Teradata is on a Tear

For a company that many competing vendors want to write off as “last gen” analytics, Teradata has two things going for it. First, Teradata customers have little interest in throwing out the enterprise-grade data warehouse baby with the Hadoop data lake bathwater. Second, the company is incredibly active in making the transition to the modern big data world.

VMware Operations Transformation Services

I have written an ESG brief on VMware's Operations Transformation Services.  The brief is available to ESG subscription clients only, but I have summarized a few points below.

These are professional services that are especially useful for adopting new technologies that require changing the way IT operations are traditionally performed. Such new technologies include products like VMware NSX (network virtualization), which can encounter a challenge for successful deployment if traditionally separate teams such as networking and the server virtualization teams do not collaborate properly.

Team Oracle Tacking to Hybrid Cloud

Two years ago this week, Larry Ellison was vilified for skipping his Oracle Open World keynote address so that he could attend the Americas Cup yacht races in San Francisco bay. What many probably didn’t realize at the time was that Team Oracle was on the verge of an historic comeback against the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Down 8-1, Team Oracle had to win an unprecedented 8 consecutive races to secure the highly coveted trophy from their “Kiwi" rivals. This seemingly implausible victory can be attributed to two key factors - bleeding edge technology coupled with a crew of top flight world class sailors. In perhaps an Ellison-esque retributive gesture, the 72 foot long catamaran behemoth was somewhat gaudily displayed smack in the middle of the Moscone Center plaza at Oracle Open World 2015. 

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration

Stop CISA!

I’ve been following cybersecurity legislation for a number of years, including all the proceedings with the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). After much deliberation, I believe that CISA remains fundamentally flawed and needs a lot more work before it becomes the law of the land. 

Topics: Cybersecurity

WiFi Calling: In the enterprise (part 2)

With WiFi about to take off, enterprises can look forward to improved indoor calling, but they need to prepare to support it.

In my last post, I described what WiFi calling is and the benefits it offers. I also looked at some of the issues it may pose in the enterprise. In this post, I’ll examine ways that enterprises can prepare for the adoption of WiFi calling.

Topics: Networking

Insights from IBM Insight

My dad was a programmer for IBM in the 1970s, but I doubt he’d recognize the company today. Heck, I hardly recognize the company today. In a conversation with an IBM executive on the Analytics business unit, I was asked today, “What is IBM missing?” My response was, “just the story to tie it all together.” Even setting aside Watson, this is a company with an (over-)abundance of analytics tools, BI products, and mature databases. Combine that portfolio with huge investments into Spark, Hadoop, an analytics-as-a-service, and a healthy roadmap for all, and it’s not a question of gaps but one of overlaps.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Some Thoughts for Millennials that Diss Antivirus

My generation can get awfully snarky about antivirus: go on reddit, search for the topic, and you’ll find some arrogant responses along the lines of “antivirus is just adware and all I need is Malwarebytes”.

Well hey, good for you, and Malwarebytes is great (I use it too). But we millennials have a harder time remembering what the internet was like before AV came along, a time when any email or misclicked website could brick your computer. Now with the rise of ransomware and targeted attacks putting entire devices at risk once more, we have somehow resorted to blaming antivirus for not being effective enough at blocking these attacks. It’s unfair and short-sighted, and the popularity of the “AV is unnecessary” trend remains perpetually premature.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Oracle M7 Enhances CPU-level Security

As summer turned to fall, the IT industry got together at VMworld and then Re:Invent to celebrate cloud computing. This translated to software-defined everything – data centers, networking, storage, etc.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Dell World - Here’s the answer, now what’s the question?

Assuming that the answer is always—or soon will be—“Dell” is generically how things felt in Austin last week. And I’m not knocking it. Assuming also that the $67 billion deal to buy EMC (oh, and by the way, the controlling stake in VMware that comes with it) goes through, then there will be precious few things in IT to which the new DELL (I’m using capitals because (a) it will be huge and (b) to show the difference between the pre-deal Dell and the post deal DELL!) cannot say, “Yes, we do that.” 

Of course, ironically, with my Carnac envelopes discarded (youngsters reading this will need to Google that reference!), the one thing that was lacking at Dell World was many answers—or at least answers to the torrent of questions and speculative guesses about what things will look like when the deal is done.

Topics: Storage Dell Technologies World

Why Would Businesses Embrace Facebook at Work?

There are two primary reasons that Facebook could become attractive for a corporate business environment:

Topics: Cybersecurity

Virtustream's Task - Protecting Dell and EMC's Hybrid Cloud Crown Jewels

In a recent blog and video, I speculated about whether or not Dell would enter the public cloud provider space following their acquisition of EMC. I talked about how Virtustream could serve as the foundation for an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution (via Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry), which, when combined with VCE’s private cloud converged infrastructure offerings, could make for an interesting, end-to-end enterprise class hybrid cloud solution.

Can NetApp Succeed Whatever the "Whether"? (Includes Video)

This month saw another NetApp Insight event, and it was hot! By ‘hot’ I don’t mean the weather in Las Vegas, I’m talking about the whether we experienced there. Let me explain: NetApp formally convened its event the day after Dell’s intent to acquire EMC was announced….whether this turns out to be a cloud or a silver lining remains to be seen, but for once NetApp seemed determined to be a master of its destiny way more than the market-passenger (albeit it a highly successful one!) that it has all-too-often been.

Watch the video, where my colleagues Jason Buffington, Scott Sinclair, and I recap the event, and then read my further thoughts below. 

Goals should be on the market, not becoming a unicorn (SD-WAN examples)

Much has been written on the so-called "unicorns" in the start-up community - private companies with valuations north of one billion dollars. Although the shine has started to come off what some are calling a bubble, we need to focus on how tech companies add value to end-users and enterprises. To that end, I want to present my view on how to structure the stages of how technology infrastructure affects companies. I hope it has relevance to the IT buyer, as well as to the technology provider.

Topics: Networking

WiFi Calling: Ready To Take Off? (part 1)

With AT&T and Apple iPhone announcing support for WiFi calling, the technology is poised to go mainstream. Here's how it works and its potential enterprise ramifications.

WiFi calling enables wireless handsets to connect to a mobile carrier’s network through WiFi access points. With expanded support from more carriers and Apple, I believe it’s poised to become popular. It can provide better indoor coverage, avoids roaming charges while traveling out of the country, and can be used for messaging aboard WiFi equipped planes. It also doesn’t require the installation of apps such as Skype, Viber or WhatsApp to make voice calls.

Topics: Networking

X-IO Technologies: The Bearable Rightness of Being Unique

A few weeks ago I was at the X-IO Technologies HQ in Colorado Springs for some strategic discussions and to shoot a video with Bill Miller, the CEO. In the midst of a great conversation, one thing became clear: Bill's engineering roots are never far from the surface! Not that he cannot talk plain business value, but it was the power and special nature of the technology that first attracted him to join X-IO. So, spontaneously, I reset my camera and asked Bill to simply wax lyrical about what makes the technology special. "Unique" is a word that is both abused and over-used in our business—probably in many businesses—but X-IO has some legitimate reasons to use it.

Take a look at this video to learn about what—and how—this erstwhile start-up (in truth, something of a "vendor-teenager") delivers...both in direct technology and the key operational implications. Dave "Gus" Gustavsson—the CTO and SVP of Engineering—adds some details in the latter part of this video. By the way, this video is about 7 minutes in length and I should make it clear that I am entirely responsible for the lack of exciting angles and graphics—for once, I figured I'd let the protagonists and their explanations do the communicating! After watching,  please return to this written blog for a few closing thoughts from me. 

Topics: Storage

More data protection thoughts on Dell and EMC [video]

Last week, I blogged on the combined Data Protection portfolios of Dell and EMC. 

Topics: Data Protection

Dell and EMC – Sanity Check

In our ESG Lab group, we have a saying: “It’s easy to prove something doesn’t work, but it’s really hard to prove something does.”

Even so, I’m a little surprised at the volume of naysayers that are popping up post Dell/EMC merger announcement. Some of the things I’m hearing and reading are just plain dumb. Thus, allow me to straighten you all out.

First, let’s agree Mr. Dell is not an idiot. On the contrary, he’s about 25 billion times smarter than you and I. Second, we should probably agree that Mr. Tucci is pretty smart himself. He took a ragtag bunch who appeared near the end of the customer abuse cycle, with one real product (Symmetrix), and turned it into a powerhouse that has dominated the storage world for decades, and, oh yeah, brought you VMware.

Dell and EMC - Better Together?

Recently, I sat down with Terri McClure, ESG’s mobility analyst, to discuss the implications of Dell’s acquisition of EMC from a cloud, mobility and converged/hyperconverged markets perspective.

Your Data Is a Strategic Asset – Treat It That Way!

Improving data backup and recovery was the second most commonly cited IT priority for 2015 among respondents surveyed by ESG for its 2015 IT spending intentions report (see Figure 1).

Topics: Data Protection

What Happens to RSA?

While last week’s Dell/EMC merger was certainly a blockbuster, nothing specific was mentioned about future plans for RSA Security. Michael Dell did say that there were a “number of discussions about security” during the negotiations, but apparently, no concrete plans yet. Infosec reporters have lobbed phone calls into Round Rock Texas as well as Bedford and Hopkinton, MA looking for more details, but Dell and EMC officials haven’t responded.

Topics: Cybersecurity

5 Reasons To Upgrade Your Network Switch

Campus network switches aren’t updated as frequently as data center switches, but there are some compelling reasons why it may be worthwhile to upgrade now and not wait until the end of a regular refresh cycle.

Practically speaking, campus networking is wireless networking, and there are more devices connecting to the network. More devices mean more bandwidth requirements, and it’s hard to figure out what BYOD devices are going to be doing, whether it’s just plain download bandwidth, a time critical application like VoIP, or a sudden surge like Apple iOS version updates. And once end-users are tied to a new way of using devices, network teams are often forced to adapt. BYOD not only means "bring your own devices", but adds, “because you’re overly demanding”.

Topics: Networking

FireEye Myth and Reality

Some tech companies are always associated with their first acts. Dell just acquired my first employer, EMC Corporation, in order to expand its enterprise portfolio, yet the company will always be linked with personal computers and its founder’s dorm room. F5 has become a nexus that brings together networks and applications but will always retain the moniker of a load balancing company. Bit9 has established itself as a major next-generation endpoint player, yet some people can only think of its original focus on white listing.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Did Dell and EMC Just Simplify the Enterprise Mobility Strategic Decision Making Process?

The fact that major IT vendors are consolidating isn’t a surprise, given the feedback we hear from IT professionals about wanting to work with fewer vendors that can be more strategic to their business.

The Dell/EMC acquisition also lends itself to further validation that traditional IT consumption models are being disrupted, and it is difficult to transform business models and/or continue to operate in a single proverbial IT silo. Some of this dynamic is due to a valid means of consuming IT services from public cloud providers, and the rest can be credited to IT being too complex for too long. While Dell and EMC will not position it as such, the acquisition is poised to capitalize on the fact that IT is slow and difficult to change. This fact is good for Dell/EMC as they will continue to service this massive base even as business consume more services from the cloud.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility

Wrap-up on Backup from NetApp Insight 2015 (Video)

Candidly, whenever I spend a good bit of time looking closely at the breadth of NetApp data protection capabilities, I usually leave with the same two impressions:

  • Wow, I forgot that they do all of those 'Data Protection' things, based on what is built-in
  • Why don’t they talk about it more?!?

The latter was addressed by new CEO, George Kurian, who assured folks that NetApp would be more vocal in driving the awareness of what they do well, what they have done well for so long (albeit not always noticed) and their visions for the future.

Topics: ESG on Location

Pentaho's Three-Legged Race to Big Data (with HDS)

Pentaho World 2015 was held in sunny Orlando this year, with over 500 attendees, and was by all accounts a friendly and informative affair. About the only question no one could answer is why the company is called Pentaho, but a rose by any other name is still very nice. One thing that was quite clear is that the team is hitting its stride with HDS as a powerful running mate.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Amazon's Strategy of Operational Excellence

cloudIn the wake of the 4th annual Amazon Web Services (AWS) user conference, AWS has finally emerged as a leader in cloud infrastructure and platform services. AWS now has over 1 million active customers and year-over-year growth in EC2 instances, data transfer, and database use that is close to 100% as of 2015 Q2. AWS did $4.6 billion in revenue in 2014 and expects to see $7.3 billion by the end of 2015 which is close to 60% growth. Amazon is now adding over $1 billion in new revenue per quarter. It’s rare to see these kinds of growth rates in a business that is closing in on 10 years old. This shows the transformative effect that cloud services are having on the IT business.

Amazon Workspaces Delivery Compelling Usage Scenarios

I use Amazon Workspaces on my iPad Mini and have been impressed with its usability. While I admit that it is not my primary workspace, it works great for when I am using my iPad and need to get something done in a Windows environment. If I could use a mouse with the workspace like you can with Citrix Receiver, then I would significantly increase my usage of the environment.

Hybrid Clouds and Cybersecurity Front and Center at AWS re:Invent

The contrast of the DJ music pumping out bass lines and drum beats over hits from the 70s was quite apropos for the mix of hipster and middle age attendees at last week’s AWS re:Invent where the word of the week was hybrid. This year’s AWS re:Invent show had a decidedly different feel to it, one of enterprise IT. AWS holds an enviable position as the leading provider of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud computing services where they are Coke and we’re still waiting for Pepsi to show up. With that ground staked out, AWS is now clearly intent on being a major IT brand and that means embracing hybrid clouds and putting security front and center. 

Topics: Cybersecurity AWS re:Invent

Is Public Cloud in Dell's Cards Post EMC Acquisition?

With the tech world all abuzz about the blockbuster Dell buyout of EMC, a few thoughts on what the combination of Dell and EMC could mean from a cloud perspective.

Topics: Converged Infrastructure Cloud Services & Orchestration

Run DeMC: Dell & EMC merge to thrive in the cloud era

Dell recently announced its intent to acquire EMC at approximately $33.15 a share, for a total transaction price of $67 billion. Upon first hearing of this deal, the ancient proverb, “fortune favors the bold,” immediately came to mind.

This is a massive deal, and while some will say it is too risky, I would argue that the industry conditions have shifted to where it might be more risky for Dell and EMC not to make this move. The IT industry is in the midst of a massive upheaval. The merger makes both companies stronger than how they might have been apart.

Topics: Storage

Dell's acquisition of EMC: the effects on networking

On October 12, Dell and EMC announced they have signed a definitive agreement under which Dell, together with its owners, will acquire EMC Corporation, while maintaining VMware as a publicly-traded company.

Here's the situation as it currently stands:

  • Dell Networking, based on its 2011 acquisition of Force 10 Networks, offers a range of networking products for the data center and campus.
  • EMC, as part of its ownership of VMware, offers NSX network virtualization products. That itself is a result of VMware's acquisition of Nicira in 2014.
Topics: Networking

Dell Set to Buy EMC

So, first let's get the deep breaths out of the way! It's funny how us humans behave - we pretty much have all known for ages that something would happen (or, that is, that something had to happen) with EMC, but when "something" actually does happen it is still surprising. I guess it is the timing and nature rather than the fact of the action itself that causes the surprise.

Anyhow, now we know what the “something” is....or at least will most likely be. I say that because, of course, it ain't a done deal yet. I still remember a few years back getting together to congratulate the 3PAR folks on being acquired by Dell....until, of course, they weren't! Now, yes, this is a totally different scale and different times. Coming up with someone else with a few (extra) tens of billions of dollars on their corporate Amex card credit limit - plus the logic and need to acquire EMC - doesn't generate a very long list. So one would imagine this deal will probably go through. But it didn't actually happen today, so anyone looking for a whole bunch of specifics is going to have to make do with a lot of speculation for a while yet.

A Dell & EMC Merger = A Big Data & Analytics Powerhouse

So by now you have probably heard that Dell is planning on acquiring EMC, while leaving VMware as a publicly traded entity. Hot stuff indeed. This has big implications for the IT market as a whole, but I'm most interested in how it sets up change for the big data, database, and analytics space. A few immediate opportunities and a risk are in store:

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Data Protection in a Dell-plus-EMC World

Earlier today, Dell announced it was acquiring EMC. While there is still much to be decided and most of this will not substantively occur until mid-2016, the scenario raises several interesting ramifications regarding data protection as each of the vendors already had an interesting road ahead into next year:

Topics: Data Protection

A Call for Open Cybersecurity Middleware

While attending Splunk.conf 15, I sat in on an interesting presentation given by Christof Jungo, head of security architecture and engineering at Swisscom.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Can A Pure Storage Company Make It Big?

There has been a lot of time and [electronic] ink expended of late in the build-up to, and eventual launch of, the Pure IPO yesterday. Most of the commentary has concentrated on the valuation and stock trading zone. As I write this, the stock price has floated down softly to around $15.50, off from the offering starting point of $17 per share. The financial press headlines contain plenty of words like "disappointing" and "failed to impress." Moreover, they talk of the impact of this unicorn IPO on the appetite and enthusiasm for tech IPOs. In other words, it's a very parochial Wall Street view. And frankly, that's where the focus is misplaced, at least from the storage and IT market perspective.

Now, I am not here to suggest that the share price is irrelevant or that many people wouldn't have been happier to see a more robust start for PSTG shares. But there's a more significant set of considerations from a technology, industry and end-user perspective.

Topics: Storage Converged Infrastructure

Networking: Intelligence Augmentation vs. Artificial Intelligence

I recently read the book Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff, a technology and science reporter at the New York Times. This is a good book that goes over the history of the development of automation in the 1950s and 1960s, and takes you to the current day where new robotic developments from Apple (Siri) and Google (driverless cars) put us in the another age of rapid change.

Topics: Networking Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

U.S. Critical Infrastructure Continue to Make Risky IT Bets

When the term “critical infrastructure” is mentioned in conversation, thoughts immediately turn to things like electrical power plants, oil and gas pipelines, food, water, etc. You know, the foundational services of modern life that we all take for granted. These are the same industries that former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was referring to when he warned of the possibility of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor” back in 2012.  Panetta stated:

Topics: Cybersecurity

IBM Gets Clever(safe) to Broaden Cloud Offerings

Yesterday IBM announced its intent to acquire Cleversafe, a Chicago-based object storage vendor. This is a great move for IBM and certainly fills some gaps in the portfolio for the cloud business. That's because object storage is likely the next big storage technology wave that will house the massive amounts of unstructured data we are generating today, and the even more massive amounts we will be generating in the future.

Topics: Storage

Amazon AWS and Rackspace - A Cloud Hole-in-one?

golf caddyFrancis Ouimet had Eddy Lowery, Tiger Woods had Steve Williams, Jordan Spieth has Michael Greller, and now AWS users have…Rackspace?

 Behind every golf phenom is a silent partner. That even keel caddy that brings the right blend of wit, wisdom and instinctual insight and advice to help propel his or her wunderkind to the top of the leader board. Like these unsung heroes of the fairway, Rackspace too is now bringing caddy-like concierge services to bear to help businesses leverage AWS for grand slam success in the cloud.

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration

Password Strength - Pop quiz

In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, as posted in a recent blog by Jon Oltsik, I’m taking a detour from network-specific topics by discussing an issue that almost everyone has to deal with, which is “how strong is my password?” Here’s pop-quiz based on a XKCD comic on that topic.

Question: Which one of these two passwords is stronger? (i.e., harder to guess by computer)

  • “Tr0ub4dor&3” (that’s troubadour in leetspeak)
  • “correct horse battery staple” (I inserted the spaces between the four words to make it easier to read)
Topics: Networking

A Striated Strategy at Strata

Just home from the latest Strata+Hadoop World in NYC, with over 6,700 participants and at least 150 vendors, and I wanted to share some reflections on the event and the big data market as a whole.

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

On the Lookout for These Three at AWS re:Invent 2015

Wait! AWS re:Invent is next week? Thankfully Amazon did not opt for the December date being bandied about and chose a date early in the quarter to avoid travelling around the holidays. And how this event has grown. When I first attended in 2013, attendance had doubled from 2012 to 6,000 and then did more than a 2X jump last year with 13,000 cloudies in attendance. But what do attendance numbers have to do with security? It’s a proxy of cloud adoption and the types of customers getting their agile on and, as such, is an indicator that enterprises transitioning at least some of their workloads to AWS require hybrid security solutions.

Ericsson – growth in a changing ICT world

I attended Ericsson’s North American industry analyst day and was pleased to see their progress in transitioning themselves into the new world of mobile networks where apps ultimately drive the change. They're also getting ready for 5G networks.

As most readers are aware, mobile networks are making a steady march toward ever faster speeds even in the current 4G generation. There are 800 million subscribers on LTE in 2015, experiencing 80% subscriptions growth. And video is generating half of all mobile traffic. The question is how this change affects businesses that utilize this platform as well as vendors like Ericsson, which already manages 1 billion subscribers, supports 2.5 billion subscribers, and has 118,000 employees. Change at this scale is actually a daunting thing to manage.

Ericsson has traditionally been perceived as a telecom equipment vendor, but they have made a significant transition to become a ICT (information and communication technology) provider where approximately two-thirds of their revenue comes from services and software. They compete more with ICT vendors than traditional telecom vendors. It’s actually ranked 5th on the list of the top global software companies.

Topics: Networking Enterprise Mobility

Dell Networking - providing choice

I have written an ESG brief on Dell Networking. The brief is available to ESG subscription clients only, but I have summarized a few points below.

Topics: Networking

Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

As October begins, we in New England look forward to fall foliage, warm days and cool nights. Aside from orange and bright red leaves here in Massachusetts, everyone will see a prominent display of the color pink, as October is also breast cancer awareness month. Finally, if you are a dedicated cybersecurity professional, you may (that’s right, may) know that October is also national cybersecurity awareness month.

Topics: Cybersecurity