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Antifragile planning in network design and management

This week, bloggers explore antifragile network design and management, networking acquisitions and CISO portfolio management.

John Merline, blogging with Packet Pushers, explored the concept of antifragile network design and management. Merline pointed to examples of recent black swan events, such as the partial router failure that brought down Southwest Airlines' IT infrastructure on July 20, and a fire at Delta Air Lines' Atlanta data center earlier this month that paralyzed the carrier.

Black swan events have three main attributes: They lie outside of regular expectations, they have extreme effects and are often rationalized in hindsight. Merline said he believes scholar Nassim Nicholas Taleb's ideas on antifragile network design and management must be applied to reduce the possibility of black swan incidents, especially in an age of cloud-native design.

Merline said examples of antifragile network design and management include campus networks where each endpoint connects to two technology stacks, wired and wireless -- or sometimes cellular. In this type of network, one technology is primary and the other is secondary, allowing endpoints to simultaneously connect across both networks. Merline added that this antifragile design can be applied to cloud computing by running the same application in multiple public or private clouds.

Explore more of Merline's thoughts on antifragile network design.

Which company acquisitions will fly?

Andrew Lerner, analyst with Gartner, highlighted his list of "cool" network acquisitions. He said he believes the acquisition of Arkin by VMware and Appcito by A10 will ultimately benefit the customers of all four companies. Appcito and Arkin topped Gartner's list of "cool" vendors in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Appcito, Lerner said, sparked investor interest with its cloud-native application delivery controller product, which A10 will now use to meet the needs of DevOps teams and cloud-native applications. Arkin's technology, meanwhile, addresses overlay-underlay visibility problems related to NSX.

In addition to Arkin and Appcito, other transactions winning Lerner's praise include Cradlepoint's purchase of Pertino, Riverbed Technology's takeover of Ocedo, Hewlett Packard Enterprise's acquisition of ConteXtream and Cisco's purchase of Embrane. Lerner said he believes the coming months will see additional consolidation.

Read more of Lerner's review of recent acquisitions.

Managing CISO portfolios

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., said he believes enterprise CISOs are in an unenviable position. Chief information security officers have a long and growing list of tasks and responsibilities to protect sensitive data and assets. However, ESG research indicated 46% of organizations reported a "problematic shortage" of cybersecurity skills in 2016.

One CISO grouped priorities into three different categories. CISOs seek technology-centric alternatives, including many that offer to "set and forget." These can include next-generation AV and microsegmentation options. CISOs must also focus on resource-intensive projects, like incident response automation and orchestration. Simultaneously, many CISOs are working to understand which IT functions they don't need to manage any longer. Case in point: email security, which can be outsourced to groups like Symantec, MessageLabs or Proofpoint.

Explore Oltsik's ideas on CISO portfolio management.

Next Steps

Avoiding fragile data centers

Looking into channel acquisitions

How CISO job descriptions are changing

Dig Deeper on Network management and monitoring