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Weekly Cloud review: on-demand service gaining traction in government and beyond

Microsoft has agreed to buy a 202-acre plot land in Quincy, Washington for $11 million, one of the largest land deals in the town’s history. The software giant, which already operates a 75-acre data center in the region, plans to establish a new, larger facility that will run on ultra-cheap electricity from hydroelectric dams along the Columbia River. Microsoft is aggressively expanding its cloud infrastructure in an effort to keep up with the rapid uptake off on-demand IT resources and managed services. Adoption is growing especially fast in the public sector, which is expected to spend $18.48 billion on cloud computing... more »
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Internet of Things review: in-car Android plans surface as emerging platforms pick up steam

The war between Android and iOS is not just about mobile anymore. Insiders revealed this week that Google has partnered with Audi to develop an in-car entertainment and information system that uses its open source operating system. The platform, which is set to be announced at the upcoming CES 2013 conference in Las Vegas, is a response to Apple’s aggressive partnering in the automobile industry. Additionally, Google is reportedly collaborating with other car manufacturers as well as major technology firms like Nvidia to “establish Android as an important technology for future vehicles.” The search giant’s infotainment offering will deliver many of... more »
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Weekly security review: hackers take jab at top services, NSA cracks iOS

Skype has once again found itself on the front lines of cybersecurity this week after the notorious Syrian Electronic Army hacked into its social media profiles and published a tweet discouraging people from using Microsoft-owned services. The instant messaging giant quickly regained control of the accounts and released a statement saying that no other systems have been compromised. But while Skype subscribers have breathed a sigh of relief, Snapchat users are still scrambling to change their usernames after an anonymous hacker group managed to download the company’s full database of personal information by exploiting an API flaw discovered by Gibson Security.... more »
Bump + Flock retire : 5 alternatives + how to save your data

Bump + Flock retire : 5 alternatives + how to save your data

Google is notorious for buying and killing.  First it acquires a company, a startup perhaps, for either its talent or impressive technology, then they kill it.  It doesn't always happen right away, but eventually the acquired company will get knocked off. And that’s exactly what’s happening to Bump and Flock. Last September, Google acquired Bump Technologies, the company responsible for Bump and Flock.  Bump is an app that allows iOS users to share data by bumping their devices, something similar to what NFC-enabled devices can do.  As for Flock, it’s an app that aggregates photos of you and your friends based on... more »
SmartWorld Weekly : Edible batteries, ultimate wearable tech + more

SmartWorld Weekly : Edible batteries, ultimate wearable tech + more

This week’s SmartWorld Series features new, fun home automation solutions, the ultimate in wearable tech for the Quantified You, search giant Google partnering with auto manufacturers for the connected car for the future, and edible technology to power implants such as pacemakers. If you missed this week’s SmartWorld Series, here’s your chance to catch up on the exciting developments happening in the connected world. Each week, we round up the best of apps and services for health and fitness, smart homes, smart cars and anything related to the Internet of Things. . Smart homes for fun : Singing lights + smarter plugs AwoX StriimLight... more »
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Zerto unveils hardened disaster recovery platform for cloud providers

Virtualization has taken hold in the worldwide server market, but there’s still plenty of room for growth, which is what disaster recovery specialist Zerto is banking on. The five-year-old firm is rolling out a new edition of its flagship Zerto Virtual Replication (ZVR) platform that is simpler and more scalable to meet the requirements of cloud service providers and IT-driven enterprises. The 3.1 release builds on the centralized Zerto Cloud Manager dashboard introduced with the previous version to provide a single panel for management, orchestration, reporting and monitoring across multiple geographically distributed sites, the company said. The ZVR Journal has also... more »
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Sony reportedly considering making Windows Phone devices

Cornered by Samsung in the Android ecosystem, Sony may attempt to diversify its mobile lineup through a partnership with Microsoft, insiders told TheInformation this week. The tipsters said that the two rivals are in talks to launch a Windows Phone device as soon as mid-2014, a narrow time frame that indicates the prototype designs are already in an advanced stage. No technical specifications have been revealed yet, but the alliance between Sony and Microsoft reportedly hinges on the software giant’s willingness to reduce licensing fees. Redmond may even go as far as making its mobile operating freely available in a bid... more »
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HP to fire 5,000 more workers in 2014

Unlike Michael Dell, who last year succeeded in wresting control of his namesake firm from shareholders, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman still has to perform the delicate balancing act between executing her long-term transformation strategy and satisfying Wall Street's fixation on short-term results. And as always, the employees are caught right in the middle. Citing “market and business pressures,” the technology giant reported in a recent filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it will fire another 5,000 workers by the end of 2014, bringing the total layoff count to 34,000. That’s up from the 29,000 the company predicted in... more »
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Clearwater automates reporting for insurers

Big Data is proving to be a key asset across all vertical markets, with the financial sector in particular emerging as a hotbed of analytics growth. But as unstructured information piles up, practitioners come to realize that extracting meaningful patterns and relations is only one of the challenges to gaining a competitive advantage. The resulting insights also have to be made accessible to business users through detailed reports that can be immediately applied in decision making. Clearwater Analytics is hoping to turn this vision into a reality for insurance companies with new reporting automation capabilities designed to simplify the tracking of... more »
3 Big Data problems facing businesses in 2014

3 Big Data problems facing businesses in 2014

Few trends in technology were hotter than Big Data over the last 12 months. In fact, so much has been said about it during 2013 that it's hard to see what else we can say in 2014. But of course, there's sure to be plenty of developments we don't know about yet, as trends like the Internet of Things, mobile data and hybrid clouds continue to pick up pace, furthering Big Data's adoption. It's still not easy to pin down the true potential of Big Data, but what's easier to predict are the challenges businesses can expect to face over the... more »

Premium Research

- David Floyer

Industrial IoT, the largest segment of the Internet of things (IoT) with the highest potential value, will require a deep integration between modern IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operations Technology). Modern IT technologies, to be truly extensible to OT, will need a hybrid cloud approach, with by far the majority of data and processing residing at the so-called "Edge". Architectures and software written by industrialists for industrialists, such as GE Predix, are showing how that can work.

- George Gilbert

The big data arena is at a crossroads. Use cases and tools are proliferating faster than most big data teams are gaining experience. In establishing the big data business capabilities required to cut through the complexity, CIO’s must balance the accessibility of integration of traditional SQL DBMS’s versus speed of innovation in the mix and match open source big data ecosystem.

- Peter Burris

In the big data domain, businesses are trying to solve complex problems with complex and novel technology -- and often failing. Simplifying the packaging of big data technologies will streamline big data pilots and accelerate big data time-to-value. CIOs looking to establish differentiating big data capabilities need to consider Single Managed Entities to help solve the complexity problem.

- David Floyer

Oracle M7 technology is meeting or exceeding the announcement performance claims against previous generation. Even taking very conservative assumptions, the business case for migration from T5 to T7 servers is good. Wikibon concludes that for Oracle software and the servers they run on, the adoption of M7 technology (and T7 server technology) is best practice for these high value compute areas.

- David Floyer

The premise tested in this research is that high value applications and software should be run on more capable converged performance-optimized infrastructure, even when they constitute a small proportion of the total workload. In contrast, cost-optimized infrastructure will save on short-term hardware costs, but will incur much higher overall costs long-term. The conclusion strongly recommends IT executives adopt a default of performance-optimized converged infrastructure for all mixed workloads when even a small proportion includes high-cost software and/or high-value applications.

- George Gilbert

Big data pros need to identify which data feedback loops in their machine learning applications can deliver sustainable differentiation through network effects. Starting early is critical because getting to scale is likely to create the "winner takes most" competitive dynamics that have become so common in tech industries. The biggest sin is to wait for the tooling to become automated enough for all competitors to jump in.

- Ralph Finos

The public cloud competitive environment remains turbulent, but sectors show signs of crystallizing a longer-term market structure.. SaaS remains turbulent with SaaS vendors successfully gaining share vs. incumbent licensed software providers who must migrate their core products to cloud-friendly offerings and/or acquire native SaaS applications to shore up their applications leadership positions. Public cloud IaaS segment leadership is crystallizing to a handful of viable providers as a function of scale requirements. PaaS is just formulating and finding its way, but is likely to gravitate towards a wide variety of development models suited for different application types and public cloud platforms.

- David Floyer

For enterprise executives trying to achieve aggressive RPO and RTO SLAs , Wikibon believes that batch backup appliances (PBBAs) will give way to real-time, continuous data protection systems that aggressively support very large memory application memory. Practitioners requiring close to RPO zero and aggressive RTO SLAs should plan for an integrated data protection approach that effectively eliminates the concept of storage-led backup and shifts thinking to a application-led virtual point-in-time recovery model. The database and file system vendors will be the predominant suppliers of this technology, and understanding their roadmaps and commitment to support application-led recovery strategies is crucial to both database and data protection technology selection.

- George Gilbert

Mainstream enterprises are beginning to deploy machine learning applications that add differentiation to traditional products and services. But the complexity of their big data infrastructure is becoming a problem. Big data pros need to deploy a digital business platform (DBP) to support modern applications and then extend the DBP to machine learning applications.

- Peter Burris

IT shops that want to achieve modern IT status will have to address the "IT iron triangle" constraining transformation.