CA Embraces ‘Built To Change’ Paradigm
Nov17

CA Embraces ‘Built To Change’ Paradigm

LAS VEGAS: CA World 2016, November 14-18, is focused — not surprisingly — on the Application Economy, and the role it is playing in the unfolding digital transformation sweeping the world. As CA Technologies notes, we all want ‘great apps’ and it is in the business of helping companies create them across mobile, private and public cloud, distributed and mainframe environments, and has been doing so since it started life as Computer Associates back in 1976. With annual revenues around $4 billion, it has not been a vendor who dominates the industry, although it does lead in a number of areas like DevOps, identity management, APIs and their security. For its most recent quarter (2QFY17) the company exceeded expectations with revenues of $1.018 billion and income from continuing operations of $212 million. However, it’s new theme (they call it a paradigm), Built To Change, best captures everything that has come to be called digitalization, digital transformation and Industry 4.0. It’s not a new or unique view of the current environment — the concept has been around since at least 2006 — but it represents what going digital means to the world, its customers and prospects, and CA itself better than anything else I’ve seen (IMHO). Creating a business model that is built to last is “out of step with the new digital reality” said CA CEO Mike Grgoire in his opening keynote on Wednesday. He said the idea of sustainable competitive advantage has given way to the more contemporary concept of business agility: the ability to automatically sense, react and adapt quickly to shifting market dynamics. According to CA, ‘Built to Change companies understand that current structures and ecosystems are vulnerable to better ideas. From how they manage talent, to how they avoid being tied to fixed assets, to how they take risks, Built To Change companies focus on business agility, which in turn enables them to drive rapid, continuous improvement in customer experience.’ Perhaps to reinforce the importance of change — and its breakneck pace — Gregoire included a large helping of ‘the right stuff’ in his keynote. His opening presentation was followed by a panel session with astronaut Captain Scott Kelly, aerospace legend Burt Rutan, and rocket scientist Natalie Panek. The company announced a number of new and improved products at the conference, spread across its Agile, DevOps, Security and Mainframe portfolios. “Think of these as core capabilities you will need to move your organization into the future,” said Gregoire. The announcements included: -a new identity-as-a-service solution, to address identity and access management (IAM) needs for both on-premises and cloud-based applications; -new DevOps capabilities with intelligent analytics...

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Cisco AMPs Up Security From Datacenter To Endpoint
Nov10

Cisco AMPs Up Security From Datacenter To Endpoint

Having successfully targeted and gone on to dominate the networking and datacenter server markets, Cisco has set its sights on security, and from a new marketing slogan to its latest end-point protection product and pricing announcements, the company is committed to dominating this market too. “The two things that I think are going to be most important: Number one is security … and then moving fast in innovating over and over,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins. Over the years, Cisco has mastered the art of using market transitions to capture share, and it appears it is well on its way to doing so in the security market, said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst of ZK Research. The market transition that’s changing security is digital transformation. Digital businesses need to move with speed and be agile, but they also must be secure, but the traditional security model in most companies doesn’t allow this, he noted. Earlier this year the company changed its brand promise to: ‘We securely connect everything to make anything possible.’ Robbins added “securely” to the sentence, and the security team is now involved in virtually everything Cisco does. Security-by-design is the standard, he said. With its primary revenue generator, networking, under attack, and a slowdown in its formerly high-flying UCS and HCI server sales, security has been a bright spot. “Cisco is making good progress and achieving strong results along the way,” blogged Jon Oltsik, Senior Principal Analyst and the founder of Enterprise Strategy Group’s cybersecurity service, and is executing accordingly to take their [along with IBM] cybersecurity businesses to $5 billion and beyond. The company’s security business is now at a $2 billion run rate, doubling its AMP for Endpoint customers from 8,000 in November 2015 to 17,000 as of August 2016. It was Cisco’s largest growth area (up 16% year over year) during its recent fiscal fourth quarter, to $540 million, the third straight quarter of double-digit revenue growth. This growth comes at a good time, because while spending may be inching upward when it comes to overall IT budgets, security is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.3% through 2020, from $73.6 billion in 2016 to more than $100 billion. Other estimates put this year’s cybersecurity spend at $122.45 billion, and a 10.6% CAGR to $202.36 billion  by 2021. If the cybersecurity market has been looking good to Cisco, the endpoint security market, which is ripe for disruption, could be even more attractive. “In 2016, IDC expects security start-ups to continue to penetrate the enterprise endpoint security market segment as enterprises seek innovative solutions to detect ransomware and targeted...

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HPE: DevOps Adoption Slower, Riskier
Oct26

HPE: DevOps Adoption Slower, Riskier

Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving — and growing — challenge that puts everybody and everything at risk in the increasingly all-digital world. As a result, it is a process, not a one-time solution, one in which applications play a critical role, and that means DevOps has to be part of the solution, and not the problem. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, according to Application Security and DevOps Report 2016, a new survey from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The intent of the survey was to validate third-party research about the need for closer integration between security and DevOps teams, “to better understand with primary research what that looks like,” said Scott Johnson, Director of Product Management, HPE Security Fortify, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The results were concerning, he told IT Trends & Analysis. It came as no surprise that almost 100% agreed that integrating DevOps can help security; surprisingly, only 20% were doing that, and “about 17% weren’t doing anything at all”. Some of the findings illustrated the issue: -organizational barriers between security professionals and developers: there’s a significant disconnect between developers and security teams, and 90% of security professionals stated that integrating application security has become more difficult since deploying DevOps; -lack of security awareness, emphasis, and training for developers: out of more than 100 job postings for software developers at Fortune 1000 companies, none specified security or secure coding experience or knowledge as part of the skills required; and, -shortage of application security talent: for every 80 developers in the organizations, there is only one application security professional. In addition to the fact that more organizations weren’t doing appsec Johnson noted “the speed with which customers are releasing their apps.” In 2010 organizations averaged 4 releases per app per year; that’s expected to explode to more than 100 releases per app by the end of the decade, he said. Another key finding was around automation; the adoption wasn’t the surprise, but the breadth of tools “that people are using was a really interesting takeaway for us.” Organizations are at different stages and “there is a broad set of tools in a number of different categories.” It’s no surprise that cybersecurity, appsec and DevOps is top of mind for HPE. Global annual cybercrime costs are expected to double from $3 trillion in 2015 to $6 trillion by 2021. That attracts a lot of attention, especially from the ‘Bad Guys’ — everyone from hacktivists, cybercriminals and rogue governments (not to be confused with the good governments, which only spy on us for our benefit) to careless or malicious employees. It also means the new and improved security measures are only as effective...

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Cloud Highlights Dell EMC World
Oct19

Cloud Highlights Dell EMC World

Austin, Texas: A number of announcements were made at the inaugural Dell EMC World event (as well as VMWorld Europe), including a several cloud-related items. While not necessarily more significant or relevant than the other news, I decided to focus on the cloud items because cloud seemed to offer more perspective about Dell’s future, than its present. Dell’s Elastic Cloud Storage (formerly Project Nile), acquired with EMC, is a software-defined, cloud-based distributed file and object storage platform that manages data as objects. While it’s market segment represents an attractive solution for soaring data growth, it is not seeing corresponding growth, according to a study released at the start of the year. The ‘object storage market gains remained lackluster,’ although that should change: the ‘increased pressure on the storage infrastructure to scale bigger, protect longer, and keep more data active in more locations will likely continue to drive IT organizations to seek to deploy an architecture that can cost-effectively solve not only the scale challenges of today, but also those of the next decade or two in the future. For many organizations that architecture is object storage.’ Fast forward 9 months and following “good momentum”, Dell is making five ECS announcements, including software and enterprise enhancements, an appliance, and a single-tenant version due out later this year. While the announcements will appeal to existing customers, the intent is to grow the customer base, said Varun Chhabra, Director of Product Marketing for Dell EMC Emerging Tech Team. We’re “growing really fast,” he told IT Trends & Analysis. While the news should appeal to both existing and new customers, the “focus still remains on continuing to penetrate new accounts.” Given its position, Dell would seem to have nowhere to go but up. Chhabra said their goal is to equip customers on their journey to the cloud, wherever they may be. “We have to continue to innovate to provide customers that value.” It’s all about enabling choice for customers, and continuing to innovate, he added. Earlier this month VMware and Amazon Web Services announced a strategic partnership under which VMware’s software-defined data center (SDDC) offering will run on the AWS public cloud in mid-2017. With VMware Cloud on AWS (the new platform), customers will be able to run applications across VMware vSphere-based private, public and hybrid cloud environments using their existing VMware software and tools for a full range of storage, database, analytics and other services. “We see that we could bring together the best of both worlds,” said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. “The best of public cloud and the best of private cloud are coming together.” Earlier this year the company unveiled...

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SDCU: Software Defined Cisco Unshackled
Oct12

SDCU: Software Defined Cisco Unshackled

Much like IBM, HP/E, Oracle and Dell, Cisco’s past — and a big slice of its current revenue pie — is based on proprietary hardware solutions that have made it an industry powerhouse for the last few decades. And much like its peers, it has seen the market move to non-proprietary and increasingly software-based solutions that cost less while providing customers with more agility and flexibility. The dilemma has been how to respond to market trends while keeping investors [including me] and analysts looking for higher sales and margins happy? IBM, which has sold off most of its hardware segments, outlasted HP to regain top spot in the IT vendor sweepstakes, but has recorded falling revenues for the last 17 consecutive quarters. HPE has been putting its enterprise house in order, but also spinning a lot of FUD about under-performing units and its future. Oracle’s hardware revenues dropped close to 20% last quarter. And Dell, which went private to get out of the quarterly anal probes also known as earnings/shareholders/analysts hell, bought EMC and while that could move it ahead of IBM, it could also cripple the company as it tries to manage the industry’s biggest merger, along with the biggest debt load. In its last quarter, reported in mid-August, Cisco had revenue growth of 2% and record non-GAAP EPS which grew 9%; for the fiscal year it had revenues of $48.7 billion, up 3%, and non-GAAP EPS grew 8%. “We had strong performance in security; data center switching, collaboration and services as well as continued success in the transition of our business model to software and subscriptions,” said CEO Chuck Robbins during the earnings call. Transition of our business model to software and subscriptions: the new Cisco intends to be very different from its proprietary hardware roots. Robbins said the product deferred revenue related to their recurring software and subscription businesses grew 33% in Q4. “Our momentum here is strong and we’ll continue to accelerate this transition.” At the same time it announced its Q4 and fiscal 2016 results, the company also announced it plans to lay off 5,500 employees [out of a total workforce of 70,000]. Margins in software services are higher than hardware because they bring recurring revenue and there are “fewer people involved on the cost side,” said Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates. [IBM, HPE, Oracle, and Dell could be the next to shed workers, according to analysts.] In June IDC noted that Cisco’s networking stranglehold was continuing to loosen, down from 60.7% of the Ethernet switching market in 2015, and 61.8% in 2013. For the first quarter of 2016, Cisco saw...

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Big (Black &) Blue Back On Top But..
Oct05

Big (Black &) Blue Back On Top But..

Despite once again being IT’s biggest vendor — now that HPE is pursuing its small & agile (if-somewhat-inconsistent-) strategy — and ranked as a leader in many of the hottest markets, including cloud, analytics, DevOps, security and flash storage, as well as old favorites like datacenter and mainframe (really BIG servers), IBM’s woes won’t go away. Big Blue appears battered and bruised as the company has reported falling revenues for the last 17 quarters, with no relief in sight (Disclosure: I’m a shareholder). Financially, IBM is reported to be sinking, and sinking fast. In addition to those 17 consecutive quarters of falling revenues, the company is borrowing more, and earning less than it’s spending. It’s debt has grown from $33 billion a year ago to $44.5 billion, and last quarter it had $3.4 billion of operating cash flow but spent $5.9 billion on: $1.0 billion on capital expenditures; $2.8 billion on acquisitions; $1.3 billion on dividends; and, $800 million on share repurchases. Last month a report surface that another round of layoffs was pending. Workers in IBM’s Business Transformations Organization, Systems Group, Global Technology Services, Global Business Services, Technology Support Services, and Storage Presales were told they will be hit by “resource actions” – HR speak for redundancies. It appears up to 25,000 people will be affected, roughly the same number of positions currently open at IBM, out of a workforce of approximately 380,000. Despite winning accolades — or at least significant market share — hardware (servers and storage) continues to be a festering wound. The most recent quarter (Q2) saw a 0.4% decline in global server revenues (to $13.4 billion), while shipments increased 2.6% (to 2.4 million units); IBM held on to third place, behind HPE and Dell, but suffered a substantial revenue drop, -34.0% year-over-year, to $1.3 billion. The results were equally grim in storage. While factory revenues were flat YoY at $8.8 billion, with capacity shipments up 12.9%, IBM narrowly edged out NetApp for fourth place (6.8% vs 6.7%), behind EMC and HPE, tied for first, and Dell, but experienced the biggest change of the top storage vendors with a -15.6% drop in revenues for Q2. Like hardware, Big Blue’s software business is also suffering. The growing use of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings has hit IBM (and Oracle’s) revenue, as enterprises shift their application infrastructure investments to the cloud, according to a Gartner report. IBM, the market leader in application infrastructure, saw its market share drop to 25%, while its revenue fell by nearly 13% between 2014 and 2015. “The PaaS segment showed the most impressive growth, not just in the AIM market, but across the entire...

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