Tag: cloud computing

Microsoft solves EU cloud problem

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudMicrosoft announced a number of new cloud offerings today including one which will solve the company’s European cloud problesm.

The problem is that Microsoft is US company and its country delights in spying on its allies.  The EU fears that the NSA could get a court order and force Microsoft to hand over data from its European clouds and force it not to tell anyone.

Microsoft has come up with a wizard wheeze by creating a product called Azure Deutschland — a German cloud region that will offer Azure services that come not directly from Microsoft, but from the German data trustee Deutsche Telekom.

It not only makes sure that data remains in Germany, but also means that Microsoft can’t actually get to the data itself.  By operating under a German company, the NSA can’t force Vole to do squat.

In fact, while the region offers redundancy and backup, it does so through a private network to ensure that none of the bits being backed up even go through the public Internet where they might stray onto foreign soil.

Germany has some of the strictest data privacy protection laws on the books, and Microsoft said that Deutsche Telekom will have strict protocols regarding when Microsoft is allowed access, even for support:

 

Amazon offers unlimited cloud storage

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeOnline giant Amazon said it is to offer unlimited cloud storage, offering two plans for people who want to upload vast collections of media that they have.

The first is called the Unlimited Photos Plan – it comes with a free three month trial, then a subscription of $12 a year – this lets you store as many photographs as you like on the Amazon Cloud and includes 5GB of extra storage for videos, documents or other files.

The second is called the Unlimited Everything Plan – this also comes with a three month trial at no charge then a subscription of $60 a year.  As the name implies, it lets you store all of your stuff in Cloud Drive.

Existing members with a Prime subscription already can use unlimited photo storage but can add a subscription to the Unlimited plan to store everything else too.

Amazon is now a considerable player in the IT business – although many people can buy CDs, books and the like – it also offers services for enterprise players too, particularly in the cloud.

 

Alibaba gets its own US cloud

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeAlibaba is launching a cloud computing hub in Silicon Valley which is the first that the e-commerce giant has set up outside of China.

The new California data centre marks the Chinese company’s latest expansion onto an US market dominated by Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Alibaba’s Aliyun cloud division intends the new data centre to cater initially to Chinese companies with operations in the United States. Later it will target US businesses seeking a presence in both countries.

Ethan Yu, a vice president at Alibaba who runs the international cloud business said that it was all part of Alibaba’s international expansion plans. The next stage would be a cloud on the East Coast, or somewhere in the middle of the US.

Aliyun is similar to Amazon Web Services and was part of the company’s in-house technical infrastructure. It has since expanded to lease processing and storage space for small and medium Internet businesses in China.

Aliyun, also known as Alibaba Cloud Computing, holds about a 23 percent market share in the Chinese market. It faces both Chinese and foreign competitors, from carriers like China Telecom to Microsoft and Amazon. Its existing data centers span the Chinese cities of Hangzhou, Qingdao, Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

IBM wants cloud killing

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeBig Blue thinks it can restore itself to its former suited glory by pushing heavily into cloud and big data.

Apparently the outfit has set itself a target of making $40 billion a year from cloud, big data, security and other growth areas by 2018.

The target was mentioned at the company’s annual investor meeting in New York yesterday and is the first hint of a serious “cunning plan” since IBM moved away from its previous strongholds in hardware and servers.

The $40 billion will come from areas which IBM calls its “strategic imperatives,” namely cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security software.

That would represent about 44 percent of $90 billion in total revenue that analysts expect from IBM in 2018.

Those businesses generated $25 billion in revenue for IBM last year, or 27 percent of its total $93 billion in sales.

The company said it would shift $4 billion in spending to its “strategic imperatives” this year.

Revenue at IBM has gradually shrunk over the past three years as it sold off its unprofitable units in businesses such as low-end servers, semiconductors and cash registers.

IBM Chief Executive Virginia Rometty has said she was happy to jettison revenue from such unprofitable businesses, which she dubs “empty calories.” Although we would have thought that empty calories would be a good thing, because they would fill you up without meaning you put on weight.

IBM revenue has now fallen for the past 11 quarters, while earnings growth has been sporadic.

The company says its long-term plan is to hit “low single-digit” revenue growth and “high single-digit” growth in operating earnings per share. Last year IBM withdrew its long-term plan to hit $20 per share in operating earnings for 2015.

Things have not been going that well for IBM of late. It gets more than half of its cash from foreign parts, and the strong US dollar has hurt its sales by more than six per cent this year.

Juniper extends deal with Canonical

Pic Mike MageeUbuntu provider Canonical and Juniper Networks said they have extended their relationship to provide OpenStack based cloud offerings.

The deal is intended for use by the telecommunications industry.

The OpenStack software lets service providers virtualise core networks and network functions and is claimed to give better performance, scale and reliability.

Juniper said it will also provide complete service support for Canonical’s Ubuntu server operating system.

OpenStack is an open source cloud management platform with a large community of users, developers and founders, and Jupiter said over half of OpenStack instances run Ubuntu.

Both Juniper and Canonical have created Contral Cloud Platform which is a carrier grade OpenStack offering. Both companies will work on joint product development and marketing, and will work with their customers to include service provider needs in the cloud.

IBM steps up educational push

ibm-officeMassive services giant International Business Machines (IBM) said it has now enrolled over 300 colleges and universities around the world in its Power Systems Academic Initiative (PSAI).
IBM said that the push is to help students learn skills related to big data, cloud computing, mobile and social networking.
That, said IBM, is important in today’s job market.
The initiative, which started in October 2012. has grown by 152 percent over the last two years, IBM claimed.
Schools and universities hooked up to IBM include New York University’s polytechnic school of engineering, Virginia Tech, the UK University of Greenwich, the University of Ulster, and Glasgow Caledonian University.
Of course, IBM’s move is not all altruism – it is pinning its future on cloud computing, big data, analytics and security.
Several of the academic bodies offer courses related to IBM specific operations, and the company said it recruit from universities and business schools.

Microsoft reveals cloud roadmap

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeSoftware company Microsoft said it has introduced a web site that reveals details of its roadmap for its Cloud Platform.
Microsoft has been aiming to move to the cloud as fast as it can and now offers cloud services including Azure, Intone, Visual Studio and server platforms including Windows Server, SQL Server.  It also has covered system appliance offerings including Analytics and Stor System.
Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of the cloud and enterprise marketing group at Microsoft said the company wanted to be transparent about its cloud strategy.
He said that the web site, which you can find here, is intended to show what technology it’s developing and what’s coming in the next few months.
It also will include products in public preview.
Microsoft isn’t the only company struggling to re-invent itself as a cloud player.  Others in the game include SAP, Oracle and IBM.
Analysts predict that over the next few years the majority of enterprise IT users will use cloud computing and services more and more.

 

IBM announces personal cloud security

ibm-officeBig Blue said it has announced a cloud technology that will help ordinary people protect themselves online.
The tech, dubbed Identity Mixer, has a cryptographic algorithm which will protect age, nationality, address and credit card numbers.
Mixer acts as an agent between somebody buying a product and a vendor – it means that the vendor won’t hold the actual details, just the authentication.
IBM said it is offering Identity Mixer to developers as part of its platform as a service (PaaS) cloud.
It means developers will be able to use Identity Mixer in their own apps and in conjunction with their services.
IBM is already testing the technology in two major projects across Europe.

 

Insurers to spend, spend, spend on IT

shut-up-and-take-my-moneyInsurers with a worldwide presence are set to spend over $100 billion this year on IT. That will gladden the hearts of vendors.
This is the view of IDC Financial Investments, which says that the number is an increase of 4.4 percent compared to 2014.
The global insurers want to spend this money to boost “efficiencies”, meaning that they will invest in data warehousing, claims and policy administration systems.
Li-May Chew, lead director for IDC’s Financial Insights division, said that the insurers need to act.
She said: “Replacements or refreshes are required as legacy IT systems become increasingly complex, inflexible and archaic, to the point of negatively affecting technology integration and interoperability.”
In other words, they’re out of date.
The insurers want to modernise their systems and use the cloud to cut costs – and customers want the insurers to do that too.
They want to make sure their customers use PCs, mobile devices and social networks.
They need to protect themselves against fraud.
Li-May didn’t say which vendors would benefit from the increased spend – but the emphasis is on mobile computing, cloud services, social networking and big data analytics.
So the usual suspects – that is to say IBM, HP, Dell, Oracle and others will be sitting patiently waiting for the phone to ring so they can pick up the orders.

 

Apple gets into enterprise bed with IBM

ibm_appleApple and IBM have signed a deal over the Pad and the iPhone, reflecting greater use of the devices in the corporate marketplace.

Under the deal, IBM will release what it described as the first wave of IBM MobileFirst for the iOS operating system.

The applications also support web services and big data and analytic abilities to the iPad and iPhone.  IBM said  MobileFirst for iOS is aimed at enterprise sized companies in banking, retail, insurance, financial services, telecomms, governments and airlines.

Customers who have already signed up include Citi, Air Canada and Spring.

Philip Schiller, a senior VP of Apple marketing, said: “The business world has gone mobile and Apple and IBM are bringing together the.. technology with the smartest data and analytics to help businesses define how work gets done.”

The apps are intended for secure environments, linked to core enterprise processes and analytics.

Apps include Plan Flight and Passenger for airlines, Advise and Grow for the banking sector; Retention for insurance companies; Incident Aware for law enforcement; Sales Assist for Retail and Expert Tech for the telecomms market.

Indian software market grows again

flaggThe accession to power by the “business friendly” BJP party in India has resulted in the software market starting to grow again.

That’s according to a report by market intelligence firm IDC, which said during the first half of this year, the market grew by 10.7 percent, compared to the first half of 2013.

IDC thinks the market will continue to grow in the next five years with a compound annual growth rate  (CAGR) of 10.5 percent.

Areas of growth include mobile application development and device management, security software, systems software and engineering applications.

Shweta Baidya, a senior market analyst at IDC, said that large and small to medium enterprises want to curb capital expenditure and move into the cloud.

Virtualisation and cloud players like Vmware, Salesforce and Red Hat generated good business, and database and analytics companies including Teradata, Oracle, Qlik and others saw double digit growth.

IDC provided a pie chart which shows market share in the region.

indiapie

SaaS deployments are at boiling point

Pic Mike MageeThe use of Software as a Service (SaaS) by enterprises is becoming “mission critical”,  according to a survey by IT market research company Gartner.

Gartner said that cost and agility are the main reasons for SaaS cloud adoption by enterprises, based on a survey involving four countries in four regions around the world.

Joanne Correia, a research VP at Gartner, said that the most common reasons for using SaaS were to develop and test production and mission-critical workloads.

“We’ve seen a real transition from use cases in previous surveys where early SaaS adoption focused on smaller pilot projects. This is an affirmation that more businesses are comfortable with cloud deployments beyond the front office running sales force automation and email,” she said.

Of those surveyed, 44 percent thought overall cost reduction was the main reason for investment in SaaS.  But CIOs and senior IT project managers rated adoption not only because of cost but because of operational agility and giving their businesses an advantage over competitors.

Gartner believes that few enterprises will completely migrate to SaaS and instead will mix that with traditional on premises deployment.

Outside of the USA, many enterprises still worry about security, privacy and “fear of government snooping”.

Traditional on premise deployments will shrink from 34 percent in 2014 to 18 percent by 2017.

IBM strengthens cloud security

bluemixEnterprise IT firm IBM doesn’t think that people trust the cloud enough and has introduced tools to help developers strengthen their offerings.

The recipe is called Bluemix which although it sounds as it might be a kind of cement, is actually IBM’s platform as a service (PaaS).

Bluemix is intended to help build applications to use the benefits of cloud computing without stumbling into the quagmires of compliance, regulation and performance that are the baggage of public clouds.

It has introduced a private application programming interface (API) as part of Bluemix and that lets developers build cloud which connect data from legacy back end systems and link them to mobile and social networking applications.

Bluemix gives access to a cloud hosted in an IBM cloud centre, more or less anywhere across the world. Developers will be able to use services from IBM’s Bluemix catalogue including Watson APIs for data analutics and its Aspera data integration tools.

Customers will have the choice of using an IBM data centre in their own country, to avoid regulatory problems companies might face as well as giving better performance because public clouds have so-called “noisy neighbours”.

Healthcare has its head in the clouds

Every silver has a cloudy liningAdoption of cloud technology in the healthcare section in Europe will be worth $1,275.6 million by the end of the decade according to a report from Frost & Sullivan.

Last year, the European market was worth $390.5 million and is expected to steadily grow between 10 to 30 percent in the next five years.

The cloud is good for cost efficient services for documentation, storage and sharing patient information, the report said. Government moves to create healthcare information exchanges have given the cloud market in Europe and the USA a boost.  In addition, quick deployment and easier management of IT staff are other perceived advantages of using the cloud.

But the move to the cloud is being hampered by a lack of standardisation in legacy systems, meaning that data migration is both expensive and cumbersome.

And there are also concerns about data preservation, security and portability, meaning that when healthcare IT buyers sign up with cloud service providers there must be service level agreements to guarantee reliability and data portability.

Toshiba enters the cloud management fray

Toshiba Research EuropeGiant Japanese firm Toshiba said it has made available its Cloud Client Manager.

Toshiba said the cloud service is aimed at companies of every size and shape to manage so called endpoint devices – that is to say mobile phones and tablets, notebooks and the like.

The software currently gives patch management, asset inventory, power management and distribution of software device drivers. But in early 2015 the company will add mobile device management and cloud back up.

Here’s how it works.

Adminstrators use a standard web browser to control IT devices online without the need to invest in servers or dedicated management software.

The asset management feature shows all the managed machines in an enterprise and lets them see which software is installed on which machine.

Toshiba said the additional functionality in early 2015 will let administrators create user profile permissions and implement password strength, encryption, device lock and data wiping.