May 2011 Archives

How To Maximise Acquisitions...

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This week I was at an HP press event (dusting off the journo hat) getting an update about many of the areas I've been involved in testing with recently with the company, notably the Converged Infrastructure (CI) solution and the TippingPoint-based Secure Virtualisation Framework. Key to the latter's enhancement is that we can now looking at exceeding the magical 10Gbps barrier on the physical IDS side, while still protecting within VMs - watch this space for further details on revisiting testing here...

At the same time, HP is heavily promoting its "single pane management" concept that is IMC - the idea being that you can control (almost) everything on the network from a single interface - nothing new here in concept but then it's never been perfected either. However, the company might be getting closer than most - customers have told them that it manages their Cisco environments (remember this is an HP product) better than Cisco does... well - only one way to prove this and that's to put it to the test; again watch this space on that one too - the test environment will cover both wired and wireless networks, as well as hybrid HP/Cisco and possibly a few jokers thrown in too (where are those 3Com CoreBuilder switches I used once?). Any other suggestions are welcomed...

The point about these observations from the HP event is that one very common theme runs throughout... that CI data centre solution is based around H3C switch technology that came with the 3Com acquisition; the IMC product is pure 3Com origin; the TippingPoint IPS tech also came with 3Com.

So, the primary product strategies of HP networking at the moment are all under-pinned by 3Com technology. When you consider how many billions have been wasted on dodgy acquisitions in the past, including by 3Com of old, the $2.7bn HP paid is starting to look like smart (and smartly used) investment already.

Footnote: I got to the event location (Stamford Bridge, Chelski - Imagine that as a Leeds fan...) on the Sunday, along with my mate Mr MOB who's in charge of MarComms EMEA for HP; so there was a certain high profile footie match on that late afternoon, involving Chelski - logical therefore to watch the match at a local hostelry? The problem is that Chelsea is far too HH (Hooray Hen) an area to show its own football team on TV in the local pubs, so consequently we missed half the match while trailing hopelessly from one near-deserted "Gastro Pub" to the next, in search of an elusive TV screen that was actually switched on....

And to add insult to injury: £9.61 for two pints of bitter and two packets of crisps? Welcome back Wakefield (£1.88 a pint for Clarke's Trad Blonde....


Is Travelling A Non-Contact Sport?

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As ever (it seems) been doing a lot of travelling, hence a lack of blogs - is this because we can't contact the Ether-world when travelling?

Well - obviously not, but then it's still not as straightforward as it might be. For example, why was it that one US hotel in Bay Area with free Wi-Fi appeared to be sending out my emails, POP3 style, when it turned out that they were neither getting to their recipients, nor being rebounded back to me. I only found out when I got an urgent request to deliver a report and quote for a press release that I'd actually delivered 36 hours earlier (or thought that I had). Then there are hotel networks that actively block POP3 outgoing emails but will support browser-based outgoings; and you never know until you try. So could we please have some consistency in configurations, you WiFi world out there? BTW - tip for anyone using San Francisco International airport - it has an everlasting free WiFi service; basically you get 45 mins for free - then login again and you get another 45 minutes, and so forth and so forth (yes I did check in very early for my flight AND there is very little to do at SFO International terminal).

So - keeping the theme going; back to Europe via Heathrow T5 - where the hell is there a power socket to plug your (now exhausted) laptop or phone into? What happened to IT savvy designers when this was being constructed?

Then, once on the train (yes, this is beginning to sound like a parody of the old Python "Torremolinos" sketch) 3G coverage is still every bit as patchy as it ever was (interesting here that the US has "gotten" ahead again, with 4G coverage already available in a few regions, while we are 2+ years away from the delights of 45mins battery life in your SmartPhone) and tunnels are still a complete no-no. You would have thought that, since tunnels came before modern communications, they might have thought of a solution...

What I'm trying to say is, communications "on the go" is still way off the pace compared with what it could and should be. What is the point in me testing all this thoroughly good network traffic optimisation stuff, if there's no network available to optimise in the first place?

Quick mention here for a mobile service that was launched on the AppStore this week that I've been keeping an eye on via an industry mate - Bababoo.com - automatically chooses the cheapest network for your SmartPhone to use, both domestic/International, from one app without you having to make any decisions - assuming it can find any network coverage of any sort in the first place, that is...