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March 19, 2012
Volume XXXVIII, Issue 10

Cloud Concerns & Solutions Free Webinar on Tuesday

Please join us this Tuesday March 20th at 1:00 PM ET (10:00 AM PT) for an insightful look at "Legal Concerns & Practical Solutions for Media and Entertainment in the Cloud," a FREE webinar produced by DataDirect Networks in association with the DCIA and Dow Lohnes Attorneys At Law.

This groundbreaking session will cover the latest contractual, copyright, and fourth amendment consequences of using cloud-based services.

It will also cover brand new private cloud solutions that will help expedite the adoption of cloud storage and collaboration by media and entertainment companies.

Please click here for more information and to register for what promises to be a very stimulating hour discussion - the perfect pre-CLOUD COMPUTING CONFERENCE at NAB event.

Those 14 Million New Cloud-Driven Jobs Won't Be in IT

Excerpted from InfoWorld Report by David Linthicum

IDC, in a study sponsored by Microsoft, predicts that cloud computing will generate nearly 14 million jobs globally by 2015. This prediction assumes that companies moving to the cloud will generate more revenue and cost savings, which in turn will lead them to create jobs. The IDC study predicts that IT innovation enabled by the cloud could help increase business revenue by $1.1 trillion by 2015, concluding that this would lead to an uptick in jobs across many different fields.

Keep in mind that this is a sponsored study, so it naturally reflects positively on those who pay for the study (Microsoft, in this case). Even with that bias, I don't see the predictions being too far from reality. For years, I've tried to focus the use of cloud computing around the business case, more so than the technology itself. The problem is that business cases are boring, and the massive migration of enterprise computing resources to Internet-delivered shared services is very exciting. We love to talk about exciting things. Boring things are, well, boring.

What's different about the IDC findings is that they look at the business efficiency around the use of cloud computing. This is in direct contrast to the hype-driven excitement around the use of new and cool cloud computing technology that promises to change IT. In other words, cloud computing will help businesses do better and thus create jobs - not that cloud computing will create the jobs required to support cloud computing. Those jobs related to overall business growth are much more systemic and longer lasting.

However, the path from the current circumstances to the future "better for businesses using cloud computing" scenario will take a good deal of work. This includes accepting some risks and some disruptions that come with adopting cloud computing - or any new technology, for that matter. That's the biggest speed bump to cloud-driven jobs, if you believe this study.

Read InfoWorld's seminal definition of cloud computing and find out where cloud computing stands in 2012.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyThe DCIA is proud to publicly announce the agenda, sponsors, and speakers for our inaugural CLOUD COMPUTING CONFERENCE at the 2012 NAB Show.

This second DCIA "Conference within NAB" is scheduled for Monday April 16th in N232 of the North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

In addition, the DCIA will exhibit in N3222M at the CLOUD COMPUTING PAVILION, a first-ever special section of the NAB Exhibit Floor totally dedicated to cloud computing.

For more information or to register, please click here .

This very timely conference will demonstrate how software developers are addressing two major concerns with respect to cloud-based solutions for audio/video (A/V) delivery - reliability and security.

Experts will provide insights into how cloud computing impacts each stage of the content distribution chain, from collaboration to storage and delivery all the way through analytics.

Sponsoring companies include Aspera, Avid, Chyron, Front Porch Digital, and Rackspace.

The agenda for the conference, which begins at 10:30 AM and continues until 6:00 PM PT, will open with "Latest Trends in Cloud Computing Solutions for the A/V Ecosystem" and then move to "Key Pitfalls Associated with Cloud Computing in High-Value Content Implementations."

The conference will then explore "Various Ways that Cloud Computing Is Being Applied to the Content Creation Process - from Pre- to Post-Production," followed by "Alternative Approaches for Implementing Cloud Storage of Content Catalogs and Libraries and Leveraging Cloud-Based Distribution," and then, "New Levels of Media Performance Data Enabled by Cloud Computing - and Impact on Other Sectors."

The agenda will close out with "Navigating the Current Cloud Environment and Planning for What's Next," and finally, "Disruptive Effects of Cloud Computing Will Continue."

Keynote speakers for each of the above areas, respectively, include Bill Kallman, CEO, Scayl; Jim Burger, Member, Dow Lohnes; Jonathan King, SVP, Joyent; Shahi Ghanem, SVP, Strategy & Marketing, BitTorrent; Scott Brown, GM & SVP Strategic Partnerships, Octoshape; Jean-Luc Chatelain, EVP, Strategy & Technology, DataDirect Networks; and Ashish Gupta, Strategist, Cloud Infrastructure, Huawei.

The first panel will explore "Advanced Capabilities, New Features, Cost Advantages of Cloud Computing Solutions" with Mike Alexenko, Senior Director of Market Development, Cloud & Mobility, G-Technology; Scott Campbell, Principal, Media, Entertainment, and Telecoms, SAP; David Frerichs, Strategic Consultant, Pioneer Corporation; David Hassoun, Founder, RealEyes Media; AJ McGowan, CTO, Unicorn Media; Samir Mittal, CTO, Rimage; Michelle Munson, CEO, President, and Co-founder, Aspera; and Robert Stevenson, EVP, Interactive Entertainment, Gaikai.

The second panel will examine "Privacy Issues, Reliability Questions, Security Concerns in the Cloud Computing Space" with Dave Asprey, VP, Cloud Security, Trend Micro; Chris Kantrowitz, CEO, Gobbler; Tom Mulally, Consultant, Numagic Consulting; Graham Oakes, Chairman, Digital Watermarking Alliance (DWA); Dan Schnapp, Partner & Chairman of New Media, Entertainment & Technology, Hughes, Hubbard & Reed; Yangbin Wang, CEO, Vobile; Marvin Wheeler, Chairman, Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA); and Vic Winkler, Author, "Securing the Cloud."

The third panel will focus on "A/V Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production Clouds" with Jim Cady, President & CEO, Slacker; Tony Cahill, Chief Engineer, CET Universe; Guillermo Chialvo, Gerente de Tecnologia, Radio Mitre; Gerald Hensley, VP, Worldwide Entertainment Sales, Rovi Corporation; Ajay Malhotra, EVP, North America, Prime Focus Technologies; Todd Martin, SVP, Strategic Solutions Group. Chyron; Kirk Punches, VP, Business Development, Sorenson Media; and Jostein Svendsen, CEO, WeVideo.

The fourth panel will cover "Cloud Media Storage & Delivery" with Kris Alexander, Chief Strategist, Connected Devices & Gaming, Akamai; Bang Chang, VP, Server and Storage, SeaChange International; Stephen Condon, VP, Global Marketing Communications, Limelight Networks; Gianluca Ferremi, VP Sales & Marketing, Motive Television; Michael King, Director of Marketing, DataDirect Networks; Kshitij Kumar, SVP, Mobile Video, Concurrent; Kyle Okamoto, Sr. Mgr. Product and Portfolio Mgt., Verizon Digital Media Services; and Mark Taylor, VP, Media and IP Services, Level 3.

The fifth panel will address "Cloud Measurement, Analytics, Implications" with Sean Barger, CEO, Equilibrium; Thomas Coughlin, President, Coughlin Associates; Steve Hawley, Principal Analyst & Consultant, TVStrategies; Jonathan Hurd, Director, Altman Vilandrie & Co.; Jeff Kim, COO, US & EMEA, CDNetworks; Monica Ricci, Dir. of Product Marketing, CSG Systems; John Schiela, President, Phoenix Marketing International (PMI); Nick Strauss, Director of Sales, Verizon Digital Media Services; and Mike West, CTO, GenosTV.

The sixth panel will forecast the "Years Ahead for Cloud Computing" with Saul Berman, Lead Partner, IBM Global Business Services; Ian Donahue, President, RedThorne Media; Chris Haddad, VP, Technology Evangelism, WSO2; Wayne Josel, Counsel, Media & Entertainment, Hughes, Hubbard & Reed; Steve Mannel, Senior Director, Media & Communications, Salesforce.com; James Mitchell, CEO & Founder, Strategic Blue; David Sterling, Partner, i3m3 Solutions; and Chuck Stormon, CEO, Attend.

Moderators will include Adam Marcus, Technology Advisor, DCIA; Brian Campanotti, CTO, Front Porch Digital; and Sari Lafferty, Business Affairs, DCIA.

We're also pleased to offer DCINFO readers a special opportunity to attend the NAB Show at no cost: 1) Go to www.nabshow.com. 2) Click on "Register now." 3) Enter PASS CODE: 2012.

These passes provide access to all Exhibits, NAB Show Opening, General Sessions, Info Sessions, and Content Theater. Conferences registrations are additional. The expiration date is March 30th to take advantage of this valuable offer. Share wisely, and take care.

Hiring Demand for Cloud Computing Skills Skyrocketing

During February, more than 5,000 cloud computing job ads were posted online in the United States, according to WANTED Analytics, the leading source of real-time business intelligence for the talent marketplace. Hiring demand for cloud skills has grown drastically, up 92% versus February 2011 and 400% compared to the same time in 2010. With the demand for cloud skills growing so quickly, the gap between hiring demand and talent supply across the United States is getting larger and causing more difficulties in sourcing candidates.

Software Engineers, Systems Engineers, and Network Administrators are the technology occupations most commonly required to have cloud computing skills. More than 3,400 of the ads during February were for tech talent, growing 99% year-over-year. Although cloud knowledge is most commonly required of Computer Specialists, technology jobs only account for two-thirds of cloud computing hiring demand during February. Other fields that increasingly require this experience include Marketing Managers, Sales Managers, Management Analysts, and Financial Analysts.

Cloud computing skills are most frequently advertised for jobs located in the San Jose metropolitan area. During February, more than 900 job ads in San Jose included requirements for cloud computing, growing 144% over the past year. Other metro areas with high demand for cloud skills were Seattle, Washington (DC), San Francisco, and New York. While employers in San Jose placed the highest number of job ads for this talent pool, the highest year-over-year growth was seen nearby in San Francisco at more than 150%.

Although hiring demand continues, the talent pool remains limited and companies sourcing for cloud computing jobs are likely to find them difficult-to-fill. According to the Hiring Scale, Recruiters in San Francisco are experiencing some of the most challenging conditions when recruiting candidates with this skill set. With the volume of job ads more than doubling in the past year, hiring demand outpaces the local talent pool of qualified candidates. Employers in San Francisco are likely to compete heavily to attract potential candidates and experience a longer time-to-fill than other areas across the United States.

In fact, Recruiters in this area keep job ads online for an average of 8 weeks. In comparison, the Hiring Scale also shows that the best markets for recruiting these skills are Tucson (Arizona), Madison (Wisconsin), and Charlottesville (Virginia). Lower hiring demand compared to the talent supply in these areas mean that Recruiters are likely to fill job openings in as few as 5.5 weeks, faster than the national average.

The Hiring Scale measures conditions in local job markets by comparing hiring demand and labor supply. The Hiring Scale is part of the WANTED Analytics platform that offers business intelligence for the talent marketplace.

To see additional charts and detail, please click here.

ISACA Sets Six Key Principles for Cloud Rollouts 

Excerpted from ComputerWorld Report by Antony Savvas

Global information security managers' association Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) has announced the six key considerations it feels are necessary when rolling out enterprise cloud computing strategies.

ISACA says the growing shift to cloud computing can deliver "significant value" but that most enterprises have little knowledge of the "perils" of transferring IT decision-making away from technology specialists to business unit leaders.

It says eliminating oversight and governance from cloud computing decisions can create "significant risk" to organizations, effectively undermining any benefits of moving to the cloud and, at the same time, potentially creating "serious issues" for organizations.

"Only through proper governance and management can cloud computing achieve its potential for organizations", said ISACA. To help enterprises manage the potential "pressure points" that begin to surface when cloud computing strategies diverge from internally provided IT services or traditional outsourced arrangements, ISACA has issued its "Guiding Principles for Cloud Computing Adoption and Use".

The key principles are:

1. The Enablement Principle: plan for cloud computing as a strategic enabler, rather than as an outsourcing arrangement or technical platform

2. The Cost/Benefit Principle: evaluate the benefits of cloud acquisition based on a full understanding of the costs of cloud compared with the costs of other technology platform business solutions

3. The Enterprise Risk Principle: take an enterprise risk management (ERM) perspective to manage the adoption and use of cloud

4. The Capability Principle: integrate the full extent of capabilities that cloud providers offer with internal resources to provide a comprehensive technical support and delivery solution

5. The Accountability Principle: manage accountabilities by clearly defining internal and provider responsibilities

6. The Trust Principle: make trust an essential part of cloud solutions, building trust into all business processes that depend on cloud computing

Ramses Gallego, a member of ISACA's guidance and practices committee, said: "Cloud computing presents a unique opportunity for enterprises, and is particularly a game-changer for small and medium enterprises, because its availability means that technology infrastructure is not the market differentiator it has been in the past

"These principles will enable enterprises to experience the value that cloud can provide and help ensure that internal and external users can trust cloud solutions."

In other recent cloud management news Intel has introduced its Cloud single-sign-on (SSO) system as an efficient way for enterprises to provision and de-provision users, and authorize applications and services entirely through a cloud-based service. It will compete with the growing number of cloud-based SSO services from security vendors, including Symantec and Symplified.

Trend Micro Brings Cloud Sync & Sharing to Millions of Verizon Customers

Trend Micro, a global cloud security leader, this week announced that Trend Micro SafeSync is now available in Verizon Wireless' mobile storefront, Verizon Apps, on select Android devices.

Trend Micro SafeSync offers a cloud-based backup and sync app to easily and securely access, share and synchronize files and folders between customers' computers and Android devices.

Once the app is downloaded, SafeSync seamlessly integrates into the existing PC or Mac environment, automatically keeping data files synchronized and up-to-date across multiple computers, mobile devices, and the cloud, so any changes made to the files are reflected simultaneously.

Customers can access their music, videos, pictures and documents anytime, anywhere using their Android devices. SafeSync also allows secure file sharing; customers can share content with colleagues, friends and family using shareable links. Anyone given access to the link will be able to download or view the file.

"We are delighted to be adding a second Trend Micro app in Verizon's app store," said Carol Carpenter, General Manager, Consumer Division at Trend Micro. "Now Verizon customers can allow friends and family to share home videos and other media content in a secure way directly from a SafeSync account, without the hassle of downloads and bulky emails."

Customers can download Trend Micro SafeSync from Verizon Apps in the "Tools" channel under the "Utilities" subcategory, and can try the service for free for 30 days. After the 30 days, the app can be purchased for $3.99 per month or $47.88 for a yearly subscription. Customers must have a data plan and data charges will be applied according to the plan.

SafeSync is the second product from Trend Micro available in Verizon Apps, following the successful introduction of Trend Micro Mobile Security Personal Edition.

For more information on how Trend Micro's 20+ years of Internet security expertise goes into every aspect of SafeSync, differentiating it from other cloud-based backup and sync apps, please click here.

Telefonica Expects Higher Demand for Cloud-Based Offer in 5 Markets

Excerpted from Business News Americas Report by Juan Pedro Tomas

Spanish telecom giant Telefonica (TEF) expects to see higher demand for its new cloud-based virtual hosting service in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Peru, Telefonica Internacional's General Director for the Corporate Segment, Daniel Jimenez, told Business News Americas.

"We expect that the countries where our data centers are based will have the highest demand for our infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering in an initial phase, because clients will be able to see our facilities and the architecture," Jimenez said.

On Thursday, the company launched a cloud-based offer of IaaS, virtual data center and private cloud services in Latin American markets. The executive said the offer is being launched simultaneously in all the regional markets where TEF has operations.

The cloud-based service will be provided through the company's five regional data centers, which are located in Bogota, Lima, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, and Sao Paulo.

Telefonica expects to present this IaaS solution to some 15,000 private and public holding across Latin America. "What we can say is that we expect this solution to have a high level of success," the executive said, adding that these firms will be able to conduct several trials of the solution.

TEF expects to see demand from several verticals, including banking, insurance, universities and services, Jimenez noted. The company will also look to launch these services in Spain and other European markets.

"In approximately 12 months, we expect to be in a position to start offering software-as-a service (SaaS) in all the markets where we operate," the executive said.

To launch this offering, TEF partnered with Virtual Computing Environment (VCE), which is an alliance launched in 2010 including Cisco, VMware, and EMC.

Huawei Offers Cloud Device for Automation

Excerpted from Trade Arabia Report

Huawei Device, a leading global ICT solutions provider, has launched its Connected Home Solution, a new cloud package which seamlessly connects home entertainment, small/home (SOHO) office technologies and home security solutions.

Huawei's Connected Home Solution has been developed specifically for families, small to middle-sized enterprises, and customers across the broadcasting and telecommunications industry.

The cloud package can be implemented without additional network investment, which is particularly beneficial and cost-effective for commercial organizations.

Users are provided with integrated applications including dynamic games and controls, Internet on TV, IPTV entertainment, SOHO security apps, and device content sharing - all with cloud access.

Building momentum in the Middle East region, research group IDC noted in a recent 2012 outlook that cloud offerings will receive more serious attention in the year to come, with virtualization moving to attain "must-have" status.

A new survey from IBM also found that while only 13 per cent of businesses have substantially implemented cloud-based offerings, they are expected to grow to 41 per cent in the next three years.

"Huawei Device is taking the lead in integrating products and solutions combining digital media, the digital distribution business, network terminals and storage," said Jerry Zhi, Director of Home Device, Huawei Device.

"The Connected Home Solution will bring benefits to people across all aspects of their lives. Mobile security alerts if someone breaks into your home; Internet on your TV; life-like sports games without a professional video game device. These are no longer limited to visions of the future," he added.

BlackBerry PlayBook Gets a BitTorrent Client in App World 

Excerpted from BerryReview Report

I am really starting to wonder if RIM has finally seen the light and decided to relax some of the App World restrictions. The latest example brought to my attention is Torrent by Dmytro Mishchenko.

I am not sure where Dmytro ported this app from but it seems to work for basic torrent files. As the few reviews note the app is not integrated with the browser so you first have to download the .torrent files through the browser and then open them through the app.

Other than that I have not had too much time to test it out but it does work! Anyone care to take a stab on if RIM will allow a BitTorrent client to stay in App World?

You can find Torrent in App World for $0.99.

PS: If you don't mind sideloading a BitTorrent client you may also want to check out Playtorrent (Google it).

Open-Source AWS: Creating a Thousand Clouds 

Excerpted from NY Times Report by Quentin Hardy

Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing service of Amazon, has sparked a boom in powerful and flexible computing over the Internet. Now the same technology is entering the corporate mainstream, through open-source cloud computing.

In the past few years, companies and organizations like Open Nebula; the Open Stack alliance; Cloud.com, which is part of Citrix; and Eucalyptus have been offering various forms of the kind of software that works inside A.W.S.

The idea of these free versions is to create smaller versions of the cloud, so people can do more with the computers in their own homes, institutions, and businesses. If the company is big enough to have lots of partners, employees, and strong engineering talent, its open source cloud could amount to a supercomputer with lots of different capabilities, on the cheap.

Like many open source projects, which depend on a core of engineers creating and then publicly releasing lots of complex software for free, there are a range of opinions about how to interact with the profit-making giants. Of all the versions, perhaps the most successful, as well as the friendliest to Amazon, is Eucalyptus, which easily shares data and computing chores with AWS.

The idea is to give AWS an ally in the open source world, giving customers of either Eucalyptus or AWS the ability to move jobs on or off the clouds they own, depending on workload needs and internal security policies.

"Like Amazon or not, they are the de facto standard for cloud," says Marten Mickos, the chief executive of Eucalyptus. "It's just that not everyone wants it. Some people in open source think it is immoral to make a profit. I don't." Mr. Mickos was previously the head of MySQL, an open source database company that was purchased by Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle) in 2008 for $1 billion.

Eucalyptus originated with a project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, but is clearly intended to be a profit-making business. Its customers include Puma, Sony, and the federal Department of Agriculture, and it counts over 25,000 clouds running on its software worldwide. Eucalyptus runs for free when customers use open source virtualization software, necessary for cloud computing, like Xen and KVM. When customers use the more popular products from VMWare, they must use Eucalyptus's subscription product, which costs $2,000 per server a year.

So far, fewer than 100 paying customers have shown up, but last year Mr. Mickos deployed teams in Europe, India and China. "There is more technology involved here than in MySQL, but the shift to cloud computing will be faster than the shift to open source was 10 years ago," he says, adding that 21 of the 100 largest companies in the United States are experimenting with Eucalyptus.

Mr. Mickos was a very visible hero of open source in the days before Sun bought MySQL. He left Sun before it was acquired by Oracle, which still offers the open source database as well as its proprietary products, but still keeps an eye on MySQL. "The product is technically better, and the sales are going well," he says of Oracle MySQL. "But they don't care about the community, their team for that is small, and they don't invite outside people to comment on changes they make. It's what you would expect."

Already Awash in Cloud Cash, Virtustream Raises $15 Million More 

Excerpted from GigaOM Report by Derrick Harris

Cloud computing provider Virtustream - a hot player in the enterprise cloud space - has raised another $15 million in investment capital. The money came from existing investors Intel Capital, Columbia Capital, Noro-Moseley Partners and TDF, as well as new investor QuestMark Capital.This round brings Virtustream's total funding to $75 million.

Virtustream's xStream cloud platform is designed for mission-critical and heavy-duty enterprise applications such as SAP. The company touts big-name customers such as Pizza Hut, Domino Sugar and Intel, as well as gaming start-up Digital Chocolate. Recently, Virtustream upped its enterprise (and government) appeal by announcing FISMA Moderate certification, a designation that underscores the cloud's security protocol, even if FISMA is only applicable (and with regard to cloud computing, questionably so) to government agencies.

There is plenty competition for those enterprise cloud workloads, though, including from Amazon Web Services, Terremark/Verizon, IBM, GoGrid, Tier 3 and the entire VMware vCloud ecosystem. To its credit, Virtustream is striving to distinguish itself with a consumption-based pricing scheme as well as a mix of public, private and virtual private offerings. The company recently bought cloud computing pioneer Enomaly in order to work its SpotCloud technology into a federated platform for letting Virtustream customers buy and sell excess capacity among one another.

There isn't a lot of money floating around to invest in infrastructure-as-a-service companies - it's a capital-intensive business compared to software as a service, and the competition is both established and huge - so Virtustream's ability to keep raising money is indicative of its promise. It will have to keep on its toes, though, because there's no shortage of innovation in the cloud world, and everyone is working overtime on features to lure in those lucrative enterprise customers.

Start-Up Medio Brings Mobile Analytics to the Cloud

Excerpted from All Things Digital Report by Arik Hesseldahl

You hear a lot in enterprise computing circles these days about analytics. It basically means taking long streams of data about something important, usually something that gets repeated a lot, crunching through it with a lot of computing oomph and finding useful patterns that can make that repeatable process less costly, more efficient, faster or better in some way - and at the same time, helping to eliminate the bits that get in the way.

It's something that IBM does a lot of, and does well, and it's something that Hewlett-Packard is starting to talk about with increasing regularity, especially in the wake of its acquisition last year of Autonomy, while outfits like Splunk and open source efforts like Hadoop make it easier to do the crunching. And there are lots of start-ups working at finding ways to bring new levels of analysis to stale old business data that used to sit collecting virtual dust, unloved and unused on hard drives.

Generally speaking, the businesses that use analytics are, by definition, pretty big. They have large retail footprints, or big supply chains or something else about their business that makes them big. Being big is, intuition tells us, sort of a prerequisite to yielding the large volumes of data that just beg to be analyzed. You had to buy hardware and software and hire a lot of really smart people to get the job done.

Intuition can be wrong. In the age of cloud computing, where companies don't bother to buy their own servers but rather rent space on servers from cloud outfits like Amazon Web services or IBM or Rackspace, why couldn't you do the same thing with analytics? It turns out you can.

A Seattle-based company called Medio does precisely this, and today it launched something called the InGenius Suite. It's essentially a big data analytics engine that's designed to do exactly what big companies all want when they call Big Blue or HP or someone else: Show them where they can make more money. And? It all runs in the cloud.

Think you're missing an opportunity to make incremental sales, but don't have the data to prove it? Medio is aimed at industries like retail, finance and entertainment, and it brings the same kind of predictive analytics to bear that the big companies get. It's also been around for a while: Medio has been selling its predictive analytics technology for years in two prior generations, but this is the first time it has been available in a cloud-based offering.

Its specialty is in the mobile space, and its platform supports 10,000 different devices, sees more than 105 million unique users in 220 geographies and captures 550 million events every day. The analytics have turned out 15 billion different personal recommendations.

"Our mission in life is to help companies to understand what their consumers are doing, to engage them better, and to help them make more money as appropriate," says Rob Lilleness, Medio's CEO. Customers range from Rovio, the Finnish outfit behind the addictive Angry Birds mobile game franchise, to mobile carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon.

The company is backed by investments from Accel Partners, Trilogy Equity Partners, Frazier Technology Ventures, and Mohr Davidow Ventures, with total capital raised of about $30 million.

Lilleness said Medio has been at it for seven years. One of its co-founders is Brian Lent, who's also chairman and CTO. He founded an outfit called Junglee that Amazon bought some years back. When Amazon tells you after buying something that you might also like something else, that's the Junglee technology at work. Amazon boosted the percentage of sales coming from recommendations from 3 percent to 30 percent since acquiring Junglee, so the effect of having an analytics engine that can help you make recommendations isn't exactly trivial.

The Cloud Computing Paradigm Shift Is Bigger than IT

Excerpted from TechNewsWorld Report by John Higgins

"Information technology (IT) is changing so fast that innovations and the addition of more vendors with improved products and services occurs continuously," said Joe Brown, President of Accelera Solutions. "It's just naive to think that a single group of providers can cover the whole range of cloud and related applications."

IT leaders in the US government have been promoting cloud technologies for more than a year. In December 2010, the federal chief information officer launched an IT reform plan that required agencies to start adopting cloud technologies. At the time, some agencies had already implemented cloud solutions, and since then many others have initiated cloud programs.

It's still early days in the federal cloud revolution, and a key challenge in adopting the technology involves federal contracting procedures.

"The most consistent lessons learned from the early cloud adopters show that the federal government needs to buy, view, and think about IT differently," the federal CIO Council says in a guide to cloud contracting released February 24th. The guide was produced jointly with the federal Chief Acquisitions Officers Council (CAO).

"Cloud computing presents a paradigm shift that is larger than IT, and while there are technology changes with cloud services, the more substantive issues that need to be addressed lie in the business and contracting models applicable to cloud services," the guide says. "Federal agencies should begin to design and select solutions that allow for purchasing based on consumption in the shared model that cloud-based architectures provide."

Federal agencies normally invest in IT equipment and facilities and own, operate, and manage those facilities themselves, often at in-house locations. However, with cloud configurations, agencies purchase IT services "on demand" from an outside entity -- a cloud service provider (CSP) -- whose facilities are usually physically remote from the agency. The emergence of the CSP changes everything and requires astute use of a different contracting vehicle.

The CIO guide focuses on several aspects of cloud contracting, including the following:

Terms and Disclosure: CSPs involve common acceptable-use standards to effectively maintain how customers use such providers. Usually this includes a Terms of Service Agreement (ToS). Agencies can also require CSPs to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to enforce acceptable provider personnel behavior for dealing with government data.

"These agreements are new to many IT contracts because of the nature of the interaction of end-users with CSP environments -- both due to federal agency access to cloud services through CSP interfaces, and CSP personnel access and control of federal data," the guide says.

Performance: Service Level Agreements (SLAs) within the overall CSP contract require the provider to perform at acceptable levels in measurable terms. According to the guide, common terms and general standards are consistent, but other definitions and performance metrics can vary widely among vendors.

For example, "uptime" or "availability" may not account for planned service outages. As a best practice, SLAs should clearly define how performance is guaranteed (such as response time, problem mitigation time, and availability) and require vendors to monitor service levels, provide timely notification of a failure, and evidence that problems have been resolved.

"Federal agencies need to fully understand any ambiguities in the definitions of cloud computing terms in order to know what levels of service they can expect from a CSP," the guide says.

In addition, most cloud SLAs do not include penalties if a standard is not met - and the consequences can be "catastrophic," the CIO council notes. Absent penalty provisions, providers may not have sufficient incentives to meet the agreed-upon service levels. To motivate providers to meet the contract terms, there should be a credible consequence - such as a financial or service credit - so that a performance failure results in a significant cost to the cloud vendor.

The guidance document will be utilized as a basis for contracting actions.

OMB will work with all key stakeholders to better understand what tools and information agencies still desire. It will include the federal CIO, the General Services Administration (GSA), and agency officials in a variety of ways, such as outreach, education and training, to ensure agency personnel understand the recommended actions.

The guidance includes consideration of commercial practices, and reflects OMB's regular outreach with industry during the last two years as the administration's strategy on cloud computing has evolved on a multitude of cloud topics, including acquisition. In addition, it reviewed government contracts with various commercial providers to understand how federal agencies contracted with them for use of the CSP offerings.

For vendors of cloud services and related offerings, the CIO guide provides notice of potential changes in contracting.

"The issue of SLAs is familiar to cloud providers, so that should not be a big issue in terms of the concept," Joe Brown, president of Accelera Solutions, told CRM Buyer. "But federal agency personnel might need some training and assistance to help understand what the SLAs mean."

Performance Work Agreements (PWAs) are similar to SLAs, and agencies have been using them routinely, Brown mentioned.

Such agreements often include either financial penalties or incentives, "but applying that idea to SLAs could take a little work for the agencies," he said.

Some aspects of SLA implementation are easier to accomplish than others, noted Brown.

"There are some standard benchmarks for things like availability and some technologies that can be employed to adopt them. But judging 'performance' is a little more subjective." he continued. "The agencies will have to put in place some measurements for individual contracts and ask the contractor to meet them."

On the other hand, vendors can help themselves by offering some type of "self servicing mechanism" that monitors such factors as availability and reliability. "The goal should be transparency of the operation, and providers should strive to feed operational information back to the agency," Brown noted.

To promote cloud deployment, the GSA has put in place a "shared services" contract mechanism for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) under a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) whereby several providers are "preselected" by GSA to provide cloud services throughout the government. The idea is to save agencies the time and trouble to develop their own contracting mechanism.

While such contracting vehicles can be useful, especially in helping agencies pursue enterprise-wide IT programs, there's a flaw in that process, Brown said, in that the preselected vendor roster limits the competitive opportunities for a broad range of vendors.

"I would like to see that contract mechanism opened up every year for new opportunities for more vendors or just expand the regular Schedule 70 qualification process," he said. Schedule 70 refers to the broad GSA approved contractor list for IT services.

"Information technology is changing so fast that innovations and the addition of more vendors with improved products and services occurs continuously," Brown pointed out. "It's just naive to think that a single group of providers can cover the whole range of cloud and related applications."

The CIO guide also covers other contracting elements, such as use of the newly released Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP); selection of private, public or hybrid clouds; privacy issues; and Freedom of Information compliance.

It represents the next key step in the administration's "Cloud First" policy.

Enough Already! Cloud Computing Is Here to Stay  

Excerpted from Wired News Report by Todd Nielsen

In psychoanalysis, "being in denial" is a defense mechanism used by a person faced with an unpleasant situation too uncomfortable to accept or too ghastly to contemplate. The person rejects reality and insists it is not true, despite overwhelming evidence.

I am constantly confronted with people in denial about the cloud. These naysayers are mostly individuals within the technology services industry. So let's first examine some facts, as well as some arguments against cloud computing.

These are proven facts, not future predictions. It is easy to argue against predictions, but pretty hard to argue with the past.

According to AMD (1/12), 70 percent of businesses are either using or investigating cloud computing solutions.

According to an IBM survey (2011) of 2,000 midsize companies, two-thirds were planning or had already deployed cloud-based technologies, and 70 percent were actively pursuing cloud-based analytics for greater insight and efficiency.

90 percent of Microsoft's 2011 R&D budget was spent on cloud computing strategy and products.

In a 2011 Avanade-commissioned study of C-level executives from 18 countries to learn how cloud computing is being used in the enterprise, it found:

60% reported cloud computing as their highest IT priority.

74% are already using some form of cloud computing technology.

64% are investing in training new and current employees on their cloud expertise.

Worldwide IT spending on cloud computing has increased more than 25 percent from 2008 to 2012.

30% of small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) used cloud software in 2011.

A study by Mimecast in 2010 found that 70 percent of companies that were using cloud computing services are willing to and will move new applications to the cloud.

48 percent of U.S. government agencies moved at least one workflow to the cloud following the new requirement that federal agencies adopt a "cloud-first" policy.

41 percent of senior executives say they are using or plan on using some kind of private cloud.

Cloud providers have increased personnel from nil in 2007 to over 550,000 in 2010.

The above numbers are only a handful of facts on cloud computing adoption. Just a few of those figures should be enough to convince those still in denial, yet the naysayers persist. Let's look at a few of the arguments I have been presented with.

Cloud computing is just another iteration of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and application service provider (ASP), which ultimately failed.

Technology has changed dramatically since the days of SaaS and ASP). Processing power has increased many times over, which makes it more profitable to run cloud applications and lowers the cost of doing business in the cloud. Additionally, bandwidth is enormously cheaper, and more available, which was one of the huge impediments of SaaS and ASP. SaaS and ASP were the right technologies at the wrong time.

Security and compliance are weaker in the cloud.

I keep hearing this one, but nothing to support the claim. According to a 2010 survey by Mimecast, 57 percent of respondents agreed that cloud computing actually improved their security. Another study found that, "Improved Reliability and Security of Data" as the second most important benefits of moving to the cloud. While there will always be risks with having your data anywhere; security concerns in the cloud are for the most part unfounded. Still encryption and other technologies will help minimize concern, especially for transfer of data, in and out of the cloud.

Cloud computing is too expensive.

There are some cases where moving to the cloud can be more expensive. But commoditization is already happening. Last week Google, Amazon, and then Microsoft, cut their cloud prices. With the increase in computing power, the increased cloud adoption, and decreased migration costs, cloud is getting less expensive to implement. According to Microsoft, it saved DenizBank, $12,000,000; and saved Convergent Computing $1,200,000 a month by going to Microsoft's private cloud. In another study by Cloud HyperMarket, 74 percent of respondents say that using the cloud has reduced their infrastructure costs. Cloud prices will continue to drop and this argument will be heard less and less.

The landscape for technology professionals is changing; the landscape for computing and how technology is delivered is changing. So what is to be done? First of all, don't sit around and wait for things to happen. Start developing a strategy that exploits cloud advantages for your organization. Determine what kind of cloud services you need solutions for, and meet with cloud providers to find the best long-term fit. If you are an IT professional, it would be advantageous to update your certifications to more cloud and security-friendly certifications. I did not mention any of the cloud predictions, but they are big. In short, start moving!

The Bottom Line: Cloud Computing Reigns 

Excerpted from Signal Magazine Report by Maryann Lawlor

Many people speak of cloud computing as if it's been around for decades. In a way, it has. But today's use of the phrase is more specific than simply a great big network in the sky. Understanding the cloud will determine whether it helps organizations realize the efficiencies and cost savings it promises or the opportunities that float on by.

In its simplest form, cloud computing enables organizations to purchase computing power and data storage services from third-party providers who offer these products via the Internet. Rather than investing in their own data centers or servers, businesses and agencies can pay as they go, which allows them to expand - or contract - as needed.

This business model offers several benefits; among the most attractive are lower upfront costs and increased agility. Organizations no longer have to predict how many servers they may need when their business grows. Yet, when an organization's growth exceeds expectations, the server capacity it needs to succeed can be in place in minutes rather than weeks.

But the cloud is not all about its silver lining or a silver bullet. If, for some reason, access to the cloud is denied, users cannot retrieve the data they've stored there. In addition, security remains an issue. Although there have been few reports of a cloud being breached, the possibility exists, so the cloud is yet one more vulnerability that must be considered.

Brigadier General Steven J. Spano, USAF (Retired), Director, Global Public sector, Amazon Web Services, can reasonably speak about both the benefits and challenges of cloud computing. When Gen. Spano retired, he was the A-6, headquarters, Air Combat Command, a post he came to after serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Multinational Forces-Iraq, where he was in charge of communications.

In terms of security, the general contends that a cloud environment can be more secure than keeping data in organization-owned servers. "The common thinking is that if an agency owns a data center, manages the equipment inside and employs the people who run the machines, then the agency has positive control of its data and it is, by default, secure. However, we have seen time and time again that the cloud offers just as much, if not more, security as a government-owned and -run data center. And here's why: control. In the cloud, CIOs can determine exactly what is running or when something ran, how long it ran and what it did," he states.

But even this proponent of cloud computing admits that organizations cannot and should not leap into the cloud environment without serious strategic planning. Some jobs - web and application hosting, high-performance computing, and collaboration tools sharing - are naturals for migration. However, organizations also may have applications that require a step-by-step approach into the cloud. To address these divergent situations, Gen. Spano recommends building a migration plan - usually spanning two years - to transition applications into the new environment.

The bottom line is that, despite security concerns and tedious planning and execution, ultimately moving to the cloud can benefit an organization's bottom line. It frees up chief information officers and engineers to focus on a company's or agency's core competencies instead of managing applications and data. Flying into the clouds may be a bit scary, but remaining on the ground could sink many promising programs.

Coming Events of Interest

2012 NAB Show - April 14th-19th in Las Vegas, NV. From Broadcasting to Broader-casting, the NAB Show has evolved over the last eight decades to continually lead this ever-changing industry. From creation to consumption, the NAB Show has proudly served as the incubator for excellence - helping to breathe life into content everywhere. 

CLOUD COMPUTING CONFERENCE at NAB - April 16th in Las Vegas, NV. Don't miss this full-day conference focusing on the impact of cloud computing solutions on all aspects of production, storage, and delivery of television programming and video.

Cloud Computing World Forum - May 8th in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Cloud Computing World Forum Africa is the only place to discuss the latest topics in cloud, including security, mobile, applications, communications, virtualization, CRM and much, much more.

Cloud Expo - June 11th-14th in New York, NY. Two unstoppable enterprise IT trends, Cloud Computing and Big Data, will converge in New York at the tenth annual Cloud Expo being held at the Javits Convention Center. A vast selection of technical and strategic General Sessions, Industry Keynotes, Power Panels, Breakout Sessions, and a bustling Expo Floor.

Cloud Management Summit - June 19th in Mountain View, CA. A forum for corporate decision-makers to learn about how to manage today's public, private, and hybrid clouds using the latest cloud solutions and strategies aimed at addressing their application management, access control, performance management, helpdesk, security, storage, and service management requirements on-premise and in the cloud.

Copyright 2008 Distributed Computing Industry Association
This page last updated March 26, 2012
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