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The 'sad state' of enterprise network architecture

This week, bloggers explore enterprise network architecture challenges, the increasing danger of exploit kits and how best to oversee private cloud management.

In a recent post, blogger Ivan Pepelnjak of ipSpace wrote on the subject of enterprise network architecture challenges. Today, many organizations face enterprise network architecture problems, as professionals struggle to understand all the aspects of the network or management overrides networking teams.

In Pepelnjak's view, after basic network service milestones have been reached, vendors are driven to sell increasingly outlandish systems. Given the pragmatism of most networking teams, these products are typically sold to CIOs or other teams that interact with network engineers. Pepelnjak suggests that simpler enterprise network architecture answers are usually more useful, including reformatting data centers, as well as changing application development, design and deployment.

Read more of Pepelnjak's thoughts on enterprise network architecture.

Securing networks against exploit kits

Tony Brown, a contributor with Packet Pushers, recently explored the subject of exploit kits (EK). While many network engineers are already familiar with botnets, many are not as familiar with EKs.

According to Brown, "Exploit kits are provided and used by cyber criminals on a truly industrial scale," delivering malicious payloads after scanning a potential victim's entire Web browser. Approximately 30 EKs are in circulation, with Angler the single most common -- some can even access service desk agreements. In some cases users are redirected to a malicious landing page by a URL sent through a phishing email, while in other cases entire websites are compromised. After JavaScript is used to create a profile, the "payload," typically a keylogger, ransomware or banking Trojans are delivered. Brown advises network engineers to prepare by locking down unused ports, removing browser plug-ins, patching or even adding in security plug-ins.

Discover more of Brown's ideas on EKs.

Can we simplify private cloud?

Keith Townsend, blogger with The CTO Advisor, believes that private cloud is hard. Although experiences with different cloud management systems vary, enacting a strategy can be especially difficult. EMC and its subsidiary VMware, along with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), have tried to tackle the problem. In Townsend's view, EMC has met with some initial success with its late 2014 release of Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure, engineered to help users manage large scale deployments. Meanwhile, HPE has offered converged options using OpenStack-branded Helion. Nevertheless, most systems still require significant inputs of time and professional services.

In Townsend's view, ZeroStack, a small startup, may offer one of the best answers available. The vendor uses an appliance based on OpenStack to leverage hyper-converged nodes and a control panel based on software as a service, satisfying hardware compatibility needs. Townsend reminds users that no answer is perfect. ZeroStack limits some physical network connectivity, driving segmentation of VLANs and virtual machines. He adds that ZeroStack may appeal to lab and sandbox environments as well as enterprises who seek to minimize professional services.

Explore more of Townsend's thoughts on private cloud.

Next Steps

Choosing the right model for enterprise network security

How to defend against exploit kits

Comparing cloud management tools

The importance of enterprise application architecture strategy

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