Flash, Flash, Flash, Flash…Oh, and Did We Mention Flash?

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

Summary Bullets:

  • Flash technology has proven itself in the role of the high-performance pinnacle of the storage stack, but a few companies are looking to redefine it to accommodate the growing number of large, in-memory applications.
  • Upcoming offerings from several vendors are looking to move flash even closer to the compute layer, and this has the potential to remap the traditional CPU/memory architecture in a server near you.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of technology conferences recently, and aside from “hybrid cloud” the one message that crosses over all of them is the overwhelming interest in flash memory technology and how it can improve the performance and flexibility of your data center. We all know that flash isn’t really all that new, flash-based SSDs and memory cards have becoming the de facto storage platform for almost every portable device, but adopting flash for enterprise-level applications has taken a little longer as vendors scrambled to insure that it truly meets the reliability, performance, and cost structure expected for high performance, high duty cycle applications. The obvious first-case applications focused on storage vendors who found that the SSD technology and form-factor was a perfect match for use as a caching layer at the very top of the storage stack in the conventional NAS/SAN model. There were also a few forward-looking vendors like Fusion-IO and OCZ Technologies that chose to decouple flash from the storage bus and upgrade it directly to the PCIe bus. Read more of this post

Diameter Signaling Over IP Exchange Promises Bright New Horizon for 4G LTE Roaming

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Diameter signaling is very complex and can be costly for mobile network operators (MNOs) to deliver
  • Wholesale carriers are moving in to help solve these complexity issues on behalf of MNO clients, and in the near future more widely available 4G roaming will help business users be more productive while on the road

Whilst Diameter signaling and IPX seem purely technical terms that have little to do with enterprise IT and communications, the fact is, the implications of these technologies on the way we can be productive while on the move are considerable. Imagine leaving your home 4G network, getting on a plane to travel to another country, and within minutes of landing, zap! you are once again able to enjoy high-speed mobile access and enterprise-quality video and voice. However, users are going to have to be aware of how their cross-border ubiquitous 4G LTE mobile experience is going to cause a huge spike in the monthly bill. We are all familiar with the high data roaming costs that can come with mobile broadband roaming, and therefore the enterprise customer needs to be continually pushing mobile vendors for fairer terms and prices, and already begin conversations on cost effective widespread 4G LTE roaming. Vodafone, for example, has recently suggested that 4G doubles data usage and that it expects 4G to increase mobile data revenues, including roaming, even in the light of incoming EU roaming legislation. Read more of this post

Voice Verification and Fraud Detection – Interchangeable or Complementary Solutions?

Ken Landoline

Ken Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Voice verification technology has advanced substantially and vendors are introducing reliable products capable of positively identifying legitimate customers, by matching their voices with previously-recorded voice prints, with a very high level of confidence.
  • Fraud detection solutions have entered the marketplace and are being used successfully in many security-sensitive markets to identify known fraudsters when they call into a contact center by comparing their voice to previously recorded voice prints stored in a fraudster data base.

Voice recognition technology has improved enormously over the past five years which has resulted in several effective tools to assist contact center operators in verifying the legitimacy of virtually every caller entering a queue in a customer care environment. This biometric approach to customer identification provides better accuracy and a level of security beyond that of the previously-used security question approach to customer identification (e.g., What is your mother’s maiden name? and, What are the last four digits of your social security number?). Over the past few years, fraud detection systems that match a caller’s voice with previously-recorded and stored voice prints of known fraudsters, have been installed by many companies wishing to deter fraud in their customer care environments. These systems have been successful in mitigating fraudulent transactions in the financial services market segment, if not stopping them altogether. More recently, voice recognition solutions have taken a more positive turn and are designed to compare the voice of legitimate customers to their previously-recorded, passively collected voice prints before allowing a risky transaction, such as an address change or money transfer, to be completed. These systems are also showing positive results in many banks, credit card and retail customer care environments. Read more of this post

Sprint Reveals “Disruptive” Business Strategy, but Does It Differ from Competitors?

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • After its acquisition by SoftBank, Sprint had been pretty quiet regarding its business services and strategies.
  • It’s questionable how different Sprint’s new sales and marketing organization, and new approach to business services is from competing operators.

In a recent briefing to the analyst community, Sprint opened up about its plans for the business market. It has had a new B2B team since fall 2013, which includes corporate liable sales of embedded products, cards, handsets, tablets, M2M, as well as business-focused wireless and cloud services. It also divides the Fortune 1000 regionally into Eastern and Western U.S. companies. Sprint’s aim is to be disruptive: it used to sell based on technology and “speeds and feeds”, but found that this approach didn’t work and now is selling solutions instead. The company conducted focus groups to find out what keeps CIOs up at night; it came up with three key issues and their associated solutions. Read more of this post

Cisco Live 2014: It’s the End of the Collaborative World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Cisco has a lot of explaining to do at this year’s Cisco Live, stemming from its recent, apparent abandonment of Cisco WebEx Social.
  •  With a careful focus on programmability for the network, the data center and its own applications, however, Cisco can use this opportunity to leap forward rather than justify the past.

Once again, it is time for IT professionals and service providers from around the world to convene and converge upon a city of Cisco’s choosing for the company’s annual über-user conference, Cisco Live. This time around, the venue is San Francisco, a stark contrast in terms of weather and populous to last year’s somewhat warmer and more rural destination of Orlando, Florida. Still, I’m sure the heat, symbolically anyway, will remain in full effect for Cisco as the networking giant faces its customer constituency for the first time since Cisco announced its surprising joint venture with enterprise social networking (ESN) darling Jive Software. Read more of this post

MEAP Vendors Relinquish Front-end Framework Grip, Focus on Integration

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • As MEAP leaders focus less on front-end app development, the trend is to relinquish IDE/framework grip.
  • The greatest value proposition among mobile app platform solutions now lies in backend integration.

MEAP leaders are altering the foundation of their mobile app platforms to allow for more flexibility in which application development frameworks mobile developers favor. Application platform providers no longer feel the need to differentiate through IDEs, so in lieu of pushing their own front-end app development tools on mobile developers, vendors are allowing tools such as Xamarin and Service2Media to be used with their platforms, focusing instead on improving integration at the backend. Read more of this post

PII in the Sky – A Cloudy Outlook

Hugh Ujhazy

Hugh Ujhazy

Summary Bullets:

  • Asian governments are evolving their approach to managing PII data through legislative frameworks.
  • Data privacy rules are converging across the region, but the onus for protection still rests squarely with the enterprise.

A fully realized cloud infrastructure promises server, storage and applications (along with all their data) floating in a glorious OpEx soup. Managed from afar, provisioned in minutes, flexible and scalable – there is little to dislike. However, for enterprises operating in multiple jurisdictions in Asia, data protection remains a key issue in planning deployments of cloud solutions. Read more of this post

Enterprise Mobility Strategy – An IT Imperative

Harish Taori

Harish Taori

Summary Bullets:

  • Enterprise IT teams are struggling to manage secured access to enterprise data and systems, standardization of platforms/mobile devices, monitoring personal vs. work related usage and unplanned growth of BYOD devices due to consumerization of IT.
  • Enterprises are investing in optimizing their business workflows, applications and user interfaces to derive the maximum value out of enterprise mobility initiatives.

Growing usage of individual liable mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and in some case even notebooks, is driving the first wave of unplanned adoption. Enterprises are forced to provide access to communication and collaboration applications like email, messaging and conferencing in a secured manner and to develop mobility related policies and guidelines to support usage of personal devices. As a result IT teams are struggling to manage the device and data security, secured access to enterprise systems, standardization of platforms and mobile devices and unplanned growth of BYOD devices due to consumerization of IT. Read more of this post

Live from Axeda Connexion: M2M Enthusiasm Tempered with Reality

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • This year’s Axeda Connexion conference featured presentations and booths showing Axeda solutions, offerings from its partners and other M2M ecosystem players, and case studies from customers (i.e., enterprises that have deployed M2M solutions).
  • While enthusiastically promoting M2M, the event was balanced, offering examples of obstacles as well as opportunities.

This year’s Axeda Connexion conference, held in Boston on May 5-8, was put on by one of the industry’s most established and well-known M2M application platform providers and was (as it always is) chock-full of insights, stats, tidbits of interesting information and, best of all, actual enterprise customer stories. The event (which included about 600 attendees) featured many presentations by Axeda itself, including a technical track on the latest enhancements to its platform. It also included presentations and panel discussions with major operator partner AT&T, often together with its new M2M customer, Emerson, which took advantage of the Axeda platform when developing its ‘smart cart’ connected healthcare solution for hospitals. While many M2M events are heavily ‘supply-side,’ Axeda always showcases its customers, who provide real-world and detailed examples of successful deployments. Axeda Connexion is also one of the few M2M events that has a good sampling of enterprises in attendance which may be already planning or running M2M deployments. Every year, Axeda also adds a new level to its iconic diagram of the different stages of M2M; this year, it delineated level number 10, described as ‘harmonization,’ a level at which nations and governments will share data beyond country borders to help solve global problems (think ‘saving the rainforest’ or finding Malaysia Airlines flight 370). Read more of this post

Open Network Users Group: WAN SDN a Major Theme

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • ONUG is a user-led networking conference chock-full of good content for enterprise IT.
  •  The main theme was WAN SDN, where enterprises try to make better use of their WAN pipes.

The Open Network User Group (ONUG) is a really good show for network administrators from enterprises of all sizes to learn from their peers at larger enterprises. ONUG’s focus is on user-to-user interaction, and in that respect, the majority of the talks, in particular the morning sessions, were given or led by senior IT and network professionals and reflected issues that are faced across a spectrum of enterprises. Read more of this post