Enterprise IT Watch Blog


March 4, 2014  3:58 PM

The Exabyte era is rapidly streaming our way

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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Exabyte image via Shutterstock

By James Kobielus (@jameskobielus)

Streaming media has become so pervasive that the future is unimaginable without it. Streams are powering entertainment, advertising, marketing, education, music, community and practically every other aspect of today’s online culture. They’re also moving into the heart of business cultures everywhere.

Before long, streams will carry every digital TV program, every digital motion picture, every digital radio station, every digital musical recording, every online course, every video over IP session, every voice over IP call, every YouTube post, every digital camera feed, and every sensor feed on the face of the Earth. Many of these media streams are monetizable vessels of intellectual property. As such, people and institutions will save more of them to nonvolatile storage.

Contrast this to early days of commercial television, when very few commercial TV broadcasts were filmed for posterity. Considering that the typical streaming object will represent hundreds of megabytes of storage and that before long we will have millions of these streaming-media objects floating around, the storage requirements will be mind-boggling. Petabytes will quickly give way to exabytes and beyond.

The era of exabyte storage has already arrived, according to this recent article. One of the storage vendors the author spoke to said estimated that there are 7,000 new petabyte-scale deployments every year throughout the market now, up from 60-70 new petabyte-scale deployments per year 10 years ago. Not just that, but it says it has 5-10 customers this year who are likely to deploy at exabyte scale. Many of these deployments are being driven by ballooning video storage requirements, as well as by web-scale storage outsourcing and user-generated content.

According to the article, video storage requirements will grow still further as soon as a new ultra-high-resolution technology called 8K takes hold. As this article notes, “8K video also demands a frightening amount of resources. The combined audio and video stream alone eats up around 350 million bits per second…..and requires substantial processing power to decode.” Compare these 8K bandwidth requirements to the hundreds of thousands of bits per second on today’s video streams.

As storage costs continue to plummet, exabyte-scaling will some day be affordable for the mass business market. Let’s give it 20 years before that day arrives. For now, though, you need a highly lucrative application–such as premium video delivery–to justify the mega-million-dollar outlay for these mega-storage resources.

March 3, 2014  7:57 AM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (2/24 – 3/3)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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Microsoft Windows image via Shutterstock

Remember those old features that you missed from previous versions of Microsoft Windows? Well, Microsoft is planning to bring back some familiar features and the TechTarget writers have the scoop on it in this week’s roundup.

1. Microsoft Windows 8.1 updates to bring back familiar features – Diana Hwang (SearchEnterpriseDesktop)

Bowing to recent pressure, Microsoft will add more keyboard and mouse usability features for non-touch Windows 8 devices and enhanced compatibility for legacy IE 8 enterprise apps.

2. Cloud Foundry foundation prompts open source PaaS debate – Beth Pariseau (SearchCloudComputing)

Let the debate begin! That’s what many experts are thinking after a new Cloud Foundry foundation provoked a debate over the fate of OpenStack-based PaaS efforts.

3. BlackBerry enterprise devices, service in works with Q20 phone, BES 12 – Jake O’Donnell (SearchConsumerization)

BlackBerry is trying to revitalize its company delivering more enterprise centric hardware and software that will help it retain existing customers. Now the question becomes: Can BlackBerry win back its lost customers?

4. Hands on Samsung’s Gear Fit: The most beautiful smartwatch is intentionally crippled – J.R. Nelson (Brighthand)

Samsung’s Gear Fit smartwatch is one of the most beautiful pieces of technology we’ve ever seen. But isn’t perfect, and those flaws may just be enough to keep it from being a success.

5. SAP announces partnerships to ease development of SAP mobile software – Todd Morrison (SearchSAP)

SAP announced two new partnerships with mobile application development vendors that the company says it will make it easier for developers to build SAP mobile software.


February 24, 2014  8:16 AM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (2/17 – 2/24)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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IBM image via Shutterstock

Is IBM actually the leader in the cloud market? Find out if there’s more to the story from the TechTarget writers as they investigate this and more in this week’s roundup.

1. IBM claims it’s cloud revenue front-runner, but is it cloud washing? – David S. Linthicum (SearchCloudComputing)

As the battle between IBM and Amazon Web Services wages on, IBM struck again as the company claims that its cloud revenue is actually higher than AWS. But with IBM’s recent history of cloud washing, are its claims valid?

2. Upcoming Samsung Knox MAM updates to challenge BlackBerry – Jake O’Donnell (SearchConsumerization)

Even though Samsung is making updates to its mobile application management software and hardware this week, will it be enough to knock BlackBerry out of the enterprise?

3. Study: Malicious attacks at hospitals risk patient data, health – Chuck Moozakis (SearchNetworking)

A study conducted by Norse and SANS Institute says networks and devices at U.S. healthcare organizations are being compromised by malicious attacks.

4. Surface 2 with LTE appears imminent after Microsoft FCC filing – Jeff Dunn (TabletPCReview)

We’ve known for several months now that a Surface 2 with LTE support would arrive sometime this year, but now it appears that the updated slate is closing in on a date.

5. ExaGrid CEO: Cloud backups ‘virtually disappeared’ from our market – Dave Raffo (SearchDataBackup)

In a recent interview with SearchDataBackup, ExaGrid CEO Bill Andrews discusses the state of cloud backups and the competition as a startup selling disk backup with deduplication.


February 17, 2014  8:03 AM

TechTarget’s Weekly Roundup (2/10 – 2/17)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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Dell image via Shutterstock

Technology professionals and experts have been keeping their eye on Dell’s future. Now, our TechTarget writers are weighing in on the software giant in this week’s roundup.

1. Can Dell Software rescue its spiraling hardware sales? – Diana Hwang and Ed Scannell (SearchDataCenter)

Dell appeared ready to transform itself into a full services technology supplier, but the inability to articulate a software vision and internal politics have bogged the effort down. Will the company be able to turn it around?

2. Microsoft mobile, cloud strategy hold key to transforming its future – Diana Hwang (SearchEnterpriseDesktop)

Between the new CEO, a new mobile hardware lineup and success in the cloud, Microsoft’s transformation is well under way. Now the question becomes: How will it bounce back with its legacy in software?

3. Vendor reports largest-ever NTP reflection-driven DDoS attack – Brandan Blevins (SearchSecurity)

Security vendor CloudFare confirmed last Tuesday that his company fought off one of the largest DDoS attacks in history, peaking just below of 400 Gbps.

4. Breakthrough could double the battery life of your next tablet – Hannah Becker (TabletPCReview)

Good news for all you mobile lovers out there as a new breakthrough was made in battery technology that could greatly extend the battery life of virtually every kind of mobile device.

5. The wearable device: When will it arrive in the enterprise? – Emily McLaughlin (SearchCIO)

In a recent SearchCIO chat, IT professionals discuss who should be concerned about the wearable device, and when CIOs might need to prepare related wearable policies.


February 10, 2014  7:50 AM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (2/3 – 2/10)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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Bill Gates image via Shutterstock

While most of the week’s technology news centered on Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella, a major figure from Microsoft’s past reappeared on the scene: Bill Gates. Find out how he is going to help the company in this week’s roundup.

1. Bill Gates’ new advisory role at Microsoft worth watching for CIOs – Karen Goulart (SearchCIO)

Throughout the week, numerous opinions came in on Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella. But to top it all off, there’s actually another person in a new role at the company…founder Bill Gates. SearchCIO’s Searchlight takes a look his new advisory role at Microsoft.

2. IT pros size up new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with a critical eye – Ed Scannell and Diana Hwang (SearchWindowsServer)

Speaking of Microsoft’s new CEO, while he brings technical expertise to the position, can he provide the roadmap that will offer IT professionals a reason of optimism rather than continued frustration?

3. BlackBerry device resurgence hinges on innovation, enterprise acceptance – Jake O’Donnell (SearchConsumerization)

Even after introducing the BlackBerry 10 operating system and smartphones this year, the company still is in the doldrums of financial losses and struggling device sales. What’s the solution to its problem? It all depends on its enterprise strategy.

4. Despite warnings, some Windows XP enterprise users not upgrading – Brandan Blevins (SearchSecurity)

Despite Microsoft continuing to tell enterprises to migrate away from its aging Windows XP operating system, a new report says that more than a third of businesses currently using XP will not upgrade to a new OS.

5. Rumor: Google to launch an 8-inch Nexus tablet – Jeff Dunn (TabletPCReview)

According to an unconfirmed report, Google is currently planning on launching an 8-inch tablet by the end of April.


February 4, 2014  3:37 PM

Shining light on black swans through big data analytics

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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Big data analytics image via Shutterstock

By James Kobielus (@jameskobielus)

To truly see deep into the future, you need to see just as far into the past. If you have a large enough sample of data on how those populations behaved in the past, you can predict their behaviors with a reasonable degree of confidence.

But if your historical sample is very small, you’ll have a tough time explaining why your statistical predictions of future events is better than the proverbial coin flip. And if the event you’re trying to predict is rare, you may not have enough historical occurrences to overcome the statistical biases inherent in small samples. In those latter cases, you may be able to see far into the deep past, but the events you’re searching for are as sparse as Earth-like exoplanets in the vastness of space.

Data scientists are never content to throw up their hands and say we can’t at least have a statistical best guess on rare events. Indeed, decision makers demand clarity on “black swans” and other once-in-a-lifetime events with significant downside risks. We would all like to believe that the probability of these showstoppers is far from random, though the shape of their distribution curves is anybody’s guess.

Nevertheless, data scientists try various approaches to wrap their models around rare events. In this recent blog, Tavish Srivastava provides guidance for building logistic regression models to predict rare events with confidence in spite of small-sample bias. Logistic regression is for predicting the outcome of a categorical dependent variable (e.g., the binary outcomes of “event will occur” vs. “event won’t occur) based on one or more predictive independent variables. Here’s a more general discussion of the issues involved in applying logistical regression to prediction of rare events.

The take-away is that, to use this approach with confidence, a data scientist should have both a large enough sample size of the events being predicted and a large enough number of occurrences, within the sample, of the least-frequent event (e.g., “will they churn?” vs. “will they not churn”?) being predicted.

This is a modeling challenge where big data provides undoubted value. To the extent that you can collect, store, and analyze the entire population of event data (or at least a very large sample) in a Hadoop or other big-data cluster, the more likely you are to find enough occurrences.

Even a limited sample from a whole-population big-data store may contain more rare occurrences than would a smaller-population database that was culled from the same event-data source.


February 3, 2014  9:47 AM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (1/27 – 2/3)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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Microsoft Windows image via Shutterstock

Wait…so the death of Windows XP will actually bring the PC industry back to life? Well, in this week’s roundup, find out how the “elder” operating system will bring a resurrection to the market.

1. Windows XP death expected to resuscitate the PC industry – Diana Hwang (SearchEnterpriseDesktop)

Even the the Windows XP death looms large over many IT organizations, there’s good news that the aging operating system will actually stabilize the PC market.

2. Is Lenovo making an enterprise smartphone play with its Motorola buy? – Jake O’Donnell (SearchConsumerization)

According to industry watchers, Lenovo’s massive Motorola Mobility purchase could lead to a big opportunity for the tech giant by integrating with its ThinkPad brand.

3. Alleged SpyEye mastermind pleads guilty to fraud – Warwick Ashford (ComputerWeekly)

The alleged mastermind of the notorious SpyEye banking Trojan toolkit has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud in a United States court.

4. Amazon could be working on Kindle-based retail checkout system – Jeff Dunn (TabletPCReview)

If recent reports hold true, Amazon will soon be going from virtual stores to physical ones with the help of its Kindle tablets.

5. Consumer tech enters the workplace: What are CIOs to do? – Emily McLaughlin (SearchCIO)

The adoption of consumer tech in business is trending toward wearable devices. In this tweet recap, learn how to prep for wearables in the workplace.


January 27, 2014  1:13 PM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (1/20 – 1/27)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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NFL image via Shutterstock

Now you may be wondering why there’s a picture of the NFL here. As it turns out, the league is teaming up with a major company to look at its in-stadium Wi-Fi. Find out which company it is and more in this week’s roundup.

1. IBM cuts bait on Intel server line, Lenovo bites – Ed Scannel (SearchDataCenter)

With speculation mounting, IBM finally decided to cut loose its Intel-based System X servers and sell it to Lenovo for $2.3 billion. IBM has already said it will begin focusing more on big data, cloud computing and software.

2. VMware leaps into enterprise mobility management with AirWatch buy – Jake O’Donnell (SearchConsumerization)

The consolidation of the EMM world continued with the biggest move yet: VMware will purchase AirWatch for a record-breaking $1.54 billion to shore up its EUC division.

3. FBI warns of memory-scraping malware in wake of Target breach – Brandan Blevins (SearchSecurity)

According to a report by Reuters, the FBI is providing retailers a a confidential, three-page document warning them that more cyberattacks, like the recent Target data breach, could happen in the near future.

4. Microsoft might be tweaking Windows 8.1.1 to use less memory – Ed Hardy (TabletPCReview)

With mid-range Windows tablets such a hot item right now, an unconfirmed report has emerged that an upcoming update to Microsoft’s operating system will make life easier for organizations by using less RAM and storage space.

5. NFL uses Extreme Networks for wireless analytics in its stadiums – Gina Narcisi (SearchNetworking)

The NFL will begin using Extreme Network’s wireless analytics to give its IT organizations insight into how fans are using in-stadium Wi-Fi.


January 20, 2014  8:37 AM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (1/13 – 1/20)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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Microsoft Windows image via Shutterstock

Are you getting nervous about migrating off Windows XP? Well, in this week’s roundup, you’ll find out why you can breathe a sigh of relief for a little longer.

1. Windows XP anti-malware support extended until 2015, buys IT time – Diana Hwang (SearchEnterpriseDesktop)

If you or your organization are scrambling to migrate off of Windows XP by its April end-of-life date, you can breathe a bit easier as Microsoft will extend anti-malware support until July 2015.

2. Could the end of Nirvanix storage mean the end of cloud nirvana? – Jonathan Eunice (SearchCloudComputing)

With Nirvanix’s collapse along with recent data privacy news, many enterprise IT organizations are becoming wary of going all-in with cloud computing services.

3. Major retail breaches highlight point-of-sale security weaknesses – Brandan Blevins (SearchSecurity)

After the recent data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus, several experts say point-of-sale security is just one of many payment-processing infrastructure problems.

4. Mid-range tablets will turn Microsoft around – Ed Hardy (TabletPCReview)

Even though Microsoft may be going through a rough time, there’s room for optimism for the company: A new crop of Windows tablets offer good featuresets for low prices.

5. The IT master plan for 2014: IT managers look ahead – Mark Schlack (SearchCIO)

TechTarget’s annual IT priorities survey finds that the IT master plan for 2014 includes heavy doses of business intelligence, mobility and Windows 8.


January 13, 2014  1:55 PM

Log data is pivotal to analytics on Internet of Things

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

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By James Kobielus (@jameskobielus)

Logs of all sorts–web logs, application logs, database logs, system logs, etc.–are fundamental to the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Without continuous logging of relevant events, the IoT can’t fulfill its core role as the real-time event-notification bus of the online world. Machine-readable event logging is fundamental to all the core applications of IoT, including real-time sensor grids, remote telemetry, self-healing network computing, medical monitoring, traffic management, emergency response, and security incident and event monitoring. Ubiquitous IoT will depend on the ability to support continuous real-time ingest, analysis, correlation, handling, and any-to-any routing of machine-generated information.

IoT’s development depends on implementation of a ubiquitous, general-purpose event-logging infrastructure. This global logging infrastructure must be able to support disparate relational and non relational logged data types; execution of advanced analytics against myriad logged data objects; agility to work in batch and streaming environments; scalability to support growing volumes of in-flight log data replication without choking or slowing down. Individual event logs need not be peta-scale; in fact, most IoT devices will support local logs that are constrained to their increasingly tight storage constraints and disparate form factors.

I recently came across a great article on the untapped potential for general-purpose logging infrastructure in the IoT age. Though the author, LinkedIn software engineer Jay Kreps, doesn’t specifically connect his discussion to IoT, the affinity is obvious. The two trends that he highlights as increasing the need for distributed data logging–“event data firehose” and “explosion of specialized data systems”–are at the very heart of the IoT revolution.

Kreps lays out a real-time pub-sub architecture reminiscent of the time-honored concept of an “enterprise service bus” (ESB). “[M]any of the things we were building,” he says, “had a very simple concept at their heart: the log. Sometimes called write-ahead logs or commit logs or transaction logs, logs have been around almost as long as computers and are at the heart of many distributed data systems and real-time application architectures.”

To the extent that we intend for IoT to evolve into an ESB-like infrastructure for big data applications,  we must grapple with the central role of distributed logs and with the protocols that support that support distributed log-data consistency, replication, and concurrency.

It seems to me that this loosely-coupled ESB-like approach for data integration is the best infrastructure for truly flexible, increasingly heterogeneous big data, IoT, and cloud infrastructures. The log will be the common denominator data-storage and integration abstraction.


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