If I were the next CEO of Symantec – redux

I just read a Bloomberg article, proclaiming that Symantec cut its quarterly revenue forecast and announcing that CEO Michael Brown will step down. Unfortunately for Symantec, the company has had a revolving door of chief executives — four different individuals since 2008, and now onward to a fifth.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Network engineers are not an endangered species

Networking pros have plenty of job opportunities ahead, provided they're open to learning new skills.

As the IT industry goes through another period of change, there have been a lot of questions on the future of the network engineer. I think it's good to ask those questions, but network engineers will need to adapt to the evolving IT environment. Here’s why.

Topics: Networking

Mobility tech: Easy to wow. Hard to how.

I see a lot of product demos each week, and most of them are truly impressive. I strongly believe that showing off the technology in this market is valuable to both the IT and business executive — but in most instances, there is a significant air gap between the demo and the actual usage in a production setting.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility

OpenStack Summit Day One - Keeping things really weird

If there were any doubts that things might get a little weird at the OpenStack Summit, those fears were quickly put to rest when Boris Renski, CEO of Mirantis, trotted out on stage with a vodka-guzzling Russian bear during the day one keynote. In a refreshingly un-PC presentation, Boris took pot shots at Gartner, IT system administrators and even at AWS. A fusillade of brash open-source bravado speak. And the audience loved it; myself included.

Introducing direct scale-out flash: extending the potential of NVMe

Thanks to recent price reductions, flash storage is now, in many cases, less expensive on a price-per-raw-capacity-point than performance-oriented (10K and 15K) hard drives. This threshold represents a significant milestone for flash storage. Yet, the storage industry is quickly approaching the limits of the business benefits that flash storage technology can provide alone.

Topics: Storage

Making sense of 2016 OpenStack User Survey. Strange results.

The April 2016 OpenStack User Survey was recently released, and there is a strange result that shows the Modular Layer 2 plugin (ML2) as the second most popular Neutron network driver, used by 31% of respondents. 

ML2 is a framework allowing OpenStack Networking to simultaneously utilize the variety of layer 2 networking technologies, compared to a single monolithic driver.

This is like asking which technology oriented TV comedy or dramas people like, and the result is:

  1. Silicon Valley
  2. HBO
  3. Mr. Robot
  4. Big Bang Theory

You'd say, "HBO is a network, not a show", and this user survey has a similar problem.

Topics: Networking

Data is getting boring again

For the last five years, the term "big data" has evoked heady dreams of transforming business as we know it. The use cases were as broad and brash as as the imaginations of senior executives. Data scientists became rockstars and could name their own salaries. New approaches to storage and analytics, including distributed workloads on commodity hardware with open-source software, meant the performance and economics of extracting insights from data was radically shifted. The future's so bright, we've got to wear shades.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Cybersecurity salary inflation — a red flag

If you follow my blog at all you know that I am quite passionate about the cybersecurity skills shortage and its ramifications. Just to put this issue in perspective, ESG research indicates that 46% of organizations claim they have a “problematic shortage” of cybersecurity skills in 2016 as compared to 28% in 2015. 

Topics: Cybersecurity

SD-WAN is not just hybrid WAN. Mea culpa.

I wrote a blog last year that said that categorized SD-WAN and hybrid WAN together.  I was wrong. Although combining multiple networks into one logical network (e.g. combine MPLS with broadband) is one key characteristic of SD-WAN, I now believe that that there's more to it, and my description was overly simplistic.

Topics: Networking

AV software: “I’m not quite dead yet”

If you are a cybersecurity professional, you’ve probably read the quote, “AV is dead” hundreds or even thousands of times. The thought here is that antivirus software is no longer effective at blocking modern exploits and malware, thus its useful lifespan is effectively over. 

Topics: Cybersecurity

Is OpenStack private cloud weird?

It may be all too fitting that the OpenStack organization chose Austin as the venue for this year’s annual North American Summit. One of Austin’s many slogans is “Keep Austin Weird”. And to many traditional IT organizations, OpenStack may seem to be a bit of a tech oddity.

According to a recent ESG survey on hybrid cloud trends, only 14% of 308 IT professionals surveyed indicated that they were planning on utilizing open source solutions, like OpenStack, as the foundation for their private cloud environments. The vast majority (85%), on the other hand, stated they planned to use proprietary private cloud software, like VMware and Microsoft, as the basis for their private cloud strategy.

Topics: Networking

Google's journey to the enterprise

Google’s premier cloud infrastructure event, GCP:NEXT 16 was held a few weeks ago in San Francisco. The event represents a concerted effort by Google to explain how they are bringing cloud computing innovation to the enterprise. Google invited a large number of press, media, and analysts to the event for the first time, clearly signaling a determined effort to drive a high level of visibility around three core tenets for why customers choose Google: value, risk, and innovation. These three tenets comprise the DNA of Google, and are readily visible across their stack from their underlying infrastructure up through GCP and its growing array of services.

OpenStack as a service — provisioned locally, orchestrated in cloud

Network services are typically considered to reside on-premises or in the cloud, but rarely bridge the two.

Systems like OpenStack are thought of as something you run locally (your own private cloud), out in the cloud and as an end-user (let's say you are using Rackspace or Dreamhost). But it's possible to take a hybrid approach in which some cloud services run in the cloud, and the private cloud resides on-premises.

Topics: Networking

Learning about SDP via Google BeyondCorp

I’ve been following Google’s BeyondCorp project for a while. In fact, I was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal blog on this topic.

If you are not familiar with BeyondCorp, it's Google’s spin on what’s become known as a software-defined perimeter (SDP).  SDP, also called a “black cloud”, originated at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and is now being driven by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA).

Topics: Cybersecurity

ScaleIO 2.0: another step in the journey to the software-defined data center

With EMC World 2016 just over the horizon, EMC made a couple announcements this week that I thought I would touch on.

Topics: Storage

Happy birthday IBM System/360 — a grandpop cloud system

On April 7, 1964, IBM announced the System/360. So in honor of its birthday as it gets into AARP territory, here's a tribute.

Reading the press release, it has a curiously modern twist, and of course, there's a total "Mad Men" retro vibe going on. Let's take a look at how the system was an early day cloud before things got split up with mini-computers and distributed computing, and is now falling back together as a unified cloud system.

Topics: Networking

Cloud security challenges

Large organizations are embracing public and private cloud computing at a rapid pace. According to ESG research, one-third of organizations have been using public and private cloud infrastructure for more than 3 years and more than half of organizations (57%) have production workloads running on cloud computing infrastructure.

Topics: Cybersecurity Cloud Services & Orchestration

The economics of SD-WAN and NFV

Software-defined WAN and network functions virtualization offer clear and simple cost-containment benefits.

Nothing beats direct economic benefit when adopting new technologies.  That’s why I continue to focus on software-defined WAN and NFV adoption in 2016.

It’s easy to tout some new technologies because they’re cool (nice technical implementation!) or make vague management agility claims. But ultimately, if they do not deliver outcomes, these products are pretty much useless and may remain as shelf-ware as some crazy-pants technology purchased for the wrong reason. I’m not saying that they’re not useful. It’s just that they are not supremely simple for consumers to understand and benefit from.

Topics: Networking

Vendors under the radar: Syncplicity

Next up in my under-the-radar series is Syncplicity. I went back and forth about whether or not to include Syncplicity as an under-the-radar vendor. Certainly they wouldn't have qualified a year ago. But do they now?

An emerging product in an emerging market fighting for budget within EMC is a difficult position to be in. And one of the big story lines from the investors that took Syncplicity private is that Syncplicity has huge potential, but couldn't thrive in EMC because the sales models weren't aligned properly and they couldn't invest for growth. When it came to budget allocations, the products paying the bills got more investment (or Syncplicity's tactical integration with those products was prioritized versus more strategic development efforts).

Topics: Storage

Riding high at Strata+Hadoop World

This was my fifth go-round at Strata (see below for links to past coverage), so you'd think I'd be able to ride that bull by now. Yet again I found myself quickly thrown by the rapid turning and bucking of the young big data market. 

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI ESG on Location

Dell brings VCE into its hyperconverged tent

Dell just announced several new additions to their hyperconverged infrastructure portfolio and, not surprisingly, the bulk of these announcements were centered around their new partnership with VCE.

Prior to this announcement, Dell’s lone hyperconverged offering was its Nutanix OEM “XC” line of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). Dell says that they have seen great success with selling the XC — to the tune of 10x year over year sales growth since they began offering it in 2014. So they were eager to dispel any notion that their Nutanix partnership was going away anytime soon.

SimpliVity's OmniStack version 3.5 — primed for Tier-1 workloads

SimpiVity announced the general availability of version 3.5 of the OmniStack operating system. What’s noteworthy about this release is that it incorporates several new features which help enhance the performance and availability of mission-critical applications, like Oracle, SQL and SAP on SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure. 

Brocade making a Ruckus (bid)

Brocade Communication announced an intention to acquire Ruckus Wireless, a provider of enterprise wireless LAN and service provider wi-fi. Ruckus Wireless is not a producer of the consumer wi-fi access points that most people buy for homes, but instead provide wireless for enterprise offices, stadiums, hotels and other public places. Chances are, you may not know of this company, but you've used their devices when you've traveled. What does the pending acquisition mean to the wi-fi landscape?

Topics: Networking

Data and Identity: Two New Security Perimeters

CISOs tend to spend the bulk of their cybersecurity technology budgets on endpoint, server, and network security controls. This makes sense from a historical perspective, but these IT assets are in a state of flux today. Endpoints are often mobile devices rather than Windows PCs, while servers are virtual or cloud-based workloads. Meanwhile, networks are also moving to a virtual model composed of public and private network segments.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Wrapping up GCP:NEXT

ESG had several analysts on hand at GCP:NEXT to explore the announcements and developments from several perspectives. We've collected our impressions and written about them here on the ESG blog. My thoughts from the event are below, and don't forget to check out the other angles of ESG coverage.

Topics: Networking

The ultimate network security tool: NetSlicer

Take the direct approach to thwarting cybercriminals. Today is a great day to start.

Organizations are paying more attention to cybersecurity than ever before. In fact, a recent ESG survey showed cybersecurity as the top IT priority in 2016. Vendors are responding to the heightened awareness with new innovative ideas for network security.

Traditional methods such as firewalls, ACLs, and network visibility tools cannot be ignored, but new methods for security enforcement as part of an incident response strategy is an area ripe for innovation.

Topics: Networking