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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

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.



CIO — Growth is normally a boon for any business. Servers hum faster when an ecommerce site attracts more customers (and more credit card transactions). When storage requirements for a new business that handles documentation for large companies suddenly escalate, executives high-five each other.

Scaling can be so costly, though, that fast growth isn't always a positive. Fortunately, new technologies can help a company ramp up quickly and efficiently, removing some of the pain of having to expand a data center. Instead of being faced with a major capital outlay that offsets new revenue, these innovations make the impact of scaling up a data center to meet demand less of a drain.



Vendors supplying you with components or services for your infrastructure need to feel confident about working with your organisation. That way they’ll be motivated to give off their best. It could be argued that stressing a vendor with unannounced tests might have a negative impact on their relationship with you. After all, they have a business to run too and your test is a business disruption for them. However, real disasters often arrive unannounced and in order to be realistic tests should be unannounced too. Is there a way out of this conundrum, and if so what is it?



No doubt you’ve heard about a shortage of data analytics specialists.

The data’s getting a bit long in the tooth, but a 2011 McKinsey Global Institute study predicted a shortfall of about 150,000 people with the needed analytic skills to manage Big Data analytics.

That may not be the biggest problem facing analytics, however. An equally important, but less cited, finding in that study was the predicted shortfall of 1.5 million business people who could leverage that data, notes a recent Harvard Business Review blog post.



The hard disk drive’s utility in enterprise settings has been under question since the first enterprise-class, solid-state solutions were introduced nearly five years ago. But now it seems a new challenge is on the horizon, not from advanced technologies like Flash, but from a perceived lower order of storage: consumer disk drives.

A recent blog post from cloud backup provider BackBlaze details the company’s use of both consumer and enterprise-class drives for its Storage Pod service and its own administrative and transactional applications. Over the past two years, the company reports that it has racked up 368 drive years with the enterprise systems—primarily Dell PowerVault and various EMC solutions—and 14,719 drive years with consumer-grade technology. In that time, it reported 17 enterprise-class failures and 613 consumer failures, which produces an annual failure rate of 4.6 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. So with lower costs and better reliability, why bother with an enterprise drive?



TEKsystems, a company that provides IT staffing and services, recently did a study that essentially took the temperature of IT departments – what they think trends are, where budgets are focusing dollars and the like. One of the areas the survey focused on was security.

Most of the predictions and trend reports I see are from security experts. While I think these predictions are essential for anyone in charge of enterprise network security – it really does help to have an idea of what threats to protect against – it is good to hear about security concerns and predictions from the IT point of view.

What TEKsystems discovered is that security is a rising concern for IT departments. When asked, “Which of the following trends or technology will have the biggest impact on your organization in 2014,” big data came in first, but security moved from third place in 2013 to second place in 2014. Mobile computing also moved up a spot, from fourth to third. It is fitting that security and mobile move together because the two issues are so intertwined. An IT department can’t have a good mobile policy without having a solid security plan built into it.