Power Grid, Utilities Seen as Most Vulnerable to Cyber Attack

Our trip to the 2012 ISSA International Conference in Anaheim, California has us thinking even more about cyber terrorism. We surveyed more than 100 security professionals while we were there and they told us, among other things, that 79% of them are expecting a major cyber terrorism event within the year.

If so many of the world’s top IT security pros are expecting a major strike to happen so soon, who is at risk? When asked what the most likely targets were for cyber terrorism, 48% of respondents said it is the nation’s power grid and utilities. The security professionals commented on the lack of protection for those targets and their connectivity with the Internet.

More and more, we are realizing that the front lines of the fight against cyber terrorism are not with the CIA or in some military bunker. They’re in the IT departments of countless electricity companies, water providers, natural gas companies and various other utilities. And wow, do we have some work to do.

Interop New York City 2012!

 

While attending Interop New York a couple weeks ago, I caught myself reflecting on Interop experiences throughout my career.   Since my first Interop in San Jose, CA in October, 1991 (I was only twelve at the time  –really!)  tons of things have changed, but many remain the same.  For one, Interop was and still is a really big deal.  As a huge repository for vendor-neutral technology forums, educational sessions and wide ranging product displays.  Interop has helped us experience scads of new and cool “stuff” right there on the show room floor.  In my nubile beginnings as a Systems Engineer, my company’s senior SEs had been so emphatic we attend Interop that we would pay for the trip ourselves if the company wouldn’t sponsor us!

This year at Interop New York, IXIA|Anue had a presentation:  Big Data, Big Visibility, Big Control by Larry Hart, Chip Webb and Todd Kaloudis of OpnetCheck it out here, or download the whitepaper on Big Data.  Contrast this with Interop  ‘91, where one of the coolest   exhibitions was the SNMP Managed Toaster with its very own toaster MIB.  This wasn’t just the original toaster from the year before that controlled when to cook the bread but 1991’s toaster MIB had been extended to show off SNMP Get-Next requests so a little Lego crane could put the bread into the toaster all via network management software from the showroom floor.

Twenty one years ago we had monitored toasters.  Today, we use Network Monitoring Switches like the Net Tool Optimizer to direct traffic to multiple monitoring devices doing Application Performance Monitoring, SIEM attack detection, network diagnostics, Web Customer Experience monitoring and more.  We manage localized tool farms in huge data centers or distributed multi-interface devices like LTE MMEs and probes.  We have an incredibly cool Enterprise MIB of our own that won’t toast whole wheat but will tell you how many PCI non-compliant protocol packets just floated in off your core network TAP and let you redirect that traffic to additional tools while changing the filter based on your conditions with our flexible API.  Get-Next on that table!  Quite the Interop evolution – from toasters to network clouds.

I also had the chance to talk to people from well, everywhere; literally.  Maybe because it was the Big Apple or companies understanding that Interop is the place to go.  Here management and engineers alike can listen and learn from the best in the industry and view products and trends in network technologies.  The show is loaded with users from all walks of life and Interop provides the valuable chance to see and speak to others doing things they need to do too.

In ’91, Interop seemed like a lot of Silicon Valley types; today, it’s gone global and anyone who’s anyone has spread their wings with an international presence.   Today, global is local.  Whether its WebEx meetings about moving Big Data around the cloud or sitting on a marshmallow stool in our cool IXIA|Anue booth helping someone from Azerbaijan design a monitoring infrastructure to meet their needs, Interop lets people like me share experiences with others like we were next door neighbors.

Check out the Ixia booth at Interop NYC, as photographed with the nifty CamWow application.  The booth featured the IXIA|Anue Net Tool Optimizer, and we announced our Advanced Feature Module 16 (AFM16) at the show.

Interop was great and NYC was friendly to us – we spoke with a lot of network engineers and data center managers, some of whom were already familiar with the network monitoring switch.  Those who were not familiar were very interested, noting the power it puts at their fingertips.

Ixia and Gigamon Have 147% Market Share in Network Visibility

 

I know. I know. Two companies can’t actually have more than 100% market share, but since I read it on the Internet – it must be true! Right?!?

According to Gigamon’s website they have 90% market share in Intelligent Traffic Visibility Networking.  From their website today: 

Gigamon’s website they have 90% market share in Intelligent Traffic Visibility Networking

This is the same market segment in which Ixia’s Network Visibility Solutions (NVS) participates. Ixia’s acquisition of Anue Systems provided some early financial transparency to this nascent market of visibility controllers (aka, Network Packet Brokers, Intelligent Management Aggregation Networks, network monitoring switches, packet aggregators, traffic aggregators, visibility fabrics, bypass switch and many, many more). Gigamon’s IPO filing provided even more and opened up their revenue to public scrutiny.

Here are the facts related to market share: With the S1 and a little bit of math, you can derive their most recent reported 12 months of revenue at $74.7M (ending March 2012). For the same period, Ixia’s NVS group delivered $47.6M in revenue as reported in the acquisition press release.  If 90% market share is garnered with $74.7M in revenue, the combined revenues of the two companies yields an astonishing, and impossible, combined market share of 147%.

Preposterous? Yes!

Gigamon sales teams have told customers for years that they dominate this market segment so it’s a welcome relief to finally have the data to refute their self-aggrandized view of market domination. We knew all along this wasn’t the case. Our customers knew it as well, which is why so many chose us. Yet, our primary competitor continued to beat the drum hoping everyone would simply believe and buy.

To hearken back to the days of President Reagan standing at the Berlin Wall, let me proclaim, “Gigamon, tear down this web page!”To hearken back to the days of President Reagan standing at the Berlin Wall, let me proclaim, “Gigamon, tear down this web page!”

BTW and in case you’re wondering…neither company derives all its revenue from visibility controllers, but both derive a majority of their revenue from this business making this analysis, shall we say, directionally correct.

 

 

 

Interop 2012, Anue – Life in the Fast Lane

I’ve been to a lot of Interops, but Interop 2012 Las Vegas was by far the most exhilarating. I joined Anue over a month ago after a 12-year stint leading product development teams at Dell. Dell was definitely life in the fast lane. Now I’m living life in the faster lane! Just think, one month in for me and we announce Ixia will be acquiring Anue. Resultantly, our booth was a hotbed for the inquisitive.

The visionary CEO and management team at Ixia are making an amazing move with this acquisition that will position Ixia in both the pre-deployment arena to a player in production network optimization solutions for data center, cloud providers, telecoms and service providers. While enterprises have often used Ixia in their lab environments, this extends their reach into the production network side of the enterprise in one bold move.

From Anue’s standpoint, the acquisition is going to quickly make us a strong contender in international markets. Our technology is easy enough to understand – we deliver the right data to the right tools at the right time. Yet, not enough have heard about this market. Well, they will now, as Ixia’s reach, both in the US and in other international markets, is extensive and will benefit Anue.

Anue Systems Interop Booth 2012On top of that, Anue’s CTO, Chip Webb, had a session on the Big Data track Monday.  It was interesting –the reality is that you can’t do Big Data without a high-performance, secure network. Anue provides the visibility that enables Big Data to work well. And, yes, Big Data really is a different world. Big Data actually makes Anue’s Network Tool Optimizer technology even more important. Not only is security and performance monitoring important with Big Data, the movement of applications, trend analysis and business intelligence necessitates application behavior monitoring.   One thing that struck me about Interop 2012 overall is a refreshed enthusiasm in IT technologies that deliver business value. To do that you have to be living life in faster lane – seems to me Anue fit right in.

Anue Big Data Presentation at Interop

Interop Las Vegas: Enterprise Cloud Summit - Big Data

 

Our Anue Systems CTO, Chip Webb, will be interviewed by Jeremy Edberg, Lead Cloud Reliability Engineer from Netflix, at the Enterprise Cloud Summit – Big Data at Interop next week.

Big Data is a technology that is emerging fast, due to its extreme business value. People are really excited about its potential.  Big Data really is different.   I like this description of Big Data from O’Reilly Radar: Big data is data that exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems. The data is too big, moves too fast, or doesn’t fit the strictures of your database architectures. To gain value from this data, you must choose an alternative way to process it.

Enterprise Cloud Summit - Big Data at Interop Las Vegas

Workloads are bigger, application architecture is different, and applications can be really sophisticated, such as genetic research (protein folding), wind tunnel simulation (one of my personal favorites), stock trading, and web log analysis (think 10s of millions of people visiting websites for targeted advertising.)  Organizations have been collecting logs for a long time, but now have a framework to analyze this mass amount of data and make money from it.

What Is Apache Hadoop?

Whether it is your own implementation of Hadoop on your own infrastructure, or you are using tools like Karmasphere to give analysis capabilities to non-technical users, there are a lot of applications (MapReduce, Pig, Hive and others) and network (how your clusters talk and troubleshooting) work and you want to make sure that your data is secure since it is usually sensitive data.

Three distinct monitoring areas emerge with Big Data: application behavior, network and security.  The tough part is that different groups will be doing monitoring using different tools.  Without a network monitoring switch between the data center production network and monitoring and security tools, a lack of network data access points will force compromises between the different groups, resulting in suboptimal monitoring, which can lead to outages and incidents.Don't Compromise and Learn more about Anue Systems - Net Tool Optimizer 5288 Product Overview

The network monitoring switch aggregates and filters data from across the network so that any number of monitoring tools can get exactly the data they need – no more, no less.  Instead of worrying about limited network access points (SPANs for port mirroring and TAPs) and forcing monitoring requirements from different groups and tools to need to be painstakingly prioritized, you don’t need to compromise.The different groups and tools responsible for monitoring Big Data: application behavior, network and security can all get what they need WITHOUT SACRIFICE, using a network monitoring switch.

Please consider attending Enterprise Cloud Summit – Big Data.  Chip’s time on the agenda is 2:45pm  May 7,  in Mandalay Bay, Lagoon D. Stop by the Anue Systems booth #527.