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Cloud Wars In 2014: Amazon Versus Google And Other Follies

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Tuesday 31 December 2013 7:19 am

Guest author Sharon Wagner is founder and CEO of Cloudyn, a provider of cloud analytics and optimization services.

When we look at the future of cloud, we have to consider the current business trajectory. It’s clear to me that the three most consumed cloud resources are compute, database and storage—they account for about 80% of the average business customer’s monthly cloud bill.

Given the fact that these three components are the basic foundations for any cloud application, it should come as no surprise that most cloud vendors expect to continue to invest in these domains in 2014.

Here’s how the major players are poised to perform next year: Amazon Web Services (AWS) reports that the fastest-growing service in 2013 is its DynamoDB database service. Google continues to invest in more Compute Engine compute and storage configurations. Among the multicloud customers we do business with, Google Compute Engine is the second most-used cloud after Amazon Web Services. Microsoft Azure follows in third place.

Let’s be realistic: How long will it take for Google to leverage its worldwide data-center presence and match AWS’s cloud-computing capabilities? Probably fairly quickly, given the amount of time and effort Google is putting into its Google Partners program.

Five 9s Won’t Matter

Looking back at Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure outages in 2013, we have seen glitches here and there, but overall, the quality in terms of availability and response time remains pretty high. This means that from the enterprise’s perspective, 99.99% Vs. 99.999% availability will not be the deciding factor.

So what will be the decision criteria in 2014? All three giants (and others like Hewlett-Packard and IBM) have high market credibility for performance and availability. Assuming all major cloud providers will catch up to provide comprehensive computing, database and storage capabilities, differentiating between vendors will be tough. At the end of the day, choosing the right cloud provider will probably be down to cost. 

Amazon reduces its prices frequently. Google announced Storage and Compute price reductions of 60% in December. We will continue to see a tough and bloody war between the three vendors next year.

While Amazon Web Services has built a sophisticated (yet complex) reserved instance capacity model, which accounts for 30% of its running capacity, Google still charges on demand. I suspect that this will also change very quickly to be competitive on pricing. Google’s advantage of “by the minute” pricing is an advantage for specific use cases that requires instances to be launched frequently for short periods of usage. This places companies such as ProfitBricks and CloudSigma who introduced granular billing as a differentiator in an interesting dilemma. Microsoft, meanwhile, gives customers discounted credit points that they can use across all their cloud products.

Therefore, the most aggressive vendor with the most aggressive price plans (which shortens the break-even point) will be able to lock in the most customers for long-term engagement. It’s going to be rough, but it will increase customers’ return on investment and it is good for the business. One fallout from this is that local infrastructure-as-a-service providers will lose more business and need to find the right way to work together with the big giants.

2014: The Year Of The Cloud Brokers

There has been a lot about cloud brokers this year—those who serve as intermediaries between providers of cloud services and the companies that buy them. I believe that cloud brokers who combine technology, consulting and financial buying power represent a new and exciting business model in the cloud.

This shift may be accelerated in 2014 following Dell’s acquisition of EnStratus and CSC’s acquisition of ServiceMesh. These and other brokers will give cloud consumers the freedom to choose what services they want to buy, from who and when, based on their preferences and variety of supported services. In addition, customers will use broker management platforms to get clearer insights into their cloud and orchestrate and provision workloads faster and smarter.

Long Live Cloud Service Management

In the old days of data centers, IT managers and CIOs were looking for maximum control over the infrastructure. In the era of cloud computing, CMOs and other departments are increasingly taking control and creating their own IT budget. This raises an interesting question: “How IT can keep control on the cloud (consumption, cost, security, service level agreements) without disrupting the “new way of work” adopted by developer/operators and non-tech service consumers?

I believe this calls for new tool sets to replace the old, traditional ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) solutions. New tools will manage everything from self-service request management and cost estimates to provisioning, governance, cloud monitoring and access control. To be fair, an essential component of cloud service management is the service catalog that contains all cloud services the organization can use. James Staten of Forrester also hits on this point in his 2014 predictions.

The Endgame In 2014

Current enterprise footprint in the cloud is not significant: Most start with storage services and not computing services. This means that they use cloud storage as a “garbage collector” for data that can’t or shouldn’t be in their private data center.

Regardless of the vendor, I believe that enterprises will take a big step forward toward adopting new technologies and will significantly leverage open-source platforms, mainly OpenStack. The conversation will no longer be “if” I need to use it. The question will be “when” should I use cloud computing, and for which applications, and how to get the max out of it.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user John Mueller

Cisco Boosts Desktop and Mobile Collaboration

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Tuesday 31 December 2013 1:18 am

Cisco is well known for its networking equipment, the cornerstone of its business operations, but the company also wants recognition for its collaboration and desktop efforts.

5 things to expect in social in 2014

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Monday 30 December 2013 7:03 pm


(Credit:
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

The past 12 months have been defined by kids and their smartphones, a group that proved to have the power to make or break an app in a matter of weeks or months.

In 2013, youngsters didn’t exactly abandon Facebook, but they did tire of it. Instead, they focused their energy on searching for parent-free hideouts and private social zones, as evidenced by the climactic ascendance of Instagram and messaging apps, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Kik in particular.

In 2014, smartphone-toting youngsters will continue to influence trends in social with the dominant theme being that less is the new more in a mobile world.

Here are five things you can expect in social in the year ahead:

1. Single-purpose is the new multipurpose
Social services that offer people everything under the sun will take a back seat to those that do one thing well. It’s a trend that’s been in the making since the surprise success of Instagram, which grew to 150 million active users this year under Facebook’s care.

Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners explains this distillation of the social network down to a single element as a side effect of mobile. “On your phone, you have a home screen with 20 apps. By definition, you’re getting more single-purpose behavior,” he said.

You have, for instance, Snapchat or WhatsApp for messaging. Then there’s Tinder for social dating, Wanelo and Poshmark for social shopping, and Wattpad for social story-telling.

“In each of these cases, they’ve taken an experience and … focused on making it fun,” Liew said. “Because if it’s fun, people do it a lot, they do it multiple times a day in short spurts, and that’s the behavior that fits with mobile best.”

Similarly, the super narrow social network will become a big trend in 2014, Peter Pham, a partner at the LA startup hub Science, told CNET. “The bet we’re making is on very vertical social networks.”

Think dating sites for Mormons or networks for neighbors that make it easier for like-minded types to find each other. The social Web caters to large groups, but there’s room to help people in smaller groups, Pham said.

These trends will force the all-in-one companies such as Google and Facebook to rethink how they do business, and could lead to even more heated competition as they fight to build or acquire the next big thing in social.

2. Temporary trumps permanent; anonymity makes a comeback

Whisper is where a growing number of young people go to confess their secrets anonymously.


(Credit:
Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove/CNET)

Building on a promising 2013, applications and services that let people play in private will gain even more momentum. This category, of course, includes Snapchat, which now processes more than 400 million private photo and video messages, called “snaps,” per day.

“The illusion of temporary is appealing,” said Karen North, a USC professor who heads up the school’s social media masters program, speaking specifically of Snapchat.

And just when you thought the anonymous Web was a thing of the past, a collection of up-and-coming apps are proving that young people don’t want their digital identity linked to everything they see and do on the Internet. This includes Whisper, an app for anonymous public confessions, and Rando, a smartphone app for exchanging photos with strangers.

One-year-old Whisper, for instance, which has millions of users, 90 percent of whom are between the ages of 18 and 24, is now processing 3 billion page views per month, CEO Michael Heyward told CNET. The average user opens the app 10 times per day, he said.

People are seeking out fun and anonymous opportunities — minus the need to log in or create a profile — as they recoil from the status quo of living so transparently online, North said.

3. Just swipe right for whatever your heart desires
As Tinder takes over the dating world, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that we live in a swipe-right kind of world in which convenience trumps everything else. We no longer have time or energy to complete profiles, write lengthy responses, scan feeds — or even think. We just want to click a button and be done with it.

Swipe right to like.


(Credit:
Tinder)

The barely-lift-a-finger craze is one we’re already seeing mature with come-to-you apps and services like Uber, which will pick you up with a click of a button. It also delivered Christmas trees, ice cream, and kittens to your doorstep in 2013.

In the social realm, easier doesn’t always equate to better, especially when it comes to selecting dates, but the design and function of mobile social apps will most certainly try to recreate Tinder’s magic, swipe-right formula to keep you hooked.

Launched a little more than a year ago, Tinder has accumulated users who collectively swipe — that is, say they like or don’t like a would-be match — more than 400 million times per day. Clearly, our fingers are doing the talking.

4. Video (finally) has a breakout year
Video won’t kill the photo star, but Twitter’s Vine, Facebook’s Instagram, and Snapchat’s ephemeral video messages will ensure that bite-sized videos captured on mobile phones will come into their own in 2014.

It all ties back to our desire for image-based self-expression. “Photos and video are key right now,” North said. “The younger you are, the more you want to express yourself with photos instead of words,” she added. And when a photo won’t cut it, video, thanks to technological advancements over the past year, is now just as accessible.

“I think that it’s part of all of us, that if something is happening and it’s cool, you want to be a able to remember it, go back to it, or show it to people who aren’t there,” North said. “And with high-resolution cameras in our hands, we can now do that.”

5. From zero to hero in record speed
Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and the occasional boost from Facebook, the rate at which hit social apps hit hundreds millions of users will only accelerate.

In 2013, messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Line, and Kik all proved that they could redefine what hockey-stick growth looks like. King candy-crushed its way to hundreds of millions active players, and Instagram made hitting 150 million active users look easy.

“To me it’s shocking how fast one can come out of left field and have a base of 20 million, 30 million very active users,” Pham said. “The difference is that the last two years everything social has moved to the mobile device … and the age at which people are now getting mobile phones is dipping down to … 11 and 12.”

The best part of this zero-to-hero phenomenon is that 2014 will be full of social surprises no one could have predicted.

Liberty and Security in a Changing World: 46 Recommendation to Overhaul NSA Surveillance

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Monday 30 December 2013 12:44 am

The report titled, “Liberty and Security in a Changing World,” offers 46 recommendations to improve and overhaul U.S. Intelligence activities. The task force report was ordered by President Barack Obama on Aug. 27 to determine what could be done to assuage concerns about over-reaching government snooping while defending the strategic national interests of the United States. The report emphasizes the critical importance that intelligence serves and stresses that data-collection efforts should continue, but with some new guidelines.

“The ability of the United States to combat threats from state rivals, terrorists and weapons proliferators depends on the acquisition of foreign intelligence information from a broad range of sources and through a variety of methods,” the report states. “In an era increasingly dominated by technological advances in communications technologies, the United States must continue to collect signals intelligence globally in order to assure the safety of our citizens at home and abroad and to help protect the safety of our friends, our allies, and the many nations with whom we have cooperative relationships.”

Read the full story at eWEEK:
Obama Task Force Makes Recommendations for US Surveillance Overhaul

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Netflix reportedly plans streaming purge for January 1

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Sunday 29 December 2013 6:24 am


(Credit:
Netflix)

If you think you are going to need a “Top Gun” or “Titanic” fix from Netflix soon, you better get it out of the way before Wednesday.

Those titles are among dozens of movies and TV shows scheduled to be purged from the movie rental site’s list of instant streaming offerings on January 1, according to a Reddit post this week. As opposed to purges past, this house-cleaning doesn’t appear to threaten any uber classics, although “Roman Holiday,” “Serpico,” and “The Odd Couple” will be checking out from the streaming service in the new year, according to the post. TV shows such as the original “Dark Shadows” and “The Kids in the Hall” are also on the list.

The company regularly adds and deletes titles from its streaming service due to licensing contracts for exclusive content. CNET has contacted Netflix for confirmation of the purge list and will update this report when we learn more. It wasn’t immediately clear where the list came from, but a quick review of the site confirmed that streaming for each of the titles listed above will vanish on Wednesday.

In the wake of what some in the media dubbed “streamaggedon” earlier this year, Netflix made alterations to its API that made it harder for third-party tools such as InstantWatcher.com to determine when titles will expire. However, the service promised that users will still have access to each movie’s streaming expiration date via each individual title’s page.

The complete list posted on Reddit:

TV shows expiring January 1, 2014:

  • Dark Shadows (original from late 1960s)
  • Saturday Night Live The 2000s
  • Mr Bean
  • The Kids In The Hall
  • Perfect 10 Model Boxing (Volume 1)

Movies expiring December 29, 2013

  • Transformers Dark Of The Moon

Movies expiring January 4, 2014

  • Alice In Wonderland (1951 Disney)
  • Immortals
  • Dynamite Warrior

Movies expiring January 1, 2014

  • The Rundown
  • Brick
  • Being John Malkovich
  • Back To School
  • Battle Of Britain
  • Born On the Fourth Of July
  • Braveheart
  • Body Of Evidence
  • Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
  • Man On The Moon
  • Lionheart
  • 1492: Conquest Of Paradise
  • Killer Klowns From Outer Space
  • Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
  • FX
  • Do The Right Thing
  • Desperado
  • Up In Smoke
  • Can’t Hardly Wait
  • Capote
  • Biloxi Blues
  • Seed Of Chucky
  • Jarhead
  • As Good As It Gets
  • In The Name Of The Father
  • Inside Deep Throat (documentary)
  • I’m Gonna Get You Sucka
  • In Like Flint
  • Hard Target
  • Foxy Brown
  • Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell
  • Gallipoli
  • Half Baked
  • Flashdance
  • 50 First Dates
  • For Love Of The Game
  • The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas
  • The Bad News Bears
  • The Russia House
  • The Secret Of Nimh
  • Revenge OF The Ninja
  • Roman Holiday
  • Rob Roy
  • Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back
  • Remo Williams
  • Requiem For A Dream
  • Quigley Down Under
  • Pumpkinhead
  • Platoon
  • Once Upon A Time In Mexico
  • October Sky
  • Mystery Men
  • The Skulls
  • Titanic
  • Ronin
  • Romeo And Juliet (1968)
  • Tales From The Crypt: Bordello Of Blood
  • Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight
  • The Woman In Red
  • Top Gun
  • Street Fighter
  • TNT Jackson
  • Serpico
  • Seed Of Chucky
  • Scary Movie
  • Running Scared
  • Troll II
  • True Grit (1969)
  • War And Peace
  • Talk Radio
  • War Games
  • We Were Soldiers
  • What Dreams May Come
  • Windtalkers
  • World Trade Center
  • The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Odd Couple (1968)
  • The Mask Of Zorro
  • The Great Train Robbery
  • The Faculty
  • The Dream Team
  • Best Of Times
  • Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
  • Species

Target Becomes a Target

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Sunday 29 December 2013 12:23 am

U.S. retailer Target quite literally has a target painted on itself, and it’s one that attackers are now confirmed to have hit in one of the largest data breaches on record.

Target admitted Thursday that approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts are at risk from the breach. The affected accounts were compromised between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, over the crucial Black Friday and Christmas holiday shopping period.

Though full details on the breach have not yet been made public, Target has confirmed that the data breach affects customers that shopped in physical Target stores in the United States. Target also has an online store as well as operations in Canada, though the company has not confirmed that those operations were impacted by the breach.

Read the full story at eWEEK:
Target Data Breach Affects US In-Store Customers

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Oracle Reports 2Q14 Earnings

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Saturday 28 December 2013 12:13 am

Oracle reported its second quarter fiscal 2014 earnings late Wednesday with revenue reported at $9.3 Billion for a two percent year-over-year gain. Looking forward, Oracle President and CFO Safra Katz provided guidance for the third quarter fiscal 2014 revenue to grow between two and six percent on a year-over-year basis.

One particular area highlighted by Oracle was its overall hardware business, which grew by two percent during the quarter. The hardware business has been one that Oracle has been trying to turnaround in recent quarters and CEO Larry Ellison is now confident that his company has now turned the corner.

Read the full story at Datamation:
Ellison: Oracle Cloud will Be Price Competitive with Amazon

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Mac Pro teardown shows ‘removable’ Intel processor

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 27 December 2013 6:10 pm

Mac Pro internals.

Mac Pro internals.


(Credit:
Apple)

A teardown of the new Mac Pro indicates that the Intel processor may be removable, offering the tantalizing prospect of user upgrades, according to reports.

Apple blogs reported on Friday that a teardown reveals that the
Mac Pro is socketed, which typically means the processor can be removed from the system by the user and upgraded.

For some users, that could obviate the need to upgrade the entire system down the road.

Here’s what MacRumors said: “The Intel Xeon E5 processor found in the Mac Pro is indeed removable, allowing for future upgrades. All…CPUs for the new Mac Pro use the same LGA 2011 socket standardized on the Mac Pro’s motherboard.”

As CNET Reviews noted in its initial review, the $2,999 base model Mac Pro gets you a quad-core 3.7GHz Intel Xeon processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and AMD D300 FirePro graphics. Upgrades possible when you order a system include a six-core Xeon CPU and a 12-core processor.

“The new Mac Pro is a professional workhorse dressed up in a very appealing high-design package. It’s a stretch to say this is a computer for casual consumers, but the starting price isn’t more than you’d pay for a similarly configured Windows PC,” said CNET Reviews.

Speaking of features, the teardown site OWC posted a photo earlier in the week showing the Mac Pro driving six 27-inch displays, according to MacRumors.

Say What? Top Five IT Quotes of the Week

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 27 December 2013 12:02 am

 “We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.” 

-Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO (eWEEK)

“I know we got a lot of criticism when we bought Sun and we have gone through this transition where we had a growing hardware business, Engineered Systems, and a shrinking hardware business, Commodity Systems as we shied away from Commodity Systems in trying to be competitive in that marketplace”

– Larry Ellison, CEO Oracle (Datamation

“The ability of the United States to combat threats from state rivals, terrorists and weapons proliferators depends on the acquisition of foreign intelligence information from a broad range of sources and through a variety of methods”

-Liberty and Security in a Changing World Presidential report on U.S Surveillance reform (InternetNews)

“We see that in a lot of labs where people are building wearables, they are using Ubuntu. It may well be that Ubuntu is at the heart of some of those efforts. For now though, our focus is the phone and tablet and the convergence with the PC.”

-Mark Shuttleworth, founder Ubuntu Linux (eWEEK)

“Cisco’s acquisition of Collaborate supports our goal of driving market leadership in collaboration”

-Hilton Romanski, senior vice president of Global Corporate Development at Cisco, (EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet)

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

Say What? Top Five IT Quotes of the Week

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 27 December 2013 12:02 am

 “We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.” 

-Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO (eWEEK)

“I know we got a lot of criticism when we bought Sun and we have gone through this transition where we had a growing hardware business, Engineered Systems, and a shrinking hardware business, Commodity Systems as we shied away from Commodity Systems in trying to be competitive in that marketplace”

– Larry Ellison, CEO Oracle (Datamation

“The ability of the United States to combat threats from state rivals, terrorists and weapons proliferators depends on the acquisition of foreign intelligence information from a broad range of sources and through a variety of methods”

-Liberty and Security in a Changing World Presidential report on U.S Surveillance reform (InternetNews)

“We see that in a lot of labs where people are building wearables, they are using Ubuntu. It may well be that Ubuntu is at the heart of some of those efforts. For now though, our focus is the phone and tablet and the convergence with the PC.”

-Mark Shuttleworth, founder Ubuntu Linux (eWEEK)

“Cisco’s acquisition of Collaborate supports our goal of driving market leadership in collaboration”

-Hilton Romanski, senior vice president of Global Corporate Development at Cisco, (EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet)

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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