Competitive Decision Making: #DigitalTransformation | @ThingsExpo #DX #IoT #M2M #API

The winning trinity in competitive decision-making includes people, ideas and things according to the renowned military strategist John Boyd. Although competitive decision-making is not yet an Olympic sport, it affects us all. Leaders (people) must become trained experts at using digital technologies to make fast decisions. Leaders must use the right strategies and methodologies (ideas) to make wise decisions fast, and they must collect the needed data and analyze it fast enough using the best solutions (things). If any component of this trinity is weak, it will be hard to compete.

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The central role of the server in open networking

Open networking is a hot topic these days. When we read about open networking products and initiatives, the emphasis is on network switches more often than not. But server-based networking has also proceeded along an increasingly open path, and in many ways it set the stage for the opening of switch technology.

Network switches like top of rack (TOR) switches have traditionally been closed – they come from specific vendors with proprietary software. Networking in commercial off the shelf (COTS) servers has been open for several years, thanks to the proliferation of Linux server operating systems (OSs), and networking technologies like Open vSwitch (OVS).  The networking industry wants the switch world to follow servers’ successful path; hence the birth and popularity of the term “open networking.”

Open switch evolution

Switches have traditionally been closed – the network operating systems and protocols that run on the switches have been proprietary, could not be disaggregated from the hardware and were not open source. At first, switches were really closed because the switch ASIC, the software and the switch box were all from a single vendor and were proprietary. Then, switches got disaggregated a bit when the switch vendors adopted switch ASICs from merchant silicon vendors like Broadcom. Next came OpenFlow and OpenFlow-based SDN controllers like Floodlight, which proposed that the switch control plane protocols be removed from the switch and placed in an open source controller. This in some ways disaggregated the OS from the switch box.

Subsequently, switch operating systems like Cumulus Linux came into the market. These are disaggregated because they can install and run on merchant switch ASIC-based switch boxes from multiple vendors like Quanta and Dell. But such disaggregated switch OSes are not necessarily open source.

More recently, open source switch operating systems like SONiC and Open Network Linux have been in the news. The open source controller ecosystem has further evolved as well, focusing on feature completeness and carrier grade reliability (i.e. OpenDaylight and ONOS).

All in all, significant action and news in the realm of open networking have been related to switches, geared toward helping the industry manage the switch supply chain more effectively and deploy efficiently, similar to the COTS server model.

Figure 1: Switch disaggregation follows server model

Open networking on servers

What seems to get overlooked in these discussions about open networking is the all-important precursor to this movement – open networking on servers. Most importantly, how open networking on servers (or server-based open networking) has evolved and enabled open networking on switches.

Over the last several years, TOR switches have become simpler because data centre traffic patterns have changed and networking infrastructure efficiency requirements have increased. When using leaf (TOR) and spine switches, the imperative has shifted to moving east-west traffic most efficiently, which requires more bandwidth, more ports and lower latency. As a result, the feature requirements in hardware and software in leaf and spine switches have been reduced to a simpler set. This has made open networking in switches easier to implement and deploy.

However, the smarts of networking did not disappear – they just moved to the server, where such smarts are implemented using the virtual switch – preferably an open one such as OVS – and other Linux networking features like IP tables. Many new networking features related to network security and load balancing have been added to OVS.

OpenStack, as an open source and centralized cloud orchestration tool, has rapidly come to prominence, with more than 60% of OpenStack networking deployed today using OVS (with OpenStack Neutron). Server-based open networking has evolved relatively quietly compared to open networking in switches, but it has made major contributions toward bringing deployment efficiencies and flexibility.

Today, in many high growth cloud, SDN and NFV applications, server-based open networking is running into server sprawl and related TCO challenges. As the networking bandwidths increase and the number of VMs proliferates on servers, OVS processing is taking up an increasingly large number of CPU cycles, which is limiting the number of CPU cycles available for processing applications and VMs.

Data centre operators cannot economically scale their server-based networking using traditional software-based virtual switches. So implementing server-based networking in x86 architectures and software is a double whammy: it increases costs as too many CPU cores are consumed, and it lowers performance as applications are starved for resources. 

Offloading network processing to networking hardware is an option that has worked well in the past.  However, software-defined and open source networking is evolving at a rapid pace; such innovation stops the moment data centre operators look to inflexible networking hardware for performance and scale.

Figure 2: Networking smarts moving to servers

SmartNICs: The programmable option

The solution to this challenge is to offload OVS processing to an SmartNIC. A SmartNIC handles I/O functions and incorporates a programmable network processor that can run OVS and other software. With a SmartNIC handling OVS processing, performance is boosted by up to 5X, and the data centre operator frees as many as 11 CPU cores from network-related processing, enabling greater VM scalability and lower costs. Because it is programmable, a SmartNIC can evolve rapidly with few features, preserving the pace of innovation. 

Although server-based networking by itself can cause server sprawl, SmartNICs are making the case for efficient and flexible open networking from the COTS server side.

Figure 3: A SmartNIC offloads networking from servers

Does Your Company Require a B2B Integration Tool | @CloudExpo #BI #API #Cloud

Technology integration is complex and an evergreen business challenge for IT teams. Enterprises setup manual & point to point connections to exchange data from business partners. However, data disruptions emerge when the business IT systems expand and prevents organizations from sharing data with partners. Information exchange with this approach requires more resources and manpower is required. For such scenarios, information solution experts recommend to use the B2B data exchange tool to support the Electronic Data Interchange. However, enterprises are struck in a dilemma to go for an in house or a b2b solution. This blog will help you in deciding whether to develop an in-house solution or a dedicated information solution

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The Dark Side of SSH Key Compliance | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Compliance

Who is accountable for SSH-related, key-based access in your organization? In many enterprises, this is not clear, leading to assumptions that leave you vulnerable to attack and compliance violations as well. This article will address the challenge of SSH user key-based access from the perspective of compliance.
It’s all about access control. All the regulations, laws and frameworks exist to ensure, at a minimum, that protected data (PII, ePHI, credit card data, etc.) has authorized access. It doesn’t matter whether that access is being requested by a machine, admin or business user.

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Tech News Recap for the Week of 07/24/17

If you had a busy week and need to catch up, here’s a tech news recap of articles you may have missed for the week of 07/24/2017!

Cisco Live 2017 thoughts and reaction. Adobe to phase out Flash Player by 2020. Windows 10 only slightly more popular than XP. Azure revenue is up 97%. vSphere 6.5 update, what’s under the hood. iCloud security flaw puts users at risk and more tops news this week you may have missed! Remember, to stay up-to-date on the latest tech news throughout the week, follow @GreenPagesIT on Twitter.

Tech News Recap


IT Operations







Download our recent webinar to find out how cloud is killing traditional help desk, and learn about what end users need now to stay productive and happy.

By Jake Cryan, Digital Marketing Specialist

Rackspace and OVH launch new European data centres

Rackspace and OVH have announced the openings of new data centres in Frankfurt and London respectively.

The former cited EU and Swiss data protection regulations as part of the reason for its move, while the latter said that ‘in spite of Brexit’ it was still committed to the UK market.

“This marks a significant step forward for OVH in supporting UK customers with a local dedicated gateway into our worldwide network,” said Hiren Parekh, director cloud EMEA at OVH. “We are offering low latency, guaranteed bandwidth and enhanced DDoS protection for all of our customers.” Jeff Cotton, president of Rackspace, said: “Rackspace’s first data centre in Germany marks another key milestone for our DACH portfolio and reflects our investment in the German market.”

The new German data centre means Rackspace will operate 12 worldwide, while OVH is opening its fifth data centre in 12 months, after Australia, Singapore, Poland and Germany.

The two companies have been busy outside of their data centre remits in recent months. In May, Rackspace announced the acquisition of TriCore Solutions, an enterprise app management provider, as well as unveiling their new CEO, former EarthLink boss Joe Eazor. Last month, OVH announced a €400 million (£358.6m) funding round in order to help expand its global strategy.

Also among Rackspace’s recent highlights was announcing a deal with Google Cloud for managed services support, while OVH was named as the top cloud computing vendor in Europe in May in terms of price and performance. 

How IT operations management is embracing open source

Open source software adoption continues to disrupt the traditional IT markets, as enterprise CIOs and CTOs seek ways to evolve by working with progressive vendors and service providers who have a proven track record of open innovation.

The growth of digital business transformation and the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to drive large investment in IT operations management (ITOM) through 2020, according to the latest global market study by Gartner. A primary driver for organisations moving to ITOM open-source software (OSS) is lower cost of ownership.

OSS ITOM market development

While acceptance of OSS ITOM is increasing, traditional closed-source ITOM software still has the biggest budget allocation today. Moreover, complexity and governance issues that face users of OSS ITOM tools cannot be ignored.

“In fact, these issues open up opportunities for ITOM vendors. Even vendors that are late to market with ITOM functionality can compete in this area,” said Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner.

Gartner believes many enterprises will turn to managed ITOM or ITOM as a service (ITOMaaS) enabled by open-source technologies and provided by a third party. With OSS, vendors can provide more cost-effective and readily available ITOM functions in a scaled manner through the cloud.

Through 2020, public cloud and managed services are expected to be leveraged more often for ITOM tools, which will drive growth of the subscription business model for both cloud and on-premises ITOM.

However, on-premises deployments will still be the most common delivery method. This imposes multiple challenges to incumbent ITOM vendors. First, those vendors that do not offer a cloud delivery model will face continuous cannibalisation from ITOM vendors that can deliver ITOM through both cloud and on-premises.

Second, platform vendors are providing some native ITOM functionalities on their public clouds. Customers that are running workloads solely on these platforms may prefer these native features. There are also hybrid requirements for ITOM tools that can seamlessly manage both cloud and on-premises environments.

Future of cloud services and OSS for ITOM

Customer demand has driven traditional software vendors to transform and adapt to the changing technology and competitive landscapes. Competitive pressure from cloud (SaaS offerings) and commercial OSS (offerings with a free license plus paid support) is forcing ITOM providers to move toward subscription-based business models for both cloud and on-premises deployments.

The influx of new, smaller ITOM vendors focused on one or two major tool categories will continue to cause disruption for large traditional suite vendors. Given this situation, traditional vendors will need to react by changing how their products fit together.

More importantly, according to the Gartner assessment, traditional vendors need to change how their solutions are sold as customers exert significant pressure to shift to offering cloud-based services.

AWS hit $4.1 billion in revenue in Q2 as analyst notes ‘spectacular’ hyperscale numbers

Amazon Web Services hit $4.1 billion (£3.13bn) in revenue for the most recent quarter, contributing almost 11% of Amazon’s overall revenue, according to the company’s latest financial results.

The figures represent a significant rise from the previous two quarters, where AWS revenue was at $3.54bn and $3.66bn. Run rate for AWS now stands at $16bn, up from $14bn for the last quarter, while overall net sales for Amazon stood at $38.0 billion.

In a conference call with analysts, Brian Olsavsky, Amazon chief financial officer, fielded several questions on the topic of AWS. “We are seeing great customer adoption,” he said, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. “Our usage in all of our large services are actually accelerating and they’re growing at a rate higher than our revenue growth. So you’re seeing great adoption. We are seeing AWS customers migrate more than 30 databases over the last year and a half.”

Discussing profitability – or rather, how AWS’ operating margin had significantly decreased, to 22.3%, the lowest for at least six quarters – Olsavsky pointed to a 71% increase in assets acquired under capital leases, the majority of which was for Amazon’s cloud arm. “We’ve really stepped up the infrastructure to match the large usage growth and also the geographic expansion – and that is showing up in tech and content,” he said.

As AWS is the only cloud provider out of Amazon, Google and Microsoft to fully disclose its financial figures, it is therefore difficult to fully compare. Google’s ‘other revenue’ bucket, which includes cloud, was at $3.1 billion for the most recent quarter, while Microsoft’s ‘intelligent cloud’ bucket, including Azure among others such as server products, hit $7.43 billion. Google added the number of cloud deals above $500,000 had tripled year over year.

According to a note published by Synergy Research yesterday evening, Amazon managed to gain 1% in market share over the last four quarters in spite of its dominant position, with Microsoft growing 3%, Google 1% and IBM staying steady. This evidently has a knock on for the rest of the market, with the following 10 players – whose combined market share is just over half of Amazon’s – falling 1%, and the rest of the market dropping significantly. As previously, of the second-tier players, Alibaba and Oracle are growing the quickest.

“The increasing dominance of hyperscale players continues to play out, with all four leading companies having cause to celebrate,” said John Dinsdale, a chief analyst and research director at Synergy in a statement. “While Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are doubling in size, IBM continues to dominate in hosted private cloud and AWS is still over three times the size of its nearest competitor.

“Some of the numbers are actually pretty spectacular,” Dinsdale added. “The year on year market growth rate is nudging down as we expected in such a large market, but it remains at comfortably over 40% and AWS alone generated revenue growth of $1.2 billion over the last four quarters.”

You can take a look at Amazon’s full report here.

Postscript: As reported by multiple sources, the rise in Amazon stock yesterday as the results were announced briefly put Jeff Bezos to the top of the pile as the richest person in the world, ahead of Bill Gates, before shares fell a few hours later putting Gates back on top.

Read more: AWS, Azure, and the state of play right now

How Sia Could Disrupt the Entire Cloud Market | @CloudExpo #Cloud #FinTech #Blockchain

Blockchain technology is taking over the world. It is an ingenious invention by a person or a group of people known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 8 years, you have heard of Bitcoin. The underlying technology behind Bitcoin is called blockchain. It is a public ledger of all the Bitcoin transactions ever happened on its network.

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