Made it to the Bigs. Network Field Day 3.

Wow so here I am just a few days from flying to San Jose for Network Field Day #3. What an honor! A bit over a year ago I sadly had to decline Steve Foskett’s invitation to attend a field day. Ever since then I was hoping I had not blown my chance to be part of what I think is where our industry is heading in concern to vendor interaction. For so long the process has been ran by insiders and in a closed off to the majority of the comment. Tech Field Day’s opened the kimono and I can’t wait participate and share information from my perspective what we get to see and talk about while in San Jose.

I have been doing some thinking and homework prior to flying west and I figured I would share some of that here. First off I have to right up front and say that I am a client of three of six of the vendors that are presenting. Not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing for them but its how it goes.

Vendors and my pre Field day thoughts:

Solarwinds:  If there a part of our industry that drives my imagination its Network Management and Monitoring.  So not only am I client but I am a huge fan of the product.  That is not to say that I wouldn’t like to see some changes.  Sol while I am with them I hope to hear about simplification of the product.  Not its features but of the core system.  Anyone who has worked with it has seen that there are lots of moving parts.  While they have done a great job of making all of those pieces work well together I would love to see what an optimized Orion product would look like.

NEC:  One Word, OpenFlow.  I keep hearing that NEC is on the cutting edge of next generation intelligent networking.  Not much more to say other than I think they have a very compelling place in the market as SDN takes off.  Should be a great time.

INFINETA: These guys look interesting to me.  I have sold Cisco WAAS and worked across it.  I have heard lots of pitches by other vendors about why use their optimization products.  But at the end of the day nothing has blown me away.  I think the concept of optimization is fantastic and can change how we interact with data and how we deal with bottlenecks now and in the future.  So based on the reading I have done I think these guys will have something good to show and say.

Arista: These guys I love!  First off they are simply no BS.  They love technology. They get where DC networks have to be and where they have to go to keep moving us forward.  While Google and some other big big guys might be building their own hardware Arista is the team that the rest of use have to count on for cost affective switches with low latency and non-blocking backplanes.  Before I even bought their gear they were an open book with me.  I can’t wait to see what they have to share with us this next week!

SPIRENT: I don’t quite know what to think about these guys.  But from the quick digging I have done they have some really cool stuff going on.  Network simulation, network validation, network enablement.  But I am guessing it is going to be cool.  One of the best things about getting to talk to smart people and smart companies is that it helps drive so many ideas.  I really hope to come away bubbling with ideas after visiting with them.

Cisco: Ah my old standby.  I have been around the block and back with Cisco.  Simply put my career like so many others has been primarily based on their products, their designs and their vision for our industry.  In the past few years I have been challenged by some of the messaging and even more so from some of the implementation of products.  That has led me to be a much more well rounded engineer and had widened my perspective on why we can’ be zealots in our industry.  However when push comes to shove if I was building and end to end network from scratch today most of that network would be Cisco and we will be talking to the Borderless Networks team who is in charge of those very products I would deploy.  It will be good to get back in touch with the products that I know so well and see how they are growing them and the company.

So as you have seen if your still with me nothing really exciting here in this post.  Just wanted to get my thoughts out of my head where they seem to work better anyway.  You will notice in the pages that there is a Network Field Day 3 Live! link.  When NFD#3 fires up feel free to watch the show from here or better yet hit up the Tech Field Day Site and everything that they have going on.

About Josh O'Brien

Josh is the CTO of Language Access Network in Columbus, Ohio. Over his career he as had extensive experience in networking environments. These experiences have led him to design and implement hundreds of customer networks as a consultant. Currently Josh focuses growing nationwide medical networks and providing cutting edge video services to the medical community.