Mainframe Renaissance Accelerates
Apr05

Mainframe Renaissance Accelerates

For the better part of 40 years I’ve been updating the mainframe’s obituary, but like Monty Python’s infamous ‘flesh wound’ skit, it has continued to linger on. Now – even with the accelerating skills shortage – it appears that Big Iron is back with a vengeance, gaining more new customers than are moving off the venerable platform, attracted by its brute power, flexibility and security. It seems cloud, mobility and customer empowerment are all better on the mainframe. Mainframe software ISV Compuware has been seeing the growth in the market, and it’s recent survey provided empirical proof, said CEO Chris O’Malley. He told IT Trends & Analysis that everyone who was using “a hope-and-pray strategy that the mainframe would go away” are being disappointed. Not only are organizations “walking away from trying to shift from the platform,” but the mainframe is growing in popularity. “We’re also seeing things like mobile and analytics causing new workloads to be moved to that platform.” This mainframe renaissance is atypical of the IT industry, where vendors are always searching for new, better and different, and dumping commodity hardware. It wasn’t that long ago that rumors surfaced that like its PC, printer and server businesses, Big Blue’s mainframe unit was up for sale. But that was then, and now, Big Iron is once again big. “You remember the mainframe, that platform that supposedly was dead back in the 1980s,” recently asked analyst Rob Enderle, Enderle Group? “Well, once again IBM showcased there is evidently life after death because that puppy grew more than a whopping 70 percent year over year.” Not only is the mainframe alive and kicking, it’s also drawing interest from unexpected quarters. IBM’s “Master the Mainframe” annual contest designed to teach students to code and build new innovations on the mainframe drew almost 17,000 students this year. “A look at the demographics of this year’s event reveals some real eye-openers: 80% of the registrants were new to the program; the average age was 22 – with participants as young as 13 and as old as 68; and 23% of participants were female,” noted analyst Billy Clabby, Clabby Analytics. The Compuware study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, found that 72% of customer-facing applications are completely or very dependent on back-end mainframe workloads, and users are running more of their critical applications on the platform – 57% of enterprises with a mainframe currently run more than half of their business-critical applications on the platform — with that number expected to increase to 64% by 2019. “Before the advent of Linux on the mainframe, the people who bought mainframes primarily were people who already had...

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Automation: Coming Soon To Your Network
Mar29

Automation: Coming Soon To Your Network

One of the latest industry buzz words is automation and while network automation is considered to be essential for digital transformation, the dominant trend in IT and Industry 4.0, it is neither new, nor as simple as the marketers would have us believe. Network automation – along with intent-based networking (IBN) and Intent-based analytics (IBA) – is just part of the evolving and expanding software-defined networking (SDN) market, said Scott Raynovich, Founder and Chief Analyst, Futuriom. ‘The [SDN 2.0] goal (of operators, including service providers and cloud network managers) is to remove manual networking configuration from their operations, reducing the cost of operating the network,’ he wrote recently. ‘Service providers, in particular, see SDN 2.0 as a key driver of automation.’ Forrester reported that 80% of IT operations time is spent performing maintenance on the existing network. And with close to half of all network outages are due to manual misconfiguration (Gartner), it’s no wonder the automation market is hot: -the datacenter automation market is projected to grow at plus-18% CAGR through 2022 -68% of automation projects are commissioned to ensure network availability; -the network automation market is expected to grow from $2.32 billion in 2017 to $16.89 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 48.7%; –intelligent automation services – Gartner’s umbrella term for a variety of strategies, skills, tools and techniques that service providers are using to remove the need for labor, and increase the predictability and reliability of services while reducing the cost of delivery by 15-25% annually – so that when 70% of the workload is dealt with by IAS, only 30% of the staff will remain. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the ONAP project (Open Network Automation Platform) and community, which has become the de facto mobile network automation platform for 60% of the world’s mobile subscribers. ‘What ONAP brings to the table — a unified platform for closed-loop automation — is built on years’ of collaborative efforts across open source projects and communities’, stated the Linux Foundation on Tuesday. ‘ONAP is the first open source project to unite the majority of operators (end users) with the majority of vendors (integrators) in building a real service automation and orchestration platform.’ Networking’s 800-pound gorilla is actively pushing automation and SDN, and last month rolled out its Crosswork Network Automation software portfolio. Targeted at service providers with really big networks, the portfolio is designed to ‘offer greater network visibility at scale (mass awareness), data-driven insights (augmented intelligence)and outcome-based automation (proactive control)’, and will typically deliver a 70% improvement in operational efficiency, 30% revenue uplift and a 40% improvement in customer satisfaction, according...

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Pure Storage: Empowering Artificial Intelligence

Today, Pure Storage announced the release of AI-Ready Infrastructure (AIRI), a major move in serving the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning space. The newly announced solution combines Pure Storage FlashBlade and NVIDIA DGX-1 technology. According to Pure Storage, it is the industry’s first integrated AI-ready infrastructure for deploying deep learning at scale. With AI and machine learning still relatively nascent technologies, the first question that comes to mind might be, “Why an integrated solution, and not just a reference architecture?” I can give you three answers: To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Do You Want CybSec With Your Cookies?
Mar08

Do You Want CybSec With Your Cookies?

This week’s cybersecurity threat report from SonicWall doesn’t hold any real surprises from every other cybsec alert that frequents my inbox — i.e. the Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report — but it does reinforce the key themes: cybsec threats are bad, and growing worse (it was called the ‘greatest concern’ at last month’s Senate threats hearing). “We tend to view the world as a cybersecurity arms race… the good guys make advances and the bad guys make advances,” John Gordineer, Director of Product Marketing, SonicWall, tells IT Trends & Analysis. The cybsec vendor said cyber attacks are becoming the number one risk to business, brands, operations and financials, and it identifies almost 500 new previously unknown malicious files each day, which makes this one of the hottest IT — and business — markets. MarketsandMarkets states the data protection market is expected to grow from $57.22 billion in 2017 to $119.95 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 16%, while the total cybsec market will grow almost as quickly, from last year’s $137.85 billion to $231.94 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 11%. While the SonicWall survey found that the number of attacks was down, the variety of attacks is increasing, which he attributed to several factors, especially in ransomware attacks, he said. First, companies that paid their ransoms did not get their data back; more effective protection is being deployed; and data backup and recovery solutions make companies less likely to become a victim or need to pay ransoms. As a result, the bad actors are scrambling to retool their ransomware to be more profitable, since they are catching fewer victims, said Gordineer. “We’re curious to see where that goes in 2018. One of the things we’re seeing is ransomware as a service.” Key findings of the SonicWall survey included: -9.32 billion total malware attacks in 2017, an 18.4% year-over-year increase; -ransomware attacks dropped from 638 million to 184 million between 2016 and 2017; -ransomware variants increased 101.2%; -the company collected 56 million unique malware samples in 2017, a 6.7% decrease from 2016, but the total volume of unique malware samples in 2017 was 51.4% higher than 2014; and -the average organization will see almost 900 file-based attacks per year hidden by SSL/TLS encryption. Cisco’s results offered similar dire news: -32% of breaches affected more than half of respondents’ systems, compared with 15% in 2016; -more than half of all attacks resulted in financial damages of more than $500,000, including, but not limited to, lost revenue, customers, opportunities, and out-of-pocket costs; -complexity is growing: in 2017, 25% of security professionals said they used products from...

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Has Cisco Got The Right Stuff?
Feb01

Has Cisco Got The Right Stuff?

John Chambers, who handed control of Cisco to Chuck Robbins in July 2015, was bumped further upstairs a month ago when he became Chairman Emeritus, while his successor took over his role as Chairman of the Board, but more than a change in leadership, the turnover represents a new — and hopefully — improved networking, server and security vendor. The company, which has been struggling with the cloud and commodity hardware and software-based competitors for the last decade, looks poised for new life — and growth — as it hosts this week’s Cisco Live EMEA 2018, in Barcelona, Spain. Reinventing Cisco is not new. “We’re probably reinvented ourselves five or six times literally in the last two decades alone,” said Chambers shortly after moving up to the board. In an industry famous for it’s what-have-you-done-for-me-next philosophy, networking has been battered by explosive demands, increasing complexity and flat budgets, with the results that Cisco’s market domination has been mired in commodity hell. In Q3 its Ethernet switching business grew 7.4% year-over-year to $6.75 billion (56.7% market share), while the router market climbed 3% to 41.4%, up slightly sequentially (40.8%), but down year-over-year (44%). While networking accounts for the bulk of Cisco’s revenues, it’s been doing pretty well in the datacenter market with its server portfolio (i.e. UCS and HyperFlex), statistically tied with IBM for third place in 3Q17, with 5.8% of the market ($992 million), behind HPE (19.5%) and Dell (18.1%). Cisco also did very well in the converged systems market, and while it’s a much smaller segment, $2.99 billon vs $17 billon in Q3, the company held down second place between Dell (48.3%) and HPE (10.3% share, down 41.9% from a year-ago’s 18.1%), and grew its marketshare 56.4% YoY to $485.5 million. Security is another market where Cisco is growing strongly. Cybersecurity spending is expected to soar from last year’s $137.85 billion to $231.94 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.0%. According to ESG cybersecurity guru Jon Oltsik, “Cisco is one of only a handful of $2 billion-plus cybersecurity vendors that can grow its security revenue to over $5 billion by 2020.” At 4% of total revenues, the company’s security business is never going to be more than a wagging tail, but it grew 13% YoY in 2016, and 12% in the first nine months of 2017, which is way better than the switch and router business. A week ago Cisco expanded its cybersecurity portfolio with the acquisition of Skyport — a privately held company that has secured approximately $70 million in funding — whose core product platform is SkySecure Server, a physical server...

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