Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Holidays. Here's a Security Gift -- Guidelines to Protect your Privacy.

Welcome to the holidays ! It's the season for many credit and identity scams.
As a just-in-time reminder to protect your private security and financial interests, I've created a checklist as a Google document for this downer subject.
These guidelines are based on the most recent security research.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

EMC + Dell is not quite the same as E=MC (squared)

Lots of questions on the value for Dell to purchase EMC, which has been covered ad-nauseum in the trade journals. Harvard Business Review published an analysis by Benjamin Gomes-Casseres which is beautiful in simplicity:

Still, the Dell strategy is opaque. In fact, Dell has argued that being private facilitates its transition, as too much public scrutiny might derail its plans. In that regard, selling to a private company is like going into a black hole. Analysts are guessing at what the strategy might be, and so far are not coming up with clear winner.
Benjamin looks to the examples of IBM/Lotus and Compaq/DEC as possible models, which is an interesting filter. For me, it's refreshing to read someone who is not afraid to say that the merger raises as many questions as it answers.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

AWS Rocks with Database Migration Tools

Traditional, enterprise vendors discount AWS as providing IaaS and PaaS with lots of integration and monitoring magic. Sort of like positioning the move to the cloud as out-sourcing the local datacenter hardware. But, adopting AWS is doing more than a forklift move, it's also an opportunity to convert older systems from proprietary to open-source. Quentin Hardy of the NYTimes notes some of these announcements at Amazon's latest conference: 
Among the most notable, there was a 47-pound data storage device that A.W.S. would ship to a customer [aka Snowball], and for $200 would suck down 50 terabytes of data, incidentally converting it from an older system to a more modern one. There was a service called Database Migration, which takes data in proprietary systems and converts their schema to open-source products.
This is quite a phenomenal service -- AWS can ship a Snowball appliance to a datacenter, where it can consume terabytes, ready to be shipped back and transfer the data much, much faster than doing it over-the-wire. Actually, AWS boasts that by serializing multiple Snowball appliances, the throughput can be measured as up to a petabyte/week.
Combine the Snowball technology, with the AWS database migration tools, and it's possible to move "database schemas and stored procedures from one database platform to another, so customers can move their applications from Oracle and SQL Server to Amazon Aurora, MySQL, MariaDB, and soon PostgreSQL."

Friday, June 26, 2015

Salesforce Analytics Playground is Free

Salesforce Analytics Cloud Playground is a tremendously powerful showpiece for a variety of analytic presentations. A tutorial is provided, along with examples and the ability to upload your own data. Louis Columbus of Forbes has a detailed overview and example.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

VMWare VDI Gets Some Love from Brian Madden

I've long followed Brian Madden for all things VDI. It's a technology that I'm really hoping will mature beyond data center hosting of the client. Security, of course, is absolutely critical, and it appears that VMWare has upped the game. 

In a recent posting, Gabe Knuth summarizes the new network security capabilities as leveraging VMWare's NSX virtual networks.
The quick explanation here is that with this combination of technologies, you can have applications run on specific networks dedicated to them, reducing their security footprint and firewalling that traffic from the rest of your environment.
Rather than merely adding a checkbox for an ROI financial pitch, this improvement is definitely the direction for rationalizing a VDI implementation. I can't do better than the summary "Today, we can make it more secure than physical desktops."

Friday, April 17, 2015

Social Media Guidelines for US Federal Workers

The US Office of Government Ethics has published their guidelines for using social media. The direction is not for a government account, but "as a general matter, this requirement limits the extent to which employees may access and use their personal social media accounts while on duty." One large section is whether or not a job title can be included in a posting. Another is on how recommendations should be considered. In any case, now that there are guidelines, it's to be noted that this is not the final word:

"In light of the ever evolving nature of social media, the foregoing advice is not intended to be comprehensive. OGE expects to issue additional guidance in the future addressing questions outside the scope of this Legal Advisory. Designated Agency Ethics Officials with questions regarding the application of the Standards of Conduct to social media may contact their assigned OGE Desk Officers."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

AWS vis a vis Azure Marketshare

Really interesting analysis on Azure and AWS footprint sizes in Forbes. Spoiler alert, AWS is still leaving Bigfoot puddles as it walks through the competition. The call out items, to me, are (1) it's a zero profit platform for anyone building for the cloud; (2) Microsoft is still tethered to it's own, proprietary, infrastructure;  (3) despite AWS's prowess, Azure is gaining a lot of clients. My read is that a lot of the direction for cloud technology will be centered on the desktop and mobile. We are moving from just the transition of back office functions (databases, SaaS, etc.), into the client. It sounds like a non sequitur, but an enterprise that manages desktops with group polices, et al., needs Active Directory.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Splunk Cloud on AWS

Splunk has released their analytic cloud tool set on AWS that will soon include AWS GovCloud for U.S. government agencies, contractors and businesses.

Here's a sandbox for orientation: