Tag: Cloud

Canada wants cloud data kept local

mountiemaintainCanada has released its latest federal cloud adoption strategy which includes policy concerning the storing of sensitive government information on Canadian citizens within the country.

The newly-published Government of Canada Cloud Adoption Strategy requires that only data which the government has categorised as ‘unclassified’, or harmless to national and personal security, will be allowed outside of the country. This information will still be subject to strict encryption rules.

The new strategy, which has been in development over the last year, stipulates that all personal data stored by the government on Canadian citizens, such as social insurance numbers and critical federal information, must be stored in Canada-based data centres to retain ‘sovereign control’.

The move will force those wanting lucrative government contracts to build data centres inside Canada.

According to the proposal document, the Canadian government’s national IT department has already started buying cloud capacity, capable of processing ‘unclassified’ data. By 2017, it is expected that Shared Services Canada will have purchased even greater cloud capacity for handling ‘sensitive’ information, but not for data marked as ‘secret’ or ‘top secret’.

The new guidelines come after two years of federal discussions in Canada about driving cloud adoption, cutting data centre costs and optimising IT infrastructure. The consultations have involved participants from over 60 industry organisations.

 

Thin Client rides again

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Larry Ellison rode the “thin client” architecture back in the mid 1990s. Called the diskless desktop among various other names it amounted to a “smart terminal”. It was a tad premature.

Given another two decades the arrival of the Cloud as a “connected” computational facility for not so capable smartphones has belatedly arrived. And with that arrival Oracle is now in the mode of beefing up their “Cloud” capabilities with the announcement of its purchase of NetSuite Inc. for $9.3 billion. Oracle has been lagging the competition in cloud-based services, and is essentially buying market share according to several analysts based in San Francisco.

Oracle is a company caught between extending the viability of its installed hardware based system-software hegemony and the emerging Open Systems that most Cloud vendors are engaging. Their investment in the purchase of Sun Microsystems has not been primary to the company’s earnings potential. There was a time when Intel was non-persona grata at Oracle – that began to change two years ago.

The deal has been rumored for months, because the relationship between Oracle and NetSuite goes back decades. Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison has been a NetSuite investor since he co-founded the company with Evan Goldberg in 1998. Ellison and his family own about 45.4 percent of NetSuite’s common stock, according to a recent company filing. Zach Nelson, NetSuite’s CEO, ran Oracle’s marketing operations in the 1990s.

As Ellison and his family are part owners of Net Suite, a group of independent Oracle directors (excluding Ellison) helped evaluate and negotiate the deal with NetSuite. For NetSuite, approving the deal will mean getting clearance that sidesteps the large stockholder. The company said a majority of shares not owned by Ellison and his family; or by directors and executive officers; must vote in favor of the deal for it to be acquired.

If the deal is not approved there will be more than just a few amazed people to say the very least.

Salesforce Next?

Salesforce’s name has a marker on Oracle’s takeover radar. According to several sources this has reached the level of a personal vendetta with Larry Ellison – and Larry does like to win. So please standby…,

Adobe disappoints Wall Street

adobeSoftware maker Adobe appears to have disappointed the cocaine-nose jobs of Wall Street with its latest results. They are weeping…

It was not as if the results were bad, in fact Adobe Systems second-quarter revenue and full-year revenue forecast just about met analysts’ estimates, it is just that Wall Street hoped that they would see increased demand from the outfit’s Creative Cloud package of software tools.

Adobe has been focused on selling its software through web-based subscriptions, which ensures a predictable and recurring revenue stream. This helped Adobe’s cash rise for nine straight quarters and should mean that growth would be predictable going forward as most of the company’s clients were now on the subscription model

However Adobe’s forecast for the current quarter was largely below estimates – mostly because Adobe is always conservative on its outlooks and Wall Street suddenly seems to think that is a weakness.

Adobe’s second-quarter revenue rose 20.4 percent to $1.40 billion as more customers subscribed for Creative Cloud, which includes graphic design tool Photoshop, web design software Dreamweaver and web video building application Flash.

Revenue from the digital media business, which houses Creative Cloud, jumped 26 percent to $943 million, but fell just short of analyst’s estimates of $944.3 million, according to FactSet StreetAccount.

Adobe forecast third-quarter total revenue of $1.42-$1.47 billion, implying year-over-year growth of 16.4-20.5 percent. But the forecast was largely below analysts expectations of $1.47 billion.

Wall Street analysts expect the company’s revenue to rise between 19-22 percent over the next four quarters.
Adobe’s second-quarter net income rose 65 percent to $244.1 million, or 48 cents per share. Excluding items, Adobe earned 71 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimates of 68 cents.

Samsung buys into the cloud

cloudSamsung has bought Joyent – a public and private cloud outfit giving the telly maker access to its own cloud platform capable of supporting its growing lineup of mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based software and services.

Injong Rhee, CTO of the Mobile Communications business at Samsung Electronics said that Samsung evaluated a wide range of potential companies in the public and private cloud infrastructure space with a focus on leading-edge scalable technology and talent.

“In Joyent, we saw an experienced management team with deep domain expertise and a robust cloud technology validated by some of the largest Fortune 500 customers,” Rhee said.

Cloud computing is key to providing smartphone and IoT users with reliable services and experiences on their devices. Joyent will allow  Samsung to scale its own cloud infrastructure and services as it continues to innovate with new software and technologies.

It gets Joyent’s team of technologists, including CEO, Scott Hammond, CTO, Bryan Cantrill, and VP of Product, Bill Fine will join Samsung to work on company-wide cloud initiatives.

Scott Hammond, CEO of Joyent said he was looking forward to working with Samsung. The company’s money will allow it to grow its cloud and software business and provide a partner for innovation in the emerging and fast growing areas of mobile and IoT, including smart homes and connected cars.

“Joyent’s unique combination of container-native infrastructure, object storage, server-less computing, and Node.js expertise is perfectly suited to help Samsung meet the needs of its customers,” he added.

The move might have the existing cloud companies looking over their shoulder. Although the likes of Amazon should not be immediately troubled, Samung makes rather a lot of gear which if integrated to its cloud could take business away from them.

 

US Navy comes up with Kill Web technology

USS_Corondelet_1The US Navy is creating an offensive anti-surface network that will tie targeting information from satellites, aircraft, ships, submarines and the weapons to form a lethal “kill web”.

The name kill web was chosen because Sky Net was already taken and death cloud sounded too much like a toxic fart.

Kill web uses sensors in a so-called tactical cloud that will allow aircraft and ships to access a range of targeting information to launch weapons against surface targets.

Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, who works admiring rears at the Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), used lots of buzz words to describe how it worked.

“The All Domain Offensive Surface Warfare Capability is “integrated fires, leveraging all domains, the ability for us to utilize air-launched capabilities, surface launched capabilities and subsurface launched capabilities that are tied together with an all domain [information network],” he said.

“Specifically their ability to take all of their sensors and nets them together to project their ability to see me faster and farther away and [now] my sanctuary been decreased,” Darrah said.

“It’s about their ability to reduce the amount of space I have to operate in by tying their capability together and force me to operate from a farther distance from a threat.”

The scheme will allow the Navy to increase the effective ranges of their own weapons against surface targets.

Big Blue tanks

1280px-T-72B_-TankBiathlon2013-28Big Blue reported its worst quarterly revenue in 14 years as its cloud and mobile computing offerings failed to offset miserable numbers from its traditional businesses.

Revenues of the world’s largest technology services company fell 4.6 percent to $18.68 billion in the first quarter, but beat analysts’ average estimate of $18.29 billion.

It was the 16th straight quarter of revenue decline for IBM.

Chief Executive Ginni Rometty had been banking on cloud-based services, security software and data analytics, while trimming its traditional hardware business by exiting low margin businesses.

It looks like this new revenue is not cutting the mustard and is failing to make up for declines in its traditional segments.  This is mostly because the falloff in IBM’s traditional businesses was dwarfing the company’s ability to capture new revenue.

To be fair the new businesses such as includes cloud and mobile computing, data analytics, social and security software, rose about 14 percent in the first quarter. But revenue from the services fell 4.3 percent and hardware slumped by 21.8 percent.

Big Blue did better than Wall Street expected, helped by a $1 billion refund in the quarter that lowered its effective tax rate to a negative 95.1 percent compared with 19.5 percent last year.

The company maintained its full year adjusted earnings guidance of at least $13.50 per share. Analysts on average were expecting $13.55.

 

Google rains on its own cloud

cloudGoogle managed to break its own cloud worldwide for 18 minutes and had to write an apology to its millions of customers.

Cloudy VP Benjamin Treynor Sloss said the problem started when engineers removed an unused Google Compute Engine (GCE) IP block from Google’s network configuration, and instructed Google’s automated systems to propagate the new configuration across the network.

Apparently Google announces the IP blocks it is using to help route traffic into its cloud.

However this time the propagation failed due to “a timing quirk in the IP block removal”. These quirks are an odd species, sort of like grammar nazis with stop watches.

“When propagation fails, Google usually fails over to the configuration in place before the new block was added. But on this occasion “a previously-unseen software bug was triggered, and instead of retaining the previous known good configuration, the management software instead removed all GCE IP blocks from the new configuration and began to push this new, incomplete configuration to the network.”

Normally Google says it has a “canary step” designed to catch messes like that described above. However in this case the canary also had a bug and was home in bed with a hot waterbottle and was not stepping anywhere.

So the push system decided in the absense of stepping canaries the new broken configuration was valid and began its progressive rollout.”

Google says it’s found the bugs in its network configuration software responsible for the first mess, and the canary is back at work singing like it is expected to.

It is also making “14 distinct engineering changes planned spanning prevention, detection and mitigation” and expects more will follow.

 

Heartless Apple refuses to unlock dead boy’s phone

Leonardo Fabbretti (R) with his adopted son Dama Fabbretti.

Leonardo Fabbretti (R) with his adopted son Dama Fabbretti.

The fruity cargo cult Apple’s obession with protecting terrorists phone is having a knock on effect on ordinary people.

Apple arranged a publicity stunt to prove that its phones were “super secure” by refusing to help the FBI unlock the phone of a terrorist.

Unfortunately for Apple the cunning plan went pear shaped when the FBI worked out how to crack the phone using one of Jobs’ Mob’s security flaws.

However Apple’s blanket refusal to unlock phones has impacted the case of an Italian whose iPhone owning son died.

Leonardo Fabbretti’s adopted son Dama died at age 13 of bone cancer in September. Apple is refusing to unlock the phone and allow him to have access to photos of his dead son,

Fabbretti has written a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook pleading to unlock Dama’s phone.

“Don’t deny me the memories of my son. I cannot give up. Having lost my Dama, I will fight to have the last two months of photos, thoughts and words which are held hostage in his phone.”

Fabbretti, who lives in Italy, first contacted Apple back in autum when his son died. Local Apple staff attempted to get the photographs off of iCloud, but Dama had not backed up the device. so the company said there is no way to retrieve them without the passcode. Giving out passcodes was too similar to the FBI case for them to let that happen.

Fabbretti wrote in his letter. “Although I share your philosophy in general, I think Apple should offer solutions for exceptional cases like mine.”

US close to sinking its own cloud businesses

unsinkabeUS negotiators’ insistence that its government has the right to spy on anyone in the world looks likely to shaft its own cloud business.

European and US negotiators have missed a deadline to agree a key data transfer pact, the European Union’s executive said.

The talks appear to be deadlocked over a policing and options for European citizens to seek redress over data privacy violations.

The EU is still hopeful that a deal could be clinched in coming days, but they have to be quicker as national data protection regulators from across Europe are poised to begin meetings on Tuesday to start restricting trans-Atlantic flows of personal data.

European Union data protection law bars companies from transferring EU citizens’ personal data to countries outside the bloc deemed to have insufficient privacy safeguards — like the United States.

Firms such as Facebook and Google rely on transferring and analysing reams of user data to sell targeted advertising, for example.

While US businesses are worried about not having a deal in place, the US government is more worried about it stopping its agents from snooping on criminals and terrorist who have their data stored on the mainland and the fact that they would like to have a look at all this euro data which is sitting in US territory.

A US industry source said a deal is “on the table” with what the United States feels is the strongest offer yet, but that Europe apparently still wants to see more.

What the US does not appear to grasp is that it will be Google, Microsoft and Amazon which suffers from them refusing to see sense. EU local cloud providers are praying that they don’t because local businesses will be forced to use them instead.

The US side proposed improving oversight of the new data transfer framework by creating an ombudsman to review decisions, but is rather keen for it to be a toothless wonder.

The European Commission wants the ombudsman to have the authority to make findings on US surveillance as opposed to just fielding complaints from European citizens and data protection authorities.

 

 

EU close to banning US clouds

Europe with flags - Wikimedia CommonsIt seems that the US government is prepared to sacrifice its nation’s cloud business on the bonfire of its obsession with spying.

European Union privacy regulators are leaning toward the restriction of personal data transfers to the United States because of the risk of US. surveillance, mostly because the US government will not back down.

A top EU court last year struck down the Safe Harbour system, used by thousands of businesses to easily transfer data across the Atlantic, because the data were not protected enough from any US snooping.

A plenary meeting on next month will decide to what extent companies should be allowed to continue transferring Europeans’ data to the United States in light of the ruling.

In a preparatory meeting on Wednesday the authorities discussed a range of possible outcomes, including “freezing” all new authorisations for US data transfers on the basis of binding corporate rules within multinationals or standard contractual clauses between companies.

Under EU data protection law, companies cannot shift Europeans’ data to countries outside the EU deemed to have insufficient privacy safeguards, which applies to the United States according to the authorities’ assessment of the US  legal system.

However, data transfers are allowed if firms set up complex legal structures such as binding corporate rules or standard contractual clauses.

A final decision will only be taken at the plenary meeting and not all regulators were in favor of the restrictive approach, the sources said.

If the European Commission, which is negotiating a replacement for Safe Harbour with Washington, presents the regulators with a strengthened system their position may change.

Freezing all new authorizations for US data transfers using binding corporate rules or standard contractual clauses will kill off transatlantic data flows which are the highest in the world.  Businesses say that will end the borderless nature of the Internet is being jeopardized. The EU says that is not its fault, and the US needs to stop spying on people.