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Big Data, Cloud and IoE Explored at Data Virtualization Day 2014

With nearly 500 attendees joining together at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, the fifth annual Data Virtualization Day on October 1st, 2014 was the largest ever, 50% bigger than 2013’s record setting event.  From kickoff to closing reception, the vanguard of data virtualization gathered to explore the latest trends, meet fellow innovators and drive data virtualization adoption forward.

The Importance of Data Virtualization

The use of data virtualization to connect increasingly distributed data resulting from acceleration of big data, the cloud and the Internet of Everything (IoE) was the hot topic on the day as organizations seek to gain advantage from these game-changing technologies. Cisco Data Virtualization is critical infrastructure, accelerating new capabilities, experiences, and opportunities by connecting device data, big data, data in the cloud, and traditional enterprise data in new and extraordinary ways.

Cisco’s Mike Flannagan, General Manager of the Data Analytics Business Group, kicked off the day highlighting the explosion of connected devices in the IoE. With 50 billion devices by 2020, Mike noted the business opportunities and data integration challenges are unprecedented.

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Paula Dowdy, SVP Cloud Software and Managed Services at Cisco, next explored the opportunities and challenges of “Hybrid IT” architectures that mix on-premise, private cloud and public cloud operations. Paula then spoke to data virtualization’s critical role in integrating data across this Intercloud topology.

Cisco Innovations In Data Virtualization

Jim Green, CTO of Cisco’s Data Analytics Business Group then addressed how Cisco is working to turn big data, cloud, and IoE possibilities into reality. Jim focused first on the short-term calling out specific features of Cisco Information Server 7.0 (CIS 7.0) announced that day.

  • Supporting business’s unquenchable thirst for data, CIS 7.0 Business Directory is the first data virtualization offering designed exclusively for business self-service.
  • To respond to the expanding data technology universe, CIS 7.0 Data Source SDK will speed development of high-performance data virtualization adapters for emerging and industry-specific data sources.
  • And CIS 7.0 Deployment Manager responds to accelerating data distribution which in turns leads to mega-scale data virtualization deployments.

Jim also foreshadowed Cisco’s continued innovation agenda including plans to

  • Deliver data virtualization at Intercloud scale
  • Provide directory, abstraction, federation, security, lineage and more to create more mature Hadoop environments
  • Address edge to center data challenges resulting from the integration of data in motion and data at rest in a world of 50 billion connected devices.

Customer Successes Highlighted

Alasdair P. Anderson, SVP Engineering at HSBC led off the customer cases studies by describing the bank’s expansive future-state data architecture based on Hadoop and data virtualization. Covering 65 petabytes of active data across 80 countries and 60 million customers and 7000 systems, data virtualization lowers total cost of ownership, improves agility, and enables greater business self service.

John Wrenn, VP Information Technology, Enterprise Applications at Flextronics next discussed how Flextronics uses data virtualization to provide data as a service for global supply chain that spans 40 distribution centers, 200 manufacturing centers and 20 design centers. In just over one year, John’s team has used Cisco Data Virtualization to integrate over 500 sources, allowing IT to match the pace of business.

Data Virtualization Leadership Award Winners Announced

Each year, the Data Virtualization Leadership Awards are announced at Data Virtualization Day. Past winners from Barclays, Compassion International and Pfizer joined Cisco on stage to recognize this year’s winners including:

  • Data Virtualization Champion Awards:  Paul Dzacko, Lead Architect, Risk Systems, BMO and James Evans, Architect & Project Manager, Client Portal, HSBC in recognition of their leadership in consistently achieving and promoting data virtualization’s value across their organizations and the broader data integration market.
  • High Impact Award:  Victor Campbell, Principal Architect, Long Island Power Authority (PSEG) in recognition of data virtualization leadership in an environment where the result was high impact and critical to the business. See the story here.
  • Agility Award:  Pratima Botcha, Sr. Technical Architect, Information Technology, AT&T Services for her work in enhancing business agility through use of data virtualization technology and methods, rapidly establishing a path for high value across the organization.

Thoughts From Leading IT Analysts

In the last session of the day, New Horizons, New Possibilities: Where Data Virtualization is Going, Rick van der Lans of R20 Consultancy, Barry Devlin of 9Sight Consulting and I discussed the customer cases, long term vision, practical advice and key takeaways. Ten additional analysts from Gartner, Forrester, and more also participated in Data Virtualization Day this year. For more on the analysts, you can follow these analyst’s Data Virtualization tweets using #DVDNYC or check out Lindy Ryan of Radiant Advisors trip report.

 

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IoE: So Much Data, So Many Great Partner Opportunities

You know the Internet of Everything (IoE) is gaining traction when you hear about it from the guy changing your oil. Earlier this month I was dropping off my car for its regular service when the technician began asking me how the Internet of Everything will change automobile maintenance and repair. Twenty minutes later – after we had discussed how quickly cars are becoming smarter and connected – I was on my way home with yet another example of just how fast the Internet of Everything is coming our way.

IoE — the networked connection of people, process, data, and things — is spawning business opportunities in just about every walk of life. However, the proliferation of traditional and new data sources and the movement of data to the cloud are making it harder for businesses to access all their data assets. Research shows that through 2017, a whopping 90 percent of the information assets from big data analytic efforts will be limited to specific project siloes and — more importantly — unleverageable across multiple business processes. [Source: Gartner “Predicts 2014: Big Data”] Read More »

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Drop the IT-Centric Mindset: Securing IoT Networks Requires New Thinking

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a popular topic of discussion amongst security company executives, analysts, and other industry pundits. But when they begin discussing the technical details, it quickly becomes evident that many of the most experienced security professionals still approach IoT with an IT-centric mindset. That’s because they believe IoT is mostly about the billions of new connected objects. While the dramatic increase in the number and types of connected objects certainly expands the attack surface and dramatically increases the diversity of threats, they’re only part of the IoT security challenge. In addition, the convergence of the organization’s existing IT network with the operational technology (OT) network (e.g., manufacturing floors, energy grids, transportation systems, and other industrial control systems) expands the depth of security challenges and makes threat remediation remarkably more complex.

While IT and OT were once separate networks, they’re now simply different environments within a single extended network ‒ but by no means are they the same! The architectures, operational needs, platforms, and protocols are vastly different for each of them, which drive radically different security needs for each of them. As a result, security architectures, solutions, and policies that have proven effective for years in the IT world often don’t apply in OT environments, so attempting to enforce consistent security policies across the extended network is doomed for failure.

Protecting data confidentiality is IT’s primary concern, so when faced with a threat, their immediate response is to quarantine or shut down the affected system. But OT runs critical, 24×7 processes, so data availability is their primary concern. Shutting down these processes can cost the organization millions of dollars, so the cost of remediation may be greater than simply dealing with the aftermath of an infection. In addition, because OT is a human-based operation in what can be dangerous working conditions, their focus is on the safety of their operation as well as their employees. As a result of these main differences, the two groups approach security in completely different ways. While IT uses a variety of cybersecurity controls to defend the network against attack and to protect data confidentiality, OT views security more in terms of secure physical access, as well as operational and personnel safety.

Securing IoT networks must go beyond today’s thinking. Rather than focusing on the individual security devices, they need to be networked, so that they can work together to produce comprehensive, actionable security intelligence.  By combining numerous systems, including cyber and physical security solutions, IoT-enabled security can improve employee safety and protect the entire system from the outside, as well as the inside. As a best practice, IT should maintain centralized management over the entire security solution, but with a high level of understanding of the specific needs of OT. Based on that understanding, they need to enforce differentiated security policies to meet those specific needs, and provide localized control over critical OT systems.

At the end of the day, IT and OT need to work together for the common good of the entire IoT implementation – thereby driving truly pervasive, customized security across the extended network.

Want to learn about the part Big Data plays in your overall security plan, and how Cisco can help organizations deliver the security they need to succeed in the IoT and IoE eras? Join us for a webcast at 9 AM Pacific time on October 21st entitled ‘Unlock Your Competitive Edge with Cisco Big Data and Analytics Solutions.’ #UnlockBigData

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To Succeed with Big Data, Enterprises Must Drop an IT-Centric Mindset; Securing IoT Networks Requires New Thinking

To help organizations who aspire to apply the power of big data enterprise-wide, Cisco provides a powerful, efficient, and secure infrastructure and a wide array of analytics solutions. In our previous blogs, others have highlighted the benefits of Cisco’s ability to provide the scalability, ability to process both real-time data and historical data with predictable, high performance, and the comprehensive management automation enterprises will need to keep pace with big data in the IoE era. Today, I’d like to begin a conversation about how enterprises can secure their increasingly distributed networks – and the data that is being transported across them – as we operate in an environment comprised of 50 billion connected devices (in just five years from now).

One of the key drivers of Big Data is the Internet of Things (IoT), when every connected ‘thing’ will be capable of producing data. IoT has become a popular topic of discussion amongst security company executives, analysts, and other industry pundits. As they discuss the technical details, it quickly becomes evident that many of the most experienced security professionals still approach IoT with an IT-centric mindset. Of course, they are partially correct. Securing an escalating volume of data requires rethinking our approach to security. Not only do security devices need to be faster, they need to navigate issues very specific to data centers and complex data flows. They need to be inserted as close to the traffic flow as possible, such as being positioned inline into East/West traffic flowing across the data center. They need to be able to track and secure asymmetric traffic, often across multiple locations. They need to be able to blend corporate policy with public standards. Finally, they need to move seamlessly across physical, virtual, and cloud environments in order to ensure seamless policy enforcement. Gone are the days when we can just hairpin traffic out of the data center to be inspected elsewhere. Speed and agility do not allow for that sort of bottleneck.

However, IoT is not only about the billions of new connected objects and inspecting the data they are producing. While the dramatic increase in the number and types of connected objects certainly expands the attack surface and dramatically increases the diversity of threats, they are only part of the IoT security challenge. Another new challenge is the convergence of the organization’s existing IT network with the operational technology (OT) network (e.g., manufacturing floors, energy grids, transportation systems, and other industrial control systems.) These new environments, usually omitted from traditional IT thinking, expand the depth of security challenges, and makes threat remediation remarkably more complex.

Big Data is not just being generated by web-enabled toothbrushes or smart appliances. For Big Data to be useful, the data that is collected needs to be actionable. Converging data needs to be able to turn on or off water supplies, ramp up manufacturing floors, redirect traffic, or manage the flow of electricity during peak usage. As a result, while IT and OT were once separate networks, they are now simply different environments within a single extended network ‒ but by no means are they the same! The architectures, operational needs, platforms, and protocols are vastly different for each of them, and drive radically different security requirements. As a result, security architectures, solutions, and policies that have proven effective for years in the IT world often don’t apply in OT environments, so attempting to enforce consistent security policies across the extended network is doomed for failure.

Protecting data confidentiality, especially at high volume, is IT’s primary concern, so when faced with a threat, a common immediate response is to quarantine or shut down the affected system. But OT runs critical, 24×7 processes, including critical infrastructures, so data availability is their primary concern. Shutting down these processes can cost an organization millions of dollars, and actually put the public at risk, so the cost of remediation may be greater than simply dealing with the aftermath of an infection. In addition, because OT is a human-based operation in what can often be dangerous working conditions, their focus is also on the safety of their operation as well as their employees. Because of these main differences, IT and OT teams have traditionally approached security in completely different ways. While IT uses a variety of cybersecurity controls to defend the network against attack and to protect data confidentiality, OT views security more in terms of secure physical access, as well as operational and personnel safety.

Securing IoT networks that need to participate in and respond to the demands of Big Data must go beyond today’s thinking. Rather than focusing on individual security devices, solutions need to be networked so they can collaborate to process increasing volumes of data into comprehensive, actionable security intelligence. By combining numerous systems, including cyber and physical security solutions, IoT-enabled security driven by Big Data can protect the entire interconnected environment outside threats, monitor and secure critical data and infrastructure inside specific domains, and even improve employee safety. As a best practice, IT should maintain centralized management over the entire security solution, including the use of open standards in order to see and coordinate with public standards, but IT also needs to develop a high level of sensitivity to and understanding of the specific needs of OT. This will allow them to enforce differentiated security policies to meet the specific needs, of the different parts of their network and provide localized control over critical OT systems while dealing with the operational demands of Big Data.

At the end of the day, IT and OT need to work together for the common good of the entire IoT implementation – locally and globally –thereby driving truly pervasive, customized security across the extended network.

Cisco can help organizations deliver the security they need to succeed in the IoT and IoE eras. To hear more about Cisco’s big data story, join us for a webcast at 9 AM Pacific time on October 21st entitled ‘Unlock Your Competitive Edge with Cisco Big Data and Analytics Solutions.’ #UnlockBigData

As the pace of big data adoption increases, speeding delivery of new big data and analytics solutions will become increasingly important. To find out how Cisco is helping our customers do just that, watch for Mike Flannagan’s upcoming blog “Aligning Solutions to Meet Our Customers’ Data Challengesthis Thursday. #UnlockBigData

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Enable Automated Big Data Workloads with Cisco Tidal Enterprise Scheduler

In our previous big data blogs, a number of my Cisco associates have talked about the right infrastructure, the right sizing, the right integrated infrastructure management and the right provisioning and orchestration for your clusters. But, to gain the benefits of pervasive use of big data,  you’ll need to accelerate your big data deployments and make a seamless pivot of your “back of the data center” science experiment into the standard data center operational processes to speed delivery of the value of these new analytics workloads.

If you are using a “free” (hint: nothing’s free), or open source workload scheduler, or even a solution that can manage day-to-day batch jobs, you may run into problems right off the bat. Limitations may come in the form of dependency management, calendaring, error recovery, role-based access control and SLA management.

And really, this is just the start of your needs for full-scale, enterprise-grade workload automation for Big Data environments! As the number of your mission-critical big data workloads increases, predictable execution and performance will become essential.

Lucky for you Cisco has exactly what you need! Read More »

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