Hyperscale public clouds are a fixture on the European scene - learn to live with them

Paul Miller

Not too long ago, Europe’s cloud providers saw the big American imports as nothing but competition. They were to be challenged at every turn, they were to be dissed at every opportunity, they were to be beaten, stomped upon, and sent packing back across the water.

Only, it didn’t work out that way. Even the most paranoid, isolationist, protectionist, and Europe-ist of customers found reasons to use a bit of AWS, or a bit of Azure, or a bit of Google, or a bit of SoftLayer. They used European providers too, but the polarising rhetoric from so many of those home-grown vendors did them no favours with their customers. Very real issues around data territoriality, or proximity to data centres, or low-latency continent-spanning networks got lost in a sea of FUD and negativity. Customers, largely, stopped hearing the valid arguments, and too often just dismissed the lot as sour grapes, or negative marketing.

Thankfully, things appear to be changing. Europe’s providers of public cloud infrastructure have realised that AWS et al aren’t going away. They’ve realised that their prospective customers want to use these hyperscale clouds too. But, instead of disappearing, European providers are finding ways to integrate their offerings with those of the hyperscale cloud providers. Instead of pushing their products as alternatives to a hyperscale offering, they’re now finding ways to augment and add value.

Done right, (almost) everyone might stand to benefit.

In my latest report, Market Overview: Public Cloud Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IaaS) In The European Market, I take a look at how Europe’s providers of public cloud infrastructure are finding new ways to deliver value to their customers, alongside the hyperscale clouds.

Blockchain Or Distributed Ledger? What’s In A Name – And Does It Matter?

Martha Bennett

“Blockchain” and “distributed ledger” continue to generate plenty of headlines in both the specialist and mainstream press. If these — and vendor publicity materials — were anything to go by, we’re on the cusp of mainstream adoption. But that’s far from the case. And judging by the questions Forrester receives about the topic, there’s still quite a bit of confusion around what the technology can actually do, how mature it really is, and how to assess the many initiatives and software offerings that are out there. Here's what to bear in mind:

  • There’s no such thing as “the blockchain”. Blockchain technology is best described as a concept that involves a number of key components, including (but not limited to) validation, consensus, replication, and storage. Which components are implemented, and which ‘flavor’ of each, differs between deployments and is determined by the exact use case and requirements; there'll also be differences between public (trustless) and private (trusted) blockchain deployments. Like “cloud” and “big data”, the term “blockchain” should be regarded as useful shorthand, but no more – any discussion should start with the participants clarifying what they mean by the term. 
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Open Source Escapes The Bedroom, Enters Your Boardroom

Paul Miller

The myth that open source software is exclusively written by and for lonely — rather odd — individual geeks remains remarkably prevalent. And yet it’s a myth that is almost entirely wrong.

A bottle of Free Beer, photographed by Edward BettsMany of the world’s best-known technology firms make sizeable investments of time and money in open source projects: guiding their strategy, contributing code and expertise, and baking the results deeply into their commercial offerings. Some, like Facebook or Google or IBM, might be names you’d not be too surprised by. Others, like Microsoft or Oracle, are still unfairly associated with an earlier age, in which Linux was branded “a cancer,” and proprietary power ruled.

Many of the world’s biggest brands depend upon open source projects: using them directly, and buying commercial solutions that are themselves dependent upon open source underpinnings.

Red Hat built a $2 billion company on the back of open source software, and the likes of Hortonworks are keen to repeat that feat.

Again and again, we encounter executives who do not grasp how much their organisation already depends on open source. More importantly, they do not see the key role that open source technologies and thinking will play in enabling their efforts to transform into a customer-obsessed business that really can win, serve, and retain customers.

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4K Applications Beyond Plain Television

Nick Barber

As we wrote in “Don’t Ignore 4K Like You Did 3D” the 4K format will be an important driver for technologies beyond just sharper TV shows and movies. At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference I went hands on with the Mevo, a 4K camera that outputs a 720p feed and turns your phone into a control room. A single Mevo creates multiple shots and lets you cut between them or pan around the frame instead of moving the camera.   

Cameras and technologies like this are important to note for AD&D pros, because they may have to support them for internal company meetings or for external productions. It could mean a new workflow for producing video or perhaps beginning to support more frequent live broadcasts.  In my report I detailed how a single camera like this could replace multiple pan-tilt-zoom cameras, saving enterprises expensive hardware investments.  Here’s my demo video of the hardware and software that will be out this summer.  

And while we’re talking about 4K, let’s not forget that 8K is on the horizon, albeit a distant one. Canon had an 8K prototype television at its booth. There was even a magnifying glass so that you could see video in even more detail. One thing you didn’t see were pixels. Japan’s public broadcaster NHK is already piloting 8K broadcasts with a resolution of 7,680 x 4320 pixels in the coming years. Is there more after 8K? That seems to the maximum that our human eyes can discern so likely no.   
 
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Automated Malware Analysis Technologies Central To Defense Strategies

Jeff Pollard

"The most important security alerts we see."

That’s how one customer described the importance of Automated Malware Analysis technologies in their security workflow. After months of demonstrations, reference calls, and analysis we are thrilled that The Forrester Wave™: Automated Malware Analysis, Q2 2016 is live! Many clients we talked to used multiple vendors to analyze malware in order to maximize analysis results.

The underlying mechanisms for automated malware analysis are fascinating for the technophile - combining content security, hypervisor-driven execution, behavioral analytics, and algorithmic API analysis. Incredibly sophisticated software engineering and statistical modeling adds another layer of intrigue. Mix those together with evasive adversaries attempting to bypass the technology and it's an intense discussion!

We used the importance of AMA solutions as the dominant element of detection and prevention in client environments to inform our assessment.

Here’s an overview of our approach:

  • Visibility is a cornerstone of detection and protection. In order to detect it, you must see it in the first place.
  • Flexible deployment models are key to dynamic production environments. If it is hardware or on-premise only, then it only fits in environments that match the form factor.
  • Scalability avoids creating a problem as the environment grows. Scalable infrastructure allows the business to orchestrate workloads based on need and priority, AMA solutions should offer the same capabilities to better align with technology needs.
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The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Is Here

Enza Iannopollo

More than four years after the European Union started its journey toward new privacy rules, the EU Parliament adopted the final text of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last week. The EU will complete the long and controversial process that led to the new rules next month, publishing the Regulation in the Official Journal of the European Union, but no changes can be made at this point. This leaves businesses with a two-year period in which to get ready for its implementation. Some EU countries, like France, will implement the new rules before 2018.KEEP CALM AND PREPARE FOR THE GDPR

As a security and risk professional, you must start working now to assess what the new rules mean for your organization and make the necessary changes to technology, processes, and people. As you approach the task, keep in mind that the GDPR introduces important changes, such as:

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4K Means More Than Just Cooler Movies

Nick Barber
The 4K revolution is coming. The format, which boasts four times the resolution of full high definition, will impact more than just the media and entertainment industries. 4K in the operating room could consolidate the myriad of displays into a single one thanks to the increased resolution. For sales and marketing it can create more convincing virtual reality experiences. And in enterprises it can enable better collaboration and reduced camera hardware costs for video conferencing. 
 
Read my full report on 4K.
 
With its increased resolution, 4K can make the picture look better, but the format creates specific challenges for online video platforms (OVPs) and content creators. 
 
The higher bit rates and larger files create a delivery problem that OVPs and a new codec can help solve. The format also requires more storage and specialized hardware for production and decoding. Android devices will play an important role in the 4K ecosystem because its chipset supports hardware decoding of H.265. 
 
4K will quicken the growth of virtual reality by delivering more immersive and lifelike experiences. With a higher resolution native video file, the resulting sliver delivered in VR will be higher resolution as well. 
 
 
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Reflections On Huawei’s Analyst Summit 2016 – And Beyond

Dan Bieler

As always each year, Huawei hosted its analyst event in April, with hordes of analysts descending on Shenzhen. Here are a few observations from the event:

In 2015, Huawei’s revenues grew by 37% to €61 billion and its EBIT grew by 34% to €7 billion, keeping the operating margin stable at just under 12%. Huawei’s strategy paid off across all of its divisions in 2015. Huawei’s Carrier Business pushed deeper into carrier transformation support and grew by 21% in 2015. Its Consumer Business operations entered the mainstream: The division grew by 73% in 2015, with Huawei gaining the No. 3 spot in the global smartphone league table. Huawei’s Enterprise Business is gaining traction and grew by 44% in 2015.

There are four distinctive aspects that go some way to explaining why Huawei keeps on outgrowing its peer group. First, Huawei’s heart beats in its R&D division, and most of Huawei’s top managers have come through the ranks of the R&D team. Second, Huawei benefits from strong internal collaboration and flexibility. Compared with other vendors, Huawei seems a lot less process-driven. Instead, Huawei seems to tolerate, even encourage, self-organization among employees — despite strict management hierarchies. Third, Huawei has a flexible and unconventional approach to customer experience. Huawei completes projects that overrun without overanalyzing whose fault it is. Fourth, Huawei is not listed and therefore not answerable to external shareholders. This gives it the freedom to experiment and take a long-term view.

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15 "True" Streaming Analytics Platforms For Real-Time Everything

Mike Gualtieri

Streaming Analytics Captures Real-Time Intelligence

Streaming AnalyticsMost enterprises aren't fully exploiting real-time streaming data that flows from IoT devices and mobile, web, and enterprise apps. Streaming analytics is essential for real-time insights and bringing real-time context to apps. Don't dismiss streaming analytics as a form of "traditional analytics" use for postmortem analysis. Far from it —  streaming analytics analyzes data right now, when it can be analyzed and put to good use to make applications of all kinds (including IoT) contextual and smarter. Forrester defines streaming analytics as:

Software that can filter, aggregate, enrich, and analyze a high throughput of data from multiple, disparate live data sources and in any data format to identify simple and complex patterns to provide applications with context to detect opportune situations, automate immediate actions, and dynamically adapt.

Forrester Wave: Big Data Streaming Analytics, Q1 2016

To help enterprises understand what commercial and open source options are available, Rowan Curran and I evaluated 15 streaming analytics vendors using Forrester's Wave methodology. Forrester clients can read the full report to understand the market category and see the detailed criteria, scores, and ranking of the vendors. Here is a summary of the 15 vendors solutions we evaluated listed in alphabetical order:

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Stop Chasing Unlimited Liability In SaaS Deals

Liz Herbert

Clients tell us they are resistant to SaaS because of SaaS vendors’ unwillingness to offer unlimited liability. Sound familiar? It’s time to stop holding SaaS vendors to a higher standard than the alternative. Consider this:  In-house systems do not offer unlimited liability. Very few non-SaaS vendors offer unlimited liability.  

Say what? You did get unlimited liability?  If your vendor does offer unlimited liability, beware. Small vendors are all too happy to sign up for things in the contracts. But, it’s hard to get them to pay up in the event of a serious incident. More likely, you’ll end up spending a lot of time in court and find there’s no money for them to pay out. Be cautious when you see this because it rarely will do you much good and it may be a sign that the vendor is taking on deals that are unsustainable in other ways, too – which makes them a vendor viability concern.

What should you do? Instead of honing in on the legal language of liability, ask for some reasonable yet meaningful liability (such as 2 years’ worth of fees) and focus the rest of your energy on due diligence and pushing for transparency. Check out the vendor’s processes, policies, and third-party certifications. Approach this more as a risk assessment than a contract negotiation, working closely with your security and risk team (or partners). Also, look for signs of transparency. Leading SaaS vendors put out a lot of information about security, performance, and other key metrics. They foster a culture of openness and transparency.

Finally, keep in mind that a SaaS vendor will die off if they have a poor track record. That pressure generally keeps them more focused on delivering great service than a legal contract does.

This tends to be a contentious topic, and I’d love to hear perspectives and experiences.

Liz 

@lizherbert