VMware Doesn’t Make Many Mistakes, but It Is with Respect to Physical Networking

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • VMware dismisses physical networking as a mere forwarding plane, ignoring the benefits of integration.
  • If that observation is inaccurate, then VMware needs to address its messaging on the importance of physical networking.

Fresh off VMworld 2014, I came away with the very distinct impression that the company – not any specific individuals – is quite dismissive of physical networking, to the point where it is detrimental to its own success. While I continue to be impressed at how well the company develops new products, maintains a practical engineering focus, and seems to handle partner co-opetition with aplomb, it is also making a rather big mistake with ignoring the importance of integration with the physical network. Read more of this post

Rapid Application Development Methodology is Gaining Attention Among Cloud Leaders

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

  • Rapid Application Development (RAD) method gains newfound attention among cloud leaders looking to differentiate PaaS offerings
  • RAD helps enterprises plow through backlogs of web/mobile apps which modernize or replace legacy systems.

RAD is not a new methodology, but it is garnering attention among PaaS providers looking to expand their advanced services to address groups of mobile/web developers. This week during VMware VMworld, I delved deeper into the topic with application platform execs to explore how vendors can better address developers in search of high-productivity tools. Read more of this post

Demystifying the Internet of Things – Inhibitors That Can Derail Mass Adoption

ITCB-HarishTaoriSummary Bullets:

  • A nascent ecosystem, lack of standards, emergence of new business models and cost economics remain some key barriers for large-scale IoT adoption.
  • IoT challenges will be addressed in time by active participation of tech savvy consumers, profit seeking smart entrepreneurs and innovative enterprises.

Continuing my Demystifying IoT series, in this blog I am sharing some of the key challenges that may inhibit IoT growth or prevent IoT from achieving its potential. Read more of this post

Paying for Faster Customer Service – Brilliant Innovation or Terrible Idea?

Ken Landoline

Ken Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Segmenting customers into different levels of service by classifying them into distinct groupings (e.g., platinum, gold and silver) and doling out different levels of service may be common practice for airlines and financial institutions. However, it is normally implemented by segmenting users based on usage and/or spending levels prior to the service cycle and providing different access points like unique dial-in numbers or dedicated websites for priority service.
  • Having all customers call the same number, join the same queue and then openly soliciting them to pay an extra fee to move up in the service line is something very different that will prompt some long-time customers to wonder why their loyalty has little value to the company.

As consumers we are all becoming accustomed to paying a premium for better and/or faster service. We do this to get into premium lanes on a freeway, priority boarding on an airplane, and even to get to the head of the line at some theme parks. However, when I read last week that EE, a mobile phone company in the UK had introduced a charge for jumping ahead in the queue on customer service calls it just sounded like a bad idea that, if accepted by their customers, could fundamentally change the landscape in customer care forever. EE has implemented this new option in their customer service center by having an automated message greeting customers calling into their centers during busy times and offering to jump them up in the queue for the flat fee of fifty pence, or roughly one U.S. dollar. Although EE has not reported on what percentage of customers are opting for the offer, the good news is that, according to the articles I read, EE mobile customers are speaking out against the offer and strongly rejecting the idea of paying extra for expedited service. EE customers, especially those who have been customers for years, are unhappy that all calls are not being treated equally as they had been in the past. Several commented they are considering switching mobile carriers to those not charging such a fee. Read more of this post

Collaboration in the Enterprise Needs a Wakeup Call

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • If we are to move forward with enterprise collaboration as something more than a cost center, perhaps our very idea of collaboration needs a hard reset.
  • It’s time we did away with the notion of collaboration as a discrete set of tools and instead explored the idea of collaboration as ambient user engagement.

I think the enterprise collaboration market is ripe for a bit of a shakeup. Somewhere there’s a wake-up call ringing right now, a signal to vendors and to enterprise IT professionals that the current swirling paradigms of thought on the matter of collaboration have slowed and are currently stymied by an overabundance of bright shiny market trends like cloud, mobility, social networking, and even big data. Of course, like many, I feel that the effective application of capabilities such as expertise location, geo positioning, and multi-channel delivery will mean a lot to the future of Microsoft Office 365, IBM Connections, Unify Ansible, Avaya Aura, and Jive Social Business Software. Furthermore, the many collaborative modalities wrapped up within these solutions (doc sharing, email, chat, voice/video, event streams, etc.) are part and parcel to their success and to our success as users and IT professionals. Read more of this post

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Net Admins Grow Up to be Programmers

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Network administrators learning how to program is a benefit to employees and employer, but it shouldn’t be a requirement.
  • SDN promises many things including operational simplicity. Programming isn’t operationally simple and your network admins shouldn’t be doing it.

Even if SDN isn’t having an impact on data centers like my colleague Steve Hill thinks, the idea is certainly having a ripple effect within IT departments and among network professionals considering their career path. One common topic the keep recurring is whether network professionals need to become programmers to remain relevant.Kirk Byers thinks programming will be an essential skill for network engineers and points to the number of commercial and open source tools and controllers that have APIs and SDKs that can be used to stitch together various components into an automated and orchestrated network. In principle, I think the more network professionals know about how their systems work and integrate together, the better off they will be career-wise and the greater value they will be to their employers; but I generally disagree with the premise. Besides, if network professionals also have to be developers, then the entire networking industry will have failed to deliver one of the key benefits of SDN – easier operations.
Read more of this post

Node.js Is Fast Becoming the Predominant Platform Among Developers

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • As a library and platform for the JavaScript language, Node.js is gaining steam among developers, vendors and enterprises.
  • Two Node-based MEAP startups stand out: Feed Henry and StrongLoop.

Node.js has been gaining in popularity among enterprise developers and mobile app platform vendors alike. Node.js – a server-side platform and library, also referred to as a runtime system, used with the JavaScript language – has a community of millions of developers and is available as commercialized technology by innovative startups including FeedHenry and StrongLoop. The technology is also being adopted by leading MEAP vendors. Highlighting its growing importance is the fact that the mobile API tier for Walmart, LinkedIn, Yahoo, eBay, Paypal and others is written using Node.js. The maturing technology is being used in more and more mission-critical systems. This is because Node.js is flexible, lightweight and easy to learn with high-performance capabilities (based on Google’s V8 JavaScript engine) that support millions of transactions. The Node ecosystem now consists of over 80,000 modules or plug-ins available. Having a massive open source Node community ensures valuable support; for example, when a developer needs to integrate with an obscure backend database or other data source, fellow developers with similar experiences are quick to rally with help. Read more of this post

Real World to SDN Vendors: Give Us a Break, Already

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

Summary Bullets:

  • There’s no question that SDN can solve a number of problems facing the next generation of network administrators, but those problems may not be as earth-shaking as vendors would like you to believe.
  • SDN solutions, regardless of vendor, have been facing slow adoption, perhaps because the pain points they address may only be minor irritations to the typical enterprise today.

Those of us who have been involved in the IT industry for more than a decade or two have seen some pretty substantial changes to the fundamental way we get things done. Major tectonic shifts such as graphical user interfaces and server virtualization have reshaped the way we build our infrastructure by abstracting all the underlying minutia that it actually takes to get something done. As a rule, however, those types of changes impact a large set of technology users on a much grander scale by efficiencies that are easily measureable. Yet, as far as SDN goes, the operation of the network itself is the responsibility of a very small group of individuals who are charged with keeping the system up and running to whatever number of ‘nines’ your business requires, so whatever benefits SDN may actually provide will only directly affect them… with the hope that the rest of the benefits will appear in the form of improved network performance that may or may not be apparent to the end user. Read more of this post

Black Hat: Hacking the Internet of Things for Fun and Profit

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • Vulnerabilities abound in the wide range of elements that make up the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), and developers do not have the security skills necessary to code their IoT creations more securely.
  • What’s needed are security standards to help developers create more secure IoT systems and a re-evaluation of the languages they are using to develop them.

Security researchers of all stripes made their pilgrimage to Las Vegas this week for the annual Black Hat/DefCon conferences, and the biggest theme to emerge from presentations was the insecurity of the Internet of Things (IoT). Vulnerabilities were uncovered in a range of devices, including home alarm systems, smart cards, Internet-enabled automobiles, virtual desktops, smart hotel networking, control code on mobile providers’ cellular devices and, of course, POS devices. Read more of this post

Blending Big Data and Biometrics Bolster Mobile Security

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • NFC tattoos and pinky rings, USB keys, fingerprint scanners, front facing cameras, and the reams of usage data streaming from our mobile devices will change the very idea of identity
  • The result will be an emerging idea of ownership based upon physical proximity and pattern recognition, a potent cocktail of biometrics and big data

We are creatures of habit, and gladly so, I might add. Consistency helps us become more efficient, makes the world more understandable, and often gives us something to look forward to. For example, the small gift that is “Tater Tot Tuesday.” This workplace institution should regularly grace any well provisioned cafeteria each and every Tuesday. But what if this were to suddenly and inexplicably shift to Monday or Wednesday? Wouldn’t that elicit surprise, disappointment and maybe even downright anger, particularly among tater tot-loving alliteration enthusiasts? Read more of this post

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