SiliconANGLE Extracting the signal from the noise. Fri, 26 Aug 2016 22:45:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Look out Twitch: Facebook Live’s major integration with Blizzard is here Fri, 26 Aug 2016 21:15:50 +0000 Blizzard Entertainment Inc., the studio behind massivel […]]]>

Blizzard Entertainment Inc., the studio behind massively popular games like World of WarcraftHearthstone, and Overwatch, has just rolled out a new update to its game client that adds built-in Facebook Live streaming support to all of its titles. Blizzard first revealed its partnership with Facebook back in June, and now the feature is finally available in the Americas, with Europe and Asia to follow in the near future.

In recent years, game video content has become a massive industry worth over $3.8 billion, and nearly every major company involved with web video wants a cut of that action.  This includes Amazon, which spent an astounding $970 million in 2014 to acquire, the current leader in live game streaming content. Following Twitch’s success, Alphabet Inc. (Google) launched its own game-focused platform called YouTube Gaming, which combines YouTube Live game streams with pre-recorded game video content. Now with the new Blizzard deal, it looks like Facebook also wants a piece of the game video market, and the feature already has a few major advantages right out of the gate.

First of all, streaming Blizzard games with Facebook Live is now dead simple, requiring all of maybe 20 seconds of work to get up and running. The new feature falls into that coveted “just works” territory that helped make Apple the behemoth that it is today. Facebook also comes with a built-in audience: your friends and family. Unlike Twitch, where you can stream for hours and never have a single view, Facebook guarantees that if nothing else, at least your mom will see it.

Facebook Live has some obvious advantages for casual streamers, but it is unclear if it will hold any appeal for professional streamers, who earn money on sites like Twitch thanks to advertising partnership, subscribers, and donations. If Facebook ever adds similar features to its platform, then Amazon and Twitch may have something to worry about.

How to stream Blizzard games with Facebook Live

Blizzard and Facebook have made game streaming about as simple as it possibly could be. Here’s how to get it set up:

1. Link your Client with your Facebook account livestreaming icon

First, click the new camera icon in the top right corner of the client, between your BattleTag and your friends list. A window will pop up asking you to link your Facebook account. Simply enter your Facebook login information and approve the connection.

2. Choose your settings

After linking your accounts, there will be a new menu when you click the camera which will allow you to choose your stream name, whether your want your webcam and/or mic enabled, what page you want to stream to, and what audience you want to be able to see it.

You can further customize your stream by choosing the settings option in the streaming menu, which will allow you to change things like your video quality, mic volume, and so on.

3. Start streaming

Once you have the settings you want, launch your game and start streaming. Yes, it really is that easy. You can start and stop streaming the stream hotkey (default CTRL+F1). The video will go straight to your timeline or other page that you manage, and it will automatically be saved after you finish streaming.

Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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IT financial software maker Apptio tests initial public offering waters Fri, 26 Aug 2016 19:35:16 +0000 Apptio Inc., a Bellevue, WA-based developer of software […]]]>

Apptio Inc., a Bellevue, WA-based developer of software that helps executives make informed financial decisions, apparently liked what it saw from the latest round of earnings from newly public tech companies this quarter. It filed to go public today with a goal of raising up $75 million.

Apptio lost $41 million on $129 million in revenue in 2015, according to its S-1 statement. Both numbers grew from the previous year, when Apptio had sales of $106.6 million and losses of $32.9 million. It said losses can be expected to continue “for the foreseeable future” and that growth rates can be expected to slow.

The nine-year-old company sells what it calls “technology business management” on a software-as-a-service basis. Its software gives chief information officers the same kind of tools to analyze, optimize and plan technology investments that their sales and finance peers have had for a long time. IT executives can also benchmark their financial and operational performance against their peers.

“We empower IT leaders to transform IT into a service provider, to navigate the cloud transition, and to shift technology resources to drive more business innovation,” the company said in its prospectus. “Our platform automatically aggregates, cleanses and establishes relationships across large amounts of customer data from disparate sources and maps the data into our standard IT operating model.” Apptio said its more than 300 customers include 40 percent of the Fortune 100 across a broad spectrum of industries and company sizes.

The company was co-founded by Sunny Gupta, a former senior executive at Opsware Inc. and iConclude Co., among other companies. IConclude was acquired in 2007 by Opsware, which shortly thereafter was acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co. Apptio has been making noise about going public for at least two years, according to GeekWire. Gupta has said he wants to build the next great Seattle-based tech company, after Microsoft and Amazon.

Those are lofty ambitions, but Gupta has shown resilience in the past. He told The New York Times that he earned a partial scholarship to the University of South Carolina and made ends meet by working odd jobs, including washing dishes and moving. He said he applied for – and got – a position as intern for the president of the university because “I told them I was like Avis – I just work harder than anybody else,” he said.

Apptio employed 694 people (pictured above) as of the end of June, up from 628 one year earlier. It has raised $136 million in five venture rounds, according to CrunchBase.

Co-founder and chief financial officer Kurt Shintaffer previously worked with Gupta at iConclude. The company has a seasoned management team, each with more than 20 years of experience in their roles.

Apptio is entering a public market that is still wary of investments in tech companies. Just 59 companies have priced shares this year, according to Renaissance Capital LLC. That’s down from 170 last year and 275 in 2014.

The offering is being underwritten by Goldman Sachs & Co, JP Morgan, BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays PLC, Jefferies Group, Royal Bank of Canada, BMO Capital Markets Corp. and Pacific Crest Securities Inc.

Photo via Apptio Facebook page
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Intel unveils new SSDs for data centers, connected devices and PCs Fri, 26 Aug 2016 18:16:17 +0000 A week after its buzzed-about customer conference in Sa […]]]>

A week after its buzzed-about customer conference in San Francisco, Intel Corp. is making headlines once again by launching six new SSDs for three different markets. The fastest of the new additions is the enterprise-oriented DCP3520, a 0.2U drive that can handle to 375,000 random reads and 26,000 random write operations per second while also providing impressive sequential IOPS.

According to PCWorld, this not only makes the SSD the highest-performing model in Intel’s data center DC series but also puts it ahead of the competing PM953 from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. And as if that wasn’t enough, the DCP3520 comes out on top in the capacity department too with a storage ceiling of 2 terabytes compared to the 1.93 terabyte limit of the South Korean giant’s SSD. It’s joined by a more affordable mid-range drive called the S3520 that uses about 30 percent less than its speedier sibling and is geared towards organizations that are only starting to adopt flash.

On opposite end of the storage spectrum are the new E5410 and E5420 SSDs, which are designed to be used in ATMs, smart meters and other connected devices with limited memory requirements. They former comes with up to 120 gigabytes of flash while the latter provides up to 180 gigabytes and has a mean time between failures of two million hours. Seeing how the kind of devices that Intel targets are typically expected to function for an extended period of time without undergoing maintenance, this reliability should be a major selling point.

Finally, the last two additions to the chip maker’s SSD lineup are built for use in everyday desktops and laptops. Dubbed the 600p and 600p Pro, they provide similar speeds but differ in functionality. The latter is geared towards business laptops and as such comes with a remote erasure feature that allows IT departments to easily wipe company data from an employee’s computer in the event it’s stolen or gets compromised by malware.

Image via Intel
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The people’s conference? HPE Big Data Conference preview | #GuestOfTheWeek Fri, 26 Aug 2016 18:00:39 +0000 HPE’s Big Data Conference in Boston, Massachusett […]]]>

HPE’s Big Data Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, begins on August 29. Mercifully sparing attendees marketing fluff, it will be a use-case-focused conference from a company with a presence in Big Data that may surprise you. Since HPE acquired Vertica in 2011, it has built on its analytics capacities to offer data solutions that couple HPE’s core competencies with the latest innovations from open source — with support and oversight that open source alone lacks.

Senior Vice President and General Manager at HPE Big Data Colin Mahony told Dave Vellante (@dvellante), cohost of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, he believes in keeping the focus on real use cases and issues its customers face. He explained why this conference might be tagged “The people’s tech conference.”

Mahony is theCUBE’s Guest of the Week.

“We’d always heard from our customers that they wanted to learn from other customers. They knew there were use cases that they shared. They wanted to get together. And we set up a lot of these informal conversations between our customers. But we took a chance.

“Everybody told us actually that we were crazy to do this type of thing. But we took a chance a couple years ago, and we sold it out. We could have had twice as many people there. And it was so clear to us that the conversations that people were having, what they were learning about, really were impactful and important.”

Core competencies and then some

Mahony spoke about how HPE Vertica has found its place in the increasingly crowded Big Data market. He said that it offers advisory and support, a home base if you will, while pulling in the best innovations and delivering them in a digestible package. While they utilize open source, for instance, they don’t leave you on your own with the heavy lifting.

He also warned that the idea that you’re not “locked in” with open source is somewhat illusory; you’re going to develop on something and are in some sense locked into it, whether its open or not, he contended.

“It has been an incredible renaissance of innovation and technologies, and Hadoop being a huge part of that, obviously. I would say what we did was we always focused on what we were really good at. And we knew our strength was on the optimizer, the execution engine, running the best analytic database engine we could for Vertica in this market.

“And there were a lot of tendencies and pressures for us to branch out and try to be a massive Hadoop platform and a database engine and all these things. And instead we said we know what we’re good at, let’s focus on what we’re good at, but let’s integrate with this open ecosystem of all these open-source vendors, whether it’s Hadoop, whether it’s Kafka, Spark, you name it.”

Proprietary dinosaur

Mahoney noted a peculiar thing about the cloud phenomenon.

“As the world shifts to cloud, it looks like the world is moving toward another proprietary dinosaur — you know, getting locked into a single stack. And so something that is very unique to us in this space is that we offer an engine with a lot of choices. You can run it wherever you want. We have great hardware to run it on. You can run it on the cloud, many clouds; you can run it on Hadoop distributions.

“And I think that choice in the data democratization is going to become more and more important to enterprises — to be able to choose the right software but leverage all the innovations that are happening in the ecosystem.”

Show me the use case

Mahoney said that the conference will feature guests talking about nitty gritty of their use cases. DreamWorks Pictures will be one featured customer, as will the Spanish Ministry of Defence, which is using data to fight terrorism, and the New York Genome Institute, which now uses data to fight cancer.

He also mentioned that Uber Technologies Inc.’s data science manager, Cory Kendrick, will also be a guest.

Watch the complete video interview below.

Photo by SiliconANGLE
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Report: SAP is buying Hadoop-as-a-service startup Altiscale for over $125M Fri, 26 Aug 2016 16:10:44 +0000 It appears that more consolidation is on the way for th […]]]>

It appears that more consolidation is on the way for the analytics ecosystem. An anonymous insider has told VentureBeat that SAP SA is in the final steps of closing a $125-million-plus agreement to acquire Altiscale Inc., a Palo Alto-based startup that provides managed data processing services.

The outfit started out in 2012 with a hosted implementation of Hadoop and later added a premium edition called Altiscale Insight Cloud that layers business intelligence functionality on top of the system. Both services’ main selling point is that they remove the need for organizations to set up and maintain the infrastructure powering their analytics efforts. As a result, the deployment process takes less time and data scientists can get to work faster, while administrators don’t have to worry about updating their environments every time a new software component is available.

SAP presumably plans to integrate Altiscale’s services into its cloud-based analytics portfolio, which is based on its in-memory HANA database. The system has some limited functionality for analyzing unstructured data but is a relational store at its core.

Making a hosted Hadoop implementation available to customers should help fill the functionality gaps in the software giant’s lineup and allow it to target a whole new set of use cases that it wasn’t able to support before. SAP could make such a one-stop-shop value proposition especially appealing by hooking HANA into Altiscale’s technology so that records can be moved back and forth in different stages of the analytics lifecycle.

If the vendor approaches it correctly, then the acquisition could go a long way toward leveling the playing field against rivals IBM and Oracle Corp., which both already offer an extensive set of cloud-based tools for processing unstructured data. And Altiscale meanwhile gets to provide a hefty return to its investors, which poured $42 million into its coffers over the last four years.

The market is contested not only by startups like Altiscale but also Amazon and Microsoft, which boast major advantage thanks to the popularity of their respective public clouds. Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research noted in a report today that both providers are seeing demand for their Hadoop services rise at over 100 percent year-over-year.

But while this will be much less of a concern for Altiscale following its absorption by SAP, other Hadoop hosting providers such as Qubole Inc. may have a tough road  ahead.

Image via Pixabay
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Rackspace going private in $4.3B deal Fri, 26 Aug 2016 14:05:35 +0000 Cloud infrastructure provider Rackspace Hosting Inc. is […]]]>

Cloud infrastructure provider Rackspace Hosting Inc. is going private in a $4.3 billion deal announced this morning. The deal comes after three weeks of speculation that the hosting provider would seek an alternative to the public markets as its early lead in cloud services was eclipsed by giants like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

The company will be bought out for $32 per share by Apollo Global Management, LLC, a private equity fund founded by former Drexel Burnham Lambert banker Leon Black that is now one of the world’s largest private equity forms. It has $186 billion under management and describes itself as having “significant distressed expertise.”Investment firm Searchlight Capital will also make an unspecified “strategic equity investment” in Rackspace, the company said.

The value of the deal is only six percent above yesterday’s closing price, but a 38 percent premium compared to Rackspace’s closing price on Aug. 3, which was the last day before reports of a buyout began circulating. Rackspace reported a disappointing growth outlook on Aug. 8.  The company has made no secret of its hopes of finding a buyer, but has said it couldn’t get the valuation it thought was appropriate. Rackspace stock has risen sharply this month since the reports surfaced.

Among the other properties Apollo owns are jewelry retailer Claire’s Stores Inc., casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. and cruise operator Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Additional funding for the deal is being provided by Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Barclays PLC and Royal Bank of Canada, among others.

The transaction “will deliver immediate, significant and certain cash value to our stockholders,” said Graham Weston, co-founder and chairman of Rackspace, in a prepared statement. The deal will also “provide Rackspace with more flexibility to manage the business for long- term growth and enhance our product offerings.”

Rackspace was an early leader in cloud computing but has more recently pivoted to position itself as an advisor and support service for other leading cloud platforms. the company is notable for having co-developed OpenStack, the open-source platform that is widely used by many enterprises for private clouds.

Private equity funding is an increasingly popular safe haven for tech companies whose share prices are declining or stuck in low gear. Prior to reports of the plans to go private, Rackspace stock traded as low as $22.69, or more than 70 percent below its January, 2013 high. Going private removes companies from the harsh spotlight of the public markets and can be the first stage in a turnaround strategy that leads to a successful subsequent initial public offering. However, the need to service debt and pay dividends to shareholders can also undermine a company’s ability to make needed long-term investments.



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Wikibon says hyper-convergence has reached a market tipping point Fri, 26 Aug 2016 11:39:52 +0000 When Wikibon introduced the concept of the Server SAN i […]]]>

When Wikibon introduced the concept of the Server SAN in 2014, “hyper-convergence” was not yet a term in general use, and many considered it to be a small piece of the highly fragmented storage marketplace. Today, writes Wikibon Senior Infrastructure & Cloud Analyst Stu Miniman (@Stu), hyperconverged infrastructure, a primary instantiation of Server SAN, is reaching an adoption tipping point and moving toward becoming the primary form of physical IT infrastructure.

The goal of Server SAN is not simply to move from stand-alone to server-based storage. It is to eliminate the complexities of storage management. The combination of automation of many management tasks and the physical combination of storage with servers, along with the rapid adoption of software-as-a-service and public cloud storage, is causing existential fear among storage professionals who see their jobs disappearing. Changes must occur as the storage management role move to move of a business focus. However, Miniman writes, “When these changes are embraced, practitioners typically successfully learn new skills that are more strategic for career longevity.”

The change is also reshuffling the vendor landscape, in some cases requiring that IT shops change entrenched provider relationships. The changes have catalyzed a wave of new storage practices and start-ups, and traditional market leaders – most notably EMC – are also evolving. Not all of those startups will survive. IT shops need to identify the winners and losers in this marketplace, as the next 12 months will see more change.

Wikibon Premium users can read the full analysis here. To learn about subscribing to Wikibon Premium, look here.

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc
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Lyft updates its business profiles, offers users custom expense reports Fri, 26 Aug 2016 08:29:18 +0000 Lyft Inc. introduced business profiles in April as a wa […]]]>

Lyft Inc. introduced business profiles in April as a way for users to record their rides depending on whether it is for personal or work-related use and charge it to a different payment card.

The latest update for Lyft now provides a split of a user’s ride history between Personal and Business, and allows users to download custom expense reports.

Both Lyft and rival Uber Technologies Inc., who introduced business profiles in November, are trying to capture a larger portion of the business traveler market. A recent report by Certify Inc., which offers travel and expense management software, suggests that ride-hailing now accounts for 78 percent of total rides compared to taxis. Uber dominates the market, but Lyft has grown faster than its rival over the last quarter.

If you are a business traveler, we look at how you can download a custom expense report for your business-related Lyft rides.

Create custom expense reports for your business rides

To get access to the latest changes to business profiles on Lyft you will need to download the latest version of the Android or iOS app.

Lyft expense reports

Open the Lyft app on your device > tap on the Menu > Ride History. Your ride history with Lyft is now divided into All, Personal and Business, previously it just listed all your rides together. Tap the Business tab > tap Export and select the relevant business rides > tap Send Report.

Tip: If you accidently allocate a ride to your Personal profile rather than your Business profile, it is possible to move the ride receipt over, but the payment method used will stay the same. Open the Lyft app > Menu > Ride History > open the relevant ride receipt > tap to change the profile from ‘Personal’ to ‘Business’.

If you haven’t set up a business profile yet, visit the Lyft site. You will be able to set up a different payment method, receive ride receipts to your work email address, add notes to each of your Lyft rides, and Concur integration ensures rides are automatically uploaded.

Images via: Lyft
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HPE & HP Inc. hit with age discrimination lawsuit Fri, 26 Aug 2016 07:09:02 +0000 The Hewlett-Packard sisters are in the doghouse, facing […]]]>

The Hewlett-Packard sisters are in the doghouse, facing a class action lawsuit that accuses the two firms of discrimination against older employees back in the days when the two companies were one.

The lawsuit, which was filed by four plaintiffs in the U.S. Northern District Court in San Jose, California, accuses both Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) and Hewlett-Packard Inc. (HP Inc.) of age discrimination and violations of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The complaint alleges that both companies, before and after their split, “unfairly targeted older employees when deciding which roles to cut during rounds of layoffs from 2012 to this year.”

“HP has employed various tactics to effectuate its publicly-stated goal of making itself younger,” the suit reads. “In order to get younger, HP intentionally discriminated against its older employees by targeting them for termination pursuant to the WFR [workforce reduction] Plans, and then systematically replacing them with younger employees.”

The ex-employees allege that although the age discrimination began when HP was a single entity, the practice has continued at both HPE and HP Inc. after the split was finalized.

“When Hewlett-Packard Company split into the two Defendants in November 2015, the 2012 WFR Plan carried through to both HP, Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, which implemented similarly-named WFR Plans,” the suit alleges.

The suit also cites comments made by HPE CEO Meg Whitman, as well as HPE redundancy statistics, which the plaintiffs say proves that the company was targeting older employees for lay-offs in the hope of keeping its younger talent.

Not surprisingly, HPE moved quickly to deny the allegations. “Hewlett Packard Enterprise has a longstanding commitment to the principles of equal employment opportunity and age inclusion is no exception,” the company said in a press statement. “The decision to implement a workforce reduction is always difficult, but we are confident that our decisions were based on legitimate factors unrelated to age.”

Photo Credit: garryknight via Compfight cc
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Analysts remain bullish on Hadoop even as Spark threatens to steal the show Fri, 26 Aug 2016 07:03:58 +0000 Apache Spark might be stealing all of the headlines in […]]]>

Apache Spark might be stealing all of the headlines in Big Data circles these days, but Hadoop remains as hot as ever, according to a new forecast from Research and Markets that predicts strong growth through 2021.

The research firm said this week the global market for Hadoop will grow at a 63.4 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years, hitting $84.6 billion by 2021.Research and Markets attributes the growth to strong enterprise demand, particularly in Europe, where annual growth rates will top 65 percent. It also points to higher rates of adoption in North America, especially in the IT, banking and government sectors, which are keen to embrace Big Data strategies.

Research and Markets’ forecast includes Hadoop software, hardware and services, with the latter accounting for almost half (49 percent) of global demand. It said Hadoop services include integration and deployment, middleware and support, and noted that consulting and related services alone accounted for some $1.6 billion in revenues last year. Integration and deployment services are the fastest growing Hadoop services segment at 64.8 percent however, driven by increased investment in Big Data analytics and “real-time operations.”

Among the key end users driving Hadoop adoption, the forecast highlights the “trade and transportation” sectors as the fastest area of growth, with an annual growth rate of 76.3 percent through 2021. The report also points to the banking, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, media and entertainment, retail and telecommunications sectors as other important key end-users of Hadoop products and services.

“Factors such as aggrandized generation of structured and unstructured data and efficient and affordable data processing services offered by Hadoop technology are the major drivers of the market,” the researchers said in a statement.

Research and Markets’s report also highlighted some of the potential roadblocks in the path of Hadoop’s adoption. The stunning rise of Apache Spark is one, while others include distributed computing and security issues, the researchers said.

The report also identified Hadoop’s market leaders as Hortonworks Inc., Cloudera Inc. and MarkLogic, all of which have “focused on development of advanced, Hadoop-based data storage, management, and analytics solutions to cater to the customized requirements of business enterprises.”

Photo Credit: Photography by Brian Lauer via Compfight cc
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