Oracle Rethinks Its Solo Cloud Act

Amy Larsen DeCarlo

Amy Larsen DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • Oracle is enlisting a number of partners to help the company catch up to more nimble rivals that leapfrogged the software giant in the cloud.   These allies include Microsoft and Salesforce.com, two partners which might be best classified as ‘frenemies.’
  • The deal with Microsoft in particular represents a sharp about-face from Oracle’s more single-minded strategy which traditionally has been focused on crushing its rival rather than embracing the desktop software giant.

You might say Oracle has evolved its cloud position, slowly.  In the years since CEO Larry Ellison derided cloud computing as nothing more than a passing tech marketing fad, the once niche segment has gone mainstream.  Now on-demand titans like Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.com are driving the market forward with their multibillion dollar enterprises, and customers are clamoring for the flexibility and cost advantages of a consumption-based IT delivery model.  Even Oracle’s Ellison recognizes the need to do more than slap ‘as a service’ on its marketing materials.  Read more of this post

WiFi Alliance Shows How to Get Interoperability Done

  • Mike Fratto

    Mike Fratto

    Standards without interoperation don’t address enterprise IT’s primary need.

  • The WiFi Alliance WiFi Certified ac program once again assures WiFi buyers that products will work together.

Ask any IT administrator if standards are important and invariably they’ll say yes. Ask them if interoperation is as important, they’ll say yes again. Press them for which is more important, standards or interoperation, and in many cases they’ll say interoperation. Standards are wonderful things that have both business and technical benefits, but at the end of the day, IT has to deploy and manage products in live environments and seamless interoperation is critical. Read more of this post

Video Adds Value to UCaaS Integration into Business Processes

Cindy Whelan

Cindy Whelan

Summary Bullets:

  • Communications-enabling business processes optimizes individual and workgroup productivity, and adding visual communications takes this concept up a notch, moving past enterprise video calls to broader uses: if an alarm is triggered in a remote location, responders can gain visibility into the cause and severity of the problem; healthcare workers can monitor and talk to patients in rural areas; wireless cameras in emergency vehicles or worn by first responders give support staff an immediate view of a situation while the responder performs their duty.
  • Enterprises may not grasp the full potential benefit of integrating UCC features, including visual communications, into business processes and applications at the outset of a UCaaS deployment, but as user adoption grows, the benefits of this integration become apparent.

In early 2012, I wrote a blog post about the role of communication-enabled business process in the uptake of UC.  At that time, I’d noted that the opportunity to integrate communications features into specific business processes and applications potentially supported a more compelling business case for deployment; if a company started by integrating UCC features into just one business application or for one part of the organization, then they might start to see how this model could replicated in other areas of the company to improve productivity and communications, tipping the scales towards a broader implementation. Read more of this post

The Event Stream Is Dead; Long Live Employee Engagement

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • If this year’s E2 Conference is any indicator of things to come, the idea of a universal ‘Facebook for the Enterprise’ is dead.
  • Instead, industry leaders from the likes of SAP and IBM are touting a more engaged notion of transparency and context.

I always look forward to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference (or the E2 Conference, as it is now called), because it is one of the few general trade shows dedicated to the broader issue of enterprise collaboration.  It’s also housed within the great city of Boston, which is always a pleasure to visit.  Where else can you expect to find true rivals (Jive, SAP and IBM, for instance) openly discuss strategic issues such as the changing role of enterprise social networking?  During one such panel comprised of these same companies, IBM’s Alistair Rennie addressed the importance of mobility, saying that having a mobile client for this or that platform shouldn’t be the prime objective.  Rather, user engagement should be the top priority for vendors and customers alike. Read more of this post

AeroGear Libraries Promise to Ease Homegrown MEAP Efforts

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Red Hat remains squarely behind its open source project, AeroGear, for back-end mobile integration.
  • VMware/Pivotal’s MEAP plans remain unclear.

Red Hat is taking the same approach with mobile as it has taken with cloud: telling its customers to “be a rock star” and just give it a try.  I’m stealing a quote from Eric Schabell, JBoss technology evangelist, talking to developers about moving some enterprise apps to the cloud during JBoss Summit a couple weeks ago.  The company is telling developers to do the same thing in mobile app development through Red Hat’s open source community project, AeroGear, in order to extend their homegrown MEAP efforts through open source libraries for mobile connectivity provided through AeroGear. Read more of this post

Do End Users and Service Providers Agree on the Trajectory of M2M?

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Every year at its Connexion conference in Boston, Axeda, a provider of cloud-based M2M application solutions, presents an ever-growing scale (now reaching nine levels) that measures the sophistication of M2M solutions, ranging from 1) unconnected to 2) connected, 3) serviceable, 4) intelligent, 5) optimized, 6) differentiated, 7) eco-friendly, 8) collaborative/socialized/multivendor, and 9) cross-industry solutions.  Each year, Axeda adds new levels.
  • Axeda also showcased several end users’ actual M2M deployments.  Where were they on this scale and can we deduce anything about the current trajectory of M2M from these real-world case studies?

End users at the Axeda Connexion conference included Getinge Group, which provides hospital systems, extended care and infection control.  In 2003, the company envisioned a system to provide a service for remote monitoring of its equipment, but it ran into technology and regulatory challenges along the way and had difficulty building a model that made the ROI self-evident.  Eventually, the company connected the end customer (hospital) though a web portal and smartphone app, offering a value prop of unprecedented knowledge via online troubleshooting, access to historical data and statistics for production planning, and real-time equipment status.  It was in production in 2011; as of 2012, it still found take-up slow among its customers, especially in low-cost labor countries that did not ‘get’ the value prop.  In the future, it plans to add data mining.  Overall, it took Getinge eight years to get to the ‘connected,’ ‘serviceable’ and ‘intelligent’ stages – essentially reaching level 4 (out of 9) on the Axeda model. Read more of this post

Microsoft Isn’t Just Connecting Lync with Skype, it’s Re-humanizing Communications

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• Microsoft has begun to pull together its consumer and enterprise communications platforms with direct points of integration for presence, chat and audio.

• Such interactivity, however, requires the use of Microsoft’s historically consumer-oriented ID system (formerly branded Windows Live ID), blurring the lines between corporate and consumer personas.

Rome was not built in a day (or so I’ve been told). So too, Microsoft’s planned work to fully unify Lync and Skype will take some time before it reaches fruition – sometime in 2014 to be a tad more specific. That’s when these two products will at last allow users from both sides to share video conferencing services. Microsoft’s first step along this path began a few weeks ago with address book integration. Skype users can now add Lync users (via invitation, mind you) to their address books and vice-versa. This allows both parties to share presence and initiate audio and chat sessions with one another. Certainly, there’s a long way to go from this to a fully unified experience for both users and administrators alike. But as with so many things, including most Microsoft engineering efforts, if you wait at the bus stop long enough, soon enough your bus will arrive. Read more of this post

New Managed Mobility Launches Shed Light on BYOD Evolution

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • New managed mobility services announcements were made this week and last by U.S. and European service providers, T-Mobile USA and BT
  • T-Mobile USA is adding a second MDM platform – SOTI Mobile Control – (in addition to its recent launch of MobileIron) for mobile deployments

While T-Mobile’s new service shows a progression from its former stance of simply reselling third-party vendor solutions without much “skin in the game”, the carrier is now offering a fully managed service, more in line with what AT&T and Verizon have been offering for TEM/logistics, MDM, MAM and increasingly, mobile security, for some time. BT, on the other hand, is viewing the in-office wireless LAN as an area just as rife with complications from employees bringing in their own tablets and smartphones as it is for companies with cellular-based mobile workers. Most mobile operators aren’t addressing the WLAN side of the equation as they make their money on the cellular side from devices and service plans; on the other hand, BT does not own its own mobile assets but is more of a pure-play provider of managed mobility services and consulting. Read more of this post

The Importance of Programming an ADC

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Application delivery controllers are an integral part of your application stack.  They need to be treated as first-class citizens and incorporated into any hybrid cloud strategy.
  • Matching an ADC, supported cloud service and platform, and integration strategy is critical to enabling applications that can run anywhere with ease.

One of the motivating factors for virtual application delivery controllers (ADCs) is the ability to include the entire set of servers and services that make up an application into a logical group that can be moved easily from physical and virtual servers to a public cloud.  If you take the time to tune your ADC for a particular application running in your data center and you want to move it to a cloud service, your only options for an ADC are limiting yourself to the cloud services that can run your virtual ADC or using the cloud provider’s load balancing service, which may even be using products that are far more capable than the features exposed to customers, but the result is basic load balancing as a service and not much else.  Running a vendor’s virtual ADC in a cloud environment requires that the vendor supplies a VM built and tested on that cloud service and offered through the service’s application store. Read more of this post

tw telecom’s Intelligent Network Third Phase Takes Shape: Constellation Platform to Connect Resources to Customers On-Demand

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • tw telecom is gearing up to release its Constellation Platform, promising click-and-connect links to third-party data centers and resident cloud providers.
  • Constellation Platform details are still under wraps, but tw telecom will likely succeed in raising the bar for customers’ on-demand service expectations.

When it comes to cloud services, the largest U.S. incumbent network providers are all-in: AT&T with its Synaptic line of services, Verizon with its acquisition of Terremark, and CenturyLink with its acquisition of Savvis. Many smaller providers by contrast are split on their cloud services approach. Windstream and EarthLink Business are examples of network providers that are developing data centers and cloud services in-house. Sprint’s entry into the cloud has been through a partnership with CSC. However, there are also competitors such as tw telecom and Lightpath that choose to stay away from building and selling in-house cloud services: They would prefer to be impartial agents serving a large audience of third-party data center and cloud services providers. Of these, tw telecom in particular has invested in network tools, with the goal of becoming a more flexible network provider of cloud connectivity. Read more of this post