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How to rev up your sluggish apps unified communications contact centre | VIRTUAL cloud DeSktoP virtUaLiSation | |hoSPitaLity | Storage | oPen networking SoUrce | Data| centre
ISSUE 143 | FEBRUARY 2011
contents COMMENT 04 Speed up that WAN NEWS UPDATE 06 Huawei eyes regional enterprise market 07 UAE University rolls out a new network 10 Networking to become cheaper 12 Citrix expands Middle East presence IN ACTION 16 Bahrain is building a knowledge economy as
it looks to increase its global competitiveness
FEATURE 24 What desktop virtualisation really means 28 Served up hot- Hospitality industry focus 32 Trends shaping networks
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
COVER STORY Blazing bytes How to rev up your sluggish applications
NEW PRODUCTS 40 A guide to some of the new products
in the market
LAYER 8 42 All the news thatâ€™s fit for nothing
Quick Finder Page 6-22 Huawei, Arc Solutions, Cisco, Brocade, UAE University, Injazat Data Systems, Avaya, NetApp, Akorri, IDC, EMC, du, Citrix, eHosting DataFort, Riverbed, F5 Networks
Page 23-44 Citrix, Avaya, Cisco, Dimension Data, Wyse, Fujitsu, Google, Red Hat, Motorola, SanDisk, Western Digital
EDITORIAL Publisher Dominic De Sousa COO Nadeem Hood
Speed up that WAN
Commercial Director Richard Judd firstname.lastname@example.org +971 4 440 9126
IT managers in the region are often inclined to throw bandwidth at their network performance issues. Most of them are caught in the vicious web of leased lines and costly WAN charges, and thanks to their propensity to add more, bandwidth today represents a significant chunk of operational costs for organisation. Now, with CFOs going through everything with a fine-toothed comb, IT managers are being forced to crack their network performance issues without buying more bandwidth. As more and more businesses looking to carry out business at wire speed, it is an imperative for the IT organisations to keep pace and make sure that their systems move those mission-critical apps at blazing speeds across the wide area network. This is where WAN optimisation steps in, which is garnering a great deal of attention lately. As employees become more mobile and distributed, the choice is either to increase bandwidth to your remote-sites, which can cost you an arm and leg, or clamp down on traffic on those lines without reducing their efficiency. That can be quite tricky unless you have WAN optimisation tools at your disposal. There is a caveat though. To understand what type of optimisation is needed, IT managers need to have completely visibly to the network and application traffic, which is sorely lacking in most organisations in the Middle East. Whenever users complain about things being slow, the network usually has nothing to do with it. This is why it is important for network folks to have tools to snoop in and find out exactly where the problems reside. Otherwise, you are left groping in the dark for the solution. Before you get on the WAN optimisation bandwagon, make sure you analyse your network traffic first to figure out what WAN performance each type of traffic requires. It would be a good idea to minimise encrypted traffic because it cannot be optimised as well as unencrypted traffic. And finally, do yourself a favour- check out vendor best-case performance claims in your environment before you take the plunge.
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bits Huawei eyes regional enterprise market The Chinese telecom giant has launched a Middle East regional
environment. Huawei Enterprise Solutions will also enterprise business focus on delivering unit to provide tailored end-to-end ICT end-to-end enterprise solutions to the solutions to the region’s energy and power vertical sectors. This sector, transportation was announced at the (aviation and rail), oil Huawei Enterprise and gas, and SMART Solutions Road Show, cities industries, which was held in amongst others. Dubai. The event Dongwu, GM, Dongwu, GM, Middle East for Huawei Enterprise focused on enterprise Middle East for based solutions for government and Huawei Enterprise, said, “We have semi-government agencies, that deliver already built a successful enterprise a variety of e-city focused programs for business in China and now we are looking healthcare, education, civil facilities and to replicate that in the rest of the world. other key environments for an eCity We are dedicated to providing enterprises
RAK Free Trade Zone bolsters communications delivery Arc Solutions has been selected by Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ), one
of the fastest-growing free trade zones in the UAE, to deliver advanced call handing and to improve communication across the organisation. The Arc solution, based on the Arc Premium unified communications suite, is aiding RAK FTZ to boost customer service levels and improve efficiencies in call handling.
billion 6 Network World Middle East February 2011
RAK FTZ is home to some 4,000+ active companies from 106 countries around the world. The organisation employs 350 staff, operates business centres in four locations in the UAE and has an expanding international presence, with liaison offices in Germany, Turkey, India and the USA. RAK FTZ has also created a unique, customer centric four-park system comprised of its Business Park, Industrial Park, Technology Park and Academy Zone, each of which offers access to cutting-edge technology. The Arc Solutions unified communications solution was chosen by RAK FTZ to
with the same level of customised end-to-end solutions which we have delivered to the telecom providers. As a technology-driven company, we have the right level of innovation and expertise to offer discerning CIOs a high level of ROI (return on investment) from their technology investments.” Huawei Enterprise’s Road Show Truck is touring the Middle East from January to October this year visiting UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The Huawei Enterprise demo truck showcases enterprise technology demonstrations and solutions that are applicable to the intelligent city. “The Enterprise Solutions Road Show is being used as a common platform to understand the key requirements and associated challenges in constructing an intelligent city. In parallel, Huawei will present our solutions and share our global experience with end users in an interactive environment,” commented Dongwu on the Enterprise Tour.
unite the organisation with a robust and advanced suite of applications that improve productivity and call handling services. The Arc Solutions suite of applications has been deployed throughout the RAK FTZ to strengthen the organisation’s communications delivery. The Arc Premium operator consoles increase call handling efficiency and productivity in the operator centre. Arc Call Connect is used to improve service levels and the effectiveness of contact centre agents, and the management tools of Arc Supervisor and Arc Wallboard deliver key performance metrics to supervisors and managers.
Devices will be connected to mobile networks by 2012. There will also be 1.5 billion machine-to-machine nodes -- nearly the equivalent of one mobile connection for every person in the world. Mobile video is forecast to represent 66 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2015, increasing 35-fold from 2010 to 2015. Mobile traffic originating from tablet devices is expected to grow 205-fold from 2010 to 2015. Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index
bits UAE University rolls out a new network
United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), based in Al Ain, has deployed switches and routers from Brocade at the core of a new campus network. This network is specifically designed to enhance academic and research functions and to manage growing data volumes that have tripled in the last 12 months. Designed and built to support UAEU’s current and upcoming needs for High Definition (HD) Internet Protocol television (IPTV), voice, video and data with realtime intelligent infrastructure management, content delivery via virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), IPv6, Telepresencebased Video Conferencing, remote high definition virtual classes over IP, HD video and lecture capture, cloud based content delivery in each classroom and on-demand helpdesk, the new network will provide a robust delivery platform for UAEU’s
Injazat strikes Cisco Gold Injazat Data Systems has received Gold Certification from Cisco. Injazat earned
the recognition by meeting the rigorous standards for networking competency, service, support and customer satisfaction established by Cisco. As a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, Injazat has proven its exceptional proficiency in the four advanced Cisco specializations of Unified
classrooms, labs, library, lecture rooms and other spaces to provide an integrated and high performance ICT architecture. At the heart of the new 120-hectare campus is the UAEU data centre, housed at the Faculty of Information Technology (FIT) building that was designed jointly by UAEU’s IT Services Group and Visionaire, the appointed design and build systems integrator. The FIT building hosts over 20 of the world’s most advanced IT laboratories, which includes an 8.3-teraflop super grid computer that is the fastest in the region. The laboratories also include the latest interactive humanoid technology, enabling students to perform experiments in speech recognition, vision and motion capture. Six laboratories dedicated to IT security provide the students hands-on experience in security systems ranging from intrusion detection to biometrics. A further five laboratories dedicated to the field of networking provide the students an opportunity to learn about wireless networks, VOIP and other exciting new concepts in networking. UAEU also chose to brand its network access with relevant names aligned to specific functions: SpaceNET, a robust network designed and built for research, SkyNET for the wireless network and EarthNET, which
brings together all the IT services, including education and learning IT services leveraging collaboration capabilities available through VoIP and IPTV. EarthNET consists of two Brocade MLX-32 routers with more than 130 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) downlinks. SpaceNET also consists of two Brocade MLX-32 core routers with more than 64 10 GbE downlinks to research buildings and 80 robust two-tier links to the labs, which are terminated on Brocade TurboIron® switches to provide high-performance access for research applications and connectivity to Internet 2 (Ankabut). Following a fully routed design from Access to Core to offer high performance, non-blocking links each distribution room hosts a redundant, resilient pair of Brocade FastIron SX 1600 aggregation switches with a capacity to support 33 10 GbE uplinks and downlinks. There are 430 Brocade FastIron CX access switches, which support Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+), deployed in the wiring rooms. Nick Choban, CIO of UAEU, was delighted with the results: “[Of the network going live] This was a day that will stay with me for the rest of my life. An interesting fact, Internet bandwidth utilization has nearly tripled in the past year, and thanks to a great design and implementation, I can sleep well tonight. The unanimous consensus around the new campus today was that a great achievement was accomplished”
Communications, Routing and Switching, Security, and Wireless LAN and its overall expertise across multiple technologies. The certification provides Injazat with access to Cisco’s comprehensive sales, technical and lifecycle services training and support. Injazat has integrated Cisco Lifecycle Services into its offerings and is required to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. The Cisco Resale Channel Program provides partners with the training required to build sales, technical and
Cisco Lifecycle Services skills, and then validates their skills through a third-party audit. Cisco resale partner certifications—Gold, Silver, Premier and Select—represent an increasing breadth of skills across key technologies and a partner’s ability to deliver integrated networking solutions. Cisco resale partner specializations—Master, Advanced and Express—reflect an increasing depth of sales, technical and service expertise in particular technologies. February 2011 Network World Middle East 7
bits Enhanced response
Nidal Abou-Ltaif, Vice President - Emerging Markets, Avaya; Major General Rashid Al Matrooshi - Director of General Department, Dubai Civil Defense
Avaya is to implement a collaboration solution for Dubai Civil Defense (DCD)
based on its Avaya Flare Experience, a family of next-gen, real-time enterprise video communications and collaboration products and services. The company is hailing the solution as a first amongst emergency services and armed forces across the region and has customised the solution to meet DCD’s specific requirements. Due to go live by Q2, the plan is to deploy Avaya Flare desktop devices at its DCD’s HQ and its 15 centres across the Emirates. Put simply, the solution will allow voice, video and data sharing, allowing senior management to collaborate in the event of
an emergency. With access to DCD’s central database, it can also be used to communicate with 3G smartphones via a VPN, allowing real-time reporting from on-the-spot officers. According to Major General Rashid Al Matrooshi, Director of the General Department of DCD, “It will save time and costs, by allowing us to collaborate. Face-toface interaction will enhance control in crisis situations and eliminate unnecessary travel between centres for briefings and other updates. This is a strategic move for us.” DCD has been an Avaya customer for more than two years, explains Nidal Abou-Ltaif, VP - Emerging Markets, Avaya. “The true value of the Avaya Flare Experience is a breakthrough collaboration experience which will dramatically expand communications capabilities in times of crisis as well as enabling better and more cost-effective day-to-day communications.” As well as seamlessly integrating with DCD’s existing Avaya emergency response systems, the Avaya Flare Experience also integrates with social media, calendars and e-mail from a single user interface on a multi-touch device.
Cisco to set shop in SmartCity Malta Cisco will be setting up its Maltese
operation at SmartCity Malta, which is set to be the regional leader of the knowledge economy in the Mediterranean. As part of the strategic collaboration pact, SmartCity Malta has also selected Cisco’s Borderless Network Architecture. Cisco’s Borderless Network Architecture will create a robust, secure and flexible networking environment, to meet the demand of the world’s digital operations. SmartCity Malta has also implemented a comprehensive Cisco Collaboration solution, designed to provide the most advanced
8 Network World Middle East February 2011
communication experience with rich, reliable and effective voice interactions. Using Cisco’s open architectural approach, SmartCity Malta blended switching and security solutions to create a highly secure, dynamic foundation, which will serve as a basis for the current and evolving business requirements of a sustainable township that caters for a global, mobile, knowledge-based workforce. On this borderless network, SmartCity Malta has used Cisco’s Unified Communications products and services, to develop a fully-integrated, intelligent collaboration solution.
NetApp to acquire Akorri Networks
Storage company NetApp has entered into an agreement to acquire privately
held Akorri Networks, which specializes in optimising server, storage and application performance. Akorri’s products will be used to extend the functionality in NetApp’s OnCommand management software portfolio. Akorri’s BalancePoint platform allows IT administrators to troubleshoot, optimize, plan and manage service levels across both physical and virtual environments. Being able to handle both virtualised and physical systems at the same time is becoming more important for IT departments. Companies are moving more of their application to virtualized servers, but a majority will in the foreseeable future still have applications running physical servers. BalancePoint works with a plethora of OSes, storage systems and enterprise applications. The platform is also compatible with storage switches from Brocade and Cisco Systems as well as virtualization products from Microsoft and VMware. Akorri was founded in 2005 and is based in Littleton, Massachusetts. The company’s list of customers include Crocs, Time Warner Telecom and eBay, according to its website.
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bits Networking to become cheaper in 2011: IDC Analysts across the board agree that 2011 will be the year when LTE, WiMAX and simpler flat network architectures will define networking in the enterprise. IDC analyst Jamie Jin said virtualisation will be a major trend across the sector, with the cost of networking for IT managers decreasing as a result. “To address the challenges created by a virtualised server environment, network equipment vendors are introducing a simpler, flatter network architecture, which features virtual switches, unified fabric and virtual networking service appliances,” Jin said. “As the new technologies bring operation efficiency and add flexibility and thus reduce operation costs I believe it will continue to be attractive for large enterprise and service providers in this year.” Gartner’s principal research analyst, Bjarne Munch, said while the cost of
networking may well be reduced this year, 2011 will still be a challenge for IT managers when it comes to networking. “The future of enterprise networking is not going to be any easier than the past,” Munch said. “New technologies, such as LTE and WiMAX, and new products, such as the iPad, are emerging, but that’s the easy part of the story. The complication that we are now experiencing is the convergence of technology domains that used to be separate as well as associated organisational domains that used to be separate.” Ovum’s senior analyst, Nicole McCormick, said the use of LTE will define 2011, with the battle against WiMAX crowing a distinct winner in 2010. “LTE has emerged as the clear technology winner over WiMAX in terms of number of deployments,” she said.
Tablets to put pressure on networks The growing popularity of tablet PCs in the enterprise is producing a noticeable
increase in wireless networking adoption, according to analysts. Ovum’s Tim Renowden and Nicole McCormick have noted the increased usage of iPads and other tablet devices is putting pressure on IT managers to look at deploying technologies which provide faster wireless networking speeds. “I think it’s fair to say that increasing use of PCs and data-hungry tablets on wireless networks will cause a massive boost in network traffic, driving investment in next-generation wireless access technologies like HSPA+ and LTE,” Renowden said. McCormick said pressure to increase
10 Network World Middle East February 2011
data flow rates would ultimately fall on IT managers. “Employee demand for tablets will make life more difficult for some IT managers,” she said. “For example, let’s say an employee adds a tablet to its laptop for work purposes. Managing this scenario will be more difficult for an IT manager especially if all files are stored on these device’s local hard drives. In turn, this will likely push IT managers to establishing some sort of centralized content management system, such as an internal data base or outside Cloud site.” Renowden agreed, stating the popularity of tablets would force the issue of mobile device management on IT managers.
EMC guns for small business storage Storage giant EMC has made its first move into the SMB market, with the release
of entry-level storage systems to compete with long-time rival NetApp. The family of VNXe - or VNX “entry” - models are capable of handling up to 120 drives or 240 terabytes of total storage with a SAS backplane capable of 6 gigabits per second (Gbps). The cheapest of the two models is expected to retail at under $10,000, a price tag the company claims is the cheapest on the market. The first version of the product will be Ethernet-only, relegating higher bandwidth fibre-channel interfaces to the simultaneously launched, higher-end VNX family of infrastructure models, which supercede both EMC’s CLARiiON and Celerra models. However, unified storage division president, Rich Napolitano, hinted that fibre-channel modules might ultimately become available to VNXe products in coming months. EMC hopes the use of app-based storage provisioning will encourage users to adopt the new infrastructure systems.
“Provisioning and managing tablets is a similar process to managing a fleet of smartphones -- one major issue is the complexity that arises when employees demand their own preferred model.” Gartner’s principal research analyst, Bjarne Munch, said the increased demand for wireless networks would result in IT managers taking a second look at their security measures. “New devices, such as the iPad, are being pushed into the enterprise placing pressure on especially security solutions which must be deployed on these new devices,” Munch said.
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bits bits Citrix expands Middle East presence Citrix Systems has unveiled plans to significantly grow its Middle East presence with three new offices in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman. Citrix’s Saudi Arabian office, located in Riyadh, has become operational on January 1, 2011, followed by offices opening in Doha, Qatar, and Muscat, Oman, throughout the year. Middle East and North African (MENA) operations will continue to be led from the regional head office in Dubai, UAE. The network expansion reinforces Citrix’s commitment to better serve the region’s enterprise and government customers, as well as extends support to its channel partner community throughout the Middle East.
Milos Hrncar, Area Vice President of Eastern EMEA region at Citrix Systems said, “Technology is underpinning the Middle East’s dynamic economic growth and this is an incredibly exciting time for the region. Companies across all sectors are beginning to realizing the benefits of virtualization and cloud computing, and we recognize the need to have a network of local bases to operate most effectively. Starting 2011 with our new office in Riyadh reinforces Citrix’s optimism for the year ahead and our commitment to supporting customers and partners throughout the region.” The Middle East expansion strategy will be led by Nehme Mouchantaf, Citrix Regional Director for KSA, Qatar and Oman. Nehme Mouchantaf previously headed the Networking and Solutions Department at Mindware, the largest IT Distributor of Citrix Systems in the region.
EMC names new GM for Saudi EMC has appointed Mohamed Talaa as GM of the company’s Saudi
operations. Based in Riyadh, Talaat will be responsible for driving the overall strategic development of EMC business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and will focus on continuing the growth of EMC operations, strengthening strategic customer and channel partner relationships in the Kingdom, as well as managing the entire business of EMC Saudi towards success. Talaat brings to EMC more than 19 years of collective experience in enterprise IT solutions and business management where he has held a number of senior positions in the region. “Talaat brings extensive experience in the IT Market and understands the Kingdom’s market very well. With his experience and leadership, I am confident that he will execute the 12 Network World Middle East February 2011
right vision and strategy for EMC’s business in Saudi Arabia and help bring our customers’ satisfaction to higher levels while broadening our relationships with local channel partners,” said Mohammed Amin, Vice President & General Manager of EMC Turkey, Middle East and Africa. “The
Du enters FMC world du, the UAE’s integrated telecom service provider, has converged its fixed and mobile
IP transport networks using the Cisco CRS Carrier Routing System. This will enable FMC (Fixed Mobile Convergence) on du’s network to meet the demand for highend broadband services and makes the company unique in its ability to rapidly deploy new high-bandwidth mobile applications and data packages. Cisco and du have collaborated previously to develop a portfolio of data and mobility services in the UAE. This new phase of network development will allow du to improve the speed, flexibility and scalability of mobilebased services to its customers. This is one of the first regional FMC projects where all the fixed and mobile services run on the same IP network with mobile (signaling and bearer), mobile data, residential internet, business internet, residential voice, enterprise voice, international voice, layer 2 VPNs, layer 3 VPNs and video running on a single IP/MPLS core powered by Cisco. This collaboration between Cisco and du also paves the way for future mobile applications and services to du’s customers in the UAE. By consolidating cores, du is able to offer its customers in the UAE a more scalable platform to deliver future services at a higher quality. The reduction in core equipment and moving to latest technology also reduces du’s energy consumption and reduce carbon footprint.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a strategic market for EMC and we are very much committed to all our customers in the region”. Prior to joining EMC, Talaat worked with Microsoft Saudi as a Director, Enterprise and Partner Group, for four years where he, while managing the Enterprise Sales Division, developed effective customers and partners oriented strategies to enhance loyalty and the overall customer and partner satisfaction. www.networkworldme.com
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Cloud users do it better Mid-sized businesses that used cloudbased disaster recovery were back up and running four times faster than non-cloud businesses. That's according to research from the Aberdeen Group which examined the fortunes of SMEs with disaster recovery. Not only did those companies with cloudbased disaster recovery programmes fare better but they met their recovery time objectives (RTOs) more often than companies using in-premise methods and also saw year-on-year improvements in the time need to recover from downtime, said the Aberdeen Group.
Cisco sees 26-fold hike in mobile data traffic
No more IPv4 addresses The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigned two of the remaining blocks of IPv4 addresses - each containing 16.7 million addresses - to the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) last month, as predicted. This action sparks an immediate distribution of the remaining five blocks of IPv4 address space, with one block going to each of the five Regional Internet Registries (RIR).Once the registries hand out all of the IPv4 addresses, network operators must either deploy complex, expensive network address translation technologies to share IPv4 addresses among multiple users or adopt the next-generation of the Internet Protocol called IPv6.
Social media apps top security threats Popularity has its price. Facebook may be the most popular social networking site with more half a million of "active users". But it also tops the list of the "worst applications" for any corporate network, according to research executives at WatchGuard. The company recently released its list of the most risky web applications and social media applications top the list. Among these social media applications, Facebook is on top of the list, followed by Twitter, the second most popular social networking site. Others in the list are also the top favorites among social network users--YouTube and LinkedIn, the professional networking site.
14 Network World Middle East February 2011
Words like “staggering” and “huge” don’t adequately describe Cisco’s
projected growth of mobile data traffic through 2015. The networking firm has released a forecast that shows a 26-fold increase in mobile data traffic from 2010 to 2015. The projection is equal to an annual growth rate of 75 exabytes through 2015. That is equal to 19 billion DVDs or 536 quadrillion SMS texts, or 75 times all the Internet Protocol traffic created in the year 2000. Video over mobile devices will be a big cause of the growth, along with a surge in smartphone and tablet use, Cisco said. The mobile data growth rate is about 92% annually. By 2015, Cisco projects that there will be more than 5.6 billion personal devices in use as well as an additional 1.5 billion machine-to-machine devices. The projected numbers are nearly the equivalent of one mobile connection for every person in the world. Mobile video will account for twothirds of all mobile data traffic by 2015, up 35 times over the five year period of the study, Cisco said. That is the
highest of any mobile data application. Mobile traffic from tablets is expected to grow 205 times from 2010 to 2015, the most of any device. The Middle East and Africa will have the highest mobile data traffic growth, followed by Latin America, central and eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific. Western Europe will follow North America and Japan at the bottom of the list. Even so, Japan will have a 70% annual growth rate, according to Cisco’s projections. By country, India’s mobile data traffic is expected to grow the fastest, at 158% annually, followed by South Africa and Mexico. The U.S. growth rate is projected at 83% a year. Cisco also said that mobile network connection speeds will increase 10-fold by 2015 based on current trends. The report estimates average mobile connection speeds will grow from 215 Kbit/sec in 2010 to 2.2 Mbit/sec in 2015. The 2010 number is based on the Cisco Global Internet Speed Test, which tracks 390,000 global users on their non-WiFi cellular connections. Smartphone connection speeds are projected to increase from 1.04 Mbit/ sec in 2010 to 4.4 Mbit/sec in 2015, a four-fold increase. Suraj Shetty, vice president of worldwide service provider marketing at Cisco, said that global mobile data traffic increased by 2.6 times from 2009 to 2010, an indication of the coming trend. “The seemingly endless bevy of new mobile devices, combined with greater mobile broadband access, more content and applications of all types-especially video--are the key catalysts driving this remarkable growth,” he said in a statement. www.networkworldme.com
10 April - 13 April, 2011 â€˘ Bahrain
February 2011 Network World Middle East 15
in action: eGovernance
Building a knowledge economy Bahrain creates innovative public/private engagement model as it looks to increase its global competitiveness
ahrain is building a knowledge economy. Under the patronage of
HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Chairman of the Economic Development Board, the government has set out The Economic Vision 2030, its blueprint for national transformation. At the heart of Vision 2030 is an aspiration to shift from an economy built on oil wealth to a productive, globally competitive economy. The foundations for this vision were laid in 2003, when Bahrain became the first government in the region to implement a converged IP network. The initial aim was to use the high-speed Cisco infrastructure to improve the efficiency of services and drive closer collaboration between departments. However, return on investment was maximised in 2007 when the network provided a ready-made platform on which to implement the government’s e-enablement strategy. A new organisation, the eGovernment Authority, was established by Royal Decree No. (69) in August 2007, to manage the transition of 200 key services that had been identified for delivery during a three year strategy through different channels, such as the eGovernment Portal and others. To 16 Network World Middle East February 2011
Mohammed Al Qaed, CEO for Bahrain eGovernment authority
date, more than 158 services have been streamlined and automated. This has helped to significantly reduce the cost and delivery time for everyday public services, such as issuing birth certificates on-line, training applications, car registrations, electricity & water bill payments and the payment of all traffic contraventions. “Our approach is very much based on building services around customers. We have listened carefully to their feedback and added more services accordingly. Training and regular awareness campaigns have also helped to reinforce adoption rates. In the first year, only 7 percent of the population was using e-services. Now we are running at around 40 percent of the public, 94 percent of the businesses and 75 percent of the government are using our e-services.” says Mohammed Al Qaed, CEO for Bahrain eGovernment authority. Bahrain’s achievements were formally recognised in January 2010, when it advanced 29 places in the United Nations e-Government Readiness index. It is now ranked the first among Arab nations and Middle East region, third among Asian countries and 13th worldwide. The latest focus of Bahrain’s
transformation is to help foster knowledge and innovation so that businesses can become more competitive and citizens can realise their full potential in the digital world. Having made e-learning more widely available via the eGovernment Portal, the government was keen to explore new opportunities to help promote academic excellence and information exchange. The opportunity to take another step forward in this transformation presented itself when Cisco sought to extend its presence and bring its Cisco Networkers event to Bahrain. The Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) was chosen to provide a spectacular backdrop for the event. Solution The Bahrain Government, BIC, and Cisco
have created an innovative public/private engagement model that supports the strategic vision of all three organisations. The engagement has clearly defined the roles of the three organizations: • Cisco helped the BIC to rapidly transform from a top motor sport venue into a multipurpose convention center. This transformation was achieved in two phases. www.networkworldme.com
Cisco provided the BIC with a unified architecture based on its latest routing, switching, and wireless technologies. The new network was then used as a platform to support Cisco solutions, including Unified Communications (IP telephony and unified messaging), radio-frequency identification (RFID), StadiumVision, Digital Signage, and TelePresence Technology. • BIC agreed to host Cisco Networkers 2010, a live technology showcase and a four-day event for ICT professionals, providing technical training and networking opportunities. This event consisted of five programs running in parallel, attracting a varied audience from C-level executives, key decision makers, and ICT professionals from the Government and Business sectors in addition to the press and analyst communities. • The Bahrain government has provided substantial support to promote the event using all available channels, such as media, audio, video, and many other channels. The government also urged all Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) members to ensure best and attractive airfares, hotel rates, visa and customs fees were waved, in addition to hosting an evening networking reception highlighting the culture of Bahrain. “It really was a meeting of the minds. It was a fantastically exciting opportunity and, at the same time, a bit daunting. As a relatively small country, we had to grow awareness very quickly and make sure people knew we were here. As the third largest Formula One venue, our global brand helped to fulfill that role,” says Sheikh Salman, CEO from the Bahrain International Circuit. Results Following 16 months of extensive planning,
marketing, and engineering, the BIC opened its doors on the 28 March 2010 to over 3000 technology experts, key business leaders, and purchasing decision makers. Bringing Cisco Networkers 2010 to the
The latest focus of Bahrain’s transformation is to help foster knowledge and innovation so that businesses can become more competitive and citizens can realise their full potential in the digital world. Middle East for the first time has been a huge success. “It was a dream to hold such an event in Bahrain. From day one, we could see that Cisco shared the same passion. Together, we created an infectious environment, and it has been invaluable in terms of changing mindsets, transferring knowledge, and building contacts,” says Mohammed Al Qaed. The natural layout of the venue helped to create one long island of Cisco partner stands, which were divided logically by solution, such as Borderless Networks and Collaboration. This arrangement provided a valuable location for meetings with Cisco engineers and experts and opportunity for attendees to meet and collaborate. The tone was set with a science-fictionlike video welcome as a hologram of Cisco Senior Vice President of Emerging Technologies, Marthin De Beer, appeared via three-dimensional Cisco TelePresence Technology to take part in the live keynote session. Following the opening keynote, visitors could make their way to the World of Solutions to discuss emerging and core technology solutions. Alternatively, they could visit a Design Clinic, where Cisco engineers were on hand to whiteboard and share knowledge of how to fix a specific problem. For those looking for ‘one-on-one’ time, Meet the Engineer provided the perfect opportunity to work through challenges that they might be facing. For the BIC, the engagement has also
created an oasis of exciting new possibilities. “The big challenge for us is make the in-stadium experience as compelling and as interesting as the watch-at-home experience. Through the use of Cisco technology, we intend to take fan experience to the next level by making it more personal, more interactive, and more fun. We can also think about developing a new business model, one that would help us grow revenue and limit costs,” says Sheikh Salman. Aligned with Connected Stadium, the Cisco vision for the next-generation stadium, BIC can use the network as a platform to optimise all aspects of the business. These other aspects include the surround components that ‘touch’ and therefore contribute toward defining the overall spectator experience, such as safety and security, media content, facilities management, event staffing, gaming, parking, and concessions. The Cisco wireless network allows different event configurations to be implemented in different areas of the stadium, for example, to enable security teams to use scanners and speed up stadium entry, or concession holders to use electronic point-of-sale. The wireless network can also be extended, so that spectators can access video playbacks, message boards, gaming, statistics, or online ticket sales and merchandising. The Cisco architecture can also be used in the future to deliver video, for example, of press conferences, interviews and behindthe-scenes action. As well as making the in-stadium experience more compelling to customers, this capability will help to increase revenues from advertisers, sponsors, and merchandise sales. BIC can also use the network to consolidate and centrally manage the BIC’s building management systems. The ability to get real-time information on the consumption of water, gas and electricity will help to lower running costs, while also enabling the stadium to become greener and more environmentally friendly. February 2011 Network World Middle East 17
event | data centre
Connectivity tops CIO concerns UAE’s IT managers joined CPI and eHosting DataFort (eHDF) to discuss the state of enterprise data centre and what they would like to see from vendors and service providers going forward.
IOs and IT managers in the UAE named connectivity and
the lack of redundancy in their data centres one of the biggest issues that they are facing in the country. They stated that connectivity issues will have to be rectified, and more of a free-market like environment created for service providers in order to improve the operational efficiency and productivity at an exclusive CIO roundtable conducted by eHosting DataFort (eHDF) and CPI. The IT decision makers had gathered at the roundtable to discuss some of the continuing challenges connected to their infrastructure. When asked to name the issues that confronted them while building 18 Network World Middle East February 2011
and maintaining data centres in the country, many also stated that they had to constantly tackle vendors and providers who often knew very little of the solutions that they were selling. “Compared to the situation in Europe or the United States, where there is a lot of evangelism on technologies, many companies here do not do enough on knowledge transfer. Their internal staff themselves often do not know a lot about the solutions they are selling, and they constantly have to check with their peers in developed markets. Many people in the UAE are still box pushers this way,” said Sacha Narinx, technical director for Bios ME. According to the CIOs, connectivity
issues and the lack of redundancy was one of the main reasons that many did not consider managed data centre services seriously in the country. Many also stated that in truth there was not much choice when it comes to managed service provision within the country, especially when it comes to local providers. “Many a service provider in the market still do not provide proper detailed SLAs (service level agreements) to clients. Often, this leaves the customer with nothing to compare back to on service provision or to properly measure the quality of the services being provided,” said Saleem Ahmed, IT manager at Emirates Steel. The audience also named the lack of experienced IT staff and the unavailability of quality training courses as other factors holding back the market. “It takes me an average of six to seven months sometimes to find the right resource for certain job titles. We get a lot of resumes when we put out an ad, but to find someone who is of quality and who is the right person it takes time and internal resources,” pointed out Tibor Loncsar, director of strategy and operations – IT at Dubai World Trade Centre. The group also mourned the lack of reliable international service providers and the inability to access and use the resources of international service providers in the country due to either connectivity or data integrity issues. “From our part, we are constantly in conversation with entities in the UAE to enforce the idea that cheaper bandwidth and better connectivity is essential to the economic development of the country. That if these two factors exist then it is easier for industries to expand their bases in the country, bring in more people and therefore help the entire economy. This is a constant discussion at our end and we will continue to push it,” says Yasser Zeineldin, CEO of eHDF. He also assured that, unlike some other service providers in the country, eHDF does operate with clients on SLAs and contracts across certain metrics. www.networkworldme.com
February 2011 Network World Middle East 19
feature | WAN
The WAN plan How to rev up your sluggish applications
f you’re struggling with your
WAN to handle business growth, you’re not alone. Enterprise organisations are gearing up for a bandwidth tsunami. What’s driving the demand for growth in WAN bandwidth? If you’re among those experiencing it, you already know: First is the increased dispersion of users to branch offices, coupled with data centre consolidation. Simply put, this means more WAN traffic, as IT moves servers farther away from 20 Network World Middle East February 2011
users. Second is the deployment of bandwidth-hungry applications, particularly videoconferencing and desktop virtualisation. The performance of applications across the WAN are beset by a range of problems – latency, congestion, chatty applications, contention with other apps, low bandwidth – that can be addressed in a variety of ways. There are some steps users should follow on how to analyse the problems and speed up application
performance over the WAN. The first step is to identify what the problem is - latency, low bandwidth, chatty applications, etc. If you assume it’s low bandwidth and throw more bandwidth at the problem it won’t fix the performance of a chatty application. Fixing applications is the next step. Many applications are written to run on LANs where it doesn’t make much performance difference if it takes 50 roundtrip transactions to paint a screen. www.networkworldme.com
Applications can be written with the WAN in mind to reduce the number of round trips and to encourage caching data that will be reused so it doesn’t have to be fetched repeatedly. Writing better applications is a good practice going forward, but there is little chance that legacy applications will be rewritten just to deal with the WAN problem. Boosting bandwidth can also help sometimes, but only if it is simplest and cheapest to buy more bandwidth. If not cheap, other methods, such as WAN optimisation will have to come into play. “There is a longstanding myth in IT that bandwidth is the
Diego Arrabal, Regional Director (Middle East), F5 Networks
answer to solving all application delivery ills, which is one reason why people have focused on increasing bandwidth to the extent that it now forms a large part of IT operational costs and, in doing so, have failed to address the root causes of application performance deficiencies,” says Diego Arrabal, Regional Director (Middle East), F5 Networks. People need to focus on technologies that address the
Mark Lewis , Senior Director for Marketing EMEA, Riverbed
natural behaviour of application protocols and backup/replication software that were not designed or optimised for WAN conditions, application protocols that engage in excessive handshaking, and finally the serialisation of the applications themselves, he adds. Mark Lewis , Senior Director for Marketing EMEA, Riverbed, says that IT managers should know what is running on their IT infrastructure and how it is running. Network and application visibility is an area that has proven to be of most benefit when looking to operate efficient bandwidth costs and application performance. “The reason I mention network and application visibility is
Boosting bandwidth can also help sometimes, but only if it is simplest and cheapest to buy more bandwidth. If not cheap, other methods, such as WAN optimisation will have to come into play.
before any IT leader can start to look to lower bandwidth costs and improve application performance they need to know where they are to start with. Once they have a good handle on where they are today the planning process is much easier. “ Gartner suggests if latency is the primary problem, either because of distance or the nature of the application, asymmetrical acceleration may help. This optimises data that is sent to end machines so it takes fewer bits crossing the connection to get it there. This type of optimisation could include downloading browser applets that promotes, for example, caching of static data and sending only data that changes from screen to screen. If latency and bandwidth are issues, symmetric acceleration may be needed via devices deployed at both ends of the WAN to deduplicate transmissions by caching bit patterns that repeat, optimising individual applications through knowledge of how they work and how they can be assisted to work better, and compression. Though many organisations are now turning to WAN optimisation to improve performance of their WAN links, it remains to be seen how would this work in a cloud computing environment, given the fact that acceleration is point to point. “Switching from your own apps to cloud computing can mean a hit on application performance. Latency and distance conspire and you don’t have the opportunity to use traditional point-to-point accelerators (since you don’t have control over the other point - it’s in the cloud after all) and some optimisation systems cannot handle 3rd party SSL (which most cloud services use),” says Nigel February 2011 Network World Middle East 21
feature | WAN
SIX QUICK WAYS TO BOOST WAN PERFORMANCE Garter says there are a number of ways you can improve the performance for your WAN. Here’s a quick take: Identify problems; Latency, low bandwidth, chatty applications? Write and use applications that are targeted at WANs. Boost bandwidth. Employ WAN emulation. Tune your WAN. Ask your application vendor what works. Hawthorn, VP EMEA, Blue Coat Systems. However, some vendors feature “asymmetric” WAN optimisation technologies that support SSL and use web caching, pre-fetching and pipelining to optimise cloud-based services, while remaining true to the cloud computing model. Arrabal from F5 says WAN optimisation could provide a boost to cloud services. “The amount of data that is moved between the cloud provider and the 22 Network World Middle East February 2011
Nigel Hawthorn, VP EMEA, Blue Coat Systems
enterprise can cause performance degradation – because there can be so much of it. So there’s a need for WAN optimisation, and it can be useful when data is highly compressible, when traffic can be reduced by a huge amount when it is compressed at one end and decompressed at another.” With the number of smart phones and tablets latching on to enterprise networks on the rise, mobile optimisation is another area gaining traction. “We all expect to access all information wherever we are and whenever we want it. The growth of smart-phones and iPads mean that ever smaller devices are capable of ever-greater amounts of data exchange. So, these devices need to be optimised and we’re pleased to offer client software for laptops as well as traffic control applications for Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads,” says Hawthorn. Arrabals adds another perspective: “Mobile networks are facing a choke point. Internet
If you are looking to improve application performance and cut WAN costs, use WAN optimisation or find someone who sells cheaper bandwidth. traffic will never reduce and we may reach a point – perhaps within a matter of years – where without significant investment the mobile networks will become congested to the point of affecting end-user experience, as device capabilities and demand completely outstrip available bandwidth supply. So mobile optimisation will only become more important.” The bottom line? If you are looking to improve application performance and cut WAN costs, use WAN optimisation or find someone who sells cheaper bandwidth. www.networkworldme.com
25th April 2011 The Westin, Dubai
RECOGNISING THE MIDDLE EAST’S NETWORKING CHAMPIONS
SUBMIT YOUR NOMINATIONS www.networkworldme.com/nwmeawards2011
February 2011 Network World Middle East 23
feature | desktop virtualisation
What desktop virtualisation really means Depending on whom you talk to, desktop virtualisation is either the hottest trend in IT or an expensive notion with limited appeal
esktop virtualisation harks back to the good old mainframe days
of centralised computing while upholding the fine desktop tradition of user empowerment. Each user retains his or her own instance of desktop operating system and applications, but that stack runs in a virtual machine on a server – which users can access through a low-cost thin client similar to an oldfashioned terminal. The argument in favour of desktop virtualisation is powerful: What burns through more hands-on resources or incurs more risk than desktop computers? Even with remote desktop management, admins must invade cubicles and shoo away employees when it’s time to upgrade or troubleshoot. And each desktop or laptop provides a fat target for hackers and an opportunity to steal data. But if you run desktops as virtual machines on a server, you can manage and secure all those desktop user environments in one central location. Patches and other security measures, along with hardware or software upgrades, demand much less overhead. And the risk that users will make mischief or mistakes that breach security drops dramatically. The argument against desktop
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virtualisation is almost as strong. Overhead costs conserved through central management get cancelled out by the need for powerful servers, virtualisation software licenses, and additional network bandwidth. Plus, the cost of client hardware and Microsoft software licenses stays roughly the same, while the user experience – at least today – seldom lives up to user expectations. And then the kicker: How are users supposed to compute when they’re disconnected from the network? Decisions about whether or in what form to adopt desktop virtualisation become a whole lot easier when you understand the basic variants and technologies. Here’s what you need to know: Desktop virtualisation really is virtualisation Just like server virtualisation, desktop
virtualisation relies on a thin layer of software known as a hypervisor, which runs on bare-metal server hardware and provides a platform on which administrators deploy and manage virtual machines. With desktop virtualisation, each user gets a virtual machine that contains a separate instance of the desktop operating system (almost always Windows) and whatever applications have been installed. To the desktop OS, the applications, and the user, the VM does a
pretty good job of impersonating a real desktop machine. Desktop virtualisation and VDI mean pretty much the same thing VMware was first to promote the
VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) terminology, but Microsoft and Citrix have followed suit, offering VDI solutions of their own based on the Hyper-V and XenServer hypervisors, respectively. Think of it this way: VDI refers to the basic architecture for desktop virtualisation, where a VM for each user runs on the server. “Desktop virtualisation is not a single technology – far from it; there are several very different architectural approaches to virtualising the desktop that have very different use cases, benefits and drawbacks. In a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, individual desktops with different types and versions of operating systems run as virtual machines on servers in the data centre. In contrast to traditional server-based computing, www.networkworldme.com
Parallels or Fusion VM on the Mac. In other words, this has nothing to do with serverbased computing. VDI solutions cost more (and deliver more) than traditional thin client solutions Think about it: With VDI, each virtual
In return for the extra cost, along with a better user experience, VDI delivers greater manageability and availability. applications need not be adapted. Computing load is scaled across multiple CPUs and servers,” points out Zia ul Haq Syed, Director, Client Service Department, Fujitsu Technology Solutions. Don’t confuse desktop virtualisation with ... desktop virtualisation The desktop virtualisation we’re talking
about refers to server-based computing. But “desktop virtualisation” also refers to running virtual machines on desktop systems, using such desktop virtualisation solutions as Microsoft Virtual PC, VMware Fusion, or Parallels Desktop. Probably the most common use of this sort of desktop virtualisation is running Windows in a
machine needs its own slice of memory, storage, and processing power to run a user’s desktop environment, while in the old-fashioned Terminal Services model, users share almost everything except data files. VDI also means a separate Windows license for each user, while Terminal Services-style setups give you a break with Microsoft Client Access Licenses. Plus, VDI incurs greater network traffic, which may add a network upgrade to beefy server hardware. “With traditional thin client solutions, users have access to one or more applications from a fixed device location. VDI on the other hand delivers entire desktops to staff – from anywhere at any time. The back-end costs of VDI may be higher than traditional thin computing, but this must be looked at in terms of the overall cost-of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) . The calculation of ROI should include not only pure acquisition cost, but also the value to the business of longer refresh cycles, lower power consumption, flexibility of access, centralised management efficiencies, data security, business agility, and green footprint,” says Christine Carey, Regional Manager-Middle East, Wyse. However, in return for the extra cost, along with a better user experience, VDI delivers greater manageability and availability. As with server virtualisation, you can migrate virtual machines among servers without bringing down those VMs, perform VM snapshots for quick recovery, run automated load balancing, and more. And if a virtual machine crashes, that doesn’t affect other VMs; with Terminal Services, that single instance of Windows is
going to bring down every connected user when it barfs. What is the difference between static and dynamic VDI architecture? “In a static architecture, each user has a
unique virtual machine to which he or she always connects, whereas in a dynamic architecture, a new virtual machine is created for each session from master templates. Both approaches have their benefits and disadvantages,” says Syed. In Dynamic VDI Infrastructure a Pool is created for a similar function of users who will users who will be dynamically assigned a desktop a pool. This approach results in better utilisation of the resources in a controlled manner. The long march to the server side Meanwhile, a completely different form of
server-based computing continues to gain traction: the variant of cloud computing known as SaaS (software as a service), where service providers maintain applications and user data and deliver everything through the browser. A prime example is Google’s campaign for Google Docs, encouraging users to forget about upgrading to Office 2010 and adopt Google’s suite of productivity apps instead. Plus, Google’s Chrome OSpromises to create entire desktop environments in the cloud that retain user personalisation. Very likely, no big winner will emerge in server-based computing. Old-style Terminal Services setups will continue to crank along for offices harboring users with narrow, simple needs. True desktop virtualisation on the VDI model will make sense where security and manageability are paramount, such as widely distributed organisations that use lots of contractors. And where farflung collaboration is key, SaaS will flourish, because anyone with a Web browser can join the party. Conventional desktops may never disappear, but one way or another, the old centralised model of computing is making a comeback. February 2011 Network World Middle East 25
opinion | virtualisation
Four sizes fit all Different flavours of desktop virtualisation
mployees come in all manner of
shapes and sizes, with a diverse range of skills and weaknesses; and the best managers know how to motivate and support every individual. Corporate IT policy, on the other hand, usually favours a more rigid ‘one-size fits all’ approach. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ mindset is evident in the early releases of desktop virtualisation technology because although it can deliver far more efficient desktop management, improved security, better business continuity and major cost savings, it failed to offer support for anyone beyond
26 Network World Middle East February 2011
task workers and specialist use cases such as off shoring software development and highly secure desktops. To make a comparison to cars, a compact, lightweight battery powered car is perfect as an urban run-about but is of little use to someone who is regularly covering long distances and needs a large luggage compartment. Likewise a senior company executive, who is constantly on the move, often using their highperformance laptop offline and regularly accessing company data through wireless connections, has a very different PC and working requirements than a customer
service representative working set hours in a call centre. Although the premise of desktop virtualisation is straight forward enough – managing and delivering the desktop environment from the data centre – the way in which the environment is delivered has to change according to how the desktop is being used by each worker. To gain the most from desktop virtualisation the aim should be to deploy the technology across the organisation from a central location, such as a data centre, covering all worker types. Research conducted by Citrix has identified five types of PC-based workers within most large organisations, ranging from task workers (who have low-end demands of their PCs) through to very mobile workers (who make big demands of their PC and access to business information). To match the end-user needs of these five different types of worker, there are four core virtualisation technologies under the umbrella term “desktop virtualisation.” These fall into two basic categories, server side compute and client side compute. Desktop virtualisation technologies that support low-end requirements, such as task workers, tend to revolve around server-side computing; the execution of the Windows environment and applications being in the datacentre and simply delivering the desktop display to the client. Technologies that support higher end-user requirements, such as those demanded by contractors, freelancers and highly mobile executives, centre on client-side computing. In these cases the desktop environment (Windows OS, applications and user profile) is delivered on demand for client side execution supporting a wide range of PCs and enabling offline working in a virtualised environment. www.networkworldme.com
The key benefit is that no matter where the virtual desktop is executed, a single golden image for both the Windows OS and applications is built managed and delivered to all users in the organisation. The most cost efficient desktop virtualisation technology is a hosted shared desktop (Windows Remote Desktop Services) which provides a locked down, streamlined and standardised environment with a core set of applications. The level of personalisation is limited or can be entirely locked down. As the desktop is being run from the data centre, the client devices can be inexpensive ‘thin clients’ or existing PCs that would otherwise be retired. Easy to manage and extremely cheap (500 desktops can be supported from a single server), a hosted shared desktop approach is well suited to supporting tasks workers that only require access to a set number of applications. Another one of the earliest ways of delivering a form of desktop virtualisation was virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), or its synonym, hosted virtual desktop. Once again, as signified by the words ‘infrastructure’ and ‘hosted’, the datacentre is an integral part to the solution whereby complete multiple instances of a Windows OS are either hosted on shared servers or single instances on dedicated blade PCs. VDI is therefore restricted to connected desktops only (LAN and WAN); typically for task-orientated employees and officebased knowledge workers. Desktop images running on shared servers is the most economical approach; for high-end requirements such as professional CAD/ CAM or GIS graphics applications, these are best served through dedicated blade PC hardware . VDI was one of the first ways to deliver a form of desktop
The real cutting edge of desktop virtualisation is local virtual machine based desktops.
virtualisation because task workers have few requirements of their PCs and the technology to deliver VDI is comparatively uncomplicated. From the end-user perspective, the main difference between hosted shared desktops and VDI is that VDI preserves a personalised PC environment, typically needed by office workers, which can be securely delivered over any network to any device. While VDI can be appropriate for many users, perhaps even entire departments, it does not meet the needs of an entire organisation. Moving from server-centric computing towards the clientside, local streamed desktops take advantage of the local processing power of rich clients, while providing centralised single-image management of the desktop. It is well suited for government, schools and university labs that use diskless PCs for maximum data security, and also offers an easy, low-cost way for customers to get started with desktop virtualisation by keeping the datacentre overhead to a minimum, while still benefiting from single-image management. However to fully benefit from this approach and maximise cost savings of single
image management a homogenous PC infrastructure is required. However, the real cutting edge of desktop virtualisation is local virtual machine based desktops; the newest desktop virtualisation technology which takes advantage of the latest generation of laptops, such as those with the Intel vPro series chip sets, with type 1 (bare metal) hypervisors. This means that, for the first time, a secure virtual desktop can be delivered and used in an offline use case. When working offline, the mobile knowledge worker is working in a virtualised environment supported by the PC itself, but when suitably connected changes to the operating systems, applications and user data are automatically synchronised with the datacentre, bringing the benefits of centralised, single-instance management to mobile workers whenever and wherever they roam. Organisations can now serve every type of worker it has through the four core technologies that constitute desktop virtualisation, giving workers all the support they need from their PC through a single centralised approach that delivers significant time and cost savings. The flexibility of desktop virtualisation finally gives centralised IT management an approach that fits all, in four different sizes. About the Author: Noman Qadir is the Senior Field Sales Manager (Middle East, Turkey, Greece) at Citrix Systems.
February 2011 Network World Middle East 27
feature | hospitality
Served up hot The economic downturn may have beaten the multibillion hospitality industry in the region down a tad. But new investments in both properties and related technologies are still underway
raditionally, this industry has been
at the forefront when it comes to adoption of new technologies, thanks to the cut-throat competition and the need to improve the standards and performance of the hotels and guest experience. From wireless to IP telephony to unified communications, the industry is innovatively integrating state-of-the-art communications into all business areas, from food orders to guest accommodations. Wireless and convergence technologies have become important tools for keeping in contact with customers, even as they roam a service area.
28 Network World Middle East February 2011
What technology trends will shape the regional hospitality industry in 2011? “The hospitality vertical will continue to look for simplistic, easy to use technology for guests. At the front end, simplicity remains key. At the back end, integration with key backend systems is vital to provide, for example, centralised billing for the guest, or effective use of the Room Management System. Guests will continue to use wireless, anywhere, anytime, anyplace connectivity,” says Mechelle Buys de Plessis. Sales Manager & Marketing Lead, Dimension Data.
Fredrick Sabty, Director – Hospitality and Healthcare Solutions, Avaya Emerging Markets, echoes a similar opinion: “I believe that the hospitality industry will start using technology in a smarter way to enrich guest experience, and reduce the time guests take to familiarise themselves with the systems. Technology will be entirely focused on its guests, especially when it comes to in-room systems. I also see collaboration technology being more
Fredrick Sabty, Director – Hospitality and Healthcare Solutions, Avaya Emerging Markets
widely adopted than in the past.” Almost all experts agree that wireless is going to be important to the industry growth. The vision and promise of wireless strongly resonates with the hospitality industry as some of the leading players are toying with the idea of using one’s handset for all hotel-related functions – check-in, entertainment, and lightning controller, and lots more. “Few years ago, mobility was considered an advantage for hotel guests. Today the guests expectations have changed. An increasingly global and mobile workforce is demanding connectivity and amenities wherever they go, and whenever they want. The business traveller expects from their hotels exquisite services and the ultimate travel experience and to be connected from any device anywhere at the hotel,” says Hani Nofal, Regional Manager, Cisco UAE. Mechlle adds that voice mobility will remain a key enabler for staff productivity and reduced costs for hotel operators. “Guest wireless mobility is important from a data, or internet connectivity perspective. Mobility is therefore both a revenue stream and a cost saving necessity.” Cisco believes video and virtual clearly will impact a substantial portion of the group/meetings business and the transient market. “Winners and losers will be determined by their ability to innovate and adapt quickly to this emerging landscape, creating new experiences, services, and business models—and by their ability to grow profitably in the face of evolving industry dynamics,” says Nofal. He underscores why the hotel industry must prepare for a coming sea change in how meetings are conducted: “The increasing prominence of technology-based meetings in both transient and event-based businesses presents a new playing field for hospitality operators, in which virtual and physical meetings commingle to serve the needs of corporate customers. Some hotel operators have already begun initiatives to
host video and virtual meetings, including Marriott International, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, and Taj Hotels, Resorts, and Palaces. Technology and the market move quickly, so time is of the essence in establishing a hotel’s brand association around the next generation of meetings.” Sabty adds another perspective on why collaboration will emerge as a key growth enabler for the industry: “It enables its users a host of options to communicate – from audio and videoconferencing to simple phone calls, and the ability to interact via instant messaging. Users will spend less time travelling to various meetings, and therefore reduct travel time and costs, as well as enhance their efficiency.” Many say the hospitality industry is also an ideal candidate for virtualisation and cloud computing. “Virtualisation and cloud computing will play a big roll across all verticals and it doesn’t exclude the hospitality vertical. It is clear that in order to service guests more effectively, with simplicity at the front end, the underlying infrastructure is becoming more complex. The focus will therefore continue to be on ensuring a lower operational cost of the increasingly complex infrastructure whilst allowing quick response to addressing new guest service, or hotel operator business needs. Virtualisation and cloud computing offers the hospitality industry these benefits,” says Mechelle. Cloud computing is transforming the way IT departments deploy custom applications during lean times. By offering a fundamentally faster, less risky, and more cost-effective alternative to on-premises applications, cloud computing will forever change the economics of hospitality information technology. “I find this to be especially true with hospitality IT departments worldwide, as they are re-evaluating their strategies and looking for innovative ways to create competitive advantages. CIOs are redefining
Hani Nofal, Regional Manager, Cisco UAE
Mechelle Buys de Plessis. Sales Manager & Marketing Lead, Dimension Data
their value to the enterprise by looking for new, cost-effective alternatives for application enhancement and development, including cloud computing. Many hospitality organisations have already made, or are in the process of shifting to cloud-based solutions to deliver faster time to value, reduce their up-front capital expense, minimise operational cost and simplify integration,” says Nofal. For an industry that’s so dependent on delivering good customer service, it’s imperative for this sector to adopt technology tools that can help them cut costs and shore up bottom line. The writing is on the wall for those who lag behind. February 2011 Network World Middle East 29
feature | storage
Gauging the volume The hockey stick growth projections for data storage and network traffic don’t look like they will level off anytime soon
o plan to stock up on disks (or get smarter about data
management) and get ready to install fatter network pipes (or get more serious about WAN optimisation). Data is growing in enterprise storage banks at 50% per year, says Tam Dell’Oro, founder and president of Dell’Oro Group, a research and consulting firm. The average Fortune 1,000 company has about 1.2 petabytes of diskbased storage today (a PB being 1,000 terabytes), according to TheInfoPro. So, if these organizations continue to increase capacity at the rate suggested by Dell’Oro, they will need to 30 Network World Middle East February 2011
accommodate about 9PB by 2015. The trend is being fueled by changing work habits, increasingly stringent compliance mandates that require more electronic record-keeping and falling storage costs, according to Dell’Oro and others. In terms of cost, IDC says the price per gigabyte of storage is declining by 25% to 30% per year. At that rate, it is often easier to add resources than try to squeeze more out of what you have. “As you make something cheaper, people buy more of it,” says Chuck Hollis, vice president and CTO at enterprise storage giant EMC. Hollis says EMC saw 12% more dollars spent
on storage in 2010 than in 2009, even though unit prices were falling. New developments in healthcare, utility, retail and other vertical industries are also driving the need to hold onto more data, Hollis says. Likewise, utilities running smart grids are collecting “billions and billions of records,” and retailers are “storing data about customers, their behaviors and metrics” to better target merchandising and sales, Hollis adds. Uncle Sam is also contributing to the load, says Dell’Oro. She points out that Sarbanes-Oxley regulations keep getting stricter, putting the squeeze on increasingly smaller companies and www.networkworldme.com
lower departmental levels. That results in more “stuff” getting socked away in virtual filing cabinets in case auditors come calling. Similarly, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) continues to cover more ground. Consider telemedicine, which is yielding more video-based remote patient consultations. “HIPAA requires you to store those video sessions,” says Arielle Sumits, lead analyst on Cisco’s 2010 Visual Network Index (VNI) report. The VNI is an annual deep-dive into IP traffic growth that Cisco conducts. It goes without saying that data storage growth translates into WAN traffic demands, but those demands are whipsawed by two macro trends: data centralization, a byproduct of data center consolidation; and worker dispersion, driven by efforts to get employees out in front of customers and accommodate telework and other flex employment options. Worldwide managed IP WAN business traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% through 2014, while business Internet traffic will climb at a 20% CAGR rate, according to Cisco’s VNI. While healthy, this growth pales in comparison to mobile data growth, for which the company has assigned a CAGR of 93% over the same time period. Cisco bases its projections on three main sources, Sumits says: monthly data shared by 20 global network service providers; data collected from a free Cisco usage-tracking mobile application in use by 350,000 users; and usage data collected by the FCC and other government regulators around the world. The company also factors in
projections from more than 16 industry research firms, among them ABI Research, Dell’Oro and IDC, Sumits says. What’s actually on the network? Most traffic types are growing at a
double-digit clip. VoIP is a notable exception, growing at a mere 4% CAGR worldwide, according to Cisco’s 2010 VNI, compared with a 29% CAGR for Web data and 48% CAGR for video. The Cisco VNI indicates that in 2010, there was about 17 times more data than VoIP traffic on IP networks. The most demanding traffic is video, says Alan Weckel, a director at Dell’Oro. And it is only going to get worse. “We’re in the early stages of video becoming prevalent on the desktop,” Weckel says. Not only are more video applications emerging, from IP surveillance to office daycare Webcam feeds and healthcare imaging. Driving much of the traffic increase is the quality of the video, Sumits says. A high definition WAN video conference session, for example, can require more than 20Mbps. Cisco predicts that by 2014 91% of global network traffic will be video. Mobile growth spurt The biggest growth in 2011 will be
in mobile data traffic. For business traffic alone, North American mobile
Not only are more video applications emerging, from IP surveillance to office daycare Webcam feeds and healthcare imaging.
data will grow 117% from 2010 to 2011, Cisco’s Sumits estimates. ABI Research is more conservative in its outlook. Dan Shey, enterprise practice director, sees North American business mobile data traffic growing 41% from 2010 to 2011, from about 198PB to 280PB. Chris Hazelton, research director of mobile and wireless at The 451 Group, points to growing use of software-as-a-service (SaaS) options as having a large impact on data networks in general and something to watch out for with mobile networks. Obviously with SaaS, all application calls involve the network. “How much data are SaaS applications using? It’s tough to know, Hazelton says, and might not matter so much in the wired world. But if employees are hitting that app from smartphones it “could eat up a mobile data plan fast.” ABI’s Shey projects that retail, healthcare and government will represent the top three verticals for smartphone use, comprising about 44% of the smartphone installed base over the next five years. However, those verticals might not actually generate the lion’s share of wireless WAN traffic because they are likely to offload much of it onto Wi-Fi networks indoors, he says. We have Apple to thank for the mobile data surge, which ignited with the iPhone launch in 2007. The multimedia, bandwidth-intensive nature of smartphone apps that have rolled out since has sent mobile broadband operators scurrying to enhance network capacity to keep up. In turn, the mobile apps - now used by consumers and enterprises alike - are quick to fill those pipes right back up. And so it continues. February 2011 Network World Middle East 31
trends | networking
traffic. As a result, the ToR is much more susceptible to peaks and valleys in traffic, and given the consolidation of traffic on one switch, the peaks and valleys will be larger. Network architectures need to be designed to support these very large peaks of network traffic. • Flattening the network. It is not possible to move VMs across a Layer 3 network, so the increased reliance on VMs is driving the need to move toward flattening the network – substituting Layer 2 architecture for older Layer 3 designs. In addition, a flatter network reduces latency and complexity, often relying only on ToR switches or end of row (EoR) switches connected to core switches. The result is lower capital expenses as fewer switches need to be purchased, the ability to migrate VMs across a larger network, and a reduction in network latency.
Trends reshaping networks Server and storage environments have seen a lot of changes in the past ten years, while developments in networking have remained fairly static. Now the demands of virtualisation and network convergence are driving the emergence of a host of new network developments
ere’s what you need to know and how to plan accordingly.
• Virtualisation. Virtualisation has allowed
us to consolidate servers and drive up utilisation rates, but virtualisation is not without its challenges. It increases complexity, causing new challenges in network management, and has a 32 Network World Middle East February 2011
significant impact on network traffic. Prior to virtualisation, a top of rack (ToR) switch would support network traffic from 20-35 servers, each running a single application. With virtualisation, each server typically hosts 4-10 VMs, resulting in 80 to 350 applications being supported by a single ToR rather than multiples switches, consolidating the network
• TRILL. To facilitate implementation of Layer 2 networks, several protocols have emerged. One major change is the replacement of Spanning Tree Protocol (SPT). Since there are usually multiple paths from a switch to a server, SPT handled potential multipath confusion by setting up just one path to each device. However, SPT limits the network bandwidth and as the need developed for larger Layer 2 networks, SPT has become too inefficient to do the job. Enter the Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL). TRILL is a new way to provide multipath load balancing within a Layer 2 fabric and is a replacement for SPT. TRILL has been defined by IETF and maps to 802.1q capabilities within the IEEE. TRILL eliminates the need to reserve protected connections for future use, and thereby stranding bandwidth. • Virtual physical switch management. In
a virtualised environment, virtual switches typically are run on servers to provide network connectivity for the VMs in the www.networkworldme.com
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trends | networking
server. The challenge is each virtual switch is another network device that must be managed. Additionally, the virtual switch is often managed through the virtualisation management software. This means the virtualisation administrator is defining the network policies for the virtual switch while the network administrator is defining the network policies for the physical switch. This creates potential problems as two people are defining network policies. Since it is critical to have consistent security and flow control policies across all switches, this conflict must be resolved. EVB (Edge Virtual Bridging) is an IEEE standard that seeks to address this management issue. EVB has two parts, VEPA and VN-Tag. VEPA (Virtual Ethernet Port Aggregator) offloads all switching from the virtual switch to the physical switch. All network traffic from VMs goes directly to the physical switch. Network policies defined in the switch, including connectivity, security and flow control, are applied to all traffic. If the data is to be sent to another VM in the same server, the data is sent back to the server via a mechanism called a hairpin turn. As the number of virtual switches increases, the need for VEPA increases because the virtual switches require more and more processing power from the server. By offloading the virtual switch function onto physical switches, therefore, VEPA removes the virtualisation manager from switch management functions, returns processing power to the server, and makes it easier for the network administrator to achieve consistency for QoS, security, and other settings across the entire network architecture. In addition to VEPA, the IEEE standard also defined multi-channel VEPA, which defines multiple virtual channels, allowing a single physical Ethernet connection to be managed as multiple virtual channels. 34 Network World Middle East February 2011
The other major trend underway in data centre networking is fabric convergence. IT managers want to eliminate separate networks for storage and servers. The second part of EVB is VN-Tag. VN-Tag was originally proposed by Cisco as an alternative solution to VEPA. VN-Tag defines an additional header field in the Ethernet frame that allows individual identification for virtual interfaces. Cisco has already implemented VN-Tag in some products. • VM migration. In a virtualised data centre, VMs are migrated from one server to another to support hardware maintenance, disaster recovery or changes in application demand. When VMs are migrated, VLANs and port profiles need to be migrated as well to maintain network connectivity, security and QoS (Quality of Service). Today, virtualisation administrators must contact network administrators to manually provision VLANs and port profiles when VM’s are migrated. This manual process can greatly impact the data centre flexibility as this manual process could take minutes, hours or days, depending on the network administrator’s workload. Automated VM/network migration addresses this problem. With automated VM/network migration, the VLAN and port profiles are automatically migrated when a VM is migrated. This eliminates the need for network administrators to do this manually, ensuring that VM/network migration is completed immediately.
• Convergence. The other major trend underway in data centre networking is fabric convergence. IT managers want to eliminate separate networks for storage and servers. With fabric convergence they can reduce management overhead and save on equipment, cabling, space and power. Three interrelated protocols that enable convergence are Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), Ethernet itself (which is being enhanced with Data centre Bridging (DCB), and 40/100GB Ethernet. Storage administrators initially gravitated to Fibre Channel as a storage networking protocol because it is inherently lossless, as storage traffic can’t tolerate any loss in transmission. FCoE encapsulates Fibre Channel traffic onto Ethernet and allows administrators to run storage and server traffic on the same converged Ethernet fabric. FCoE allows network planners to retain their existing FCoE controllers and storage devices while migrating to a converged Ethernet network for transport. This eliminates the need to maintain two entirely separate networks. DCB comes into the picture because it enhances Ethernet to make it a lossless protocol, which is required for it to carry FCoE. A combination of FCoE and DCB standards will have to be implemented both in converged NICs and in data centre switch ASICs before FCoE is ready to serve as a fully functional standards-based extension and migration path for Fibre Channel SANs in high performance data centres. Another advancement being driven by the rise in server and storage traffic on the converged network is the move to 40GB and 100GB Ethernet. With on-board 10GbE ports expected to be available on servers in the near future, ToR switches need 40GB Ethernet uplinks or they may become network bottlenecks. Some of the protocols discussed are still in development, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t begin planning now to leverage them.
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interview | google rather we decide what we want Google to be and we create technology to enable that. I’m proudest of things where we’ve allowed Google to be different. Google hires people, promotes people and rewards people in ways that are unique. All of those things and many other things that [Google does] that are unique are also supported by software that my organization does, builds and writes. I’m also proud that we give our users choice in personal technology and that we’ve built an astoundingly good customer support organization: The first responder to your problem will solve it about 90 percent of the time. I’m also proud that we did a very successful financial systems upgrade last year with a ton of planning and that it went flawlessly. There are many other things my organization accomplished that I’m very proud of.
Google CIO finds job rewarding Google CIO Ben Fried is proud to offer choice in technology to the company’s users
hat are the challenges and satisfactions of being CIO of a company with thousands of computer engineers, as opposed to being CIO of, say, a fast-food or retail store chain? Ben Fried: Some things about it are really
hard because many brilliant technologists are my customers. You have to have a thick skin. That’s also true for people in engineering who build Google products, because we test the products internally. What’s different about Google is that we produce astoundingly high-quality products and we have an ability to use technology to shape the organization that you don’t necessarily have in other companies. We have leadership that fundamentally and 36 Network World Middle East February 2011
deeply understands what me and my people do, which is awesome. So it’s incredibly hard because I have the most demanding users in the world but there’s no better way to be great than by having demanding customers. The results are incredibly rewarding. When I see the work that my people produce, I’m just awed by it. What have been your biggest accomplishments as Google CIO? Fried: Every manager I know hesitates to
answer that type of question because it’s the things you don’t put in the answer that will cause you problems and I’d risk offending a lot of people. At a high level, there’s this really neat value at Google that we don’t create the processes that our technology allows, but
Do you think that the changing landscape of tablets is something CIOs need to pay attention to. Why? Fried: There’s going to be a ton of tablets out
there and people will bring them to work. It will follow the path of BlackBerrys in the enterprise years ago. Road warriors brought in their BlackBerrys and demanded service and pretty soon some were dropping their laptops and going BlackBerry only. CIOs needed to figure out what services they were going to provide on top of this. My advice to CIOs now is to look at tablets and think hard about what your strategy is. Some people already feel that they’re behind on the game on this. But if you look at the variety of Android tablets coming out, it’s clear that it will be a diverse landscape and you have a chance to get in ahead of this. CIOs are going to have to think about software delivery. Are we going to buy software for these tablets? Do we have to think about training for our development organizations to learn how to build for these things? Do we have to think about optimizing Web browser experiences to work for this stuff? CIOs need to have a strategy and opinions about tablets because it will be the next personal computing platform that we’re expected to provide at the enterprise, and very quickly. It will be this year. www.networkworldme.com
Red Hat builds gutsy, green virtualisation machine Three years in the making, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 is a gutsy, green upgrade that features native support for KVM, the Linux kernel-based virtual machine
he vendor says its FabricPath RHEL6 isn’t revolutionary. But
it does a nice job of advancing ideas that first appeared in other releases. For example, Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux), a security-focused subset of Linux, offers partitioning of resources so that user processes can’t hijack kernel rootprivileged processes. RHEL6 takes SELinux and adds sandboxing policies that allow sysadmins or processes to further isolate sessions or applications. Policy controls also allow admins to confine session or resource access as well. We were heartened by these extensions, as they’re needed tools to isolate both users and processes from destabilising busy servers. And while Novell’s SUSE Linux 11 first championed a production release of the Linux tickless kernel in a corporate distribution of Linux, Red Hat goes further toward kernel-based power management. A tickless kernel doesn’t interrupt the processor every thousandth of a second, waking it up from power saving states. This feature has been available in Linux for a while, but not often implemented because there are some applications that applications are built with that need a System Tick timer clock. 38 Network World Middle East February 2011
The powertop application in RHEL6 is used to actively command and monitor power usage in great detail. Applications can be tuned to spoof needless tickbased interruptions to the CPU without reducing functionality of the application. These noisy applications become quieter, and the CPU sleep states can become longer with tuning. When the CPU sleeps, it uses far less power.
Control groups, first seen in SLES 11, are also implemented in RHEL6. The cgroups allow tasks to be grouped together as an object, in terms of their accessibility to system resources. Tasks and cgroups can be confined in terms of CPU strokes (and which CPU), memory allocation, network I/O, storage, or access to the system scheduler. Red Hat also added Aggressive Link www.networkworldme.com
Power Management that works (for now) only on SATA host bus adapters/ controllers to jump to a low power state when there’s no pending disk I/O. Coupled with aggressive use of powertop, an administrator has the ability to assert more active control over server/instance power consumption. In an ideal future world, applications would set their use based on configuration information, but there are no real standards for this today, so administrators are left to tune application instances for power consumption. Samba 4.0 inside Directory service and authentication
is enhanced through a new edition of Samba, open source software that provides file and print services for Windows clients. Samba 4.0 contains support for Active Directory trust relationships that work with Windows 2008 R2 Editions. Samba 4.0 features additional support for IPv6 and connects to a System Security Services Daemon in RHEL6 that allows centralised access to different identity/authentication services, such as linking LDAP with Kerberos, Active Directory, and so on. Products like Synchronicity and Microsoft acquisition Zoomit have provided similar directory/authentication mapping services, but RHEL6 is the first to put this into the kit. Installation has become more sophisticated. We installed RHEL6 onto VMware ESXi, which had a configuration wrapper available to deal with RHEL6 specifics before RHEL6 was released. The installation GUI also has detailed specs to install storage devices. If you want your server to use iSCSI or Fibre Channel over Ethernet, you get device and method-specific help and the same is provided for detected storage-area
The powertop application in RHEL6 is used to actively command and monitor power usage in great detail. network (SAN) devices or firmware-based RAID drives. RHEL6 also takes advantage of multiqueue networking. While we were unable to test this, we find its inclusion encouraging, as it gives administrators the capability to assign core-specific I/O tasks at a low-level, meaning that traffic doesn’t have to go up and down an application stack to get CPU boosts. Virtualisation support Support for kernel-based KVM hypervisor
virtualisation is native (as it is on Ubuntu Server) and supports up to 64 virtual CPUs on virtualisation-enhanced AMD and Intel server platforms. CPU drivers (actually extensions) are available to put into virtual machines running atop KVM to enhance the virtual machine’s ability to support updated CPU instruction sets. Like paravirtualisation, which makes generic socket connections to network and storage devices, CPU extensions allow applications written with advanced libraries (and their instruction sets) to skip the step of interpretation when the hypervisor must deal with complex VM instance states. The result ought to be higher efficiency between hypervisor host and VM. Cloud connections We examined how RHEL6 plays into
cloud platforms and came to several conclusions.
1. Where a server is the host to user
environments, RHEL6’s SELinux controls, coupled with advanced Control Group use, permits a user and session resource partitioning profile that places a number of walls and limitations around users/tasks. As a user/process host, it passes nicely. 2. Where RHEL6 becomes a host for the random/sporadic traffic associated with private cloud virtual machines, RHEL6 is poised towards virtual machine life-cycling. But it has no inherent applications that spin up instances the way an enlightened civilian might like, and so private cloud management tools are needed. 3. Using RHEL6 in the public cloud ought to be simpler, as RHEL6 can play with its KVM use and ability to confine instances with SELinux and cgroups. 4. We found KVM simpler to install and support than XenServer 5.6 (the latest version), but it’s ultimately not as fullfeatured as XenServer. 5. RHEL6 plays now on ESXi and therefore VMware’s vCloud. RedHat includes a new tool, virt-v2v which allows importation of Xen, ESX, or other KVM virtual machines. Unfortunately, it can’t be done live—just from disk images. Conclusion Red Hat 6 is a maturation of concepts
found in prior editions, but with a decided emphasis on directory services integration and security components. It’s neither radical nor destabilising, but it does put Red Hat at the forefront of sponsoring the KVM hypervisor infrastructure. While there are pockets of excitement, there are many smaller components that have been revised to give Red Hat 6 an incremental feel, and one we think is solid. fOR MORE PRODUCT REVIEWS, LOG ON TO: www.networkworldme.com
February 2011 Network World Middle East 39
toolshed tools & gadgets
Cisco TelePresence EX60
isco has launched its all-new face-to-face virtual meeting solution, Cisco TelePresence EX60. This system represents the latest addition to the Cisco TelePresence EX Series, which also includes the Cisco TelePresence EX90. Designed for desktops at work or at home, Cisco’s all-in-one EX60 is stylish and simple to use, offering an interactive touch screen and true, lifelike full HD video in a large-screen format. The Cisco TelePresence EX60 combines work, communication and collaboration – all on the desktop – with just the touch of a finger. It works anytime, anywhere and supports full HD video, natural collaboration and a simple touch-screen interface for a complete solution that keeps conversations natural and productive. Cisco TelePresence EX60 offers video resolutions of 1080p30 and 720p60 on a high-quality 21.5-inch screen with clear 1920-by-1080 resolution that enables participants to work, meet and collaborate via a one-tool device.
Motorola launches Xoom tablet
otorola has finally unveiled its highly anticipated tablet, the Xoom, with a 10.1-inch touchscreen with the latest version of Google’s Android mobile software on board, formerly called Honeycomb. Motorola’s Xoom hosts a number of upgraded specifications that could see the device carry a hefty price tag. Motorola did not announce pricing. It has two digital cameras on board: A front-facing 2.0-megapixel camera acts as a webcam for video chat, and a 5.0-megapixel camera on back is for photos and 720p high-definition video capture. The touchscreen has a resolution of 1280-by-800 pixels, compared with the iPad’s 1024 by 768 and Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Tab, at 1024 by 600. Users will be able to watch 1080p HD video on the Xoom and output HD video to other devices via an HDMI slot. Adobe’s Flash Player is also on board the Xoom, making it good for viewing Web video. The Xoom measures 249.1 millimeters by 167.8mm and is 12.9mm thick. By way of comparison, the iPad is 13.4mm thick and the Galaxy Tab is 11.98mm thick. At 730 grams, the Xoom weighs the same as the iPad with 3G and Wi-Fi.
40 Network World Middle East February 2011
SanDisk offers security software and online back-up
anDisk is offering encryption and online backup features across its entire retail USB portfolio. SanDisk SecureAccess software protects files against unauthorized access by creating an encrypted, password-protected folder or ‘vault’ on the USB drive. The software also includes up to 2 GB of secure online backup storage offered by Dmailer. SanDisk is also expanding its USB product portfolio with two new drives to meet the needs of a broad set of customers. The SanDisk Ultra® USB flash drive features faster transfer rates and the SanDisk Cruzer Edge USB drive offers easy portability. The SanDisk Ultra USB flash drive features faster transfer speeds of up to 15 megabytes per second and large storage capacities that help consumers conveniently manage libraries of multimedia content. The drive carries a five year limited warranty and comes in 8GB to 32GB capacities. The SanDisk Cruzer Edge USB flash drive features a compact slider design for easy portability, allowing consumers to carry anywhere their photos, music and videos with them. The drive carries a two year limited warranty and is available in 2GB to 16GB capacities.
WD expands enterprise portfolio
estern Digital has launched its second-generation WD S25 SAS drives and its latest WD RE SAS 3.5inch drives for the traditional enterprise market. Shipping now, the 2.5-inch, 10,000 RPM, WD S25 with SAS 6 Gb/s interface hard drives offer IT professionals ultra-reliable and efficient, high-performance storage with new 450 GB and 600 GB capacities. The WD S25 line, including the previously released 147 GB and 300 GB capacities, is designed for mission-critical server and storage systems. Also shipping now to OEMs, the new 3.5-inch, 7,200 RPM, WD RE SAS with 6 Gb/s interface hard drives offer 1TB and 2TB capacity points, and represent a key addition to WD’s expanding enterprise product portfolio. The WD RE SAS drives mark an important commitment to the expansion of WD’s SAS portfolio for high-capacity data center storage, storage area networks (SAN), network attached storage (NAS), direct attach storage (DAS), networked surveillance systems and cloud storage.
February 2011 Network World Middle East 41
layer 8 Sign of the digital times
Google on hiring spree
ony is shuttering one of its largest CD manufacturing plants - citing the impact of digital downloads and other economic issues. The plant, which is in Pitman, NJ and has been in operation for some 50 years, first producing vinyl records, will close on March 31 and about 300 people will lose their jobs. The 500,000-square-foot warehouse began producing vinyl LPs in 1960 and moved to CD manufacturing in 1988. At its capacity, the plant was making 18 million CDs per month, according to its website. The closure is a reflection of the seismic shift that has been going on in the music industry for years. In the first half of 2009, CD album sales were down about 18% to 110.3 million units from 134.6 million units during that same time last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Vinyl record sales actually have been doing quite well, over the past four years. In 2009, 2.5 million albums were sold in the US, up from 1.88 million in 2008, according to Nielsen Entertainment.
US begins sophisticated wireless jamming project
he US military is beginning to develop algorithms and other technology that can automatically learn to jam certain new wireless transmissions that may threaten personnel. BAE Systems recently got about $8.4 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencyto begin work on what’s known as the Behavioral Learning for Adaptive Electronic Warfare (BLADE)system. According to DARPA: As wireless communication devices become more adaptive and responsive to their environment by using technology such as Dynamic Spectrum Allocation, the effectiveness of fixed countermeasures may become severely degraded. The BLADE program will develop algorithms and techniques that will let our electronic warfare systems to automatically learn to jam new RF threats in the field. DARPA added that it expects new software algorithms will be integrated into existing electronic warfare gear and not require new hardware.
42 Network World Middle East February 2011
oogle seems poised to hire more than 6,000 people this year all goes according to plan. That amazing fact was posted on the company’s website by Alan Eustace, Google’s senior vice president of engineering and research. “In 2010 we added more than 4,500 Googlers, primarily in engineering and sales: second only to 2007 when we added over 6,000 people to Google. I love Google because of our people. It’s inspiring to be part of the team. And that’s why I am excited about 2011-because it will be our biggest hiring year in company history,” Eustace wrote. The hiring figure is based on Google’s growing efforts in mobile display advertising and the cloud to name a few successes, Eustace stated. “Amazingly, Android now runs on over 100 devices with more than 300,000 activations each day. Chrome has at least 120 million active users and it’s growing quickly. Last year more than 1 million businesses switched to Google Apps and embraced its 100% web approach.“
NASA’s Hubble spots most far away galaxy ever
stronomers said they have used the NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to spot a galaxy whose light traveled 13.2 billion years to reach Hubble, about 150 million years longer than the previous record holder. According to NASA the tiny, dim object is a compact galaxy of blue stars that existed 480 million years after the big bang. More than 100 such mini-galaxies would be needed to make up our Milky Way. The new research offers surprising evidence that the rate of star birth in the early universe grew dramatically, increasing by about a factor of 10 from 480 million years to 650 million years after the big bang, NASA stated.
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