Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guest Post - Cloud Still Has a Long Way to Come

Chad Lawler In an exclusive viewpoint for the CohesiveFT ebook “Cloud Memoirs: Views from Below, Inside, and Above" He is the Director, Consulting Services, Cloud Computing at Hitachi Consulting

It’s very interesting to look ahead and try to anticipate where the puck is going. The truth is that what Werner Vogels has stated about where we are in the “maturity curve” is absolutely true – that even with the progress we’ve made, we are very early in the cloud evolution. We want instant gratification with a solution that fits all of our needs, but we’re not there yet. We’re certainly
not at the point where true utility computing is a reality.

Here is an example: most cloud vendors say they offer pay-per-use functionality, when really they’re offering pay-per-allocation. You allocate a small, medium, large, or extra-large compute size, server memory, and a certain amount of storage. You pay for what you allocate, not what you use. When you allocate 10TB of storage on AWS S3 and do not use all of it, you still pay for the 10TB allocated. In order to have scalable storage you still have to pay to allocate it.

The idea of utility computing is still very relevant, interesting, and appealing to businesses, particularly when you get into the potential for dynamic, hybrid cloud. With hybrid cloud, you can get to daydreaming about moving workloads on the fly to the cheapest or fastest cloud.

The truth is, that just isn’t a reality today. It’s coming, however, as you can see with recent releases by leading cloud providers that enable basic hybrid functionality. However, the standards are not there yet and clouds are proprietary. It is very complex to move a traditional application from your data center to a public cloud and back without detailed knowledge of the application. Plus, there are still many integration, performance, data consistency, and security concerns, and not every application is a fit for the cloud, at least today.
Cloud will continue to evolve toward a hybrid, utility-compute cloud model, but it is going to take a long time; I would guess 7 to 10 or so.

Entrenched technology vendors don’t want to erode their existing revenues by creating competitive cloud offerings, so they resist change and cloudwash as a result. This is very confusing for business and customers. Many other technology vendors are digging in their heels and developing very compelling private cloud offerings to retain customer control. All of these complex trends are creating a “push and pull” scenario between the true utility computing we want in the long-term and the status quo of where we are today.

This contributed piece first appeared in the CohesiveFT ebook “Cloud Memoirs: Views from Below, Inside, and Above" For all the downloadable versions, visit http://www.cohesiveft.com/ebook

Friday, December 12, 2014

Weekly news roundup for Cloud and Networking: December 8 - 12

Cloud and Networking news for the week of December 8th
  • The Sony attack could cost the studio as much as $100 million, before estimates of lost revenues or lawsuits begins - via Reuters and are retaliating with a DDoS attack? from the Register
  • U.S. Senate passed an update to the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) this week. The Act would give Office of Management and Budget authority to set federal information security policies for civilian systems and require agencies to notify Congress of a suspected major security breach within 7 days - via Politico - the House will need to pass the bill before it can become law
  • Physical and virtual are blurring together, from O'Reilly Radar
  • Microsoft, Accenture Launching a new Hybrid Cloud from Datacenter Knowledge
  • "Breaking The Last Cloud Barriers" via Network Computing 
Image credit : Network Computing

Cohesive in the news:

Catch up with the Cohesive team:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

From the booth at AWS re:Invent 2014 - IAmOnDemand Interview with Ryan Koop

A month ago at AWS re:Invent, Offir Nachmani of IAmOnDemand stopped by our booth.

Offir remembered Coheisve and our Director of Products and Marketing, Ryan Koop, from some of the first "cloud migration" news he covered back in 2008. Offir asks Ryan about moving to the cloud:

"The biggest challenge our customers see is that the cloud is an untrusted network. Because we're a networking company and we have a networking product, we approach cloud security and migrations from the network point of view. 
When companies move their applications to clouds, AWS or any other cloud, they can't have the same 'attestation' that they used to have in their data centers. So what we do with VNS3 is make sure customers can attest to their data integrity and security in any cloud. And our primary value proposition is that we encrypt all data in motion - in other words all data moving to and from the cloud, around inside the cloud."

And since they are standing in front of this image, clearly featuring Docker:

Werner's day 2 announcements about Docker integration in AWS and Google's annoucement about Docker prompted a discussion about how Cohesive uses Docker inside our VNS3 product. "Docker is a great way to work with our customers to co-create network functions" said Ryan.  "Our customers can work with Docker inside VNS3 to more Layer 4 - 7 networking things like NIDS, SSL termination, and content caching. And the way we can do that is with Docker. Our application virtualization container system gives customers an easy mechanism to load their containers on to our virtual appliance and start using those services together."

Also at AWS reInvent Cohesive introduced the latest product in the VNS3 product family: VNS3:ms. The new network management console lets network administrators secure multi-cloud resources, save time, and reduce complexity from a single "pane of glass" console. Check out the full details of VNS3:ms on our press release here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekly news roundup for Cloud and Networking: December 1 - 5

Cloud and Networking news for the week of December 1st
  • Massive Sony data breach only gets worse. The hackers have now released thousands of usernames and passwords, crippled the company's network, and exposed sensitive data. Read up on the attack on the Register and Gizmodo.
  • News from DockerCon in Amsterdam today includes Docker Hub Enterprise for storing Docker-style apps on-premises, Docker Machine, that expands the portability of distributed applications, Docker Swarm, a clustering service that works with Docker Engines, and the Docker Compose service to assemble applications from containers - via Ben Kepes.
  • A new IDC Report says Half of IT Networks Will Feel the Stranglehold of IoT Devices, as reported by Datacenter World
  • AWS cuts prices for data transfers >> AWS aligns prices with cloud providers rooted in telecom such as CenturyLink and Verizon, as well as Google's new network peering options and price cuts from a few weeks ago. - Gigaom
  • Computing Goes to the Cloud. So Does Crime. New York Times writes 
    • "the concentration of core computing systems into clouds means computers are likely to be better managed, security flaws more frequently and thoroughly patched, and devices inspected in a more uniform way. All of those things are improvements over the current state of affairs."
    • "In particular, data can be easily encrypted even when at rest deep within the system, so a hacker will most often lack the ability to read what is captured. "

Cohesive in the news:

  • We're a finalists in the DCD EMEA Awards for our "Building Multi-Cloud Overlay Networks with Public Clouds" entry. The winners will be announced this Thursday in London.
  • Cohesive and VNS3 named Runners Up in the 2014 SVC Awards for both “Cloud Security Product of the Year” and “Vendor Reseller Channel Program of the Year”

Catch up with the Cohesive team:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Guest Post - Cloud Computing in 2015

Patricia B. Seybold originally wrote this exclusive prediction for the CohesiveFT ebook “Cloud Memoirs: Views from Below, Inside, and Above"  She is the CEO & Sr. Consultant at the Patricia Seybold Group and the author of Customers.com, Customer Revolution, and Outside Innovation.

Customers want to be able to access and manage their own information and activities from anywhere, and they want that information to be securely backed up and redundant. The most cost-effective way to satisfy customers' requirements will be to take advantage of low-cost cloud computing services. To ensure the integrity of customers' data and communications, large organizations will provide their own application security, data security, and virtual private networking. Smaller firms will rely on VPN and cloud security experts.

Your Customers’ Data NEEDS to be in the Cloud
Remember, your firm doesn’t own your customers’ information. Your firm’s customers own their own information. They have simply entrusted it to your organization. And, unless you make it easy for them to access, synchronize, and manage their stuff, you’re going to lose those customers!

Up until now, enterprise IT architects who have been designing their companies’ cloud strategies have decided to leave customer data for last, feeling that, because of its importance and sensitivity, customer data will be the last information to migrate to the cloud. But, if your enterprise architects don’t take your customers’ needs into account as you plan and execute your firm’s migration to private, public, and hybrid clouds, the chances are good that you’ll wind up with a “customers last” strategy—one that will keep you from being competitive. If so, there's a good chance that one or more of your competitors will leverage cloud computing and mobile apps to offer your customers easy, secure access to all the information those customers need to keep on top of things, to get things done quickly and easily, and to keep everyone on the same page.

If your IT architects ignore the need to plan your “customer cloud” strategy, customer-facing applications will continue to be developed and deployed by different groups within your organization. Some of these applications will run on proprietary home-grown systems; some will be deployed via the Internet; others will be apps downloaded on customers’ mobile devices. Your organization will wind up with an unmanageable, brittle, and fragmented set of mobile apps, customer portals, and intelligent networks and systems that do not represent your brand well. Customers will not have an integrated view that lets them manage their relationships with your firm and keep track of the products they’ve purchased from you or that you are managing for them. Customers certainly won’t have confidence that their data is consistent and up-to-date.

Therefore you should lead your cloud strategy with customer data and applications hosted in secure private clouds and accessed by secure private networks. You’ll be able to be more responsive to customers’ needs to have their own information at their fingertips from their mobile phones and tablets.

You’ll be able to provide customers with a rich environment for managing and interacting with the assets they’ve purchased from you. It will be easier to keep customers’ mobile devices, your customer portals, and their intelligent products in synch.

Your Customer Cloud Needs to Be Highly Secure
Of course, when dealing with your firm, your customers will also expect and require more privacy and security from you than they do from Facebook or Google. They expect you to keep their personal and transactional data away from hackers who may be intent on stealing their identity or on compromising their data. They count on you to protect their corporate information from industrial espionage. They also expect you to keep both their personal and corporate information free from spying by government entities. When customers are dealing with you, they expect you to protect their privacy and to protect the integrity of their corporate information. To deliver the levels of privacy, security and data integrity your customers require to manage their activities, you’ll need highly secure cloud computing environments and highly secure and encrypted networks to enable your customers to access their information in your customer cloud(s).

These security requirements go beyond the need for physical security of the hosting centers used to house all the cloud computing infrastructure. You will also need to go beyond intrusion detection and anti-hacking measures to protect your cloud computing infrastructure and cloud computing platforms. Customers will expect you to secure and protect their data and network communications at the highest levels—at the application layer, across multiple clouds. And, since many customers' activities also cross organizational boundaries, we'll need security in our application-to-application interactions across multiple clouds as well.

What Will CustomerS Require from Your Cloud by 2015?

By 2015, You’ll Need a Secure Customer Cloud and Secure Virtual Private Networks to Be Competitive
Because customers will expect and demand you to manage and synchronize "their" information, they will want you to keep it secure and not able to be viewed or accessed by anyone they haven't authorized to do so.
Encrypt and Secure Customers’ Data. You’ll need to use the same data security practices in the Cloud that you've used in securing customer data inside your firewall. Your cloud computing environment needs to be password protected, SSL-secured, and your customers' data should be encrypted.
Provide Secure Network Access. Whether your customers are accessing your cloud-hosted applications from their mobile devices and/or from their office systems or from a coffee shop, they should have the benefit of secure access to their own data. Your customer cloud strategy needs to include provisions for both identity management and access management as well as to be secure from unwanted monitoring. You don’t want someone parked outside your customer’s home to be able to eavesdrop on that customer’s supposedly secure interactions with your firm.

Manage Your Own Security Perimeter across Clouds. It doesn't matter to customers whether you are using IBM’s or HP's cloud services or Amazon's or Google's—or all of them. Customers will expect your company to ensure that a) their information is backed up and replicated in multiple clouds managed by different cloud providers and b) that you have secured the virtual perimeter around their information and the applications they use to interact with their information across all of those clouds.

By 2015, Customers Will Want Control Over the Jurisdiction in Which Your Customer Cloud(s) Reside
The nice thing about digital services in the cloud is that they can be hosted anywhere in the world. But that's also a problem if the country in which the data actually physically resides has laws that restrict what information can be hosted there. For example, copyrights are national. If I buy a digital book with an American copyright, or download an Australian movie, or stream music from Korea, where am I legally allowed to store and access that information?

Each country and region also has different laws about what customer information can be moved across country boundaries. Even if that information is hosted in the cloud, the digital bits are still stored on a computer disk in one or more physical locations. German customers’ information needs to stay in Germany. It can’t cross borders, so you still need to be able to prove that the physical data storage is in Germany. What if my German customer information winds up on a server in India? That's a big problem!

Ensure that Customers' Regulated Data Does Not Cross Borders. Customers will be relying on your company to abide by national and international data privacy regulations. You need to be able to demonstrate to customers that their data is physically resident only in the jurisdictions in which they choose for it to reside.

Government security policies also have cross-border implications. The U.S. Patriot Act apparently gives the US government the ability to access private information from any American company anywhere in the world if terrorist activity is suspected. So, if you are a U.S.-based company and you have German or Brazilian customers, their information may be subject to search by the US government. In order to be competitive in a global market, US companies need to be able to assure their non-US customers that their information is not subject to search by US authorities simply because the company with which they do business is headquartered in the U.S.

By 2015, Customers Will Want to Manage Their Activities in Your/Their Customer Clouds
Customers may not explicitly ask you to provide them with "customer clouds." But if you take an inventory of what your customers actually want and need to do in and around "their" stuff, you quickly realize that you'll need a customer cloud strategy and implementation in order to satisfy all of these customer requirements:

1. Make It Easy for Customers to Manage Their Stuff (in the Cloud). Today’s customers expect to be able to see and manage their relationships and preferences. They also expect to have access to relevant information about everything they’ve bought either directly from you and/ or from one of your channel partners. If they need to re-order, replenish, repair, get help with, buy supplies, and/or get better performance or learn how to do something new, they expect you to provide them with a set of tools that let them get things done. Customers want to keep track of their assets and their projects. They want to be able to do this from anywhere.
2. Keep Customers' Stuff Up-to-Date, Backed Up, and In Synch. Although we want to have everything at our fingertips, most of us do not have the time and inclination to do data entry. As customers, we don’t want to have to enter everything. We want you, the company from whom we bought our assets, and/or the service provider or custodian to whom we’ve entrusted the care of our assets, to “automagically” pre-populate our stuff and to keep our stuff up-to-date for us as things change. (Show me my current bank balance and the value of my investment portfolio, show me the current configuration of the hardware and software in my networks, show me what courses I’ve completed and what credits I’ve earned to-date, show me the current working components in my power plant, show me the current version of this file, and maintain all the previous versions in case I need to roll back).
If we, as end-users, have made changes that you can’t detect or know about, we’re willing to provide those updates (but not necessarily immediately; only when we happen to look at things and realize that something’s not quite up-to-date). Best of all possible worlds, we’d like it if you could automatically keep everything up-to-date for us without our having to DO anything. And, if we’re entrusting our assets to your care (or even the records about our assets), we want you to provide automatic back up so we don’t have to worry about losing them.

You'll Need to Have Implemented Your Customer Cloud Strategy by 2015
The customer requirements we've described are not new. These are the behaviors that customers are already exhibiting as they interact with the mobile devices and with the Web. But, if you don't step back and realize that you'll need a comprehensive customer cloud architecture to actually meet your customers' expectations within the next two years, you'll be so far behind the next generation of competitors who assume cloud computing as the standard deployment model that you'll never be able to catch up.

This contributed piece first appeared in the CohesiveFT ebook “Cloud Memoirs: Views from Below, Inside, and Above" For all the downloadable versions, visit http://www.cohesiveft.com/ebook

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