|By Don MacVittie||
|October 5, 2012 10:00 AM EDT||
Not that I need to tell you, but there are several things in your network that you could have better control of. Whether it is consistent application of security policy or consistent configuration of servers, or even the setup of network devices, they’re in there, being non-standard.
And they’re costing you resources in the long run. Sure, the staff today knows exactly how to tweak settings on each box to make things perform better, and knows how to improve security on this given device for this given use, but eventually, it won’t be your current staff responsible for these things, and that new staff will have one heck of a learning curve unless you’re far better at documentation of exceptions than most organizations.
Sometimes, exceptions are inevitable. This device has a specific use that requires specific settings you would not want to apply across the data center. That’s one of the reasons IT exists, is to figure that stuff out so the business runs smoothly, no?
But sometimes it is just technology holding you back from standardizing. Since I’m not slapping around anyone else by doing so, I’ll use my employer as an example of technology and how changes to it can help or hinder you. Version 9.X of TMOS – our base operating system – was hugely popular, and is still in use in a lot of environments, even though we’re on version 11.X and have a lot of new and improved things in the system. The reason is change limitation (note: Not change control, but limitation). Do you upgrade a network device that is doing what it is supposed to simply because there’s a newer version of firmware?
it is incumbent upon vendors to give you a solid reason why you should. I’ve had reason to look into an array of cloud based accounting services of late, and frankly, there is not a compelling reason offered by the major software vendors to switch to their cloud model and become even more dependent upon the vendor (who would now be not only providing software but storing your data also). I feel that F5 has offered plenty of solid reasons to upgrade, but if you’re in a highly complex or highly regulated environment, solid reasons to upgrade do not always equate to upgrades being undertaken. Again, the risk/reward ratio has to be addressed at some point.
And I think there is a reluctance in many enterprises to consider the benefits of upgrading. I was at a large enterprise that was using Windows 95 as a desktop standard in 2002. Why? Because they believed the risks inherent to moving to a new version of Windows corporate wide were greater than the risks of staying. Frankly, by the time it was 2002, there was PLENTY of evidence that Windows 98 was stable and a viable replacement for Windows 95. You see the same phenomenon today. Lots of enterprises are still limping along with Windows XP, even though by-and-large, Windows 7 is a solid OS.
In the case of F5, there is a feature in the 11.X series of updates to TMOS that should, by itself, offer driving reason to upgrade. I think that it has not been seriously considered by some of our customers for the same reason as the Windows upgrades are slow – if you don’t look at what benefits it can bring, the risk of upgrading can scare you. But BIG-IP running TMOS 11.X has an astounding set of functionality called iApps that allow you to standardize how network objects – for load balancing, security, DNS services, WAN Optimization, Web App Firewalling, and a host of other network services – are deployed for a given type of application. Need to deploy, load balance, and protect Microsoft Exchange? Just run the iApp in the web UI. It asks you a few questions, and then creates everything needed, based upon your licensing options and your answers to the questions. Given that you can further implement your own iApps, you can guarantee that every instance of a given application has the exact same network objects deployed to make it secure, fast, and available. From an auditing perspective, it gives a single location (the iApp) for information about all applications of the same type. There are pre-generated iApps for a whole host of applications, and a group here on DevCentral that is dedicated to user developed iApps. There is even a repository of iApps on DevCentral.
And what risk is perceived from upgrading is more than mitigated by the risk reduction in standardizing the deployment and configuration of network objects to support applications. IIS has specific needs, but all IIS can be configured the same using the IIS iApp, reducing the risk of operator error or auditing gotcha.
I believe that Microsoft did a good job of putting out info about Windows 7, and that organizations were working on risk avoidance and cost containment. The same is true of F5 and TMOS 11.X. I believe that happens a lot in the enterprise, and it’s not always the best solution in the long run. You cannot know which is more risky – upgrading or not – until you know what the options are. I don’t think there are very many professional IT staff that would say staying with Windows 95 for years after Windows 98 was out was a good choice, hindsight being 20/20 and all.
Look around your datacenter. Consider the upgrade options. Do some research, make sure you are aware of what not upgrading a device, server, desktop, whatever is as well as you understand the risks of performing the upgrade.
And yeah, I know you’re crazy busy. I also know that many upgrades offer overall time savings, with an upfront cost. If you don’t invest in time-saving, you’ll never reap time savings. Rocking it every day, like most of you do, is only enough as long as there are enough hours in the day. And there are never enough hours in the IT day. As I mentioned at #EnergySec2012 last week, there are certainly never enough hours in the InfoSec day.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Aug. 31, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 364
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Aug. 31, 2015 07:00 PM EDT
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Aug. 31, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 243
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Aug. 31, 2015 03:15 PM EDT
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 141
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 457
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 417
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Aug. 31, 2015 12:00 PM EDT
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 31, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 896
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Aug. 31, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 230
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Aug. 31, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 161
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Aug. 31, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 658
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Aug. 31, 2015 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 305
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so they don't have to be replaced and are instantly converted to become smart, connected devices.
Aug. 31, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 124
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Aug. 31, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 423
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Aug. 31, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 454
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Aug. 28, 2015 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 219
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Aug. 26, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 193
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 556
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 486