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WHERE TECHNOLOGY MEANS BUSINESS issue 263 | december 2013 WWW.CNMEONLINE.COM

keeping it simple

The no-nonsense guide to network simplification in the Middle East

Looking up to lte 9 storage trends for 2014

Planning for SDN

Demystifying the new approach to networking

the next big data champion

Byo-Dilemma

How BYOD is changing the face of the traditional IT helpdesk

LIVE AND LEARN How a burning ambition for academic excellence led Neil Menezes to the top IT job at Jumeirah Group

PLUS: security trends for 2014 | managed services for operators |


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EDITORIAL Publisher Dominic De Sousa

Taking stock of 2013

Jeevan Thankappan Group Editor Talk to us: E-mail: jeevan.thankappan@ cpimediagroup.com

Group COO Nadeem Hood

As 2013 winds down, it would be a good time to reflect on the past 12 months and get a perspective on how the regional enterprise IT landscape has evolved. Most CIOs were faced with the challenge of shoe-string IT budgets, and the focus was solely on reducing costs, rather than improving business outcomes. I wouldn’t be very surprised if a majority of CIOs had started reporting to CFOs again, instead of CEOs. Though the ideal role of CIO should have been on focused on business operations, it continues to be a technology-centric one. From a technology standpoint, some of the most touted emerging technologies such as cloud and Big Data have remained non-starters. Undeniably, there have been increased efforts to consolidate data centres and rapid uptake of virtualisation at server and application levels to increase utilisation, which can probably be loosely termed as private cloud. However, the most disruptive impact on the Middle East IT landscape stems from mobility, with the BYOD phenomenon sweeping across enterprises. We had an overwhelming response to the first-ever BYOD summit organised in the Middle East by CNME, underlining the fact that there is no use fighting the trend. A major worry for the CIO community centred around enterprise security, with some high-profile breaches forcing everyone to sit down and take notice. Personally, I have always felt that enterprises here tend to pay lip service to security, often taking a reactionary approach. Now, that is all changing, with some verticals even budgeting separately for security. Will 2014 be any better? In this issue, we’ve looked forward to the next 12 months. What’s more, make sure you keep an eye out for our January issue, which will have the industry experts talk about what is going to be hot and not.

Editorial Group Editor Jeevan Thankappan jeevan.thankappan@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1513 Editor Tom Paye tom.paye@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1499 Online Editor James Dartnell james.dartnell@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1501 Contributors Randy Bean Mary Brandel

ADVERTISING Commercial Director Rajashree R Kumar raj.ram@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1511 Sales Managers Michal Zylinski michal.zylinski@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1505

Circulation Circulation Manager Rajeesh M rajeesh.nair@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1645

Production and Design Production Manager James P Tharian james.tharian@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1643 Designer Analou Balbero analou.balbero@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1504 DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy P Maagma Web Developers Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya Photographer and Social Media Co-ordinator Jay Colina webmaster@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9100 Published by

WHERE TECHNOLOGY MEANS BUSINESS issue 263 | december 2013 WWW.cNmeONLiNe.cOm

Registered at IMPZ PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE

keeping it simpLe

The no-nonsense guide to network simplifcation in the Middle East

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Looking up to Lte 9 storage trends for 2014

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Canadian Specialist Hospital’s digital dream

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Byo-Dilemma

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How BYOD is changing the face of the traditional IT helpdesk

LIVE AND LEARN

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How a burning ambition for academic excellence led Neil Menezes to the top IT job at Jumeirah Group

PLUS: SecUrity trendS for 2014 | managed ServiceS for oPeratorS |

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EDITORIAL

Platform for discussion

Tom Paye Editor Talk to us: E-mail: tom.paye @cpimediagroup.com

4

Well, here I am at the front of the magazine, replacing my old colleague, Ben Rossi. Many of you got to know him very well during his 22-month tenure at CNME, and I’m yet to find anyone in the regional IT industry that had a word to say against him. No pressure, then. Writing these words on deadline day, I’ve some idea about how Tim Cook must have felt when Steve Jobs named him Apple’s next CEO. Of course, CNME isn’t exactly on the same scale as Apple, but I believe that, like Jobs did, my predecessor left behind something of a legacy when he departed for London last month. It’s going to be difficult to fill his shoes. But things change, and adapt we must. Sticking with the Apple analogy, despite the initial outburst from Jobs loyalists, I believe that Tim Cook has more than earned his stripes. As I’ve written in previous columns, he’s overseen an Apple that his risen to become the most cash-rich company in the world. He may routinely take flak due to Apple’s last great innovation, the iPad, having been released way back in 2010. But when you look at the health of the company, and just how much money it’s making every quarter, and you can’t help but doff your hat to him. Critics of Apple say that the company should do more to combat the dominance of the Android operating system in the marketplace, but I’m not so sure. Apple succeeds because it has the right customers who are willing to pay top dollar for the right products. And, very soon, I believe that the iPhone will be the right product for the enterprise. Let me explain: malware targeted at mobile devices is proliferating at truly alarming rates. Some have estimated that the growth of mobile malware has reached 500 percent over the past 12 months―and 99 percent of all that nasty software is targeted at the Android operating system. And how many Android-toting employees do you reckon will have the foresight to protect themselves with a mobile anti-virus? I don’t know the figure, but I’m sure it’s a low one. No wonder two speakers at our recent BYOD Summit―the region’s first event to tackle the bring-your-own-device trend―were skeptical about BYOD’s uses in the enterprise. If I was a CIO, I’d think extremely carefully about allowing Android-based devices onto my network, let alone having them access sensitive information with them. With the iPhone, however, things are different. Because it’s a closed and controlled ecosystem, iOS is virtually malware-free. There are also some fantastic mobile device management (MDM) solutions available for iPhones, and the device is probably the easiest smartphone in the world to get to grips with. For both employees and IT heads, it makes for the perfect compromise, and I believe we’re going to see a lot more businesses tell their employees that they can bring iPhones―but not Androids―to work over the coming years. I’m not sure Ben would agree with me on this one, and perhaps you don’t either. I do hope, however, that, under my watch, CNME continues to be a fantastic platform for news, opinions and debate on the region’s IT industry. I can’t hope for any greater achievement than that going forward into the New Year. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Computer News Middle East

december 2013

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Our Strategic Partners

Contents

Strategic ICT Partner

Strategic IT Transformation and Big Data Partner

Strategic IT NetworkingPartner

Strategic Technology Partner

ISSUE 263 | december 2013

35

thirst for knowledge

17

the byo-dilemma

26

5 ways that byod is shaking up tech support

11 Empowering the crowd James Dartnell reports from from Powering the Cloud's tenth anniversary show in Frankfurt, Germany, on what a variety of experts think about the risks of cloud, and how organisations can combat threats.

14 The LTE advantage First-movers in LTE are likely to gain larger chunks of the telecoms market, AlcatelLucent told visitors at its annual Technology Symposium in New Jersey, United States. But does this apply to the Middle East? 26 CIO Spotlight: Neil Menezes As Group Director of IT Operations at Jumeirah Group, Neil Menezes has to know his job inside out. His journey to that point was a series of personal highlights, which saw an initial interest in computer games turn into a thirst for networking expertise.

30 Planning for SDN Software-defined networking (SDN) is the hottest thing going today, but there is considerable confusion surrounding everything from the definition of the term to the different architectures and technologies suppliers are putting forward. 6

Computer News Middle East

december 2013

www.cnmeonline.com


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Our Strategic Partners

Contents

Strategic ICT Partner

Strategic IT Transformation and Big Data Partner

Strategic IT NetworkingPartner

Strategic Technology Partner

ISSUE 263 | december 2013

50

9 storage trends for 2014

Features 38 Through the looking glass CNME looks ahead to the biggest solutions of 2014, as well as the trends that are going to shape the market over the next 12 months.

44 How to simplify your infrastructure What are the main steps that enterprises need to take if they're looking to simplify their networks? CNME attempts to simplify infrastructure simplification. 50 9 storage trends for 2014 CNME consults a panel of experts in order to ascertain the biggest storage trends to affect the Middle East over the coming year. 57 The way forward CNME takes a look at the top security concerns of 2013, using the knowledge to help organisations prepare for 2014.

64 Unsung heroes Many say that systems integrators are the unsung heroes of the IT scene. But how will the traditional SI's role evolve over the next year?

76

Interview: Ali Eid, President, ericsson Saudi Arabia

78

70 Telecoms outlook 2014 What's in store for operators in 2014? Will a data-oriented outlook net new business, and how can customer service be improved?

who will be the big data champion?

Regulars

22 Short takes We round up the top stories to take our eye in the last month.

76 Interview Ali Eid, President, Ericsson Saudi Arabia, speaks about the draws of managed services, and how operators can benefit from them.

78 Insight Which C-level executive will be the Big Data champion?

telecoms outlook 2014

8

Computer News Middle East

december 2013

www.cnmeonline.com

70

80 Product Watch We cover the UAE's first homegrown smartphone, plus the new, hyper-expensive Porsche Design handset from BlackBerry

82 Column CNME’s man about town, James Dartnell, explores the possibilities and pitfalls behind Bitcoin.


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© 2012 Avaya Inc. All rights reserved.


www.helpag.com

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in depth Powering the Cloud

Empowering the Crowd With paranoia over cloud security and privacy on the rise, CIOs are left in greater doubt as to where to leave their data. James Dartnell reports from Powering The Cloud’s tenth anniversary show in Frankfurt, Germany, on what a variety of industry experts think about the risks of cloud, and how organisations can best combat cloud threats.

A

s Powering The Cloud hosted its 10th anniversary show in Frankfurt, few would question that cloud computing uptake is on the rise. The same few would question that it is a trend that is here to stay, and one that businesses will have to adapt to. But there are certain issues that have left many in the industry puzzled and concerned. At the top of that list are security and privacy. The recent scandal of the NSA’s PRISM programme, which is alleged to have accessed citizens’ personal information on a global scale, has only heightened the anxiety of many in the IT industry. Still, internal data storage proves expensive for large organisations, and the public cloud remains a slightly forced decision for many. Understandably, the idea of leaving important data in the hands of another

company is a big concern. For a number of reasons, executives may feel paranoid about handing over secret and critical information to outsiders. The issue of privacy is also paramount. It follows that, if a client can log in from any location to access data and applications, then it’s possible their privacy could be compromised. Yet more problems arise in the issue of who actually owns the data once it is stored in the cloud, and can the cloud provider deny a company access to that data? In spite of the inevitable paranoia and confusion that is created by incidents like the PRISM scandal―and cloud computing in general―there is one important factor to consider: it is in the cloud provider’s interest to ensure the data remains safe. If it is their business to store and guard data, then rest assured, if they fail to do www.cnmeonline.com

so, they will soon find themselves losing customers. Nonetheless, a recurrent theme across Powering The Cloud’s keynote speeches was the inevitability of data being hacked. However, speakers maintained that risk could be reduced by carefully choosing cloud providers and specific plans. Bob Plumridge, Chairman of the Board of SNIA, an industry educator, was keen to highlight this: “Mystery still surrounds certain aspects of cloud, but the main issues now are who is using it, what are they are doing with it, and how it is being implemented. Businesses are interested in what aspects of it are working well, and what aren’t. “What has happened with the NSA PRISM scandal may make people reconsider their options. Having said that, I do think that, through education, people can be made confident that property is secure, and they may double-check decisions and assess what december 2013

Computer News Middle East

11


in depth Powering the Cloud

their partners can offer. I do think PRISM will affect the uptake of cloud. Not necessarily the private cloud, but certainly in terms of the public and hybrid clouds.” Plumridge’s point about PRISM is supported by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, which estimates that American cloud companies could lose up to $35 billion in the next three years as a direct result of the American government’s actions. At best, this figure could be in the region of $20 billion, but with European competitors closing in on a greater share of the market― that Gartner estimates will be worth $47 billion by 2016―it seems inevitable that American providers will lose out. The lack of trust towards the American government is understandable; if information has been left with companies under their jurisdiction, why wouldn’t they tap into it when they have already done the same to their own citizens? Robin Kuepers, Storage Marketing Director, EMEA, Dell―a keynote speaker at the show―believes that, broadly speaking, the risks of cloud computing are inherent. However, like Plumridge, he is all for good education on the cloud. “People have to live with the reality that having your data hacked on a public cloud is always a possibility. Privacy and security are important things, but to what level can you guarantee them?” he asked. “I think people accept that whatever data you put online in any form there is always a risk that it might be hacked, whether it is an online bank account, or the use of PRISM to stalk individuals’ information. It is just a question of reducing that risk so that it is unlikely to happen.”

An issue that continued to crop up throughout the event was that of where cloud computing will leave thousands of IT employees, who, until now, may not have been so occupied with ensuring the security of the back end. This could well change, with security a preeminent concern. Chris Johnson, Vice President, EMEA HP Storage Division, discussed how the expectations of employees will change with the industry. “A lot of roles that have been so important in IT may become redundant. This does not necessarily mean these people will lose their jobs, but the emphasis will certainly shift to ensuring the security of the back end, and ensuring each specific cloud programme suits the needs of each individual customer,” he said. In an ever-changing industry, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to find the best solutions to

“I think people accept that, whatever data you put online in any form, there is always a risk that it might be hacked, whether it is an online bank account, or the use of PRISM to stalk individuals’ information. It is just a question of reducing that risk so that it is unlikely to happen.”

12

Computer News Middle East

december 2013

www.cnmeonline.com

protect their data. Hackers are on the rise― much like CIOs’ blood pressure levels―and it becomes easy for paranoia to take hold. The advantage of events like Powering The Cloud is that they are vendor-agnostic, and are an ideal platform for these anxieties to be eased. It’s difficult to understate the value of attending an event that gives unbiased, contemporary advice on tackling issues that so easily engulf CIOs. Event organiser CEO of Angel Business Communications, Bill Dunlop Uprichard, knows this better than anyone: “I find that vendorbased events tend to become an exercise in self-promotion, whereas this one is endorsed by industry associations like SNIA,” he said. “One of the things we do is help build trust and security between businesses. First and foremost we hope that the event can educate people, and give them an increased understanding of how their businesses could improve with emerging technologies.” The main message to come out of Frankfurt’s Congress Centre was that serious thought is needed on how to best confront the issues of security and privacy. Every speaker who touched on the issue was in no doubt about this. However, the message to emerge was not one of fear, but of acceptance, and shrewd, strategic action to best equip any organisation to fight the unsettling threat of hacking.


in depth Alcatel-Lucent

The LTE advantage First-movers in LTE are likely to gain larger chunks of the telecoms market, Alcatel-Lucent told visitors to its annual Technology Symposium in New Jersey, United States. But what can the Middle East do with this information?

T

here’s no doubting that longterm evolution (LTE) mobile broadband is growing at phenomenal rates across the globe. In markets such as Korea, around 45 percent of mobile subscribers are subscribed to LTE packages. In the US, the country’s biggest carrier, Verizon, has about 30 percent of its customer base subscribed to LTE services. In the Middle East, however, it’s a different story. According to a report from Informa Telecoms and Media earlier 14

Computer News Middle East

december 2013

this year, there were just 50,000 LTE subscribers across the entire MENA region. This is despite operators such as Etisalat, du, STC and Mobily all investing millions into developing next-generation LTE networks. This is surprising, though, because what’s seen in the Middle Eastern telecoms market flies directly in the face of one of the key themes at this year’s Technology Symposium, an annual conference held by Alcatel-Lucent in New Jersey, United States. www.cnmeonline.com

At the conference, Alcatel-Lucent’s executives were at pains to get across that early adopters of LTE were almost certain to capture increasing amounts of market share. Operators that invested in the technology early, it was said, would reel in customers simply because of the higher levels of customer experience that the technology can afford. “The rankings of the operators now have been formed over the past two years and it’s down to the deployment of LTE,” said Glenn Booth, Vice President


and General Manager, LTE Business Unit, Alcatel-Lucent, when describing the state of the US market. “Operators have a very brief window of opportunity to meaningfully take a lead. Verizon will get many billions more dollars over a five-year period for being the first to market [in the US], compared to number two. And number two will get about 25 percent more revenue than number three.” Apply this logic to the Middle East, and what Booth said seemed to make sense. Yes, LTE subscription numbers are low across the Middle East (though it must be admitted that they’re probably much higher since Informa’s report was released in May), but customers are beginning to shift towards operators that offer what they perceive to be better wireless broadband services. In the UAE, Etisalat was the first to commercially deploy LTE, which it launched towards the end of 2011. Since then, it has regained some of the market share it lost when competitor du launched in 2007. According to du’s third-quarter earnings report this year, its market share was 46.4 percent as of October 31, down from 47.2 percent a year earlier. There’s no telling whether the shift is down to LTE adoption, but according to Dave Geary, President of Wireless, AlcatelLucent, LTE has in other markets been a catalyst for success. “I think the projection is about 130 million LTE subscribers by the end of this year, but it got to 100 million in a little over two years. WCA, by comparison, was 7 million, and GSM was 8 million. And it’s going to skyrocket once China gets into business next year. The adoption rates, and usage, have surpassed the operators’

In May, the number of LTE subscribers in the region totalled just

50,000

“We think it’s being proven time and again that the first mover can take share and reap the benefits of making an investment. We’ve seen some examples of fast followers who compete that way.” Dave Geary, President of Wireless, Alcatel-Lucent

expectations by a lot,” he told CNME at the symposium. In this region, early-adopter operators have tackled LTE in different ways, while others have been waiting to learn from the frontrunners’ experience. What’s more, in countries such as Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, the operators have simply been waiting to maximise the potential of their 3G WCDMA services before making the move to LTE. Now that almost a dozen operators in the Middle East do now offer LTE services, though, things are changing. Operators and end-customers will soon begin to see the advantages of LTE as the market matures, according to Booth. “It’s putting your investment into an asset that’s got headroom and is forwardlooking. You’re able to build out a large amount of capacity off OPEX, and add capacity through software. Also, customers care. It’s noticeable,” he said. While some regional operators have already built up formidable LTE networks, others have only begun taking baby steps. Alcatel-Lucent can already count Etisalat and Mobily as customers, though it is also targeting what it calls “fast followers”―the operators interested in deploying LTE in order to keep up with the early adopters. “We think it’s being proven time and again that the first mover can take share and reap the benefits of making an investment. We’ve seen some examples of fast followers who compete that way. We think it’s the way to go,” said Geary. www.cnmeonline.com

To do this, Alcatel-Lucent is advising its customers to build out LTE networks in an overlay fashion―meaning that the networks are built separately from the existing 2G and 3G networks. This might sound like needless investment in new kit, but the vendor believes that the longevity of the new kit will provide a much larger return on investment than attempting to built an LTE network over an existing 2G or 3G one. Alcatel-Lucent needs its predictions to come true. The financially stressed company this year unveiled a plan to shed $1 billion in assets and to become profitable by 2015. The plan, named “Shift”, will see the vendor morph from a general supplier of telecom equipment into what it calls an “industrial specialist”. Its ambitions in the LTE and―further down the line―5G markets play a large role in the success of this plan. With LTE becoming more ubiquitous across the region, however, it would be fair to assume that Alcatel-Lucent may very well be counting more Middle East operators as customers as time goes on. Certainly, the company is making strong inroads around the rest of world―at the Technology Symposium, the vendor announced a number of big customer wins, including Sprint in the US, Telefonica in Spain, and China Mobile, all of which were looking to deploy LTE networks using Alcatel-Lucent technology. If such enthusiasm can be replicated here, it spells good news for the vendor and its customers. december 2013

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in depth BYOD Summit 2013

The BYO-Dilemma As more tech-savvy employees around the Middle East demand to use their own devices at work, CIOs are grappling with how best to tackle the bring-your-owndevice trend. With the inaugural BYOD Summit 2013, featuring top speakers from across the region, CNME hoped to throw a little light into the BYOD gloom.

T

he bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend has taken the world by storm, with many commentators labelling it an unstoppable force that the enterprise must come to terms with. Despite this, though, large numbers of Middle Eastern organisations are still in the dark about how to tackle BYOD, and indeed wonder if they should tackle it at all. It came as little surprise, then, that the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading CIOs and IT managers turned up in droves to the inaugural BYOD Summit 2013, which promised to dispel the myths surrounding BYOD, as well as offer guidance on how to proceed with a BYOD programme. The agenda was packed with some of the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading speakers, who covered BYOD from all angles, speaking about it

www.cnmeonline.com

december 2013

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17


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in depth BYOD Summit 2013

conceptually as well as practically. Following a brief keynote session delivered by Mohamed Heiba, Networking Pre-Sales Solution Architec, HP, it was down to Etisalat’s Sahebzada Haider Khan, Director, ICT Vertical Propositions, to kick off the day’s proceedings. Khan began by referring to the pre2009 and post-2009 way of doing things, explaining that BYOD had emerged largely as a product of the advent of the iPhone. A consumer-centric and increasingly techsavvy workforce has since demanded to use the latest devices in the workplace, and CIOs are grappling with how to manage these smartphones and tablets. “Before, IT brought technology to the end user, but now, the end user brings technology to IT,” he said. That said, Khan added that this new way of doing things need not worry CIOs, so long as the right management strategy was in place. He ran through a number of mobile device management (MDM) solutions now available to organisations, and included use cases to help uncomplicate the concepts. Khan’s well-delivered presentation certainly got the attention of the conference hall, and no doubt he had already convinced quite a few visitors that perhaps it was worth investing in BYOD properly. However, the tables were turned as the next speaker, Arun Tewary, CIO and Vice President of IT, Emirates Flight Catering, took to the stage, proceeding to largely disagree with Khan. Tewary’s take on BYOD was that it should be resisted as much as possible―it was too much of a headache for CIOs, and

he doubted that BYOD would even lead to greater worker productivity. This opinion flew in the face of the other speakers, and would ignite much debate during the later panel discussion. He admitted that he would probably have to give in at some point, but for the moment, he believed resisting BYOD was the best way to go. Following Tewary’s talk, the audience was treated to yet another difference of opinion. Jaison George, CIO, KPMG Lower Gulf, delivered a presentation about his own organisation adopting a mobility platform, which he called the

“A consumer-centric and increasingly techsavvy workforce has since demanded to use the latest devices in the workplace, and CIOs are grappling with how to manage these smartphones and tablets."

www.cnmeonline.com

trueMobility platform. His new system, implemented this year, allowed for BYOD, and dramatically increased worker productivity, he said. For the employees at his organisation, the ability to complete work through a mobile platform they are comfortable with was of the utmost importance. Just before the panel discussion and the end of the day, Joseph Aninias, Manager, Information Technology and Telecommunication Services, University of Wollongong in Dubai, spoke about where he saw the BYOD trend going. Perhaps not quite as skeptical of BYOD as Tewary, Aninias still urged caution before jumping head-first into a BYOD programme. The day had provided a smorgasbord of various views on BYOD, and had led to some valuable insight into how Middle Eastern businesses are reacting to the trend. And just as the event’s speakers had different ideas about how to tackle BYOD, no doubt the visitors walked away with a few ideas of their own. december 2013

Computer News Middle East

19


THE BATTLE OF

BYOD

The big picture

81%

62%

69%

28%

of employees access work documents on the move

of employees use their own device for work

of employees use free file sharing

of employees claim their IT departments are aware

The breakdown In order to do your job, do you require access to your work documents from outside the office?

United States

84%

EMEA

89%

SOURCE: WorkShare’s Workplace mobilisation: What your IT department should know

Yes No


USERS vs IT WHO WILL WIN?

Do you use your own mobile device or tablet for work?

Industry YES

8%

11%

48%

71%

28%

92%

89%

52%

29%

72%

Legal & Professional

Finance & Accounting

Creative

Government NFP

Pharma & Healthcare

NO

Has your IT department authorised your file sharing solution? Finance Employees

Legal Employees 78% of finance employees use free file sharing platforms but only 35% are authorized by their IT department 88% of legal employees use free file sharing platforms but only 33% are authorised by their IT department


short takes Month in view

Gemalto, Byblos Bank launch Middle East’s first biosourced cards

ACQUISITION WATCH

Apple has acquired Topsy, a social media analytics company that focuses on a range of data from Twitter, for more than $200 million, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

Zain signs deal to use Ericsson LTE technology

Computer News Middle East

Huawei has maintained its position as the world’s biggest vendor of cellular networks, despite being effectively locked out of the huge US LTE market, according to ABI Research results released this month. Huawei took 28.1 percent of all cellular network revenue in the third quarter, enough to keep the Chinese vendor in the lead.

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Zain Bahrain has teamed up with Ericsson to use the communications giant’s LTE technology, which it believes could transform its network. The agreement also includes prepaid charging, including consulting and systems integration services. Ericsson will replace the existing 2G and 3G radio network equipment while adding 4G functionality with the Ericsson RBS 6000 family of base stations. It will also deploy Evolved Packet Core with triple-access SGSN-MME and Ericsson Evolved Packet Gateway based on the Ericsson SSR 8000 family of Smart Services Routers, as well as MINI-LINK PT and SP for IP backhaul. Mohammed Zainalabedin, CEO, Zain Bahrain, said, “The most important thing for us is to benefit from Ericsson’s state-ofthe-art technology and experience across the board to address our ever-growing market requirements.” Ericsson says its LTE technology offers end-to-end networks with superior performance when it comes to stability, throughput, and latency.

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Gemalto has teamed up with Byblos Bank to launch the Middle East‘s first bio-sourced EMV payment cards in Lebanon. Working with Gemalto’s local partner Unilux Cards, Byblos Bank plans to migrate 80 percent of its entire banking card portfolio to Gemalto’s Clarista bio-sourced payment cards within the next three years. This initiative is the result of Byblos Bank’s investment for a sustainable environment in Lebanon. The bank has already started offering the Clarista bio-sourced cards as a standard to all new cardholders, and will be steadily switching the existing Byblos Bank debit, credit and prepaid cards to the bio-sourced alternative, as they become due for renewal.

Etisalat expands in West Africa

A judge has ruled that HewlettPackard and its CEO, Meg Whitman, must mount a defence against a shareholder class action lawsuit claiming that Whitman and HP made misleading statements about the acquisition of Autonomy.

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Etisalat is set to expand its share in the highly competitive West African telecom market with its takeover of Vivendi’s 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom. The €3.9 billion (US$5.3 billion) deal will let the Middle East’s largest telecom operator gain access to Maroc Telecom’s operations in West Africa in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Mali.

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According to results for the last fiscal quarter of its financial year, HP has shown much-needed signs of improvement, despite sales being down from a year earlier. The vendor’s enterprise division reported its first sales growth in two years, while its PC division, which has been hammered by the popularity of tablets, shrank less than it did in prior quarters.

HP BlackBerry’s interim CEO, John Chen, has made no bones about casting out the firm’s old guard of executives. Last month, he pulled the trigger on two of ousted CEO Thorsten Heins’ key allies, COO Kristian Tear and CMO Frank Boulben. At the time of writing, just three executive biographies featued on the corporate website.

BlackBerry SAP has been slapped with a lawsuit by California’s state controller over a payroll software implementation that never worked correctly, it was reported last month. The system was supposed to serve 240,000 workers, yet it struggled to work with a pilot group of 1,500, the lawsuit said.

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WHAT’S NOT?


IDC: EMC’s solutions save businesses $3m per year

Smartphone sales to triple by 2019

ACQUISITION WATCH

US regulators have given the green light to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, moving the deal a major step closer to wrapping up. The Department of Justice approved the transaction on Friday, November 29. IDC has released the results of a study which says that EMC’s back-up and recovery solutions are measurably improving businesses. The whitepaper-Generating Proven Business Value with EMC Backup and Recovery Solutions: An ROI Assessment for the Middle East and Turkey-is based on responses from nine companies across the Middle East and Turkey region that have deployed EMC back-up and recovery solutions. According to the survey, EMC customers were able to see a 454 percent ROI and payback for the solutions in less than five months. The report also showed a 75 percent reduction in time spent for IT to manage backup and recovery and an 88 percent reduction in restore times from nearly nine hours down to one hour.

BT optimistic over Middle East investment

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos caused a stir this month after unveiling plans to deliver packages to customers using unmanned aerial vehicles in 30 minutes of less. “It looks like science fiction, but it’s real,” Amazon said on its website.

Smartphone subscriptions will triple and smartphone traffic will increase by a factor of 10 between the end of this year and 2019. By that time, about two-thirds of the world’s population will be covered by LTE, according to a report from telecom vendor Ericsson.

BT has announced a new phase of investments into the economies of the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, and Asia Pacific. BT hopes that by launching more competitive capabilities across a larger number of countries and delivering a differentiated service experience, it will be in a stronger position to capture opportunities in a total AMEA market valued at around £32 billion. It is promising stronger portfolio capabilities in the fields of security, cloud, unified communications, mobility and contact centres. Earlier this year, BT brought a number of regions together into a single integrated market unit to better address the needs of a new generation of regional multi-nationals and big domestic players.

Six more arrested in $45 million Bank of Muscat, Ras Al-Khaimah bank theft UAE recognised in ICT Development Index The UAE has gained recognition for its improving IT industry by climbing 12 places up to 33rd in the ICT Development Index—the highest increase of any country. Measuring the Information Society—the fifth annual edition of the report commissioned by the International Telecommunications Union—measures standards in 157 economies worldwide. Value increases in the access and use sub-indices put the UAE way above the global average. All indicators included in the access sub-index showed improvement from 2011 to 2012, while mobile phone penetration rose by more than 14 percent, to 170 percent in 2012. H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director General, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, said, “The significant achievements of the UAE in the report proves that the TRA is well on the way to securing its vision of providing an optimal enabling environment in which the UAE’s ICT sector will emerge as a leader in the global marketplace.”

Six more alleged participants were arrested last month in a $45 million global ATM fraud, including one man who was photographed stuffing $800,000 into a suitcase, federal prosecutors in New York said. The defendants are alleged to be part of a New York cell that used bogus payment cards to withdraw millions of dollars from more than 100 ATMs in a matter of hours, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Defendants Anthony Diaz, 24; Saul Franjul, 23; Saul Genao, 24; Jaindhi Polanco, 29; and Jose Angeley Valerio, 25, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, according to a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office. They face a possible seven-and-a-half years in prison. A sixth defendant, Franklyn Ferreira, was arrested later but had not been arraigned, the spokesman said.

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CIO Spotlight Neil Menezes

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Thirst for knowledge As Group Director of Information Technology Operations at Jumeirah Group, Neil Menezes has to know his job inside out. His journey to that point was a series of personal highlights, which saw an initial interest in computer games transform into a thirst for networking expertise.

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teacher opens the door, but it is the student who walks through it. Perhaps Neil Menezes wasn’t the most enthusiastic of pupils in class, but once engrossed in private study, he really came into his own. Born in India in 1977, only a year later Menezes’ family would move to Dubai, where they have stayed ever since. He was sent to boarding schools in Mumbai, before attending Emirates English Speaking School in Dubai, where he graduated in 1994. Throughout his childhood, a budding interest in technology developed, stemming from a love of computers and computer games. “Like a lot of kids who are lucky enough to own them, I used to love playing computer games,” he says. “Initially, I used to have an Atari joystick, and I loved playing Pacman and games like that. I was a bit of a geek, to be honest. My interest started there, then it branched out into wider computing.” Menezes’ zeal was not confined to child’s play, though. Soon enough, he was fascinated by the intricacy of connections, and an attraction towards more complicated technology blossomed. “As time went on, I played around a lot on tools like Microsoft Word and things like that, but my real interest was in networking, and the way things were connected. This led me to further my studies and enhance my understanding of systems, which really ignited my interest,” he explains. He studied Business Information Systems at Skyline University, where he says, aside from individual research, his academic studies had no real bearing on his own intellectual mindset. At first glance, it seems that his move into the word of IT came about by subordination. Menezes initially wanted to work in travel and tourism, but was encouraged to work in the IT trade by his parents, who recognised the industry’s increasing value. Following their

initial shove, Menezes set out on a mission to develop his own technical acumen and satisfy an insatiable curiosity for minute detail. “I was fascinated by the levels of intricacy at a micro level of technology. A lot of my initial discoveries resided in relentless spells of researching technical topics on Yahoo’s search engines. Through self-research I believe that I really galvanised my understanding and branched out my perspectives of technology.” Call him an introvert, but to this day Menezes believes an individual thirst for knowledge is paramount. “Ever since I graduated from university, I have never spent much time on technical courses or things like that,” he recalls with a brazen tone. “I’ve attended more conferences over the years, but I’ve always believed it’s more important to have an unrelenting passion to learn, as opposed to taking in what somebody else is imparting into you. That way, your knowledge can explore different avenues, unlike the finite ends you will reach if you are just told certain information.” It becomes clear how his organically grown interest was the perfect springboard to the top IT job at Jumeirah Group. After leaving university in 1998, Menezes took a job on the helpdesk at Emirates Petroleum, one that he describes as being at the “very bottom of the IT industry”. However, he was quick to adapt to the needs of the role, and establish himself within the team which combated Y2K at the turn of the millennium. “During my two years at EP, I had guidance from great managers, and my parents, who gave me fantastic support, which enabled me to quickly progress there,” he says. In December, 2000, he joined Jumeirah Hotel Group, working as helpdesk manager for the Burj Al Arab hotel. This was a dream move for Menezes, who had the opportunity to work in a role that combined his main career interests: IT and tourism. “Working www.cnmeonline.com

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CIO Spotlight Neil Menezes

at the Burj Al Arab was really the icing on the cake when I joined Jumeirah,” Menezes says. “You’re working not just for one of the iconic hotels in Dubai, but one of its greatest landmarks as well. It was also my main breakthrough into mainstream IT.” His initial projects included implementing wireless internet across the hotel, which he saw as a major challenge. “At the time, finding expertise on the subject was particularly challenging. It was a daunting task, as wireless internet was not very common back then. It was cutting-edge technology at the time. One thing that stands out was the challenge of managing AV receiver costs.” But Menezes is quick to note that, out of a multitude of difficulties, opportunities arose: “I was very proud of the work myself and my team achieved at the Burj. We were the first hotel to have end-to-end wireless internet in Dubai, and I see that as a great achievement.” Menezes has since spent 13 years at Jumeirah Group, and has a personal affinity with the franchise, not least because he met his wife there. “I was one of five people who started Jumeirah IT. We’ve always wanted to deliver the latest, cutting-edge technology which is suitable for everyone. When I started here, the group had two hotels. We are now approaching 25. It certainly sounds cheesy but I feel that, as the brand has grown, I have grown with it. We plan two years ahead, so there is a solid long-term strategy in place.” Menezes may have a friendly nature but maintains a hawk-like gaze over his team’s operations, and challenges any of his employees to outdo his example. “I pride myself on the fact that there is nothing that my team can do that I cannot. That means that if anyone tries to pull the wool over my eyes then my X-ray vision comes out!” The importance of his troops is not lost on him, though: “I am extremely dedicated to the team I work with now, and everyone I’ve worked with throughout my career. So many of my colleagues have supported and inspired me, and I will always be grateful for that.” Menezes’ current operations working for Jumeirah Group are more varied and complex compared to his initial wireless projects in his Burj Al Arab days. Like most other technology chiefs, he is currently overseeing data centre modernisation, virtualisation, BYOD and private cloud work at the company. But he is in no doubt about the top priority of his IT department: “Survey results show that the most important thing for customers staying at hotels now―even more important than the bed or food―is having fast, complimentary, reliable internet. That means we have to protect their data as best as we can.” So, who is Menezes’ role model? It’s certainly someone whose individual work ethic he seems to have mirrored: “If I had to highlight one person who was a real inspiration to me, it would be my uncle, Habib, who has now passed away. This was a man who came from nothing, who a few years ago would study under streetlights because he had nowhere else to go. He was incredibly curious and hardworking, and by the time he died, he was a very senior figure at British Petroleum. The way he grew himself showed what you can become if you combine raw desire, hard work and curiosity.” 28

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TIMELINE 1977

Born in India

1982

Sent off to boarding school in Mumbai

1988

Joins Emirates English Speaking School in Dubai

1994 Studies Business Information Systems at Skyline University

1998

Joins Emirates Petroleum as a junior helpdesk operator

2000 Becomes helpdesk manager at Burj Al Arab Hotel, part of Jumeirah Group

2012 Promoted to Group Director of Information Technology Operations at Jumeirah


Insight SDN

Planning for SDN Software-defined networking (SDN) is the hottest thing going today, but there is considerable confusion surrounding everything from the definition of the term to the different architectures and technologies suppliers are putting forward.

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iven the confusion, some IT shops are probably taking a wait-and-see attitude. But while that response would be understandable, it isn’t the right approach because, even though no reasonable person would claim to know how SDN and network virtualization will evolve over the next several years, there is no doubt these emerging technologies will have a significant impact. You need to plan now for how you will evaluate and possibly implement these new approaches to networking. We’ll outline some macro considerations that you’ll need to take into account when you formulate that plan, then outline some micro issues, but let’s start with a definition of SDN. The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is the group that is most associated with the development and standardization of SDN. As

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the ONF points out, SDN is not a technology, but an architecture. According to the ONF, SDN decouples the network control and forwarding functions enabling the network control to become directly programmable and the underlying infrastructure to be abstracted for applications and network services. According to the ONF, the OpenFlow protocol is a foundational element for building SDN solutions. Part of the confusion that surrounds SDN is that many vendors don’t totally buy in to the ONF definition of SDN. For example, while the vast majority of vendors do include the centralization of control in their definition of SDN, there isn’t agreement as to how much control should be centralized. In addition, while many vendors are viewing OpenFlow as a foundational element of their SDN solutions, www.cnmeonline.com

other vendors are taking a cautious approach to OpenFlow and in the mean time adopting protocols such as XMPP. Another source of confusion is the relationship between network virtualization and SDN. It is possible to implement an SDN that resembles the ONF definition of SDN and use the SDN to implement network virtualization. For example, the Open DayLight foundation recently accepted a contribution from NEC referred to as Virtual Tenant Networking (VTN) that enables an SDN to implement network virtualization. It is possible, however, to implement network virtualization without implementing SDN. For example, both Nuage Networks and VMware/Nicira implement network virtualization using an overlay model. To add to the confusion, Nuage Networks refers to its solution as SDN while VMware is adamant


that its solution is network virtualization and not SDN. IT organizations can’t wait for the brouhaha surrounding the definition of SDN and network virtualization to sort itself out. As part of developing an SDN plan, IT organizations need to develop a definition of SDN that is well understood and agreed to within their organization. This article will focus on SDN and recommends that IT organizations approach planning for network virtualization the same way they would for any vendor-specific solution that provides additional functionality to an existing network.

The opportunities An analysis of SDN solution architectures and subtending protocols is totally irrelevant until you identify the problems and/or opportunities you’re hoping to address with SDN. That follows because analyzing architectures and protocols only makes sense in the context of what the IT organization is trying to accomplish.  Some of the primary opportunities that are typically associated with SDN include: • Support for the dynamic movement, replication and allocation of virtual workloads • Easing the administrative burden of configuring and provisioning network elements • Enabling traffic engineering with an end-toend view of the network • More easily implementing QoS • Enabling applications to dynamically request services from the network If, for example, the goal is to support the dynamic movement, replication and allocation of virtual workloads, then an overlay solution from a vendor such as Nuage Networks or VMware is a viable candidate, as is an SDN solution from a company such as NEC. The overlay solutions, however, don’t make it easier to implement QoS, nor do they enable applications to dynamically request services from the network. SDN is both embryonic and rapidly evolving. Hence, in order to create and update an SDN plan, IT organizations need to continually educate themselves as to what is happening in the broad SDN ecosystem. This certainly includes analyzing what is

being said in the industry about the relevant SDN use cases and the techniques to justify deployment. It also includes reviewing product announcements, the announcement of enabling technologies that are either new or have evolved, the results of plugfests that are intended to test the interoperability of SDN solutions, and the work of organizations such as the Open Daylight consortium. Much of this education can be accomplished by reading articles and white papers and by attending seminars and workshops. IT organizations should also consider downloading some of the open source products that are readily available and playing with those solutions to gain deeper insight into their capabilities and weaknesses. In addition, in October the author will publish a mock RFI for SDN solutions that will be hosted at the author’s Webtorials web site. IT organizations can use this document to structure the type of SDN solution evaluation that is described later in this article. As part of your SDN plan, you need to identify a set of vendors whose SDN solutions you will evaluate. Criteria to evaluate SDN solutions are discussed below. As part of the process of evaluating SDN tools, you need to identify whether you will acquire a complete SDN solution from a single vendor or if you will buy components from varying vendors. It is reasonable to think that acquiring a complete SDN solution from a single vendor will obviate interoperability issues. But you should still request details of the testing that was performed by the vendor, as well as the results of any third-party testing that was performed.

SDN evaluation The process of evaluating SDN solutions should be cyclical. You need to start with a cursory evaluation of numerous vendors to see what solutions correspond to your unique challenges, and also to make IT aware of the varying approaches to SDN the vendors offer, each of which have their own twist and value add. This stage should also help you eliminate vendors from consideration and let you perform a more detailed analysis on a small set of suppliers. The result of this detailed analysis may well be the www.cnmeonline.com

recommendation to go forward with a proof of concept (POC). When evaluating a SDN solutions, you need to consider the following:  The Solution Architecture - This includes examining topics such as which components of the solution are provided by the vendor and which are provided by a partner; how much control is centralized in the SDN controller; what protocols are used within the solution; how the solution supports high availability; and the level of abstraction that is provided by the controller’s northbound API. In addition, you need to evaluate SDN solutions based on their ability to respond to the opportunities IT has identified. For example, if one of the opportunities is to eliminate the administrative burden of configuring and provisioning network elements, you of course need to identify how each solution accomplishes this. The SDN Controller - You’ll ultimatelly need to evaluate the architecture of various SDN controllers. For example, does the controller have a modular architecture that will enable the addition of new functionality over time? IT organizations also need to understand how the controller’s architecture enables scalability, high availability and performance. SDN Switches - You’ll need to know which of the vendor’s switches support SDN and how that support is implemented. For example, does the vendor support OpenFlow? If so, which versions and what optional features? Are the switches pure SDN switches or are they hybrid switches, and if they are hybrid switches, how does the SDN portion of the switch interact with the traditional portion of the switch?

Management There are two aspects to SDN management that need to be evaluated. One aspect is the ability of the vendor’s solution to alleviate the management challenges created by SDN. This includes monitoring the performance of the SDN controller; providing end-to-end visualization of the virtual networks; and configuring the SDN switches and monitoring the physical and logical networks between switches. The second aspect is integrating the management of SDN into a broader management solution. With the december 2013

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Insight SDN

twin goals of minimizing the need for new, SDN-specific management tools and extending existing FCAPs (the International Organization for Standardization’s standard management framework) processes to the SDN component of the overall network.

Security There are also two aspects of security that need to be evaluated. One aspect is what functionality is provided to secure the SDN. This is critical because, if a hacker were to gain access to the SDN controller, they would have access to all of the subtending network elements. The other aspect of security that needs to be evaluated is the ability of the solution to enhance the overall securityof the IT infrastructure. For example, Radware recently contributed a toolset to the Open Daylight consortium’s SDN controller that will be used for the detection and mitigation of distributed denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

Network Functions There are two approaches that an IT organization can take relative to acquiring network functions that ride on the SDN controller. One approach is to acquire the network functions from a vendor (such as Radware’s distributed DoS application and NEC’s Virtual Tenant Networking functionality). Since most IT groups will acquire network functions from vendors, evaluating vendor-supplied network functions is a key component of the overall process of evaluating SDN solutions. The second approach is for IT to develop some or all of the required network functionality. The primary advantage of this approach is it enables IT to customize the functions to meet the organization’s specific requirements. The disadvantage, of course, is it requires IT to have the base of skills necessary to both develop and to maintain those functions over their life cycle. Testing and Certification As mentioned, even if all of the components of the SDN solution come from a single vendor, you need to understand the testing that was done to ensure smooth sailing. In situations where the 32

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SDN components come from multiple vendors, you need to understand if the solution is certified, meaning, will you have a single point of contact to resolve problems that develop. There may be instances in which IT has to either do testing itself or commission a third party to do testing on its behalf. For example, if you were to develop one or more network functions, you would need to test those functions on the SDN controller(s) you have selected and redo that testing prior to implementing new versions of the controller. If you face a situation like this, then as part of the SDN evaluation process you need to evaluate tools available to enable the organization to do testing as well as evaluate the offerings of external test labs.

Integration with the existing environment  It is certainly possible to evaluate SDN solutions in isolation from your current environment, but if SDN is to reach your production network, then as part of the evaluation process you should examine how SDN will fit in with the existing infrastructure. For example, what mechanisms exist to enable traffic to flow between the SDN and the traditional network? Is it possible to extend SDN so it operates both in a data center and in a branch office? How about across multiple data centers? You should also examine how to integrate the SDN management and security components into the existing management and security frameworks. Professional services Given the lack of experience that virtually all IT organizations have with SDN, some shops will choose to leverage professional services from one or more third parties. You can use these services to help with the assessment of SDN solutions, to help with creating and performing a POC, or to create and maintain one or more network functions. You can also use these services to perform functions such as integrating SDN into the existing infrastructure as well as integrating the SDN management and security components into your existing management and security frameworks. Management buy-In You’ll need varying levels of management buy-in at the various stages of your SDN plan. www.cnmeonline.com

Of course little if any buy-in is needed to attend a seminar or workshop or download open source solutions and spend the time necessary to understand the functionality and the limitations of those solutions. Increasing levels of management buy-in will be needed to engage vendors in detailed discussions of SDN, to conduct a POC or to implement an SDN. But you are more likely to get management buy-in if you anticipate management’s concerns and work to resolve those concerns over the SDN planning cycle. For example, some organizations will be reluctant to implement any technology or new way of delivering technology if the associated security concerns are not thoroughly addressed. You’ll ultimately need to develop some form of business case to justify implementing SDN. That business case can be based on myriad factors, including everything from cost savings associated with automating administrative tasks to the added agility that comes with SDN. It may also be possible to identify ways in which implementing SDN supports other core IT initiatives, such as moving to cloud computing. There is no doubt over the next few years that SDN will have a significant impact both on enterprise networks and on the role of network professionals. Because of that, you need to develop a plan to evaluate and potentially implement SDN. When planning for SDN, you need to be attuned to new developments in the industry, such the announcement of new companies, new products, new standards and the announcement of mergers and acquisitions of SDN providers. However, you also need to avoid some of the noise in the industry, such as the ongoing debate over the precise definition of SDN. Given the embryonic and rapidly changing nature of SDN, an SDN plan will likely evolve over time. It should, however, begin with the identification of the opportunities that SDN might help address and with the definition of SDN that will be used by your organization throughout the planning process. And don’t forget the planning process must include ongoing education. We are still in the early stages of software-defined networking and your plan will have to be a living breathing thing.


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Insight BYOD

5 ways that BYOD is shaking up tech support Tech support is changing because of the BYOD trend, with extremes ranging from agents being overwhelmed by calls to support desks becoming uninhabited ghost departments. Here, we attempt to outline the role of tech support in a post-BYOD world.

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mid the clamour of bring your own device (BYOD), a question lurks in the background: “What happens to technical service and support?” Concerns for the tech support function encompass the extremes, from agents being overwhelmed with calls, to their becoming inhabitants of a help desk ghost town. On the one hand, it’s easy to imagine a flood of calls as employees attempt to access wireless networks or sync their email, especially in companies that permit the use of any device type. At the same time, as more people own smartphones, they are increasingly accustomed to resolving issues independently, through online forums, communities and other means of self-support.

By 2016, says Gartner analyst Jarod Greene, help desks will see a 25 percent to 30 percent drop in user-initiated call volume, as BYOD drives a companion trend of BYOS, or “bring your own support.” So far, with more companies embracing BYOD, no clear answer has emerged. According to an iPass/MobileIron study, 81 percent of companies now allow personal devices to be used in the office, and 54 percent have formalised BYOD policies. What is increasingly clear, however, is that demand for tech support is still strong. In our sister title Computerworld’s 2014 Forecast survey, help desk/technical support was number-two on the list of in-demand skills, with 37 percent of respondents planning to hire for this skill. www.cnmeonline.com

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Insight BYOD

Similarly, Modis, a leading provider of IT staffing, placed help desk at number three in its list of hot jobs in IT, after software developer (including mobile development) and business/data analyst. Meanwhile, HDI - a professional association and certification body for the technical service and support industry - says twothirds of support centres it recently surveyed are seeing rising volumes of support tickets year over year. Research from Robert Half Technology and HDI found companies struggling to identify qualified candidates across three levels of technical service and support: frontline/help desk, levels 2 and 3, and management. The skills that were highest in demand were customer service, problem-solving/troubleshooting and communication skills, according to Roy Atkinson, senior writer and analyst at HDI. In fact, technical skills were not among the top five skills necessary for frontline/help desk professionals, and they were ranked lower than problem-solving/troubleshooting for levels 2 and 3 support staff in the report. Further, less than one-quarter of organisations surveyed by HDI have made staff adjustments to handle mobile device questions, Atkinson says. “When the BYOD concept arrived a few years ago, people in the support arena were pretty frightened of it,” Atkinson says, particularly the idea of having to come up to speed with an array of device types and a potentially more complex technology infrastructure. In fact, though, the increased demand has been more centered on basic communication with clients. With questions like, “I just lost my iPhone,” or, “Can I get my calendar and email on my Android,” Atkinson says, “tech support’s job is to know the company’s policy or, if a containerisation system needs to be installed on the device, how to walk people through it.” According to James Gordon, vice president of IT at Needham Bank, customer support and communication are even more important than familiarity with the latest mobile technology. With escalating help desk volumes, the bank has added support staff. But while Gordon’s latest hire was Apple-certified, that was just the “icing on the cake,” he says. “What drove the hire were soft skills, approachability and being good with people.” In fact, Gordon says, the help desk needs to be even more adept with holding one-on-one conversations with the bank’s iPhone users because iOS does not support remote connection sessions, which the help desk had grown accustomed to using for desktop support. “It goes back to soft skills,” he says. “It’s absolutely critical that remote users and tech support talk again. The end user needs to be a partner in the resolution.” With more one-on-one conversations, support staffers also need to accept that they can address just one issue at a time. “With remote sessions, you could theoretically have one person work on three or four issues at one time, using three or four monitors,” Gordon says, “but you can’t have four phone conversations at once. You’ve got to be dedicated to the task at hand and interpret what the user is saying.” For instance, users at the bank continually refer 36

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“With remote sessions, you could theoretically have one person work on three or four issues at one time, using three or four monitors, but you can’t have four phone conversations at once. You’ve got to be dedicated to the task at hand and interpret what the user is saying.” to the bank’s mobile data management software as “Mobiletron,” rather than its actual name, “MobileIron.” “You need to cut through what the user is saying and give them support―I call it ‘honesty without commentary,’” Gordon says. With more Millennials entering the workforce, support staff must also grow adept at responding to even more channels of communication - such as text, chat, Web forms and mobile apps - and knowing the right ones to use to fix the problem at hand. “Things can get obfuscated with chat,” Gordon says. “A simple statement like, ‘my phone isn’t working’ can lead to a bevy of questions: Is it broken, is the screen cracked, is the email not working,” Gordon says. “Sometimes it’s best to take it offline so you can really connect.”  In the age of BYOD, customer service skills can also involve knowing when to say “no.” Many BYOD policies today distinguish between what the support staff will handle on the mobile device and what should be fixed by the vendor; for example, if the keyboard or screen breaks, contact the vendor, and if it’s a corporate app or network connectivity issue, ask the support desk. But it’s not always easy to turn people away when they’re asking for help. “If people want help backing up photos, and we want to maintain an amicable relationship, we don’t want to say, ‘Go away,’” Gordon says. “We’ll give them a brief overview or a Web link. If it only takes two or three minutes, we’ll give them ‘drive-by support.’” At the same time, support staffers need to know where to draw the line - cordially, Gordon says. A case in point is the common matter of cracked screens. “We might show them where they can order a kit to fix their screen for $8 or tell them about a place at the mall,” Gordon says. “It’s always hard to say no when you’re a customer serviceoriented person,” Atkinson agrees. “Having a well-thought-out, clearly written and easily explained policy is a huge step toward achieving that.” In the end, Gordon believes tech support staff will be called upon to stretch the boundaries of their traditional jobs, even driving to customer sites when necessary. “In this world, it’s going to take the ability to help with any issue, whether local or remote,” he says. “The skills we need transcend mobility - it’s about customer service, and if you delight the customer, they’ll keep coming back.”


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FEATURE

Solutions trends

Through the looking glass CNME looks ahead to the biggest solutions of 2014, as well as the trends that are going to shape the market over the next 12 months.

A

nd it was all going so well. As vendors began to build more comprehensive cloud-based product roadmaps, Middle Eastern users were beginning to see just how cloud services can streamline their businesses. According to a Gartner report from earlier in the year, cloud adoption was due to grow monumentally in the region up to 2016. This was largely due to issues surrounding security and compliance being ironed out.

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be easy to say that the rest is history, but earlier this year, an NSA contractor called Edward Snowden leaked documents suggesting the existence of a blanket digital surveillance programme known as PRISM. The documents inferred that the US government had access 38

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Solutions trends

to any file hosted by the country’s big tech vendors – including the ones that provide cloud services to millions around the globe. Suddenly, vendors’ assertions that your cloud data will always be secure seemed much less sincere. According to Natalya Kaspersky, CEO, InfoWatch, businesses need to take these news developments seriously, even if they’re not even adopting a cloud strategy. “If we talk about Google Docs for example, now we clearly understand that Google shares information of its clients with USA National Security Agency. This causes concerns, so if you don’t use Google Cloud, you’d probably use Google Search or maybe Facebook, MS Office or other computer tools developed in the USA. That means, one way or another, you will be under Big Brother’s eye. This is the reality that companies need to understand,” she says. For those looking to adopt a cloud strategy, the allegations over NSA spying are much more pertinent. It speaks volumes that, when we contacted the big American vendors about this article, the question on whether regional customers are now wary of US-based cloud services was dodged in more than one case. But according to Jatin Sahni, Vice President, Large Enterprise and Business Solutions Marketing, du, Middle Eastern businesses definitely are wary about US-sourced cloud services. “It is a key question that is driving a lot of the decisions to adopt cloud services from American companies or cloud services storing data in American data centres,” he says. This is good news for a local teclo such as du, as regional operators have begun to offer world-class cloud services to rival the American ones. Now that the PRISM news has broken, the likes of du and Etisalat have enticed users with assertions that data is hosted locally – not in the US where the NSA might have access to it.

“In today’s IT ecosystem, organisations are under pressure to become competitive, while maintaining profitability. Since IT serves as an enabler for the overall business, it is crucial for management to have visibility in this area.”

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“Many of the advancements and solutions that we predict will shape the region’s ICT industry in 2014 reflect the truly explosive growth of applications that now permit access to information anytime from anywhere on any device.” Abdelrahman Abdellatif, Principal Consultant of Special Industries, Huawei Enterprise Middle East

“More advanced services, such as hybrid clouds, PaaS and niche applications platforms, are being developed and offered locally, and would put local providers on par with international offerings,” Sahni says. Even the big, American corporations have to admit that local cloud service providers look a little more attractive these days. But according to Ahmad Muammar, Systems Engineer Manager, Gulf, EMC, this isn’t just down to concerns over privacy. What’s more, larger customers might still want to go for the bigger providers. “I believe that local services provider or global ones with a strong local presence are the ones who will win more business in the enterprise sector, and this is not specific only to the Middle East,” he says. “For SMBs, the market will split between local CSPs who are more attractive due to data privacy and regulations and others who will go to global providers who give them a cost advantage due to the scale of economy.” Cost isn’t the only advantage that comes from dealing with a large cloud provider according to Louay Dahmash, Head of Middle East, Autodesk. He believes that companies looking to pursue a cloud strategy should be more concerned about technical knowhow than data privacy. Sure, the NSA might potentially have access to your data, but – as we wrote earlier this year – that shouldn’t be an issue if you have nothing to hide. “Businesses in Middle East realise that, to reap the benefits of cloud technologies, it is important to work with providers with high level of sophistication and knowhow with regards to the technology,” he says. “While local controversies will have a short term impact on businesses but eventually, for the benefit of the customer,


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Solutions trends

FEATURE

“We are entering an era where the Internet has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of everyone on our planet—from accelerating the discovery of cures for diseases, to understanding climate change, to enhancing the way companies do business, to making every day more enjoyable.” Rabih Dabboussi, Managing Director, Cisco UAE

businesses will have to partner with the best, some of which are organisations from mature economies.” Kaspersky, a big advocate of data privacy, admits that “the Middle East isn’t a leader in software development, so Gulf companies need to use solutions from international vendors.” What’s more, Kaspersky believes that cloud computing will still continue to be adopted more widely, simply because businesses can save on costs using it. Indeed, there’s no doubting that cloud services make up a compelling prospect to the average SMB owner, says Rajesh Abrahim, Director of Product Development, eHosting DataFort. “Not many enterprises bought into the idea straight away but the hype is now turning into reality and we are seeing increased uptake. We see a higher uptake for non-critical workloads and more and more small businesses adopting the public cloud because of benefits such as access to latest technology, monthly subscription fees and low total cost of ownership,” he says. EMC’s Muammar says that businesses shouldn’t look at cloud differently because of the PRISM allegations. Instead, they should be looking at how the cloud can help them cut costs and become more agile. If businesses align their cloud strategies to their business objectives, the prospect of adopting cloud becomes too good to ignore, he believes. “Cloud can be seen as the efficiency frontier - one which can add a lot of agility to the organisation’s foundation of execution. Cloud will continue to be one of the biggest drivers of IT and business transformation, helping enterprises achieve efficiencies that were not possible earlier. As we go further in this journey, there is no doubt that we will see more and more organisations revamp their strategies to continue

to align IT objectives to larger business goals to further drive growth and competitive differentiation,” he says. The numbers are on Muammar’s side. In a recent survey conducted by IDC, over 80 percent of high-level IT decision makers in the region’s financial sector – a vertical traditionally opposed to cloud computing – acknowledge that cloud computing offers significant benefits. And according to the research house, the UAE cloud market alone is set for a compound annual growth rate of 43.7 percent until 2016. This might be great news, but what about the privacy risks now associated with the cloud? What’s more, were the previous issues around security and compliance really ironed out before the PRISM controversy hit? According to Kaspersky, there are still problems that need addressing, but there are solutions, too. “Service providers don’t take the legal responsibilities for client’s data in cloud. But as soon as the clients put their data into the cloud they essentially lose control over the information. It’s extremely hard to provide a legal environment for using data in the cloud since service providers give no guarantees that client’s data won’t leak. Therefore, securing client’s data by insurance companies can be one of the proposed solutions, which still hasn’t been implemented so far,” she says. Whether it is worth taking that risk now is up to organisations themselves. Some have adopted cloud strategies simply because of the benefits it can bring their businesses – and they’ve done it using big, American tech vendors. Others may want to be more cautious. One thing is for sure, though – with the controversy surrounding PRISM continuing to rage, coming up with a good cloud strategy just got that much harder.

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Infrastructure simplifcation

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How to simplify your infrastructure Consolidation has been a hot topic this year, as more and more enterprises hope to simplify their networks in order to reduce costs and increase agility. But what are the main steps that enterprises need to take if they’re looking to simplify their networks? CNME attempts to simplify infrastructure simplification.

I

t’s a cold, hard fact that enterprises are putting more strain on their networks now than ever before. On top of this, never before has the risk of downtime been more pertinent―businesses simply can’t afford for their networks to be down, even momentarily, meaning the pressure is on CIOs to ensure that all services are up-and-running all of the time. “Networks today are the foundation for critical, realtime collaboration, CCTV security, call centres, and other business-critical applications. The cost of outages and service impact due to legacy networks in many cases is far greater than the cost of upgrading the network infrastructure,” says Maan Al-Shakarchi, Senior Sales Manager, Avaya. But networks are getting better at handling the loads placed on them by trends such as mobility, wireless computing, cloud and an ‘always-on’ mentality. Indeed, as enterprises have begun to upgrade their networks, they’ve also been looking at simplifying the convoluted mess of their old legacy infrastructures so that they can react more easily to business demands. According Al-Shakarchi, it’s all about being able to offer IT services that can move as quickly as business decisions often do. “A company needs to be able to provision services instantly, similar to an individual’s ability to go to Gmail or Yahoo and create a new email account in a few minutes,” he says. “Networks today are built using the same protocols they were 15 years ago. There is a realisation in the

industry that this is no longer good enough to support the trends which are having direct implications on networks, including virtualisation, cloud, and BYOD.” The point is echoed by Ahmed Youssef, Business Development Manager, MEA, Alcatel-Lucent, who says that the old way of doing things simply won’t be able to cost-effectively handle future demands. What’s in that future? He believes that virtualisation, unified access, BYOD and cloud-ready services are the main trends that CIOs and network managers will have to deal with in the coming years. There’s a reason why these trends are hitting the IT industry so hard, though, says Youssef; implemented correctly, they can all help to increase network agility and save on costs. Indeed, hardware virtualisation is already highly proven, with most CIOs having opted for at least some form of the technology. This is a great place to start when it comes to infrastructure simplification, Youssef says, though he adds that there are other factors to consider far beyond virtualisation. “[Simplification] begins by virtualising the hardware as much as possible (which includes application servers, storage, and even desktops). Then, when an organisation is ready to simplify the network design, consideration needs to be given to solutions that offer a pay-as-yougrow design model, the least number of networking tiers, an application-aware and context-aware intelligent solution that is BYOD-ready (i.e. flexible user mobility and powerful automated security), and is future-ready and open-standards-based so that an organisation is not vendor locked-in,” he says.

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Infrastructure simplification

FEATURE

“Networks today are the foundation for critical, real-time collaboration, CCTV security, call centres, and other businesscritical applications. The cost of outages and service impact due to legacy networks in many cases is far greater than the cost of upgrading the network infrastructure.” Maan Al-Shakarchi, Senior Sales Manager, Avaya Middle East, Africa, and Turkey

76% The cost savings that can be made with a network upgrade, according to Aruba

Before any of this takes place, though, David Hughes, Senior Technical Director, MEA, CommScope, argues that cabling must be a top consideration when it comes to infrastructure simplification. “Constant and necessary upgrades and developments require new application and software deployments to stay updated with new technology trends such as BYOD and cloud computing. For this reason, the natural progression is to simplify the network, resulting in a unified platform that supports end users’ interactions,” he says. “Next-generation structured cabling solutions have also taken the complexity out of networking infrastructures. They allow better wireless network operations and make streamlining network capabilities possible. Structured cabling solutions are the backbone of network simplification as many of the new solutions and applications rely on high-bandwidth and highperformance physical layer (cabling) infrastructure.” The smart design of the layer-1 infrastructure is crucial to any network upgrade, Hughes says. What’s

“The first step in network right-sizing is to analyse your network and financial environment. This analysis provides the foundation of network right-sizing and helps validate the necessity of the right-sizing process.” Manish Bhardwaj, Regional Marketing Manager, Middle East and Turkey, Aruba Networks

more, with 40G and 100G technology rapidly making its way into enterprises, end-users will soon have a solid foundation on which to plan, deploy and upgrade as needs be. That said, any new layer-1 design should also be mindful of what the network needs to be capable of― business needs should be considered every step of the way when it comes to network simplification, he adds. What’s more, he concedes that software can play a huge role in the development of next-generation, simplified infrastructures: “By simplifying the network, businesses can lower costs, streamline solutions, deploy applications faster and decrease the possibility of downtime. One third of all network downtime is a result of human error, a problem that can be prevented with the simplification and upgrade of network software.” According to Manish Bhardwaj, Regional Marketing Manager, Middle East and Turkey, Aruba Networks, there is four-phase approach that businesses can take towards network simplification―analyse, justify, implement and validate. “The first step in network right-sizing is to analyse your network and financial environment. This analysis provides the foundation of network right-sizing and helps validate the necessity of the right-sizing process,” he says. The analysis should be a straightforward task, consisting of infrastructure analysis, traffic analysis, where network consolidation can take place, how to implement new technologies such as 802.11ac wireless, and a baseline financial analysis, Bhardwaj says. Likewise, justification for an upgrade should also be a simple issue. “Strategies and reasons for simplification of a network are numerous. Every organisation is different and will have unique reasons for right-sizing network infrastructure. With budgets being scrutinised and companies looking to reduce costs while improving

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Infrastructure simplication

productivity, right-sizing your network can help you achieve both of these goals. Justification is an important step in evaluating expected financial and other benefits in relation to near-term implementation costs,” he explains. Bharwaj says that a right-sized infrastructure can cut network capital and operations costs significantly―up 76 percent, according to analyses done by Aruba. There are also green benefits to simplification, too, meaning that justification for upgrading should be manageable. According to Bhardwaj, the implementation process should include installing a pervasive wireless network and removing surplus equipment that is no longer needed. The wireless point is echoed by Alcatel-Lucent’s Youssef, who says that the concept of unified access is really beginning to take hold across the IT world, simply because it makes things easier. “Unified access is quickly becoming the premier strategy, which involves the unification of the LAN and WLAN security policies and management that were previously separate silos of configuration and administration. Furthermore, in order to fully take advantage of BYOD mobility and security trends, consideration needs to be given to a fully converged solution of voice, LAN, and WLAN technologies, ensuring that the user ultimately has a seamless user experience across all three domains,” he says.

FEATURE

“By simplifying the network, businesses can lower costs, streamline solutions, deploy applications faster and decrease the possibility of downtime. One third of all network downtime is a result of human error, a problem that can be prevented with the simplification and upgrade of network software.” David Hughes, Senior Technical Manager, MEA, CommScope

Software-defined simplification Naturally, when talking about network simplification, the relatively new concept of the software-defined network (SDN) has to be brought up. SDN has promised much when it comes to managing and automating networks, though, in the Middle East at least, the technology is still taking baby steps. But this does not mean that it shouldn’t be considered with a network upgrade.

“Unified access is quickly becoming the premier strategy, which involves the unification of the LAN and WLAN security policies and management that were previously separate silos of configuration and administration.” Ahmed Youssef, Business Development Manager, MEA, Alcatel-Lucent

“Technologies such as Fabric-based networks and eventually SDN are a great example of eliminating legacy troublesome protocols, such as spanning tree and PIM, and replacing them with a standards-based architecture such as Shortest Path Bridging (SPB IEEE 802.1aq). This allows instant service provisioning, live virtual machine movement between data centres, and simple and scalable deployment of multicast applications such as CCTV and IPTV,” says Avaya’s Al-Shakarchi. According to CommScope’s Hughes, SDN can work in line with a cloud computing strategy, which can help to increase accessibility while at the same time reducing power consumption. The technology can also reduce on downtime: “When deploying SDN, the legacy infrastructure is reviewed, and can be slowly incorporated on the new system. SDN allows for bilateral communication between wired and virtual devices, and decreases the opportunity of downtime. SDN not only helps to simplify existing networks, but continues to make network growth and application deployment fast and simple,” he says. It sounds great, but this does not mean that every business in the Middle East is set to jump on the SDN bandwagon. Indeed, according to Hani Nofal, Director of Intelligent Network Solutions, GBM, the region is still set to play host to more traditional-style networks for a while yet. “We expect to see the expensive network hardware remain relevant in the future. Furthermore, we will start seeing different software-controlled network services that will be driven by custom-built interfaces or application programming interfaces. These will make the hardware smarter and more agile to the specific needs of an enterprise,” he says.

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FEATURE

Storage trends

9 storage trends for 2014 The storage industry has evolved at a rate of knots over the past couple of years, and there are no signs of it slowing down any time soon. Trends such as Big Data might be seen as massively overhyped, though theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re beginning to find their way into the Middle Eastern market, and more tangible innovations such as the proliferation of flash storage are beginning to find acceptance. What will all this mean for CIOs in the coming year? CNME asks a panel of experts, and looks forward to the nine biggest storage trends of 2014.

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Strategic Technology Partner

storage advisor

1

Flash on the up For starters, one of the biggest storage trends anticipated for 2014 will be a heavier uptake of flash storage. Up until now, the technology has been prohibitively expensive, though advancements in storage technology have brought the prices down. Why choose flash over traditional, diskbased storage? The short answer is because of the performance increase that flash storage affords. “Flash drives are basically faster accessing devices when compared to traditional fibre channel drives and SATA drives. Flash drives are catching up because people want faster rate performances,” says Shashikanth N., Sales Manager, StorIT Distribution. “This is a trend, which has been catching on across the globe including the Middle East.”

According to Haydar, EMC views the SDDC concept as the most popular storage concept of the moment. SDDCs involve virtualising the Abstract software intelligence and separating it from the hardware, which allows hardware technologies of different generations to co-exist with newer software. However, the benefits reach further than that, Haydar adds. “In an SDDC, where the hardware is standardised, the software adds pooling and automation capabilities, allowing enterprises to invest in fewer hardware refresh cycles and more software updates. This is why EMC is putting forward a lot of investment in the software-defined data centre together with its VMware and Pivotal sister companies to help enterprises achieve new efficiencies and achieve their IT transformation goals,” he says.

“Regional businesses, whether SMBs or enterprises, will increasingly turn to NAS devices in a bid to make managing and accessing their data easier. Organisations will look at taking advantage of the robust scalability and data redundancy provided by these systems.” Khwaja Saifuddin, Senior Sales Director, Middle East, Africa and South Asia, WD

Now that businesses have cottoned on to the benefits that flash storage can bring, vendors are selling more and more of it. This has brought prices down, says Shashikanth, who believes that the technology will become much more accessible during 2014. “The biggest reason for this increase is that the cost of a flash drive was very high earlier. Since the volumes have started picking up, the prices have begun dropping down and so people are putting more and more data into flash drives,” he says.

2

Rise of the software-defined data centre “We will see the SDDC [software-defined data centre] become the standard in the next couple of years with more organisations reaping the benefits of this model,” says Zaher Haydar, Senior Regional Manager, Systems Engineer, Turkey, Africa and the Middle East, EMC.

3

Planning for disaster There’s no doubting that security has been a huge talking point over the course of 2013. However, what’s less talked about is the fact that many Middle Eastern businesses have disaster recovery policies in place that are either outdated or not truly fit for purpose. According to Christian Assaf, Senior Sales Manager, Seagate METAG, however, this issue will be addressed during 2014. “We believe that the need for greater security protocol and disaster recovery back-ups will be two of the most significant elements influencing the regional storage market in the year ahead,” he says.

4

We’re in for a fast ride Storage innovations have been happening fast over the past couple of years, with the industry coming out with next-level products almost monthly. And according to Shams Hasan, Enterprise Product

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FEATURE

Storage trends

“A huge variety of offerings and solutions are currently being used by customers, but over the next few years we expect to see customers looking at standardising storage towards trusted and well-established providers.” Shams Hasan, Enterprise Product Manager, Dell Middle East

NAS

More businesses will adopt NAS technology in 2014

Manager, Dell Middle East, this pace of innovation isn’t going to stop anytime soon. “The industry is going to keep evolving and the pace of change will remain rapid―it certainly won’t slow down,” he says. In the Middle East, Hasan believes that businesses will begin to recognise the importance of better storage strategies, higher standards, improved security and enhanced infrastructure. However, he also advises that, while vendors may be able to support these goals through their next-generation storage products, businesses should also be looking at standardising as they upgrade. “A huge variety of offerings and solutions are currently being used by customers, but over the next few years we expect to see customers looking at standardising storage towards trusted and wellestablished providers,” he says.

5

Bring on the cloud Cloud-based storage is certainly nothing new, but due to limitations in bandwidth and concerns over security, the concept hasn’t really taken off in the enterprise arena. However, this could all change in 2014. “I think there will still be a focus on cloud storage since this is a very active market. It has been only recently that the market embraces the advantages of cloud storage and with this comes more demand for it,” says Sakkeer Hussain K., Sales and Marketing Manager, D-Link Middle East and Africa. That said, concerns over security still abound when it comes to the cloud, so Hussain believes that more businesses will end up considering private cloud storage much more seriously. “I think there will be bigger demands for private cloud offerings since there is a concern in public cloud storage. Some companies will not invest in public storage due to confidentiality reasons; therefore a demand for private cloud or more secure cloud storage will start to grow,” he says.

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This does not mean that some companies won’t opt for public cloud storage when it comes to less sensitive data. Indeed, as with any cloud argument, it comes down to being able to pay for things on an OPEX basis, and this is what cloud-based storage can offer. “I think the demand for cloud-based storage will grow exponentially since many companies are starting to lean towards cloud-based solutions. While the concept is not new, it has started to regain its usability as the Internet bandwidth is becoming faster and faster,” says Hussain.

6

NAS FTW With the large number of small and medium-sized businesses in the Middle Eastern market, and their desire to upgrade to enterprise-level technology, some believe that network-attached storage (NAS) devices will play a large role in the 2014 storage landscape. Indeed, even enterprises will leverage NAS to larger extents over the coming years, according to Khwaja Saifuddin, Senior Sales Director, Middle East, Africa and South Asia, WD. “Regional businesses, whether SMBs or enterprises, will increasingly turn to NAS devices in a bid to make managing and accessing their data easier. Organisations will look at taking advantage of the robust scalability and data redundancy provided by these systems,” he says. Perhaps more importantly, though, businesses will begin to see the benefits of remote data access features that NAS systems often offer. With properly leveraged NAS systems, businesses will not need to turn to cloudbased storage in order to access their files on the go. “This essentially replicates what cloud storage providers offer albeit without the business losing ownership of their data and without the monthly fees,” says Saifuddin.

7

Storage goes mobile There’s no denying the enormous smartphone penetration in the Middle East, and this is


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Storage trends

FEATURE

“Storage is now definitely the core element of an enterprise data management strategy and cannot be viewed as an individual component. The new trends in the Industry are forcing CIOs to undertake a holistic approach towards data management, which necessitates the IT transformation strategy.” Mohan Sundaram, Manager, Enterprise Servers and Storage, Enterprise Infrastructure, Emitac Enterprise Solutions

SD

The demand for SD cards and other mobile storage systems is expected to grow in 2014

pushing the demand for portable storage in the form of high-capacity SD cards and USB flash drives. In markets such as Africa, where mobile penetration is higher than desktop penetration, this is especially true, as Tareq Husseini, Sales Director, Middle East and Africa, SanDisk, explains. “The second trend we see is the consumption of mobile storage in the African continent, which has a huge impact on our business. There is a strong adoption of smartphones in Africa and this is fuelling storage demands on the continent especially in North, East and West Africa, including parts of Southern Africa like South Africa. As the prices of smartphones are reducing, we are seeing the immediate effects of consumption of memory cards for storage. There is also accelerated demand for USB devices,” he says. This demand is accelerating in the Middle East, too―sure, the region has a bigger need for fixed storage than Africa does, but this does not necessarily mean that the market is shunning portable storage. “The UAE is no exception. The region is one of the top countries in the world for smartphone penetration,” says Husseini.

8

Bigging up Big Data It’s been accused of being one of the most overhyped buzzwords in modern IT. However, there’s no smoke without fire, and already early adopters in the Middle East have begun to leverage the power of Big Data analytics. According to Aaron White, General Manager, Middle East, Hitachi Data Systems, more and more organisations will join these early adopters in 2014. “Big Data is not just a trend; it’s shorthand for business opportunity,” he says. According to White, there are three important advancements currently happening in the world of Big Data, and it’s important to understand what is happening in order to take advantage of it.

“First, there is more human-generated data being produced through interactions with social media, mobile and messaging applications. Second, keen interest in monetising this data has driven innovation around data management and analysis techniques and technologies into high gear. And third, these advancements are shining new light on other types of data that were previously untapped,” he says.

9

Storage is of the upmost importance Most have already wised up to this fact, but in 2014, more businesses are expected to pour huge amounts of resources into their storage infrastructures. According to Mohan Sundaram, Manager, Enterprise Servers and Storage, Enterprise Infrastructure, Emitac Enterprise Solutions, CIOs are beginning to take a holistic approach to storage, incorporating their storage strategies into overall IT strategies as they strive for more efficiency. “Storage is now definitely the core element of an enterprise data management strategy and cannot be viewed as an individual component. The new trends in the industry are forcing CIOs to undertake a holistic approach towards data management, which necessitates the IT transformation strategy,” he says. Anyone looking to upgrade their storage systems in 2014 should think about how the strategy fits into the business strategy as a whole, Sundaram explains. Scalability is hugely important but perhaps more important is considering the storage infrastructure as a core part of IT . “With that consideration, any storage upgrade should incorporate the IT transformation strategy and be prepared to address tomorrow’s problems and enable mixed workloads, be scalable (Both Scale-up and Scale-out), flexible to changing needs, cloud enablement and capable of handling Big Data,” he says.

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security advisor

The way forward

Strategic IT BYOD Partner

W

With a range of security issues bugging CIOs throughout 2013, next year promises to be a testing one for the IT industry. CNME takes a look at the trends that have been at the top of the agenda over the last 12 months, and how the industry can prepare for what 2014 has in store.

hen it comes to security, it seems everyone’s in a state of perpetual panic. Whether it’s mobile malware, BYOD or hacktivism, over the course of 2013 the issue of protecting valuable information and resisting attack has inspired a dizzying and persistent challenge. Businesses have a wide array of concerns that need constant monitoring; negligence and denial of these issues can result in dire consequences. Only two years ago, Dutch certificate authority DigiNotar was the victim of a security breach, which resulted in the fraudulent issuing of certificates. The Dutch government took over operational management of DigiNotar’s systems, but within a month, the company was declared bankrupt. While nobody has been charged with the break-in and compromise

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If you have any questions or concern please call us on +9715 50 600 7996 or email us on customersupport@secureway.ae


Security trends

31%

of targeted malware attacks are aimed at small businesses

of the certficates, it has been suggested the NSA were responsible for the attack. The DigiNotar case demonstrates some of the worst possible consequences of a security breach, but the events and trends of 2013 have only sharpened industry eyes. 2013 has seen the importance of a plethora of issues increase. Cisco’s 2013 Annual Security Report reveals that the highest concentration of online security threats come from legitimate destinations visited by mass audiences, such as major search engines, retail sites and social media outlets. Meanwhile, mobile malware is an ever-present thorn-in-the-side of Android users, and small businesses who cannot afford to implement solutions are the victim of 31 percent of targeted malware attacks. Add the so-called ‘Internet of Everything’ and cloud computing trust issues, and CIOs region-wide have a lot on their plate. Etisalat’s Abdulla Hashim, Senior VP, ICT, Etisalat UAE, is keen to highlight the wide-reaching implications of security infrastructure from the top level. “The threat landscape in the UAE is very dynamic and DDoS attacks, threats on finance and banking institutions, government bodies and oil-producing companies and hactivism are some of the biggest problems that all organisations have to prepare against,” he says. “These issues can have a wide-reaching knock-on effect and need to be taken very seriously. Holding the record for the highest global smartphone penetration also brings with it its own set of problems and organisations have to battle the growth of mobile malware.”

“The world is hyperconnected, and once a malware genie is out of the bottle, it cannot be put back. It will attack computers in MENA, in Europe, South America—basically every computer having a similar OS, software and vulnerabilities as the initial victim.” Khalid Abu Baker, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab Middle East

FEATURE

Along with all the panic, it’s only inevitable that businesses will crank up their investments in security. According to a report by Gartner, the security technology and services market is forecast to reach $67.2 billion in 2013, up 8.7 percent from $61.8 billion in 2012, and is expected to grow to more than $86 billion in 2016. Industry leaders don’t seem to be in any disagreement that the market is increasing― particularly in the Middle East―but opinion varies slightly as to which solutions will benefit most. Mobile networking security seems to be a key talking point, however. Alaa Abdulnabi, Regional Pre-Sales Manager, Turkey Emerging Africa and Middle East, RSA, believes that network security should take top priority:“The security market has continued to witness significant growth over the last year, driven by a growing awareness of the need for advanced security solutions in the face of rapidly evolving cyber criminals and ever-expansive modes of attack. Perhaps the most notable increase has been on the mobile device and network security end of things.” Niraj Singh, Vodafone Business Services Director, Vodafone Qatar says, “One of the biggest shifts of 2014 will be the accelerating convergence of fixed and mobile services, enabled through faster networking solutions, such as fibre-optic broadband and 4G. Through these breakthrough technologies, the vision of true mobile productivity is finally becoming a reality. One phone, one account, one voicemail, all across one wide network.” An unavoidable issue in the security world is that of employees’ personal mobile devices. Bringyour-own-device (BYOD) culture is a neck-ache for CIOs, with business-critical data at risk of exposure once it has left the workplace on the employee’s personal device. What’s more, with 85 percent of employees in the Middle East and Africa able to use company-issued computers for personal reasons, controlling the environment in which the device is used is more-or-less impossible. “Employees entering the workforce freely mix personal and business activity in the workplace, with the average number of connected devices per worker projected to grow from 2.8 in 2012 to a 3.3 in 2014, according to our Internet Business Solutions Group,” says Osama Al-Zoubi, Senior Manager, Systems Engineering, Cisco Saudi Arabia. In spite of this,

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FEATURE

Security trends

only 50 percent of companies in the region have established a BYOD policy for their employees. “The challenge that CIOs face is to implement flexible, user-friendly policies,” Al-Zoubi says. “As attacks become increasingly complex, companies are more vulnerable every day. Existing security solutions are largely focused on protecting the physical infrastructure. But new architecture needs to be sophisticated enough to be separate from the physical infrastructure, enabling security solutions for devices connecting to the public Internet anywhere around the world and at any time.” In line with the issue of BYOD is that of mobile malware. Android malware encounters grew by 2,577 percent over 2012, and 99.9 percent of attacks on mobile platforms target the Android operating system, according to Kaspersky Lab. Nicolai Solling, Director of Technology Services, Help AG, feels mobile malware should not put people off embracing other trends: “We will no doubt see new and more sophisticated attacks on mobile platforms. But this should not deter customers from supporting BYOD,” he says. “There are a number of solutions available in the market that offer comprehensive mobile security and management making smartphones a secure device for employee productivity.” The eye-opening intrusion of the NSA’s PRISM software is certain to shape 2014, particularly in the cloud computing realm. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation estimates that US cloud companies could lose up to $35billion as a result, and Solling is in no doubt that a stock-take is required by organisations worldwide. “While 2013 was heralded as the year of the cloud―although how much of this was talk and how much was actual implementation is still up for debate―the NSA revelations have no doubt knocked some of the wind out of the sails of cloud computing proponents. With data security a key concern for organisations, storing sensitive information on third-party servers―with the lingering worry about it being viewed by prying government eyes―is a very real concern that has forced many organisations to reassess their cloud ambitions.” It seems security vendors in the Middle East can look forward to some decent business in 2014. According to the annual Internet Security Threat Report, the UAE ranks 40th in the globe for overall security threat profile (46th in 2011), and considering it is viewed as a leader in the Middle East, the region certainly has some catching up to do.

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“If you assume you are a potential target and improve your defences against the most serious threats, you will automatically improve your protection against other threats.” Amer Chebaro, Manager, Technology Sales & Services, Middle East, Symantec

$67.2b

The estimated value of the security technology and services market in 2013

www.cnmeonline.com

This lack of development could leave it vulnerable to a variety of high-profile attacks, says Khalid Abu Baker, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab Middle East: “The world is hyper-connected, and once a malware genie is out of the bottle it cannot be put back. It will attack computers in MENA, in Europe, South America―basically every computer having a similar OS, software and vulnerabilities as the initial victim. So the abovementioned trends would have the same effects in the Middle East that they would have anywhere else in the world. “While we can certainly expect cyber-criminal activity targeted at the Middle East to continue to increase, we can also expect a significant increase in user awareness and associated security investments. Already we are witnessing governments and enterprises in this region begin to invest significant funds in securing their networks, we are also seeing governments enforce stringent compliance requirements as far as information security is concerned.” In spite of the need for development in the region, the general consensus is that this weakness equally presents an excellent opportunity for vendors, and a chance for CIOs to implement the best-quality solution that is appropriate to their enterprise. This translates as a clear, coherent strategy, according to Niraj Mathur, Security Practice Manager, Gulf Business Machines: “Organisations need a security strategy to combat challenges. They need a focused approach and dedicated teams to address the various challenges,” he says. “The first step to implementing a security strategy is identifying and defining the risk in the organisation, and then putting controls to mitigate the risk prevalent for their organisation.”


FEATURE

Security trends

99.9%

“The security market has continued to witness significant growth over the last year, driven by a growing awareness of the need for advanced security solutions in the face of rapidly evolving cyber-criminals and everexpansive modes of attack.”

of attacks on mobile platforms are targeted at the Android operating system

Alaa Abdulnabi, Regional Pre-Sales Manager, Turkey, Emerging Africa and Middle East, RSA

Symantec’s Amer Chebaro, Manager, Technology Sales and Services, Middle East, sees a clear correlation in investment: “If you assume you are a potential target and improve your defences against the most serious threats, you will automatically improve your protection against other threats.” With all the question marks surrounding security and investment, the buck has to stop somewhere. So who eactly should shoulder the burden of educating employees about all the security threats that a company faces? This question seems to divide opinion. In the red corner we have Mahmoud Nimer, General Manager, StarLink, who sees CIOs as chiefly responsible: “It is absolutely the duty of the CIO. If you look at the current spending for IT security across the industry, other than achieving compliance and addressing next-generation threat protection, the third highest spend is on security awareness creation. Without proper employee education, the impact of the growing number of threats will become far worse and almost all modern-day threats leverage on social engineering taking advantage of ignorance and lack of understanding.” In the blue corner sits Kaspersky’s Abu Baker, who disagrees: “Education is not the sole

“Cyber-security has become a boardlevel discussion, and it is vital that organisations implement policies and programmes to educate employees and create awareness about the potential threats.” 62

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responsibility of the CIO but is a joint effort between all the business leaders who need to work together to define and execute the right security policies. While the CIO is no doubt responsible for investing in the right technologies to protect the enterprise network, he cannot deploy these solutions effectively without the proper buy-in from senior management and a stringent security policy to ensure employees understand the consequences of their actions and are held accountable for misconduct,” he says. Symantec’s Chebaro believes that it should be controlled top-down: “Cyber-security has become a board-level discussion, and it is vital that organisations implement policies and programmes to educate employees and create awareness about the potential threats that they are exposed to.” However, one issue that unites leaders is that of education of employees, and of consistent policies. All agree that policies must be made clear to their staff, with nothing left to chance in this respect. RSA’s Abdulnabi makes this absolutely clear, explaining, “It is important for them to realise the need for intelligent security that go beyond traditional, signature-based technologies to enable them not just to mitigate the risks of an attack but help them to identity and spot ‘unusual’ patterns and user behaviour to undertake preventive action even before the attack actually happens. “CIOs today need transformational security monitoring and investigative solutions designed to help organisations defend their digital assets against today’s most sophisticated internal and external threats. Any intelligence-driven security programme must begin with a comprehensive understanding of the risk facing the organisation,” he adds.


FEATURE

Integration trends

Unsung heroes

Many consider the region’s systems integrators to be the unsung heroes of the Middle East technology scene, simply because many of the large-scale implementations we have seen over the past 12 months wouldn’t have been possible without them. But how will the role of the systems integrator evolve over the next 12 months, and will these organisations continue influencing the Middle East’s IT industry as it continues to grow to new heights?

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integration advisor

I

“According to a 2009 study by the Standish Group, only 32 percent of all IT projects ‘succeed’, which means they’re delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions. Forty-four percent are ‘challenged’ (late, over budget, and/or with less than the required features and functions) and 24 percent ‘fail’, meaning they were cancelled prior to completion or delivered and never used,” he says. It’s 12 o’clock, midnight. You’re hunched over a spare desk in the dimly lit room housing your company’s data centre. The only sources of light come from a few overhead lights by the door, left on by the last employee to be sent home after a dismally long day, and the laptop screen in front of you. Against the backdrop of the whizzing and whirring of servers, the room is practically silent, and as you contemplate your surroundings, you come to a terrible realisation about the new implementation you’re supposed to have finished last week. The numbers simply don’t add up – you’re way over budget. For many CIOs and IT heads, this scenario is all too familiar. Despite even the most meticulous planning, some projects simply seem to have a will of their own, and that will often works against the end-users, throwing up delays and added costs. Sometimes it’s simply a case of overlooking something simple, while

other times, problems with implementation come about because of totally unforeseeable circumstances. It doesn’t really matter what kind of technology you’re dealing with – at some point, any project can bring up a nasty surprise. According to Marc Jessiman, Solutions Director, Dimension Data UAE, the statistics say that the majority of new implementations do not in fact meet time or budget requirements, meaning that most CIOs are often grappling with large problems. “According to a 2009 study by the Standish Group, only 32 percent of all IT projects ‘succeed’, which means they’re delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions. Forty-four percent are ‘challenged’ (late, over budget, and/or with less than the required features and functions) and 24 percent ‘fail’, meaning they were cancelled prior to completion or delivered and never used,” he says. Jessiman explains that there are plenty of reasons for projects going over-budget or taking longer than expected. Indeed, sometimes the issues that arise are often thrust upon CIOs by outside forces. “CIOs find themselves engaged in an on-going struggle to deliver their IT projects in line with expectations. To stay at the top of your game, you need to constantly consider a myriad of new solutions,” he says. “Managing an IT project is very much a juggling act. Information technology is always moving, changing.

“While the move to cloud technologies were hailed to be the death of systems integration, Global Industry Analysts has projected that the integration market will actually grow at a clip of about 5.15 percent annually through to 2017 with private cloud and data centre consolidation being big drivers of growth.” Stephan Berner, Managing Director, help AG

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Integration trends

Limited staff, smaller budgets and fewer resources are some other key reasons for project failure. IT project management is complicated further by shifting business needs and demanding stakeholders, the combination of which creates the perfect storm for project inefficiencies and failures. And the problem only intensifies as IT grows ubiquitous.” Despite the numbers being against them, however, there are things that IT professionals can do ahead of implementation to avoid falling into the ‘fail’ category. Surprises may come up, of course, but there are at least precautions that can be taken to minimise the effects of them. First and foremost, proper planning should be considered as a cornerstone to any successful project, Jessiman says. “Successful projects don’t just happen. Without proper planning, organisations have little chance of completing their projects on time, on budget or with the required functionality. These are three common factors for project success,” he explains. “Planning is critical for all IT projects. Organisation, rigour and discipline are non-negotiable. You need to consider the resources you need to devote to a project, the skills required and realistically consider the time it will take to develop, test and implement the project deliverables. Without proper planning, you will have little chance of completing your project on time, on budget or with the required functionality. Using sound project management techniques and processes will increase the chances that your project will be completed on time, within budget, and to an acceptable level of quality.” According to Jessiman, no matter what a new project entails, a standard planning framework should be applied so every eventuality can be accounted for. Naturally, it is up to the CIO to adopt the role of project manager, and he or she must establish the rules for going forward, while also managing the expectations of the line-of-business managers. For this, he says, CIOs should adopt what he calls a project management methodology. “It is critical to adopt a standard approach to managing your IT projects. A project management methodology is a knowledge base containing guidelines, standards, procedures, tools and techniques to support the successful execution of IT projects,” he says. “By adopting a standard approach to project management, you are able to establish ground rules and expectations for the project team. You’ll also

FEATURE

“As more and more customisation and specific applications are demanded, off-the-shelf offerings will no longer find favour and the SI will need to bring in differentiation in order to deliver and meet the needs of the client.” Venkat Raghavan, General Manager, Al-Futtaim Technologies

provide project managers, functional managers and operational staff with a common language around project management that facilitates communication and helps ensure that everyone is on the same page.” But before the project has even started, Jessiman says that proof-of-concepts and test runs are essential. He says that skipping the test runs is often at the root of many problems when it comes to implementation, adding that it tends to lead to a culture of rushing through things that need to be more carefully considered. “IT projects often fail because they’re rushed. Because so many companies today rely on IT for a competitive advantage, they speed through development efforts and systems implementations in order to be first to market with new, IT-based products, services and capabilities. But projects that are tackled without sufficient time being set aside for planning, risk assessment and testing will be doomed from the start,” he explains. So how do businesses avoid the risk of failure? According to Jessiman, it simply comes down to the project management methodology. He says that the framework should be built to be applicable to any project, but should also be flexible enough to accommodate the needs of any specific project going forward. According to him, this is the key to successfully implementing something on time and to budget. “Good IT projects that are delivered on time and to budget are those that build a sufficient degree of flexibility into its project management methodology. The project management methodology must be wellthought-out and customised both in terms of national and organisational culture,” he says. www.cnmeonline.com

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FEATURE

Integration trends

“Large and well-established SIs are far and few in between in every country. I advise large IT projects to seek out SIs who are well recommended for their technological knowledge by peers and offer a complete set of solutions as a onestop solution house.” Manish Punjabi, Channel Marketing Manager, MEA, Alcatel-Lucent

Jessiman also adds caution when it comes to trying to replicate projects seen elsewhere in the world. After all, things work differently everywhere, so it might not be as easy as it seems to copy and paste ideas across companies. This makes a personalised project management methodology even more important.

“Remember what ‘fits’ in Europe or in Asia will not necessarily work in other regions, individual countries, economies or industries. It comes down to context. Success requires a project management methodology that applies to all projects, while allowing each kind of project to be performed in accordance to its specific needs,” he says.


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FEATURE

Telecoms outlook

Telecoms outlook 2014 Trends such as LTE gained significant headway during 2013, and are now starting to become accepted as the norm. Indeed, it looked like 2013 saw a general shift among operators to a more data-oriented business model. But whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in store for operators in 2014? Will data-oriented packages net more business, and will customer satisfaction be taken to new heights? CNME investigates.

I

t would seem that the telecoms world saw something of a shift during 2013. While margins from traditional revenue streams surrounding voice and text continued to fall, demand for data went through the roof, and it continues to climb. Undoubtedly, 2013 was the year of mobile data. Evidence for this can be found in the UAE market alone, though the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s operators are hardly the only ones in the region to have seen the shift from voice- to data-driven business models. Operators are capitalising on their investments in LTE, offering more varied data bundles than ever before. And when it comes to voice and text, operators have resorted to offering cheap international rates to customers who top up their pay-as-you-go accounts, just to get more prepaid credit flowing. Quite how long such tricks will keep revenues up remains to be seen, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clear that the rising demand of data-driven services has disrupted the industry completely. 70

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strategic telecom partner

telecoms WORLD That said, already operators have taken the data-driven business by the horns and many are experiencing fantastic growth as a result, according to Omar Alsaied, Middle East Carriers Sales Director Ciena. “Regional operators are still experiencing massive growth in traffic and data services revenues. The business sector specifically is driving demand and revenue growth for most operators. We are still seeing investments in network access for both residential and business use, in addition to investment in the network infrastructure where fibre optics technology is playing a significant role,” he says. Over the course of 2014, then, can we expect to see more of the same? Well, it would be difficult to argue that demand for data-driven services will slow any time soon. With smartphone penetration getting higher every year―and with more people buying LTE-ready devices―user demand for on-the-go connectivity is only set to increase. There are opportunities to be found here, however. According to Pan En, Vice President, Huawei Middle East, the impact of the apps and software ecosystems in the telecoms industry has been nothing short of astonishing. And as more and more developers bring their products to market, the popularity of data services will continue to skyrocket, pushing operators’ revenues up. “Today, we estimate that software innovation outpaces network innovation by at least a factor of five. Application developers often reach the market in only three to six months, while operators often take 18 to 24 months to launch a new service,” he explains. “Behind the popularity of data services in 2014, we believe, will be developers focusing on more specific app categories based on their primary expertise— whether that be for business, media or entertainment

“LTE can help acquire new spectrums and avoid many Wide Code Division Multiple Access limitations. Other operators see LTE as a solution to their 3G networks that are overloaded.” Tunç Yorulmaz, Executive Vice President and Head of Sales, Ericsson Middle East

“Already operators recognise the need to double 2013 capacity projections and planning teams are working very hard to understand how they’re going to meet this demand.” Glen Ogden, Regional Sales Director, Middle East, A10 Networks

apps. Operators, meanwhile, need to tap into the right developers to address their own service portfolio, while developers can distinguish themselves in presently underserved niche markets.” To cope with this demand for data, it is a reasonably safe bet that operators will turn to LTE networks that can handle the loads and deliver faster download speeds on the go. Tunç Yorulmaz, Executive Vice President and Head of Sales, Ericsson Middle East, believes that a number of operators will begin to view LTE as a real differentiator over the coming year. “On the path to the Networked Society, in which everything that benefits from a connection will have one, we expect to see many new innovations in the telecom industry. LTE can offer a technological edge to operators and it can be a real differentiator to rivals. LTE can also help acquire new spectrums and avoid many Wide Code Division Multiple Access limitations. Other operators see LTE as a solution to their 3G networks that are overloaded,” he says. “With the increasing demand for high data services by customers, who are becoming used to watching their favourite TV shows or movies in HD on their smart devices, we can predict that operators will increasingly deploy LTE/4G solutions and associated services.” Aside from the demand for data services going up, new trends are also expected to hit the region’s telecoms market over the course of the next year. According to Rabih Itani, operators in 2013 realised the benefits of investing in Wi-Fi technology, not only to offload from their congested 3G networks, but also to establish new revenue streams. This is a trend that he believes will gain more traction in 2014.

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Telecoms outlook

FEATURE

“Behind the popularity of data services in 2014, we believe, will be developers focusing on more specific app categories based on their primary expertise— whether that be for business, media or entertainment apps. Operators, meanwhile, need to tap into the right developers to address their own service portfolio, while developers can distinguish themselves.” Pan En, Vice President of Huawei Middle East

In 2012, most operators thought that

40Gb

was enough to meet demand, but have since updated that to 120Gb

“The year 2014 will witness the embracement of Hotspot 2.0 services. It is clear that, as Hotspot 2.0 becomes increasingly adopted by Wi-Fi infrastructure manufacturers, device manufacturers and eventually mobile operators, subscribers will feel a drastically improved experience in connecting to Wi-Fi networks, even when roaming. As a result, operators are expected to experience a whopping increase in the number of Wi-Fi service connected user and their corresponding traffic,” he says. “During the year 2014, smart operators will start to monetise their Wi-Fi networks beyond 3G offload and towards added value services such as location analytics, security services, and more.” The next year won’t simply be about providing end-users with Internet access, however. According to Sherry Zameer, Head of Telecommunication Solutions, Gemalto Middle East, 2014 will see a significant rise in the popularity of machine-to-machine services. “Mobile operators are looking to open up new consumer segments for themselves in a B2B business model or a B2B2C environment for which M2M will

look to play a big part. M2M today is a trend that challenges the mobile operators to take a bigger part of the value chain by investing in a ubiquitous ecosystem over which mobile operators can service the same application to multiple enterprises from the same sector,” Zameer says. Zameer adds that network convergence and mobile payments through near-field communications will continue to shake up the industry over the next year. However, perhaps the most pertinent issue that operators will need to address going into 2014 is how their infrastructures will be able to cope with the increased demand for all of these new services. According to Glen Ogden, Regional Sales Director, Middle East, A10 Networks, operators will need to invest in more equipment than ever before―and that they will soon look to other avenues in order to keep their networks running smoothly. “The increase in smart devices has led to both IPv4 exhaustion and capacity issues with most operators revising their data centre/point of presence (POPs) throughput requirements significantly. Where in 2012,


FEATURE

Telecoms outlook

“The business sector specifically is driving demand and revenue growth for most operators. We are still seeing investments in network access for both residential and business use, in addition to investment in the network infrastructure.” Omar Alsaied, Middle East Carriers Sales Director, Ciena

40Gb was considered, even by the most forwardthinking operators, as adequate to meet demand, 2013 has seen those figures rise three-fold with 120Gb being seen as a stop gap whilst switches and routers can be upgraded to 40Gb or even 100Gb fibre interfaces and operators can deliver upwards of 200Gb/s per POP,” he says. “The need for more equipment to meet this demand has led many operators to consider rack space

utilisation as a key planning concern driving the need for more powerful/scalable solutions in smaller form factors. Already operators recognise the need to double 2013 capacity projections and planning teams are working very hard to understand how they’re going to meet this demand. This has placed a particular burden on the infrastructure vendor to produce highly scalable platforms in small form factors as rack space in POP’s is normally at a premium.”

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Face to face Ali Eid

Ali Eid, President, Ericsson Saudi Arabia

From the management As the telecoms market continues to generate hotly contested competition, a number of operators around the world are now turning to managed services to help run their networks. We speak to Ali Eid, President, Ericsson Saudi Arabia, to find out what the draw of managed services in telecoms is, and whether more operators should be considering it. 76

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hat are some of the biggest challenges now facing Middle Eastern operators? The Middle East’s mobile broadband penetration is growing massively. Operators’ networks shall be prepared for this growth to enable the networks to accommodate this great demand for mobile data. Another challenge I can see now as we move toward the evolution of the Networked Society, when everything that can benefit from a connection will be connected―network performance and managing the customer expectations have become more important than ever for operators. How do managed services help operators to overcome these challenges? One step is to add more sites to improve network coverage and capacity. Another solution would be a heterogeneous network, which is a network involving a mix of technologies and cell types working together seamlessly. At Ericsson, we believe that the operators should always have continuous enhancement of their existing infrastructure’s capabilities. What does Ericsson currently offer in this space? The telecommunications landscape is evolving and Ericsson has developed a range of managed services models to suit a wide variety of customer needs. There is not a “one size” model that suits all managed services solutions.

The managed services offering is built on a global scale and proven processes, methods and tools. It consists of activities within network design, build, planning and operations.

How do Ericsson’s offerings differ from those of other vendors? Ericsson offers a comprehensive Managed Services portfolio that focuses on the following areas: Network Managed Services, IT Managed Services, Broadcast Managed Services, and Network Sharing. The offering can be easily aligned with the requirements of the customer. Having scale and depth of skilled resources ensures that any managed services can be addressed by Ericsson. Each offering is unique and can be tailored to the requirements of each customer. How can Managed Services be tailored to fit specific needs? The Network Managed Services offerings include all activities we would typically perform running a telecom network. For instance, day-to-day operation and management of the entire network infrastructure; management of endcustomer problems escalated from the operators’ customer care function; corrective and preventive field maintenance; optimisation of systems and services to ensure performance is maintained at or above agreed quality levels; management of changes to the

“At this stage, most operators are looking into strategic network development and providing a world-class customer experience. As a result, there is a trend to focus on having managed services solutions in place.” www.cnmeonline.com

Ericsson’s managed services are tailor-made and considered to be

unique

network; Installation and upgrades of equipment; and multi-vendor support. If an operator takes on managed services, does this leave it with less control over its own network? Managed services ensures that the operator focuses on its business and strategy. Yet, the operator is still in control of its network assets.

Which regional operators are currently thinking about managed services? At this stage, most operators are looking into strategic network development and providing a world-class customer experience. As a result, there is a trend to focus on having managed services solutions in place.

Is there a global shift towards managed services when it comes to telecoms operators? With the increasing competition, there is a move by telecommunication operators to focus on managed services. Having a clear focus on their short and long-term business strategy will ensure that operators will still maintain their competitive edge by their service offerings. Is the main draw of managed services to do with reducing costs, or is it about improving network quality? Network managed services enables the operators to achieve desired quality, which allows them to focus on business strategy and services, leading to a great customer experience. december 2013

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Insight Big Data

Which C-level exec will be the Big Data Champion? Many corporations are asking: “Who should lead data and analytics activity across the enterprise?” The answer isn’t necessarily the CIO.

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hough the “I” in CIO stands for “information,” many corporations act as though it means “infrastructure,” so they haven’t tapped the CIO to lead their enterprise information strategy. We recently surveyed 86 top executives from 53 corporations. Only 31 percent of these executives named the CIO as the primary champion of their big-data initiatives; 58 percent cited other C-suite executives, such as the CFO, COO or CMO. Further, 48 percent of companies indicated they had hired or planned to hire a chief data officer to handle the job.

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Unsettled Landscape The good news is that this is an unsettled field―leadership for enterprise data isn’t set in stone yet―so smart CIOs still have a shot. Corporations are struggling to develop an enterprise data and analytics strategy and debating whether that plan should be business- or technology-driven. For example, Wall Street and credit card issuers, long at the forefront of data and analytics, have been leaders in establishing the chief data officer role, but now recognise that although CDOs have been effective at playing defense to satisfy regulatory requirements, www.cnmeonline.com

they have not yet established leadership and vision on enterprise data and analytics strategy. These corporations are asking: “Who will take the offensive on our corporate information strategy?” A gap remains. Many top executives say that CIOs have been too enamoured with technology to provide objective vision and leadership on enterprise data. To overcome this objection, CIOs must demonstrate they have the business perspective and vision to make this work. The answer may lie in “product innovation,” which was cited in our survey as an opportunity to create business value from big-data initiatives―and an area where companies haven’t established which executive should take the lead. Several CIOs that I spoke with have started to review their corporate information assets to identify opportunities where data can be packaged in new ways to provide fresh products and services. CIOs have an opportunity to evolve and reshape their role in the face of this need. There are still many challenges to managing enterprise data and analytics as a corporate asset. Although corporations have attempted to construct data warehouses and information repositories over the years, business executives view many of these efforts as failures. Today, the volume and variety of data generated is multiplying faster and faster. Corporations are falling behind and business executives are becoming impatient. Top executives understand that data is a shared asset that can offer unique value to the enterprise when leveraged successfully. They believe that business as usual won’t cut it, and are seeking strong, fresh approaches to managing enterprise data. Assume the Mantle of Data Leadership So how can the CIO step up in the era of big data? CIOs will be in a much better position to be a champion in these efforts if they focus on business benefits, not technology. Articulate an enterprise vision for data and analytics. Demonstrate how leveraging data and analytics as an enterprise asset will change the business. CIOs can either champion this effort or face the prospect of being relegated to the sidelines as the mantle of leadership is assumed by their business colleagues.


PRODUCTS

Launches and releases

PRODUCT WATCH A breakdown of the top products and solutions to launch and release in the last month.

PRODUCT OF THE MONTH

Product: be Vendor: EMS What it does: On the face of it, the new range “be” phones from EMS might seem like just another foray into the low-end Android handset segment by an unknown vendor. However, what sets the new be range apart is that the brand is based in the UAE, making EMS the first company in the country to launch its own line of smartphones. The brand also has a strong following in some African countries, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Poland, EMS said at the be launch last month. What you need to know: There are five different models in the be smartphone range – including the flagship “Elite” model, two “Social” models and two “United” models. The flagship Elite 2 runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, sports a 5-inch qHD screen, and is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor. There’s also an 8-megapixel camera on the back, and a 2-megapixel camera on the front. Further down the range, the United 2 features a 1.0GHz dualcore processor, while the United 3 features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The be range will be in stores by December 10.

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Product: SmartWatch 2 Vendor: Sony What it does: Samsung may have made headlines with its new Galaxy Gear smartwatch earlier this year, but any meaningful sales figures have failed to materialise. Much more quietly, however, Sony recently launched a follow-up to the SmartWatch that it released last year, and it looks altogether more promising as a legitimate answer to the wearable question. For one thing, the new device comes with a larger range of straps – there’s even an “Executive” range that wouldn’t look out of place on a C-level executive’s left wrist. What you need to know: Sony has actually been playing with the wearable idea since its first Bluetooth watch was released in 2007, so it’s no surprise that the vendor is finally getting somewhere with the concept. Aside from striking a better balance between fashion and technology, then, Sony’s SmartWatch 2 is also packed full of features. For a start, it’s compatible with any Android-powered phone, and comes with one-touch NFC connectivity. In terms of capabilities, the watch lets users handle calls, easily access notifications and enhance camera functionality. Sony also claims that it is working closely with developers to build watchoptimised apps. The device is available across the region now for Dh799.

Product: Transformer Book T100 Vendor: Asus What it does: Asus recently launched its Transformer Book T100, a convertible laptop featuring an Intel Atom Bay Trail quad-core processor and a detachable HD display. The vendor claimed at launch that the device was one of the lightest laptops currently available, weighing in at just 1.07 kilograms. It also said that, in tablet form, the T100 was one of the lightest tablets available, thanks to its detached weight of around 550 grams. What you need to know: Convertible laptops are two-a-penny everywhere now, though Asus seems to be banking on the power of that Z3740 quad-core processor to differentiate the T100. Apart from raw computing power, though, the T100 also sports a large battery that, Asus claims, will provide up to 11 hours of use. Meanwhile, the 10.1-inch touchscreen delivers a resolution of 1366 x 768, and features IPS technology for wide, 178-degree viewing angles. www.cnmeonline.com

Product: Porsche Design P9982 Vendor: BlackBerry What it does: You’d be forgiven for thinking that the new Porsche Design P9982 was nothing more than a BlackBerry Z10 that comes with a fancy case and an inflated price tag. However, the changes to this new device are more than skin-deep. For one thing, the new P9982 features a customised version of the new BlackBerry 10.2 operating system, which features the BlackBerry Priority Hub, a slightly updated design and BBM Video with Screen Share. What you need to know: Despite the new features, however, the main selling point of any Porsche Design BlackBerry has always been the premium look and feel of the device, and the P9982 is no exception to that rule. On the outside, the device features a satin-finished frame forged from stainless steel, as well as genuine Italian leather on the back door. The device also comes with its own special series of BBM PIN numbers, and in the box, you get a premium stereo headset, a polishing cloth, a USB cable and an international charging kit. All this is available for a cool Dh7,300. december 2013

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Column The word on the street

James Dartnell

Bitcoin: bit part or full toss?

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he mercurial Bitcoin finally reached a price of $1,000 on Tokyobased exchange Mt. Gox last week. Given that, in March 2013, it sat at only $30, it begs the question, will the currency’s value and use increase, or is it a mere flash in the pan? Managed and traded on a peer-to-peer network, Bitcoin is meant to be free of regulation by any central financial authority, and this has made it very attractive to investors. Unlike merchant trading flop flooz.com, which went bankrupt in August 2001, the virtual currency appears to be gathering pace. Bitcoin’s fluctuating price has been attributed to the small number of users who invest in it, meaning minor spending trends have had larger knockon effects. But its marked increase in value must surely hold water in the tech world. Questions must be asked; scandals linking the currency to online black market Silk Road have challenged its legitimacy. An analysis from the Weizmann Institute of Science claimed Bitcoins were transferred into an account known as ‘DPR’, which US federal prosecutors allege belongs to 29-year-old Ross William Ulbricht, who faces

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murder-for-hire, narcotics trafficking and computer hacking charges. Ulbricht was allegedly controlling Silk Road, but critics have dismissed the links to him. Equally, endorsements from highprofile figures like respected British billionaire Richard Branson have served as good publicity. The Virgin Group founder’s space travel startup Virgin Galactic will start accepting payments in Bitcoins, a currency he referred to as “one of the world’s most innovative businesses looking to the future.” “For people who can afford to invest a little in bitcoins, it’s worth looking into,” said Branson, an investor in the currency himself. Online merchants CheapAir, Gyft and Mixed Tees also participated in a Black Friday shopping extravaganza by offering deals to shoppers if they pay in Bitcoins. The number of stores accepting the virtual currency has continued to rise. Bitpay, which provides a service that makes it easier for merchants to get paid in Bitcoins, says it is now used by 12,000 merchants worldwide. Jordan McKee, an analyst with the Yankee Group, has been tracking Bitcoin’s evolution, and feels that in spite of it gaining increased acceptance, it still has a way to go before it can emulate other leading currency. “All this traction is great for Bitcoin, but it still has a way to go before it becomes mainstream,” he said. “The ways people pay for goods now are pretty well entrenched. Nearly every form of electronic payment rides the rails the [credit] card networks have forged, and it’s unlikely anything will circumvent this system anytime soon.”


Desktop Virtualisation Reduce desktop management costs and enable users to work securely and productively from any device, anywhere.

www.citrix.com


your customers are at our center Ericssonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experience-centric managed services align service delivery with operatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; strategic and business objectives, securing customer experience-centric operations and proactively driving business innovation.

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Computer News Middle East December 2013