Network Switches a Commodity? Not Really

You see many network switches built on common components, such as network processors from companies such as Broadcom, which leads some people to think these devices are commodities. In reality, you see some creative ways in which each vendor offers differentiation.
Topics: Networking

Cybersecurity, Critical Infrastructure, and the Federal Government

The term “critical infrastructure” is used by governments around the world to describe industries and physical assets deemed essential to their economies and national security. Critical infrastructure industries include agriculture, electricity generation, financial services, health care, telecommunications, and government services like law enforcement and the water supply (i.e., drinking water, waste water, dams, etc.).

Topics: Cybersecurity

What do I do with my 10-year old device?

When you make a purchase decision, what are the long-term implications of the choices you make? What if you had to live with those choices for a long, long time?

Topics: Networking

Next-generation Storage Architectures: How Real and How Desired?

Included with this post is the first in a series of seven videos that succinctly encapsulate some of the key findings from our recently published research report, Next-generation Storage Architectures. I share the duties on these blogs and videos with my colleagues Terri McClure and Scott Sinclair; all three of us collaborated on the actual research.

Can Oracle’s VCA Wrest Share from VCE?

Larry Ellison and Oracle have EMC’s VCE and Cisco’s UCS square in the crosshairs. The question is, can Ellison's “highest performance, lowest purchase price” converged infrastructure value proposition be enough to sway IT buyers to adopt Oracle’s Virtualized Computing Appliance (VCA)?

Topics: Converged Infrastructure

Take-aways from RSA

As expected, the 2016 RSA Conference was bigger than ever—more attendees, presentations, exhibitors, etc. Since I live in the cybersecurity space, there were few surprises, but there were a few major highlights to this year’s show.

Topics: Cybersecurity

All I Need to Know about Cyber Security, I Learned in an NSA Pamphlet for Securing Home Networks

Do you remember a list called All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? No? It’s a list of basic things that children are taught, which can guide them throughout life. It’s pretty old but was very popular in its day. Thinking about this led me to ask: Would lessons from a pamphlet for securing home networks have prevented some recent mega breaches? No way? Think again. 
Topics: Cybersecurity Networking RSA Conference

Wrapping up RSA USA 2015, and Looking Forward to Interop

I’m wrapping up my visit to the RSA USA 2015 Conference. The conference was as big as ever. There was a feeling of how to protect ourselves from breaches by being realistic: Realize that adversaries will somehow get into your system, so look for multi-layered approaches to protect yourself after a breach occurs and minimize the damage. But there was some hopefulness as well, since we are acknowledging the changes in the security landscape, and we’re adapting ourselves accordingly. So I hope we’re not fighting the last war, and we’re becoming forward-looking.

Topics: Networking RSA Conference

Video Series on Data Protection Appliances – Part 1, Backup Appliances

In March 2015, ESG published its research report on the Shift toward Data Protection Appliances. In ESG’s taxonomy, there are four types of DPAs in market today.

For the next four Fridays, I’ll be releasing videos (about 4 minutes long each), detailing why each type of DPA is interesting, current and anticipated usage trends, etc. Why Fridays? Because Fridays deserve something easy, and DPAs offer all kinds of easy.

Topics: Data Protection

Making Sense of Raytheon and Websense

I was just getting on my flight to the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco on Monday morning when I received an e-mail announcing an intriguing cybersecurity deal.Defense contractor Raytheon announced its acquisition of security veteran Websense for approximately $1.6 billion. Vista Equity Partners, Websense’s previous owner, also contributed $335 million and will retain some skin in the game.

Somber Message at the 2015 RSA Conference

As the 2015 RSA Conference got underway this week, I attended a dinner hosted by Pacific Crest Securities. Our host began the dinner by asking former cyber czar Richard Clarke to say a few words.

Now this was a rather festive dinner as the cybersecurity industry is in the midst of a robust boom.  Nevertheless, Clarke’s brief talk was a reminder of where we’ve been and the state of cybersecurity today. 

Topics: Cybersecurity RSA Conference

Nimble Storage - Early Adulthood at Age 7 (includes video)

Age is a very interesting phenomena: there's the real numbers and then the relative aspect. "You're only as old as you feel" - as someone who's now having to check the last age-range box on demographic questions (certainly in ESG's own research!), I'm mightily relieved to hear that "60 is the new 45," or whatever! And we all seem sure that a human year equates to 7 "dog years."

Topics: Storage Cybersecurity

Leaders' Perspectives on Big Data: Economic Value

economic-additionPreviously in this blog series (Leaders' Perspectives on Big Data Initiatives: Business Goals and Leaders' Perspectives on Big Data: Technology Goals), we looked at business and technology goals for big data and analytics initiatives as described by the leaders of these projects at a wide variety of businesses today. The aim is to understand the state of the market and how people seek to drive value from the data naturally occurring in their businesses. While some organizations are truly on the cutting edge, others are taking a more conservative approach or are just now implementing new solutions. Today I’d like to look at some of the ways people actually measure the value of big data and analytics to their business.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Focus on Networking Software Not Just the Silicon Underneath (Part 2)

In my previous blog, I discussed the need to focus on the software in addition to the core hardware functions.   I noted that spending too much attention on merchant silicon vs. custom ASICs for network processors neglects the importance of software to the networking infrastructure.


Topics: Networking

What is Hybrid Cloud Washing?

At the AWS summit in London last week, Werner Vogels, CTO of characterized hybrid cloud infrastructure as an interim rather than as a final phase for enterprise cloud computing. In Vogel’s view, the full promise of cloud computing can only be realized when an organization is running 100% of its workloads in the public cloud. Given AWS’ business model and market leadership in the IaaS space, these comments are not surprising. What I thought was more interesting, however, were the statements made by AWS’ UK head evangelist, Ian Massingham.

Focus on Networking Software Not Just the Silicon Underneath (Part 1)

Networking people often get into religious arguments about whether network devices ought to use merchant silicon or custom ASICs. This has been going on for a while: One side maintains that standard designs based on off-the-shelf components will eventually dominate networking, just as x86 CPUs took over mainstream data center servers. 
Topics: Networking

Leaders' Perspectives on Big Data: Technology Goals

I recently started a blog series based on research done by interviewing a number of leaders for big data and analytics initiatives. The first part in that blog series on leaders' perspectives on big data was specifically about business goals. This time we’re going to look a little more at the more technical objectives of big data, by which I mean technology goals.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Cognitive Cloud Dissonance?

It would seem that corporate CEOs may be forging ahead into new business opportunities with or without their internal IT departments. In a recent PWC survey, over 1/3 of CEOs stated that they had entered entirely new lines of business over the past 36 months and over 60% stated they expected to continue entering industries other than their own over the next 36 months. This is tangible evidence that unless businesses can move on a dime, they may not be long for this world over the longer haul. And how successful IT organizations are with enabling businesses transformation may dictate their own long-term survival. 

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration

Undercurrent RSA Conference Theme: Security Technology Integration

Just a few days until the start of the RSA Conference and I expect an even bigger event than last year – more presentations, vendors, cocktail parties, etc. The conference will likely focus on security technologies like endpoint security, cloud, security, threat intelligence, IAM, and others which I described in a recent blog

Topics: Cybersecurity

The Hollywood Perils of Big Data and Personal Information

I recently saw a low-budget documentary about the perils of big data when applied too broadly to consumer mobile device data. The filmmakers emphasized that when data collection is expanded to include applications like widespread video and audio analysis, significant thought must be given to governance and strict definition of appropriate use cases. Un-authorized access to this real-time information stream could easily lead to personally identifiable information (PII) being used for choosing a particular member of a specific demographic and plotting the individual’s geographic paths, even intercepting them with targeted payloads at vulnerable moments. All without the knowledge or consent of the citizen. 

(Image from Universal Studios, 2015. Congrats to Dell on the big data and analytics platform product placement.)

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Threat Intelligence Sharing Momentum and Needs

Threat intelligence sharing is certainly riding a wave of momentum as we head into the RSA Conference next week. Over the past 6 months, we’ve seen things like lots of federal activity, further adoption of threat intelligence standards, and industry actions.

Topics: Cybersecurity

The New Sexiest Job in IT: Data Steward

For several years, there has been a tremendous demand for data scientists. Businesses and governments got really, really excited about all the possibilities from applying big data, and the data scientist was seen as the most critical role to make it happen. But a funny thing happened along the way. Much of the data scientist’s time was spent on data wrangling, meaning finding relevant data sources, preparing, classifying, integrating, cleansing, augmenting, improving quality, and addressing security, privacy, and governance concerns. Guess what? That’s not data science. That’s data stewardship.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Anticipating RSA 2015

The annual security geek-fest known as the RSA Security Conference is just 2 weeks away. Alas, I remember when it was a cozy event that attracted a few thousand visitors and focused on esoteric security technologies like cryptography, deep packet inspection, and malware detection heuristics. 

As for 2015, I expect at least 25,000 attendees spanning keynote presentations, show floors, pervasive hospitality suites and a constant barrage of hokey themed cocktail parties.

Topics: Cybersecurity Networking Identity and Access Management

Who Ya Gonna Call for Software-defined Storage...Hedvig!? (with video)

"Hedvig" is certainly an intriguing name for a software [-defined] storage company. While my all-time favorite IT company name remains Sutmyn (which - delightfully - stood for Something Unrelated To MY Name!) I have to say that Hedvig comes pretty close! There is so much angst over names and product numbers in this business....indeed, anyone in a big vendor product marketing role has probably - like me in prior lives - sat on a [permanent!] naming committee at some point! So, it's nice to see someone just go with a name that isn't some clever combo pun of what the product does and/or whom it's aimed at.

I have a couple more comments on the naming conundrum and conclusion, but first take a look at this short video to get an idea of what's actually behind the Hedvig name.

Topics: Storage

The Virtual Workload Silo-ization Syndrome (The Webscale Imperative)

Many data center environments are plagued today by what I’ll call virtualized “silo-tary confinement.” This means that virtualized application workloads are often segregated or containerized within discrete pools of compute, storage, and network resources. For example, a virtual desktop environment may be configured with server, SAN/NAS storage, and networking hardware, while an Exchange infrastructure may utilize a totally separate pool of virtualized resources. This tendency to silo virtualized workloads drives up costs, increases management complexity, and hinders business agility; flying directly in the face of why organizations virtualized their server infrastructure in the first place. 

Could Software-defined Networking (SDN) Revolutionize Network Security?

Network security grows more and more difficult all the time. According to recent ESG research on network security, 79% of security professionals working at enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees) believe that network security is more difficult than it was two years ago. Why? Threats are getting more targeted, voluminous, and sophisticated while networks grow more complex with the addition of more users, devices, traffic, etc.

Topics: Networking