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Winter Journal

Volume 28, Issue 1

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Jon Seals

As companies increasingly turn to the public cloud to house various components of their IT infrastructures, it will probably always be the case that other components will remain on-premise. So the question of how to best manage that hybrid environment becomes one that an increasing number of IT pros will have to be able to answer.

I discussed that question in a recent email interview with Lynn LeBlanc, co-founder and CEO of HotLink, a hybrid IT management software provider in Santa Clara. I started by asking LeBlanc what she finds companies tend to keep on-premise, and why they’re going that route. She said the reasons for hybrid cloud deployments vary from organization to organization, but it’s generally more a question of what they want to put in the cloud:




It may not come as a surprise that cyber security incidents are on the rise. Open any newspaper today and you will no doubt come across yet another article highlighting some organization that has become the latest victim of a breach in online security.

Quite by how much these incidents are on the rise is perhaps a little more concerning however, as a recent report produced by PwC on the Global State of Information Security has shown that the number of information security incidents reported by survey respondents has increased from 28.9 million in 2013 to 42.8 million in 2014 – a 48% increase. The report also cites additional research which suggests that 71% of compromises go undetected meaning that 42.8 million could just be the tip of the iceberg.

The Business Continuity Institute’s Horizon Scan report has consistently shown that cyber attacks and data breaches are a major concern for business continuity professionals with the latest survey highlighting that 73% of respondents to a survey expressed either concern or extreme concern at the prospect of one of these threats materialising.

The cost of security incidents can be high with the report noting that a recent study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimated that the annual cost of cybercrime to the global economy could be somewhere between $375 billion and $575 billion. The report further notes that this doesn’t cover the cost of IP theft which could range from $749 billion to as much as $2.2 trillion.

You might think that with this significant increase in the number of security incidents and the financial impact these incidents can have, budgets would be also be increasing in order to protect against them, however the opposite appears to be the case as the report reveals that the average security budget among respondents had decreased by 4% from the previous year.

The Global State of Information Security Survey 2015 was a worldwide study by PwC, CIO, and CSO conducted online during the first half of 2014. Readers of CIO, CSO and clients of PwC from around the globe were invited to take the survey and the results discussed in the report are based on the responses of more than 9,700 CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CISOs, CSOs, VPs and directors of IT and security practices across more than 154 countries.

The concept of digital transformation is not a new one, as technology has been used to augment business functions since the dawn of the computer age. However, these days, digital transformation means different things to different companies, requiring each company to tailor their integration of technology in a way that increases productivity and improves communication with internal and external parties.

Personally, I like the Altimeter Group’s definition of digital transformation, since it is the most appropriate for modern market-focused usage: “The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touch-point in the customer experience lifecycle.” In most cases, the goals of digital transformation include better engagement with digital customers, greater collaboration with internal resources, and improved efficiency.



There are times when you wish you could undo what you just did. Sometimes, you can’t. Financial investments, office reorganisations and even that too-hasty email you sent often cannot simply be reversed. With IT on the other hand, it’s a different story. From individual PCs to corporate data centres, the ‘Undo’ function has become a standard feature of many computing systems for making errors and problems disappear. As little as one mouse click may be enough to turn back the hands of time and begin again as though a mistake had never been made. But is this disaster recovery capability the magical solution it is often made out to be?



Tuesday, 13 January 2015 00:00

Tackling the Unstructured Data in Big Data

There’s a lot of talk about Big Data as if it is one entity. We hear: How do you manage Big Data? How do you govern Big Data? What’s the ROI for Big Data? The problem with this is that it puts too much focus on the technology, while obscuring one of the major challenges in Big Data sets: the unstructured data. 

I suspect CIOs haven’t forgotten that component since about 80 percent of data in organizations today is unstructured data, according to Gartner. That’s a lot of value currently hiding in social media, customer call transcripts, emails and other text-based or image-based files.

That’s a problem, because that also happens to be where you may find the real value in Big Data. These disparate data sets were previously unanalyzed or sitting in application silos. Obviously, Hadoop will let you migrate that into one location, but what then? How do you turn that into valuable information?

This recent Datamation column by Salil Godika goes a long way toward answering these questions. Godika is the chief strategy & marketing officer and Industry Group head at Happiest Minds. I admit this gave me pause, because pieces by chief marketing officers can be too self-serving.



Not too long ago, organizations fell into one of two camps when it came to personal mobile devices in the workplace – these devices were either connected to their networks or they weren’t.

But times have changed. Mobile devices have become so ubiquitous that every business has to acknowledge that employees will connect their personal devices to the corporate network, whether there’s a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy in place or not. So really, those two camps we mentioned earlier have evolved – the devices are a given, and now, it’s just a question of whether or not you choose to regulate them.

This decision has significant implications for network security. If you aren’t regulating the use of these devices, you could be putting the integrity of your entire network at risk. As data protection specialist Vinod Banerjee told CNBC, “You have employees doing more on a mobile device and doing it ad hoc here and there and perhaps therefore not thinking about some of the risks that are apparent.” What’s worse, this has the potential to happen on a wide scale – Gartner predicted that, by 2018, more than half of all mobile users will turn first to their phone or tablet to complete online tasks. The potential for substantial remote access vulnerabilities is high.



Tuesday, 13 January 2015 00:00

CDC: Flu Season a Bad One

(TNS) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this year’s flu season is shaping up to be a bad one.

Already there have been 26 confirmed pediatric deaths and flu is widespread in almost “the entire country,” CDC director Tom Frieden said on a conference call with reporters Friday morning.

The number of hospitalizations among adults aged 65 and older is also up sharply, rising from a rate of 52 per 100,000 last week to 92 per 100,000 this week, Frieden said.

And there’s still more possible hospitalizations and deaths to come. The nation is about seven weeks into this year’s flu season and seasons typically last about 13 weeks, Frieden said.

“But flu season is unpredictable,” he said, adding it could last longer than 13 weeks.



Largest independent backup storage provider continues momentum with double-digit, year-over-year growth and record revenues

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. – Revolutionary backup storage provider ExaGrid Systemsannounced today that it had double-digit growth from 2013 to 2014, earning record bookings for its fourth quarter revenue and year. ExaGrid was also both cash and P&L positive for all four quarters in 2014 and for the year. The company consistently ranked ‘best at disk-based backup storage with deduplication’ by leading experts is positioned for a successful year in 2015.

The only vendor with a unique landing zone and scale-out architecture, ExaGrid offers the industry’s fastest backups; the fastest restores, recoveries, and offsite tape copies; VM boots in seconds to minutes; and permanently fixes the backup window length as data grows. ExaGrid also eliminates the forklift upgrades and product obsolescence of the big backup storage vendors.

Turning it up in 2014, ExaGrid highlights include:

  • ·         Surpassed 8,000 appliances sold.
  • ·         More than doubled the full backup capacity in its GRID architecture, announcing a 448TB full backup in a single scale-out GRID system.
  • ·         Became the industry’s first tech company to have over 350 published customer success stories, more than all of its competitors combined.
  • ·         Attained highest position in the visionary quadrant in the Gartner Magic Quadrant.
  • ·         Took the majority of the top product positions in the DCIG under $50K and under $100K appliance categories.
  • ·         Was the first vendor to integrate with the Veeam Data Mover.
  • ·         Increased support to over 25 backup applications and utilities.
  • ·         Signed Ingram Micro as a major distributor for North America.
  • ·         Expanded sales channels in mainland China.

“ExaGrid achieved a number of great milestones in 2014,” said Bill Andrews, CEO of ExaGrid. “From day one, ExaGrid looked at all the other solutions on the market and saw that other vendors had simply added inline deduplication to already existing backup applications or scale-up storage platforms. ExaGrid looked at backup and instead of simply adding deduplication, designed and architected a purpose-built scale-out GRID-based backup storage solution that permanently fixes the problems of data deduplication in backup. ExaGrid’s unique approach not only provides the storage advantage of data deduplication, but eliminates the challenges of slow backups, painfully slow restores, recoveries, offsite tape copies and VM boots, and the need to keep replacing solutions every 12 to 18 months. ExaGrid looked at the problem from a backup point of view versus a storage point of view, and it is paying off as customers begin to understand that how data deduplication is implemented has a huge impact on cost and performance. For customers with hundreds of terabytes of data, ExaGrid provides two to three times the backup performance and up to ten times the restore performance at half the price of EMC.”


A Year of Technological Innovation
ExaGrid announced the company’s most innovative technology in 2014 with the release of EX32000E, was awarded a patent for “Method and Apparatus for Content-Aware and Adaptive Deduplication”, and entered into several new partnerships for software integration and increased flexibility for customers’ appliance needs.

EX32000E – The new appliance can take in up to a 32TB full backup and with 14 appliances in a scale-out GRID can scale to a 448 terabyte full backup in a single GRID system. A fully-loaded GRID has an ingest rate of over 100TB per hour, the fastest in the industry.

Adaptive Deduplication– This new approach is the best of all worlds. Inline deduplication impedes backup performance and stores only deduplicated data, resulting in slow restores, recoveries, offsite tape copies, and VM boots due to a compute-intensive and lengthy data rehydration process. Post-process deduplication allows for faster backups as well as faster restores and recoveries but waits until all backup jobs are complete to begin replication, resulting in a poorer disaster recovery point. Alternatively, ExaGrid’s Adaptive Deduplication technology writes the backups straight to disk for high performance, storing the most recent backup in its full undeduplicated form for fast restores, recoveries, offsite tape copies, and VM boots, and also providing a strong disaster recovery point by performing deduplication in parallel with backups.

ExaGrid-Veeam Accelerated Data Mover– ExaGrid and Veeam developed an integration that allows the Veeam Data Mover to run on the ExaGrid appliance. This greatly improves backup performance and decreases the time to perform a Veeam synthetic full backup by up to 6X.

Ten Mix-and-Match Appliance Models– ExaGrid now offers ten appliance models of various sizes that can be mixed and matched in a single scale-out GRID. An appliance of any size can work with any other appliance in a single GRID. This unique approach eliminates expensive forklift upgrades and product obsolescence.

Praise from the Experts
ExaGrid continues to receive accolades from renowned industry experts such as Gartner, DCIG, ESG, IDC, InfoTech, and Storage Switzerland. Gartner positioned ExaGrid first in the Visionaries quadrant of the first “Magic Quadrant for Deduplication Backup Target Appliances” in 2014. Gartner defines “visionaries” as companies that deliver innovative products with capabilities that are often ahead of the mainstream in the market. 

According to Jerome Wendt, President and Lead Analyst of DCIG, “ExaGrid provides a true solution, with a leading-edge approach that really meets the needs of customers.”

Brian Garrett, Vice President of ESG Lab says, “ExaGrid’s landing zone and adaptive deduplication give ExaGrid a leg up on the competition.”

And Storage Switzerland’s Senior Analyst Colm Keegan says of ExaGrid’s architecture, “In addition to providing better investment protection, the ability to add nodes ‘on the fly’ enables data center planners to perform non-disruptive upgrades to the backup environment. This means there is no need to plan for data migrations, which can be a big win for already overworked IT professionals.” 

Disclaimer: Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

About ExaGrid Systems, Inc.
Organizations come to us because we are the only company that implemented deduplication in a way that fixed all the challenges of backup storage. ExaGrid’s unique landing zone and scale-out architecture provides the fastest backup — resulting in the shortest fixed backup window, the fastest local restores, fastest offsite tape copies and instant VM recoveries while permanently fixing the backup window length, all with reduced cost up front and over time. Learn how to take the stress out of backup at
www.exagrid.com or connect with us on LinkedIn. Read how ExaGrid customers fixed their backup forever.

ExaGrid is a registered trademark of ExaGrid Systems, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

NEWARK, Calif. – Tegile Systems, the leading provider of flash-driven storage arrays for databases, virtualized server and virtual desktop environments, today announced that Rahr Corporation has chosen its Intelligent Flash Storage System as a replacement for an aging Compellent SAN for its ability to support the company’s Fibre backplane and massive deduplication benefits.

Rahr Corporation produces and distributes malt and other related brewing supplies to customers around the world.  The company operates modern malt production plants in Minnesota and Canada, with a barley procurement and distribution business in North Dakota.  Subsidiaries include craft ingredient provider BSG and Koda Energy, an environmentally friendly project in conjunction with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.  Rahr’s computing environment supports 300 users at its main campus and throughout 15 other locations.

With its existing Compellent SAN reaching the end of its life and maxing out from a storage capacity and throughput standpoint, Rahr began to look for a suitable replacement.  The company considered another Compellent system but felt that it was ultimately build on old technology and didn’t offer the deduplication capabilities that it needed.  The company considered solutions from Nimble Storage but ultimately decided to go with Tegile because of its multiprotocol support.

“We’re a Fibre-backed infrastructure so we needed to purchase something with a Fibre backplane,” said Todd Kmieciak, Director of IT for Rahr Corporation.  “We had such an investment on the Fibre side – Fibre switches and all the infrastructure – to go with iSCSI would have been a waste.  When we looked at it, Nimble didn’t support a Fibre-backed backplane so we went with Tegile, which just so happened to be the better solution; a better fit for what we needed in terms of throughput.”

One of the criteria Rahr had when looking for a replacement for its previous SAN was a solution that provided deduplication, which the Compellent unit didn’t provide.  The Tegile array that the company has deployed has a total capacity of 25TB but after dedupe and compression, Rahr has reduced its storage needs by 75 percent, which Kmieciak describes as “one of the best parts about all of this.”

IntelliFlash easily integrates into diverse enterprise IT environments by supporting SAN and NAS deployments from the same array with Fibre Channel and iSCSI block-level protocols, as well as NFS and CIFS file-level protocols. Tegile provides high-performance, low-latency storage to the hypervisor while allowing users to simultaneously share files via NFS. And unlike other array vendors that at best only provide compression, Tegile’s data optimization also provides inline data reduction to further reduce acquisition and operational costs critical in virtual environments.

With the success of its initial Tegile array, Rahr has purchased a second unit for use at an offsite location.  This second array will serve as a replication target for disaster recovery operations in addition to providing production storage for users at that site.

"Whether you’re a self-described ‘small shop’ like Rahr or a large-scale enterprise, Tegile has a storage system that is right for you," said Rob Commins, vice president of marketing at Tegile.  "For Rahr, it was our ability to support their investment in Fibre and our data reduction technologies.  For others, it might be that they don’t have to compromise between performance and resilience when it comes to business-critical applications.  The best part about Tegile is that our portfolio of enterprise storage systems provides the greatest breadth of options and comprehensive data management capabilities to ensure that our customers’ specific needs are met both today and into the future."

About Tegile Systems
Tegile Systems is pioneering a new generation of intelligent flash arrays that balance performance, capacity, features and price for virtual desktop and database applications. With Tegile’s line of all-flash and hybrid storage arrays, the company is redefining the traditional approach to storage by providing a family of arrays that accelerate business critical enterprise applications and allow customers to significantly consolidate mixed workloads in virtualized environments.
Tegile’s patented IntelliFlash™ technology accelerates performance and enables inline deduplication and compression of data so each array has a usable capacity far greater than its raw capacity. Tegile’s award-winning solutions enable customers to better address the requirements of virtualization, virtual desktop integration and database integration than any other offerings. Featuring both NAS and SAN connectivity, Tegile arrays are easy-to-use, fully redundant and highly scalable. They come complete with built-in snapshot, remote-replication, near-instant recovery, onsite or offsite failover, and VM-aware features. Additional information is available at www.tegile.com. Follow Tegile on Twitter @tegile.

New release brings intuitive user interface and powerful contextual IT service capabilities


LONDON – LANDESK, a global leader in delivering user-oriented IT solutions, today announced the release of Service Desk 7.8, bringing new interfaces and capabilities to its process-centric service management platform.


Service Desk 7.8 introduces new IT support and end-user capabilities with its modern, cross-platform, mobile and desktop personalised experience. In addition, this release delivers a number of contextual information and activity enhancements, providing IT with more than just data. By delivering information and action capability to the support analyst in one place, at the right time and in context, Service Desk 7.8 enables IT to react faster and with greater accuracy, empowering support to create a better experience and improve satisfaction.


Features of the new release include the following:


  • Attractive, intuitive IT support analyst workspace. This new cross-platform interface, available across mobile apps and mobile and desktop browsers, allows support staff to interact with Service Desk processes in any location on any device. This highly visual role-based analyst experience allows service desk staff to create and progress any process such as incident, problem, change or request, bringing a modern, attractive working experience to IT staff.
  • New self-service dashboards. Dashboards created in LANDESK Self Service automatically present in the new LANDESK Workspace, providing a visually appealing self-service experience. The responsive design gives users an optimized appearance across every device and form factor.
  • Enhanced schedule management. Service Desk increases analyst efficiency by allowing users to send appointments to third-party calendar systems as part of a defined process workflow. This allows analysts to concentrate on resolving issues and keeping systems running.
  • Additional dynamic contextual knowledge capabilities. Support staff are prompted automatically with advice, learned from previous activity as they work and interact with end-users for faster and more accurate support.
  • New contextual telephony integration. Tying support activity closely with the telephone, analysts can receive or make phone calls, track call times, look up caller details or action any custom support process before or during a phone call.
  • Support appointment content pack. Service Desk offers a new style of engagement model for administrators to connect with end-users. It enables end-users to book individual appointments with IT staff, and for IT staff to operate an appointment-driven support service.


"When we were looking for a solution, we felt driving internal adoption was as important as high functionality and capability," said Kevin Gardiner, Police Scotland ITConnect project manager. "Service Desk 7.8 provided a user-friendly environment that empowered end-users to solve their own challenges, while still delivering a feature-rich experience for IT support through capabilities like dynamic windows." 


LANDESK, the global authority on user-oriented IT, enables users to be their most productive while helping IT embrace the speed of change. Through the integration and automation of IT systems management, endpoint security management, service management, IT asset management, and mobile device management, LANDESK empowers IT to balance rapidly evolving user requirements with the need to secure critical assets and data. With offices located across the globe, LANDESK is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information, visit http://www.landesk.com/.