Our insight


When starting with public cloud services in an organisation, the first conversations normally take place at a strategic level and are based around shifting from a CapEx to OpEx cost model. This is a great place to start, but it can create a lot of uncertainty around what those month-to-month costs are going to be for any given infrastructure footprint. 

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The direction of travel for IT infrastructure is undoubtedly - and quite rightly - towards automating as much as possible of deployment and maintenance. Automation is the driver towards real business benefits such as increased visibility, operational effectiveness and guaranteed compliance in technical operations, but like any approach it’s not a panacea. Successful approaches to automation require pragmatism rather than ideological inflexibility to really make it add value within an organisation.

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At the top of the year, Mike set out the challenges and opportunities we're all facing in 2018. More than a month in already, and I wanted to talk about the exciting ways Ideal is rising to meet those challenges, and help you seize and deliver on opportunities.

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It's been nearly a couple of weeks since I came back from VMWare 2017, and even now my head's still spinning a bit. I'd always planned an extended trip to Barcelona, initially to take a couple of days' holiday, but in the end almost the full six-day stretch filled up with meetings, briefings and workshops.

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Last week Daren Vallyon - our data centre solutions architect - got to meet VMware supremo Pat Gelsinger. I'll let Daren recount his adventures at VMworld Barcelona, but meanwhile I wanted to focus on a theme of Gelsinger's August keynote speech at the Las Vegas event.

One of his key points was that the security landscape is crowded with vendors offering targeted, often worthy, solutions, which operate in silos. The net effect is that it's hard to get an overall security picture, which is in itself a risk. As Gelsinger introduced a new virtual-machine-whitelisting product AppDefense, he explained that the industry as a whole needed to deliver more security.

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I've already written a bit about segregating enterprise networks, and about the new technologies that are making this easier and more effective. As Ideal's solution architect for networks it's something I get asked about a lot, so I thought it might be helpful to look at this from the customer point of view. You can probably boil it down to three questions: Do I need to segregate?, What do I need to segregate? and How do I segregate?

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For a long time, technology has existed in silos: hosted, cloud-based, on-premises, data centres, LANs v WANs v SANs - and that's before you even start to consider all the different proprietary brands, operating systems, backends and consoles it takes to make the average IT operation operate - some manufacturers can't even make all their own products talk to each other. But something interesting is happening with APIs, and the walls between systems are, perhaps, beginning to come down.

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We've looked before at how the public cloud, for all its benefits, isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. From concerns about data security and sovereignty, to my own thoughts about the challenge of managing data and applications across providers, it's clearly not a panacea.

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We've talked a lot about software-defined networking (SDN) and the increasingly intelligent network hardware that enables it. Lately, fellow solutions architect Daren Vallyon and I have been trying to provide a bit more detail about how Cisco is innovating in both areas, with technologies like Digital Network Architecture (DNA) and Campus Fabric.

Our take on the details might be interesting to fellow technologists, but what if you're trying to build the business case for your organisation to invest in new networking technologies?

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We're always working to build stronger relationships with long-term, established players, but in the new partnerships we've announced this year, Ideal is also investing in new and exciting technologies. In Rubrik, we've added a partner with something truly disruptive: an appliance-based, converged backup offering that's so 'right' it's a wonder nobody did it before.

I want to explain what it does and why it's brilliant.

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Late yesterday, Cisco announced a new MDS 9700 series director module. For those who don't know, directors are an extremely high-end switch, designed to form the backbone of a fast storage area network (SAN) in the data centre. The MDS 9700 series already has industry-leading scale and performance, and with the new 32Gbps module the largest now supports up to 768 by 32Gbps fibre channel ports, operating with full-duplex aggregate of 48Tbps - astonishing.

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