Cisco Live EMEA and Tech Field Day Extra Embodies “Better Together”

Attending Cisco Live EMEA and Tech Field Day Extra as a single mother on maternity leave, Zoe Rose highlighted the significance of community in shaping careers while juggling the demands of parenthood. Her experience underscores not only the flexibility and inclusion of these industry events but also the support structures that make participation feasible for parents. Rose’s story is an inspiring testament to the power of community and organizational support in fostering professional growth, even amidst the complexities of personal life transitions.

Meraki Switching 17 – Encapsulating ‘Better Together’ by Providing Context

Meraki’s upcoming MS17 features, highlighted at Cisco Live EMEA by Brennan Martin and Alex Burger, are tailored to reduce burdens on IT teams through efficient data aggregation, contextualized insights, and trend visualization. As Zoe Rose discusses, the update is set to streamline operations by introducing dynamic profiles for switchports, enhanced packet capture analysis, and comprehensive device health dashboards, with an API to further customize thresholds and alerts. While a ‘single pane of glass’ for network management remains a complex goal, these changes reflect a product evolution responsive to customer feedback and aimed at alleviating workload, underscoring Cisco’s commitment to user-centric innovation.

Runaway K8 Clusters, Meet Your Match: Platform9’s Elastic Machine Pool (EMP)

Although Jim Czuprynski prefers monolithic architectures like Oracle’s Exadata, as an experienced Oracle DBA he recognizes the common issue of memory over-allocation in containerized environments, driven by the containerization trend. Platform9’s EMP toolset was presented as a solution which introduces an alternative virtualization layer, streamlining resource usage and potentially curbing the over-provisioning habits of Kubernetes engineers. With a focus on enhanced performance and cost efficiency, EMP’s potential to optimize Kubernetes configurations was highlighted at Cloud Field Day, a novel approach eagerly eyed by those in cloud resource management.

Winning the Private (Cloud) War: SoftIron’s Hyperscaled Solutions

Jim Czuprynski reacts to SoftIron’s presentation at Cloud Field Day. They presented a private cloud vision that readily adapts to the challenges of interconnectivity, scalability, and disaster resilience, necessities underscored by recent calamitous events. SoftIron’s tailored solutions, capable of delivering up to 16PB clusters, show their commitment to meeting the elastic computing needs of diverse, growth-oriented IT infrastructures. Read more in this LinkedIn Pulse article!

Cloud to Ground Deployment Magic

Dell Technologies introduced the concept of “Cloud to ground” at Cloud Field Day 19, reflecting the growing interest in cloud repatriation and the desire to bring cloud-like operations to on-premises datacenters. Their APEX Cloud Platform aims to simplify this transition, providing a management solution that integrates with existing tools like Azure console and OpenShift Advanced Cluster Management to automate and manage Cloud OS deployments on Dell hardware. While this innovation aids in the automation and management of on-prem hardware, Ned Bellavance notes that it’s not a full public cloud experience nor a private or multicloud management plane, but rather a significant step towards simplifying hybrid cloud environments for Dell users.

Hardware Vendors Are Providing Better Network Monitoring Than Most Software Vendors

As Thomas LaRock wrote about earlier, 70% of enterprises use private clouds, including those with public-facing websites, pointing out the implicit challenge these companies face in securing their networks against DDoS attacks. Broadcom is innovating in this space with their Trident5-X12 chip featuring the NetGNT engine, which offers real-time traffic analysis and anomaly detection to bolster network security measures. However, despite the advancement in hardware-based security solutions, the onus remains on customers to develop and train the neural network models needed to identify and categorize threats—a task that requires specialized skills.

Better Switch(es) to Fight

Cloud Field Day 19 concluded with Broadcom, as Jim Czuprynski writes in this LinkedIn Pulse article, turning the often-overlooked networking components into a topic of significant impact for cloud infrastructure. Broadcom’s Trident5-X12 chip features smart built-in capabilities to scrutinize every network packet, potentially catching and blocking suspicious traffic such as DDOS attacks in real-time. This technology underscores the importance of robust network security measures, requiring system administrators to be proactive in training and adapting to emergent threat patterns, reinforcing our defense against sophisticated cyber threats.

Dell – Streamlining Cloud – On and Off Premises

Camberley Bates’ LinkedIn Pulse article examines Dell’s latest solutions—APEX Storage for Public Cloud and APEX Cloud Platform—introduced at DTW 2023 and further elaborated during Tech Field Day. These offerings aim to enhance cloud management both on and off-premises, with the SDS-based APEX Storage designed for scalability in AWS, Azure, and eventually GCP, complemented by the APEX Navigator for comprehensive management. The article also highlights APEX Cloud Platforms’ on-premises integrations for OpenShift, AzureStack HCI, and VMware Tanzu that simplify deployment and lifecycle management.

Multi-Cloud: Because Life Isn’t Painful Enough

Thomas LaRock’s LinkedIn Pulse article wittily addresses the complexities of multi-cloud management and introduces Dell’s APEX Cloud Platform with APEX Block Storage, focusing on how it can ease the burdens of handling high-performance workloads across different cloud providers, despite the potentially higher costs associated with enterprise-level storage solutions and multi-cloud management tools like APEX Navigator.

When CPUs/GPUs Are Not Enough: NeuroBlade’s SPU

Drawing from experience with high-performance Exadata DBMs, Jim Czuprynski considers the challenges in running complex analytic or ML workloads in containerized databases like Apache Spark. NeuroBlade has stepped in with a potential solution for these scalability issues in massive, containerized environments by introducing the SQL Processing Unit (SPU), designed to offload and accelerate these demanding tasks. Touted to boost analytical performance by up to 10x, the SPU exemplifies hardware innovation tailored for the needs of private cloud computing, heralding a promising future for data-intensive workloads.

Kubernetes With Platform9’s Elastic Machine Pool

Platform9’s Elastic Machine Pool (EMP) for AWS addresses the critical issue of EKS cluster underutilization, offering Kubernetes operations enhanced efficiency and cost-effectiveness. By dynamically rebalancing resources and leveraging advanced virtualization, EMP can potentially cut AWS costs in half for EKS users, presenting a considerable advantage for both DevOps and #FinOps teams. Beyond the cost benefits, EMP’s intelligent resource management promotes operational efficiency, allowing teams to devote more time to innovation instead of the manual oversight of cloud resources, according to Jon Myer.

The Dell Alternative to Cloud

In this LinkedIn Pulse article, Joep Piscaer analyzes Dell Technologies’ multifaceted approach to multi-cloud, which includes APEX Block Storage—a software-defined, mature storage solution that extends on-prem software to cloud providers, boosting performance and resilience—and the APEX Cloud Platform, a standardized on-prem hardware and software package that integrates cloud features and operations into Dell’s ecosystem. Piscaer commends Dell’s strategy of not directly competing with cloud service giants but rather expanding its ecosystem within the cloud and enriching the on-premises infrastructure with cloud-like functionalities, providing significant value to its existing customer base.

SoftIron – A HyperCloud That Is Not Your Typical HCI

Camberley Bates describes SoftIron’s distinctive approach within the Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure market, highlighting its appeal to sectors with zero-trust and high-security requirements. SoftIron stands out by manufacturing its own hardware for compute, network, and storage in the US and Australia, with a software foundation geared towards high-security standards. Their systems can scale significantly beyond the usual limitations of HCI, supporting large clusters with high performance, even in HPC or image processing contexts. The article notes SoftIron’s unique architecture, including a stateless device setup and control plane integration in top of rack networking nodes, and mentions the intention to further investigate their data management and system interface.

Saving Money in EKS Is a Good Start

Cloud elasticity, allowing for scaling out and in, can lead to cost inefficiency when resources remain underutilized, a situation exacerbated in Kubernetes environments with studies citing overprovisioning as a significant issue. Ned Bellavance discusses Platform9’s Elastic Machine Pool (EMP), which seeks to address excessive resource allocation in EKS by optimizing node placement and memory on AWS EC2 instances, potentially leading to substantial cost savings. However, while EMP is a clever intermediary fix, the underlying challenge of workload right-sizing and application team behavior remains, signifying the need for a more profound, long-term solution.

Doing Data Analytics Acceleration in Hardware With NeuroBlade

NeuroBlade sets its sights on becoming the NVIDIA of Data, showcasing its commitment to hardware-based solutions with its SQL Processing Unit (SPU) at Cloud Field Day. In this LinkedIn Pulse article, Joep Piscaer takes a look at the SPU, which is engineered to overcome the limitations of general-purpose CPUs and GPUs in data analytics by offering 30x acceleration at a fraction of the cost and power consumption, without the need to rewrite SQL queries. While NeuroBlade has already made strides with hyper-scale clients and OEM integrations, like with Dell, the potential for broader market reach through collaborations with cloud-based data analytics services remains an exciting prospect for the future.

Behold, the SQL Processing Unit (SPU)

The NeuroBlade SPU is a groundbreaking piece of hardware designed to plug directly into servers, offering a 30x improvement in processing analytical queries, which Thomas LaRock thinks could be a game-changer for data-intensive companies. As generative AI and Large Language Models democratize data access, NeuroBlade comes at a critical juncture, addressing the impending surge in data processing demands with minimal impact on current infrastructure and methods. With the potential to massively reduce hardware needs and carbon footprint, this innovative solution is poised to be a coveted asset, not just for individual enterprises but also potentially for major cloud service providers as they navigate the explosion of data in the coming years.

At the APEX: Dell’s Vision for Multi-Cloud Platform Storage and Configuration

Navigating the complexities of managing a modern multi-cloud environment is a formidable challenge, demanding meticulous oversight of components and rigorous lifecycle management to maintain cluster health. Dell’s APEX Cloud Platform (ACP) positions itself as a unified management solution for disparate cloud infrastructures, focusing on ease of deployment in both OpenShift and Azure environments, and promoting the synergy of their hardware with APEX Cloud Storage. In this LinkedIn Pulse article, Jim Czuprynski discusses his opinion on the APEX offering.

Is Platform9’s Cost Optimization Worth Its Complexity?

At Cloud Field Day 19, Platform9 introduced their Elastic Machine Pool (EMP), a sophisticated solution dedicated to optimizing cloud costs through a unique utilization of AWS bare metal and a KubeVirt-based virtualization layer for Kubernetes. While EMP can provide significant savings for those with resource over-allocation, it introduces layers of technological complexity that could lead to technical debt, raising the question of whether the cost savings justify the added intricacy. Joep Piscaer elaborates on the delicate balance between addressing organizational inefficiencies with technical solutions, suggesting that while EMP has its merits, a holistic approach to understanding and resolving the root causes behind over-provisioning may yield more sustainable outcomes.

Use This One Weird Trick to Build Your Own Private Cloud

Tracing the evolution of corporate infrastructure, Thomas LaRock spotlights how mainframes gave way to servers, which in turn embraced the transformational shifts to virtualization, then public clouds, and now the emergence of microservices and containers—yet through each phase, the underlying data centers and servers remained indispensable. Despite the allure of public cloud, private clouds persist, driven by factors like security, data sovereignty, performance, and the cost of potential repatriation, which keeps companies from going all-in on cloud solutions. Addressing the complexities of building private clouds, SoftIron unveils their HybridCloud offering—an “in-a-box” private data center solution that affirms its scalability, ease of integration with Azure and AWS, and potential as a maneuver away from challenging licensing models.

HyperCloud: Is This the Next Era of Private Cloud?

With the rise of hyperscalers and the challenges of cloud cost management, HyperCloud by SoftIron offers an intriguing solution, aiming to marry the agility of cloud computing with the control of on-premises infrastructure. In this LinkedIn Pulse article, Jon Myer discusses the HyperCloud ecosystem, which brings a cloud-like experience to private setups, seeking to address the complexity of traditional data centers with a flexible, scalable infrastructure. As someone fascinated by IT’s evolution, HyperCloud’s innovative approach and promise of operational ease and efficiency within a secure on-premises environment might very well define the next era of private cloud.