Sports, Security AI and Infrastructure – Infrastructure Matters, Episode 47

Sports, Security AI and Infrastructure - Infrastructure Matters, Episode 47

In this episode of Infrastructure Matters, hosts Camberley Bates, Steve Dickens, and Krista Macomber discuss developments around security, AI, and more.

Key topics include:

  • The Futurum Group’s Cybersecurity Decision Maker IQ Data
  • Infinidat’s InfiniSafe Automated Cyber Protection
  • IBM’s Granite Model for AI
  • IBM’s investments in Wimbledon
  • Investments in components for AI PCs from Samsung, SK Hynix, Kioxia, and others.

You can watch the video of our conversation below, and be sure to visit our YouTube Channel and subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.

Listen to the audio here:

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Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this webcast. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this webcast.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.


Steven Dickens: Hello, welcome to episode 47. Episode 47, that sounds crazy to say. Episode 47 of Infrastructure Matters. I’m your host today, Steven Dickens, and I’m joined by my fantastic co-hosts, Camberley Bates and Krista Macomber. Welcome to the show.

Camberley Bates: Good morning.

Krista Macomber: Good morning.

Steven Dickens: We’ve been talking off camera and goofing around, so now everybody’s just ready to get going, aren’t we?

Camberley Bates: Yeah, well, we have to tell them what we’ve been talking about.

Steven Dickens: Tour de France.

Camberley Bates: Tour de France. Okay.

Steven Dickens: This is a shame that Camberley and I would… This is the message going out directly to any tech vendor sponsoring the Tour de France. If you’re looking for some organic coverage of your presence, and your sponsorship of the Tour de France. Camberley and I are available for the final stage of the Tour de France, which goes from Monaco to Nice this year. So if you’d like to fly us over, we’d more than graciously accept the trip.

Camberley Bates: I have the day off.

Krista Macomber: I have also heard the beaches in Nice are beautiful, so.

Steven Dickens: Yeah, yeah. Krista’s not a cycling fan like Camberley and I, but she’d come along. So, three tickets, that’s all you need.

Krista Macomber: Yep. There we go.

Steven Dickens: We’ve got a packed agenda today. We’re going to talk a little bit about what Futurum Intelligence is doing with some analysis we’re doing in the chip set market. But also what Krista’s doing and driving from a cybersecurity perspective. Camberley’s going to tell us a little bit about what’s going on in the data security space. We’re going to cover what in Infinidata cyber…

Camberley Bates: Infinidat. I’m going to pivot sports and talk a little bit about what IBM’s doing at Wimbledon. And that’ll be your show today. So I’ll start with a little bit around what we’re doing with Futurum Intelligence. This is a key part of The Futurum Group. This is us building market sentiment, market analysis, market sizing, growth. I’ve just spent 90 minutes of my morning so far this morning, and we’re only at 11:00, going through chip set data. So we’ve got a whole team of us looking at the AI marketplace. What’s going on with GPU, DPU, TPU, accelerators and trying to deconstruct that market and pull that together.

So you’re going to see that coming out from us in a few weeks time. So I can’t preview too much of the data yet. We’re in the final stages of curating that and battle testing it. But Krista, you’ve also been doing a piece of work on the cybersecurity space and I think you’re maybe going to beat us to the punch on getting your data out. So maybe you can just give us a bit of a preview. What are you doing and what’s some of the early findings in the market?

Krista Macomber: Yeah, absolutely Steven. And yes, our cybersecurity decision maker, Intelligence Data, is in the dashboard similar to you. I got to walk through it this past week a couple of days ago, so very exciting. And so, as you’re alluding to, what this data is, is it is really understanding sentiment of decision makers in various marketplaces. Steven, you were talking about chip sets and in particular the data that I’ve been in charge of is around cybersecurity. So specifically, for this kind of initial effort, we narrowed it down to focus on seven product segments. Specifically data protection, data security posture management, your SIM tools, identity and access management tools, networking and cloud networking as well. And what we found was…

The top finding I would say that sort of jumps out to me that was really interesting was that more than half of organizations are intending to add a new cybersecurity vendor moving forward. And actually, 45% of respondents told us that they plan to actually invest in a whole new product category under the seven that I mentioned. And I call this out because there’s been a lot of discussion in the cybersecurity market, especially this year, around this concept of moving to platforms or solutions and trying to consolidate down the number of vendors and products, from a customer perspective, that they’re working with for security. And that’s because just the web of cybersecurity tools just has sprawled to become… You have dozens that may be in place at any given enterprise. So this is creating some gaps in visibility. It’s slowing the ability to detect and respond to attacks.

So, there’s sort of this push and pull, right? So I think it’s, ideally, we would like to move towards that more platform type approach. But at the same time, what we’re hearing is that there are new capabilities that are needed in the security marketplace. Whether that be to protect new cloud applications that are coming into the equation, for example, whether that be new tools to be able to detect new and more sophisticated attacks that are emerging. So again, there’s sort of this, on one hand we still need this more innovative, best of breed approach to be able to address the requirements as they’re evolving. Especially today. But at the same time, do so in a way that is, I would say very, very specific. So very focused on, where are the gaps in the security implementation today? And specifically, what is needed to be able to address those? So again, that was sort of-

Steven Dickens: It’s interesting you say that. I mean, I sort of tracked this space through a lot of your research and the commentary and I kind of listen more generally. I’ve been hearing this sort of tension between platform and best of breed. I saw your coverage out at RSA, and I know you’re going to Black Cat and I just look at the vendor lists who are sponsoring that and there’s hundreds of vendors. Is it kind of, two things can be true at the same time type? Is it people are looking to consolidate and drive more horizontal platforms, but they also want to invest in best of breed at the same time? Is it a “both/and” rather than an “either/or,” I suppose is the question?

Krista Macomber: That’s what I’m seeing. And we’ll actually get to this a little bit with Infinidat and how they’re partnering with some of these companies. I did hear this, for example, from a company, Fort Tribe back at RSA, how they have a number of services across a number of segments within security. And what they’re trying to do is provide this platform where customers can add as they need and as they go. So certainly I am seeing both are kind of true at this point. And so what we’re seeing is that there certainly are partnerships, we are seeing that there’s areas where a company might try to be flexible in terms of the ability to add services as customers need them.

And from a customer perspective, what I would say is, it’s important to understand specifically, where are the gaps in your cybersecurity capabilities today? And map those to, what are the most pressing threats or vulnerabilities? To really understand, where does it make sense if you are going to choose to either add a new product or a vendor that you’re working with, is that really the most strategic decision? And it might be, if this product or company really brings some best of breed capabilities to the table, that fill those critical needs.

Camberley Bates: So a couple comments here. I sit on a CIO CSO round table once a month. And that group, they do polls. I think we probably have about 50 people in there. So it’s not necessarily… And one of the questions that they pulled on this time was ranking of, where is your biggest vulnerability? And, overwhelmingly, the number one vulnerability was data security. Not everywhere security, not IAM. It was still the data security piece of it. So that heightened, continued, heightened awareness is there. And so that continued march forward to say, “Okay, so we need to keep on doing more, or different, or change it up.”

And then with that, we continue to see a march of announcements coming out of vendors to address various and asundry pieces of it. I mean, getting back to platform versus the different vendors, you look at strategies like Cohesity is doing. Citi is working with the different vendors that are out there, the security vendors, creating those relationships. So maybe they’re not putting the platform together, but they’re putting the relationships and the ease of use integration work with their platform. So that’s another strategy that they’re taking on to take a look at all the different, various areas that they’re exposed.

Krista Macomber: Exactly. And to that point, when a company, you referenced Cohesity, I know we heard this a bit from NetApp as well, Camberley, when we were with them a couple of weeks ago. From their perspective, they’re saying, “We’re hearing that customers are working with a couple different vendors in this particular space, and those vendors really are best of breed for maybe Azure SIM tool.” So we want to make sure that customers can continue to work with them and that we’re offering that interoperability there. And you bring up a great-

Steven Dickens: Does that stick right into the Infinidat cyber conversation? Is that what you’re hearing specifically? From one vendor that maps into that wider trend? Is that what we’re hearing?

Krista Macomber: Yeah, it might be actually be a good segue to talk about that. So I’ll even further tee it up. So I know Camberley, you mentioned data security being the top issue among the CIO panel. So what I’ll say is here…

Camberley Bates: CIO and CSO. So it wasn’t a CIO.

Krista Macomber: Yes.

Camberley Bates: That was what, very, very importantly in there is that you have both of these people citing this as the top issue for people.

Krista Macomber: Yeah, that’s an important distinction. Yeah, thank you. So, in our intelligence data, we asked the respondents, so those who said that they are considering changing vendors. So in the data protection market, the respondents have said they’re considering changing their data protection vendor. The top reason was, improving their ability to meet their recovery point and recovery time objectives. So that’s your data loss and your downtime.

And then we also asked, in data security posture management, and those companies said, the ability to expand their existing security posture coverage. So looking at okay, maybe they have some new endpoint security requirements, maybe they have new vulnerability management requirements to address. And I say that because, so what we’ve seen from Infinidat is they had their launch, they call it their automated cyber protection capability. This is part of what they call their InfiniSafe Portfolio.

And what this is, is Infinidat is integrating with security operation centers tools, like your SIM and your SOAR tools. And when that SIM or SOAR tool, for example, detects potentially malicious activity, the Infinidat system will automatically take a snapshot. And I bring that up because it really goes back to when we heard this feedback around the ability to meet those RPO, RTO requirements. This really can help to minimize the amount of data loss because, where it’s automatically taking a snapshot, hopefully you’re minimizing the spread of the attack within your environment. And so you’re then, of course, preserving as much of your good data, if you will, that isn’t corrupted as possible.

Camberley Bates: Similar to where NetApp is doing their snapshot, their immediate snapshot when they detect it on the primary storage. Again, how fast can we get to that space? Yeah, very good.

Krista Macomber: Exactly. Exactly. So Steven, to your question, this is an example of, they’re working with these kind of ecosystem partners in the security space to be able to address that feedback from customers.

Camberley Bates: We had another company just recently, Store One, which is a firm out of Israel that brought out. And one of the things that they were bringing out in this latest release is the ability to do a hundred thousand snapshots and store those. And that again gets back to that RPO, RTO situation where we’re needing to… It’s no longer just about traditional data protection kind of thing, but this is all about, how often do we need to snapshot to make sure we can recover?

Steven Dickens: So really interesting, Krista. So what’s the big trend lines? I mean, I know the research isn’t published yet, but we’ve obviously got a bunch of enterprise CSOs, CIOs, CTOs as listeners to the show. What would be those big sort of, if you had to boil it down to three takeaways, and I’m putting you on the spot here, so I apologize. But what would be those three takeaways you would… From the whole body of research, what would you say, if you had to boil it down to three banner takeaways.

Camberley Bates: It’s your headline in your press release.

Steven Dickens: Yeah, headline in… Exactly. You know where I’m going. What was headline for the press… You can do Nobte’s job for him now and come up with the stupid headline.

Camberley Bates: Or for our ADD people, they can’t pay attention. What’s the headline? Right?

Krista Macomber: Exactly, exactly.

Steven Dickens: The TL;DR.

Krista Macomber: Exactly. I was just going to say that. The TL;DR. So I would say, certainly one of the major trend lines is, as we’re kind of alluding to here, there is investment, right? So we talked about investing in potentially new vendors, potentially adding product categories. And, in fact, the ability to do that more quickly is, more than 90% of organizations said that they need to deploy their tools faster when compared to three years ago. So there’s spend that’s happening and it’s happening quickly. I would say the second trend line is what we were just alluding to around… I referenced that data point around data security posture management, and the need to keep up with new threats. The second one is, the threat landscape is evolving. And so customers are evaluating their suite of cybersecurity tools from the standpoint of the ability to detect these new attacks, protect all of these, whether it be applications and infrastructure and endpoints and things of that nature.

So the ability to keep pace with the evolving security requirements. Which of course is feeding our first headline around spending and investment. And then I would say, the third… This didn’t necessarily fully come up in the data itself, but I talked about it in the context of some of the conversations that we were having at RSA, which is that we were talking about the push and pull between best of breed and consolidation. And the third is just the more that you can make the life of your security operations team easier, and help them to identify those needles in the haystack, and really be as preventative as possible against all of these attacks, that is going to go far. So really that would be my third, would be empowering the security operations center to be more proactive and preventative and really respond more quickly. So those would be, for me, based on the data and the conversations that I’m having.

Steven Dickens: I can feel a specific show solely where I ask you tough questions about your data. Maybe that’s one for post honeymoon. And then we’ll ask you one to sort of dive through. But no, that’s going to be a fantastically interesting kind of data set.

Krista Macomber: Definitely the day I get back, when I’m brushing off all the cobwebs.

Steven Dickens: Oh, yeah. Schedule that 9:00 AM the day you get back from your honeymoon together.

Krista Macomber: That would be ideal.

Steven Dickens: No pressure whatsoever. Just spot quiz, me asking you 20 hard questions. We won’t do that to you, Krista. Don’t worry. So pivoting topic here completely, I got a really good briefing from the team at IBM about what they’re doing at Wimbledon. That started this week. The championship started 1st of July. It’s one of the things I miss every year about not being in the UK, it kind of takes over the BBC for two weeks. You come home from work and you can just sit on the couch and watch two weeks of tennis. And I’m a passive tennis watcher, but Wimbledon’s kind of a national institution. So IBM’s been a long-term sponsor of Wimbledon.

And they don’t just put their logo on it, they don’t just sponsor the TV coverage, they really get involved. They’ve got data centers on site, they really get underneath this. And the key thing that came away from the briefing that I had with the team at IBM this week is that they’re really investing from an AI perspective. Both for the fan experience, they’ve ran some research that said 55% of global tennis fans believe that AI will positively impact sports, which is interesting. But I think it also impacts the coaches and the players themselves. So what IBM’s doing is leveraging its new Granite models. These were launch date at IBM Think and Red Hat Summit a few months ago.

Camberley Bates: So, what is a Granite model?

Steven Dickens: IBM’s Granite model is their open source approach. 17 different models ranging from 3 billion to 34 billion parameters. Open sourced. Also, some of the tuning on top of that with Instruct Lab, which they made available as an open source project. So this is really IBM being definitive about a particular use case for AI in sports. But focusing in on really, I suppose, the two tension points that came through in the briefing with IBM was open source versus closed source. Small model versus big model. That was the whole conversation that we got into, very quickly got into that rather than the tennis. But I think it, for me, it’s really interesting of, where are we going to see some of these small models? I see from the guys on our team who are covering Qualcomm and their devices, that we’re going to see small models go into either edge devices or out to mobile phones. I was on Ron Westfall’s 5G Factor podcast yesterday, talking about a Motorola and Google collaboration. So that’s pushing models right out to the device.

And then I think the other piece that IBM’s leaning into is open source. Now, obviously, we’re seeing chat GPT and Google’s Vertex as kind of the poster childs for closed source. But I think where everybody else is going is on an open source dynamic. So I think a really good use case from IBM, end-to-end tech stack around what they’re doing with Granite, through IBM Cloud right up in to powering the app and the fan experience. So I think, as we look at these enterprise AI deployments, it’s really fascinating to go out and understand one that’s capturing the market, certainly from the two-week championships, but longer term for some of the coaches and players as they look at their stats and how to tune their training. So, just fascinating briefing for me.

Camberley Bates: One of the things I was watching in the last few weeks has just been this ongoing march of releases and announcements on the component side of the house. It’s kind of what I call the chip kind of thing. And that’s in support of the AI. And you look at all the question, where is all this deployment going to go? The front page of the Wall Street Journal is about the hyperscalers looking at nuclear energy. Big deal, right? Because they can’t power the data centers. So is it going into there? So that’s one area. Another area is the AI PCs. So we look at SK Hinx this week is coming out with their… What do they call those?

The little drives that are going into the PCs. And so they’re releasing TLC drives, which are higher performing drives with PCI Gen-5, souped up energy kind of stuff, going into two terabyte, one terabyte, half a terabyte, or… Going into your PC, so we can do whatever we’re going to do. Some people are going to actually do, working on gen AI on their computer. But the large mass of us is going to be using the computer to leverage all that stuff on our computer. So we won’t even know we’re using this stuff. It’s just, it’s there. It’s there on there. So Keyoxia is showing their environment, showing some new two terabit NAND.

They’re already shipping some QLC, that’s big drives. And that’s being used by… That Pure talks about using in their direct flash, they talked about 150 terabyte drives and going to 300 terabyte drives. Where are we going? And this is all in support of this technology that’s rolling out. And then you’ve got Solidigm out there, and now followed by Samsung sampling some 61 terabyte drives. So it’s just a constant parade of more speed, more networking, more whatever in this data-driven environment that we’re living in.

Steven Dickens: Well, I mean all the guys who cover the devices have been taking pictures of their new laptops with the Copilot button on. I don’t track that space. I’ll accept any laptops that any vendor wants to send me, but I don’t track that space specifically. But those guys are all, the Copilot button, putting AI out to that edge device. I think we’re just seeing it all up and down the stack. And the IBM Wimbledon piece was just, get away from the noise of the technology for a little bit. Because you’re seeing it on memory, you are seeing it on security, Krista, I’m seeing it on infrastructure. We’re seeing it on storage, we’re seeing it across the whole stack. How does that all come together in a nice, clean, fantastic interface for the fan on their phone, and gives a rich experience? You start there and unpick the stack. And that was what came from me from the IBM Wimbledon briefing.

They didn’t start with the technology. It was, start with the fan experience down. Very quickly, we got into the benefits and performance metrics of Granite versus LAMA and Claude. It kind of got there pretty quick. But it’s a use case. And I think what IBM always does a great job of is, how do you position that with a line of business executives? And this story around Wimbledon’s really easy to consume and understand. It’s like, “Oh, I’m going to have an app on my phone as a tennis fan. I’m going to understand how the players are doing, match predictor, looking at the stats, who’s going to win? It was interesting, my daughter’s a media… And they call it second screening. I’ve not heard this term before, but whilst you’re watching the TV, you’re also doing something on your phone to augment the experience of what you’re doing on the TV.

Camberley Bates: I was doing that Thursday during the debate. Listening to it. Watching the…

Steven Dickens: So I think this second screening concept for me was fascinating around, what are people doing on their phone whilst they’re watching the tennis? What are they doing on a break? Are they on the IBM app, looking at who’s going to win the game and what was percentage on… What was the rich data on that last set? Because it was fascinating, but I only caught the last four games. What happened? And just augmenting that fan experience, and then powering that obviously with AI, was just really interesting for me. So I think we’re done.

Camberley Bates: We’re going to lose her for a couple of weeks now.

Steven Dickens: I know it’s just not going to be the same.

Krista Macomber: Well, I’m here next week. You’re the one that’s not, Steven.

Steven Dickens: So you’ve got maybe an interruption to your regular gang of three for the next few weeks. I’m off to Aruba on vacation, Krista’s…

Krista Macomber: That is coming later. But yeah, so the wedding itself is two weeks from today, which is crazy.

Steven Dickens: So I probably won’t see you now before the vacation and the honeymoon and the big day. So send all your comments and likes and appreciation on social media to Krista and congratulations.

Krista Macomber: Thank you.

Steven Dickens: You’ve been watching another episode of Infrastructure Matters. Please do all the things to click and subscribe, make the algorithm work. Tell a friend. We’re building a show here, so we enjoy doing this every week and we’ll see you next time. Thank you very much for watching.

Camberley Bates: Thanks guys.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Security Investments Rise as Threat Landscape Darkens – The Futurum Group

How IBM’s AI and Open-Source Granite Models Revolutionize Sports Technology

Microsoft Recall: A Shrewd Move or Big Brother in Your PC? – The Futurum Group

Author Information

With a focus on data security, protection, and management, Krista has a particular focus on how these strategies play out in multi-cloud environments. She brings approximately a decade of experience providing research and advisory services and creating thought leadership content, with a focus on IT infrastructure and data management and protection. Her vantage point spans technology and vendor portfolio developments; customer buying behavior trends; and vendor ecosystems, go-to-market positioning, and business models. Her work has appeared in major publications including eWeek, TechTarget and The Register.

Prior to joining The Futurum Group, Krista led the data center practice for Evaluator Group and the data center practice of analyst firm Technology Business Research. She also created articles, product analyses, and blogs on all things storage and data protection and management for analyst firm Storage Switzerland and led market intelligence initiatives for media company TechTarget.

Krista holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Journalism with a minor in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire.

Camberley brings over 25 years of executive experience leading sales and marketing teams at Fortune 500 firms. Before joining The Futurum Group, she led the Evaluator Group, an information technology analyst firm as Managing Director.

Her career has spanned all elements of sales and marketing including a 360-degree view of addressing challenges and delivering solutions was achieved from crossing the boundary of sales and channel engagement with large enterprise vendors and her own 100-person IT services firm.

Camberley has provided Global 250 startups with go-to-market strategies, creating a new market category “MAID” as Vice President of Marketing at COPAN and led a worldwide marketing team including channels as a VP at VERITAS. At GE Access, a $2B distribution company, she served as VP of a new division and succeeded in growing the company from $14 to $500 million and built a successful 100-person IT services firm. Camberley began her career at IBM in sales and management.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business from California State University – Long Beach and executive certificates from Wellesley and Wharton School of Business.

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.


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