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Data Management became a movement & Commvault’s on board



Commvault data management in the cloud

You instantly know the Chief Marketing Officer at Commvault is an interesting fellow when you learn he has been thinking about how to drive global awareness for the carbon footprint of data centres and at the same time actually took part in a trek to the South Pole.

I mean seriously, how many brands would come up with that? But once you’ve listened to my discussion with Chris Powell, Chief Marketing Officer at Commvault, you’ll have no trouble at all envisioning how it came to be. 

How what came to be, you ask? Well, his trip to the South Pole, of course. Here’s the back story, and be sure to push “play” on that podcast to enjoy the rest of our amazing conversation.

My guest, Chris Powell, had the opportunity to meet Robert Swan, who as you may already know, in 1986 became the first person to replicate the original 1912 Scott Expedition by walking to the South Pole (this time, without perishing).

He’s an incredible human, Robert Swan is, and as Chris says, he’s a climate change warrior. He’s terrified at the scale and pace of change he sees in Antarctica and on top of that the uncertainty of what will happen in 2041 when the international treaty that protects Antarctica expires. 

Commvault Data Management Company

Swan is doing everything he can to raise awareness for Antarctica (read in to his 2041 movement here) and Chris had the vision to connect Commvault, a data management company, to it. Commvault signed on as a sponsor of Swan’s 2018 trek to the South Pole.

“What initially started as a data story with regard to protecting and managing the scientific data for the expedition evolved into the concept of the carbon footprint of data,” Chris explains. “As an enterprise, Commvault has over 20 exabytes of data managed by our software, and in many cases, it’s supported by data centres that are still using fossil fuels.” 

Data Management in the Cloud

Chris and Swan realised that moving data management to the cloud not only makes data more efficient, it reduces carbon footprint. And that became a Ted Talk by Chris Powell (a must watch by the way!).

So already we have a South Pole data management sponsorship that turns into carbon awareness Ted Talks – that’s quite an accomplishment, I’d say. But then it got better. He got to JOIN the expedition. Part of me is soooo envious I can hardly stand it, but the rest of me had an amazing time hearing first-hand from Chris what it was like being there (hint – listen to the podcast). 

I will share one of his main takeaways, having been through what sounds like a pretty gruelling experience. It’s “What are we going to do differently as individuals? As citizens? And with the companies we work for?” It sounds pithy but then you look at Commvault and what they put in to action and you realise, this vision has actually massively impacted the entire organisation. 

The excitement is unbelievable at Commvault, and we’re talking about #datastorage and #datamanagement! Here’s this tried and true company who for years has been ultra reliable, the best in the biz at #dataprotection, growing steadily, partnering away (it’s the full list of who’s who) and now they are the very definition of innovation. It’s culture and vision, I tell you. This is one of those fantastic organisations to be a part of where having a personal vision is welcomed. I mean, look at their #PlasticFreeJuly campaign. It makes sense that Chris is the CMO and Sanjay Mirchandani is CEO, you can feel how invigorating their enthusiasm is for the entire organisation. 

Commvault has had quite the run these last couple of months, culminating with acquiring Hedvig Inc. in early September. In our GDPR and security-tense times, it’s not only about managing and protecting your data. It’s about controlling it so that you can use it. 

That’s where Hedvig comes in. The Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform is a modern storage solution for any enterprise compute environment running at any scale. With infinite scalability, complete protocol consolidation, and the ability to span multiple sites and clouds.

With the Hedvig acquisition, Commvault has laid hands on a platform and tool which can categorise, monitor and present data, really make it usable. I call that fantastic.

So how do we think about Commvault now? They’re bigger than the “backup company” that we’ve had them slotted as for so long. Don’t get me wrong, they are absolutely the “greatest backup and recovery solution and technology in the market today” as Chris says. But, as he also says, and as Sanjay says, that’s the foundation that they’re building on. 

There’s More to it. They are becoming a data software provider. And with the #multicloud world, they have to become software defined. It’s exactly the right move. 

I don’t even think “data software” is all that obtuse of a concept. In Chris’ language you ask: “What’s the foundation you need to set so that you’re ready with your data? And then, can you protect it, are you managing it against your policies and regulations, are you getting business value out of it, are you controlling where it resides.”

With this acquisition of Hedvig, Commvault have indeed future-proofed themselves and their clients. They are one of the few well-positioned to ride out the coming mass-disruption of #5G, they’re already #multicloud, they’re well on top of #integration, the masters of it really, and it just keeps getting better. 

It was also incredible to see this and many more exciting new innovations announced at #CommvaultGO in Denver this year, their annual event. I had the privilege of being there, and if you weren’t able to make it to the event, I invite you to tune in the event virtually via the recordings of the various keynotes and presentations / announcements.

I could share SO much more about my conversation with Chris, but for now I urge you to tune in to the podcast. My thanks to Chris and the rest of the incredible team at Commvault for making it happen. 

Here’s more information about some of the topics Chris and I discuss:


Rebounding for the data-driven fate with FPGA and eASICS



Field Programmable Gate Array Technology

Data is now the new driving force of the modern world. How well your business performs or what its rank could be on the performance list entirely depends on how you leverage the data available, involving emerging tools such as ML, AI, and cloud! Such forces have, in turn, lit up a stand for Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). 

Lately, I have had a great fortune to sit down and have an in-depth discussion with Jim Dworkin, the senior director of the cloud business unit in the Programmable Solutions Group at Intel. During our discussion, even Jim asserted that in order to unlock the potential of data, we need to embrace the latest FPGA technology. 

Further, having the modern architecture out into the right place now could easily uncover the paths to get things right. Perhaps, we need to educate ourselves on the ‘hardwiring’ of data flow to ensure we can appropriately leverage the power of data, speed time to market, diminish the costs of ownership, and a lot more that could take the businesses to new heights. 

For example, the technology Intel has been offering has virtually evolved “off-the-shelf”, so competent than ever before that it can now solve specific infrastructure or business problems.

With the embracement of FPGA latest technology and eASICs(the Intel tech discussed above), there has been an acceleration in infrastructure use cases (SmartNICs). So, what is SmartNICs? Well, SmartNICs is a programmable accelerator. It holds the capability to centre all the networking data with the utmost security and proffering storage flexibility and efficiency at the same time. 

Having SmartNIC onboard businesses hold enough power to handle more refined infrastructure workloads using cloud hosts, churning of wastage of time, and saving more resources. Besides, SmartNICs also furnish great value towards nurturing virtualized assistance, such as multi-tenant shared cloud and more.

Perhaps with hyper-scalers’ mushrooming, the overhead of network infrastructure might turn daunting. But the applications of FPGA have helped manage that. 

Apart from this, Intel has also come up with FPGA cloud SmartNIC platforms that replicate the hyper-scalers’ used architectures. So, how does it operate? 

This platform integrates Intel high-performance Stratix 10 FPGA with an Intel Xeon D processor that works together on the SmartNIC card, enabling virtual switching by offering the Tier-2 data centres a mass-market solution. 

Intel has also been heavily sponsoring more efficient AI via recommender systems and natural language processing. It has even established a more robust form of FPGA, which is able to interpret voice coder inputs. 

Jim contends that the enactment of a GPU manages to be modal and established on the micro-architecture constructed around it, irrespective of their power. Therefore if it shifts from an optimization point, latencies might rise, negatively impacting the performance of speech processing. 

FPGA applications are virtually inexhaustible, particularly with FPGA transition reaching up to par with software programming in ease of usage. 

Jim is optimistic about exploding evolution. He believes people wouldn’t be asking what SmartNIC platforms are. Instead would be keener towards knowing how transformative it could be. But if you ask me, I would still say the real excitement lies in accessing Intel’s technology and then jumping to Microsoft Azure to revise and enjoy leaner and faster service completely.

With his extensive product knowledge of large-scale integration work, Jim puts it; we must decode problems at a strategic level and not in a microcosm.

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Conversation With Jim Dworkin, Senior Director Cloud Business Unit, Intel PSG



I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Jim Dworkin, who is the Sr. Director of Cloud Business Unit at Intel PSG, to discuss the recent news, insights, FPGA trends, and offerings surrounding Field Programable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) from Intel and related topics such as Data Centres, Infrastructure from Servers to Networks, to the Internet of Things, Edge networking  Artificial Intelligence, compute and much more.

In this episode of our podcast show, Jim and I delve into a wide range of business and technology insights around how key CXO and Senior Business & Technology decision-makers can obtain immediate real-world business benefits by taking advantage of the tremendous technology and supporting ecosystem or partners, integrators, and others and Intel teams globally – this show covers many recent trends in FPGA is you can not miss, please do tune in it today!

Here are a few of the important points from our show:

  1. Latest macro FGPA Trends driving development/adoption of FPGAs/eASICs

We kick off with Jim sharing insights around what he and his team at Intel are currently seeing worldwide, as far as the latest macro trends driving the development/adoption of FPGAs/eASICs are concerned.

Jim also clarifies what an FPGA is, what Intel’s eASICS are, and where they each fit in the respective spaces around development, design, implementation, going into production, and more – a phenomenal overview to set the scene for this fantastic discussion.

  1. Obstacles & happenings around the adoption of FPGAs/eASICs and market readiness

I ask Jim to share his take on the key hurdles & opportunities he and his team at Intel PSG, and related teams at intel, are seeing worldwide concerning the uptake and adoption of FPGAs/eASICs and market readiness.

  1. How Intel customers/partners see success with FPGAs/eASICs

Jim gives us an extraordinary briefing level summary of how Intel customers and partners see success with FPGAs/eASICs, as well as some great actionable takeaways listeners can put in place within their own organisations to gain real business and technology benefits over a wide range of key areas in both Information Technology as well as Operational Technology systems and environments.

This conversation covers a broad range of news and detail about Intel’s FPGA solutions business, and technology decision-makers should pay attention. PushPLAY now and tune into this great conversation. If you have any questions, reach out at any time via any of the usual channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. We’d love to start a conversation and perhaps connect you with the best people at Intel to support your organisation’s outcomes.

This podcast covering Intel FPGA News was created in association with Intel.


 Intel® FPGA Homepage:

– Real-Time Text To Speech Synthesis Using Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGA (Video):

– Real-Time Text To Speech Synthesis Using Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGA (White Paper):

– Pushing AI Boundaries with Scalable Compute-Focused FPGAs (White Paper):


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Telecom Security Innovations will allow telcos to offer security



Telecom Security Innovations & Services

It’s an exciting time to be involved in telecommunications. We have witnessed a major push towards remote work this year and telecom companies, both on the provider and supplier side, are scrambling to meet new demands. The growth is being driven by an exponential bump in traffic from both human and IoT footprints. To add to it all, many telcos are gearing up to launch 5G services as well – but, like all things in life, it’s a mixed bag.

The rise in digital activity across the globe has also been accompanied by a nearly unbelievable surge in cyberattacks, much of which is highly sophisticated and increasingly targeted at enterprise rather than individuals.

Many organisations and business leaders had a tough time in 2020 dealing with a relentless spate of virus, ransomware, phishing, and DDoS attacks. For their part, telecom providers have been forced to reconsider the limitations that come with legacy infrastructure, especially when it comes to ensuring the security of mission-critical data.

Also consider the sheer scope of change in business models for carriers and providers, if they could finally move away from their pitched battle around pricing. By offering high-value, premium security solutions that guarantee peace of mind, the telecom industry can create something customers will be willing to pay a higher price for: reliability.

The need to rethink security from an infrastructure perspective

The complexity of security issues has moved beyond ‘gatekeeping’ firewall solutions in the core. Think about it. Legacy security solutions are largely based on sampled traffic. The traditional firewall sits in the core network and is generally too busy dealing with high traffic volumes to do much beyond a basic source-destination check – leaving the network vulnerable to malicious content housed undetected in particular packets of communication.

These solutions are typically slow to detect and mitigate the kind of advanced attacks that are increasingly prevalent in 4G networks and will be “de rigour” in 5G. While enterprise networks can be enmeshed in multiple layers of security, that technique is simply not tenable for telecom networks that have too many connections going in every possible direction to be effectively protected.

The problem gets magnified and compounded for 5G. Picture the huge variety of devices feeding into the networks, ranging from very high-speed mobile broadband to numerous complex and connected IoT devices, vehicles, autonomous drones and more. To put this in perspective, each of these devices is estimated to generate 20-gigabits of traffic per second that all needs to be routed and checked for security. In the case of an attack, the volume of data generated can increase manifold and significantly stress system resilience.

Telco Security Innovations initiative takes security to the next level

Telcos understand this only too well. And it’s not surprising that in recent surveys, the need for advanced security in the manufacturing of application delivery controllers trumped evergreen asks from telecom providers like lower latency, higher capacity, and throughput.

This is why I was so excited to talk with Folke Anger, Head of Solution Line Packet Core, Ericsson Digital Services and Yasir Liaqatullah, Vice President Product Management, A10 Networks to discuss an interesting innovation around the security of 5G Core technologies – the Packet Core – a high-performance cloud-native firewall.

Building security into the DNA of 5G Core infrastructure

With CSPs moving from centralised data centres to edge cloud, the threat landscape has evolved to a point where attacks need to be mitigated as they arise. This means bringing down the scale of response time from minutes or seconds to milliseconds. That’s physically impossible to achieve on legacy infrastructure, so Ericsson thought about the problem differently.

They combined their cloud-native principles with the design of the user plane and built-in its Packet Core Firewall, powered by A10 Networks’ security capabilities, by adding micro-services into the user plane in Packet Core Gateway. The result is a fully integrated security solution that eliminates the need for additional cloud-native functions, separate management or multiple instances.

The Packet Core solution is completely unique in terms of embedding security within the data plane. It’s fully automated and backed by ML in the form of artificial intelligence. It also requires minimal human intervention – all of which result in millisecond level mitigation of even advanced threats.

Opening up a new horizon for telecoms and carriers

The implication of security built into the DNA of the 5G infrastructure is huge for the telecommunication industry.

For one, the resiliency brought in by an integrated security solution ensures that the infrastructure is strong enough to reconfigure and re-spawn itself in case of an attack and continue to function with minimal impact on latency.

It also offers granular security by monitoring all connections with full visibility and can detect threats as they appear and take corrective action – ensuring minimal human intervention and mitigation of attacks in milliseconds. It’s integrated with automation systems and can easily scale to keep pace with higher traffic volumes.

Implementing an integrated security solution will result in lower TCOs for service providers. That, by itself, should be a huge benefit for companies negotiating various partnerships to negotiate the high costs of implementing 5G infrastructure. But it holds out scope for something much more important.

In effect, this innovation can finally offer what telecoms and carriers have been craving for years – a solid differentiator in terms of the value they offer to customers. The pricing battle that telecoms and carriers have been stuck in for years can finally end as they choose to evolve to offer more premium offerings to meet the core demand of many customers on faster networks – complete, reliable security in mission-critical applications.

Eventually, we might see security-as-a-service being bundled as a value add-on to service packages, but given the current threat landscape, security can be the differentiator that sets apart exceptional enterprise service providers from the rest.

I want to thank Folke Anger and Yasir Liaqatullah, and all the wonderful people at Ericsson Digital Services for making this interview possible. Please tune in to the conversation at the link below, and use the other resources to learn more about the technology and innovations we discussed.

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