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WHERE TECHNOLOGY MEANS BUSINESS issue 267 | april 2014 WWW.CNMEONLINE.COM

Busting sdn myths

network world Me Awards 2014

State of the Union

How Aldar’s IT team tackled merger

small cells

Addressing cellular coverage woes

Kingdom Connect

Saudi Airlines’ $1 billion King Abdullah Economic City IT deal could transform the nation

PLUS: Seha’s malaffi system | the draws of nas | Death of internet privacy


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EDITORIAL Chairman Dominic De Sousa

Users come first

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

CEO Nadeem Hood

Last month, I’d the opportunity to anchor a CIO roundtable on Unified Communications, organised by CNME in association with AlcatelLucent, to gauge the interest level in this not-so-new technology. Though the concept has been floating around for more than a decade now, it always surprises me that the industry hasn’t been able to come up with a single definition of what UC is. If you talk to ten different vendors, you get ten different answers. The most commonly accepted definition of UC is bringing together infrastructure, devices and applications in order to enable an organisation to communicate more efficiently with its partners, suppliers, employees and customers. It could also mean unifying multiple communication channels – mobile, fixed and desktop – onto a single platform. Whatever the definition might be, the underlying concept and goal of UC is to bring together disparate communication tools to reduce costs and improve employee productivity. So, why hasn’t UC gained much steam in ten years? I think vendors have to take the blame for this – the elevator pitch for UC has always been focused on product set, rather than the long-term strategy. And the fact that the cost saving benefits associated with UC are soft in nature hasn’t really helped in this day and age where users are always looking for short and hard RoI. Another biggest barrier, as I learned from the discussion, is the complexity of UC projects in terms of integrations and user resistance. It involves integrating a myriad of hardware and software platforms and applications, which makes it easily the most complex IT project for any enterprise. There is a glut of collaboration tools in the market but they don’t often play well together. This makes the deployment of UC solutions a potential nightmare, if not properly managed. Most CIOs also make the mistake of not engaging users when they plan for UC, which later leads to significant resistance to using these tools. Business users, who use Skype and Google Hangouts in their personal lives, may want to use the communication channels in their workplace as well. It is estimated that eight out of ten UC projects fail and it often happens because IT organisations can’t measure up to the expectations of users. This is why change management should always be the biggest element of any UC implementation.

COO Georgina O’Hara Publishing Director Rajashree Rammohan raj.ram@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1511 Editorial Group Editor Jeevan Thankappan jeevan.thankappan@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1513 Editor Annie Bricker annie.bricker@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1499 Online Editor James Dartnell james.dartnell@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1501 Contributors Randy Bean Mary Brandel

ADVERTISING Senior Sales Manager 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 267 | april 2014 WWW.CNMeONliNe.COM

Registered at IMPZ PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 375 1500 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Busting sdn myths

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network world me AwArds 2014

State of the Union

How Aldar’s IT team tackled merger

smAll cells

Addressing cellular coverage woes

Kingdom ConneCt

Printed by Al Ghurair Printing & Publishing Regional partner of

Saudi Airlines’ $1 billion King Abdullah Economic City IT deal could transform the nation

PLUS: Seha’S maLaffi SyStem | the drawS of naS | death of internet Privacy

© Copyright 2014 CPI All rights reserved While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.


I manage my own purchases From serving more customers, to serving more needs, from running and maintaining, to caring and creating – the key to success is agility in balancing customer experience, efficiency and innovation at once. This is where we can help.


EDITORIAL Our events

Digital destiny

Annie Bricker Deputy Editor Talk to us: E-mail: annie.bricker@ cpimediagroup.com

On the first day of the Gartner Symposium in Dubai, I caught the keynote address given by Gene Hall, CEO, which was followed by speeches from a team of the top executives of the research powerhouse. The message that these experts in technology and research gave was clear – we are at a turning point. We are entering a moment in business and technology history when social interaction, mobility, cloud and information are coming together, interacting with each other and, through this seemingly endless cycle of mutual reinforcement, growing at an astronomical rate. Frankly, it is a lot to take in. Though the Internet-of-Things may have seemed a distant dream just a few years ago, we are now all waking up to a world where machines communicate with each other and we have thousands of interactions with technology per day. As we come to this turning point in business, technology and social life, we are presented with the opportunity to leverage this moment. We move forward confidently, finding new ways to stitch social and business life together with fibre optic cables and wireless networks. This month at CNME we investigate the ways that technology is knitting together our whole lives. Online Editor James Dartnell takes us to Saudi Arabia where Saudi Airlines has taken on the enormous task of implementing the IT infrastructure for the new, state-of-theart King Abdullah Economic City development. We also look at sport and healthcare to see how industries are turning the corner from simply implementing IT solutions from the office to interacting with customers and consumers through technology. It is certainly an interesting time in the IT world and it is not without a measure of caution that we virtualise our lives. Interconnected technologies that share data and digitalised information stored in virtual spaces may make our lives more streamlined and tailor experiences to individuals, but one cannot imagine this virtual future without a few alarm bells ringing. Security is paramount. How can we - in a world where our medical records are kept in a cloud and where wearable technology can track our moods - keep our personal lives private? This month’s issue of CNME also delves into the future of internet privacy and what it means for the average data consumer. Nevertheless, I am excited for a future where the ‘nexus’ of social interaction, mobility, cloud and information converge to break down the walls of our compartmentalised lives. I think we are all ready for a world where information works in our favour and allows us to flow from one space to the next with ease.

Big Data

Symposium

Our online platforms

Our social media

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Classification of Data Center Operations Technology (OT) Management Tools

4 2

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Contents ISSUE 267 | april 2014

Network world awards me: the winners

28

41

10 Digital age This year's Gartner Symposium saw over 500 CIOs and IT leaders from across the region come together to discuss the hottest topics in IT.

Grand plans

24

In the driving seat

28 Grand Plans Saudi Arabian Airlines have provisioned a $1 billion deal to implement the IT infrastructure for King Abdullah Economic City.

32 State of the Union What happens when two real estate giants merge? The IT team at Aldar shares what kept them up at night as two became one.

36 To your health The move from paper-based medical record keeping to a sleek computerbased system is no small feat. George Yacoub, CIO, SEHA tells us what it takes to enter the digital age in a healthy manner.

56 8

32 Game, set, match It isn't often that we get to speak about sport, but SAP's Jenni Lewis seems to bridge the two worlds with ease. She explains what SAP is doing to bring sport into the information era.

Busting SDN myths

Computer News Middle East

april 2014

www.cnmeonline.com


Our Strategic Partners Strategic ICT Partner

Strategic IT Transformation and Big Data Partner

63

Strategic Technology Partner

The draws of NAS

Features 56 Busting SDN myths As SDN becomes the clear path forward we clear up some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the term and practice. 63 The draws of NAS NAS has emerged as a costeffective solution. We investivage the big benefits to NAS. 68 The death of internet privacy As more of our lives are lived online, what can we do to protect our sensitive data?

68

The death of internet privacy

74 Integrating with best practices Data integration projects can be daunting. We discuss some things to keep in mind when taking on a new DI project.

78 Small cells Operators and vendors are showing a growing interest in small cells, which aim to give users improved coverage and speeds.

Regulars

74

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

24 Spotlight We sit down with Ghazi Qarout, CIO, Qatar Islamic Bank and ask about his secret to success.

integrating with best practices

86 Interview Ray O'Farrell, Head of R&D, VMWare speaks about why hybrid is the future and the future of VMWare. 91 Product Watch What you need to know about Lenovo's flagship smartphone, how Sony is going to change your life and more.

90 Column CNME’s man about town, James Dartnell, talks the future of Symantec.

78

Small cells

www.cnmeonline.com

april 2014

Computer News Middle East

9


in depth Gartner Symposium

Digital age Gartner recently hosted its annual Symposium/ITxpo conference in Dubai, and the overriding emphasis of the event was digitalisation.

O

ver 500 CIOs and IT leaders from across the Middle East were in attendance, and were treated to an animated series of keynote speeches by five of the research firm’s leading delegates. Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Research, Gartner, provided the latest outlook for the IT industry “The Middle East is projected to reach $243 billion by 2018, which will represent 5.6 percent of worldwide IT spending,” he said. “Areas of emerging expansion such as mobility, smart government, big data and Internet of Things (IoT), will prove to be critical in the ongoing transformation and modernisation process of the region. In addition, large IT investments

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Computer News Middle East

april 2014

by verticals such as communications, media and services, banking and securities, government, manufacturing and natural resources, offer strong opportunities for technology and service providers.” “Critical to the UAE is to leverage the diverse existing foreign human capital by accelerating investment in higher education institutions, startups, IT innovation, and creating a ready pool of resources ripe for internal and external investment.” Middle East IT spending is projected to total $211 billion in 2014, an 8 percent increase from 2013, according to the latest forecast by Gartner. Sondergaard went on to stress the importance of CIOs embracing digitalisation, and the increasing necessity www.cnmeonline.com

for organisations to introduce a Chief Digital Officer role. He said that if CIOs do not embrace digitalisation in the next two years, their role would begin to lose significance. “The five capabilities of the 2020 technology digitalisation; digital technology architecture, enterprise information architecture, cyber security and risk, industrialised IT infrastructure and digital leadership must be adhered to, or the CIO’s authority could decay,” he said. Sondergaard discussed how the current elite of vendors would lose their dominance by 2020, and would be replaced by new leaders. When pressed by CNME as to who would take this mantle, he said, “I see a blend of hardware and software vendors taking the lead in the digital age. With the emergence of trends like virtualisation and software defined networking we will begin to see blurred lines between hardware and software.” Gartner believes that by 2020, one in three knowledge workers will be replaced by digital machines, and that the global valueadd for the Internet of Things by then will reach $1.9 trillion.


in depth Gartner Symposium

Taking over from Sondergaard, Hung LeHong, Vice President and Fellow, Gartner, framed how a digital society will soon be inescapable, “In the future, we will live in the age where everything is digital; people, things, building and systems. As a result, organisations need to digitalise business processes, pursue digital business models, and compete for business moments.” “Some people might think computers can one day be smarter than humans. Let me tell you a secret, they already are,” said David Willis, Chief of Research, Gartner. “The Internet of Things, 3D printing and the trend of automated judgment will transform our businesses, our economies and our lives.” Dave Aron, Vice President and Fellow, Gartner, reinforced the idea that digitalisation is unavoidable, “Digital is not an add-on, option or afterthought, it’s a reality,” he said. “Less than a tenth of businesses now have Chief Digital Officers,

“Gartner believes that by 2020, one in three knowledge workers will be replaced by digital machines, and that the global value-add for the Internet of Things by then will reach $1.9 trillion.”

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Devices

30.0

37.2

41.3

47.4

50.5

56.5

Data Center Systems

3.7

3.8

3.9

3.9

4.0

4.0

Software

4.0

4.5

4.9

5.3

5.8

6.3

IT Services

8.7

9.3

9.7

10.1

10.5

11.0

Telecom Services

149.2

156.4

160.1

162.6

164.1

165.0

Overall IT

195.6

211.1

219.8

229.2

235.0

242.8

but in the very near future one in three businesses will have one.” Middle East spending on devices is forecast to reach $37 billion in 2014, up 24 percent from 2013. Devices are represented by mobile phones, media tablets, PCs, and printers, with mobile phones enjoying 30 percent spending growth in 2014. Mobile phone spending is forecast to surpass US$39 billion in 2018.“Mobile phone adoption has been paramount in human and business development. With new apps proliferating, 12

users in general will continue enhancing communications and economic growth at various levels of the society in the ME,” Sondergaard said. “ME users have been adopting iOS and Android-based devices at a fast pace. The demand for premium and basic phones is maintained by the short replacement cycles—some countries, such as Bahrain and Qatar, have replacement cycles that are close to one year or less, while the global average for these phones is more than two years.”  In 2014, ME software spending is forecast to grow nearly 12 percent over 2013. ME accounts for about 1.4 percent of global software spending, and it has good long-term prospects for enterprise software vendors looking for new growth. Software hotspots are in large organisations in the telecom, banking, air travel and defense sectors, as well as central government and the natural

Computer News Middle East

april 2014

resources sector. Most money is spent on database management systems, operating systems, enterprise resource planning and application infrastructure and middleware. The telecom services market continues to be the largest spending market, representing 74 percent of total IT spending in the region in 2014. Gartner’s analysis shows that telecom services will achieve almost 5 percent growth in 2014, with mobile voice services reaching $93 billion and mobile data services $27 billion. www.cnmeonline.com

To round off the opening keynote of the Symposium, Gartner’s delegates who had spoken returned to the stage with some final words of advice for the room of CIOs. “CIOs must become inspirational digital leaders,” Willis said. “If you take anything away from today, remember these pieces of advice,” said Sondergaard. “Digitalise your best products. Remember that every technology consumer constitutes a technology company in their own right. And broaden your leadership focus to the digital ecosystem.”


in depth Brocade Roundtable

Future of data centre In partnership with CNME, delegates from Brocade Communications hosted a roundtable at Jumeirah Emirates Towers on 24th March, which brought together a select group of IT leaders from around the region to discuss the future of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Ethernet Fabric technology for data center networks. Virtualization was the word of the day as CIOs discussed trimming down physical space and taking on SDN projects.

T

he roundtable, hosted by Yarob Sakhnini, Regional Director, MEMA, Brocade, and Samer Ismair, Network Consultant, Middle East and North Africa, Brocade, focused on the adoption of SDN projects by enterprises in the Middle East. Though virtualization is not a new concept, enterprises in the Middle East are only just turning their eyes towards it and SDN projects in general. Reflecting on past initiatives, Ajay Rathi, Head of IT, Meraas Development, said, “A few years ago it was Cloud-as-a-Service but today SDN is the thing that everyone is talking about. SDN is at a nascent stage globally and in the region. Most companies haven’t updated their networking infrastructure, but are now in the process of doing so. So it is an ideal time to look at SDN.” Neil Menezes, Vice President, Information Technology Operations, Jumeirah Group, agreed that as businesses were moving toward major infrastructure overhauls, SDN projects should be considered, “We are looking to refresh our back-end technologies and although it seems like SDN is a buzzword,

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at the end of the day it is about the value and substance these technologies offer,” he said. “If it is properly implemented, I think there is a lot of potential.” Though the potential benefits of implementing SDN projects is certainly being widely discussed, the participants of the roundtable wanted more concrete examples of how SDN would positively affect their IT infrastructures. V. Suresh, Head of MSD, Jumbo Group, asked if SDN could be leveraged to add advantage to mobility trends such as BYOD. “The BYOD trend is putting pressure on IT departments to modernize the data center networks to create even more flexible services with better performance and security. SDN will transform networking infrastructure into a platform for innovation, enabling customers to deliver new services and applications faster and at greater scale.” Sakhnini expanded on this idea by adding, “Existing networks lack the flexibility and agility needed to support today’s customers and the unprecedented demands they put on the network for ubiquitous service delivery. www.cnmeonline.com


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in depth Brocade Roundtable

Turning to SDN can provide the ability to have a real-time visibility into the network to accurately gauge bandwidth utilization and real-time traffic tools that allow the user to dynamically change services, in addition to that they will have ways to change traffic flows to handle user mobility and flip the switch applications and tools to enable them to “dry run” new service options without impacting the production network with the flexibility needed to make dynamic network changes and create new service offerings.” Still, the group agreed that as they collectively look at their options when it comes to SDN, there are some lingering concerns. Ahmed Ebrahim Al Ahmad, Chief Information Officer, Nakheel, voiced some common concerns including the lack of IT staff trained in SDN best practices, “Having the right skills is an issue,” he said. “How and who will operate SDN? This is making me nervous to go to SDN even though I believe it is dynamic, easy to deploy and there is no need of additional hardware.” The group agreed that skills need to be developed as the region collectively turns to SDN. “SDN technology is really in its nascent stages in the region right now,” said Sakhnini. “Think back on other, earlier technologies. The skill sets for those had to be developed as well.” Delegates agreed that the first steps in adopting SDN will be for IT departments to focus on training and skill development. The conversation then turned to Ethernet Fabric, and what can be accomplished with Brocade’s pioneering Fabric technology. “Essentially Ethernet Fabric is a building block towards having multiple applications sit on one server through virtualization. What the network needs to see is the virtual machine itself. This is exactly what we have today - Ethernet Fabric solutions with Virtual Cluster Switching,” explained Ismair. 16

Computer News Middle East

april 2014

Sakhnini went on to explain that every company/vendor addresses Ethernet Fabric in a different way. With Brocade, he explained, customers get the benefits of Fabrics even when building Ethernet Fabrics with as little as one or two switches which is not the case with all vendors. The whole idea, he said, is to achieve simplicity. “For example,” said Sakhnini, “we can go to a 6th grade elementary school classroom and ask the children to build Ethernet Fabrics and they can actually do. We’ve taken the complexity out of the equation.” The beauty of Ethernet Fabric, it would seem, lies in the simplicity that comes from full integration with virtualized data center setups. Ismair provided the example of scaling a data center. “In a traditional network setup, if you want to build up more elements, for example, building new virtual machines, you need to manually configure a lot of components,” he said. “In the Ethernet fabric world, you don’t need to do that. It’s automated because the network is already integrated with the virtualized environment and the Fabric knows about all the virtual machines.” Leading analyst companies see Ethernet Fabrics as being the next evolution in data center networks. Forrester predicts that www.cnmeonline.com

the “Next wave of investment will be on fabric across extended enterprise”. IDC says “Ethernet Fabric will be a key element in public/ private cloud deployment”. In summary, SDN is still at a conceptual stage in this region. The growth in the SDN market will be driven by companies working towards solving existing problems with networks – security, robustness and manageability and by innovating new revenue generating services on network infrastructures. Ultimately, the goal is to provide a highly flexible cloud-optimized network solution that is scalable within the cloud. The ‘network of the future’ will be powered by Ethernet Fabric-based architectures, which provide the connectivity critical to realizing the full benefits of SDN. These include network virtualization, programmatic control of the infrastructure, automation and dynamic configuration, on-demand service insertion and pay-peruse, all through standards-based software orchestration tools. Cloud service deployment will be faster, data center management will be simpler and network operation will be easier. Whether or not the region is ready to adopt SDN technology is still debatable, but the region as a whole is, without question, moving in that direction by building Ethernet Fabrics.


in depth Dell Roundtable

Virtual networks In conjunction with CNME, last month Dell hosted a roundtable on factors that are driving the adoption of network virtualisation and challenges that it brings.

A

s a prelude to CNME’s Network World ME Awards 2014, delegates from Dell partnered with CPI to host a roundtable on network virtualisation at Jumeirah Emirates Towers on 24th March. Key issues that were discussed included factors driving the need for virtualisation, challenges it raises, and how virtualisation operations models can be brought to networking. Basil Ayass, Marketing Director, Dell, Middle East and Africa, got things underway with an overview of how Dell sees virtualisation playing a role in future

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networks, namely in storage virtualisation and the increased importance of workloads. “We need to look at the transformation process of virtualisation; we will be moving to network-as-a-service, eventually,” Prasanna Rupasinghe, Director, IT and AV, Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates, said. “We want to virtualise fabrics between the core and edge stacks. It is important to reduce the complexity of networking. The quicker you can do functioning, the easier it will be to differentiate a business via interoperability.” Joseph Aninias, Head of IT and Telecom Services, UOWD , highlighted a key problem with updating network infrastructure, and www.cnmeonline.com

the most important player in delivering it, “Often as CIOs, we focus so much on the infrastructures we’re implementing, we forget the person who matters most: the end user,” he said. “In most cases, by the time we’ve finished updating heavy load infrastructure, it’s outdated. We need to consider how the infrastructure will drive the business and how we deliver the service to the end user.” Muhammad Javeed, Head of IT, Paris Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi, chose to focus on the ability of a network to perform in a worst case scenario, “Fourth generation internet has just begun, but we have to ask


ourselves, ‘Is this part of the world ready for it?’” He said. “Mature infrastructure is not always enough, it is always crucial that we consider what will happen if the network is hit with a disaster. Last week on campus we had a networking catastrophe, and what is essential is that the network can still function if that happens.” Shabbir Ahmad, Regional Sales Director, Networking, Dell EMEA, drew attention to Dell’s vision for network virtualisation, “One key thing

we can bring to the market is disaggregating hardware from the software layer,” he said. “We are introducing a fabric concept within the data centre, and we are one of the first vendors to introduce VMware virtualisation. Open flowbased SDN switches are pushing traditional networking vendors out of their comfort zone, but we are in step with this change.” Ahmad went on to emphasise the importance of consistency along the network, “Once the network layer is virtualised, it www.cnmeonline.com

becomes part of your network infrastructure,” he said. “We had fantastic blade and rack servers but when we started virtualising server and storage layers we had to fulfill bandwidth requirements. We have to ensure quality is consistent along the network.” All-in-all, the roundtable served as an open forum for IT leaders to share their anxieties over virtualisation, and the concerns their specific organisations have faced with the trend. april 2014

Computer News Middle East

19


short takes Month in view

Microsoft launches Office for iPad, iPhone and Android

WHAT’S HOT?

Etisalat has signed a Network Infrastructure Sharing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with seven of the largest mobile network groups operating in the Middle East and Africa.

Microsoft has released Office for iPad alongside Office Mobile apps for iPhone and Android. The individual apps – Word, PowerPoint and Excel for iPad – are free to install, but only allow users to read and present documents. If users want to create and edit documents, users will need an Office 365 subscription. “Microsoft is focused on delivering the cloud for everyone, on every device. It’s a unique approach that centres on

people enabling the devices you love, work with the services you love, and in a way that works for IT and developers,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO. Business users will need an Office 365 subscription. Described as the ‘official Office companion’ app, it allows Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents to be accessed, viewed and edited. Office Mobile is available on the iPhone and Android smartphones, and a tablet version is in development.

Gartner: MEA infrastructure spend to hit $3.4 billion IT infrastructure spending, comprising storage, server, and enterprise networking equipment, in the Middle East and Africa is forecast to increase 4.1 percent, according to the research firm. Gartner says the spend will be driven by data centre modernisation efforts, coupled with new data centre build out, by local, as well as international companies.

Server is the biggest component of this infrastructure market, accounting for $1.3 billion in 2014, and is expected to reach $1.54 billion in 2017. Mary Mesaglio, Research Vice President, Gartner, said, “In 2014, we expect a lot of digital business and innovation to be driven by the convergence of third platform forces in the Gulf.”

Dell unveils BYOD product plans

Dell has unveiled enterprise mobility software for Google Android or Apple iOS that supports BYOD use by selectively applying VPN controls to a device’s corporate apps, not the employee’s personal ones. The Secure Mobile Access 11.0 with Mobile Connect App is in beta, and Dell expects to ship it by mid-2014.

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Acquisition watch

Lenovo is buying 3G and 4G patents from Unwired Planet for US$100 million. Unwired Planet develops mobile technologies in use by carriers including AT&T and Sprint.

www.cnmeonline.com

Twitter has filed a lawsuit against the Turkish government following the ban of its services there. The network said the Turkish government’s reasons for silencing Twitter are grounded in three court orders, two of which are related to content that Twitter had already decided violated its own terms and conditions.

twitter Business IT spending in the UAE is expected to increase 8.3% year on year in 2014 to total $4.63 billion, according to the latest figures released by IDC Public sector organisations are predicted to invest $1.12 billion in IT and account for 24.3% of the spending, driven primarily by government-led initiatives to bring more public services to online and mobile platforms.

UAE The U.S. National Security Agency has hacked into Huawei Technologies servers, spied on communications of company executives and collected information to plant so-called backdoors on equipment from the Chinese networking manufacturer, according to reports from the New York Times.

Huawei The Syrian Electronic Army has shared documents it allegedly stole that show what Microsoft charges the FBI for information on its customers. Microsoft said it wouldn’t comment on the validity of stolen emails or documents, and that under U.S. law, companies can seek reimbursement for costs associated with complying with valid legal orders for customer data.

SEA

WHAT’S NOT?


IDG Founder and Chairman Patrick J. McGovern dies aged 76

McGovern died 19th March at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California. Over a span of 50 years, he oversaw IDG’s launch of more than 300 magazines and newspapers, and championed the expansion of its network to include more than 460 websites, 200 mobile apps and 700 events worldwide. Today, IDG brands are found in 97 countries.

BlackBerry revenue plunges 64 percent in Q4

BlackBerry continued to struggle during the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, suffering a $423 million net loss, with Q4 revenue at approximately $976 million, down from $2.7 billion in the same quarter in 2013. The company’s $423 million net loss for the period compares to a $98 million profit for the same period in 2012. The company sold approximately 3.4 million BlackBerry smartphones to end users last quarter, including about 1.1 million phones running the BlackBerry 10 OS. A year earlier, it sold 6 million smartphones. The company’s financial goals are to reach cash-flow break even at the end of the current fiscal year, and to reach profitability in fiscal 2016.

ACQUISITION WATCH

Facebook is buying virtual reality gaming firm Oculus VR for $2 billion. Oculus is working on a new headset which is designed to give gamers a 100-degree 3D field of view.

Apple demands over $2B from Samsung for patent infringement Samsung should pay more than $2 billion for repeated infringement of Apple patents in more than 37 million smartphones sold in the U.S., a Silicon Valley jury has been told as a trial between the two companies began. Samsung is accused of infringing five Apple patents related to smartphone functions, including the slide-to-unlock feature that prevents accidental use; word correction when typing; contextual links with contact information; universal search of the phone and Internet; and background syncing of data. Apple is accused of infringing two Samsung patents; one on remote video transmission and one on digital imaging. The case follows a similar patent infringement lawsuit in the same court that concluded earlier this year with two juries awarding Apple $929 million in damages. “Once the iPhone went on sale, Samsung pretty quickly realised two things,” said Harold McElhinny QC, prosecuting. “Firstly, that the iPhone was taking the world by storm, and secondly that it simply didn’t have a product that could compete.”

Symantec sacks CEO Steve Bennett

According to a new IBM study, 82 percent of CFOs see the value of integrating enterprise-wide data, but only 24 percent think their team is up to the task.

Symantec fired its second CEO in less than two years on Thursday, dismissing Bennett and putting board member Michael Brown in charge while the security vendor searches for a permanent replacement. Symantec went through a major reorganisation under Bennett, which the company said had “helped establish a solid foundation for Symantec’s future.” His termination was part of an ongoing process and not in response to any event or impropriety, according to Symantec. But the company said it needs a leader who can “drive the next stage of Symantec’s product innovation and growth.” Bennett had taken over with a promise to reorganise Symantec to better compete in the mobile arena and compete there as effectively as it had in PCs.

Vodafone agrees to buy Spanish cable operator Ono for €7.2 billion The acquisition of Ono comes as Vodafone said it would begin the integration of Kabel Deutschland on 1st April. Vodafone bought the German cable operator for approximately €7.7 billion last year. Vodafone sees the acquisitions of Ono and Kabel Deutschland as opportunities to combine mobile, fixed broadband and TV subscriptions. Also, demand for unified communications has increased

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significantly in Spain, and the combination of Ono’s cable network and Vodafone’s existing fiber-to-thehome network makes it more competitive, Vodafone said on Monday. Ono covers about 7.2 million homes or approximately 41 percent of total homes in Spain, offering broadband speeds in excess of 200 Mbps (bits per second) and pay-TV services including TiVo.

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CIO Spotlight Ghazi Qarout

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On the money With almost 24 years of experience working across the Middle East IT banking sector, Ghazi Qarout, CIO, Qatar Islamic Bank, has played a huge role in shaping today’s booming industry.

G

hazi Qarout has never doubted his ability to succeed. Qatar Islamic Bank’s Chief Information Officer has a wealth of experience in the banking industry, and his habit of chasing the best jobs and projects has got him where he is today. Ambitious Jordanian Qarout takes huge pride in his entrepreneurial skills, which he honed as a youngster. “I’ve been earning money since I was six years old,” he says. “At that age I sold clothes as a market trader, and in my teens I worked as a crockery salesman, travelling across Jordan and selling to other merchants. After that I gave private maths lessons.” After leaving high school he began a degree in Maths with Computer Science at the University of Jordan, but switched his major to straight Computer Science after deciding that IT would be a propitious career move, “Once I realised IT was the future, I never looked back,” he says. After graduating in 1981, Qarout began a stint of mandatory military service for the Jordanian army. Following his initial threemonth training period, he was offered a teaching role within the force, helping aspiring pilots and engineers achieve high-school equivalent maths qualifications. “My first year in the army was tough, but after that it got a lot easier,” he says, “We were poorly paid, and I didn’t enjoy the training aspect. I went on to represent the air force basketball team, and we played in a lot of military competitions, and that’s a fond memory.” Qarout admits the route to his first role—as a Trainee Programmer at Arab Computing Company which began in 1983— was fortuitous, “I was on my honeymoon when I applied for the job, and at that point I didn’t have my military service certificate, which you needed to get the job,” he says. “Somehow I was offered it, but I haven’t looked back since.” By 1985 he had achieved “one of his dreams” by joining Arab Bank as a programmer, and he would go on to serve the company for 23 years in a series of roles across the Middle East. Some of Qarout’s finest work was to come there. He was

“We initially installed ATM machines in Jordan in 1985, and they went online in 1989. We also installed machines in Qatar and the UAE in ’87, Bahrain in ’89 and Lebanon in ’93.”

responsible for overseeing the installation of ATM machines across the Middle East, and is fiercely proud of the legacy that he has left in the region, “We initially installed machines in Jordan in 1985, and these were offline,” he says. “They went online in 1989, and we also installed machines in Qatar and the UAE in ’87, Bahrain in ’89 and Lebanon in ’93.” In July 1992 he was part of a team of four that launched Visa bank cards for Arab Bank. “I wanted to gain experience and knowledge of the IT banking industry—and of business—and the Visa experience was fantastic for that,” he says. He also underwent a series of promotions during the period, being made a Systems Analyst in 1988, a Senior Systems Analyst in 1990, and Head of Systems and Applications in 1993. Throughout that period he worked on a variety of projects, including controlling the payment of staff salaries, and auto-closure of accounts. “Back then I had very demanding bosses,” he says. “Implementation of systems had to be fast and precise.” After installing further ATMs in Cyprus and Egypt, he also worked on the sales of Card Master, which issued credit and debit cards. His experience across a variety of high-level projects earned him a move to Qatar, where he was made head of Arab Bank’s IT division. Qarout recalls the relatively underdeveloped state of the IT department at that time, “I was given a tough job when I arrived in Qatar,” he says. “Over 80 percent of the processes there were running manually, and not much was automated. This was something I had to change.” He stayed in the role for nine years, and says he took on duties that were beyond his remit, “I did everything from opening branches to overseeing the construction of certain sites. Again, this was a fantastic learning experience.” After a failed application for a role as head of Arab Bank’s Gulf region IT team, Qarout succeeded in his bid to become the Head of IT for the Jordanian branch of the bank, where he took a 50 percent pay cut to procure the job. He says he had to overcome a culture of infighting to succeed in the role, “There was a new management team there when I joined, and they had too much influence in the company,” he says. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop him from being promoted to Head of IT for the Levant region in 2005, and he was grateful for being afforded the authority that his position warranted, “I was actually treated as an equal to those who were on my level there, and that was nice to go back to,” he says. Yet another transfer followed as he was made Head of the Lebanon and North Africa region in 2006, but after missing out on a promotion in September 2007, he left the job in February 2008. Soon after, he was delighted to be made a member of the board of trustees of Princess Sumaya University for Technology. In March, he established IT consultancy firm ‘GQ Consultancy’, and his company www.cnmeonline.com

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CIO Spotlight Ghazi Qarout

TIMELINE

1958

“When I was younger, my dream was to work for Arab Bank. I did that. I wanted to be a top CIO in the region. I feel that I’ve done that. I also wanted to leave an unforgettable legacy, and I’m immensely proud of my work throughout my life, so I think I’ve ticked that box as well.”

Born in Amman

1981 Graduated from the University of Jordan

1983 was instantly enlisted to launch Al Hilal Bank’s IT platform, which it did successfully in four months. During this time he caught the eye of Al Hilal’s CEO, who asked him to “tie up IT’s loose ends” between company departments. He subsequently joined the bank as Head of the Enterprise Project Management Office in 2009, and was tasked with streamlining project management and planning methodologies. One of these included implementing new technologies and solutions for the opening of a branch in Kazakhstan. His progress didn’t escape the attention of his superiors, and he was soon promoted to the role of Senior Vice President of IT in February 2010. “While I was SVP we were the first in the world to implement an Information Agenda, which was created by IBM,” he says. “I was also charged with solving existing problems and continuing the systems implementation that was underway at the time.” In May 2013 Qarout moved to his current post, where he has group responsibilities for Malaysia, Lebanon, the UK and Sudan. He is currently leading a bank-wide transformation programme, covering TOM, business processes, and enterprise architecture. He is also replacing the core banking system and all related applications. This includes a bandwidth transformation programme and updating outdated legacy. Qarout is confident that his journey to QIB has put him in a position where it is not easy for him to fail, “When you have a lot of experience and are comfortable enough to do things your own way, it makes life a lot easier,” he says. “I feel secure at QIB, I know how to do what’s best for the organisation and I have absolute faith in my own methods.” Looking back on his career, Qarout gains huge satisfaction from achieving all of his long term goals, “When I was younger, my dream was to work for Arab Bank. I did that. I wanted to be a top CIO in the region. I feel that I’ve done that. I also wanted to leave an unforgettable legacy, and I’m immensely proud of my work throughout my life, so I think I’ve ticked that box as well.” Qarout feels the roots of his success began at home, “I owe huge thanks to my mother; if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be where I am now,” he says. “I am also hugely grateful to my wife, who supported me, and always enabled me to grow.” 26

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Began career as a Trainee Programmer at Arab Computing Company

1985 Joins Arab Bank as a Programmer, begins ATM installations across Middle East

2008 Left Arab Bank to establish own IT consultancy firm

2009 Recruited by Al Hilal Bank as Head of the Enterprise Project Management Office

2013 Moves to Qatar Islamic Bank as Chief Information Officer


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Cover feature Saudi Arabian Airlines

Grand plans Saudi Arabian Airlines have provisioned a $1 billion deal to implement the IT infrastructure for King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia. James Dartnell reports from the development to find out how the airline’s privatised IT arm aims to inspire a generation of Saudis through state-of-the-art technology.

A

nyone taking a brisk drive through Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Economic City would be easily misled. At the moment, it doesn’t look like much of a city. There is a road network, a scattering of office and residential buildings, and a stunning coastline. Nevertheless, there is a state-of-the-art school, and a huge number of construction sites. Companies including Total, Danone and Pfizer have set up a presence there, but that’s more or less it. However, all that is about to change. Muhammad Albakri, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer, Saudi Arabian Airlines, has a grand plan for KAEC, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a whole. Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has provisioned a $1 billion deal to implement KAEC’s IT infrastructure, and Albakri is determined that the mega project will not only set a precedent for exemplary services and quality of life for the city’s future residents, but will transform the economic prospects for Saudi Arabia’s youth. Announced in 2005 by King Abdullah, KAEC is due for completion in 2029, and will cover 186 km², an area the size of Washington D.C. It is 28

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envisaged that the city—which is situated 100km north of Jeddah - will play host to the world’s top companies, and will be the biggest economic centre of western Saudi Arabia. Albakri is unflinchingly ambitious in delivering his vision for what the deal could bring to KAEC, and Saudi, “Right now there is a real need to invest in the youth of this country,” he says. “We have several aims in this project: to create an elite technology development centre for Saudi graduates, to provide a first-rate quality of life for KAEC’s residents through technology, and to drive economic development in the country through our cloud services.” A quick glance at KAEC’s location and assets suggests it has the potential to become a trading powerhouse in the Middle East. Located along the coast of the Red Sea, the site boasts a port which could hold up to 20,000,000 containers if running at full capacity, and the construction of train lines to Mecca, Medina and Jeddah are currently in progress. It is ideally situated as a bridge between the West and the East. KAEC will be self-regulating, following a similar economic model to Singapore, where it will be able to bypass the normal procedures of


Saudi government agencies to do things such as issuing visas, and it is partly owned by Dubai-based property development firm Emaar. Saudia was privatised in 2000, and subsequently various noncore subsidiaries of the airline, including Catering, Ground Handling and Maintenance have been sold. Albakri believes that the company’s evolving IT arm has only begun to gather pace “in the last four to five years” since it has procured more external contracts, such as KAEC. With 50 percent of Saudi Arabia’s 27 million people under the age of 24, Saudia’s Finance and IT Chief believes that an investment in the nation’s budding talent is not only imperative, but long overdue. He is certain that a failure to capitalise on the opportunities that KAEC and new e-banking legislation presents will equal a missed opportunity to establish Saudi as an economic force. He is also mindful that the potential of the nation’s young people is being damaged by the high cost of living standards and the inadequate training they are receiving before finding work. “IT and communications are central to supporting a knowledge-based economy which will drive Saudi’s growth,” he says. “At the moment there is serious wastage in this country. Instead of hiring skilled Saudis, companies are opting for foreign talent. On top www.cnmeonline.com

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Cover feature Saudi Arabian Airlines

of that there are millions of intelligent young Saudi women who have Nucleus, we can realistically cut this to six months, and provide the massive potential, and who deserve investment. This country is the exact training that a graduate needs to work in IT by teaching them the energy capital of the world, and we should be in a stronger position core skills of R&D from Cisco-certified engineers.” than we are now.” Albakri says he drew inspiration from a series of leading vendors Following legislation introduced to the Kingdom in 2010, the in designing plans for Saudia’s data centre, the construction of which Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency has prohibited Saudi-based financial will begin in five months. Albakri says the facility will be scalable—and and banking firms from outsourcing their cloud requirements to crucially—purpose-built for the region. “There is absolutely no point foreign providers. Once Saudia’s cloud system is fully operational in in building a data centre that is identical to one in the US or Europe,” 2015, Albakri is eager for the company to capitalise on the waterfall he says. “We face different challenges here, so we need to build data of firms that will be looking to move their cloud operations back to centres that can face them. That means taking into account our climate home soil. “We intend to target a range of organisations, including and power consumption; we have 12 hours of sunlight here each day banks, schools, businesses and financial firms,” he says. “But we won’t for much of the year, so why waste millions of dollars cooling the centre exclude SMBs. By providing a scalable, OPEX model cloud system, we when you can harness that power?” With this in mind, Albakri has want to drive economic growth throughout the Kingdom.” He sees commissioned the construction of a ‘cocoon’ exterior to the centre, cloud as a key driver of economic development, “Look at how cloud which has movable metal panels, which could shield the building in has improved the implementation of SAP HANA,” he says. “Without the event of a sandstorm, and can insulate it in times of extreme heat. cloud, this used to take months, if not years. Now it can be done in He is also keen to install large numbers of solar panels to underline a month. That is a serious value-adding time-saver to any business. the ethos of “Green IT” in the site, to reduce power costs and remain That is the kind of progress that we want to bring to the people of this environmentally friendly. This policy of region-specific construction country, and the near future presents huge potential for Saudia, and will also be consistent in housing developments throughout the city. Saudi Arabia’s people.” A key pillar of Albakri’s vision for KAEC is turning it into a Smart Central to Albakri’s philosophy City. He envisages emergency of graduate education is Saudia’s services, household appliances and ‘Sinnovate’ programme. Saudia has a host other things being driven by “There is no point in building a data enlisted engineering firm CH2MHill smart technology. “Making KAEC a centre that is identical to one in the and Microsoft to build state-of-theSmart City will vastly improve its US or Europe. We have 12 hours art technology facilities, and ensure residents’ lives,” he says. “IT is the first class, pertinent training within central nervous system of KAEC’s of sunlight here each day for much them. “We have agreed deals with socio-economic development, and of the year, why waste millions of some of the top vendors in the this will attract and retain the dollars cooling the centre when you world; the likes of Cisco, SAP and HP best and brightest that Saudi has have all agreed to provide training to offer, and help them to achieve can harness that power?” to Saudi graduates,” Albakri says. their dreams.” “We are creating a synergy of world For Albakri, this means that for class vendors to inspire our data centre, and to educate our people.” the next generation of Saudi talent, best-of-breed technology is a preThe Sinnovate centre features a 14,000 m² IT HQ at KAEC requisite for day-to-day quality of life, “For young people these days business park, and a Tier-3+ data centre which will occupy more technology is part-and-parcel in anything they do that is informationthan 42,000 m². As the heart of Saudia’s ‘Sinnovate Cloud’, it will driven,” he says. “In my daughter’s school they don’t even use books provide infrastructure-as-a-service, hosting with managed services anymore. In order to drive the growth that we need there has to be the and unified communications services amongst others. It will also best technology available for KAEC’s citizens. Creating this Smart City have an ‘Innovation Nucleus,’ an R&D centre designed to educate will in turn drive huge demand for systems integrators and solutions Saudi graduates. providers, which in itself creates economic growth for the city.” Albakri feels that blooding candidates early on in their careers Although in a relatively early stage of development, KAEC presents gives them a vital head start. Saudia recruits candidates between the an incredibly exciting prospect not just for the Middle Eastern IT scene, ages of 21-23 who it feels are bright enough to act as forerunners in but for the entire economy and future development of Saudi Arabia. the next generation of technology development. “Companies often Albakri’s tireless efforts to convince world-class vendors to participate send their employees on four or five day courses for training in how to in Sinnovate and in Saudia’s data centre have convinced him that his use new software or processes,” he says. “In my opinion, the skills and work will pay off, “We have scoured the world to acquire the best knowledge the individual picks up in this period of time are not enough; possible partners to support us in this project,” he says. “Some took for most people they dissipate quickly. By the same token, it may take more convincing than others, but when I said to them ‘Why don’t you three years to fully mould a university graduate into an organisation’s have a presence in this part of the world? Don’t you realise the potential culture after they have finished their education. With our Innovation that lies here?’ A lot of them didn’t have an answer.” 30

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On location Aldar

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State of the Union Corporate mergers are never easy. Tensions can run high, and there are a lot of key points that, if unchecked, can easily become painful. However, for Sreedhar K. Reddy, Director of IT, Aldar, and his IT team, the prospect of a merger became a vision of opportunity. The team took advantage of the merger to streamline administrative processes, and upgrade systems, among other tasks. The result—a corporate merger that truly stands as an example for businesses worldwide.

A

s of early 2012, Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate were the two biggest real estate companies in Abu Dhabi. In March 2012 these two powerhouses began discussions of a possible merger. The plan to merge the two companies was approved by January 2013 and the IT departments of both Aldar and Sorouh came together to begin laying a blueprint for what would prove to be a massive and complex undertaking. Undaunted, the IT team, headed by Sreedhar K. Reddy, Director of IT, Aldar, set out to create the technology backbone of what would be one of the largest listed real estate companies in the Middle East and North Africa region. With over AED 47 billion of combined total assets, and market capitalisation of approximately AED 28 billion - as well as one of the largest land banks in the region - the merger of the two companies has been an unquestionable success. The combined company has a diversified portfolio of assets with total equity of AED 14.7 billion and an attractive pipeline of assets under development in Abu Dhabi. The company also holds one of the largest land banks in the region, 90 percent of which is located in investment zones. This merger would not have been possible without an exceptionally strong IT team and clear leadership, not only from Reddy, but also from the highest echelons of both companies. “We were lucky to have good communication with the executive management,” says Mohamad Maaz Khan, Senior Manager, Enterprise Business Solutions, Aldar, “that, combined with trust, support and leadership, allowed us to move forward quickly.” To deliver the integration of a multitude of systems and applications, over 50 physical locations and data centres, the Aldar IT team needed a solid plan. Early on, the two companies formed a team dedicated to monitoring all the working parts of the merger – the Integration Management Office. It was through this committee that the IT team was able to communicate anticipated concerns before they became roadblocks on the path to a successful merger. “Even before we could think of merging the two staffs, we had

to merge our recruitment systems,” recalls Syed Omer Salam, Assistant Manager, ERP HCM and BI, Aldar. “Every employee at both companies had to reapply for his or her position as if they were applying to a new job. This was very sensitive for everyone involved, so it was paramount that our recruitment portal ran seamlessly.” This is just one example of the IT department thinking ahead to pave the road for the merger while always keeping the employees and customers in mind. “The key,” says Abdul Baset Al Kamali, Senior Manager, IT Infrastructure and Support, “was staying one step ahead and anticipating the needs of the company. We needed to fix problems before they happened.” To that end, the combined IT team created a comprehensive plan to merge all systems, applications and data centres in record time. To keep business running, the team first had to create a number of interim solutions. In this way, the team was able to begin the merger with little to no interruption of business. A dedication to keeping business running without a hiccup drove the Aldar IT team. “We were working weekends, holidays and even overnight,” recalls Rakesh Narang, Assistant Manager IT Network, Security and IP Telephony and Fahad Farooq, Senior Specialist, Database Administration. The result of this dedication is that the Aldar employees experienced no downtime at all during the transition. Business continued as usual which was an important factor in keeping up employee morale during what could have been a tumultuous transition. “This is something that everyone on the team is exceptionally proud of,” says Reddy. Though the companies considered hiring an external program manager to oversee the IT projects, with the support of the management, the IT team decided to manage the projects internally. “The outside vendors said that it would take 18 to 24 months to deliver the integration projects, but we had a mandate to deliver them faster, and with no downtime,” says Reddy, “so we made it our goal and, in the end, we completed everything we had hoped for by maximizing the business and technical knowledge available within the organization.” In fact, most planned merger www.cnmeonline.com

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On location Aldar

Sreedhar K. Reddy, Director of IT, Aldar

projects were in implementation stage by day one of the start of the new merged business and were largely completed by end of 2013. When it came to consolidating applications and systems, the merged team had to take an objective stance. “It wasn’t just about which system was older, or bigger, or more complicated,” says Reddy, “we should have the best system that will serve us well in the long run.” When two systems with the same function were presented, the IT team along with the business teams had assessed the business process and supporting applications and decided which one would be the best choice for the new, merged company. Though they found that some employees were resistant to a change in some systems, internal training sessions eventually brought everyone on board. The IT department at the merged Aldar has achieved its goals and managed to consolidate the offices and the IT infrastructure including data centres. The merger has achieved significant synergies through reduced staff costs, consolidated offices,

“The result of the Aldar IT team’s dedication to excellence, long hours, careful planning and collaborative efforts is apparent in the result of the merger.” 34

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reduced hardware and communication costs and savings on software licenses and support services. With such a large merger carried out in such a short period of time, one would think that the IT team would have been worried moving forward with important decisions that needed to be made in a flash. On the contrary, with managerial support and a unified effort, the IT team was able to move on tough decisions confidently. “The only time I ever remember feeling nervous,” recalls Tarek Al Siyada, Assistant Manager, Systems Administration, Aldar, “is when we were physically transporting hardware from one data centre to the other. I remember we loaded everything up in the evening and then ever so carefully we drove to the new centre. I am surprised we weren’t stopped for going too slow!” The result of the Aldar IT team’s dedication to excellence, long hours, careful planning and collaborative efforts is apparent in the result of the merger. In record time, the IT department was able to meet the brief and more, with no downtime and without the need to hire outside consultants. “In planning our merger integration, we asked for a reliable and robust IT platform to be delivered on time- it is a complex but crucial enabler of our success. I am particularly proud at how our team came together to deliver on this difficult enterprise wide project. They successfully managed a highly complex task while merging a department itself. Their achievement has been one of the highlights of our merger integration,” says Greg Fewer, Chief Financial Officer, Aldar.”


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On location SEHA

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To Your Health SEHA’s move from paper-based record keeping to the new Malaffi electronic medical record system was no small feat. The system delivers a completely integrated system and is considered a large implementation by international standards. With 12 hospitals to bring up to speed, George Yacoub, Chief Information Officer, Seha, explains what it takes to progress beyond paper.

T

he realms of healthcare and technology have long been partnered. As technology improves, so too do the tools at the disposal of the care-takers that fight to keep us healthy every day. From innovative scanners to surgery performed with high-tech lasers, hospitals and medical professionals rely on technology to continue moving forward. Recently, the technology teams at clinics and hospitals everywhere have been leveraging technology, not only in the surgery theatre, but in the office of admissions as well. Seha Health Services Company in Abu Dhabi has recently implemented an electronic medical records project that has streamlined the admissions and documentation process at each of their facilities. With over a dozen facilities to manage, as well as thousands of patients and employees, digitising Seha’s medical recording process is no small feat. From research to training and implementation, George Yacoub, Chief Information Officer, Seha www.cnmeonline.com

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On location SEHA

Company, has lead the IT team and all of Seha’s employees down the path of digitalisation. Digitalising medical records is of obvious benefit to the patient. A patient at Seha, with the new Malaffi electronic medical records system, can enter any Seha facility knowing the physician or medical professional has a complete and uniform medical history on hand before treatment or diagnoses even begins. A lack of sound medical record keeping can lead to medical redundancy, or more alarmingly, serious errors. Without a solid record of what has happened to a patient, tests can be performed twice and patients are far more likely to be misdiagnosed. With the health of their patients in mind, Seha took on the Malaffi project. However, this trick of record keeping did not happen overnight. The Malaffi project took planning, effort and follow through on the part of Yacoub and the whole Seha IT department. When it comes to managing projects at Seha Yacoub realises that he can only benefit by involving each affected branch of the company. “As far as the IT department at Seha goes, we are involved in every aspect of the business, however, we try not to own every single project. By that I mean that we try to empower others to take ownership of the projects that affect them.” This philosophy was especially true for the implementation of the Malaffi project. Yacoub was determined to implement a system that was not only a benefit to the IT department, but that reflected the needs of the staff and the patients of Seha. Yacoub recruited physicians and other service providers directly into his IT team. “Everyone practices medicine differently, so when it came down to actually designing systems, we relied on the input of the physicians,” he recalls. Indeed, the key was finding what processes and systems were right for the entire network of hospitals and clinics. As such, Seha decided to partner with intelligent Electronic Health Record (EHR) firm Cerner to address their electronic medical record needs. It was not a partnership decision that Yacoub or his staff would take lightly, “We determined through careful evaluation that they were the right one for this project. When we need to add a function to the system, we go through Cerner, so we knew the partnership had to be a long term fit.” With the system in place, its users need to be trained. Just as everyone practices medicine differently, not all users were in the same place when it came to technical skills. “There were people that simply had not used a computer before,” Yacoub recalls, “in this situation we set up stations where new computer users could simply play games on the computer to get used to using a mouse. We had to change and adapt with the best way to deliver the message.” To train the staff on how to actually use the electronic medical

“No one likes when IT comes down and tells them how to do their duties, it’s much better to have trainings delivered by medical staff that know first-hand the challenges the end users face.” records system, Yacoub again turned to the clinicians. “The training was provided by newly-acquired IT staff that a few months before were working as clinicians,” he says. “No one likes when IT comes down and tells them how to do their duties, it’s much better to have trainings delivered by medical staff that know first-hand the challenges the end users may face.” The results of Seha’s efforts are immediately obvious. When a patient comes to any Seha facility, their medical records are immediately available and are complete, no matter which facilities have been visited in the past. In addition, as the process progresses, Seha is taking steps to take existing paper records and integrate them with the digital files. “If you are a patient with us who has visited us in the past, chances are you have a paper record, or a paper record that has been scanned in digitally with us. When you visit us again, then the EMR record is created,” explains Yacoub. With all this data being created and stored digitally, security concerns are, of course, at the forefront of Yacoub’s agenda. “We take data security very seriously,” assures Yacoub, “We host all of our data on a private cloud, but it’s not only about storage or how to log in to the system. It is also about when and where users log in, and how long the session lasts. We are in constant talks with staff to determine what the best practices are for the system in terms of security and usability.” Though the initial implementation phase is complete, Yacoub and Seha have future plans for the Malaffi Project. “We are beyond the implementation phase,” says Yacoub, “so we need to embark on a new training campaign.” Now that the data is digital, the possibilities are wide open. Imagine a hospital where one can simply swipe a card to bring up a patient’s medical history anywhere. Imagine being able to simply view one’s own history online or text a question to an on-call clinician who has access to your data. These are just a few of the possibilities that are made available by electronic medical record projects like Malaffi at Seha. www.cnmeonline.com

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The pursuit of excellence The fifth annual Network World Middle East Awards was held at Jumeirah Emirates Towers on 24th of March, paying tribute to the region’s top networking projects and vendors. Having established itself as the major event that recognizes networking excellence in the Middle East, NWME Awards 2014 honoured winners across 19 categories, encompassing both users and vendors. Each recipient in the user category was recognized for taking an innovative approach to address business requirements with networking technologies. Vendors were recognized for their technical excellence in delivering technical excellence and helping their client prepare for the major industry transitions such as cloud and mobility. The event was kicked off by Nadeem Hood, CEO of CPI Media Group, publishers of CNME. This was followed by a keynote address by Abdullah Hashim, Senior VP of Digital Services, Etisalat, which is the strategic partner of CNME. The winners were picked from a pool of 200-plus nominations and each nomination was reviewed and judged by the four-member judging panel in terms of their achievements and specific measurable business results. Two categories – networking vendor and value added distributor – were decided by more than 4000 reader votes.

PANEL OF JUDGES Arun Tewary

Ian Wakeford

Arun is the CIO and VP of IT at Emirates Flight Catering in Dubai, which employs more than 6,500 people. His domain expertise is in the successful implementation of large ERP systems in complex business environments with a strong emphasis on implementing best business practices and organizational change management.

Ian is a senior industry advisor with over 30 years of IT experience in various roles and responsibilities, on both sides of the IT fence (as vendor and client). His professional career covers technical through to commercial, with stints in Experton Group and Injazat Data Systems.

Benvir Padda

UVK Kumar

Benvir is the IT Director at Legatum. He has worked in IT roles across pharma, tourism and financial industries, and has been based in Dubai for 13 years. In Legatum, he was instrumental in implementing a tier 3 data centre, a UC strategy and set up operations in London, Middle East, Far East and the US.

UVK Kumar has over two decades of experience in banking technology and was the CIO of Doha Bank Group for over 10 years. He has since founded an IT solution provider called Prescience UAE and is also actively engaged in consulting and advisory activities through STAT Analytics Solutions.

www.cnmeonline.com

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Data Centre Project of the Year

Winner:

EMKE Group

Finalists: • • • • • • •

Network Security Project of the Year

Abu Dhabi Health Authority Abu Dhabi Police Aswaaq Mattex RTA Viva Kuwait Zulekha Hospital

Winner:

Gulf Precast and Concrete

Finalists:

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• • • • •

Emarat Emirates Transport ENOC Kuwait National Petroleum Company Topaz


Storage Project of the Year

Winner:

RTA

Finalists: • • • • •

Virtualisation Project of the Year

Aspire Zone Qatar Dubai Municipality Dubai Silicon Oasis Electronic Government Authority Paris Sorbonne University

Winner:

Nakheel

Finalists: • • • • • • • • • •

Aswaaq Bank AlBilad Dubai World Trade Centre Electronic Government Authority Gulf Precast Concrete Jumeirah Group OSN National Bank of Abu Dhabi Tecom Investments University of Wollongong

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Mobility Project of the Year

Winner:

General Civil Aviation Authority Finalists: • • • • • • • •

Collaboration Project of the Year

Canadian Specialist Hospital Emirates Palace Hotel General Civil Aviation Authority Golf in Dubai Kempinski Hotel KPMG Ministry of Interior, UAE Nakheel

Winner:

Ministry of Education, Saudi Arabia

Finalists: • • • • • •

Network Cabling Project of the Year

General Civil Aviation Authority Gulf Air Jumeirah Group Kuwait National Petroleum Company Meraas Holding Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UAE

Winner:

Dubai World Trade Centre

Finalists:

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• • • • •

Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange Dubai World Trade Centre Millennium Hotel Kuwait National Petroleum Company RTA


Enterprise Telephony Project of the Year

Winner:

Abu Dhabi Airports Company

Finalists: • •

Editor’s Choice

Abu Harb Saudi Jumbo Electronics

Winner:

GE

Editor’s Choice

Winner:

African Eastern

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Editor’s Choice

Winner:

Golf in Dubai

Editor’s Choice

Winner:

Viva Kuwait

Editor’s Choice

Winner:

Dubai Airports

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Network Security Vendor of the Year

Winner:

Symantec

Finalists: • • • • •

Storage Vendor of the Year

ESET Dell SonicWall Fortinet Fluke Networks Kaspersky Lab

Winner:

Hitachi Data Systems

Finalists: • • • • •

Structured Cabling Vendor of the Year

Dell EMC HP Symantec WD

Winner:

Nexans

Finalists:

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Wireless Vendor of the Year

Winner:

Aruba Networks

Finalists: • • • • •

Network Training Provider of the Year

Cisco D-Link Fluke Networks Ruckus Wireless TP-Link

Winner:

Fast Lane

Finalists: • •

Systems Integrator of the Year

CNet Training Global Knowledge

Winner:

help AG

Finalists: • • • • • 50

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Managed Services Provider of the Year

Winner:

eHosting DataFort

Finalists: • • • •

Solutions Provider of the Year

BT Ericsson Etisalat Injazat Data Systems

Winner:

Cognizant Technology Solutions

Finalist: •

HCL Infosystems


Join the premier partner gathering in the Middle East as they discuss the latest trends that are together changing the IT landscape at Reseller Middle East’s Partner Excellence Conference 2014. Then, watch as the best of the region walk away with prized trophies in recognition of their efforts at Reseller Middle East’s Partner Excellence Awards 2014.

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Networking Vendor of the Year

Winner:

Dell

Finalists: • • • • • • • •

Networking VAD of the Year

Aruba Networks Avaya Brocade Cisco D-Link HP Huawei TP Link

Winner:

Mindware

Finalists:

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• • • • • • • •

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FEATURE

SDN

Busting SDN myths 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.

S

DN offers significant opportunities and challenges for enterprise IT professionals. SDN has the potential to make networks more flexible, reduce the time to provision the network, improve quality of service, reduce operational costs and make networks more secure. The challenge for IT professionals is to select the right SDN offering for the right technology use case at the right time. It helps to know what softwaredefined networking is, first of all, and then what it can do for you.   Then it’s smart to know all the inner workings of an SDN controller, the differences between products offered by established vendors and start-ups, and whether open source and bare metal switching might be an option. Lastly, learn your own network - will it even support SDN or require a wholesale rip-and-replace and then learn from your peers about their experiences. 56

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Many organisations still do not know what SDN is, what it’s comprised of, and how they might benefit from it. It’s obvious, but familiarity is the first step to understanding how SDN can help or hinder your enterprise network. Den Sullivan, Head of Enterprise & Architectures for Cisco Middle East, Africa, Russia, takes the veneer of technical wizardy off, and explains what it can do for you: “SDN tightly integrates emerging software approaches with the underlying physical infrastructure in order to centralise network management with realtime end-to-end solutions," he says. “Thanks to network abstraction and automation that reduce network operations workload, SDN enables companies to grow their network to meet demands, and to pull back when necessary. IT departments can apply a change once, and it is distributed across all of the networks, scaling delivering, and driving new business models and growth.”


network WORLD

SDN deployment is based on three factors: industry segment, complexity of the network, and culture of the organisation. SDN is especially effective for sectors like banking and telecommunications, which have several hundred locations and complex networks. Where might SDN deployments be appropriate? “Any enterprises who have deployed virtualisation on the server layers of their organisations, and who are looking to benefit from the geographic mobility of services between their data centres, are prime candidates for an SDN deployment,” says Maan Al Shakarchi, Sales Director, Avaya Networking SolutionsMiddle East, Africa, Turkey, and India. Also, any organisations who have to deal with dynamic changes to their network are going to be looking at SDN architectures, because it will help them to cope with their speed of business. Service providers, infrastructure-heavy hosts like conference centres and airports, and multi-tenant business are some of Avaya’s www.cnmeonline.com

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FEATURE

SDN

”SDN tightly integrates emerging software approaches with the underlying physical infrastructure in order to centralise network management with real-time endto-end solutions.” Den Sullivan, Head of Enterprise and Architectures, Cisco Middle East, Africa, and Russia

customers who need SDN the most—like companies who offer Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Anyone who needs quick upgrades and improvements, and turnarounds on a dime, can do them faster and better with SDN, he adds.

Think about where to start SDN still is targeted at the data centre where much of the automation and orchestration, capital and operational cost reduction benefits are obvious. “SDN is critical for organisations that have invested in server virtualisation and now want the flexibility of moving their Virtual Machines across data centres without impacting traffic. It is also key in reducing the time it takes to provision new services and deploy them across the enterprise,” says Al Shakarchi. Omar Alsaied, Middle East Carriers Sales Director, Ciena, says SDN enables the cloud and aids the large enterprise transition to IT-as-a-Service. “Today, large enterprises typically use cloud services for email, application hosting or non-critical storage backup to cloud data centres, which are accessed over low -speed IP networks that statistically multiplex data as the network permits. Over the next few years,

“Over the next few years, enterprises will leverage the cloud for distributed database access of increasing amounts of data and for both platform and infrastructure services.” Omar Alsaied, Middle East Carriers Sales Director, Ciena

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enterprises will leverage the cloud for distributed database access of increasing amounts of data and for both platform and infrastructure services. As the use of the cloud becomes more prominent, IT will need a more flexible and intelligent network to capitalise on the potential that the cloud represents. A cloud-ready network must be able to dynamically respond when IT needs to move large amounts of data, without bottlenecks, security holes or data loss. SDN makes this happen.” Ultimately, SDN provides a new level of scalability and programmability which goes beyond the capabilities of today’s data centre networks, according to Johnny Karam, Vice President, Citrix MEA. “Not surprisingly, the broader networking industry has embarked on a new paradigm of SDN to design in programmability and flexibility into the core network,” he adds.

Consider the security implications Centralising all control of the SDN may make life easier for the network operator; but it may also offer a single point of catastrophic failure or attack for a hacker or malicious content. How would a controller deal with outages that require re-routing of traffic? If a hacker gains control of your controller, could that intruder bring your network to its knees? Alsaied says SDN actually paves the way for more flexible security architecture, lowering overall costs. Traditional approaches to network security are predicated upon providing physical protection for a static perimeter. SDN offers the potential to reshape the network security landscape by providing a more granular, and service-oriented means of managing increasing threats brought on by mobility and BYOD, and the rapid expansion of cloud and virtualisation services.


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FEATURE

SDN

“Not surprisingly, the broader networking industry has embarked on a new paradigm of software-defined networking to design in programmability and flexibility into the core network.” Johnny Karam, Vice President, MEA, Citrix

SDN vs. NFV Today, two of the most interesting and most used networking acronyms - and underlying concepts and technologies - have to be SDN and NFV (for Network Function Virtualisation). Though many IT pros are inclined to stand these two concepts up against each other, as in SDN vs. NFV, these two revolutionary networking developments don’t represent an either-or proposition. In fact, it instead looks very much like the two can come as a pair, as in, “both SDN and NFV are likely to find a place in modern enterprise networks and carrier infrastructures.” The guiding principle behind SDN remains the separation of network control logic from the physical routers and switches that forward traffic from individual network nodes, based on a real-time view of the network as a whole. NFV, on the other hand, comes from service providers interested in facilitating deployment of new network services by virtualising networking devices and appliances, not through ongoing proliferation of physical devices to fill specialised roles such as routing, switching, content filter, spam filter, load balancer, WAN acceleration and optimisation and unified threat management, and so forth. “SDN and NFV are complimentary, while NFV enables the virtualisation of telecom services

“SDN and NFV are complimentary, while NFV enables the virtualisation of telecom services delivery and processing functions— alongside existing XaaS (Anything-as-aService)—SDN enhances the efficiency and new service creation promised by NFV.”

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delivery and processing functions—alongside existing XaaS (Anything-as-a-Service)—SDN enhances the efficiency and new service creation promised by NFV,” says Alsaied. SDN is both embryonic and rapidly evolving. Hence, in order to create and update an SDN plan, IT organisations need to continually educate themselves as to what is happening in the broad SDN ecosystem. This certainly includes analysing 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 organisations such as the Open Daylight consortium. As part of your SDN plan, you need to identify a set of vendors whose SDN solutions you will evaluate. 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 is still in an embryonic stage, and CIOs must have ROI discussions to decide which time is best for transitioning to SDN. Companies that are early adopters or innovators can adopt SDN to future-proof their IT and move to a Fast IT model. Companies must also educate employees, and ensure their IT departments have people with the right skill sets,” sums up Sullivan.


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Strategic Technology Partner

storage advisor

The draws I of NAS Given the heavy cost of cloud services, Network Attached Storage has emerged as a cost-effective solution for SMBs looking to store their data. We take a look at the benefits of NAS and how it can be used as a flexible tool within an organisation.

ncessant as the hype surrounding the third platform is, mobility and cloud in particular have undeniably paved the way for the rise of another technology: Network Attached Storage. The proliferation of mobile devices, and the expected 40 percent increase in spend on cloud across the Middle East in 2014 has opened up the market for storage that is cloud-based and can be accessed anywhere, anytime. This is largely driven by the explosion of digital content and the Internet of Things. Organisations are on the hunt for simple, scalable and cost-effective ways to store and serve business-critical information securely over a network, and an efficient NAS service has the promise of powerful remote connectivity, with the option of extending usability.

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FEATURE

NAS

Savitha Bhaskar, General Manager, Condo Protego, feels that scale-out NAS is the key to its evolution, “You have different solutions for scaleout NAS,” she says. “This is where the industry is evolving. It is changing and becoming more and more granular with the emergence of more purpose-built technologies depending on the type of NAS in question. You can now take things like video streaming and security images and VDIs and store that to a dedicated scale-out NAS solution instead of on the file server.” NAS seemingly offers high flexibility in storing, sharing and accessing data, providing high convenience along the way. Modern NAS devices offer remote access to data, which effectively creates a personal cloud where data can often be accessed via desktop software or a mobile app. This can amount to having a full server without a PC. Khalid Wani, Sales Director, Branded Business, Middle East, Africa and India, WD, sees the malleability of NAS as a key draw, “With NAS, data can be centralised on a single point and multiple 64

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computing devices can then easily access this data regardless of whether they are PCs, smartphones or tablets,” he says. “NAS devices also offer flexibility in terms of storage capacity, so depending on how much storage you need and the level of data redundancy that you want, an appropriate NAS can be purchased.” Ayman Al-Ajouz, Sales Manager, MENA, Seagate, believes the high performance of NAS devices means they can effortlessly slot into an organisation’s IT framework, “Today there are special HDDs built for small business servers, backup servers, and central storage systems, which are rigorously tested to provide industry-leading capabilities for small 1-5 bay NAS systems,” he says. “These are engineered for high performance even when several applications are open at the same time; NAS HDDs also support multiple HD video streams and user profiles. Additionally, they have near silent-acoustics, ensuring that the office environment is not affected by loud noises whenever the NAS HDD is in operational mode.”


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FEATURE

NAS

In the age of hacktivism, where cyber security anxieties evade no organisation, there are inevitable concerns over any cloud-based service, and whether data is secure wherever it is stored. Sakkeer Hussain, Sales and Marketing Manager, D-Link, Middle East & Africa, believes that NAS devices are equipped with sufficient security, but users are often negligent in employing them, “Almost all NAS devices that are available today include user security features to allow or restrict file access based on usernames and passwords; you can also allow certain folders for everyone on the network to access or you can set it to completely closed and allow users to access specific folders only,” he says. “However, since most of the NAS devices are being used at home, many users just remove all these security features in exchange of easy access to the files. They often do not use file restriction access, so anyone on the network can easily access the files without the hassle of putting their username and passwords. It is important for the NAS user or Admin to know how to implement the security feature required in their environment—without this awareness your NAS could have zero security.” Wani realises the potential harm of user ignorance towards NAS, “Organisations should take a holistic view of security which includes protecting vital data that is stored on a NAS from external threats, malicious internal intent or even staff fault/error,” he says. A key advantage that NAS possesses is that it is attractive to SMBs who do not have the budgets or staff of larger enterprises, and are unable to invest in expensive cloud products. Consequently, a large number of SMBs are looking to combine cloud with NAS to get the benefits of cloud, but without the high cost.

“With NAS data can be centralised on a single point and multiple computing devices can then easily access this data regardless of whether they are PCs, smartphones or tablets.” Khalid Wani, Sales Director, Branded Business, Middle East, Africa and India, WD

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“Given the limited budgets that many local small and medium enterprises are challenged with, setting up a robust IT infrastructure that supports and protects a company’s data is often an uphill task.” Ayman Al-Ajouz, Sales Manager, MENA, Seagate

Al-Ajouz is all too aware of this, “Given the limited budgets that many local small and medium enterprises are challenged with, setting up a robust IT infrastructure that supports and protects a company’s data is often an uphill task,” he says. “Managing servers, connecting different platforms, making sure data is secure, and doing it without dedicated IT professionals on call can be a serious headache.” Hussain sees Active Directory as a key advantage for SMBs, “NAS devices have evolved into more functional storage systems,” he says. “There are different scenarios in which a NAS can do the job—instead of a more expensive SAN. Modern NAS devices support Active Directory which makes them suitable to most SMB environments. One of the main benefits of using NAS is the cost, it is a cheaper investment and also cheaper to maintain compared to a full-fledged SAN. It also leaves a smaller carbon foot-print and consumes less power.” Although the advantages of an SMB using NAS are more evident, that is not to say that it has no place in the enterprise sector. With larger volumes of data and users, enterprises have more complex storage architectures, and this can equate to a broader range of storage systems combinations. The option of using NAS as a means of business continuity in the event of a private cloud system being unavailable has an allure to enterprises. Hussain sees enterprises employing a combination of storage types, “SANs provide block-level storage for access by servers and NAS devices offer filelevel storage for access by end users. In fact many organisations use a combination of DAS, NAS and SAN devices,” he says.


CNET


FEATURE

Internet privacy

The Death of Internet Privacy In the age of constant connection, internet users are sharing more and more sensitive information online. Online transactions create a wealth of data that can, in the wrong hands, be used for nefarious ends. As hackers become more organised and the amount of data stored in the cloud increases, the potential for leaks of sensitive data becomes magnified.

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security advisor

Strategic IT BYOD Partner

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nternet users share personal information with each other via social media and financial information through online transactions—a practice which we have all become accustomed to. However, these days, enterprises and public service providers are now storing data created by social media to be mined for targeted advertising as well as to provide tailored services to customers. While the purposes of companies may be harmless, data miners with malicious intent can use information taken from online accounts for illicit purposes. “If it is financial data, the malefactor can use it both with criminal purposes—for example money withdrawal from bank accounts—and non-criminal purposes—for example enticing away clients from competitors. Also this data can be used for a targeted marketing to similar target audiences,” says Vsevolod Ivanov, Deputy CEO, Infowatch.

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FEATURE

Internet privacy

Las year alone saw

822 million

records exposed due to breaches in data security.

Though the presence of this information can create a more personalised experience for consumers, so too does it present the potential for data breaches that can range from irritating to devastating for the company and its customers. “There are high risks involved. Especially if you look at incidents such as the security of the Sony PlayStation network being compromised and even LinkedIn accounts being hacked, there is clearly a risk involved in providing personal information to corporations or sites,” says Megha Kumar, Research Manager, Software, IDC Middle East Africa and Turkey. Last year alone saw an estimated 2164 incidents of data breach with over 822 million records exposed. This is nearly twice as many incidents as in 2011. “With the rapid growth in data volumes, Big Data, rising adoption of cloud services, and use of remote data centres driving unprecedented movement of data throughout networks, data in motion and at rest is under increasing threat,” says Sebastien Pavie, Regional Sales Director, Middle East and Africa, SafeNet. The tenuous nature of data security is not only due to the volume of information we are working with but also with the way that this data is shared and stored. “As data is becoming more centralised and available online from any terminal

As data is becoming more centralised and available online from any terminal device, security measures must be taken seriously to prevent misuse.” Alain Panel, Regional Vice President, Fortinet

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“Future regulatory models should apply greater pressure for responsible behaviour but ultimately it is consumer demands and competition that creates secure, conscious products.” James Lyne, Global Head of Security Research, Sophos

device, security measures must be taken seriously to prevent misuse, sometimes on a massive scale, of the data,” says Alain Panel, Regional Vice President, Fortinet. The key to protecting one’s sensitive information is prevention. When sharing information online or participating in transactions that result in data storage, users must be cautious. Consider how the information will be used, by whom and where it will be stored. Best practices include, at the very least, using a strong password combination and encryption, but there is more that can be done to protect sensitive data. “My golden rule whilst shopping online is to use a prepaid credit card that is not linked to my bank account. Alternatively, many banks are offering an extra security service for authenticating any online transaction that takes place by entering a password that you have already provided to bank with,” says Tony Zabaneh, Sales Engineering MEA, Trend Micro. Though personal responsibility goes a long way to protect an individual’s data and maintain privacy, governments around the world have begun to pass regulations that are aimed at protecting the consumer. “Future regulatory models should apply greater pressure for responsible behaviour but ultimately it is consumer demands and competition that creates secure, conscious products that solve such issues,” says James Lyne, Global Head of Security Research, Sophos. Recently, the EU has recommended a consistent internet privacy regulation across the region. The Data Protection Regulation is a proposed suite of regulations that will protect consumers from


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FEATURE

Internet privacy

clandestine tracking and unauthorised personal data usage. Further, it aims to protect privacy rights in two key ways. The regulation will clearly define the term “personal data” to remove any ambiguity and tighten potential legal loopholes. It will also increase punishments for those who violate users’ online privacy. With governments in the US and EU rapidly researching and implementing regulations to protect users and their data, it is only a matter of time before the greater Middle East region begins to consider a comprehensive regulatory plan. In fact, wheels have already been set in motion to address online security in the Middle East. “We have rallied the support of leading government, semi-government, education and private establishments in the country and have laid the foundation for the establishment of a formalised national Information Security Awareness (ISA) committee. This centralised body will address security risks related to a lack of online security awareness in the UAE, and will also develop standards, guidelines, and best practices for effective implementation of information security awareness programs and workshops across the country,” says Nicolai Solling, Director of Technology Services, Help AG.

“When we take all matters into consideration, legislation on privacy may be a path the Middle East regions are unwilling to take. Given the issues other countries have experienced and the social unrest they can cause, it would be very understandable if all Middle East regions maintained the status quo.”

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“We have rallied the support of leading government, education and private establishments in the country and have laid the foundation for the establishment of a formalised national Information Security Awareness committee.” Nicolai Solling, Director of Technology Services, Help AG

However, the path to legislation in the Middle East may be slow. “At the moment, each Middle East country has its own data protection regime based on international best practices,” Khalid Muasher, Business Development Manager, Middle East, BitDefender says. “Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE view data protection and privacy from a national perspective. While there have been efforts to implement a European Union-type regime, the compliance challenges organisations face make the process a lengthy and complicated one.” In addition, some believe that regulation across Middle Eastern countries may be extremely difficult. “When we take all matters into consideration, legislation on privacy may be a path the Middle East regions are unwilling to take. Given the issues other countries have experienced, the social unrest they can cause it would be very understandable if all Middle East regions maintained the status quo,” says Glen Ogden, Regional Sales Director, Middle East, A10 Networks. Whether the government intervenes or not, privacy concerns will never be fully alleviated. Even as the technology to protect data progresses, so too do to the tricks of hackers and data miners out to breach internet security tools. “Privacy concerns are here to stay, and it is in our best interests to understand what is happening, both from a political as well as from a technical perspective,” says Pavie. “It is highly recommended that enterprises research internet security as the day will soon come when it will be expected to prove that user information is safe when they are required to provide it.”


FEATURE

Data integration

Integrating with Best Practices The suite of data integration tools available to enterprises has expanded greatly over the last decade. Given the rapid development of data integration technologies, it is difficult to know what the best practices are for each DI technique. Additionally, the desire to integrate quickly to keep up with the growing trend has some enterprises sacrificing quality data integration for quick implementation. 74

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integration advisor

H

istorically, data integration as a practice has been housed with similar, related techniques such as data warehousing or database administration. These days, however, DI has been recognised as an autonomous discipline, worthy of its own staff, budgeting and attention. As such, IT departments need to rethink the way they address data integration projects with regard to the tools they use and the coordination of the project from start to finish. Today, the multitude of options available to enterprises aiming to take on an integration project has reached a critical mass. Vendors and their products are now well-established in the market, users often have dedicated DI staff to implement such products, and DI has reached a point that it is recognised as a discipline separate from related functions like data storage and database administration. As DI technology and practices have grown at such a rapid pace, it is understandable that even the savviest IT departments may not be on the cutting edge of the latest DI developments. IT professionals may have outof-date mindsets or misconceptions about DI based on previous incantations of DI technology. Moreover, in a rush to adopt the latest and greatest in DI techniques, even specialists in the discipline may fail to pay heed to DI’s best practices. CIOs also need to take time to discern which products and vendors are right for their business. “While enterprises spend time in evaluating all the features and trends in the data integration space, they need to keep a tight vigil on which of those new ‘features’ would best fit their enterprise requirements,” says Stephen Fernandes, Assistant Vice President and Head of Middle East Operations, Cognizant. Of course, the most basic of best practices when taking on a DI project is to maintain clean files. To ensure conformity among files, first there must be agreement on the file-format specifications from all sources and stakeholders. Further, to maintain a clean database, Anirban Bhattachara, Principal Architect, Tech Mahindra, recommends agreeing upon a process for filewww.cnmeonline.com

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FEATURE

Data integration

"Proper study and documentation of current DI capabilities and future wish-lists provide a great foundation for the successful implementation of a DI tool." Stephen Fernandes, Assistant Vice President and Head of Middle East Operations, Cognizant

level and field level-checks to avoid, among other things, “Repeat files, zero-byte files, non-conformant files, incomplete file-transfers, issues related to file-delay and latency, and files with corrupt data.” Data integration projects can seem like daunting tasks and often take a great deal of time and dedication. However, most delays in implementation can be traced to poor planning on the part of the IT team. Adherence to best practices means preparing for the project in advance. Fernandes points to a few issues that can cause IT teams to struggle when implementing a DI project. “Lack of clarity on the scope and boundary of the DI tool, lack of understanding and firm commitment on the roadmap of functionality, lack of understanding or anticipation of the full effort and investment in setting up and sustaining a successful enterprise-wide DI environment and finally challenges with skilled staff.” Enterprises can avoid sluggish role outs with solid research and planning. “Proper study and documentation of current DI capabilities and future wish-lists provide a great foundation for the successful implementation of a DI tool,” says Fernandes. Integration into the cloud presents a host of other issues that must be considered when taking on a DI project. Bhattacharya recommends keeping a few things in mind when integrating into the cloud. “Choose the appropriate Cloud Deployment Model – Private, Public, Hybrid or Community Cloud,” he says. IT teams also need to ensure that the cloud platform they have chosen has the flexibility to address multiple platforms including legacy and strategic environments.” If taking on a large cloud integration, IT teams must ensure a mechanism capable of managing multiple platforms from a single control point and automated processes like application lifecycle management. 76

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Enterprises should also take steps to avoid the costly application-management problems that are sometimes involved with migrating to an SaaS environment. “The key to taking advantage of a cloudbased solution is consuming only what is needed when it is needed—and remaining diligent about turning it off at other times,” says Fernandes. In addition, sticking to the design of the SaaS tool is key. Customisations of SaaS tools can lead to unnecessary costs. “The more you can use the SaaS solution as it was designed, the lower your costs will be,” says Fernandes. Though cloud integration does require careful planning, the benefits are worth the time invested. According to Bhattacharya, implementing a cloud solution can help reduce costs and internal IT needs. In addition, setup and implementation can be relatively quick and resource pooling allows the cloud service provider to distribute the costs to all of its clients. Fernandes agrees, “The benefits of cloud integration include no system administration, lower utilisation price, uniform cost across the time period, pay-asyou-use facility, shorter time-to-market, shared risk, flexibility to configure OS and software, lower system/ hardware maintenance cost, no investment in data centres, and ease of space expansion and scalability.” A DI project can streamline a business’ workflow and clean up useless data that is bogging down systems, however, projects should be taken on with planning and care. “Data integration projects require a clear understanding of the requirements and a detailed study of the data elements. The ability to understand data flow, data manipulation, consolidation and usage, requires expert inputs and therefore users should be involved in the early stages for DI projects,” says Faisal Husain, CEO, Synechron. With a solid blueprint and the knowledge that best practices make for clean data, a DI project is a worthwhile undertaking.


FEATURE

Small cells

Small cells, big impact Operators and telecom equipment vendors are showing a growing interest in small cells, which aim to give users improved coverage and speeds.

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in association with

telecoms WORLD

S

mall cells are miniature cellular base stations. They provide a low-power signal much closer to mobile users than traditional macro networks, resulting in better voice quality, higher data performance and less toll on batteries. Small cells encompass a broad array of radios, including Wi-Fi access points, that are smaller and less expensive than the traditional macro cells that cover whole neighbourhoods. They can make more efficient use of existing frequencies and cover areas, such as indoor spaces, that are hard to reach with macro cells. This mission will become increasingly important as demand for network capacity grows along with consumer and business use of mobile data, a trend that some say will constrain consumers’ and workers’ mobile experience within a few years. Types of small cells include femtocells, picocells, metrocells and microcells—broadly increasing in size from femtocells (the smallest) to microcells (the largest). Any or all of these small cells can be based on ‘femtocell technology’—the collection of standards, software, open interfaces, chips and know-how that have powered the growth of femtocells, according to The Small Cell Forum, the biggest cheerleader of the technology. Small cells can be used in homes, public spaces and offices to offload traffic from mobile networks. Rolling them out in offices will open the door for dedicated voice capacity, mobile unified communications, local switching of voice traffic and other context-aware services. Enterprise small cells have become a hot property because of the growing popularity of smartphones. Qualcomm and Cisco Systems have started developing small cells customised for enterprises, which will be able to use the products to improve indoor wireless network coverage for their employees. Ericsson last year announced the www.cnmeonline.com

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FEATURE

Small cells

Radio Dot System, a small cell that has an Ethernet port, weighs 300 grams and will start shipping later this year. Mobile operators are looking at smaller cells and Wi-Fi to better cover indoor spaces and crowded areas. “There are two reasons why operators may introduce small cells: to enhance coverage and decrease blackout spots in a costeffective way, or as a means of cost-effective capacity improvement in the exact location where the capacity is needed,” says Saleem Al Balooshi, Executive VP of Network Development & Operations, du. These are both dependent upon the status of the operator, in terms of their traffic profile and growth, coverage, mobile penetration, the technologies deployed or in the process of being deployed and, last but not least, the level of handset penetration on 2G, 3G and LTE technologies. Depending on all of these factors, operators will either be extremely aggressive in deploying small cells, or they will roll them out in phases, he adds. Amer El-Saigh, Head of Networks, Vodafone Qatar, believes small cells will experience an exponential growth with a slow start at the beginning while operators find out best deployment strategies and ironing out unforeseen issues that will only come alight when in deployment. “It is worth noting that Vodafone Group is heavily involved in small cells deployment in many of its operations worldwide.” Dory Chakour, Engagement Manager, Ericsson, considers small cells as part of the heterogeneous networks vision aiming at building the most efficient coverage and capacity solutions for operators. “Operators in the Middle East are at different maturity levels from a technology point of view,” he says. “Some operators will need small cells deployment in the near future while others need to deploy macro MBB coverage and capacity as a first step.”

“The small cells will bring improved coverage and capacity to the operator’s network.” 80

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“Some operators will need small cells deployment in the near future while others need to deploy macro MBB coverage and capacity as a first step.” Dory Chakour, Engagement Manager, Ericsson

From the network operator perspective, deploying small cells can typically result in a significant increase in capacity with a typical gain of 6-10 times more than traditional methods. “Small cells offer cost effective capacity and coverage, with better cost per bit, and deliver improved quality of experience for hotspots in both indoor and outdoor locations. They have the ability to allow network operators to deliver capacity and coverage directly and quickly, with the result of improved user behaviour due to the end-user proximity,” says Al Balooshi. Chakour from Ericsson echoes a similar opinion, “The small cells will bring improved coverage and capacity to the operator’s network,” he says. “This will enhance the voice quality and more importantly the App Coverage providing an indicator of the mobile broadband experience. App coverage is the probability that the network will deliver sufficient performance to run a particular application at a quality level acceptable to the user.” Though there is a growing interest in small cells, setting up these radios and gleaning the promised impact from them will be harder than just buying equipment and finding spots that need more capacity. Adding small cells to mobile networks made up of full-sized base stations should help to fuel more voice and data calls, but outdoors, linking those dispersed cells to wired networks presents its own problems. Connecting a high-capacity data line to a cell mounted on a lamp post or a telephone pole isn’t as easy as wiring up a cell tower. Power, security and wiring are all harder to arrange, vendors and analysts say. The problems are unique to outdoor small cells, versus indoor ones that tend to have easy access to wiring. “The smaller cell radius requires stations to be closer to the users, right down to street level. This


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Small cells

can mean installations on building fronts, street lights or traffic poles, and so on. There are hanging rights and municipality permits to take into account, such as form factor requirements on appearance, size and weatherproofing, for example,” says Du. Outdoor small cell deployments must not create injuries to public, must not be prone to malicious physical attacks or unauthorised access to the IP network, and they must be able to secure power. They must also fall under the plug and play category, with automated provisioning, with the ability for remote monitoring and troubleshooting. “In the same way small cells indoor are connected, the outdoors cells should be part of the fully coordinated networks which consist of both small cells and macro cells working together in a coordinated way across all technologies,” says Chakour. It’s just one of several challenges facing carriers that would follow the small-cell star to a future of mobile abundance, analysts said. Others are finding room to mount the cells, getting local approval for the new street clutter, and preventing interference with the larger “macro” cells on towers and rooftops. But backhaul is such a serious problem that it’s forcing mobile operators to change how they plan networks, according to Ed Gubbins of Current Analysis. They used to find backhaul after putting up cells where they were most needed, but now they have to plan both together. Some carriers are even looking for backhaul sites first, he said.  What the vendors have started pitching is wireless backhaul, which is available in several forms over different frequency bands. All these technologies can deliver enough speed to carry traffic to and from a small cell, and they can be deployed at cell sites where wired connections can’t be set up or would be too expensive. Most small cells are indoors today, but as carriers deploy them outdoors, 75 percent of those cells will use wireless backhaul, according to Infonetics Research. To deploy wireless backhaul, service providers still need space and power for the equipment and approval from the local planning authorities. But when it comes to the connections themselves, no fiber or copper needs to be strung out to the site. All that’s required is a clear line of sight to another radio that is plugged into a wired network, or a non-line-of-sight wireless path that can find its way around whatever obstacles may be in the way. Look for small cells to start easing mobile bottlenecks first in dense urban areas, where

FEATURE

Time for a personal cell tower? Are you one of those unlucky souls who enjoys decent cell phone reception when you’re out and about, but can’t get a signal at home or in the office? You’re not alone. Indoor phone calls have long been a weak point of cellular coverage. That’s why femtocell technology has created such a stir, as the idea of using a device like a broadband router to boost cellular reception indoors is catching up quite fast. What are femtocells? The term “femtocell” refers to the smallest unit of a cellular network and, by extension, the devices and services that make use of them. Other small—but not quite as small— cells include Wi-Fi cells (a.k.a. microcells) and Bluetooth cells (picocells). At the other end of the spectrum are macrocells, such as those used in carriers’ cell towers. What do they do? Femtocells address the problem of poor cell phone reception indoors by taking advantage of the proliferation of home and small office broadband connections. Like the wireless router that distributes a DSL or cable broadband signal throughout your home, a femtocell device—sometimes called a miniature cellular base station or a mini-cell tower—grabs your carrier’s cellular signal and boosts it for indoor use, routing your calls through the broadband connection rather than directly through the larger cellular network. What are the benefits? Subscribers get a stronger, clearer, more reliable signal at home -- which means more users may finally be able to ditch their landline phone service for good. Carriers benefit by being able to offload traffic from their main networks, saving the substantial cost of building more cell towers. How far do they reach? Femtocells have a range of around 5,000 square feet and are intended for use inside a single home or small office. If you leave the building in the middle of a call, the call is handed off to your carrier’s nearest cell tower.

demand is usually highest. The first of those will probably feed off wireless links to the nearest large cell, taking advantage of its fast fibre connection, according to Infonetics. Those wireless links to small cells are likely to use a mix of high-frequency and low-frequency systems depending on the site, says Infonetics analyst Michael Howard. Where macrocells on building roofs don’t have line of sight to small cells that are closer to the street, carriers may have to use sub-6GHz non-line-of-sight technology to get around corners. www.cnmeonline.com

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Insight Mobility

Top 10 Mobile Technologies and Capabilities A few years ago the only cloud game in town was the public cloud, but today private and hybrid clouds have gained prominence.  In fact, private cloud implementations address a prevalent set of challenges and issues that public clouds cannot and can help speed up and smooth the way of cloud adoption.

Organisations wishing to unlock the full potential of mobility must master a wide range of technologies and skills, many of which are unfamiliar to IT staff. Nick Jones, Vice President and Analyst, Gartner, shares the research firm’s top 10 mobile technologies and capabilities that organisations must master in 2015 and 2016.

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1

Multiplatform/Multiarchitecture Application Development Tools Most organisations will need application development tools to support a “3 x 3” future — three key platforms (Android, iOS and Windows) and three application architectures (native, hybrid and mobile Web). Tool selection will be a complex balancing act, trading off many

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technical and nontechnical issues (such as productivity versus vendor stability), and most large organisations will need a portfolio of several tools to deliver to the architectures and platforms they require.

2

HTML5 HTML5 won’t be a simple panacea for mobile application portability because


it is fragmented and immature and therefore poses many implementation and security risks. However, as HTML5 and its development tools mature, the popularity of the mobile Web and hybrid applications will increase. Hence, despite many challenges, HTML5 will be an essential technology for organisations delivering applications across multiple platforms.

3

Advanced mobile user experience design Leading mobile apps are delivering exceptional user experiences, which are achieved by a variety of new techniques and innovative methodologies, such as motivational design, ‘quiet’ design and ‘playful’ interfaces. Designers are also creating apps that can accommodate mobile challenges, such as partial user attention and interruption, or that can exploit technologies with novel features such as augmented reality. Leading consumer apps are setting high standards for user interface design, and all organisations must master new skills and work with new partners to meet growing user expectations.

4

High-precision location sensing Knowing an individual’s location to within a few metres is a key enabler of the delivery of highly relevant contextual information and services. Apps exploiting precise indoor location currently use technologies such as Wi-Fi, imaging, ultrasonic beacons and geomagnetics. In 2014, Gartner expects growth in the use of wireless beacons using the new Bluetooth Smart standard. In the longer term, technologies such as smart lighting will also become important. Precise indoor location sensing, combined with mobile apps, will enable a new generation of extremely personalised services and information.

5

Wearable devices The smartphone will become the hub of a personal-area network consisting of wearable gadgets such as on-body healthcare sensors, smart jewellery, smart watches, display devices (like Google Glass) and a variety of sensors embedded in clothes and shoes. These gadgets will communicate

with mobile apps to deliver information in new ways and enable a wide range of products and services in areas such as sport, fitness, fashion, hobbies and healthcare.

6

New Wi-Fi standards Emerging Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11ac (Waves 1 and 2), 11ad, 11aq and 11ah will increase Wi-Fi performance, make Wi-Fi more relevant to applications such as telemetry, and enable Wi-Fi to provide new services. Over the next three years, demands on Wi-Fi infrastructure will increase as more Wi-Fi-enabled devices appear in organisations, as cellular offloading becomes more popular, and as applications such as location sensing demand denser access-point placement. The opportunities enabled by new standards and the performance required by new applications will require many organisations to revise or replace their Wi-Fi infrastructure.

7

Enterprise mobile management “Enterprise mobile management” or “EMM” is a term that describes the future evolution and convergence of several mobile management, security and support technologies. These include mobile device management, mobile application management, application wrapping and containerisation, and some elements of enterprise file synchronisation and sharing. Such tools will mature, grow in scope and eventually address a wide range of mobile management needs across all popular OSs on smartphones, tablets and PCs.

8

Mobile-connected smart objects By 2020, the average affluent household in a mature market will contain several hundred smart objects, including LED light bulbs, toys, domestic appliances, sports equipment, medical devices and controllable power sockets, to name but a few. These domestic smart objects will be a part of the Internet of Things, and most will be able to communicate in some way with an app on a smartphone or tablet. Smartphones and tablets will perform many functions, including acting as remote controls, displaying and analysing information,

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Nick Jones, Vice President and Analyst, Gartner interfacing with social networks to monitor “things” that can tweet or post, paying for subscription services, ordering replacement consumables and updating object firmware.

9

LTE and LTE-A Long Term Evolution (LTE) and its successor LTE Advanced (LTE-A) are cellular technologies that improve spectral efficiency and will push cellular networks to theoretical peak downlink speeds of up to 1 Gbps, while reducing latency. All mobile users will benefit from improved bandwidth, and superior performance combined with new features such as LTE Broadcast will enable network operators to offer new services.

10

Metrics and Monitoring Tools The diversity of mobile devices makes comprehensive app testing impossible, and the nondeterministic nature of mobile networks and the cloud services that support them can result in performance bottlenecks that are hard to locate. Mobile metrics and monitoring tools, often known as application performance monitoring (APM), can help. APM provides visibility into app behaviour, delivers statistics about which devices and OSs are adopted, and monitors user behaviour to determine which app features are being successfully exploited. april 2014

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Face to face Ray O’Farrell

Ray O’Farrell, Head of R&D, VMWare

VMware’s cloud R&D chief talks hybrid cloud VMware’s VCloud Hybrid Service, when launched in May last year, was considered to be a game-changer for the company. Ray O’Farrell, Head of R&D, VMWare speaks about why hybrid is the future and how VMware is going to play its cards in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service space. 86

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Mware is showing more interest in the hybrid cloud scene. Why and how will you effectively address this, especially since VMware is known as the private cloud leader? Obviously VMware’s history is around infrastructure virtualisation. As we start looking at the public cloud, we believe that the key strength is to move between the private and the public cloud and back and forth. Lines of businesses are going to look for flexibility, speed and a lot of selfprovisioning these days. The IT organisation needs to provide them an ‘IT as a service’ model. The challenge is that IT organisation needs to be able to present that across the private and public data centres to give that same sense of management and flexibility. If the IT organisation does not do that, the lines of business will end up creating a ‘shadow IT’ and that leaves the IT organisations out of control in terms of what’s being spent, where the data is going and so on. Hybrid cloud thus starts to make a lot of sense. The big change you are seeing from VMware over the last year or so has been the entrance into the public cloud through vCHS. Even before that for many years, VMware has had a program called VSPP, where we work with lots of partners, hosting providers, cloud providers and they run VMware technology in the background. And in fact, that model is still very much part of our vision even though we have our own public cloud story. So, the goal is to bridge those two. So when somebody wants to burst out of their existing VMware environment to a hybrid model, will VMware build that outside compute capacity? How exactly does it work? If you go back and look at some of our demos, presentations and real-life examples that have been done at the last VMworld, we can demonstrate models where you can take virtual machines running at a private data centre and you can move them to a public cloud data centre, provided the public cloud offering has a VMware base. You can move the data back and forth between them.

The big challenge when you do that is networking - how do you connect the pieces together? When it’s in the private data centre, you’ve got IP configurations and so on which might be quite different than that of the public data centre. So you can define that just like you define policies in applications. When you move the application, you move the networking infrastructure as well. The key there is networking, connectivity and the ability to take that same virtual machine and run it in a public or private cloud environment.

What if the customer wants to move to a public cloud that does not have a VMware base? Managing different clouds is a tricky job. If you have a completely different management systems for your VMs and your workloads for the public and the private cloud - it leads to inefficiency; charge-backs are difficult; its curbs some of the agility because whatever you processed now need to be duplicated. So even for non-VMware technology, let’s say you are using a hypervisor from one provider and a public cloud from somebody else - some of our products like our vCloud automation centre product, it actually allows you to manage clouds which are not VMware clouds - so at least you can get a consistent management across the top. When you combine the private cloud with a VMware-based public cloud, you will get an enhanced version of that. Now you get to do things like migrate VMs between those two clouds. From our point of view, it’s all about the customer’s choice. If the customer uses all VMware technologies, we can maximally work with them and optimise what they are doing. But if they are not using VMware technology, we will still deliver management capabilities across those technologies and across clouds (VMware or not). And that’s particularly true when it comes to networking. We have got a lot of focus on virtualised networking that can work across multiple clouds and not confined to VMware hypervisors or clouds. That’s interesting because VMware is known as a proprietary vendor, which is quite ‘closed’ in its approach. I do hear that, but in www.cnmeonline.com

reality if you go back even a few years ago, products like Cloud Foundry and SpringSource were part of VMware. These are major open source technologies. Cloud Foundry is a very heavily used Platform-as-a-Service. VMware had a lot of engineers focused on this and on delivering technologies in to those open-source communities. Now, we did a reorganisation a few months back and took a lot of those technologies and they became part of a new organisation called Pivotal. So VMware is not as closed as people seem to think.

If a customer is currently using a private cloud on a VMware stack and he wants to use a public cloud offering on OpenStack or a Hyper-V, what level of interoperability is possible using VMware technologies? There are different degrees of interoperability. Each of the various cloud vendors have different APIs, different ways of provisioning VMs in to their environment and where it really starts to get different are the resources and capabilities of the cloud platforms in terms of accessing storage or networking. So there are a lot of differences between them. Since both the VMware public and the hybrid clouds are based on the same underlying technologies as vSphere, there are a lot of common APIs and the ability to manage across them. Some of your competitors think that vCHS is just an old product that’s been repackaged. Your thoughts? Old products are not necessarily bad! What I meant by that is the key component to any cloud model or most of the cloud models is virtualisation. And we are the experts in virtualisation. How VMs are getting to act with each other from a networking point of view, how the underlying technology is focused on isolating one VM from the other - all this becomes much more important on a public cloud. So yes, to summarise, all of that technology is old; but the management, provisioning, self-service technologies and other things are, for the most part, all “new” products. But I can proudly say that the underlying core virtualisation is the tried and tested technology that enterprises always wanted.  april 2014

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Insight Analytics

Game, set, match It is not often in the world of technology that one pays attention to sport. However, the amount of tech being utilised today to track statistics, player health and even game movement has got even the least sport-minded techies sitting up with pricked ears. 88

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enni Lewis, Solutions Architect, Global Marketing, SAP, is connecting the world of sport with the world of technology by bringing SAP’s robust analytics tools to pitches, courts and fields worldwide. Leveraging SAP’s HANA data analytical tool, SAP enables data to become more meaningful to players, coaches, media and fans, she says. SAP’s relationship with sport began with tracking and analysing current and


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historical data for sailors and sailing enthusiasts. Now, the HANA analytics tool is being used to track American football and tennis among other fan favourites. While she was in Dubai, Lewis took a moment between matches at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships held at Dubai’s Aviation Club Tennis Centre to explain how SAP is supporting institutions like the Women’s Tennis Association and where they plan to go with sport in the future. Currently, SAP is the Global Partner of the Woman’s Tennis Association and Official Partner of the WTA Championships. SAP has been working with the WTA for the last two years to determine the best ways to interpret data created during tennis matches in a way that gives a clear story to players, coaches and fans. “This is really about collaboration,” says Lewis, “I worked with players and coaches to determine what they needed. Rather than giving them a bunch of data to try and understand on their own, we needed to make sure that they were on this journey with us.” SAP set out on a journey with the WTA to see not only what data could be collected, but what data should be collected. Lewis worked directly with the coaches and players, engaging them in the process of implementing the tools to track each match. In this way SAP was able to determine what data would be useful without providing data that might give an unfair advantage to any one team or player. So what has SAP been tracking with the WTA? The technology enterprise has been working with women’s tennis for the last two years, mining data from the past, and collecting new data in real-time at matches all over the world. Their technology captures

“I worked with players and coaches to determine what they needed. Rather than giving them a bunch of data to try and understand on their own, we needed to make sure that they were on this journey with us.” serves, ball direction and even the movement of the players on the court. They have data on matches from 2010 onward and at the end of 2014 they will reassess to determine if they need to capture data from more tournaments. With the data that the analytics tool is collecting, coaches receive post-match point-by-point analysis. This allows coaches to drill down and focus in on nuanced aspects of game play. Coaches can access the data analysed by HANA on the spot, and SAP resources are available to help interpret and clarify data. “The fact is that the data doesn’t lie,” says Lewis, “the eye can misinterpret what is happening in a match, but the truth comes out in the data we produce with HANA.” With all this data being produced, giving one player an unfair advantage is of utmost concern for Lewis and SAP. “We make sure that all the information we are releasing is available to both sides, we have to remain transparent.” Further, although the data during a match could be shared in real time from a technological standpoint, SAP and the WTA have opted to provide the data with a 20 second delay. SAP works closely with regulatory agencies to ensure that they stay well

“We aren’t just providing statistics, we also provide a cloud-based ticketing solution that can personalise the experience for each fan.”

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within the rules of the game, that they do not compromise the sport, and that the data they produce is not used for illegal activities like unregulated gambling. Beyond simply providing statistics to coaches and players, SAP is also taking on the media, and of course, the fans. SAP is striving to bring fans closer to the game by providing detailed statistics on matches and players both online and through their mobile app. In addition, SAP wants to provide fans with a complete sport experience. “We aren’t just providing statistics, we also provide a cloud-based ticketing solution that can personalise the experience for each fan,” says Lewis. From a media standpoint, SAP is able to provide all data to media outlets to allow them to slice and dice the information as they deem necessary. They also provide visualisations such as heat maps that truly illustrate what has happened in a match. “We wanted the story of women’s tennis to be told completely and in a positive way,” says Lewis, “Women’s tennis tends to be about the entire game, not just smashing serves. The best way to see that is through the data and visualisations we provide.” Ultimately, SAP hopes to change the way that we consume sport and sport statistics. By utilising their HANA technology to provide and interpret sport data and statistics, they are bringing a new experience and information to players, coaches, media and fans. If their success with the WTA is a glimpse into SAP’s future with sport, the marriage of technology and sport need not be uneasy.


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Launches and releases

PRODUCT WATCH A breakdown of the top products and solutions to be launched and released in the last month.

PRODUCT OF THE MONTH

Product of the Month: Galaxy S5 Vendor: Samsung What it does: Galaxy fans around the world have been waiting for this moment, and this year in Barcelona, Samsung finally delivered. The Galaxy S5 is the latest highly anticipated incantation of the Galaxy S series. Indeed as with many of this year’s new releases, the S5 has shifted its focus slightly to create a seamless social media and sharing experience for the user. The Galaxy S5 boasts a camera that focuses in 0.3 seconds, High Dynamic Range capability and a selective focus feature. In addition the phone supports the fifth generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac and 2X2 MIMO, as well as LTE category 4 frequency, leaving no room to question that Samsung is focusing on speedy snap sharing. What you should know: In spite of the ruckus, the upgrades to the S5 are fairly understated. They have not reinvented the mobile experience, they have just made it a bit sharper. “With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is going back to basics to focus on delivering the capabilities that matter most to our consumers,” said JK Shin, President and Head of IT & Mobile Communications, Samsung. “Consumers are looking for mobile tools that inspire and support them as they improve their everyday lives. The Galaxy S5 represents an iconic design with essential and useful features to focus on delivering the ultimate smartphone on the market today through people-inspired innovation.” 

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Product: Vibe Z Vendor: Lenovo

Product: HTC One (M8) Vendor: HTC

What it does: In January Lenovo released its first LTE smartphone, the Vibe Z. It’s razor thin, and svelt. With a mere 7.9mm body weighing just 147 grams it is a wonder that the Vibe Z can manage to hold a 5.5 inch full high-definition touch screen display. The front-facing camera is 5MP and its opposite is a whopping 13MP complete with f1.8 aperture lens and dual LED flash - which does make one question the somewhat small 16GB storage space.  The Vibe Z runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip and 2GB of RAM.

What it does: HTC has come out with another solid smartphone offering as a follow-up to last year’s original HTC One. The latest version just has more – more of everything. The screen is larger than its predecessor, sitting at a full 5 inches, it’s only a fraction larger than the previous incantation, but it is noticeable. Powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 the M8 is also has a faster, smoother user experience than its older brother. The camera received an upgrade as well with a dedicated depth censor that HTC is calling the “Duo camera.” Finally, the M8 has more battery power than the M7 with a 2600mAh battery resulting in a significantly longer battery life.

What you should know: Though the Vibe Z is running on Android, Lenovo has skinned it with their own software. This can make the user experience seem a little bit cumbersome at times. Though the phonecum-phablet may seem too big for one hand at times, Lenovo has built in a few tweaks to smooth out the experience. The bottom line is that this is Lenovo’s flagship phone, and they knew it had to be as close to perfect as possible. Though they may have missed the mark with the storage space, Lenovo’s new series of phones will be strong contenders in the smartphone battle.

Product: The Core Vendor: Sony What it does: The Sony Core doesn’t do everything, but it certainly comes close to. Moving beyond simply a fitness band, the Core tracks the wearers sleep patterns, movement, fitness, and pushes media and call notifications. But that isn’t all. What sets it apart from a FitBit or Pebble is the Lifelog app. The Core comes with the app which also tracks what songs the user listened to, how many minutes of video was watched, the ambient weather and supposedly even what mood the wearer is in.

What you should know: The new HTC One is arguably the best Android phone on the market. The metal casing makes for a sleek design that is comparable to – but not a copycat of – the iPhone. The customised Sense 6.0 operating system actually improves the user experience of the phone, which is more than can be said for many thirdparty Android customisations on the market. There have been some serious upgrades since last year and the response has been enormous.

What you should know: The Core is just the brain centre of what will be Sony’s new wearable tech. It’s a tiny, white rectangle with no display that fits into the wrist band. Though currently only the smartband is available, Sony plans to have an array of accessories that can be paired with the Core. Though it’s predecessor, the Sony SmartWatch, had a lukewarm run at best, this second incantation of Sony’s wearable tech shows real promise.

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Column The word on the street

James Dartnell

Symantec hotseat far from secure

I

CNME’s man about town gives his spin on the latest IT news and trends. 94

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t seems sadly ironic that the role of Symantec CEO is enshrouded in insecurity. The antivirus and security software vendor this week sacked Steve Bennett, and was the second time they have fired a CEO in less than two years, following their decision to oust Enrique Salem in 2012. Both decisions seemed slightly sporadic, with the company experiencing transitions-of-sorts. Symantec has struggled to revive growth amid eroding PC sales, and it seems likely that interim CEO Michael Brown won’t get much time to stake his claim for a turnaround. Symantec has been going through a structural reorganisation that includes cutting executive and middle-management jobs, splitting its sales force to create specialist personnel for each product, and focusing on its most promising products. Symantec reported a five percent decline for Q3, and has said it is committed to reaching its target of more than five percent organic growth and more than than 30 percent adjusted operating margin by fiscal 2017, but is this realistic? With the ongoing decline in the PC and storage business,

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Symantec, like other vendors, will have to look elsewhere for sources of revenue. The company has been losing market share to more agile network security software vendors, such as Palo Alto Networks and FireEye. “It’s a jaw-dropping move, especially because Bennett was key to the company’s turnaround. I view this as a major step back,” Daniel Ives, Analyst, FBR Capital Markets, said. Symantec Chairman Dan Schulman was keen to frame the decision to remove Bennett as a long-term one, “This considered decision was the result of an ongoing deliberative process, and not precipitated by any event or impropriety,” he said. A special committee of the board will immediately begin a search for a permanent CEO with the help of an executive search firm, the company said. At board level, stability is key, and there is always the risk that Symantec could be taking two steps back via Bennett’s removal. If the board has a clear long term plan for reviving Symantec’s fortunes, then a fresh start could be exactly what the company needs. If Bennett has been made a scapegoat, then the perpetual uncertainty generated by the company’s hierarchy could spell decline. Bennett was due to deliver a keynote at Dubai’s m-Government conference on 24th March, but he was relieved of his duties the day before. On the week of his sacking, the California-based company’s shares closed at $20.90 on the Nasdaq. Meanwhile, Bennett left safe in the knowledge that he will receive an $18.6 million payoff.


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Computer News Middle East April 2014  

CIO news, Middle East news, Computer news, newest technology, News Analysis, Windows 8 update, Cloud services dubai, mobile network applicat...

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