Monday, May 9, 2011

HP with FlexNetwork: You're going to have to update your network, so you might as well do it right

As HP unveils it's new FlexNetwork Architecture (stories on ZDNet, InformationWeek and Network World), they seem to be making a bold statement about the future of corporate networks. And that is that changing requirements are inevitable, so why not build out a network that can support all the new cloud and mobile tricks you know about ... and the ones you don't?

Aside from the HP versus Cisco narrative that the press loves, there is a major need for a convergence on networks, but it's not just a convergence with the networks themselves, it's a convergence with the rest of the enterprise and the rest of the cloud and mobile requirements bubbling up fast. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

A future-proof network is more about management and security than hardware and platforms. And it's also about ecosystems: HP is partnering extensively with Citrix, Microsoft and Riverbed. No one vendor can or should be the sole network IP supplier (just like there should no be one cloud provider).

What's more, the virtualization trend that begets the cloud trend that supports the mobile trend all require intelligent networks that have security ingrained -- not gained after the fact. As workers depend more on cloud and hybrid computing services, the network is the cloud.

When I hear people complain about the risks associated with cloud, I dare them to look closely at their own mission critical networks. Often what they find are existing, in-place risks that dwarf what they fear most about the cloud. The fears about security, reliability, control, data and privacy: These risks already live on their disjointed networks.

Those networks, incidentally, are the weak link between their nice, safe, controlled data centers on premises and all the people and partners that actually need to use them. The boundary is not the enterprise, it is the ways in which their networks can adapt.

Fear your old network first

So if you fear cloud, you should probably fear your current network, for all the same reasons.

And that's because in this day and age all large-scale IT for enterprises is supported by WANs and how they play with the global stew of network service providers. This is for apps, data, communications, VOIP, media, VPN, branch, mobile ... you name it.

My modern network needs to be comptaible and secure for data center, campus, branch and WAN activities. And I need to stream and move large objects more than ever. It doesn't make sense for the CFO to ask workers to use the cloud (because it saves data center resources) when the network can't support cloud workloads and requirements, does it?

Whether you have to revisit your network architecture because of performance, costs, compliance, security or just new payloads like mobile and media, you might as well do it right. The network really should not be the weak link in the enterprise. Not any more. Not for any longer.

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Talend delivers converged platform for better data services integration across multiple applications

Seeking to make it easier to synchronize data between applications and across enterprise boundaries, Talend on Monday delivered a unified platform for both data services and applications integration requirements.

The Talend ESB Standard Edition, built on an open source enterprise service bus (ESB), frees data services and data management processes from specific applications. By abstracting them as standards-based services that can be reused by other applications, the new Talend platform offers a common environment for users to manage an entire lifecycle of a data service, regardless of its origins.

Talend also announced the 4.2 version of its Data Integration, Data Quality and Master Data Management (MDM) solutions, which now work in combination with the new Talend ESB. [Disclosure: Talend is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Thanks to such trends as cloud, hybrid computing and massive data sets, the role and impact of integration has shifted. A more comprehensive and managed approach to integration is required -- one that spans data and applications services. Moreover, the tools that support enterprise integration need to useable by more types of workers, those that are involved at the business process and data analysis levels.

By seeking to reduce middleware complexity, Talend's combined offerings unify a platform with a common development, deployment and monitoring environment that spans both data management and application integration tasks and operations, said Pat Walsh, Vice President of Marketing for the Application Integration Division at Talend.

Many touch points

"There’s now the mandate that you can no longer isolate data from application, because the touch points are just so many. You now need to look at solutions that, from the get-go, consider both aspects of the integration problem -- the data aspect and the system and application integration aspect," said Walsh.

Talend ESB Standard Edition uses the Apache CXF services framework, Apache Camel integration framework and Apache ActiveMQ enterprise messaging capabilities. Talend's ESB Standard Edition also features Service Locator capabilities for automatic failover and load balancing through the Apache Zookeeper extension for dynamic endpoint registration and lookup. The Security Token Service (STS) framework supports SAML 2.0 (Security Assertion Markup Language 2.0), and Service Activity Monitoring fosters analysis of service activity.

"We've gone to great lengths to include security mechanisms into the solution," said Walsh, "so that we can have approaches whereby there are certain permissions for just individuals. Or, IT management can look at certain aspects while opening it up maybe to a broader audience, when it comes to development and use of the interfaces that are going to be developed on the data in application side."

Talend ESB Standard Edition source code is licensed under the Apache 2.0 License. A commercial edition is also available through the company.

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Open Group cloud survey shows a lack of IT preparedness, especially on measuring cloud's true costs and benefits

While more than 90 percent of companies are using -- or plan to use -- cloud computing, the cloud model is raising some concerns, as well as some paradoxes.

Unsurprisingly, security is the leading concern, while integration and governance issues are close behind. The paradox arises because industry executives know that cloud computing will impact their business, but are not yet prepared to handle that impact and, in many cases, don't yet know how to measure it.

These are some of the results from a recent survey by The Open Group, which polled 307 IT professionals who had purchasing or decision-making influence over cloud computing. The study earlier this year found that cloud computing required C-level approval at 55 percent of the companies, while 22 percent left it to IT directors and 8 percent to enterprise architects. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Among the take-aways from the results: "You need to take the metrics and find out what your IT finances are to make a true business decision about cloud," said Dr. Chris Harding, Forum Director for The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. "And you need to track that as your move forward."

Among other findings from the survey:
  • An impressive 92 percent of respondents said they are either currently using some cloud (49 percent) or had it on their IT road map (43 percent). The remaining 8 percent said they had no cloud plans.

  • Only 17 percent of those polled said they use or would use public cloud, while the remainder were divided between private (29 percent) and hybrid (45 percent). Another 9 percent were unsure what they would use.

    The paradox arises because industry executives know that cloud computing will impact their business, but are not yet prepared to handle that impact and, in many cases, don't know how to measure it.

  • The main drivers behind cloud adoption were cost (21 percent), timeliness and agility (19 percent), and resource optimization (17 percent).

  • Data security is the biggest concern for companies (18 percent), followed by integration issues (15 percent), and governance (14 percent).

  • A majority of participants (55 percent) said that cloud return on investment (ROI) would be easy to justify. However, only 35 percent of respondents said they had mechanisms in place to effectively measure ROI.

  • An overwhelming 82 percent said they expected cloud to significantly impact one or more business processes, but only 28 percent are actually prepared for these changes.

  • When asked if they were satisfied with cloud education and training available, 51 percent percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied, 34 percent said they were somewhat satisfied, and 15 percent said they were dissatisfied.
This survey builds on the ongoing work being orchestrated by The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group, and the results will help guide its future development on the financial and business impact of cloud computing.

The results indicate that these enterprise architects and planners are primarily focused on private and hybrid computing, and not so much on so-called public cloud options, said Harding. The respondents expect that cloud will impact their business processes, but are not sure how.

Enterprises should start right away with measurement of shared services use and costs, said Harding. That will allow for any move to cloud with assurances that risks and rewards can be managed. Only by learning the internal costs can the right decision be made as to how external services affect the balance, he said.

If you are interested in getting involved with The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group, visit For Cloud Computing resources published by The Open Group, visit:

Due out in mid-2011, The Open Group currently writing a book tentatively titled Cloud Computing for Business: The Open Group Guide, which will demonstrate a model for measuring costs, and for how to begin managing governance around costs and service-level agreements, said Harding.

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