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For Networking Folks Visiting Florida

by Andrew Lerner  |  March 7, 2016  |  Submit a Comment

As folks journey to Orlando for Enterprise Connect 2016, you can’t help but note the snarky tweets about Florida. Further, this happens several times a year as there are multiple technology conferences in Miami and Orlando, including Gartner’s Symposium.

While we may not have the best reputation for dealing with technology (dimpled chads anyone?), Florida is way more technologically astute than most realize. While a Maryland native, I’ve lived in the FLA for 12+ years, so here are some factoids and general advice for those visiting for networking/tech conferences.

Big Enterprise Networks and Tech Companies: Contrary to popular belief, there are a number of large and well-known enterprise that are headquartered (or have a very large presence) in Florida including: Citrix, Jabil Circuit, Tech Data, Gartner, CFEngine, and LabTech. In the financial sector, there are Raymond James Financial and Fidelity National. There are major restaurant chains including Darden (Olive Garden, Longhorn, Capital Grille and others), and Bloomin’ Brands (Outback, Bonefish, Flemings and others). There are many others including Home Shopping Network, Tupperware, ADT, Publix, Auto Nation, Office Depot, Sports Fanatics, and Chicos (the retailer, not bail-bonds).

Further, several major cruise lines are anchored here  (pun intended) including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.  Side note:  You think your WAN has latency and is expensive?  Try providing Internet access for Guests while floating at sea, hundreds of miles away from the nearest cell tower or fiber line.  The cruise lines had to solve WAN challenges waaay before most enterprise, and were some of the earliest Wan Optimization adopters. 

The Cloud: Most of the time in Florida, when people are talking cloud, they’re talking about actual clouds in the sky.

Wildlife: Yes, there are alligators (not crocodiles) everywhere and tons of snakes too (including rattlesnakes).  In fact sometimes, they mix it up, which is wilder than VMware NSX vs. Cisco ACI.

Water Water Everywhere: We have a lot of water around and also hurricanes.  Thus, it is wise to avoid building data centers in flood zones.  Easy to say, hard to do in reality, since many data centers grow incrementally thru the years.  Here’s a case study of just such a scenario:

Florida Man (or Florida Woman): There are some interesting folks here, but don’t mind if they’re wandering down the middle of the road. They’re probably just former ATM LANE salespeople looking for work, or maybe their stretched VLAN implementation failed.

Network OutagesSure we have beaches, retirees, and lots of vacationers, but we still take our network outages very seriously (side note; wasn’t my son, I swear).

Networking Innovation: We are not Silicon Valley of the east, but Software-Defined Networking (SDN) has been here since 2013. and we’re  in the middle of the carrier’s TDM to IP movement also…


Regards, Andrew


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Tags: cfengine  citrix  florida  jabil-circuit  labtech  tech-data  wan  

Andrew Lerner
Research Vice President
6+ years at Gartner
21 years IT Industry

Andrew Lerner is a Vice President in Gartner Research. He covers enterprise networking, including data center, campus and WAN with a focus on emerging technologies (SDN, SD-WAN, and Intent-based networking). Read Full Bio

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