HP Discover: Final wrap-up

HP Discover wrapped up last week and we’ve had time to digest everything we’ve learned from both the conference itself as well as other attendees. As we expected, cloud computing was once again a hot topic, but we mainly focused ourselves on Big Data and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and weren’t disappointed with what we learned.

We learned that Big Data is an exciting new trend within IT. The infrastructure, with tools like Apache Hadoop, are still in their infancy and difficult to manage, but it’s only a matter of time before that changes. Vertica and Autonomy (both companies that HP purchased) are also very strong players in this arena. While we’re just scratching the surface of possibilities, we are also giving away our personal privacy at the same time. Even worse, the genie is probably already out of the bottle and we can’t go back even if we wanted to.

If Big Data is its infancy, then the concept of BYOD is still an embryo. The problem is how to allow employees to do their job on their own laptop, tablet, or smartphone, while at the same time protecting corporate data from theft, logging where the data is going, and then how to ensure that the data is removed when an employee no longer works for the organization. While anyone can technically bring their own cell phone or laptop into the office, integrating it into the environment in a secure manner still has many limitations. Indeed, at one panel consisting of four HP employees, one of them said, “Nobody’s looking at security, especially around mobile devices.” The only solution offered was a product from VMWare called View, which is simply a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution. It allows users to connect to a virtual desktop within the organization with any device, but it defeats the purpose of BYOD: What Mac or iPad user is going to want to use a Windows desktop on their device? The industry has to come up with better solutions for this problem because BYOD is not going away.

The combination of cloud computing and security was also a hot topic at the conference. In a rush to deliver a cloud offering, many companies built them up but left security as an afterthought. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to add security measures in after a solution has already been deployed, and companies are learning this the hard way. This type of issue is to be expected with bleeding edge technology, and is the same thing we’re seeing with BYOD and, to a lesser extent, Big Data: Security is frequently an afterthought and functionality is the only thing that is explored in the beginning.

Overall, we learned a lot from HP Discover and can highly recommend the conference to anyone in the IT industry who wants to learn about what cutting edge technologies are just over the horizon. It’s also a tremendous networking opportunity as people collaborate from all over the world.

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