Archive for August 2011
On Brian Hopkins’s Forrester piece, “Big Opportunities In Big Data: Positioning Your Firm To Capitalize In A Sea Of Information”

By Joe Fisher, EVP Worldwide Marketing, Axway

I recently read a piece Forrester’s Brian Hopkins wrote about enterprise architecture, the expansion of data, and big data in general. It got me thinking about some of the different trends and phases we’re seeing both out in the wild and within enterprises. It seems that yet another generation of technological innovation is upon us.

Twenty years ago, it was all about how fast we could get chips to process, how far we could shrink transistors down, and the optimization of silicon and microchips.

Ten years ago, we saw the rapid introduction, evolution and optimization of the Internet. People were focused on exchanging and interacting with a browser, moving information around efficiently, and connecting securely, especially within the enterprise. We did a lot of optimization there as well.

Today, I see a third phase emerging: social interaction. We’re no longer focused on connecting to a browser or email client. We’re focused on connecting and interacting with a billion people socially and professionally; and as developing nations become increasingly connected, that new reality continues to scale.

It started with Facebook and Twitter, and now I’m seeing it in the enterprise ecosystem. The volume of data and the velocity at which that data moves is taking existing enterprise infrastructure to the next level – and it’s all enabled through the networks facilitating social and business interactions.

But why now? Well, historically, we haven’t been able to scale big data sets quickly because we didn’t have the necessary elasticity within our ecosystems; but now we are transcending hybrid ecosystems so that it’s not just about your on-premise infrastructure, it’s about your cloud. Specifically, it’s about the cloud becoming a hybrid component that gives you enormous elasticity.

That’s important because, as Brian mentions, we’re now producing data in much larger volumes. When you consider the sheer amount of data – the number of files, the size of the files – that we must now move around, the entire data footprint has grown exponentially. It requires real elasticity and a truly hybrid architecture and ecosystem to enable that. This is especially true for virtualization technology.

Now that we’ve launched a new stage of high-volume social business interactions, we need to determine what we’re going to do with that data. We’ve spent the last few years taking inventory and warehousing it. All of a sudden we’re hit with a barrage of data, and what do we do with it? We stick it on the shelf, build more shelves, figure out where to put it, and continue to pile it into the warehouse.

Then we have to be quick about addressing several important questions:

 

  • * How do we get control of this data?
  • * How do we make sure we’re in compliance?
  • * How do we leverage this data?
  • * How do we utilize it for business value?

Just a few years ago we were simply trying to get control of the data; now we’re standing it on its head and devising ways to track the movement of goods and services more efficiently, drive operational efficiency, understand how to improve the top and bottom line of our business, and improve the cash flow of our business.

This is the next generation, and Axway is on the forefront of leveraging hybrid cloud ecosystems for elasticity, generating intelligence around event processing and event handling, and putting it all together to make business operate more efficiently.

On Neil Roiter’s CSO article, “Optimizing Managed File Transfer (MFT): Dos and don’ts”

By Bill Reeves, Sr. Director, Product & Solution Marketing (MFT), Axway

Three action items come to mind after reading Neil Roiter’s piece.

First, plan and review ALL of your current file transfer processes. Do not fall into the trap of isolating problems and finding solutions that only solve one problem.  It is much better to take a step back and evaluate the needs of your entire system and build solutions around it.  Otherwise, you may end up with better tools that solve your specific problems, but no central governance or control.

Next, imagine your future solution – everything is installed, you’ve got exactly what you want. What’s next? How will you grow your solution? How will your solution need to change over time? For example, your file transfer system may be efficient enough now to produce a report in fifteen minutes, but what if down the road an emerging requirement means producing a report in five minutes? Could your solution handle the increased requirements when it comes to speed, size and reliability?

What-if scenarios will help you determine whether your system can handle increased demands — demands on scalability, reporting, auditing, data control and data usage, all of which are constantly evolving.

Finally, avoid “paralysis by analysis.” Break the file transfer environment into chunks and ask yourself, “What percentage of my file transfers are going on inside or outside my organization?  Who are the biggest file transfer users within my organization?”

Breaking the file transfer environment into chunks allows you to methodically evolve your MFT landscape.  A common tactic is to target your biggest (internal or external) stakeholders first and your smaller users later, rather than switching everybody at the same time. This gradual evolution allows you to gently move the organization toward a better file transfer solution. It allows you to do more than merely flip the switch and hope the files get to their destination!

Additionally, make sure that the magnitude of the project does not become too daunting. I’ve seen it happen many times: Somebody says they know they need to consolidate all file transfers and send files through a central point — one central gateway — to make sure the solution has centralized management control, auditing, reporting, etc. But then the magnitude of the project hits them – they realize all of the moving parts and the all of the different groups involved –  and they freeze up and end up putting off any changes for “another day.”

Bottom line: Break your project down into manageable and understandable chunks. This will allow you to fully understand who your various constituents are and how your MFT strategy can, and should, be implemented over time.