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Preview: Dana Gardner's BriefingsDirect

Dana Gardner's BriefingsDirect



Analysis and insights for enterprise IT, hybrid cloud and digital transformation strategists.



Updated: 2018-04-20T05:38:48.327-04:00

 



Envisioning procurement technology and techniques in 2025: The future looks bright

2018-04-05T14:18:51.715-04:00

The advent of increased automation, data-driven decisions, powerful business networks, and the firepower of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are combining to elevate procurement -- and the professionals who drive it -- to a new plane of greater influence and impact.To learn more about how rapidly evolving technology changes the future of procurement, the next BriefingsDirect panel discussion explores how and why innovation-fueled procurement will fill an increasingly strategic role for businesses.Listento the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or downloada copy.  Our future of procurement panelists are Julie Gerdeman, Vice President of the Digital Transformation Organization at SAP Ariba; Shivani Govil, Vice President of Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Products at SAP Ariba, and Matt Volker, Vice President of Supply Chain at NatureSweet in San Antonio, Texas. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Julie, SAP Ariba recently published a point-of-view on what procurement will look like in 2025, and it shows procurement as far different from how we know it today. Paint a picture, if you would, of what we should expect from procurement over the next several years?Gerdeman: We are on the brink of more change than ever before in procurement. We think procurement organizations are going to rethink everything -- from technology to resource allocation to talent and skill-sets. This all can entirely remake the function.GerdemanAnd how they will do that means a few things. First, they are going to leverage new and emerging technologies to automate the mundane tasks to refocus on more strategic-level work, and that will allow them to become key drivers of corporate goals and business innovation.How are they going to do that? It will be through use of intelligent systems that are self-learning and that provide a consumer-like, highly personalized user experience that makes purchasing easy.We also believe that procurement strategists will become ambassadors of the brand for their companies. Unlike in the past, all companies want to do well financially, but we believe procurement can help them also do good, and we are going to see more-and-more of that in the future. Procurement will become the stewards of the corporate reputation and brand perception by ensuring a sustainable supply chain.In the future, procurement will become even more collaborative -- to achieve cost-savings goals. And that means companies will be connected like never before through leveraged networks. They are going to take the lead in driving collaboration and using networks to connect buyers, partners, and suppliers globally for efficiency. On the tech side we believe super networks may emerge that create value. These super networks will network with other networks, and this hyper-connected ecosystem will become the standard.Finally, data is the new currency and buyers and sellers are going to leverage things that I believe Shivani will be talking about, like predictive analytics, real-time insights, AI, blockchain, and using all of that to move the business forward. We are really excited about the future of procurement.Gardner: The adoption and the pace at which people can change in order to acknowledge these technical changes -- and to also put in place the organizational shifts -- takes time, it’s a journey. What can companies be doing now to think about how to be a leader -- rather than a laggard -- when it comes to this procurement overhaul?Gerdeman: That’s such a great question. Adoption has to be the key focus, and every company will begin at a different place, and probably move at a different pace -- and that’s okay.Adoption [of modern procurement] has to be the focus, and every company will begin at at different pace, and probably move at a different pace -- and that's okay.What we see first is a focus on business outcomes. This is the difference for having successful adoption. So that’s focus -- on outcomes.[...]



Bridging the educational divide–How business networks level the playing field for those most in need

2018-03-22T14:50:40.253-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect panel discussion explores how Step Up For Students (SUFS), a non-profit organization in Florida, has collaborated with SAP Ariba to launch MyScholarShop, a digital marketplace for education that bridges the information gap and levels the playing field for those students most in need.Now assisting some 10,000 K-12 special needs and low-income students, the user-friendly marketplace empowers parents and guardians to find and purchase the best educational services for their children. In doing so, it also helps maximize availability of scholarship funds to enhance their learning.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to share more about how this first-of-a-kind solution actually works, are panelists Jonathan Beckham, Vice President of Technology Strategy and Innovation at Step Up For Students in Jacksonville, Florida; Mike Maguire, Global Vice President of New Market Development at SAP Ariba, and Katie Swingle, a Florida Gardiner Scholarship Program recipient. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Mike, there’s no doubt that technology has transformed procurement. We’ve gone from an emphasis on efficiency and spend to seeking better user experiences and more analytics capabilities. We’re also entering a new era where we see that businesses are trying to do “good,” in addition to doing “well.” You had a very personal revelation about this a few years ago. Tell us about why doing well and good can go hand-and-hand?Maguire: I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Jonathan and the SUFS team for both personal and professional reasons. First, I am a parent of a special needs young adult. My wife, Carole, and I have a 19-year-old daughter, Allyson, and we have lived with having no special needs solutions out there that help optimize the spend for such extra things as tuition, educational supplies, and services.MaguireIf you go to a hospital for surgery or you need medications, there’s always somebody there to help you with the process. But when you go into this world of tuition reimbursement and educational optimization, there’s no guidance for how that spend should be effectively executed. So now, many years later in my professional life, it is terrific to have the opportunity to use a solution like SAP Ariba SNAP to help SUFS in their mission and open that up to parents through the Ariba supplier network.Gardner: Tell us how cloud applications and the SAP Ariba business network platform are structured and architected that lends them to this kind of marketplace-plus benefit?Maguire: Networks and cloud apps at their very core are about connecting people, processes, and information in a way that’s simple and transparent to all those who are involved-- with the outcome of making smart choices. We’ve done this for multinational corporations for years. They end up saving money on their bottom lines by having good information to make smart choices. Now we’re doing the exact same thing to optimize the bottom line for families.Gardner:Jonathan, at SUFS, you probably faced the same kinds of challenges that many businesses do. They don’t want manual processes. They don’t want to be boggeddown with time-consuming approaches. They need to broaden their horizons, to see all available assets, and then analyze things better. But were there particular problems that you were trying to solve when it came to using marketplaces like Ariba’s? Optimized OpportunitiesBeckham: We’re trying to solve a lot of problems by optimizing processes for our families. It’s very important to us that we choose a partner that provides a really great user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). You know, we’re all about not just optimizing our bottom line -- like you think of for traditional corporations -- we’re about optimizing the experience. BeckhamAny funds or any resources that we gain, we’re about putting tho[...]



Pay-as-you-go IT models provide cost and operations advantages for Northrop Grumman

2018-03-22T14:07:29.244-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect IT business model innovation interview explores how pay-as-you-go models have emerged as a new way to align information technology (IT) needs with business imperatives.We’ll now learn how global aerospace and defense integrator Northrop Grumman has sought a revolution in business model transformation in how it acquires and manages IT.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to help explore how cloud computing-like consumption models can be applied more broadly is Ron Foudray, Vice President, Business Development for Technology Services at Northrop Grumman. The interview is conducted by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Here are some excerpts:Gardner: What trends are driving the need to change how IT is acquired? People have been buying IT for 40 or more years. Why a change now?Foudray:Our customers, who are primarily in the government sector across the globe, understand the dynamic nature of how IT and technology innovation occurs. It can be a very expensive investment to maintain and manage your own infrastructure as part of that.FoudrayIn parallel, they see the benefits of where technology is going from a cloud perspective, and how that can drive innovation -- and even affordability. So there is a cultural transformation around how to do more relative to IT and where it’s going.That gets to the things you were just using in your opening comments as to how do we transform the business model and provide that to our customers, who traditionally haven’t thought about those business models.Gardner:I suppose this is parallel to some creative financing trends we saw 10 or 15 years ago in other sectors – manufacturing and transportation, for example – where they found more creative ways of sharing and spreading the risk of capital.Pay-as-you-go or buy?Foudray:I think it’s a great analogy. You can look at it as if you are going to lease a car instead of buying one. In the future, maybe we don’t buy cars; maybe we just access them via Uber or Lyft, or some other pieces. But it’s that kind of transformation and that kind of model that we need to be willing to embrace -- both culturally and financially -- and learn how we can leverage that.Gardner:Ron, tell us about Northrop Grumman and why your business is a good fit for these new models. Foudray:I have been in the aerospace and defense market for 36 years. Northrop Grumman clearly is a market-leading, global security company, and we focus primarily on building manned and unmanned platforms.We have as part of our portfolio the sensors that go along with those platforms. You may have heard of something called C4ISR, for Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. It’s those types of sensors and systems that we bring to the table.In my portfolio, on the technology services side, we are also providing differentiated capabilities for how we support, maintain, upgrade and modernize that infrastructure. That includes the capabilities of how we can provide the services more broadly to our customers. So we focus primarily on five core pillar areas: autonomous systems, strike platforms, logistics, cyber-security, and C4ISR.Gardner:You are not only in the delivery of these solutions, but you are an integrator for the ecosystem that has to come together to provide them. And, of course, that includes IT.Foudray:Exactly. In fact, sometimes when I go talk to a customer, it’s like we’re Northrop Grumman Information Technology. They are trying to connect the dots. So, yes, I think of Northrop Grumman not only as the platforms, sensors and systems, but the enterprise IT infrastructure as well.The edge for our war fighters is anywhere that their systems and sensors are being deployed. That comes with the digital transformation that’s been ongoing inside of our war-fighting apparatus around the world for some time. And so when you hear about the [transformati[...]



A tale of two hospitals—How healthcare economics in Belgium hastens need for new IT buying schemes

2018-02-21T16:26:53.157-05:00

The next BriefingsDirect data center financing agility interview explores how two Belgian hospitals are adjusting to dynamic healthcare economics to better compete and cooperate.We will now explore how a regional hospital seeking efficiency -- and a teaching hospital seeking performance -- are meeting their unique requirements thanks to modern IT architectures and innovative IT buying methods.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to help us understand the multilevel benefits of the new economics of composable infrastructure and software defined data center (SDDC) in the fast-changing healthcare field are Filip Hens, Infrastructure Manager at UZA Hospital in Antwerp, and Kim Buts, Infrastructure Manager at Imelda Hospitalin Bonheiden, both in Belgium.The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: What are the top trends disrupting the healthcare industry in Belgium? Filip, why do things need to change? Why do you need to have better IT infrastructure?Hens: That’s a good question. There are many up-and-coming trends. One is new regulationsaround governance, which is quite important. Due to these new rules, we are working more closely together with other hospitals to share more data, and therefore need better data security. This is one of the main reasons that we need to change. HensIn Belgium, we have many hospitals, with some of them only a few kilometers apart. Yet there have been very few interactions between them. New demands around augmentation of services means patient data are a growing concern. So it’s not only the needs of new governance but also the demand for providing better medical services across hospitals.Gardner: Kim, how are the economics of healthcare -- of doing more with less -- an ongoing requirement? How are you able to conserve on the costs? Buts: We are trying to do everything we can across the financial possibilities. We are constantly looking for good solutions that are affordable. The obligation to work in a [hospital] cluster provides us with a lot of new challenges. A major challenge for us was around security. We have invested hugely in security. Many of the new applications are now shared across the hospital cluster. So we chose to take on the role of innovator. And to continue innovating, we have to spend a lot of money. That was not foreseen in the annual budget. So we took advantage of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE’s) new financial services approaches, to make things happen much faster than usual.How HPE Digital SolutionsSupport HealthcareAnd Life SciencesGardner: We’ll get back to some of those services, but I’d like to help our readers and listeners better understand this interesting combination of needing to compete -- that is to attract patients -- but at the same time cooperate and share data across hospital cluster. Filip, tell us about UZA and how you’re unique compared to a regional hospital. What makes you different?Sharing is caring, and savingHens: Our main focus remains patient care, but for us it is not necessarily general medicine. It is more the specialist cases, for such things as specialized surgery. That is our main goal. Also we are a teaching hospital, so we have an emphasis on learning from patients and from patient data.Gardner: You have unique IT and big data requirements from your researchers. You have more of an intense research and development environment, and that comes with a different set of IT requirements?Hens: Yes, and that is very important. We are more demanding of the quality of the data, the need to gather more information, and to provide our researchers a better infrastructure platform. That is one difference between a general hospital and a university hospital. A teaching facility has more complex patient analytics requirements, the need for complex data mining and stuff like that.Gardner: Kim, how are you in you[...]



Retail gets a makeover thanks to data-driven insights, edge computing, and revamped user experiences

2018-02-15T08:47:27.740-05:00

The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer vertical industry disruption solutions interview explores how intelligence, edge computing, and a rethinking of the user experience come together to give retailers a business-boosting makeover.We’ll now learn how Deloitte and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) are helping traditional retailers -- as well as hospitality organizations and restaurants -- provide a more consistent, convenient, and contiguous user experience across their businesses.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to help to define the new digitally enhanced retail experience are Kalyan Garimella, IoT Manager at Deloitte Consulting, and Jeff Carlat, Senior Director of Technology Solutions at HPE. The interview is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Jeff, what are the top trends now driving the amazing changes in retail?CarlatCarlat: First off, I want to clear the air. Retail is not dead. Everywhere I go I hear that the retailer is dead, no more brick and mortar. It's a fallacy. There is a retail apocalypse out there, but quite honestly 85 to 90 percent of purchases still go through the brick-and-mortar retailer.The retail apocalypse doesapply to brick-and-mortar stores that are failing to transform to fully embrace the digitalization  expected by consumers today. We are here to do something about it.Gardner: Kalyan, user experiences have always been important. You can go back to Selfridgesin London more than 100 years ago. People understand the importance of user experience. What's different now in the digital age? Garimella: Unfortunately, if you think about it, going back for the past four decades, retailers have relied on brand names and the strength of the merchandise to attract more customers. They never really differentiated themselves from the experiences that they were creating versus what their competitors were creating.With the advent of changing customer demographics -- with Millennials, Gen Ys, Gen Xs coming into the picture -- retailers now need to produce a more customized shopping experience. They need to give shoppers a reason to escape their online retail channels, to come to brick-and-mortar shops and make more purchases there. It’s high time we give that to them -- and make them come back to the stores.Gardner: There are still things in the physical world that need to remain in the physical world, right, Jeff?Virtual-real hybridCarlat: Exactly right! Take me, for example. We recently bought a new house and I wanted to get a nice La-Z-Boychair. I’m the kind of guy who’s not going to just push a button on a computer or a handheld to buy a new chair. I’m going to want to go sit in it. I want to know is this right for me, and so I go to a traditional brick-and-mortar outlet.How HPE and DeloitteAlign IT With Business Strategies Yes, I may do my research [online]. I may actually end up [online] doing my purchase and having it shipped directly to my home. But while I’m at the store, I want to have an experience -- an immersive experience -- that's going to help suggest to me, “Oh what's the perfect side table that should go with that? What’s the complementary piece of art that actually matches the fabric?”I want the capability to know what that chair will look like in my own decor, via virtually imposing that chair into my environment. That's where the world is going. Those are the demands of the new retail environment, and they will separate those that continue to thrive in the retail environment from those that suffer and decline.Gardner:And, of course, the people in that physical environment might actually know quite a bit about the purchase that you could gain from. They have been doing this for some time. There is the interaction of a consultancy effect when you are in a sales environment.GarimellaGarimella: People are alwa[...]



How VMware, HPE, and Telefonica together bring managed cloud services to a global audience

2018-02-07T15:06:39.800-05:00

The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer optimized cloud design interview explores how a triumvirate of VMware, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and Telefonica together bring managed cloud services to global audiences. Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Learn how Telefonica’s vision for delivering flexible cloud services capabilities to Latin American and European markets has proven so successful. Here to explain how they developed the right recipe for rapid delivery of agile Infrastructure-as-a-Services (IaaS) deployments is Joe Baguley, Vice President and CTO of VMware EMEA, and Antonio OriolBarat, Head of Cloud IT Infrastructure Services at Telefonica. The interview is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: What challenges are mobile and telecom operators now facing as they transition to becoming managed service providers?Oriol Barat: The main challenge we face at this moment is to help customers navigate in a multi-cloud environment. We now have local platforms, some legacy, some virtualized platforms, hyperscale public cloud providers, and data communications networks. We want to help our customers manage these in a secure way.Gardner: How have your cloud services evolved? How have partnerships allowed you to enter new markets to quickly provide services?Oriol BaratOriol Barat: We have had to transition from being a hosting provider with data centers in many countries. Our movement to cloud was a natural evolution of those hosting services. As a telecommunications company (telco), our main business is shared networks, and the network is a shared asset between many customers. So when we thought about the hosting business, we similarly wanted to be able to have shared assets. VMware, with its virtualization technology, came as a natural partner to help us evolve our hosting services.Gardner:Joe, it’s as if you designed the VMware stack with customers such as Telefonica in mind.Baguley: You could say that, yes. The vision has always been for us at VMware to develop what was originally called the software-defined data center (SDDC). Now, with multi-cloud, for me, it’s an operating system (OS) for clouds. BaguleyWe’re bringing together storage, networking and compute into one OS that can run both on-premises and off-premises. You could be running on-premises the same OS as someone like Telefonica is running for their public cloud -- meaning that you have a common operating environment, a common infrastructure. So, yes, entirely, it was built as part of this vision that everyone runs this OS to build his or her clouds.Gardner: To have a core, common infrastructure -- yet have the ability to adapt on top of that for localized markets -- is the best of all worlds.Baguley: That’s entirely it. Like someone said, “If all of the clouds are running the same OS, what’s the differentiation?” Well, the differentiation is, you want to go with the biggest player in Latin America. You want to go with the player that has the best direct connections: The guys that can give you service levels maybe that the cloud providers can’t give. They can give you over-the-top services that other cloud providers don’t provide. They can give you an integrated solution for your business that includes the cloud -- and other enterprise services.It’s about providing the tools for cloud providers to build differentiated powerful clouds for their customers.Learn How HPE and VMwareSolutions Enable a New Style of BusinessGardner: Antonio, please, for those of our listeners and readers that aren’t that familiar with Telefonica, tell us about the breadth and depth of your company.Oriol Barat: Telefonica is one of the top 10 global telco providers in the world. We are in 21 countries. We have fixed and mobile data services, and now we are in the process of [...]



Infatuation leads to love—How container orchestration and federation enables multi-cloud competition

2018-01-11T11:33:43.836-05:00

The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way.And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud hosts.This BriefingsDirect cloud services maturity discussion focuses on new ways to gain container orchestration, to better use serverless computing models, and employ inclusive management to keep the container love alive.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to help unpack insights into the new era of using containers to gain ease with multi-cloud deployments are our panelists: Matt Baldwin, Founder and CEO at StackPointCloud, based in Seattle; Nic Jackson, Developer Advocate at HashiCorp, based in San Francisco, and Reynold Harbin, Director of Product Marketing at DigitalOcean, based in New York. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Nic, HashiCorp has gone a long way to enable multi-cloud provisioning. What are some of the trends now driving the need for multi-cloud? And how does container management and orchestration fit into the goal of obtaining functional multi-cloud use, or even interoperability?Jackson: What we see mainly from our enterprise customers is that people are looking for a number of different ways so that they don’t get locked into one particular cloud provider. They are looking for high-availability and redundancy across cloud providers. They are looking for a migration path from private cloud to a public cloud. Or they want a burstable capacity, which means that they can take that private cloud and burst it out into public cloud, if need be.Containers -- and orchestration platforms like Kubernetes, Nomad and Swarm -- are providing standard interfaces to developers. So once you have the platform set up, the running of an application can be mostly cloud-agnostic.Gardner: There’s a growing need for container management and orchestration for not only cloud-agnostic development, but potentially as a greasing of the skids, if you will, to a multi-cloud world.Harbin: Yes. If you make the investment now to architect and package your applications with containers and intelligent orchestration, you will have much better agility to move your application across cloud providers.This will also enable you to quickly leverage any new products on any cloud provider.  For example DigitalOcean recently upgraded our High CPU Droplet plans, providing some of the best values for accessing the latest chipsets from Intel. For users with containerized applications and orchestration, they could easily improve application performance by moving workloads over to that new product.Gardner: And, Matt, at StackPointCloud you have created a universal control plane for Kubernetes. How does that help in terms of ease of deployment choice and multi-cloud use?Ease-of-use increases flexibilityBaldwin: We’ve basically built a management control plane for Kubernetes that gives you a single pane of glass across all your cloud providers. We deal with the top four, so Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Google and DigitalOcean. Because we provide that single pane of glass, you can build the clusters you need with those providers and you can stand up federation.BaldwinIn Kubernetes, multi-cloud is done via that federation. The federation control plane connects all of those[...]



How a large Missouri medical center developed an agile healthcare infrastructure security strategy

2018-01-08T16:17:02.436-05:00

Healthcare provider organizations are among the most challenging environments to develop and implement comprehensive and agile security infrastructures.These providers of healthcare are usually sprawling campuses with large ecosystems of practitioners, suppliers, and patient-facing facilities. They also operate under stringent compliance requirements, with data privacy as a top priority.At the same time, large hospitals and their extended communities are seeking to become more patient outcome-focused as they deliver ease-of-use, the best applications, as well as up-to-date data analysis to their staffs and physicians.The next BriefingsDirectsecurity insights discussion examines how a large Missouri medical center developed a comprehensive healthcare infrastructure security strategy from the edge to the data center -- and everything in between.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy.To learn how healthcare security can become more standardized and proactive with unified management and lower total costs, BriefingsDirect sat down with Phillip Yarbro, Network and Systems Engineer at Saint Francis Healthcare System in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The discussion was moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: When it comes to security nowadays, Phil, there’s a lot less chunking it out, of focusing on just devices or networks separately or on data centers alone. It seems that security needs to be deployed holistically -- or at least strategically – with standardized solutions, focused on across-the-board levels of coverage.Tell us how you’ve been able to elevate security to that strategic level at Saint Francis Healthcare System.  YarbroYarbro: As a healthcare organization, we have a wide variety of systems -- from our electronic medical records (EMR) that we are currently using, to our 10-plus legacy EMRs, our home health system, payroll time and attendance. Like you said, that’s a wide variety of systems to keep up-to-date with antivirus solutions, making sure all of those are secure, especially with them being virtualized. All of those systems require a bunch of different exclusions and whatnot.With our previous EMR, it was really hard to get those exclusions working and to minimize false positives. Over the past several years, security demands have increased. There are a lot more PCs and servers in the environment. There are a lot more threats taking place in healthcare systems, some targeting protected health information (PHI) or financial data, and we needed a solution that would protect a wide variety of endpoints; something that we could keep up-to-date extremely easily, and that would cover a wide variety of systems and devices.Gardner: It seems like they’re adding more risk to this all the time, so it’s not just a matter of patching and keeping up. You need to be proactive, whenever possible. Being proactive is definitely key. We like to control applications to keep our systems even more secure, rather than just focusing on real-time threats. Yarbro: Yes, being proactive is definitely key. Some of the features that we like about our latest systems are that you can control applications, and we’re looking at doing that to keep our systems even more secure, rather than just focusing on real-time threats, and things like that.Gardner: Before we learn more about your security journey, tell us about Saint Francis Healthcare System, the size of organization and also the size of your IT department.Yarbro: Saint Francis is between St. Louis and Memphis. It’s the largest hospital between the two cities. It’s a medium-sized hospital with 308 beds. We have a Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and a Level III trauma center. We see and treat more than 700,000 people within a five-state are[...]



Inside story on HPC's role in the Bridges Research Project at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

2017-11-21T14:32:34.310-05:00

The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer high-performance computing (HPC) success story interview examines how Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) has developed a research computing capability, Bridges, and how that's providing new levels of analytics, insights, and efficiencies.We'll now learn how advances in IT infrastructure and memory-driven architectures are combining to meet the new requirements for artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, and deep machine learning.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to describe the inside story on building AI Bridges are Dr. Nick Nystrom, Interim Director of Research, and Paola Buitrago, Director of AI and Big Data, both at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst, at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Let's begin with what makes Bridges unique. What is it about Bridges that is possible now that wasn't possible a year or two ago?NystromNystrom: Bridges allows people who have never used HPC before to use it for the first time. These are people in business, social sciences, different kinds of biology and other physical sciences, and people who are applying machine learning to traditional fields. They're using the same languages and frameworks that they've been using on their laptops and now that is scaling up to a supercomputer. They are bringing big data and AI together in ways that they just haven't done before.Gardner: It almost sounds like the democratization of HPC. Is that one way to think about it?Nystrom: It very much is. We have users who are applying tools like R and Python and scaling them up to very large memory -- up to 12 terabytes of random access memory (RAM) -- and that enables them to gain answers to problems they've never been able to answer before.Gardner: There is a user experience aspect, but I have to imagine there are also underlying infrastructure improvements that also contribute to user democratization.We stay in touch with the user community and we look at this from their perspective. What are the applications that they need to run? What we came up with is a very heterogeneous system.Nystrom: Yes, democratization comes from two things. First, we stay closely in touch with the user community and we look at this opportunity from their perspective first. What are the applications that they need to run? What do they need to do? And from there, we began to work with hardware vendors to understand what we had to build, and, what we came up with is a very heterogeneous system.We have three tiers of nodes having memories ranging from 128 gigabytes to 3 terabytes, to 12 terabytes of RAM. That's all coupled on the same very-high-performance fabric. We were the first installation in the world with the Intel Omni-Path interconnect, and we designed that in a custom topology that we developed at PSC expressly to make big data available as a service to all of the compute nodes with equally high bandwidth, low latency, and to let these new things become possible.Gardner: What other big data analytics benefits have you gained from this platform?BuitragoBuitrago: A platform like Bridges enables that which was not available before. There's a use case that was recently described by Tuomas Sandholm, [Professor and Director of the Electronic Marketplaces Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. It involves strategic machine learning using Bridges HPC to play and win at Heads-Up, No-limit Texas Hold'em poker as a capabilities benchmark.]This is a perfect example of something that could not have been done without a supercomputer. A supercomputer enables massive and complex models that can actually give an accurate answer.Right now, we are collecting a lot of data. There's a converge[...]



How UBC gained TCO advantage via flash for its EduCloud cloud storage service

2017-11-20T14:50:41.488-05:00

The next BriefingsDirect cloud efficiency case studyexplores how a storage-as-a-service offering in a university setting gains performance and lower total cost benefits by a move to all-flash storage.We’ll now learn how the University of British Columbia (UBC) has modernized its EduCloud storage service and attained both efficiency as well as better service levels for its diverse user base. Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or  download a copy. Here to help us explore new breeds of SaaS solutions is Brent Dunington, System Architect at UBC in Vancouver. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: How is satisfying the storagedemands at a large and diverse university setting a challenge? Is there something about your users and the diverse nature of their needs that provides you with a complex requirements list? DuningtonDunington: A university setting isn't much different than any other business. The demands are the same. UBC has about 65,000 students and about 15,000 staff. The students these days are younger kids, they all have iPhones and iPads, and they just want to push buttons and get instant results and instant gratification. And that boils down to the services that we offer. We have to be able to offer those services, because as most people know, there are choices -- and they can go somewhere else and choose those other products. Our team is a rather small team. There are 15 members in our team, so we have to be agile, we have to be able to automate things, and we need tools that can work and fulfill those needs. So it's just like any other business, even though it’s a university setting. HPEDeliversFlash PerformanceGardner: Can you give us a sense of the scale that describes your storage requirements?Dunington: We do SaaS, we also do infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). EduCloud is a self-service IaaS product that we deliver to UBC, but we also deliver it to 25 other higher institutions in the Province of British Columbia.We have been doing IaaS for five years, and we have been very, very successful. So more people are looking to us for guidance. Because we are not just delivering to UBC, we have to be up running and always able to deliver, because each school has different requirements. At different times of the year -- because there is registration, there are exam times -- these things have to be up. You can’t not be functioning during an exam and have 600 students not able to take the tests that they have been studying for. So it impacts their life and we want to make sure that we are there and can provide the services for what they need. Gardner: In order to maintain your service levels within those peak times, do you in your IaaS and storage services employ hybrid-cloud capabilities so that you can burst? Or are you doing this all through your own data center and your own private cloud?On-Campus CloudDunington: We do it all on-campus. British Columbia has a law that says all the data has to stay in Canada. It’s a data-sovereignty law, the data can't leave the borders. That's why EduCloud has been so successful, in my opinion, because of that option. They can just go and throw things out in the private cloud. The public cloud providers are providing more services in Canada: Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure cloud are putting data centers in Canada, which is good and it gives people an option. Our team’s goal is to provide the services, whether it's a hybrid model or all on-campus. We just want to be able to fulfill those needs.Gardner: It sounds like the best of all worlds. You are able to give that elasticity benefit, a lot of instant service requirements met for your consumers. But you are starting to use cloud [...]



How modern storage provides hints on optimizing and best managing hybrid IT and multi-cloud resources

2017-11-17T11:51:12.070-05:00

The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Analyst interview examines the growing need for proper rationalizing of which apps, workloads, services and data should go where across a hybrid IT continuum.Managing hybrid IT necessitates not only a choice between public cloud and private cloud, but a more granular approach to picking and choosing which assets go where based on performance, costs, compliance, and business agility.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to report on how to begin to better assess what IT variables should be managed and thoughtfully applied to any cloud model is Mark Peters, Practice Director and Senior Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Now that cloud adoption is gaining steam, it may be time to step back and assess what works and what doesn’t. In past IT adoption patterns, we’ve seen a rapid embrace that sometimes ends with at least a temporary hangover. Sometimes, it’s complexity or runaway or unmanaged costs, or even usage patterns that can’t be controlled. Mark, is it too soon to begin assessing best practices in identifying ways to hedge against any ill effects from runaway adoption of cloud? Peters: The short answer, Dana, is no. It’s not that the IT world is that different. It’s just that we have more and different tools. And that is really what hybrid comes down to -- available tools.PetersIt’s not that those tools themselves demand a new way of doing things. They offer the opportunity to continue to think about what you want. But if I have one repeated statement as we go through this, it will be that it’s not about focusing on the tools, it’s about focusing on what you’re trying to get done. You just happen to have more and different tools now.  Gardner: We hear sometimes that at as high as board of director levels, they are telling people to go cloud-first, or just dump IT all together. That strikes me as an overreaction. If we’re looking at tools and to what they do best, is cloud so good that we can actually just go cloud-first or cloud-only?Cloudy cloud adoptionPeters: Assuming you’re speaking about management by objectives (MBO), doing cloud or cloud-only because that’s what someone with a C-level title saw on a Microsoft cloud ad on TV and decided that is right, well -- that clouds everything.You do see increasingly different people outside of IT becoming involved in the decision. When I say outside of IT, I mean outside of the operational side of IT.You get other functions involved in making demands. And because the cloud can be so easy to consume, you see people just running off and deploying some software-as-a-service (SaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model because it looked easy to do, and they didn’t want to wait for the internal IT to make the change.All of the research we do shows that the world is hybrid for as far ahead as we can see. Running away from internal IT and on-premises IT is not going to be a good idea for most organizations -- at least for a considerable chunk of their workloads. All of the research we do shows that the world is hybrid for as far ahead as we can see. Gardner: I certainly agree with that. If it’s all then about a mix of things, how do I determine the correct mix? And if it’s a correct mix between just a public cloud and private cloud, how do I then properly adjust to considerations about applications as opposed to data, as opposed to bringing in microservices and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) when they’re the best fit?How do we begin to rationalize all of this better? Because I think we’ve gotten to the point[...]



Kansas Development Finance Authority gains peace of mind, end-points virtual shield using hypervisor-level security

2017-11-14T15:29:53.114-05:00

Implementing and managing IT security has leaped in complexity for organizations ranging from small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to massive government agencies.Once-safe products used to thwart invasions now have been exploited. E-mail phishing campaigns are far more sophisticated, leading to damaging ransomware attacks.What’s more, the jack-of-all-trades IT leaders of the mid-market concerns are striving to protect more data types on and off premises, their workload servers and expanded networks, as well as the many essential devices of the mobile workforce.Security demands have gone up, yet there is a continual need for reduced manual labor and costs -- while protecting assets sooner and better.The next BriefingsDirect security strategies case study examines how a Kansas economic development organization has been able to gain peace of mind by relying on increased automation and intelligence in how it secures its systems and people.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or  downloada copy.To explore how an all-encompassing approach to security has enabled improved results with fewer hours at a smaller enterprise, BriefingsDirect sat down with Jeff Kater, Director of Information Technology and Systems Architect at Kansas Development Finance Authority (KDFA) in Topeka. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: As a director of all of IT at KDFA, security must be a big concern, but it can’t devour all of your time. How have you been able to balance security demands with all of your other IT demands?Kater: That’s a very interesting question, and it has a multi-segmented answer. In years past, leading up to the development of what KDFA is now, we faced the trends that demanded very basic anti-spam solutions and the very basic virus threats that came via the web and e-mail.KaterWhat we’ve seen more recently is the growing trend of enhanced security attacks coming through malware and different exploits -- that were once thought impossible -- are now are the reality.Therefore in recent times, my percentage of time dedicated to security had grown from probably five to 10 percent all the way up to 50 to 60 percent of my workload during each given week.Gardner: Before we get to how you’ve been able to react to that, tell us about KDFA.Kater: KDFA promotes economic development and prosperity for the State of Kansas by providing efficient access to capital markets through various tax-exempt and taxable debt obligations.KDFA works with public and private entities across the board to identify financial options and solutions for those entities. We are a public corporate entity operating in the municipal finance market, and therefore we are a conduit finance authority.KDFA is a very small organization -- but a very important one. Therefore we run enterprise-ready systems around the clock, enabling our staff to be as nimble and as efficient as possible.There are about nine or 10 of us that operate here on any given day at KDFA. We run on a completely virtual environment platform via Citrix XenServer. So we run XenApp, XenDesktop, and NetScaler -- almost the full gamut of Citrix products.We have a few physical endpoints, such as laptops and iPads, and we also have the mobile workforce on iPhones as well. They are all interconnected using the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) approach.Gardner: You’ve had this swing, where your demands from just security issues have blossomed. What have you been doing to wrench that back? How do you get your day back, to innovate and put in place real productivity improvements?We wanted to be able to be nimble, to be adaptive, and to grow our business workload while[...]



Globalization risks and data complexity demand new breed of hybrid IT management, says Wikibon’s Burris

2017-11-13T17:04:58.082-05:00

The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Analyst interview explores how globalization and distributed business ecosystems factor into hybrid cloud challenges and solutions.Mounting complexity and a lack of multi-cloud services management maturity are forcing companies to seek new breeds of solutions so they can grow and thrive as digital enterprises.  Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or downloada copy. Here to report on how international companies must factor localization, data sovereignty and other regional cloud requirements into any transition to sustainable hybrid IT is Peter Burris, Head of Research at Wikibon. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Peter, companies doing business or software development just in North America can have an American-centric view of things. They may lack an appreciation for the global aspects of cloud computing models. We want to explore that today. How much more complex is doing cloud -- especially hybrid cloud -- when you’re straddling global regions?Burris: There are advantages and disadvantages to thinking cloud-first when you are thinking globalization first. The biggest advantage is that you are able to work in locations that don’t currently have the broad-based infrastructure that’s typically associated with a lot of traditional computing modes and models.BurrisThe downside of it is, at the end of the day, that the value in any computing system is not so much in the hardware per se; it’s in the data that’s the basis of how the system works. And because of the realities of working with data in a distributed way, globalization that is intended to more fully enfranchise data wherever it might be introduces a range of architectural implementation and legal complexities that can’t be discounted.So, cloud and globalization can go together -- but it dramatically increases the need for smart and forward-thinking approaches to imagining, and then ultimately realizing, how those two go together, and what hybrid architecture is going to be required to make it work.Gardner: If you need to then focus more on the data issues -- such as compliance, regulation, and data sovereignty -- how is that different from taking an applications-centric view of things?Learn More AboutHybrid IT Management Solutions From HPEBurris: Most companies have historically taken an infrastructure-centric approach to things. They start by saying, “Where do I have infrastructure, where do I have servers and storage, do I have the capacity for this group of resources, and can I bring the applications up here?” And if the answer is yes, then you try to ultimately economize on those assets and build the application there.That runs into problems when we start thinking about privacy, and in ensuring that local markets and local approaches to intellectual property management can be accommodated.But the issue is more than just things like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, which is a series of regulations in the European Union (EU) that are intended to protect consumers from what the EU would regard as inappropriate leveraging and derivative use of their data.It can be extremely expensive and sometimes impossible to even conceive of a global cloud strategy where the service is being consumed a few thousand miles away from where the data resides, if there is any dependency on time and how that works. Ultimately, the globe is a big place. It’s 12,000 miles or so from point A to the farthest point B, and physics still matters. So, the first thing we have to worry about when we think about globalization is the cost of latency and the [...]



How modern architects transform the messy mix of hybrid cloud into a force multiplier

2017-11-08T07:01:08.478-05:00

The next BriefingsDirect cloud strategies insights interview focuses on how IT architecture and new breeds of service providers are helping enterprises manage complex cloud scenarios.We’ll now learn how composable infrastructure and auto-scaling help improve client services, operations, and business goals attainment for a New York cloud services and architecture support provider. Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or downloada copy.Here to help us learn what's needed to reach the potential of multiple -- and often overlapping -- cloud models is Arthur Reyenger, Cloud Practice Lead and Chief Cloud Architect at International Integrated Solutions (IIS) Ltd. in New York.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: How are IT architecture and new breeds of service providers coming together? What’s different now from just a few years ago for architecture when we have cloud, multi-cloud, and hybrid cloud services? ReyengerReyenger: Like the technology trends themselves, everything is accelerating. Before, you would have three-year or even five-year plans that were developed by the business. They were designed to reach certain business outcomes, they would design the technology to support that and it was then heads-down to build my rocket ship.It’s changed now to where it’s a 12-month strategy that needs to be modular enough to be reevaluated at the end of those 12 months, and be re-architected -- almost as if it were made of Lego blocks.Gardner: More moving parts, less time.Reyenger:Absolutely.Gardner: How do you accomplish that? Reyenger: You leverage different cloud service providers, different managed services providers, and traditional value-added resellers, like International Integrated Solutions (IIS), in order to meet those business demands. We see a large push around automation, orchestration and auto-scaling. It’s becoming a way to achieve those business initiatives at that higher speed.Gardner: There is a cloud continuum. You are choosing which workloads and what data should be on-premises, and what should be in a cloud, or multi-clouds. Trying to do this as a regular IT shop -- buying it, specifying, integrating it -- seems like it demands more than the traditional IT skills. How is the culture of IT adjusting? Reyenger: Every organization, including ours, has its own business transformation that they have to undergo. We think that we are extremely proactive. I see some companies that are developing in-house skill sets, and trying to add additional departments that would be more cloud-aware in order to meet those demands.On the other side, you have folks that are leveraging partners like IIS, which has acumen within those spaces to supplement their bench, or they are building out a completely separate organization that will hopefully take them to the new frontier.Gardner: Tell us about your company. What have you done to transform?Get the Updated BookHPE Synergy for DummiesReyenger: IIS has spent 26 years building out an amazing book of business with amazing relationships with a lot of enterprise customers. But as times change, you need to be able to add additional practices like our cloud practice and our managed services practice. We have taken the knowledge we have around traditional IT services and then added in our internal developers and delivery consultants. They are very well-versed and aware of the new architecture. So we can marry the two together and help organizations reach that new end-state.It's very easy for startups to go 100 percent to the cloud and just run with it. It’s different when you have 2,000 existing applications and you want to move to the future as well. It’s nice t[...]



As enterprises face mounting hybrid IT complexity, new management solutions beckon

2017-11-06T15:52:44.421-05:00

The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Analyst interview examines how new machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities are being applied to hybrid IT complexity challenges.We'll explore how mounting complexity and a lack of multi-cloud services management maturity must be solved in order for businesses to grow and thrive as digital enterprises. Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to report on how companies and IT leaders are seeking new means to manage an increasingly complex transition to sustainable hybrid IT is Paul Teich, Principal Analyst at TIRIAS Research in Austin, Texas. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Paul, there’s a lot of evidence that businesses are adopting cloud models at a rapid pace. There is also lingering concern about the complexity of managing so many fast-moving parts. We have legacy IT, private cloud, public cloud, software as a service (SaaS) and, of course, multi-cloud. So as someone who tracks technology and its consumption, how much has technology itself been tapped to manage this sprawl, if you will, across hybrid IT?TeichTeich: So far, not very much, mostly because of the early state of multi-cloud and the hybrid cloud business model. As you know, it takes a while for management technology to catch up with the actual compute technology and storage. So I think we are seeing that management is the tail of the dog, it’s getting wagged by the rest of it, and it just hasn’t caught up yet.Gardner: Things have been moving so quickly with cloud computing that few organizations have had an opportunity to step back and examine what’s actually going on around them -- never mind properly react to it. We really are playing catch up.Teich: As we look at the options available, the cloud giants -- the public cloud services -- don’t have much incentive to work together. So you are looking at a market where there will be third parties stepping in to help manage multi-cloud environments, and there’s a lag time between having those services available and having the cloud services available and then seeing the third-party management solution step in.Gardner: It’s natural to see that a specific cloud environment, whether it’s purely public like AWS or a hybrid like Microsoft Azure and Azure Stack, want to help their customers, but they want to help their customers all get to their solutions first and foremost. It’s a natural thing. We have seen this before in technology. There are not that many organizations willing to step into the neutral position of being ecumenical, of saying they want to help the customer first, manage it all from the first. As we look to how this might unfold, it seems to me that the previous models of IT management -- agent-based, single-pane-of-glass, and unfortunately still in some cases spreadsheets and Post-It notes -- have been brought to bear on this. But we might be in a different ball game, Paul, with hybrid IT, that there’s just too many moving parts, too much complexity, and that we might need to look at data-driven approaches. What is your take on that?  Learn More AboutHybrid IT Management Solutions From HPETeich: I think that’s exactly correct. One of the jokes in the industry right now is if you want to find your stranded instances in the cloud, cancel your credit card and AWS or Microsoft will be happy to notify you of all of the instances that you are no longer paying for because your credit card expired. It’s hard to keep track of this, because we don’t have adequate tools yet. When [...]



How mounting complexity, multi-cloud sprawl, and need for maturity hinder hybrid IT’s ability to grow and thrive

2017-11-02T16:24:32.576-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Analyst interview examines how the economics and risk management elements of hybrid IT factor into effective cloud adoption and choice.We’ll now explore how mounting complexity and a lack of multi-cloudservices management maturity must be solved in order to have businesses grow and thrive as digital enterprises.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or  download a copy.   Tim Crawford, CIO Strategic Advisor at AVOA in Los Angeles joins us to report on how companies are managing an increasingly complex transition to sustainable hybrid IT. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Tim, there’s a lot of evidence that businesses are adopting cloud models at a rapid pace. But there is also lingering concernabout how to best determine the right mix of cloud, what kinds of cloud, and how to mitigate the risks and manage change over time.As someone who regularly advises chief information officers (CIOs), who or which group is surfacing that is tasked with managing this cloud adoption and its complexity within these businesses? Who will be managing this dynamic complexity?CrawfordCrawford: For the short-term, I would say everyone. It’s not as simple as it has been in the past where we look to the IT organization as the end-all, be-all for all things technology. As we begin talking about different consumption models -- and cloud is a relatively new consumption model for technology -- it changes the dynamics of it. It’s the combination of changing that consumption model -- but then there’s another factor that comes into this. There is also the consumerization of technology, right? We are “democratizing” technology to the point where everyone can use it, and therefore everyone does use it, and they begin to get more comfortable with technology.It’s not as it used to be, where we would say, “Okay, I'm not sure how to turn on a computer.” Now, businesses may be more familiar outside of the IT organization with certain technologies. Bringing that full-circle, the answer is that we have to look beyond just IT. Cloud is something that is consumed by IT organizations. It’s consumed by different lines of business, too. It’s consumed even by end-consumers of the products and services. I would say it’s all of the above.  Learn More AboutHybrid IT Management Solutions From HPEGardner: The good news is that more and more people are able to -- on their own – innovate, to acquire cloud services, and they can factor those into how they obtain business objectives. But do you expect that we will get to the point where that becomes disjointed? Will the goodness of innovation become something that spins out of control, or becomes a negative over time?Crawford: To some degree, we’ve already hit that inflection-point where technology is being used in inappropriate ways. A great example of this -- and it’s something that just kind of raises the hair on the back of my neck -- is when I hear that boards of directors of publicly traded companies are giving mandates to their organization to “Go cloud.”The board should be very business-focused and instead they're dictating specific technology -- whether it’s the right technology or not. That’s really what this comes down to. What’s the right use of cloud – in all forms, public, private, software as a service (SaaS). What’s the right combination to use for any given application?  Another example is folks that try and go all-in on cloud but aren’t necessarily thinking a[...]



Case study: How HCI-powered private clouds accelerate efficient digital transformation

2017-10-24T16:49:14.190-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect cloud efficiency case study examines how a world-class private cloud project evolved in the financial sector.We’ll now learn how public cloud-like experiences, agility, and cost structures are being delivered via a strictly on-premises model built on hyper-converged infrastructure for a risk-sensitive financial services company.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy.Jim McKittrick joins to help explore the potential for cloud benefits when retaining control over the data center is a critical requirement. He is Senior Account Manager at Applied Computer Solutions (ACS) in Huntington Beach, California. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Many enterprises want a private cloud for security and control reasons. They want an OpEx-like public cloud model, and that total on-premises control. Can you have it both ways?McKittrick: We are showing that you can. People are learning that the public cloud isn't necessarily all it has been hyped up to be, which is what happens with newer technologies as they come out.Gardner: What are the drivers for keeping it all private?McKittrickMcKittrick: Security, of course. But if somebody actually analyzes it, a lot of times it will be about cost and data access, and the ease of data egress because getting your data back can sometimes be a challenge.Also, there is a realization that even though I may have strict service-level agreements (SLAs), if something goes wrong they are not going to save my business. If that thing tanks, do I want to give that business away? I have some clients who absolutely will not.Gardner: Control, and so being able to sleep well at night.McKittrick: Absolutely. I have other clients that we can speak about who have HIPAA requirements, and they are privately held and privately owned. And literally the CEO says, “I am not doing it.” And he doesn’t care what it costs.Gardner: If there were a huge delta between the price of going with a public cloud or staying private, sure. But that deltais closing. So you can have the best of both worlds -- and not pay a very high penalty nowadays.McKittrick: If done properly, certainly from my experience. We have been able to prove that you can run an agile, cloud-like infrastructure or private cloud as cost-effectively -- or even more cost effectively -- than you can in the public clouds. There are certainly places for both in the market.Gardner: It's going to vary, of course, from company to company -- and even department to department within a company -- but the fact is that that choice is there.McKittrick: No doubt about it, it absolutely is.Gardner: Tell us about ACS, your role there, and how the company is defining what you consider the best of hybrid cloud environments.McKittrick: We are a relatively large reseller, about $600 million. We have specialized in data center practices for 27 years. So we have been in business quite some time and have had to evolve with the IT industry.We have a head start on what's really coming down the pipe -- we are one to two years ahead of the general marketplace. Structurally, we are fairly conventional from the standpoint that we are a typical reseller, but we pride ourselves on our technical acumen. Because we have some very, very large clients and have worked with them to get on their technology boards, we feel like we have a head start on what's really coming down the pipe --  we are maybe one to two years ahead of the general marketplace. We feel that we have a thought leadersh[...]



Inside story on HPC’s AI role in Bridges 'strategic reasoning' research at CMU

2017-10-10T15:35:53.231-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect high performance computing (HPC) success interview examines how strategic reasoning is becoming more common and capable -- even using imperfect information.We’ll now learn how Carnegie Mellon University and a team of researchers there are producing amazing results with strategic reasoning thanks in part to powerful new memory-intense systems architectures.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or  download a copy. To learn more about strategic reasoning advances, please join me in welcoming Tuomas Sandholm, Professor and Director of the Electronic Marketplaces Lab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Tell us about strategic reasoning and why imperfect information is often the reality that these systems face?Sandholm: In strategic reasoning we take the word “strategic” very seriously. It means game theoretic, so in multi-agent settings where you have more than one player, you can't just optimize as if you were the only actor -- because the other players are going to act strategically. What you do affects how they should play, and what they do affects how you should play.SandholmThat's what game theory is about. In artificial intelligence (AI), there has been a long history of strategic reasoning. Most AI reasoning -- not all of it, but most of it until about 12 years ago -- was really about perfect information games like Othello, Checkers, Chess and Go. And there has been tremendous progress. But these complete information, or perfect information, games don't really model real business situations very well. Most business situations are of imperfect information. Know what you don’t knowSo you don't know the other guy's resources, their goals and so on. You then need totally different algorithms for solving these games, or game-theoretic solutions that define what rational play is, or opponent exploitation techniques where you try to find out the opponent's mistakes and learn to exploit them.So totally different techniques are needed, and this has way more applications in reality than perfect information games have.Gardner: In business, you don't always know the rules. All the variables are dynamic, and we don't know the rationale or the reasoning behind competitors’ actions. People sometimes are playing offense, defense, or a little of both. Before we dig in to how is this being applied in business circumstances, explain your proof of concept involving poker. Is it Five-Card Draw?Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold'em has become the leading benchmark in the AI community. Sandholm: No, we’re working on a much harder poker game called Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold'em as the benchmark. This has become the leading benchmark in the AI community for testing these application-independent algorithms for reasoning under imperfect information.The algorithms have really nothing to do with poker, but we needed a common benchmark, much like the IC chip makers have their benchmarks. We compare progress year-to-year and compare progress across the different research groups around the world. Heads-Up No-limit Texas Hold'em turned out to be great benchmark because it is a huge game of imperfect information.It has 10 to the 161 different situations that a player can face. That is one followed by 161 zeros. And if you think about that, it’s not only more than the number of atoms in the universe, but even if, for every atom in the universe, you have a whole other universe and [...]



Philips teams with HPE on ecosystem approach to improve healthcare informatics-driven outcomes

2017-10-10T11:41:23.349-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect healthcare transformation use-case discussion focuses on how an ecosystem approach to big data solutions brings about improved healthcare informatics-driven outcomes.We'll now learn how a Philips Healthcare Informatics and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)partnership creates new solutions for the global healthcare market and provides better health outcomes for patients by managing data and intelligence better.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or  download a copy. Joining us to explain how companies tackle the complexity of solutions delivery in healthcare by using advanced big data and analytics is Martijn Heemskerk, Healthcare Informatics Ecosystem Director for Philips, based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Why are partnerships so important in healthcare informatics? Is it because there are clinical considerations combined with big data technology? Why are these types of solutions particularly dependent upon an ecosystem approach?Heemskerk: It’s exactly as you say, Dana. At Philips we are very strong at developing clinical solutions for our customers. But nowadays those solutions also require an IT infrastructure layer Heemskerkunderneath to solve the total equation. As such, we are looking for partners in the ecosystem because we at Philips recognize that we cannot do everything alone. We need partners in the ecosystem that can help address the total solution -- or the total value proposition -- for our customers. Gardner: I'm sure it varies from region to region, but is there a cultural barrier in some regard to bringing cutting-edge IT in particular into healthcare organizations? Or have things progressed to where technology and healthcare converge?Heemskerk: Of course, there are some countries that are more mature than others. Therefore the level of healthcare and the type of solutions that you offer to different countries may vary. But in principle, many of the challenges that hospitals everywhere are going through are similar. Some of the not-so-mature markets are also trying to leapfrog so that they can deliver different solutions that are up to par with the mature markets.Gardner: Because we are hearing a lot about big data and edge computing these days, we are seeing the need for analytics at a distributed architecture scale. Please explain how big data changes healthcare.Big data value addHeemskerk: What is very interesting for big data is what happens if you combine it with value-based care. It's a very interesting topic. For example, nowadays, a hospital is not reimbursed for every procedure that it does in the hospital – the value is based more on the total outcome of how a patient recovers.This means that more analytics need to be gathered across different elements of the process chain before reimbursement will take place. In that sense, analytics become very important for hospitals on how to measure on how things are being done efficiently, and determining if the costs are okay. Gardner: The same data that can used to be more efficient can also be used for better healthcare outcomes and understanding the path of the disease, or for the efficacy of procedures, and so on. A great deal can be gained when data is gathered and used properly.Heemskerk: That is correct. And you see, indeed, that there is much more data nowadays, and you can utilize it for all kind of different things.Learn About HPE Digital SolutionsThat Drive Hea[...]



Inside story: How Ormuco abstracts the concepts of private and public cloud across the globe

2017-09-26T16:05:29.033-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect cloud ecosystem strategies interview explores how a Canadian software provider delivers a hybrid cloud platform for enterprises and service providers alike.We'll now learn how Ormuco has identified underserved regions and has crafted a standards-based hybrid cloud platform to allow its users to attain world-class cloud services just about anywhere.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or  download a copy.Here to help us explore how new breeds of hybrid cloud are coming to more providers around the globe thanks to the Cloud28+ consortium is Orlando Bayter, CEO and Founder of Ormuco in Montréal, and Xavier Poisson Gouyou Beachamps, Vice President of Worldwide Indirect Digital Services at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), based in Paris. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Let’s begin with this notion of underserved regions. Orlando, why is it that many people think that public cloud is everywhere for everyone when there are many places around the world where it is still immature? What is the opportunity to serve those markets?Bayter: There are many countries underserved by the hyperscale cloud providers. If you look at Russia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), around the world, they want to comply with regulations on security, on data sovereignty, and they need to have the clouds locally to comply.BayterOrmuco targets those countries that are underserved by the hyperscale providers and enables service providers and enterprises to consume cloud locally, in ways they can’t do today.Gardner: Are you allowing them to have a private cloud on-premises as an enterprise? Or do local cloud providers offer a common platform, like yours, so that they get the best of both the private and public hybrid environment?Bayter: That is an excellent question. There are many workloads that cannot leave the firewall of an enterprise. With that, you now need to deliver the economies, ease of use, flexibility, and orchestration of a public cloud experience in the enterprise. At Ormuco, we deliver a platform that provides the best of the two worlds. You are still leaving your data center and you don't need to worry whether it’s on-premises or off-premises.It's a single pane of glass. You can move the workloads in that global network via established providers throughout the ecosystem of cloud services. It’s a single pane of glass. You can move the workloads in that global network via established providers throughout the ecosystem of cloud services. Gardner: What are the attributes of this platform that both your enterprise and service provider customers are looking for? What’s most important to them in this hybrid cloud platform?Bayter: As I said, there are some workloads that cannot leave the data center. In the past, you couldn’t get the public cloud inside your data center. You could have built a private cloud, but you couldn’t get an Amazon Web Services (AWS)-like solution or a Microsoft Azure-like solution on-premises.We have been running this now for two years and what we have noticed is that enterprises want to have the ease-of-use, sales, service, and orchestration on-premises. Now, they can connect to a public cloud based on the same platform and they don’t have to worry about how to connect it or how it will work. They just decide where to place this.They have security, can comply with regulations, and gain control -- plus 40 percent savings compared with VM[...]



How Nokia refactors the video delivery business with new time-managed IT financing models

2017-09-19T17:22:06.798-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect IT financing and technology acquisition strategies interview examines how Nokiais refactoring the video delivery business. Learn both about new video delivery architectures and the creative ways media companies are paying for the technology that supports them.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to describe new models of Internet Protocol (IP) video and time-managed IT financing is Paul Larbey, Head of the Video Business Unit at Nokia, based in Cambridge, UK. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: It seems that the video-delivery business is in upheaval. How are video delivery trends coming together to make it necessary for rethinking architectures? How are pricing models and business models changing, too? Larbey: We sit here in 2017, but let’s look back 10 years to 2007. There were a couple key events in 2007 that dramatically shaped how we all consume video today and how, as a company, we use technology to go to market. LarbeyIt’s been 10 years since the creation of the Apple iPhone. The iPhone sparked whole new device-types, moving eventually into the iPad. Not only that, Apple underneath developed a lot of technology in terms of how you stream video, how you protect video over IP, and the technology underneath that, which we still use today. Not only did they create a new device-type and avenue for us to watch video, they also created new underlying protocols. It was also 10 years ago that Netflix began to first offer a video streaming service. So if you look back, I see one year in which how we all consume our video today was dramatically changed by a couple of events. If we fast-forward, and look to where that goes to in the future, there are two trends we see today that will create challenges tomorrow. Video has become truly mobile. When we talk about mobile video, we mean watching some films on our iPad or on our iPhone -- so not on a big TV screen, that is what most people mean by mobile video today. The future is personalized  When you can take your video with you, you want to take all your content with you. You can’t do that today. That has to happen in the future. When you are on an airplane, you can’t take your content with you. You need connectivity to extend so that you can take your content with you no matter where you are. Take the simple example of a driverless car. Now, you are driving along and you are watching the satellite-navigation feed, watching the traffic, and keeping the kids quiet in the back. When driverless cars come, what you are going to be doing? You are still going to be keeping the kids quiet, but there is a void, a space that needs to be filled with activity, and clearly extending the content into the car is the natural next step. And the final challenge is around personalization. TV will become a lot more personalized. Today we all get the same user experience. If we are all on the same service provider, it looks the same -- it’s the same color, it’s the same grid. There is no reason why that should all be the same. There is no reason why my kids shouldn’t have a different user interface. There is no reason why I should have 10 pages of channels that I have to through to find something that I want to watch. The user interface presented to me in the morning may be different than the user interface presented to me in the evening. There is no reaso[...]



IoT capabilities open new doors for Miami telecoms platform provider Identidad IoT

2017-09-05T13:49:23.691-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect Internet of Things (IoT)strategies insights interview focuses on how a Miami telecommunications products provider has developed new breeds of services to help manage complex edge and data scenarios.We will now learn how IoT platforms and services help to improve network services, operations, and business goals -- for carriers and end users alike.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to help us explore what is needed to build an efficient IoT support business is Andres Sanchez, CEO of Identidad IoT in Miami. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: How has your business changed in the telecoms support industry and why is IoT such a big opportunity for you?Sanchez: With the new OTT (Over the Top content) technology, and the way that it came into the picture and took part of the whole communications chain of business, the business is basically getting very tough in telecoms. When we begin evaluating what IoT can do and seeing the possibilities, this is a new wave. We understand that it's not about connectivity, it's not about the 10 percent of the value chain -- it's more about the solutions. SanchezWe saw a very good opportunity to start something new and to take the experience we have with the technology that we have in telecoms, and get new people, get new developers, and start building solutions, and that's what we are doing right now.Gardner: So as the voice telecoms business trails off, there is a new opportunity at the edge for data and networks to extend for a variety of use cases. What are some the use cases that you are seeing now in IoT that is a growth opportunity for your business?Sanchez: IoT is everywhere. The beauty of IoT is that you can find solutions everywhere you look. What we have found is that when people think about IoT, they think about connected home, they think about connected car, or the smart parking where it's just a green or red light when the parking is occupied or not. But IoT is more than that.There are two ways to generate revenue in IoT. One is by having new products. The second is understanding what it is on the operational level that we can do better. And it’s in this way that we are putting in sensors, measuring things, and analyzing things. You can basically reduce your operational cost, or be more effective in the way that you are doing business. It's not only getting the information, it's using that information to automate processes that it will make your company better.Gardner: As organizations recognize that there are new technologies coming in that are enabling this smart edge, smart network, what is it that’s preventing them from being able to take advantage of this? Manage your solutions with the HPEUniversal IoT PlatformSanchez: Companies think that they just have to connect the sensors, that they only have to digitize their information. They haven’t realized that they really have to go through a digital transformation. It's not about connecting the sensors that are already there; it's building a solution using that information. They have to reorganize and to reinvent their organizations.For example, it's not about taking a sensor, putting the sensor in the machine and just start taking information and watching it on a screen. It’s taking the information and being able to see and check special patterns, to predict when a machine is go[...]



Inside story on developing the ultimate SDN-enabled hybrid cloud object storage environment

2017-08-30T13:33:05.129-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect inside story interview explores how a software-defined data center (SDDC)-focused systems integrator developed an ultimate open-source object storageenvironment.We’re now going to learn how Key Information Systems crafted a storage capability that may have broad extensibility into such realms as hybrid cloud and multi-cloud support. Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy.  Here to help us better understand a new approach to open-source object storage is Clayton Weise, Director of Cloud Services at Key Information Systems in Agoura Hills, California. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: What prompted you to improve on the way that object storage is being offered as a service? How might this become a new business opportunity for you? Weise: About a year ago, at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)Discover, I was wandering the event floor. We had just gotten out of a meeting with SwitchNAP, which is a major data center in Las Vegas. We had been talking to them about some preferred concepts and deployments for storage for their clients. WeiseThat discussion evolved into realizing that there are number of clients inside of Switch and their ecosystem that could make use of storage that was more locally based, that needed to be closer at hand. There were cost savings that could be gained if you have a connection within the same data center, or within the same fiber network.Pulling data in and out of a cloudUnder this model, there would be significantly less expensive ways of pulling data in and out of a cloud, since you wouldn’t have transfer fees as you normally would. There would also be an advantage to privacy, and to cutting latency, and other beneficial things because of a private network all run by Switch and through their fiber network. So we looked at this and thought this might be interesting. In discussions with the number of groups within HPE while wandering the floor at Discover, we found that there were some pretty interesting ways that we could play games with the network to allow clients to not have to uproot the way they do things, or force them to do things, for lack of a better term, “Our way.”  If you go to Amazon Web Services or you go to Microsoft Azure, you do it the Microsoft way, or you do it the Amazon way. You don’t really have a choice, since you have to follow their guidelines. They generally use object storage as an inexpensive way to store archival or less-frequently accessed data. Cloud storage became an alternative to tape and long-term storage.  Where we saw value is, there are times in the mid-market space for clients -- ranging from a couple of hundred million dollars up to maybe a couple of billion dollars in annual revenue -- where they generally use object storage as kind of an inexpensive way to store archival, or less-frequently accessed, data. So [the cloud storage] became an alternative to tape and long-term storage. We've had this massive explosion of unstructured data, files, and all sorts of things. We have a number of clients in medical and finance, and they have just seen this huge spike in data.The challenge is: To deploy your own object storage is a fairly complex operation, and it requires a minimum number of petabytes to get started. In that mid-market, they are not typically measuring the[...]



How IoT and OT collaborate to usher in the data-driven factory of the future

2017-08-22T14:49:32.278-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect Internet of Things (IoT) technology trends interview explores how innovation is impacting modern factories and supply chains.We’ll now learn how a leading-edge manufacturer, Hirotec, in the global automotive industry, takes advantage of IoT and Operational Technology (OT) combined to deliver dependable, managed, and continuous operations.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to help us to find the best factory of the future attributes is Justin Hester, Senior Researcher in the IoT Lab at Hirotec Corp. in Hiroshima, Japan. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: What's happening in the market with business and technology trends that’s driving this need for more modern factories and more responsive supply chains?Hester: Our customers are demanding shorter lead times. There is a drive for even higher quality, especially in automotive manufacturing. We’re also seeing a much higher level of customization requests coming from our customers. So how can we create products that better match the unique needs of each customer?As we look at how we can continue to compete in an ever-competitive environment, we are starting to see how the solutions from IoT can help us.Gardner: What is it about IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT) that allows you to do things that you could not have done before?HesterHester: Within the manufacturing space, a lot of data has been there for years; for decades. Manufacturing has been very good at collecting data. The challenges we've had, though, is bringing in that data in real-time, because the amount of data is so large. How can we act on that data quicker, not on a day-by-day basis or week-by-week basis, but actually on a minute-by-minute basis, or a second-by-second basis? And how do we take that data and contextualize it?It's one thing in a manufacturing environment to say, “Okay, this machine is having a challenge.” But it’s another thing if I can say, “This machine is having a challenge, and in the context of the factory, here's how it's affecting downstream processes, and here's what we can do to mitigate those downstream challenges that we’re going to have.” That’s where IoT starts bringing us a lot of value.The analytics, the real-time contextualization of that data that we’ve already had in the manufacturing area, is very helpful.Gardner: So moving from what may have been a gather, batch, analyze, report process -- we’re now taking more discrete analysis opportunities and injecting that into a wider context of efficiency and productivity. So this is a fairly big change. This is not incremental; this is a step-change advancement, right?A huge step-change  Hester: It’s a huge change for the market. It's a huge change for us at Hirotec. One of the things we like to talk about is what we jokingly call the Tuesday Morning Meeting. We talk about this idea that in the morning at a manufacturing facility, everyone gets together and talks about what happened yesterday, and what we can do today to make up for what happened yesterday.Why don't we get the data to the right people with the right context and let them make a decision so they can affect what's going on, instead of waiting until tomorrow to react?  Instead, now we’re making that huge step-change to say,  “Why don[...]



DreamWorks Animation crafts its next era of dynamic IT infrastructure

2017-08-15T13:50:36.877-04:00

The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer thought leader interview examines how DreamWorks Animation is building a multipurpose, all-inclusive, and agile data center capability.Learn here why a new era of responsive and dynamic IT infrastructure is demanded, and how one high-performance digital manufacturing leader aims to get there sooner rather than later. Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Here to describe how an entertainment industry innovator leads the charge for bleeding-edge IT-as-a-service capabilities is Jeff Wike, CTO of DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, California. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.Here are some excerpts:Gardner: Tell us why the older way of doing IT infrastructure and hosting apps and data just doesn't cut it anymore. What has made that run out of gas? Wike: You have to continue to improve things. We are in a world where technology is advancing at an unbelievable pace. The amount of data, the capability of the hardware, the intelligence of the infrastructure are coming. In order for any business to stay ahead of the curve -- to really drive value into the business – it has to continue to innovate.Gardner: IT has become more pervasive in what we do. I have heard you all refer to yourselves as digital manufacturing. Are the demands of your industry also a factor in making it difficult for IT to keep up?Wike: When I say we are a digital manufacturer, it’s because we are a place that manufacturers content, whether it's animated films or TV shows; that content is all made on the computer. An artist sits in front of a workstation or a monitor, and is basically building these digital assets that we put through simulations and rendering so in the end it comes together to produce a movie.WikeThat's all about manufacturing, and we actually have a pipeline, but it's really like an assembly line. I was looking at a slide today about Henry Ford coming up with the first assembly line; it's exactly what we are doing, except instead of adding a car part, we are adding a character, we’re adding a hair to a character, we’re adding clothes, we’re adding an environment, and we’re putting things into that environment.We are manufacturing that image, that story, in a linear way, but also in an iterative way. We are constantly adding more details as we embark on that process of three to four years to create one animated film.Gardner: Well, it also seems that we are now taking that analogy of the manufacturing assembly line to a higher plane, because you want to have an assembly line that doesn't just make cars -- it can make cars and trains and submarines and helicopters, but you don't have to change the assembly line, you have to adjust and you have to utilize it properly. So it seems to me that we are at perhaps a cusp in IT where the agility of the infrastructure and its responsiveness to your workloads and demands is better than ever.Greater creativity, increased efficiencyWike: That's true. If you think about this animation process or any digital manufacturing process, one issue that you have to account for is legacy workflows, legacy software, and legacy data formats -- all these things are inhibitors to innovation. There are a lot of tools. We actually write our own software, and we’re very involved in projects related [...]