Tag: hardware

Datacentres of the future will be software ready

Data centreSoftware defined datacentres (SDDC) are the wave of the future, according to a prediction from market research company Gartner.

An SDDC is a datacentre with virtualised infrastructure and delivered as a “service” but it’s not right for all enterprises, Gartner VP Dave Russell said.

“Due to its current immaturity, the SDDC is most appropriate for visionary organisations with advanced expertise in I&O engineering and architecture,” he said.

But by 2020, 75 percent of global enterprises will go for a hybrid cloud model that uses the SDDC approach.

Russell said you can’t buy an SDDC off the shelf and implementation needs new skills and a shift in the IT organisation.

He cautioned that vendors will still try to lock in customers and open soure standards or a cloud management platform can’t completely help.

He said people need to recognise that adopting an SDDC “means trading a hardware lock in for a software lock in.”

Network virtualisation services to soar

technic, funk, man at short-wave receiver, 1961, 1960s, 60s, 20th century, historic, historical, radio operator, radio operatorsA report said that global network functions virtualisation (NFV) which includes hardware, software and services will generate revenues of $11.6 billion in 2019, from its existing revenue base of $2.3 billion.

IHS said that the additional revenues will be generated because operators want to shift from hardware to software, with NFV software representing over 80 percent of the revenues expected in 2019.

Michael Howard, a senior research director for carrier networks at IHS, said software is a much bigger investment than the server, storage and switch hardware.

The move to NFV is in its early stages, he said, with most carriers viewing a move to virtualised networks that will take 10 to 15 years.

He said that revenues from outsourced services for such projects will grow at an estimated 71 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from now to 2019.

Greek exit from euro to hit IT sales

Greek flagEarlier this week we reported that Greek IT staff are leaving the country in their droves because they can earn much more money and rely on getting paid.

And with the European Union possibly setting Greece adrift from the Eurozone, a report suggested that IT spend in the country is likely to plummet.

IDC said that a Greek exit from the euro will see IT spending in the country drop by as much as 18 percent in 2016.

Ut’s not yet certain that Greece will leave the Eurozone, but even if it does reach agreement with the EU, that will still have a negative effect on IT spending because of loss of business confidence and will lead to a double digit decline in IT spend next year, IDC believes.

IDC doesn’t think, however, that there will be very much effect on other European Union countries.

Right now, Greece only accounts for half of a percent of 2015 European IT spend, and is the worst performing Western European country.

If Greece does wave goodbye to the euro, the software and services sector will be largely protected because of recurring maintenance fees and contracts spanning multiple years.

Enterprises indifferent to Hadoop

Ary Pleysier - Beach View with Boats - Wikimedia CommonsWhile Hadoop is the buzz word in this,  the second decade of the 21st century, it appears that not that many enterprises are convinced it is the way to go.

In case you’re not with it, Hadoop is a framework that lets enterprises distribute processing of large data sets across loads of computers, from single servers to gazillions of machines.

A Gartner survey showed that more than half of the enterprises it surveyed were tentative about adopting Hadoop.

Nick Heudecker, a senior analyst at Gartner, said that only 18 percent of the enterprises it surveyed had plans to invest in Hadoop over the next two years.

“Despite considerable hype and reported success for early adopters, 54 percent of survey respondents report no plans to invest at this time [now],” he said.

A mere 26 percent of the enterprises Gartner surveyed said they were deploying, piloting or experimenting with Hadoop, he added.

“Hadoop was overkill for the problems businesses faced,” he continued.

One of the problems is that there are not too many techies that are au fait with Hadoop, and enterprises are also worried about squeezing value out of the concept.

“One of the core value propositions of Hadoop is that it is a lower cost option to traditional information infrastructure. However, the low number of users relative to the cost of cluster hardware, as well as any software support costs, may mean Hadoop is failing to live up to this promise,” said Heudecker.

Seagate creates bigger HDD for tablets

For a while the size of tablet hard-drives has been strictly limited, however Seagate wants to change all that with its Ultra Mobile HDD.

According to the company, its HDD is designed for mobile gizmos and delivers more than seven times the storage capacity of a traditional 64GB tablet with the same power, performance and reliability of a flash device.

The technique involves using thin, high-capacity HDD with a software optimiser.

Steve Luczo, president, CEO and chairman of Seagate said that it can provide speed and memory size at a cheaper price than SSDs.

John Rydning, IDC’s research vice president for hard disk drives and semiconductors, said that today’s tablets are trading off storage capacity in order to realise a thin and light form factor device and long battery life.

But Seagate’s Mobile Enablement Kit will bring PC-like storage capacity to future thin and light tablet designs, and position Seagate as a potential storage provider to the fast-growing tablet market.

The Ultra Mobile HDD has improved shock, heat and vibration and gyroscopic motion management systems, which enable traditional hard-drives to be installed into tablets.

Power consumption is equal to that of a 64GB tablet and the performance equal to that of a 16GB tablet while costing less than either, Seagate claims.

The drive is so well insulated that a dropped device’s screen would break before its hard disk drive, Seagate said.

Incorporated power modes support the drive in sleep, standby and idle enabling it to consume as low as 0.14W and support the long battery life demanded by tablets. It’s also slim, which allows it to be used in applications like convertible and detachable storage.

The 2.5-inch drive is just 5mm thin while weighing the same as a light bulb. It features up to 500GB of capacity.

The kit is designed to support the Android operating system. So far there is no word on price or if any OEMS are taking it up.

Dell denies pulling out of the PC business

Tinman Michael Dell has denied a rumour that he wants to take the company private so he can get out of making PCs and get into mobile phones and tablets instead.

It is truly bizarre because it is based on a fallacy that PCs are being replaced by tablets rather than the industry is in the doledrums because of the economy.  When Dell has tried to do anything mobile it has usually ended in tears.

Just to make sure that everyone got the message Dell stated in no uncertain terms at the Dell Solutions Summit in Beijing, China, that Dell will continue to build and sell PCs and the reason is that he sees large growth potential in emerging markets.

While the first quarter was a rough one for the PC industry, which as a whole saw sales decline, Dell saw market share gains. Dell pointed out that meant that things were taking off, and there are some areas where sales never slumped at all. China and India still want PCs.

Michael Dell concluded that there is no reason why the company shouldn’t continue to invest in PCs and tablets. 

HP wants to buy the Stairway to Heaven

After announcing results which proved that her restructuring was not fixing HP’s death spiral, CEO Meg Whitman told the world that she wants to go on a shopping spree, buying up companies.

She said she has begun shopping for companies of up to $1.5 billion after a flurry of outsized purchases in past years.

Whitman told the FT  that the company could also do deals in the $100 million to $300 million range.

She did not specify any particular targets but claimed she had her eye on a number of areas.

Acquisitions will become part of HP’s future, to further some of its strategic initiatives and shore up some of the product holes, she said.

Whitman said that HP did not need a five or six billion dollar acquisition, but there might be a few acquisitions in the $100 million, $300 million range and some up to $1-$1.5 billion that the maker of expensive printer ink might be interested in.

She ruled out the idea of breaking up HP or selling assets.

Whitman said that HP was the only company that can go from devices to infrastructure to services to software and this is a huge point of difference.

HP has been building itself up through a series of buys costing at least $1 billion over the past few years. It bought outsourcing firm EDS in 2008, 3Com in 2009, Palm, 3PAR and security software maker ArcSight in 2010; and big-data analytics firm Autonomy in 2011.

It is probably wishing it did not buy EDS, Palm and Autonomy. Whitman said that after the Autonomy deal HP was being incredibly measured and disciplined about what it buys.

“Acquisitions are going to have to be a part of how we turn this company around”, she said. 

HP stays in slow decline

The troubled maker of expensive printer ink, HP has reported its results, which show that even after its restructuring it is still in a slow death spiral.

Shares in HP dropped eight percent in after-hours trading after the company reported a nine percent decline in Enterprise Group revenue. Enterprise is the company’s second-largest division and a major part of CEO Meg Whitman’s cunning plan to transform HP into a provider of enterprise computing services able to take on IBM and Cisco.

The troubled company has been suffering from a morale numbing restructuring for the past two years, and is still stuck with weak IT spending.

HP recorded revenue of $27.2 billion in the fiscal third quarter, down from $29.7 billion a year earlier. That missed the $27.3 billion in sales that the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street had expected.

According to analyst outfit TBR, HP managed to improve its profits but failed to halt revenue declines.

HP’s plan has been to control expenses and reallocate savings to fund lucrative, unified product, service and solution initiatives that allow HP to grow profit.

TBR analyst Jack Narcotta said that the cunning plan by Whitman and team of misery have not so far not worked,

“HP has yet to prove it can grow its non-PC and server business to offset staunch declines in those two industries, and a hyper-competitive pricing environment that will persist through 2014 will limit HP’s ability to rebound from its downward growth,” Narcotta wrote.

In the second quarter of 2013, HP Personal Systems Group recorded $7.7 billion in revenue, a year-to-year revenue decline of 11 percent.

Notebook and desktop PC product lines, which are a third of HP’s corporate revenue were hit hardest with PC unit shipments falling 11 percent following a steep 20.1 percent annual decline last year.

Narcotta said that HP is in slow decline even though it makes it cash from lots of different sources. But things are getting slowly worse.

Last year HP’s revenues were $127 billion. In 2012, full year revenue was $120 billion.

TBR expects prolonged lukewarm consumer response to HP’s Windows 8 notebook and tablet PCs and things not to improve on that front. Meanwhile HP will suffer from pricing pressure in an increasingly competitive x86 server marketplace.

Narcotta thinks this will shrink revenues to $114 billion in the current calendar year, and $109 billion in 2014.

The only way forward for HP is to continue to reduce the numbers of works HP hires. So far axing employees has been what Whitman does best, but Narcotta thinks that more people are for the chop.

“HP employs more than 300,000, providing it with ample room to cut costs. It can sustain profitability at levels previously attained with higher revenue and not lower expenses,” he said.

HP’s operating income which is one of the highest in the PC and server industries is vulnerable to decline as server revenues shrink due to intense price competition and aggressively-priced rivals Lenovo, Acer and Asus undercut PC unit shipments.

The company appears to be trying to re-establish momentum consumer PC markets, which are lower margin, while protecting its more lucrative enterprise customer base.

Narcotta praised the addition of Chrome OS and Android devices to its portfolio which he thinks reflects a HP’s awareness of the trends that are influencing the PC industry.

But growth will be limited through the rest of the year as more low-cost, APAC-based firms obstruct HP’s efforts to reclaim market share.

Demand for devices such as the Slate 7 tablet and Pavilion Chromebook will be checked by Asus’ Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab devices and even Apple’s iPad Mini.

HP’s Chromebook is priced higher than devices from market leader Samsung.

Meanwhile weakened PC demand and increasing pricing pressure as a result of fierce competition from Lenovo continue to erode HP’s market share.

“While HP boasts strong PC margins relative to its Windows peers such as Acer, Asus and Lenovo, HP’s hesitation to tolerate lower profit margins will limit its ability to stem attrition of consumers and enterprise PC users to vendors offering lower-price solutions,” Narcotta wrote.

Revenue of from HP’s industry-standard x86 servers declined 7 per cent while its storeage servers fell by 13 percent.

Traditional tape and hard-disk based storage dropped a marked 37 percent to $500 million as enterprises continue to move away from hardware heavy legacy data centres. 

HP built back doors into its storage products

Expensive printer ink venture HP has been forced to admit it built secret backdoors into its enterprise storage products.

The confession follows reports from Technion. The security problem was found in HP’s StoreOnce systems in June before it emerged there were more backdoors in other HP storage and SAN products.

According to HP: “all HP StoreVirtual Storage systems are equipped with a mechanism that allows HP support to access the underlying operating system if permission and access is provided by the customer”.

In other words, HP claims that the back doors are usable only with permission of the customer.

The announcement, coming as it does on the back of the Prism scandal in the US, is raising eyebrows – with good reason. After all if the NSA knows that HP has backdoors in its server it could use a secret court order to demand access.

An HP cloud executive told TechEye last month that there was already a corporate understanding of these privacy questions before the Prism revelations.

“There’s not much you can do if a government has access to your data and is being provided legally, or illegally, depending on the country you’re in, with access via your service providers,” Steve Dietch, VP, worldwide cloud at HP, said.

The entry points consist of a hidden administrator account with root access to StoreVirtual systems and software, and a separate copy of the LeftHand OS, the software that runs HP’s StoreVirtual and HP P4000 products.

But HP points out that even with root access, the secret admin account does not give support techs or hackers access to data stored on the HP machines.  It could, however, use the information to cripple the storage cluster.

A danger is that a business rival could find one of the backdoors and use it as a kind of corporate sabotage.

The backdoor was easy to find. All you have to do is open an SSH client, key in the IP of an HP D2D unit. Enter in yourself the username HPSupport, and the password which has a SHA1 of 78a7ecf065324604540ad3c41c3bb8fe1d084c50. Say hello to an administrative account you didn’t know existed and your father’s brother was someone called Robert.

Technion attempted to notify HP for weeks with no result before deciding to go public.

The hash hiding the login “is easily brute-forced” and has been done so at least 55 times.

HP has said that it will issue a patch by 17 July.

Gates and Allen recreate Microsoft history snap

Two Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen have got together to re-create an iconic snap from the early days of the computer.

More than 32 years ago, a freshly scrubbed Bill Gates and a very hairy Allen were photographed looking slightly geeky in a sea of computers.

The snap was taken to illustrate the risk of the young geek in an industry which had been dominated by the mainframe and the suited guy from IBM.

While the computers in the picture have remained the same,  the men have got older.  This is no mean feat in the case of Allen who has fought off cancer.

The picture also has another mean feat in that they have managed to gather together all the same PCs of yesteryear and put them in the same place.

That was possible because the new photograph was taken at the Living Computer Museum (LCM) in Seattle, a museum founded by Allen.

The LCM is dedicated to not only displaying old hardware, and not normally the old software makers.

The only version of the new image that has been shared so far is through Allen’s Twitter . It doesn’t compare to the quality of the original and is smaller. We guess a bigger and better one will go on display at the museum.

It is also amazing that Gates and Allen found time to be in the same room together.  Gates is saving the world from the mosquito and is currently offering is offering $100,000 grants for people to come up with a better  condom. Allen is trying to put people into space.