Enterprises should beware of "SDN-washing," in which a vendor "relabels legacy approaches with the latest buzzwords," advised Joe Skorupa, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
Enterprises are increasingly deploying software defined networking (SDN) in their data centers, but SDN can also be applied effectively to campus networks and enterprise wide area networks, explained Skorupa.
"SDN is a new approach to designing, building and operating networks that supports business agility. SDN brings a similar degree of agility to networks that abstraction, virtualization and orchestration have brought to server infrastructure," Skorupa explained in an interview posted by Gartner.
The analyst explained that there are three models for SDN deployment: switch-based, overlay and hybrid. A switch-based model is best for greenfield deployments and where cost of infrastructure and having multiple vendors are important considerations. A tunnel-based overlay approach may be best when rapid deployment over an existing IP network is required or when the SDN environment is the responsibility of the server virtualization team.
A hybrid approach combines the first two models and enables enterprises to undertake a non-disruptive migration to SDN with an eventual switch-based design. "Gateways link devices that do not natively support overlay tunnels, such as bare metal servers," Skorupa explained.
Skorupa stressed that with any SDN deployment, security needs to be a top priority. "Your security strategy must evolve with the SDN strategy to incorporate new needs and opportunities brought on by SDN," he advised.
One startup that is benefiting from the enterprise focus on SDN is Big Switch Networks, which recently announced the release of its Switch Light thin switching software platform for SDN. Switch Light is open source software that can be deployed as as a virtual switch or in physical switching platforms.
Switch Light is based on OpenFlow-based networking, which Big Switch said will lower capital costs by providing choice in networking hardware and operational overhead by tying together virtual and physical networks with an automated and centralized provisioning and management platform.
At first, Switch Light will run on physical switches using Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) and virtual switches using Linux, but it will be ported to other data plane devices in the future, the company said.
Last October, Big Switch pocketed $25 million in venture capital from Redpoint Ventures and Goldman Sachs, which it used to add engineering staff, according to a report by GigaOM. Big Switch is competing with the likes of Nicira, an SDN firm that was acquired by VMware (NYSE: VMW) for nearly $1.3 billion, the report explained.
Juniper Networks is not taking this news lying down. It is developing a new programmable core switch to address SDN in data centers and campuses, according to a report by ITWorld. The new EX9200 switch is based on its MX router and comes in three configurations: 4-slot, 8-slot and 14-slot chassis, the report said.
Around 42 percent of IT leaders surveyed by Gartner have invested or plan to invest in big data technology within a year.
Fueling this investment is a recognition among enterprises that there are business opportunities that cannot be exploited using traditional data sources, technologies or practices. There are also demonstrated use cases for big data.
"This makes IT and business leaders worry that they are behind competitors in launching their big data initiatives. Not to worry, ideas and opportunities at this time are boundless, and some of the biggest big data ideas come from adopting and adapting ideas from other industries. Still, this makes it challenging to cut through the hype when evaluating big data technologies, approaches and project alternatives," said Frank Buytendijk, research vice president at Gartner.
By 2015, one-fifth of Global 1000 enterprises will have set up a strategic focus on information infrastructure similar to that of application management, Gartner predicted.
To mine big data, enterprises are collecting and storing operational, public, commercial and social data. At the same time, organizations can mine existing "dark data" located in emails, multimedia and other corporate content to improve productivity and profitability, according to Gartner.
"Businesses are increasingly managing and deploying information more effectively than ever, but certainly not with the well-honed asset management discipline applied to their traditional material, financial or other intangible assets. The application of formal information valuation models will allow IT, information management and business leaders to make better-informed decisions on information management, enrichment, security, risks, purchasing, collection, usage, bartering, productization and disposal," observed said Doug Laney, research vice president at Gartner.
McKinsey Solutions estimates that only 5 percent of big data is commercially valuable, so finding that 5 percent is a major challenge for companies. Philippe Mauchard, global head of McKinsey Solutions, said that Asia offers a significant market for big data opportunities.
"Consider, for instance, the fact that Asia is already the leading region for the generation of personal location data simply because so many mobile phones are in use in the region. China alone has more mobile phones in use than in any other country in the world," Mauchard told the Business Times.
IBM posted a net income of $5.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 6 percent from the $5.5 billion recorded in the same quarter in 2011. For the full year 2012, Big Blue posted a net income of $16.6 billion, a 5 percent year-over-year increase.
At the same time, IBM's revenues declined slightly for the 2012 fourth quarter and full year. However, revenue in its cloud computing business jumped 80 percent year-over-year.
The strong earnings results sent IBM's stock up from $196 per share at close of the market on Tuesday to $205 per share at market close on Wednesday. IBM's stock rise pushed the Dow Jones Industrial average to a five-year high on Wednesday, according to the AP.
Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the firm would continue to invest in big data, mobile technology, social business and security in the coming year.
On the big data front, IBM received some good news this week. According to data gathered by DataSift and analyzed by Ovum, IBM was among the top big data vendors based on Twitter mentions and sentiment of vendors.
Other top big data vendors included The Apache Foundation, developer of Hadoop, 10gen, developer of MongoDB, Teradata and Splunk.
"While Twitter streams are not a scientific focus group for detecting brand awareness, they provide a valuable window on market thinking. The data showed that while some players, such as IBM and Teradata, successfully scored high recognition in Twitter mentions, other enterprise players need to better focus their message to get Big Data recognition," observed Tony Baer, principal analyst for Ovum.
IBM's strong showing in both the cloud computing and big data markets have boosted its sagging reputation in the enterprise IT space, a space it dominated for decades.
By 2016, 30 percent of enterprises will sell their information assets in order to pay for big data storing and management, predicts research firm Gartner.
"The need to justify the expense of accumulating and managing huge volumes of data has led many organizations to consider monetizing or productizing their information assets," said Doug Laney, research vice president at Gartner.
While many enterprises are beginning to recognize the market value of their information assets, a lack of expertise in handling big data assets has discouraged them from monetizing those assets. This will create a market opportunity for third-party information brokers and resellers, Gartner observed.
The research firm anticipates the rise of what it terms "information product managers" within enterprises to handle the relationship with these third-party brokers and resellers.
The value of information assets will lead web product makers to ensure that they can collect as much usage, location and system data as possible, Gartner said. At the same time, consumers need to ensure that they receive compensation for providing their data.
"Consumers and businesses must recognize that their personal usage, location, profile and activity data has a tangible market value. They should guard it and ensure that when they do share it they receive ample services, products or cash for it. Businesses monetizing information assets need to be sensitive to the reputational risk of public backlash against such practices that may in turn lead to a tighter regulatory environment," Laney cautioned.
Laney noted that the Federal Trade Commission issued subpoenas to major information brokers to disclose how they collect, use and protect personal information.
Current database management and business products are not well-designed to share data through a subscription model, Gartner noted. This is spurring the development of new cloud-based technology that offers subscriber-based access, as well as restrictions, to segments of data.
"A nascent crop of shared information hosting services already complements established syndicated data providers, and most vendors have taken steps to cloud-enable their technologies," concluded Laney.
- see Gartner release
Year in Review 2012: Year in Review 2012: 'Internet of Everything' and big data
VMware, EMC team on big data and cloud app development
If some interpreters of the Mayan calendar are correct, then predictions about 2013 are superfluous.
However, assuming the world will not end on Dec. 21, let's take a look at what some experts consulted by FierceEnterpriseCommunications have to say about likely developments in the enterprise communications market next year.
The cloud gets personal
Cloud deployments in the enterprise are likely to move toward the personal cloud, which enables users to access content on any device without restrictions using cloud storage. Gartner estimates users will spend over $2 trillion per year on content, devices and services, all of which need to be synced up.
"Users' expectations for personal clouds will impact IT organizations... IT managers will find that, increasingly, both customers and employees demand access to all applications on these devices--a development that leads to a model in which applications must be able to run on any device," Gartner explained.
"Management tools will need to encompass the cloud storage and sync services that users need. This transition will also require wholesale re-engineering of application user interfaces, which will create opportunities for technology providers in devices, software, services and consulting," the research firm added.
Ross Sedgewick, vice president of global solutions marketing at Siemens Enterprise Communications (NYSE: SI), predicts cloud vendors will increasingly blend enterprise-grade security with personal cloud-based storage and shared workspace products.
Employees will have one entry point to their personal and business data complemented by apps with the ability to begin where the employee left off from whatever location, network or device is at hand, Sedgewick told FierceEnterpriseCommunications.
"Many of the personal cloud services are beginning to be used more widely in the enterprise space. This intersects with the collaboration part of unified communications… so we see the personal cloud being a major trend in 2013," he said.
James Lawton, vice president of strategic portfolio integration at Siemens Enterprise Communications, added: "Organizations are going to be including personal cloud storage sharing capability as part of their infrastructure… So it will be a combination of personal cloud choice as well as enterprises creating their own cloud storage structure."
The social enterprise
In 2013, video will enable the social enterprise, predicted Eric Burns, co-founder and chief technology officer of video platform provider Panopto.
With more employees carrying smartphones and tablets, everyone in the enterprise is becoming a videographer with a high-definition camera. In addition, PCs and laptops have significant unused capacity.
"Between the two of those, there is a lot of latent capability you can use to capture whatever people are doing… We are finally at the stage where the cost of storing and delivering this stuff over corporate networks is approaching free," Burns told FierceEnterpriseCommunications.
As a result, YouTube-style enterprise video portals, in which employees can easily share knowledge and insights, will become a reality. This can be used to create "tribal knowledge" for the enterprise, Burns said.
"This is what we think is going on with video and the social enterprise. You've got an opportunity for training capture, you've got an opportunity for people who are subject matter experts to relay that information to other experts, you've got a way to preserve tribal knowledge, and then you've got a place where people can upload and distribute video easily," Burns said.
Regarding enterprise use of social media, Brendan Reid, vice president of product marketing at wide area network optimization firm Exinda, related that half of enterprises are monitoring the performance of their social media applications, but only 20 percent have social media use policies in place. "Enterprises are not adequately prepared either from a security perspective or from a policy perspective for what lies ahead in 2013," he cautioned.
"The question for enterprises is: How do I enable social media to be used strategically without losing control of it? The answer lies in the context of its use," Reid told FierceEnterpriseCommunications.
Enterprise on the move
Sedgewick noted that the majority of companies in North America support bring your own device (BYOD) programs at some level. "We are seeing a continuing impact of consumerization as it diversifies into other categories, such as mobile OS [operating system], apps, storage, and so forth. About half of IT usage decisions will be driven by users and line-of-business management outside the traditional corporate IT department," he added.
The logical outcome of this trend is for IT to no longer provision desktop IT setups, but to focus instead on centralized policies, security standards and usage controls over BYOD proliferation, Sedgewick noted.
Burns predicted there will be an ongoing shift in enterprise video to mobile devices and applications. "It is astonishing how quickly mobile and BYOD have overtaken the enterprise," he said.
The most important business feature for video is the ability to access it from any device. With the explosion of video-capable phones and tablets, IT departments will have to reconcile different video formats in order to bring high quality video playback, recording and management to employees' mobile devices, Burns said.
"The other big piece of mobile is that there are finally streaming technologies that can get video to mobile devices in a more credible way. That space has suffered from fragmentation in terms of what formats are supported… and from low bandwidth. Now that we have 3G and LTE devices that are standard, you can have video that is not substantially degraded," Burns said.
Near-field communications (NFC) will add a new wrinkle to mobility in the enterprise next year. NFC will begin to impact not only contactless mobile commerce, but also content sharing and unified communications interactions, Sedgewick said. NFC enables mobile devices to communicate not only with payment devices but also with other mobile devices.
"We feel near-field communications will really start to take off next year," Sedgewick said. "Enterprises are going to leverage NFC technology to automate certain tasks to enable unified communications," he added.
Examples of NFC use in the enterprise include contact info exchange, automated presence setting, social updates and data transfer and new security applications via NFC microchip tags.
Big data and the network
Every phone and conference call, text chat exchange or video and web collaboration session is a potential source of data to be captured and harvested for business value, observed Sedgewick.
"All of that content has the potential to be captured and therefore available. Through these steps, we will be able to capture, record, transcribe, index and tag the content and make it available in smart search to be retrieved," Sedgewick said.
Once organized, filtered and made searchable, contextual communications will start to become easier. Enterprise users will rely on systems to track what is relevant and current, and draw out previously hidden content and people associations to improve team performance and efficiency, Sedgewick related.
"Videoconferencing holds a lot of potential but still has not reached its peak of adoption in the enterprise because of expense, complexity and proprietary silos. A lot of those barriers are going away," he added.
Those barriers are being brought down by a combination of software-based video conferencing servers, cloud-based video conferencing services and the standardized cameras in mobile devices. "The latest remaining challenge will be user adoption, being willing to sit in front of a camera and participate in that video collaboration," Sedgewick said.
Reid chimed in that the "pace of growth in terms of the kinds of network traffic is such that video and collaboration content is the lion's share of the average internet traffic, greater than 50 percent of traffic."
The volume of data and Internet traffic is making a centralized backhaul strategy next to impossible for some companies, Reid said.
"The more enterprises move strategic applications into the cloud, like UC and CRM, the more difficult it becomes to route Internet traffic away from branch through essential security points and then back to the WAN," he explained.
"Our customers tell us that when they start introducing video, voice and data traffic on the same network, they quickly experience problems with their most important applications. When you use unified communications, you put user experience that shares the same bandwidth at risk. You should not implement unified communications without doing a network impact assessment and without creating policies for bandwidth allocation," Reid advised.
"How do I guarantee a high-quality user experience for this type of traffic? By using policy and context, you can solve that problem in large part by being able to guarantee bandwidth to the applications that are strategic. That way you protect user experience when it matters, and you contain it when it is not," Reid said.
The explosion of the cloud, mobility, social media and big data in the enterprise will continue to burden the network and challenge IT staffs for years to come. And the boldest prediction of all is that there will be more enterprise communications challenges in 2013. Stay tuned.
The two firms will combine 800 employees and resources at EMC's Greenplum and Pivotal Labs and the 600 employees at VMware's vFabric, Cloud Foundry and Cetas organizations. EMC's Chief Strategy Officer, Paul Maritz, will head the new group.
"There is a significant opportunity for both VMware and EMC to provide thought and technology leadership, not only at the infrastructure level, but across the rapidly growing and fast-moving application development and big data markets. Aligning these resources is the best way for the combined companies to leverage this transformational period, and drive more quickly towards the rising opportunities," explained Terry Anderson, vice president of global corporate communications with VMware, in a blog.
As part of the initiative, EMC will increase its investment in big data and analytics, cloud application services and software defined data center business, while VMware will maintain its focus on the data center through its software defined data center and end-user computing programs.
The two firms expect the venture to be up and running in the second quarter of 2013.
Commenting on the initiative, Dave Bartoletti, a senior analyst at Forrester, said it "means the leading virtualization vendor is staying focused" on the data center.
"I think this is a great move, and makes all kinds of sense to protect VMware's relationship with its core buyer, maintain focus on the datacenter, and lay the foundation for the vendor's software-defined datacenter strategy," Bartoletti wrote in a blog.
"Whether you're building your own cloud, migrating legacy apps to a more virtualized environment, or building a new generation of big data apps, your platform choice is important. This move carves up the platforms between VMware and Pivotal, and should help both EMC and VMware simplify and target solutions more accurately," the analyst concluded.
SDN enables enterprises to improve network flexibility and save money on hardware by putting more of the network operation in the hands of a software-based controller.
Redpoint Ventures, Goldman Sachs and existing investors Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures are betting that Big Switch can convince companies to make the big switch to SDN from traditional networking.
Big Switch Networks' Open SDN architecture uses industry standards and open application programming interfaces (APIs) designed to enable organizations to deploy flexible networking applications, including data center network virtualization.
SDN challenges the data center market by making the control plane, which is traditionally made up of proprietary network switches and routers, remotely accessible and modifiable by third-party software clients.
"Picture the networking seven layer OSI model that is found everywhere from textbooks to company names. Now picture taking a magic marker and crossing it out, replacing it with a three tier architecture of an SDN data plane, SDN controller plane and SDN applications," explained Big Switch cofounders Guido Appenzeller and Kyle Forster.
True to form, Cisco is not taking a challenger lying down. In addition to dominating the traditional networking market, Cisco is a leader in the SDN market, according to a recent survey of 103 North American enterprises conducted by Infonetics. The survey also identified IBM (NYSE: IBM) as a leading SDN vendor.
The survey also found that virtualization, security and application performance are the leading drivers for investing in new data center facilities.
"Nearly one-fourth of the enterprises we interviewed for our new data center and SDN survey have already deployed SDN technology in their data centers, and one-third plan to do so by the end of next year. This is impressive given the nascent nature of most SDN technologies and the relatively sophisticated IT community required to implement them," commented Sam Barnett, directing analyst for data center and cloud at Infonetics.
A full 70 percent of firms surveyed said they are increasing spending in data storage. Two-thirds are pumping more money into cloud services, and 59 percent are upping spending on physical servers
At the same time, only 14 percent of survey respondents plan to consolidate their data centers in the next two years, according to the survey.
The SDN market is red hot right now, with big players going after startups. Enterprises are sure to benefit with more product offerings, greater data center and networking flexibility and most importantly lower costs.
25/10/2012 - Living in interesting times
I was at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo this week and was impressed by the breadth of the IT topics covered as well as the number of attendees--more than 8,000 geeks (including me) fascinated by mainframe migration, x86 server virtualization infrastructure and other arcane IT topics.
True to its theme, the panels, discussions and keynotes this week focused on the four forces--cloud computing, mobile technology, big data and social media--transforming enterprise communications.
The "Internet of Everything"
A highlight of the conference was the discussion with John Chambers, chairman and chief executive officer of Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO).
Chambers laid out his vision that the "Internet of Everything" will become the IT platform of the future. "Over the next five years, IT will be so deeply embedded in every business process regardless of industry you won't recognize the difference between business models and IT," he told a packed house at the Gartner powwow.
This certainly is a bold prediction, something Chambers is known for. However, his timetable might be a bit aggressive. With many companies still using legacy telecom systems, the transition will be bumpy.
As noted in FierceEnterpriseCommunications' feature article on SIP trunking, interoperability of IP-based systems and legacy systems could hold up SIP trunking deployment for years.
Big data means big jobs growth
At the opening keynote on Monday, Peter Sondergaard, Gartner's senior vice president of research, predicted that spending on big data will fuel a 3.8 percent increase in worldwide IT spending in 2013, surpassing $3.7 trillion next year.
"By 2015, 4.4 million IT jobs globally will be created to support big data, generating 1.9 million IT jobs in the United States," Sondergaard predicted.
Big data certainly is a hot topic these days. In fact, FierceMarkets recently launched a publication devoted solely to the topic.The big challenge for enterprises is processing all that data and making it useful for decisions. That could take a lot of time and investment.
Cloud services to expand
In his presentation, Sondergaard observed that the cloud is the "carrier" of the other forces. "Mobile is personal cloud, social media is only possible via the cloud and big data is the killer app for the cloud," he said.
Cloud has enormous potential, but it also has substantial risks, not the lease of which is data security. Concerns about who will be able to access corporate data, particularly sensitive data, has made IT security teams very nervous about putting sensitive info in the cloud.
In fact, security is one of the top three cloud threats identified by FierceEnterpriseCommunications our Three Major Threats to the Cloud feature published this week. Other threats are usage-based billing, which could drive small and medium-sized business away from cloud, and confusion about who owns the data in the cloud.
Sondergaard also predicted there will be more than 1.6 billion smart mobile devices purchased globally in 2016, adding that two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile and more than 300 billion app downloads will occur annually by 2016.
True unified communications
The most exciting development from an enterprise communications perspective is the coming together of unified communications (UC), the cloud and mobility. A number of Gartner analysts explored that theme in their presentations and discussions.
Tom Wolf with BT told FierceEnterpriseCommunications at the Gartner conference that BT's large companies are asking for cloud-based UC, something he couldn't have predicted 18 months ago. So the shift to the cloud is happening faster than many in the industry were expecting.
Despite data security worries, enterprise mobility is taking off, pushed by employees rather than IT teams. As employees want more access to UC functions through their mobile devices, they will go for a change in UC as well.
While still maturing, cloud-based UC and enterprise mobility are expected to have a profound impact on the way companies communicate in the coming years. We live in interesting times. -Fred
Orlando, Fla.-- Worldwide IT spending is forecast to surpass $3.7 trillion in 2013, a 3.8 percent increase from 2012 spending of $3.6 trillion, Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and head of global research at Gartner, told an audience at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2012 being held here.
Spending on big data is expected to fuel that increase. "By 2015, 4.4 million IT jobs globally will be created to support big data, generating 1.9 million IT jobs in the United States," Sondergaard predicted.
Big data is one of the four forces shaping enterprise IT. The other forces are cloud computing, mobile technology and social media.
On the cloud front, Gartner predicts spending on public cloud services will increase at a 19 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to 2016.
Sondergaard said the cloud is the "carrier" of the other the forces. "Mobile is personal cloud, social media is only possible via the cloud, and big data is the killer app for the cloud," he said.
Gartner research indicates that between 2011 and 2016, the market for business process as a services (BPaaS), the largest cloud segment, will double in size to nearly $145 billion.
More than 1.6 billion smart mobile devices will be purchased globally in 2016, Sondergaard predicted. Two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile, and more than 300 billion app downloads will occur annually by 2016, he added.
Sondergaard predicted that in less than two years, iPads will be more common in enterprises than BlackBerries. "By 2018, 70 percent of mobile workers will use a tablet or a hybrid device that has tablet-like characteristics," he said.
Sondergaard also predicts that in three years, the largest organizations will each spend more than $1 billion on social media.
"Social computing will move organizations from hierarchical structures and defined teams to communities that can cross any organizational boundary," he said.
"This is a time of accelerating change, where your current IT architecture will be rendered obsolete. You must lead through this change… and aggressively change your IT cost structure," Sondergaard concluded.
More and more, big data is driving enterprise IT spending. In fact, research firm Gartner predicts that big data will drive a whopping $232 billion in IT spending through 2016.
Gartner says big data will drive $28 billion in IT spending this year, and $34 billion in IT spending next year.
Most of the current spending will be used in adapting traditional IT products to big data demands, such as machine data, social data, widely varied data and unpredictable velocity. By the end of 2015, Gartner expects organizations to begin using their big data experience in an embedded form in their IT architectures and practices.
In traditional IT supplier markets, big data affects application infrastructure and middleware more than storage software, database management system, data integration/quality, business intelligence or supply chain management, according to Gartner research.
Big data opportunities emerged when several advances in different IT categories aligned, creating a dramatic increase in computing technology capacity. This new capacity, coupled with latent demands for analysis of "dark data," social networks data and operational technology or machine data, created an environment conducive to rapid innovation, Gartner explained.
"Because big data's effects are pervasive, big data will evolve to become a standardized requirement in leading information architectural practices, forcing older practices and technology into early obsolescence," said Mark Beyer, research vice president at Gartner.
Turning all that data into usable information poses a challenge for enterprises. How enterprises handle that challenge will determine whether they succumb to the data or harness it for improved productivity and competitiveness.
- check out Gartner's data
16/04/2012 - Do cloud services green your business?
CDW's fourth annual Energy Efficient IT Report addresses the question of whether cloud services can help companies save on energy costs. The report, which drew from the results of a 760-person survey, in various positions in non-profit, corporate, school, and government sectors, relayed that 62 percent of those asked thought that cloud computing was an energy-efficient solution for data consolidation. The report states that cloud computing can directly curb emissions, as well as energy costs associated with maintaining office space, by giving employees the freedom to telecommunicate and remotely access data that is otherwise only available at central locales. Hurdles--particularly more knowledge and education--still exists, the report states. Article