Category: Cloud Computing

Users will not update IoT devices leaving them wide open

Safe-with-Open-Door_Silver-Trading-Company_iStock_000016460757_ExtraSmallThe security state of the IoTs is going to be precarious because users will not be bothered to update their gear, according to a new survey.

Writing in his Ubuntu bog, Core evangelist Thibaut Rouffineau said that his organisation surveyed  2000 consumers about their Internet of Things devices.

They found that only a third of consumers that own connected devices perform updates as soon as they become available.

Another 40 per cent have never consciously performed updates on their devices and two thirds thought that it was not their responsibility to keep firmware updated.

A fifth believed it was the job of software developers, while 18 per cent considered it to be the responsibility of device manufacturers.

Canonical thinks that better automatic mechanisms were needed to fix vulnerabilities remotely as a way to secure IoT.

“We need to remove the burden of performing software updates from the user and we need to actively ban the dreaded ‘default password’, as Canonical has done with Ubuntu Core 16,” Rouffineau said.

“It’s clear to us that too many of the solutions to IoT security proposed today involve either mitigating security issues after-the-fact, or living in a world where IoT security problems are the accepted norm. This should not and cannot be the case.”

Canonical yells at European cloud provider

cloudOpen saucy outfit Canonical is in the middle of a legal dispute with an unnamed  “a European cloud provider” over the use of its  own homespun version of Ubuntu on their cloud servers.

Canonical is worried that the implementation disables even the most basic of security features and Canonical fears that when something bad happens, the great unwashed will not blame the cloud provider but will instead blame Ubuntu.

Writing in the company bog, Canonical said that it has spent months trying to get the unnamed provider to use the standard Ubuntu as delivered to other commercial operations to no avail. It said that Red Hat and Microsoft wouldn’t be treated like this.

Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, wrote that Ubuntu is “the leading cloud OS, running most workloads in public clouds today,” whereas these homegrown images “are likely to behave unpredictably on update in weirdly creative and mysterious ways. We hear about these problems all the time, because users assume there is a problem with Ubuntu on that cloud; users expect that ‘all things that claim to be Ubuntu are genuine’, and they have a right to expect that.

“To count some of the ways we have seen home-grown images create operational and security nightmares for users: clouds have baked private keys into their public images, so that any user could SSH into any machine; clouds have made changes that then blocked security updates for over a week… When things like this happen, users are left feeling let down. As the company behind Ubuntu, it falls to Canonical to take action.”

Sage doing rather well

bunch-of-sage-leavesThe number crunching software outfit named after something which ends up in a turkey at Christmas is doing rather well and announced that it has posted strong annual numbers.

Sage announced it had achieved its fastest rate of recurring revenue growth for a decade in its financial year ending 30 September 2016. Total revenues rose 9.3 percent to £1.57 billion, with growth of 6.1 percent. The UK and Ireland more than pulled their weight, with seven percent organic growth.

Recurring revenue growth hit 10.4 percent. Organic operating profit, meanwhile, rose 9.2 percent to £427 million.

Sage talked up its Sage Marketplace, a distribution platform that allows ISVs to showcase add-ons for its products, including Sage One and Sage Live, which it launched in February. More than 215 ISV apps have signed to Sage Marketplace during the year.

Sage Live, a cloud accounting solution based on Salesforce hardware was launched in the USA and UK in February, now has 600 customers, with over 400 added in the past 90 days, Sage boasted.

Pegg, which Sage bills as “the world’s first accounting chatbot”, has amassed 9,000 users for Sage in 125 countries since its launch in July, the LSE-listed vendor added.

Phase one of a transformation programme saw Sage cut general and administrative expenses as a proportion of revenue from 18.7 to 16.5 percent year on year and renew its senior management team, and is now complete, the vendor said.

Sage CEO Stephen Kelly said: “FY16 saw Sage continue to deliver on the commitment made at our June 2015 Capital Markets Day to perform and transform. The organic revenue growth of six per cent is driven by higher-quality recurring revenue, which grew at the fastest rate in a decade. The strategy is working – with customers embracing closer relationships with Sage, evidenced by a 46 percent increase in the number of subscription contracts and a contract retention rate of 86 percent.

Phase two of the transformation effort will focus on “driving more technology innovation and increasing focus on new customer acquisition”.

LingLong creates DingDong in smart home industry

Linglong-Dingdong-Lautsprecher-1024x576-31f5edc41d756a0cChinese outfit LingLong has created an AI based assistant it has dubbed the DingDong which is making a sing song in the consumer electronics market.

The gear has a music library of three million songs, can take memos and share updates regarding news, traffic and weather in what the firm calls ‘cinema-like sound quality’

It speaks Cantonese and Mandarin, which means it can roll into the lucrative Chinese market and get a head start on its Western rivals.

It costs $118 and answers questions, gives directions and plays music in high quality 320Kbps format

The device comes in four colours: red for prosperity, white for purity, black for money and purple because it is pretty.

In the west, Amazon is the leaders in this space. It released its Echo in 2014 – smart speaker powered by Alexa. Users can ask Alexa to do a range of activities such as request an Uber or order their usually from Dominos – and there is more than three million units in the world.

Most DingDong owners use the technology as a music player, or as someone to talk to.

MongoDB picks up disgruntled Oracle customers

mongoOracle is alienating its customers who are apparently rushing to MongoDB in droves – at least according to the chief Mongo.

Chatting to Diginomica, MongoDB CEO Dev Ittycheria claimed that MongoDB is increasingly encroaching on Oracle’s database lead – with enterprises becoming more and more confident with the maturing NoSQL technology.

Ittycheria said that MongoDB had invested heavily in making the product ‘enterprise ready’ – with advanced management capabilities, better performance and better integrations. Now it is picking up a big chunk of migration work.

He claimed a third of MongoDB’s business is migration off existing workloads to us when two years ago it was 5 per cent.  Ittycheria claimed that punters were ditching Oracle “and others, but mainly Oracle”.

“There’s a large bank, whose logo you would recognise instantly, they had a very sophisticated equities trading platform. The problem was that the compliance rules changed after the credit crisis, where they had to track so much information around for auditing, that the impact on the relational database was so large that they realised that it would quickly run out of gas,” he claimed.

Instead the bank re-platformed that on MongoDB, side by side for a while and now they’ve started moving everything off.

Developers are now beginning to hold MongoDB in the same regard that they used to Oracle, with Oracle falling out of favour.

The NoSQL market is highly competitive and that there are a bunch of players all neck and neck to take on Oracle. He claims that this might have been the case two or three years ago – with “Oracle printing money hand over fist and ankle biters fighting over each other – but now MongoDb has really separated itself from the pack, he said.

Mongo is now a nine figure business and is doing eight figure deals with large companies that are standardising on its technology, he said.

Never mind AI, Intel has Nervana

3d2a123ddc312423225755a14fe7db2dChipzilla’s billion dollar investment in Nervana might be the key to making its server chips more intelligent.

Intel is laying out its roadmap to advance artificial intelligence performance across the board and Nervana technology appears to be everywhere.

The high-performance silicon market is dominated by GPUs. However, with Nervana inside, Intel hopes its new corporate tech with its a fully-optimized software and hardware stack will give that business model a good kicking.

Nervana hardware will initially be available as an add-in card that plugs into a PCIe slot. The first Nervana silicon, codenamed Lake Crest, will make its way to select Intel customers in H1 2017.

Intel is also talking about Knights Mill, which is the next generation of the Xeon Phi processor family. Intel said that Knights Mill will deliver a 4x increase in deep learning performance compared to existing Xeon Phi processors and the combined solution with Nervana will offer orders of magnitude gains in deep learning performance.

Diane Bryant, Executive VP of Intel’s Data Center Group said that the Intel Nervana platform to produce breakthrough performance and dramatic reductions in the time to train complex neural networks.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that Nervana’s technologies will produce a 100-fold increase in performance in the next three years to train complex neural networks, enabling data scientists to solve their biggest AI challenges faster.

Privacy group launches legal challenge against US data deal

Data centreAn Irish privacy group has issued a legal challenge against an EU deal which allows Euro data to end up in US hands.

The EU-US Privacy Shield commercial data transfer pact has been running for  two months but it was hammered out after the European Union’s highest court struck down the previous such framework over concerns about intrusive US surveillance.

The framework enables businesses moving personal data across the Atlantic a way of avoiding falling foul of tough EU data transferral rules.

Digital Rights Ireland has challenged the adoption of the “Privacy Shield” in front of the second-highest EU court, arguing it lacks adequate privacy protections.

It will be a year or more before the court rules on the case and it could still be declared inadmissible if the court finds the Privacy Shield is not of direct concern to Digital Rights Ireland.

More than 500 companies have signed up to the Privacy Shield so far, including usual suspects Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

IBM, Google and seven others gang up on Intel’s datacentres

Piranha-3dBiggish Blue, Google and seven others have linked up to give Intel a good kicking in the datacentres.

The gang has come up with an open specification that can boost datacentre server performance by up to ten times.  Dubbed the Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI), this is an open forum to provide a high bandwidth, low latency open interface design specification.

The open interface will help corporate and cloud data centres to speed up big data, machine learning, analytics and other emerging workloads.

The consortium plans to make the OpenCAPI specification available to the public before the end of the year and expects servers and related products based on the new standard in the second half of 2017, it said in a statement.

Chipzilla is not signing up to the forum, but them it has stayed away from other open standards  and technology groups such as CCIX and Gen-Z.  It prefers to keep all its technology to itself.

However Doug Balog, general manager for IBM Power, said that with all the AI, machine learning and advanced analytics kicking around,  datacentres can no longer rely on one company alone to drive innovation.

 

Intel’s new HQ is a paradise for control freaks

control-freak-quotes-6Chipzilla’s new Israeli HQ is being used to show off its latest internet of things systems and it is rather good if you are the sort who likes outsourcing everything to your boss.

Intel wants the building to be the “smartest” in the world.  When it is finished in 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel it will be based around the latest internet of things technology, which was developed in Israel. The 366,000-square-foot building will house all 2,500 of the company’s employees in the country. It is expected to be completed in 2019.

The building will have the capability of learning the habits of every employee and customizing his or her working environment. Among other things, the building will know what coffee to make for each employee, and how to make it, when to send him or her to get a haircut, and it can recommend where to park.

Sounds great in many ways, if you like the idea of your boss knowing everything about you.  We guess it will know when you are likely to go to the loo and how long you take in there. Other noteworthy services will include setting air conditioning temperatures in meetings based on the combined preferences of each attendee, and determining when the best hour for each employee to eat is, whether or not their favorite dish is being served and if their friends are available to join.

The building  will also contain 3,500-square metres of electronic labs, three restaurants, a café, a gym, a spa, a beauty salon and a learning and convention center.

 

 

 

Ellison declares victory over Amazon in cloud wars

oracle-founder-larry-ellisonOracle supremo Larry Ellison has announced Oracle’s second generation cloud package and is already claiming that it will clean Amazon’s clock.

The announcement was made at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in San Francisco  and it is basically all about Oracle’s  second generation of cloud infrastructure for third-party developers to run their applications in Oracle data centers.

It is pased around different virtual-machine s that Oracle is making available in this second-generation offering. The first is dubbed the Dense IO Shape and it offers 28.8TB, 512GB, and 36 cores, and will set you back $5.40 per hour. This product offers more than 10 times the input-output capacity of Amazon Web Services (AWS), specifically the i2.8xlarge instance, Ellison told the assorted throngs.

“Amazon’s lead is over. Amazon’s going to have serious competition going forward,” Ellison said.

For those who came in late, AWS leads the cloud infrastructure market, with Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM trailing behind. Oracle’s public cloud was not included in the most recent version of Gartner’s highly regarded cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Magic Quadrant, which was released last month.  This is mostly because Oracle also does not have enough market share to qualify for inclusion.

Ellison clearly thinks that will all turn around now. The new offering takes advantage of regions, each of which contains three separate “availability domains,” or connected data centres. Oracle’s competitors in the cloud also offer regions of data centers. But this represents a step forward for Oracle.

Ellison said that he respects Amazon for being the “first mover” in the business of cloud infrastructure. “But now we’re aggressively moving into infrastructure, and we have a new generation of data centers that we’re building around the world.”

He also announced a new product called Cloud@Customer, which lets customers place servers that are identical to Oracle’s cloud infrastructure in their own on-premises infrastructure (the servers run the same software as the software on Oracle’s cloud servers). These servers have the same price structure as their corresponding cloud versions.