24 February 2012

NetEvents Garmisch 2012 - blog part two

Peter Hall, Ovum: Managing Change Within the Enterprise

Peter Hall opened the discussion by outlining out the complex role of the CIO, whose job includes managing strategic projects, managing growing endpoints, more network performance demands, threats, evaluating new technologies such as cloud, and responding to growing CEO expectations with less budget.

The panel was asked what the challenges were, in their opinion. Charles Ferland, VP at IBM Systems Europe, said that networks were not just about speed but needed to be smarter. Brett Johnson, VP at AboveNet, said that his customers now ask about latency where they didn't five years ago and that this was a big trend. Carolyn Crandall, marketing VP at Riverbed, said that performance was about the end user, whether an employee or website visitor and that change needs to have a purpose.

Daniel Beazer, analyst at Tier1 research said: "What we see is a process of creative construction (see Schumpeter) as telcos race to the bottom with prices. Everything is commoditised - Wedgwood did this with crockery. This is a feature of the market."

They were then asked to what extent CIOs relied on their service providers, rather than managing change in-house. Ferland said the problem of performance was "not always about adding bandwidth but managing the system dynamically as workloads move around from server to server, from datacentre to datacentre across the globe."

Johnson said: "Performance is big issue, along with scalability and flexibility, even for apps of the future with unknown requirements. That's why we built a direct connect platform to Amazon, bypassing the public Internet, which gives enterprises options."

Crandall said: "Enterprises still need to do tape backup - they don't want to change their software but still want to back up to the public cloud. They also want to do management such as load balancing."

Rob Bamforth, Quocirca: smart security solutions for tomorrow's networks

Focused on security, Bamforth opened by remarking that gadgets are on the march. "There's a lot of use of devices in the enterprise, especially in people-oriented businesses," he said. "Tablets are used to access corporate data across the globe, not just in North America. This means you need to have the confidence in your ability to protect that data." He pointed out that that ability is high for email but much lower for other types of data repositories, such as USB sticks and mobiles. How can CIOs keep data safe?

From the panel, Pascal Oetiker, EMEA director, NetIQ, said that management of users in today's cloud should be seamless and controlled. Markus Nispel, technology strategist at Enterasys, said: "One CIO I met recently said he was measured by how fast he could give up control." Franz Kaiser, regional director at Fortinet said: "We aim to give back control to IT manager." Thomas Hemker, security strategist at Symantec said: "We take a holistic approach - it's about securing data assets. We can do hosted security solutions, as it's important to be able to use cloud providers such as SaaS securely, so we will see more cloud firewalls in future."

Can CIOs take back control? Nispel said the driver behind the BYOD phenomenon was new apps so security managers need to look at which ones need protecting. "We are going cloud," he said. "We at Enterasys have Box.Net, we use Google Apps and Gmail, and our expense control is in the cloud."

Oetiker said: "My marketing managers run their own P&L centre and use their own credit cards to buy services. Then the problems start. Businesses need to be able to do this kind of thing for a short while then move out of the application and get the data back. You also need a way of connecting users to cloud applications and authenticate them properly, as this gives you control and allows you to use SaaS."

Hemker there was a need for single sign-on or improved authentication. There was discussion about and agreement on the need for control of apps on the network and access control to secure them.

To a question about remote kill capabilities for remote devices, Nispel said: "You can install software on the device, for example, or use network access controls and monitoring, or use Exchange plugins for email. It's tough to install a wipe application on all devices because of the wide variety of OSes and hardware." There was broad agreement.

Carolyn Crandall, Riverbed: Next wave of Consolidation

This guest speaker presentation opened the second of the event's two days. Presenting Riverbed's Virtual Server Infrastructure, Crandall said: "This is something that has not been done before."

She explained how VSI combined concepts from virtual desktop infrastructure and server virtualisation to allow server images to be projected from a central location and linked using Riverbed's WAN optimisation technology, so providing improved security and control. She said that Riverbed technology had resolved customer objections about booting servers over the WAN, fear of what happened when the WAN went down, and about performance over the WAN.

"The product is called Granite," she said. "It can be a separate box or run in one of our Steelhead appliances, and you can boot in under one minute over the WAN." She said VSI brings advantages of lower TCO and a hard ROI, complete consolidation, happy end users and better performance, and rapid service deployment.

Crandall concluded with four case studies where customers had saved money and time deploying VSI technology. "Not everyone will want to do this as it's an architectural change," she said. "But at least now they have a choice."

Daniel Beazer, Tier1 Research: Change in the Datacentre

Beazer opened the discussion with information about the growth of data in the datacentre. "One problem is that the cloud is expensive," he said. "It's just like a hire car, it's much more expensive to hire by the day than the week."

From the panel, Andreas Lemke, Alcatel-Lucent cloud solutions manager said: "By 2014, 80% of apps will be in the cloud, so we see a strong trend of apps moving there. This means we need to develop the technology to set apps up in the datacentre.

John Rollason, senior manager product solutions at NetApp said: "We see the move towards cloud and if you define it as shared virtual infrastructure, yes, data keeps growing. We see us taking more orders and partnering with BT and others, as end users don't want to run their own infrastructure. We will have fewer customers but the workloads will increase massively."

Paul Griffiths, global consulting engineer at Riverbed, said: "People are looking for choice and want to choose where to host their apps for business, whether temporary, or test and dev, or production apps. We will follow the customers' data and provide a LAN-like experience."

Sven Klindworth, head of BT Advise Compute, said: "The trend is towards much bigger datacentres than the past, for example look at BT's new facility in Frankfurt. But is one per continent enough? Customers want to see the datacentre and the flashing lights on the servers and go there with their auditor and see where their data is."

Beazer introduced server-huggers -- managers who did not want to relinquish their servers -- pointing out that there were good reasons why branch offices wanted to hang onto their systems, not least to grant some autonomy from the "insane" orders that came from HQ. Backing up to tape was of a similar order, he said.

Rollason said: "There's no logical or financial reason to backup to tape but it takes a very long time for enterprise IT to change. But over next 10 years, there will be a 4,000% growth in data which means that things have to change - it's not efficient to keep going as we do."

Klindworth said: "In financial services companies, they use the latest technologies but the CIOs say that all this new tech always comes on top so no old system ever gets switched off. They still have systems to send customers statements that were programmed 30 years ago and which run on old mainframes."

Griffiths said: "Server huggers are minimising the risk by hanging onto servers, they know that the data is the crown jewels and their jobs might be at risk if they don't take care."

Discussing data privacy issues, Lemke said: "Europe is more conservative, compared to the US or India. We need to take the concerns about security and performance in the cloud seriously and comfort people that our solutions can work or improve on the current situation, and help them save costs. In a tough economy if you can save admin or datacentre costs by going to the cloud people will do it."

Lemke answered an audience question about how to ensure that data doesn't end up in the hands of the US government as a result of the Patriot Act. He said: "We can ensure that your data is safe -- but the Patriot Act compels companies to hand over data even if the data lives outside the US. So you need to ask who your data / cloud provider is. Most companies want to keep their data in the local country so the cloud provider needs to be in the country."

Rollason said: "Many people assume that the server-hugger's silo is secure but there's more risk from end users doing things that you don't want them to do - such as cloud leakage - and we've seen people who have servers removed go and buy servers from Amazon. Also there's a lot of data loss down to internal issues eg rogue employees."

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