Real Dinner, Virtual Topic

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant is the executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Prior to ENP, Cameron was technical analyst at PCWeek Labs, starting in 1997. Cameron finished up as the eWEEK Labs Technical Director in 2012. Before his extensive labs tenure Cameron paid his IT dues working in technical support and sales engineering at a software publishing firm . Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his analysis is grounded in real-world concern. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at
By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2007-03-08 Email Print this article Print

XenSource gets in some licks at VMware, Cisco clarifies virtualization strategy and the dinner table talk turns to power-efficient data centers and server monitoring at an industry get-together.

I attended the annual N-Square (Networking/Networking) dinner on Tuesday, March 6, in Palo Alto, run by Internet Research Group (John Katsaros, Peter Christy) and sponsored this year by Cisco. I've been a longtime reader of their always interesting newsletter. (I first came across Peter at Inbox a couple of years ago.) The dinner topic was "Virtualization and Its Impact on Infrastructure." Inexplicably, the guy from VMware left before the dinner discussion. However, XenSource gave a rousing "VMware is great if' love giving money to EMC, proprietary solutions, associating with a foe of Microsoft" speech. The Cisco rep disagreed with parts of Peter Christy's introductory comments that described Cisco's virtualization of network infrastructure. Instead, the Cisco guy, while embracing aspects of virtualization, insisted (I think correctly) that there are a great many aspects of networking that require silicone to accelerate, sort, filter and process IP packets that can't be done as fast in a virtualized environment. One of my dinner companions was a data center broker. I asked him if he was seeing interest in "green" data centers and he said no. HOWEVER, when a venture fund representative sitting at the table mentioned some work being done on improving server power supply efficiency by just 2 percent, the data center guy was keenly interested. So, I took the data center guy's initial response as a knee-jerk reaction to environmentalism. The data center guy was especially hot on APC cabinet cooling technology. He also talked at length about the shortage of data center space in the NYC area, limited by power and cable capacity. He talked A LOT about putting data centers next to power plants and the problems power plants are having with carbon emissions. Another companion was a network engineer from a global Internet platform provider. I asked him about the technical problems that he sees. Although it depends a great deal on the customer, he got around to talking about network management problems when managing 25,000 servers spread across 3,000 locations. (Most data centers concentrate that number of servers in possibly two or three locations). I talked with him about Splunk, which he had never heard of, and he recommended that I look at Tealeaf. To be clear, the products are actually quite different. Splunk is an IT information search tool, whereas Tealeaf is an end-user experience management system, so they don't technically look at the same information. |

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