Monthly Archives: August 2011

Large bank, large Ionix customer; thanks to dimension data.

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand

“Oh, I thought Ionix was now part of VMware!”,  I’d be rich if I had a $…  No, Ionix is the EMC management software brand and it continues to be developed and enhanced.  At one stage EMC decided to focus on infrastructure management and moved all assets, which worked above this layer, to VMware.  That move caused this confusion, but I’m so glad that partners like dimension data still get it.

Dimension data is a large user of Ionix technologies themselves. They use it in their operations centres and have also built it into some of their services they take to market. For example have a look at their ‘Managed Secure Infrastructure Service (MSIS)’ which takes an infrastructure from security through to compliance.

Dimension data also just helped a major bank gain network compliance – quickly! The customer said that what used to take them two to three hours to do manually, is now just a report that can be obtained on-demand, as they say just a click away. So think about the impact on their risk profile, where at any time they can monitor and prove their network compliance. Not only can this but they do this across all of their devices instead of the ‘relatively’ few they could previously do manually. Perhaps the most important factor, the auditors have gone elsewhere!

This bank is serious about their security and risk posture. I know as I’m a customer and they keep calling me!  I’m sorry but I’m one of those people destroying the local retailers and every time I purchase from a new on-line store, they immediately call.. and I love it, makes me feel secure!

Macquarie Telecom Cloud Services go from strength to strength

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand.

It’s been over 10 years since Macquarie Telecom stood up its first storage on demand service. (Today that would obviously be called a Cloud Service, but then it was known as SSP, Storage Service Provider.) Well that business has grown and expanded, but Macquarie Telecom hasn’t stopped there, they have also expanded into another brand, Ninefold. (here).

What makes them different to me was the way they described their services… starting with hosting and moving to pure on-demand servers, storage and networks. Now the fact that they are totally Australian owned, located in Australia and your data has no chance of leaving the shores, negates a great deal of the ‘Trust’ issues that always get raised with the ‘cloud’ question.

Second interesting thing about this service is that they are all about service! Macquarie Telecom was built on the basis of its service and it continues this tradition into this side of their business. They have a number of brand names that rely on them. The best examples are the likes of Quickflix and webJet, as their businesses are 100% reliant on Macquarie Telecom delivering!

To be transparent, (as I always am), I’ve been involved because they use EMC technologies to deliver these services. But so do many other suppliers in Australia, the difference here is just the traditional IT practice, its about the People and the Processes.. and in this case their Attitude to service that makes the difference!

How secure is your storage network?

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand

I know most of you are infrastructure people, but EMC RSA has a great deal to offer you! I just come out of a great briefing by EMC RSA Security Consulting ANZ, which is the only group for EMC RSA outside of the USA. Two interesting pieces I got out of it, incredible breadth and depth of EMC RSA and secondly the trend seems to be convergence.

To give you an idea of the extent of the influence and work that EMC RSA entities do .. here are some of the pieces that make up this part of the EMC organisation:

–         The Cloud Trust Authority:- Establishing a third party validation and testing service for cloud services. This allows users and providers to validate each other. The user’s perspective is obvious; however a cloud provider being able to validate the credentials of a potential tenant is an interesting topic of why the landlord wants to validate the tenant!

–        PCI council:- being the only supplier of technology on the council EMC RSA ensures that the technology being developed aligns with the market needs.

–       Security Operations Centre:- recognised as the leading ops centre in the world, its being enhanced with a massive investment to keep ahead of the bad guys.

–        Anti-fraud Command Centre:- reportedly shuts down about 80% of the world’s phishing attacks, working the major financial services organisations around the world, they quickly and effectively provide an identification and remediation service.

–        Cryptology Centre:- With the likes of Eric Young, (here, ever heard of
SSL?), and located right here in Brisbane, this is by far the world’s leading
cryptology centre.

So what does the Security and Compliance consulting guys really do that would interest the infrastructure people? Well here is the slide they put up.. (with the usual “it’s a marketing slide” disclaimer which I won’t take offence to this time.. keep it for later.)

A statement was made that I found intriguing, “The issues you had with your IP network in the past are now being seen on your storage networks.”  Here was a diagram used to show the various vulnerabilities that are in this domain:

Interesting when you consider all the issues that get raised about trust in the cloud, perhaps charity starts at home, and maybe security should start there as well! Looks like the only issue these consulting guys are having is keeping up with the demand as the ‘security guys’ want to measure the impact of any changes to the infrastructure! If you are ‘dealing’ with your security guys, perhaps give EMC RSA Security and Compliance guys a call.

“Cold day in Hell” according to Hugh Bradlow – Telstra’s CTO

by Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand

Finally someone with a voice of reason, and how right is he!
Somehow politicians you can bend the laws of physics and make outrageous statements  on national television. The pity is, when someone like Hugh, with nearly 40 years’  experience from both an academic and commercial perspective, clarifies the  situation.. he doesn’t get heard in the national media, relegated to a  technology publication, (here).

Besides the obvious headline Hugh also makes a point that  people are not thinking about the future and the potential, there is no vision  in this argument. How many dumb statements have been made in our industry by
people who didn’t think about the possibilities? (5 computers in the world-IBM;  640KB RAM-Microsoft, etc.).

I recently upgraded my home broadband plan from 20GB to 120GB,  thinking that we could not get near the monthly limit.. and yet at the end of
the month we have blown the limit. Why a change in behaviour! The kids are now  streaming the TV episodes they missed, (or want to watch on their own time).  The frequency and duration of Skype calls have increased, the odd movie being streamed, etc. New more convenient ways to get things done! So much so I’ve just added another 3TB to the home network, which I’m guessing will last a few months…

To me the big issue in my mind is the lack of vision about the future of computing! How do you think technology will change our lives over the
next 10 years? How important do you think the NBN is for Australia’s
competitiveness going forward?

Will Apple change without Steve Jobs?

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand

Wow.. talk about timing… as I was talking about the major changes in our industry ..today Steve Jobs resigns. I do think this is important for our industry.  You might argue Apple is a corporation and one individual should not make a material difference, but I’ve seen how much impact the head of an organisation has.  Just looking at EMC ANZ today, compared to a number of years ago, with David Webster as the new leader it’s a new place. Many of the same people are here but now ANZ is consistently in the top performing locations for EMC worldwide, we continue to take market share, and most importantly the people I work with seem to smile a great deal.

For those too young to remember the history of Apple, Steve Jobs has left before;  He hired John Sculley in the late 70’s, Sculley was working for Pepsi and had made Pepsi a major problem for the market leader Coke in what became known as the ‘cola wars’. He got people to take the Pepsi challenge, a blind taste test. And most people preferred the taste of Pepsi, or at least the ones they showed in their ads did! Pepsi gained market share, Coke panicked and invented ‘new Coke’.  Without a doubt one of the largest marketing mistakes for the 20th century!  It cost Coke an absolute fortune and almost ruined the company, because they didn’t ask people what they would buy! It turns out people don’t buy Coke because of the taste, they buy it because of the brand!

The urban myth is that Jobs asked Sculley if he wanted to sell sugar water for the rest of his life or come and change the world with Apple. As it turns out Sculley didn’t really achieve this, made some questionable decisions, like the PowerPC, and even got Jobs fired from Apple in the mid 80’s.

In the late 90’s Job’s new company is purchased by Apple and he takes over the organisation again, at the time the stock price is hovering under $10. If only we had all been like Forest Gump and purchased shares in ‘some fruit company’….

Well today, like them or hate them, Apple has changed the world! You just have to walk around any public place and count the number of Apple devices that people are using to see the impact. You read all the talk about the “Post-PC” era, and the iPad will be mentioned numerous times.  Personally I can’t wait for iCloud, it is going to solve so many of my personal ‘data’ management problems.

So I do think here is another one to mark down ….

IT Stack wars continue, will HP survive?

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand.

You know something is happening when there are $10Billion+ acquisitions going on, and people asking if leading IT vendors will be purchased, like Forbes asking if Oracle will purchase HP? (here)  We certainly seem to be living in interesting times!

In the past whenever there has been a major shift in the IT industry there has been a corresponding reshuffle of the leading vendors.  (I joke sometimes that I should have kept a ‘logo’ museum of merchandise from brands that have disappeared.) I have two poignant memories that typify these changes; the day the Wang sign, which dominated the North Sydney skyline for so long, was replaced by the ‘SAP’ one that is there now!  The other was hearing the news that the second largest computer company DEC, who dominated ‘technical’  computing when I was at Uni, was being purchased by Compaq. The new consuming the old!

The issue I question is, have we learnt from history? I thought that we moved away from the monolithic, single vendor IT solution to gain portability, wider innovation, and lower costs! It just seems that as the new architectures are being defined these critical advances are being ignored by some of the vendors.

HP, IBM and Oracle appear to be trying to convince the world that a single company can innovate better than an industry.(Maybe Dell is in this pack as well).  I have two issues with this; firstly the run of acquisitions we see demonstrates that larger companies do not innovate as effectively as smaller ones. Secondly, as Gartner classified these vendors at last year’s Symposium, as the ‘Super Vendors’. Likening them to super-markets, where you purchase generic stuff all in one place. My flippant view is they are pursuing their old strategies; ‘you need services with that’ or ‘there has to be a licence in there’ or ‘do you want ink with that!’.

The trick here is how to create an ‘open’- simple portability, ‘integrated’-vendors carry the cost and risk, ‘best of breed’-leverage all the bright minds in the world – solution.  Here is where EMC believes that virtualisation enables this new  converged infrastructure model, (which I have beaten to death elsewhere in this blog.)

So will Oracle purchase HP? And maybe we should open a book on what other rumours will start about who is purchasing whom?

How much does your Netapp storage actually cost?

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand

(DON’T READ IF YOU DONT LIKE DIRECT MARKETING MESSAGES)

EMC has a tool which takes the log files from a Netapp filer and gives you a simple breakdown, showing the conversion from raw disk to the data you have stored! Very handy for you to understand exactly how efficient your storage is and thus how much each GB of your data stored actually costs you. (Handy for EMC too.. if you understand how efficient your current storage is!!) Infact at a large Telco we worked out that their Tier 2 Netapp storage was costing more per GB than their T1 Symmetrix.. imagine the difference in cost to a VNX?

An example of the output is shown below and you can see that they are actually storing less than half the amount of data compared to the amount of disk they purchased, effectively more than doubling their purchase cost per GB, doubling their power & cooling required per GB, doubling their admin costs per GB stored, etc!

EMC can run this analysis for you and if you are as shocked as most people are, about this conversion. Then call EMC as we start by guaranteeing you EMC will save at least 25%. (Like the NAB adverts no asterisks)*.
*(No conditions, no caveats, no different configurations, no data type
limitations, just apples to apples comparison.)

How much storage do you really have?