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Ten Steps for CIOs to De-Risk SDN

There is a replacement breed of CIO embedded within the boardroom watching the digital business. These CIOs are getting to do quite keep the lights on.

They want to form their corporate networks more just like the cloud. they need the power to reply to application requirements quickly, whilst keeping data secure and helping the delivery of policies like secure BYOD.

However, most rigid corporate networks simply can’t handle the sorts of performance, growth, change management and automation that these companies demand. What they get instead is an unacceptable 30 or 60-day await suppliers to form network changes. they need to attend for router deliveries. they need to attend for software upgrades. they need to submit support tickets for easy network changes. They get poor service. 

Fortunately, there are an entire host of innovative technologies within the market like Software-Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualisation, deployed by nimble suppliers, that are revitalising enterprise networks. Software-Defined Networking [SDN] particularly can provide flexibility and superior performance to offer the CIO and their organisation the competitive edge they’re trying to find.

We have been using SDN concepts for over a decade and, in doing so, we’ve learned some valuable best practice tips for the successful deployment of an SDN platform that we’d wish to share:

Business case

This might sound basic, but it is important, you don’t ‘buy an SDN’. It’s not a product – a network – you'll pick off the shelf. SDN is an enabling capability that sits in your network.

SDN offers compelling enterprise benefits, and you'll get to be ready to convey those benefits to the Board. you'll get to present a business case for SDN to your CFO and CEO peers.

While SDN’s business benefits are real, they will be difficult to demonstrate. SDN involves network changes at the foundational level, therefore the benefits can take time to seem. Start with a little implementation project. this may assist you to demonstrate the benefits of SDN and may pave the way for extra funding for future projects. Focus the implementation of a business use case that's near and dear to your company. SDN, for instance, can foster more rapid service development and provisioning and when that’s demonstrated alongside mobile app development, business executives can see how SDN could expedite delivery of latest products and services and cause increased revenue streams.

Consider the cultural implications of SDN within IT. IT leaders should take a page from today’s DevOps market and encourage collaboration among network engineers and software developers when planning, testing and executing SDN strategies and implementations. IT organisational charts may even be got to be rewritten as roles and responsibilities change.

SDN is an enabling capability that sits in your network


Rather than move to an all-SDN setup in one move, consider gradually combining SDN with more conventional networks. SDN solutions got to reflect this hybrid approach.

SDN requires networking staff to modify their focus from hardware to software. virtualization technology With SDN, IT staff configure networks with graphical software and write code using interactive developer tools. this needs new ways of thinking, new sorts of training, maybe even new positions on the IT org’ chart.

Danger zones

Security! By moving the “brains” of the network to a central Controller device, SDN creates a replacement vulnerability: If the Controller is taken down by an attack, the whole network can crash. SDN solutions require additional security measures, both built into the architecture and delivered as a service.

The term SDN can mean various things coming from different suppliers. For IT departments, that’s confusing. Standards will help. While some standards exist already, more standards — and more mature ones — are still needed.

Working with network service providers

If you propose to figure with a service provider ask some basic questions before engaging, for example:

How does one support SDN in your network services?

What sorts of SDN-based tools, portals and applications does one provide and what functionalities do they enable? 

Can I see all of my sites by location name?

Can I see all traffic per site? 

Will I be ready to differentiate traffic and determine who’s using bandwidth?

Can IT change and configure bandwidth on-demand and schedule bandwidth as business needs require? 

Do your service provide a business-continuity solution, using the web as a backup solution?

My last point would be this if you’re getting to upgrade your network, search for a network service provider that has SDN within the roadmap with clearly delineated benefits, services and delivery dates.

How DCIM Improves Performance and Reduces Carbon Footprint

By Margaret Ranken, Telecommunications Analyst

As data centres became increasingly complex, juggling efficiency and availability to satisfy the ever-growing demand for computing power, the spreadsheets that the majority data centre managers currently use are not any longer adequate.

Not only are they a poor means of tracking the increasingly large numbers of assets within the data centre, but they're incapable of meeting the challenges created by virtualization, which pushes servers to their limits and creates “hotspots”. DCIM (data centre infrastructure management) tools are developed to fill the gap, and lots of commentators have forecast rapid adoption: in 2012 Gartner predicted DCIM could penetrate as many as 60 per cent of U.S. data centres by 2015. 451 Group’s recent study predicts DCIM sales to grow at 44% CAGR to succeed in $1.8bn in aggregate revenue in 2016.

However, progress thus far has been slow, despite the very fact that leading vendor CA Technologies claims energy savings of 30% and an 11-month payback. an important Reading report recently sounded a note of caution about the implementation challenges among the larger data centres that host cloud infrastructure, where IT and building systems are often managed by separate teams.

DCIM is vital because it can both increase the reliability of the infrastructure and help to scale back carbon emissions. Managing the building infrastructure separately from the IT systems and processes creates problems that became more critical as virtualization has created a dynamic computing environment within a static building environment. Inefficient allocation of virtualized applications to servers can cause rapid changes in computing load that increase power consumption and make “hotspots”. If unanticipated, these are often an excessive amount of for the info centre’s air-conditioning systems, reducing efficiency and, in turn, reducing availability thanks to overloading and server outages.

The DCIM approach integrates the management of the IT systems and therefore the building systems into one seamless whole, in order that the load on the servers is managed in tandem with the building systems. DCIM also helps to enforce consistent, repeatable processes and reduce the operator errors which may account for the maximum amount as 80% of system outages.

The detailed real-time monitoring that DCIM tools support improves visibility of both IT usage and physical infrastructure. Right from the planning stage, DCIM uses power, cooling and network data to work out the optimum placement of the latest servers. During operation, equipment that's consuming large amounts of energy is identified and, where hotspots are developing, fan speeds are increased and server loadings re-configured to pre-empt problems. Integrated asset management tools mean that managers know exactly what the servers do and when resources like space, power, cooling and network connectivity are likely to run out. they will analyse “what if” scenarios for server refreshes, the impact of virtualization, and moves, adds and changes and predict the consequences of any faults.

When choosing a cloud service or managed service provider, you ought to search for one that's either already using DCIM, or plans to introduce it soon if you would like to make certain that your mission-critical IT systems are being operated to the very best possible standards.

DCIM brings the extra advantage of making it simple to watch and reduce the info centre’s carbon footprint. Using the wealth of knowledge gathered, it becomes possible to form plans to succeed in energy-saving goals, implement them and document the progress. DCIM tools provide the accurate energy consumption analysis and verification needed to demonstrate compliance with environmental regulations and contribute to meeting corporate social responsibility targets. When choosing a cloud service or managed service provider, you ought to search for one that's either already using DCIM, or plans to introduce it soon if you would like to make certain that your mission-critical IT systems are being operated to the very best possible standards.

About the Author: Margaret Ranken has been spent over fifteen years analysing the telecoms industry and providing strategic advice to a number of its largest players. Her reports have covered a spread of industry topics including M2M, Enterprise Mobile Data, Unified Communications, Fixed Mobile Convergence, Quad Play and High-Speed Broadband Networks. Her forecasts for Business Data Services were highly regarded within the industry. Before that, she spent a decade performing on European Commission research projects in advanced communications, managing projects and writing reports on their results. She started her career as an engineering trainee with what's now British Telecom. She has an MSc in Telecommunications and knowledge Systems from the University of Essex and an MA in Engineering from the University of Cambridge.

How to Sell Cloud and Shift all the danger to Customers. (An Exposé!)

In an earlier post, I identified the kinds of risks that I tell customers they ought to address in cloud contracts. I also advise cloud providers – and that they are generally willing to possess an open dialogue with customers about the risks related to the cloud. this is often because to offer a customer the safer, more reliable cloud that they desire, it's actually a chance for a cloud provider to sell a far better specified, costlier cloud.

Welcome, Mr Customer…

But if you actually want to sell cloud without taking over any of the danger here’s what you would like to understand. (Of course, if you’re the sort of cloud provider who wants to understand the way to differentiate yourself within the market, then you'll address these issues as these are those the purchasers are concerned about.)

1) “As is”

Selling cloud “as is” suggests that it's new, untried and untested and therefore the customer is lucky to possess it. it's a transparent way of claiming “buyer beware”. If the cloud is free or cheap — “as is” cloud is usually related to highly standardised, low cost & low margin services — or is getting used for non-core, smaller services, then this is often probably acceptable for a customer. If you would like to differentiate, then define your cloud in reference to a specification that matches the customer’s needs and makes assurances over the standard of the cloud.

2) Service credits

I have yet to satisfy a customer who is proud of credits against future payments for a service that's not performing.

Service credits are an excellent way of seemingly providing the customer with a sort of compensation but actually protecting the provider against unhelpful claims. Additionally, providers can make it even harder for patrons by not volunteering to pay service credits but by requiring the customer to say them. And then, to top it off, confirm service credits are the customer’s sole and exclusive remedy. But I even have yet to satisfy a customer who is proud of credits against future payments for a service that's not performing. a far better way would be to possess a wise dialogue with a customer to ascertain what they need. Customers I counsel are more curious about ensuring the cloud actually works.

3) Lock-in

Flexible, scalable cloud is great for patrons – they will buy cloud services as they have them. And stop buying them once they don’t need them. Of course, this is often not an excellent business model for providers and it might be far better to possess a reliable, repeating book of revenue by locking the customer into an extended-term relationship. information technology schools Proprietary or tailored cloud may be a way of achieving this. Or, you'll just tell the customer he can’t terminate for five years. Customers I speak to recognise that, where the provider is pocket money to create them a personal cloud by investing in new hardware, then some sort of minimum term is important. But even then, customers are willing to barter an early termination payment to recognise this. then will want some assistance to migrate to a replacement provider. Most customers recognise that paying extra (standard) charges are acceptable.

4) Data loss

It is not uncommon for public clouds to contractually exclude their liability for damaging, corrupting, losing or deleting customer data.

By the character of cloud services, the provider hosts the customer’s data. it's not uncommon for public clouds to contractually exclude their liability for damaging, corrupting, losing or deleting customer data. this is often giving customers excellent data storage and processing service and yet not bearing any responsibility if it all goes wrong. Data security and loss is the customer’s primary concern. Cloud providers, I speak to job my memory of what proportion they spend on building secure data centres and they’re willing to guard customer data. Selling cloud and taking responsibility for a customer’s data may be a good way to be better than a public cloud. The new draft EU Data Protection Regulation will impose new obligations on cloud providers and there’s no getting faraway from this (at least not in Europe).

5) Cap your risk

Often one among the sales messages of the cloud is that's cheaper than on-premise. Whether this is often true is probably a subject for somebody else to pursue. From a provider’s perspective, the cash that they're making is perhaps significantly less than the losses that a customer would incur if their cloud service didn't work. it's long been the case that IT providers will seek to cap all their risk, all of their liabilities under the contract to the quantity the customer pays them and cloud providers copy this. you'll even cap all risk to only 3 months of customer payments. Of course, the more severe it's for a customer, the more likely a judge is going to be to favour the customer. this is often the large debate within the industry. Customers want more but providers can’t or won’t give more because this is able to mean them losing far more than they earn. But surely if your cloud is as great as you say it's, then the customer would haven't any got to sue you for giant losses…

But surely if your cloud is as great as you say it's, then the customer would haven't any got to sue you for giant losses…

If you’re a cloud provider, what’s your approach to handling the risks in selling cloud? does one sell on the idea of a typical set of risks placed on the customer or does one negotiate with customers and use it as a chance to sell better cloud?

BRICS within the Wall

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a number of the problems surrounding the expansion of cloud computing in China, and the way the relatively embryonic technology is about to become a huge a part of the economic process in what's likely to be the world’s next superpower. Undoubtedly, obstacles still remain for cloud computing in China, but increasingly it appears that the Chinese government is paving the way for its steady uptake.

It is perhaps not commonly known within the Western world, a minimum of among those that don’t participate regularly in economic issues, that China is a component of a replacement economic bloc that's usually colloquially and collectively mentioned because of the BRIC or BRICS nations (depending on how relevant one deems South Africa to be during this grouping).

BRICS may be a simple acronym, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and maybe a broad-based union, motivated largely by economic factors.

BRICS may be a simple acronym, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and maybe a broad-based union, motivated largely by economic factors, which was formed just a couple of years ago. Originally comprised of just the primary four countries, but with South Africa admitted a few of years ago, the leaders of the nations convene every few years for the so-called BRICS conference, during which many problems with import are discussed, and therefore the BRICS nations generally conspire to realize their members a much bigger collective voice within the way that the planet is run, particularly on an economic level.

Often described as ‘emerging nations’, it's accepted that the BRICS nations will have a big influence on the direction of the worldwide economy within the 21st century, particularly given the apparent economic malaise within the so-called ‘Western’ world. Thus, it's interesting and important for the longer term of the cloud that recent surveys administered in a number of the BRICS nations’ principle players indicate that the technology appears to be operating on a sound footing during this new area of economic significance.

Of course, India has also carved itself out something of a reputation as an IT leader, not merely within the BRICS nations, but within the world as an entire. And, in common with China, the state has invested very heavily in educating its population in important economic process areas for the longer term, like engineering and IT.

The Times of India were among the publications in the week that reported on a study recently administered which indicates that IT leaders located within these ‘emerging nations’ are excited about the transformational and innovative potential of ‘cloud’ technology. The research was administered by Cisco Consulting Services, and therefore the management consultancy firm concluded that attitudes of IT firms within the likes of Brazil, India and China were extremely positive towards the cloud, and were keen to embrace it, not merely for cost-saving, corner-cutting reasons.

The Cisco study, which was conducted among a variety of data Technology firms in nine nations, reported that 83 per cent of respondents considered the cloud to be very satisfactory, while an extra 13 per cent were somewhat satisfied. Obviously, this leaves just four per cent being dissatisfied, giving a robust indication that the cloud is about to become a really big deal in these nations.

Cisco concluded that the adoption of cloud computing in India and China is becoming “mainstream”, and therefore the broad-based nature of the study, which interviewed 4,226 information technology leaders in eighteen industries, including over 600 in India, supports this notion.

It is perhaps telling, though, that companies within this new economic powerhouse had an equivalent basic trepidation as many individuals involved within the more traditionally economically powerful nations. information technology degree Security and privacy issues were recorded as being top of the list of concerns that companies had regarding cloud technology, particularly the complexity of managing third parties. Nonetheless, respondents had attempted to deal with a number of these concerns during a practical way and expressed the opinion that even when the switch to a cloud-centric computing culture is formed, the IT involved will remain centralised and well-funded, enabling the cloud to be managed and maintained with consistent policy and security solutions.

The study gives a strong indication that business leaders within the emerging economic powers are keen to urge on board with cloud technology, which may only be an honest thing for the longer term of the cloud generally. It also gives further notice that this may be a very global technology within the future, not one confined to the normal ‘Western’ hierarchy.