From everyone at GDT, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I want to say thank you to our amazing customers for a phenomenal partnership in 2017. We continue to see digital transformation across our Customer base. Let me talk about a few key trends that we are seeing.
Digital is the new norm. Digital continues to be the result of the concurrence of IIOT, Data and automation. Hybrid Cloud continues to gain more interest as more Customers pivot towards combining the best of private and public cloud solutions. Most of these decisions are centered on agility, business value and time to market. If you haven’t started having a cloud conversation or thinking about your Digital strategy, I strongly urge you to do so.
GDT continues to be a thought leader in these areas increasing the value of consumption of technology across our Customers. You will continue to see GDT’s commitment to delivering excellent customer experience as we always do, but also driving innovation across these areas to enable you through the various phases of your journey.
As a certified Lifecycle Advisor (LCA), GDT specializes in providing software solutions and enabling customer success through seamless adoption, management, and renewal services. Technology consumption models are shifting to a software-centric approach, many companies are finding themselves overly burdened by the administrative management of licenses, training, and adoption. Recognizing this, GDT has developed an approach to alleviate the complexity associated with these problems and provide customers with a holistic management solution.
Smart Licenses have opened up a new level of flexibility for our customers to manage users and licenses. GDT has the capability to consolidate smart licenses and reduce complexity of management. We are also able to transition existing product activation keys to smart licenses. Our focus is providing an end-to-end solution for the ongoing management and adoption of core licensing components of the enterprise IT environment.
GDT has invested in key certifications, processes, and tools to enable accelerated value capture through reduced management complexity as well as response and quoting times that are significantly faster than the industry average.
As technology environments become more complex, organizations are challenged with responding to a new and dynamically changing IT landscape. Teams can no longer keep up with ongoing maintenance using a standard manual approach while simultaneously executing planning and strategy to continue creating value for the organization.
In response to this set of challenges, GDT has initiated a strategic service offering leveraging Cisco Business Critical Services to deliver turnkey solutions for analytics, automation, compliance, and security. These services are designed to alleviate IT strain and allow teams to focus more on innovating and less on repetitive, daily maintenance tasks.
Cisco Business Critical Services is a suite of advanced optimization capabilities available from GDT that enable organizations to reduce risk, accelerate business agility, and reduce overall complexity and cost. Through an advanced analytics and machine learning platform, GDT guides customers through the process of automating and orchestrating complex processes, collecting and interpreting analytics data, and securing the environment through AI and advanced threat prevention techniques.
These new services harness the power and intelligence of AI and machine learning to optimize IT talent, knowledge, and skills and allow organizations to solve their problems first and ultimately get closer to their end user/customer. GDT integrates these services for our customers through extensive learning and collaboration to ensure deployments achieve the desired outcomes. We focus on decreasing downtime, accelerating remediation, delivering insights, and reducing risk.
Security moves very quickly. We live in a world where a ransomware attack can travel the globe and infect hundreds of thousands of computers before security engineers have had a chance to find out what is happening. To stay one step ahead of threats, we need cheat codes. We need to be able to see threats as they hit our networks before they get added to threat lists when it could already be too late.
LogRhythm is giving security engineers the tools to create their own cheat codes. It isn’t up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A, but if created properly, it could be just as powerful as the Konami Code. LogRhythm delivers their Advanced Intelligence Engine with over 900 rules out of the box, which cover a broad spectrum of attacks from insider threats to sophisticated intrusions. For more fine grain control over security alerts, security analysts can create custom rules for more visibility and detection within their own networks.
LogRhythm is different from traditional security monitoring tools since it correlates all data in the system logs, not just suspected security events. This makes tuning the platform for false positives more difficult but far more insightful. Modern attacks can come from any number of sources, many of which could look like normal traffic to a security analyst. LogRhythm’s Advanced Intelligence Engine uses 70 different log metadata fields to perform real-time analysis of all incoming logs for correlation and security anomalies.
For the high-volume alerts that have a standard response, security engineers can also leverage SmartResponse. SmartResponse can be called by Advanced Intelligence Engine rules to perform tasks and run scripts with little to no interaction from the engineer. If a critical service on a server crashes and doesn’t come back up after a set time, a SmartResponse can be triggered to restart it and alert an engineer, if repeated login attempts are detected for a user, SmartResponse can lock the account until an administrator investigates.
They may not be traditional cheat codes, but LogRhythm’s Advanced Intelligence Engine and SmartResponse allow security engineers to stay one step ahead of a world of threats.
Leading a team of developers working on IT solutions during a transcendental shift has been an eye-opening experience. Traditional software development has a cadence and regularity that makes integrating new processes fairly straightforward. It helps that a lot of the Agile ecosystem was crafted for and by software teams. The status-quo is always comfortable.
These days, I find myself in an environment that is anything but regular. The sheer landslide of products and solutions that are bubbling up as software permeates the traditional infrastructures of our networks and data centers leads to the technical equivalent of ‘Who’s On First?’. Pair that with a constant need to customize, integrate and create on top of canned solutions drives project complexity through the roof. To bring order to the madness requires a new look at practices from industry, engineering, and development.
Today’s IT teams are being caught flat-footed, without the processes or workflows to keep up with the pace of business or technology, but the Agile mantra of ‘release early, release often’ doesn’t apply when you need to guarantee five 9’s. Is there a middle ground? Can we speed the IT response while still guaranteeing uptime? The short answer is ‘Yes’, but it requires you ask another question, ‘How determined are you to change?’.
While delving deeply into how to achieve operational transformation is out of scope for this article, I would like to touch on some highlights from our own experience. Most importantly, you must fully embrace the concept of team. There really are no ‘I’s’, there is a unified front and the circle of trust is strong. The team should share a vision of their process which gives them ownership and responsibility. They should be equipped and trained on the tooling and solutions they will be employing. Borrowing practices from Kanban, Scrum, Lean and even XP can help your teams organize, prioritize and focus on work.
Another key component is planning. IT has always needed planning, but today’s orchestration engines, network controllers and automation solutions require a wider and deeper view into your ecosystem than you would normally see in your CMDB. With the advent of policy-based computing, software-defined networks and virtual network functions driving service delivery, the levels of abstraction have jumped several orders of magnitude. Standardization and homogeneous environments are critical to delivering the true value of automation.
Finally, borrowing the toolsets of the software engineer, including code repositories, CI/CD pipelining, test driven development and full dev/test/prod release cycles increases the team’s ability to manage the software-defined ecosystem. Sound like a lot? The good news is that you don’t have to consume all of this at once. You will have to see what works and what doesn’t for your teams in your environment. Just remember to come back to the main question, ‘How determined are you to change?’
To earn this distinction, GDT achieved multiple training and technical program certification requirements, demonstrating GDT’s proprietary methodology of designing and deploying next-generation carrier-class networks.
In November, GDT announced it was awarded a Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) contract for Managed Network Services for telecommunication (DIR-TSO-TMP-262). The contract is available to Texas state and local government, public education, and other public entities in Texas.
GDT was also recently named a lifecycle advisor (LCA) partner by Cisco. A program available by invitation only, LCA partner status expands GDT’s ability to help customers make the most of their IT investments through a high-touch, “white-glove” approach delivered by a team of dedicated lifecycle services resources providing visibility and responsiveness unparalleled in the industry.
Cisco is striving to shed its image as a purely proprietary company by launching a software release for its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) that extends integration with its software-defined networking rival VMware as well as in Microsoft environments. The San Jose, Calif.-based networking leader is also adding support for Docker containers. (more…)
Cisco Systems Monday disclosed plans to acquire privately held ParStream, developer of a distributed, massively parallel processing columnar database that’s designed to analyze and filter billions of records in sub-second time. (more…)
Chuck Robbins held his first earnings call as Cisco’s new CEO on Wednesday, reporting record revenue of $12.8 billion for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2015 with a solid uptick in its commercial business. (more…)