October 2016

Agencies on a roller coaster ride with cloud spending

Grazed from FederalNewsRadio. Author: Jason Miller.

Sometimes covering the federal IT community is like a bad roller coaster. The buildup when going up the big hill is exciting and stomach churning. But when the downhill falls flat, you feel a little cheated. That’s the feeling today when it comes to cloud computing. You can’t shake a stick at a conference without someone mentioning the need to the cloud. The crucial role software-, platform-, infrastructure-as-a-service play and will continue to play in the future of federal IT always is hot topic.

But then Deltek’s GovWin puts out a report that is like that flat roller coaster ride. GovWin, a market research firm, looked at preliminary federal procurement data for fiscal 2016 that shows spending on cloud computing hasn’t lived up to its hype. GovWin found civilian agencies have awarded $75.4 million in cloud contracts in 2016 and the Defense Department, its services and agencies awarded $45.3 million in 2016...

BigTec Unveils NEO: A Public Cloud experience in the privacy of your own Data Centre

Grazed from BigTec UK

BigTec UK, the datacentre transformation VAD, has today launched NEO, a unique platform delivering an Enterprise Hybrid Cloud (EHC) for reseller partners; making it faster, easier and safer for their enterprise IT customers to achieve the flexible, dynamic service delivery demanded by their business.

NEO combines best-of-breed technologies from multiple BigTec vendor partners to create a unique offering that allows maximum choice over how businesses structure and locate their processing resources and workloads. This is achieved through cloud-enabled service delivery, software orchestration and automation, providing all the control, visibility and security necessary to transform workload management. 

Easing the Admin Burden: Hyper-Converged Infrastructure for Centralized Management of Remote Data Centers

Grazed from VMblog.com. Author: Megan McMichael and Wayne Pauley

IT organizations know what a challenge managing a distributed data center can be. Many an IT Director has spent sleepless nights figuring out how to maintain - or fix - data-center infrastructure deployed at regional offices. While they serve a purpose for companies with specific needs, such as those with branch offices far from headquarters or manufacturing facilities spread across the globe, distributed data centers are notorious for being a drain on resources. They can be siloed systems running well below capacity, and they usually require expensive, on-site data-center support, often requiring IT admins to jet around the globe in direct, hands-on-support roles.

But times are changing. The old model of hardware-focused data centers operating as silos in various geographies has given way to a new technology: hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). While HCI's predecessor - converged infrastructure - combines compute, networking and storage capabilities on a single chassis in the data center, HCI goes a step further by integrating all of those functions in a software-defined environment. HCI involves running all of the functions of a datacenter as software on the hypervisor rather than on dedicated physical equipment. HCI is packaged in a compact, factory-integrated appliance, enabling data centers to scale by running compute, networking and storage in virtual building blocks and stacking those blocks to create a flexible infrastructure.  

Talon Announces Enhanced Feature Set for All New CloudFAST 4.0

Grazed from Talon

Talon, the leading provider of Microsoft enterprise file sharing and collaboration solutions for distributed locations, today announced the general availability of the latest version of its flagship CloudFAST solution. In addition to numerous visibility, scalability and awareness enhancements, CloudFAST 4.0, enables an entirely new cloud based model for procurement, licensing, deployment and provisioning. Further, CloudFAST now includes flexible, cost-effective and comprehensive infrastructure monitoring for predictable performance and availability of vital applications in private cloud, public cloud-based deployment and traditional enterprise deployments. 

By leveraging CloudFAST's Microsoft Windows based intelligent file caching technology, distributed enterprises are achieving unprecedented centralization and consolidation of unstructured data, enabling collaboration all while taking performance to new levels, even across global geographies. CloudFAST eliminates distributed enterprise storage complexity and backups allowing organizations to manage data at a single location in an enterprise datacenter or a cloud datacenter while delivering high performance, consistent file access and sharing at geographically dispersed locations. With CloudFAST, all remote users experience real-time access to corporate storage and file shares as if they were in the same office even if the actual data is stored in data centers thousands of miles away.

OCR Issues Guidance on HIPAA and Cloud Computing

Grazed from JDSupra. Author: Editorial Staff.

On October 7, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”), released a guidance document (the “Guidance”) on the HIPAA-compliant use of cloud computing technologies. The Guidance includes “frequently asked” questions and answers for covered entities and business associates who use cloud products and services.

The Guidance focuses on cloud computing services provided by third-party cloud services providers (“CSPs”). The Guidance notes that “CSPs generally offer online access to shared computing resources with varying levels of functionality depending on users’ requirements.” ...

The cloud's role in the new digital economy

Grazed from FCW. Author: Bill Aubin.

We're in an intense era of digital transformation in which every industry is experiencing a shift. And out of this shift we've seen the rise of a new digital economy. Some consider that economy -- driven by the arrival of new computer technology and a generation of people dedicated to innovation -- to be the next Industrial Revolution.

The proof is everywhere: the prevalence of sharing services such as Uber and Postmates, automated business solutions, chatbots and more. Government agencies are under increasing pressure to adapt to the new economy while also facing the challenge of being a growing target for cyberattacks...

Hewlett Packard Enterprise cuts staff as it struggles to keep pace in the cloud

Grazed from GeekWire. Author: Dan Richman.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a cloud, server and storage company that split from Hewlett Packard in late 2015, laid off an undisclosed number of employees today in North America. HPE spokeswoman Meghan Fintland acknowledged in an email that “previously announced restructuring changes took place today,” including “workforce changes that are part of a company-wide strategy to give HPE the needed workforce to be a more nimble customer and partner-centric company.”

A source with knowledge of the situation speculated this morning that the Seattle offices might be closed. But Fintland said that “HPE will not be shutting its Seattle offices” and didn’t respond immediately to a request for more details on the layoffs. Several HPE employees posted about the layoffs today on Twitter. Here’s a tweet from Vicky Brasseur, a senior engineering manager for HPE based out of Portland:...

Read more from the source @ http://www.geekwire.com/2016/struggling-keep-pace-cloud-hewlett-packard-enterprise-cuts-staff/

Cloud Computing: IBM Watson Will Run On IBM and IBM Alone

Grazed from Fortune. Author: Barb Darrow.

You’ve got to give UBS analyst Steven Milunovich major props. During IBM’s earnings call on Monday, he asked whether IBM Watson, the company’s golden child, will run on rival Amazon Web Services—and he was promptly shot down. “No. Watson runs on our cloud, and our technology will run on IBM’s cloud,” IBM chief financial officer Martin Schroeter responded tersely.

Milunovich’s question wasn’t stupid. Just last week, VMware VMW -0.15% , another big Amazon AMZN -0.18% rival, said that its bread-and-butter VMware software will run on AWS, starting next year. Indeed, it seems that most of the world’s most important business software including SAP’s SAP 1.85% HANA databases as well as databases from Oracle ORCL -0.31% and Microsoft MSFT -0.35% , run on AWS...

Unpacking new HHS guidelines on healthcare data in the cloud

Grazed from CIO. Author: Paddy Padmanabhan.

The new guidelines recognize the growing importance of cloud computing in healthcare and are the right step in the bringing cloud service providers into the broader discussion on healthcare data security. But covered entities and BAs have to unpack the guidelines and address certain gaps. The cloud services market is growing exponentially, and research firm Gartner estimates the market for cloud services to be over $200 billion.

The healthcare sector has been getting on board as well, for enterprise IT workloads as well as cloud-based technology solutions. It’s no surprise that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a set of guidelines for cloud service providers (CSP), clarifying their role as business associates (BA) in the context of HIPAA and healthcare data...

Cloud Computing: Google can't be too happy about Snapchat's latest hire

Grazed from Business Insider. Author: Julie Bort.

Snap, the company that makes the popular app Snapchat, just hired away Jerry Hunter from Amazon Web Services, Snap has confirmed to Business Insider. At Amazon he was responsible for Amazon's data centers globally. At Snap he will be the VP of engineering, reporting to Snap engineering chief Tim Sehn, reports The Information's Tom Dotan, who first reported the news.

Before Amazon, Hunter was running global data centers for another huge tech company. He was the VP of IT for Sun Microsystems which, before it got bought by Oracle, was also a pioneer in cloud computing (although the world didn't call it that back in the day). The interesting thing about hiring a data center expert is that Snap doesn't run it's own data centers. It is, instead, a marque customer for Google's cloud, its App Engine service...

Read more from the source @ http://www.businessinsider.com/snap-jerry-hunter-amazon-data-centers-2016-10

Cloud Computing: Michael Dell - Size, experience will matter as tech industry evolves

Grazed from BizJournals. Author: Will Anderson.

Michael Dell took the stage Wednesday to reassure customers that a massive company like Dell Technologies Inc. is best equipped to manage the technological shifts roiling the industry. With cutting-edge developments in virtual reality, cloud computing, data analysis and artificial intelligence seemingly occurring by the week, Dell Technologies can provide the hardware and software to power all those advancements, he said during the opening keynote for Dell EMC World at Austin Convention Center.

It was the first Dell users conference since the Round Rock-based company completed its historic $58 billion acquisition of Boston-based EMC Corp. in September. Since then, the company has initiated layoffs to cut redundant positions in the huge, 140,000-employee company with a combined revenue of $74 billion. It has also raised cash through shedding divisions, such as the sale of its enterprise content business to Canada-based Open Text Corp. for $1.6 billion...

Read more from the source @ http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2016/10/19/michael-dell-size-experience-will-matter-as-tech.html

Cloud Readiness: What CEOs Need To Know

Grazed from HostReview. Author: Kevin Castle.

The CEO hears it incessantly from his/her CIO in their weekly C-suite board meeting: “We need to get competitive and create a strategic architecture around our cloud computing technology.” Then, the landslide of questions begins: Public or private cloud adoption? A hybrid? Cloud migration? And what to do about effective integration?

These and related questions are increasingly becoming a challenge for not just the IT executive, but the corporate chief is finding himself or herself intimately involved in making decisions about the company’s technology direction. According to a Forbes piece: “Close to two-thirds (62 percent) of 500 mid-market executives say their company’s C-suite leaders have ‘some’ level of involvement in the adoption of next generation technologies.”...

Cloud Computing: Google announces low latency cold storage Coldline in "major refresh"

Grazed from CloudTech. Author: Editorial Staff.

Google has announced a ‘major refresh’ of its cloud storage options, including Coldline, a new storage class aimed at long-term archival and disaster recovery. The revamped storage classes are multi-regional, for highest availability of frequently accessed data, such as video and business continuity, regional, for data accessed frequently within a region such as data analytics and general compute, Nearline, for infrequent access, and Coldline.

“Whether a business needs to store and stream multimedia to their users, store data for machine learning and analytics or restore a critical archive without waiting for hours or days, Cloud Storage now offers a broad range of storage options to meet those needs,” wrote Kirill Tropin, product manager in a blog post...

Read more from the source @ http://www.cloudcomputing-news.net/news/2016/oct/20/google-announces-low-latency-cold-storage-coldline-major-refresh/

VMware and AWS Team Up in Effort to Lock Down Hybrid Cloud

Article Written by David Marshall

VMware has had its eye on the hybrid cloud for quite some time.  And the company has signed numerous deals to try and get there, deals with Google, Microsoft, and IBM among others.  But it was the deal struck this week that it signed with AWS that has everybody talking.

VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a strategic partnership to build and deliver a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud offering that will give customers the full software-defined data center (SDDC) experience.  This alliance brings together two leaders in Enterprise IT, VMware as the leader in the private cloud market with vSphere on-premises, combined with Amazon AWS, the leader in the public cloud.  Together, the pair will allow customers to deliver a vSphere-based cloud service running on AWS, a service that will make it easier for customers to run any application, using a set of familiar software and tools, in a consistent hybrid cloud environment.

TierPoint Joins AWS Partner Network; Offers AWS Direct Connect from Seattle

Grazed from TierPoint

National IT infrastructure and cloud services provider TierPoint, with 39 data centers across 20 US markets serving 5000 customers, announced that the company has joined the AWS Partner Network (APN) and is offering AWS Direct Connect dedicated high-speed connectivity to Amazon Web Services (AWS) via TierPoint's Seattle data center. 

Seattle is the first TierPoint site to become an AWS Direct Connect location and the company expects to make it available through additional data centers in the future.

Cohesity Offers New Google Coldline Service for Low-Cost, Long-Term Cloud Storage for Enterprises

Grazed from Cohesity

Cohesity, the pioneer of hyperconverged secondary storage, today announced it will provide enterprises with Coldine, Google Cloud Platform's newest storage class of service for highly cost-effective data archival and recovery. Google Cloud Storage Coldline, which offers the lowest monthly cost to store data on Google's cloud infrastructure, can be easily registered and assigned via Cohesity's policy-based administration to any data protection workload running on Cohesity DataPlatform.

The new support for the Coldline storage class further expands the choice of cloud storage offerings that Cohesity customers can use for a hybrid cloud data protection strategy. Cohesity's vendor-agnostic hyperconverged secondary storage platform seamlessly connects with Google Cloud Storage Coldline to provide a cost-effective approach to long-term data retention and disaster recovery. The additional cloud service integration for Cohesity DataPlatform will drive greater opportunities for both Cohesity and Google to help companies overcome secondary storage challenges.

eG Innovations Joins the Nutanix Elevate Technology Alliance Partner Program

Grazed from eG Innovations

At VMworld 2016 Europe, eG Innovations, a leading IT performance management software provider, announced that it has joined the Nutanix Elevate Technology Alliance Partner Program and completed the Nutanix Ready validation for AHV, Hyper-V, and vSphere running on Nutanix.

eG Innovations delivers performance-monitoring solutions for Nutanix cloud-based environments, helping enterprises and service providers monitor their network, server, virtualization, storage and application tiers from a single pane of glass. eG Enterprise offers broad coverage including support for 180+ common applications, 10+ virtualization platforms and 10+ operating systems.

The Nutanix enterprise cloud platform is being used by thousands of customers to run business critical applications and servers. If and when performance issues arise, IT teams often struggle to determine where the problem lies: is it in the network, or the server or the virtualization tier, or storage, or due to the applications? This is where eG Innovations’ technology comes in.

6WIND Virtual Accelerator Juju Charm Available for Rapid Deployment of High Performance OpenStack Networking

Grazed from 6WIND

6WIND, a high-performance networking software company, today announced a partnership agreement with Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, the leading OS for container, cloud, scale-out and hyperscale computing to distribute 6WIND Virtual Accelerator, which is hypervisor acceleration software for virtual networking, in its Juju Charm Store. 6WIND Virtual Accelerator has been validated on Canonical's Ubuntu platform to accelerate cloud networking performance. In addition, both companies worked together to integrate 6WIND Virtual Accelerator with Canonical's Juju, and a Juju Charm is now available to deliver the high performance and control demanded by Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVI) and other software networking workloads requiring low latency and high network throughput.

6WIND Virtual Accelerator software solves common hypervisor bottleneck problems that limit the adoption of NFV, data center virtualization and network appliance virtualization on Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) servers. It is installed on the KVM hypervisor to provide accelerated virtual switching and networking features to offer an alternative to SR-IOV or PCI passthrough that break virtualization. With 6WIND Virtual Accelerator, Network Operators can cost-effectively transition from legacy hardware to software-based applications leveraging OpenStack networking.

Rackspace Private Cloud Powered by VMware Now Runs VMware SDDC Technologies

Grazed from Rackspace

On Tuesday, Rackspace officially launched early access of VMware Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) on Rackspace Private Cloud powered by VMware, following the company's initial announcement from VMworld Las Vegas.

This single-tenant private cloud enables customers to conveniently transition or extend their on-premises VMware workloads into a hosted VMware environment at Rackspace and eases hybrid cloud adoption by utilizing the same VMware virtualization and software-defined technology that customers use in their datacenters.

Ocado Uses TensorFlow and Google Cloud Platform for Novel Customer Service Approach

Grazed from InfoQ. Author: Dylab Raithel.

Ocado Technology announced a new approach to handle their 500,000+ customer base and their pool of email requests through a partnership with Google and its Cloud Platform (GCP). The work focuses on automating email categorization using TensorFlow and its Python APIs hosted on the GCP.

Ocado decided the email pool classification is a good candidate for production-scaled machine learning and automation, specifically, natural language processing (NLP). The workflow adopted by many support-centers is for people to manually process the email queues in a consistent and reliable manner. This doesn't scale well if the business grows quickly or if the overall customer support volume requires an ever-growing support staff. This can lead to increased response latencies and increased customer dissatisfaction...