August 18, 2014
Volume XLIX, Issue 4
Rackers Join CLOUD DEVELOPERS SUMMIT & EXPO
The DCIA &CCA are very pleased to welcome a cadre of Rackspace speakers to the upcoming CLOUD DEVELOPERS SUMMIT & EXPO 2014 (CDSE:2014).
Leading this group as a conference keynote speaker will be Principal Engineer and Senior Manager Jesse Noller.
Jesse Noller is a full stack developer and software engineer with extensive Python, web programming, and distributed systems experience. In addition to being a core developer of the Python language, he's a member, director, and officer of the Python Software Foundation. Jesse Noller is internationally recognized as a writer, developer, and community advocate, with business experience ranging from multinational corporations to start-ups.
Along with the business strategy conference on Wednesday October 1st and Thursday October 2nd, in Austin, TX numerous co-located CDSE:2014 instructional workshops and special seminars will explore three categories of cloud adoption: big data, devops, and mobile cloud; and three verticals where the pace of cloud adoption is particularly dynamic: media & entertainment, healthcare & life sciences, and government & military.
Facilitating two of these workshops for Rackspace will be Alex Brandt, Ryan Richard, and Wayne Walls.
Alex Brandt is a Cloud Evangelist at Rackspace. He speaks on behalf of Rackspace on a variety of topics. Previously, his work focused on training employees in Cloud, Python, Ruby, and Chef. He regularly consults with Rackspace customers to develop unique solutions while internally developing new approaches with evolving technologies. Alex Brandt holds a degree in Computer Science and Physics from Minnesota State University.
Ryan Richard is the Team Lead - OpenStack Architect on a special projects group at Rackspace. Previously he was the team lead of the DevOps Automation Service team, where he helped develop new ways of supporting customers with automation tools. His primary role revolves around automation, performance monitoring, helping customers evolve their development workflows and supporting advanced cloud deployment methodologies. Ryan Richard has been a Racker for seven years and is a Red Hat Certified Architect and Datacenter Specialist.
Wayne Walls is Director of Cloud Strategy at Rackspace. He is an accomplished technical business leader with over 10 years of experience developing hosted solutions in start-up, enterprise, and academic environments. An expert in challenges such as cloud adoption, IT transformation, global expansion and consultative selling, Wayne Walls has consistently outperformed expectations for numerous Global 2K Enterprises and startups around the world. With degrees in both Economics and Information Systems, he has a valuable perspective when analyzing business initiatives.
As a preview of what to expect, one of the two Rackspace Workshops is entitled "Contained Excitement" and will cover how "Docker changes the dev/test/build/deploy workflow. We believe this change is for the better. We want to show the differences between Docker images and tarballs as well as Fig and Vagrant. We want you to be able to create a Docker image and run a container. We will also discuss storing Docker images, integrating images into testing and deploying images to production."
Register now for CDSE:2014 to take advantage of early-bird rates.
To learn more about conducting an instructional workshop, exhibiting, or sponsoring CDSE:2014, contact Don Buford, Executive Director, or Hank Woji, VP Business Development, at the CCA.
If you'd like to speak at CDSE:2014, please all or e-mail DCIA CEO Marty Lafferty at your earliest convenience — TODAY IF AT ALL POSSIBLE.
Rackspace Sees Q2 Record Revenue Boost
Excerpted from Talkin' Cloud Report by Chris Talbot
Rackspace released its earnings for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 this week, and the company had one of its best quarters yet.
The company had net revenue of $411 million during the second quarter, marking a 17 percent year-over-year increase, and according to Taylor Rhodes, President of Rackspace, the company also experienced a major milestone.
For the first time, Rackspace added more than $20 million of net income in one quarter.
Rhodes and the other executives are chalking this up to its current cloud strategy, which is to do business in the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) space by providing customers with value and support rather than the lowest price.
If Rackspace revenue for Q2 is anything to go on, the strategy is working.
Last month, Rackspace unveiled changes to its managed cloud services strategy, including the launch of two new managed cloud services.
The company also unveiled changes meant to simplify its pricing without playing the "race to the bottom" game favored by its competitors.
In an interview with Talkin' Cloud, CTO John Engates explained how Rackspace has changed its pricing structure and how it is aiming to differentiate itself.
A certain type of customer wants a managed cloud service, which basically means buying IaaS from Rackspace in addition to managed service and support.
Rackspace has a strong message it is taking to potential customers—and it's one that will likely resonate with many organizations.
Report from CEO Marty Lafferty
In July, the DCIA was among a record number of organizations and individuals to submit public comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its 2014 Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) on how the Commission should ensure that the Internet remains open.
In fact, the FCC's website was so inundated with comments in support of Net Neutrality that it crashed multiple times, leading the FCC to extend its submission period several times.
We remarked at the time that reviewing the million or more submissions qualified this exercise as a cloud computing big data project.
This week, to further develop its understanding of the issues and examine the actions it may take, the Commission announced that it will host a series of staff-led Open Internet Roundtable Discussions at its headquarters.
The roundtables will be free and open to the public, and will also be streamed live here.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will preside over the roundtables. Democrat Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel as well as Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly will be there to discuss the issues.
These discussions will focus on public policy considerations and how they should be addressed to protect and promote Internet openness in both the fixed and mobile markets; the technological considerations involved in protecting the open Internet; how the competitive landscape and the economics of providing broadband and online services affects Internet openness; how the Commission can effectively enforce the current and proposed open Internet requirements; and the various legal theories underlying possible Commission actions in this area.
Here's the schedule for the roundtables and the designated FCC bureau staff member to contact for more information, including requests to participate in these discussions:
Policy Approaches to Ensure an Open Internet — Tuesday September 16th morning — Kristine Fargotstein, Wireline Competition Bureau, 202-418-2774.
Mobile Broadband and the Open Internet — Tuesday September 16th afternoon — Dan Ball, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Spectrum and Competition Policy Division, 202-418-1577.
Effective Enforcement of Open Internet Requirements — Friday September 19th morning — Stephen Ruckman, 202-418-8192.
Technological Aspects of an Open Internet — Friday September 19th afternoon — Henning Schulzrinne.
Economics of Broadband: Market Successes and Market Failures — Thursday October 2nd — Tim Brennan.
Internet Openness and the Law Tuesday October 7th — Stephanie Weiner.
The decisions of the FCC and lawmakers regarding Net Neutrality are extremely important to the advancement of the cloud computing industry.
Columbia University Law Professor Tim Wu, credited with coining the term, said, "Network Neutrality is best defined as a network design principle."
"The idea is that a maximally useful public information network aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally."
"This allows the network to carry every form of information and support every kind of application."
"The principle suggests that information networks are often more valuable when they are lessspecialized — when they are a platform for multiple uses, present and future."
"A useful way to understand this principle is to look at other networks, like the electric grid, which are implicitly built on a neutrality theory."
"The general purpose and neutral nature of the electric grid is one of the things that make it extremely useful."
"The electric grid does not care if you plug in a toaster, an iron, or a computer."
"Consequently it has survived and supported giant waves of innovation in the appliance market."
"The electric grid worked for the radios of the 1930s works for the flat screen TVs of the 2000s."
"For that reason the electric grid is a model of a neutral, innovation-driving network."
Industry leaders Google, Apple, Netflix, and many others have announced their support for policies that protect the open Internet.
Numerous young Americans have asked the FCC to preserve Net Neutrality so that they can better compete in the workforce and have equal access to all information on the web, regardless of point of origin.
Others have referenced America's commitment to a free-market economy and the basic structure of capitalism, which demands that all ventures have equal opportunity to compete, so that the best services can be made available to the public.
And most commenters have agreed that it is the FCC's job to defend the Internet's integrity. Share wisely, and take care.
Cloud Computing Is the Fifth Wave
Excerpted from BusinessWorld Report
VMware is an American technology company that provides cloud and virtualization software and services. Virtualization in computing refers to the process of creating a virtual (rather than a real) version of hardware, operating systems, storage devices, and computer network resources.
It has helped technology companies reduce expenses by boosting efficiency and agility. Though VMware is majority owned by data storage giant EMC, it operates independently and works with even competitors of its parent.
It accounts for a quarter of EMC's revenues, and more than 70 per cent of EMC's market capitalization of nearly $60 billion. VMware, which had revenues of $5.21 billion in 2013, is the fifth-largest software company in the world. A leader in virtualization software, VMware has set its sights on the cloud and software-defined data center markets. In India, the company is competing with offerings from vendors such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.
In its effort to redefine the data center market, VMware has not been averse to taking on even a partner like Cisco. Pat Gelsinger, the chief executive officer of VMware, is an industry veteran having earlier worked with Intel and EMC. On a recent visit to India, he spoke to BusinessWorld on how VMware sees the global technology industry.
Q: Has the server virtualization story played out in most markets? In desktop virtualization, VMware has had limited success with Citrix, but it still has a greater share. Is the focus now on network infrastructure and data storage virtualization themes?
A: I don't think that the server virtualization story is complete; there are plenty of opportunities in the compute part, both in Big Data and in business-critical areas. Even in terms of geographies, there is variance. In Asia, for instance, less than 20 per cent of the customers have virtualized their environments. In the telecom space, there are 6-7 million servers in infrastructure, which are yet to be virtualized.
Also, we don't see the virtualization market in pieces. We have a fairly holistic view of the software-defined data center (SDDC) around compute, network, storage and security. We are virtualizing the data center, on-premise and in the cloud. The virtualization and cloud computing technologies are leading to unprecedented changes in the data center.
We are moving away from client-server computing to the mobile-cloud era, and VMware will be the bridge between the two, helping enterprises make that transition. We are building a strategy around SDDC, as opposed to the current hardware-defined data center (largely shaped by Cisco).
This is the most significant architectural shift in the past 30 years of information technology. We are focused on the cloud, enabling SDDC and end-user computing.
Q: How is VMware's vision of the cloud different from Amazon, Microsoft and Google?
A: The cloud is the fifth wave of computing starting from mainframe to mini-computers to PC and the Internet era. A tectonic shift is taking place, and it will cause the same kind of disruption as the earlier shifts. Those who do not adapt to this will fade away or die. We have immense respect for the capabilities of our competitors. But a company like Amazon is positioned more for the public cloud. Yes, they innovated early and were aggressive. Yet, in spite of their recent attempts, I believe they don't have the technology to address the private and hybrid cloud market.
5 Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing How We Do Business
Excerpted from Business Review USA Report by Adam Groff
As the world of information and data continues to expand, the cloud is expanding right along with it. And, nowhere is the cloud's presence more appreciated than in the information-heavy, always growing corporate arena.
With storage solutions in mind, here are just a few examples of the role the cloud is playing in corporate America and beyond:
Updates Made Easy
Upgrading software is a daunting task, especially when those updates take place on a massive corporate level.
But, because cloud service providers handle all of the maintenance aspects of cloud computing, the corporate world doesn't have to worry about keeping track of system updates.
Cloud service providers take care of all the necessary system updates and upgrades, including all security updates. This allows corporations to concentrate on the job at hand without having to put the working day on hold while updates take place.
Lower Operating Costs
Cloud computing saves the corporate world money on two fronts: IT staffing and equipment costs.
Because cloud service providers take care of all the maintenance and system updates, it means large businesses can cut their IT budgets in half. Cloud computing services do cost money, but it's a fraction of the cost of onsite IT services.
Likewise, because the cloud's servers and other related equipment are housed offsite, the corporate world can save money by avoiding expensive equipment upgrades and upkeep.
The cost benefits are just another one of the many reasons why more corporate giants are following the cloud in order to make their working worlds better.
Scalability on a Corporate Level
Massive, fluctuating amounts of data just comes with the corporate territory, which is another reason why the cloud is so beneficial for major businesses. The cloud is infinitely scalable, which is essential for the changing data storage needs of the corporate environment.
Before the cloud, businesses had to waste time and money upgrading servers and expanding their storage needs.
But, with cloud computing, increasing and decreasing storage needs is as easy as contacting the cloud service provider. And, the best part is, the change in data storage is oftentimes instantaneous.
Because the cloud is an everywhere computing platform, it gives the corporate world unparalleled mobility.
Whether employees want to work from home or share files and documents with colleagues across the world, the cloud makes it possible.
With the cloud, employees can access and share business-related data from anywhere.
And, thanks to the cloud's all-encompassing storage capabilities, files, data, and documents are kept in a central storage location, which keeps corporations on the same page all the time.
Although storing a massive amount of sensitive data offsite may sound like a security risk, the cloud is one of the most secure forms of data storage available.
Because information is stored in the cloud and not the device itself, business data is always secure and accessible, even in the event of theft.
Additionally, even though the cloud is easily accessible, cloud service providers take extra measures to protect stored data by only granting access to users with encrypted passwords.
Likewise, service providers also use the most up-to-date security monitoring software to ensure security breaches don't happen.
When it comes to data storage on the corporate level, the cloud really does play a giant role. As a corporate manager, have you integrated the cloud into your company's plans?
78 Percent of Small Businesses Will Use Cloud by 2020
Excerpted from Small Business Trends Report by Joshua Sophy
By the end of this decade, most small businesses in the US will have adopted cloud technology.
New data from Intuit and Emergent Research reveals that by 2020, 78 percent of small businesses will be "fully adapted" to cloud computing. That's more than double the current 37 percent adoption rate.
The data is the highlight of a new report entitled "Small Business Success in the Cloud." It's the first installment in a research series being conducted by the two firms. Called collectively "Dispatches from the New Economy," the series will focus on how small businesses, specifically, adapt to changes in technology.
Steve King of Emergent Research said in a statement introducing the series:
"Today, the U.S. and global economy is going through a series of shifts and changes that are reshaping the economic landscape. In this new landscape, many people are using the power of the cloud to re-imagine the idea of small business and create new, innovative models that work for their needs."
Released late last week, the report examines "four faces" of the new economy, or the four personas of small businesses that have fully adapted to the cloud. And the report further shows how adapting to cloud technology can lead to bigger opportunities for small businesses.
The first of the four personas identified in the report are the plug-in players. These are small businesses that use cloud-based solutions to handle the back end of the office while they stay focused on the "mission-critical areas" of their businesses. This means using cloud solutions for accounting, marketing, and human resources with more time and resources available to focus on a business's core product or service.
These could be small virtual businesses or teams that work together from remote locations using cloud technology. The classification could also include brick-and-mortar businesses like manufacturing operations or other producers that share a physical space enabling all to share resources while they grow.
Some small businesses will begin to compete directly with larger corporations in the very near future. This is especially possible for small businesses that are using plug-in services and other platforms to reach new markets. One example cited specifically in the study is the way in which individuals are beginning to compete directly with larger hotel chains through platforms like AirBnB which allow them to reach a much larger audience.
The last group of businesses mentioned in the report is the portfolioists. These are envisioned as cloud-based freelancers who are depicted by the report as having the most to gain from a cloud-based economy in the future. Freelancers will be able to leverage cloud-based tools and technologies to accrue more work using cloud technology and collect income from multiple sources.
In a statement released with the report, Vice President and General Manager of QuickBooks Online Ecosystem at Intuit, Terry Hicks, explained:
"Whether you're a tech startup in Silicon Valley or a mom-and-pop shop on Main Street, cloud technology presents both radically new opportunities, and potentially disruptive changes. This report is all about developing a deep understanding of how small business can stay ahead of the curve."
Cloud Computing: Customization Is the Name of the Game
Excerpted from ITProPortal Report by Paul Steiner
With Gartner predicting that half of all enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by 2017, its obvious that cloud technology is permeating all levels of organizations. What this also means is that nothing is black and white with cloud computing. Enterprises are deploying different forms of cloud solutions in ways that best support their business needs and organizational infrastructure.
There is no silver bullet that will give companies the best possible outcomes with cloud computing — each organization needs to determine what data and departments will best benefit from cloud solutions, and positively impact the bottom line. The trend I see growing the fastest in the cloud computing space is that of customization, as enterprises build out cloud infrastructures and solutions that work best for them.
One of the main reasons for customization is the varying security regulations that face companies operating in numerous international markets. Companies in EMEA are especially concerned about oversights from the US markets, and thus are putting more content in private cloud solutions, where they can customize the security and access settings to each region or country's regulations.
For heavily regulated industries, such as government or financial services, its especially important that solutions be customizable to adhere to national and industry compliance specifications, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Safe-Harbor Frameworks or Sarbanes-Oxley.
The private cloud also enables enterprises to maintain total control over their data, rather than power and potential access rights to a third-party vendor. With the ever-growing concerns around the impact of cyber-hacking, companies are loath to put sensitive business material in the hands of an outside party. The ability to vary the levels of data security, by placing non-sensitive data in public clouds, while keeping intellectual property or personally identifiable information on-premise in a private cloud, enable enterprises to create customized, hybrid clouds that best fit their data security requirements.
The third area where extensive customization is taking place in cloud computing is in the mobile realm. As more employees utilize mobile devices for their day-to-day work activities, it's critical that they can access the data they need without introducing security risks into the network. Cloud computing made this kind of mobile workflow possible, and now enterprises are picking and choosing the types of mobile productivity apps their workers need, and integrating them into their other cloud infrastructure.
Many major cloud companies like Google and Microsoft are bolting on new features and free storage to their platforms, in an attempt to keep customers within their silo, instead of offering the ability to customize their infrastructure with numerous vendors.
Moving forward, I see this trend of customized cloud computing continuing to grow, and vendors that don't offer customized options to their clients will start to see declining revenues.
Microsoft Cloud Computing Platform Gains on Amazon & Google
Excerpted from Wall Street Pit Report
Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing platform, continues to grow at a brisk pace and gaining customers more than Amazon and Google, a survey of CIOs by the research firm Pacific Crest Securities has found.
The firm asked CIOs of more than 150 companies to list the services on which they intend to increase spending in the coming year. Microsoft's Azure and Office 365 for business beat both Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. Microsoft was also the second most preferred supplier for public and private cloud services behind VMware.
"For the survey, Pacific Crest checked in with CIOs at 152 companies with 1,000 or more employees — most of them with over 5,000 employees. That at least partially explains the overall strength for Microsoft: Big as it is, Amazon's AWS tends to be more popular with earlier-stage (and therefore smaller) companies.
One thing that large enterprises tend to like, writes Pacific Crest's Brendan Barnicle, is that Microsoft's cloud tends to work nicely with their existing Active Director infrastructure, the system they use to sign into older Microsoft products like Exchange. They also like it because they get access to a lot of Microsoft products that they couldn't get from a standard installation of Microsoft Office."
Scott Guthrie, Executive VP of the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise group, stated at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, DC last month that "more than 57 percent of the Fortune 500 companies" were running on Azure. There are "more than 300,000 publicly facing Web sites on Azure," he claimed.
Microsoft's commercial cloud offerings is projected to bring $4.4 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2015 if the number of subscribers stays the same.This would put the software giant $3 billion behind IBM's cloud business. According to new research from the Synergy Research Group, Microsoft and IBM have gained market share over the last four quarters, while the share of AWS and Google are unchanged from a year ago.
BitTorrent Sync Apps Offer Escape from Big Brother
Excerpted from Wired Report by Ryan Tate
Big app-makers are grabbing all the personal data they can these days. But a small cadre of developers is building decentralized, privacy-conscious apps on the fast-growing BitTorrent Sync platform, creating everything from a more resilient version of the web to a peer-to-peer (P2P) version of Facebook. They're betting people are tired of seeing private information Hoovered up by the likes of the National Security Agency (NSA), online advertisers, or rogue hackers.
These developers are riding the same wave that carried BitTorrent Sync, a file-syncing system similar to Dropbox but heavily encrypted and without a central server. Sync now counts more than 2 million users only 16 months after launching.
The growth of Sync apps is in the early, fragile stages. None of the software is even at the so-called "beta" stage of development, where wider testing can begin. And all of the apps could be scuttled by one false move at BitTorrent Inc., the file-sharing company that developed Sync and controls the platform interfaces on which Sync developers build. But the emerging Sync ecosystem offers an intriguing example of how corporate prerogatives can help promote, rather than undermine, pro-privacy practices like encryption and decentralization. It also offers evidence that some developers want to avoid or escape the Apple and Google app stores, which tend to reward apps with invasive ads and tricks to sell digital goods within the apps. If one or two Sync apps take off, it could bolster the entire business of selling privacy-friendly software.
"Can the Internet be structured in such a way that you don't risk sharing your information with the government or an intruder?" asks Jon Seymour, one of the two people behind Peers, a rudimentary social network built on top of Sync. "With BitTorrent technology… you could reset people's worries and take some of the edge off sharing personal information."
BitTorrent says it is just getting started building out the crucial infrastructure for an app ecosystem around Sync. It has yet to release a formal software developer kit, or SDK, which would provide code libraries and documentation to help programmers quickly and more easily communicate with Sync from within their apps. It has only begun to formally describe Sync's application-programming interface, or API, which provides a rougher way of working with Sync.
But the company, which until now has made much of its money installing spammy search toolbars alongside BitTorrent file-sharing software, clearly sees a big future in the Sync platform. It has hired a VP, a developer evangelist, and a PR manager focused entirely on Sync; it is preparing a big software update; and it is developing a plan to monetize Sync—though the company is keeping mum on specifics. Still, BitTorrent claims that Sync is more about promoting a decentralized vision of the Internet than making money. That's the pitch it's started making at security- and privacy-oriented conferences like DefCon and Chaos Communication Congress.
"We have many developers and engineers working on this, we have tons of resources and brand marketing," says Aaron Liao, BitTorrent's developer evangelist for Sync. "Sync is a large team… How often do you get to work on something like that without money as the main driver?"
Sync does have critics, who note it's impossible to fully verify the security and privacy of the system without access to the source code. Runa Sandvik, a security researcher and longtime developer of the private web surfing tool Tor, says users likely will be better off with "open-source clones." But Sync's big strength is that it has some of the polish of other commercial software, including rival Dropbox, a centralized system with full access to the data it syncs on behalf of users. That should win it wider adoption.
A wide audience is precisely what the first batch of Sync apps is missing. But they offer intriguing glimmers of what's to come.
Seymour's app Peers—developed with co-founder Paul Daly—allows people to connect socially with one another by sharing 32-character keys. Once you follow someone, you get access to their contact information, work history, education, other interests, and media files, like images. It's sort of Facebook meets LinkedIn meets a shared address book like Plaxo. You also get the same information for all people they follow. But, crucially, all this information is downloaded to your own Windows or Mac computer, so you have a local copy, available even if you later decide to leave the network. (A mobile version is coming.)
The software, now at version 0.2.3 after eight months, is at a pre-release stage, and the lack of polish shows. But the software already is far more durable than the centralized social network, which makes it hard to get data out of the system and can cut off access or lop off features without notice. Peers is more like a physical Rolodex—simple and powerful.
"This is how contact info used to spread," Seymour says of Peers. "You gave someone your info and inherently gave them the power to pass it along and pass it along."
Another early Sync app, known as SyncNet, a version of the World Wide Web in which the content of the sites is distributed among the readers of the sites. So when you visit a site on SyncNet, a copy of the whole site is downloaded to your computer. The next user to visit the site will download part of the site from you, and part of the site from the original location. As the site gets more popular, the burden of serving its content is spread among more computers, a feature that comes from the underlying BitTorrent protocol.
The end result is a system that is much more resilient against traffic spikes and censorious governments and web hosts.
Jack Minardi, who does 3-D printing research at Harvard Medical School, put together SyncNet as part of a crusade to make it easier to publish a website. Minardi remembers wanting to make a website as a child and having to first learn about to configure a Linux server and establish an FTP connection before he could put any content online.
"It shouldn't be that hard, and with SyncNet, if you can put files in a folder, you can have a web page," Minardi says. "Anybody can do that. That was the main motivation for me."
Right now, SyncNet is just a pile of python code sitting on GitHub, albeit one that's been getting lots of programmer attention.
Whether it and Peers and Sync itself can find mainstream adoptions remains to be seen. Maybe, in the end, people want decentralized systems like BitTorrent just so they can flout copyright law from time to time and download new episodes of "Downton Abbey." But maybe, just maybe, they are tired of having their personal information brokered and stored and sifted by large companies and government agencies, and ready for the fresh start developers are trying to give them.
Could Peer-to-Peer Technology Solve the Privacy Conundrum?
Excerpted from Sydney Morning Herald Report by Drew Turney
A unique approach to crunching website visitor data promises the best of both worlds between accuracy and privacy.
Data leaned from people's behavior online is an important tool in everything from marketing to social planning, but consumers lose control over their privacy the more data is collected about them.
The trick is in knowing as much about you without identifying you as an individual, and computer scientists from Saarland University and the Center for IT Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA), in Germany, and the Italian IMT Institute for Advanced Studies might have cracked the code.
Their technology, known as Privada, uses peer-to-peer file sharing as the inspiration to send parts of website visitor data to different servers for processing and storage.
When Privada collects a behavioral metric on visitors (women aged 35-45, for example) it sends it to a third-party server. Other metrics are sent to other servers, so no central database has the complete picture.
Each server then adds up to 10 per cent of data "noise" to their records, enough to keep any single user from being identified and leaving the reassembled data 90 per cent accurate.
"It's a bit like tearing a picture apart and giving pieces to friends," explains PhD student Fabienne Eigner, who is part of the development team. "They can only see the whole image if they put their pieces together."
At that rate of accuracy it would still be of value to some businesses.
Bert-Jan van Essen spokesman for Singapore wealth-management provider Dragon Wealth said even aggregated data that doesn't identify individual users is "extraordinarily useful". The company collects contextual information about its users based on questions and online behavior.
"It's not necessary for us to know who the user is to explain what other people are doing," he says.
Thomas P Keenan, adjunct professor of computer science at the University of Calgary and author of the book Technocreep, isn't convinced.
He refers to a paper written by the Privada team that says the system assumes "the majority of the computation parties are not colluding", something Dr Keenan considers the "pre-Snowden"world.
"All our Internet traffic is being monitored and collected, at least by governments and quite possibly by others," he said. "Someone with good cryptographic expertise could attack the cryptography if they had enough reason to do it."
And rather than find better ways to collect data, chief compliance and risk officer Dana Simberkoff, of compliance and governance software vendor AvePoint believes giving users control over what websites collect is even more important.
"The only way to fully ensure consumer privacy protection is not to take their information at all," she says. "It comes back to educating consumers on the risks they're taking with their data and transparency and accountability from those who collect it."
Privada project lead Dr Aniket Kate said while the project's architecture and basic implementation are ready, more needs to be done to usability and interface before it can be made public.
There was no significant commercial interest in the technology yet, but he said the team would publish a new scientific paper, after which commercial interest would follow.
CenturyLink Panamax Eases Docker Management
Excerpted from CIO Today Report
While Docker might be the next generation of virtual machines, CenturyLink says these systems are still very hard to adopt, and that's where Panamax fits in.
The company touts Panamax as being ideal for even complex Docker architectures, offering developers a single management platform by which to create, share and deploy Docker-containerized applications. The Panamax name is a play on words, referring to the maximum permissible dimensions for ships and shipping containers moving through the relatively narrow Panama Canal, as pictured above.
Docker automates the deployment of applications inside software containers, providing a layer of abstraction and automation of OS-level virtualization on machines running Linux. Because it makes containers portable and sharable, Docker lets developers more easily collaborate on infrastructure , according to CenturyLink, preventing configuration problems when work is uploaded from a developer's computer to a Web server.
How It Works
The scalability and portability of applications have become more crucial since Docker and Linux containerization have become more popular. Containerization offers a smaller technology footprint than that of x86 virtualization.
"Docker captured my imagination when I realized that I could encapsulate the entire state of my application system and share it with anyone else in the world," said Lucas Carlson, chief innovation officer at CenturyLink, in a statement. "Panamax lets you combine Linux containers like Legos, stitching together the best-of-breed containers built by the dev-ops community, and then deploy them anywhere."
Jay Lyman, senior enterprise software analyst at 451 Research, told us the ultimate goal of Panamax is to be a set of software and tools and integrations that will standardize the way Linux containers and Dockerized applications are managed.
"It will help developers and IT shops interested in using Linux containers or Docker that lack expertise or experience with it," Lyman said. "It may also help those who are more experienced with containers and Docker to pull in additional stakeholders and supporters to drive broader or deeper use."
Panamax works around bundles of Docker containers called templates, pre-configured sets of apps that can communicate with each other. Users can install a Panamax template that includes the application they're working in and the required database server. The template can then be installed and deployed with the Panamax interface.
Previously, when developers wanted to run multi-container, multi-server apps with Docker, they needed to learn as many as five new technologies (including libswarm, systemd, etcd, ambassador and fleet) as well as Docker-specific best practices.
CenturyLink says that Panamax combines those technologies and best practices into a package that automates the deployment of complex applications. Users drag-and-drop containers and have access to numerous open-source cloud applications.
Versatility Is Key
Panamax can run on laptops, virtual machines, bare metal or any public cloud that supports CoreOS. It is open-source licensed under Apache 2.0. That platform is meant to combine the tools needed to simplify development and deployment of containerized applications.
"While Docker is centered on the packaging of applications, Panamax is centered on the management of these Dockerized and containerized applications," Lyman said.
The announcement of the Panamax platform came within months after Google released Kubernetes, an open-source manager of Docker containers for its Cloud Platform. Unlike Kubernetes, Panamax will work on top of existing Linux container-orchestration systems.
Panamax joins IronFoundry and ElasticLINQ as cloud-related open-source projects developed by CenturyLink.
Former Rovio Execs Will Use Mobile to Grow Entertainment Brands
Excerpted from VentureBeat Report by Jeffrey Grubb
Some of mobile gaming's brightest minds are setting out to make a mobile game and more with their latest startup.
Andrew Stalbow and Petri Jarvilehto, a pair of former executives from Angry Birds developer Rovio, have founded Seriously. The new company is already working on its first game called Best Fiends. The free-to-play mobile puzzler has gamers using strategy and skill to advance in a colorful cartoon world. Best Fiends is due out on iOS and Android in October. While the game will debut soon, Seriously is looking at Best Fiends as more than just another game in the App Store. The studio is already looking to expand the brand into a global franchise with mass appeal.
Seriously has offices in Helsinki and in Santa Monica. In the Finland studio, the creative team is building Best Fiends while the Santa Monica team supports that development and creates the company's multimedia strategy.
"We decided to focus on building the story, the world of 'Minutia,' the characters, the conflict, and the overall premise, as well as a really compelling game design at the same time," said Jarvilehto, who is Seriously's Chief Creative Officer. "It works for us because we have a team of creative talent that have really bought into our vision."
In addition to the game, Seriously is partnering with talent from Hollywood to make animated shorts based on Best Fiends. The company has brought in Despicable Me composer Heitor Pereira to work on the game and soundtrack for the animated shorts. Seriously is also partnering with visual-branding experts Pilot Studio, responsible for work on the Transformers and Star Wars merchandise lines. Finally, the company hired Soren Fieng to oversee the animated shorts themselves.
All of this comes before Seriously has even released its first game. This echoes the path Rovio eventually went down with Angry Birds, which is now a global entertainment brand. It also echoes the way toy companies devise deep, multifaceted marketing strategies for their new products.
Seriously's founders believe that mobile is ripe for this kind of well-considered branding.
"Entertainment audiences are shifting from traditional media consumption devices like TV and cinema to mobile faster than many people expected," Stalbow told GamesBeat.
Earlier this year, mobile-analytics and ad platform Flurry revealed that the average American spends 51 minutes a day playing games on his smartphone or tablet.
"That's a lot of time being taken away from other things," said Stalbow. "We think that with the potential to reach a large, connected audience and the engagement you can deliver via a game, many of the next generation of entertainment brands will be built on mobile first. We are going to work very hard to be at the forefront of that shift."
The studio also claims that this strategy should help it cut through the noise on the crowded iOS and Android platforms.
"There are a lot of mobile-game companies who are licensing third-party-owned [intellectual property], which had been originally developed for other media platforms," said JÃ¤rvilehto. "We're excited about the opportunity to build something fresh, original, and 100 percent mobile first that still feels Hollywood-grade. We think it's a differentiator for us."
Legalization of Online Gaming & Its Impact on CNP Merchants
Matthew Katz, Founder and CEO of CAMS, the leader in providing online gambling and lottery operators with payment connectivity, geolocation, and Know Your Customer (KYC) verification services, moderated a panel discussion of gaming industry leaders, entitled "Legalization of Online Gaming & Its Impact on Card-Not-Present (CNP) Merchants" at this week's Direct Response Forum.
Participants included A.G. Burnett - Chairman of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board (GCB); Andrew Crow - VP, Interactive Payments -- GTECH Corporation; Frank Fahrenkopf - Former President & CEO -- American Gaming Association (AGA); Jonathan J. O'Connor - General Manager, Online Gaming/Alternative Markets — FirstData; and Joseph Pappano - SVP & Managing Director -- Vantiv Gaming Solutions.
The discussion focused on how online gaming has affected the CNP payments space since its legalization in Nevada and New Jersey and what it means for merchants now and in the future. The agenda covered:
Recent legalization of online gaming and its impact on Sports Betting, UIGEA, The Lottery, Nevada Go live, NJ Go Live, Interstate Agreements States in Queue/Discussions
What are the Payment Requirements for Online Gaming?
How Regulators are Getting Involved in Online Payments
How Are Operators Dealing with Regulatory Requirements?
How is Online Gaming Going to Change the Payments Landscape for eCommerce Merchants?
Taxation -- multi-state tax compacts are imminent.
CAMS is a multi-tenant Software as a Service (SaaS) solution powered by Verifi, offering gambling operators the ability to collect and manage player information, comply with regulatory policies, manage player account limits, allow players to self-exclude, as well as manage geolocation, payouts and taxation all within a white label solution customizable for each site. CAMS is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.
Video Apps Need to Be Discoverable Before They Can Succeed: TiVo
Excerpted from Streaming Media Report by Troy Dreier
Content owners are racing to create apps for various connected devices, but is creating an app enough? At the recent Streaming Media East conference in New York City, Evan Young, Senior Director of Product Marketing for TiVo explained that viewers need to be able to find that content before they can try the app.
"We are a little bit different than Apple TV or Roku or some of these other devices, but I think you can deliver a great app and have great content, but if your app is not discoverable and your content is not discoverable on the platform, then what have you done all this work for?" Young asked. "One of the things that we encourage especially our video app-makers to do it to make their catalogs available for search and discovery on our platform."
TiVo offers a universal search that lets owners scan for content across a variety of sources, both large and small.
"When users come to TiVo, when they're searching for a show -- whether it's 'Breaking Bad' -- we want to be able to tell them, 'It's on AMC. It's also on Netflix. It's also on Amazon. You can find 'Breaking Bad' clips on YouTube. You can find a little podcast that somebody has put together of them doing Walter White impersonations.' Everything from all of the major content sources to even a lot of our media RSS feeds are indexed along with linear television contents," Young said.
To hear more on getting content on connected devices, click here.
Comcast, Video Search Firms Net Tech Emmys
Excerpted from Multichannel News Report by Jeff Baumgartner
Comcast along with three vendors — DigitalSmiths, Jinni, and ThinkAnalytics — will receive Emmys in the Technology & Engineering category, recognized for their work in the category of "Personalized Recommendation Engines for Video Discovery" for multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).
All will be honored at the 66th annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards on January 8th, 2015, at the International Consumer Electronics Show at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
The vendors being recognized have deals in place with a variety of pay-TV and OTT providers around the globe.
ThinkAnalytics, which claims that its technology services north of 130 million subs, counts customers such as Fox, Cox Communications, Liberty Global, BSkyB, Viaplay, and Zon in Portugal.
Customers for Jinni's personalized taste-and-mood based video engine include AT&T U-verse, Comcast, Microsoft Xbox, VUDU, Telus, Belgacom, Prisa, SingTel, TV4 and DSTv. It claims that its service currently reaches more than 50 million subscribers.
DigitalSmiths, acquired by TiVo earlier this year, has deployments or partnerships with Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, Cisco Systems, Warner Bros., Paramount, Technicolor, Univision, Roku, Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Sharp, Turner Sports, the National Basketball Association, the PGA, NASCAR, Beemly (formerly zeebox), i.TV, and Australia's Foxtel.
Comcast, meanwhile, has made personalization and recommendations a priority in X1, its cloud-based guide and navigation system for set-tops and mobile devices. Of recent note, Comcast has been beta testing Movie Night, a social movie-picking mobile app that works in tandem with the X1 platform and the MSO's video-on-demand (VoD) service.
11 Things You Should Know About the Cloud
Excerpted from Baseline Magazine Report by Dennis McCafferty
Remember when Oracle CEO Larry Ellison famously dismissed the cloud as "complete gibberish?"
Or the days when you'd mention cloud computing in casual conversation with a non-techy friend or family member, and they'd have absolutely no clue what you were talking about?
Clearly, those days are in the past, as the cloud is now a mainstream technology that is considered essential for business.
Ninety-four percent of organizations surveyed are using cloud computing, and 58 percent have a hybrid (public and private) cloud strategy in place, according to the annual "2014 State of the Cloud Report" from RightScale.
Given all the interest about this technology, there's been a lot of other research released about cloud investments and trends.
So we've compiled the following slideshow to present a statistical snapshot of this dominant tech innovation.
The information was adapted from a number of online resources, including those posted by Syntax, an IT hardware, software and services company, and SmartData Collective, an online community for data professionals.
Please click here for the slideshow.
Coming Events of Interest
Cloud Connect China — September 16th-18th in Shanghai, China. This event brand was established in Silicon Valley (US) in 2008. Last year, it was first introduced into China, providing all-dimensional cloud computing solutions through pay conferences and exhibition.
International Conference on Internet and Distributed Computing Systems — September 22nd in Calabria, Italy. IDCS 2014 conference is the sixth in its series to promote research in diverse fields related to Internet and distributed computing systems. The emergence of web as a ubiquitous platform for innovations has laid the foundation for the rapid growth of the Internet.
CLOUD DEVELOPERS SUMMIT & EXPO 2014 — October 1st-2nd in Austin, TX. CDSE:2014 will feature co-located instructional workshops and conference sessions on six tracks facilitated by more than one-hundred industry leading speakers and world-class technical trainers.
CloudComp 2014 — October 19th-21st in Guilin, China. The fifth annual international conference on cloud computing. The event is endorsed by the European Alliance for Innovation, a leading community-based organization devoted to the advancement of innovation in the field of ICT.
International Conference on Cloud Computing Research & Innovation — October 29th-30th in Singapore. ICCRI:2014 covers a wide range of research interests and innovative applications in cloud computing and related topics. The unique mix of R&D, end-user, and industry audience members promises interesting discussion, networking, and business opportunities in translational research & development.
GOTO Berlin 2014 Conference – November 5th–7th in Berlin, Germany. GOTO Berlin is the enterprise software development conference designed for team leads, architects, and project management and is organized "for developers by developers". New technology and trends in a non-vendor forum.
PDCAT 2014 — December 9th-11th in Hong Kong. The 16th International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Computing, Applications and Technologies (PDCAT 2014) is a major forum for scientists, engineers, and practitioners throughout the world to present their latest research, results, ideas, developments and applications in all areas of parallel and distributed computing.
Storage Visions Conference — January 4th-5th in Las Vegas, NV. The fourteenth annual conference theme is: Storage with Intense Network Growth (SWING). Storage Visions Awards presented there cover significant products, services, and companies in many digital storage markets.