Over the past decade, we have seen Microsoft evolve from the company that makes Windows to one of the top three tech giants, and the second largest cloud services provider behind only Amazon. While Microsoft has been a giant in the industry since the 80’s and 90’s, market share for their Windows operating system has been steadily declining during the rise of mobile devices.

 

 

Android and Apple have been slowly taking over the market and edging Microsoft out after a long string of flops. From Groove music, to the Windows phone, Microsoft has been releasing a series of not so great products that get overshadowed by others, and eventually phased out. There is one space they have been excelling in, cloud.

 

 

Focusing on the Cloud

 

 

With the success of Office 365 and Azure, it’s no surprise that Microsoft is shifting their focus to the cloud. It’s also no surprise that they are shifting the focus of their flagship product to be more in line with their current successes. There have been some major shakeups within the company over the last few years, one of which is to move the Windows operating system operations to the cloud division. Another act that solidifies Microsoft’s  intent to bring Windows to the cloud.

 

 

Windows Virtual Desktop

 

 

Enter Windows Virtual Desktop. The newest iteration of Windows 10 is offered as a remote virtual desktop run in Azure and is accessible from anywhere. Just like every other cloud product MS offers, this means it will always be up to date. No more Windows updates restarting your computer at the most inconvenient times.

 

 

 

 

The biggest upside of Windows Virtual Desktop will definitely be its impact on IT departments. The fully virtualized OS will bring a lot of benefits with it that were previously only realized through server-based virtualization, which is costly and complicated.

 

Benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop

 

  • Virtual Desktops will be able to share resources with other Virtual desktops
  • Centrally managed through Azure
  • Accessible from anywhere, eliminating a lot of networking headaches
  • IT departments will be able to deploy new desktops easily and quickly while hardly needing to touch any actual hardware, making it scalable to meet the needs of any company.
  • Built in Security and Compliance. Taking a load off any monitoring and protection software

 

 

The new virtual desktop will be bundled with Office 365, which will cut costs and ensure companies have everything they need to run in the cloud. The operating system runs on a pay-as-you-go model that Microsoft uses with most of its products.

 

 

There are several tiers of this model.  Starting with the standard pay-as-you-go, where you can increase compute capacity and storage to fit your needs. You only pay for the virtual machines while they are on. There is also the option to reserve VM instances, which is a fixed price for the VM’s whether they are running or not. While still flexible, this requires a commitment for a length of time.

 

 

Redefining the Operating System

 

 

In an age of mobile devices, Microsoft is trying to redefine the operating system. They are taking it from a single-device system, to a multi device one. This will allow you to access the same desktop from any device, making it truly mobile.

 

 

Though it’s clear that Microsoft has been focusing on other projects, they aren’t leaving Windows by the wayside. The Windows Virtual Desktop may be more suited for business use, but it is a pretty clear indicator of where they want to OS to be in the future. There have been rumors that the next version of Windows will be the last. A single version of Windows that will continue to evolve, but you won’t need to upgrade to the next iteration.

 

 

Microsoft isn’t afraid to admit it’s made a few missteps in the last decade, like Windows 8 or the Windows phone. They know where they excel, and the focus has been shifted to cloud. Windows will be another addition to Microsoft’s suite of cloud services, bringing it into the future with the rest of the products that brought about Microsoft’s rise to the top. For almost its entire existence Microsoft has been known for Windows, but times are changing. Windows virtual desktop is a big step towards keeping Windows relevant in the future.

As the CEO of a prominent IT Solutions Provider (Zunesis) in the great state of Colorado, I could not be more bullish about the strategic direction and product development of Aruba networking (wireless & wired). In 2018, our Aruba business will grow 100%+ year-over-year. We expect this growth to continue. This growth is a result of the unique value of Aruba products and the transformation happening in the market.

 

aruba

Aruba seems to have the ability to see “around the corner” and know what customers will need and how to help them. Innovations in IoT, machine learning, edge computing, and artificial intelligence will continue to drive demand for intelligent and secure networking solutions.

 

Our goal at Zunesis will be to stay in lock step with the progressive developments happening at Aruba and to listen carefully to our clients so we can best meet their needs. Hang on folks – the future is bright! Below are some of the most recent Aruba developments to be aware of.

 

Aruba’s Critical Acclaim

 

After being named a leader again last month in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure, Aruba now is highly ranked in Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for the Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure. Aruba received the highest score in five out of the six most prevalent use cases for enterprise networking deployments, including:

 

• Unified Wired and WLAN Access
• WLAN-only refresh or new build
• Performance Stringent Applications
• Multivendor Networking Environment
• Remote Branch Office with Corporate HQ

 

Gartner-Critical-Capabilities Aruba

 

 

The Experience Economy

 

Today’s purveyors of goods and services are creating a new type of value for customers by becoming purveyors of experiences. The ability to deliver consistent and valuable experiences, no matter where your customers are, is replacing basic goods and services transactions. The value comes from lowering customer sacrifice. The less customers need to give up to utilize your products, goods and services, the more value you create for them. This is the experience economy.

 

As digital continues to transform our world, it is also disrupting businesses and industries of all kinds, from retail to hospitality, to healthcare and beyond. To survive this digital disruption, organizations must evolve from simply providing goods and services to delivering amazing experiences to win and retain business and stay ahead of the competition. Organizations must also think about creating personalized, enhanced experiences for employees to attract strong talent, improve employee engagement and retention, and empower their workforce.

 

 

Smart Digital Experiences

 

Gartner recommends that in addition to evaluating networking hardware, Enterprises should focus on the capabilities that a vendor is able to deliver around network services applications, IoT and artificial intelligence and machine learning. These technology areas are core to Aruba’s innovation agenda and reflect the high scores they were awarded in the Critical Capabilities report.

 

Network Services Applications

 

Aruba’s unique automated, micro-policy approach dramatically simplifies the network and allows policy to follow the user anywhere and on any device for a seamless experience. Their network management platform provides a single pane of glass for managing multi-vendor wired and wireless infrastructures and can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. Their location services solution enables mobile engagement and asset tracking, allowing IT and line of business leaders to create exceptional employee and customer experiences.

 

IoT

 

IoT devices are introducing significant security risks, particularly since these endpoints lack adequate authentication capabilities. Aruba recognizes this threat and has introduced Dynamic Segmentation. This solution automatically detects new devices as they connect to the network, recognizes the device type, applies policy, and isolates the IoT endpoints from the corporate network to mitigate the security risk.

 

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

 

Aruba applies machine learning to a broad range of use cases, including RF optimization, network assurance and advanced attack detection. By selecting the right problems to address, knowing and accessing the right data, and then curating the results in real-world environments, Aruba has set the standard in delivering AI-powered secure, autonomous networks.

With just a few months left of 2018, many companies and organizations are amid planning their IT budgets for 2019. What areas will be a focus for next year?  Hardware? Cloud? Storage? IoT?

 

A few surveys recently went out asking IT professionals about predictions on their IT spending for 2019. Good news is that most companies expect their budget to grow or stay steady in 2019.

 

The main reasons for ramping up IT budgets for next year include upgrading outdated IT infrastructure, cyber security and supporting digital transformation initiatives. 82% of government organizations across North America and Europe said they were expanding IT budgets due to outdated IT infrastructure, which is significantly higher than in any other industry.

 

Survey Results: State of IT Budgets 2019

 

Spiceworks recently released their State of IT Budgets 2019.

 

Their key findings were:

 

1) Most companies expect their IT Budgets to grow or stay steady in 2019.
2) The need to upgrade outdated IT infrastructure is the biggest driver or IT budget increases in 2019.
3) More than 1/3 of midsize companies (500 – 999 employees) saw IT budget increases due to corporate tax cuts
4) Small businesses are making significant increases to their hardware budgets while large enterprises are increasing their cloud budgets in 2019.
5) Organizations that expect IT budget increase next year, anticipate a 20% increase on average. Only 6% expect a decrease in budget.

 

When looking at how budgets will be allocated for 2019:

 

  • Software and cloud budgets remain steady from the previous year
  • Hardware budget allocations get smaller as company sizes increase and managed service budget allocations get larger.
  • Smaller organizations are investing a larger percentage of their hardware budget in desktops and laptops.
  • Midsize organizations with 500 to 999 employees are investing a bigger portion of their budget in tablets and mobile devices.
  • Larger enterprises expect to spend a larger chunk of their hardware budget on security gear.
  • For large businesses, the movement to cloud-based infrastructure will help drop expenditures in total cost of operations.

 

In terms of software budget allocation:

 

  • Operating Systems: 12%
  • Virtualization: 10%
  • Productivity: 10%
  • Security Software: 10%
  • Larger organizations are allocating the biggest chunk of their software budget to productivity solutions.
  • Midsize organizations are prioritizing virtualization software.
  • Smaller organizations are allocating the most to operating systems.

 

 

Reasons Why Organizations are Looking at New Tech for 2019:

 

  • Smallest companies are more driven to purchase new tech due to end of life (62%), business growth (57%), and end user needs (55%).  {Example: Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008}
  • Companies with 5,000+ employees said new technology features are the primary driver enticing them to purchase new tech.

 

For the most part, IT heads of organizations are the sole decision maker when make decisions on hardware, software and service product purchases. A few organizations may require a CEO to sign on the bottom line for contracts but the IT professional usually does the majority of the research, vendor selection and negotiation.

 

 

Other Predictions

 

Tech Pro Research surveyed technology professionals in August and found that executives are viewing IT budgets pretty favorably. A growth of 1-10 percent increase over 2018 IT budgets is predicted. The growth can be attributed to a favorable business climate, as well as a better understanding that technology can help fuel revenue opportunities and save money for businesses.

 

Gartner recently stated that future growth could be hindered by the strengthening U.S. dollar, political uncertainty, NAFTA renegotiations and possible future trade wars.

 

With the increase in IT budget, standards for vendors providing products will change. Businesses will expect vendors to conduct successful proofs of concept before they purchase any new products. It will be key for the sales person selling the products to be knowledgeable and listen to the needs and wants of the business.

 

ZDNet shared this video on trends and projections for IT budgets in 2019:

 

 

Organizations are looking for what will increase their efficiencies, save costs in the long run, improve employee satisfaction on the job and enable a secure environment for their business operations.  IT professionals are active researchers and often consume at least 16 pieces of content before making a decision about purchasing a product. It is important for vendors approaching IT professionals to focus more on the resources they need to make a decision and skip the sales pitch.

 

How is your organization allocating funds for IT for next year? Contact Zunesis to find out how we can help you navigate through the various options out there. We will help you find the right product that fits within your budget and environment.

Aruba 8400: Designed from the Ground Up for Automation and Network Insight

 

Looking at networking gear over the past several decades, not much has really changed from a high level.  Okay, we’ve gotten bigger pipes to fit the much larger volume of data that needs to pass through them.  We have added more protocols to manage the control plane, but a lot of the core technology is still pretty much the same.

 

OSPF, BGP, VRRP, etc … hasn’t really changed much.  Sure, some of us are over spanning tree and aren’t wasting half of our links anymore, but the point is that many network engineers themselves haven’t changed how they deploy and manage solutions.  Specifically, many of us are still managing our networks statically via the command line, troubleshooting after a problem has caused an outage, and not automating.

 

In the era of mobile, cloud, and IoT, this simply isn’t scalable anymore.  If you’re a forward thinker, you may have already been using ansible, python, etc. for network automation, and it definitely helps when the vendor has designed a platform specifically for this.  Gone are the days of screen scraping and expect scripting over SSH.

 

Aruba has been disrupting the networking industry for some time now in wireless and wired, but one thing missing from the product portfolio was an offering for the core… until now.

 

What’s New:

 

  • High-performance Aruba core and aggregation switch with 19.2 Tbps switching capacity and carrier-class high availability.
  • ArubaOS-CX automates using built-in REST APIs and Python scripts.
  • Monitor and troubleshoot with Aruba Network Analytics Engine.
  • High availability, virtualization and simplicity with Aruba VSX.
  • High density, line rate 10GbE/40GbE/100GbE connectivity.
  • Advanced Layer 2/3 feature set includes BGP, OSPF, VRF and IPv6.

 

Game-Changing Business Agility

 

The Aruba 8400 Switch Series is a core and aggregation switch solution with an innovative and powerful approach to dealing with the new applications, security and scalability demands of the mobile, cloud and IoT era.

 

Fully programmable with ArubaOS-CX, it brings automation and visibility and helps troubleshoot via simple scripting.

 

Aruba Network Analytics Engine provides the ability to monitor and troubleshoot the network, system, application and security related issues easily, through simple python agents and REST APIs.

 

High-availability, high-speed architecture with 19.2 Tbps switching capacity for always on networking.

 

Robust security and QoS with advanced Layer 2 and Layer 3 features including support for BGP, OSPF, VRF and IPv6.

 

Modern Software System Simplifies and Automates

 

The Aruba 8400 Switch Series is based on the new ArubaOS-CX, a modern software system for the core that automates and simplifies many critical and complex network tasks.

 

The built-in time series database enables customers and developers to develop software modules for historical troubleshooting, as well as analysis of historical trends, to predict and avoid future problems due to scale, security and performance bottlenecks.

 

Includes stability, independent monitoring and restart of individual software modules, and enhanced software process serviceability functions. And it allows individual software modules to be upgraded for higher availability; and supports enhanced serviceability functions.

 

Delivers enhanced fault tolerance and facilitates nearly continuous operation and zero-service disruption during planned or unplanned control-plane events.

 

High Performance and Carrier-Class High Availability

 

The Aruba 8400 Switch includes a high-speed, fully distributed architecture and provides up to 19.2 Tbps switching capacity to meet the demands and bandwidth-intensive applications today and in the future.

 

Aruba’s new high availability technology is Aruba VSX which has been designed from ground up to deliver the continuous availability, virtualization and simplicity requirements unique to the core of the network.

 

Resiliency and high availability with hot-swappable, redundant and load-sharing fabrics, management, fan assemblies and power supplies.

 

Scalable, compact 8U chassis delivers industry-leading line rate 10GbE/40GbE/100GbE port density, very low latency, and scalability ideal for the campus core.

 

So how is this any different from other chassis based switches?

 

ArubaOS-CX

 

Meet ArubaOS-CX, a modern network operating system.  The entire state of the system is stored in a database, and all aspects of the system interact with it, and not directly with each other outside of it.  This provides much greater modularity, extensibility, and allows seamless recovery when failures are detected.  If one particular daemon crashes, it simply restarts and restores it’s state back from the database with almost zero downtime.  This is huge!  If you’ve ever had to recover a major process like OSPF and had to deal with the consequences, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Further, the system automatically generates a REST API for all objects in the data model, and can expose all features, functions, statistics…EVERYTHING to AOS-CX applications/services and to external systems if desired.

 

If that wasn’t enough, Aruba has also provided us with automated monitoring and troubleshooting via the network analytics engine.  This allows IT professionals to easily monitor, detect problems, analyze trends, and immediately resolve issues instead of relying on traditional tools like SNMP and CLI after the fact.  If a particular condition is detected, it is possible to automatically remediate via scripted actions.

 

 

Again, ArubaOS-CX is fully programmable via REST API, and for those of you who are ready to dig in, here’s a handy reference document to help get you started.

 

So are you ready to switch?(Pun intended)

 

 

 

 

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