Developers Love Parallels Toolbox One-Click Tools

Parallels® Toolbox is an easy-to-use suite of tools for Mac® and PC. This all-in-one suite of one-click tools can save users some serious time and money. Our 30+ tools have a wide spectrum of uses, from keeping your focus with Presentation Mode, maintaining peak computer performance with Clean Drive, freeing up extra space on your […]

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GTT pays £1.7bn for Interoute’s European fibre network

Clare Hopping

27 Feb, 2018

GTT has announced it will buy cloud networking provider Interoute for €1.9 billion (£1.7 billion) in cash, adding an additional 72,000km of fibre network coverage to its European operation. 

The acquisition will also mean GTT is able to reach a much larger area, making use of Interoute’s 126 cities across 29 countries, plus its extensive resources, including 15 data centres, 17 virtual data centres and 51 colocation facilities.

GTT will also take onboard Interoute’s 1,000 strategic enterprise and carrier clients, the majority of which reside in Europe, offering an enhanced selection of infrastructure, edge and hosted services.

“The acquisition of Interoute represents a major milestone in delivering on our purpose of connecting people, across organisations and around the world,” said Rick Calder, GTT president and CEO.

“This combination creates a disruptive market leader with substantial scale, unique network assets and award-winning product capabilities to fulfill our clients’ growing demand for distributed cloud networking in Europe, the U.S. and across the globe.”

Calder added the deal is estimated to close in three to six months and the businesses merged fully within three to four quarters. Many of Interoute’s employees, including its sales, operations and customer service teams will transfer to GTT, enhancing its existing resources on a global scale.

“This is an exciting next chapter for Interoute, GTT, our customers and our team,” added Gareth Williams, Interoute CEO. “The combined assets and strengths of our two companies create a powerful portfolio of high-capacity, low-latency connectivity, and innovative cloud and edge infrastructure services to support our customers in the global digital economy.”

Dana Gardner Joins @CloudEXPO NY Faculty | @Dana_Gardner #AI #DigitalTransformation

To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in this new hybrid and dynamic environment.

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Amdocs teams up with AWS to help CSPs feel more comfortable in the cloud


MWC Mobile World Congress 2018 will most likely not be overburdened by pure cloud news this year, so anything that does come this publication’s way is worth checking out: Amdocs has announced a deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help cautious communications service providers (CSPs) transform their operations to become cloud-ready.

Amdocs cited a survey from Analysys Mason which found that within five years more than 90% of CSP systems will be on the cloud, with three fifths of those running on hybrid architectures. This publication has more than once mulled over the prospect of increasing cloud complexity – the word multi-cloud may have been mentioned – and so it proves here, with CSPs naturally having their share of legacy infrastructure to deal with.

Amdocs will look to migrate business support systems and third party legacy environments into an ‘optimised, hybrid cloud operational environment.’ Alongside this, support will be provided as customers deploy and migrate new and existing Amdocs products to AWS.

Perhaps anticipating that organisations may not wish to go straight in, Amdocs says it will use ‘cutting edge technologies around open source’ as well as elastic network scaling to create cloud-native AWS environments and ‘help CSPs test new offerings, consumer uptake and disruptive business models for faster time to market and greater business agility.’

Added to this will be Amdocs’ managed service provider (MSP) practice, which will include AWS technologies, leveraging the communication provider’s certification as an AWS advanced technology provider partner in the process.

“The Amdocs and AWS strategic collaboration has been created to support CSPs as they embark on and accelerate their cloud journey to achieve new levels of business agility, innovation, and cost savings,” said Terry Wise, AWS global vice president of channels and alliances. “This collaboration will enable CSPs to rapidly become digital service providers, delivering new and enhanced customer experiences that are simple, personal, contextual and valuable at every point of engagement across all channels.”

Why cloud is the cornerstone of digital transformation in healthcare

Today every part of the business is subject to new expectations, competitors, channels, threats and opportunities. Every business has the potential to be a digital business. As the numbers of smart, connected devices from phones to cars to wearables are growing, companies that quickly deliver digital solutions or services, and use insights to rapidly optimise their value chain are gaining competitive advantage. Businesses that digitally transform will be able to connect more closely with customers, speed up the pace of innovation and, as a result, claim a greater share of profit in their sectors. In fact, according to a report earlier last year from IDC, the global economic impact of digital transformation to date already exceeds £14 trillion, a staggering 20% of global GDP.

Put simply digital transformation is the trend of enterprises shifting away from traditional systems in favour of digital options to enable major improvements in productivity and unlock new lines of business value creation.   In recent years digital transformation has been driven by the explosion of cloud computing, big data, and mobile technologies.

While big data and mobile have driven digital transformation, the cornerstone of it all is cloud.

Flexible, cost efficient and accessible from anywhere, the cloud has already been a transformative technology for many industries. However, while migrating to the cloud is a top priority for virtually all organisations embracing digital transformation projects, the path to get there involves navigating a great many obstacles, especially for those operating in highly-regulated industries. Healthcare, in particular, is at the top of the list.

Over the past few years, cloud adoption has been on the rise in the healthcare industry. To date, organisations have primarily been testing the waters by focusing on modernising the back-end of their systems, moving financial, operational and HR applications into the cloud. Now there is increasing demand for transforming core healthcare systems and applications in order to improve the quality of patient care with new digital services that empower patients to take control of their own health and reduce costs of operations as well as modernise infrastructure and create a more efficient environment in order to again take costs out.  In fact according to a recent study by Accenture, the healthcare industry stands to save over £44 billion in the long-term by making the right strategic technology investments today.

However, as anyone managing IT for a hospital or clinic can tell you, moving to the cloud is not as simple as signing up for a public cloud service. For IT leaders in the healthcare industry, it involves taking into account a wide array of complex factors, including regulatory compliance, information security and organisational change. Indeed, security mandates are increasing due to the upswing in cyberattacks on health providers, you only have to look at the WannaCry ransomware attack last year and how that impacted many NHS hospitals across the UK to see how healthcare and in particular health information and systems are being targeted.   This has led many healthcare providers to closely examine enterprise cloud options for hybrid and off-premises deployment models that meet or exceed high security and compliance requirements whilst offering utility-based billing and cloud flexibility.

The good news is that healthcare IT is now trending towards the cloud and digital transformation is well underway with hospitals, care centres and clinics all undergoing some form of digital transformation, integrating their electronic patient record (EMR) platforms and new patient engagement systems and as well as emerging precision health platforms.

Here at Virtustream, we have our own Healthcare Cloud which is purpose-built for mission critical healthcare applications, with availability SLAs of up to 99.99%, full automation for HIPAA and HITECH compliance, and rigorous end-to-end security to protect patient information.

With organisations continuing to migrate to the cloud, healthcare providers require a fast turnaround when getting infrastructure up and running. Cloud applications such as Virtustream’s have been successful in delivering this within just six months.  Applications that offer consumption billing means organisations are only charged based on the resources they use, allowing for major cost savings. For healthcare providers, the result is a flexible cloud infrastructure that runs as a single entity, no matter the location.

As digital technology continues to transform the healthcare industry, the right cloud infrastructure can pave the way for providers of every kind. 

So, what should healthcare organisations look for in a cloud provider?

  • Partner with a cloud provider that guarantees the safety and security of patients’ health data with a full suite of security and compliance capabilities and delivers true ‘cloud’ benefits such as pay-as-you-go with the flexibility to scale up or down
  • Look for a cloud provider with the cloud infrastructure and managed services needed to manage all of the categories of mission critical applications including EMRs; ERP systems; workforce management systems; precision medicine platforms; picture archive and communication systems (PACS) as well as many other health IT systems
  • Check that your provider offers guaranteed in-region hosting, to meet country-specific data residency requirements
  • Choose to work with a cloud provider that has a solid track record and proven expertise

By choosing a cloud provider with superior service, governance, security and flexibility, healthcare providers can make significant improvements to their current IT infrastructure, while at the same time transforming their systems to be future-ready. Today digitally transformed companies have an edge; tomorrow, only those businesses that have digitally transformed will succeed.

Cisco and Rackspace come together for multi-cloud security

Multi-cloud continues to be on the agenda – this time, a collaboration between Cisco and Rackspace whereby the former will provide the latter’s customers with security protection for multi-cloud environments.

Rackspace will deploy high volumes of Cisco’s next-generation firewalls and integrate them directly into its services, according to Cisco. The managed cloud provider had previously served as a testing partner for Cisco’s ASA firewall series.

According to the most recent annual Cisco cybersecurity report, more than half of security professionals polled said they hosted networks in the cloud because of better data security, with scalability and ease of use also highly cited. But with these benefits come extra dangers, with workloads moving to the cloud being at risk from creating new threat vectors.

The multi-cloud angle continues to be a compelling one for service providers as customers become more confident and comfortable with complex cloud environments. In recent weeks, storage firm Cloudian as well as infrastructure provider Juniper Networks have cited it as key for their latest product offerings. Writing for this publication in January, Richard Stinton, solutions architect at iland, noted that “as businesses deploy new applications and move critical workloads to save money and boost agility, it’s safe to say that the trend of mixing and matching cloud environments will only accelerate.”

“The cloud is the future of IT for all businesses, but for many companies, the journey to the cloud can be a challenge,” said Brian Kelly, Rackspace chief security officer in a statement. “One of the biggest hurdles and concerns for these companies is security – customers want to know that their data is protected with the most up-to-date and innovative technologies, even as their cloud needs evolve.

“Through our close collaboration with Cisco in threat protection, we are committed to helping secure our clients’ evolving and expanding journey to the cloud,” Kelly added.

You can find out more about the Cisco and Rackspace partnership here (video).

About Machine Learning | @ExpoDX @Schmarzo #AI #MachineLearning #ArtificialIntelligence

Sometimes I write a blog just to formulate and organize a point of view, and I think it’s time that I pull together the bounty of excellent information about Machine Learning. This is a topic with which business leaders must become comfortable, especially tomorrow’s business leaders (tip for my next semester University of San Francisco business students!). Machine learning is a key capability that will help organizations drive optimization and monetization opportunities, and there have been some recent developments that will place basic machine learning capabilities into the hands of the lines of business.

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More organisations using APIs and cloud-based integration – but management remains an issue

More companies are leveraging the power of APIs, but only a small minority has found a sustainable way to create and manage them.

That’s the key finding from API platform provider Jitterbit in its latest report. The study, titled ‘2018 State of API Integration’, found that of 450 companies surveyed, two in five (40%) had created APIs to expose internal data ‘as a service’ to both internal departments and external partners. More than half (57%) added that competitors in their industry were also utilising APIs in their business.

What’s more, more than two thirds (67%) say they are experiencing increased return on investment from exposing existing systems through APIs. Half of respondents said they were getting ideas to market faster, while attracting new partners, cited by 46% of those polled, and new revenue channels (42%) also popular.

The problem for organisations arises, however, with how they are coming together. The vast majority of companies polled admit they rely on developers for API creation and management. 60% say their developers do it on-site, 23% said they create APIs managed with AP-M tools, while 7% outsource it.

Alongside this, the research took steps to assess what cloud environments organisations had. An overwhelming 85% of respondents said they ran CRM applications in the cloud, well ahead of support and field service (47%), marketing (43%), and BI/analytics (32%). Around three quarters (74%) of those polled said they have at least three cloud systems deployed, with 11% saying they have more than 16 on the go.

Respondents were also asked how they connected and automated processes between their on-prem and cloud systems. One in three said they used cloud-based integration solutions, while 41% still opt for hand-coded or manual entry and 15% said they had no strategy at all. The report notes the disparity. “With the growing need to connect new cloud systems to existing technology investments, including those on-premise, only a third of companies surveyed appear to be positioned for success with their stack,” the report explains.

“These companies have a competitive advantage, though there is ample opportunity for those that shift their 2018 priorities.”

In terms of the API sustainability problem, however, the report recommends that using integration platform as a service (iPaaS) or similar – as 10% of companies polled already do – is key. “In their rush to leverage modern connected technologies, many companies are falling back on traditional methods for deploying and managing this technology,” the report concludes.

“With a heavy burden already placed on IT and developers, businesses are putting potential gains at risk by leaning on these same teams to develop, deploy and manage so many disparate systems.”

You can read the full report here (email required).

NFV and SDN: Key Considerations | @CloudExpo #DataCenter #Virtualization

Making informed network investment decisions about emerging technologies such as network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) can help evolve the network to keep pace with the innovations of the devices and people it’s connecting. As you work with business leaders to make decisions about upgrading your infrastructure with these networking developments, it’s important to understand the similarities, differences, and benefits of dual NFV and SDN implementation.
With their ability to offer a new way to design, deploy, and manage the network and its services, NFV and SDN should be incorporated into modern enterprise networks and carrier infrastructures. However, lack of knowledge about these technologies can result in poor networking investments and missed opportunities to experience the benefits of each. While they hold similar principles, and benefit virtual environments overall, NFV and SDN possess distinctive characteristics that make them both individually important to successfully managing the network and its services.

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Is your infrastructure prepared for the new era of AI?

Many have lauded the latest phone from Google, the Pixel 2, applauding its ability to showcase the emerging capabilities of artificial intelligence. Not only does the virtual assistant sound more human than other competitors’ technologies, but it also does a better job of understanding commands and questions.

Still, there’s a distinct difference between responding to short queries and understanding the nuances of conversation, and Google’s “AI” hasn’t quite made that leap.

Current iterations of AI are actually a combination of traditional algorithms with modern computing power and technology for processing big data. Due to extreme growth in specialized computing capabilities, it’s relatively easy to design algorithms that make decisions based on statistics gleaned from large volumes of data. This means that even though the work being done by companies such as Google, IBM, and Microsoft is only a precursor to future technologies that will have an even greater impact on business, modern data analytics technologies currently labeled as AI are already making waves.

Big benefits

When it comes to understanding customers and prospects, marketing agencies are using analytics technologies to reach conversion rates upward of 80 percent from banner to purchase. Gone are the days of educated guesses about what constitutes relevant advertising — instead, companies are reaching out to their audiences with meaningful, usable content, and prospects are responding with purchases.

A recent report from Acquisio illustrates the impact machine learning algorithms can have on the effectiveness of paid search marketing campaigns. The company found that AI-operated campaigns had conversion rates 71 percent better than those of their counterparts that were not using the technology. Besides performance increases, AI and data analytics can help automate many tasks by standardizing decisions that used to be made by humans.

The technology used by digital assistants like Alexa and Siri are now more broadly available, which means we can apply basic AI capabilities to machines for tasks like transcribing audio — a practice that would normally take hours.

While breakthroughs in machine learning receive all the press, much less attention is given to the infrastructure that powers these systems. As a result, innovation in the former has effectively overwhelmed progress in the latter, meaning the current systems are incapable of powering future iterations of AI.

Three tips to integrate AI into your infrastructure

It’s crucial for IT professionals to begin to evaluate their current web infrastructure if they want to position their businesses to take advantage of the impending AI advancements. Here are some strategies they can use to position their brands to capitalize on emerging AI:

  • Make sure the infrastructure is positioned to integrate with third-party services. Most AI functionalities will likely be made available as a service because of the enormous data and infrastructure requirements. Web-facing businesses that haven’t integrated AI functionality into their structures will be forced to outsource those components rather than build the apps themselves. Their No. 1 priority for taking advantage of AI should be optimizing their infrastructure to integrate with third-party services.
  • Coordinate your workflow. Deploying machine learning capabilities requires a well-thought-out workflow that starts with the ingestion of data. Data points are then cleaned and labeled in order to be easily discovered by the features used for prediction. The final step — and a continuous one — is for developers to validate that predictions are accurate and then optimize them to improve over time.
  • Make the most of a hybrid infrastructure. The right infrastructure is crucial for each step in the ingest/clean/label/process workflow. For example, ingesting is a high-bandwidth process that is easy on storage; cleaning, on the other hand, is very storage-intensive. CPU and GPU capacity are the most important factors for the training and processing of data. Retrieving and decision-making have their own efficiency requirements.

Each capability requires a different focus from the standpoint of infrastructure. Specialized companies will want to create a hybrid infrastructure that helps them provide AI services to those in a PaaS or SaaS model.

Today, what’s widely labeled as artificial intelligence is just the tip of the iceberg compared to AI’s true potential. Need proof? Tractica, a research and advisory firm, has predicted that worldwide revenue from AI will grow to almost $40 billion by 2025. Compared to the $643.7 million of 2016, it’s clear that IT leadership should begin planning today for this meteoric rise.

Unless a core aspect of your business is developing apps that utilize AI, preparing your web infrastructure to take advantage of AI as a service is the best way to position your business for a big win. While we haven’t scaled the gap between responding to short queries and understanding the nuances of conversation, it won’t be long until we do.