DataTap Solutions

Category Archives:Cloud Monitoring

Cognitive Analytics

If your IT environment is like 90% of the other complex environments out there, chances are that you are dealing with lots of data (structured & unstructured) and limited resources (Tools & Personnel). Powerful technologies exist and are being improved that automate analytics and decision making. Among the technologies driving IT automation are machine learning, neural networks, deep learning, natural language processes, and more. These technologies have statistical roots and are mainly constructed around analytics.

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Cognitive Analytics add a flavor of automation in the form of processing adhoc data streamed from multiple sources. These Analytics have the power to characterize any type of information embedded in the data and put them to use in real-time. Some of the examples include, automatic issue remediation by conducting pro-active diagnostics, adaptive communication frameworks such as BOTS, etc…

 

DataTap’s solution is capable of collecting data from multiple data sources, learn and characterize the entities, correlate and isolate anomalies, prescript the insights into various processes and measure the effectiveness of the prescriptions. This level of automation enables your IT teams to handle the onslaught of data volumes and keep the costs low.

 

Please visit other DataTap blogs that explain how each of these solutions work. If you need more information on our products and services, please contact us at contactus@datatapsolutions.com.

Private Cloud Infrastructure Visibility

As private cloud implementations are moving into mainstream technology adoption, customers are facing with a new set of visibility challenges. We spoke to a senior director at one of the consulting firms that deals with numerous end customers with active OpenStack projects. He asked basic questions like, “we do not know if the instance came up or not” and “how do not we know if the instance is communicating?”. These questions prompted us to write this blog and explain how we can be of help to this cause.

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CHALLENGE
Scalability and flexibility offered by OpenStack comes with its own set of pitfalls. Following are some of the implementation challenges of OpenStack:
  • Multiple components that focus on specific function, i.e. Nova, Neutron, Swift, Congres
  • Components are independently scalable, i.e. Nuetron, Swift can scale independent of each other depending on the need
  • Configuration management challenges, i.e. What works in one environment does not work in another as typically no two OpenStack environments are same.
IMPACT 
Shortage of professionals in this space makes it hard enough to carry out an implementation project. This issue is further enhanced by custom environments.
DESIRED SOLUTION
Following are some of the desired features of a solution that addresses the problems mentioned above:
  • Heat Template Visualization
  • Component and service dependency maps
  • Topology and Failure visibility across regions, zones and projects
  • Real time performance monitoring of OpenStack installs.
 Please visit other DataTap blogs that explain how each of these solutions work. If you need more information on our products and services, please contact us at contactus@datatapsolutions.com.

Advanced Threat Defense

Fifteen plus years of efforts to curb IT security issues are still searching for answers. Hackers are getting innovative day by day always having a slight edge over their IT targets. Along came security solutions such as Anti-Malware, Firewalls, IDS, IPS and WAF. Unfortunately there is a common fallacy among all these solutions in the form of vectors, rules that protect either endpoints or perimeter. Fact of the matter is that these solutions offer siloed approach to security. Take a look at this article from Tech Target – search for answers to ‘advanced threat’ defense.

 

The headline caught my attention –

Visibility into what is happening on your network may matter more than stopping an attack. Can technology keep up with advanced threats?

This is a well said statement. There is a reason security issues are termed as ‘virus’. Advanced-Threat-Defense based on behavioral analytics is like a standby doctor constantly diagnosing human body. Behavioral Analytics also unravel the issues that conveniently break deployed security solutions.

Planning-a-hybrid-cloud

If you are an IT manager planning a hybrid cloud environment, you are concerned about the aspects such as security in a public cloud and cost of a private cloud. Although security is a top concern in public clouds, the automation appeal of a public cloud is still a big plus. Here are some factors to consider as you plan your hybrid infrastructure:
  • Hypervisor: If you are a KVM or Vmware ESX shop in your private cloud/datacenter and trying to add AWS or azure, you need to make sure the application images are compatible and convertible.
  • Security: Encrypting communications with between your public and private cloud infrastructure by creating a VPN tunnels of sort is going to integrate your public cloud smoothly with your datacenter. Solutions such as VNS from Cohesive Networks might be of great help to you here. This should be the top consideration in planning-a-hybrid-cloud.
  • OrchestratorYou need centralized orchestration software such as OpenStack in your private cloud to control both public and private clouds.
  • Management: Hybrid clouds require greater levels of automation management to achieve higher degrees of availability, performance, and security.
  • Visibility & Flow Analytics: Planning-a-hybrid-cloud requires understanding your data for efficient division of labor between private & public clouds. The ability to run applications in a private cloud during peak usage hours and then offload to the public cloud during off-peak hours affords enormous flexibility. This provides maximum use and efficiency of both internal and external resources. You need to know which data needs higher security, which data must be compliant with regulatory requirements and which data you can safely farm out to public clouds. For this purpose, you need to have a network visibility and analytics solutions like ours in place.

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Cloud visibility solution with fortified security

Cloud environments often fall short in terms of networking flexibility. Most cloud environments are starting to offer virtual cloud packages to address this shortfall. Traditional mid-to-large businesses require unique networking features with added layers of security on top. To address these problems Cohesive Networks introduced an All-in-one solution called VNS3 few years ago that fulfills your need for a VPN, Gateway, Firewall, Switch and Router.
Now to address the visibility into very secure, network rich Cloud environment that Cohesive offers, DataTap has ported dProbe to run inside a VNS3 instance. This allows VNS3 users to get complete visibility of their Cloud infrastructure.
Following are the three basic advantages of DataTap Cloud Visibility solution:
  • Application Performance Management (traffic visibility & latency analysis) with agent-less architecture
  • Advanced Threat detection & log correlation in a dynamic cloud computing model
  • Seem-less integration with on-premises service monitoring with Hybrid-IT deployment support

Take a look at how your cloud instances in multiple cloud vendors can leverage VNS and SightApps to achieve Cloud visibility.

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3 initial steps to adopt Cloud-as-a-service

After long time I read an interesting article on what it takes to adopt a new service. Good folks @ Infonetics conducted a survey on Cloud technologies and the results are surprising. Here is a snippet from their news:
“Cloud providers’ top challenges are non-technical: Meeting customer concerns about loss of control over private data, and helping customers overcome resistance to procedural change or understand how to take advantage of off-premises cloud services,” Grossner said.
I am sure by now you are tired of Something-as-a-Service phenomena. First came IaaS even though people did not take a notice until SaaS came along. Now several vendors are offering Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). While all this is going on in the public cloud market, enterprises & carrier vendors put their own spin on it with SDN and NFV. Now they all are converging back to a hybrid architecture that demands some serious thought into addressing issues like security, optimization and of course cost structures.
Following are the three initial steps to adopt a Cloud-as-a-Service (CaaS):
  • Align your service infrastructure strategy with long term corporate goals
  • Have a resident Cloud expert that also knows enough about SDN/NFV
  • Last but most important, have a network visibility and analytics solutions like ours in place.

 

Take a look at the top three concerns of your customers when using cloud services.

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You can find the full Infonetics report here.

 

Cloud-Security-Practices

It baffles me that the CSO’s get only 10% of the total IT budget in organizations even in 2010s where we have seen at least one noteworthy security breach. And 9 out of that 10% is spent on threat prevention software leaving 1% of IT budget to other security products like threat detection and network DVR type applications. As cloud adoption accelerates, cloud security practices are in check and so are the items that need a CSO attention.
In an InformationWeek article on cloud security practices, Amrit Williams placed Continuous visibility as the top security practice. Here is an excerpt from his posting:

First and foremost, companies need to have 100% continuous visibility into their technology assets and services. In brief, you can’t secure what can’t see. Know what you’ve got and what it’s doing at all times. This sounds incredibly basic, but given the automated, elastic, on-demand nature of modern virtual infrastructure, visibility can be a challenge. Once you understand what’s going on with your infrastructure, applications, data, and users, you can begin to understand how to limit your attack surface and better prevent or mitigate attacks.

 

You can read the complete article here.

Challenges of Hybrid IT Services

Research shows that 70% of new IT investment is going to at least consider Cloud adoption. Now that is bold target in my opinion. Enterprises and service providers have long ways to go in fortifying cloud links before expanding big in the cloud. We personally like to see this happen sooner than anyone else as our business (help visualize, optimize and secure cloud integration) depends on cloud adoption by enterprises.
Our recent experiment with AWS with open access to our public IPs on limited set of ports showed that, systems can bought down to knees by attacks from usual suspect nations within hours. Don’t get me wrong – cloud providers have built-in security checkpoints to filter as much traffic as possible. But they often fall short of the stringent enterprise security requirements. Have a look at what Gartner has to say about enterprise cloud adoption.

“For critical applications and data, IT organizations have not adopted public cloud computing as quickly. Many IT organizations discover that public cloud service providers (CSPs) cannot meet the security requirements, integrate with enterprise management, or guarantee availability necessary to host critical applications. Therefore, organizations continue to own and operate internal IT services that house critical applications and data” said Chris Howard, managing vice president at Gartner (read more)

Does this mean enterprises are not going to migrate to clouds anytime soon. Not really. Here is more…

“IT organizations that do not match the request for IT as a service run the risk of internal customers bypassing the IT organization and consuming IT services from the external cloud, thereby placing the company at greater risk,” said Mr. Howard. IT organizations are becoming the broker to a set of IT services that are hosted partially internally and partially externally — hybrid IT architecture.

So you must be thinking – IT is under pressure to get to public clouds to avoid silo cloud users, so what? Well, Hybrid IT services creates symmetry between internal and external IT resources that will force enterprises to fortify their cloud services as much as on-prem enterprise services. Now the question is how much of the cloud is secure? To begin with, one must ask, how much of the cloud network can IT departments has visibility to in the midst of all of this?