SiliconANGLE http://siliconangle.com Extracting the signal from the noise. Tue, 30 Sep 2014 21:47:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Onboard for Oracle’s cloud push, Intel and Cisco share values | #OOW14 http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/onboard-for-oracles-cloud-push-intel-and-cisco-share-values-oow14/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/onboard-for-oracles-cloud-push-intel-and-cisco-share-values-oow14/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 21:47:35 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=200566 Continue reading ]]> Oracle cloudAs Oracle Corp. shifts its focus to the cloud, its partners Cisco Systems Inc. and Intel Corp. provide invaluable support: Oracle runs on Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS), which is powered by Intel’s Xeon processor. Jim McHugh, VP of UCS Marketing at Cisco, and Intel’s VP and GM of Data Center Marketing and Enterprise IT, Shannon Poulin, see the Oracle OpenWorld conference as an event that reinforces cloud as a viable business option.

Poulin described Oracle’s strategy as a “culmination approach” in which the company helps its customers get where they want to go through a diverse range of software options and cloud functionality.

Cisco’s UCS is a something of a lynchpin: it brings together compute, storage, and networking in one integrated infrastructure. As a top provider of x86 blades, McHugh explained that because Cisco “caught the market at a transition,” it was able to become the number two leader in this market. McHugh attributes Cisco’s success to the fact that the company “did things slightly different” and was able to disrupt the market.

Why Cisco and Intel innovate on multiple levels

 

Cisco’s “engineering approach” to business keeps them working on both the hardware and software levels. Poulin explained that by working on “different levels, you’re going to capture more customers.” Especially as methods of consumption have shifted towards cloud, companies need to adapt to new environments and figure out how to remain competitive. In this day and age, Poulin said, being competitive means offering “mobile apps, maybe a multi-tenant environment on infrastructure that has the capability to accelerate different types of workloads.”

At present, McHugh said there’s still a “trade off with being agile enough with your infrastructure…and having something that’s driven to what the needs of the applications are.” For McHugh, it makes sense to have the “application tied to the platform, tied to the infrastructure underneath.” This approach, Furrier pointed out, drives DevOps and architecture.

Xeon sets standards

 

Because the two companies had congruent road maps and long histories of innovation, McHugh explained that when it came to Cisco’s UCS product, Intel was their first choice partner. Cisco, he said, was able to provide more value to their customers by focusing on Intel as their sole partner.

Xeon is such an integral part of UCS because it “enables a bunch of solutions that can it on top of [Intel] products,” according to Poulin. In order to deploy new technologies and support orchestration solutions Intel needed to ensure that Xeon could run at its “the absolute fastest” in any environment, whether it’s VMware, OpenStack, or Microsoft. To accomplish this, Poulin explained, Intel made “enhancements to the architecture itself.”

Read more after the video.

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Biggest trends in the database

 

Turning their discussion to customers, Poulin said that he has noticed that as IT departments are asked to innovate without an increased budget, they turn to private clouds for a cost-efficient solution. Turning to cloud environments, he pointed out, is also a response to legacy business units requesting “more flexibility” from their infrastructure.

McHugh chimed in, adding that the tech industry is rethinking what a datacenter is. Data centers are essential to “all mobile apps” and need to function at “cloud scale” for Hadoop deployments. What McHugh says he sees throughout the industry, is a “spread out” of the data center.

How Intel and Cisco handle security

 

As mobile facilitates the consumerization of IT, Furrier pointed out that companies are faced with new demands and challenges, like security issues.

McHugh explained that Cisco approaches security right from the inception of a project. The company has a “policy-based approach to the infrastructure” in which requirements are replicated across infrastructure. The company’s approach is to “count on the attack happening and prepare for it.” With a policy-based approach, McHugh said, security is incorporated throughout both hardware and software.

Opening the doors to mobile, Poulin added,  means the “attack surface” changes. In response to this danger, Intel and Cisco are working together to virtualize networks. By thinking “holistically,” Poulin says that customers are able isolating a breech and minimizing attack surface.

Software eating IT

 

While software may be eating “the world,” McHugh said, “data is the lifeblood of software.” The purpose of software, he explained is to “put the right data and decisions” in front of people. To be successful, he said, neither hardware or software on their are own are sufficient for success, especially when handled separately. When hardware and software are fused with data, customers have fewer complications to handle.

A lot of innovation at the software level occurs in concert with hardware innovation, said Poulin  Intel thinks about this topic in terms of how to change a business for the better — software helps companies see how they can better modify their processes and systems.

IT is permeating businesses

 

Both McHugh and Poulin believe that IT’s role in companies is changing. More and more often, they agreed, IT is becoming “native” to the companies they support. Poulin said that there are already companies that have an “IT-forward model.” He described apps like Uber and HotelTonight as enterprises that are essentially “IT companies that delivery a service.” Even at Intel, he said, IT is central to the way the company interacts with customers and comes up with new products.

McHugh mentioned that as IT permeates throughout businesses, “IT guys” can become “benevolent brokers” that an opportunity to guide their organization, imbuing it with the ability to add value and move quickly.

Image via Oracle, Corp.
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Microsoft teleports straight to Windows 10: Here’s 5 things to know http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/microsoft-teleports-straight-to-windows-10-heres-5-things-to-know/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/microsoft-teleports-straight-to-windows-10-heres-5-things-to-know/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 21:06:56 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=200680 Continue reading ]]> Windows 10Pulling back the curtains today, Microsoft Corp. revealed its next operating system. Much of what was shown was expected, but the software giant did have a few surprises up its sleeve. Here are the top things you need to know.

1) It’s WAY better than Windows 8, incrementally speaking.

What comes after eight? It’s not always nine. Just like those hotels that skip the 13th floor, Microsoft is jumping straight to Windows 10, but not because of superstition. The new operating system is just that good. They aren’t taking baby steps, here. What Microsoft describes as “the most comprehensive platform ever” is a bold leap, compared to previous versions. Windows 10. That’s smart. It’s almost like time travel. Microsoft is teleporting users into the future, past the mediocre Windows 9 upgrade, and straight to the more advanced Windows 10 operating system. Nice!

2) Windows 10 is everything!

They weren’t kidding when they said it’s comprehensive. Windows 10 is the operating system that literally operates all of Microsoft’s systems. Desktops, laptops, tablets, convertibles, and even phones, will all be powered by Windows 10. No exceptions. If Microsoft ever comes out with a Windows SmartWatch, or futuristic Windows Vision smart glasses, don’t be surprised if they’re running Windows 10. That’s how committed the company is to this consistent OS platform for devices.

3) Windows 10 Introduces Responsive OSUX Design. 

We’ve already established that Windows 10 is everything, but how will that work? Won’t it be too big on Windows Phone screens? And won’t it either be too “point & clicky” for touch screen tablets, or too “touch & swipey” for non touch screen devices with keyboards and mice?

Thanks to its responsive operating system user experience (ROSUX) design, it will look and behave perfectly for whatever device it’s being used on. Microsoft simply refers to this concept as “One product family. One platform.”, but a responsive user interface is the end result. On a convertible device, for example, Windows 10 will take on the look of a touch interface it’s being used as a tablet. If a keyboard and mouse are plugged in, the interface automatically transforms into desktop mode. On small form factor devices, Windows 10 will take on a minimized, touch interface design.

4) It merges, the best features from Windows 7 and Windows 8.

The Windows 8 start screen and the Windows 7 start menu have been combined for the Windows 10 extended start menu. In addition to the traditional menu look and features, smart tiles and app shortcuts can be added. The menu reshapes dynamically, depending on what you pin to it, and how large you specify you want it to be. Windows 10 also combines the new generation of apps that were introduced in Windows 8, with the concept the operating system draws its name from: windows. The apps no longer have to run in full screen mode. They can now run in resizable floating windows, just like all the legacy programs.

5) Windows 10 will be released in 2015, but you might be able to get an early copy.

Microsoft is preparing to launch Windows 10 towards the end of 2015. Between now and then, the company will reveal additional product features. If you know your way around operating systems, you might be able to take Windows 10 for an early test drive. Microsoft is launching the Windows 10 Insider Program tomorrow, which will give participants a sneak peak at the new Windows experience.

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Value engineering explained | #Inforum14 http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/value-engineering-explained-inforum14/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/value-engineering-explained-inforum14/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 20:27:58 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=200540 Continue reading ]]> business intelligence BI chess strategy move playerAccording to one executive, most people don’t quite understand value engineering. In an interview for theCUBE at the recently concluded Inforum conference, Infor, Inc. Chief Solutions Officer & SVP of Value Engineering Riaz Raihan explained the concepts behind value engineering, and how customers can use it to ensure true business value from their software investments.

Getting Started

When getting customers started with value engineering, Infor conducts a value discovery. This means that the company spends time with customers on site and at corporate as well documents their strategies to determine what metrics they want to move. Infor then loads all of this gathered information into its Infor Value Manager (IVM), a real-time tool that gives customers the ability to figure out how changes made to the business impact their income statement and balance sheet. “You’re not just getting a PowerPoint deck that’s static and fixed in time. You’re actually getting something that’s dynamic and evolves with time,” Raihan added.

Infor’s Three Step Process

Raihan stated that Infor takes a three step process to measuring value. The first step is figuring out key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that matter to a company in that industry. Infor establishes what a company’s improvement baseline is by doing baselines across different metrics. For companies with more than one business, Infor does baseline metrics across businesses and departments. Another methodology that Infor uses is called benchmarking, in which the company works with the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) to create industry benchmarks and metrics that lets customers look at themselves objectively.

The next step is determining how the needle can be moved on each of those indicators. Finally, Infor builds out a roadmap that allows customers to implement the software, then measure how much the needle moved on the KPIs.

When Things Go Wrong

Raihan admitted that things go wrong all the time, but that this is where project management comes in. If customers continue on a wrong path and don’t make the kind of changes set forth from Infor’s value engineering strategy, then they’re not going to get the kind of results they expect or deserve. Value management, a process that offers more than analytics, details why something happened and what’s likely to happen. “We want to be able to give customers foresight, not just hindsight,” said Raihan.

The Results

As opposed to a deck with a static Excel sheet, value engineering offers customers a robust analysis that gives a clear understanding of business issues and recommends how those issues should be addressed – whether it be through a process change, technology change or combination of the two. Customers get a quantified benefit and business case that shows, in dollars and cents, the value of solving business challenges.

“A lot of customers make investments in software. They expect it to solve real world business problems for them, and value engineering makes sure that that actually happens,” Raihan stated.

photo credit: Mukumbura via photopin cc
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Enlightenment through benchmarking, the Cisco way|#oow14 http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/enlightenment-through-benchmarking-the-cisco-wayoow14/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/enlightenment-through-benchmarking-the-cisco-wayoow14/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:41:21 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=200572 Continue reading ]]> With more apps moving to the cloud, Cisco Systems Inc.’s Raghunath Nambiar, Distinguished Engineer with the company’s Data Center Business Group, thinks that Oracle Corp.’s commitment to cloud makes sense. So while Oracle has been touting it benchmark leadership, Cisco has been a key part of Oracle’s move towards the cloud, and its Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) also compares well when benchmarked. Nambiar stopped by theCUBE at Oracle’s Open World conference to talk with Jeff Frick and John Furrier about UCS benchmarks and his predictions for the future of the data center.

Raghunath Nambiar - Oracle OpenWorld 2014 - theCUBE (Blue)

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Why benchmarks are significant

 

People care about benchmarks, said Nambiar, because they enable comparison based on performance, price, and efficiency in a vendor-neutral way. The numbers are important for customers, vendors, and the organization itself. In terms of setting benchmarks, Nambiar said, Cisco has been doing extremely well. In fact, in the past five years, the company has achieved more than 95 industry benchmark reports.

Many members of the benchmarking community, Nambiar said, are employed by major vendors. It’s their task, he explained, to remain neutral so consumers can accurately assess their options. When companies compare against each other, it creates an exciting, competitive environment, Nambiar said, and one from which customers benefit because prices go down while performance goes up.

 

Oracle-Cisco customer use cases for performance applications

 

Nambiar went on to discuss Cisco’s relationship with Oracle, touching on Cisco customer use cases for Oracle and detailing that the modern enterprise applications fit into “three buckets.” These include:

1. Traditional, like transaction processing and enterprise data warehousing, for which Nambiar says Cisco’s UCS is a great fit.

2. Emerging, like big data management, in which tools like Hadoop play an important role. Nambiar says that UCS is a good fit for this type of application, and is especially ideal if customers want to combine traditional and emerging applications.

3. Analytics and computing at the edge applications, like the Internet of Things (IoT). Cisco, he said, is also working with this market and recently announced a new generation of platform that incorporates an IoT gateway and processing at the edge through the “UCS mini platform.”

Much recent data center transformation has been driven by power, and “energy efficiency is a top consideration for every IT manager,” said Nambiar. UCS offers, he emphasized, a 30 to 40 percent performance improvement while maintaining the same power footprint. He shared that Cisco compares well to other companies in energy efficiency benchmarks.

Nambiar said that Cisco intends to keep pushing when it comes to compute capability. They want to create a “next generation machine” for custom deployment, scalability, and price performance.

Read more after the video:

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The impact of flash

 

Flash, Nambiar observed, “is becoming standard,” especially for transaction processing databases.The IOPS per second capabilities that flash offers, he said, makes Flash much more “energy efficient.” In five years from now, he predicts that 75 percent of truncation processing databases will be running on flash.

 

Looking to the future of Big Data

 

Nambiar said that Cisco values the functionality that Oracle offers to move data sets outside of databases and over to Hadoop. Data on Hadoop then can become part of the “database table.” He’s excited that clients will be able to access data stored on both their data base and the one on Oracle and sees a lot of potential in this capability.

Describing the focus of the Oracle Open World conference to be on “database as a service” and the cloud multi-tenant environment, Nambiar added that he is excited to see how the database changes affect particular industries, especially healthcare, as effective management can bring down costs and spur significant changes.

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What’s Amazon want from the smart home market? http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/whats-amazon-want-from-the-smart-home-market/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/whats-amazon-want-from-the-smart-home-market/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:00:39 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=200612 Continue reading ]]> This week’s Smart Living roundup features the latest rumors of new connected hardware coming from a well-known, online retail giant; smart homes being equipped with voice assistants; and a switch that’s actually a smart home hub.

smart house upsidedown flipped reverse right side up home

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Amazon to make more connected devices

 

Despite the dismal reception of Amazon.com Inc.’s Fire Phone, the online retail giant is not about to backout of the hardware race. In fact, it’s just getting started. According to a Reuters report, Amazon is ramping up hiring to expand its team for Lab126, its research and development division responsible for its consumer electronics devices.

Amazon aims to increase Lab126’s manpower by 27 percent or about 3,757 people by 2019, and will invest $55 million in its operations, now looking into connected devices for homes as well as wearable tech. According to sources cited in the aforementioned report, Lab126 is testing a WiFi device that could be placed in a kitchen or closet that would allow people to order things from the retail giant such as detergent or fabric softener with a touch of a button. Another source cited by Reuters stated that Lab126 is also interested in wearable technology. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the devices will ever come to market.

Amazon has remained tight-lipped about its R&D division, but spokeswoman Kinley Pearsal stated, “We will continue to invent and create new features, services and products, and to support this innovation. Lab 126 is also growing very quickly.”

Insteon app gets Cortana

 

Back in July, Insteon, a registered trademark of Smartlabs Inc., announced that it will be adding new features to its Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 apps. The upgrade will include support for Cortana, Microsoft Corp.’s voice assistant, allowing users to control their smarthome using their voice.

Insteon has officially launched the upgrade which, aside from Cortana, comes with Visitor Mode to provide restricted access for children and guests. The update also includes enhanced camera support for users to view multiple cameras at once, and camera support without the need of an Insteon hub. Multi-house support allows users to control multiple locations from a single account, while a new dashboard view extends a quick and organized view of the status of your home.

Wink’s Relay

 

Wink Inc., a company spun from Quirky Inc., released its second major product that aims to disrupt how people interact with their smart homes. Smart connected devices can be controlled using an app on a user’s smartphone, but Wink knows that people don’t always have their mobile device in hand, thus the need for a hub that also offers remote control.

The Relay hub doesn’t look like other hubs available in the market, but mimics a light switch with a touchscreen panel. It can be placed near your front or bedroom door, or wherever you deem necessary. Relay runs the Wink app which allows it to connect and control other Wink-enabled devices such as smart lights, thermostats, and others. It uses WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbeee to communicate with other connected devices, has temperature, humidity, sound, and proximity sensors, mic for intercom functionality coming soon, and speakers for notifications. Relay is now pre-selling on Amazon for $299.

photo credit: Newtown grafitti via photopin cc
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3 ways Ello could top Facebook http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/3-ways-ello-could-top-facebook/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/3-ways-ello-could-top-facebook/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:13:23 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=200635 Continue reading ]]> ello-social-networkTime at the top is usually limited. In the case of social media, the stay at the top may be even shorter for businesses trying to capitalize on trends. Facebook, Inc. rose to prominence in the previous decade, beating out MySpace LLC to become the top social networking website. Now, amidst growing criticism over its marketing strategies, some are turning to a new social network named Ello, Inc.

While there are plenty of analysts who say Ello is no threat to Facebook, it is not hard to find some who say it is. If the invite-only, ad-free social network wanted to topple Facebook (its founders say it does not), here are three ways it could get the job done.

3 ways Ello could topple Facebook

 

1. Stay Ad free – It is easy for a web-based business to start out ad free if it has venture capital investors, but eventually, it will need to monetize the site. Can Ello find a way to make money on the web without selling user information to third parties? It might be able to survive by selling premium services or by allowing companies to pay to connect with willing customers, but survival is a long way away from flourishing. If it can stay ad free, however, it will have a big advantage over Facebook.

2. Make privacy a priority – Many of the disgruntled Facebook users who might be willing to try Ello dislike Facebook’s ever-changing privacy policies and sometimes less-than-ethical use of user data. While Internet users may be overreaching in their expectation of privacy in social media, they nonetheless expect privacy, or at least the semblance thereof. The more Ello markets itself as a privacy-friendly alternative to Facebook, the more converts it can win.

3. Continue the counterculture – In an age where both sides of the spectrum consider themselves to be alternatives to the “norm”, a company can go far if it convinces people it represents the counterculture. Facebook is definitely the norm, and Ello can at least thrive in the shadows if it continues practices like having a “manifesto” on its site and championing the LGBTQ community after Facebook’s “real-names” policy alienated transgender people who wanted to use gender-bending names. If Ello can continue riding the “we’re not like them” wave, it might put a dent in Facebook’s social empire.

Ello has been catching on very fast, even managing to process 31,000 new signups per hour at one point. To be successful, it will need money to continue building infrastructure to keep up with its rapid growth. If it can do that and keep users thinking it is a sound alternative to Facebook, it might compete, even if competing is not its goal.

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Three months late and $200M short, IBM-Lenovo server deal finally looks to be closing http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/three-months-late-and-200m-short-ibm-lenovo-server-deal-finally-looks-to-be-closing/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/three-months-late-and-200m-short-ibm-lenovo-server-deal-finally-looks-to-be-closing/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:38:21 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=200568 Continue reading ]]> international deal handshakeLenovo Group Ltd. is on course to becoming the world’s third largest supplier of commodity servers after regulators signed off on a multi-billion dollar deal that will see it take over IBM’s x86 business. The acquisition is expected to complete on Wednesday, three months behind the expected schedule outlined when the companies first revealed plans for the sale in January.

The transaction hit a snag just over halfway into the handover process when CFIUS, the federal body responsible for assessing the national security implications of major international transactions involving American firms, failed to approve the acquisition within the initial 75-day review period. Analysts pinned the holdup on the sensitive nature of Washington’s relationship with China, which forced IBM and Lenovo to refile their papers in hopes of receiving an extension. The hassle would prove worthwhile.

A few weeks short of the second deadline, CFIUS was finally swayed. The anti-monopoly bureau of China’s Ministry of Commerce followed suit in giving the green light a month later, paving the way for the transaction to proceed. The last leg of the journey mostly went smoothly from there, with the relatively minor exception of $200 million that had to be shaved off the original $2.3 billion price tag due to a change in the valuation of inventory and deferred revenue liability, according to Lenovo.

A few hundred million dollars here or there don’t diminish from the strategic importance of the deal to either firm. Leaving the cutthroat x86 server segment will free up IBM to focus on more profitable areas such as cloud computing and analytics, while Lenovo is gaining a ticket into a $42 billion market that, although fiercely competitive, is nonetheless growing steadily. The same can’t be said for the PC industry, where the Chinese manufacturer maintains a leadership position (thanks in no small part to its acquisition of Big Blue’s personal computing business in 2004) and which has been declining at an accelerating rate over the last few years.

Under the terms of the soon-to-be-closed deal, Lenovo will absorb IBM’s freshly expanded System x family along with the BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, Flex pre-configured appliances and NeXtScale and iDataPlex machines, plus all the associated software and operations. Big Blue, for its part, will hold onto its System z mainframes, Power Systems, Storage Systems and Power-based Flex servers as well as the PureApplication and PureData appliances.

photo credit: Victor1558 via photopin cc
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Oracle completes cloud pivot by releasing flagship products as services | #OOW14 http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/oracle-completes-cloud-pivot-by-releasing-flagship-products-as-services-oow14/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/oracle-completes-cloud-pivot-by-releasing-flagship-products-as-services-oow14/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:00:33 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=200554 Continue reading ]]> Oracle_CloudAfter years of trying to ignore the trend into non-existence, Oracle Corp is finally giving up on swimming against the cloud computing current and following arch-rivals SAP SE and IBM in making its flagship software products available on a service basis. Now that it’s embraced the new reality of technology deployment, the company has no intentions of stopping at merely adding another billing option to its existing lineup.

Accompanying the cloud-based versions of Oracle’s namesake relational database and Java development environment introduced at its OpenWorld 2014 conference this week s is a wide array of new solutions that extend the competitive focus far beyond the vendor’s traditional comfort zone. At the tip of the spear are six services that address the most strategic gaps in its already broad software-as-a-service portfolio.

Outscaling the competition

 

The suite centers on a new managed Hadoop distribution that allows customers to analyze growing troves of uninstructed data – the kind Oracle’s flagship database has a notoriously difficult time handling – without having to make an upfront investment in infrastructure. The service is hardly unique, with at least half a dozen other vendors pitching similar offerings, but that’s not what Larry Ellison’s firm is going for.

Rather, the data crunching platform fills another piece in the broader puzzle of the Oracle Cloud, which aims to differentiate through the age-old tactic of outdoing the competition in scope and breadth – better known as the “one-stop-shop” proposition. It shares that purpose with the five other additions to the company’s SaaS portfolio: a hosted process management environment, Java- and Node.js-specific application platforms, an integration solution and a mobile backend service.

The latter offering holds special importance in view of Red Hat Inc.’s recent $82 million acquisition of FeedHenry Inc, a powerful reminder of just how inseparable smartphones and tablets are from the enterprise application landscape. For a company trying to compete on portfolio depth, an equally if not more important priority is addressing vertical-specific requirements, which is why Oracle is complementing the six newest items in its cloud portfolio with customized services tailored to meet the needs of specific business units.

Maintaining (vertical) focus

To help marketers rake in more revenues for their organizations, the vendor is rolling out Data as a Service (DaaS) for Sales, a managed analytics workbench for uncovering useful details about contacts and prospects. The platform provides access to a pool of commercial data courtesy of business information supplier Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. and includes tools aimed at empowering users to identify patterns that might help sealing a particular deal easier.

For HR professionals, meanwhile, Oracle is offering a new release of its Human Capital Management Cloud that features integration with its payroll software, social activities planning features and mobile access support. Continuing the analytics theme, the latest version also sports capabilities for gleaning insights about key metrics pertaining to the workforce.

A hardware edge

 

Oracle is now a cloud company through-and-through, but that doesn’t mean it has lost sight of its hardware business. Besides the new cloud services, OpenWorld 2014 also saw the introduction of three appliances that push the envelope on the database giant’s Engineered Systems portfolio.

Exalytics In-Memory Machine X4-4, one of the machines unveiled at the landmark event, combines four customized Xeon E7-8895 v2 processors with up to three terabytes of memory in a tightly-integrated package that is described as 50 percent better than its predecessor on all major counts: clock speed, processing cores and capacity. It’s joined by the even more formidable Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance, which Oracle CEO-turned-chairman Ellison introduced in his opening keynote as the first system designed for the sole purpose of protecting organizations’ most vital databases.

Last but certainly not least is the Oracle FS1 Series Flash Storage System, an all-flash appliance that the company is touting as being in an entire league of its own. According to official figures, the box provides eight times more IOPs than EMC Corp.’s rivaling XtremIO X-Bricks with nearly ten times as much throughput at half the price per terabyte. Moreover, Oracle claims it handles data 400 times more efficiency than the storage stalwart’s VNX2 family and Hewlett-Packard Co,’s 3PAR architecture.

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NetApp and Oracle: Slow-dancing customers toward cloud | #OOW14 http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/netapp-and-oracle-slow-dancing-customers-toward-cloud-oow14/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/netapp-and-oracle-slow-dancing-customers-toward-cloud-oow14/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:20:33 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=200589 Continue reading ]]> slow dance feetLooking to help customers move to the cloud at their own comfortable pace is Oracle Corp. and storage partner NetApp, Inc. A business outcome-focused approach has helped NetApp maintain it’s vendor-agnostic policies while encouraging the company to work with Oracle to innovate useful new products. NetApp’s Aaron Newcomb, Manager of Solutions Product Marketing, stopped by theCUBE at Oracle’s Open World 2014 conference to talk with Jeff Frick and John Furrier about the Oracle-NetApp relationship.

With the newly launched FlexPod, which functions specifically for Oracle Database workloads, NetApp is “delivering a million for customers for customers that want to deploy Oracle Database, specifically,” he added, “on top of Oracle Rack.” The FlexPod will be available at the end of October.

Newcomb observed that customers for which the FlexPod is in highest demand are those looking for high performance and low latency when processing online transaction workloads. The sub-second latency, he said, would help prevent customers from abandoning their cart due to wait times. This FlexPod solution, he said, is mainly “around IT and the datacenter, because it is for the specific workload that you’re probably not going to be running in the cloud.”

 

As Oracle moves towards cloud, so do customers

 

As Oracle reinvents itself, Newcomb pointed out that many customers are able to undergo a similar transformation. Some businesses have yet to take advantage of the economies of scale that come with migrating the datacenter the cloud offers, sometimes because customers don’t put much stock in cloud security. New products like NetApp’s Nano-private storage product enables apprehensive companies to keep their data in their private datacenter. Then, Newcomb explained, customers “mask that out, and then migrate that seamlessly to a cloud environment,” so they can still take advantage of cloud functionality.

NetApp’s philosophy involves “moving the data to where the resources are,” which, Newcomb pointed out, eliminates the risks of having Amazon.com Inc.’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) connect directly to the customer’s data center.

 

Why it’s “nice being agnostic”

 

Newcomb explained that for NetApp, customer choice comes first: it’s why they “work with everybody” to enable customer data. Yesterday, he added, NetApp announced increased support for Oracle and Database via an Oracle-VM plugin for Storage Connect, a management layer that “rides above the hypervisors.”

 

Making Database Administrators lives easier

 

As database administrators (DBAs) become more like “air traffic controllers,” Newcomb said that NetApp tries to “simplify all the complexity.” For Oracle, NetApp integrates plugins into the existing network. Their newest plugin is the Oracle Enterprise Manager, which enables DBAs to “look at infrastructure from the database standpoint.”

Read more after the video.

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Oracle knows storage is key

 

“If your storage is slow, then everything is slow,” said Newcomb. Oracle “understands the importance of the storage infrastructure,” he explained, because it’s integral to their business to run databases effectively on their network.

Since speed is essential, Newcomb called out that NetApp has “one of the broadest flash portfolios available today.” The aforementioned IOPS announcement, he added, “is really all about [NetApp's] EF Flash portfolio. The EF series, he said, enables NetApp to “scale performance linearly.” NetApp also offers a FaaS product line, which offers consistent performance for mixed workloads.

 

Software-defined makes things easier

 

Because it helps cut down on complexity, Newcomb agreed that “Software-defined is a big part of the NetApp culture.” Unified Computing Systems (UCS) architecture is “at the heart of the Flex Pod” because it make it simple to “move things around behind the scenes.” NetApp also offers the “Cluster data on tap,” which allows customers to move workloads from one node to another without disruption.

For Newcomb, the bottom line is that “a lot of application owners, they don’t care about infrastructure, they just want to know that it works. And that’s what we’re out there to try and provide.” NetApp’s focus, he stressed, it supporting business processes.

IT is not an island

 

IT, Newcomb observed, is permeating the rest of the organization, driven by Big Data. He exemplified this paradigm shift by citing the experience of a NetApp client that was able to revamp their mobile platform and start capturing data. That change “affected immediately their ability to sell things online,” because they were able to make changes quickly. Demonstrable business outcomes, he communicated, are key to NetApp’s success.

photo credit: malonekm via photopin cc
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GoPro’s new ‘Hero’ is a game changer http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/gopros-new-hero-is-a-game-changer/ http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/09/30/gopros-new-hero-is-a-game-changer/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:44:33 +0000 http://siliconangle.com/?p=200593 Continue reading ]]> New entry level GoPro Hero with integrated caseGoPro, Inc. is releasing its new Hero line of cameras on October 5th. The range includes the Hero, the Hero4 Silver and the Hero4 Black.

While the three new models vary in price and specifications, it is the GoPro Hero that is set to make the biggest impact; especially amongst customers new to GoPro.

It is set to retail for just $129.99 and features such as 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second or 720p HD video at 60 frames per second, as well as shooting 5-megapixel stills make it an excellent entry level option at a very competitive price. While it lacks Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, available in the Hero4 Silver and Hero4 Black models, it is also waterproof to 131’ (40m), according to GoPro.

The Hero4 Silver retails for $399.99 and features a touch-display, 1080p HD video at 60 frames per second and 720p HD video at 120 frames per second, 12MP photos up to 30 frames per second, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Protune for photos and video and is waterproof to 131’ (40m).

The range topping Hero4 Black is certain to excite the pros with its 2x more powerful processor and 4K30, 2.7K50 and 1080p HD video at 120 frames per second video capabilities in addition to also shooting 12MP stills.

It is hard to find fault with this lineup, although one drawback seems to be the short battery life. A report from The Wall Street Journal has it lasting a mere 2.5 hours.

Alternatives such as the Polaroid Cube and the Sony Action Cam are already on the market and HTC is about to launch their ReCamera, but the GoPro Hero is bound to be popular with strong brand recognition, high specifications and a very attractive price tag.

Image via GoPro
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