Dealing with Traffic Visibility in Data Centers

March 23, 2017


Gigamon offers a visibility solution for data center management and protection.  As data center virtualization continues, maintaining that visibility can cause challenges especially in VMware environments.  Here is a great Joint Solution Brief that details integration of Gigamon solutions with VMware NSX network virtualization: Automated Traffic Visibility for the Software Defined DC

This gives a great how-to on traffic visibility in the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC).

Another great way to ensure high visibility and monitor traffic flows in SDDC environments is through Gigamon training and VMware training as well as the upcoming Gigamon + VMware joint solution courses.

For more information on Gigamon training go to http://www.fastlaneus.com/gigamon-training, which includes professional services options like Expert for Hire (E4H) and Managed Enablement™.

For more information on VMware training go to http://www.fastlaneus.com/vmware-training

Fast Lane Training and Consulting is a selective Premium Training Provider for Gigamon.

Interested in learning more about network visibility and how you can secure your network? Click here to register for our free webinar.

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Blockchain Provides Security and Monetization for IoT

March 21, 2017

blockchainProviding adequate security and finding a way to effectively monetize the IoT have both been challenging and potentially slowing the adoption. However, as we enter 2017, blockchain is looking like an increasingly appealing solution to both of these issues.

If you’re not quite sure what blockchain is or how it works, you’re certainly not alone, but the solution is becoming more and more popular. If you’ve ever heard of Bitcoin, then you’re already familiar with one of its earliest widespread applications.

A blockchain is a digital ledger where records and data are added in blocks, each one irreversibly linked to the one before it using cryptographic validation. In that way, it’s fairly similar to a standard database. But with blockchain, there is no central location or holder of the ledger. Instead, it is distributed to each node or computer attached to the network creating a “trustless” system. Entries to the ledger are permanent, and each copy of the ledger is updated for everyone as soon as new transactions are added, which means anyone can access any version of the ledger at any given time and see the same data.

This video from the World Economic Forum does a great job explaining it.

For a currency system like Bitcoin, the benefits of blockchain are obvious. But within the IoT, it has taken some time for those benefits to be recognized and 2017 may finally be the year where major changes begin taking shape.

Improved Security

As Bitcoin has demonstrated, using a blockchain significantly improves upon database security and helps prevent fraud of all kinds. For starters, the distributed nature of the ledger makes it almost impossible to hack. Even if you could break through the cryptographic protections on one copy of the database, every other copy would remain unaltered, effectively preserving the permanence of the records.

Blockchain also improves the security of individual devices or nodes on a network by giving each its own permanent identity and then preserving that identity within the ledger. This makes fraud very difficult and helps prevent DDoS attacks, which have been an issue in the past with unsecured IoT devices.

Blockchain also makes transactions more secure by cutting out any middle men. Instead of you sending money through a 3rd party service and then on to your recipient, blockchain enables you to conduct transactions directly with vendors, merchants, friends, etc. Without a third party responsible for maintaining financial databases, transactions become faster, simpler, and far more secure.


Monetizing IoT deployments could be the single most powerful driving factor that leads to widespread adoption.

One article from Postscapes asks us to “imagine a vending machine that can not only monitor and report its own stock, but can solicit bids from distributors and pay for the delivery of new items automatically — based, of course, on the purchase history of its customers. Or a suite of smart home appliances that can bid with one another for priority so that the laundry machine, dishwasher and robo-vacuum all run at an appropriate time while minimizing the cost of electricity against current grid prices. Or a vehicle that can diagnose, schedule and pay for its own maintenance.”

All of those are amazing applications that are made possible by the security and connection of blockchain. And vendors in the IoT world are moving to capitalize on these possibilities.

Cisco just formed a consortium of companies working to develop a shared blockchain protocol that could have wide-reaching benefits for IoT products. Working in parallel, IBM and Intel have also both made forays into the blockchain space, with IBM surveying 200 government leaders from around the world about their experiences with blockchains, and Intel working to develop their own blockchain technology with a distributed ledger called Sawtooth Lake.

These advances clearly show us that some of the biggest giants in the IoT space are ready to embrace a secure future driven by blockchains. So how do we prepare? With education. Getting yourself up to speed with current security technologies and preparing your workforce to embrace the coming wave of IoT adoption is critical. Taking advantage of training and enablement classes will give you a leg up on the competition and prepare you to come out ahead as these important changes begin to take hold.

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NetApp Training for MetroCluster

March 16, 2017

Learn the Best Way to get MetroCluster Training

There may be some confusion around NetApp MetroCluster software and which course is best suited for you. MetroCluster software is a disaster-recovery solution. Most people learn everything they need to know regarding MetroCluster in the ONTAP 9 Data Protection Administration (DATAPROT9) course. This course will teach you the basic operation and configurations of MetroCluster. You will also learn how to perform many of the disaster-recovery processes, such as switchover and switchback.

The ONTAP MetroCluster Installation (MCCIIW) is an advanced course that is designed to teach you how to install, cable, setup and configure a MetroCluster.  As a prerequisite for this course, you should have already taken the 5 day ONTAP 9 Cluster Administration and Data Protection Bundle (CDOTDP9) and now want the more advanced in-depth course on MetroCluster.

For more information on NetApp Training, NetApp courses and MetroCluster Training go to http://www.fastlaneus.com/netapp-training.

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Managing Data Growth with Microsoft Azure Storage

March 14, 2017

As the internet of things (IoT) continues to grow, so too does the amount of data that enterprises and small businesses are storing, tracking and analyzing on a daily basis. With this exponential growth of data, it becomes only a matter of time before businesses expose themselves to the inefficiency and security vulnerabilities that can come with it. Fortunately, solutions like Microsoft’s Azure Storage offer the capacity and tools needed to face this problem.

Azure Storage is a cloud-based storage solution boasting massive amounts of space for companies to store all sizes and types of data. Whether you have a few terabytes of database tables or hundreds of terabytes of unstructured data (documents, videos, etc.), Azure Storage offers a scalable and secure way to house all of it. This is a big advantage for companies accumulating large amounts of data, and an even bigger advantage for those seeking to analyze and use that data.

If you’re already using Azure for its Big Data and Analytics solutions, then housing all your data with Azure and feeding it directly to your Azure tools is a no-brainer. This seamless integration can improve business efficiency and eliminate the need to upload large amounts of data to cloud-based tools from on-premise hard drives. What better way to improve the flow of information processing than to have all your data and tools in the same place?

There is also significant peace of mind obtained by keeping your data secure in Microsoft’s well-protected cloud servers as opposed to relying on on-premise hardware and local networks that may be more susceptible to hacker attacks. Azure Storage also keeps you safe in the event of an on-premise disaster like a power surge or hardware failure. With all this accumulation of data, businesses have invested heavily in the value of analytics and the business intelligence it provides. These disasters threaten not only your data, but your entire business. That makes finding a secure, reliable storage solution even more important.

So now you understand the benefits that Azure Storage can bring to your business, but what if you don’t have the skills or the personnel to implement it? This can seem like a big obstacle, especially for smaller businesses, but the resources you need to get prepared are all easily accessible. To start, Microsoft offers a free course for anyone looking to learn how to implement and use their Azure Storage solutions. Also, there is an abundance of classes and instructor-led training sessions available like the ones we offer here at Fast Lane. Many of them are also free, and they range from basic fundamentals all the way up to advanced development topics.

With these resources at your fingertips, getting started with Microsoft Azure doesn’t have to be as hard or as expensive as it sounds. With the right training and education, you too can realize the many benefits of Azure Cloud Storage.

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