Archive for February 2012

A Riverbed-Akamai partnership will help accelerate applications across the public Internet and private networks.

About a year ago, runaway WAN Optimization market leader, Riverbed, announced it had formed a partnership with Akamai, the market leader in Internet optimization, but gave no details as to how the partnership would work or what the joint products would be. Today, the two companies unveiled what they have been working on and it’s targeted at improving the performance of hybrid cloud environments. This service should be appealing to customers, as most companies are looking at hybrid deployments as a way to ease into cloud computing.

The two companies announced the availability of the jointly developed “Steelhead Cloud Accelerator” that combines Akamai’s Internet optimization technology with Riverbed’s WAN optimization solution to offer companies a total “end to end” solution for cloud applications.

Last Thursday, February 16th, State and Local Government Cloud Commission (SLG-CC) held a conference in Mountain View to discuss best practices and policies for state and local governments.  In conjunction with the conference representatives of state and local government combined with a number of commissioners released a rather lengthy report that documents best practices for governments as they head down the path to cloud.  It’s worth noting that the report was created using input from individuals from many of the leading cloud solution providers such as PG Menon (Brocade), Kevin Paschuck (Oracle) and Bethann Pepoll (EMC).  After reading the rather lengthy report, I thought I would share some of the highlights that can be used by State and Local Governments but also but general enterprises. 

The report recommends a four-step cloud implementation lifecycle.  Those four steps being cloud readiness assessment, assess risk and plan governance, implement the cloud and operate the solution.  This methodology is ideal for process heavy organizations like SLG but should be adhered to by all companies.  Cloud will be new to most organizations and a lifecycle approach can minimize risk and ensure key deployment steps aren’t missed.

Instead of fearing consumer devices, IT can become heroes by embracing it. Focusing on total BYOD solutions, as Aruba has, can bring happy days back to IT.

Early last year my lovely wife, then fiancee (Christine White for those that don’t know her) and I went to Aruba to escape the Massachusetts cold and enjoy some nice time in the sun. When you go through passport control, the Aruban authorities stamp your passport “Bon Bini” which means “Happy Day” in the local language. It’s fitting given the relaxing, almost perfect days you enjoy there.

Now juxtapose this with today’s IT environment where technology leaders face the daunting task of finding ways of managing and securing a massive influx of consumer devices. It’s anything but happy days for corporate IT departments as they try to navigate the many challenges associated with BYOD. This has always been a problem for IT but it is significantly more acute today that it was even a year ago. A year ago at this time, I would say only about one out of four or five CIOs were embracing BYOD.

Telcos need Diameter’s technology to build scalable voice over LTE (VoLTE) services, and this move could be important as 4G expands.

F5 Networks, the runaway leader in Application Delivery Controllers (ADC), this morning announced it was acquiring Israeli based Traffix Systems, maker of Diameter signaling products. F5 dipped into its war chest of cash and paid a handsome but not exorbitant figure of $130 million for Traffix.

F5, known more as an enterprise solution provider, has been working to strengthen its telecom position over the past couple of years. Based on conversations with F5 and telcos, I know F5 has been searching for what else it could do in the telco space other than provide high performance ADCs. There have been many rumored areas that F5 would move into including deep packet inspection (DPI), hence the rumors of F5 buying Allot or Procera, video optimizations and even Session Border Controllers (SBC).

The appeal has nothing to do with VoIP, but has to do with video interoperability.

Earlier today Cisco posted a blog that indicated the company is appealing the European Commission’s approval of the Microsoft/Skype merger to the General Court of the European Union. The blog also indicated that Messagenet, an Italian Service Provider, has joined Cisco in the appeal.

Contrary to what one might think, the appeal has nothing to do with VoIP, but has to do with video interoperability. As Cisco stated in their blog, their goal is to “make video calling as easy and seamless as an email is today. Making a video-to-video call should be as easy as dialing a phone number.”

IT executives looking to maximize their UC investments or searching for a way to gain budget approval should make UC a core component of a company’s business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

When I interview current or potential deployers of UC, the conversation typically focuses on cost savings and how to measure productivity gains. However, one thing that does not get brought up often enough is how organizations can use UC as a way to ensure continuous communications in the event of a disaster.

Organizations that haven’t been through a disaster tend to only think about the ones that gain national attention such as hurricane Katrina or 9/11. However, the majority of disasters occurs with very little media attention and can be just as harmful. For example, one enterprise I recently dealt with had a chemical truck spill directly in front of the building so workers were not allowed in the building. This meant none of the workers were able to get into the location even though there was no problem with the physical location; it was more of an access problem.

Earlier this week I was at a CIO conference in Europe and one of the big topics of conversation was Unified Communications. Remote working, collaboration initiatives and cost cutting have all made UC a more important topic over the past twelve months. There was lots of discussion about deployment issues, the ROI of UC, training issues, etc. but the biggest point of discussion was Cisco versus Microsoft and where to use which. Based on the conversations I had at the CIO summit plus others, here is where companies should leverage the respective strengths of each of the two 800 pound gorillas:

• Video. There seemed to be little doubt here that Cisco is the vendor of choice. Between TelePresence, Tandberg, Callway, Show and Share and all the other video solutions Cisco has, the company is, by far, the most dominant vendor in the video space. Additionally, there’s a common belief by people with a Cisco network that Cisco video on a Cisco network will give the best experience. I think you can provision quality video on any network with any end point but I do believe it’s easier with Cisco on Cisco.

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