Sunday, June 19, 2016

System Integration Morphs To Cloud Service Integration

Cloud Service Brokerage is changing from an industry footnote toward becoming a major system integration play.  This role has now become a crucial component of a cloud computing transition because they help organizations aggregate multiple cloud services, integrate services with in-house applications, and customize these services to better meet customer needs. CSBs also help by consulting and recommending the best fit cloud services according to business requirements and goals. Cloud brokers may also be granted rights to negotiate with different service providers on behalf of their customers. This transformation is driven by the rapid rise of cloud computing, which has risen from under $6B in 2008 to a point where the market is expected to almost reach $160B in 2020. The global Cloud Service Brokerage Market itself is expected to grow from $5.24 Billion in 2015 to $19.16 Billion by 2020. 

Since CSBs merge the functions of reseller, systems integrator and independent software vendor (ISVs) into a convenient service delivery model, they deliver solutions by aggregating cloud services sourced from multiple cloud service providers. They can also customize those services to meet

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Networking the Cloud for IoT – Pt 3 Cloud Network Systems Engineering

Dwight Bues & Kevin Jackson

(This is Part 3 of a three part series that addresses the need for a systems engineering approach to IoT and cloud network design.  Networking the Cloud for IoT - Pt. 1: IoT and the Government , Networking the Cloud for IoT - Pt. 2 Stressing the Cloud )

The Case For Cloud Network Systems Engineering

IoT networking requirements are vastly different from those supported by today’s cloud network. The processing and transport levels are multiple orders of magnitude higher than ever seen before. More importantly though, societal economic and the safety ramifications of making mistakes during this transition are off the scale. This is why system engineering of the cloud computing network is now an immediate global imperative.

System engineering has many different aspects, but it all starts with the question, “What do I really want to know?” This is the beginning of the CONOPS document referenced earlier. This document captures User Needs which are formal statements of what the user wants from the system. This CONOPS leads to Derived Requirements which, through an iterative process, are analyzed against a Target Architecture. Once a project is underway, methods of Integration are planned in order to provide Validation (did we build the right system?) and Verification (did we build the system right?) of the requirements. Further considerations for SE include: how to conduct Peer Reviews of a design (either Systems, Hardware, or Software), studying Defects, and establishing processes to ensure the Quality of the final product and Compliance with Standards.

While multiple sources indicate that the business world is investing heavily in the IoT, there are no indication that these investments are addressing the question of what does society really want to know in the IoT world. To ensure success, design formality is necessary, lest “IoT” become the latest retired buzzword. Dr. Juran, in Juran on Leadership for Quality, makes the point that quality

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Networking the Cloud for IoT - Pt. 2 Stressing the Cloud

Dwight Bues & Kevin Jackson

This is Part 2 of a three part series that addresses the need for a systems engineering approach to IoT and cloud network design. Part 1 is Networking the Cloud for IoT - Pt. 1: IoT and the Government.)

IoT: Unprecedented Stress on the Cloud and It’s Underlying Network

Karen Field, Penton Communications’ IoT Institute director, in her article “Start Small to Gain Big,” postulated an oil drilling platform with 30,000 sensors would generate about 1 Terabyte of data per day. She also stressed that only 1% of that data would likely be used. From a systems engineering point of view this data flow is multiplied by the trillions of other IoT sensors in the cloud, introducing unprecedented data processing and data transport stress. Industries and competing companies within those industries will also be forced to weigh the economic impact of paying for this transport and processing.

How will these parochial and business-centered decisions drive networking priorities across the cloud? Will all of the high-priority data get through? Will any data be lost? How will you know? If a piezo-electric sensor detects a crack in the drill pipe, will you get the notification, or will it get out-prioritized by the ambient air temperature reading that you get every 10 minutes? Every day, data gets delayed through the Internet and the results are not catastrophic. Tomorrow, though, a stock trade “trigger” could be delayed costing billions. Key economic indicators could be lost that could trigger large economic movements. As with today’s Internet, tomorrow’s IoT will need to ensure that the RIGHT data gets to its destination in a timely fashion.

Securing the IoT

Programming Research, in their white paper, “How IoT isMaking Security Imperative for all Embedded Software,” recommended that software developers should take a more careful approach to releasing new IoT products, “Security problems often stem from the need to accelerate development and bring new products to market ahead of the competition.  A majority of security vulnerabilities are a result of coding errors that go undetected in the development stage. CarnegieMellon’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), in fact, found that 64% of vulnerabilities in the CERT National Vulnerability Database were the result of programming errors.”  The research firm also believes that software development organizations should incorporate coding standards such as CERT C and utilize the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) database.  Companies like Programming Research, Critical Software, or Jama Software offer tools to assist with static analysis of code against these standards.  Luckily, an increasing number of organizations are making adherence to these guidelines and standards a requirement for both internal development organizations and outsourced application development vendors.

Figure 1, from the TASC Institute “Peer Review” course, illustrates that software defects, although they are “facts of work” act like mines in a minefield.  Typical “Code and Test” methodologies effectively just clear a path through the minefield.  System overload, operator error, or race conditions could force the system off of the “cleared path” and into unexplored territory. This “unexplored territory” has, until recently, been the very place that commercial vendors installed their “back doors,” to enable the vendor to perform maintenance, collect metrics, or verify that the software is an authorized copy.  Commercial software vendors are now cracking down on these features because they represent security vulnerabilities that could be easily exploited by a hacker.

Figure 1: Defect Detection


Dwight Bues, of Engility Corp., is a Georgia Tech Computer Engineer with 30+ years' experience in computer hardware, software, and systems and interface design. He has worked in Power Generation, Communications, RF, Command/Control, and Test Systems. Dwight is a Certified Scrum Master and teaches courses in Architecture, Requirements, and IVV&T. He is also a certified Boating Safety instructor with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States Power Squadrons. He is currently working several STEM projects, sponsoring teams for competitions in the Aerospace Industries Association’s (AIA) Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) and the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation’s, Vex Skyrise Robotics Challenge.

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert, a cloud computing and cybersecurity Thought Leader for Dell and IBM and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a “Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand” by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post “Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter” (2013), a “Top 50 Cloud Computing Blogger for IT Integrators” by CRN (2015) and a “Top 5 Must Read Cloud Blog” by BMC Software (2015). His first book, “GovCloud: Cloud Computing for the Business of Government” was published by Government Training Inc. and released in March 2011. His next publication, “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View”, will be released by Taylor & Francis in the spring of 2016

( This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.)

Cloud Musings
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2015)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Networking the Cloud for IoT - Pt. 1: IoT and the Government

Dwight Bues & Kevin Jackson

This is Part 1 of a three part series that addresses the need for a systems engineering approach to IoT and cloud network design:

The “Internet of Things” depends on the “Cloud” for the processing and storage of data. The Cloud’s backbone, however, is the network. This logic train reveals the importance of professional rigor and solid System Engineering (SE) of the network.

Imagine a sea of sensors, put out in the field by multiple independent vendors. Complying with specifications only in an informal sense, these sensors are sending Terabytes of data to the cloud. The availability of this data to anyone globally is impressive enough. But even more amazing is the fact that anyone in the world can also develop an application or a powerful API to filter out the “nuggets” of valuable information.

This is why businesses everywhere are investing heavily into IoT’s promise. It also drives a real expectation that IoT will deliver cognition, an ability to acquire knowledge and understanding through “thought, experience, and the senses” to the Cloud. Dr. Dennis Curry, of Konica/Minolta, even hinted that “Cognition” at the IoT level is actually possible. As stated in his white paper Genius of Things, “…the real