Solix Empower Bangalore 2017

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I am excited to announce Solix EMPOWER Bangalore 2017 on April 28 — the largest Big Data conference, the Asia Pacific region has ever seen. At Bangalore, Solix will further our mission of empowering enterprises to monetize data effectively, efficiently and safely to become truly data driven.

Working in partnership with — an initiative of The Economic Times — the Bangalore conference features an impressive array of demonstrations, trainings and speakers. At Solix EMPOWER we will delve into ABC (Analytics, Big Data and Cloud technologies) and offer access to the leading experts and vendors. Attendees will have access to three tracks: business, technology and training. We will also have a pavilion where partners and vendors will offer demonstrations on the latest Big Data technologies.

As we prepare for the event, our speaker list and panels continue to grow. We have more than 20 panels on the business and technical tracks. Panels will include discussions on the data lake, data archiving, data security, machine learning, and cognitive computing. We will take deep dives into the worlds of banking and financial services and health care — industries where data has huge potential for both opportunities and disruption. Joining Solix will be some of the brightest minds from leading U.S. universities, including the UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and Northeastern University.

Thanks to our partnership with, the conference will be attended by more than 150 CXOs, offering unparalleled networking opportunities. We will also feature demonstrations and presentations on the Solix Big Data Suite and Solix Common Data Platform, which we believe is the foundation to enable a data driven Enterprise.

Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR and several other organizations will be participating in the training track, offering training on the latest Apache projects, analytics and more. Solix EMPOWER Bangalore is, simply, the best opportunity to train on the latest Apache projects.

Solix EMPOWER San Jose 2016 was a wonderful success. With Solix EMPOWER Bangalore 2017, we are building on that success to deliver even more opportunities to transform enterprises into truly data driven organizations. This one-day conference is a cannot-miss event for organizations working with or interested in using Big Data technologies, located in APAC or ME region.

To learn more and to register visit Register early, as space will go quickly. Use code SOLIX50 to get a 50 percent discount on early registration. Group and student pricing is also available, as are a limited amount of FREE registrations, which give access to the pavilion and business track.

Application Retirement

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Last month my Alma Mater, the University of Oklahoma (Sooners – National Football Champions for 7 years) invited me to speak to recent graduates. As you might expect, the bulk of the questions were about the economy, market conditions and the job market. That got me thinking about the all to real parallels to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Basically, we are seeing four of the major drivers of the Great Depression repeated in today’s economy:

  • Total public and private debt in the United States equaled the US GNPO (for the first time since 1929);
  • The stock markets crashed;
  • Banks failed;
  • Purchasing, both corporate and personal, has dropped precipitously in response, causing the first major deflation across the board since the early 1930s.

Underlying this is a very similar and unstable economic condition. For several years asset value increases have powered U.S, and to an extent world, consumer spending – basically people were living off the increase in asset value of their homes, stocks, and other real and financial properties, which in turn were driven by speculation rather than real increases in value. When those values stopped increasing the speculators bailed, and consumers could no longer afford to keep spending. Thus the underlying problem was that the economy was built on a shaky foundation.

In 1932 President Roosevelt’s answer to this situation was to create a new foundation for the economy based on building a strong infrastructure through the New Deal. This put many unemployed workers back to work, gave destitute families income and home, drove steady GNP growth starting in 1933, and produced the physical infrastructure on which the 50 year economic boom the United States enjoyed in the last half of the 20th Century was based. Today we still drive over roads and bridges built by the WPA in the 1930s.

So, what can we learn from New Deal? Obviously President Obama and his economic advisors are very aware of the importance of rebuilding and improving our infrastructure, and the budget Congress is now debating contains a great deal of money for infrastructure improvement. Today, however, infrastructure means more than roads, bridges, harbors, and airports. It also means strengthening and securing the power grid and the data infrastructure, which is just as important to tomorrow’s economy as paved roads were to the 1930s. And while the President and Congress look to the public parts of that data infrastructure, those of us who work in enterprise IT have a responsibility to strengthen Enterprise infrastructure. And part of that is clearing out the old and obsolescent to make room for the new, more efficient tools of the future, just as the fragile covered bridges of the 1920s needed to be replaced with concrete and steel by the WPA.

Many years back I met Charlie Garry, then an analyst at Meta Group, which later was acquired by Gartner. He presented a very interesting comparison. Imagine the state of your garage when you bought your new home — completely empty. You moved in and started accumulating things – boxes of old toys and clothes, tools, tires. One day the garage is full and you are parking your car in the driveway. You don’t know what you have and can’t find what you need in all the accumulated stuff that once was useful but now is just clutter. This is exactly what happens in many enterprise data centers. While hardware wears out or is replaced by something twice as fast, old software just migrates to the new platform. Like old clothes, obsolescent applications and the business methods the support, including work-arounds created because of their inadequacies, become comfortable to users, who often resist moving to newer replacements because those require changes in habits. The problem is that as long as those old applications are still around, neither the infrastructure nor, even more importantly, the business methods they support, can evolve to meet today’s needs. Today more than ever, businesses and government agencies have to change, often radically, to survive in an economy that is going through a major evolution from its very foundations up.

What data centers today need is application archiving and sunsetting strategies, not just as a one-time cleanup but instituted as part of the IT organization’s normal, ongoing operations. They require an annual review of all applications to determine whether they still meet the needs of the business. This requires support from C-level management (CEO, CFO, COO) and sometimes a degree of ruthlessness, but it will cut costs, and improve productivity and lay the foundation for growth.

Today Budweiser loves to bring out its Clydesdale horse teams and beer wagons designed after those of the 1890s, both in its ads and in person. But when it actually delivers beer, it uses the latest truck technology – diesel today, perhaps hybrid, all electric or hydrogen fuel cell tomorrow. IT needs that mentality – there is no harm in nostalgia, but living in the past is a recipe for disaster.


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As some one said, “A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.” It is funny, yet it is true. According to Ernst & Young and it’s 10 commandments for businesses this year, Enterprises should focus on its cash assets via cost reduction. Manage it well as it is the most precious asset that businesses hold. Ensure that even if your revenues are dropping, you have sufficient cash to meet your obligations. Secondly, pay attention to risk management as unidentified risk can lead to catastrophic results – shown by 2008. Try to ensure that effective risk management is tied directly to business priorities.

Hence the business case for many IT initiatives should essentially focus on cost reduction and risk management. Following are the areas that I believe should be focused upon –

  • Secure Your Data: Hard times always generate an increase in security exposures. New Year is a good time to review your security — and remember to include a review of physical security of data and all hardware on which it resides, from servers to laptops to handheld devices. Perhaps the most ignored area by Enterprises is the test data management practices, most security leaks tend to originate from here.
  • Rationalize Your Applications: Organizations tend to accumulate obsolete applications. This is an excellent time to conduct a review of all apps in the environment with an eye to consolidating the product portfolio, and establishing and enforcing corporate standards. This can save money on unneeded software licenses, hardware to run that software, and personnel to manage it.
  • Manage Your Information Lifecycle: Enterprises should embrace data archiving to move older data to a lower, less-expensive storage tier, along with data purging, thus making production applications leaner and improving overall applications performance.
  • Virtualize Your Environment: PC, server, and storage virtualization is growing in use and will be fostered by the tough economy as organizations make the most of the spare capacity they have in-house. Storage technology, server operating systems, and ITOM are among the segments that will benefit from virtualization. You will be better off starting with ILM before virtualizing, as ILM makes the infrastructure lean and makes the Virtualization projects less riskier and easier to implement.
  • Institute Green Management Practices: Reducing power and cooling, minimizing printing and paper use, recycling, disposing of old equipment properly, and other Green operations methods can save money and have other business benefits while also decreasing environmental impact. Implementing ILM, Virtualization and Test Data Management can cut the servers & storage, this could be the first step to introducing Green IT to your data center.

Finally, we want to express our sincere appreciation to our customers, partners, and our employees, who have helped us make 2008 a great year, in spite of the tough economy. We wish them and their families the very best for 2009. This will be a happening year for Solix, as our technology rightly fits to the need of the hour for many enterprises.

Protecting Competitive Information – Eyes Wide Shut

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After my last blog (CIO To Do List – The Challenge of Protecting Sensitive Data), we surveyed several CIOs on their management of test data. What we found is that many of those we talked do not seem to appreciate the immense risk that test data taken from live databases could fall into the wrong hands and reveal competitive secrets to competitors and others, severely damaging their organization’s position in the marketplace.

The initial response of most CIOs we contacted is that they are aware of the danger of test data exposing sensitive information, and their staff is doing an adequate job of protecting that data. However, when asked what data they consider sensitive, few mention competitive information. And none of them were able to explain how their staff monitor test processes to ensure security and privacy of sensitive data. And they had no answer to the question of how they ensure their IT staff doesn’t misuse their data access privileges.

The focus of almost everyone contacted is on the legal implications of losing Social Security or credit card numbers and similar personal identity information of their customers. Of course these issues have been almost constantly in the news for several years, and companies and government agencies have gotten black eyes when someone gets careless with a laptop holding parts of their customer database. As a result, most CIOs seem to think that all they have to do is mask a few key fields in their test databases and end up masking few sensitive fields. This might meet specific legal requirements, but it does nothing to protect vital competitive secrets.

However, when asked about competitive information such as bill of materials, price lists, or discounts, almost all agreed that they were not doing enough to address the security of this data. What bothers me most is that most of those we talked don’t seem to realize that the loss of this information can damage their businesses at least as much as the loss of a customer database. And this information is commonly included in test databases. Imagine your company going into a competitive bid against a competitor who knows exactly how much of a discount you will offer the customer. And that is just one scenario. A leak of employee information could let a competitor raid your company for its top producers; manufacturing methodologies could be very valuable to a foreign competitor who wants to raid your markets; drug discovery information can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The list goes on. You could be losing vital information, putting company at a serious disadvantage in the marketplace, and have no way to figure out what was lost, what its business value is, or where the leak is. In fact, few companies even have systems in place to monitor how test data is used, who handles it, and whether and under what conditions it is shared with vendors and outside contractors.

And in some cases the exposure may reach far beyond the test data itself, into the heart of the company. If the test data comes from a system that is integrated with the corporate ERP, CRM, or financial solution, it could conceivably contain the security keys supporting that connection. If so, it could become an open door into those systems that any competent competitor could use either to extract copies of production data or, worse, to introduce false data.

And the risk is not just that outsiders such as vendors may get this data. Who watches the internal IT people who have access to this data? For instance, test data extracted from corporate HR could easily give IT employees – and employees of contractors who often also have unrestricted access to test databases – accesses to information that should not be allowed out of HR. Yes the names are redacted, but that doesn’t even begin to answer the security issues involved. Just the rumors that could start – that have started from this one scenario – are the stuff of nightmares.

The bottom line: The data security problem involved with test data is immense; few organizations appreciate the magnitude of the problem; and masking a few fields in production data does not even begin to address the problem. This is a comprehensive data security issue.

As a result, we are announcing a Data Privacy pack for Oracle applications starting at $25K. This provides a comprehensive solution that can extend to multiple environments at a starting price point. We firmly believe that CIOs need to address the test data security issue immediately and that this product will put them far ahead at a low cost in both money and time.

© Solix Technologies, Inc.
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