Demand Drives IPsec and Hybrid VPN Development and Progress

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • IPsec is a suitable workaround for giving remote access to VPN users where dedicated access is a very costly proposal.
  • Service providers are adding sophistication to their hybrid VPN products to push non-critical traffic over the public Internet.

There are three main hybrid VPN and IPsec drivers: cost savings, more and more IT moving into the cloud, and globalization that sees workers needing access to the VPN from remote locations.  Putting a dedicated access in place is not always a sensible option economically, and WAN optimization and acceleration techniques are helping raise performance for cloud-based applications over any endpoint access technology (for example, DSL).  There is also growing interest in hybrid VPN solutions at larger corporate sites to save on the costly last-mile access part of a data network.  In this scenario, customers can send non-critical traffic such as file transfers and e-mail over public and shared infrastructure and use a private circuit replete with QoS for more critical and latency or jitter-sensitive applications.  The hybrid approach lets enterprise end users access their main business applications from corporate sites, their homes, and on the move during business travel. Read more of this post

MPOS in Asia: The Move from Niche to Mainstream Has Begun

Tim Dillon

Tim Dillon

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile payments have failed thus far to reach their full potential as a transaction option for consumers – principally due to fragmentation in payment options and a lack of strong trusted service managers (TSMs) to broker services delivery between all parties.
  • Mobile penetration in Asia has continued to grow dramatically, and recent intra-region payment initiatives, specifically via China Mobile, Korea Telecom and NTT DoCoMo, should accelerate adoption of mobile payments and create a MPOS market of approximately $500 billion (USD) by 2017 across Asia-Pacific.

Along with its cousin, NFC, mobile payment solutions have been the long-promised answer to an issue without a question.  The technology has been available for quite some time and those of us that are of a more mature (ahem, read old) generation fondly recollect the early mobile payment solutions of the late 1990s.  Adoption, however, has been slow, and for many consumers, there is uncertainty as to why mobile payment solutions are necessary. Read more of this post

Applications Are Tenants and Need Your Support

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Treating applications in enterprise data centers as tenants allows those applications to be agile, without impacting other applications.
  • Multi-tenancy is not always supported well in networking products, and ineffective support means workarounds and increased complexity which are anathema to well-run IT.

When looking at network services such as application delivery controllers (ADC), firewalls, content filters, WAN optimization appliances, physical and virtual switches – anything that processes application traffic – you want to examine the multi-tenancy features that are available to ensure they provide adequate isolation from other applications and the configurations can be easily, seamlessly moved from one appliance to another. Read more of this post

The New Analytics: Do Android Devices Dream of Electric Sheep?

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • We are already living in the midst of some very smart mobile devices which are capable of capturing the physical, situational, operational and even emotional facets of the human machine.
  • So, why not donate this ‘big data’ to better serve ourselves and the greater good?

Being a hopeful believer in synchronicity (or at least a believer in the potential of coincidence), my ears perked up late last week when the third vendor in as many weeks mentioned the coming ‘Internet of Things’ during three seemingly unrelated discussions around analytics, collaboration and business apps.  Obviously, the idea of smart, interconnected devices has reached some sort of significant meme threshold for major firms IBM, SAP and VMware, helped no doubt by some excellent marketing from Cisco. Read more of this post

Cloud Formations over Europe: Supply-Side Trends Align with Enterprise Demand

John Marcus

John Marcus

Summary Bullets:

  • Almost every week, a new survey is released which reports on growing enterprise demand for cloud services in Europe, or in a particular country market.  Service providers in the region are in many ways reacting to this data with new investments in infrastructure, channels, and services.  Since October 2012, we have tracked service provider events in the space, resulting in supply-side data points that help complete the picture.
  • Out of 159 cloud service provider announcements in Europe over the last nine months, more than half (94) had a pan-European or global impact.  Among country-specific activity, the UK was home to the most activity, with Germany and the Netherlands next but well behind.  Overall, Northern Europe accounted for far more activity than Southern or Eastern Europe.
  • In terms of the types of events, new and enhanced infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solutions have surpassed software-as-a-service (SaaS) launches, which had led the pack back in in Q4 2012.  Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) accounted for the fewest events over the last nine months, but two announcements in June suggest PaaS activity might start to increase. Read more of this post

MBaaS Highlights Need to Simplify Backend Integration

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Benefits of MBaaS offerings highlighted as mobile projects get underway
  • Various MEAP solution providers emphasize their MBaaS offering

Mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) is not a new concept, but the technology is coming to the forefront once more as enterprise developers start to tackle mobile application projects and face a painful roadblock in backend integration complexities. Read more of this post

Dimension Data Highlights Expertise as Global Telepresence and Managed Video Services Provider

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Dimension Data draws on its global professional services and in-country staff to operate its own successful managed video services offer.
  • Dimension Data draws on its own tools, global video hardware support organization for rapid troubleshooting and resolution of customers’ issues.

Dimension Data is known for its global professional services and solutions building, outsourcing, network integration, hardware device installation and support. While it doesn’t have the name-brand recognition of the carrier-side global telepresence services providers, the company has been steadily building its Managed Services for Visual Communications base. The company now describes having 250 clients for its managed video services, representing 6,000 video endpoints and processing more than 20,000 calls per month, combining immersive and non-immersive endpoints. Read more of this post

The Hosted Contact Center – An Attractive Choice for ‘Customer Engagement Continuity’

Ken Landoline

Ken Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Hosted contact center solutions are gaining popularity as the level of functionality, reliability and security they provide catches up to that of premises-based systems.  Hosted contact centers’ ability to expand and contract as business needs change makes them an economically attractive choice for many enterprises.
  • Although hosted contact center solutions can be an ideal method of providing backup for premises-based systems, the market has been slow to implement hosted solutions as ‘insurance’ during severe weather conditions, terrorists attacks, flu epidemics and other call center emergencies.  The major cause of this phenomenon has more to do with vendors than reluctance from enterprises.

Approximately 15 months ago, I wrote a blog expressing my surprise that the issue of disaster recovery seldom came up as a driver of cloud-based services, and more specifically as a driver of hosted contact center sales (please see “Cloud-based Contact Centers – The Appeal Beyond OpEx vs. CapEx,” April 24, 2012).  This was despite the fact that prospects for cloud-based contact center services with whom I spoke seemed to agree that the disaster recovery sales pitch was worthy of consideration.  The logic behind their opinion was often based on the fact that recent world events such as severe weather conditions across the U.S., forest fires in the west and terrorist threats around the world made backup services a ‘top-of-mind’ issue for them.  So, why weren’t providers of hosted solutions incorporating disaster recovery into their sales and marketing portfolio pitches? Read more of this post

Live from Orange Business Services’ Analyst Event

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Orange Business Services’ annual analyst event, held in Paris July 9-10, offered high-level positioning and insights into key services, strategies and plans.
  • Orange Business Services detailed successes and challenges, and provided information in areas including managed mobility, global partnerships and M2M.

Day 1: New Orange Business Services CEO Thierry Bonhomme provided perspective on areas of progress over the past year, as well as the challenges faced by Orange and other European service providers in a difficult economic climate. Bonhomme identified strategic areas of focus for the company such as cloud services, its Workspace as a Service initiatives, and M2M. He also identified several new partnerships (with Tangoe for managed mobility, Streetline for Smart City initiatives, and Akamai for content data management). This was followed by a discussion on current and future network services, and customized one-on-one discussions (in this case focused on enterprise mobility and M2M). Read more of this post

Hold Off on SDN Certification Until You Have the Necessary Experience

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • If you are starting out your career, avoid cutting edge technology training.  Existing technologies will remain relevant for many years and ground you in skills enterprises need today.
  • Cutting edge technology training makes sense for experienced professionals looking for new challenges and opportunities, but keep your options open.

One of the questions I see cropping up lately in conversations is whether IT professionals should pursue traditional networking training and certification or start diving into cutting edge technology such as software-defined networking (SDN).  The answer for a specific person is of course contextual, but my general advice is: if you are starting out in your career and you want to pursue advancement, stick with traditional certifications for the next few years and then re-assess the market and where you need to go. Read more of this post