Commentary
Content posted in March 2011
It's World Backup Day
Commentary  |  3/31/2011  | 
Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages, today has been declared World Backup Day to bring attention to the fact that many of the computers we rely on in our daily lives are not backed up. Since I spend an inordinate amount of my time writing, lecturing and consulting with people about their backup architectures, I'm celebrating World Backup Day, and I hope you are too.
The Importance Of Correcting Packet Loss In VDI
Commentary  |  3/30/2011  | 
Recently, on the LinkedIN WAN optimization professionals group, I participated in a conversation around whether virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is ready for the WAN. Face it, delivering responsive VDI over the WAN is going to be a challenge. One of the interesting points that came up was the importance of correcting for packet loss when considering WAN optimizers.
More On Chunking
Commentary  |  3/28/2011  | 
The last time we looked at the chunking process in data deduplication engines ("Your Mileage Will Vary: Chunking"), we were looking pretty favorably at variable chunking that used the contents of the data to assign chunk boundaries. However, as deduplication moves from backup appliances accepting tape, or other backup application-specific format data, into backup applications and primary storage, the advantages of fixed-chunk deduplication start to become apparent.
Nearbuy's Luneta Adds A New Dimension To WLAN Management- With Strings
Commentary  |  3/27/2011  | 
It's been a while since there was much to talk about in the WLAN management platform space. Each major vendor offers a pane of glass for controlling its own wireless networks, and AirWave's AMP is the closest thing to a "manage any WLAN" solution we've seen. This simple equation has been the status quo, but most wireless management systems are far too complex to unleash beyond the IT inner circle, even where help desk-level roles can be created. But now, Nearbuy Systems' Luneta enables just that
'Only The Blocks That Have Changed' And Other Platitudes
Commentary  |  3/24/2011  | 
Many of the technologies we've come to rely on in the storage world nowadays use one form or another of changed block tracking. Snapshots, replication (especially the point-in-time kind), automated tiering and data deduplication all work by identifying changed, or different, blocks and treating them in some special way. The problem is that while parts may be parts, blocks are most definitely not blocks.
IBM Pulse2011 Conference: Helping Enterprises Get Smarter
Commentary  |  3/23/2011  | 
Yogi Berra is quoted as saying, "This is like deja vu all over again," and that is what last week's IBM Pulse2011 conference in Las Vegas felt like. The event had the same title, "The Premier Service Management Event," and the subtitle, "Optimizing the World's Infrastructure," as last year's conference. This year's conference also had essentially the same message, with some exceptions, such as an emphasis on Smarter Computing. But that is not a bad thing. As was noted many times during Pulse2011
Dear RSA, Trust Is Earned Every Day--You're Not Earning It Today
Commentary  |  3/22/2011  | 
Trust is earned every day, and in information security, your customers' trust is easy to lose and hard to earn back. RSA had a breach with unknown ramifications. RSA Chairman Art Coviello's cryptic notice, and RSA's relative silence since then, is not helping customers feel confident in SecurID as a product or RSA as a company. Just look at what's happening on Twitter for gems like this: "Dear #RSA, open your pants and show us the problem, or we will never trust you again."
Learning To Be A Twit
Commentary  |  3/22/2011  | 
I've been through my share of help desk implementations over the years. I've sat in on a fair number of process improvement teams, and have either helped to ring in new ways of doing things or suffered through other people's ideas of what network and customer support should feel like. It's just part of the game when you work in IT and you care about helping to keep the organization at the top of its support game. So why was was I taken aback when I found out that users were tweeting their beefs
Facebook iFrames: Good For Business, Bad For Security?
Commentary  |  3/21/2011  | 
Legitimate developers will be pleased with the expanded flexibility, but malicious ones will find it easier to introduce malware, security experts warn.
OpenFlow Coming To InteropNet Labs
Commentary  |  3/21/2011  | 
One of the most interesting aspects of Interop is the Interop Labs area on the show floor, which highlights new and emerging technologies. In years past these technologies have included VPNs, network access control systems and various Trusted Computing Group projects. This year, InteropNet's OpenFlow Lab is going to showcase OpenFlow, with live demonstrations of the OpenFlow protocol. Openflow may well become an important networking protocol that will have significant impact on how you can depl
Commvault Turns Snapshots Into 'Proper' Backups
Commentary  |  3/21/2011  | 
As we discussed a few weeks ago, you can certainly argue that snapshots, when combined with replication, could serve as an adequate backup system. My biggest objection was that snapshots lack the catalog that conventional backup applications build as they back up data. Commvault's SnapProtect fills that gap by providing catalogs and a management console for snapshots across a variety of arrays and other snapshot providers.
Forecast: Shakeups Looming in the Cloud
Commentary  |  3/18/2011  | 
There are a number of rumblings in the cloud. One IT behemoth is believed to be eying a strategic acquisition of a powerful cloud software and storage offering, another seems to be repositioning an existing product, and VCs sharpen their focus on what really adds value in the cloud. There are a number of pivotal events that I believe will transpire over the next year in this rapidly changing and expanding market. From start-ups to behemoths, there will be significant changes that will shake up t
Your Mileage Will Vary: Chunking
Commentary  |  3/18/2011  | 
I've said many times that nowhere in the field of information technology are the words "your mileage my vary" truer than when discussing data deduplication. How much your data will shrink when run through a given vendor's data deduplication engine can vary significantly depending on the data you're trying to dedupe and how well that particular deduplication engine handles that kind of data. One critical factor is how the deduping engine breaks your data down into chunks.
FTI Technology: Running Rings Around e-Discovery
Commentary  |  3/17/2011  | 
That information is an enterprise asset is well-known. That it may unfortunately be a liability is also true, even though we would like to have that concern go away. Enterprises must know how to deal with the liability side of their information when civil litigation arises. As a result, the e-discovery business has risen among IT vendors that hope to help enterprises manage their litigation/liability issues. FTI Technology, with its Ringtail software, is at the forefront of improving the product
Schwartz On Security: Security Complexity Challenge No. 1
Commentary  |  3/16/2011  | 
Still, organizations are loathe to cut vendors, fearing higher prices, greater total cost of ownership, and fewer capabilities.
Headlines About Japan's Nuclear Crisis Could Be Way Overblown
Commentary  |  3/15/2011  | 
An MIT research scientist has released a provocative essay that explains in layman's terms why not to be worried about the problems at Japan's nuclear reactors. The original version cited inaccuracies in media reports, but falls short of blaming the media for being sensationalist.
An Ugly Week In My Wireless And Mobile Broadband Worlds
Commentary  |  3/15/2011  | 
Wake me up when March is over, will ya? Of late, I'm getting a wee bit exhausted from dealing with the unpretty side of my chosen vocation. Yes, wireless of all sorts is cool and sexy. Not everyone really "gets" the magic behind devices that combine radios with networking protocols, and it's a wonderful fraternity to be in for those of us who do.
WLAN Innovation Continues
Commentary  |  3/14/2011  | 
Small and medium businesses have been deploying wireless LANs for more than a decade. However, vendors are still trying to differentiate their products because the market continues to experience very healthy growth, according to market research firm In-Stat.
Practical Analysis: A UC Champion's Survival Guide
Commentary  |  3/11/2011  | 
When it comes to unified communications, IT must be both the application implementer and champion for use.
What WAN Optimizers Can Learn From Firewalls
Commentary  |  3/11/2011  | 
Listening to the give and take about WAN optimizers made me remember another battle between networking giants. It was nearly 10 years ago, during the early days of firewalls, when it seemed Marcus Ranum, then with Network FlightRecorder, would go head-to-head with Check Point's Gil Schwed on a weekly basis. Ranum was among the early creators of the application proxy and was vociferous about the value of delivering a firewall that terminated and inspected every session before passing the contents
Open-FCoE: Will Software Initiators Win Again?
Commentary  |  3/10/2011  | 
Now that second- and, for some components, third-generation Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) equipment is coming to market, Intel is once again promoting the use of Open-FCoE software initiators with its X520 10Gbps network cards as an alternative to Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) that process the FCoE protocol traffic on-card. The question for Open-FCoE is: Will the FCoE market develop like the Fibre Channel market or the iSCSI market did?
Standardizing Cloud APIs Is Useless
Commentary  |  3/9/2011  | 
In a session on open source in the cloud at the Cloud Connect show in Santa Clara, Calif., Randy Bias of Cloudscaling dropped a bombshell of a statement: "API's don't matter." What Bias was really asking was, "What role do standards play in cloud computing?" With a wry smirk, Bias went on to explain that mimicking Amazon's APIs, for example, is useless if providers don't have the ability to deliver all of the features and functions of Amazon's service, including the things you don't see like rel
Empirix/Harris Poll Seeks To Illuminate Mobile Carrier Issues From Customer Perspective
Commentary  |  3/9/2011  | 
If you happen to be a service provider, the only way to stay in favor with your customers is to keep an ear to the ground for signs of discontent and then meaningfully respond as needed. Sure, the help desk can provide some satisfaction metrics, but we all know that we tend to not hear about more problems than actually get reported. To see how customers of several mobile carriers really feel about their service experiences, the network testing big-gun Empirix commissioned a survey of almost 300
Western Digital Buys Hitachi GST, And Then There Were Four
Commentary  |  3/9/2011  | 
Just as the sports-crazed among us have recovered from Super Bowl Sunday and are preparing for March Madness, Western Digital announced that it is buying Hitachi's Global Storage Technologies division, which will bring the hard drive market to a final four vendors a full month before the NCAA tournament does. The new Western Digital will be far and away the largest hard drive vendor, selling 49 percent of the world's hard drives.
Antenna's Volt Looks To AMP Up The MEAP Market
Commentary  |  3/8/2011  | 
The Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) space continues to stay hot with the increasing number of mobile devices landing in employee hands. If not managed properly, the task of tending to smartphones and tablets used in the enterprise has the potential to be as frenetic as herding cats. Antenna Software answers the challenge of the consumerization of the workplace simply and elegantly; it's new Volt app is designed to turn potential chaos into business advantage with an HTML 5-based ut
Cloud Connect Is All About Automation
Commentary  |  3/8/2011  | 
Automation. That is the theme I continue to come back to while at Cloud Connect. I think organizations are going to be getting the most benefit from automation in the near term, and automation is one of the many steps on the road to private cloud computing. Automation, when done right, can save you and your staff loads of work and can ensure that deployments go more smoothly. I sat down with representatives from VMWare, Gale Technologies, HP, TransLattice and Cloud.com, and got the lowdown on au
How Will Thunderbolt Affect Enterprise Storage?
Commentary  |  3/8/2011  | 
Last week, Intel and Apple dropped a bombshell on the consumer computer peripheral market. The new Thunderbolt port, a 10G bps interconnect found on Apple's latest MacBook Pro laptop computers, combines DisplayPort video and PCI Express and is opening a new world of expansion options. But how will this technology, formerly known as Light Peak, impact enterprise storage?
Cisco Goes After 'Underserved' Mid-Market With VoIP Solution
Commentary  |  3/7/2011  | 
Cisco has packaged the core technology behind its Unified Communications Manager portfolio for companies of 300 people or less.
Tape Backups Come To Gmail Users' Rescue
Commentary  |  3/7/2011  | 
The folks at Google installed a new version of the Gmail back-end storage software recently. As sometimes happens when code moves from development to production, it broke, and 0.02 percent of Gmail's multitudes lost access to their mailboxes. Google's techs are furiously restoring data from backup tapes while the blogosphere and twitterverse are all abuzz about how the cloud is falling. So what can we learn from this?
When MLAG Is Good Enough
Commentary  |  3/7/2011  | 
Do you need multi-path Ethernet in the data center using TRILL, Shortest Path Bridging (SPB), Cisco's FabricPath or Brocade's VCS in order to maximize network efficiency and reduce congestion? Probably not, unless you manage a very big data center with servers and access ports running into the tens of thousands. If you have less than 5,000 access ports in your data center, you can probably avoid routing Ethernet frames and use your vendor's multi-chassis link aggregation (MLAG) product-set to in
Backup Rule #7: Encrypt Your Backups
Commentary  |  3/2/2011  | 
Last week I opened my newspaper (yes, I still read the news on paper) to see a report of, once again, a major data breach caused by a batch of backup tapes being lost in transit to the warehouse. At the very least, I had hoped that the system administrators at large organizations that hold the most personal of all information would have gotten the word to encrypt their backup tapes, but this piece of news and the results of our InformationWeek Analytics Backup Survey have proven me wrong.
IBM's Watson: 'Think' Of The Implications
Commentary  |  3/1/2011  | 
"Think" has been a watchword of IBM for a very long time. Until recently, that simple word applied only to IBM employees and the customers that would embrace the principles behind it. With the success of IBM's natural language computer system Watson in last week's "Jeopardy!" matches, "think" can now be applied to one of its computer systems, as well. However, it's the future of Watson that we would now take into account.


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