Posts tagged ‘IT’

7 network technologies that will disrupt IT in 2015

December 10, 2014 7:55 am


                    2015 will be a pivotal year for the future of network technologies. Industry-wide shifts that previously seemed far...

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New York Metro Data Center Expansion: More Space, Higher Power Density and Hybridization

October 3, 2014 10:58 am


Less than a year after opening its doors, Phase 1 of Internap’s Secaucus, N.J. data center is almost at full capacity. Fortunately, Phase 2 has just been completed and is now ready to move in. Phase 1 included 13,000 square feet of space with 1.4 MW of power. Phase 2 development has doubled the space and power, adding another 13,000 square feet and 1.4 MW. What makes this particularly interesting though is that most of the additional 1.4 MW is going to be deployed in Phase 1. The ability to build up space and power in a modular fashion allows more flexibly in power usage for our customers. At full utilization, Phase 1 and 2 are expected to have a combined capacity of 5.6 MW.

Our success in the fairly crowded New York/New Jersey data center market is a result of clear product differentiation. Over the last few years, we have been actively engaging with our customers to learn more about their high density power needs. The average draw per square foot is up 25% across all facilities, with a few markets like Silicon Valley experiencing a 40% year over year jump. In Secaucus, several customers are drawing 15kW/rack and the average power draw (not provisioned or expected draw) at the facility is already upwards of 150 watts/square foot. And based on the circuits in the installation queue, it will only go higher.

The ability to hybridize IT infrastructure is another key offering that differentiates our data centers in the New York Metro market. More and more customers are interested in using hybrid services within the data center, and we expect to see a larger number of AgileCLOUD customers in Phase 2 than we currently have in Phase 1.

The results that we have seen in the New York market are an incredible validation of our focus on providing value to customers even in a market that is considered to be somewhat commoditized.

Our Secaucus data center expansion allows Internap customers to get the most out of their colocation footprint today and in the future. To learn more about the benefits of high power density and hybrid capabilities, download our Next-Generation Colocation white paper.

The post New York Metro Data Center Expansion: More Space, Higher Power Density and Hybridization appeared first on Internap.

Does A Hosted Virtualized Environment Require New Tools?

September 10, 2014 8:00 am


Many enterprises have invested millions of dollars over the years in IT management, monitoring and automation solutions for their data centers. So a natural question that arises when considering migration of workloads to hosted environments is around management tools. What new capabilities will be required? What new skills will our organization need? Is our existing toolset extensible at all?

The reality is that with the right environment and service provider, workloads and virtual machines in hosted environments can be managed with the same tools being used in the on-premise customer data center. This is particularly true for enterprises that are running virtualized workloads in a VMware environment. In fact, with the right service provider, no new applications or automation tools are required to manage hosted workloads.

Enterprises running VMware workloads that want to leverage their existing toolsets need to look for a service provider that offers the following capabilities:

  1. Hosted VMware environments – first, the service provider must offer customers the ability to run VMware virtualized workloads in their hosted environments.
  2. VMware vCenter Services – next, the service provider must offer the ability to manage hosted virtualized workloads using the VMware vCenter Server Management Console.
  3. Access to VMware vSphere APIs – finally the service provider must also expose the native VMware vSphere APIs to the customer to allow the connection of any compatible VMware or third party tools.

By leveraging the VMware vCenter Server management console across on-premise and hosted VMware environments, enterprises are able to enjoy benefits in the following areas:

Resource Management and Performance Monitoring – by leveraging hosted vCenter services enterprises can manage and schedule resources as if the hosted environment were an extension of the customer data center. Host profiles and configurations and settings can be used across on-premise and hosted environments. In addition, resource allocation rules for CPU, memory, disk and network can be applied across both environments, and common alerts and notifications can be configured.

Process and Workflow Automation – by leveraging hosted VMware vSphere APIs, organizations that currently use VMware vCenter Orchestrator can extend their existing workflows and scripts to workloads running in a hosted VMware environment. This applies not just to out-of-the-box VMware workflows, but also custom scripts and workflows developed by IT administrators.

Extensibility of Existing Applications – with access to hosted vCenter APIs, existing third party and custom applications and scripts can be used with workloads in the hosted VMware environment. Many enterprises rely on third party applications in the VMware partner ecosystem that integrate with vCenter for capacity management, business continuity, performance monitoring and other capabilities. By exposing the same APIs used to manage on-premise virtualized workloads, these same applications can be used for hosted workloads as well. For example, businesses are able to connect third party tools like VMware vCenter Operations Manager (vCOps) to increase visibility into the environment through analytics, as well as assist in capacity and configurations management.

Because no new tools or capabilities are required to manage the hosted VMware environment, enterprises will also find that they can continue to leverage existing IT operations and management skills. By using the right service provider and hosted vCenter services, enterprises can seamlessly manage their on-premise and hosted VMware environments through their existing tools, solutions, processes and people.

This is the third in a series of posts exploring the IT governance and management implications of migration to hosted VMware environments. Stay tuned for our next post featuring a case study on one enterprise that decided to migrate to a hosted virtualized environment.

How to evaluate a DDoS mitigation solution

September 9, 2014 10:00 am


How fast could your IT team stop a DDoS attack? IDG Research found that it takes an average of 10 hours before a company can even begin to resolve an attack. On average, an attack isn’t detected until 4.5 hours after its commencement and typically an additional 4.9 hours passes before mitigation can commence. With outage costs averaging $100,000 per hour, it means that a DDoS attack can cost an Internet-reliant company $1 million before the company even starts to mitigate the attack.
Today’s online businesses must have mitigation protection in place or risk severe financial loss, damage to brand reputation, as well as the loss of customer and investor confidence. Akamai cautions, however, that cyber-attack mitigation solutions are not one-size-fits-all. Like any web security solution, a mitigation solution must fit your business requirements, as well as protect your IT infrastructure. Chapter 4 in Akamai’s free eBook “Threats and Mitigations: A Guide to Multi-Layered Web Security” discusses some of the key questions you should ask before adopting a mitigation solution. For example:

  • Does the solution absorb all attack traffic?
  • Is the solution always on?
  • Does the solution deliver scalable bandwidth to handle the volume of the attack?
  • Does it stop attacks before they reach your data center?
  • What is the total cost of ownership?

These are just a few of the tough questions you should ask your mitigation provider, and our eBook will give you some guidelines as to why you should ask these questions and what kind of answers you want to hear. We’ve also included guidance from OVUM industry analysts in regard to 10 enterprise criteria for evaluating a DDoS mitigation provider. The bottom line: when it comes to building a strong DDoS mitigation defense you can’t rush into the first solution that is returned by a search engine.

Download our free eBook, “Threats and Mitigations: A Guide to Multi-Layered Web Security,” and learn how to make the best decisions on web security.

How Downtime Impacts The Bottom Line 2014 [Infographic]

September 8, 2014 8:00 am


This year’s research confirms that downtime is still causing headaches for end-users and IT professionals. However, in addition to the frustration caused by outages, it’s also costing businesses more than ever. Take a look below in the How Downtime Impacts the Bottom Line 2014 infographic.

Why Everyone Should Drop What They’re Doing and Visit Rhode Island

September 4, 2014 1:10 pm


This post is part of our Non Sequitur Fridays series, which will feature a different Wistia team member’s take on a non-Wistia-related topic each week. It’s like our “employee of the month” but less “of the month”-y. Dan Mills is maker of music at Wistia. His last Non Sequitur was about why minivans are cool.

Do you love sandy beaches? Do you love AAA sports teams? Do you love cold pizza that has no cheese on it? Then look no further, because Rhode Island has it all!

I am proud to say that I was Rhody-born and Rhody-raised. Nestled in between Massachusetts (overrated) and Connecticut (parking lot), Rhode Island is twelve-hundred square feet of paradise. Although it is technically a state, there is no denying that it feels like a massive small town. It’s hard to walk through the Providence Place Mall without running into your mom’s friend, your pediatrician, and most likely your middle school crush… oh, and your butcher #howyadoin. But hidden behind that thick townie vibe is the charming New England vacation you’ve been waiting for.

Call up your travel agent and cancel that 2015 trip to Paris. ‘Cause sweetheart… You’re going to Rhode Island! Why?

### The Beaches

I can’t believe I’m about to let the cat out of the bag, but the coast of southern Rhode Island is *the* hidden gem of the northeast and possibly the world. RI has an incredible amount of coastline, and each of its little beach towns has its own unique vibe. There are plenty of beautiful spots to go surfing, sailing, fishing, hiking, and even Waboba-ing. These are the must-see beach towns for your upcoming 6-day RI vacation:

– **Newport:** Shopping, nightlife, yachts, mansions, nautical belts.
– **Narragansett:** Families, clam shacks, beach bars, fireworks, nautical belts.
– **Block Island:** Ferry ride, mopeds, fudge, alpacas, nautical belts.

### The Food

People from Rhode Island will tell you that their restaurants are unbelievable. As someone who lives with a foodie in Brooklyn, I have to say… they’re wrong. The restaurants are totally believable. *But!* More than any other place I’ve ever been, Rhode Island has a strange collection of foods that you can only get inside its adorable little borders. And while none of these dishes are healthy, they’re all pretty darn tasty. When you go to Rhode Island next summer for a month, here are a few local dishes you must try:

– **N.Y. System Hot Weiners:** Small hot dogs covered in mustard, meat sauce, white onions, and celery salt, served on a steamed bun that was just in a dude’s armpit. Order three, and dig yourself a grave. Go to Olyneyville N.Y. System.
– **Awful Awful:** Like a milkshake, but uses frozen Ice Milk. It’s way too thick, and way too delicious. Only available at the Newport Creamery.
– **Red Pizza:** Served cold, no cheese. It’s like a piece of toast with gravy. Oh! I forgot to mention… in RI, gravy means red pasta sauce. Go to DePetrillo’s Bakery.
– **Coffee Milk:** Yes, it is kind of like like chocolate milk, but it’s coffee milk. We even have our own syrup to boot. DEAL WITH IT. Go anywhere that serves breakfast.
– **Del’s Frozen Lemonade:** Nothing, and I mean nothing, is as refreshing as Del’s Lemonade. Don’t use a straw, or you’ll look like a poser from Connecticut. Go to the Del’s world headquarters in my hometown of Cranston.
– **Clam Cakes:** Fried dough with chopped quahogs (clams) mixed into the batter. Dip that bad boy in some chowder and you’re ready for a nap on the beach. Go to Monahan’s Dock, not Iggy’s… trust me.

### Providence

If it unfortunately rains (or hurricanes) during your nine-week beach trip to Rhode Island, forget the board games and bowling alley; drive a half hour north to historic Providence. Providence is a vibrant city with a heck of lot to offer. It has everything a great city needs: arts and culture, charming restaurants, exceptional colleges/universities, hipsters, coffee, a minor league hockey team, *and* a weird roadside attraction. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Providence:

– **Waterfire:** Outdoor celebration that incorporates gondola boats, fire, and alcohol.
– **P Bruins:** Something’s Bruin in Providence! That’s their slogan, and they play minor league hockey in a facility called “The Dunk” (the Dunkin’ Donuts Center).
– **Federal Hill:** Historic Italian neighborhood that has great restaurants, and my cousin Jonathan.
– **Thayer Street:** Falafel, head shops, thrift stores, Urban Outfitters. Anything that a Brown or RISD student could ever desire!
– **Chris Savage Youth Walk:** Wistia’s own CEO Chris Savage hails from Providence, and if you pay me $49.95, I’ll personally show you all the spots that he used to aggressively rollerblade.

Well, that about it does it! I guess the only thing left to do is share this song with you.

Have you spent any time in Rhode Island? What were your highlights?

Rackspace::Solve New York: Solve Tough IT Challenges

September 3, 2014 10:26 am


Does big data have you stymied? Are you considering DevOps to tear down productivity-killing siloes? Has your ecommerce site grown beyond your wildest dreams and you have to scale – and scale fast? You’re not alone.

Register now for Rackspace::Solve New York
Thursday, September 18 at The Cipriani Wall Street

Rackspace customers and solutions partners will share about how they stared-down and solved some of the toughest IT challenges and turned them into business-building opportunities when our Rackspace::Solve series of one-day thought leadership summits hits the Big Apple later this month.


At Rackspace::Solve New York, an exciting roster of cutting-edge companies will discuss about how they use technologies like virtualization, ecommerce, big data, DevOps and cloud architectures to drive real results and overcome technology challenges.

For example, Appboy will discuss how DevOps helps it solve for rapid customer growth and scale; Under Armour will share how it scales its high-demand ecommerce and brand experience; Docker will take the stage to talk about the future of applications; SumAll will showcase how it solves for big data; CloudMine will highlight how it solves for mobile performance in a regulated environment; and more.

Along with perspective from Rackspace customers and partners, you’ll get insight into the latest trends in private, hybrid and managed clouds from Rackspace experts and from respected industry analysts from 451 Research and Forrester Research.

Join me at Rackspace::Solve New York and hear from companies that have embraced game-changing technologies to fuel success.

I look forward to seeing you in New York!

Rackspace Solve::New York is Thursday, September 18 at The Cipriani Wall Street. Register now.

And stay tuned for details on Rackspace::Solve Chicago, Monday, October 20.

Your network is under attack. What are your mitigation options?

September 2, 2014 8:00 am


Let’s make one thing absolutely clear at the outset: the time to think about the best options for cyber-threat mitigation is NOT when your network is being attacked. In the best-case scenario you will already have a mitigation strategy in place for defending against both network-layer and application-layer attacks. The most important thing to know when you are building a multi-layered approach to securing web applications is that security solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all. You have several options to mix and match. Akamai’s free eBook, “Threats and Mitigations: A Guide to Multi-Layered Web Security”, gives you options for making the choices that best fit both your business and IT infrastructure requirements.
These days it’s not enough to have a web-application firewall (WAF). The key to using hardware devices in a mitigation strategy is understanding what these devices can and cannot do. Defending against today’s increasingly sophisticated application-layer attacks can be resource-intensive. WAFs require large amounts of computing resources and processing, which can degrade performance. The fact is that most devices represent a single point of failure. Moreover, by definition on-premises hardware attempts to stop an attack only after it’s entered the data center – when it’s simply too late.

Enter the new era of cloud-based mitigation services that reside outside of your data center and stop malicious traffic before it can penetrate your company’s infrastructure. You have choices to make here, too. You can go with always-on mitigation that acts like a shock absorber that protects your network by taking the first big hit of a cyber-attack. Or you can choose an on-demand solution that you can engage once an attack is suspected to intercept your incoming traffic using mitigation services where legitimate traffic is forwarded on and malicious attack traffic is scrubbed.

Yet another option is Website Protection Service providers who utilize CDNs to provide network- and application-layer security for Web sites and applications. As a cloud-based proxy, these networks sit in front of your IT infrastructure and deliver traffic from your end users to your Web sites and applications. The cloud platform examines network traffic for known threats and passes only legitimate traffic to the Web application. Chapter 3 in “Threats and Mitigations: A Guide to Multi-Layered Web Security” discusses the advantages and caveats of using each of these solutions, or blending them in a multi-layer mitigation strategy.

Don’t wait until your business is targeted by a cyber-attack. Download our free eBook, “Threats and Mitigations: A Guide to Multi-Layered Web Security,” which covers everything you need to know about the types of cyber threats, how to secure websites, how to protect applications against data theft, how to choose a web security solution, and how to make your network less vulnerable to attack.

6 Ways Young Upstarts Can Get Their Big Security Break

August 29, 2014 11:46 am


Interviewing Akamai InfoSec’s summer interns recently, I was reminded of a six-step guide I wrote a few years ago for CSOonline on how young people can get their break in the industry. I think the suggestions are as valid today as they were then.

Also see:

Written April 24, 2010…

If you’re young, breaking into the security industry can be difficult.

Companies have either suffered a data security breach or live in fear of one. So when they’re hiring new IT security personnel, they want years of experience. If you’re fresh out of college, that’s a problem.

Another problem is that security practitioners are control freaks by nature. They have to be, if you stop and think about it. They have a huge responsibility, and delegating some of the work to younger pups is a lot to expect.

But here’s the problem: The future of information security is in the hands of the youth. That may seem a cliched statement; so obvious it sounds stupid. But it’s a fact.

This column isn’t an invitation for young upstarts to cry and lament about the disadvantages they have. Instead, it’s about a few things you can do to break through and make it in the industry. Think of it as suggestions for becoming a security rock star, which you almost have to be to make a difference these days.

This morning I’m at Security B-Sides Boston, listening to a talk from someone who is fighting this battle right now. Joseph Sokoly, a security analyst at NetBoundary, recently gave a talk at the Austin, Texas B-Sides event about the troubles of being young in the security industry. This time, he’s in Boston giving an update on where his career trajectory has taken him in the weeks since then.

He has found that breaking into the security community is not nearly as hard as it first seemed. In fact, his career got a big boost simply because he had the guts to stand up in front of people and give his talk. “Giving the talk in Austin helped me tremendously,” Sokoly said. “It has opened doors. My being here is a result of that. First, the positive reaction from the community encouraged me not just to listen but to speak again.”

His Austin talk has also inspired security heavyweights like Chris Hoff and James Arlen to look at establishing a mentor program to coincide with this summer’s B-Sides Las Vegas event.

“Being proactive works. Put yourself out there and things will open up, but speaking doesn’t have to be it. Use Twitter. Start blogging,” Sokoly said. He’s absolutely right.

His suggestion young security practitioners speak up and force others to take notice isn’t a new concept. But it’s advice that too few people take.

Instead, prospective employees try to let their raw technical ability do the talking. They get so bogged down on the technical that they ignore the cultural. It’s unfair to be frozen out, especially if you’re skills are well above someone who gets the job simply because they’ve been kicking around as employed security practitioners for five or more years. In other words, because they’ve simply managed to survive.

But life is always going to be unfair, so it’s better to focus on ways to get ahead. In that spirit, here are some suggestions, which I’ve admittedly borrowed from Sokoly. Call this imitation that’s meant to be a form of flattery, because what he said makes sense.

1. Learn how to write: Like it or not, writing is part of your job in the information age. You can’t make a difference simply by knowing how to configure a NAC system or do penetration testing. You have to be able to tell colleagues, bosses and business partners what you are doing, in their language. You’ll have to do this in board presentations and in reports. And if you really want to make a difference, you can share your experience by blogging. That gets you noticed, and in many cases will get you hired.

2. Learn How to Talk: The days of a security administrator holing up in a dark room shut off from the outside world is over. You have to be able to articulate what you’re trying to do in the spoken world. This isn’t just about learning how to be a good public speaker, though that is of high value. Learning to talk means learning to speak the language of those who decide how much budget you get for security or who gets hired.

3. Learn how to dress: This might sound weird, because most practitioners will dress according to the requirements of their employer. That could mean suit and tie, business casual, or something in between. But then there are times to dress to match the crowd you are in, particularly at security conferences. Business attire won’t help you network in a crowd of hackers at ShmooCon or DEFCON. Dressing like a punk rocker won’t cut it at a more C-level event.

4. Master social networking: You can be shy as can be and still be heard thanks to the world of social networking. Set yourself up on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and share what you know. If you know what you’re talking about, people will follow you, including prospective employers.

5. Learn to work with suits AND mohawks: One of the problems in security today is that the profession is split into two groups who don’t communicate well: The executive-level suit and tie CSOs working for billion-dollar corporations or high-level government agencies, and the torn jeans-wearing, ear-pierced researchers. You can see the cultural chasm clearly when you go to a conference like ShmooCon and then something like CSO Perspectives. If you work on being able to communicate and work in both crowds, your stock will rise considerably.

6. Get to conferences: This one is easier said than done, because conferences cost money that you may not have. There are ways around that. Some companies will send interns to security events to get some real-world experience. If you blog, some conferences will give you a free press pass so long as you write about the conference in your blog. Then there are events like B-Sides, which is free and ongoing around the country. These events are full of knowledge. But just as importantly, these are places to meet people. The more people you meet, the more you know, and the more you know, the better your career prospects.

None of this is scientific advice, backed up with statistics and other data. It’s my personal observation as a security journalist. I hope it helps.

Is Your Web Security in the Dark Ages?

August 25, 2014 8:29 am

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The data center perimeter is dead – web assets cannot be protected by a fortress wall – but a historical view of web protection lives on in the way many IT departments continue to defend their infrastructures. Websites and web applications increasingly live outside the data center. Cloud-based applications and websites are at constant risk from web threats that are becoming more damaging and sophisticated by the day.
Akamai advises organizations to avoid becoming the next cyber-attack victim in the headlines by making a critical evaluation of cybersecurity practices – and then take steps to extend multi-layered security controls to the cloud. Of course, before you can even start to build a multi-layered web defense, you must understand your enemy and its weapons.

Generally, attacks fall into two categories: Distributed denial of service (DDoS), which is also called denial of service (DoS), and hacks against web applications that steal data, such as SQL injection and other command injection attacks.

Akamai predicts that by 2020, the average distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack will generate 1.5 Tbps of network traffic, but even today’s large and sophisticated denial of service attacks can easily overwhelm available IT resources. The more you understand the nuances of different types of DDoS attacks and web threats, the better you can determine how they will affect your network.

A mind-boggling array of DoS and DDoS attacks occur at the network layer. These can be grouped into two broad categories: simple flooding and amplification attacks. Several readily available tools are available to attackers to automate the process of creating both types of attacks, allowing malicious actors with no technical background to quickly and easily threaten their choice of website.

Attacks at the application layer are also common and often very sophisticated. They consist of high bandwidth attacks and low-bandwidth denial of service attacks, Domain Name System (DNS) attacks, and attacks that steal data. Attempts to steal data are most likely to take the form of command injection attacks where a hacker injects commands into a vulnerable application. The attacker can then execute these commands to view data, wipe out data, or take over the machine.

Akamai advises practicing good web-application hygiene by using a secure software development lifecycle that includes secure configuration, updates, patches, and secure validation. In addition, a web application firewall (WAF) with anti-DoS capabilities provides a strong line of defense against application-layer attacks such as SQL injection commonly used to cover data theft. The eBook goes into greater detail on how to ensure good web-application hygiene and what to look for in a WAF.

With knowledge you can identify and close network vulnerabilities before your company is harmed. And the reality is that it is when, not if, your network will be threatened by cyber-attackers.

To that end, Akamai has released a free eBook, Threats and Mitigations: A Guide to Multi-Layered Web Security that covers important information that you need to know about the types of cyber threats, how to secure your sites, how to protect web applications from data theft, the different types of cybersecurity solutions, and how to make your network less vulnerable to attack.

There is no one solution to cybersecurity. Before you sign on the dotted line, know the key differences between on-premise hardware and cloud-based services; learn about the strengths of Security Operations Centers (SOCs) and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and of always-on services versus on-demand services. The eBook includes a guide to asking the right questions when seeking a web security services provider.

The fortress can no longer be defended by traditional methods, but it can be defended. The cyber battlefield keeps changing with powerful attacks that can down the websites and web applications of global brands, but you don’t have to become a victim. Learn how to defend your web and cloud resources – and win. The free Akamai eBook “Threats and Mitigations: A Guide to Multi-Layered Web Security” explains how. Download it today and learn how to build the strongest defense to protect all of your network assets and web applications.

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10 Reasons Why Virtualization Will Happen in Broadcast

August 13, 2014 9:20 am


  1. Virtualization is now mainstream in data centers with up to 70% adoption. Broadcast architectures are now dominated by IT infrastructure so further rationalization within this sector will mean embracing a technology that is already dominant in the IT and enterprise sector.
  2. Video processing is heavily reliant on CPU and storage. This has traditionally meant bespoke products and solutions have been required to address the processing, bandwidth and storage requirements. The performance requirements of video are now down to the levels that are manageable on servers for all but the most demanding video applications.
  3. Traditional broadcast headends have been architected around technology implementations in products that result in a non-optimal partitioning of functionality.
  4. Redundancy in broadcast has all been about replicating functionality to achieve a high degree of resilience to failure within a system. This has led to significant overprovisioning which could be avoided through a more dynamic approach to resource allocation in the event of failure.
  5. Technology refresh in the broadcast domain is seldom about a “like for like” replacement these days, so a separation between the functionality implemented and the base hardware is logical to provide flexibility.
  6. Agility is now a key aspect in today’s media with scheduling and evolving playout platforms dictating a more flexible approach to deployments in order to adapt to media changes and content streaming needs.
  7. While undoubtedly the ability of servers to absorb functionality previously only available in dedicated hardware is a major initial draw to virtualization, the medium to long-term appeal is to layer a range of media functionality dynamically across virtual machines without leading to network or storage contention.
  8. Social media, audience preference and targeted advertising are all examples of analytical data that are essential complements to any form of programming today. These back office functions are already heavily virtualized to mine vast big data, transforming the unstructured into the essential drivers behind programming.
  9. Running multiple functions on virtual machines reduces port counts, interconnections, rack space and power.
  10. Bespoke broadcast infrastructure is expensive to support when compared to more commonplace IT/enterprise installations. Virtualization promotes moves to enable media specialists to concentrate on media content rather than the background infrastructure.

Interested in Knowing More?

I’ll be hosting a Virtualizing Video webinar on Thursday August 21st at 12 p.m. EDT in conjunction with TV Technology. Details on the free webinar are available here.

– Ian Trow, Senior Director, Emerging Technology and Strategy

Tis the Season: Three Strategies for a Smoother, Customer-First, Open Enrollment

August 7, 2014 7:00 am


As we approach the second year of mandatory insurance marketplaces this open enrollment, many IT and telecommunication leaders are likely starting to sweat. Last year, payers were unprepared for what was an unprecedented spike in online and caller activity as the industry made its inevitable shift towards a more retail, B2C environment. Websites slowed or…

The post Tis the Season: Three Strategies for a Smoother, Customer-First, Open Enrollment appeared first on Beyond Bandwidth.

3 Enterprises Growing In A Cloudy World

August 4, 2014 8:00 pm


For mature enterprises, the cloud represents a way to get out from under the constraints of traditional IT. Unlike businesses born in the cloud, the existing systems and business processes in these organizations present unique challenges to cloud adoption. The company examples below offer three different stories of traditional IT teams growing into the cloud with measurable success.

Revlon: Unexpected Benefits in the Cloud

Simplicity was the theme behind Revlon’s cloud transformation. The iconic cosmetics company needed to consolidate operations to reduce latency between global offices, located on every continent except Antarctica.

It built and deployed its own private cloud. The implementation allowed Revlon to reduce hardware consumption from one physical to one virtual server to one physical server to 35 virtual servers. Today, Revlon handles 14,000 transactions per second, 15 automated application moves each month and a weekly backups up to 40TB.

And the cloud deployment came with unintended benefits according David Giambruno, Revlon CIO in a podcast interview, “As we put everything on our cloud, we realized that all of our data sits in one place now. So when you think of big data management, we’ve been able to solve the problem by classifying all the unstructured data in Revlon. We have the ability to look at all of our data, a couple of petabytes, in the same place….So when we’re trying to query the data, we already know where it is and what it does in its relationships, instead of trying to mine through unstructured data and make reasoning out of it.”

The cloud move for Revlon took years to accomplish and required a complete restructuring of IT that resulted in “taking the infrastructure out of the way so we can focus on what people want to do faster, cheaper, better,” says Giambruno. As a result Revlon has seen a 420 percent increase in project throughput without adding additional cost.

Alex & Ani: Massive Scale with a Small Team

In 2004, Carolyn Rafaelian, Founder, Creative Director and CEO of Alex & Ani took her experience working with her 40-plus year-old family jewelry business to launch her line of unique jewelry creations. The business features patented, expandable wire bangles adorned with meaningful charms.

Over the last decade, it’s expanded from a single store into a multichannel retailer, growing profits from $4.5 million to $230 million between 2010 and 2013. To support its hyper-growth, it needed flexible infrastructure to support rapidly scaling. But Alex & Ani wanted to focus on its retail operation, not turn into technology company. By selecting a provider-managed cloud, the company has managed spikes, supported a Magento platform and run complex data analytics – all without making massive investments in staff and hardware.

It chose a combination of dedicated servers and Rackspace Cloud Servers to mitigate hardware investments and have a single service provider for the technical guidance and under-the-hood maintenance needed to make it all work. Unlike Revlon, Alex & Ani didn’t have to worry about the infrastructure tweaks and staffing requirements needed to get up and running.

“Rackspace integrates and has dedicated teams for the best-of-breed partners that we work with, from Magento and eBay to Adobe and Akamai. Not only that, but they have subject matter experts for those particular tools. Often times we found that individual Rackspace employees had even worked at those companies in the past, which is exciting, because it means they know how the tools work—they know what it’s like under the hood and can advise us appropriately,” says Ryan Bonifacino Vice President of Digital Strategy, Alex and Ani.

Jordan Lawrence

Jordan Lawrence, a 25-year-old records management firm, used a similar approach to transition to the cloud one project at a time. Initially, Jordan Lawrence used the Rackspace Managed Cloud for testing on a secure FTP site, synchronizing customer data and email lists with a proprietary policy distribution application. That success led to the implementation of additional cloud services.

“After getting comfortable with Rackspace, we moved our internal email services to Rackspace Email and Hosted Exchange. Having these services completely hosted and managed by Rackspace allows our technical resources to concentrate on our core businesses,” says Marty Hansen, Executive VP of Technology with Jordan Lawrence.

After that successful move, Jordan Lawrence added Managed Virtualization. As a result, “We are able to host our SaaS services in an environment that is secure enough to pass information security audits from even our most stringent Fortune 100 and Financial Service customers, and meets SSAE16 standards,” shares Hansen.

With all of the cloud triumphs under its belt, Jordan Lawrence is ready to expand into more areas. Hansen says, “We see a complete solution in which Jordan Lawrence develops retention rules for SharePoint, while Rackspace implements and hosts the SharePoint environment for our customers.”


What does your cloud journey look like? From enterprises to small businesses, no two paths are the same and no business has to go it alone. With Managed Cloud services, businesses can get the guidance and tech resources needed to move away from cumbersome legacy systems and start innovating on the cloud.

Scaling Cloud Infrastructure Despite Brain Drain And Ad Hoc Processes

August 4, 2014 3:00 pm


By Matt Juszczak, Founder, Bitlancer

Your lean technology startup is gaining serious traction! Sales and marketing are steadily growing the user base. Meanwhile the operations team, armed with an assortment of scripts and ad hoc processes held together by library paste and true grit, is challenged to scale the cloud-based IT infrastructure to handle the increasing load. So you hire a software engineer with lots of cloud experience to build out a stable configuration management environment.

For a few months all is well, until that engineer abruptly splits. Now operations is left holding a bag of stale donuts. It turns out that nobody else on the team really knows how to use the configuration management tool. They only know how to spin up new virtual servers like they’d been shown. With each person already doing the work of many, nobody has the bandwidth to first learn the tool and then manage the various configurations left lying around.

You know what happens next, right? As development makes changes to the software, operations has to manually install the new virtual code and tweak the configurations manually every time they create a new server. Equally problematic, virtual server instances proliferate unchecked, leading to thousands of dollars in unexpected charges from the cloud service provider. This leads to a slash-and-burn server destruction scramble that accidentally takes down the production platform and disgruntles many of those new users. Heavy sighs emanate from the CTO’s office. What’s to be done?

This is where Bitlancer Strings rides in to save the day. Strings is truly easy to use and provides whatever level of visibility into the virtual infrastructure you desire. With a little support, most teams can migrate their cloud configuration management onto Strings quickly—some in as little as a week.

The benefits of adopting Strings in this scenario include:

  • Heaps of scarce developer time saved by the efficiency and ease of use of the Strings platform.
  • Near-instantaneous time-to-value and predictable, affordable monthly costs. No more surprise charges from the CSP.
  • Best of all, scalability concerns can be alleviated! Peace (whatever that means for a startup) is restored.

If your team is hampered by this kind of technical debt, Strings can help. Strings gives you everything you need to deploy, configure and manage your virtual servers, deploy applications, handle user authentication and SSH keys, and more.

Standards-based Strings works seamlessly with Rackspace services, as Bitlancer customers can attest. Strings also integrates with Rackspace Cloud Monitoring and the Rackspace Cloud Files backup service. Plus it can manage Rackspace Cloud Load Balancers with ease—all of which helps you get even more value from your Rackspace relationship.

To find out more about how Bitlancer Strings can quickly and cost-effectively turn your virtual configuration management pain into gain, visit us in the Rackspace Marketplace today.

This is a guest post written and contributed by Matt Juszczak, founder of Bitlancer, a Rackspace Marketplace partner. Bitlancer Strings is a cloud automation Platform-as-a-Service that radically simplifies the management of virtual servers and other cloud infrastructure, enabling startups and SMBs to preserve time, money and sanity in the cloud.

Video sharing: Your kids can do it. Why can’t your employees?

August 1, 2014 3:33 pm


What happens if IT doesn’t deliver a streaming video platform of its own? Employees will simply attach their videos to emails or upload them to file …