Dell sheds Perot

There's a lot of confusion over this announcement, so allow me to explain. Perot does about $3 billion for Dell. It drags no real Dell infrastructure. It’s a bit of an island.

In the new Dell/EMC world, Perot goes away. Dell gets $3 billion in cash. There's no impact to the core businesses, nor to the core services.

The death of privacy (by big data)

When I was a teenager, this was a typical conversation in my house:

"Where are you going?"


"When will you be back?"


Topics: Cybersecurity Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Partners show the way for customers for Google Cloud Platform

At GCP NEXT, we learned about hidden stories that partners provide to the Google Cloud Platform. Given Google's renowned direct-to-consumer experience, some enterprises are naturally thinking of engaging directly with Google if they choose to use their cloud platform. But the real value, as Google said, it to meet customers where they are, as opposed to asking them to step into Google way of doing things.

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration

Four ways Google has out-innovated first mover competitors

Is Google capable of closing their yawning market share gap with hyper scale cloud rival AWS? Urs Holze, SVP of Technical Infrastructure at Google, had a very interesting take on the matter during a Q&A Panel at GCP Next last week.

Flexible support for traditional apps on Google Cloud Platform

At GCP NEXT, there was a lot of attention placed on new capabilities and support for cloud-native apps. However, there are lesser-known capabilities for supporting classic enterprise applications, which is what mainstream enterprises look for.

Not every company can rewrite their applications to take advantage of the latest Google App Engine PaaS capabilities. Yet they enviously look at the advanced features and management capabilities provided for new applications.

Google has started to address this, and one example of "you can have your cake and eat it too" is the Google App Engine Flexible Environment, formerly known as Managed VMs.

Topics: Networking

Cybersecurity as a business issue

It’s become a cliché in the industry to say that cybersecurity has become a board room-level issue, but what evidence do we have to support this claim? Well, here are a few tidbits from recent ESG research that certainly lend credibility to the business-driven cybersecurity thesis:

Topics: Cybersecurity

Pure Storage FlashBlade: the all-flash data center just got closer

Last week, I, along with my colleagues Mark Peters and Tony Palmer, were given the opportunity to attend the Pure//Accelerate user conference in sunny San Francisco. You can check out Mr. Peters thoughts and our on location video here, but I would like to add my own perspective on the event and Pure’s announcements.

Topics: Storage

New wave load balancers by Google at GCP:NEXT

At GCP:NEXT, we learned about Google's global cloud load balancer with a (hypothetical) clever Santa tracker story. If you have amazing internal assets like Google, you can create load balancers in totally different way. The story was about a Santa tracker app that shows the status of gift delivery across Christmas day, but unfortunately, the app servers are misconfigured, down or overloaded. How do you deal with that? The session was presented by Anna Berenberg, Matt Smart, and Prajakta Joshi of Google; and Dmitry Shestak of Wix, a Google customer.

Topics: Networking

Google's Growing Cloud Analytics Portfolio

At GCP:NEXT 2016 in San Francisco, Google demonstrated a surprisingly broad portfolio of analytics tools. No one doubts they have extensive experience in this area; in fact many believe the company to be way, way ahead of the average business. By the nature of what Google (and Alphabet) do, depth in big data, analytics, and machine learning is absolutely a core competancy. Many Google projects have gone on to form the basis of open-source software that is fundamental to the big data industry today.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Will the new breed of Enterprise Googlers give GCP a competitive edge?

Catching up in the race for cloud market share (or in Google’s case, closing the gap between themselves and their top three competitors [AWS, Microsoft and IBM]) is going to require some different thinking. Enter Diane Greene and a new breed of Googlers that are beginning to trickle over from classic IT enterprise organizations.

Open Networking Summit 2016 - changing worlds

At the Open Networking Summit, many were talking about open-source, but there were some contrarian views which made the conversations interesting. So let's discuss that.

I also saw some surprises, where companies that I thought were firmly in one path were making bold moves in another direction.

Topics: Networking

Software-Defined Architecture: What To Consider

What does it mean to have a software-defined architecture (SDA)? Most folks seem to think it will be important in the future, but there's very little agreement on what it means and how it's useful.

For example, in a recent ESG Research Report, we tried to understand how people define software-defined networks, which are just one aspect of a software-defined architecture. We had a wide range of responses, ranging from automation and NFV to control/data plane separation. Those who are trying to be precise with an early definition of SDN may sound rather academic, but those who wave their hands and apply "SDN" to almost anything modern in networking end up sounding like carnival barkers.

Topics: Networking ESG on Location

The Endpoint Security Continuum (Part 2)

Way back at the beginning of February, I wrote a blog titled, The Endpoint Security ContinuumIn that blog, I described how enterprise organizations were now deploying next-generation endpoint security solutions along a continuum flanked by two poles: advanced prevention at one end and advanced detection and response at the other. I actually presented some research describing next-generation endpoint security a few weeks ago at this year’s RSA Security Conference (contact me if you'd like to see the slides from that session). 

Topics: Cybersecurity

Pure Accelerate(s)

Last week’s first Pure Accelerate — the vendor’s user conference — marked a definite increase in pressure on the throttle for the all-flash player. Of course a cynic might argue that few vendors have embraced “all flash” in its non-technical meaning quite as well as Pure. However, aside from the abundance of orange at Pier 48 in San Francisco, there were rather more signs of substance than such cynics might expect or enjoy.

Topics: Storage

Open Compute Summit — hyperscale ready

At the Open Compute Summit, we saw some exciting announcements, with Microsoft's new SONiC network OS, Google joining the Open Compute Project (OCP), and Equinix announcing it will join and use an OCP network switch, the project is gaining even more support. The question is whether or not this set of technologies originally designed for hyperscale data centers will benefit regular enterprises in the future.

In the photo, you can see Facebook's 6 Pack Switch, a modular switch with 12 independent switching elements. It's painted in Facebook blue, but I didn't notice any thumbs-up "Like" icons on it.

Topics: Networking

Cybersecurity Skills Shortage Impact on Cloud Computing

Look at any industry data and you’ll see a consistent trend — the march toward cloud computing continues to gain momentum. According to ESG research, 75% of organizations are currently using public cloud services. This is dominated by the use of SaaS today, but ESG research reveals that 38% of organizations use IaaS while 33% use PaaS.  The research also indicates that these numbers will continue to increase in the future.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Vendors Under the Radar: StorMagic

I have a soft spot for underdog vendors. Like many of you, I've been there — working at a small vendor competing against the behemoths or working on a small emerging underdog product within a behemoth, competing for airtime and survival. I know that it's tough to get the word out when you are outspent on marketing by a factor of 10:1 or more.

So I'm going to keep going down the "vendors under the radar" path to call attention to vendors you may not have heard of that are doing cool things, but may be under the radar because they don't have the big budgets.

Next up: StorMagic.

Topics: Storage

An analyst's views on product categories and innovation

Readers wonder what leads an analyst to cover one firm or technology over another.  There was a whole session on this topic at the RSA Conference US 2016, titled "Do Industry Analysts Actually Stifle Security Innovation?"

There are several questions raised:

  • Are analysts ignoring innovators? If small startups are ignored, how would buyers ever learn of them? And how will those companies thrive?
  • Problems with categories. Firms are squished into some category, where they may not belong. Or there are too many categories.
  • Rigid ranking in a two-by-two matrix. I won’t mention the analyst firm but you may be able to guess.

Here’s how I look at it: IT analysts need to encourage innovation and not use product and solution categories too strictly.

Topics: Networking

2016 Big Data and Analytics Spending Intentions Survey

One of the highlights of the year for ESG is the publication of our annual IT Spending Intentions Survey. For enthusiasts, I've pulled out a few highlights specifically around big data and analytics.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

ESG can be your eyes and ears at Google:NEXT

If you had hoped to attend the GCP NEXT conference but won't be able to make the trip to San Francisco, never fear: ESG will be there in force. We've got several analysts planning to be in attendance covering a broad variety of cloud-related topics.

From software-defined networking to application development, big data to enterprise mobility, cloud storage to data protection, ESG's going to closely cover how Google's customers are leveraging GCP to transform businesses and gain an edge.

An Abundance of Incident Response Bottlenecks

Manual processes represent a major incident response bottleneck at enterprise organizations. I'd like to share a few alarming data points from some recent ESG research:

Topics: Cybersecurity

Vendors Under the Radar: Avere

One of the best benefits of this job is that I get to meet with very early-stage companies and work with them as they go to market and mature. Avere is one of those companies that I've been working with since it was a glimmer in CEO Ron Bianchini's eye. I recently had the good fortune to catch up with my friends there.

I like the Avere technology (and team) a lot, so it's exciting for me to see how far the company has progressed. And it has progressed further than I had realized.

Topics: Storage

ESG On Location: Impressions from RSA 2016

As our final act of RSA Conference 2016 coverage, I wanted to share the video that my colleague Jon Oltsik and I recorded to wrap up our thoughts from San Francisco:

Topics: Cybersecurity RSA Conference

Cloud Sticker Shock? Check out Cisco and CliQr.

Cisco’s recent acquisition of CliQr for a cool $250M could prove to be one of the best acquisitions this technology behemoth has made in recent years. In CliQr, Cisco gets a proven technology that can help them deliver on their Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) vision.

Already deployed in a number of marquee accounts, CliQr’s offering enables businesses to fluidly move workloads from their on-premises private cloud environments into any public cloud facility, and to do so while maintaining application service levels, ensuring security, adhering to corporate data governance policies and controlling costs.

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration

Before Moving on From RSA…

It’s been a week since my last meetings at RSA and I’m already thinking about travel plans and agendas for Infosec Europe and Black Hat. Before closing the book on RSA 2016, however, I have a few final thoughts about the industry and cybersecurity professional community.

Topics: Cybersecurity RSA Conference

The network's new role in the data center

At RSA Conference 2016, it was apparent to me that networking is performing a significant role in modern infrastructure security with visibility, context and enforcement for modern application workloads.

If the network is the nervous system for a data center, we can gain better insights into its health and operation by better network visibility, much like what electroencephalography (EEG) does with brain signals in medicine.

Topics: Networking

DataCore is Rattling Some Venerable Cages

Recently I tweeted about the extremely impressive cost-performance I/O (both latency and bandwidth) numbers that DataCore has achieved in recent SPC-1 testing with its Parallel Server offering, but I want to drill a little deeper into what the results mean for our industry. Even before I reiterate a few of the highlights and get to my comments, let me just make it clear that I absolutely understand the limitations of testing such as that done under the auspices of the SPC parameters. Of course we all know that real world data center numbers are not going to be the same as the laboratory tests; but equally this testing does give an idea of the relative attributes across and between systems.

If you like, it’s akin to the MPG on a new car — we know that neither the 56 MPG car nor the 21 MPG car are really likely to achieve those 56 or 21 numbers often (or at all), but we also know that the former car is going to be way more fuel-efficient (most likely by 2-3x) than the latter. Standardized tests, such as the SPC ones, are based on a level playing field, typical apps, and agreed/declared parameters. Moreover, the SPC tests are agreed to and used by just about everyone in the business, so they are at least a fair yardstick for relative real-world comparisons, even when not a guarantee of absolute real-world delivery. OK, enough on that!

Topics: Storage

RSA Conference Blue Suede Shoes

My feet have almost recovered from the many miles walked at RSA last week, bouncing between meetings and sessions. Given my penchant for referencing songs and musicians in my blogs, “Feets Don’t Fail Me Now” and “Many a Mile to Freedom” come to mind.

RSA is a long week that also seems to go by quickly, a paradox of busy-ness. With the meta-changes in the scope of what to secure expanding exponentially (immutable infrastructure, knowledge worker mobility, and the world of connecting things), the moving target of attacker methods, and a myriad of protection solutions, there is much to process at RSA. Having let the input settle over the weekend, here are a few of my takeaways from RSA Conference 2016.

Topics: Cybersecurity RSA Conference

Do we still need VM-specific backup tools? [video]

This is one of the big questions in 2016 (and each of the past few years as well). 

Have the “traditional” unified data protection solutions caught up in reliability and agility to the degree that the need for “point products” that only protect VMs are no longer necessary? To help answer the question, I've recorded a short video:

Topics: Data Protection Networking

Many Thoughts about RSA 2016

RSA 2016 was a whirlwind of meetings, discussions, and cocktail parties. Now that I’m back home and have had a weekend to reflect on the conference, here are a few words to describe my impressions of this year’s show:

Topics: Cybersecurity RSA Conference

RSA Recap, Part One

I'll have more RSA recap to offer later on this week, but I wanted to kick off the RSA postmortem with a look at the last day or so of the sessions from the conference. There's a bit of a BYOD slant to these nuggets.

There are many ways in which mingling personal and corporate devices and access puts both sides at risk.   Some are due to the way online behavior (personal surfing) from one domain bleeds into exposing your data from another domain (work). The reverse can be true, too. Corporate assets are targets, and that puts your personal assets at risk if you put valuable personal data on a device that sees action outside the home while on business travel.

Topics: Cybersecurity Networking Enterprise Mobility

Hybrid Cloud Wheel of Fortune – Oracle Snags Ravello Systems

The hybrid cloud gods of acquisition have admitted two new players into their gilded digital halls — Ravello Systems and CliQr. Larry Ellison and his cohorts at Oracle threw half a billion at Ravello, and Chuck Robbins and company at Cisco lavished $256 million for snatching up CliQr. Personally, I think these were two very shrewd moves by two of the industry’s dominant players. In this blog I’ll cover Ravello and I’ll discuss the CliQr acquisition in a later post.

For Big Data, Does Size Matter?

Following a presidential debate in which the candidates concerned themselves with the proportions of their various body parts, I can't help but wonder why some are so obsessed with size. In the world of big data, there are a few different ways to think about this topic:

Topics: Internet of Things Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

RSA Conference, Day Three

Some quick RSA thoughts before I jump into the next jam-packed day of sessions:

Topics: Cybersecurity Networking

Thoughts from the dark side

I’m lucky. After doing this for 17 years and having brilliant people that actually know what they speak of, I've been able to opt out of the big conference world. This year I opted in to RSA. Why? Because this industry is fascinating to me. We are at a rare point in time: most revolutionary/evolutionary tech industry explosions happen when one primary catalyst (an event, a technology, a company) creates net new value and the VCs then fund a ton of wannabes to try to eat the scraps left behind. During that period, we have a ton of companies who all sound the same. They all look the same. They are all positioning themselves as having a better mousetrap.

This is true at RSA — in spades.

Topics: RSA Conference

RSA Conference, Day Two (with photos)

One of the great things about these conferences is that I get to meet a variety of end-customers (CISOs), essentially security consultants who are in-house practitioners. I had the pleasure of having dinner and lunch with some of them yesterday. One thing that’s apparent from talking to them, is the cybersecurity skills shortage, which Senior Principal Analyst Jon Oltsik recently described in an ESG Brief (login required). There is a quandary: one needs to train people and invest in their skills, and at the same time, it makes them ever more valuable to be poached by other firms. Can automated systems help, and what really requires human insight?

Topics: Internet of Things Networking RSA Conference

Cisco's new DNA: A new Digital Network Architecture

Enterprises have been struggling to take good ideas found in data centers and extend them into the rest of the network, like the campus. 

The two worlds have stayed separate for a long time, but people managed to get by without tight integration, since the workloads and network connections were often managed by different groups, and the network traffic tended to have different characteristics.

However, with changes afoot, such as a move toward using more SaaS apps and pressures to improve manageability of remote offices, people realized that some core changes in the enterprise network architecture were necessary.

Ever wonder how Cisco’s policy control used in the data center using ACI can extend to the rest of the rest of the enterprise, such as the campus or branch networks? We saw a hint of those possibilities when APIC-EM was released last year.

Topics: Networking

Oracle Brings the Cloud Back to Earth

There are some things that don’t initially seem to belong together, but exceptional goodness can come of the marriage: peanut butter and jelly might be one famed-but-domestic example, while in data storage things like the public cloud and mainframes might seem equally unlikely partners until the results are tasted. In both examples it’s not a matter of figuring whether each component element is inherently good, or even whether they can be enjoyed in parallel. No, the magic happens when there’s full integration.

Topics: Storage

RSA Conference 2016, Day One

The first day of 2016's RSA Security Conference is in the books, and the ESG team offered some thoughts from San Francisco on the sights, sounds, and news from the event:

Topics: Cybersecurity Networking