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LiveAction software focuses on provisioning resources

Bloggers look into LiveAction software aimed at provisioning resources, the threat posed by the cybersecurity skills shortage and using Linux for data center switches.

Drew Conry-Murray, writing in Packet Pushers, examined the latest version of LiveAction's LiveNX network performance management software. With the goal of provisioning resources, the new version of LiveNX gathers and analyzes flow data, Simple Network Management Protocol data and other information to improve network topology visibility.

The product interoperates with Cisco SD-WAN and Viptela, as well as Cisco Identity Services Engine. To gain insight on network performance and provisioning resources, the software relies on collection nodes distributed in branch offices, which run on a LiveAction Linux-based appliance. Flow records are exported to a management server.

Live NX employs network-based application recognition to profile flows through specific network devices and help with provisioning resources. "LiveAction puts a lot of effort into positioning its product as a kind of companion technology to SD-WAN -- not as an SD-WAN solution itself, but as a way to get more value from an SD-WAN deployment," Conry-Murray said.

He said LiveAction sees the product's value as a means of understanding network operations and branch activities in fine detail and improving visibility for branch offices that are only partially transitioned to SD-WAN. "Even after an SD-WAN rollout, the network still needs troubleshooting, even if a clever branch appliance is flipping traffic between links to get the best performance," he added.

Dig deeper into Conry-Murray's thoughts on LiveNX.

Cybersecurity skills shortage a growing threat

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass., tackled a familiar subject: the global cybersecurity skills shortage, which is an area he has written about for seven years. ESG research in early 2017 indicated that 45% of organizations said they face a systematic shortage of cybersecurity skills. While many people focus on the issue as a matter of jobs, Oltsik said the problem is much larger.

According to ESG data collected in partnership with the Information Systems Security Association, 70% of organizations are affected by the shortage. Sixty-three percent of respondents said the shortage places additional strain on current employees, while 41% said junior employees were trained to fill in gaps in security skill sets.

"The cybersecurity skills shortage is having an impact on people (i.e., overwhelming workload, limited time for training, etc.), processes (i.e., limited proactive planning, limited time to work with business units, etc.) and technology (i.e., limited time to customize or tune security controls, etc.)," Oltsik wrote in a blog post. "Allow me to assume the role of 'cyber chicken little' again: The cybersecurity skills shortage represents an existential threat to our national security," he added.

Dig deeper into Oltsik's thoughts on the cybersecurity skills gap.

Running Linux on data center switches

Ivan Pepelnjak, blogging in ipSpace, said Arista OpenFlow implementations don't support Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption. In many situations, the lack of encryption is not a problem, but it might lead to customer complaints in the midst of a demonstration. To overcome this challenge, Pepelnjak recommended running Arista Extensible Operating System on top of fully open Linux, allowing for the addition of OpenFlow TLS encryption with a TLS proxy.

"Regardless of what you think about running your switches on Linux, or adding third-party software to your switches, or treating the switches like servers -- the ability to add components that get the job done without waiting years for your vendor to implement them is priceless," Pepelnjak wrote. He added that he would avoid buying data center switches that can't be managed like Linux servers.

Read more of Pepelnjak's thoughts on Linux data center switches.

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