Brocade: Meeting the New IP Initiative for Enterprises

I recently published a new ESG brief on Brocade's New IP Initiative. The Brief is available to ESG subscription clients only, but you can find an abstract of the Brief, as well as a key takeaway, below:


Topics: Networking

Handicapping Enterprise Security Vendors

In the course of my average work day, I try to read all the cybersecurity news I can. I came across a very good article in Forbes that looks at the cybersecurity opportunities for companies like IBM, Cisco, Dell, and others.  The article points out that the market for cybersecurity products and services is estimated at $77b today, growing to $120b by 2020. That’s a lot of firewalls, AV software, and identity tokens!

Topics: Cybersecurity

In A World Of Converged and Hyperconverged Choice, Fear Abounds

According to the American Psychiatric Association, agoraphobia is defined as, "an irrational anxiety about being in places from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing". While there is no official designation for fear of vendor lock-in, perhaps there should be. Perhaps "vendor-agoraphobia"? 

Topics: Converged Infrastructure Cloud Services & Orchestration

My Take on NetApp Insight Take Two in Berlin

The importance of both hardware and software was starkly evident in my journey to Berlin for this European installment of NetApp’s Insight partner and customer event; first it was hardware that kept us grounded at Newark as the refueling of the plane wasn’t working…and then software took its turn as the whole of the New York region’s air-traffic radar went down. Now, if only I and my fellow passengers could have been re-planed and re-routed via some “transportation fabric” a la what can be done with data under the NetApp Data Fabric umbrella! 

Topics: Storage ESG on Location

Informatica and Big Data Management

While big data is not a new concept, it’s gaining more significance as IT embraces new ways to generate and leverage big data. Mobility, cloud, social, analytics, and IoT are all important initiatives that are driving the production and consumption of big data. Therefore, IT needs to take big data management seriously. The challenge is to find a way to manage big data that does not create a big problem. Big data involves ingesting vast quantities of data and then leveraging this data to drive competitive advantage. The volume and velocity of big data render manual efforts to manage this data obsolete. However, it is possible to logically simplify big data into the following activities:

PLUMgrid CloudApex - Network Visualization and Monitoring

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


Right before OpenStack Summit in Tokyo and on the heels of landing major telecom service provider NTT (SmartConnect) as a customer, PLUMgrid announced the availability of CloudApex, a modern cloud network visualization platform that provides:

Topics: Networking

Cybersecurity Lessons Learned from the 9/11 Commission Report

Cybersecurity and IT professionals would be wise to review the findings of the 9/11 Commission report published in 2004. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of events surrounding the attacks and points to a number of systemic problems in several areas:

Topics: Cybersecurity

OPNFV: How the Vendors are Approaching NFV

At the OPNFV Summit, there were many vendors and open source projects exhibiting their work. My prior blog discussed the talks at the conference. Although there is a common thread of using OpenStack and OpenDaylight, there are different approaches to providing higher level NFV functionality, ranging from PaaS, low level networking such as packet filtering and virtual switches, as well as hardware and everything in between. I list a few items that caught my eye.

Topics: Networking

The Future of Data Storage and Management Is Nigh!

You may have heard that Gene Amdahl recently died. I was reading some of the surrounding commentary and analysis, but—I am not sure whether this was cathartic, reassuring, or horrifying!—many of the things he predicted back in the 70s and 80s are only just happening now. And many of his predictions for what's still to be expected seem valid. I am not commentating as much on the fact that things take a long time to happen...more on the fact that our imagineering (as Disney would put it) isn't perhaps always as dramatic as we need in order to make big leaps forward.

Aerohive: Buzzing with a new App Platform

Aerohive just announced their new next-generation platform. Their apiaries are buzzing with excitement for the new APIs and apps for their APs (access points). This platform includes:

  • HiveManager NG (next generation), a unified network management planning and troubleshooting system.
  • New solutions for BYOD and guest management. HiveManager NG now has guest access included, and has a new Personal Device Access solution for self-service onboarding.
  • A new application platform that includes a developer portal, APIs, and reference apps to enable the creation of new apps.
Topics: Networking

OPNFV: Voice of End Users for NFV and the need for automation

I recently visited the OPNFV Summit (the conference for the Open Platform for Network Function Virtualization). The first software release of the event, named Arno, was completed, to be followed by the release of Brahmaputra release. (In case obscure geography isn't your strong suit, both of those releases share names with major rivers.)

This was the first such summit, and as can be expected, it focused chiefly on developers, but there were some prospective users. Those potential users shared experiences of large network operators (service providers and cloud providers), which in turn has great lessons for those who are interested in the OPNFV project.

Topics: Networking

Blue Coat Doubles Down on CASB

The CASB market, as relatively new as it is, is experiencing an accelerated maturation process, looking at the number of acquisitions, late-stage venture funding, and the entry of established brands. And it makes perfect sense: controlling the access to SaaS apps and protecting the associated corporate data assets heading north to the cloud is a broad-based concern exacerbated by the BYOD and telecommuting aspects of mobility.

Last week's announcement of Blue Coat's acquisition of Elastica is a notable marker of the rapid evolution of this cybersecurity segment with the company clearly doubling down on the palpable cloud access and control security market opportunity by following up their July acquisition of Perspecsys to further bolster their CASB offering. Already possessing essential network-based elements in its ProxySG proxy gateway and SSL decryption products, Blue Coat has key solution components — and this acquisition warrants looking at how these pieces fit together and what this may portend for the CASB market.

Topics: Cybersecurity

The Decentralization of Data Protection Continues

For the past few years, we’ve continued to watch workload-administrators and IT Operations folks raise their influence in regard to which data protection product(s) are in use today. It’s actually quite reasonable: those IT professionals are responsible for the usability of their platforms and have unique understandings of how and which data should be protected – so their opinions matter!

Topics: Data Protection

Blue Skies Ahead for Dell, EMC, and Virtustream's Hybrid Cloud

Scientists claim that aftershocks can continue for decades, and in some instances, centuries after a large earthquake event. In the wake of Dell’s announcement to acquire EMC for a staggering $67B, there have been verbal tremors emanating from some corners of the world of IT punditry and sophistry that speculate this deal will be a seismic bust. 

Speculation and conjecture have their place; however, it would be more ideal if these musings were first cross-checked with the actual facts on the ground or...on the acquisition fault line: customer sentiment. According to a recent ESG survey, 92% of Dell and EMC’s customers expect to maintain or increase their level of spending with the combined company. It’s hard to get a much more bullish signal than that.

Dell-EMC Deal: The Customers Speak

Today, ESG released a non-sponsored brief on customer sentiment of the Dell/EMC deal.

It’s important to note the emphasis – “non-sponsored.” We did this all by our lonesome – because we wanted to know what real people really thought about the deal. No offense to you non-real people.

We, like many others, have prognosticated on the deal – and we have been generally bullish. Many others have decided the deal is garbage.

Alas, we, and they, are not meaningful. Only those who buy stuff are relevant. It doesn’t matter what I think really. Heck, I use a Mac.

So we asked midmarket and enterprise CUSTOMERS of Dell, EMC, or both a series of questions to get their thoughts on the deal.

The State of Cyber Insurance

All this year, I’ve been researching the burgeoning cyber insurance market. Admittedly, this is a bit of a detour from covering endpoint security, network security, and security analytics, but cyber insurance is becoming an increasingly important puzzle piece in any organization’s risk mitigation strategy, so it’s worth paying attention to. 

Topics: Cybersecurity

Juniper's Junos: Reworked and Disaggregated

I spent a day at Juniper Networks’s NXTWORK customer summit. As an analyst, we had our own events for getting introduced to the new products and solutions, but an especially enjoyable part was to interact with customers outside the official functions.

The big news was the announcement of the disaggregation of Junos software. New vendors such as Big Switch Networks, Cumulus Networks, and Pica8 have created network operating software that runs independently of the underlying switch, but this is a first for a mainstream network equipment maker.

Topics: Networking

Network Automation Meetup: Infrastructure Treated as Code

I attended the Network Automation Meetup in San Francisco. The topic was Practical Infrastructure as Code, and was presented by Matt Stone of Brocade, and was hosted at the Cumulus Networks’ offices and the food and refreshments were provided by Hewlett Packard. In the world of meetups, all parties are friendly even though they compete commercially.  Matt said he was not an official spokesman for Brocade, but I believe many of his views are aligned with what Brocade does in their New IP initiatives.

The topic was how to treat the management of infrastructure with the methods used for managing code. The cycle consists of 1) Build, Test & Validate, 2) Deploy, 3) Monitor & Remediation and 4) Source & Revision Control, as shown in the diagram to the right.

Topics: Networking

Cloud Computing And Network Security Challenges

A majority of enterprise organizations are embracing cloud computing in one form or another. According to ESG research, 67% of enterprises use public or private cloud infrastructure today while 66% use one or several SaaS applications.

So what about network security?  It’s a bit of a struggle today as many organizations move to cloud computing long before they have the right infosec skills, processes, or tools in place. As proof of this deficit, ESG asked 145 cybersecurity professionals working at enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees) whether they agreed or disagreed with a number of statements about cloud computing security.  Here are the results:

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration

KubeCon: Networking is Shaped by the Eye of the Beholder

I spent a bit of time visiting KubeCon 2015, the first Kubernetes conference held in San Francisco. Kubernetes is a Docker container orchestration system created by Google. I went there mostly to see what’s going on in the networking side of Kubernetes (written in shorthand as K8S).

Networking Plug-Ins

The Container Network Interface: Network Plugins for Kubernetes and beyond talk by Eugene Yakubovich of CoreOS on the Container Network Interface was interesting. Its aim is to make network plug-ins work among different container engines. It works with so many different flavors of networking – ranging from MAC VLANS (a reverse VLAN that takes a single network interface and creates many virtual ones with different MAC addresses) to newer SDN systems like Weave and flannel.

Topics: Networking

Cisco Acquires Lancope: Great Fit, Great Deal.

Just before Halloween (10/27), Cisco announced its acquisition of security analytics veteran Lancope for $453m. Given the timing of the deal, it’s fair to ask an appropriate question: Trick or treat?

There’s no debate here – treat. With the Lancope purchase, Cisco walked into the security analytics neighborhood, knocked on just one door, and grabbed a bag full of candy. Okay, enough of the Halloween metaphors, this was a very good deal for Cisco for several reasons:


Topics: Cybersecurity

Fundamental Differences Between Securing Workloads and Endpoints


OK, full disclosure - this is one of my pet peeves, so let me get this out of the way right out the gate: in my humble opinion, a server workload is not an endpoint. Sure, they’re all hosts, but what I think of as an endpoint is different in so many ways from a workload, including computing characteristics, their respective role in the cyber security kill chain, not to mention buying centers. Defining an endpoint as broadly as "anything with an IP address" fails to acknowledge these differences. As such, as an industry, we should be mindful to make note of these distinctions when referring to what types of hosts are being secured.

Topics: Cybersecurity

IT Vendor Risk Management: Improving but Still Inadequate

One of the fundamental best practices of cyber supply chain security is IT vendor risk management. When organizations purchase and deploy application software, routers, servers, and storage devices, they are in essence placing their trust in the IT vendors that develop and sell these products. 

Topics: Cybersecurity

Oracle's Database-as-a-service Cloud Offering is Poised to Win Converts (Video)

Larry Ellison and his executive cohorts are striving to make Oracle the #1 cloud provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions. During his Oracle OpenWorld keynote address, Ellison stated that two of Oracle’s primary competitors in this market are and Workday. He further went on to say that traditional legacy vendors like SAP and IBM never show up to the competitive dance in the new SaaS and PaaS cloud economy. 

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration

At OpenWorld 2015 Oracle Shows it is Red-y, Willing, and Able (Video)

You close off a street in the middle of San Francisco, park a large catamaran at one end, ship in multiple tens of thousands of your geekiest friends, add myriad keynotes and sessions that deliver both mind-numbing specificity and mind-enhancing generalities (sometimes simultaneously!), bring Elton John and a boatload of co-operating/competing vendors along for the ride, and finally you daub as much red on as many surfaces as you can find. There you have it – Oracle OpenWorld (OOW)!

Topics: Storage Cloud Services & Orchestration

The Return of AV Leaders?

When I started covering the infosec market around 13 years ago, anti-spyware was the hot topic Du Jour. The market went through a common cycle – VCs funded companies and cranked up the hype machine. Some product companies were acquired (CA purchased PestPatrol, Microsoft acquired Giant Software, etc.), while others pivoted from anti-spyware alone to endpoint security (Webroot). Ultimately, however, the anti-spyware boom cycle went bust when incumbent endpoint security leaders like Intel Security (McAfee), Kaspersky, Sophos, Symantec, and Trend Micro added anti-spyware to their existing AV products, turning a product category into a product feature. 

Topics: Cybersecurity

Wrap-up on Backup from VeeamON 2015 (Video)

Wrap-up on Backup from VeeamON 2015

If your Director of IT came and told you that you needed to "Look for a backup/replication product that was built-for VMs," you’d obviously look at Veeam.

But what if your Director of IT asked you for ‘more,’ like:

  • Recovery from hardware snapshots
  • Basic protection for physical Windows endpoints and those legacy file servers you still have
  • The ability to retain data on tape or in a variety of public clouds
  • The ability to leverage a range of deduplicated storage appliances for better CapEx
  • Granular restoration of data from applications like SQL, Exchange, or Oracle
  • The ability to protect Linux servers, on-premises and in cloud providers
Topics: Data Protection ESG on Location