September 2014

Holiday Extras turns IT from a 'no' department to a 'yes' department with cloud

Grazed from ComputerWeekly. Author: Archana Venkatraman.

IT is seen not just as a business enabler, but also as a division that can help the business identify new revenue streams. So when IT was becoming a limiting factor at Holiday Extras, a UK travel add-ons service provider, its IT team knew it had to act fast. Holiday Extras provides add-on travel services, such as airport hotel bookings, parking and insurance services to British holidaymakers. Its most critical business application is its website.

The company’s in-house datacentre, which has been operational since its launch in 1983, powered its web applications, television campaigns and business operations. It was a regular facility full with blade servers, firewall infrastructure, load balancers and massive infrastructure around its web system...

Zayo launches Connect to the Cloud

Grazed from DataCenterDynamics. Author: Nick Booth.

Telco Zayo has launched a Connect to the Cloud program that links cloud providers – including Amazon web services (AWS) and Softlayer - with 500 data centers worldwide. The aim is to simplify shopping for cloud connections and help customers to operate a hybrid cloud, according to Zayo, which uses its own network rather than the public internet in order to offer high service levels.

In 2011, Zayo became one of the first providers to offer direct bandwidth up to 10G through the AWS Direct Connect portal. In 2013 it became an Amazon Partner Network (APN) Technology Partner. Zayo provides private networks with circuits to enable connectivity to each AWS Direct Connect location...

Microsoft fights back against US warrant demanding overseas emails be handed over

Grazed from Computing. Author: Sooraj Shah.

Microsoft is continuing its fight against a US federal court order that demanded that the software giant hand over email data held in a data centre overseas to US federal authorities. The company has said that it would not release any information as it waits for the case to make its way through the appeals process, according to WindowsITPro.

The judge is now asking both Microsoft and federal prosecutors to advise her how to proceed by 5 September - this Friday. A Microsoft spokesperson said that the company "will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal". "Everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court. This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen," the spokesperson added...

What's all the worry about? The cloud is more secure

Grazed from ComputerWeekly. Author: Karl Flinders.

In the on-premise versus in the cloud debate it is always the subject of security that swings people in favour of on-premise. People feel safer if their software is on their own premises, but does that mean it is safer. Everybody is connected to the internet so bricks and mortar is no protection. You could argue that if it is on your own premises you have better control of physical security. Anyway the point of this post is to highlight research from analyst firm Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC), which states that: "Cloud [is] more secure than on-premise IT"

"Rapid development in cloud-based security, including physical security within the data centres, means that, for many firms, it is more effective and cost efficient to locate IT systems in the cloud than on on-premise equipment. CIOs and CISOs should consider the cloud for many of their IT systems, while for SMEs and local government PAC recommends that it should be the default architecture," said PAC...

Cloud Computing: Citrix, Google offer new Receiver for Chrome

Grazed from ITWeb. Author: Editorial Staff.

Citrix and Google have extended their relationship with the unveiling of a new Receiver for Chrome, which the companies say offers improved user experience. A Chromebook is a laptop running Chrome OS as its operating system. The devices are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and data residing in the cloud.

Citrix Receiver is a client software that provides access to XenDesktop and XenApp installations. With this download, users can access applications, desktops and data from any device, including smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs. According to market research firm Gartner, by 2017, sales of Chromebooks are set to nearly triple to reach 14.4 million units...

Procurify Hooks Investment From Gluster Founder For Cloud Procurement Platform

Grazed from Forbes. Author: Ben Kepes.

As organizations get more comfortable using cloud services, there is a corresponding increase in the number of services that not only take an existing process and deliver it via the cloud, but that also take advantage of the fact that business processes are now exposed to derive some insights from the data contained within them.

An interesting example of this is from cloud procurement vendor Procurify. Procurify is a cloud-based procurement software solution that is used to manage both direct and indirect company spending. By exposing these procurement processes, Procurify can deliver some additional value, giving control and visibility of where company money is going in real-time, using simple-to-generate reports and analytics...

100 ideas that changed the Web: Big data

Grazed from CloudComputing. Author: Jim Boulton.

Every minute, 2 million searches are made, half a billion links are shared and 48 hours of footage are uploaded. That is a lot of data. And yet, in terms of how much is being produced worldwide, it barely scratches the surface. That is Big Data. Big Data is the term used to describe data sets that are so large and complex that it takes a phenomenal amount of processing power to interrogate them. So why do it?

Fourteen seconds before the 2011 earthquake in Japan, every bullet train and every factory came to a halt. Many lives were saved thanks to the Quake-Catcher Network. This network is made up of thousands of laptops with free software running in the background. The software makes use of the built-in sensors designed to protect the hard drive if the laptop is dropped. If there is an earthquake, all the sensors go off at the same time. By continuously aggregating and processing the data produced by all the sensors, it is possible to brace for impact before the earthquake strikes...

iCloud hack leaks nude pictures of over 100 celebs

Grazed from AP. Author: Chidanand Rajghatta.

Cloud storage and computing, bruited as the electronic world's big advance that enabled storage of your videos, music, photos, and other heavy data in remote servers, has come under a cloud. Turns out the of secure remote servers, including iCloud pioneered by Apple Inc., may be a pie in the sky after all; a hacker has broken into the iCloud system and siphoned off private photos of actresses that are now being slobbered over on social media by lascivious celebrity stalkers.

The anonymous hacker posted nude photos of 100s of Hollywood celebrities that were claimed to have come from their iCloud accounts using an iCloud security vulnerability. Victims of the hacking include actress Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst and Mary Elizabeth Winstead...

The cognitive cloud? IBM rolls out Watson-as-a-service

Grazed from FedScoop. Author: Greg Otto.

People who use cloud computing on a regular basis are familiar with the suite of “as-a-service” options: Infrastructure-as-a-service, Software-as-a-service, Platform-as-a-service. IBM is ready to introduce another: Watson-as-a-service. IBM announced last week it has moved its cognitive computing system into the cloud to form the Watson Discovery Advisor, allowing researchers, academics and anyone else trying to leverage big data the ability to test programs and hypotheses at speeds never before seen.

Since Watson is built to understand the nuance of natural language, this new service allows researchers to process millions of data points that would normally be impossible for humans to handle. This ability can reduce project timelines from years to weeks or days. “We’re entering an extraordinary age of data-driven discovery,” said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president for IBM Watson Group, in a release...

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VMworld 2014 Wrap-Up: VMware vCloud Air Announcements

Grazed from CloudComputingInfo.  Author: Editorial Staff.

Just before the beginning of VMworld 2014 VMware announced the rebranding of its owned and operated public Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS) service vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) into the more friendly and Apple-like VMware vCloud Air.

This announcement prepared the ground for a couple of new services and features unveiled on-stage last week and summarized as follows:

Suffering from cloud contention? It's not the cloud's fault

Grazed from InfoWorld. Author: David Linthicum.

If you're in the cloud space, you've heard the term "noisy neighbor" before. If not, here's a tip: It's not about the house next door with the weird kids who play German death metal at full blast. It's about your cloud provider's support of tenancy. Cloud workloads that put large demands on the server, storage, database, or network -- hurting the performance of other workloads that share those resources -- have been a problem both inside corporate data centers and, in particular, on SaaS and IaaS cloud platforms. When you own the servers you at least have some control over the situation. If others control the servers -- the case in the cloud -- all you can do is to complain to them.

This "noisy neighbor" issue is a core reason why many enterprises have not moved their important applications to the cloud. The fear is that someone running an intensive application on another machine instance in the same infrastructure you're sharing may affect your performance. In my experience, however, this fear isn't borne out in practice...

Read more from the source @ http://www.infoworld.com/d/cloud-computing/suffering-cloud-contention-its-not-the-clouds-fault-249528

Cloud Computing: The evolving role of savvy business technology leaders

Grazed from Cloud Computing Tech. Author: David Deans.

As the chief executive at your company, if you discovered that you had some major financial standards compliance issues within your organization, would you be concerned about the risks associated with that exposure? If your designated outside auditor had bypassed your internal finance department and chose instead to work directly with your individual Line of Business leaders, would you want to know why? Moreover, would you intervene?

Yes, it's a rhetorical series of questions. And I think we all know the answers. Did you know there's a movement that's already in progress that could impact your company's provision and consumption of IT services, with a corresponding potential exposure concern that's related to compliance issues?...

How cloud computing leaked private celebrity photos

Grazed from CBROnline. Author: Jimmy Nicholis.

Both businesses and consumers are increasingly reliant on services such as Apple's iCloud, which has been implicated in the celebrity picture attack. Companies are now using it to store intellectual property as well as information about its customers, and this makes it a prime target for hackers.

For its part Apple has said it is investigating the issue, with iCloud under severe scrutiny on the basis of speculation from 4chan, the internet board where the story originated. Yet even now clues have surfaced over what has happened, which should also lead us to an appropriate response...

NSF's $20 Million Investment Will Fuel Cloud-Based Research

Grazed from FedTechMagazine. Author: Nicole Blake Johnson.

The National Science Foundation wants to transform the way cloud services are designed and delivered to support a new wave of applications for medical devices, power grids, transportation systems and other critical areas. NSF is funding two $10 million projects aimed at empowering “academic researchers to experiment with novel cloud architectures and pursue new, architecturally enabled applications of cloud computing,” NSF CIO Amy Northcutt wrote in a recent blog post.

“While most of the original ideas that laid the foundation for cloud computing came from the academic research community, as clouds grew in popularity, industry has more recently driven their design and use,” Northcutt explained. That’s why the NSF-funded projects will complement industry efforts...

Cloud Computing: Google Acquires Video Rendering Firm Zync Render

Grazed from eWeek. Author: Todd R. Weiss.

Google has acquired Zync Render, a visual effects cloud rendering vendor that has been involved with movie hits including Star Trek Into Darkness, American Hustle and Flight, and will integrate it into Google's Cloud Platform. The Zync Render deal was announced by Belwadi Srikanth, a Google Cloud Platform product manager, in an Aug. 26 post on the Google Cloud Platform Blog.

Terms of the acquisition were not released. "Creating amazing special effects requires a skilled team of visual artists and designers, backed by a highly powerful infrastructure to render scenes," wrote Srikanth. "Many studios, however, don't have the resources or desire to create an in-house rendering farm, or they need to burst past their existing capacity."...

The Bare-Metal Cloud: Cloud Computing's Next Generation

Grazed from MidsizeInsider. Author: Sue Poremba.

The next generation of cloud computing could actually be found in a cloud format that has already been around for a while. The bare-metal cloud brings all of the advantages that have become synonymous with the cloud but minus one element — there is no virtualization.

The Need for Better Cloud Architecture

With the growth of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) taking up bandwidth and storage space, there is a need for better cloud architecture, Joe McKendrick writes on ZDNet. Cloud experts and researchers think that this can be accomplished in part by using bare-metal access, or "an alternative to the virtualization technologies currently used to share cloud hardware, allowing for experimentation with new virtualization technologies that could improve reliability, security and performance."...

Shadow Cloud Is Risky Business for SMBs

Grazed from Midsize Insider. Author: Sue Poremba.

Employees who bypass company-approved technologies to use shadow cloud services are putting the overall company and network at risk for more data breaches, compliance failures and a loss of integrity during business transactions, according to a new warning from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Increasing Risks

Shadow IT situations, in which employees use any technology that has not been approved by the company, have been creating problems for a long time. By instituting policies surrounding the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement, IT departments have been able to rein in some shadow IT problems. However, as cloud computing continues to gain popularity and more employees use the cloud on their personal devices, shadow cloud has added a new level of risk...

Software-Defined Technologies Shift SMB Data Center Options

Grazed from MidsizeInsider. Author: Jason Hannula.

Software-defined technologies are an up-and-coming option for virtualization across networks, servers and data storage. Bill Kleyman's Data Center Knowledge article points to how this can benefit small and midsize businesses (SMBs) through the creation of commodity data centers.

Software-defined technologies accelerated virtualization in the data center by removing a dependency on specific hardware platforms and providing assistance with task automation. The physical design of data centers is also changing to incorporate modular and custom alternatives. The resulting shift in the data center landscape presents commodity-level options for SMBs to economically consider private data center development...

Avnet Technology Solutions Expands Its Cloud Offerings in Latin America

Grazed from MarketWatch. Author: PR Announcement.

Avnet Technology Solutions, the global IT solutions distribution leader and an operating group of Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT), today announced that it has significantly expanded its cloud offerings in Latin America. As a part of this, Avnet will now provide business partners in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela with products and services from SoftLayer, a cloud infrastructure provider and an IBM company. The addition of SoftLayer to Avnet’s cloud portfolio will help Latin American business partners accelerate the development of their cloud offerings with a scalable, secure base for the delivery of cloud services, spanning IBM's infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) solutions.

“We are committed to helping our business partners evolve their cloud capabilities to meet the rapidly changing needs of their customers,” said Sergio Farache, senior vice president and general manager of Avnet Technology Solutions, Latin America and the Caribbean. “Today, Avnet became the first distributor in Latin America to provide our partners with access to SoftLayer’s cloud services, which will position them for success as major global companies look to incorporate cloud computing into their IT strategies. Business partners can rely on the knowledge and expertise of the Avnet team to develop and expand their cloud services skills and capitalize on the significant market opportunities related to the cloud.”...