We build security solutions to protect our networks from the rest of the internet, but do we do anything to protect the network from our own employees and users? The first line of protection for your networks is not the firewall or other perimeter security device, it is the education and protection of the people that use the network. People are concerned about having their apartments or homes broken into so they put locks on the doors, install alarm systems, or put surveillance equipment like security cameras around the property. They are vigilant about making sure that an unauthorized intruder cannot enter the home easily without detection and alarms being raised.
The automobiles in the late 19th and early 20th century did not have a complex dashboard displaying a multitude of information like we have today. The industry was very young and the inventors and technologists focused on making sure that these ‘horseless carriages’ went from point A to point B. Builders and consumers did not have the time and capacity to incorporate extensive diagnostics and metrics to understand the state and performance of these vehicles.
As the automobile technologies matured, dashboards were put in place to give people information about how the vehicle was performing. Speedometers tell us how fast we are going. Oil and temperature gauges give us insight into the health of the engine. Air pressure monitors let us know when to add air to our tires. Today, we even have built-in compasses and GPS systems that can pinpoint our location on the planet within a few meters.
Don’t you hate it when you have a problem, but have no idea what is causing it? The water in my house stopped running recently. I have a well with a pump and a fairly complex system of pipes going through a water filtration and softening system. I had no idea why the water was not flowing, but it was obviously a major issue.
I checked the pipes and they all seemed ok. I cleaned the filter, and verified that the water filtration system was in good order. While I cannot physically inspect the pump because it is dozens of feet down a 4-inch well shaft, I did power-cycle it to ensure that it seemed to be working properly. Ultimately, I had to call a plumber/well specialist who, after inspecting the entire system, determined that my water pressure tank and switch needed to be replaced.
Playing a stringed musical instrument like a guitar means that the different strings need to be regularly adjusted to play the correct note. Guitar players tightened and loosened the strings to tune the guitar. The strings were tuned by ear, which meant that the person tuning the guitar had to know what sound each string had to make with considerable accuracy.
With modern technology, there are tuners that can generate tones so one no longer needs to know exactly what each note sounds like. And, today, there are tuners that will automatically adjust the tension in the string to create the right tone with no human intervention. This is a great benefit for guitar players because they like to play music, and not spend a lot of time and effort tuning their instrument every time they wanted to play.
Virtualization of the application environment is on every business’ mind. Terms like hypervisors, virtual machines, and software defined [insert your own popular term here: networks|data centers|storage] are being thrown around the technology industry like hot potatoes. While IT organizations focus on virtualizing specific applications, they often forget to see how this component fits into the overall trend to virtualize the entire IT infrastructure.
Everyone is forgetting to virtualize the most important element within the IT environment – the humans. Virtualization through cloud, software defined networking (SDN), and software defined data centers (SDDC) is the latest craze with internet architectures. IT organizations are moving away from proprietary hardware towards common off the shelf (COTS) platforms that can perform a variety of tasks.
The hardware and software have been virtualized, but the “humanware” is racing to catch up to support the capabilities of the virtual infrastructures. Manually manipulating the virtual networks with manual processes is not efficient. Organizations lose much of the benefits of these virtualized application delivery architectures when human-driven manual processes are still used to support them.
The last time I moved was 10 years ago. At the time, I told myself that this is the last time I am moving. The packing and relocation of my belongings was not too much trouble. The main problem is trying to get everything sorted out and put into their proper place in the new home.
When businesses migrate applications to the cloud, the process is similar. They are very familiar with the applications and their data. The problem is that they need to understand how the applications will behave in the new environment. Where does the data reside and how do the clients access the application’s new home?
In the world of cloud and virtualization, the buzz word of the day is ‘hybrid’. Everyone wants a hybrid cloud environment because they want to get the benefits of the cloud without relinquishing control of their applications and infrastructure. IT departments want the cost savings along with the agility and elasticity that cloud technologies bring, but they are not comfortable with the complete migration of their applications and data to a managed infrastructure.
Today, there are two primary use cases where companies are putting applications and data into the cloud. The difference between the two cases depends on whether it is an existing application or a new one that is being deployed. In the former, there is legacy infrastructure and support that has to be accounted for while the latter provides a greenfield opportunity to create an ideal infrastructure from the start.
Automobile manufacturers initially sold cars to wealthy families. The automobiles were expensive and uncommon because the production of the vehicles was labor-intensive and took a long time to produce. Henry Ford changed the way cars were built by moving from individual teams that required the time and expertise to build a car from start to finish, to a process that automated the assembly line with people owning individual tasks along the assembly line.
Load balancing technologies are still needed when businesses put their applications in the cloud. One of the primary reasons people are putting their applications in the cloud is because they want the applications available anytime and anywhere.
The cloud infrastructures are designed to provide a unified service that makes their applications available without having to understand or deploy many of the complex technologies that provide application availability and resiliency.