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SN blogs: NFV technology blends enterprise, telecom

SN blogs: This week, an analyst says crossover between enterprise and telecom networking continues; The Internet of Things brings healthcare to poor countries.

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Dan Conde says that the enterprise and telecom industries are continuing to merge, thanks in part to the introduction of network functions virtualization (NFV). Before virtualization, telecommunications was largely about signaling, switching circuits and radios. But the introduction of NFV technology has brought that industry into the domain of data center networking and cloud computing. Conde is most interested in the impact this migration is having on OpenStack. This, he says, is a project that was once primarily influenced by the OpenStack's founding vendors but is now being impacted by operators like Comcast. How is the market reacting? Conde says software vendors such as VMware and Red Hat demonstrated NFV-compatible software at the recent NFV World Congress. Other suppliers, such as Kemp Technologies and F5, are becoming crossover vendors, Conde says, as they begin to broaden their focus to include both enterprises and service providers. Read more about the future of telecommunications and enterprise crossover as the progression of NFV continues.

Dell's open network strategy not without risk

Current Analysis analyst Mike Fratto says that Dell's open networking strategy gives it a strong advantage in the short-term. But the company needs to replicate its existing integration and automation approach to switching if it wants to ultimately separate itself from the pack. Fratto says that while Cisco and VMware squabble over ACI and NSX, Dell has created a data center switch line for open networking. While other vendors like Juniper and HP each have a single ToR switch, Dell has four. The company supports operating systems from Big Switch and Cumulus Networks and provides customer service using its open networking line support operating system. Yet while Dell has differentiated itself from competitors, its strategy is not difficult to copy. This puts the company at risk. In order to make it difficult for competitors to seize Dell's position, Fratto says that Dell needs to add automated networking to its list of priorities so that its software can automate common tasks and administrators can make more complex changes if necessary.

Read more about why Fratto says Dell has a unique open network strategy.

Enterprise-defined-data-centers versus software-defined-data centers

Thomas Bittman, vice president and analyst at Gartner Research, says that it's time for infrastructure and operations (I/O) teams to stop focusing on the "software-defined data center" and start thinking in terms of an enterprise-defined data center. In this case, the I/O teams provide support rather than changing the network architecture. For too long I/O teams have been trying to figure out how to update the enterprise network, when in fact, Bittman says it's important to focus on aggregation, customization, integration and governance of multiple cloud providers. Bittman says that most services that an enterprise needs don't reside on a single architecture. I/O teams have to work with a variety of data centers. The bottom line: Don't let your hardware define you.

Read why Bittman says it's time to think about how infrastructure and operations team can support the enterprise, rather than changing the enterprise to simplify I/O procedures.

United Nations brings the Internet of Things to developing countries

New York Times Technology Bits writer Steve Lohr says that the Internet of Things is making its way to the United Nations via efforts to provide wearable technology to the poor. A new initiative called "Wearables for Good" was started by Unicef and ARM, the British chip designer whose microprocessors power many smartphones and tablets. Among the initiative's goals is to battle pneumonia by providing mothers and children with sensor devices capable of monitoring a child's respiratory system. By catching early signs of the disease, backers say they hope to reduce the incidence of pneumonia, the leading cause of death in children under five in poor countries. Because the cost of innovation is at an all-time low, today may be the right time for this type of approach, Lohr writes. He also says that cloud computing and open-source software has brought down the cost of collecting and analyzing data, making it easier for these types of initiatives to get started.

Read more about how the United Nations is brining IoT to developing countries

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