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Transforming Network Infrastructure Week in Review: Infonetics Research, APCON, VMWare, Google, MeriTalk, PaloAlto Networks

February 07, 2015

The news in this week's Transforming Network Infrastructure review may start by making its readers cringe by using the word “downtime.” Yes, it is one of the most feared words in the business world, and a recent report from Infonetics Research explored the depth of downtime by determining the losses that affect enterprises when they are not operating at full capacity. Researchers found, in their survey of 205 medium and large businesses in North America, that those organizations take a hit of nearly $4 million a year due to equipment failure, power outages, and human error. With an average of two outages and four service degradations every month, that adds up to about $100 million a year because employees can no longer work or be productive and therefore cannot increase business revenue.

Cringe for this week should be over at this point. There are visions for the future to read about such as the one that APCON announced this week. It said that it will leverage existing technologies to improve the state of software-defined network monitoring. SDN has become such a large part of networking in recent years that it has, in some ways, surpassed IT's collective ability to monitor it all with ease. APCON is responding to the gap in network visibility by leveraging hardware and software that is already on the market, such as APCON's own TITAN multi-switch monitoring software, to help it create more advanced products geared specifically toward patching those gaps.

Speaking of virtualization, VMWare said recently that it would partner with Google Cloud to give VMWare users access to four distinct services: Google Cloud Storage, Google BigQuery, Google Cloud Datastore, and Google Cloud DNS. Murali Sitaram, the managing director of global partner strategy and alliances at Google, commented on the partnership and noted that it will leverage the power of virtualization with the scale of Google's cloud environments. All services available through Google will be accessible through VMWare's vCloud Air and will work as if they were native to the VMWare platform.

The combination of these services – indeed, the combination of all services through the cloud, virtualization, the Internet of Things, and other modern platforms and technologies -- has given pause to federal IT decision makers in the U.S. government. A study of government IT completed by MeriTalk and PaloAlto Networks, “Heart of the Network: Data Center Defense,” reveals that more than two-thirds of federal agents are concerned with cybersecurity as data centers get bigger and continue to absorb more of the world's data. Agents noted that the more data traveling through servers results in more challenge for cybersecurity experts. All the while, cybersecurity attacks are becoming more sophisticated and data center breaches are growing in number.

One may only need to look at the efforts of APCON, which is certainly not alone in its intentions, to feel better about the current state of affairs. Enterprises are working on building better, more secure systems that can handle cybersecurity attacks with greater ease and can even stop attacks before they begin by providing IT with enhanced visibility into their networks. Nearly three-fourths of the federal agents involved in the study noted that they would give their agencies an “A” or “B” for effort. They did note, however, that better automation, mobile device management, and endpoint security management programs could transform that effort into ability.

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