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SN blogs: Big data business initiatives on the horizon

SN blogs: This week, analysts discuss how big data initiatives are affecting businesses; one expert warns about the dangers of unknown appliances in the data center.

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Nik Rouda shares the first part of a series that discusses leader perspectives on big data business use cases. After interviewing leaders of big data initiatives at 10 different companies, ESG intends to establish a baseline of the most common strategies, as well as identify the "philosophical and environmental differences" that lead to more distinctive efforts. Rouda explains the business objectives of these companies, which range from healthcare and finance to marketing. Among the objectives: plan strategies to accelerate revenues and market share; increase business agility around market shifts, macro-economy and competition; to more successfully "fail fast" in testing ideas and to optimize resource utilization -- both equipment and human. There is a wide variety of use cases for big data, which Rouda says is part of what makes big data so beneficial to business. You can use it for whatever your particular needs are.

Read more about the findings from the ESG big data leader interviews.

White box switching transitions are possible in the enterprise

Current Analysis analyst Mike Fratto says that getting enterprises to adopt white box switching will be a challenge, but it's not impossible. Ultimately, Fratto says, enterprises will not migrate to a new technology system unless there is a compelling benefit. Even if an enterprise decides to make a shift, it will usually seek guidance from a value-added reseller (VAR), integrator or consultant. Still, a company can create a compelling case to move to white box switching if it does a few things, Fratto explains. First and foremost, the VAR will have to create a product that is capable of doing at least the minimum of what the current technology already does. In addition, the VAR will have to offer prolonged trials with flexible licenses and provide integration services for the customer's existing network monitoring, management and other operations software. In other words, to ensure a successful transition to white box switching, the more support IT managers get, the better the outcome.

Read more of how Fratto suggests white box switching vendors can appeal to enterprise customers.

Learn your appliances to avoid compromising security in the data center

Virtualized Geek blogger Keith Townsend says that it's important for enterprise customers to understand which appliances are running in their data centers. He uses Linux as an example of how difficult it is for IT administrators to track down every version of every Linux appliance that is running, virtually or physically, within a data center. It isn't worth the security cost to leave those details unverified. Townsend says a good place to start in figuring out the details is to go to the vendor and ask about a history of updates and what the vendor did to counteract vulnerabilities. He also says to look for release notes of the product in question. If there aren't release notes, Townsend says that is a red flag.

Read more about how to keep appliances from compromising security.

Network address translation cheat sheet

Pack Pushers blogger John Kerns says that it can be hard to remember how to implement the different kinds of network address translation (NAT) available on ASA and IOS devices. With three different syntax versions between the two devices, the whole process can be a tough pill to swallow. Kerns provides a link to a chart that shows three sample configurations for each NAT type:

Regular Static NAT (one IP to one server), Regular Static PAT (one IP to multiple servers), Static Policy NAT, Regular Dynamic Interface NAT/PAT (basic Internet access), Regular Dynamic NAT/PAT (basic Internet access) and Identity NAT/NAT Exemption/No-NAT (with interface PAT).

Read more to see the order of operations for each NAT implementation.

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