April 05, 2012

Sachin’s Wicket and Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

Network Computing Data Centre Product of the Year 2012

Extreme Networks BlackDiamond X8 - Network Computing's Data Centre Product of the Year

Recently we had some great news here at Extreme Networks. Every year Network Computing, a network publication out of the UK, does the Network Computing Product of the Year awards. This year, with the release of the BlackDiamond® X8, which delivered record setting results in the November 2011 Lippis Report, we were in a good position for the Data Centre prize, which we won, an honor for which we are very grateful.

Our engineers worked long and hard to make this happen. It is rare to have both tremendous performance and great efficiency come together in the same product – sort of like if you had a Bugatti Veryon which sipped petrol like a Prius. In independent tests conducted by Lippis in November 2011 the BlackDiamond X8 delivered 768 ports of 10 GbE, all wire speed, 2.3 microsecond latency port to port, 128,000 VMs and 5.6 watts per 10 GbE port. Wow. It sure was nice to see their hard work be recognized by someone like Network Computing.

Which brings me to the weird twist. While we have a variety of people from a wide array of backgrounds, my personal background is middle aged white guy from the middle of the US. Thus after putting news of the Network Computing Data Centre Product of the Year award on our Facebook page, I had a bit of a “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” moment. If that is confusing, let me explain. Many here are Star Trek fans, and in one episode they encounter a race, the Tamarians, that speaks in metaphor. To express affection, they might say “Romeo and Juliet at Verona”. You might understand every word, but if you did not know they story of the star crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, the reference would be lost.

One of our fans, Suneel Kumar, upon reading the good news on our Facebook page, commented to the effect of “must be like a bowler having Sachin’s wicket, bravo Extreme!” That phrase, although I understood every word, completely threw me for a loop. Much like the crew of the Enterprise visiting the Tamarians. At first I was like “Shaka, when the walls fell” because of my inability to parse the phrase, but I had to dig in.

Sachin Tendulkar - not easy to get his wicket

Turns out that Sachin is the great Sachin Tendulkar, perhaps the best cricket batsman in recent history, with a colorful career that ran from 1989 to 2012. Representing the Indian people, few have had the burden of carrying the hopes and dreams of a billion people as often as he did. Getting his wicket, perhaps akin to striking out a baseball player, would have been a challenge as he was the first batsman to score more than 15,000 runs.

After educating myself a bit (thank you, Google) I was then able to figure out that Suneel had paid us a great compliment as I reckon that anyone who had Sachin’s wicket was probably a pretty happy fellow.

Anyway, we are all very proud of the engineering team and how they built a great switch in the Black Diamond X8. I am also very happy to be at a place with so much diversity and so many new things to learn every day. Never a dull moment.

Mirab, with sails unfurled!

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