Data Center Fabric Architectures – Almost There

The last week has been “interesting” – I created the draft slide deck for the Data Center Fabric Architectures webinar on November 16th (register here) and sent the relevant slides to all vendors mentioned in the presentation to give them a chance to fix my errors – every vendor got at least the scorecard describing my understanding of their solution.

FYI, here’s the definition of the scorecard I'm using to describe the features of individual solutions:

Some of the vendors replied “you’ve got it almost right” (even though the results weren’t always flattering), some pointed out my errors ... and some engaged in interesting image polishing exercises, trying to persuade me to change my wording to better suit their marketing message. As expected, that didn’t work (but I did fix every single error or omission I made).

On another front, quite a few of the vendors tried to sell me futures along the lines of “we’re Industry First Vendor with XXX” ... with a slight gotcha – the feature XXX is not mentioned in their documentation at all. The reply was always the same: “once you start shipping it and document it in your public documentation, let me know and I’ll blog about it and fix the slides,” but as the “focus on futures” approach seems to be a popular pastime, I also decided to add Vendor claims bar at the bottom of the scorecards. That bar documents what they claim they have or will have, and you’ll be able to judge in a few months' time what the gap between promises and deliverables is.

All together, the webinar touches on data center solutions from nine different vendors (in alphabetical order): Alcatel Lucent, Arista Networks, Avaya, Brocade, Cisco, Force10 Networks, HP, Juniper and NEC, and describes fourteen different solutions grouped into five different major architectures ... all for $49.99. I don’t think you’ll ever get such a deal from Gartner & Co ;)

9 comments:

  1. Anonymous Coward11 November, 2011 12:37

    You are so unbelievably out of touch with what really matters Ivan.. And yet your arrogance still continues to grow unabaited. All of the vendors that you trash through your subtext are actually contributing to the network industry through development of competitive solutions to the actual problems that face IT in delivering business outcomes. You however merely sit back and arrogantly poke holes in the work of dedicated engineers wihtout actually [cutting a line of code | producing an Rfc | investing in research (time or money) | offering the public anything more than your self righteous claptrap] and yet somehow feel that your efforts are worth people investing money in. You are the day trader of the network industry.... riding off the backs of others opens work and deluding yourself into thinking you are contributing to society.

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  2. I have to agree with this. I used to love your blog and look forward to what you have to say, now I just find you obnoxious. Do you really think this lame report is worth $50? You have become opportunistic and greedy, and you think way too highly of yourself.

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  3. Sounds like you pissed off a vendor, Ivan. Nice work! :)

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  4. #1 - use your real name.
    #2 - tell me what you did and how you contributed to society.

    Then we can discuss what matters.

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  5. Don't feed the vendor-trolls, let them starve in their dungeons.... keep up the good wrok Ivan.

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  6. If you are going to call someone out, don't hide behind anonymity. Also Ivan is actually one of the few people in the networking industry who are actively blogging about the various new technologies that come out. Without this type of criticism, it is very difficult to judge the merit of a vendor's new offering (are you going to rely on vendor white paper to find short-coming of the said vendor?). It is neither arrogance or trash talking when one is engaging in constructive criticism.

    Regarding the $ aspect, no one expects anyone to work for free. This is his blog and a lot of the information he gives out are free, it is entirely up to his discretion if he wished to charge for certain things.

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  7. Ivan, why even approve something like this? I hope a comment like this does not in anyway discourage you from future posts. Your blogs help any NE who read grow. I plan to sign up for your webinar.

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  8. Your blogging is a great resource for understanding current and new technologies in networking. Keep up the great job!

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  9. I do not see any reason why someone could not charge for his work.

    Worst case if it's really not worth it no one will buy it and two things will happen:
    1) He will drop the price
    2) and/or stop doing it

    Personally I think paying is worth it if the quality is there.

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Ivan Pepelnjak, CCIE#1354, is the chief technology advisor for NIL Data Communications. He has been designing and implementing large-scale data communications networks as well as teaching and writing books about advanced technologies since 1990. See his full profile, contact him or follow @ioshints on Twitter.