Spare a little candle
Save some light for me
Figures up ahead
Moving in the trees
WiFi, and buzzwords
Tend to make me pissed
And the full moon that hangs over
These dreams in the mist
(Sincere apologies to Heart for butchering the very beautiful “These Dreams”)
In a couple few weeks I’ll be taking my cocky New York swagger out west for Mobility Field Day 3. There’s an awesome vendor lineup this year featuring Arista (who will no doubt be talking about their acquisition of Mojo Networks), Aruba, Cisco, Fortinet, Mist Systems, Netscout, and Nyansa. (Shame on you Ubiquiti- you ought to be here by now). With this mix, the overall content is going to be diverse, interesting, and inevitably peppered with A LOT of marketing fufu. Which is fine- each vendor gets to tell their story their own way, and marketing is foundational to the story. Okey dokey there.
But hopefully, we also get a good balance of substance. On that topic…
I’ve been privileged in being a frequent delegate at these events, and I did see Mist’s presentations at last year’s MFD 2. In the year since then, I’ve been wooed with a lot of Mist mass-mailings and such, with running themes that CONTROLLERS ARE OBSOLETE and AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI AI (we get it already). But on the subject of AI (along with Data Science and Machine Learning and whatever else is in that particular bag), I kinda hope Mist Systems ratchets the buzzy-factor down somewhat for MFD 3.
The industry is awash in promises of AI-fueled awesomeness that will SOLVE ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS JUST BUY INTO OUR PERPETUAL EXPENSIVE LICENSING! to the point where it all sounds the same, regardless of who is saying it.
Mist may even be the real AI deal in a field of posers, but from where I sit it’s time for less shizzle and more of this sort of dialogue:
- Does Mist Systems still consider itself a start-up?
- Is Mist deployed widely enough at large customers (single site and distributed) where it can be trusted not to be a buggy OS over time? (I’m looking at you, AireOS.)
- Is Mist following others in the industry down the Gouging as a Service licensing path?
- What do microservices practically mean now to the Mist-interested? A year from now? Three years from now?
- Mist has very few AP models- is this an advantage or a liability? Will there be more .llac APs or is .ax the next round for additional models? No wallplate APs?
- Will Mist join the “rush it out the door” movement for early .11ax, and what does .11ax mean to customers when coupled with AI and all the buzzy stuff?
- If I contemplate moving from a very large WLAN built on the likes of CAPWAP with a single VLAN to each AP from their connected switches, how much L2 work am in for in migrating to Mist?
- How do we truly measure Mist TCO versus the other guys? What if we don’t want the vBLE thing? Do you pay for that anyways?
In other words- I get the AI pitch. Now let’s talk field-level nitty-gritty. Maybe less sales-pitch, and more of the stuff that real-world new deployments- and more importantly, converts and potential converts- would face.
Do you have questions you’d like asked at MFD? Remember to hit up any of the delegates (generally Twitter works, or whatever your method of choice is) to have your inquiry relayed to the vendors during the live sessions.