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Looking Back, Going Forward: 2011 Predictions

Fortune Teller

Flickr Image via riptheskull

After looking back to 2010 what will 2011 see? Here’s my take:

  1. Cloud First purchasing policy pervades
    I see a mind shift when people are looking at procuring technolog y- they’re going to look “Cloud First” before considering other solutions, even if they’ve got existing investments on-premise.  We’ve seen some of the most cautious organisations – even the US Government - doing this.
  2. On-Premise needs Integration / On-Ramps
    As organisations go “Cloud First”, they’ll need to integrate Cloud into their existing IT with Cloud Integration or “On-ramp” technologies. These are technologies that enable companies to use the Cloud in conjunction with their existing systems. Despite being considered decidedly ‘un-sexy’ by the clouderati, the majority of organisations will enable their Cloud journeys with On-ramp technologies. Mimecast is a great example of an On-ramp technology, leveraging the best of the Cloud with on-prem systems. The word I’m really trying to avoid using here is hybrid, which has negative connotations for me – but yes On-ramp could mean hybrid.  But that’s another conversation entirely.
  3. Continued Consumerisation of Enterprise Software
    Cloud is putting IT departments under enormous pressure.  As a result of the confluence of Social, Mobile and Cloud, staff are getting used to having excellent tools at home and want to use them in their workplace – so called Sunday night / Monday Morning expectations. IT departments need to satisfy these expectations using corporate IT, or risk the scenario of users making their own credit card purchases, creating compliance nightmares (Cloud Piracy- remember wireless?). “Simple, easy-to-build, easy-to-learn, easy-to-use consumer-style apps will increasingly be used to power enterprises,” said Jeff Clavier.  And the proliferation of Tablets beyond iPad – Android, BlackBerry and Windows – will accelerate it. That means change, which is scary- but surely much less scary than if users do it themselves.
  4. IT’s shift towards Business Transformation accelerates
    To make that happen, IT folk need to realise their future role is in the use of technology to enable Business Transformation, rather than being technologists for the sake of it. James Staten from Forrester articulated it best:“And The Empowered Shall Lead Us. In Forrester’s new book Empowered, we profile a new type of IT leader, and they don’t work for you. They work for the business, not I&O, and are leveraging technologies at the edge of the business to change relationships, improve customer support, design new products, and deliver value in ways you could not have foreseen. And, despite your “better judgment” you need to help them do this. Your frontline employees are the ones who see the change in the market first and are best positioned to guide the business on how to adjust. They can turn — and are turning — to cloud services to make this change happen but don’t always know how to leverage it best. This is where you must engage.”

    And that’s why IT doesn’t have to fear for it’s job in the Cloud. It’ll just be different and we need to embrace the change.

  5. Lock-in fears subside
    Vendors need to continue to tackle the perceived lock-in generated by the Cloud. The reality is that the lock-in isn’t nearly as bad as people think. People have been using proprietary standards for years.  The only difference now is that it’s in someone else’s datacentre and they can’t prod it. Portability of PaaS will remain critical, and although this has seen significant improvements, there may be more to come.
  6. The Rise of the Plaforms
    We’ve long been saying that PaaS is the future of apps. But PaaS requires re-development, and that takes time to do, as well as confidence in the future of PaaS platforms (as lock-in is currently a problem). The more lock-in fears subside, the greater uptake of PaaS we’ll see. Why would you want to run your own stack if you don’t have to?
  7. Standards come to the party
    In certain areas – especially Compliance – 2011 will be the year for standards. When people voice objections to Cloud, the number one objection is always Security. Security is a function of Compliance. It is imperative if Public Cloud is to attract “serious” buyers such as Governments and major corporates that standards in critical areas develop so that buyers can have certainty over what they’re procuring. Christopher Hoff summed it up:“Security is not the biggest barrier to companies moving to applications, information and services delivered using cloud computing.

    What is?

    Compliance.

    … That means what one gives up in terms of direct operational control, one must gain back in terms of visibility and transparency”

    That’s the only way you can measure the security or compliance of a Cloud solution. This has been massively challenging for Cloud providers to date, because of the lack of standards and unwillingness to divulge too much IP.

  8. Rise of Cloud Exchanges or Brokerages
    As we see growth in providers of IaaS we’ll see more brokerages or exchanges, where people trade computing capacity according to trading principles of supply and demand. This will enable compute capacity to be utilised more efficiently, thereby driving down the cost of Cloud compute resources. Incumbent vendors don’t really want this to happen because they don’t want to be competing on price, but this will force them to innovate at an increasing rate to differentiate against the commodity providers. Upstarts in the Cloud sector like Telcos and Hosters will be keen to dip their toe in this market, since they have both customers and infrastructure at their disposal.
  9. Customers will get wise to “Cloudwashing”
    In 2010, a lot of vendors jumped on the Cloud bandwagon with the same products as before, masquerading as ‘Cloud’.  I heard a great story about vendors jumping on the bandwagon:

    “At the start of the millennium, EMC launched the concept of Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) to embrace the idea of caring for data management from cradle to grave across multiple media and tiers. Within weeks, a rush of vendors issued press releases about their latest ILM offerings. In many cases, these were the exact same products as before but with a rebranding to capitalize on the fad of the moment.”

    That’s certainly happened again with Cloud. I predict that 2011 will be the year when Customers “get” Cloud and therefore get what’s not. This will be strongly helped by those vendors previously guilty of Cloudwashing who have used the intervening period to build or buy “true” Cloud technology.

What are your predictions for Cloud in 2011?

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Security in 2011: Predictions from the Dark Side

To continue this week’s theme of 2011 predictions, it’s my turn to have a guess at what we might see appear from the darker, more devious side of the Internet.

Image: Official Star Wars Blog

I was going to open with a big botnet control prediction, something like the greater good managing to shut down or throttle the spam from a major botnet. But as you may have already seen the levels of spam are dramatically down after Rustock, Lethic and Xarvester stopped spewing late last year. But more on that below.

On with the show:

  • Spam won’t go away: Even with the apparent fall in the spam rate at the end of 2010, this menace will still bother us. Opportunities to buy herbal ‘enhancements’ , wristwatches and the chance to receive an inheritance which has been deposited in the Prudent Trust Bank of London England (where?) will continue. But.
  • Spam will go away: from our inboxes at least. We’ll see a continued drop in the amount of spam we receive to our inboxes. Why? Two reasons really; firstly the technology protecting those inboxes will improve dramatically, and secondly because the spammers know this – they will start to invade our blogs, our twitter streams, and our social networks instead.
  • Adverts or spamverts?: If Google can target ads for you, so can spammers. Try tweeting about a car loan or mortgage and see how many spam tweets you receive back. This will only get worse.
  • There will be at least one significant social breach: We already know that many high profile sites suffer at the hands of attackers daily. The Gawker Media breach will no doubt be the turning point as attackers look for a larger pile of personal data to plunder.
  • Conspiracies will continue: Conspiracy or not, the release of Stuxnet into the wild demonstrated a very well researched, constructed and targeted threat agent. Stuxnet showed the world that clandestine activity can have an invisible but far reaching impact and be far more subtle that traditional spy-craft of warfare. I expect that 2011 will see a similar infrastructure integrity attach by a cousin of Stuxnet, which may well have been a noisy proof of concept. Whether the next attack makes the headlines or not depends on the stealth of the coders.
  • Botnets (again): With the demise of the boisterous botnets of yesteryear a new breed of botnet will emerge, one who’s command and control is so distributed that is uses many common mechanisms to communicate & infect. Using services like Twitter as a dead letter box are likely to be the levels of deviousness we’ll see,  and this tactic will be very hard to defeat.
  • Spear Phishing will rise: Specifically targeted attacks against individual organizations will increase, why? Because the rewards can be so great. In fact we’ve already seen a wonderful example of this with the Zeus Trojan downloaded from a fake White House ecard, where numerous government employees were duped into ‘clicking the link.’ This successful attack demonstrates that social engineering is still the attack vector of least resistance. Educating your users is the best line of defense.

Keep safe out there.

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Email Archiving in 2011- what we might see

Our last set of predictions for 2011 may have some way to go before they become reality, but having spent a few moments searching for 2011 predictions on the Internet, I’m confident most of what is out there is a very long way off, if not a just a little scary too.

As this week is the first proper business week of 2011, I’m wondering what we are likely to see in the Email Archiving industry this year and if anything dramatic will shape its future.

In a highly un-scientific piece of research amongst my colleagues, the top issues I’m expecting to see in 2011 are as follows. By the way, I’m willing to take small wagers on their likelihood if you’re keen.

  • The Archiving Market will see Further Consolidation: The last couple of years saw the arching market consolidate drastically, even during the economic downturn. I expect that for email archiving vendors this consolidation will continue, and we will see some surprising shifts in the market. SaaS and Cloud vendors are likely to be at the top of the shopping list for many on-premise vendors.
  • Microsoft Exchange 2010 will go Mainstream: This blog has written many posts about the virtues of Exchange 2010, and rightly so. 2011 will see the large scale uptake of Exchange 2010 by mainstream organizations because of the new features it offers. Smart Businesses that have chosen not to archive to date, will use the migration to Microsoft Exchange 2010 as a catalyst to deploy a sustainable email archiving solution to ease migration headaches.
  • Goodbye to Stubbing Emails: Many legacy email archives support the stubbing or short-cutting of email attachments or body content as a mechanism to reduce Exchange store size. Since Exchange 2007, Microsoft has been persuading users away from this dead technology because of the problems it causes in later life for migration and retrieval. 2011 will be the year that businesses needs to decide what to do about the great stubbing problem. This is a problem that isn’t going away and needs to be addressed. More on this blog soon.
  • Say NO to Buying More Disks: For many organizations email archiving has been a way of life for years. Users continue to send and receive email, the archive continues to grow, disk space is eaten up at an alarming rate. To their hardware vendors delight and their CFOs despair, IT departments have continued to purchase more disk, and purchase more disk, and purchase more disk – or worse, start storing email on the SAN. 2011 should be the year the CFO says no to this maddening cycle, and asks the IT department to look for an alternative (he’s heard about Cloud). The IT department are likely to look at a cloud solution that doesn’t rely on local disk.
  • New Search Engine for Symantec Enterprise Vault: The search engine built into Symantec’s Enterprise Vault email archive has long been due for an upgrade. Rumor has it that Symantec are considering the Vivisimo Velocity search engine for a release later this year. This will mean a couple of things for users of Enterprise Vault. New 64bit hardware is likely to be needed, and data needs to be re-indexed – both of which are big jobs. Time to consider your options? More on this particular issue on this blog soon.
  • eDiscovery Becoming More and More Important: Already an important driver for many regulated or legal centric businesses, but I expect that 2011 will make eDiscovery a much more mainstream issue for businesses. New regulations in the US like the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform (and Consumer Protection) act are likely to put a much larger burden on relevant businesses, but the knock-on effect of this and all other regulations that require email archiving, retention and eDiscovery will finally start to trickle over into non-regulated organizations. As is popular in the UK and Europe, the retention of everything will start to become the norm in the US too. After-all, which CIO or even CEO wants to be unprepared in the face of someone who is far more so?
  • Cloud by default: Many of the issues above are caused by legacy technology. 2010 saw the Cloud make huge in-roads into corporate IT infrastructures. 2011 by contrast is likely to see the fine tuning of legacy services to utilize Cloud in much deeper integrations. (Note I said legacy services, not applications; the latter will be phased out as a result)  The most obvious advance we’ll see in 2011 is the use of Cloud or SaaS email archiving vendors, for the simple reasons that they are able to provide the same or better functionality as their LAN based aging-relatives, but without the requirement for on premise hardware or software.

So there you have it. 2011 in an email archiving nutshell. On Thursday this week, tune in for the same predictions on email security.

Happy New Year everyone.

for 2011 may have some way to go before they become reality, but having spent a few moments searching for 2011 predictions on the Internet, I’m confident most of what is out there is a very long way off, if not a just a little scary too.

As this week is the first proper business week of 2011, I’m wondering what we are likely to see in the Email Archiving industry this year and if anything dramatic will shape its future.

In a highly un-scientific piece of research amongst my colleagues, the top issues I’m expecting to see in 2011 are as follows. By the way, I’m willing to take small wagers on their likelihood if you’re keen.

  • Market Consolidation: The last couple of years saw the market consolidate, even during the economic downturn. I expect that for email archiving vendors this consolidation will continue, and we will see some surprising shifts in the market. SaaS and Cloud vendors are likely to be at the top of the shopping list for many.
  • Microsoft Exchange 2010: This blog has written many posts in support of Exchange 2010, and rightly so. 2011 will see the large scale uptake of Exchange 2010 by mainstream organizations, and as a result consideration of the new features it offers. Businesses that have chosen not to archive to date, will use the migration to Microsoft Exchange 2010 as a catalyst to deploy a sustainable email archiving solution.
  • Stubbing, or short-cutting: Many legacy email archives support the stubbing or short-cutting of email attachments or body content as a mechanism to reduce Exchange store size. Since Exchange 2007, Microsoft has been persuading users away from this dead technology because of the problems it causes in later life. 2011 will be the year that your business needs to decide what to do about the great stubbing problem. This is a problem that isn’t going away and needs to be addressed. More on this blog soon.
  • Disk space usage: For many organizations email archiving has been a way of life for years. Users continue to send and receive email, the archive continues to grow, disk space is eaten up at an alarming rate. To their hardware vendors delight and their CFOs despair, IT departments have continued to purchase more disk, and purchase more disk, and purchase more disk – or worse, start storing email on the SAN. 2011 is likely to be the year the CFO says no to this maddening cycle, and asks the IT department to look for an alternative. The IT department are likely to look at a cloud solution that doesn’t rely on local disk.
  • Symantec Enterprise Vault: The search engine built into Symantec’s Enterprise Vault email archive has long been due for an upgrade. Rumor has it that Symantec are considering the Vivisimo Velocity search engine for release later this year. This will mean a couple of things for users of Enterprise Vault. New 64bit hardware is likely to be needed, and data needs to be re-indexed – both of which are big jobs. More on this particular issue on this blog soon.
  • eDiscovery: Already an important driver for many regulated or legal centric businesses, but I expect that 2011 will make eDiscovery a much more main stream issue for businesses. New regulations like the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform (and Consumer Protection) act are likely to put a much larger burden on relevant businesses, but the knock on effect of this and all other regulations that require email archiving, retention and eDiscovery will finally start to trickle over into non-regulated organizations. As is popular in the UK and Europe, the retention of everything will start to become the norm in the US too. After-all, which CIO or even CEO wants to be unprepared in the face of someone who is far more so?
  • Cloud, SaaS and IaaS; Many of the issues above are caused by legacy technology and legacy thinking. 2010 saw the Cloud make huge in-roads into corporate IT infrastructures. 2011 by contrast is likely to see the fine tuning of legacy services to utilize Cloud in much deeper integrations. (Note I said legacy service, not applications; the latter will be phased out as a result)  The most obvious advance we’ll see in 2011 is the use of Cloud based or SaaS email archiving vendors, for the simple reasons that they are able to provide the same technology and functionality as their LAN based aging-relatives, but without the requirement for on premise hardware or software.

So there you have it. 2011 in an email archiving nutshell. On Thursday this week, tune in for the same predictions on email security.

Happy New Year everyone.

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Predictions for the Technology Industry in 2011

Forget what all the other folks are telling you. Here’s what’s really going to happen in the technology industry in 2011:

– In January, Facebook will announce the death of the telephone in the era of social networking. “Why would anyone need a telephone when they can simply update their facebook status?” asked Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, pointing out that he is now worth more than any phone company in the world.

– In February, after describing cloud computing as “water vapor” in 2009 and then announcing a hardware-inclusive “cloud-in-a-box” offering in 2010, Larry Ellison will announce Oracle’s latest vision, Orbital Cloud (TM). “If you’re going to outsource your IT,” he’ll tell a crowd of skeptical journalists, “you might as well get it off the planet, where it’s safe from earthquakes, hurricanes, and open source advocates. When people talk about cloud computing, they really mean clouds of diffuse interplanetary gases.” LISP programmers worldwide launch a protest movement under the slogan, “In space no one can hack in Scheme.”

– In March, in further pursuit of the perfect user interface, Apple will announce that it is disabling all iPhone apps not personally approved by Steve Jobs. “We expect our users to be grateful,” said an Apple spokesman, “for our protecting them against accidentally seeing anything ugly, ever.”

– In April, Apple will admit that they can no longer produce the more-beautiful iPhones fast enough to ship them to the US, because they’re all being purchased in Asia for well over list price. To address this shortage, Apple will double the list price globally. Consumers will promptly queue overnight at Apple stores in hope of paying the new higher prices.

– In May, Facebook will introduce its own “revolutionary” IP-based telephony service. “In the future,” says Mark Zuckerberg, “any two people in the world will be able to speak to each other, via audio, in real time, as long as they have Facebook accounts. This changes everything.”

– In June, after years of struggle to live up to the corporate slogan, “Don’t Be Evil,” CEO Eric Schmidt will snap during negotiations with the Chinese government and begin screaming political slogans at Chinese President Hu Jintao. The YouTube publication of an unfortunate video clip of this incident — which, to add insult to injury, was taken with an iphone — will result in Google’s banishment from China, “until more mature leadership is established.”

– In July, Google will announce that Schmidt is taking an indefinite “medical leave” and that it has arranged for former lobbyist Jack Abramoff to be released from prison to serve as interim CEO. In his first press conference, Abramoff will say that in the future Google will be more sensitive to cultural differences, noting that one culture’s “free speech” is another’s “treason.” China will promptly reopen its doors to Google, welcoming its “return to ethical behavior.”

– In August, Apple will wow everyone yet again with the introduction of the new “Apple iRose,” red-tinted digital glasses that both correct your vision and make everything and everyone look more beautiful. By the end of the month, Apple’s market capitalization will exceed the rest of the NASDAQ combined.

– In September, the Obama administration will announce the seventh version of its final decision about net neutrality. This policy will say that Internet traffic carriers must provide non-discriminatory access over wired lines, but may discriminate in access to wireless traffic, unless the content of the traffic is a discussion of whether or not there should be any difference between wired and wireless traffic, in which case they can only discriminate over wired lines. Exceptions will be made for public interest organizations, heavy political donors, and certain phases of the moon. Republicans announce that they intend to oppose the policy vigorously, just as soon as they can figure out what it says.

– In October, Larry Ellison will announce the cancellation of the Orbital Cloud program due to poor server performance, and will fire dozens of incompetent engineers for limiting transmission speeds to 186,000 miles per second. Claiming that the term ‘cloud computing’ was a typographical error all along, Ellison will introduce a new line of high-decibel servers he says will “fulfill the long-awaited vision of Loud Computing.”

– In November, Apple will introduce the revolutionary new Apple iWeight, a perfectly smooth white plastic sphere with a flat bottom and a weight ideally calibrated to hold papers down. “Our research tells us that customers want beautiful things,” says Steve Jobs, “and that they don’t really care what they do, or if they do anything at all.” Violence breaks out in front of those Apple stores that don’t have enough room for long lines to queue. Apple’s market capitalization surpasses the gross domestic product of the European Union. Jobs offers to pay off the US national debt if the government will replace all its Windows machines with Macs. As the Obama administration considers this offer, the Republican leadership announces that whatever the administration decides, it will oppose it.

– In December, Larry Ellison, saying “we’ve finally got it right this time,” will drop broad hints about the still-secret upcoming Oracle Clown Computing system. Puzzled observers given a sneak peak will be unable to identify any differences from traditional Oracle offerings.

– And finally, by January 2012, no one will remember a single one of the many predictions made a year earlier of what would happen in the technology industry in 2011.