Jul
12
2018
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Microsoft launches new wide-area networking options for Azure

Microsoft is launching a few new networking features today that will make it easier for businesses to use the company’s Azure cloud to securely connect their own offices and infrastructure using Azure and its global network.

The first of these is the Azure Virtual WAN service, which allows businesses to connect their various branches to and through Azure. This basically works like an airline hub and spoke model, where Azure becomes the central hub through which all data between branches flows. The advantage of this, Microsoft argues, is that it allows admins to manage their wide-area networks from a central dashboard and, of course, that it makes it easy to bind additional Azure services and appliances to the network. And with that, users also get access to all of the security services that Azure has to offer.

One new security service that Microsoft is launching today is the Azure Firewall, a new cloud-native security service that is meant to protect a business’s virtual network resources.

In addition to these two new networking features, Microsoft also today announced that it is expanding to two new regions its Azure Data Box service, which is basically Microsoft’s version of the AWS Snowball appliances for moving data into the cloud by loading it onto a shippable appliance: Europe and the United Kingdom (and let’s not argue about the fact that the U.K. is still part of Europe). There is also now a “Data Box Disk” option for those who don’t need to move petabytes of data. Orders with up to five of those disks can hold up to 40 terabytes of data and are currently in preview.

Jun
19
2018
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Cisco buys July Systems to bring digital experience to the real world

Customer experience management is about getting to know your customer’s preferences in an online context, but pulling that information into the real world often proves a major challenge for organizations. This results in a huge disconnect when a customer walks into a physical store. This morning, Cisco announced it has bought July Systems, a company that purports to solve that problem.

The companies did not share the acquisition price.

July Systems connects to a building’s WiFi system to understand the customer who just walked in the door, how many times they have shopped at this retailer, their loyalty point score and so forth. This gives the vendor the same kind of understanding about that customer offline as they are used to getting online.

It’s an interesting acquisition for Cisco, taking advantage of some of its strengths as a networking company, given the WiFi component, but also moving in the direction of providing more specific customer experience services.

“Enterprises have an opportunity to take advantage of their in-building Wi-Fi for a broad range of indoor location services. In addition to providing seamless connectivity, Wi-Fi can help enterprises glean deep visitor behavior insights, associate these learnings with their enterprise systems, and drive better customer and employee experiences,” Cisco’s Rob Salvagno wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

As is often the case with these kinds of purchases, the two companies are not strangers. In fact, July Systems lists Cisco as a partner prominently on the company website (along with AWS). Customers include an interesting variety from Intercontinental Hotels Group to the New York Yankees baseball team.

Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research says the acquisition is also about taking advantage of 5G. “July Systems gives Cisco the ability to expand its localization and customer experience management (CXM) capabilities pre-5g and post-5g. The WiFi analytics improve CXM, but more importantly Cisco also gains a robust developer community,” Wang told TechCrunch.

According to reports, the company had over $67 billion in cash as of February. That leaves plenty of money to make investments like this one and the company hasn’t been shy about using their cash horde to buy companies as they try to transform from a pure hardware company to one built on services

In fact, they have made 211 acquisitions over the years, according to data on Crunchbase. In recent years they have made some eye-popping ones like plucking AppDynamics for $3.7 billion just before it was going to IPO in 2017 or grabbing Jasper for $1.4 billion in 2016, but the company has also made a host of smaller ones like today’s announcement.

July Systems was founded back in 2001 and raised almost $60 million from a variety of investors including Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital, CRV and Motorola Solutions. Salvagno indicated the July Systems group will become incorporated into Cisco’s enterprise networking group. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of fiscal 2019.

Nov
15
2017
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Facebook open sources Open/R distributed networking software

 Facebook is no stranger when it comes to open sourcing its computing knowledge. Over the years, it has consistently created software and hardware internally, then transferred that wisdom to the open source community to let them have it. Today, it announced it was open sourcing its modular network routing software called Open/R, as the tradition continues. Facebook obviously has unique scale… Read More

Aug
24
2017
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Inflect’s infrastructure marketplace adds 30 new service providers and 2,200 data center and peering locations

 Inflect, a San Francisco-based startup that wants to make it easier for businesses to find the right co-location facilities, network service and exchange providers, today announced that it has added over 30 service providers and information about 2,200 data centers and networking peering locations to its database since its launch two months ago. These new service providers include industry… Read More

Aug
23
2017
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Forward Networks nets $16M to help prevent network outages

 As IP networks continue to grow and become ever more complex, and people become ever more dependent on them staying up all the time, a startup that is building software tools to help administrators keep networks running has landed a round of funding. Forward Networks — a startup that only emerged from stealth last November and has built a platform aimed at service providers and… Read More

Jul
20
2017
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Google Cloud gets a new networking algorithm that boosts internet throughput

 Google today announced that TCP BBR, a new congestion-control algorithm is now available to its Cloud Platform users. The general idea here is to improve on the existing congestion-control algorithms for internet traffic, which have been around since the 1980s and which typically only take packet loss into account (when networking buffers fill up, routers will discard any new packets). Read More

Jun
19
2017
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Dropbox announces massive network expansion

 When Dropbox announced it was leaving AWS last year and bringing the bulk of the operation in-house, you had to figure it was working on a significant network expansion, and today the company announced a massive global network growth plan that is designed to increase syncing speed for users and cut costs for the company. The plan involves several approaches including custom-built… Read More

May
15
2017
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After acquisition by Juniper, cloud optimization service AppFormix adds support for VMware

 Last December, Juniper acquired the cloud operations management and optimization startup AppFormix and said that it planned to integrate it with its own Contrail product line. That integration is moving swiftly, but under the aegis of Juniper, it’s also adding new features to its platform that are meant to better support Juniper’s customers. Read More

May
01
2017
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Cisco scoops up yet another cloud company, acquiring SD-WAN startup Viptela for $610M

Cisco headquarters. Cisco has been rather acquisitive in recent years, buying 19 companies since 2015; today it announced it was acquiring cloud-based SD-WAN vendor Viptela for $610 million in cash. Viptela was founded in 2012 and had raised more than $108 million, including its most recent $75 million round just last May. The $610 million price tag appears to be a nice return for investors. Read More

Mar
09
2017
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Networking services startup Cradlepoint lands $89M investment from TCV

Network diagram In a world where having internet connectivity is the lifeblood of just about every business, Cradlepoint helps customers deliver consistent networking services, even when there is a lousy cell signal. Today the company announced it had secured an $89 million Series C investment from TCV. TCV is the only investor this round, and as part of the deal TCV’s general partner Ted Coons and… Read More

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