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As many of you are probably aware, on November 11th HP announced plans to acquire 3Com for about $2.7 billion. I've received several e-mails asking for my opinion on this subject so I thought I'd take a few minutes here to share my thoughts as a network engineer who has been in the industry for a long time and has the opportunity to think strategically about technology. Before I get started I should come right out and say that I think that this is really good news. Of course, if you know me at all you know that I'm an eternal optimist and do you may doubt my objectivity. In this case I believe that my optimism is completely justified. Let me explain...

If you're a current 3Com customer, there are a lot of advantages to becoming a customer of HP. HP customers enjoy free lifetime maintenance on the network gear that they buy. Considering that HP's gear is some of the most aggressively price gear on the market, this is pretty cool. HP cusotmers also enjoy free software upgrades. This is sort of unbelievable when you think about it.

If you're a current HP cusotmer, this merger means that HPs portfolio of products will be greatly expanded over the coming months and years and that you can expect a more complete, cohesive network solution from this vendor. This is a bold step on HPs part to say that they are here to stay in the network hardware space.

If you're a Cisco customer, this merger means that Cisco will have to work even harder to maintain their dominance in this space and that's good news for you. I have always been and continue to be a huge fan of Cisco, but one of the most valuable things that any champion can find is a worthy adversary. Strong competitors force us to look deep within ourselves for undiscovered greatness. I'm looking forward to the progress that this merger will fuel.

If you're a SolarWinds customer, it's all gravy to you because SolarWinds products work with everyone's hardware. So whether you stay with what you've got or you decide to swap it out, whether you've got a homogeneous environment or a heterogeneous one, or whether you're biding your time to see how this merger changes technology for the next couple of years - you can trust that your SolarWinds apps will be there to support you.


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I wanted to post this yesterday but I was stuck on an airplane on the East coast until well after midnight and couldn't seem to get any decent wi-fi access. Well, better late than never I guess so here goes...

Of course, the reason that I was on the East coast is that I was meeting with some of our federal government/military customers and talking to them about how they use our products in the field. As a part of the trip I was also able to tour their facilities and play with some of the cool toys that our military uses today. It's amazing to me how far warfare technology has come in the 12 or so years since I was active duty in the US Air Force. The technology that our armed forces has available to them today is really quite unbelievable. I can't provide a lot of detail for obvious reasons other than to say that I pity the fool that gets in the way of these folks acheiving their goals.

It was also really cool to get to see how the products we produce here at SolarWinds are used in the field and how valuable they've become to our troops. Our vision of providing network management software and tools that are "easy to try, easy to buy, and easy to use" has proven to make them great assets for enterprises and military personnel alike.

This trip was extra meaningful for me because I was traveling on Veteran's Day and meeting with these folks on this day really hit home for me. So, to all of my fellow Veterans out there - Happy Veteran's Day from me and from SolarWinds. Thank you for your service, your honor, your dedication, and your sacrifices.

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One of the coolest things that Cisco has done recently is the development of its Smart Business Architecture (SBA) for Mid-Sized Networks. I was lucky enough to be able to participate in the development of and continued updating of the Cisco SBA so I thought I'd take a few minutes to write about my thoughts on the subject.

Back in the old days, building networks was a lot simpler. You could just call up your buddy at Cisco or your local VAR and tell them you needed some routers and switches and firewalls and the primary variables were the number of ports and the interface types and they'd build you a quote and you'd be on your way. Nowadays, things are a lot more complicated. The diversity of available gear, feature-sets, and configurations available today is mind boggling. Don't get me wrong - I love technology and the more the better - but at some point the number of choices available makes it hard to know which gear is right for your scenario even if you've already decided which vendor to buy from.

In addition, the complex requirements of today's networks can make for some pretty interesting configurations. You have to know which gear combinations work well together and you have to know how to configure them to talk to each other. Then you throw in QoS, security policies, and VoIP next thing you know you're browsing YouTube hoping some geek with a video camera can lead you to salvation.

The Cisco SBA was designed to solve these problems. SBA provides recommended hardware selections and combinations, network designs, and even includes recommended configuration templates. It makes the process of acquiring gear, designing the network, and configuring everything to work together way, way easier.

The Cisco SBA also includes a supplement on network management and monitoring that guides you through configuring your devices for management and implementing SolarWinds Orion to monitor the network.

If you haven't had a chance to checkout the Cisco SBA I highly suggest that you do. You can read more about it here. It's one of the coolest things to come out of Cisco lately and in many cases it can significantly simplify a sometimes tedious and confusing process


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