Pwn2Own Contest Places a $75K Bounty to Hack VMware Workstation at CanSecWest Security Conference

Article Written by David Marshall

The annual Pwn2Own hacking contest returns next month to the CanSecWest security conference and researchers are going up against the most popular browsers and operating systems, challenged with finding and exposing exploits.  

For this year's contest, participants will be asked to exploit Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome on fully patched versions of 64-bit Windows 10 and Apple Safari on OS X El Capitan.  

Exploiting Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge will earn hackers a $65,000 prize, while exploiting Apple Safari on Mac will earn a payout of $40,000.  Achieving system-level access on Windows or root access on Mac OS X would bring an additional bonus of $20,000 to the pot.

Docker Puts Emphasis on Container Security with Docker 1.10

Article Written by David Marshall


Docker has launched the latest version of its containerization platform, and with it, placed a heavy emphasis on security updates.  The latest release of Docker Engine has now reached version 1.10 (that's one incremental number above 1.09, so as not to be confused with a 1.1 release).

The new additions help answer one of the main objections raised by some of the early critics of the technology -- solving security challenges.

Up until this release, Docker containers have had to run as root under the Docker daemon, bringing with it a host of security concerns.  The security solution in Docker 1.10 is a new feature called "user namespaces," a concept that was originally introduced as an experimental feature in Docker version 1.9.  User namespaces expands on the idea of granular access policies by allowing multiple namespaces to reside on the same Docker host.


Microsoft Azure Stack Technical Preview Available for Download - Enter Hybrid Cloud

Article written by David Marshall


Microsoft has finally released the first technical preview of its new Azure Stack offering, the company's customized cloud bundle, after being delayed for a number of months.

So what is Azure Stack all about? 

It is Microsoft's new hybrid cloud platform product designed to provide organizations with the ability to deliver Azure services from their own on-premises data center in a way that remains consistent with the current public cloud version of Azure.

VMware Cuts 800 Jobs - Affects vCloud Air and the Workstation and Fusion Products

Article written by David Marshall

In an earnings call made earlier this week, VMware reported some bad news, even as the company released some pretty solid financial earnings numbers.

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger admitted that last year was, as he called it, a "challenging time" for VMware investors.  And the company's core compute virtualization products were reaching maturity and would play a decreasing role in the company's future business.

VMware announced total revenues for the fourth quarter reached $1.87 billion, that's an increase of 10% from the fourth quarter of 2014, or up 12% year-over-year on a constant currency basis.  And license revenues for the fourth quarter were $825 million, an increase of 6% from the fourth quarter of 2014, or up 11% year-over-year on a constant currency basis.  With the coming Dell acquisition of EMC, Gelsinger said the company would see, over time, a significant revenue upside from up selling VMware's full portfolio of products and services to Dell's new equipment sales and from accessing their incredibly strong SMB go-to market engine.


Big Switch Networks' $48.5 Million Funding Round Signals SDN Momentum

Article written by David Marshall

Big Switch Networks, a software-defined networking (SDN) startup, announced a $48.5 million Series C round of funding today, bringing the company's total funding since its founding in 2010 to $94 million.  

New and existing investors, including Morgenthaler Ventures, Silver Lake Waterman, Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Accton, CID Group and MSD Capital all contributed to this latest round of funding, and they were joined by other undisclosed backers.  Industry observers at those companies and others said the funding showcases the continuing momentum of SDN and related technologies such as network functions virtualization (NFV).

PaaS Predictions for 2016

Article written by cloud computing consultant, Barry Gold.

Often dwarfed by IaaS and SaaS services, platform as a service or PaaS is a category that has quietly been growing in scope and demand over the past couple of years. This category of cloud services offers customers a platform to develop and manage their own web applications, without any need to build the supporting infrastructure. So what comes next for PaaS? Here are a few predictions of what could happen over the next year.

Cloud services in 2016

To understand the position of PaaS among cloud computing trends as a whole this year, it helps to look at the bigger picture first. This year, leading cloud experts have made predictions showing that the whole field will grow and change in significant ways. For example, it's expected that an increasing number of enterprises will jump on the cloud bandwagon as a whole, with many businesses choosing to diversify their cloud strategy rather than rely on a single provider. So while a business may choose one vendor for their storage services, they may choose another for PaaS, which opens up the playing field.

2016 will be the Year that People Finally Stop Immediately Associating Cloud with IaaS

Article written by Leo Reiter

Before I look into the proverbial crystal ball again, let's see how I did on my 2015 prediction, which was: 2015 will be the year that enterprise software ISVs embrace cloud licensing.  Well, while not universally true, we've seen good progress there.  It's hard to argue with the success of cloud licensing for major ISVs like Microsoft and Adobe, but technical computing, as usual, is lagging a bit.  However, while not exactly 2015, I happen to know (confidentially) that we will see some

Michael Dell is Committed to VMware's Independence. But What About the Competition?

Article written by David Marshall

Unless you've been buried in the sand somewhere for the past eight days, you've probably read at least one news article or came across at least one email announcement telling the tale of Dell's intentions to purchase EMC (and subsequently with it, VMware). This was after all the biggest technology M&A news story made so far in 2015, affecting those of us living in and following the virtualization, PC and server hardware, storage, security, mobility and cloud communities.

One of the big question marks surrounding this acquisition news has been, "what will happen to VMware once Dell takes over EMC's share of ownership?"

EMC currently controls in excess of 80 percent of the virtualization giant. But the company has for all intents and purposes allowed VMware to operate independently and form its own partnerships with EMC competitors to further the VMware cause. This independence has allowed VMware to flourish and advance its technologies, and it kept the company from getting bogged down in the political fray within the storage market. And fortunately for VMware, EMC competitors, at least on the face of things, didn't seem to mind that money ultimately flowed back into the hands of their storage competition. 

VMware Scoops Up Mobile Vendor Boxer, Adds to AirWatch Unit

Article written by David Marshall

This week, if you put the words "VMware" and "acquisition" in the same sentence, the mass majority of us would conclude you were talking about the $67b Dell acquisition of EMC, VMware's parent company.

But in a small corner of VMworld Europe 2015, those two words are being paired up to talk about the VMware End-User Computing team's announcement made earlier today that talks about the virtualization giant's plans to acquire Boxer, Inc., a privately held company that offers a comprehensive and secure personal information management (PIM) solution for mobile devices to businesses and consumers.

At first blush, the acquisition news may give you pause. Boxer is after all a consumer oriented application, with apps being designed for use on iOS and Android devices. And that may bring up memories of the great VMware sell off in 2013 when the company "realigned its strategy" and sold off the likes of  Zimbra, Sliderocket and Wavemaker. But this latest move has more to do with security and control, and boosting VMware's business mobility product line.

The addition of Boxer becomes part of VMware's strategy around the digital workspace, which according to VMware, offers a single, central location for business users to access any application on any device, built on a mobile-cloud architecture that centralizes core services, simplifies management, and meets both user and business expectations. VMware adds that it provides businesses with the power to deliver innovative business processes and reach customers in new ways; but most importantly, it follows the VMware End-User Computing philosophy of consumer simplicity and enterprise-grade security so the solution can realistically be used in the real world of on-demand, mobile-cloud computing.

Is Ubiquitous Internet Access Gating Public Cloud Adoption?

Article written by Leo Reiter
I recently had a friendly email debate with an experienced executive and investor who I respect tremendously. I argued that I would never pitch a private cloud idea to a venture capitalist knowing what I know now, and that new investment should go into public cloud technologies as a bet on the future. It’s true that private/hybrid cloud is strong today and will continue to be relevant, but the really explosive growth – the transformative growth – is in the public cloud space. As large scale computer systems and networks mature and we spend more time solving problems with them than putting them together, it’s only logical that we simply outsource their operation to others (who specialize in that sort of thing). Obviously private cloud operation is commonly outsourced/hosted as well, but the context of the discussion generally assumed such clouds would be operated on premises.

Inevitably the objection of ubiquitous internet access came up, as did my standard rebuttal of “not long ago we had the same concern about electricity”. I wholeheartedly believe this comparison is valid – Internet connectivity is as key to our progress today as electricity was a century ago – so I decided to do a simple comparison of the evolution of the two megatrends. Specifically, what are the inflection points we can compare? And… if we agree that the (developed) world assumes ubiquitous electricity, how long before the same can be said about reliable Internet connectivity?