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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BYOA and the Enterprise Application Portal: Create Your Own Internal Company Storefront

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • The concept of ‘consumerization of IT’ is sure to evolve naturally in your organization, as employees want to use applications of their own choosing.
  • Some policy control is essential, and a sanctioned company app store is a good idea.
  • Companies such as Intel give employees an official app store, but users can also freely consume ‘unofficial’ apps from outside this domain.

First, the Chief Information Officer had to deal with the complexities that BYOD brought up; now, there is an increasing momentum to BYOA – in other words ’bring your own application.’  Extending beyond this is the concept of an open storefront for appliances, computing power, storage, OS, databases and so on – in other words, all IT.  Service providers are on board, as evidenced by the launches of several online store initiatives: Interoute launched CloudStore, offering applications, appliances, professional services and more; Belgacom offers Becloud; KPN offers a cloud store; and Orange’s VPN Galerie offers access to many apps developed both by Orange and by independent ISVs.  It is fair to say that the concept is already mature for the SME market place, with Belgacom’s Becloud offerings tailored for the mass SME segment but with more sophistication for larger companies.  Similarly, KPN’s Open Cloud Store gives its reseller partners (ISPs, SIs and other telcos) the opportunity to sell, provision and support cloud services to the diverse Dutch SME market. Read more of this post

Connecting to Your Cloud Provider – Internet, Direct Connect or Use the IP VPN?

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • There are no real technical differences between cloud connectivity portfolios and traditional data connectivity
  • Public, private and hybrid cloud solutions are supported by different connectivity options from shared to dedicated infrastructure
  • Connectivity is largely provided on-net from operators, but other players such as collocation houses may offer a range of options through third party relations

When considering how to connect your business to cloud solutions, including IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, there are a wide variety of options. If the services can be supported by best-effort, then public Internet with IPSec can suffice with the benefit of a low-cost base. However, a private cloud will give more security and resilience and can be provisioned by your service provider via a break out from a corporate IP/MPLS VPN solution to the carrier’s MPLS network and over an NNI to the cloud provider. That’s assuming of course that a corporate IP VPN solution is already in place, because building one from scratch is not a low-cost route. Read more of this post

Monitoring and Managing Business Applications in Hybrid Clouds: Technical Elegance or Road-kill?

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Monitoring the health of virtual infrastructure, for example on-demand computing resources and business-critical applications, running across hybrid clouds is a challenge
  • New generation cloud-aware and software management developers such as Intigua are emerging to help simplify unchartered waters of virtualizing servers, networks, and storage infrastructure

A lot of enterprises do not have even basic applications performance management and monitoring tools in place, especially where the applications in use work just fine on a best effort traffic basis, so applications that are non-latency dependant, and non-critical to business function or production. The contrast to this is where applications are seen as business-critical and in such cases the organization’s IT department is most likely to invest in an applications performance management (APM) solution from a range of choices. Service providers have made progress to meet the need for visibility on the WAN for business critical applications they are running on behalf of clients with the result all the major carriers offering data networks services proffer a backing range of APM solutions for customers. The same is nearly true for cloud-based service, but not quite! The industry is pretty good at monitoring and managing performance of physical network and infrastructure, including in the WAN. There are plenty of legacy premises-based choices, and software for management, but the cloud-aware and virtualized management layer for multiple IT resources sitting on distributed and shared cloud platforms is more of a work in progress. Read more of this post

Yuletide Blog: 2012 in Review and Can We Expect More of the Same in 2013?

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Making the Internet and private data networks faster is still going to be a top priority in 2013
  • Security remains of paramount importance for any data service
  • Data centre and computing infrastructure become more tightly integrated and embedded with network infrastructure in 2013

Looking back at what happened in 2012, the highlights of the year within the enterprise network and IT service industry include consolidation such as the acquisition of Cable&Wireless Worldwide by Vodafone, the march towards fatter pipes with 100G launches, and progress on the part of carriers to become cloud-based IT providers and cloud service aggregators. Network security remains very high on the agenda, with two providers reporting daily attacks and hacking at major events, namely BT during the Olympics and Interoute supporting UEFA in the Euro 2012 event. However the most impactful initiatives are in the building of new generations of cloud-ready data centres as an intrinsic part of the network to fuel the desire of service providers to claim a stake in the cloud IT service market. Read more of this post

Migrating to Cloud Services: A Wholesale Switchover or a Step-by-Step Approach?

Summary Bullets:

  • SOHO and SMB users have the opportunity to migrate to cloud services in a single move.
  • Joel Stradling

    Larger enterprises and MNCs tend to adopt more slowly, virtualizing one IT system at a time.

How to make the switch from owning premises-based infrastructure to having all IT hosted in a cloud environment is a tricky question for IT managers to consider.  There are so many ‘cloud’ flavours out there, such as public and private clouds, hybrid VPNs and hybrid cloud solutions.  Whether it happened by intent or by some coincidence, the multi-service converged access rollout by carriers investing in NGN has paved the way for smaller companies to place all of their ICT needs, should they so desire, into the cloud in one quick-fix move.  The capability of running voice, data and video over an Ethernet or IP interface at the customer premises has been around for a while, but telcos have realized that, once the multiservice access is in place, the customer can then be presented with a wide range of cloud add-ons, including all the ‘as-a-service’ possibilities: software, communications, storage, security, cloud computing and so on.  A SOHO or SME has fewer applications to run in most cases; thus, the market is seeing more prospects within this segment entirely embracing cloud services, and at reasonable price points, where infrastructure can be shared and non-critical traffic can run on the public Internet. Read more of this post

Is Your Network Ready for the Software-Defined Data Center?

Mike Spanbauer

Mike Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:

  • The software-defined data center is a concept that encapsulates networking, virtualization, storage, orchestration, and ultimately, a truly agile framework.
  • Orchestration and manageability must be designed into a solution, rather than being bolted on, to yield the best results.

It became evident during VMworld that the notion of a software-defined data center is central to VMware’s strategy.  However, when you pause a moment and reflect on where the tech industry has been heading for the last five to ten years, it is easy to see elements of this notion accelerating over time, really coming to dominate design principles across the disciplines that constitute the DC (storage, compute, network, and operations platforms) in the last few years.  Software-defined networking (SDN) is perhaps one of the most visible or actively marketed software-defined concepts, but when one realizes that virtualization is just another software-defined concept (compute/machines), it is easy to see the theme encompassing practically every element of DC technology, not to mention platforms and applications already being managed as software elements themselves.  The logical question here is: If all elements within a data center are software-controlled, then what about the technology characteristics of fabrics, SPB-M/Trill, FCoE, and more of the physical network elements?  The answer is that the technology differentiation of the devices which constitute the infrastructure does not go away or diminish with the SD DC, but rather becomes instrumental as the devices themselves must each integrate with upper-level orchestration platforms (i.e., VMware vCenter/vCloud Director).  Read more of this post