Venture Summit Silicon Valley 8/9 December 2009

There are three kinds of people who come to the AlwaysOn Venture Summit:

  • investors
  • startups looking for investors
  • people looking to provide services to investors and startups

Of the people I talked to, there seemed to be about an even balance of numbers between the three groups. Not very many corporate venture people; most of the investors were from firms whose primary business is running funds. The startup people came in for the demonstration sessions on Tuesday. There were a significant number of people from banks and law firms.

Indicators from Supercomputing 09

Two technology themes were prominent this year, looking at the smaller companies on the exhibition floor; solid state storage, and reconfigurable computing implemented on FPGA hybrid accelerator platforms. One example of each :

Solid State Storage

Fusion IO were using a video wall of 16 40" panels to demonstrate video streaming from their IODrive Duo; each panel being tiled to show 64 HD streams all coming from the one drive which was feeding the 1024 streams. This is a current product.

Cisco has grand ambitions

As usual, after the main business of the annual shareholder meeting, John Chambers reviewed the state of the economy as it affects Cisco, and described his vision for the broad directions for Cisco's growth path over the next five years.

Slides and video of the meeting here

Watching Dearborn

Got up in the dark in Los Altos this morning to watch and listen to the technical sessions at Nanog 47, taking place in Dearborn, Michigan. The quality of the audio was excellent; the presenters' slides were available as pdf, and the video of the slides was good enough that one could tell which slide the presenter was using. During the question and answer sessions the camera views included parts of the audience; there were many faces familiar from previous meetings, including the Nanog in Santa Domingo in January, and the one in Philadelphia in June.

It seemed like one had the experience of less than half the meeting - no hallway conversations, no booth setup duties, no working out the detailed logistics of the hotel. In strong positive balance, I drank my own tea, and slept in my own bed, avoiding cars, airports, and flights. Maybe one out of three or two out of three meetings a year is a good balance.

40G long haul, Clouds, and IPv6

Communications Infrastructure

Communications infrastructure is one of the underlying systems which make daily living possible; like the supply of energy, and roadways, it makes many of the things we take for granted easy.

The current data communications infrastructure continues to develop, and to make more things possible. The process tends to operate in jumps: first it is demonstrated that something new can be done (like sending data at 40G bps between the USA and Sweden) then, provided that there appears to be the opportunity for some commercial return, the iniital ideas are developed and modified so that they can be manufactured and sold in volume. This typically lowers the price - and in the networking business, makes a 'network effect' possible, so that the worth to society of having many of a certain thing is more than just the simple multiple of the number of things.

There are at least three big change points going on in the networking communications business at the moment. Each of these areas has existing businesses competing - the really interesting opportunities are likely to be created at the junctions between them.

IPv6 address assignments - there really is that much space, so use it

There's been a long thread on the North American Network Operators list this week, started by a innocent comment from south central N Dakota requesting a sanity check on the 'best practice' advice for assigning IPv6 addresses to end users .. a /64 for each one ?
"So a customer with a single PC hooked up to their broad-band connection would be given 2^64 addresses?" I realize that this is future proofing, but OMG! That's the IPv4 Internet^2 for a single device!"

Well, not quite's a /64 per subnet.

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