Feb. 6, 2012 Executive Technology Strategies



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Feb. 6, 2012 Executive Technology Strategies ETS 12-02-01


Experture

/ RFG
experts on demand

Weekly IT News Snapshots
  1. Cal Braunstein, Chief Research Officer


This Week the following topics are highlighted:
VeriSign Hides Security Issues, Android Security Has its Ups and Downs - News of VeriSign, Inc. burying details of numerous network and potentially customer privacy security breaches in a government filing dated last October came to light this week. Elsewhere, Google Inc. detailed the steps it is taking to increase Android Market security while Symantec Corp. detailed the increasing level of sophistication malware targeting Android can take. Intel Corp.'s McAfee also updated its Android software while Symantec re-issued pcAnywhere's green light.

RFG believes the ironic disparity between the end user licensing agreement (EULA) customers are forced to agree to each time software is installed and the lack of vendor transparency is hard to ignore. Certainly, VeriSign is not along in failing to rapidly and adequately report security intrusions which may compromise customer-installed products and/or information that should remain safeguarded. At least one dozen or more examples security breaches over the last six months at prominent companies has taken place – and those are only the ones that have yet been disclosed. A significant gap exists between reporting requirements and compliance, and the U.S. and other governments have been lax in legislating standards such as the H.R. Safe Data Act. Since neither oversight bodies nor the vendors themselves are likely to fix these problems in a timely manner, IT executives should consider authoring their own vendor security and privacy agreements. Such agreements would specify the timely reporting types of software intrusion, vulnerability, and privacy breaches as well as appropriate monetary penalties for compliance failures. While no software ecosystem is free from attack, Google's Android ecosystem is a far more likely attack vector for any number of malware breaches. As such, IT executives need to ensure that one or more antivirus products are installed; one at the device and another attached to the enterprise management and control console. McAfee’s Security 2.0 is a positive step in discouraging the installation of applications that track an uncomfortable number or unnecessary combination of user movements, but may not be sufficient in that the execution is likely to be yet another ignored nag screen. Hopefully, one or more third-party privacy and security organizations will take up this plight to author a standard set of application types and associated rights, monitor application markets to ensure proper vendor implementation, and pressure software developers to comply accordingly.

EMC, SeaMicro and UNIT4 – Disruptive Moves - EMC Corp. unveiled VFCache, a server-side flash appliance, which the company had hinted at under the code-name Project Lightning. The company also alluded to another follow-on effort, Project Thunder, which will address server networked flash. Meanwhile, SeaMicro Inc. launched its new line of high-density, low-power micro servers based upon Intel Corp. Xeon processors. On the software side UNIT4 NV announced UNIT4 Business Analytics Apps, which are turnkey, rapidly deployed, business analytics solutions available on a pay-as-you-use basis from a dedicated app store.

RFG believes the next wave of disruptive technologies is gaining steam. EMC's VFCache adds another tier to the storage architecture, which is 4000 times faster than hard disk drives and more than 10 times faster than array flash drives. Server performance gains have been exceeding storage for more than a decade and VFCache goes a long way to closing the gap. The simplicity of the appliance will ensure a rapid adoption rate and a demand for release of an appliance suited for blade servers. SeaMicro's release of an Intel Xeon micro processor with characteristics similar to its Atom-based micro processors is a major step forward for the company. The adoption of a commonly used Intel server platform will increase interest in SeaMicro's technology and offerings. The company today has its products used by a number of the major Web companies, which are reporting results in line with company claims. RFG expects the SeaMicro form factor to become an industry standard over time and as it does, adoption of ARM and Atom micro servers will propagate across data centers. RFG foresees the UNIT4 Business Analytics Apps disrupting the entire business analytics and ERP software industry. The shift from complex, high risk, months-long projects to mobile, social, turnkey apps that users can access on their own from an app store whenever desired and pay for it on a pay-per-use basis is a game-changer. For now the apps only integrate with other UNIT4 software but once they can integrate with any ERP package, RFG expects others will be forced to change their business models and follow suit, if they have not done so already. IT executives need to understand the extent of the disruptive changes that are currently unfolding and find ways to incorporate them into their current and future architectures.
Microsoft Plays Nice Guy In IPR Wars, To Wrongfoot Google - Microsoft has responded to Google's promises to play fair with Motorola Mobility's patents, by taking its own 'nice guy' stance, leaving Apple looking like the bully. A day after reports surfaced that Google had promised standards bodies it would adopt 'Frand' (fair reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms for the IPR it will gain with Motorola, the Windows giant made a public vow to negotiate with rivals which use its patents, rather than seeking to block their products.
Google's letter to the standards bodies said it would adopt Frand guidelines, with no preferential or discriminatory treatment for any party, and would seek a royalty fee of no more than 2.25% of the net cost of devices using its patents. It also pledged to try to resolve any disputes through negotiation before resorting to litigation. If it does go to court, it did not match Microsoft's promise not to seek injunctions.
Juniper Targets Backhaul Router Market - The service provider edge router market is set to grow by 56% over the next five years, according to forecasts by Dell'Oro Group, as operators upgrade their IP data networks, and a key source of this growth is mobile backhaul. Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and many others are chasing the opportunity, but this week saw Juniper showcasing its latest products.
"Routers are the best technology for aggregating, transporting and parsing large volumes of traffic, and we expect network operators to increasingly upgrade backhaul networks with routers to support superfast mobile services based on LTE and HSPA+ technologies," said Shin Umeda, VP of router research at Dell'Oro. "North America has been the hot market for mobile backhaul over the past 18 months, but we expect the trend to expand globally over the next five years."
They converge usually separate access points for mobile, residential and enterprise networks onto a single router platform to support universal services and lower cost of ownership. The routers come in five configurations for mobile 2G/3G and LTE backhaul, business Ethernet and residential services. Four are 1RU and the fifth is a modular unit. Their main competitors will be the Cisco MWR family of mobile backhaul routers and Alcatel-Lucent's 7705 line.

VeriSign Hides Security Issues, Android Security Has its Ups and Downs

Lead Analyst: Adam Braunstein


News of VeriSign, Inc. burying details of numerous network and potentially customer privacy security breaches in a government filing dated last October came to light this week. Elsewhere, Google Inc. detailed the steps it is taking to increase Android Market security while Symantec Corp. detailed the increasing level of sophistication malware targeting Android can take. Intel Corp.'s McAfee also updated its Android software while Symantec re-issued pcAnywhere's green light.

Focal Points:

  • VeriSign, which manages top-level domain (TLD) domain name system (DNS) for .com, .gov, and .net. domains, released information regarding several successful and potentially catastrophic breaches to its network. While there is no cause for concern at the moment since the intrusions occurred in 2010, the way in which the company disclosed the information is a distressing symbol of the selfish self-preservation exhibited by many vendors. The details of the unspecified number of attacks were buried in its October, 2011 10-Q filing and were only made widely known when Reuters unearthed the statements as part of its investigation regarding corporate security disclosure practices. The language used by VeriSign in its 10-Q is intentionally vague and insubstantial, going only as far as to say that it did not believe attacks breached its authoritative DNS servers, but that statement was couched as being unequivocal. Had the company's Secure Socket Layer (SSL) process been breached, hackers could have securely posed as virtually any trusted company's Web site. The company implied that was of little concern given the completion of the sale of its SSL business to Symantec Corp in August of 2010.

  • Google is using a new automated security scanning tool, code-named Bouncer, to reduce potentially harmful applications available in its Android Market. The company attributes a 40 percent reduction in harmful applications as a result of the software's use which began several months back. Bouncer works by analyzing both new and old Android applications for known malware, spyware, and Trojans, and incorporates heuristics to further improve detection. Developer accounts are also scanned to prevent malicious developers from returning once approval is revoked. In a related item, Symantec has identified that a new Android Trojan uses server-side polymorphism to bypass detection. The premium-rate SMS Trojan, known as Android.Opfake, alters sections of code before distribution and download to thwart security tools. SMS messages are sent to for-fee numbers in the European and former Russian countries thereby accumulating significant charges on infected handsets.

  • McAfee is updating its Android mobile security tool to provide users with better information regarding what type of information installed applications are sharing. The new feature of McAfee Security 2.0 is somewhat in response to the Carrier IQ, Inc. scandal from November. At that time, a security researcher noticed that the Carrier IQ software tracked numerous pieces of user data without informing users or allowing them to opt out. McAfee Security 2.0 also alerts users as to when software accesses private information, blocks unwanted calls and text messages, removes viruses from on-board storage and memory cards, and can remotely wipe data. Lastly, Symantec has withdrawn its previous warning to users to cease using its remote software tool, pcAnywhere. The warning was issued after reviewing the source code breach announced last month, wherein the source code of a number of popular Symantec software tools was stolen. Symantec has updated and patched pcAnywhere versions 12.0, 12.1., and 12.5 to plug holes and is offerings users of software prior to version 12.0 with a free upgrade.

RFG believes the ironic disparity between the end user licensing agreement (EULA) customers are forced to agree to each time software is installed and the lack of vendor transparency is hard to ignore. Certainly, VeriSign is not along in failing to rapidly and adequately report security intrusions which may compromise customer-installed products and/or information that should remain safeguarded. At least one dozen or more examples security breaches over the last six months at prominent companies has taken place – and those are only the ones that have yet been disclosed. A significant gap exists between reporting requirements and compliance, and the U.S. and other governments have been lax in legislating standards such as the H.R. Safe Data Act. Since neither oversight bodies nor the vendors themselves are likely to fix these problems in a timely manner, IT executives should consider authoring their own vendor security and privacy agreements. Such agreements would specify the timely reporting types of software intrusion, vulnerability, and privacy breaches as well as appropriate monetary penalties for compliance failures. While no software ecosystem is free from attack, Google's Android ecosystem is a far more likely attack vector for any number of malware breaches. As such, IT executives need to ensure that one or more antivirus products are installed; one at the device and another attached to the enterprise management and control console. McAfee’s Security 2.0 is a positive step in discouraging the installation of applications that track an uncomfortable number or unnecessary combination of user movements, but may not be sufficient in that the execution is likely to be yet another ignored nag screen. Hopefully, one or more third-party privacy and security organizations will take up this plight to author a standard set of application types and associated rights, monitor application markets to ensure proper vendor implementation, and pressure software developers to comply accordingly.
EMC, SeaMicro and UNIT4 – Disruptive Moves

Lead Analyst: Cal Braunstein


EMC Corp. unveiled VFCache, a server-side flash appliance, which the company had hinted at under the code-name Project Lightning. The company also alluded to another follow-on effort, Project Thunder, which will address server networked flash. Meanwhile, SeaMicro Inc. launched its new line of high-density, low-power micro servers based upon Intel Corp. Xeon processors. On the software side UNIT4 NV announced UNIT4 Business Analytics Apps, which are turnkey, rapidly deployed, business analytics solutions available on a pay-as-you-use basis from a dedicated app store.

Focal Points:

  • EMC introduced VFCache, a new server flash caching solution. VFCache leverages the firm's intelligent software and PCIe flash technology, which officials claim can result in up to three times increased throughput while reducing latency by 60 percent. EMC executives state VFCache uses four times less CPU and memory resources than the competing solutions. The announcement extends flash technology to non-bladed x86 servers and thereby, adds another layer to storage tiering. The appliance will enable mainstream mission-critical applications and databases – i.e., any read-intensive workloads with cacheable working sets – to benefit from the performance advantages of PCIe flash. VFCache is storage agnostic and will work with non-EMC storage. Cisco Systems Inc., Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), and IBM Corp. have certified VFcache for use on their x86 servers while on the software side it is certified for Microsoft Corp. Windows and Hyper-V systems, VMware Inc.'s vSphere, and Red Hat Inc.'s enterprise Linux. EMC partnered with Micron Technology Inc. and incorporates its 300 GB PCIe cards. No pricing was announced at the launch but officials stated pricing would be competitive with Fusion-io Inc.'s offering. EMC also previewed Project Thunder, a purpose-built, low-latency, server networked flash-based appliance that is scalable, serviceable, and shareable. EMC officials claim Project Thunder will deliver I/Os measured in millions and timed in microseconds. While no specific timetable was set, the company expects to announce the new product line within 12 months.

  • SeaMicro announced the SM10000-XE, a micro server, which uses a motherboard containing only three components – the Intel quad-core Xeon E3-1260L 45 watt processor, Samsung Group's green DDR3, and SeaMicro's Freedom Fabric ASIC. By removing all the other miscellaneous motherboard components, SeaMicro claims the SM10000-XE can populate 256 cores in a 10 RU space and 1,024 cores in a rack. The system would contain 2 TB of DRAM and provide 1.28 terabits of bandwidth (10 GigE to each socket). The micro server runs all the standard x86 operating systems, consumes 3.5 KW, and can support application tier and database workloads. Executives claim the micro server uses half the power of competing Xeon solutions, one-third the space, 12 times the bandwidth, and one-fourth the weight. In addition, its TIO technology reduces power consumed by the CPU by consolidating and turning off unused blocks. The list price for the server is $138,000.

  • UNIT4 unveiled UNIT4 Business Analytics Apps, a new paradigm for delivering advanced analytics. The Business Analytics Apps are designed to be turnkey, inexpensive, simple and fast to install, and low risk. Company officials claim customers will be able to download a pre-built solution from the app store that is virtually ready to use, then choose if they want to add tailoring to the solution themselves – or select a turnkey professional services bundle of five, 10 or 20 days,  depending on their requirements, that guarantees completion. Users will pay a per user/per month fee. In contrast to traditional business analytics packages, each user can independently implement their app rapidly without the need for IT to invest in a complex, months-long project. Since the apps are integrated with UNIT4's Agresso Business World ERP and Coda Financials solutions, a change made in one application automatically flows to the other applications. Customers will also benefit from a built-in social communication tool that enables them to collaborate around reports.

RFG believes the next wave of disruptive technologies is gaining steam. EMC's VFCache adds another tier to the storage architecture, which is 4000 times faster than hard disk drives and more than 10 times faster than array flash drives. Server performance gains have been exceeding storage for more than a decade and VFCache goes a long way to closing the gap. The simplicity of the appliance will ensure a rapid adoption rate and a demand for release of an appliance suited for blade servers. SeaMicro's release of an Intel Xeon micro processor with characteristics similar to its Atom-based micro processors is a major step forward for the company. The adoption of a commonly used Intel server platform will increase interest in SeaMicro's technology and offerings. The company today has its products used by a number of the major Web companies, which are reporting results in line with company claims. RFG expects the SeaMicro form factor to become an industry standard over time and as it does, adoption of ARM and Atom micro servers will propagate across data centers. RFG foresees the UNIT4 Business Analytics Apps disrupting the entire business analytics and ERP software industry. The shift from complex, high risk, months-long projects to mobile, social, turnkey apps that users can access on their own from an app store whenever desired and pay for it on a pay-per-use basis is a game-changer. For now the apps only integrate with other UNIT4 software but once they can integrate with any ERP package, RFG expects others will be forced to change their business models and follow suit, if they have not done so already. IT executives need to understand the extent of the disruptive changes that are currently unfolding and find ways to incorporate them into their current and future architectures.

Microsoft Plays Nice Guy In IPR Wars, To Wrongfoot Google


Caroline Gabriel, Rethink Associates
Microsoft has responded to Google's promises to play fair with Motorola Mobility's patents, by taking its own 'nice guy' stance, leaving Apple looking like the bully. A day after reports surfaced that Google had promised standards bodies it would adopt 'Frand' (fair reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms for the IPR it will gain with Motorola, the Windows giant made a public vow to negotiate with rivals which use its patents, rather than seeking to block their products.
Focal Points:


  • According to a corporate blog posting, Microsoft will make its standards-essential patents available without requiring companies to cross-license their own non-essential technology. "Patent holders should not seek to block shipments of competing products just because they implement an industry standard - a licence on reasonable terms is always available," wrote Dave Heiner, head of the firm's corporate standards and antitrust groups. This is a change in stance from last June, when Microsoft told the US Federal Trade Commission that a commitment to license patents fairly "should not preclude a patent holder from seeking preliminary injunctive relief or commencing an action in the International Trade Commission just because the patent holder has made a licensing commitment".




  • The change of official intention will be designed to throw Google in a poor light ahead of its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which is engaged in a court battle with Microsoft over Android patents - and recently won a key round. Ironically Microsoft is seeking to ban imports of Motorola Android phones should it win its case at the US ITC. However, it argues that the case, like its B&N action, does not involve standards-essential technology. Its policy does not preclude injunctions when the IPR is not fundamental to implementing a standard. Apple has similarly sought to gain a legal advantage by differentiating its cases against Android vendors, which do not rely on essential wireless IPR, from countersuits by Samsung and Motorola, which rest on those vendors' huge stocks of patents used in standards. The European Commission recently initiated a probe into Samsung's licensing practices, it seems partly at Apple's instigation.




  • In reality, Microsoft has already been chasing royalty revenue rather than lawsuits, although it has gone to court against Motorola and Barnes & Noble. It not only wants the fees, for revenue and to reduce Android's cost advantage for OEMs, but to publicize its stance that Windows Phone is legally protected in a way that the Google OS is not. By contrast, Apple has shown little interest in royalties, and its main aim is to wield its patents in order to stop sales of competitors to the iPhone and iPad.




  • But Microsoft's main objective in publicly stating its case on patents policy will be to undermine Google, which still needs European Commission approval to acquire Motorola, and also faces a widening range of antitrust probes on both sides of the Atlantic. Apple will have had the same aim in mind, with its demand this week that standard body ETSI should create a clear policy for how standards-essential patents are licensed. Andrew Updegrove, a standards and IPR lawyer with Gesmer Updegrove, told Bloomberg: "You already have Google increasingly under the spotlight. They're living in a tighter and tighter confinement just because their market power is increasing." With their statements, Microsoft and Apple are looking to contrast themselves with their mutual rival and they are "playing to the marketplace and they're playing to the regulators".


Google's letter to the standards bodies said it would adopt Frand guidelines, with no preferential or discriminatory treatment for any party, and would seek a royalty fee of no more than 2.25% of the net cost of devices using its patents. It also pledged to try to resolve any disputes through negotiation before resorting to litigation. If it does go to court, it did not match Microsoft's promise not to seek injunctions.


Juniper Targets Backhaul Router Market

Caroline Gabriel, Rethink Associates


The service provider edge router market is set to grow by 56% over the next five years, according to forecasts by Dell'Oro Group, as operators upgrade their IP data networks, and a key source of this growth is mobile backhaul. Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and many others are chasing the opportunity, but this week saw Juniper showcasing its latest products.
"Routers are the best technology for aggregating, transporting and parsing large volumes of traffic, and we expect network operators to increasingly upgrade backhaul networks with routers to support superfast mobile services based on LTE and HSPA+ technologies," said Shin Umeda, VP of router research at Dell'Oro. "North America has been the hot market for mobile backhaul over the past 18 months, but we expect the trend to expand globally over the next five years."
Focal Points:


  • With such trends in mind, Juniper unveiled its new ACX access routers at the MPLS and Ethernet World Congress in Paris. It claims these are the only access boxes suitable for mobile backhaul, which integrate synchronization technology, allowing cellcos to backhaul their voice traffic reliably over packet connections with the same quality of service as over traditional TDM. Juniper has incorporated the main synchronization techniques, 1588v2 and SyncE, which it gained by acquiring Brilliant Telecommunications last year for $4.5m.

The router has up to 60Gbps of capacity and can manage 10Gbps links, and is managed by the vendor's Junos network operating system. It has the same architecture as the MX metro routers, allowing operators to extend their MPLS network right to the cell site, in effect doing away with the dedicated backhaul connection, reducing cost and boosting efficiency. The devices are not just about mobile, but about running wired and wireless access over a single platform. 




They converge usually separate access points for mobile, residential and enterprise networks onto a single router platform to support universal services and lower cost of ownership. The routers come in five configurations for mobile 2G/3G and LTE backhaul, business Ethernet and residential services. Four are 1RU and the fifth is a modular unit. Their main competitors will be the Cisco MWR family of mobile backhaul routers and Alcatel-Lucent's 7705 line.

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