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Service Agility from Customer, Business, and Orchestration Perspectives

A Great Leap Forward

Evolutionary biologists talk about features that suddenly seem to burst forth and enable stunning new capabilities for life forms in the natural world. Eyes. Legs. Flight. And right now service providers have at their fingertips many new operational features that can help them become more agile purveyors of better, faster, and cheaper services. It’s no exaggeration to look at Software-defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and other new, evolving technology approaches as part of a groundbreaking, evolutionary leap forward.

Service providers are not alone in embracing solutions that provide greater service agility. A 2013 Gartner study that asked enterprises to list their primary driver for cloud services found that 66% of enterprises ranked agility and service velocity above cost savings and other factors.

Understanding How and When to be Agile Read More »

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Innovation Distinguishes Between a Leader and a Follower

Steve Jobs is arguably the most amazing innovator of our times.  I recently read some of his thoughts on innovation. His statement “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower,” caused me to reflect upon my eight-year association with data virtualization, and consider who in the IT analyst community have been the innovative leaders.

Since 2006, I have worked with over one hundred IT analysts to define and advance the data virtualization market.  I even teamed up with one, Judith Davis, to co-author the first book on data virtualization, Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility.

Others such as Rick van der Lans, author of data virtualization’s second book, Data Virtualization for Business Intelligence Systems: Revolutionizing Data Integration for Data Warehouses and the seminal article, The Network is the Database, have contributed mightily to the market’s understanding of data virtualization’s capabilities, advantages and benefits.

The role call of top analysts doing innovative work continues with Noel Yuhanna of Forrester who wrote the analyst community’s first research paper on data virtualization in January 2006, Information Fabric: Enterprise Data Virtualization.

Gartner’s Ted Friedman and Mark A. Beyer, and more recently Merv Adrian, Roxane Edjlali, Mei Selvage, Svetlana Sicular and Eric Thoo, have been both descriptive and proscriptive about the use of data virtualization as a data integration delivery method, a data service enabler and a key component in what Gartner calls the Logical Data Warehouse.

Dave Wells, author of TDWI’s Data Virtualization Course, Data Virtualization: Solving Complex Data Integration Challenges, helped bring data virtualization into the mainstream.    As did Boulder BI Brain Trust members Claudia Imhoff, Colin White, John O’Brien, Ralph Hughes, John Myers and more who I recently wrote about in Rocky Mountains High On Data Virtualization.

Further, there have been myriad analysts who have amazing contributions.

  • The learned trio of Dr. Barry Devlin, Dr. Robin Bloor, and Dr. Richard Hackathorn have pushed the art of the possible.
  • While analyst / practitioners such as Jill Dyche, Mike Ferguson, Rick Sherman, Steve Dine, Evan Levy, David Loshin and William McKnight, via their hands-on client work, have “kept data virtualization grounded on reality street,” to quote Mike Ferguson.
  • And let’s not forget the Massachusetts’ Waynes — Wayne Eckerson formerly of TDWI and Wayne Kernochan, author of the eponymous Thoughts From a Software IT Analyst blog.  Their voices and insights have proven invaluable.

To quote Gene Rodenberry, “It isn’t all over; everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning.”  The same is true for data virtualization.  So I look forward to more great insights from these innovators, as well as a new generation led by Puni Rajah of Canalys and Vernon Turner of IDC.

To see Rick van der Lans and Barry Devlin on stage and gain even more insights from the 2014 Data Virtualization Leadership Award winners, join us at Data Virtualization Day 2014 on October 1 in New York City.

Watch for a sneak peek of Data Virtualization Day 2014.

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Cisco ACI at F5 Agility 2014, Copenhagen

At F5 Agility 2014 Copenhagen this month, Applications take the central stage.  The key focus area is Application Delivery Controllers (ADC’s as Gartner calls them) and how they are increasingly becoming more important to modern IT than they used to be, allowing scale, availability, orchestration and provisioning.

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Another key focus area is around the deployment of applications and how joint technology solutions present a tremendously powerful option for F5’s customers.  F5’s partners -- and Cisco is a key partner – are a large part of Agility.  Cisco is at the event to demonstrate how its ACI technology integrates with F5 BIG-IP to improve manageability, strengthen security, and ensure faster and more successful deployments.

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We have quite a few exciting things that we are showcasing at F5 Agility from a Cisco ACI perspective, and in this blog I want to take you on a quick tour of the highlights. As a testimony to our growing momentum with the Cisco ACI-F5 joint solution effort, we have demos, business and technical breakout sessions. The event features F5 CEO John McAdam’s keynote on Tuesday June 17, where he will … discuss how applications are impacting the architecture of the data center and driving IT strategy and alignment to key business drivers.

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Cisco Marketing Manager Ravi Balakrishnan is presenting a business breakout session-4 titled “Unleash the power of Cisco ACI and F5 Synthesis for Accelerated Application deployments,” on Wednesday June 18. This session gives a detailed overview on the benefits of our joint solution and the customer pain points it addresses, so do not miss this. I’d also encourage you to attend Paolo Pio and Nicolas Menant’s technical breakout session-3 on Wednesday June 18, where they will walk you through details of ACI/VMDC joint solution.

We also have an exciting demo at the Cisco ACI kiosk, where we are showing how the Cisco ACI and F5 BIG-IP joint solution works with step-by-step illustrations of configuration, deployment and execution. The demos run Tuesdays and Wednesday at the Exhibit Hall for the entire duration of the day. Stop by our demo kiosk to get a deep-dive architecture type white-boarding or brainstorming type engagement with Cisco subject matter experts on ACI-F5 integrated solution. There are several other solution areas where Cisco and F5 are working together including F5 LTM-Cisco Nexus 7000 integration, F5 LTM-SourceFire NGIPS integration etc, so come by our demo booth to learn more.

To learn more on Cisco and F5  partnership visit the Cisco-F5 Alliance web page.

 

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Agility – A service provider’s Secret Weapon

Tom_Davies_PassportWritten by Tom Davies, Technical Solutions Architect

The world can be a tough place for a service provider in today’s marketplace. Revenue per customer is declining and margins are shrinking. Over-the-top players are delivering services at an ever increasing pace and systems integrators are positioning themselves as end-to-end providers of complex services. It is a potent mix that is negatively affecting the top line growth of many providers.

From discussing these key business issues with numerous service providers, the desire and will to offer new and innovative services on cutting edge technology cannot be doubted. Unfortunately, service providers have large legacy networks to consider, with a multitude of Element Management Systems, Network Management Systems and Operational Support System stacks, which tend to be customised to manage the specific networks and the services that reside on them. These stacks can present a bottleneck to offering new services and adopting new and disruptive technologies in terms of time to market, capital cost and the operational expenditure to deploy and manage them.

Service providers find themselves with reduced top line growth opportunity and stifled capability Read More »

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#EngineersUnplugged S3|Ep13: Software Defined Storage Continued!

September 18, 2013 at 10:42 am PST

Welcome back to the final episode of Engineers Unplugged, Season 3! It’s been quite a ride. This week, we take another viewpoint on the hot topic of software defined storage with Mike Slisinger (@slisinger) and Vaughn Stewart (@vstewed). Starting from the application owner’s perspective, this is a great 101 on the choices made on the road to the data center of the future. Let’s listen in:

Better stick to storage, not unicorns! Art by Mike Slisinger and Vaughn Stewart.

Better stick to storage, not unicorns! Art by Mike Slisinger and Vaughn Stewart.

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

How far up the unicorn scale is your data center in regard to software defined storage? Post a comment below!

Thanks for your viewership and support of Engineers Unplugged. We’ll be on site at VMworld Barcelona, camera and whiteboard markers in hand. If you’ve got show ideas or questions, tweet me @CommsNinja.

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