Wednesday, October 12, 2011

As Cloud and Mobile Trends Drive User Expectations Higher, Networks Must Now Deliver Applications Faster, Safer, Cheaper

Transcript of a sponsored podcast discussion on how networks services must support growing application and media delivery demands.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Learn more. Sponsor: Akamai Technologies.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today we present a sponsored podcast discussion on how the major IT trends of the day -- from mobile to cloud to app stores -- are changing the expectations we all have from our networks.

We hear about the post-PC era, but rarely does anyone talk about the post-LAN or even the post-WAN era. How are the networks of yesterday going to support the applications and media delivery requirements of tomorrow?

It’s increasingly clear that more users will be using more devices to access more types of content and services. They want coordination among those devices for that content. They want it done securely with privacy, and they want their IT departments to support all of their devices for all of their work applications and data too.

From the IT mangers' perspective, they want to be able to deliver all kinds of applications using all sorts of models, from smartphones to tablets to zero clients to web streaming to fat-client downloads and website delivery across multiple public and private networks with control and with ease.

This is all a very tall order, and networks will need to adjust rapidly or the latency and hassle of access and performance issues will get in the way of users, their new expectations, and their behaviors -- for both work and play.

We're here today with an executive from at Akamai Technologies to delve into the rapidly evolving trends and subsequently heightened expectations that we're all developing around our networks. We are going to look at how those networks might actually rise to the task.

Please join me in welcoming Neil Cohen, Vice President of Product Marketing at Akamai Technologies. Welcome to BriefingsDirect, Neil. [Disclosure: Akamai is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Neil Cohen: Hi, Dana. Happy to be here.

Gardner: So Neil, given these heightened expectations -- this always-on, hyper connectivity mode -- how are networks going to rise to this? Are they maybe even at the risk of becoming the weak link in how we progress?

Change is needed

Cohen: Nobody wants the network to be the weak link, but changes definitely need to happen. Look at what’s going on in the enterprise and the way applications are being deployed. It’s changing to where they're moving out to the cloud. Applications that used to reside in your own infrastructure are moving out to other infrastructure, and in some cases, you don’t have the ability to place any sort of technology to optimize the WAN out in the cloud.

Mobile device usage is exploding. Things like smartphones and tablets are all becoming intertwined with the way people want to access their applications. Obviously, when you start opening up more applications through access to the internet, you have a new level of security that you have to worry about when things move outside of your firewall that used to be within it.

Gardner: One of the things that's interesting to me is that there are so many different networks involved with an end-to-end services lifecycle now. We think about mobile and cloud, and we don’t have one administrator to go to, one throat to choke, as it were. How do people approach this problem when there are multiple networks, and how do you know where the weak link is, when there is a problem?

Cohen: The first step is to understand just what many networks actually mean, because even that has a lot of different dimensions to it. The fact that things are moving out to public clouds means that users are getting access, usually over the internet. We all know that the internet is very different than your private network. Nobody is going to give you a service-level agreement (SLA) on the internet.

Something like mobile is different, where you have mobile networks that have different attributes, different levels of over subscription and different bottlenecks that need to be solved. This really starts driving the need to not only 1) bring control over the internet itself, as well as the mobile networks.

There are a lot of different things that people are looking at to try to solve application delivery outside of the corporate network.



But also 2) the importance for performance analytics from a real end-user perspective. It becomes important to look at all the different choke points at which latency can occur and to be able to bring it all into a holistic view, so that you can troubleshoot and understand where your problems are.

Gardner: This is something we all grapple with. Occasionally, we’ll be using our smartphones or tablets and performance issues will kick in. I don’t have a clue where that weak link is on that spectrum of my device back to some data center somewhere. Is there some way that the network adapts? Is there a technology approach to this? We all want to attack it, but just briefly from a technological perspective, how can this end-to-end solution start to come together?

Cohen: There are a lot of different things that people are looking at to try to solve application delivery outside of the corporate network. Something we’ve been doing at Akamai for a long time is deploying our own optimization protocols into the internet that give you the control, the SLA, the types of quality of service that you normally associate with your private network.

And there are lots of optimization tricks that are being done for mobile devices, where you can optimize the network. You can optimize the web content and you can actually develop different formats and different content for mobile devices than for regular desktop devices. All of those are different ways to try to deal with the performance challenges off the traditional WAN.

Gardner: It's my sense that the IT folks inside enterprises are looking to get out of this business. There's been a tendency to bake more network services into their infrastructure, but I think as that edge of the enterprise moves outward, almost to infinity at this point, with so many different screens per user, that they probably want to outsource this as well. Do you sense if that’s the case and are the carriers stepping up to the plate and saying, "We’re going to take over more of this network performance issue?"

Cohen: I think they're looking at it and saying, "Look, I have a problem. My network is evolving. It's spanning in lots of different ways, whether it's on my private network or out on the internet or mobile devices," and they need to solve that problem. One way of solving it is to build hardware and do lots of different do-it-yourself approaches to try to solve that.

Unwieldy approach

I agree with you, Dana. That’s a very unwieldy approach. It requires a lot of dollars and arguably doesn’t solve the problem very well, which is why companies look for managed services and ways to outsource those types of problems, when things move off of their WAN.

But at the same time, even though they're outsourcing it, they still want control. It's important for an IT department to actually see what traffic and what applications are being accessed by the users, so that they understand the traffic and they can react to it.

Gardner: At the same time I'm seeing a rather impressive adoption pattern around virtualized desktop activities and there’s a variety of ways of doing this. We’ve seen solutions from folks like Citrix and Microsoft and we’re seeing streaming, zero-client, thin-client, and virtual-desktop activities, like infrastructure in the data center, a pure delivery of the full desktop and the applications as a service.

These are all different characterizations I suppose of a problem on the network. That is to say that there are different network issues, different payloads, and different protocols and technology. So how does that fit into this? When we look at latency, it's not just latency of one kind of delivery or technology or model. It's multiple at the same time.

Cohen: You’re correct. There are different unique challenges with the virtual desktop models, but it also ties into that same hyper-connected theme. In order to really unleash the potential of virtual desktops, you don’t only want to be able to access it on your corporate network, but you want to be able to get a local experience by taking that virtual desktop anywhere with you just like you do with a regular machine. You’re also seeing products being offered out in the market that allow you to extend virtual desktops onto your mobile tablets.

In order to really unleash the potential of virtual desktops, you don’t only want to be able to access it on your corporate network, but you want to be able to get a local experience.



You have the same kind of issues again. Not only do you have different protocols to optimize for virtual desktops, but you have to deal with the same challenges of delivering it across that entire ecosystem of devices, and networks. That’s an area that we’re investing heavily in as it relates to unlocking the potential of VDI. People will have universal access, to be able to take their desktops wherever they want to go.

Gardner: And is there some common thread to what we would think of in the past as acceleration services for things like websites, streaming, or downloads? Are we talking about an entirely new kind of infrastructure or is this some sort of a natural progression of what folks like Akamai have been doing for quite some time?

Cohen: It's a very logical extension of the technology we’ve built for more than a decade. If you look a decade ago, we had to solve the problem of delivering streaming video, real-time over the web, which is very sensitive to things like latency, packet loss, and jitter and that’s no different for virtual desktops. In order to give that local experience for virtual users, you have to solve the challenges of real-time communication back and forth between the client and the server.

Gardner: And these are fairly substantial issues. It seems to me that if you can solve these network issues, if you can outsource some of the performance concerns and develop a better set of security and privacy, I suppose backstops, then you can start to invest more in your data center consolidation efforts -- one datacenter for a global infrastructure perhaps.

You can start to leverage more outsource services like software as a service (SaaS) or cloud. You can transform your applications. Instead of being of an older platform or paradigm or model, you can start to go toward newer ones, perhaps start dabbling in things like HTML5.

If I were an architect in the enterprise, it seems to me that many of my long-term cost-performance improvement activities of major strategic initiatives are all hinging on solving this network problem.

So do you get that requirement, that request, from the CIO saying, "Listen, I'm betting my future on this network. What do I need to do? Who do I need to go to to make sure that that doesn’t become a real problem for me and makes my dollar spent perhaps more risky?"

Business transformation

Cohen: What I'm hearing is more of a business transformation example, where the business comes down and puts pressure on the network to be able to access applications anywhere, to be able to outsource, to be able to offshore, and to be able to modernize their applications. That’s really mandating a lot of the changes in the network itself.

The pressure is really coming from the business, which is, "How do I react more quickly to the changing needs of the business without having IT in a position where they say, 'I can't.' " The internet is the pervasive platform that allows you to get anywhere. What you need is the quality of service guarantees that should come with it.

Gardner: I suppose we’re seeing two things here. We’ve got the pressure from the business side, which is innovate, do better, and be agile. IT is also having to do more with less, which means they have to in many cases transform and re-engineer and re-architect.

So you have a lot of wind in your sails, right? There are a lot of people saying, I want to find somebody who can come to this network problem with some sort of a comprehensive solution, that one throat to choke. What do you tell them?

Cohen: I tell them to come to Akamai. If you can help transform a business and you can do it in a way that is operationally more efficient at a lower cost, you’ve got the winning combination.

Gardner: And this is also I suppose not just an Akamai play, but is really an ecosystem play, because we’re talking about working in coordination with cloud providers, with other technology suppliers and vendors. Tell me a little bit about how the ecosystem works and what it takes to create an end-to-end solution?

In order to solve this problem as it relates to access anywhere and pervasive connectivity on any device, you definitely need to strike a bunch of partnerships.



Cohen: In order to solve this problem as it relates to access anywhere and pervasive connectivity on any device, you definitely need to strike a bunch of partnerships. Given Akamai’s presence has been in the internet and the ISPs, the types of partnerships that are required are getting your footprints inside of the corporate network, to be able to traverse over what we call hybrid cloud networks -- corporate users inside of the private network that need to reach out the public clouds for example.

It requires partnerships with the cloud providers as well, so that people who are standing up new applications on infrastructure and platform as service environments have a seamless integrated experience. It also requires partnerships with other types of networks, like the mobile networks, as well as the service providers themselves.

Gardner: And looking at this from a traditional internet value proposition, tell us, for those who might not be that familiar with Akamai, what your legacy and your heritage is, and what some of the products are that you have now, so that we can start thinking about what we might look forward to in the future.

Cohen: Akamai has been in business for more than 12 years now. We help business innovators move forward with their Internet business models. A decade ago, that was really consumer driven. Most people were thinking about things like, "I've got this website. I'm doing some commerce. People want to watch video." That’s really changed in the last decade. Now, you see the internet transforming into enterprise use as well.

Akamai continues to offer the consumer-based services as it relates to improving websites and rich media on the web. But now we have a full suite of services that provide application acceleration over the internet. We allow you to reach users globally while consolidating your infrastructure and getting the same kind of benefits you realize with WAN optimization on your private network, but out over the internet.

Security services

And as those applications move outside of the firewall, we’ve got a suite of security services that address the new types of security threats you deal with when you’re out on the web.

Gardner: One of the other things that I hear in the marketplace is the need for data, more analysis, more understanding what’s really taking place. There's been sort of a black box, maybe several black boxes, inside of IT for the business leaders. They don’t always understand what’s going on in the data center, but I'm sure they don’t understand what’s going on in the network.

Is there an opportunity at this juncture, when we start to look for network services bridging across these networks, looking for value added services at that larger network level outside the enterprise, that we can actually bring a better view into what’s going on, on these networks, back to these business leaders and IT leaders? Is there an analysis, a business intelligence benefit from doing this as well?

Cohen: You’re absolutely right. What’s important is not only that you improve the delivery of an application, but that you have the appropriate insight in terms of how the application is performing and how people are using the application so that you can take action and react accordingly.

Just because something has moved out into the cloud or out on the Internet, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have the same kind of real-time personalized analytics that you expect on your private network. That’s an area we’ve invested in, both in our own technology investment, but also with some partnerships that provide real-time reporting and business intelligence in terms of our critical websites and applications.

Just because something has moved out into the cloud or out on the Internet, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have the same kind of real-time personalized analytics that you expect on your private network.



Gardner: Is there something about the type of applications that we should expect a change? We’ve had some paradigm shifts over the past 20 years. We had mainframe apps, and then client-server apps, and then we've had n-tier apps and Web apps and services orientation is coming, where it is more of a services delivery model.

But, is the mobile cloud, these mega trends that we’re seeing, are fundamentally redefining applications. Are we seeing a different type of what we consider application delivery requirement?

Cohen: A lot of it is very similar, which is the principle of the web. Websites are based on HTML and with HTML5, the web is getting richer, more immersive, and starting to approach that as the same kind of experience you get on your desktop.

What I expect to see is more adoption of standard web languages. It means that you need to use good semantic design principles, as it relates to the way you design your applications. But in terms of optimizing content and building for mobile devices and mobile specific sites, a lot of that is going to be using standard web languages that people are familiar with and that are just evolving and getting better.

Gardner: So maybe a way to rephrase that would be, not that the types of applications are changing, but is there a need to design and build these applications differently, in such a way that they are cloud-ready or hybrid-ready or mobile-ready?

Are there any thoughts that you have as someone who is really focused on the network of saying, "I wish I could to talk to these developers early on, when they’re setting up the requirements, so that we could build these apps for their ability to take advantage of this more heterogeneous cloud and/or multiple networks environment?"

Different spin

Cohen: There's slightly a different spin on that one, Dana, which is, can we go back to the developers and get them to build on a standard set of tools that allow them to deal with the different types of connected devices out in the market? If you build one code base based on HTML, for example, could you take that website that you've built and be able to render it differently in the cloud and allow it to adapt on the fly for something like an iPhone, an Android, a BlackBerry, a 7-inch tablet, or a 9-inch tablet?

If I were to go back to the developers, I’d ask, "Do you really need to build different websites or separate apps for all these different form factors, or is there a better way to build one common source, a code, and then adapt it using different techniques in the network, in the cloud that allow you to reuse that investment over and over again?"

Gardner: So part of the solution to the many screens problem isn’t more application interface designs, but perhaps a more common basis for the application and services, and let the network take care of those issues on a screen to screen basis. Is that closer?

Cohen: That’s exactly right. More and more of the intelligence is actually moving out to the cloud. We’ve already seen this on the video side. In the past people had to use lots of different formats and bit rates. Now what they’re doing is taking that stuff and saying, "Give me one high quality source." Then all of the adaptation capabilities that are going to be done in the network, in the cloud, just simplify that work from the customer.

I expect exactly the same thing to happen in the enterprise, where the enterprise is one common source of code and a lot of the adaptation capabilities are done, again, that intelligent function inside of the network.

It means that you need to use good semantic design principles, as it relates to the way you design your applications.



Gardner: I'm afraid we are about out of time, Neil. I really appreciate getting a better understanding of what some of the challenges are as we move into this “post-PC” era.

You've been listening to a sponsored podcast discussion on how the major IT trends of the day are changing the expectations we all have from our networks, and how those networks might rise to the occasion in helping us stay on track in terms of where we want things to go.

I want to thank our guest. We’ve been here with Neil Cohen, Vice President of Product Marketing at Akamai Technologies. Any closing thoughts Neil, on where people might consider the future networks to be and what they might look like?

Cohen: This is the hot topic. The WAN is becoming everything, but you really need to change your views as it relates to not just thinking about what happens inside of your corporate network, but with the movement of cloud, all of the connected devices, all of this quickly becoming the network.

Gardner: Very good. Thanks again. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. I also want to thank our audience for joining, and welcome them to come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Learn more. Sponsor: Akamai Technologies.

Transcript of a sponsored podcast discussion on how networks services must support growing application and media delivery demands. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

You may also be interested in:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Complex IT Security Risks Can Only Be Treated With Comprehensive Response, Not Point Products

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on the surge in security threats to enterprises and the approach companies need to take to thwart them.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Learn more. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on the rapidly increasing threat that enterprises face from security breaches. In just the past year, the number of attacks are up, the costs associated with them are higher and more visible, and the risks of not securing systems and processes are therefore much greater. Some people have even called the rate of attacks a pandemic.

The path to reducing these risks, even as the threats escalate, is to confront security at the framework and strategic level, and to harness the point solutions approach into a managed and ongoing security enhancement lifecycle.

As part of the series of recent news announcements from HP, we're here to examine how such a framework process can unfold, from workshops that allow a frank assessment of an organization’s vulnerabilities, to tailored framework-level approaches that can transform a company based on its own specific needs. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Here to describe how a fabric of technology, a framework of processes, and a lifecycle of preparedness can all work together to help organizations become more secure -- and stay secure -- is our guest. Please join me in welcoming Rebecca Lawson, Director of Worldwide Security Initiatives at HP. Welcome back, Rebecca.

Rebecca Lawson: Thank you. Nice to talk with you again.

Gardner: Rebecca, why now? Why has the security vulnerability issue come to a head?

Lawson: Open up the newspaper and you see another company getting hit almost every day. As an industry, we've hit a tipping point with so many different security related issues -- for example, cyber crime, hacktivism, nation-state attacks. When you couple that with the diversity of devices that we use, and the wide range of apps and data we access every day, you can see how these dynamics create a very porous environment for an enterprise.

So we are hearing from our customers that they want to step back and think more strategically about how they're going to handle security, not just for the short term, when threats are near and present, but also from a longer term point of view.

Gardner: What do you think are some of the trends that are supporting this vulnerability? I know you have some research that you've done. What are your findings? What's at work here that's making these hacktivists and these other nefarious parties successful?

For more detail on the the extent of security breaches, read the
Second Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study.

Lawson: In HP’s recent research, we've found that thirty percent of the people know that they've had a security breach by an unauthorized internal access, and over 20 percent have experienced an external breach. So breaches happen both internally and externally, and they happen for different reasons. Sometimes a breach is caused by a disgruntled customer or employee. Sometimes, there is a political motive. Sometimes, it's just an honest error ... Maybe they grab some paper off a printer that has some proprietary information, and then it gets into the wrong hands.

There are so many different points at which security incidents can occur; the real trick is getting your arms around all of them and focusing your attention on those that are most likely to cause reputation damage or financial damage or operational damage.

We also noticed in our research that the number of attacks, particularly on web applications, is just skyrocketing. One of the key areas of focus for HP is helping our customers understand why that’s happening, and what they can do about it.

Gardner: It also seems to me that, in the past, a lot of organizations could put up a walled garden, and say, "We're not going to do a lot of web stuff. We're not going to do mobile. We're going to keep our networks under our control." But nowadays that’s really just not possible.

If you're not doing mobile, not looking seriously at cloud, not making your workers able to access your assets regardless of where they are, you're really at a disadvantage competitively. So it seems to me that this is not an option, and that the old defensive posture just doesn’t work anymore.

Lawson: That is exactly right. In the good old days, we did have a walled garden, and it was easy for IT or the security office to just say “no” to newfangled approaches to accessing the web or building web apps. Of course, today they can still say no, but IT and security offices realize that they can't thwart the technology-related innovation that helps drive growth.

Our customers are keenly aware that their information assets are the most important assets now. That’s where the focus is, because that’s where the value is. The problem is that all the data and information moves around so freely now. You can send data in the blink of an eye to China and back, thru multiple application, where it’s used in different contexts. The context can change so rapidly that you have to really think differently about what it is you're protecting and how you're going to go about protecting it. So it's a different game now.

Gardner: And as we confront this "new game," it also appears that our former organizational approach is wanting. If we've had a variety of different security approaches under the authority of different people -- not really coordinated, not talking to each other, not knowing what the right hand and left hand are doing -- that’s become a problem.

So how do we now elevate this to a strategic level, getting a framework, getting a comprehensive plan? It sounds like that’s what a lot of the news you've been making these days is involved with.

No silver bullet

Lawson: You're exactly right. Our customers are realizing that there is no one silver bullet. You have to think across functional areas, lines of business, and silos.

Job number one is to bring the right people together and to assess the situation. The people are going to be from all over the organization -- IT, security and risk, AppDev, legal, accounting, supply chain -- to really assess the situation. Everyone should be not only aware of where vulnerabilities might be, or where the most costly vulnerabilities might be, but to look ahead and say, "Here is how our enterprise is innovating with technology -- Let's make sure we build security into them from the get-go."

There are two takeaways from this. One is that HP has a structured methodical framework approach to helping our customers get the people on the same page, getting the processes from top-down really well-structured so that everyone is aware of how different security processes work and how they benefit the organizations so that they can innovate.

One of the other elements is that every enterprise has to deal with a lot of short-term fixes.



One of the other elements is that every enterprise has to deal with a lot of short-term fixes. For example, a new vulnerability gets discovered in an application, and you've got to go quickly plug it, because it's relevant to your supply chain or some other critical process. That’s going to continue to go on.

But also, long term thinking, about building security in from the get-go; this is where companies can start to turn the corner. I'll go back again to web apps, building security into the very requirement and making sure all the way through the architecture design, testing, production, all the way through that you are constantly testing for security.

Gardner: So as you move toward more of a strategic approach to security, trying to pull together all these different threads into a fabric, you've identified four basic positions: assessment, optimization, management, and transformation. I'm curious, what is it about what you are coming out with in terms of process and technology that helps companies work toward that? What are the high-level building blocks?

Read more on HP's security framework
Rethinking Your Enterprise Security:
Critical Priorities to Consider

Lawson: The framework that I just mentioned is our way of looking at what you have to do across securing data, managing suppliers, ensuring physical assets, or security, but our approach to executing on that framework is a four-point approach.

We help our customers first assess the situation, which is really important just to have all eyes on what's currently happening and where your current vulnerabilities may lie. Then, we help them to transform their security practices from where they are today to where they need to be.

Then, we have technologies and services to help them manage that on an ongoing basis, so that you can get more and more of your security controls automated. And then, we help them optimize that, because security just doesn't stand still. So we have tools and services that help our customers keep their eye on the right ball, as all of the new threats evolve or new compliance requirements come down the pike.

Gardner: I've also heard that you're providing better visibility, but at a more comprehensive level, something called the HP Secure Boardroom. Maybe you could help us better understand what that means and why that's important as part of this organizational shift?

Get more information on the executive dashboard:
Introducing the HP Secure Boardroom.

Lawson: The Secure Boardroom combines dashboard technology with a good dose of intellectual property we have developed that helps us generate the APIs into different data sources within an organization.

The result is that a CISO can look at a dashboard and instantly see what's going on all across the organization. What are the threats that are happening? What's the rate of incidents? What's going on across your planning spectrum?

To have the visibility into disparate systems is step one. We've codified this over the several years that we've been working on this into a system that now any enterprise can use to pull together a consistent C-level view, so that you have the right kind of transparency.

Half the battle is just seeing what's going on every day in a consistent manner, so that you are focused on the right issues, while discovering where you might need better visibility or where you might need to change process. The Secure Boardroom helps you to continually be focused on the right processes, the right elements, and the right information to better protect financial, operational, and reputation-related assets.

Gardner: Rebecca, this reminds me of some of the strength that HP has been developing over the years in systems management. I've been observing and following HP for over 20 years and I can remember doing briefings with HP on OpenView when it was a new product and a new approach to management.

When you think about vulnerabilities, threats, and attacks, the first thing you have to do is have the right visibility. We have technology in our security organization that helps us see and find the vulnerabilities really quickly.



Is there continuity here between the expertise and the depth and breadth that HP has developed in how to manage systems and now bringing that into how to make them secure and to provide automation and policies that can ensure security over time?

Lawson: Yes. And I cannot believe it's been 20 years. That's a great point. Because we've been in the systems management and business service management business for so long, I would elevate it up to the level of the business service management.

We already have a head start with our customers, because they can already see the forest for the trees with regard to any one particular service. Let's just say it's a service in the supply chain, and that service might comprise network elements and systems and software and applications and all kinds of data going through it. We're able to tie the management of that through traditional management tools, like what we had with OpenView and what we have with our business service management to the view of security.

When you think about vulnerabilities, threats, and attacks, the first thing you have to do is have the right visibility. We have technology in our security organization that helps us see and find the vulnerabilities really quickly.

Let's say there's an incident and our security technology identifies it as being suspect, maybe it's just a certain type of database entry that's suspect, because we can associate it with a known bad IP address, we can do that because we have a correlation engine that is looking at factors like bad reputations, DNS entries, and log files, pulling all this together, and mapping that to incidents.

So we can say that this one is really suspect, let's do something about that. It can then initiate an incident record, which then goes to change management, and goes all the way through to remediation. You say, "You know what, we're going to block that guy from now on." Or maybe something happened when you're doing patch management and a mistake happens, or there's some vulnerability that happened during the time frame that somebody was doing the patch.

Integration with operations

Because we have our security technology tied with IT operations, there is an integration between them. When the security technology detects something, they can automatically issue an alert that is picked up from our incident management system, which might then invoke our change management system, which might then invoke a prescribed operations change, and we can do that through HP Operations Orchestration.

For example, if a certain event occurs, we can automate the whole process to remediate that occurrence. In the case of patch management -- something went wrong. It might have been a human error. It doesn't matter -- what happens is that we've already anticipated a certain type of attack or mistake. That's a very long way of saying that we've tied our security technology to our IT operations, and by the way, also to our applications management.

It really is a triad -- security, applications, operations. At HP, we’re making them work together. And because we have such a focus now on data correlation, on Big Data, we're able to bring in all the various sources of data and turn that into actionable information, and then execute it through our automation engine.

Gardner: So the concept here, as with management, is that to find issues around reliability performance requires that ├╝ber overview approach, and having access to all of these data points and then being able to manage change and portfolio management as well, and then of course the lifecycle of the applications comes into play.

But it strikes me, when I listen to you, that this isn't really a security technology story, it's really a story about a comprehensive ability to manage your IT operations. Therefore, this is not just a bolt-on, something that one or two companies add as a new product to the market. So what differentiates HP? It doesn't strike me that there are not many companies that can pull this all together?

We can't say no to technology, because that's the engine of what makes an enterprise grow and be competitive.



Lawson: That's very true. As I mentioned, there is no one silver bullet. It's a matter of how you pull all the little pieces together and make sense of them.

Every organization has to innovate. We know that technology accelerates innovation. We can't say no to technology, because that's the engine of what makes an enterprise grow and be competitive. Everything new that's created has security already built-in, so that there is no delay down the road, and this is particularly germane in the applications area, as we were mentioning earlier.

Gardner: Rebecca, I've also heard you mention something called the "fabric of technology," and I know you've got a lot of announcements from ArcSight, Fortify and TippingPoint brands within HP. People can look to the news reports and get more information in detail on those particular announcements. But how does the technology news and that concept of a fabric come into play here?

Lawson: Well, let me use an example. Let's say one of your business services is a composite service and you may be using some outside cloud services and some internal services in your SAP system. Because all of the business processes tend to be built on composite technology-based services, you have to have the right fabric of security provision that’s guarding that process so nothing happens in all the various places where it could happen.

For example, we have a technology that lets you scan software and look for vulnerabilities, both dynamic and static testing. We have ways of finding vulnerabilities in third-party applications. We do that through our research organization which is called DVLabs. DV stands for Digital Vaccine. We pull data in from them every day as to new vulnerabilities and we make that available to the other technologies so we can blend that into the picture.

Focused technology

The right kind of security fabric has to be composed of different technologies that are very focused on certain areas. For example, technologies like our intrusion protection technology, which does the packet inspection and can identify bad IP addresses. They can identify that there are certain vulnerabilities associated with the transaction, and they can stop a lot of traffic right at the gate before it gets in.

The reason we can do that so well is because we've already weaved in information from our applications group, information from our researchers out there in the market. So we've been able to pull these together and make more value out of them working as one.

Another example is all of this information then can weave into our security, intelligence, and risk management platform, which is underpinned by our ArcSight technology, Fortify technology, and Tipping Point as well. We can do rigorous analysis and correlation of what would otherwise be very disparate data points.

So not only can we stop things right at the gate with our filters on our IPS, but we can do the analysis that says there's a pattern that's not looking good. Luckily we have built and bought technology that all works together in concert, and that lets you focus on the most critical aspects of keeping your enterprise running.

Gardner: We've talked about assessment. We've talked about change of processes and strategic and framework level activities. We've talked about the boardroom view and how this follows some of the concepts of doing good IT systems management, but we are also of course in the cloud era.

A lot of people think that when the words cloud and security are next to each other, bad things happen, but in fact, that’s not always the case.



I'm curious as to how organizations that may not want to actually do more of this over time themselves, but look for others who are in fact core competency focused on security start doing it. Is there a path toward security as a service or some sort of a managed service hybrid model that we're now going to be moving to as well?

Lawson: Absolutely. A lot of people think that when the words cloud and security are next to each other, bad things happen, but in fact, that’s not always the case.

Once an enterprise has the right plan and strategy in place, they start to prioritize what parts of their security are best suited in-house, with your own expertise, or what parts of the security picture can you or should you hand off to another party. In fact, one of our announcements this week is that we have a service for endpoint threat management.

If you're not centrally managing your endpoint devices, a lot of incidents can happen and slip through the cracks -- everything from an employee just losing a phone to an employee downloading an application that may have vulnerabilities.

So managing your endpoints devices in general, as well as the security associated with the endpoints, make a lot of sense. And it’s a discrete area where you might consider handing the job to a managed services provider, who has more expertise as well as better economic incentives.

Application testing

Another great example of using a cloud service for security is application testing. We are finding that a lot of the web apps out in the market aren't necessarily developed by application developers who understand that there's a whole lifecycle approach involved.

In fact, I've been hearing interesting statistics about the number of web apps that are written by people formerly known as webmasters. These folks may be great at designing apps, but if you're not following a full application lifecycle management practice, which invokes security as one of the base principles of designing an app, then you're going to have problems.

What we found is that this explosion of web apps has not been followed closely enough by testing. Our customers are starting to realize this and now they're asking for HP to help, because in fact there are a lot of app vulnerabilities that can be very easily avoided. Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them, and we can help customers do that.

So testing as a service as a cloud service or as a hosted or managed service is a good idea, because you can do it immediately. You don't incur the time and money to spin up a testing of center of excellence – you can use the one that HP makes available through our SaaS model.

Gardner: As part of your recent announcements, moving more toward a managed services provider role, is something that you are working on yourselves at HP and you are also enabling your ecosystem partners. Perhaps we can wrap up with a little bit more detail about what you are going to be offering as services in addition to what you are offering as professional services and products.

One of the great things about many of the technologies that we've purchased and built in the last few years is that we're able to use them in our managed services offerings.



Lawson: One of the great things about many of the technologies that we've purchased and built in the last few years is that we're able to use them in our managed services offerings.

I'll give you an example. Our ArcSight product for Security Information and Event Management is now offered as a service. That's a service that really gets better the more expertise you have and the more focused you are on that type of event correlation and analysis. For a lot of companies they just don't want to invest in developing that expertise. So they can use that as a service.

We have other offerings, across testing, network security, endpoint security, that are all offered as a service. So we have a broad spectrum of delivery model choices for our customers. We think that’s the way to go, because we know that most enterprises want a strategic partner in security. They want a trusted partner, but they're probably not going to get all of their security from one vendor of course, because they're already invested.

We like to come in and look first at establishing the right strategy, putting together the right roadmap, making sure it's focused on helping our customer innovate for the future, as well as putting some stopgap measures in so that you can thwart the cyber threats that are near and present danger. And then, we give them the choice to say what's best for their company, given their industry, given the compliance requirements, given time to market, and given their financial posture?

There are certain areas where you're going to want to do things yourself, certain areas where you are going to want to outsource to a managed service. And there are certain technologies already at play that are probably just great in a point solution context, but they need to be integrated.

Integrative approach

M
ost of our customers have already lots of good things going on, but they just don't all come together. That's really the bottom line here. It has to be an integrative approach. It has to be a comprehensive approach. And the reason is that the bad guys are so successful causing havoc is that they know that all of this is disconnected. They know that security technologies tend to be fragmented and they're going to take advantage of that.

Gardner: You've had a lot of news come out, and we've talked about an awful lot today. Is there a resource that you could point to that folks can go and perhaps get a more detailed, maybe in one spot, a security wellspring perhaps? What would you suggest?

Lawson: I'd definitely suggest going to hp.com/go/enterprisesecurity. In particular, there is a report that you can download and read today called the "HP DVLabs’ Cyber Security Risks Report." It’s a report that we generate twice a year and it has got some really startling information in it. And it’s all based on, not theoretical stuff, but things that we see, and we have aggregated data from different parts of the industry, as well as data from our customers that show the rate of attacks and where the vulnerabilities are typically located. It’s a real eye opener.

It’s a little startling, when you start to look at some of the facts about the costs associated with application breaches or the nature of complex persistent attacks.



So I would just suggest that you search for the DVLabs’ Cyber Security Risks Report and read it, and then pass it on to other people in your company, so that they can become aware of what the situation really is. It’s a little startling, when you start to look at some of the facts about the costs associated with application breaches or the nature of complex persistent attacks. So awareness is the right place to start.

Gardner: Very good. We've been listening to a sponsored podcast discussion on how to confront security at the framework and strategic level and how to harness the point solutions approach into a managed and ongoing security enhancement lifecycle benefit.

We have been joined in our discussion today by Rebecca Lawson, Director of Worldwide Security Initiatives at HP. Thanks so much, Rebecca.

Lawson: Thank you so much, Dana. It’s great to talk to you.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Learn more. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on the surge in security threats to enterprises and the approach companies need to take to thwart them. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

You may also be interested in:

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Take a Deep Dive on How Enterprise App Stores Help Drive Productivity

Transcript of a sponsored podcast discussion on the growing importance of enterprise app stores in moving organizations to a self-service model that reduces both complexity and delays in getting applications to end users.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Learn more. Sponsor: Embarcadero Technologies.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on how enterprise app stores are quickly creating productivity and speed-to-value benefits for PC users and IT departments alike.

We’ll specifically examine what steps businesses can take to build and develop their own enterprise app stores for mainstream use. We'll further see what rapid and easy access to self-service apps on PCs and notebook computers through such app stores is doing for businesses.

The popularity of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, on one hand, has energized users, but on the other hand it’s caused IT and business leaders to scramble to adjust to new models of applications delivery.

We’ll explore here how app stores are part of the equation for improved work and process success on and off the job. We’ll see how Embarcadero’s AppWave solution brings the mobile apps experience to millions of PC users in their workplace in the enterprise.

We’ll also hear from the author of a recent Ovum white paper on why app stores are so important for enterprises, as they consider ways to better track, manage, and distribute all of their applications.

The popularity of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, on one hand, has energized users, but on the other hand, it’s caused IT and business leaders to scramble to adjust to new models of applications delivery.



Please join me now in welcoming our panel. We're joined today by Tony Baer, Principal Analyst at Ovum. Welcome back to the show, Tony.

Tony Baer: Hey, Dana. Good to be here.

Gardner: We’re also here with Michael Swindell, Senior Vice President of Products and Marketing at Embarcadero Technologies. Welcome, Michael.

Michael Swindell: Hi. Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And we’re also here with Richard Copland, Principal Innovation Consultant at Logica. Welcome, Richard. [Disclosure: Embarcadero is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Richard Copland: Hi, Dana.

Gardner: Tony, let me start with you. You've written a white paper in the recent past on app stores and why they’re important in enterprises. Were you surprised in any way at how broad this app store model can be used and is starting to be used for all sorts of applications?

Concept leap

Baer: I was a little bit surprised because there is certainly a concept leap from a $1.99 little applet that you pull down from the iPhone app store or from the Android marketplace to a full-blown enterprise desktop application.

That being said, it’s not surprising, given that there’s been a huge demand from the bottom-up, from the people in the workplace. So it’s a phenomenon that’s probably better known as the consumerization of IT -- "I have these sophisticated mobile devices and tablets. Why can’t I get that easy to use experience on my regular machine for my day job?"

Therefore, the demand for the comfort and convenience of that was inevitably bound to spread into the enterprise environment. You've seen that manifested in a number of ways. For example, companies have basically embraced more social collaboration. And you’re also starting to see some use of many of these new form factors.

So again, what Embarcadero has been starting to introduce is symbolic in a way that’s really not surprising.

Gardner: Richard Copland, any thoughts on this as well? Tell us a bit about your organization, Logica, and your role as a Principal Innovation Consultant.

Copland: My role as a Principal Innovation Consultant is effectively twofold. It's to find new things and introduce new things to our clients. Something innovative to me is something that's new to you and provides a benefit. This can be cash, people, or green ideas. I spend my day looking at cool new stuff, which means ways of working, technologies, partners, and even wacky research coming out of the various universities here in Europe.

I get involved in schedules of client discussions, and people look to me and my team to bring ideas to life, to help answer that question, which is a challenge where there must be a better way. An example of that is the enterprise app store being a better way for things. Then, it’s unpacking that and exploring how you might help create that vision of the answer and empower them to believe that these things are possible now.

A bit about Logica: We're a business and technology service company. We provide business consulting, system integration, and outsourcing to our clients around the world including many of Europe’s largest businesses.

Last year, we did just under £4 billion globally with 800 million of that being here in the UK. We create value by successfully integrating people, business, technology, and a key part of this is the innovation piece. Clients look to us to bring innovation and innovative things, and Embarcadero's AppWave and the concept of the business application certainly falls into that category.

In terms of those larger trends, which are driving or almost overseeing the consumerization of IT, I step it back, and say that it’s almost as we are as a service concept which is the fragmentation and segmentation of people looking to get more and more value being directed to them, specifically to their needs, and as a result of that, it’s the on-demand concept.

Generation Next

For me, it’s also the whole Generation Next piece which is about a whole new generation that is educated and tech-savvy. They're multitasking all the time. They work as consumers. They're purchasing products and customize them to their needs in terms of their lifestyles. So they’re regularly sharing insight and comment on things which are good for them.

That’s playing out in terms of lifestyle and that's being brought into the business scenario, whereby the formal and informal hierarchies of organizations are blurring.

Another trend that I see, and a lot of our clients in the conversations that we have see, is this whole global talent contest, by which clients are struggling to maintain, obtain, and keep satisfied Generation Next with the latest technology. Why should they legitimately step back in time in the tools that they will use in their role, if it doesn’t provide and support their last stop. It’s a real challenge for them.

Gardner: Michael Swindell, when we see longer term trends, and then new innovations, one of those trends has been the need to rationalize applications. Almost every enterprise I talk to rarely knows how many applications they have, rarely knows to what degree they’re being used, and has no clue as to how to sunset them or bring this sprawl under control. It seems that that’s a long-term trend trying to rationalize apps, but at the app store model, innovation brings some sanity to that and buy-ins from the users.

Is there a win-win possibility here with app stores helping organizations manage their apps better, and yet, getting the buy-in from the users to accelerate how that goes about by them voting and either installing and uninstalling these apps rather rapidly?

Swindell: There are really two sides to the benefit of using the app store methodology for those problems. There's an organizational side of understanding application usage, as you said maybe sunsetting applications, understanding how applications are used within their organization, so that they can make good decisions.

Then we have the user side, where users have a lot more information that they can provide that’s very useful for both the organization and other users.

The app store metaphor works very well in sharing that type of information. It gives the organization usage information and statistics, and the demand information that's valuable for the organization to plan and understand their application usage. It also provides information to other users on the applicability of applications for certain scenarios, whether applications are good or bad for a particular scenario.

This has worked well in the mobile space with public app stores, and we see that there's a lot of applicability inside the firewall, inside organizations, to be able to use this information and create more value out of their applications and to help users get more value and understanding about their applications.

Gardner: Tony, back to you. In your white paper, it seems that there's an economic value here, that we're just sort of scratching the surface of. It seems that we know that the consumers like app stores, based on how they vote with their dollars, whether it's $0.99 or more. It’s just a huge success for Apple and others are jumping on the bandwagon.

But it seems to me that getting the transparency, seeing the trends, and being able to sunset and better manage their apps has got a fairly significant economic value to it. Furthermore, users perhaps will only be using resources based on their needs. So there is sort of an efficiency aspect to this. Is that what you've found?

Traditional model

Baer: We've not done any scientific studies, but compare this model to the traditional application deployment model.

Number one, it's a much more of a long-fused process. There is elaborate planning of the rollout. You're trying to figure out all the different client targets that you're trying to address. Even if you do have locked-down machines, you're still going to have issues. Then, package the release,. Then, regression test it to death. Then distribution, and you actually get the thing installed. Hopefully, it's up during some off hour, let's say, at 3 a.m. Then, you prepare for all the support calls.

That's a pretty involved process. That consumes a lot of time both for the end user, who is waiting for the functionality that he or she may want -- or not. And it's also, of course, a considerable overhead in the IT organization.

If you take that all away into a more modular model, more like a radio broadcast model, essentially it becomes a lot more efficient. You lose all this lead time, and as Michael was talking about, you then get all the visibility for all these apps being consumed. End users have more sway. As long as they are authorized to use these apps, they have this choice.

So it's not that all of a sudden they have a whole number of apps that are loaded on their machine, whether they like it or not. We haven't done anything to quantify this, because trying to quantify productivity is like asking “what's the cost of downtime?” And in a lot of sectors that can be a very subjective number. But intuitively, this model, if it scales out, should basically provide a much lower cost of ownership and much greater satisfaction.

This model, if it scales out, should basically provide a much lower cost of ownership and much greater satisfaction.



Gardner: Richard, in your looking over the landscape for additional innovations, I can see how services orientation and cloud computing certainly dovetail with this, but it also seems to me that the need is for organizations to encourage users to change their habits. Maybe it's around the process level, instead of an application level or maybe simply adopting new applications quickly, rather than having to go through a long period of adjustment.

Is there something about the app store model that you think will encourage faster buy-in and perhaps a lot of organizations would incentivize or use social mechanisms to encourage users to adopt new technologies and new applications faster?

Copland: Undoubtedly. The whole socialization and the social trend which I see as probably the biggest driver behind this is for the way in which people use software and the way in which people comment on a software.

The organization will cluster around the toolkits for which the feedback from the users is positive. I can think of one large global financial organization here that has 5,000 apps within their world. They would look to simplify their landscape by over 60 percent, because they recognize that they've got so many kinds of individual pockets of activity going on in the organization.

And you need to support those individual pockets of activity that, in terms of your users in the tail effect, they’ll be the mainstream enterprise apps, such as Windows-based or Office-based, which the majority will use. But if you could tap into an environment, in which you are giving the people what they want, then the return on investment (ROI) from that is going to be a lot faster.

Cultural incentive

Gardner: We’ve certainly seen how the incentive is there from a cultural and popularity perspective, given what we’ve seen in the mobile space. There's a strong economic and productivity rationale for this in terms of both long-term IT trends, like rationalizing applications, and shorter-term trends, like incentivizing people to use the social mechanisms and adopt newer applications or processes or methods faster.

Now the question is: how do you do this? How do you take a legacy of hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of applications written for the PC, written across different platforms and different iterations over time and maturity levels of those platforms, and make them available through an app store?

Michael Swindell, tell me a little bit about AppWave and what it takes for an IT organization to make the transition from that long process that Tony outlined to a more streamlined app-store approach.

Swindell: The best way to describe AppWave is that it’s just a pretty simple three-step process. The first step is taking traditional software, which is traditionally complex for end users and for organizations to manage. This includes things like installations, un-installations, considerations about applications, of how they affect the users’ environment.

Then, converting those traditional software applications into the concept of apps where they are self-contained, don’t require installation, can be streamed and run to a user anywhere they are, and really delivering the mobile-like experience of mobile software to the more complex traditional desktop PC software.

AppWave has tooling that allows users to take their applications and convert them into apps. And that’s any type of application- commercial application or internally developed.



AppWave has tooling that allows users to take their applications and convert them into apps. And that’s any type of application -- commercial application or internally developed.

That's the first step. The second is to centralize those apps in an app store, where users can get to them, and where organizations can have visibility into their usage, manage access to them, etc. So the second step is simply centralizing those apps.

The third is the user experience. One of the key drivers behind the success of apps in the mobile space has been the visibility that users have into application availability. It’s very easy for users to search and find an app as they need it.

Think about how a user uses a mobile phone to come up with an app. Maybe they’re walking down the street, they see a business, and they have an idea, or they want directions to something. They can simply search in an app store on their mobile device and immediately get an app to solve that problem.

If you look in the business space and inside the workplace, when a user has a problem, they don’t really have a mechanism to sit down and search to solve a problem and then get an application to solve it immediately.

As we talked about earlier, and Tony really well-described that the process, once they identify an application to solve a problem, that can take weeks or months to roll out. so you don’t have that instant feedback.

Instantaneous experience

The user experience has to be instantaneous. An area that we focused on very heavily with AppWave is to provide the users an ability to search, find apps based on the problems that they’re trying to solve, and instantly run those apps, rather than having to go through a long process.

Gardner: Michael, I’d like to hear more about how you go about that. But before we do, let me check in with our other panelists.

Tony, this sounds like it’s something quite new. As you pointed out, in the past and for the most part, in the present, in an enterprise, a user might have a need, wish they had a tool, a utility, a macro, any kind of a helping hand. Rather than go to IT and wait in line, sign some sort of a requisition, or go through a PO process, they probably just said, "Oh, the heck with it. I'll make do with what I have."

But now, we're giving people the opportunity to self-serve, search in the moment of need, and then satisfy that need with the click of a button. It sounds to me that it’s going to really enhance user productivity, the user's ability to innovate themselves, rather than just sit back and go with the flow. Am I overstating it?

Baer: From the end-user standpoint, there certainly is quite a win to this. But we also have to look at the fact that this is going to change the way IT serves the organization. At least this aspect of it is really going to become more of a service provider. And there are a lot of implications for that.

From the end-user standpoint, there certainly is quite a win to this. But we also have to look at the fact that this is going to change the way IT serves the organization.



For one thing, IT has to be more responsive but they also have to work on more of a shorter fuse, almost like a just-in-time type of model.

That being said, there's no free lunch in all this, and it still requires management. For example, we still need to worry about dealing with security governance, managing consumption, and also making sure that you lock down, or secure the licensing issues. As I said, there’s no free lunch, but compare that to the overhead of the traditional application distribution and deployment process.

So again, from the end user standpoint, it should be a win-win, but from the IT standpoint, it's going to mean a number of changes. Also, this is breaking new ground with a number of the vendors. What they need to do is check on things such as licensing issues, because what you're really talking about is a more flexible deployment policy.

Long-term, it's definitely a win-win. Short-term, there are adjustments to be made by IT and also by the software industry.

Gardner: Just as a quick observation, managing licenses is so difficult. Many organizations will just pay a blanket fee, not even bother to audit, or do anything they can to avoid the vendor audit. With the app-store approach, they would have real data, know exactly who is using what, and pay only what they had to. So I think that there's a hurdle to adjust to on the licensing, but there might actually be a strong benefit.

Changing the dynamic

Back to Richard Copland. On this notion that users, when empowered to download and find apps based on search, based on the library, based on what other users are passing along as what’s worked for them as users in the organization, it strikes me as really changing the dynamic itself.

Do you follow my thread on this? Do you think I'm going too far, and can we perhaps make the association that app stores can fundamentally change the way workers behave in an innovation sense?

Copland: Absolutely. You’re on the money with regard the direction of travel. We talked a little bit about looking at the mobile aspects of it and moving to this on-demand usage and the challenges for the organization to do that.

Certainly, the components within the AppWave solution give you the opportunity to move to more of what I would describe as smart working or remote working, by which the user doesn't necessarily have to come into the office to access the tools, which are traditionally being provided to them at their desk in their environment.

If you start remote working or are given a broader range of remote access, then you can be operating a much stronger work-life balance. So if you're in a situation where you’ve got a young family and you need to take the kids to school, you can come on and go off the company network and use the tools which are provided to you in a much more user-friendly flexible environment. That would be certainly from the user's perspective.

If you start remote working or are given a broader range of remote access, then you can be operating a much stronger work-life balance.



From the business’s perspective, I start moving to a scenario where I don't necessarily need to maintain a real estate where if I’ve got 5,000 users, I need to have 5,000 desks. That certainly becomes quite empowering across the rest of the organization, and other stakeholders -- the facility’s officers, business managers -- start taking real notice of those types of savings and the nature of how work is achieved.

Gardner: Back to how this can work for organizations. Michael Swindell at Embarcadero, tell me about AppWave, and let's learn a bit about its heritage. It seems to me that this has been something that's not just a flash in the pan new for you. It's really an evolution of something you've been doing in the application development arena with tools. So perhaps it's time to learn a little bit about the legacy and history of how AppWave has evolved?

Swindell: This is the AppWave 2.0 platform, which is really the second generation of the platform. The original 1.0 platform was designed to help deliver Embarcadero's own products to its users. And the reason it was developed was that Embarcadero, as many ISVs have, has a portfolio of different products, over 20 tools in our portfolio. We wanted to provide those to customers so that they were much easier for the users to find and use the applications as they had a need.

As a problem arises, you didn't have to worry about whether or not software is already installed or whether or not you have it. You simply need to be able to search on the problem and then be able to pull up the Embarcadero application to solve that problem.

The first generation of this technology was designed specifically for those 20 products. We created app versions of our software. Then came the idea of the centralized app store and the user experience to search, find, and run those apps.

Gardner: This is fairly proven. How long this has been in use in terms of a technology and a platform itself?

Licensing core

Swindell: Two years for the platform. Then, the licensing core, which is really an important part. We talked a little bit about earlier about how license management is important in access control. The license core that provides both licensing and access control has actually been around for quite some time and managed the licenses. We've been developing the licensing technology for almost 10 years.

Gardner: So you're taking this and focusing it beyond that core 2.0 that you started with. Now we're looking at what custom apps, legacy apps, cross platform, what is it that an enterprise was interested in moving in an app store direction, and they are going to examine something like AppWave. How far and why can this be applicable in terms of their legacy, their installed base of apps?

Swindell: Our vision is any type of application in the organization will eventually be supported by AppWave. The initial support is for PC apps in organizations, which is the vast majority of productivity applications that end users need. It also is where the largest problem set is, both from an end-user perspective and from an organization's perspective.

So we're tackling the hardest problem first and then our plan is to roll in other type of apps, web apps, and applications that you might be using in an organization, using other types of delivery technologies.

But the idea is to take any type of these applications and present them as an app inside the AppWave ecosystem. So a user can have a centralized way to search for any type of app whether it’s a corporate HR, a web application, a hosted software as a service (SaaS ) application, or a PC application. Certainly, mobile would be an obvious direction as well.

The idea is to take any type of these applications and present them as an app inside the AppWave ecosystem.



Gardner: It seems that we’re also moving now to being able to manage our applications, not just in their entirety and in their traditional state, but perhaps even decomposing them and getting into more of a modular applications transformation benefit.

Tell me how the companies that you’re working with that are using AppWave are using this, not only to just repurpose existing apps, but to even transform those apps and present them in new and interesting ways.

Swindell: There's a variety of ways that organizations are delivering applications to users today. The wider variety of applications and different ways and repositories that they have for apps really makes it confusing for end users to be able to know where to find what applications are available.

When I talk to end users and to customers, if you ask them where they find their applications, you’ll get a different answer, depending on who you talk to in the organization or what type of application they’re thinking of.

One of the things that AppWave and the app store concept can do is to help create a centralized app view of the different types of applications and even the different types of services in your organization, and to be able to understand what’s available.

Common presentation

There are also opportunities for the same types of socialization and sharing of information and knowledge about services using the app store concept, as there is with apps.

The important thing is to take these different types of applications and present them in a common way in the same place, so that it really doesn’t matter whether the app is a web app or it’s a PC app. Users can find them, run them, and share information about them at the same place.

Gardner: Just to be clear, your technology allows for not only ISV-packaged apps, but also custom apps designed for your organization, by your organization. These can now also be brought into this corral more of a common denominator of all sorts of apps. Is that correct?

Swindell: Correct. And those apps can be comprised of a variety of different services, different types of technologies, but they’re presented to the end user in the same way as a Windows app or a Web app.

Gardner: Is there an additional technical benefit here in terms of sometimes what we see with SaaS and multitenancy in that the patching and the security and management of that application can be conducted centrally. Then, each time the user brings it down from the store, for example, he gets a fresh updated version. Is there a lifecycle benefit to how apps are managed as part and parcel with this?

Some applications or some data may be dependent on a particular version of an app or an application. By using apps and AppWave, you can roll back three versions and open that up without having to install it, find it, or anything.



Swindell: It makes it a lot easier for end users, because they don’t have to think about it. When they log into their app store environment, updates are automatic, and it’s also very visible. They can see what’s happening very similar to into a mobile device. You always know when there are updates available because you get an icon that tells you how many updates are available.

There's an additional benefit, especially with software modularization and compatibility between different versions, that AppWave can provide. By compartmentalizing applications, it allows apps to run side-by-side across multiple versions.

So some applications or some data may be dependent on a particular version of an app or an application. By using apps and AppWave, you can roll back three versions and open that up without having to install it, find it, or anything. So the isolation and the idea of apps can really help in that regard.

Gardner: Richard Copland, as someone who is out there hunting down innovations that they can bring to their user organization and their clients, was there anything about AppWave or app stores in general for enterprise use that was interesting and attractive to you that we perhaps haven’t hit on yet?

Copland: In AppWave and the Embarcadero team, we have a global innovation venture partner program. They were our recent winner. They went up against competition from around the world. We believe that the app store concept has got so much within it in terms of the user experience, the socialization aspects, and the collaboration aspects of it.

Bridging point

The area which we haven't touched on so much is that it's a bridging point between your legacy systems and your more visionary cloud-type solutions where you really are SaaS, on-demand and pay-per-click.

Gardner: I guess on-demand isn't so much concerned with where the app resides and how it's delivered across the wire, but really with the notion of organizations being able to allow their users to go into a process, find a solution, apply it, and even create new types of innovative work and workflows. It's really about choice, freedom and applicability rapidly, rather than over a long time that is the actual benefit around on-demand.

Copland: The thing that will kill innovation is just operating slowly. One of the biggest blockers that organizations face with regard to innovation is the nature of how that sets out and the speed at which they react to what are their internal ideas.

Swindell: You can look at this as being in a way -- and Dana and Richard you're hinting on that -- a cultural preparation for transition to the cloud, if indeed the cloud is suitable for specific parts of your application portfolio.

Gardner: Michael Swindell, for those organizations that are looking at cloud but are bit nervous and see some risk and lack of governance security control, is there something about app store that makes that bridging effect that Richard was alluding to, but in a way that is more enterprise ready. That is, something that gives command and control in terms of access, privilege, governance and management but also fosters that innovation and freedom.

You can look at this as being a cultural preparation for transition to the cloud, if indeed the cloud is suitable for specific parts of your application portfolio.



Swindell: It certainly is a way of operating that's very attractive, that there's a lot of interest in, and has a lot of obvious benefits. But there's also concern around the areas that you bring up. Having an on-premise private app store that runs within your organization that is on site really addresses a lot of those concerns and uses the cloud simply to deliver new applications and apps from ISVs and from other vendors.

Once they are inside your organization, they're operating within your security and governance environment. So you don't really have to worry about those concerns, but it still delivers a lot of the benefits of the user experience of cloud and the on-demand nature.

Gardner: I know this is going a little bit out further into the future and perhaps into the hypothetical. It sounds as if you can effectively use this app store model and technology and approach like AppWave to be a gateway for your internal PC apps, but that same gateway might then be applicable for all these other services.

But if the gateway app store model works for a class of apps, it might work for all apps. It really could be a governance and management capability well beyond just the ability to package and deliver apps in this fashion. What are your thoughts on that, Michael?

Driven by demand

Swindell: The foundation is there, and I think it will be demand driven by users. Every time we talk to a customer with AppWave, the list of possibilities and where customers want to use and take the environment is exciting, and the list continues to grow on how they can use it in the long-term.

So we're building facilities today to connect the private AppWaves into our cloud infrastructure, so that we can deliver certainly apps but there could be other types of services that connect into that as well.

Gardner: Okay, and just to be clear. AppWave is available now. I believe we have a 30-day free trial, is that correct?

Swindell: Yes, there is a free trial, and we also offer free version of AppWave that organizations can download and use today with free apps. There's an entire catalog of free apps that are included and are streamed down from our cloud.

So you can get set up and started with AppWave, using free apps in your organization. What can be added then is your own internal custom apps or commercial licenses that organizations have. So if you've hundreds of commercial licenses, you can add those in or add your own internally developed apps.

Once they are inside your organization, they're operating within your security and governance environment. So you don't really have to worry about those concerns.



Gardner: Very good, and where would one go to find out more about this?

Swindell: You can go to www.embarcadero.com/appwave and try it for free.

Gardner: Very good. I'm afraid we're out of time. You've been listening to a sponsored podcast discussion on how enterprise app stores are quickly creating productivity and speed-to-value benefits for PC users and IT departments of like. I’d like to thank our guests: Tony Baer, Principal Analyst at Ovum. Thank you so much, Tony.

Baer: Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: We've also been here with Michael Swindell, Senior Vice President of Products and Marketing for Embarcadero Technologies. Thank you, Michael.

Swindell: Thanks, Dana. It was a pleasure.

Gardner: And Richard Copland, Principal Innovation Consultant at Logica. Thanks so much, Richard.

Copland: Cheers, Dana. Cheers, guys.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. As always, thanks for listening and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Learn more. Sponsor: Embarcadero.

Transcript of a sponsored podcast discussion on the growing importance of enterprise app stores in moving organizations to a self-service model that reduces both complexity and delays in getting applications to end users. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

You may also be interested in: