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Summer Journal

Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

For 2014, I predict …

1. The browser becomes the OS. More and more is being added to Google’s Chrome browser; so much so that it is starting to look much like an operating system. You have all of these plug-ins (like applications), you can customize and configure your device or the look and feel of the browser. Nowhere is Chrome more an OS than with Chromebooks, where it is the OS. And it is a very web-oriented OS (thin client), with just the browser, media player and file manager as its only native applications. The question is: will IE or Firefox follow suit? Or are they pursuing different directions?



Nexia, a London-based consulting company, surveyed small to midsize businesses (SMBs) about compliance and operational risks in its Global Risk Management Report. It found that nearly two-thirds of respondents already have a formal process in place for risk assessment.

Those surveyed identified operational risks and compliance as the top risks facing their companies to date. Glenn Davis, a partner with CohnReznick LLP, explained:

Risk management has become critically important as businesses are challenged to remain competitive while grappling with uncertain operational and financial conditions… Regardless of the size of the entity, the risks are broadly the same, but the ramifications are much greater for small and mid-sized organizations.



CIO — Is the complexity of your company's data making it difficult to make effective IT decisions? If so, you're not alone. Keeping the lights on and systems running while still finding the resources to innovate is a challenge for most IT organizations, and the growing complexity of data about IT environments is making that challenge nearly insurmountable for many.

According to a new study by Forrester Research, commissioned by Data as a Service (DaaS) company BDNA (creator of the Technopedia repository of information on enterprise hardware and software), 73 percent of high-level IT decision makers cite the complexity of data as the largest challenge in making effective IT decisions in the next 12 months.



Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, announced today the release of its flood observations and forecasts, an addition to its industry-leading MxVision WeatherSentry® Online system. The solution provides up to the minute intelligence when assets may be in danger due to high or fast water for all oceans and rivers within and surrounding the United States.

With 3,800 towns and cities in the flood plain in the U.S., flooding costs are more than $7 billion, and claims more than 90 lives, annually. A 2013 article in the Journal of Flood Risk Management projects an increase of approximately 30 percent in damages from flooding by the end of the century. Schneider Electric experts have observed increased severe weather over the past two decades due primarily to climate change, with flooding and excessive rainfall events becoming more frequent year over year. In flood zones it’s no longer a question of if, but when, flooding events will occur.

The updates to MxVision WeatherSentry integrates thousands of real-time river and ocean water level observations to highlight where high or fast water may be affecting operations, allowing advance notification of hazardous situations. With detailed river stage (water depth) and river discharge (water flow) information plotted alongside other weather information, emergency managers can now plan for both the weather conditions and water levels near their location.

Hourly wave height forecasts for the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico offer optimum visibility of the future state of the ocean, predicting when high waves have potential to impact critical coastal assets. Alerts also can be set up for ocean wave height and water level, leaving no surprises as to when the situation will worsen. Tide predictions are included in both hourly and daily forecasts up to fifteen days in advance, providing optimal awareness of when high and low tide coincide with high impact weather.

This display of real-time flood intelligence can be combined with other critical weather content such as radar, real-time lightning and local storm reports to obtain a full understanding of high-impact weather and water headed for the area.

About Schneider Electric

As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities & Infrastructures, Industries & Machine Manufacturers, Non-residential Buildings, Data Centres & Networks and in Residential. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the Group’s 130,000 plus employees achieved sales of 22.4 billion euros in 2011, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.


ExaGrid Dramatically Reduces Restore Time for Historical Data With 'Delta Merging' Technique, Optimizes Backup Performance

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. – Further establishing its technological advantage, ExaGrid Systems, Inc., was awarded Patent #8,589,363, "Systems and Methods for Managing Delta Versions," on Nov. 19, 2013. The innovation is the sixth patent ExaGrid has been awarded and clearly demonstrates the company's commitment to serving its customers with the most advanced disk-based backup solutions on the market.

The invention, currently referred to as 'Delta Merging,' significantly reduces the time it takes to restore historical versions of a customer’s backup data, providing IT teams with the reassurance that their backed-up data is quickly accessible as soon as it’s needed.

"While our competition continues to build solutions that require expensive forklift upgrades, we're incessantly looking to improve the functionality of our product," said Bill Andrews, CEO and president of ExaGrid. "Our engineers are the best in the business. This latest achievement validates their hard work and deep understanding of backup -- we're very lucky to have such a talented team."

The ExaGrid product line implements a unique purpose-built backup architecture that optimizes the performance of backup, restore, tape copy and disaster recovery operationsThis innovation replaces potentially tens of thousands of slow disk operations with a computational task that runs across delta versions of backup history without having to deduplicate each full historical version in its entirety. Restores from very old historical copies of backup data now run almost as fast as restores of the most recent version of backup data. 

"ExaGrid prides itself on having the best disk-based backup technology available, which has been confirmed by several independent analysts and evaluations this year in both the U.S. and U.K.," said Dave Therrien, CTO and founder of ExaGrid. "Maintaining that level of excellence requires us to continually innovate. This patent win is another step forward for our team toward fulfilling the growing needs of IT professionals in meeting backup demands in the most effective way possible."

ExaGrid's scale-out grid architecture, and compute with capacity model, allows the company's appliances to execute computationally intensive deduplication functions in parallel across all appliances in a customer's multi-appliance configuration. 

In addition, ExaGrid's unique landing zone ensures that the most recent versions of backup data can be quickly restored or copied to tape without having to rehydrate the data.  


A  Year of Continued Excellence

In 2013, ExaGrid received several industry awards for its product excellence and technological innovation, including: Product of the Year’ at the Techworld Awards,‘Disk Based Product of the Year’ at the Annual Storage Awards, and a bronze medal in SearchStorage.com's annual 'Product of the Year' competition.

In addition to the awards, ExaGrid dominated analyst reports from DCIG, receiving the distinction of 'Best-in-Class' for solutions under $50k and $100k, and by Info-Tech, topping the organization's Vendor Landscape: Disk Backup report and earning 99 out of a possible 100 points.


About ExaGrid Systems, Inc.
More than 1,800 customers worldwide depend on ExaGrid Systems to solve their backup problems, effectively and permanently. ExaGrid's disk based, scale-out GRID architecture constantly adjusts to incessant growing data backup demands, and is the only solution that combines compute with capacity and a unique landing zone to permanently shorten backup windows and eliminate expensive forklift upgrades. Read through more than 300 published customer success stories and learn more at www.exagrid.com.  

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

CSO — No matter how valiant the efforts of chief security officers, or how much businesses say they focus on securing their systems, or the amount of money spent on IT defenses -- many of the same IT security challenges persist.

Enterprises lag in their ability to swiftly detect breaches -- an important measure of security maturity. According to the 2013 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 62 percent of organizations didn't detect breaches for months, or longer -- and partners and customers, or others identified about 70 percent of those breaches.

There's clearly much room for improvement, but as the number, duration, and costs of attacks reveal, as well as our interviews in recent weeks, there certainly won't any quick fixes. However, according to the experts we've spoke there are a handful of areas that, if dramatically improved, would significantly shorten today's chasm between defender and attacker.



Continued Innovation and Leadership Drives Strong Customer Adoption in Healthcare, Education, Government, and Manufacturing as Company Capitalizes on $3 Billion Solid State Flash/SSD Market Opportunity


SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Astute Networks, Inc., the leading provider of Networked Flash™ appliances, today announced that 2013 marked a year of record achievement for the company.  Demand for its ™ all-flash storage, application performance acceleration solution, reached an all-time high, particularly across key vertical markets including healthcare, education, manufacturing, federal government and military; while the company also enjoyed significant strategic channel partner growth.

2013 also marked a year of innovation for Astute Networks, during which it continued to raise the bar; announcing market leading product innovations such as its featuring enterprise-class flash capabilities at a price comparable to spinning disk.  For the first time, not only could traditional enterprises enjoy the same lightning fast application performance as the hugest global organizations, but small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) could now afford it too.

In the latest Wave 17 Storage Study from , which queried 100s of IT professionals from mid-to-enterprise sized organizations, over half of the respondents stated that their organization had deployed flash, while a significant portion of the rest said they plan to do so in the next 18 months. 

"The question for most IT managers is not whether they should deploy flash, but how they should deploy it," said , research vice president, storage, 451 Research, and co-author of the report.  "With solutions such as Astute's ViSX, IT managers now have the opportunity to bring enterprise flash into their own infrastructures, accelerating the performance of key applications and in the process, also increasing efficiency through power/cooling and real estate savings."

"Indeed, our own discussions with customers echo these sentiments," said Jeff Whitney, vice president of marketing, .  "Application performance has become priority number one, in order to drive productivity and value from critical tier one applications - followed closely by availability, reliability, and cost control.  And, when it comes to meeting these requirements - Astute's ViSX all-flash appliance delivers solid ROI with an unsurpassed solution that integrates seamlessly with a customer's existing infrastructure." 

Utilizing an industry unique and a patented ™ protocol processor, the Astute ViSX appliance dramatically accelerates SQL Server, SharePoint and virtual desktop (VDI) applications across physical, virtual and cloud environments.  ViSX solutions use performance-optimized flash rather than traditional capacity-optimized disks.  Yet, they connect using pervasively deployed Ethernet networks via standard iSCSI protocol.  ViSX is VMware Ready Certified to work with current and future virtualized servers, networks and storage infrastructure, and DataCore Ready to accelerate application using DataCore SANsymphony. ViSX delivers an all-flash storage appliance with the industry's highest possible IOPs, at prices comparable to hard disk systems. 

"In response to our continued innovation and leadership in the flash storage market, combined with the projected $3 billion solid state flash/SSD market opportunity, Astute Networks has enjoyed enviable growth across every facet of the business this past year - particularly in regards to building relationships with ," Whitney continued.  "Moreover, the overall industry took note as well, honoring Astute with numerous ."

  • Astute Networks Named Red Herring Top 100 Global Company
  • CEO, Bob MacKnight, Named Executive of the Year, Bronze Winner in Best in Biz Awards 2013
  • Demartak Lab validated ViSX delivers a two to five times performance and price/performance advantage over leading competitive iSCSI-based storage arrays
  • Storage Switzerland report titled, "All-Flash Appliance for Mid-Market Compliments Existing Storage" underlines ViSX's ability to "go in easily and complement existing storage infrastructure to boost critical application performance."
  • Vice President of Sales, Ted Lesinsky, Named Top 50 Midmarket IT Vendor Executive by Midsize Enterprise Summit
  • Taneja Group Report Identifies Astute ViSX as Cost Effective and Non-Disruptive All-Flash Storage Appliance for the Mid-Market
  • Astute Named One of the "10 Coolest Flash Storage Products of 2013" by CRN

Are you an astute IT executive?  Would you like to the chance to Win a ?  If your answers are "yes" and "yes" Astute Networks would like a few moments of your time to participate in a concise regarding your 2014 virtualization plans:

Tweet this: @AstuteNetworks Closes 2013 on High Note w/Record Sales and World-Class Channel Partnership Growth  

Be Astute:

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About Astute Networks

Astute is the leading provider of Networked Flash™ appliances that accelerate application performance by 10x or more, enhance user productivity and lower IT costs for physical, virtual and cloud environments.  The company's ViSX family ofis based on a 100% solid state flash technology that cost-effectively delivers a high number of sustained IOPS to dramatically increase application performance. Powered by its patented™, ViSX overcomes performance limitations by non-disruptively delivering shared performance to all servers and virtual machines over pervasively deployed Ethernet networks. ViSX is available through the company's network of authorized. For more information, visit http://www.astutenetworks.com/.


Enables Fast, Seamless On Ramps to the Cloud For Enterprises and Partners

DENVER, Colo. Peak® (formerly PeakColo), an enterprise-class IaaS Cloud provider for channel partners, today announces it has added two additional core cloud nodes located in Santa Clara, CA and Atlanta, GA to its already geographically dispersed platform. This expansion enables its clients and partners fast, seamless on ramps to the cloud from any location or data center. Through a recently announced strategic partnership with Telx, the expansion allows Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud powered by Peak to be a part of Telx’s new Cloud/MSP Enablement Program The Enablement Program provides Telx clients an array of complementary managed services to layer atop their colocation environments.

Based in New York City, Telx has twenty data centers utilizing 100% Uptime SLAs and 24-hour cross connect guarantees across North America. The cloud node expansion brings Peak’s total cloud presence up to eight distinct geographies throughout the United States and Europe, allowing clients and partners a way to peer interchangeably with nearly every network carrier, service provider and cloud provider present at Telx data centers.

“Telx customers may now directly connect into Peak’s cloud platform, using Peak to Peak Direct Connect, a fast and easy Layer 2 network topology that interconnects Telx facilities nationwide,” comments Luke Norris, CEO and Founder of Peak. “The patented Layer 2 Peak to Peak Direct Connect enables clients to effortlessly interconnect all of their private, public, and on-premise cloud resources ‘as-is’ over the Physical Device Layer, eliminating the need for layer 3 conversion and increasing the cloud migration process exponentially.” Under the new partnership agreement, Telx’s 1200+ customers may interconnect to Peak’s cloud from any Telx location. In addition, customers with on-premise data centers may connect as-is into Peak’s cloud, using any of Telx’s 900 network carrier providers.

Peak’s newest cloud nodes will be available in January 2014 to the entire Telx and Peak ecosystem. Peak is the first named partner in Telx’s Cloud Enablement Program, cementing a partnership that strengthens Peak’s cloud presence throughout North America and increases Telx’s high quality portfolio of products for its clients.

“Peak’s award-winning cloud services are a perfect addition to Telx’s portfolio,” states Chris Downie , CEO of Telx. “The nature of Peak’s unique connectivity model allows every Telx customer, to plug in to Peak’s cloud and immediately benefit from their customizable cloud and our network. Peak’s cloud, housed in Telx facilities, will provide our customers with a cohesive hybrid cloud solution matching our commitment of a 100% SLA on colocation services with 100% SLA on cloud services.

Peak’s enterprise-class cloud services platform has been recognized by NetApp Innovation Awards, Compuware’s Top 25 Cloud Service Providers, TalkingCloud Top 100, and as a CRN top channel partner. In addition to flexible IaaS services such as private hybrid cloud, disaster recovery, storage and backup, it also offers object-based storage, which handles petabytes of data in a cost effective way. Peak plans additional cloud node expansions with Telx over the course of 2014 to accommodate customer growth.

For more information about Peak’s Channel Program and cloud computing solutions, please contact sales@poweredbypeak.com or visit http://www.poweredbypeak.com for additional information.

About Peak

Peak® is an enterprise-class Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud service provider to channel partners. White-labeling Peak’s cloud services as their own, resellers and agents rapidly enter the cloud marketplace under their own brand without capital expenditure, enjoying a faster route to profitability. Peak operates Type II SSAE 16 and SOC 1 & 2 compliant cloud nodes in eight geographies across the United States and in Europe (Silicon Valley, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, New Jersey, New York, Atlanta, and the United Kingdom). Its VMware vCloud® Powered cloud environment contains tens of thousands of virtual machines and multiple petabytes of storage for public, private, hybrid and disaster recovery solutions. Peak offers both Cisco UCS and Open Compute platforms, and is a Platinum-level NetApp Service Provider. For more information, visit www.poweredbypeak.com call (855) 532-4734; or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

There can be a variety of reasons why bad decisions get made in the corporate world. Last week I wrote about psychopaths in the C-Suite and Boardroom. Today I want to look at some less flamboyant, more mundane ways that a company might get into compliance hot water through poor decision making. In an article in the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, entitled “Deciding How to Decide”, authors Hugh Courtney, Dan Lovallo and Carmina Clarke reviewed how senior decision makers in a company might go about strategic decision making. One of the areas that they explored was how systemic roadblocks might get in the way of making a valid decision.

I found their discussion very interesting from the compliance perspective. The FCPA Guidance emphasized the need for companies to have a robust pre-acquisition due diligence process, in addition to a vigorous post-acquisition integration. The FCPA Guidance stated, “In the context of the FCPA, mergers and acquisitions present both risks and opportunities. A company that does not perform adequate FCPA due diligence prior to a merger or acquisition may face both legal and business risks. Perhaps most commonly, inadequate due diligence can allow a course of bribery to continue—with all the attendant harms to a business’s profitability and reputation, as well as potential civil and criminal liability.” But what are some of the biases which might prevent a company from making a good strategic decision even with adequate pre-acquisition due diligence. The authors set out five which I will explore in more detail.



IDG News Service (Boston Bureau) — Trends come and go in the technology industry but some things, such as IT system failures, bloom eternal.

"Nothing has changed," said analyst Michael Krigsman of consulting firm Asuret, an expert on why IT projects go off the rails. "Not a damn thing."

"These are hard problems," he added. "People mistakenly believe that IT failures are due to a technical problem or a software problem, and in fact it has its roots into the culture, how people work together, how they share knowledge, the politics of an organization. The worse the politics, the more likely the failure."

Here's a look at some of this year's highest-profile IT disasters.