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Thanksgiving Reflection

Posted By David Marble, Wednesday, November 27, 2013

As I look to Thanksgiving, my immediate thanks naturally goes to my family and the wonderful gifts they have all given me.  This blog, however, is focused on my professional observations--so it is appropriate in this space to reflect on my thanks for the perpetual gift given to me thirty years ago:  The gift of this industry, the gift that keeps giving.

In 1983, I was fortunate to be hired by a small telecom company in Middletown RI called Avanti Communications.  Some of you know that 1983 was also the year that Judge Harold Greene made the landmark ruling that broke AT&T into the seven regional Bell companies.  This decision set in motion the industry as we know it today.  It ushered in long-distance competition and the idea of private networks.  Most of all, it was the starting gun for innovation in telecom and internet technologies (Cisco was founded 5 years later) and Avanti was in the middle of that early revolution.  Avanti had some brilliant employees who later spread out into the industry and had significant impact in many different areas of the business--from building important companies like Newbridge, to developing innovative products like the Juniper E Series which handles a huge chunk of the edge routing infrastructure in today’s internet. 

 Locally, our partner Atrion was founded by two of my former colleagues at Avanti: Charlie Nault and Tim Hebert.  At Avanti, I was hired at first to be in Tech Support, handling trouble calls and dialing in to network nodes that handled applications like Pan Am’s voice reservations, the printing of the Wall Street Journal and Reuter’s trading network.  The T-1 multiplexer we had developed was highly innovative and one of the first software controlled devices of its kind.  It was interesting to be hired without any experience but my hiring manager stated that no one had any so he just had to find people who could learn quickly and adapt.  A number of my colleagues from Avanti are still in contact with me, and a couple of them have become my best friends in the world. 

Aside from the people, this gift includes the wonderful aspect of being able to participate in technology evolution and, in some cases, revolution.  I have always been fascinated by technology, and what better seat could I have been given to witness the amazing technical innovations which produced what we now enjoy as high speed internet? I have witnessed complete life cycles for technologies like modems, ISDN, SNA and on and on.  We used 2.4Kbps dial modems at Avanti and now I am looking at how soon we will implement 100Gbps Dense Wave Division Multiplexed fiber links into our network. Again, the gift that keeps on giving.

Thirty years later, the perpetual gift has presented me with a new offering here at OSHEAN and I can truly say thanks again!

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Did You Know? Akamai at OSHEAN.

Posted By David Marble, Monday, November 25, 2013

I have always been a fan of the "Did You Know” series which stems from this popular technology trend video: . I like perspective pieces like this one where we learn things like: it took 50 years for radio to reach 50 million people; it took Facebook only two.

Every day of my first year here at OSHEAN was like that. I would talk to a member, or one of my OSHEAN team members, and hear, "Hey Dave, did you know that OSHEAN …?” And there was always something new to learn about the services we were providing, or the resources we had.

For our OSHEAN Members, here’s a revelatory "Did you Know”--one that came to me more gradually: OSHEAN has an Akamai installation in one of our aggregation PoPs in Providence. Akamai servers support the local caching of popular content to mitigate centralized server and network bottlenecks. This service sits on the Beacon 2.0 network as a basic function, at no additional cost. In fact, the traffic served from the Akamai caches operate over the unmetered portion of the OSHEAN backbone, which is not charged against a Member’s Internet subscription. The benefits of this architecture were never more apparent than during the recent release of Apple’s IoS 7 upgrade. The day of the release was historic from a bandwidth utilization perspective-- but the OSHEAN Akamai servers handled the traffic with ease, and our membership had virtually no knowledge of the event. Microsoft updates are handled the same way. We estimate that 20-30% of the commercial Internet traffic from our membership is handled locally via the Akamai cache which translates to direct dollar savings and much higher performance.

Did you know?

Tags:  akamai  oshean  services 

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RIDE Tech Conference

Posted By David Marble, Thursday, October 10, 2013
As I think about last weekend’s RIDE Technology Conference I am struck by a number of things.  People who know me well understand that I am an optimist by nature but it would be hard not to have that outlook after being there.  First of all, the place was packed with over 700 people on a Saturday dispelling the myth that no one will come on their "day off”.  There were teachers, administrators, students and yes, tech geeks enthusiastically participating in a conversation about the field of digital learning technologies.  The interesting thing is that the goal isn't about technology, it is about learning and I believe everyone gets that.  Travis Allen, the 21 year old keynote speaker who founded iSchool was infectious.  He certainly reminded me of the early Gates and Jobs type…. out front, articulate, passionate and driven.  His work started a couple years back when his smartphone was taken away by and administrator at his high school.  His complete circle had culminated the week before the RI visit when he took his Digital Learning Tour, which had already presented to 120,000 people across the country this year alone, back to his old high school where they now had a one-to-one program where every student was equipped with an iPad.  The kicker is that his brother is a freshman this year at that same school.  But my best experience at the conference was the presentations and discussions with the students and their teachers.  The Student Showcase had a number of schools displaying how they were using digital learning technology in and out of the classroom.  I talked to high school students using a 3D house building program to learn geometry.  I also met an elementary student using creative surface program to work through problems which captured the student’s work and audio description which was immediately posted to the web so the teacher could see it and comment back.  That teacher was also using the program to create her own little version of the Khan Academy for her class.  The common thread was the excitement in the experiential learning concept where the learning can be fun!

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Capital Operations

Posted By David Marble, Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Many I have talked with recently about their budget process have noted tighter and tighter restrictions on the operating side of the ledger.  No surprise there but they continue to describe ways of obtaining funds for capital expenditures, whether it be through historical expectations of capital outlays or structured grant programs which lean toward favoring capital outlay versus operating budget relief.  Those of us promoting the benefits of the emerging Cloud Services market must be cognizant of the very real requirement educate the business and financial planners of a re-balanced understanding that must exist for Cloud Services to deliver on its promises.  The low capital investment model of Cloud Services gives way to potential increases in operating cost.  Classic examples are found in the rapidly emerging virtual desktop market.  We now will see Return On Investment (ROI) models that pit heavy capital outlay for PCs versus medium capital outlay for VDI versus minimal capital but increased operating dollars for Desk as a Service (DaaS).  Strong IT organizations will embrace the dialogue necessary with financial planners and granting organizations to help reveal positive return on investment profiles for Cloud Services.

Tags:  Cloud 

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Forecast is Cloudy

Posted By David Marble, Thursday, June 20, 2013

Okay, lots of bad play on words going on around Cloud technology so I had to get mine in. 


As many of you know, OSHEAN is involved in a number of activities these days in developing the next generation of over-the-top services, many of which will involve the implementation of Cloud services. Any of you who have spent time looking at the world of cloud services and technologies know that the market begs for definition but this column is word count limited so I will defer.


One conclusion drawn from our investigations is that there will be many OSHEAN offerings required to cover the myriad of member requirements and we need to develop and roll these out in a prudent and deliberate manner over time. Testing is going very well and we plan to make the first of these service announcements within the next couple months. 
OSHEAN's Cloud services will strive to deliver a family of best of breed offerings that offer choice, compelling price points, public and/or private implementations and service assurance. We plan to leverage OSHEAN's infrastructure to deliver high performance and OSHEAN's member collaborative to hit compelling price points. So whether you are looking at cloud storage, flex compute, replication, disaster recovery, remote desktop or VOIP, I encourage you to talk with our technical team about what we are doing. We are looking for input in planning feature sets, architectures and setting priorities. 
Also, stay tuned to our continuing series of member forums in which we will detail areas of interest in cloud services. The April CIO forum for instance, was a deep dive on Desk as a Service (Daas) applications, one of our early service offering objectives.

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