With all the latest mergers, acquisitions and cloud providers coming out of the woodwork, there has been lots of marketing fluff (as a marketer, I can say this) around the benefits and differences between Reference Architecture and Converged Infrastructure. When I first started looking into these, I admit it included a lot of raised eyebrows and general pondering about whether any of this mattered to end users, or if it made a difference in anything cloud. The truth is, I am still not sure. Here’s why. Continue reading
2012 seems to be quickly becoming the year of not just cloud planning, but for some reason the year of “Customer Focus”. It’s like every enterprise, and SMB for that matter, has realized that as social media becomes more important as part of the marketing process, the need to improve customer focus is even more critical. As a result, CRM is suddenly ranking within the top 10 list of things that CIOs are focusing on from an investment perspective. Continue reading
When it comes to mobile device support in organizations, there is usually two strong views on the topic. From a security perspective, dealing with mobile devices on the network is a pain because it creates lots of security holes that are tricky to fix because locating the source device is not always the easiest. On the other hand, many organizations realize that mobile devices are part of the workplace culture and if supported properly, with the right policies in place, can help employees be more productive. For SMBs in particular, there are lots of great advantages for having a mobile-supported environment. Continue reading
On Tuesday at the InfoSecurity Summit in Hong Kong, a very interesting point about cloud came up for discussion. While I’ll be one of the first to say cloud gives organizations of all sizes lots of great benefits and resources they might normally have access to, there is another side to cloud. A much darker, scarier side that is being used by cyber-criminals. Continue reading
Once again it is Technology Tuesday, and I am happy to finally get around to profile a really cool product called FeatherNet. If you haven’t heard of it, and especially if you are an infrastructure specialist, you will absolutely love this technology. You see, FeatherNet allows IT folks to do key tasks through their smartphone, including managing their cloud infrastructure.
Let’s imagine a situation where your key IT infrastructure guy is out of the office and all of a sudden something happens in your environment. Normally this would send off lots of red flags until he/she gets access to their laptop, connect to the network and reboot/configure/fix. What do you do in the meantime?
AdminBridge came up with the idea of FeatherNet to help allow IT professionals to perform the most frequent system admin tasks including Active Directory, MS Exchange, Vmware and Hyper-V through their smartphone. This means no matter where you are (the @Feather_Net Twitter feed is full of “I’m at Starbucks and just rebooted a VM” testimonials) you can access your environment and perform common tasks. Additionally, Managed IT service providers can use their logging capability and export them into common systems such as billing systems, even across multiple client networks and installations of the FeatherNet server.
And ofcourse, it wouldn’t be a great solution without security controls. FeatherNet leverages SSL encryption and all access is governed by Active Directory. This means that network administrators need to specify access for any user wishing to access the application.
So what kinds of things can you do with FeatherNet? From an MS Exchange perspective you can perform many management tasks related to mailboxes and distribution lists and manage users including passwords through Active Directory. With their VMware functionality, you can power on/off and manage VMs, Hosts, Guests and even take snapshots. This is great for the IT person who may have many responsibilities, especially in smaller organizations where they are constantly running around performing various duties.
It’s nice to see companies like AdminBridge taking advantage of cloud to offer cool products like FeatherNet, especially as it comes with a very enticing cloud price. Oh, and did I mention you can download a free 30-day trial? It’s worth playing around with, although I warn you, when you get used to managing your environment from the local coffee shop, it could be hard to break the habit.
As part of my extended blogging network, I recently weighed in on a thread on a vendor’s site about cloud provider security and SMBs and where the responsibilities lie between the 2. I think there is a lot of confusion about whether cloud environments can be more secure for this market segment for those who outsource versus those who run internal cloud environments. So why is cloud security still such an ambiguous thing, and why are companies paying less attention in some cases than they should be? Continue reading
Recently the debate between opensource clouds like OpenStack and traditional clouds like Amazon or VMware has been heating up. Mostly due to more organizations starting to dip their toes into the cloud pool, but also as a response to the perceived flexibility that the opensource model is said to provide. But is open source a viable option for organizations, or does it make sense to go with an established cloud platform? Continue reading
As more and more organizations start looking at Big Data analytics as a method to gain better business intelligence capabilities to their large databases, another question seems to come up. The question is how can you transition your current network storage, SANs, NAS etc, to support Big Data when they inherently can’t deal with terabytes or even petabytes of unstructured data. It is from this that we are seeing new methods for dealing with large volumes of data that might indeed result in a new storage platform design. Continue reading
One of the more recent topics around cloud and security to garner media attention is around the risks associated with inadequate patching policies as they relate to virtual machines. I know most people are thinking “Endpoint? Really? Isn’t that a simple thing to take care of in any environment?”, but the reality is that there are still nuances that are part of virtual and cloud environments that add a layer of complexity that a lot of IT professionals might not think of simply because they haven’t had to think in such terms yet. In particular, the notion of endpoint tagging as it relates to virtual snapshots or moving VMs is one of those instances. Continue reading
When it comes to building clouds, the larger hardware providers have a lot a stake when it comes to investing in a platform or portfolio that can help transition them into the next generation of IT services. One of the biggest, HP, has been somewhat quiet on the overall cloud front when compared to some of their industry competition such as IBM, but while they might have been taking their time with a full-fledged cloud play, they have been doing some really great things to make sure their new offering gives them a strong position in the space. Continue reading