Tag: Cloud

IBM buys yet another firm

IBM logoWe’ve lost count of how many companies IBM has acquired in the last 18 months, but be that as it may, here we go again.

This time it said it will buy Cleversage with the aim of “propelling object storage into the hybrid cloud”.

It’s a privately held company so IBM doesn’t need to say what it paid for it. But it develops object based storage software and appliances.

IBM said the acquisition will strengthen IBM’s position in storage and hybrid cloud, and so the unit will be integrated into its IBM Cloud business unit.

Cleversafe was started in 2004 and has over 350 patents in object based storage letting customers scale to exabytes of storage.

Isn’t this the second acquisition in seven days? Yes, it is.

IBM adds more cloud to mix

IBM logoBig Blue has opened a new cloud centre in Bangalore and has added a bunch of additional services to its cloud portfolio.

It is aiming at the retail market that lets shops target customers using big data.

It has also introduced what it calls “personalised learning” – a package that is aimed at corporations that need to train up people.

And it has introduced a service it calls “insights for a connected world” – a platform that is aimed at the internet of things and which churns data from many sources into analytics that can be sold on or improve businesses from inside.

IBM said it now has over 20 different answers for different businesses from vertical markets to business functions.

The Bangalore centre is intended to let IBM’s customers and partners work together with its own consultants to personalise the different industry platforms it sells.

Cloudy outlook for Oracle

Thunderclouds - Wikimedia CommonsThings are not well at the database outfit Oracle – sales are falling and the company claims things could get worse.

Oracle sales fell more than expected in the first quarter, hurt by a strong dollar and a continued drop in licensed software sales and the company warned revenue could fall in the current quarter even on a constant currency basis.

Oracle is striving to boost Internet-based software sales to head off fast-growing competitors such as Salesforce.com but what it is doing does not appear to be working.

Analysts think that Oracle’s cloud software business has not been growing fast enough to make up for declines in the licensed software business.

Oracle’s revenue declined 1.7 percent to $8.45 billion in the quarter ended Aug. 31, missing analysts estimates for the third quarter in a row.

The company said sales increased 7 percent on a constant currency basis. However, it forecast revenue to range between a fall of 2 percent to growth of 1 percent in the current quarter.

The company’s net income declined 20 percent to $1.75 billion in the first quarter.

Sales of Oracle’s cloud-computing software and platform service rose 34 percent to $451 million. Sales of traditional software licenses fell 16 percent to $1.51 billion.

Wall Street was expecting cloud-based sales to increase 35 percent and licensed software sales to decline 17 percent,.

Cloud-based software sales account for a small portion of Oracles’ total revenue as they are subscription based, which promise a steady revenue stream but with lower margins.

Fundamentally, all of Oracle’s software will be available on the cloud by the OpenWorld conference at the end of October, Co-Chief Executive Mark Hurd said on a call with analysts.


Microsoft cloud case goes to appeal

cloudAn important case which could decide some important laws about the cloud is about to kick off in the US.

Software giant Microsoft is appealing a decision that forces it to hand over data stored overseas to US investigators.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals will hear Microsoft’s challenge to a July 2014 lower court ruling concluding that a court or law enforcement agency in the United States is empowered to order a person or entity to produce materials, even if the information is housed outside the country.

Microsoft wants the appeals court to overturn the decision upholding the US government’s right to search a consumer email account that Microsoft stores in Dublin  as part of a narcotics investigation.

Manhattan prosecutors claim that “powerful government interests” override potential negative effects on Microsoft’s business or any other company seeking to profit on the storage of information overseas.

Any US cloud company would suffer if the US was allowed access to foreign data.  In fact the EU would probably rule that it is too dangerous to allow data to be stored in clouds administered by US companies.

In a filing in the appeal, the government of Ireland noted that the Irish Supreme Court has ruled that Irish courts have the power to order production of documents by an Irish registered company by one of its branches situated in a foreign country. It said Irish taxation authorities also can force Irish banks to produce records of accounts held by customers wherever the information is located.

“Ireland continues to facilitate cooperation with other states, including the United States, in the fight against crime and would be pleased to consider, as expeditiously as possible, a request under the treaty, should one be made,” it said.


Google Docs transcribes speech in the clouds

cloudsGoogle has come up with a voice dictation system that works for more than short messages and can transcribe a long conversation.

The new version of Google Docs has several new features but the sexiest is one  which records speech and converts it into a transcript.

It is the ultimate for students sitting through university lectures and could be used for those god-awful brainstorming sessions in business.

Computer voice recognition with accuracy sufficient for accurate dictation is recent, as processing algorithms were error prone. Recently, Google developed a set of neural networking models that are far more accurate.

To make sure it worked, Google funnelled its own voicemail traffic through the recognition circuits. The voicemail provided what are essentially grammatical rules as well as recognition material. Now the new voice dictation system has less than half the errors the best of the older models had.

Other functions in Google Docs include a Research and an Explore function.
Research integrates the process of search with the ability to cut and paste. It means that you can add details from an online encyclopaedia to a paper you are writing on a tablet—along with photos.

Explore makes sense of data stored in Google Sheets spreadsheets and displays it in a way that makes sense. Data still has to get into the spreadsheet somehow and you still have to tell Explore what data you want to look at, but the rest is automatic.

Research and Explore works only on Android while voice dictation and typing work only on Android and iOS mobile devices. All of the features will work on PCs running Windows and on Macs as long as you use the Chrome browser.

IBM intros Linux only mainframes

IBM LinuxONEIBM said that it has introduced two Linux mainframe servers which it claims are the most powerful and secure enterprise servers.

Dubbed LinuxONE, the mainframes use the SuSE Linux distribution while IBM also said it will create an Ubuntu distribution both for LinuxONE and z Systems, striking a deal with Canonical.

IBM said that over a third of IBM mainframe clients are running Linux but these two machines are something different.

The LinuxONE Emperor, used the IBM z13, is it’s claimed the worlds most advanced Linux system with the fastest processor in the world. It can scale up to 8,000 virtual machines. The smaller system, the LinuxONE Rockhopper, is designed for customers who want a smaller package.

The LinuxONE systems can be implemented as a virtual machine using the open source based KVM hypervisor.

Canonical, SuSE and Red Hat will all support KVM for the mainframe.

IBM will also provide the LinuxONE developer cloud for open access to programmers.

Dell adds cloud payment services

Dell logoDell said it has introduced a number of payment services aimed at migrating its customers to the cloud.

Its Financial Services wing said it has added three payment options called Pay as you grow, Provision and pay, and Scale on demand.

The first is intended for customers who want to deploy cloud kit now with payments increasing as their businesses grow.

The second consists of a cyclical plan to deploy with payments deferred until the equipment is in place.

Scale on demand is for businesses that want to pay for cloud services with payments based on the amount of use they make of the services.

Dell also released details of a survey of IT decision makers which it said revealed that nine in 10 think a hybrid cloud strategy is vital with many wanting to return applications from public clouds to private clouds.

IBM teams up with Hootsuite

HootsuiteHootsuite and IBM will integrate some of their respective cloud and social technologies.  Hootsuite is a firm that specialises in social networking for business.

Hootsuite is to migrate its App Directory to IBM’s SoftLayer, its Cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Hootsuite said that it needs reliability and speed for its global customer base and by running App Directory on the cloud, the company will be able to provide a dedicated infrastructure with a toolkit for management.

The two companies will also join forces in the academic sphere, with people enrolled in the IBM Academic Initiative getting access to Hootsuite’s Higher Education Programme. The latter gives students and professors three months access to social media education resources and courseware.

Hootsuite and IBM have had a relationship for two years, but so far there is no talk of a marriage. IBM has made several acquisitions over the last two years, particularly in relation to cloud technology and analytics.

Sandy Carter, an IBM general manager looking after cloud, said the companies will “continue to work together to drive the integration of social and cloud”. The App Directory will be moved to IBM Cloud in the fourth quarter of this year.

The cloud gets personal

Clouds over the Old Power Station, OxfordIt’s not only businesses that are being enveloped by the cloud – it’s now seeping into peoples’ personal lives too.

According to Gartner, a market research organisation, the “personal” cloud is the aggregation of content, services and tools that people assemble to connect their digital devices.

Steven Kleynhans, a research VP at Gartner, said that the future will bring upheaval and challenges as personal and corporate digital devices merge.

Kleynhans thinks there are two important trends with more access to personal information and more intelligence applied to a human being’s experience. He cites as an example clever photo apps that use recognition algorithms to personal photos stored in cloud services, to tag locations, events and people.

He said that by 2018, a quarter of large organisations will have strategies to make the corporate computing environment similar to an individual human.

He thinks that technologies like Apple’s Siri will be the anchor for peoples’ personal clouds.

And then there’s the internet of things and wearable devices, meaning security and in particular authentication will be very important for a person’s data.

IBM makes push into Africa

IBM logoHot on the heels of a visit to Africa by the US president, IBM said it will invest $60 million over the next three years in 20 African countries.

The aim is to expand its Technical Academy to educate professionals in analytics, cloud and big data.

IBM is cooperating with the Kenya Education Network for certification courses for 40 universities in the country.

The courses are being offered free of charge and are intended to give graduate students with entry level IT job skills.

Local academic staff are being supported by IBM scientists as well as an information portal and while the courses are in English, they’re going to be offered in French and in other African languages.

IBM said that by 2017 the certifications will be available to over 35,000 students across the continent.