Cisco: “The new datacenter is the multi-cloud datacenter.”
Oct12

Cisco: “The new datacenter is the multi-cloud datacenter.”

Already one of the biggest players in the red-hot cloud infrastructure market (it grew 25.8% in the second quarter to $12.3 billion), Cisco Systems — in third place with 8.2% marketshare, trailing Dell (11.8%) and HPE (11.1%) — has a lot of credibility when it says cloud is transforming the datacenter. “The new datacenter is the multi-cloud datacenter,” said Tom Edsall, formerly a Cisco Fellow, SVP and GM, Insieme Business Unit, Cisco Systems. However, he told IT Trends & Analysis, the challenge is now you have an infrastructure that is basically a multi-vendor infrastructure. Rather than just a collection of hardware and software from different vendors, you have to throw in the various cloud providers like Amazon and Azure. He said organizations have part of their infrastructure running on different clouds, with different APIs, and are struggling to make the differences disappear. “The problems that we encountered 10 years ago are happening all over again,” said Edsall. “Then it wasn’t cloud, it was multi-vendor.” He added that the company has had strong success with on premise with its ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) portfolio with over 4,000 customers. But while the customers really like the application-centric approach, they are frustrated because “they can’t get the same API at Amazon.” They want to know how do they get a common experience across these systems, said Edsall. Ever helpful, Cisco recently announced a management and automation platform for its Unified Computing System (UCS) and HyperFlex Systems, Cisco Intersight. To be available 4Q17 in two versions — the Cisco Intersight Base Edition will be available at no charge, while the Cisco Intersight Essentials Edition will cost you — it is intended to simplify datacenter operations by delivering systems management as-a-service, instead of having to maintain ‘islands of on-premise management infrastructure.’ ‘The longer-term vision of Intersight is spot-on,” noted Matt Kimball, senior datacenter analyst, Moor Insights & Strategy. ‘Not only does it address the issues IT organizations face today, but it also provides a platform that can accommodate the unknowns of tomorrow. If Cisco successfully executes this vision, it will firmly position itself as a leader in multi-cloud infrastructure orchestration and management.’ Unsurprisingly, a canned quote included in the Cisco release was equally ebullient: “Organizations that move to cloud-based systems management platforms will find that service delivery quality is significantly improved, the overall risk to the business goes down, and IT staff productivity is increased,” said Matt Eastwood, Senior Vice President, IDC. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) –infused cloud-based management tools can offer deep insights into the state of the infrastructure, identify troubles before they become major issues, and enable quicker ‘root cause’ identification and analysis...

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EMC Unveils RackHD, Open-Source Version of OnRack
Dec08

EMC Unveils RackHD, Open-Source Version of OnRack

EMC may be just a little bit preoccupied with figuring out its future with Dell, but the storage giant still has to carry on in standalone — or federation — mode until the deal closes next year, which now includes its latest open source initiative, RackHD. Originally unveiled in May as Project OnRack, the company calls it an open source physical hardware management and orchestration (M&O) layer that automates discovery, description, provisioning and programming across a broad range of hardware – servers, switches and storage. RackHD  (Rack Hardware Director) is a new hardware administration level, said Brad Maltz, Sr. Director of Converged Infrastructure, EMC, that got a big boost with the Renasar Technologies acquisition earlier this year. He told IT Trends & Analysis EMC is “trying to build an agnostic programmatic layer to control server and storage hardware going forward”. According to the company, the technology stack provides cohesive APIs to enable automated infrastructure. Developers can use the APIs as a component in a larger orchestration system or to create a user interface for managing hardware services regardless of the underlying hardware in place. We`re trying to solve the hardest problem, breaking software away from hardware, said Maltz. There are a number of stackups — like OpenStack — and they’re all dependent on hardware at some level but none of them have any level of maturity to solve this problem. EMC has worked with multiple vendors, like HP and Dell, he added. “We have tons of experience in this space.” The company said RackHD makes it simple to update firmware and BIOS and install OSs like KVM, vSphere, ScaleIO and CoreOS. It’s secure, scalable, platform-agnostic and programmable via API, and “doesn’t step on the toes” of higher-level infrastructure M&O or software like Puppet, Chef and Ansibl, but can be integrated or even incorporated by them. RackHD offers a new layer of hardware-software abstraction, said EMC CTO John Roese, on today`s YouTube video. That abstraction capability is incredibly important to next-generation data center architecture, allowing pools of hardware resources to be able to support the growing diversity of traditional and next-generation application workloads. IT infrastructure software will be able to provide composable services for all types of workloads. RackHD is already playing a key role at EMC in things like VxRack, which runs on industry standard servers, enclosures and switches at massive scale. Virtustream and Pivotal are making use of it, as well. “OnRack is the EMC version of RackHD, but all of the development efforts will happen in the open source world,” said Maltz. Given that this is an industry-wide challenge, EMC believes RackHD will have broad appeal to...

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CA & CAW15: The Rest Of The Story
Nov23

CA & CAW15: The Rest Of The Story

With the fun and games behind them (CA World ’15), CA Technologies has to get back to the work at hand, continuing its reinvention. The software giant is pinning its future on where the market is going — variously tagged as the digital economy and the API/business as software worlds — while chained to its very profitable, if more slowly growing (or slowly declining), mainframe (over 50% of company revenues), management and security software roots. It’s a monumental task: can CA sell enough product and services to its new opportunities (which grew more than 40% year-over-year last quarter), while keeping its mature business moving forward, albeit at a snail’s pace (overall revenues continued to decline and share prices are anemic), and stave off the possibility of shareholders looking for more value, and/or potential acquirers? CA has made great progress in its offerings, but they are not satisfied, said CEO Mike Gregoire in his opening keynote to 5,000 customers plus assorted partners and staff. “We are committed to raising our game. There is no finish line in customer service.” I asked analyst Joe Clabby, Clabby Analytics, what CA got right at this year’s event, and what they need to do moving forward. He said they stuck to the messages that they came out with last year on application development the application economy, DevOps, management, agile, etc. and “showed solid progress” in all of those areas (including customer case studies). “They appear to me to have a solid strategy, and they’re executing well. Gregoire has revamped the salesforce, made his workforce more efficient, and is well-prepared for growth. The financial analyst who sat behind me on day one has even issued a strong buy recommendation.” As for what remains undone for CA is getting more analytics into their management offerings. “Here’s the deal: they collect tons and tons of big data information about the health of systems, on applications behavior and the like. They then turn all of that data over to humans to figure out what to do with it. They need to get analytics programs in place that will help sort through that data, making it easier to do root cause analysis and fix things. They have a few products that do analytics on the data that they capture, they need a lot more.” The company is moving as quickly as possible down the “agile” path, and its 4,000 software developers all being trained in agile, said Gregoire. “Within one year, my expectation is everybody in the company, especially on the development side, will be proficient.” He expects this to be reflected positively in their products, although with caveats....

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CA: Use IT, Or Lose It!
Nov18

CA: Use IT, Or Lose It!

LAS VEGAS: Those who rest easy will no longer be in business, said CA Technologies CEO Mike Grgoire in his opening keynote to 5,000 customers plus assorted partners and staff at CA World ’15. “Today innovation is incredibly democratic – and fast. And it radiates at an exponential pace,” he said. According to a recent digital economy study commissioned by CA: 45% report increased customer retention rates; while 44% also recognize an increase in top line revenue growth. Companies that are furthest along in their digital transformation have two times higher revenue growth and two and a half times higher profit growth than organizations that have not yet embraced the power of software as a key business enabler. The secret sauce for success — for better products and services — is software, said the software vendor. “Not software simply as a technology product. Instead, software as a basic organizing principle for your business. Software with the ability to become a lever to innovate and grow. Software allows scale, reduces friction, adds speed. Software creates completely new business models,” he said. Agility is essential for the digital transformation taking place in today’s increasingly Application-centric Economy. CA is betting big on agile development, said Gregoire . “We see Agile as being central to success.” He said CA has made great progress in its offerings, but they are not satisfied. “We are committed to raising our game. There is no finish line in customer service.” The company made a number of product announcements today, spanning DevOps, Agile Management, Security and Mainframe. It’s all about driving business agility in the application economy, according to Ayman Sayed, Chief Product Officer, CA Technologies, in a press scrum following Gregoire’s keynote. “I think it’s nothing short of another industrial revolution.” Although only with CA for 12 weeks, he spent the preceding 16 years with Cisco, and close to another decade with companies big and small, old and new. Sayed said companies already understand that the digital economy, every business being — or transitioning to being (or not being) — a software business is the future. “The mindshare is already there.” However, there are “ a whole bunch of questions of how do I do it”, he added. The keys to getting started with digital transformation are agile management, DevOps and security and “… CA is able to support them through every step of that journey.” The Fiddly Bits Announcements for its identity-centric security portfolio included: -a new release of CA Privileged Access Manager to  help control privileged user access to dynamic VMware NSX® environments; -updates to CA Identity Suite to help simplify identity governance for all users; and, -a...

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CA: A Lot Of Activity, Not Much Movement

LAS VEGAS: At last year’s event, in front of 4,000 customers, CA Technologies said it was tooling up for the application economy; before 5,000 customers — including 45% new customers — at CA World ’15, the company said the digital/application/API economy is here, and now it’s just a case of getting the laggards, i.e. the overwhelming majority, up to speed. However, while CA retools for the digital economy, it doesn’t look like the digital economy is buying in at a fast-enough pace. For its most recent quarter (2QFY16, which ended September 30), the company reported $1.005 billion in revenues, with new sales up more than 40% year-over-year. That’s the good news; the bad news is that every major metric, including revenues and profits, were down YoY, and the outlook for the rest of the year is lukewarm. From a product perspective, the mainframe is CA’s heritage, and still a strong contributor to its bottom line (over 50% of revenue), which should continue to be so for the foreseeable. After refreshing its Z Series, IBM’s revenues in the $250k-plus server segment shot up 66.1% in Q1. “People say the mainframe is dead,” said Vernon Turner, an analyst at IDC, “but we say, hmmm, that’s a $4.5 billion tombstone.” According to IBM: -more than 70% of enterprise data resides on a mainframe; -71% of all Fortune 500 companies have their core businesses on a mainframe; -92 of the top 100 banks use the mainframe; -23 of the world’s top 25 retailers use the mainframe; -10 out of 10 of the top insurers use the cloud on the mainframe; and, -more than 225 state and local governments worldwide rely on a mainframe. Identity-centric security is another core focus of CA, which was given a helping hand recently with the acquisition of Xceedium. The good news for CA is that security is broken, breaches are climbing and insiders are to blame for the majority of the problems. Mordecai (Mo) Rosen, CA Technologies VP, Product Management and Strategy for Privileged Access Management, used the military term adopted by infosec, killchain, to describe the three-step process in cyber attacks: obtain access; elevate privilege; and wreak havoc. The industry’s traditional perimeter approach is largely to blame, he added. “A tech refresh has to happen in security.” For most of the last 30 years, it’s been a case of building a perimeter and then letting everybody in. “Identity management… has to become an enormous priority”. One area undergoing a change in direction is data center infrastructure management (DCIM). Rated as a leading vendor in this category just a year ago, the company has announced it will no longer sell its standalone solution,...

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