How to make sense of a crowded, confused IoT platform landscape?

In my blog post after the IoT World conference in May, I mused that the IoT ecosystem is in danger of confusing the heck out of everyone, and that the countless companies using the term "IoT platform" has rendered the term virtually meaningless.

While some of this is due to the immaturity of the IoT market and vendor landscape in general, it also stems from needless confusion created by broad marketing messages that make it difficult to truly understand what capabilities providers actually deliver.

Topics: Internet of Things

"Big data, huh, what is it good for?" at the Hadoop Summit

The mood of this week’s Hadoop Summit has felt wonderfully diverse. There is a cognitive disconnect between the incremental progress of dot release feature sets and the revolutionary new business and societal applications of the technology.

In the same keynote session the topics can swerve from optimizing cluster utilization to optimizing marketing yields to finding a cure for cancer. The technical lectures were packed, while the expo floor was focused. A loud rock and roll string trio in (unnecessarily short) black dresses exits the stage to be replaced by serious talk of open-source projects and community. One day a presenter will explain how clever they are to be able to apply pervasive surveillance of drivers for more profits, the next day a keynote is focused on rallying the audience to develop their ethics and fight the forces of ignorance.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Cisco, CloudLock and the accelerated pace of CASB market maturation

The cloud access security broker (CASB) market is exhibiting all the signs of rapid maturation — active buying motions, channel engagement, enterprise-ready requirements, and consolidation. Makes sense — the strong adoption of cloud apps, including the prevalence of Shadow IT apps, necessitates purpose-built solutions to secure sensitive data headed northbound and prevent threats coming in southbound. That is, the game of catch-up that many IT and security professional are playing to secure cloud apps their organization are already using is driving CASB evaluations and deployments. Enter Cisco into this market vis-a-vis its announced intention to acquire CloudLock. 

Topics: Cybersecurity

Balancing user experience with security

The number one challenge I hear from IT professionals across the board is balancing security with user experience across multiple device types that employees use in the course of a day. If those IT pros turn the dial too far in one direction, they’re faced with security vulnerabilities. If they rotate the dial too far in the opposite direction, they faced user-experience hurdles.

This challenge is exacerbated for those companies that want to further embrace cloud consumption models, but are once again perplexed about where to set the dial.

Topics: Identity and Access Management Enterprise Mobility

Veeam: nice guys still finish first

I just left Veeam's analyst summit (in Napa, which is fantastic). Normally I don’t do analyst days (as we have legitimately smart analysts who do them), but I wanted to know more about this company who successfully latched on to the virtualization movement and never let go. Plus, did I mention it was in Napa?

Suffice it to say that Veeam is one of those "once in 25 years" success stories. They use their own money, grow at an insane pace, print cash, and have become the envy of not only the “availability” world, but anyone in this generation of tech.

Topics: ESG on Location

The barriers to being mobile-first

Mobility strategies are riddled with challenges as companies look to balance the end user experience with a productive environment. ESG research casts some light on the challenges businesses are facing and provides a perspective on potential opportunities to align with the top goals of decision makers and security teams.

Topics: Cybersecurity Enterprise Mobility

Predicting the unthinkable

The UK has voted to leave the European Union. The Republican party has voted Donald Trump as their presidential nominee. Few predicted these things would happen. Why not?

We at ESG do a lot of surveys and interviews in our research. Sometimes this is a broad view of market sentiment, sometimes it's a very specific question that needs answering. Technology vendors and buyers alike rely on our work to guide their most strategic decisions. We pride ourselves on careful survey design, controlled selection of qualified respondents, and thoughtful analysis of the findings. Our methodology isn't just SurveyMonkey and $5 Starbucks gift cards going out to 1,000 Shakespearean monkeys with 1,000 keyboards. Yet there are a couple of inherent limitations in asking humans their opinions.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Flash Forward, London: refreshing purpose and content

The recent — and inaugural — Flash Forward conference in London was significant for being a non-vendor specific, storage-focused event. There's precious few of this species left and we have not had a new one in a while. This one was substantial enough to have attracted a good number and mix of sponsors and speakers (from organizations both large and small), and yet intimate enough that everyone could have real conversations and get their questions answered.

Topics: Storage

Networking education: leave your comfort zone

Breadth makes more sense than depth in today's IT environment.

If you're a network engineer looking to advance your career through certifications, self-study, or going back for a degree, you might wonder whether to go for breadth or depth in knowledge.

In this age, network engineers should focus on adding expertise outside of their core networking skills. Corporate environments are changing with SDN, the increasing importance of network security, and networking's growing role as the glue to connect modern container applications. Being isolated in a networking only silo may no longer work. You’ve heard of full-stack developers. Why not be a full-stack infrastructure professional?

Topics: Networking

A FireEye chat with Kevin Mandia

In early May, FireEye announced that company president Kevin Mandia would replace industry veteran Dave DeWalt as CEO. My colleague Doug Cahill had a chance to catch up with Kevin recently to get his perspectives on FireEye, enterprise security, and the threat landscape amongst others. Here are a few highlights:

Topics: Cybersecurity

"Tape" is not a four-letter word

In the 25+ years that I have been in data protection, much of it has been spent hearing about "better" alternatives to tape as a medium. Certainly, in the earlier days, tape earned its reputation of slowness or unreliability. But nothing else in IT is the same as it was twenty years ago, so why do people presume that tape hasn’t changed?

Topics: Data Protection Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Does the king of CRM need a food taster?

The big news in the marketing world last week was Microsoft's announcement that it plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. Admittedly, I was a little unclear as to Microsoft's motives at first; what use would Microsoft have for a social network that, let's be honest, tends to be the butt of social media jokes as often as it serves a significant role in any business' marketing plans?

HPE is law-abiding in Las Vegas

At HPE Discover recently the "marketing law of big companies" (which I just made up) was on full display. In essence the premise is that the bigger you are, the harder it can be to make a specific point. I absolutely don't mean there were no big points to be made, but when you have a bunch of them, it is hard for each to stand out. The amalgam can even be a tad plain: once you boil too many — albeit good — things down, you can get too much generalization.

Topics: Storage

Federal cybersecurity boondoggle: the Software Assurance Marketplace (SWAMP)

Way back in February, I wrote a blog about President Obama’s proposed Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP). As part of this plan, the President called for $19 billion for cybersecurity as part of the 2017 fiscal year federal budget, a 35% increase over 2016 spending. 

While CNAP has a lot of thoughtful and positive proposals, I’m troubled by the fact that federal cybersecurity programs seem to have a life of their own with little oversight or ROI benefits. I often cite DHS’s Einstein project as an example of this type of government cybersecurity waste. In my humble opinion, the feds are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on custom research and development for Einstein when commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) network security products could do the same job at a fraction of the cost.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Quick take: Symantec buys Blue Coat

When former CEO Mike Brown left Symantec in April of this year, I wrote a blog about what I would do if I were recruited as Mike’s replacement. While one of my suggestions was for Symantec to resume M&A activities, I was really thinking about a strategy for filling in product gaps — perhaps Symantec could pick up LogRhythm to add a leading SIEM to its portfolio, or grab Carbon Black for endpoint security analytics and forensics.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Symantec and Blue Coat cybersecurity 3x2

It had been quite quiet on the merger and acquisition front in the cybersecurity market. Everybody seems to agree that it's ripe for consolidation, and there's news that Symantec has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Blue Coat. Framed as its next step in cementing itself as the dominant pure-play cybersecurity vendor, the combination of Symantec and Blue Coat represents a bold move to expand the product portfolio, add key leadership, and enhance financials. Here is a 3x2 of what this means and what to watch for moving forward:

Topics: Cybersecurity

Google's Firebase — back-end-as-a-service

Firebase is a mobile platform that makes it easy to write for mobile, deploy those apps, and to earn money doing so, providing an end-to-end solution.

I wonder why another category of "back-end-as-a-service" is necessary. We already have infrastructure, platform and software-as-a-service. Why we can’t just use one of those systems and integrate it with your front-end?

Is this just a naming issue, or is there something fundamentally important about having a BEaaS provided to developers?

Topics: Networking Cloud Services & Orchestration

The 5 Cs of data protection

Data management — not data protection — is the future.

We are already seeing the shift in many organizations where there are fewer dedicated ‘backup administrators’ and more diversified workload/platform owners (DBAs, vAdmins, File/Storage admins, IT operations, etc.) defining backup jobs or invoking restores, coupled with infrastructure that truly has data protection “built in.”

With so much revolution (not just evolution) happening in data protection, it is easy to imagine a future where folks care less about which repositories or data protection methods (backups, snapshots, replicas) are in use – and more about:

  1. How many copies do I need?
  2. How long do I need which versions?
  3. Where do they need to be to satisfy my SLAs?
Topics: Data Protection

Lenovo enters the storage market with software-defined storage

Game on!

This week, Lenovo announced its StorSelect enterprise storage portfolio, entering the storage market and, according to Lenovo, driving deeper into the $87 billion data center market. The inaugural StorSelect solutions will feature integrated products that leverage Lenovo hardware and software from software-defined storage (SDS) players, Nexenta and Cloudian.

Topics: Storage

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR): what’s important?

My colleagues Doug Cahill, Kyle Prigmore and I recently completed a research project on next-generation endpoint security (login required). We determined that there are actually two distinct product categories within next-generation endpoint security: advanced prevention and advanced detection and response (aka EDR). 

Topics: Cybersecurity

SolidFire and NetApp: happy to be together and apart (includes video)

SolidFire's third Analyst Event was its first as a part of NetApp. The change of ownership was evident but not onerous. Yes, there was talk of ONTAP and the rest of NetApp's portfolio, but mainly the focus was the increasing opportunity for, investments in, and expectations of, the SolidFire platform; and that's the key word — NetApp sees it's new offering as a 'platform' rather than a 'tuck in'.

Topics: Storage

Loving ONTAP’s potion #9: reducing the cost of flash and simplifying the data fabric

For the title for this week’s blog on NetApp’s new release, I decided to provide a brief homage to a ‘90s cult film classic, while probably simultaneously dating myself. And as the title suggests, NetApp’s ONTAP version 9.0 presents a lot to love for the enterprise storage consumer — extending NetApp’s Data Fabric capabilities and helping reduce the cost of flash storage.

Topics: Storage

Enterprises are investing in network security analytics

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: traditional security controls are no longer effective at blocking cyber-threats, so enterprise organizations are deploying new types of security defenses and investing in new tools to improve incident detection and response.

Unfortunately, this can be more difficult than it seems. Why? Effective Incident detection and response depends upon security analytics technology, and this is where the confusion lies. It turns out that there are lots of security analytics tools out there that approach this problem from different angles. Given this reality, where the heck do you start?

Topics: Cybersecurity

IBM and Cisco partner for edge-to-cloud IoT analytics

On June 2nd, IBM and Cisco announced a partnership for IoT analytics which aims to combine IBM's cognitive computing analytics in the cloud with Cisco's fog computing analytics at the edge. Overall, the combination is a positive one for IoT and analytics decisions makers since it begins to help clarify the IoT data journey story.

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

What might be Discovered at HPE's June event in Vegas

This time next week, HPE's Discover event in Las Vegas will be over and done.

I expect that everyone who's actually there will be paying close attention to all the news in the General Sessions — if nothing else because the weather forecast shows it will be too hot to venture outside! For those of you that might not be enjoying the Vegas air conditioning, it looks like paying attention to what HPE has to say might be worthwhile, both conceptually and also for what it means for the likely overall direction of the storage industry as much as for the initial manifestations that HPE will discuss.

Topics: Storage

Software-defined perimeter (SDP) essentials

I’ve written about SDPs a few times, as I think this model is a strong fit for today’s IT cocktail made of mobile applications, public cloud infrastructure, and pervasive security threats.

Just what is an SDP anyway? The model is really based upon the “black cloud” concept coming out of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) where network access and connections are allowed on a “need-to-know” basis.  Similarly, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) refers to SDPs as “on-demand, dynamically-provisioned, air gapped networks.”

Topics: Cybersecurity

How is SQL Server still a thing?

Forgive the title... too much John Oliver influence perhaps.

But to answer the question, SQL Server is still a thing because the database works, people know it, and it keeps getting better. In fact, to call SQL Server 2016 a database sells it a bit short, considering the broad range of functionality covered in the GA release. There are numerous improvements around transaction processing, security, data warehousing, BI, advanced analytics, and hybrid cloud.

See, not just a database?

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI