World Backup Day

Every day should be Backup Day, just like every day should be Mothers’ Day. Yes, there is one day per year when we absolutely have to say “thank you” to our moms, but they’ve done so much for us that we really should be that thankful and sentimental with them every day. Similarly, while our data protection infrastructure yields a variety of benefits for us throughout the year, Backup Day is our one day to be especially mindful of it – though in reality, many of us don’t even think about the big picture around backups even once per year. We only think of backups when A) something breaks or B) something new comes in that the old backup solution won’t cover.

It’s the latter that causes “Improving Backup and Recovery” to continually be among the top of the top ten IT Priorities that ESG tracks each year, as shown in ESG’s IT Spending Intentions 2015 report.

Topics: Data Protection

The Proportional Cybersecurity Law (aka Oltsik’s law)

I recently published a blog on the increasing cybersecurity attack surface as enterprise organizations embrace new IT initiatives like cloud computing, mobile application deployment, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The combination of IT complexity, the growing attack surface, and a progressively more dangerous threat landscape is making cybersecurity more difficult. And it’s not one particular area of cybersecurity that’s becoming more difficult, it’s the whole kit and caboodle.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Windows 2003 End-of-Life – Catalyst for Cloud Adoption?

In my prior blog I talked about two trends that could spell big trouble for traditional IT hardware and software vendors - the increasing ability of public cloud service providers, like Amazon, to gain a strategic foothold in their accounts and the feverish adoption rate of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. It would seem that many organizations are leveraging cloud services to (as my colleague Mark Bowker likes to say) get out of the business of infrastructure management. And of course, this comes at the direct expense of vendors that formerly provided the hardware and software infrastructure to support these applications. Well, when it rains it pours. The latest “storm cloud” on the horizon for legacy IT vendors is the impending end-of-life date (July 14, 2015) of the Windows 2003 operating system. 

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration

Leaders' Perspectives on Big Data Initiatives: Business Goals

Big data continues to fascinate business leaders across all industries. Yet few agree on a standard definition, much less a best approach to capitalize on the new opportunities and how to leverage new technologies. To better understand the differing perspectives, ESG undertook a series of in-depth interviews with the self-proclaimed leaders of big data initiatives at ten different companies. The goal was to establish a baseline of the most common strategies, as well as identify the philosophical and environmental differences that lead to more distinctive efforts.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

How To Multiply Your Value To Your Organization

I watched Geoffrey Moore at something a few months ago, stole this concept from him, and made it way more intelligent as applied to our happy little lives in the world of IT. I fully credit him for the concept, and fully credit me for making it relevant.

In the world of IT, specifically the world of IT operations and infrastructure, our entire industry is predicated upon you or some vendor finding a way to save you money. It could be direct cap-ex savings, op-ex savings, “time” savings, etc. – but it always comes down to saving that IT guy money. And saving money is good.

Topics: Storage

Channeling Positive Thoughts at HP's GPC (includes video)

This month (just slightly ahead of the full-force Spring "show season" that hits in April and May), HP gathered its loyal partner base in Vegas at its Global Partner Conference. My colleague, ESG Senior Partnering Consultant Kevin Rhone, and I were on hand and pulled together another "ESG On Location" video to try to capture some of the key take-aways from our perspectives. 

Topics: Channel

Network Automation: Can It Benefit Everyone?

At a recent Juniper Innovation Showcase analyst briefing, the company emphasized two dimensions of innovation: performance and automation. This made me think of how much we have accomplished in the world of network automation and whether these accomplishments have provided benefits for enterprises as well as hyper-scale (or SaaS operator) companies.


Topics: Networking

In Cybersecurity, the Network Doesn’t Lie

In a recent ESG Research Report, enterprise security professionals were asked to identify the primary objectives associated with their organization’s network security strategy. It turns out that 40% of organizations plan to move toward continuous monitoring of all assets on the network while 30% of organizations plan to capture more network traffic for security analytics.

Big Data Deployment Models: Open v. Proprietary, Commodity v. Built

In an earlier blog post, I discussed some architectural options in deploying a big data environment, including cloud vs. on-premises, and dedicated vs. shared infrastructure. In this post, I'll examine topics that may be even more divisive: open vs. proprietary software and commodity vs. purpose-built hardware. These choices seem to reflect personal philosophies as much as technological differences.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Cloudera Develops Its Market Momentum

At a recent Analyst Day in San Francisco, Cloudera all but declared the company’s dominance of the core Hadoop distribution market. The case was made around three measures of success, namely: product strength, market results, and strategic alliances.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Massive Enterprise Endpoint Security Opportunity

In the past, large organizations spent most if not all of their endpoint security dollars on a single product—antivirus software. This decision created a multi-billion dollar market dominated by 5 vendors: Kaspersky Lab, McAfee (Intel Security), Sophos, Symantec, and Trend Micro.

Topics: Cybersecurity

The Federation Business Data Lake and the "One Pile Method"

When I was in college, my housemate Craig* justified his lack of tidiness with a theory he espoused as the "One Pile Method." In practice, this involved dumping all of his clothes, books, homework, sports equipment, and anything else he happened to be carrying right in the middle of his room upon entry. The argument was that anytime he needed anything, he knew right where to look—it had to be somewhere in that one pile. This was claimed to be highly efficient in terms of time and efforts.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Amazon and SaaS are winning IT hearts and minds

Amazon Web Services (AWS) seems to be winning more than just IaaS business lately, they seem to also be winning the hearts and minds of the client base they serve. What’s more, these Amazon devotees aren't just limited to newer, “Internet age” companies; they also seem to be making serious inroads with older, more traditional corporations as well. As evidence, ESG conducted a recent survey of existing AWS clients and found that nearly 80% of those Amazon customers that have been in business between 1-10 years and 10-50 years, cite Amazon as either their most strategic technology vendor or one of their most strategic vendors. Even some percentage of older and more established companies (i.e., those 50 years old and up) that otherwise might be considered more conservative and risk averse, identify Amazon as either a strategic partner or valued technology partner.

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration

Why Google Cloud Storage Nearline is Super Interesting for Data Protection

You can’t have a conversation about IT transformation or data protection modernization that doesn’t include “the cloud” somewhere in it. And today, there are a wide range of cloud services that offer data protection capabilities:

Topics: Data Protection

The Increasing Cybersecurity Attack Surface

I just read a good Wall Street Journal blog by Ben DiPietro titled, Speed of Tech Change a Threat to Cybersecurity. His main point is that while organizations are adopting new technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, and applications based upon the Internet of Things (IoT), they continue to address cybersecurity risks, controls, and oversight with legacy tools and processes. This creates a mismatch where cyber-adversaries have a distinct offensive advantage over a potpourri of assorted legacy enterprise security defenses.

Topics: Cybersecurity Internet of Things Cloud Services & Orchestration

Cutting Through Endpoint Security Marketing Hype is a Challenge for Buyers and Vendors Alike

Endpoint security is a fast-paced, dynamic market right now. The amount of funding, M&A, and general product development is moving at what can feel like a blurring speed, and separating the facts from the marketing language can be a challenge.

For a thought experiment, imagine for a moment you are a CIO/CISO/equivalent in charge of the security budget.  You are a little behind, maybe updating from an AV-only environment to a more advanced endpoint solution. How do you go about selecting a vendor? How do you begin quantifying your organizational needs? 

Topics: Cybersecurity

Taking the Hype out of Hyper-convergence

In a recent blog post, my colleague Mark Bowker talked about the incredible amounts of investment money pouring into the converged and hyper-converged markets. The ongoing success of vendors like VCE and the market demand for simplified, pre-integrated solutions have seemingly everyone hopping on the converged/hyper converged bandwagon. As a result, there is currently quite a bit of, shall we say, hype in the hyper-convergence space.

Topics: Networking Converged Infrastructure

Qumulo joins the Data-aware Storage Movement

Today, March 16, 2015, Qumulo announced the world’s first data-aware scale-out NAS storage solution. Founded by three of the top intellectual property holders for Isilon’s core OneFS technology, Qumulo is a recent addition to the storage industry and another player to leverage the increasingly interesting, data–aware moniker. DataGravity, unveiled in August last year, is credited with coining the data-aware storage terminology. While Qumulo and DataGravity target different storage segments, both firms shed light on something a number of us in the storage industry seemed to have forgotten. Technology should help manage data, and not just storage.

Topics: Storage

Information Security: The Most Important IT Initiative in 2015

At an elementary level, IT is all about using technology to enable the business. This really hasn’t changed, even back in the early days when IT was called data processing or management information systems. 

In today’s IT world, business enablement is driving a few meta-trends. Cheap hardware and open source software are driving big data analytics to the mainstream. Organizations are abandoning the costs and constraints of on-site IT systems as they move applications and systems to the cloud. Mobile devices are becoming the primary compute platform for users, automating business processes and changing application development.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI Cloud Services & Orchestration

On the Importance of Understanding Interaction Patterns

The industry buzz for a while has been the cloud, mobility, big data, and social. Now that the Internet of Things (IoT) is looming larger, it’s important to put these technology trends in context. In order to see how these technologies will change your life, it’s useful to consider the various interaction patterns that exist between humans and machines. When evaluating the intersection between humans and machines, there are 4 possible interaction patterns.

Will Public/Private Threat Intelligence Sharing Work?

In January, Representative Charles Albert “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD) reintroduced the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) as H.R. 234 into the 114th Congress.  The bill was first introduced by Mike Rogers (R-MI) in 2011.

Topics: Cybersecurity

VCE Innovation Delivers Scale, SDN Choice, and Operational Simplicity

In today’s extremely fast-paced IT economy, there is no time to sit on your hands. This is particularly true of the converged and hyper-converged market. ESG Senior Analyst Colm Keegan and I are seeing tremendous innovation taking place in the space, with an insane amount of money changing hands—between investors pouring silly amounts of money into emerging technologies and IT professionals doubling down in their investments in converged/hyper-converged systems.

Topics: Networking

The Funding Faucet Is Wide Open for Hyper-converged Businesses

ESG Senior Analyst Colm Keegan and I have been furiously fielding inquires on whether to go converged or hyper-converged. The answer, according to SimpliVity CEO, Doron Kempel, is, well, simple: Why settle for an incremental approach to infrastructure convergence when you can achieve true IT transformation through a fully hyper-converged solution?

Topics: Converged Infrastructure

Book Report: @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex

I’ve read a fair amount of cybersecurity books across a wide spectrum of topics—early hackers, cyber-crime, hacktivists, nation state activity, etc. A few years ago, new books were few and far between, but this is no longer the case. I recently posted a blog/book report on Kim Zetter’s fantastic book, Countdown to Zero Day. Allow me to recommend another good one, @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex, by Shane Harris.

Topics: Cybersecurity

A Few of the Backup Appliances Examined by ESG Lab

This week, I offered some perspectives on What Makes a Good Backup Appliance, and I'd like to offer some further perspective on these types of products.

Topics: Data Protection

Endpoint Security Meets the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage

Just about every cyber-attack follows a similar pattern: An end-user is fooled into clicking on a malicious link, downloading malware, or opening an infected file. This is one of the early stages of the famous Lockheed Martin “kill chain.”

Given this pedestrian malware workflow, endpoint security is absolutely key – catch an attack early when it compromises a few endpoints and you can avoid the more ominous phases of the kill chain including data exfiltration. 

Unfortunately, this is where the enterprise security model often breaks down.  Why?  Once again, the global cybersecurity skills shortage gets in the way. To pull off today’s endpoint security requirements, you can’t assume that you can block all attacks using AV or patching software vulnerabilities. Rather, you need smart security analysts skilled at detecting and responding to attacks on endpoint devices.

Topics: Cybersecurity

What Makes a Good Backup Appliance - Part 3 of 3

In my earlier posts from this series, I discussed adoption rates and rationales for purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) over do-it-yourself (DIY) backup servers and then explored some top-level DIY vs PBBA determinants and non-determinants.

Start with ease-of-architecture/acquisition (covered in part 2), meaning right-sized parts that are assured to work well together – and the convenience of a shorter PO as a side-benefit. After that, “DIY vs PBBA” really is all about integration and enablement. To add color to that conversation, here are some ideas of what a Good, Better, and Best PBBA might look like.

Topics: Data Protection

SanDisk's InfiniFlash Is a Notable Arrival in the Flash Boxing Ring

2015 is shaping up to be just as busy on the solid-state beat as we expected. This week saw notable moves from two very strong players, which share the fact that neither are traditional storage systems vendors, but both wish to move in that direction since that's where account "stickiness" and higher margins lie. The logic and value of the intended acquisition of Amplidata by WD/HGST is covered by my colleague Scott Sinclair in a blog here. Meantime, SanDisk has come to the game with more chips (pun intended) than table-stakes would demand, and announced its InfiniFlash offering.

Topics: Storage

Video Blog: Swimming in the Data Lake

Big Data is quickly evolving from being a buzzword to becoming a critical IT initiative. Companies are starting to realize the benefits of analytics, identifying actionable insight and achieving competitive advantage.

The debate is no longer about whether big data analytics provide value; it is about how to design the right architecture to maximize the potential of analytics. Some solutions recommend higher performing storage closely tied to compute, others recommend larger pools, or data lakes, of disparate data that can collect content from multiple sources. In the end, it is a question of whether to move the data to the analytics, or move the analytics to the data.

Topics: Storage Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

What Makes a Good Backup Appliance - Part 2 of 3

In my earlier post about the characteristics of good backup appliances, I discussed the increasing usage rates of purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) by those organizations that embrace them. But after listening to several sessions at IBM Interconnect last week, including discussing our upcoming research report on data protection appliances (DPAs), I started thinking about, what makes up a good backup appliance over simply installing backup software onto a physical server?

Topics: Data Protection

HGST in Agreement to Acquire Object Storage Provider Amplidata

On March 3rd, HGST announced an agreement to acquire Amplidata, a privately-held developer of object storage software. Here is the official announcement of HGST acquiring Amplidata

I, for one, am a fan of object storage and Amplidata’s technology as well. Himalaya, Amplidata’s object storage offering, is a software–defined storage solution designed for multi-petabyte environments. The technology leverages erasure coding to provide high levels of resiliency for massive capacity environments, while leveraging commodity hardware for greater affordability. While I currently do not have any information on the cost of the acquisition, based on what I do know, I applaud the move for Western Digital and HGST.

Topics: Storage Cloud Services & Orchestration

What Makes a Good Backup Appliance - Part 1 of 3

In general, I am a fan of data protection appliances (DPAs), noting that purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) are just one of four categories of DPAs that are in market today.  Read more about the four categories of DPAs in my earlier blog

Topics: Data Protection

SolidFire's Flames Are Very "Cool"

Last week, SolidFire held its second annual Analyst Day. "Cool"ness was in full force, both from a technical progress perspective.....and also from a climate perspective (as the video attached with this blog post demonstrates). I saw many of the analyst-erati that hail from warmer climes watching the flakes fall....though whether one of them will lay claim to the snowman remains to be seen!. Meantime - and indoors - SolidFire's execs were very credibly fanning the flames of their product and marketing expertise. To give an idea of the event and content here's my video from Boulder featuring CEO Dave Wright with a summary of the main company updates as well as commentary from my ESG Lab colleague Aviv Kaufman and me.

Topics: Storage

Challenges with SSL/TLS Traffic Decryption and Security Inspection

As I’ve mentioned in several recent blogs, enterprise organizations are encrypting more and more of their network traffic. A majority (87%) of organizations surveyed as part of a recent ESG research project say they encrypt at least 25% of their overall network traffic today.