Thursday, July 30, 2015

F5Agility15 - The Preview Video

I preview the F5 Agility 2015 conference happening August 4-6 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. Agility 2015 will lay the foundation for your business to innovate new paths to success, expand through barriers to growth, and deliver the applications your people need to be successful in their work.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Is 2015 Half Empty or Half Full?

With 2015 crossing the half way point, let's take a look at some technology trends thus far.

Breaches: Well, many databases are half empty due to the continued rash of intrusions while the crooks are half full with our personal information. Data breaches are on a record pace this year and according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), there have been 400 data incidents as of June 30, 2015. One more than this time last year. And, 117,576,693 records had been compromised. ITRC also noted a 85% increase in the number of breaches within the banking sector. From health care to government agencies to hotel chains to universities and even Major League Baseball, breaches and attacks are now a daily occurrence.

Cloud: Who would've thought back in 2008 that this cloud thing would now be half full? Over the last couple years, the 'cloud' has become a very viable option for organizations large and small. It is becoming the platform for IoT and many organizations such as Google and GE are now moving critical corporate applications to the cloud. While hybrid is the new normal remember, The Cloud is Still just a Datacenter Somewhere.

DNS: While IPv4 addresses are now completely empty, DNS seems to be half to almost full in 2015. DNS continues to be a target for attackers along with being an enabler for IoT. It is so important that Cisco recently acquired OpenDNS to help fight IoT attacks and the courts got a guilty plea from an Estonian man who altered DNS settings on infected PCs with the DNSChanger malware. I think of DNS as a silent sufferer - you really don't care about it until it doesn't work. Start caring this year.

Internet: Full but still growing. As noted above, IPv4 addresses are gone. Asia, Europe, Latin America and now North America have run out of IPv4 addresses and have exhausted their supplies. If you're wondering how to handle this glass, F5 has some awesome 4to6 and 6to4 solutions.

IoT: Things, sensors and actuators are all the buzz and are certainly half full for 2015. At this time last year, IoT was at the top of the Gartner Hype Cycle and it has certainly not disappointed. Stories abound about Internet of Things Security Risks and Challenges, 10 of the biggest IoT data generators, the Top 10 Worst Wearable Tech Devices So Far, The (Far-Flung) Future Of Wearables, along with the ability to Smell Virtual Environments and if We Need Universal Robot Rights, Ethics And Legislation. RoboEthics, that is.

Mobile: We are mobile, our devices are mobile and the applications we access are now probably mobile also. Mobility, in all it's connotations, is a huge concern for enterprises and it'll only get worse as we start wearing our connected clothing to the office. The Digital Dress Code has emerged. Mobile is certainly half full and there is no empting it now.

Privacy: At this point with all the surveillance, data breaches, gadgets gathering our daily data and our constant need to tell the world what we're doing every second, this is probably bone dry. Pardon, half empty, sticking to the theme.

That's what I got so far and I'm sure 2015's second half will bring more amazement, questions and wonders. We'll do our year in reviews and predictions for 2016 as we all lament, where did 2015 go? There is that old notion that if you see a glass half full, you're an optimist and if you see it half empty you are a pessimist. Actually, you need to understand what the glass itself was before the question. Was it empty and filled half way or was it full and poured out? There's you answer!

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  • It's all contained within the blog.
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Monday, July 13, 2015

F5 Animated Whiteboards

F5 Animated Whiteboards offer a quick, visual story to some of today's technology challenges and how we can help solve those headaches. Our latest covers Next Generation IPS and how SSL encryption of applications is becoming the norm. SSL ensures the integrity and privacy of transactions, but poses a visibility problem for IPS systems. This lack of visibility means attackers can evade IPS by encrypting their transmissions within SSL. Learn how F5's intelligent ADC combined with next-generation IPS provides a solution that eliminates dangerous blind spots.

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Other F5 Animated Whiteboards

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I Almost Bit...and Would've Been Bitten

CoconutMy daughter has been asking for a puppy for over a year. A Chow puppy. I've had Chow Chows my entire life and our current Chow, Max, is a big 72lb cinnamon boy. He's also the medical alert dog for our daughter. Max, a rescue, is about 5 years old and we wanted to get a puppy so Max-Boy can help train the new fur-ball.

With the amount of travel I do, we've been pushing it off for a while but it came to a head this week since the kid is now on summer vacation and the pleas have been daily. Instead of 'Are we there yet, are we there yet,' it has been, 'When are we getting a puppy? When are we getting a puppy?!?'

So I looked. Specifically for a recently born cream female.

And wouldn't you have guessed, I found some! And even found one that would've been about an hour driving distance. So I emailed them. Within the hour we get an email back telling us that the puppy is available but the family is in Fargo, ND due to the mother recently passing away. They are selling the pups, which were their mom's, since they remind them of their mum and it hurts to see the pups. He also asks a bunch of questions like, How old? Married? Have kids? Location? Why this Breed, etc. It didn't occur to me that the text of the email was written like so many scam emails with poor punctuation, bad sentence structure and a few things that didn't add up. I was so excited to have quickly found, at a reasonable price, the puppy of my daughter's dreams.

Then we spoke and I started digging.

He had an accent like so many of those 'This is MS security and your Windows computer is doing bad things...let me connect.' But again, I didn't want to categorize this guy just by an accent if he was really legit. But I did warn him that my wife is a retired US Marshall and if this was a scam, she'd be on his tail. He didn't seem concerned and continued to push for the sale. I told him that we had family across the border in Minnesota and could they visit to see the pup. While hesitant, he said yes and provided an address. I looked up the address and it was an apartment building and according to one of the sites, no pets allowed. Hmmm.

He also had an odd name - one that I couldn't find in any search. Path. Path was his name.

While on the phone, I started to find a bunch of rip-off reports about a lady with the same phone number as Path. He said it was his wife but had no idea about the bad reviews. I also asked him about his 'home' number and wife's email being listed on a scammers website. I mean, you gotta really be doing something bad to actually make it on one of these lists. He never answered that question but did happily send pictures of the pup.

That's where he messed up.

We thought two of the pictures looked familiar and did an image search. Wouldn't ya know, those pictures were lifted off a UK pet site that listed a white, chow puppy back in 2012! And I found another picture he sent from a German site that sells dogs. Although the suspicions were there, that's when it really sunk in. I was about to be swindled. I searched for dog scams and that's where I found a bunch of scammed people talking about similar sob stories. My wife died, my kid died, my aunt died and we need to get rid of the dog due to memories. You'd think families would keep the pet as a sweet remembrance, not a painful reminder. We called the Fargo PD, gave them all the info and they seemed appreciative, even though the address was probably fake too.

We quickly brought that to a screeching halt and were glad we caught it in flight. I was tempted to ask him why the pictures he sent were on other sites but felt I needed to cut all communication. We went on to next listing...a real one with verifiable info and now have a chow puppy girl arriving in July. Her name is Coconut and that's her at the top.

Scams and scammers are all over the place and even seasoned folks can get caught up, especially when emotions and children are at play. Even so, I can tell you that doing a little rational research can save you from being a statistic.

And watch out for those summer scams.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The IoT Ready Platform

Over the last couple months, in between some video coverage for events, I've been writing a series of IoT stories. From the basic What are These "Things”? and IoT Influence on Society to the descriptive IoT Effect on Applications and the IoT Ready Infrastructure. I thought it only fair to share how F5 can play within an IoT infrastructure.

Because F5 application services share a common control plane—the F5 platform—we’ve simplified the process of deploying and optimizing IoT application delivery services. With the elastic power of Software Defined Application Services (SDAS), you can rapidly provision IoT application services across the data center and into cloud computing environments, reducing the time and costs associated with deploying new applications and architectures.

The beauty of SDAS is that it can provide the global services to direct the IoT devices to the most appropriate data center or hybrid cloud depending on the request, context, and application health. Customers, employees, and the IoT devices themselves receive the most secure and fastest experience possible.

F5's high-performance services fabric supports traditional and emerging underlay networks. It can deployed a top traditional IP and VLAN-based networks, works with SDN overlay networks using NVGRE or VXLAN (as well as a variety of less well-known overlay protocols) and integrates with SDN network fabrics such as those from Cisco/Insieme, Arista and BigSwitch among others.

Hardware, Software or Cloud

The services fabric model enables consolidation of services onto a common platform that can be deployed on hardware, software or in the cloud. This reduces operational overhead by standardizing management as well as deployment processes to support continuous delivery efforts. By sharing service resources and leveraging fine-grained multi-tenancy, the cost of individual services is dramatically reduced, enabling all IoT applications - regardless of size - to take advantage of services that are beneficial to their security, reliability and performance.

The F5 platform:

  • Provides the network security to protect against inbound attacks
  • Offloads SSL to improve the performance of the application servers
  • Not only understands the application but also know when it is having problems
  • Ensures not only the best end user experience but also quick and efficient data replication

F5 Cloud solutions can automate and orchestrate the deployment of IoT application delivery services across both traditional and cloud infrastructures while also managing the dynamic redirection of workloads to the most suitable location. These application delivery services ensure predictable IoT experiences, replicated security policy, and workload agility.

iot diagram

F5 BIG-IQ™ Cloud can federate management of F5 BIG-IP® solutions across both traditional and cloud infrastructures, helping organizations deploy and manage IoT delivery services in a fast, consistent, and repeatable manner, regardless of the underlying infrastructure. In addition, BIG-IQ Cloud integrates or interfaces with existing cloud orchestration engines such as VMware vCloud Director to streamline the overall process of deploying applications.

Extend, Scale - and Secure

F5 Cloud solutions offer a rapid Application Delivery Network provisioning solution, drastically reducing the lead times for expanding IoT delivery capabilities across data centers, be they private or public. As a result, organizations can efficiently:

  • Extend data centers to the cloud to support IoT deployments
  • Scale IoT applications beyond the data center when required.
  • Secure and accelerate IoT connections to the cloud

For maintenance situations, organizations no longer need to manually redirect traffic by configuring applications. Instead, IoT applications are proactively redirected to an alternate data center prior to maintenance.

For continuous DDoS protection, F5 Silverline DDoS Protection is a service delivered via the F5 Silverline cloud-based platform that provides detection and mitigation to stop even the largest of volumetric DDoS attacks from reaching your IoT network.  

The BIG-IP platform is application and location agnostic, meaning the type of application or where the application lives really does not matter. As long as you tell the BIG-IP platform where to find the IoT application, the BIG-IP platform will deliver it.

Bringing it all together, F5 Synthesis enables cloud and application providers as well as mobile network operators the architectural framework necessary to ensure the performance, reliability and security of IoT applications.

Connected devices are here to stay—forcing us to move forward into this brave new world where almost everything generates data traffic. While there’s much to consider, proactively addressing these challenges and adopting new approaches for enabling an IoT-ready network will help organizations chart a clearer course toward success.

An IoT-ready environment enables IT to begin taking advantage of this societal shift without a wholesale rip-and-replace of existing technology. It also provides the breathing room IT needs to ensure that the coming rush of connected devices does not cripple the infrastructure. This process ensures benefits will be realized without compromising on the operational governance required to ensure availability and security of IoT network, data, and application resources. It also means IT can manage IoT services instead than boxes.

However an IoT ready infrastructure is constructed, it is a transformational journey for both IT and the business. It is not something that should be taken lightly or without a long-term strategy in place. When done properly, F5-powered IoT ready infrastructure can bring significant benefits to an organization and its people.

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