INTERFACE ’13 Phoenix, AZ
Opengear is participating in the INTERFACE ’13 tour and the most recent show was located in in sunny Scottsdale, AZ where the temperature felt similar to an oven set to bake in the shade and broil in direct sunlight.
Opengear out-of-band management solutions were a welcome addition to the field of tech companies showcasing the latest in IT trends and technologies to a field of local delegates. The Phoenix metro area is better knowns as the “Valley of the Sun”, which would be an ideal proving ground for our out-of-band management products designed for extended operating temperature range. Delegates from local utilities took keen interest in our ACM5000 & ACM5500 line of cellular out-of-band products available in high temp models to serve this harsh Arizona environment.
Security was the focus of keynote speakers and given the recent press regarding the NSA and PRISM project leaks, it was a fitting topic that led to discussions regarding cellular out-of-band access and how it can be hardened for high security. Visitors left the Opengear booth fully informed on the latest in securing cellular communications for out-of-band access to help improve business continuity and some of the lucky ones got cool Opengear keychains.
Securing cellular out-of-band products begins with wireless carrier services such as Private IP’s to avoid the public internet entirely. These Private IP services deliver a VRF directly into the carrier VLAN and supplies IPSec access for an end-to-end secure, wireless management LAN.
Current users that subscribe to Ethernet or MPLS services with Private IP can extend that segment to include the cellular Opengear devices for wired and wireless management access. Leading the pack in this offering is Verizon, who recently announced Private IP services in 16 Equinix Data Centers. Now, users can have in-band and out-of-band access on a locked down private network and mitigate any initial security risks common to interface facing wireless devices.
In the past we have used phrases to describe our products and solutions like “virtually there” and “it’s like a virtual technician”, these really do apply to an environment like Phoenix, AZ in June. Stay inside, work remotely and enjoy the air conditioning knowing you have remote management options with Opengear.
This week I’m doing my worst for Australian cultural stereotypes at the annual internal sales event of our biggest Norwegian reseller, ATEA Next Step. Unfortunately for me, fancy dress is not optional.
When I was invited along by TD Tech, our disti partner for the Nordics, I jumped at the chance to visit Europe’s most beautiful (probably) and most expensive (definitely, for beer at least) country.
We’ve had a good deal of success in Norway with projects providing remote management including nationwide network backhaul and IT teams supporting the healthcare industry. Interestingly, all of these projects have used cellular wireless for out-of-band remote access, rather than PSTN or DSL which is the more traditional (some might say legacy) alternative.
This to me speaks to Scandinavia’s reputation as a region of early adopters, always seeking better solutions through high technology. With cellular remote management now well and truly having proved itself as a best fit solution for remote management, we’re looking forward to replicating this success across Europe and the world.
Last week Mary Meeker released her annual Internet Trends report which abounds with interesting high level observations and projections. However the data-point that struck me was that the average “mobile phone user reaches for his/her phone ~100 -150 times/day” … and that the most common reason for these reaches is messaging (voice calls ranked second).
Now I presumed that SMS messages would constitute a sizeable portion of this messaging space (given older folk like me rely on this 20 year old technology for to-do list and appointment reminders etc). Also at Opengear solutions use SMS pervasively for remote site alerting …. and for communicating with and controlling remote infrastructures. I had also assumed this messaging space would be dominated by Internet chat apps – given the hype over recent years around messaging apps like Apple’s iMessage, Facebook/Skype Chat and Google Voice/Talk.
However on digging I find that SMS still prevails, and it looks likely to retains its crown for some time:
One of the more peculiar activities IT companies engage in is the “analyst briefing”. For those unfamiliar with this courting process, it’s an event that holds formality and ritual often seen on The Discovery Channel. This is due to the significant influence the analyst community holds within the IT industry. They can provide the necessary grease needed for a business to reach critical mass and they do it under the auspice of research.
Knowing the stakes, technology vendors of all sizes work hard to make time for analysts. Briefings are similar to a sales pitch, but rather than pitching products, companies discuss the market and how their products fit into a complicated IT ecosystem. Every vendor is hoping their market view matches that of the analysts in the room. Good analysts can see the difference between a sales pitch and useful and timely presentation.
I have been going to technology tradeshows for 14 years and most of them are very large with thousands of attendees all looking for the next best bottle opener, pocket flashlight or stress ball. Three weeks ago Opengear attended the Interface Show in Anchorage, Alaska, our first time at a smaller, more intimate regional technology show. Although the flight there was a bit of a slog, the enthusiasm and excitement of the show delegates and exhibitors made it all worthwhile. Over 350 people attended the single day show, coming to learn about the latest in technology innovation and how it could improve their businesses. Our recently released ACM5504-5-L-I LTE out-of-band management device was a huge hit with companies wanting a competitive advantage and looking for faster speeds, lower latency and improved network efficiency.
While there I learned that AT&T is the dominant cellular provider in Alaska, although Verizon will be there in the next 2 months to offer competition. We have our customers and prospects covered either way since we offer products that operate on both cellular networks. I will be back again next year. How can you not want to return for those fresh halibut cheeks?!
Hottest products from Interop 2013
Interop 2013, one of the biggest networking shows each year, is here and the product announcements are plentiful. The Opengear ACM5504-5-L with 4G LTE has been selected as one of the “Hot Products” at Interop this year. By adding built-in 4G LTE support to Opengear’s out-of-band management solutions, businesses now get higher-speed and lower-latency performance – even during network downtime. Business continuity leveraging open source technology was a focus thanks to Facebook’s announcement to design an open source top-of-rack switch at Interop on May 8th. The design will specify how to build a top-of-rack switch that could be used in large data centers, such as Facebook’s and incorporate SDN (software defined networking) technologies, and would be OS agnostic.
The team at Opengear is incredibly proud to announce that Gartner, the leading industry analyst firm, has named us a ”Cool Vendor”. Each year Gartner identifies new Cool Vendors in key technology areas and we are honored to be included as a Cool Vendor in IT/OT Alignment and Integration
Helping to ease the integration headaches of the disparate IT and OT architecture
The Gartner “Cool Vendors in IT/OT Alignment and Integration, 2013” published on April 23, 2013, and authored by Kristian Steenstrup, Geoff Johnson, Earl Perkins, Massimo Pezzini and W. Roy Schulte states that “the rising interest among CIOs and the significance of IT/OT integration are supporting a wave of innovative vendors that are helping to ease the integration headaches of the disparate IT and OT architectures.” Opengear was selected as one of the four Cool Vendors in this report.
Customers looking to deploy a cellular out-of-band network must consider bandwidth usage to properly estimate monthly carrier access charges. Each application is unique, however there are some baseline measurements that can provide valuable information about bandwidth requirements.
If the network is designed for an “always on / call home” SSH tunnel to the Opengear Lighthouse appliance you will need to factor in SSH keep alive messages. SSH keep alive messages will consume anywhere from 3MB to 40MB per month depending on how you tune the frequency of the SSH keep alive intervals. If the application is designed for minimal use during an occasional out-of-band management session users are likely to consume 35KB-100KB per session for a quick fix on a small config.
Cellular out-of-band, just add SIM
The 3G and 4G LTE cellular network is proving a more compelling alternative to PSTN and DSL for out-of-band access for remote network provisioning, maintenance and repair. In fact it’s been nearly 12 months since we reported that sales of our cellular-enabled remote management solutions had surpassed dial-up.
Reasons for this include speed of provisioning and ease of deployment, which is down to the mobile nature of the solution. But it’s also about the bottom line – in the era of tablets and smartphones, mobile data has never been cheaper.
In a earlier post we reviewed the costs associated with using private APN or M2M data SIM for remote management, but in many cases this option may not be ideal.
One of the most common data center designs include “Top-of-Rack” switches to terminate fiber links to the rack and deliver Infiniband and 10 GigE links locally. This solution keeps the bulky copper cabling inside the rack and ensures the infrastructure is future proofed, sustaining transitions to 40G and 100G in the future. Terminating fiber connections only at the rack can cause a complete lack of visibility if the problem is the top-of-rack switch.
Recently, one of our customers solved this issue by deploying an Opengear ACM5504-2-P PoE console management solution to gain remote visibility into the rack during an outage. This implementation requires a copper link that terminates at a core switch delivering a PoE connection to the PoE powered Opengear ACM5004-2-P. The ACM5504-2-P is cost effective way to gain complete visibility into racks that utilize top-of-rack designs and extend both Ethernet and serial console connectivity without relying on power from the rack.