Stop Juggling Parallel Storage Silos

Does it make sense to run parallel storage infrastructures for all the tasks you need to do? A lot of IT managers are doing that – one infrastructure stack for physical servers, another for VMs, SAN for some applications and NAS for others, still more silos for backup, DR, etc. What a headache. And virtualization, while offering great benefits, often turns out to be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure ESG Lab

BYOD Security Gotchas

I've spent a fair amount of time lately on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), mobile devices, and related issues around information/cyber security. Yes, we are still firmly in the hype cycle but some mobile device security patterns are starting to emerge.

Topics: Cisco Information and Risk Management Security and Privacy Security BYOD endpoint security android Juniper Networks NAC mobile device CISO Extreme Networks iPad Enterasys

Chatter Gets Chatty

Salesforce.com is preparing to release an update to their Social Enterprise platform, Chatter in the upcoming weeks. Chatter is Salesforce.com’s entry into the social portal category, sometimes referred to as enterprise social networks. It provides an activity stream tied to Salesforce.com applications as well as most of the usual Social Enterprise features such as microblogging, file sharing, groups, etc.

One area where Chatter has shown some weakness has been in internal messaging. Salesforce.com previously released an internal messaging feature that was somewhat like internal e-mail. This messaging feature allowed Chatter users to create private message streams between individuals or groups of users from just about any place that you see the name of another user or from the My Messages page.

Topics: Enterprise Software Social Enterprise

More Outrageous Self Promotion

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

'Xtrem' Focus on Solid-state at EMC World

I'm in Vegas, embroiled (though luckily not broiled, I'm staying in the a/c!) at EMC World and one of the most notable things has been the range and extent of EMC's reach into IT. From servers and big data analytics to open source cloud and collaboration tools, it's a big smorgarsbord! I'll package up some thoughts in a blog once I get back to the real world.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

As Promised: Outrageous Self Promotion

Topics: Storage Compute

EMC Acquires Syncplicity, Deepens Mobile Collaboration Solution Set

This week at EMC World, EMC announced it acquired Syncplicity, an online file sharing and collaboration service vendor.

Topics: Cloud Computing Storage End-User Computing mobile Content Management Search Archiving Public Cloud Service

The Future of Backup ... from EMC World 2012

Had the chance to sit down with the folks at Wikibon on SiliconAngle.tv

Topics: Data Protection

Multiple Paths to Software-Defined Networking

Software-Defined Networking or SDN is making a lot of noise in the press right now (this blog included), yet many are still confused about what SDN is and what is best way to build one. While many enterprises are just beginning to explore this technology, large telcos and cloud service providers are much further along, testing and deploying SDN technologies in production environments. There are, however, a number of different technologies or approaches that can be used to create a Software-Defined Network. Depending on which vendor you speak to, the answer will vary. I was reminded of this during a recent conversation wtih ConteXtream, an emerging technology vendor in the SDN space that offers a different approach to SDN as outlined below.

Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking

Introducing EMC DataBridge

While most folks know me as a data protection guy, a few might recall that I was also the senior product manager for some of the “systems monitoring” technologies at Microsoft, including the recently released System Center Operations Manager 2012. So, it’s been a special thrill to take an early look at EMC’s DataBridge Enterprise Monitoring solution, which was announced at EMC World 2012.

  • When most folks think of EMC, they think of storage (which is reasonable) – and administrators of EMC storage have long been using EMC ProSphere as their storage monitoring solution of choice.
  • Of course, as a backup guy, I and others can look across EMC Backup Recovery Systems’ portfolio of EMC Data Domain, Avamar, and Networker technologies through its Data Protection Advisor (DPA) monitoring tools.
  • It turns out that EMC’s portfolio offers at least 6 appreciable monitoring tools (including its also recently announced EMC AppSync) that a full time administrator of one thing, such as backup or storage, might be happy to live in.

But most IT pros today don’t do just one thing anymore. In addition, business stakeholders are increasingly asking for visibility in the platforms that they rely on (or perhaps even paid for); but those IT pro-centric tools may not be the right views to give them. Similarly, application owners and virtualization managers are also looking for how the underlying systems are doing.

To address all of those needs, EMC will be delivering EMC DataBridge later in 2012.

Essentially, it is a “mashup” platform that gathers data from the EMC tools above, as well as third-party technologies – and then enables you to build dashboards, using customized “widgets” or instrumentation that makes sense for you. With EMC’s deep understanding of enterprise infrastructure across its storage portfolio, some of the most robust initial widgets deal with chargeback, as well as utilization.

Over the next several months, I expect that we’ll see more about DataBridge, not only from EMC but also from the partner community that EMC is cultivating. In a perfect world, EMC might only provide the framework and instrumentation widgets and its community would create the modules that create insight into the applications and resources (similar to another monitoring solution that I am familiar with).

In the meantime, check out this whitepaper I wrote on EMC DataBridge -- https://community.emc.com/docs/DOC-16796

Or watch the video from EMC World 2012:

As always, thanks for reading.

Topics: Cloud Computing Storage IT Infrastructure Data Protection Private Cloud Infrastructure Enterprise Software

Tape Turns 60

On May 21st 1952 - exactly 60 years ago today - IBM introduced the world's first tape drive for data storage. If this is not evincing the 'ooohs' and 'aaahs' from you that it should, it's because you are looking at this through your 2012 eyes, and not realizing how big a deal this was in a world that was used only to punch cards.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Data Protection

Social Media and the Agile Business

There once was a time when companies had to "wait and see" if a change in a product or service would prove profitable or not. Back in 1985, the Macintosh had just debuted the year before, the IBM PS/2 was still two years away, and - perhaps most infamously in the annals of business - Coca-Cola introduced "New Coke". It took three months before the company announced they would bring back the original formula as "Coke Classic," and even longer for it to return to store shelves. New Coke survived in some form until 2002, some 17 years later, before finally disappearing from the market.

Topics: Apple VMware HP Enterprise Software Social Enterprise

Tibco and LogLogic: An Interesting and Revealing Acquisition

Over the past few years, a number of independent Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) vendors were acquired by bigger players. In late 2010, HP scooped up market leader ArcSight for $1.5 billion. Last year, McAfee purchased Nitro Security while IBM acquired Q1 Labs.

Topics: IBM Cloud Computing Information and Risk Management HP McAfee Enterprise Software Security and Privacy SIEM ArcSight RSA Security log management Big Data Analytics Tibco LogLogic Q1 Labs

How Safe Is Your Social Enterprise?

The Social Enterprise has progressed from being a toy for kids to being a real enterprise software tool. From its beginnings as individual communication tools to “Facebook for the enterprise” and now as a social process engine, the Social Enterprise has grown up. As a quickly maturing technology, Social Enterprise software can no longer hide behind the moniker of “new” or “immature” and expect IT to spend large amounts of money on it. Vendors cannot proclaim the value of this new software and not address how to protect it.

This is a typical problem of course. New technology drives changes in the overall IT ecosystem. For awhile there are glaring holes in the ecosystem which represent significant risk to organizations using this technology. For Social Enterprise, data protection is one of those holes. The two primary questions that users need to ask themselves when deploying a software system that has important, valuable, or mission-critical data is “can I back it up” and “can I get it back?” Not only do you need to know how to back up and retrieve important data but how fast you can get it back (RTO), how far back in time you can retrieve it (RPO), and what level of object you can retrieve. I worry that these questions are not being adequately answered in the rush to implement social technology.

Topics: Data Protection Enterprise Software Social Enterprise

Final Thoughts About Interop 2012

Well I've been out of Las Vegas for several days now so I've had time to adjust back to normal society and reflect a bit more on Interop2012. My colleague Bob "LAN" Laliberte met with nearly everyone in the industry and while I don't remember every encounter, here are a few final thoughts:

Topics: Cloud Computing Information and Risk Management Security and Privacy

Solid-state Storage Speeds Savings and Profits?

Solid-state Storage (SSS) is definitely a 'hot' sector of the storage market these days. After a gradual uptick in adoption over the last few years (since versions of the technology have been with us for more than three decades!) it looks as if the 'hockey-stick' of user-embrace is now occuring.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

My EMC World Preso and Outrageous Self-Promotion Plans

Hi there - I hope you can see this - it's the first post on our new website!

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

Two Ways to Create Social Processes

Just about everyone I speak with – vendors, IT managers, even end-users – agrees on one thing about the Social Enterprise. They all say that it needs to be tied into everyday work, to what the average knowledge worker does on a regular basis. New research by ESG shows that end-users are not regular users of social tools, only occasional ones. This bodes poorly for the Social Enterprise since its real value will only come when everyone becomes a participant.

The common wisdom – an idea I share – is that social tools will become more valuable when they directly enable or enhance existing business processes. If end-users can use an internal messaging feature to find out why their expense report is held up and have the response be part of the expense report workflow record, then they will see value in it. If, instead of passing a work document around to create a piece of marketing collateral, end-users can use group document creation and micro-messaging to collaboratively build it, they will see value in it. When the Social Enterprise ceases to be another thing they have to do and becomes part of what they already do, they will see value in it.

Topics: Enterprise Software Social Enterprise

Interop 2012 – It’s all about the Network

Having left Las Vegas in the rear view mirror and enjoying a lengthy plane ride home gave me time to reflect on my time at Interop 2012. As the title of this blog indicates, many that I spoke to felt as though the show this spring had a definite network focus. You might be saying, duh, it is a networking show, and you would be correct, but there seemed to be less cloud washing and more about the Network, like Software-defined Networking, support for BYOD environments and even low latency Ethernet. Some of this was evident in the awards given out. NEC took home a best of show (and category) award for its Programmable Flow Controller, Gnodal picked up a e award for its new high density low latency switch and Citrix won a category award for its VDI in a box solution.

Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking

Citrix Synergy 2012

Trying to explain to my friends and family what it is I do is always an interesting conversation, but every time I mention I work with companies like Citrix, they immediately reply “oh, the GoToMeeting company.” While that is true, it is an astute observation and an impression Citrix is out to change. Is Citrix the “online meeting and collaboration company,” the “application delivery company,” or the “cloud company?” Citrix would like us to associate them across all these categories, but the fact remains that most customers would say they are a XenApp, GoToMeeting, XenDesktop, etc, customer, but few are Citrix customers consuming across each of its portfolio of products.

At Citrix Synergy 2012 they focused on three themes that have the potential to influence customers to rethink Citrix.

Topics: Cloud Computing End-User Computing Endpoint & Application Virtualization Private Cloud Infrastructure Public Cloud Service

Fear and Networking in Las Vegas (Interop Thoughts Part 1)

I’m here in Las Vegas wrapping up Interop 2012. I now understand why Hunter S. Thompson binged on alcohol and narcotics when visiting this town — you need these substances to create the illusion that this town is the least bit palatable.

Aside from the Sin City aspect, Interop was eventful and the industry seems to be in good shape. A few thoughts:

  1. Cisco SDN. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior stunned the audience when she mentioned in her keynote that Cisco has been delivering Software-defined Networking for 3 years. Hmm, perhaps this is a bit of a stretch, but Warrior also provided a hint around the Cisco/Insieme roadmap when she pre-announced a new initiative called the Cisco Open Programmable Environment (COPE, very clever). Now I know others will write this off as Cisco spin but not me. SDN is inevitable but that doesn’t mean that OpenFlow and a bunch of venture-backed start-ups will take over the world. Enterprises want SDN orchestration and flexibility but they have no intent to throw the Cisco Nexus/Catalyst baby out with the SDN bath water. Cisco knows it has this advantage but also recognizes the software opportunity SDN presents moving forward. I hear that Cisco will provide more details at its customer event next month. With one word (COPE) in one sentence, Cisco’s CTO introduced a dose of sobriety into the SDN/OpenFlow party.
  2. A refreshing meeting with Huawei. ESG networking guru, Bob Laliberte, and I met with Huawei to discuss the company’s entrance into the North American market. Huawei was everywhere at Interop and clearly spent a lot of dough to show the market that it is serious about competing. I expected to hear nothing but bravado from Huawei about its success in emerging markets, its rich resources, its product portfolio, etc. Instead, the meeting featured nothing but reality and humility. Huawei will focus first on financially-challenged/low regulation industries that need enterprise-class low-priced alternatives to Cisco. When I asked them how they would address American buyer’s security concerns they admitted that this was the biggest challenge they faced. Huawei also mentioned that it will add developers in the US to customize its product for the local market. So Huawei is really looking for business and technical entry points as a foot-in-the-door and is willing to be patient and build from there. I’m not sure how successful Huawei will be in the good-old USA, but at least it has an intelligent go-to-market plan.
  3. BYOD hype and reality. This topic has become prolific in the tech industry and most of the discussion was pretty opaque. I was encouraged by meetings with Cisco, Enterasys, and Juniper Networks who look at BYOD from a multitude of angles including policy, network access control, device controls, security, network traffic, etc. In my humble opinion, BYOD isn’t about iPads and Androids, it’s about providing new tools for employee productivity while addressing any added risk. These companies get this.
  4. Cloud and networking. This goes hand-in-hand with SDN as everyone realizes that the network (L2/L3) and network services (L4-L7) must be available in both physical and virtual form factors. I’d give the industry a B+ for creating technologies for this transition. Unfortunately, the industry would receive a grade of D for educating IT professionals on how to progress through this transition. We need to focus less on Silicon and more on Carbon here as overwhelmed IT professionals need guidance, support, and lots of help.
Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking

EMC Confirms Purchase of XtremIO

My quick take…

Allowing just long enough for the rumor mill to quiet down a bit after the first suggestions that EMC would buy the Israeli flash array company, XtremIO – and hence at least guaranteeing a second round of publicity! - EMC confirmed this morning that it is indeed breaking into its piggy-bank to buy the start-up. I say ‘piggy bank’ somewhat tongue-in-check. Although no price for the cash purchase was declared, the rumor mill and various ‘close to the president’ sources put the amount north of $400M; that may not be huge for EMC but it is huge for XtremIO (only at early stage VC funding) and it is certainly significant for the storage industry. XtremIO is developing and testing an all-flash array (it is not yet at GA), designed to be scale-out and with a full suite of storage functionality.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

NetApp’s Purchase of Engenio – First Anniversary

Last month, I had the chance to speak with Joel Reich who heads NetApp’s Array Products Group (APG). The conversation was to formally mark the completion of one full year since NetApp acquired the Engenio business from LSI. The first extract from our conversation was posted on 4/24 (there’s a link here) and today – exactly a year from the deal closing – I am delivering the concluding comments.

Part 2: Lessons Learned and Looking Forwards

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

Solid-state on Steroids?

I’m a big believer in mankind’s ability to invent its way out of problems and/or discover opportunities. And so the [somewhat edited, with bold highlights added by me too] press release below caught my eye. There’s a lot of chatter about what comes next after NAND flash; phase-change memory is one of the more promising avenues but it has some challenges. Maybe the news out of Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is making it look a whole lot more interesting. Essentially JHU engineers have “discovered some previously unknown properties of a common memory material, paving the way for development of new forms of memory drives, movie discs and computer systems that retain data more quickly, last longer and allow far more capacity than current data storage media. The work was reported April 16 in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

“The research focused on an inexpensive phase-change memory alloy composed of germanium, antimony and tellurium, called GST, for short. The material is already used in rewritable optical media, including CD-RW and DVD-RW discs. But by using diamond-tipped tools to apply pressure to the materials, the Johns Hopkins-led team uncovered new electrical resistance characteristics that could make GST even more useful to the computer and electronics industries.”

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

The Future Is Now: Flash Throughout the Data Center

In a recent blog, Steve Duplessie made a bold statement about the future of Solid-state Storage(SSS) in the Enterprise:

People think about flash as a component of something. I think about it systemically – not inside a system, but inside the entire data center. The one who can orchestrate cache on flash throughout the entire data center is the one who will own the keys to the kingdom.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure ESG Lab

Am speaking at Symantec Vision 2012

Am thrilled to announce that I will be speaking at Symantec Vision 2012.

Topics: Data Protection Information and Risk Management

On to Interop 2012

I'll be on an airplane in a few hours bound for Las Vegas and Interop 2012. Here's what I'm expecting at the show:

Topics: IBM Microsoft Cisco IT Infrastructure VMware Networking Juniper HP Dell SDN Intel Interop ONF NEC VXLAN OpenFlow Brocade Enterasys Extreme QFabric

New: Solid-state Storage Market Landscape Report

Sometimes it seems as if there's an inverse relationship between the amount of industry 'noise' about something and the degree of user clarity about the choices, uses, and value of that something. So it is with solid-state storage.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure solid state storage

The Burden of E-discovery: Global Perspective

Time for a snapshot on how corporations are coping with e-discovery. As part of ESG's 2012 IT Spending Intentions Survey, we asked organizations to gauge the burden e-discovery activities place on their internal IT staffs.

Topics: e-Discovery

VMware = Identity. Who Knew?

That's a good question actually. How many people know that VMware is in the identity business? With the announcement of Horizon today, VMware makes a solid entree into the identity market with a solution that ties together their core strength, virtualization, with the emerging trends around cloud and mobile devices.

Topics: Endpoint & Application Virtualization VMware Security and Privacy

VMware View: Not VDI

VMware coined the term VDI years ago when its virtual desktop product was so creatively named VMware VDI. Since then, VMware changed the product name to View and has been working hard to take advantage of its strong vSphere footprint inside the data center. Today, VMware announced its latest release of View which is important, but not as interesting as a few other announcements the company slid in.

Topics: End-User Computing Endpoint & Application Virtualization IT Infrastructure Private Cloud Infrastructure Compute

Cool Consumer Tech -- TV Guardian

One of my New Years Resolutions was to protect what my kids hear on TV ... without being an ostrich in the sand and isolating them from the world.

Topics: Jason Buffington

The IT Infrastructure Consumption Unit is Changing

IT will resist as long as they can, but when it comes to purchasing infrastructure for virtual computing environments and cloud computing initiatives, the do-it-yourself (DIY) model is becoming a thing of the past. Instead, the new IT consumption model is moving toward reference architectures or pre-configured solutions. Integrated computing consists of tightly integrated packages of servers, networking, and storage "glued together" by virtualization and intelligent management software designed, tested, and qualified to operate as a single unit.

Topics: IT Infrastructure Private Cloud Infrastructure Compute

CISPA = CYA

While cybersecurity legislative generally proceeds at a torpid pace, the U.S. House of Representatives actually passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) last week. The bill now proceeds to the Senate and may end up on the President's desk.

Topics: Information and Risk Management Security and Privacy senator joseph lieberman