SDN Needs Just One Good Application

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • SDN needs new applications to make it relevant to enterprises and spur adoption.
  • Enterprises need to think of how a SDN can unlock new business and improve existing processes.

Gaining big benefits often comes with big disruptions, and that is true with SDN as with any other technology. One observation that struck me at both the OpenDaylight Summit and Open Networking Summit is that the potential for SDN is just starting to grow in the application space; and when it starts to pick up steam, the SDN movement will suddenly become very interesting for enterprises. Today, the SDN drivers for the enterprise are still relatively vague, only offering improved network automation and virtual machine movement. Microsoft has also been very aggressive in integrating Lync with traditional and SDN network products, which is also useful. These applications are beneficial, to be sure, but not too exciting. If SDN use cases just stayed at server virtualization support or incrementally better unified communications support, adoption would be slow and accretive. What will make SDN truly exciting are applications that enable new businesses and new capabilities. Two come to mind. Read more of this post

MEAP Leaders Repurpose Middleware as They Seek IoT Opportunity

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

• Mobile application platform providers target Internet of Things with middleware gateways, advanced APIs

• Red Hat leverages JBoss integration, messaging; while Kony taps MBaaS MobileFabric

Mobile app platform providers are quietly assembling IoT strategies and solutions, based on their flagship middleware technology, in hopes of providing an important middle tiered component between devices and data centers. Here’s a quick peek into the early IoT efforts of Red Hat and Kony.

Red Hat refers to that middle tiered component as the control tier or the gateway. These gateways handle the data pre-processing necessary to stream aggregated data sets; and real-time analytics for rapid insight into the data in order to trigger business rules which control the actions at the device. Included in Red Hat’s set of middleware IoT building blocks is its Data Grid in-memory computing technology, its FUSE integration technology, and its A-MQ messaging to support data transport. And though it’s not required, of course Red Hat claims the most optimal experience is achieved when combined with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system. Red Hat’s belief is that gateways provide the mechanism which allow the IoT to scale, solving latency problems between the device and the data center.

Red Hat does not offer a formalized IoT solution, rather it has assembled a set of building blocks based primarily on JBoss technology for enterprise customers building IoT solutions. The company has created a new subscription pricing tier to accompany these efforts, based on one to multiple workloads leveraging its gateways and RHEL. The pilot program is expected to be formalized within a year and I expect Red Hat will partner where necessary to fill technology gaps for issues such as systems level security.

Leading mobile app platform pure play Kony will leverage advanced API technology within its mobile app platform to connect to the slew of wearables hitting the market (think Apple Watch combined with Apple HealthKit). Like Red Hat, Kony sees its role as providing value around improving data streaming between the device and data center (i.e., at the event collection/orchestration level). Specifically, it is evolving its MBaaS technology, MobileFabric, to provide integration and messaging services to enable connection to the sensors used in wearable technology. (Please see Kony Addresses Agility, DevOps Concerns via API Management, Analytics, July 23, 2015).

Read more of this post

The Age of Attacktivism: It’s Here, and It’s Only Just Begun

Summary Bullets:

  • Recent attacks signal a new ‘attacktivism’ era, in which cyberattackers seek to destroy target businesses.
  • To survive an attack, at-risk enterprises must conduct advance cybersecurity, business continuity and disaster recovery planning.

Just a few months ago, the November 2014 cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) seemed like a one-of-a-kind event. This attack was perpetrated by an alleged state-sponsored group that gained unauthorized remote access to SPE’s computer network, obtaining and publicly releasing many terabytes worth of sensitive intellectual property, including executive emails, employee information, salary spreadsheets, sales tallies and even unreleased motion pictures. The attackers also used “wiper” malware to destroy more than 3,000 computers and 800 servers, a crippling move that placed SPE’s survival in jeopardy. Read more of this post

Gonna Carve Me a (Hybrid) Mountain

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

Summary Bullets:

  • The hybrid cloud could benefit from a strong, open-source model upon which to base future development.
  • Projects of this magnitude depend on a clear vision that can be shared across large groups.

For the last few weeks I’ve been deeply involved in research regarding open-source cloud, and in so doing I ran across a quote from Jim Whitehurst of Red Hat that compared the challenges of OpenStack to those faced during the creation of the Interstate-90, way back in 1956. I know many of us weren’t around then, but his point was well taken, it was a massive undertaking that ultimately benefited the entire nation and it led me to considering other projects that could serve as a simile to the creation of an open cloud framework. The Hoover dam came to mind, as did the space program, but just as I was pondering this a TV show came on about the carving of Mount Rushmore. BINGO! GENIUS! Read more of this post

M2M Heavyweights Back Standards Drive for Wireless IoT, but They Need Help

Summary Bullets:

  • Cisco and Accenture add global credibility to the Wireless IoT Forum’s standards rationalisation efforts, while WSN Tech adds China to the UK contribution from BT, Telensa and Arkessa.
  • Consolidated standards should give developers a bigger target market at which to aim, increase innovation in applications, reduce develop-ment costs and lower ROI thresholds for buyers, but market history suggests it may never happen.

The Wireless IoT Forum, backed by Cisco, Accenture, BT, Telensa, Arkessa and WSN Tech, hopes to rationalise the many largely proprietary wireless standards used in M2M/IoT applications. It believes this will encourage more application developers and systems suppliers to enter the sector, giving more choice, so that more customers buy wireless M2M projects. Read more of this post

Microservices Get a Kick Start as OSS PaaS Leaders Commit to New App Development Architecture

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Red Hat and Pivotal/Cloud Foundry are looking to establish leadership roles in defining microservices technologies.
  • Approaches vary between the two OSS players, with a division primarily around buildpacks versus containers.

Microservices is the hottest new technology to hit the application platforms market sector, promising to deliver a more agile and efficient way to build, deploy, and manage apps. Most application platform providers are trying to figure out how microservices fit into their current middleware portfolios, but Red Hat and Pivotal (Cloud Foundry) are taking an early lead on launching their own distinct initiatives. The OSS PaaS leaders are causing disruption to the application platforms industry through thought leadership and announcements around microservices, albeit through varying technology support of containerization, buildpacks, and orchestration. The battle has begun over which of the two will generate the most momentum around their technology strategies. This week, I compared the different approaches between the rival PaaS players (please see: OSS PaaS Rivals Red Hat and Pivotal Tackle Microservice Architectures via Very Different Approaches, June 30, 2015). Read more of this post

OPM Breach Analysis: Many Failures Highlight the Cost of Risk Ignorance

Summary Bullets:

  • OPM’s data breach may have been prevented by any number of widely used security controls.
  • However, OPM’s biggest failing was in not applying security controls in measure equal to its risk.

Given the catastrophic nature of the recently discovered data breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), it’s clear both the investigation and the finger-pointing will continue for some time. However, it’s not too soon to highlight not only the security controls that may have prevented or mitigated the damage, but also the inevitable disaster that will result for any organization which fails to implement information security in equal measure to its risk. Read more of this post

Will TEM Have Trouble Finding Ongoing Traction in an Industry Where Complex Solutions Become Dominant Over Commodity Services?

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• IBM sold off its Rivermine TEM business to Tangoe in May 2015, signaling that it was not as strategic a business as its other mobility-related services.

• Verizon shuttered its TEM service in 2014, as prospects favored independent providers for billing verification, expense reporting, device and service plan logistics and provisioning, and especially multi-carrier expense optimization.

While all Tier 1 operators and IT service providers (ITSPs) have offered telecom expense management (TEM) services for years, there are some changes in the market that harken back to the original question of whether a mobile operator can be impartial enough to be trusted with seeing, validating, recommending and helping optimize both its own voice and data services, as well as those of other operators. The ITSPs often used this argument to tout their own offerings, since they clearly weren’t tied to a particular operator. But network operators went out of their way to be impartial too, by separating their TEM staff and services from their network services. Meanwhile, as the TEM platform providers grew into TEM services and became service providers themselves, carriers increasingly used them as an independent liaison, whether the carriers were simply reselling their platforms or basing more advanced services on them. Read more of this post

“Hello, Cortana. This Is Big Data Calling.”

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Artificial avatars combine natural language processing, contextual awareness, predictive analytics, and machine learning not only to answer requests, but also to anticipate them.
  • What if these avatars were instructed to include not just your inbox, but everyone’s inbox, your corporate ERP database, even your nifty little Hadoop cluster?

As you may have heard, Microsoft is playing around with the notion of intelligent automation. Like Google and Apple, the company has its own personal, mobile assistant named Cortana, which can help you find a nice restaurant, schedule a meeting, or remind you to call your mom more often… seriously. These artificial avatars combine natural language processing, contextual awareness, predictive analytics, and machine learning to sift through your inbox, search history, and calendar, not only to respond to your requests, but actually to anticipate them. Of course, they’re still fraught with negative perceptions and unreasonable expectations, which currently limits their effective use to basic responsive tasks such as looking at your calendar and seeing that you need to call your mom today because it’s her birthday. Read more of this post

Easy Usually Starts Out Being Hard

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

Summary Bullets:

  • Vendors have been surprisingly receptive to getting on board with the OpenStack initiative.
  • OpenStack is still a major challenge for companies to adopt.

Over the last few weeks there have been a number of key acquisitions in the world of hosted and managed private cloud startups. First tier vendors like IBM, EMC, and Cisco have all made significant investments in private cloud startups that have already built a respectable business providing a simplified path to an OpenStack private cloud through either hosting secure externalized private clouds (which seems like an oxymoron) or by offering a managed private cloud service that can take a lot of the pain out of building an OpenStack-based private cloud. But to me, this raises the obvious question of just why is private cloud so darn hard? Read more of this post

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