At Cisco Live! EMEA 2017 Cisco Showcased its Ongoing Transformation and Unveiled its Vision of an IoT Future

 

C. Drake

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • This year’s Cisco Live! EMEA event showcased Cisco’s DevNet initiative, which fosters cooperation between IT engineers and application developers and promises to change future networking and data center technologies.
  • Cisco’s latest initiatives reflect the recognition that future network and data center architectures must evolve if they are to handle the sort of data processing, storage and analytics that will be needed in an IoT era.

At this year’s Cisco Live! EMEA event, Cisco demonstrated the extent to which it’s transforming from being predominantly a hardware supplier into a provider of software and services that help enterprises grasp opportunities in IoT.  Ruba Borno, Vice President of Growth Initiatives and Chief of Staff to Cisco’s CEO, expounded on the different elements of this transformation and Cisco’s vision of positioning itself further up the technology stack to become a complete solutions provider for enterprise IoT initiatives. In order to fully realize this vision, Cisco is embracing a more comprehensive and layered approach to security, as well as increased infrastructure automation, the use of analytics to optimize application and infrastructure performance, and the full utilization of multi-cloud environments. Read more of this post

Question: What Is Watson Workspace?

T. Banting

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • IBM has much to do to ensure Watson Workspace is comparable to other competing services already established in the market prior to its mid-2017 release.
  • IBM’s unique differentiation is in the power of Watson Workspace Services APIs – utilized in Watson Workspace and made extensible to other platforms.

With IBM Connect 2017 (IBM’s conference dedicated to all things collaborative) at a close, I have some time to digest and share my reflections regarding Watson Workspace. Anchoring on the Watson brand (yes, that 2011 computer champion from Jeopardy!), Workspace is one of a long line of collaborative team apps made famous by market-making vendor Slack. Currently in private preview, Watson Workspace is far from a finished service; indeed, compared to many of its counterparts that offer real-time communication alongside collaboration (e.g., Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Rainbow, Cisco Spark, Slack, Unify Circuit, etc.), Watson Workspace could be dismissed as a rudimentary persistent chat service. However, IBM is leveraging its Watson might to differentiate through ‘cognitive’ computing (as opposed to the artificially intelligent bots offered by all too many vendors), while integrating with other companies such as Box, GENBAND, Cisco, Vidyo, Zoom and over 500 ecosystem partners exposed through IFTT, Workato and Sapho web automation services. Read more of this post

At IBM the Future of Collaboration Isn’t Rosy. It’s Pink!

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• IBM has a problem. How can it present a viable alternative to the Microsoft collaboration juggernaut that is Office 365 while simultaneously bringing its still sizable IBM Connections customer base forward?

• The answer, apparently, is to turn pink. After Connections 6 rolls out, IBM will completely reinvent its collaboration platform, quite literally throwing aside internal obligations, existing software investments and technical dependencies.

Usually I find it hard to take a man dressed in a pink linen pink suite seriously. That’s especially true if the man is standing in front of a huge PowerPoint slide adorned with an animated, dancing puffer fish. So, when I sat down this week at the IBM Connect 2017 conference in San Francisco to listen in on a session by IBM’s Baan Slavens and Jason Roy Gary on the future of IBM Connections, I was prepared for disappointment. Rather, I was prepared for “yet another” grand but ultimately unachievable view of how collaboration might be, if only IBM were free from corporate obligations, past engineering investments and technological dependencies. I was entirely mistaken. Read more of this post

Safe Enough for Government Work? Bringing in the Internet as Part of UK Hybrid Networks

G. Barton

G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

• The UK Government Digital Services (GDS) statements about moving to the Internet may be over ambitious, but they are not wholly wrong.

• SD-WAN is making the Internet a more viable and better-performing WAN alternative.

Internet connectivity has been an accepted part of hybrid WAN infrastructure for a while, but traditionally this has focussed on remote/home workers and small branch offices or retail stores. However, the public Internet is becoming a more mainstream connectivity medium. A big indicator of this shift is the UK GDS announcing that it intends to kill off the Public Services Network (PSN) ‘network of networks’ programme in favour of public Internet services. GDS has been lukewarm on PSN for a while now so the announcement is not a wholly unexpected shock. However, the seemingly open-armed embrace of Internet connectivity is more surprising, particularly for a public sector body where the data held is both sensitive and politically charged. Is this announcement a watershed moment or an overly ambitious/foolhardy move? Read more of this post

What Should Avaya Do Next?

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Assuming Avaya exits Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the next few months, what should the company do to succeed going forward? We entertain five changes we feel necessary for Avaya not just to continue, but to thrive within the rapidly changing unified communications and collaboration market.
  • We emphasize a focus on the public cloud and advanced analytics as well as a return to a more unified product portfolio.

A few days have passed now since I returned from my visit with Avaya at its annual user conference (Avaya Engage) last week in Las Vegas, Nevada. And my opinion hasn’t changed substantially. Avaya is in trouble. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel of its self-administered Chapter 11 filing with the bankruptcy courts. The question, of course, concerns the type of light that awaits Avaya. Will it be the warming rays of our modest sun, or will it be the blinding glare of an oncoming train? I believe it will be the former. I believe that Avaya can succeed long-term within a marketplace that is undergoing a highly disruptive change from hardware to software and services. Read more of this post

RSA Conference 2017 Preview: Three Themes I’m Watching

E. Parizo

E. Parizo

Summary Bullets:

  • Serverless security and security product integration frameworks are two emerging InfoSec industry market segments worth watching.
  • After contracting last year, the intrusion prevention system market should rebound thanks to new use cases and product innovation.

Next week, thousands of cybersecurity pros will converge in San Francisco for RSA Conference 2017. While there will be no shortage of interesting storylines, here are the three top themes I’ll be watching for at the industry’s largest annual confab: Read more of this post

SD-WAN Buyer’s Guide: A Summary of Potential Technical Benefits

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • SD-WAN complements dedicated IP/MPLS VPNs; it’s a case of different horses for different courses, with certain parts of the IT estate benefiting from both technologies.
  • SD-WAN services offer rapid turn-up for multiple branch sites where typically there might not be an IT technician on site.
  • SD-WAN solutions can be crafted to give cost-effective and agile support for leveraging IaaS environments, and will typically support traffic optimization and robust security.

Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) services received enormous marketing attention during 2016, as various providers and operators sought to gain mindshare among their potential customer bases. As we proceed through early 2017, it is now clear that SD-WAN services can be sourced from a wide variety of company types including telcos, platform developers, hardware manufacturers, cloud providers and software developers. For the average IT manager, this has made the market landscape difficult to understand and navigate to find a solution. Read more of this post

Fortinet and Marketing Management: Third Time’s a Charm?

E. Parizo

E. Parizo

Summary Bullets:

  • New Fortinet marketing chief Stacey Wu plans to build Fortinet’s brand by leveraging its culture of innovation, imagination, and technical breakthroughs.
  • It’s unclear whether Wu can overcome the pitfalls that recently doomed her two predecessors, namely wavering support for marketing by CEO Ken Xie.

When it comes to marketing, Fortinet has a checkered history. Historically, the company has not prioritized marketing, embracing a corporate identity that places technological innovation at the fore.

In recent years, however, the company has endeavored to increase marketing spending in order to bolster sales growth. It has also sought to create a brand and go-to-market message that matches the agility of its technology, which helps justify purchasing from a vendor that was previously unfamiliar to many IT buyers. But, these efforts have been inconsistent and uncoordinated; insiders and those close to Fortinet lay the blame on CEO Xie, noting his inability to commit to a consistent marketing strategy and his eagerness to redirect marketing funding back toward product development. Read more of this post