In Search of the Rare and Elusive DevOps Beastie

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

• Assuming that you can simply combine two important job functions into a single entity isn’t necessarily the best or smartest way of managing IT resources.
• Your environment may need a lot of work before you can effectively cross that line.
As IT professionals we’re constantly challenged to do more with less, and no one can argue that all of the wonderful flexibility offered by virtualization hasn’t fundamentally changed the nature of the data center in a remarkably short period of time. But simplifying the physical concerns of standing up servers and applications doesn’t necessarily mean that you can simply merge developer and operations functions into a single entity with a unified purpose. This is an evolutionary process, and — because bean counters are always looking for things like this to thin head counts — smart IT managers might want to head this off until they’ve taken an honest look at their environment. Read more of this post

Something for Everyone at Interop Las Vegas 2014

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • The upcoming Interop event in Las Vegas will offer lots of sessions and workshops from fellow IT professionals and experts to attend and get current on your interests.
  • Take part in the social gathering to meet old friends and make new ones. Personal networking is as important as anything in your career.

Interop is next week and I am looking forward to catching up with old friends, peers, and colleagues and making new acquaintances. Still, the draw for me is meeting with vendors and attending a few of the presentations over the course of the event. The content this year is very solid and there’s something for everyone.

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Enterprise Management Products Play Greater Role in MEAP Lifecycle

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullet:

  • There is a growing trend among MEAP players to include management options to support complex development/testing and collaboration.
  • HP ALM 12 now supports HP Anywhere mobile app platform management.

There is a growing trend among mobile enterprise app platform (MEAP) providers to build out their platforms with management capabilities or partnerships to include mobile application management (MAM) and application lifecycle management (ALM) capabilities. This consolidation is largely driven by the fact that mobile app projects are no longer siloed, but built on composite applications based on complex architectural foundations. They require interconnectivity points within the application to support collaboration between those involved in design/development of apps, as well as the ability to conduct quality testing early in the development process. For MEAP vendors, a more comprehensive portfolio also equates to a continued shift in their target market from solely developer-focused to IT operations (i.e., a top-down approach versus bottom-up).

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Virtualised PBX vs. Cloud Voice: A Microcosm of the Challenges Facing Modern IT Departments

Gary Barton

Gary Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Go-to-market decision makers within an enterprise are likely to favour solutions that treat voice as an application.
  • IT managers, whilst acting as enablers for the rest of the business, should not automatically assume that the cloud holds all the answers.

The maturation of cloud platforms has, rightly, been cited as a primary contributing factor for the increased uptake amongst enterprises of unified communications (UC) solutions. However, for voice services, the PBX is still (at least for the moment) king. What is changing, though, is that the PBXs being deployed are now very commonly ‘soft’ PBXs. A number of smaller IP voice solution providers are reporting a significant uptick in the soft PBX sales, primarily virtualised on Linux, VMware or Microsoft Windows Hyper-V platforms. So, what is driving this change and why should enterprises consider a soft PBX over a pure cloud solution?

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Good Security is a Three-legged Stool: Technology, People and Process

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:                

  • A good security defense requires equal measures of investment in not only technology but also people and processes.
  • Detecting breaches is not the end game, but the beginning of a process to understand the scope and impact and then respond quickly to minimize the damage.

Thinking about the latest revelations around the Target breach, and how Target’s FireEye deployment had alerted the company to the breach early on, it struck me that the company had invested appropriately in technology, but underinvested in its people and processes.  It’s easy for technologists to fall for the silver bullet trap, investing in technology with the belief that it will make a particular problem or pain go away.  It’s a whole lot harder to muster the resources required to properly exploit the benefits of the technology when budgets are tight and skilled security analysts are in short supply.  It’s time for enterprises to invest more in training to develop the skilled staff necessary to meet the challenges posed by today’s threat landscape.  At the same time, it’s equally important to invest in developing the processes needed to deal with the glut of alerts and follow-on investigations effectively required to scope out the extent of those potential breaches.  When key security employees leave, the appropriate training and processes can help fill the void left to insure such inevitable changes don’t negatively impact the organization’s security defenses. Read more of this post

Does MEAP Risk Becoming a Commodity Service?

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Will MEAP become a commodity?  Yes, if it forces developers into proprietary software.
  • Pure-play Kony differentiates on innovation and use of industry standards/open source technologies.

Now that mobility is mainstream, does the current mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) market model risk becoming like a commodity service?  There’s no way that MEAP is a market area that no longer innovates or experiences upheaval, outside of downward pricing pressures.  However, the concern is for those mobile app platforms that restrict developers to the confines of proprietary software with no way to add open source tools.  This boxed-in approach risks becoming like a commodity service, incapable of innovating.  Fortunately, leading mobile app platform providers realize this and have been moving towards open standards, such as JSON and REST services, supporting developers’ desire to use open source tools for app development/deployment involving infrastructure, tool sets, plug-ins, and development languages. Read more of this post

Extending Enterprise WANs into Carrier-Neutral Locations May Lower Costs, Boost Performance and Speed Turn-up of Cloud Services

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Equinix Performance Hub – building enterprise WANs around the company’s data centres – makes its appeal around improved network performance and application delivery.
  • The advantages of extending a WAN into carrier-neutral exchanges include easy access to cloud-ready services and arbitrage on network traffic, but exchanges cannot do everything a dedicated WAN provider can.

On March 5, 2014, Equinix announced an initiative to launch Performance Hub, a solution that lets enterprises re-architect their WANs around the company’s International Business Exchange data centres.  The service promises a host of improvements for enterprises, including simplified cloud deployments, an optimized network and better quality of experience (QoE).  Equinix explicitly targets the enterprise segment with Performance Hub; the solution is initially available in North America, with a global launch planned in the near future.  According to the company, existing customers for its Performance Hub architecture include Chevron, eBay and Nvidia.  The company is also touting additional enhanced cloud connectivity through Performance Hub, as Equinix can plug enterprises directly into premium web-based apps, and to cloud computing providers such as Amazon Web Services and MS Windows Azure. Read more of this post

Consolidation of Contact Center Industry Being Driven by Economics and Market Demand

Ken Landoline

Ken Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Managers of customer service organizations are realizing that integrating discrete supporting applications with core contact center ACD functionality is a time consuming and often very expensive method of completing their solution suite.
  • Contact center providers are reacting to the market change from “best-of-breed” solutions to “all-in-one”, pre-integrated suites by acquiring the assets of interactive voice response (IVR), speech analytics, customer survey, and data analytics best-of-breed providers or developing deep partnerships to complement their contact center suite offerings.

Less than a decade ago contact center executives were beating the bushes looking for best-of-breed solutions in the areas of workforce management, IVR, customer surveys, speech analytics, proactive outbound customer contact, and more to complete the functionality of their customer service suite and optimize their service offering. At the same time, there was a groundswell of start-ups focused on offering the best-of-breed solution in each of these areas to fill the product gaps of the major contact center vendors that had solid ACD offerings but lacked solutions focused on these high-growth peripheral areas of customer care and support. Enterprises were fixated on finding and buying the best of breed solution to meet their needs and give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

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M2M MVNO Update: Going Up the Value Chain

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Back in the olden days (2000-2007), there were close to a dozen M2M connectivity aggregators that were the primary companies selling M2M connectivity to businesses.
  • The market has changed substantially, with the mobile operators selling mostly direct, but many of the original set of MVNOs are alive and well and going way beyond connectivity to stay relevant.

When M2M first became a recognized market for cellular connectivity in the early 2000s, operators saw it as a wholesale opportunity, letting MVNOs sell to business customers, especially for small-to-mid-sized deals.  In those days, the primary use cases were sensor data collection, machine automation, fleet management, home security monitoring and some cellular point-of-sale and ATM connections.  Satellite service providers were also in the mix, collecting data from far flung or ‘hostile’ remote locations.  In 2005, there were about a dozen cellular connectivity aggregators/MVNOs (several of which claimed from the beginning that since they owned their own network elements, they weren’t really MVNOs, but carriers, which is technically true).  The big ones were Jasper Wireless (no longer an MVNO), Wyless, Aeris.net, RACO Wireless, Kore Telematics, Numerex, Orbcomm and Jazz Wireless. Read more of this post

Enterprise Connect 2014: WebRTC and Video to Occupy Center Stage

Cindy Whelan

Cindy Whelan

Summary Bullets:

  • Video and WebRTC occupy a major role for Enterprise Connect conference sessions as well as planned announcements.
  • Cloud and mobility are constants in the collaboration marketplace, as enterprises increasingly embrace usage-based collaboration and communications solutions as well as manage employee demand for mobility options.

Next week, I will join my colleagues in Orlando, Florida at Enterprise Connect, one of the longest-running voice/UC/collaboration trade shows in the industry and a great opportunity to spend some time with companies I speak with frequently and get a look at new entrants to the market.  A quick glance down a recent list of upcoming show announcements included (not surprisingly) a long list of WebRTC and video-related launches along with a healthy dose of contact center enhancements.  I’m particularly interested to get an update on where WebRTC stands in the collaboration and communications service landscape.  Last year, WebRTC figured prominently at Enterprise Connect, with an entire mini-conference on the topic, and that is the case again in 2014.  WebRTC is still in its early stages: there are a number of aspects of the service still under development, and WebRTC is still not supported by Microsoft Internet Explorer or Apple Safari web browsers.  Over the long term, WebRTC has the potential to be a real disrupter in the market, letting vendors and service providers implement easy-to-use voice and video applications for B2B and B2C communications.  Video, specifically ‘personal’ desktop applications, is another topic that seems to be generating a fair bit of buzz and publicity in advance of the show, as providers add services and features that take the complexity out of video conferencing in a bid to make it as easy to use as audio. Read more of this post