Zeus Kerravala

Author Archives: Zeus Kerravala

Mobile devices pose biggest cybersecurity threat to the enterprise, report says

Earlier this month, Check Point Software released its 2015 security report which found that mobile devices have become the biggest threat for today's enterprises. I like the fact that more vendors are doing their own studies and sharing the findings. Cybersecurity has so many facets that it's very challenging for IT departments to understand where to focus their energy, so surveys like this help.The survey revealed something that I think many businesses have turned a bit of a blind eye to, and that's the impact of mobile devices, primarily due to the wide acceptance of BYOD. The last Network Purchase Intention Study by ZK Research (disclosure: I'm an employee of ZK Research) showed that 82% of businesses now have some kind of BYOD plan in place. Even heavily regulated industries like healthcare and financial services are putting BYOD programs in place because of pressure from the lines of business. Years ago, CEOs and managers didn't want consumer devices in the workplace as they were considered a distraction. Today, businesses that do not allow workers to use mobile devices are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Gigamon launches security delivery platform for visibility into malicious network traffic

If you're familiar with Gigamon, you likely know them as the market-leading vendor in the emerging "visibility fabric" space. The company's products provide businesses with pervasive and intelligent network data across physical and virtual environments. The GigaVUE portfolio delivers the appropriate network traffic to management tools and platforms. I've often said that "you can't manage what you can't see," and Gigamon provides the necessary visibility data so organizations can improve the management of their IT infrastructure.However, Gigamon's information can also be used to help businesses improve their security posture. If you can't manage what you can't see, then it stands to reason that you can't secure what you can't see. One of the challenges with traditional security approaches is that it primarily focuses on preventing breaches, but once the perimeter has been penetrated, there's no way to detect it or remediate against it.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Illumio takes a unique approach to adaptive security

Earlier this year, I wrote a post discussing why security needs to be adaptive. The high-profile breaches of big-name firms like Target and Bank of America, not to mention the Office of Personnel Management, have acted as a wake-up call to businesses. No matter how much money and how many people are thrown at securing the perimeter, it will not stop 100% of malicious traffic from penetrating the enterprise.Solving the security challenge continues to confound IT professionals as well. In the 2015 Network Purchase Intention Study, run jointly by ZK Research and Tech Target, we asked over 1,000 respondents globally, "What are your company’s top 3 priorities for next 12 months?" To no surprise, security came back as the No. 1 response. Another question we asked was, "What IT products are taking up more time than in previous years?" Again, security was overwhelmingly the No. 1 response. So security is a top initiative for IT, but it’s taking more and more time. Something has to change if the acceleration of breaches the industry has seen over the past few years is going to reverse course (disclosure: I am an employee of ZK Research).To read this article Continue reading

Arista brings cloud-scale automation to enterprises and service providers

The term "software defined networking" (SDN) certainly means different things to different people. To the giant web companies, SDN means having the ability to create custom network software to enable functions that are unique to that organization. This requires dedicated software engineers and a networking team large enough to run and support the custom networks. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 companies that have the resources, size, and scale for this model of SDN to make sense.For businesses below this tier – service providers and enterprises – SDN means the promise of automation and cloud scale but also a high level of complexity, sometimes more complexity than the original network. A good rule of thumb for IT initiatives is that solutions should never be more complicated than the problem they're intended to solve. This is one reason SDN deployments have been slow despite the fact that almost every organization I talk to today is interested in the technology. For SDNs to become pervasive in the non-web-scale tier, they must become easier to deploy.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Cavium wins ‘SDN Idol’ award at Open Networking Summit 2015

This week the fifth Open Networking Summit was held in Santa Clara, the heart of Silicon Valley. As in years past, the event held an "SDN Idol" competition where several vendors entered an SDN-related product for a set of judges to vote on to create a set of finalists. The four finalists then demonstrated their entries at the event and a final winner was chosen.In addition to myself, the judges included Jim Smith, GM of Mohr Davidow Ventures, Tom Anschutz, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff for AT&T, and Geng Lin, CTO of Corporate Networks for Google. The judging criteria involved understanding the business value, technology value, and differentiation against the competition.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Silver Peak launches MPLS killer

WAN evolution has been on the mind of IT leaders for decades. Historically though, network managers seemed comfortable to just “talk the talk” when it came to actually moving away from a traditional hub and spoke, MPLS based network. The problem statement seems to be fairly well understood. Traditional WANs are expensive to run, offer little in the way of flexibility, are hard to secure and network managers typically have little visibility into the types of applications and traffic patterns that traverse the network. So, why haven’t more organizations evolved from a legacy network to something more current, like an Internet based WAN? The answer lies in the expression “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Despite all the pain, the high cost and the static nature of traditional networks, they’re what we know. Whenever I talk to a network manager about the topic, interest is high, but so is the skepticism about whether an Internet based WAN could really support a businesses needs.   This is why so few of us want to be like Captain Kirk and “boldly go where no WAN manager has gone before”.To read this article in full or to Continue reading

Ahead of the Cisco Live curve: Avi Networks announces Cisco ACI integration

Next week Cisco holds its annual user conference, Cisco Live, in San Diego. Cisco Live is a great show for customers to get educated on the latest and greatest Cisco technology available to them and how it can fit into their environment. Another benefit of Cisco Live is that customers can find technology partners that have developed solutions that work in conjunction with Cisco solutions.One vendor that jumped the gun and announced a solution early is the application delivery controller start up Avi Networks. I actually wrote about Avi earlier this year in this blog. I'm guessing that Avi Networks wanted to get ahead of the flurry of press releases that I'm expecting next week, and I'm glad they did as this seems like a compelling solution.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

7 key criteria for defining edge data centers

The explosion of the cloud and internet-based content has created the need to move the internet's "edge," closer to where the users are. Historically, the "edge" had been limited to tier-1 cities, such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. If a user in a tier-2 city, such as St. Paul, wanted to access internet-based content, the data would actually come from the closest edge location, in this case Chicago.If the user is just doing general browsing, it's hard to notice whether you're near or far from the edge. However, for any kind of mission-critical or real-time traffic like video, cloud-based applications, or gaming, the extra latency can significantly degrade performance and increase security risks.   To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

How the Orlando airport went fully wireless

If you're reading this post, you're most likely involved in the technology industry in some way. As such, you probably attend at least one, if not multiple, events in Orlando every year. It's only May and I think I've been there four times already this year.In addition to being one of THE places to go for technology conferences, it happens to be one of the country's top vacation spots for families. This makes the Orlando airport unique in that it's a high-volume origin and destination airports. Most of the country's busy airports, like Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago and Atlanta, are airline hub locations, so a high percentage of the passengers are connecting from one flight to another. However, with Orlando, almost all of the passengers are either coming to or departing from the local area.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

F5 leverages LineRate to go lightweight for software defined IT environments

A little over two years ago, application delivery controller market leader F5 Networks acquired LineRate Systems to jump into the software defined networking (SDN) game. There are a number of SDN solution providers that operate at layer 2/3, but LineRate delivers application-layer services into a software-defined environment. These services include security, acceleration, optimization, and intelligent traffic management.Late last week, F5 unveiled the first fruits of the acquisition when it announced a fully virtualized, lightweight load balancing product. The pure software solution enables customers to extend F5's Synthesis framework to any application regardless of where or how it's deployed.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Digital transformation requires a different approach to IT

The digitization of information is impacting businesses faster than ever before. It seems every week a new company pops up and disrupts the status quo. Think of how fast Uber has disrupted the taxicab industry or how rapidly Airbnb is reshaping hospitality. Another good example is how Square has enabled point of sale to be offered on low-cost mobile devices instead of having to pay thousands of dollars for proprietary systems with long installation times.Business disruption used to take decades to happen. Consider how Walmart changed the face of retail over a 20-year period. This was considered fast at the time, but now think of how the companies I mentioned above seemingly changed their industry in just a few years. How is this possible? Well, businesses like Square, Airbnb, and Uber were born in the digital era, where agility is the norm. A traditional retailer using legacy systems can take months or even years to change direction.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

VCE expands its converged infrastructure portfolio

Software and virtualization continues to evolve the data center faster than ever before. As in the case with everything in life, there's never a free lunch, and the price for this rapid evolution has been increased complexity. Historically, data center infrastructure was deployed in nice, neat silos where every application had its own servers, storage, and network resources. The obvious downside of this type of deployment model is poor resource utilization. Now we innovate in software and make everything virtual to maximize utilization, but we also drive up complexity.An argument can be made that no company has been more successful at simplifying this complexity than VCE, particularly for multi-vendor environments. Late last year, VCE was rolled into EMC's federation of companies to give it a single owner and enable it to roll out new products that address a broader set of needs than just its flagship product, VBlock.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Avi Networks’ analytics tools can be a network engineer’s best ally

In late 2014, Avi Networks came out of stealth mode with a product aimed at disrupting the application delivery controlled (ADC) market. Network World's Jon Gold did an excellent job covering the launch and the way Avi is attempting to differentiate itself, so I won't rehash what he has already covered.In the right environment, the value proposition of what Avi is doing should be obvious to anyone covering the software defined networking (SDN) or network functions virtualization (NFV) market. Avi brings a high level of agility to the ADC, enabling customers to deploy ADC resources anywhere they need to in the exact quantity required. The pay-as-you-grow model means organizations are no longer required to overpay for resources they won't need 90% of the time. Instead, they can provision for normal utilization and then purchase more capacity when the workloads require it.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Meru Networks targets growing market for cloud-managed Wi-Fi

In the application world, the cloud has been all the rage. It's hard to find any application today that's not offered as a cloud service. The cloud has also had a significant impact on infrastructure and more and more customers are buying compute services from the likes of Amazon and Google.However, most network products are still procured using traditional means. Pay for it up front and then pay an annual or monthly fee for maintenance. There are a handful of network solution providers that offer "cloud-managed" solutions, and while they do offer a cloud-based management interface, the vendor typically charges an upfront fee for the hardware and then the customers' "cloud" cost is for the management tools.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Avaya takes a unique approach to ease the pain of SDN migrations

In the movie, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Spock's older brother, Sybok, had telepathic abilities and he could feel people's pain by touching them. In the movie he would say, "share your pain with me and gain strength from sharing." Sybok was a deeply religious Vulcan and, in the movie, sought out to find "Sha Ka Ree," the Vulcan equivalent of Eden, where everything began. Nirvana, if you will.In the networking industry, software defined networks (SDN) are supposed to bring the networking equivalent of Sha Ka Ree. However, I don't need to be a Vulcan telepath to understand customers' pain when it comes to SDNs. Almost every network professional I talk to today has an interest in SDN. However, the majority of businesses feel that deploying a software defined network is too complicated.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

10 products you could only find at RadioShack

Remembering the ShackRadioShack announced recently that after 94 years the company would be going into bankruptcy, selling off a number of stores and shutting some others down. As a techy who was born in the 60s, RadioShack was a huge part of my life. I remember hitting the RadioShack every time I visited the Duncan Mall just to see what was new. For you younger people out there, understand that at one point, there were no other options for many of the products you could find at RadioShack. No Best Buy, no Amazon.com or Tiger Direct. Here are 10 of the products that I could only get from RadioShack.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Brocade improves data center agility with new VDX fabric switch

While the networking industry has gone crazy over software defined networks (SDNs), Brocade has been one of the few vendors that have continued to evolve their fabric portfolio. Customers looking to improve the agility and level of automation do not need to make the jump to an SDN – instead, an Ethernet fabric can be used to accomplish these goals and provide an excellent foundation for a future SDN deployment.Earlier this month, Brocade announced a new fabric switch, the VDX 6940. The new switch set the current high water mark in the industry with respect to port density for a fixed form factor switch. The 6940-36Q is a 1RU switch with 36x40 Gig-E connections or 144x10 Gig-E connections (assuming breakouts are used). The 6940-144S is a 2RU switch with 96x10-Gig-E ports and either 12x40 Gig-E or 4x100 Gig-E ports. Both switches have a massive amount of capacity, making them ideal for on-demand scaling of a fabric by adding capacity to a spine horizontally as the number of leaf switches increases.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Talented startup aims to deliver software defined cloud

One of the ways you can tell that software defined networking (SDN) has the power to change the vendor landscape is by the number of startups that have emerged. Over the past few years, we've seen startups pop up to address the evolution of the data center and the WAN. For this reason, I always tend to keep my eyes open for companies generating buzz in the marketplace in this area. In my recent travels, I was made aware of another "stealth-mode" startup that's building a solution to address a new use case for SDNs. According to its website, Avni Networks addresses the "transformation of the Data Center to Virtual Clouds for the Applications Economy." From what I can tell, there seems to be some buzz around what this company is up to, which made me curious about learning more.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Why the SteelApp sale is a win-win for Brocade and Riverbed

Last week, Brocade announced its intent to purchase the SteelApp product line from Riverbed for an undisclosed amount of cash. SteelApp is a virtual application delivery controller and competes most often with the likes of F5 and Citrix. Formerly known as Stingray, SteelApp came to Riverbed in the acquisition of UK-based Zeus, who pioneered the virtual ADC market. On paper, the acquisition made sense for Riverbed, as Zeus had solutions that optimized the performance of applications with a data center solution and Riverbed was a vendor that optimizes application performance over the wide area network.However, although the business unit had some early success when it was dropped into the Riverbed channel, it never really became a meaningful part of Riverbed's revenue stream. Now, after almost four years, SteelApp will become part of Brocade's business.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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