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5 Channel Ops: Verizon's IoT Push, Cisco Sees Big Cloud Future

Security professionals play ostrich, and would you resell Huawei gear?

Lorna Garey

October 29, 2015

10 Min Read
5 Channel Ops: Verizon's IoT Push, Cisco Sees Big Cloud Future

Lorna GareyIn 2013, Huawei publically bowed out of the U.S. carrier and enterprise networking market. Patent infringement accusations (settled out of court) that the company lifted Cisco IoS code verbatim – even including bugs – and a blunt government warning urging American companies to avoid both Huawei and ZTE over fears of espionage by the Chinese had taken a toll on sales.

But now, Huawei is busy launching initiatives. It’s got a new all-flash OceanStor array. It’s a Gold member of the OpenStack Foundation and participates in Hadoop and Spark development. It announced this week that it hired Apple’s long-time creative director as its UX designer. This week it also unveiled its 2015-2016 Digital inCloud Program, which aims to connect global carriers and partners in a digital ecosystem. It’s got a smartwatch, a smartphone deal with Google, and big 5G ambitions. Its U.S. enterprise partner program includes three tiers, deal registration, MDFs, training, enablement including marketing materials — everything you’d expect. Last week it announced a line card that it says will slash power consumption over Cisco’s offering, though no prototype is available to prove the claims.

While the government’s prohibition on Huawei selling telecom gear to Tier 1 U.S. operators stands – as long as those operators wish to do business with Uncle Sam, anyway – the rest of the field is wide open. More competition is good, right. So what’s your take? (Answer our poll question here.) Would you recommend Huawei gear to customers if it could save them significant money?

Verizon, Cisco Make for Big IoT Week

At an event this week, Mike Lanman, senior VP of enterprise & IoT products, says Verizon’s IoT business has generated $495 million so far in 2015. The company is seeing continued double-digit growth and has signed on more than 1,000 IoT partners. Yet Lanman says there’s plenty more potential, which led Verizon to pose the question: “Why aren’t people executing faster?”

Lanman says finding the answer led to development of a global strategy to remove IoT complexity. “You have to select what connectivity you’re going to use to connect to the Internet,” said Lanman. “That’s not an easy decision.” Then there’s device and module selection, software development, identifying data. “It’s no wonder that people with great ideas for IoT don’t make it through all the barriers,” he said.

Verizon’s plan to remove those barriers and decrease time to market and development costs is centered under a new ThingSpace Web-based IoT platform. “ThingSpace has been under development at Verizon for over two years,” said Lanman. “We put under a single pane of glass the solutions they will need to drive products to the marketplace.” The platform will include a management tool as well as:

  • APIs: In two quarters, Lanman says the number of APIs on the platform will go from hundreds to over 1,000. The company will hold a hackathon Dec. 3 at its Waltham, Massachusetts, facility, during which it will roll out the expanded set of APIs and application enablement capabilities.

  • Infrastructure: A new dedicated IoT network core, due in Q116, is tailored for the next-generation of IoT use cases. “Whether you’re connecting your dog or a water heater — any low-payload device,” he said. “The new IoT core will scale to literally billions of devices.”

  • Connectivity and WAN: Another barrier to widespread IoT deployment is the cost to connect to a wide-area network and the user complexity involved in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee. Lanman says the answer here is Verizon’s 4G network combined with a new Sequans LTE chipset, available now. “It changes the game,” said Lanman, adding that Verizon is committed to making its 4G network accessible to IoT developers globally. He said Verizon has worked with partners to embed the LTE chipsets in a wide range of connected machines to automate the provisioning process. In 2016 it will switch on a power-save mode for IoT devices to extend battery life for several years.

  • Data: Verizon is commercializing for IoT its big-data analytics engine, which Lanman says now handles 1.5 trillion transactions per month internally. The engine, available now, enables developers to feed in the massive amounts of data generated by IoT devices and other machines, analyze it at extremely high speeds and extract usable intelligence.

The company is zeroing in on markets that Lanman says can benefit now from IoT innovation: agriculture, health care, consumer electronics, the sharing economy and smart cities. Of note to partners serving state and local government are Intelligent Lighting and Intelligent Traffic Management offerings.

Lanman laid out some use cases: a winery using Verizon’s agricultural platform to mine sensor data and analytics to conserve water; pharmaceutical companies using IoT to monitor the supply chain; and colleges and universities reducing their carbon footprints by adopting electric vehicles equipped with Verizon’s Share app. Pilot sites include the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Lanman says all developers – Verizon customer or not – can now code and test on the ThingSpace platform.

In other IoT news, Cisco announced this week that it will acquire ParStream, maker of an IoT-specific analytics database that allows companies to analyze large amounts of data and store it in near-real-time anywhere, including at the network edge — the fog, in Cisco parlance. The company estimates that 50 billion things will be connected to the Internet by 2020; that’s a lot of data.

CompTIA’s Sizing Up the Internet of Things report, available now, is a great primer, with a breakdown of IoT ecosystem elements, standards efforts, business opportunities for firms in the IT and telecom channels and more.

Cisco Global Cloud Index: Traffic To Quadruple

Cisco this week also released its annual Global Cloud Index. The top-line news is good if you’re in the data transport business: Global cloud traffic is forecast to more than quadruple by the end of 2019, from 2.1 to 8.6 zettabytes, outpacing the growth rate – but not volume – of total global data center traffic, which is forecast to triple during the same time frame, from 3.4 to 10.4 ZB. That’s the equivalent of 144 trillion hours of streaming music.

“The Global Cloud Index highlights the fact that cloud is moving well beyond a regional trend to becoming a mainstream solution globally, with cloud traffic expected to grow more than 30 percent in every worldwide region over the next five years,” said Doug Webster, Cisco vice president of service provider marketing, in a statement. “Enterprise and government organizations are moving from test cloud environments to trusting clouds with their mission-critical workloads. At the same time, consumers continue to expect on-demand, anytime access to their content and services nearly everywhere. This creates a tremendous opportunity for cloud operators, which will play an increasingly relevant role in the communications industry ecosystem.”

Of note to partners, 73 percent of data now stored on client devices resides on PCs. By 2019, 51 percent will move to non-PC devices, including not just smartphones and tablets but connected M2M modules, all of which will use more cloud storage. Cisco also predicts that while overall data center workloads will more than double from 2014 to 2019, SDN and NFV will streamline traffic flows within data centers.

On the private vs. public cloud front, 44 percent of cloud workloads will be in private data centers, down from 70 percent in 2014, with 56 percent in public clouds. Sounds like a hybrid future.

The 2019 breakdown for public cloud workloads:  59 percent SaaS, 30 percent IaaS, down from 42 percent in 2014, and 11 percent PaaS.

Security Pros: Who, Us, a Target?

From The “denial is not just a river in Egypt” department comes the latest Ponemon Institute study, published this week, showing that half of 614 IT security practitioners in the U.S. view their organizations as unlikely targets for attack. That could be a bit of whistling by the graveyard, seeing as 61 percent say they lack confidence in their ability to detect advanced threats.

The research was sponsored by Prelert, which provides behavioral analytics for IT security and operations teams; the company does about one-third of its sales through the channel now and expects that percentage to continue to grow, according to a spokesman.

Ponemon asked respondents what type of cyberattacks cause the greatest concern; 67 percent said advanced persistent threats, followed by zero-day attacks. However, they don’t seem to be doing much about it — 49 percent said their use of advanced threat detection technologies either would not change in the coming year (43 percent) or would decrease (6 percent).

Sounds like an opportunity to have a conversation about customers’ real risks, and what they’re doing about them. To learn more, you can jump on a webinar, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. ET.

Nuage Networks Expands Partner Program

Alcatel-Lucent-backed SDN provider Nuage Networks announced this week an expanded partner program and a self-service solution certification program that enables potential partners to certify interoperability of third-party appliances and virtual software services with Nuage’s platforms. It also added Citrix, CounterTack, F5, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks and others as precertified ecosystem partners. Nuage already has deals with Dell, HP and a number of security providers.

Nuage is focused on open standards for software-defined networks, including for private and hybrid clouds, and the announcements came during this week’s OpenStack Summit in Tokyo. As the SDN market matures, interoperability is far from a given. Solutions providers with customers committed to a best-of-breed strategy and with lots of Linux and other open source software in use need to consider that when architecting a private cloud.

Besides OpenStack, Nuage partners can also use the company’s own packaged Virtualized Services Platform to build clouds for customers. SDN is about the ability to quickly respond to network conditions, so it’s a natural for security and app delivery, two focuses of the expanded program. “Most security teams’ remediation capabilities are though static methods, such as nuking and paving servers or taking them offline for forensics,” CounterTack CTO Michael A. Davis told me. “By pairing our behavioral detection and SDN integration, security teams can leverage the agility of SDN to provide a much more robust, effective remediation path for systems that are attacked. Many times, they can reduce the dwell time an attacker has on a system.”

Veeam Reports Revenue Jump, New Suite, Adds Exec to Lead Global Alliances

It’s earnings season, and Veeam reported a healthy 49 percent revenue growth for all editions of its Veeam Availability Suite, with a 23 percent year-over-year uptick in orders from enterprise customers. Veeam’s software now protects close to 10 million virtual machines. The company currently has 34,500 ProPartners and more than 168,000 customers worldwide using its variety of virtualized and cloud DRaaS and availability products, and the Cloud & Service Provider program reported an increase of 73 percent in the number of transactions year-over-year. That program includes more than 9,700 service and cloud providers. The latest Veeam Availability Suite v9, due later this quarter, will start at $1,100 per socket, but customers that purchase any edition of the Availability Suite through Dec. 31 will save up to 10 percent and may upgrade to v9 for free.

Veeam has deals with Cisco, EMC, HP, Microsoft, NetApp and VMware, and this week also announced the appointment of Andy Vandeveld as VP, global alliances. Vandeveld, how was previously VP of Citrix’s enterprise partner sales team, is charged with expanding the Veeam partner base, especially with systems integrators.

Follow editor in chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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