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Adopting new technologies while maintaining critical legacy systems can feel like a maintenance nightmare. Cut through the complexity with Red Hat Ansible, one of the world’s most popular open source IT automation technologies to manage IT environments at scale.

Get your IT infrastructure running like a dream with automation. Here are the newly announced Ansible innovations to help:

  • Red Hat Ansible Engine is a new offering designed to bring the enterprise-grade global support that Red Hat is known for to the popular Ansible automation community project many users have come to rely on to streamline deployments, cut complexity, and spread automation across disparate teams. Perfect for organizations looking to automate quickly or for Ansible Project users who want all of the value of Red Hat subscription plus critical Ansible support.
  • Red Hat Ansible Engine Networking Add-on is an additional offering that supports a  variety of networking platforms and modules. This includes full engineering support for the following networking-specific Ansible modules: Arista (EOS), Cisco (IOS, IOS-XR,  NX-OS), Juniper (Junos OS), Open vSwitch and VyOS. A great fit for organizations with mission critical networking deployments.
  • Red Hat Ansible Tower 3.2 is the latest version of the enterprise Ansible automation management platform. Tower allows you to centralize and control your IT infrastructure with a visual dashboard, role-based access control, job scheduling, integrated notifications and graphical inventory management.

Collectively these new commercial Ansible offerings are called Red Hat Ansible Automation.

Ansible Automates Technologies you use:

Cloud Virtualization Windows Network Monitoring



Digital Ocean


OpenStack Rackspace

+ more



Atomic CloudStack OpenShift



















Palo Alto

+ more

Airbrake Datadog LogicMonitor Monit


New Relic PagerDuty Sensu StackDriver Zabbix

+ more

Are you ready to make automation a reality for your organization? We’d love to help. Red Hat Ansible Engine and Ansible Engine Networking Add-on are available for purchase today, either separately or as part of a Tower subscription.

Mike Liberty
Senior Cloud Solutions Architect
Continental Resources, Inc
175 Middlesex Turnpike Ste 1
Bedford, MA 01730-9137
Phone: 781-533-0451


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By John Kozej,VCDX #245

Ransomware over the past few months can be described very easily with 3 little words.


I’m honestly going to VENT a bit here but I want to vent in a way that so it can be resourceful! Ransomware not only needs to be stopped but prevented because these attacks are now crossing the line in many ways. When hospitals across the globe are being affected and impacts people who need medical treatment, especially CHILDREN…it’s time to bring this issue to the forefront of any conversation. WannaCry decimated many organizations this past spring and as I sit here and type this the Petya ransomware attack is hitting globally. Striking companies across Europe and disrupting organizations in just about every market. Ukraine was heavily hit where everything from the government, power companies, banks and the airport in Kiev were all affected. As the day went on companies in the U.S. began to feel the affects of Petya.

In order to stop these things from happening in the future we simply need to “rethink” our approach to security from a NETWORK and a DATA PROTECTION point of view. Perimeter firewalls are just not enough and legacy backup solutions are great but again…they’re just not enough sometimes.

Perfect example scenario…what happens if your Windows based backup server becomes compromised by ransomware?

  • Do you have a procedure in place to recover that system?
  • Have you honestly tested this “corporate doomsday” scenario?
  • Do you honestly feel prepared and confident in your current strategy to both protect and recover from a ransomware attack?

Chances are you answered NO to all of the above questions. So again, we need a different approach by thinking outside the box a little bit more and ask the question…

“What can be done to enhance security INTERNALLY?”

Yeah…think OUTSIDE by thinking INSIDE. That’s exactly where to begin!

Let’s start with enhancing the existing network infrastructure. Don’t rip and replace what you already have. That’s nonsense and too costly for any organization. Simply utilize/leverage VMware NSX to take the level of network security in your infrastructure to an entirely new level and use it to compliment the existing security measures that are already in place.

See the small problem with the perimeter firewalls is once they are exploited by either hacking straight through them or using a trojan horse from an email or any other means…once they’re in, THEY’RE IN and they wreak havoc because there is not enough internal security to prevent it from spreading. It is beyond a dumpster fire. It literally spreads like a California wildfire and there is just not enough being done internally to put that fire out. A majority of these major bugs and exploits hit before any type of vulnerability patch or security definition can be created to detect and stop it. Network security needs to be more than just a speed bump.

So how do you combat this effectively without deploying physical firewalls for every piece of equipment in your data center? That’s the ideal solution in perfect world but let’s be more realistic. There is a reality to that equation and it is possible to accomplish security to that degree by introducing just one solution..

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VMware NSX Microsegmentation managed by Distributed Firewall will PROTECT every single virtual workload in your vSphere environment all the way down to the vNIC level of the VM. You cannot beat or find that type of rich, fine-grained security anywhere else. NSX will literally CRUSH RANSOMWARE before it even has a chance to start. If a vulnerability is detected it can be immediately quarantined before it gets anywhere else.

These exploits from WannaCry and Petya are attacking vulnerabilities in Windows. A virtual administrator and network administrator in NSX simply create a DFW firewall rule by blocking:

  • 137 UDP NetBIOS Name Service
  • 138 UDP NetBIOS Datagram Service
  • 139 UDP NetBIOS Session Service
  • 445 TCP Microsoft CIFS

Literally ONE SIMPLE FIREWALL rule in NSX and your entire virtual data center in vSphere is PROTECTED!!! WannaCry and Petya cannot get in or spread!


What else can be done to protect against ransomware? Very simple. Take advantage of secondary storage technology ASAP to PROTECT THAT DATA!

Two major vendors of secondary storage come to my mind…Cohesity and Rubrik. I cannot swear allegiance to either one at this moment because when it comes to protecting systems from ransomware that’s affecting children globally…I really don’t care which one you pick at this point. Get something to help protect your data and prevent from this happening now and in the future.

Cohesity and Rubrik protect you in the event that your storage (data) is still somehow compromised. Ransomware has taken it completely over and the clock is ticking. It’s like the movie SPEED from the 90’s….corny as all hell referencing that movie at this point but it fits! So yeah…the clock on ransomware is ticking and you need a solution QUICK before time runs out. Your data are the people on that bus in SPEED and you need to save it quickly!

These two solutions can perform near-instant data recovery and enable your organization to resume operations in MINUTES!!!! In some cases the RPO’s can be down to a single minute. A SINGLE MINUTE!!!!

I’m going to let these two solutions speak for themselves! They are both great and ultimately your decision on which one comes down to which one fits what you are ultimately looking to accomplish in both the short and long-term.

Cohesity and Rubrik possess some of the following qualities…

  • Converged data protection
  • Simple, fast and cost effective
  • Both are Enterprise Ready
  • Keep your business up and running
  • Recovery almost instantly and never pay a ransom
  • Most important word when it comes to combating ransomware….AVAILABLE!
  • …and much more!


Cohesity Links:

Ransomware meets its match in Cohesity

Overcoming Ransomware Cyberattacks with Cohesity  (video from PunchingClouds)

Cohesity and VMware NSX: Slayers of Ransomware – WannaCry  (PunchingClouds Blog)

Cohesity Data Protect

Keeping Your Data Secure with Cohesity  (by Tarang Vaish)

Veeam with Cohesity Storage Platform (PDF) — yes you read this correctly…Veeam and Cohesity working together in harmony!


Rubrik Links:

Native Immutability to Fight Ransomware

Langs Stops Ransomware Attack with Rubrik  (video from Rubrik)

Air-Gap, Isolated Recovery and Ransomware – Cost vs Value (PDF)

The Accelerating World of Ransomware  (by Andrew Miller)

Combating the Evolving Landscape of Ransomware  (by Chris Wahl)


We are experiencing a new threat with ransomware. Much different than the threats we have seen and managed in the past. These new threats require new strategy, new forward thinking and reacting quickly to prevent these events from happening. Don’t fall victim to the next ransomware attack just because you were not prepared in advance. Take all of the necessary precautions, be very diligent and take advantage of these solutions. They don’t cost anywhere near as much as what it will cost you and your organization if you data becomes hijacked or permanently deleted. It is not worth the risk.

Do you need to completely rip and replace what you have? No. Use VMware NSX on your virtual network; Cohesity or Rubrik to enhance your data protection. Take it to another level internally to protect from those outside threats. These solutions allow you to both proactively prevent and efficiently recover when necessary.

Rethink possibilities.

Rethink security.

Rethink availability.

Most importantly…rethink strategy.


Check out my blog site to learn more!

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Did you know ransomware is now the primary security concern for organizations? That was true even before the WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack made global headlines for impacting more than 230,000 organizations in over 150 countries. Not only are the number of attacks up in 2017, but the actual ransom demands (usually money) are up as well. According to an Osterman Research Survey Report published for Malwarebytes in August 2016, the majority of malware included in phishing attempts is currently ransomware. In addition, more than 39 percent of the 540 organizations surveyed (from the United States, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom) had been impacted by a ransomware attack during the previous 12 months.


If that statistic shocks you, prepare to have your mind blown…in a blog post from February 2016, it was noted that the Global Response Intelligence Grid from SonicWall recorded 3.8 million ransomware attacks in 2015 which increased to more than 638 million in 2016. Yes, you read that number correctly, and it’s not a typo. 638 million ransomware attacks in 2016—that’s more than 167 times the number of attacks in 2015. Let that sink in…

These astonishing numbers only make up one part of this explosive story. “Though it’s difficult to give a truly accurate total—not everyone hit by ransomware is keen to talk about such incidents—SonicWall’s report estimates that around $209 million in ransoms were paid in the first quarter of 2016 alone.”

Mind blown yet?


For those that fall victim to ransomware attacks, the consequences can be utterly devastating to an organization’s bottom line and embarrassing to their reputation. This is why it’s important to take preventative measures now, rather than waiting until it happens. Although ransomware can be challenging to prevent altogether, having a plan for how to respond and taking the necessary precautions to minimize your odds is really your best defense. You need to focus on two solutions: choosing the right technology and training your people.


With these types of ransomware attacks expected to increase again, you need to consider data protection services that offer extra levels of security for user data while keeping users mobile and collaborating. The Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio offers organizations scalable solutions that secure their entire data center. It’s one of the most secure object stores in the industry, and its versioning capabilities enrich and complement any existing ransomware strategy. Hitachi Data Ingestor (HDI) extends these capabilities to remote and branch offices, while our mobility platform, Hitachi Content Platform Anywhere (HCP Anywhere) has enterprise file synchronization and sharing (EFSS) capabilities which protect a user’s most frequently used, and consequently, most valuable data, to keep your business running.

If your organization making money hinges on your employees’ ability to access data throughout the day and you haven’t put additional security measures into place, it’s time to start planning for this right now. As ransomware demands continue to increase at explosive rates, the question isn’t “if” it it’s going to happen to you, the question is “when.”

Collaboration with customers and the emergence of new security threats has allowed us to recognize and address the most pressing IT security issues. Please contact us at 800-937-4688 with your special requirements and/or concerns.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, our current business cycle is going through a lower rate of labor productivity growth than normal. This means limited gains for Americans in recent years. Unfortunately, we’ve all had to work more hours in order to produce the current supply of goods and services than we would have if we had higher productivity growth. This slow growth period will cause many to pay closer attention to productivity stats in years to come as these trends will play a major role in our lives and those of our children and grandchildren.


Given how far we’ve come in innovating technology during the last few decades, it’s actually hard to believe we haven’t seen an increase in these numbers, but we also need to consider the bigger picture. Just because a certain technology exists, doesn’t mean a manufacturer doubles its production overnight. In fact, when a new technology comes to fruition, there is often a defined period where only innovators and visionaries are jumping on board, while the pragmatists and skeptics are waiting for a second iteration that they believe will be significantly enhanced and maybe even more affordable. Basically, the time it takes from the launch of a new technology to it becoming an industry standard could be many years. Add on the additional time it might take for organizations to ramp up on qualified staffing as well as the period of time they spend training and waiting for their employees to become highly efficient in this new trade. What you’ll see in the long term is the return to make an organization more productive is worth the investment. However, when looking at the short term, the time spent waiting on technology, implementing it, staffing up, and training can cause productivity measure to be average at best during those planning years.


For some, the productivity forecast is total doom and gloom. People fear the major wave of technology creation and adoption has passed. We’re happy to say we know this is not true, and we’re excited about the many new advances already in place that are bringing employees back to a standard, if not increased, level of productivity.

Consider that just two decades ago cell phones were still considered a luxury item. The average working-class American wasn’t carrying a mobile phone with them all day every day, and they certainly weren’t returning work-related phone calls and emails while they were commuting to and from the office. Fast forward to 2017: not only do most Americans have cell phones, but more organizations than ever before are adopting bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. This new wave of thinking—and a result of consumerization—empowers employees to work on their own devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) which will ultimately help companies increase productivity and reduce costs.


Helping you learn how to use proven technologies that make sense for your business is our job, and we know the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) Anywhere will mobilize your team with minimal risk so they can be more productive through collaboration. HCP Anywhere will

  • Support bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives while maintaining visibility and control of business data
  • Eliminate shadow IT risks with a secure and protected private cloud solution at a cost comparable to public cloud services
  • Reduce cost and capacity requirements and IT overhead with compressed, backup-free object store

Because the demand for file sharing and collaborative solutions is not going away anytime soon, the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)—an IT analyst, research, validation, and strategy firm that provides market intelligence and actionable insight—evaluated HCP Anywhere. They discovered that because our current society is accustomed to easy access and the immediate gratification of finding information online when they want it, workers will find ways to use their own tools and devices if it makes them more efficient. HCP Anywhere empowers them to do just that while still maximizing data protection. According to ESG, “forbid{ding} employees to use any solution outside of the corporate domain…erodes employee good will without providing them services that they clearly want, and in most cases truly need.” Still don’t believe us? See how these cloud-based tools compare.

Our team at ConRes will help you increase productivity and reduce costs through mobilizing your workforce. Please call ConRes at 800-937-4688 to learn how our 50 years of experience will benefit your team.

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Picture this.

A terrorist is targeting one of the major high-rise buildings downtown. He picks up his cell phone and types an update to Facebook so his family knows he’s ok. Just as he hits “Post,” law enforcement swoops in from every angle and surrounds him so there is nowhere for him to run. They cuff him and bring him to the station. It’s a great day for this task force. They’ve been following this criminal for a while, and now he’s officially in their custody and off the street. He can’t hurt anyone now.


Sounds like your typical Tuesday night TV drama, right? Fortunately, with Hitachi’s recent advances in connecting data intelligence tools, cutting down on data silos will increase response times for law enforcement. These positive steps make it easier and more efficient to keep communities safe. This is part of a broad commitment by Hitachi to Social Innovation in order to make society safer, sustainable, healthier, and more comfortable by leveraging the IoT, big data analytics, and IT infrastructure technologies.

If you think this all sounds like some sort of real-life CSI, you’re absolutely right. Police departments are actually able to pull up a map of the city and see relevant information like social media posts and video from strategically placed cameras and where they happened on the map in addition to the time. Although court documents still need to be obtained in order to access any information on someone’s phone, police can access any public information. For example, law enforcement is unable to use someone’s phone location to find them, but they can use social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, which often provide the user’s location as the user posts.


So, what is this wonder tool delivering dynamic situational awareness to public safety officials across the globe? It’s the converged solution, Hitachi Visualization. This converged solution literally gives city officials the opportunity to move from making reactive decisions to using real-time insights and predictive crime analytics as part of a more proactive decision-making process.

To support a data-driven, citizen-centric police philosophy, the Austin, Texas Police Department (APD) is using the Hitachi Visualization Platform (HVP) to collect, share, and analyze information. HVP edge-capture camera devices allow the city to monitor activity in real time for targeting city areas, providing potential crime evidence, and supporting public safety goals. “We’ve been able to reengineer our department into a data-driven and intel-based policing organization. The public safety camera project is designed to aid the city in deterring, detecting, and investigating crimes,” said Troy Gay, Assistant Chief of the APD.

The goal of the APD was to implement a real-time observation project with digital cameras posted in crime-dense areas of the city, including Rundberg, Sixth Street, and the Warehouse District. The venture officially became known as the HALO Public Safety Camera Project (HALO is short for High Activity Location Observation) and it is part of an ongoing effort to reduce crime in these “hot spots.”

With Phases I and II successfully completed, APD is now embarking on Phase III which includes the purchase of additional HVP cameras and related hardware, software, services, maintenance, and post-warranty support. This maturity phase will also include enhancement of wired and wireless network capacity and security to ensure continued, uninterrupted operational resilience.

The award-winning, cloud-based Hitachi Visualization Suite aggregates data into a common, live operating picture, providing full situational awareness to support incident management and investigations for the APD and many other public safety officials.

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