VMware Has a Security Attention Deficit Disorder

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:                

  • VMware continues to shift its virtualization security priorities around, this time with a focus on the new Service Composer in the NSX virtual networking platform.
  • Despite the lack of focus on VMware’s part, third-party security providers continue to make progress with existing products, building up greater maturity and expanding their installed bases.

VMware’s attempts to deliver a cohesive set of security services for its dominant server virtualization technology in partnership with leading security providers appears to be a bit of a shell game.  Just when you thought the gold security coin was under one shell, you discover that you missed the last move and now it is under another.  In this case, VMware had been working to create a set of higher level APIs developed in conjunction with leading security partners that would be easier to work with than the former VMsafe APIs and reflect the requirements of a broader set of security functions—not just anti-virus signature scanning.  But that was before VMware acquired software-defined networking startup Nicera for over $1 billion around the time of VMworld 2012.  Fast forward to VMworld 2013 and voila!  No progress report on the security APIs, no expansion of the partners writing to those APIs, no case studies demonstrating real world deployments of security products using those APIs to deliver better security for VMware hosted applications.  Instead what you find is that VMware has shifted its attention (and resources) to trying to establish a virtual networking platform that it hopes will do for networking what the virtual machine did for computing. Read more of this post

Why Pivotal Cloud Foundry Needs a Mobile App Platform

 

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Pivotal and VMware announce a joint hybrid cloud integration effort called Pivotal CF
  • Arguments for why a mobile app platform will enhance the cloud offering

Pivotal, the VMware PaaS spin-off, received some of the limelight this week at VMware’s VMworld 2013, as the two companies announced plans to co-develop a hybrid PaaS for vSphere and vCloud, based on Cloud Foundry. Alongside VMware, Pivotal has already caught the attention of some notable industry names in recent months as it continues efforts to build out its ecosystem. Recent Pivotal wins include IBM and Savvis, which are using Cloud Foundry as their standard PaaS platforms beneath their own platform services, adding further validation to the cloud service. Read more of this post

Advantages and Benefits of Looking to SIs and Resellers for Network and Cloud

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • A local touch and customer centricity are benefits of sourcing office network and communications needs from a reseller as opposed to buying directly from a traditional telco.
  • Service providers have dedicated teams and product ranges that are specifically designed to help channel and reseller partners sell into the diverse SME market.

Several major telcos have special divisions dedicated to wholesale market strategies.  These teams take existing enterprise services and white-label them, or develop their own wholesale tailored solutions, in order to sell onwards to channel partners.  In the UK market, Colt, TalkTalk Business, Vodafone Carrier Services and BT Wholesale are all classic examples.  These providers’ wholesale portfolios have evolved beyond basic connectivity to include hosted UC and collaboration, contact centres, data centre services such as collocation and hosting, IP/Ethernet VPNs and growing ranges of cloud computing.  The wholesale carrier services market environment is very competitive, which is a good thing for both third-party resellers and customers, because products need to offer price and performance benefits to survive.  The efforts that carriers make to gain traction with their resellers may include e-bonding of systems so that the reseller can obtain accurate price quotes and provisioning timescales, as well as dedicated support and integration teams to help the SI or reseller implement solutions.  Colt, for example, has invested heavily in automation systems for its network and data centres with a central objective of better supporting platforms for its indirect sales partners. Read more of this post

VMware’s NSX Is an Opportunity to Innovate, Not a Declaration of War

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • VMware’s NSX is not a declaration of war on any networking vendor.  It is much more cooperative than competitive.
  • Network vendors need to add value on top of NSX to remain relevant.  Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to add value.

VMware’s NSX is a network virtualization platform that provides a number of benefits for interconnecting virtual machines to other virtual or physical resources.  The virtual network is independent from the underlying network; the virtual network is programmable and responds quickly to VM changes; and new physical or virtual services can be inserted or removed easily for scaling in/out or adding new services.  NSX is a technology that enables new capabilities and it is not a declaration of war as some commenters have excitedly said.  Network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) still have plenty of room to innovate and provide value outside of virtual networking. Read more of this post

Is the Gmail Privacy Flap Just a Big Misunderstanding?

itcblog-marcusSummary Bullets:

  • Google has come under fire recently from a consumer organization which pointed to a company filing to claim Gmail users can have “no expectation of privacy”, given the company’s email processing function described in the public document. With Gmail in use by thousands of enterprises, business owners may be concerned about a potential breach in trust.
  • As it happens, the claims reveal no new information about any processes used by Google to manage its popular email service. Unfortunately, the press loves a story that makes Google out as “Big Brother” or worse, especially given the NSA surveillance revelations of recent months. Users should continue to trust Google as much or as little as they did prior to this press storm.

What Happened?

Google is in court over privacy concerns, fighting a class-action lawsuit that accuses it of breaking wiretap laws when it scans emails in order to target advertisements to Gmail users. It claims Google “unlawfully opens up, reads, and acquires the content of people’s private email messages”. In a bid to dismiss the suit, filed in May, Google explained that in the delivery of its service, messages could not be hidden from the company, seeing as it needs to process and display them for users. An unfortunate wording in its filing implies users shouldn’t expect “objective confidentiality”, but the company was trying to be transparent about the reality of electronic communication, the messages transmitted by which are by definition exposed to the software and machines running the system. Read more of this post

Data Analysis Platforms for M2M: The Next Wave

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • The first generation of M2M platforms (service delivery platforms, or SDPs) provided connectivity-oriented management and control, such as service/SIM activation, real-time diagnostics and troubleshooting, and rate plan generation, with the best-known platforms in the market coming from third parties such as Jasper Wireless and Ericsson and operators such as Orange and Vodafone.
  • The second generation of M2M platforms added cloud-based application development tools as well as key functions such as remote device management, firmware/software upgrades and device-level remote diagnostics. Vendors such as Axeda and Sierra Wireless are well-known in this segment, while SAP is adding this kind of functionality on top of the Ericsson SDP. What’s next?

During the last five years, a variety of solutions have been deployed to set up wired or wireless connectivity between machines, sensors and other devices and the servers and systems that use the data collected from these machines to enhance processes and productivity. Enterprises can also get help via application platforms that aid in developing simple or complex apps to extract data, and manage/configure/update their end devices. What has come next is a focus on data analytics as a significantly important component of M2M deployments (as well as a value-added service that can be monetized by systems integrators and operators). Read more of this post

When Your Switch Vendor is also Your Software Vendor

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • A software defined data center is nothing without a software defined network. Programmability and API support are more important than speeds and feeds in making a purchasing decision.
  • Enterprises have to assess a networking vendor’s software plans as thoroughly as hardware specifications.

There are three critical features of data center switching that you need to keep in mind on your next refresh: overlay support, programmability, and APIs. Speeds and feeds, table sizes, and other data sheet specs are table stakes, and most data center networking vendors are keeping pace on the important parts. Seriously now, how many of you are going to make a purchase decision based on MAC table size? Do you really need more than 256,000 entries? Hardware is keeping up. Software impacts the integration and interoperation of your switching hardware with the rest of your data center, so much so that it becomes the most critical set of features that can make or break a fully automated data center. Read more of this post

Just What Exactly Does ‘Anomalous Behavior’ Look Like? The Question Stumps CISOs

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • IT security organizations need to rethink their approach to finding, prioritizing and remediating more sophisticated attacks that easily bypass existing defenses.  One way is by better understanding what is normal and not normal from both a coarse view of aggregated network flow data as well as a more granular view of specific users and their activities.  Those with elevated privileges and access to sensitive customer or financial data are a good starting point.
  • CISOs looking at more advanced security analytics solutions should put their prospective vendors’ feet to the fire when it comes to the heavy lifting of greater levels of integration and automated analytics.

I had the good fortune to attend the IT Security Analyst and CISO Forum in London back in June, and there were a number of interesting themes that came out of the roundtable discussion with CISOs from a handful of large enterprises, government and non-government entities.  In responding to a question on what their major challenges were today, one theme really stayed with me: when it comes to analyzing activity on systems and networks for anomalous behavior, “we don’t know what normal looks like,” said one CISO.  Read more of this post

MBaaS Player FeedHenry Attracts Attention of Leading Cloud Providers

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Open source PaaS offerings look to MBaaS to fulfill their mobile app platform requirements.
  • FeedHenry and other MBaaS providers differentiate from MEAPs by shifting the focus from the building of the app to how apps connect securely to backend systems.

I have been following PaaS providers’ mobile application platform strategies for the past year and have concluded that leading open source PaaS offerings are opting for MBaaS over traditional MEAP.  IBM added the IBM Worklight technology to its PaaS appliance in the spring, and SAP added components of SAP Mobile Platform to the SAP HANA Cloud PaaS platform about the same time.  However, the two leading open source enterprise PaaS offerings in this space – VMware/Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Red Hat OpenShift – seem to be pinning all their mobile app platform hopes on a little-known mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) provider called FeedHenry.  This is a company worth following, because it has aspirations to continue building out its ecosystem to partner with other leading cloud providers, including those that move in non-middleware circles, such as HP. Read more of this post

América Móvil’s KPN Interest: Sweep MNC Visions Aside, It’s About the Mobile Subscribers

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • It is tempting, but probably wrong, to expect América Móvil’s bid for KPN to have a global MNC angle.
  • América Móvil’s track record shows preference for mobile subscribers; KPN’s divesting E-Plus with Telefónica likely spurred the proposed takeover.

Billionaire tycoon Carlos Slim Helú is known for making bold moves with strategic investments.  When Carlos Slim-owned América Móvil increased its investments in KPN and Telekom Austria in 2012 by investing billions of euros, the strategic business synergy seemed obvious. When it comes to serving multinational corporations (MNCs), América Móvil and Telefónica are rivals throughout Latin America.  Both competitors can go cross-border into North America easily enough, to extend services across North America. Read more of this post