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Bringing Context-Aware Security to Applications

Are you really who you say you are? This has long been the key question and the key challenge in managing user access to corporate networks and IT systems. In recent years, capabilities for context-aware security have expanded this WHO question to identify the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW details for each login attempt at the network level. Now, a planned deployment of application connector software for the Cisco Identity Services Engine (Cisco ISE) will extend our context-aware security down to the application level.

How Context Awareness Supports More Control

Network security has traditionally operated on trust that the person behind a login name and password is indeed the right one. The problem is when hackers capture usernames and passwords. They can simply login and access anything authorized for that user, even the most sensitive data and most critical systems. Context-aware security limits that open access by evaluating more factors in the login and detecting variations from the user’s norms.

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Part 2: How Many Servers Do You Have …. Comatose and Sitting Idle?!?!

Last week I introduced this topic, the pervasive problem of “comatose” servers in data centers, based upon an interesting recent eWeek article entitled “30 Percent of Servers Worldwide Sit Idle”, which in turn was based upon the research report by Stanford University in conjunction with the Anthesis Group.  In my blog, I described the costs of this problem, ranging from the obvious (e.g. power and facilities) to the hidden (e.g. un-used software licenses).  This week I’ll discuss why this happens and what you can do about this problem.

The Problem of Idle Servers - What Can You Do About It

The Problem of Idle Servers – What Can You Do About It

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How Many Servers Do You Have …. Comatose and Sitting Idle?! (Part 1)

In my role in Cisco Services, I’m more interested in the challenges of technology adoption and deployment than I am in speeds and feeds, statistics and technology fads.  I actively seek out case studies where technology goes wrong – admittedly most of these examples turn out to be issues around introducing and managing the technology, rather than the technology itself.  So I have to admit, I was fascinated by a recent  eWeek article (full details below) which discussed the huge proportion – the report uncovers evidence of up to 30%!! – of (physical) servers in enterprise data centers that are typically running doing nothing!!  Yes – up to 30% – even in these days of virtualization!


How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

How Many Idle and Comatose Servers Do You Have?!

Yes, even in your data center, it’s probably a safe bet to say that you have some servers that are not doing that much information processing today!  In this part 1 of my blog, I’ll discuss the costs – obvious and hidden – of the idle server challenge.  And next week I’ll discuss why this happens and what you could and indeed should do about it!

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The Napkins Dialogues: Life of a Packet (Walk), Part 1

Lately I’ve been giving a lot of presentations about storage basics. I actually really enjoy it, because it makes me rethink some of the things that I took for granted, and it helps me understand some of the gaps in my own knowledge when questions arise.

When you think of how we do certain things for storage, such as choosing block-based (e.g., FC, FCoE, iSCSI), file-based (e.g., NFS, SMB), or object (e.g., Ceph, Swift, CDMI) storage platforms and protocols, it’s easy to ignore the why these types of storage affect our Data Center architectures and performance. Read More »

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Microservices Infrastructure Release 0.3

On behalf of the development team. I’m pleased to announce the 0.3.0 release of Microservices Infrastructure. In the weeks since 0.2, we’ve added a number of features and improvements.

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The software can be downloaded at:

Documentation is located at:


What is it?

Microservices Infrastructure is software that launches servers and then configures them to support a wide range of applications – like continuous delivery or realtime data processing.

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