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Public Sector Big Data: Five Ways Big Data Must Evolve in 2013
2012 will go down as a “Big” year for Big Data in the public sector


Editor’s note: This guest post provides context on mission focused data analytics in the federal space by one of the leaders of the federal big data movement, Ray Muslimani. -bg

2012 will go down as a “Big” year for Big Data in the public sector. Rhetoric and hype has been followed by tangible action on the part of both government and industry. The $200 million Big Data initiative unveiled by the White House in March 2012 was an injection of R&D and credibility towards efforts to develop tools and technologies to help solve the nation’s most pressing challenges.

On the industry side, the recently issued TechAmerica report, “Demystifying Big Data,” provides agencies with a roadmap for using Big Data to better serve citizens. It also offers a set of policy recommendations and practical steps agencies can take to get started with Big Data initiatives.

For all of the enthusiasm around Big Data this year, every indication is that 2013 will be the year when Big Data transforms the business of government. Below are 5 steps that need to be taken in order for Big Data to evolve in 2013 and deliver on its promise.

Demystify Big Data
Government agencies warmed to the potential of Big Data throughout 2012, but more education is required to help decision makers wade through their options and how further investments can be justified. Removing the ambiguitiessurrounding Big Data requires an emphasis in 2013 on education from both industry and government.

The TechAmerica Big Data report is a good example of how industry can play an active role in guiding agencies through Big Data initiatives. It also underscores that vendors can’t generate more Big Data RFPs through marketing slicks and sales tactics alone. This approach will not demystify Big Data – it will simply seed further doubt if providers of Big Data tools and solutions focus only on poking holes in competitor alternatives.

Industry and government should follow proven templates for education in 2013. For example, agencies can arrange “Big Data Days” in a similar format as Industry Tech Days occur today. Big Data industry days can help IT providers gain better insight into how each Agency plans to approach their Big Data challenges in 2013 and offer these agencies an opportunity to see a wide range of Big Data services.

The Big Data education process must also extend to contracting officers. Agencies need guidance on how RFPs can be constructed to address a service-based model.

Consumerize Big Data
While those within the public sector with the proper training and skills to analyze data have benefited from advanced Big Data tools, it has been far more difficult for everyday business users and decision makers to access the data in a useful way. Sluggish data query responses, data quality issues, and a clunky user experience is undermining the benefits Big Data Analytics can deliver and requiring users to be de facto “data scientists” to make sense of it all.

Supporting this challenge is a 2012 MeriTalk survey, “The Big Data Gap,” that finds just 60 percent of IT professionals indicate their agency is analyzing the data it collects and a modest 40 percent are using data to make strategic decisions. All of this despite the fact that 96 percent of those surveyed expects their agency’s stored data to grow in the next two years by an average of 64 percent.  The gap here suggests a struggle for non “data scientists” to convert data into business decisions. 

What if any government user could ask a question in natural language and receive the answer in a relevant visualization?  For Big Data to evolve in 2013 we must consumerize the user experience by removing spreadsheets and reports, and place the power of analytics in the hands of users of any level without analytics expertise.

Mobilize Big Data
IDC Government Insights predicts that in 2013, 35 percent of new Federal and state applications will be mobile. At the same time, 65 percent of Federal IT executives expect mobile device use to increase by 20 percent in 2013, according to The 2012-2013 Telework/Mobile IT Almanac.

Part of consumerizing Big Data means building it for any device so that users do not need to be tethered to their desktops to analyze data. Agency decision makers must be empowered to easily view and analyze data on tablets and smartphones, while the increase of teleworking in the public sector requires Big Data to be accessible from anywhere, at any time, and on any device.

There is promising innovation at work by both established Federal IT providers and upstarts in taking a mobile-first path to Big Data, rather than the traditional approach of building BI dashboards for the desktop. The degree to which 2013 sees a shift in Big Data from the desktop to tablets and smartphones will depend on how forcefully solutions providers employ a mobile-first approach to Big Data.

Act on Big Data
A tremendous amount of “thought” energy went into Big Data in 2012. For Big Data to evolve in a meaningful way in 2013, initiatives and studies must generate more action in the form of Big Data RFIs and RFPs.

Within the tight budget climate, agencies will not act on Big Data if vendor proposals require massive investments in IT infrastructure and staffing. There must be a shift –to the extent possible – of the financial and resource burden from agency to vendor. For example, some vendors have developed “Big Data Clouds” that allow agencies to leverage a secure, scalable framework for storing and managing data, along with a toolset for performing consumer-grade search and analysis on that data.

Open Big Data
Adoption of Big Data solutions has been accelerated by open source tools such as Hadoop, MapReduce, Hive, and HBase. While some agencies will find it tempting to withdraw to the comfort of proprietary Big Data tools that they can control in closed systems, that path undermines the value Big Data can ultimately deliver.

One could argue that as open source goes in 2013, Big Data goes as well. If open source platforms and tools continue to address agency demands for security, scalability, and flexibility, benefits within from Big Data within and across agencies will increase exponentially. There are hundreds of thousands of viable open source technologies on the market today. Not all are suitable for agency requirements, but as agencies update and expand their uses of data, these tools offer limitless opportunities to innovate. Additionally, opting for open source instead of proprietary vendor solutions prevents an agency from being locked into a single vendor’s tool that it may at some point outgrow or find ill suited for their needs.

Read the original blog entry...

About Bob Gourley
Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV

Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
In this Cloud Expo Keynote, Danny Sabbah, CTO & General Manager, Next Generation Platform, will detail the critical architectural considerations and success factors organizations must internalize to successfully implement, optimize and innovate using next generation architectures.
Lisa Larson, Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Solutions of Rackspace Hosting Live From New York City
In the old world of IT, if you didn't have hardware capacity or the budget to buy more, your project was dead in the water. Budget constraints can leave some of the best, most creative and most ingenious innovations on the cutting room floor. It's a true dilemma for developers and innovators – why spend the time creating, when a project could be abandoned in a blink? That was the old world. In the new world of IT, developers rule. They have access to resources they can spin up instantly. A hybrid cloud ignites innovation and empowers developers to focus on what they need. A hybrid cloud blends the best of all worlds, public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers to fit the needs of developers and offer the ideal environment for each app and workload without the constraints of a one-size-fits-all cloud.

Keynote: Driving Cloud Innovation: SSDs Change Cloud Storage Paradigm
Cloud is a transformational shift in computing that can have a powerful effect on enterprise IT when designed correctly and used to its full potential. Join Citrix in a discussion that centers on building, connecting and empowering users with cloud services and hear examples of how enterprises are solving real-world business challenges with an architecture and solution purpose-built for the cloud.

Go Beyond IaaS to Deliver "Anything As a Service"
Many organizations want to expand upon the IaaS foundation to deliver cloud services in all forms—software, mobility, infrastructure and IT. Understanding the strategy, planning process and tools for this transformation will help catalyze changes in the way the business operates and deliver real value. Join us to learn about the new ITaaS model and how to begin the transformation.

@CloudExpo Stories
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment proces...
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them ...
In demand-intensive mobile and web applications, an emerging pattern is to host the Systems of Engagement in the cloud (for maximum responsiveness) but keep the Systems of Record with the other important business systems in the company datacenter, often on a tightly secured mainframe. But what about the space in between? In this IBM Redpaper publication, we show that the IBM Bluemix cloud platform offers technologies that make it easy for cloud-based SoEs to securely connect to on-premises IBM...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a global leader in monitoring, and testing the performance of online applications, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of DevOps Summit New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016 at the Javits Center in New York City. Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.Founde...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
The revocation of Safe Harbor has radically affected data sovereignty strategy in the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Jeff Miller, Product Management at Cavirin Systems, discussed how to assess these changes across your own cloud strategy, and how you can mitigate risks previously covered under the agreement.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company Logz.io. In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Top Stories for Cloud Expo 2012 East

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Cloud computing is transforming the way businesses think about and leverage technology. As a result, the general understanding of cloud computing has come a long way in a short time. However, there are still many misconceptions about what cloud computing is and what it can do for businesses that adopt this game-changing computing model. In this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan, Rex Wang, Vice President of Product Marketing at Oracle, discusses and dispels some of the common myths about cloud computing that still exist today.
Despite the economy, cloud computing is doing well. Gartner estimates the cloud market will double by 2016 to $206 billion. The time for dabbling in the cloud is over! The 14th International Cloud Expo, co-located with 5th International Big Data Expo and 3rd International SDN Expo, to be held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, N.Y. announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of providing or using massively scalable IT-related capabilities as a service using Internet technologies (see suggested topics below). Cloud computing helps IT cut infrastructure costs while adding new features and services to grow core businesses. Clouds can help grow margins as costs are cut back but service offerings are expanded. Help plant your flag in the fast-expanding business opportunity that is The Cloud, Big Data and Software-Defined Networking: submit your speaking proposal today!
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It's a simple fact that the better sales reps understand their prospects' intentions, preferences and pain points during calls, the more business they'll close. Each day, as your prospects interact with websites and social media platforms, their behavioral data profile is expanding. It's now possible to gain unprecedented insight into prospects' content preferences, product needs and budget. We hear a lot about how valuable Big Data is to sales and marketing teams. But data itself is only valuable when it's part of a bigger story, made visible in the right context.
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Everyone talks about a cloud-first or mobile-first strategy. It's the trend du jour, and for good reason as these innovative technologies have revolutionized an industry and made savvy companies a lot of money. But consider for a minute what's emerging with the Age of Context and the Internet of Things. Devices, interfaces, everyday objects are becoming endowed with computing smarts. This is creating an unprecedented focus on the Application Programming Interface (API) as developers seek to connect these devices and interfaces to create new supporting services and hybrids. I call this trend the move toward an API-first business model and strategy.
We live in a world that requires us to compete on our differential use of time and information, yet only a fraction of information workers today have access to the analytical capabilities they need to make better decisions. Now, with the advent of a new generation of embedded business intelligence (BI) platforms, cloud developers are disrupting the world of analytics. They are using these new BI platforms to inject more intelligence into the applications business people use every day. As a result, data-driven decision-making is finally on track to become the rule, not the exception.
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@CloudExpo Blogs
The annual holiday shopping season, which started on Thanksgiving weekend and runs through the end of December, is undoubtedly the most crucial time of the year for many eCommerce websites, with sales from this period having a dramatic effect on the year-end bottom line. Web performance – or, the overall speed and availability of a website or mobile site – is an issue year-round, but it takes on increased importance during the holidays. Ironically, it is at this time of year that networks and infrastructure come under the most strain from traffic and are more vulnerable than ever to performan...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
Every day, every hour, every minute, devices are becoming connected. The Internet of Things (or Iot) has gone from a buzzword floating through the echoes of Silicon Valley to a tangible and quickly advancing movement in the world of hardware. But, like a stone tossed into a pond, the effects of the Internet of Things are quickly rippling outward, causing immense changes to the environment surrounding it. And, as it turns out, the IoT is a rather big stone and it's making a large splash. The IoT revolution is necessitating enormous changes to companies who want to play in this brave new world -...
DevOps is an organizational and cultural rethink of how software-driven organizations can become organizations at velocity – agile enough to innovate and fast enough to deal with any change that comes their way. Information technology is a central enabler of DevOps, but today’s better-faster-cheaper technology is not the whole story, as tools are only as good as the people wielding them. The more fundamental story here is the organizational and cultural transformation necessary to take full advantage of modern tech. Business at velocity depends upon such transformation.
It's been a busy time for tech's ongoing infatuation with containers. Amazon just announced EC2 Container Registry to simply container management. The new Azure container service taps into Microsoft's partnership with Docker and Mesosphere. You know when there's a standard for containers on the table there's money on the table, too. Everyone is talking containers because they reduce a ton of development-related challenges and make it much easier to move across production and testing environments and clouds. Containers are the technology that, many believe, deliver on the long-promised port...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
For the last 15 years, companies operating in the United States and Europe have benefited from Safe Harbor - a streamlined process that allowed U.S. companies to transfer and store European citizens' data in the U.S. provided a level of privacy protections were adhered to according to outlined European standards. Recently, however, an Irish court has ruled, in a case brought by an Austrian citizen concerned about how Facebook was handling his private data, that the Safe Harbor agreement is inconsistent with European privacy law, as it did not require all organizations entitled to work with EU ...
I didn’t want to be so dramatic, but I couldn’t help but be completely honest as well. The end possibility is that your entire organization may suffer the fate as Sony Pictures, Target, Anthem and others that have been shaken by hacks and vulnerabilities in their networks. In some cases it has been analyzed that hackers sat in for months stealing data, until they chose to tell everyone about their presence. That’s probably one of the reasons that websites like WikiLeaks are constantly able to churn document after document, exposing one thing or the other. Without supporting any of these and st...
The Internet of Things is here. In the coming years, billions of devices like sensors, meters or actuators will be connected to the network, sharing information and taking instructions. These connected devices will sense and deliver more data, respond to control inputs and provide more information to help people and machines make decisions. Examples of “things”’ include IPTV cameras in major metropolitan areas, crop-growing water detection systems, smart meters that communicate energy consumption and smart transportation systems that adapt to traffic conditions. These are all computing systems...
Unicorn is a term in the investment industry, and in particular the venture capital industry, which denotes a start-up company whose valuation has exceeded (the somewhat arbitrary) $1 billion. The term has been popularized by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures. Fortune magazine counted over 80 unicorns as of January 2015. Now its most likely past 100. But their journey lately has been bumpy. There are signs of cooling the "lofty valuations" of these unicorns. Fidelity wrote down Dropbox by 20%; Snapchat by 25%; and Zenefits and MongoDB by around 50% each. Zenefits had raised money at a $4.5B valua...
If you think of automated provisioning as a formal written language definition, it does have some value in illuminating issues with partial automation or portions of the overall data center that are not automated. The path to automation is not a straight one at most organizations. It takes time, it takes resources, and even though there is a definable ROI, the press of business needs wins every time there is a conflict – because meeting business needs is pretty much the purpose of IT. But taking the staggered approach has costs too, and it’s good on occasion to look at them. I’ve admittedly ...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Wearable technology has come a long way since the calculator watch. In the past whenever I thought of the term “wearable technology” the first things I would like of were always calculator watches and pedometers, but boy have things changed! Even if you’re a skeptic, this blogger thinks that pretty much everyone will be using some type of wearable tech by 2020. It seems like wearable technology is everywhere. Whether it is Google Glass, or the Samsung Galaxy Gear, there seems to be nothing that you can't tech out. There is Colour Change Couture, fabric that changes color when wet, The Progra...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
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Past SYS-CON Events
    Cloud Expo West

    Cloud Expo East

    Cloud Expo West

    Virtualization Expo West
    Cloud Expo Europe

    Cloud Expo East

    Virtualization Expo East
    Cloud Expo West

    Virtualization Expo West
    GovIT Expo
    Cloud Expo Europe

Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty












Dell Boomi


Layer 7 Tech



What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances

"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
  –Richard Wellner
Chief Scientist
Univa UD

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Citrix Systems

"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
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Brick Group