer base grows now that they’re on a more level playing field with the competition.”

Plans for Skyport acquisition

The Skyport acquisition brings a tightly knit hardware and software product to Cisco’s portfolio. The system is primarily used to run business-critical data center applications.

“I think Cisco’s goal is to get the automated, security-wrapped provisioning software [in Skyport] and just fold it into their cloud and infrastructure management tools broadly,” said Nemertes analyst John Burke.

That may be so, but for now, Cisco has provided no details, saying in a statement it plans to use Skyport’s “intellectual property, seasoned software and network expertise to accelerate priority areas across multiple Cisco portfolios.”

The Skyport team will join Cisco’s networking group, led by general manager Jonathan Davidson, and the data center and computing systems product group, headed by general manager Liz Centoni. Cisco did not disclose financial terms.

Apstra bolsters IBN with customizable analytics

Startup Apstra has added to its intent-based networking software customizable analytics capable of spotting potential problems and reporting them to network managers.

Apstra introduced this week intent-based analytics as part of an upgrade to the company’s Apstra Operating System (AOS). The latest version, AOS 2.1, also includes other enhancements, such as support for additional network hardware and the ability to use a workload’s MAC or IP address to find it in an IP fabric.

In general, AOS is a network operating system designed to let managers automatically configure and troubleshoot switches. Apstra focuses on hardware transporting Layer 2 and Layer 3 traffic between devices from multiple vendors, including Arista Networks, Cisco, Dell and Juniper Networks. Apstra also supports white-box hardware running the Cumulus Networks OS.

AOS, which can run on a virtualized x86 server, communicates with the hardware through installed drivers or the hardware’s REST API. Data on the state of each device is continuously fed to the AOS data store. Alerts are sent to network operators when the state data conflicts with how a device is configured to operate.

AOS 2.1 takes the software’s capabilities up a notch through tools that operators can use to choose specific data they want the Apstra analytics engine to process.

“This is a logical progression for Apstra with AOS,” said Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC. “Pervasive, real-time analytics should be an integral element of any intent-based networking system.”

Using Apstra analytics

The first step is for operators to define the type of data AOS will collect. For example, managers could ask for the CPU utilization on all spine switches. Also, they could request queries of all the counters for server-facing interfaces and of the routing tables for links connecting leaf and spine switches.

Mansour Karam, CEO, ApstraMansour Karam

“If you were to add a new link, add a new server, or add a new spine, the data would be included automatically and dynamically,” Apstra CEO Mansour Karam said.

Once the data is defined, operators can choose the conditions under which the software will examine the information. Apstra provides preset scenarios or operators can create their own. “You can build this [data] pipeline in the way that you want, and then put in rules [to extract intelligence],” Karam said.

Useful information that operators can extract from the system include:

  • traffic imbalances on connections between leaf and spine switches;
  • links reaching traffic capacity;
  • the distribution of north-south and east-west traffic; and
  • the available bandwidth between servers or switches.

Enterprises moving slowly with IBN deployments

Other vendors, such as Cisco, Forward Networks and Veriflow, are building out intent-based networking (IBN) systems to drive more extensive automation. Analytics plays a significant role in making automation possible.

“Nearly every enterprise that adopts advanced network analytics solutions

is using it to enable network automation,” said Shamus McGillicuddy, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, based in Boulder, Colo. “You can’t really have extensive network automation without analytics. Otherwise, you have no way to verify that what you are automating conforms with your intent.”

Today, most IT staffs use command-line interfaces (CLIs) to manually program switches and scores of other devices that comprise a network’s infrastructure. IBN abstracts configuration requirements from the CLI and lets operators use declarative statements within a graphical user interface to tell the network what they want. The system then makes the necessary changes.

The use of IBN is just beginning in the enterprise. Gartner predicts the number of commercial deployments will be in the hundreds through mid-2018, increasing to more than 1,000 by the end of next year.

Talari adds SD-WAN appliance for smaller edge sites

Talari added another SD-WAN appliance to its portfolio this week. The Talari E50 appliance is tailored to customers that require easy SD-WAN deployments to connect small branch locations, like retail, mobile and remote home-office sites, according to Talari’s website.

Talari’s SD-WAN appliance supports 20, 50 and 100 Mbps performance across multiple WAN links, with a “pay-as-you-grow” purchase model. It also consolidates routing, firewall and WAN optimization features within the E50 platform, the company said in a statement. Additionally, the SD-WAN appliance integrates Zscaler security, with traffic passing through the Zscaler cloud over IPsec tunnels.

With the Talari E50 SD-WAN appliance, a managed service provider or IT team can preconfigure the appliance, which can then be shipped to the site and set up. According to Talari, this capability benefits customers with limited IT staff and resources. 

Talari offers a range of SD-WAN appliances for large data centers and offices to call centers and SMBs.

Cradlepoint expands to subscription-based networking packages

Cradlepoint introduced subscription-based packages for its branch, mobile and internet-of-things networking services.

Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Solution Packages, available now, are tailored to specific markets in an attempt to simplify deployment and management, according to a Cradlepoint statement. Customers can purchase a Cradlepoint package as a subscription service on a one-, three- or five-year basis.

One of the first available subscription-based packages is Cradlepoint’s wireless branch networking offering. Cradlepoint said its new AER2200 edge router can replace multiple boxes by converging multiple functions and support into the single router. The router supports 10 switched Ethernet ports, and it supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, with a guest portal and advanced Long Term Evolution integration. The package also comes with the new AP22 access point to expand wireless LAN coverage. Additionally, Cradlepoint’s branch subscription service offers 4G LTE and wireless LAN support with its SD-WAN functionality, fine-tuned for customers with smaller networks.

“Instead of navigating a myriad of separately priced software, hardware and support options, just two or three SKUs deliver a compete wireless branch solution with the cloud management and support customers need to be deployed and operational quickly and easily,” said Ian Pennell, chief product officer at Cradlepoint, based in Boise, Idaho, in a statement.

Verizon joins ONAP

Verizon joined the Open Network Automation Platform, a project hosted by The Linux Foundation.

Verizon said its work with ONAP will concentrate on network function onboarding, network management, service creation, provisioning and standards for consistent deployment.

In November, ONAP introduced its first code, dubbed Amsterdam, which offers a modular automation platform for service providers and carriers focused on service delivery. ONAP architecture contains a good portion of code from AT&T’s Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy architecture and the Open-Orchestrator project.

ONAP expects to release its second code, Beijing, in 2018. While the Amsterdam code aimed to improve service lifecycle automation and management for service providers, Beijing will target enterprise workloads, wireless 5G and the internet of things.

VeloCloud SD-WAN made more responsive to network troubles

VeloCloud Networks Inc. has added to its SD-WAN software policy options that make the technology more responsive to network problems that could affect application performance in branch and remote offices.

The enhancements, introduced this week, are delivered through software upgrades to the company’s cloud-based orchestrator and gateway and the VeloCloud SD-WAN appliance deployed at the branch and data center.

In general, VeloCloud’s technology lets companies combine T1 lines, MPLS links and other enterprise network connections with cheaper broadband, DSL and 4G consumer links. The subscription-based SD-WAN provides continuous monitoring, packet-by-packet traffic steering and link remediation to maintain network performance and reliability.

The new 3.1 version lets companies dedicate segments of the network for specific traffic, such as VoIP, a guest Wi-Fi or sensitive credit-card data heading from a retail store to the corporate data center. Organizations can set policies that provide multiple paths for a traffic flow. If performance for a connection falters, the VeloCloud SD-WAN will steer packets elsewhere to maintain a user-defined quality of service.

The on-the-fly correction is targeted at performance-sensitive applications, such as VoIP. “Not only can you set things up quickly, but once you set it up, the network will adjust,” said Bob Laliberte, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, based in Milford, Mass.

Other improvements include a more straightforward process for setting up an IPsec VPN between a VeloCloud SD-WAN and a non-VeloCloud location. Customers can also use the vendor’s orchestration software to deploy security services from VeloCloud partners and to apply group profiles when adding VeloCloud Edge appliances.

In April, VeloCloud introduced a partner program that lets third-party security vendors integrate their products with the SD-WAN service. Partners include Check Point Software Technologies, Fortinet, IBM, Palo Alto Networks and Zscaler.

VeloCloud claims outcome-driven networking in SD-WAN

VeloCloud is marketing its latest upgrade as “outcome-driven networking,” a term not widely used in the industry. Instead, networking vendors and some analyst firms are pushing an approach called “intent-based networking,” which uses GUI-based tools to abstract the many complicated technical steps underpinning the delivery of services.

Earlier this month, virtualization vendor VMware announced plans to acquire VeloCloud for an undisclosed sum. If completed in early February as planned, the acquisition would place VMware in head-to-head competition with Cisco in the branch office. In August, Cisco acquired VeloCloud rival Viptela for $610 million.

Versa SD-WAN gets features focused on voice, video calling

Versa Networks has added to its SD-WAN product capabilities the vendor claims will help organizations maintain the quality of video and voice calling in the branch office.

The company introduced this week Versa SD-WAN technology that formulates a mean opinion score (MOS) for communication traffic and lets network engineers set policies that trigger specific actions if the score falls below a baseline. MOS is a number from one to five that indicates the voice or video quality at the destination end of the circuit. Satisfactory voice calls, for example, are typically in the 3.5 to 4.2 range.

Versa has developed algorithms that determine the MOS of each call based on metrics extrapolated from Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) and Real-Time Transport Control Protocol (RTCP) traffic flows. RTP combines its data transport with the RTCP. The latter lets monitoring applications detect packet loss and compensate for delays that lead to jitter.

Other factors used to reach a mean opinion score are the codecs used in a company’s voice over IP and video conferencing application. In general, codecs compress digital data to move it faster over the network and then decompress it at the destination point. In doing its work, however, a codec causes some degradation in quality.

Network engineers can set policies that tell the Versa SD-WAN to take specific actions when the MOS is too low. Those steps could include changing the transport of the data flow, moving other traffic off the route to increase available bandwidth and cloning the communication traffic so it can be sent across multiple circuits.

Analysts split on value of MOS in Versa SD-WAN

Other SD-WAN vendors, such as VeloCloud, which was recently acquired by VMware, also provide mechanisms for monitoring and taking corrective actions to help maintain voice and video quality. In general, most products take into account common network problems, such as the loss of packets or delay in their delivery.

“The added support [within Versa ] for real-time voice and video will help ensure good-quality communications are maintained,” said Mike Fratto, an analyst at Current Analysis, which is owned by London-based GlobalData.

Not all analysts, however, agreed that MOS scoring would improve voice and video calling.

“My guess is that this won’t improve calling all that much, because SD-WAN solutions are already looking at things like jitter, latency, etc., for voice traffic,” said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill. “They also can’t deal with factors inside the LAN, such as poor Wi-Fi performance that can adversely impact call quality.”

At its core, SD-WAN lets engineers steer traffic across multiple links, such as MPLS, Long Term Evolution and broadband. The connections they choose depends on the needs of the applications generating the traffic. Companies can select MPLS for data that needs a high-level of reliability, while using cheaper broadband for less sensitive data flows.

Vendors have added WAN optimization, firewalls, routing and quality-of-service features for communications as differentiators and to demand higher prices for their SD-WAN platforms.

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As New, Boxed Complete, Added a 1tb m.2 for games etc.

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For Sale – Asus Rog GL702VM, I7, 16gb Ram, 1tb M.2 17″, GTX 1060

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GTX 1060 VR Ready.

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For Sale – Asus Rog GL702VM, I7, 16gb Ram, 1tb M.2 17″, GTX 1060

As New, Boxed Complete, Added a 1tb m.2 for games etc.

GTX 1060 VR Ready.

Perfect condition.

Details Here :-

ROG GL702VM | Notebooks | ASUS United Kingdom

Price and currency: 895
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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Asus Rog GL702VM, I7, 16gb Ram, 1tb M.2 17″, GTX 1060

As New, Boxed Complete, Added a 1tb m.2 for games etc.

GTX 1060 VR Ready.

Perfect condition.

Details Here :-

ROG GL702VM | Notebooks | ASUS United Kingdom

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