Because they are brilliant.
Because they are brilliant.
Just recently IBM held its latest "Edge" event - its systems- and storage-focused user conference. Now, those of you that read my blog regularly will know that I often like to have a little time to reflect after these big industry shindigs, before I put my thoughts down....to let the hype fade and to see what's left. Irrespective of how many of these things you go to (and I do plenty!) it's all-too-easy to get caught up in the flurry of announcements (and there were plenty!) and the general razzmatazz and get carried along on the wave of news. I want to try to see the bigger picture, or at least what will be the lasting changes - not so much what gets immediately reported, but what will be impacting a vendor, the market, and users for years to come.
I’m not talking about the latest UFC event, but the conflict channel partners deal with each day when it comes to solving customer problems – Do I sell a pre-configured integrated computing platform (ICP) like so many of my competitors? Or, do I differentiate my business by creating a Best-of-breed stack on my own that shows unique value to my clients? Our latest research (Channel Partner Transformation: Selling Cloud Services) shows, channel partners are pretty split in between the two options. But they do realize that end-users are responding to vendors' education and outreach about ICP solutions, and 4 of 5 partners believe that over 25% of their revenues will come from ICP solutions within 2 years, if not sooner.
That is good news for vendors like VCE, NetApp, EMC, Cisco, HP, Oracle, IBM, Dell, Microsoft, and VMWare, as they have invested heavily in the development and marketing of joint solutions over the past few years. But partners feel strongly that if the vendor community can enable the community of distributors to provide top notch sales support and technical services around ICP solutions, it would help the channel partner community accelerate their transition to selling these solutions.
Jon Oltsik, on May 27, 2014
Last week, online retail giant eBay announced that it was hacked between February and March of this year with stolen login credentials of an eBay employee. This gave the hackers access to the user records of 145 million users including home addresses, e-mail addresses, dates of birth, and encrypted passwords. It appears that the hackers made copies of this data so eBay is advising all users to change their passwords.
It wasn’t too long ago that Cisco was a dominant force in information security technology. The company was a market leader in firewalls, IDS/IPS, and e-mail security and was actively pushing products for endpoint security and SIEM as well as security “blades” for Catalyst switches. Heck, Cisco even articulated a bold vision of “self-defending networks” with security policy, enforcement, and intelligence all baked into the network.
Somewhere around 2008, however, Cisco security went into a prolonged slump. Cisco security products didn’t offer the performance of rivals like Crossbeam (now Blue Coat), Juniper, or McAfee. Cisco missed markets like next-generation firewalls, opening the door for savvy startups like FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, and Stonesoft. Cisco products such as the Cisco Security Agent (Okena) and MARS (Protego) were abject failures and discontinued by the company. Finally, Cisco’s security team itself imploded as management and engineering leaders fled San Jose for greener valley pastures.
Imagine being omniscient. Knowing everything that has happened, everything that is happening now, even being able to see into the many possible futures. Sounds kinda slick, no? Certainly it would help in the stock market or casino, if perhaps be a little disconcerting in personal life.
You probably saw my last blog, channel-partner-transformers-the-age-of-extinction/index.html" target="_blank">Channel Partner Transformers: The Age of Extinction, about the drivers channel partners need to evolve their businesses. Well anything that impacts them will impact the community of value-added distributors, as well. In our latest research, Channel Partner Transformation: Selling Cloud Services, we specifically asked channel partners, “How can value-added distributors better assist or augment your organization’s current capabilities as it builds out its Cloud Services portfolio?”
When you really boil down the core of IT -- it's to deliver the services and access to data that the business requires. That includes understanding the needs of the business, its dependencies on things like its data, and then ensuring the availability of that data.
While most enterprise organizations have SIEM installed, they now realize that these venerable security systems cannot address today’s dangerous threat landscape alone. As a result, many are adding network forensics and big data analytics systems for capturing, processing, and analyzing a whole bunch of additional security data.
In the majority of cases, big data security analytics systems are applied to data such as network packets, packet metadata, e-mails, and transaction systems to help security teams detect malware, phishing sites, and online fraud. Great start, but I’m starting to see another burgeoning focus area – IAM. Of course, many large organizations have IAM tools for user provisioning, SSO, and identity governance, but tracking all the instantiations of user activity remains elusive. In a recent ESG research survey, security professionals were asked to identify their weakest area of security monitoring. More than one-quarter (28%) pointed to “user behavior activity monitoring/visibility,” – the highest percentage of all categories.
Mark Bowker, on May 16, 2014
This year's TechEd conference was enlightening in Microsoft's approach to the topic of mobile security. The core message of endpoint device flexibility and security was simple, but the breadth of Microsoft's coverage is underestimated. For example, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite includes layered protection with identity management, device management, application protection, and file rights management for $4 per month per user for up to five devices.
There is a tremendous amount of evidence that enterprises are transforming their IT environments to better support the business. Consolidated datacenters, virtualization technologies, cloud adoption, and mobile computing are on the rise and fueling the shift. Core to this transformational process is ensuring that all business applications are highly available, optimized for performance, and accessible to anyone from anywhere.
Tony Palmer, on May 14, 2014
Many organizations are so intent on identifying new malware that they are failing to address or in some cases even recognize advanced evasion techniques (AETs) that can enable malware to circumvent their security defenses. AETs pose a great threat because most security solutions can’t detect, much less stop them. Security professionals and executive managers need to wake up to this real and growing threat.
Advanced persistent threats (APTs) have been a huge focus in network security discussions over the past few years with good reason. Numerous organizations are implementing new solutions to protect themselves from this determined type of malware. Even so, cyber criminals have been penetrating the network defenses of even the most robust security infrastructures, including some very high-profile enterprises.
Kevin Rhone, on May 14, 2014
I was at the movies this weekend and a preview for the upcoming Transformers movie, called the “Age of Extinction,"was shown. In talking with many colleagues in the world of channel partnering, I can’t help but wonder whether the evolving IT consumption model, the growth of non-traditional IT buyers (in line-of-business) purchasing solutions, and the rapid pace at which IT vendors are developing solutions that don’t fit into the traditional model of a one-time transaction will spell “extinction” for a significant portion of the channel partner community.
Our latest research (Channel Partner Transformation: Selling Cloud Services) shows that the drivers for channel partners to transform their businesses include:
Not everyone in IT, much less the broader business community, appreciates the importance of shepherding their data. The more common attitude, propagated by many infrastructure and application vendors, is that the data is just a raw material to be stored, moved, analyzed, and displayed. The need for organizing, supplementing, cleaning, safeguarding, and providing appropriate access is much less well understood.
Jason Buffington, on May 12, 2014
EMC World has always been a cornerstone event for the storage industry; driven roughly equally by EMC’s leadership position in the market and by its strong marketing abilities. At this year’s event (held last week in Vegas) there was an important new wind of change as the storage focus was noticeably expanded with EMC trading its customary [and sometimes over-stretched] thematic emphases of prior years for a fresh look at IT market and user directions and where the “Federation” (that is traditional EMC, plus VMware, Pivotal, and RSA) intends to play.
It’s hard to attend a Citrix event and not walk away impressed by the quality of Citrix's employees, their attentiveness to customers, and the company's solid alignment of technology with current and planned market requirements. Citrix is in an interesting situation. The company seems to maintain a VERY strong association with a long history of its ability to deliver applications (think back to the days of Citrix Presentation Server) and is not receiving full credit for everything they can deliver to customers today. The market also seems to forget or neglect the fact that Citrix has been in business for 25 years and has enormous experience solving some of the toughest application delivery challenges companies have faced. Citrix has also made some solid acquisitions in these years to fill in technology gaps and capture new markets to align with corporate IT needs.
Virtual desktop environments can present one of the most challenging workloads an infrastructure must deal with. Random, shifting I/O and bottlenecks in the storage domain will have a significant impact on performance. Delivering an exceptional user experience is essential to the success of desktop virtualization deployments because users are becoming conditioned to the performance of flash drives in their business and personal computers. Users demand performance equal to or better than what they already have.
Continuing on the thoughts from my hadoop-and-geopolitical-conquest/index.html" target="_blank">earlier post on technology battle strategies, the Hadoop distribution market place continues to be actively contested, and prospects are often asking which makes the most sense for their environments. While all based on the same open source Apache project, there are in fact meaningful differences in approach, not all of which are purely technical. A couple of leaders are emerging with a bigger vision of the future of big data.
It’s been a busy week for the information cybersecurity industry. FireEye announced the acquisition of nPulse which adds network forensics to its advanced malware detection/response portfolio. IBM chimed in with a new Threat Prevention System that includes an endpoint security client, threat intelligence feeds, and integration with its network security, and analytics platforms. Finally, Symantec unveiled its Advanced Threat Protection strategy that combines existing products, future deliverables, and services.
It’s no coincidence that these three infosec security leaders are moving in this direction as the whole industry is on the same path. I’ve written about this trend a few times. I wrote a security-vendors-are-racing-toward-a-new-anti-malware-technology-model/index.html" target="_blank">blog about the integrated anti-malware technology model in March, and this the-new-cybersecurity-technology-reality-the-whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts/index.html">one in April about the new cybersecurity technology reality. Other vendors such as Blue Coat, Cisco, McAfee, Palo Alto Networks, and Trend Micro are also on board.
Last week I was able to spend a day with HP and a group of its key, large customers as they attended the “XP7 Intensity” event. Following on from the week-prior announcement of the XP7 – HP’s highest-end storage platform for traditional and heterogeneous workloads – this was an opportunity for the users to have an in-depth exposure to the capabilities, engineers, workload-focus, and roadmaps for this uber-capable system. In addressing this group about the overall market situation I will admit a certain enjoyment from being in a group where “mainframe” was still a highly relevant term…and yet simultaneously it served as a reminder of just how similar the basic issues, needs, challenges, and opportunities are across IT - however it is performed - and how thoroughly efficient, capable, and of course mission-critical, these “traditional” deployments can be. I captured some thoughts of mine as well as comments from Kyle Fitze of HP, in this ~3 minute video.
There are four traditional strategies to establishing an empire. We can see these employed time and again in the technology market, but also in world geopolitics. For quick reference, I’ll call these “Rouda’s Four B’s”: *
1. Build in - Focus on developing your own internal strength with advantageous product capabilities and judicious use of your financial and human resources. Devise new weapons, train your troops, and don’t over-extend your supply lines.
Kevin Rhone, on May 6, 2014
Have you ever been stuck in quicksand? Had the anxiety that you were sinking, and the world was closing in? Well, executives at resellers and other channel organizations in the high-tech world are having these feelings as the IT consumption model is changing, non-traditional IT buyers (in line-of-business) are purchasing solutions, and IT vendors are rapidly developing solutions that don’t fit into the traditional model of a one-time transaction with annual maintenance contracts. But despite these winds of change, ESG research shows that only 1 in 5 channel partners are evolving.
So what is holding channel partners back from reaching out, grabbing that branch, and pulling themselves out of the quicksand? ESG’s latest research (ESG Research, 2013 Channel Transformation Survey, November 2013) shows that channel partners are not evolving their businesses more rapidly because:
In a Wall Street Journal article published earlier this week, Symantec SVP Brian Dye, is quoted as saying that “antivirus is dead.” Dye goes on to proclaim that “we (Symantec) don’t think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way.”
I beg your pardon, Brian? Isn’t Symantec the market leader? Just what are you saying? In lieu of specific answers to these questions, the blogosphere and Twitter have become a grapevine of rumors – about Symantec, AV, etc. Panic and wild predictions abound. Dogs and cats living together in the streets . . .
So what do we know about flash? It used to be really expensive. It had limited implementation options in IT environments. Oh, let’s not forget the screaming performance you can expect when it’s implemented correctly. I’m hearing about more and more IT shops that are turning to flash to meet their business needs, but it’s not getting implemented the right way or the best way in my opinion. Sure, you can buy 12 flash drives and throw them in your underlying storage subsystem and it will help, but what if your mission-critical datasets don’t fit? What if they currently fit, but won’t for long because data is exploding exponentially? I’ll take 12 more flash drives please. With that approach you’re going to kill your budget, add complexity to managing your storage, and most likely create a bottleneck somewhere else in your infrastructure that will wreak havoc on the performance of every single application that uses that storage system.
Insert Fusion-io ioControl n5 SPX, a hybrid, end-to-end flash storage solution that uses PCIe flash at a storage system and server level. This lets you put flash where it matters most to you. Do you have a mission-critical OLTP database application that is consuming too many IOPS on your storage system so other applications are being hurt? Throw some PCIe flash in the server where the database is running and poof! Problem gone! Obviously a little more thought goes into it, but you get the picture. By strategically placing PCIe flash where it matters, you can continue to meet strict performance requirements, while alleviating a good amount of pressure being put on the underlying storage system.
I still remember the day I had to feed the PC with 20+ 3.5” disks to load it up with Windows 95. The ultimate result of the install was fantastic for time, but the process was like watching paint dry! I didn’t have to worry much about laptops, and cell phones were just beginning to take hold…but I did carry a beeper. Wow have times dramatically changed. I am headed off to attend Citrix Synergy and Microsoft TechEd with a sharp focus on:
I have my theories on all of these, and I'm excited to spend some seat time with the folks at Citrix and Microsoft as well as end-user attendees to see how they are prioritizing mobile workspaces and what each of these companies has in store. Please keep checking in to my blog and follow me on twitter (@markbowker) to keep track of real-time information we may glean from these events.
Kevin Rhone, on May 2, 2014
I recently posted an article in Network Computing. Based on ESG research, it covers some likely (already emerging and nascent) changes in the way that IT buying decisions get made and purchasing gets done. The underlying reasons are both technological and generational. It has generated a considerable amount of comment (especially direct to me as well as via online/social response) and so I presume that what it discusses has hit a nerve. Change usually does.
Jon Oltsik, on May 1, 2014
If you want to make a cybersecurity professional uncomfortable, simply utter these two word: ‘Data exfiltration.’ Why will this term garner an emotional response? Because data exfiltration is a worst-case outcome of a cyber-attack – think Target, the NY Times, Google Aurora, Titan Rain, etc. Simply stated, ‘data exfiltration’ is a quasi-military term used to describe the theft of sensitive data like credit card numbers, health care records, manufacturing processes, or classified military plans.
Most enterprises now recognize the risks associated with data exfiltration and are now reacting with new types of security technologies, granular network segmentation, and tighter access controls. Good start but what about simply monitoring sensitive data access activities? You know, who accesses the data, how often, what they do, etc.?