Everyone’s Getting in on Flexible WAN/Cloud Connectivity

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Many providers have placed their MPLS WAN service edge inside data centers, offering secure connectivity with class of service support.
  •  The expanding list of competitive offers means enterprises do not have to look far for flexible WAN/cloud connectivity options; pricing should only get better.

When it comes to connecting the enterprise WAN edge directly into the data center, it seems many of the major global and U.S. network providers are now in on the action. Just in the past several weeks, Verizon upgraded its Cloud Services Interconnect to Secure Cloud Interconnect, adding granular visibility and management control to connectivity in major Equinix locations worldwide and select U.S. Terremark facilities. XO announced Bandwidth-on-Demand, a service that supports dynamic bandwidth across the company’s WAN PoPs, including those terminating in data centers. Similar types of services have been launched by AT&T (Cloud Network Enablement and NetBond), tw telecom (Intelligent Network), Level 3 (Cloud Connect), and Orange Business Services (its long-established VPN Galerie). While these offers’ approaches and features differ, they all offer the security of transporting traffic all the way into the data center via an enterprise WAN and honoring class of service (CoS) support. Most of these WAN-to-cloud services have usage-based billing, to handle moving big workloads. Many also support bursting with CoS performance up to double, triple, or many times more bandwidth.

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Heartbleed Bug Shows Industry is Under-investing in Software Integrity

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • The disclosure of the devastating Heartbleed bug – two years in the wild – illustrates how much the technology industry under-invests in software integrity.
  • Bug bounty programs spur greater participation in vulnerability research, and those who benefit most directly from open source software should contribute to an open source bug bounty program.

Unless you’ve taken a holiday from the connected world, you probably know by now about the Heartbleed bug. And if you’re a CSO or CISO, you’ve most likely seen plenty of suggestions on how to respond to the threat posed by this extremely risky and widespread vulnerability. Although the effort to address the problem is not quite as Herculean, it struck me that the response to the Heartbleed bug needs to be nearly as widespread as the effort to fix the date problem at the turn of the 21st century. Estimates that I saw about how widespread OpenSSL use is suggest that as much as 66% of all the websites across the globe use OpenSSL, and some reports suggested that the technology is embedded in a wide variety of network infrastructure devices, including routers, WLAN controllers, firewalls and more. But while enterprises had plenty of advance notice to address the date problem leading up to the year 2000, web site operators and technology vendors need to move with the utmost urgency to patch this flaw and clean up the mess created by this “catastrophic” vulnerability. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the coding error happened, and I don’t think that its existence is necessarily a condemnation of the way that open source vetting works. Read more of this post

Why Generational Stereotyping Does Not Sell the Next Wave of Communication and Collaboration Services

Tim Banting

Tim Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • There are three generations in the workforce today; vendors need to show how solutions unite all workers to foster a collaborative environment, producing business value.
  • Communication and collaboration solutions provide the opportunity for partners to monetize new services based upon driving user adoption.

There is much talk focused on ‘the millennials’ in communication and collaboration: the next-gen workforce demanding new ways to communicate and collaborate. Many vendors are citing that this new generation is changing the way work gets done, bringing a different mindset to work, and demanding different tools to use in a modern work environment. Millennials are the socially collaborative generation, using tablets and smartphones to share opinions with friends and make more informed decisions through apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, there are three generations in the workforce today: the millennials, or Generation Y (those born since the early 1980s); Generation X (since 1965); and baby boomers (since 1943). Baby boomers (the youngest of whom will turn 50 this year) are working beyond the traditional retirement age of 65. Concerns about money (given the recent economic crisis) play a significant role in explaining why so many baby boomers see themselves working longer. Baby boomers are still a substantial part of the workforce, and whether by choice or necessity, they will remain a sizable proportion of the workforce in the years ahead.

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In Search of the Rare and Elusive DevOps Beastie

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

• Assuming that you can simply combine two important job functions into a single entity isn’t necessarily the best or smartest way of managing IT resources.
• Your environment may need a lot of work before you can effectively cross that line.
As IT professionals we’re constantly challenged to do more with less, and no one can argue that all of the wonderful flexibility offered by virtualization hasn’t fundamentally changed the nature of the data center in a remarkably short period of time. But simplifying the physical concerns of standing up servers and applications doesn’t necessarily mean that you can simply merge developer and operations functions into a single entity with a unified purpose. This is an evolutionary process, and — because bean counters are always looking for things like this to thin head counts — smart IT managers might want to head this off until they’ve taken an honest look at their environment. Read more of this post

Something for Everyone at Interop Las Vegas 2014

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • The upcoming Interop event in Las Vegas will offer lots of sessions and workshops from fellow IT professionals and experts to attend and get current on your interests.
  • Take part in the social gathering to meet old friends and make new ones. Personal networking is as important as anything in your career.

Interop is next week and I am looking forward to catching up with old friends, peers, and colleagues and making new acquaintances. Still, the draw for me is meeting with vendors and attending a few of the presentations over the course of the event. The content this year is very solid and there’s something for everyone.

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Enterprise Management Products Play Greater Role in MEAP Lifecycle

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullet:

  • There is a growing trend among MEAP players to include management options to support complex development/testing and collaboration.
  • HP ALM 12 now supports HP Anywhere mobile app platform management.

There is a growing trend among mobile enterprise app platform (MEAP) providers to build out their platforms with management capabilities or partnerships to include mobile application management (MAM) and application lifecycle management (ALM) capabilities. This consolidation is largely driven by the fact that mobile app projects are no longer siloed, but built on composite applications based on complex architectural foundations. They require interconnectivity points within the application to support collaboration between those involved in design/development of apps, as well as the ability to conduct quality testing early in the development process. For MEAP vendors, a more comprehensive portfolio also equates to a continued shift in their target market from solely developer-focused to IT operations (i.e., a top-down approach versus bottom-up).

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Virtualised PBX vs. Cloud Voice: A Microcosm of the Challenges Facing Modern IT Departments

Gary Barton

Gary Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Go-to-market decision makers within an enterprise are likely to favour solutions that treat voice as an application.
  • IT managers, whilst acting as enablers for the rest of the business, should not automatically assume that the cloud holds all the answers.

The maturation of cloud platforms has, rightly, been cited as a primary contributing factor for the increased uptake amongst enterprises of unified communications (UC) solutions. However, for voice services, the PBX is still (at least for the moment) king. What is changing, though, is that the PBXs being deployed are now very commonly ‘soft’ PBXs. A number of smaller IP voice solution providers are reporting a significant uptick in the soft PBX sales, primarily virtualised on Linux, VMware or Microsoft Windows Hyper-V platforms. So, what is driving this change and why should enterprises consider a soft PBX over a pure cloud solution?

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Good Security is a Three-legged Stool: Technology, People and Process

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:                

  • A good security defense requires equal measures of investment in not only technology but also people and processes.
  • Detecting breaches is not the end game, but the beginning of a process to understand the scope and impact and then respond quickly to minimize the damage.

Thinking about the latest revelations around the Target breach, and how Target’s FireEye deployment had alerted the company to the breach early on, it struck me that the company had invested appropriately in technology, but underinvested in its people and processes.  It’s easy for technologists to fall for the silver bullet trap, investing in technology with the belief that it will make a particular problem or pain go away.  It’s a whole lot harder to muster the resources required to properly exploit the benefits of the technology when budgets are tight and skilled security analysts are in short supply.  It’s time for enterprises to invest more in training to develop the skilled staff necessary to meet the challenges posed by today’s threat landscape.  At the same time, it’s equally important to invest in developing the processes needed to deal with the glut of alerts and follow-on investigations effectively required to scope out the extent of those potential breaches.  When key security employees leave, the appropriate training and processes can help fill the void left to insure such inevitable changes don’t negatively impact the organization’s security defenses. Read more of this post

Does MEAP Risk Becoming a Commodity Service?

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Will MEAP become a commodity?  Yes, if it forces developers into proprietary software.
  • Pure-play Kony differentiates on innovation and use of industry standards/open source technologies.

Now that mobility is mainstream, does the current mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) market model risk becoming like a commodity service?  There’s no way that MEAP is a market area that no longer innovates or experiences upheaval, outside of downward pricing pressures.  However, the concern is for those mobile app platforms that restrict developers to the confines of proprietary software with no way to add open source tools.  This boxed-in approach risks becoming like a commodity service, incapable of innovating.  Fortunately, leading mobile app platform providers realize this and have been moving towards open standards, such as JSON and REST services, supporting developers’ desire to use open source tools for app development/deployment involving infrastructure, tool sets, plug-ins, and development languages. Read more of this post

Extending Enterprise WANs into Carrier-Neutral Locations May Lower Costs, Boost Performance and Speed Turn-up of Cloud Services

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Equinix Performance Hub – building enterprise WANs around the company’s data centres – makes its appeal around improved network performance and application delivery.
  • The advantages of extending a WAN into carrier-neutral exchanges include easy access to cloud-ready services and arbitrage on network traffic, but exchanges cannot do everything a dedicated WAN provider can.

On March 5, 2014, Equinix announced an initiative to launch Performance Hub, a solution that lets enterprises re-architect their WANs around the company’s International Business Exchange data centres.  The service promises a host of improvements for enterprises, including simplified cloud deployments, an optimized network and better quality of experience (QoE).  Equinix explicitly targets the enterprise segment with Performance Hub; the solution is initially available in North America, with a global launch planned in the near future.  According to the company, existing customers for its Performance Hub architecture include Chevron, eBay and Nvidia.  The company is also touting additional enhanced cloud connectivity through Performance Hub, as Equinix can plug enterprises directly into premium web-based apps, and to cloud computing providers such as Amazon Web Services and MS Windows Azure. Read more of this post

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