Monthly Archives: October 2013

IT Converged Infrastructure

Is converged infrastructure the future? Major technology companies are now offering integrated compute, storage, and network in a box. Leading the pack is the Vblock system by VCE. Vblock consists of hardware and software from Cisco, EMC, and VMware.

Similarly, servers, storage, and network vendors are also offering their own integrated system. NetApp, a storage vendor, is selling FlexPod. A FlexPod combines NetApp storage systems, Cisco Unified Computing System servers, and Cisco Nexus fabric into a single, flexible architecture.

Cisco, a networking company, has been selling x86 Unified Computing System for years and recently bought Whiptail, a high performance storage company, to enhance their unified infrastructure offering. HP, a server company, is offering the POD solution.

These converged infrastructure solutions are not only suited for small or medium sized data centers but they are engineered for large scale, high performance, and highly reliant data centers. In addition, security, automation, and monitoring are built into the package.

With these solutions, companies do not need to spend time and money architecting and integrating servers, storage, and networks. Most importantly, operations and vendor support will be simplified. There will only be one point of contact for vendor support and finger pointing between vendors will be minimized.

Information Security Conference

I recently attended the 2013 (ISC)2 Annual Security Congress held at Chicago, IL on Sept 23 to 27. The conference was held in conjunction with the ASIS International Security conference. It was one of the premier conference attended by security professionals from all over the world. The conference was a huge success.

I attended the conference to primarily obtain CPE (Continuing Professional Education) points for my CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification, to learn from experts on the latest technologies and trends in information security, and to network with information security professionals.

The keynote speeches were informative, entertaining, and inspirational. Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple computers) talked about how he got into the world of computing and that hacking – for the sake of learning, inventing, and developing programs – should be fun. Former Prime Minister of Australia, Hon. John Howard, talked about the qualities of a great leader and the state of the world economy. Mike Ditka (an NFL legend), delivered an inspirational speech on attitude and success.

The sessions on information security varied widely from governance to technical deep-dive on security tools. Hot topics included cloud security, mobile security, hackers, privacy, and end user awareness. What struck me most was that the reason why there are still a lot of security breaches despite the advances in technologies is that security is often an afterthought for most companies – defence-in-depth is not properly implemented, programmers write insecure programs (for instance, they don’t write programs that checks for SQL injections), and users are not properly trained on security (such as how to use a good passwords, not to click phishing site sent via email, etc).

The world of information security is expanding. As more and more people are using the Internet and more companies are doing business online, the need for security becomes even more important.