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SN blogs: ACI network automation tool gets thumbs-up

Cisco's network automation tool, ACI PowerTool, gets the once-over; BlackBerry's purchase of Good means more EMM consolidation.

Network engineer and blogger Jason Edelman is all about automating the network. And this week, he provides an introduction to Cisco's network automation tool, ACI PowerTool, as an alternative to Python and Ansible. PowerTool is a PowerShell module designed to automate the Cisco ACI fabric that underpins the vendor's approach to software-defined networking. The concept isn't new; its cousin, the UCS PowerTool, has been around for years and enables users to automate Cisco's unified computing system offering. Edelman offers readers a variety of screenshots and examples of code to illustrate how the ACI PowerTool can be applied, as well as some advice about what to do if users run into trouble. For those IT operations already using PowerShell, PowerTool has some compelling advantages, Edelman says.

See what Edelman has to say about ACI PowerTool.

Hybrid cloud complicates security

As data centers become more fragmented and segmented, they are also becoming more disparate. And the more heterogeneous a data center, the more vulnerable it is to a malicious attack. Doug Cahill, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., said this year's VMworld conference offered CIOs some help when it comes to corralling their security strategies in a virtualized environment. Among the developments: the promise of network security policy management and orchestration tools that automate the management of firewalls.

With most enterprises living in a hybrid world for the foreseeable future, understanding which applications -- and associated security tools -- live on premises, and which ones go into the cloud or to a micro-segmented network is vital, Cahill says.

Check out more of Cahill's advice on what CIOs should do to secure hybrid clouds in a rapidly evolving data center environment.

EMM market shifting again

The enterprise mobile management (EMM) market is shifting again; this time, thanks to the recent announcement that BlackBerry is acquiring EMM provider Good Technology Inc. Matt Craig, an analyst with Nemertes Research in Mokena, Ill., said the purchase reflects the continuing consolidation of vendors in the mobility management space. The deal is expected to close later this year; in the meantime, Craig says current customers should sit and wait before they make any long-term decisions about their EMM strategies. Craig says he believes BlackBerry won't rush to integrate its platform with Good's; instead, it's more likely the acquisition is fueled by BlackBerry's need to increase its revenues after the meltdown of its smartphone business.

The acquisition follows similar moves by companies such as SAP, VMware and Citrix to shore up their mobile management portfolios.

Get Craig's opinion on the wave of EMM acquisitions.

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