Tech entrepreneurs took to city hall in Chicago to complain about the tax ruling put in effect last week. They claimed the tax, which extended a nine percent lease tax to cloud-based technology services, would hurt business and discourage startups in Chicago.
Spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in statement, “Based on feedback we have received from Chicago’s vibrant start-up community, the administration will be taking measures to provide relief to small businesses so as not to put them at a competitive disadvantage. Proposals are being discussed with stakeholders, and we will release further guidance later this month.”
Relief may include exempting small businesses based on income.
Harper Reed, founder of Modest, a mobile-commerce technology provider to small and mid-sized businesses, said, “My initial concern was that I might have to charge our Chicago customers more, which is kind of a bummer. Then there was the other part of it . . . where all cloud services would be taxed. This is a big thing.”
This would affect startups that run their business from the cloud, using big businesses such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure or IBM Cloud Services, that have been switching to the cloud.
City Hall has not provided a clear interpretation of the law, worrying tech entrepreneurs. J.B. Pritzker, a venture capitalist who is one of the most prominent leaders of the tech community, has commented, “If they don’t want to lose momentum in the startup community, it has to be more narrowly applied. Most startups are not particularly well-funded or making money. To the extent there’s an interpretation hat would bear down on those companies and take capital out of their nascent, small treasure chests, it’s the wrong place to look.”
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Ciphercloud and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) have been working to fill a gap in the cloud access security broker market. It is a new working group for defining a uniform Open API. The group is led by CipherCloud and also includes from Deloitte, Infosys, Intel Security and SAP. The Open API looks to define a standard for the emerging cloud access security broker (CASB) space. CASB will cover four categories: data protection, threat prevention, visibility and compliance.
Cloud identity is mainly handled by Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) assertions, which can enable federated identity across cloud vendors. Chenxi Wang, vice president of Cloud Security & Strategy at CipherCloud, explains that identity management is only part of the battle in cloud security, and that the API will cover not only identity management but also data classification, data protection and access management.
Wang describes, “We will not propose new protocols to replace SAML, but instead, we will fill gaps where existing standards are lacking. For instance, how does the enterprise specify to the cloud service that a particular piece of data and content can only be stored in a particular geography? You can’t do that today automatically.
“This Open API effort will standardize the specification, control and assessment across the tiers of the cloud infrastructure, which will in turn significantly lessen the work on the developers’ part and hence expedite time to market for cloud adoption. The immediate goals of this effort are to issue specifications for the API framework, reference architecture documents, as well as a few whitepapers. After that, we may propose to incorporate that as part of the CSA STAR, if the industry embraces the API standards.”
The group is focused on its immediate goals first and foremost. While the groups formation was announced in late June, it is expected to begin operations in July.
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Cisco has announced that it plans to buy cloud security company OpenDNS for $635 million. This amount is to be paid in cash and assumed equity awards, plus retention based incentives for OpenDNS, according to information released by Cisco.
OpenDNS provides a cross-platform online threat-protection service that Cisco will utilize to increase its own security, stating, “broad visibility and threat intelligence from the OpenDNS cloud delivered platform.”
Hilton Romanski, leader of business development at Cisco, said, “The acquisition will extend our ability to provide customers enhanced visibility and threat protection for unmonitored and potentially unsecure entry points into the network, and to quickly and efficiently deploy and integrate these capabilities as part of their defense architecture.”
OpenDNS will join the Cisco Security Business Group and the deal is expected to close during the first quarter of fiscal 2016. David Ulevitch, founder and CEO of OpenDNS, said, “We’re not going anywhere and OpenDNS as you know it will continue to work as it does today.” While OpenDNS has over 50 million users, it has only 10,000 paying customers and runs 24 data centers.
Cisco has stated, “The burgeoning digital economy and the Internet of Everything are expected to spur the connection of nearly 50 billion devices by 2020, creating a vast new wave of opportunities for security breaches across networks.”
Hilton Romanski also added “As more people, processes, data and things become connected, opportunities for security breaches and malicious threats grow exponentially when away from secure enterprise networks.”
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iiNet will begin to provide cloud services on a consumption based infrastructure-as-a-service model to the South Australian Departments of Premier and Cabinet; Planning, Transport, and Infrastructure; and Communities and Social Inclusion.
iiNet general manager for Business and Government ,Daryl Knight, said “This infrastructure will be there for government to use. We’re very confident there will be significant workloads that will be put onto this platform, and we’re confident it will be there for some time, provided we deliver a good service and deliver value for money for the state. Its spread across two data centers iiNet owns in Adelaide, and there is a natural advantage there that appeals to the state, because the infrastructure is located in the state it resides, and we’ve got connectivity straight into the state’s internal data network.” In addition, iiNet will also offer the Australian government back up services.
The South Australian government is taking advantage of this opportunity to promote its cloud credentials. Public Sector Minister Susan Close said in a statement “In line with the government’s SA Connected ICT strategy, it allows agencies to invest in services rather than buying hardware and software. This solution improves agility for state government agencies with no upfront costs and provides the ability to spin up or shut down servers as required in minutes instead of months. Consumption-based pricing requires no minimum spend. With the rapidly maturing cloud market, we are now at the point where government agencies can benefit from quicker deployment speeds, greater flexibility, and improved value for money by using this model through iiNet.”
The cloud will be hosted in iiNet’s two Adelaide-based data centers and the private cloud will consume hardware reserved for the state government.
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Cloud Technology Partners, the professional services firm behind hundreds of the world’s most advanced cloud initiatives, has announce that it has finished an approximately 3.5 million dollar top-up round. Led by existing investors Pritzker Group, Venture Capital and Oak Investment Partners, the funding will go towards increasing Cloud Technology Partner’s sales and delivery capabilities.
Chris Greendale, CEO and Founder, has said “We have been doubling the number of cloud professionals we hire every year, and we need to increase this level of hiring in order to support the exponential growth in demand for our services. The good news is that given our position in the market, we have been able to recruit outstanding cloud thought leaders and experienced practitioners. We are exceedingly pleased with the vote of confidence our investors, ecosystem partners and clients have made in us as we continue to build a great cloud company.”
In addition, Managing Partner of Pritzker Group, Chris Girgenti, stated, “Across the industry, we are seeing profound IT and business results achieved by leveraging cloud as an enabling platform – many of which have been realized by Cloud Technology Partners’ clients. We are pleased to participate in this funding round as it serves to further enable Cloud Technology Partners’ growth.”
Cloud Technology Partners has completed more than 200 cloud projects for a myriad of enterprise clients throughout the world while working with cloud giants such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform to accelerate the adoption of both public and hybrid cloud services by enterprises.
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Google has paired up with high profile Broad Institute at MIT to develop its cloud genomics platform. The scientific community has needed new technologies to deal with the scale of genomic information and Google and the Broad Institute are looking to provide that.
This technology will process store, process and share genomic information as well as making it useful and accessible. The institute released a statement saying: “The goal is to enable any genomic researcher to upload, store, and analyze data in a cloud-based environment that combines the Broad Institute’s best-in-class genomic analysis tools with the scale and computing power of Google.”
Broad Institute will make its Genome Analysis Toolkit, or GATK, available as a service on the Google Cloud Platform. Initial access to the GATK will be limited, but eventually the service will be made more widely available. Any user will be able to upload their data to the cloud and GATK will analyze it using Google’s computing capacity.
Product manager at Google Genomics, Jonathan Bingham, wrote in a blog post: “In order to scale up by the next order of magnitude, Broad and Google will work together to explore how to build new tools and find new insights to propel bio-medical research, using deep bioinformatics expertise, powerful analytics, and massive computing infrastructure.”
This partnership allows researchers to outsource the configuration of technical specifications and maintenance of computing capacity to Google.
GATK could give Google an edge over other cloud computing companies such as Amazon Web Services in the genomic field; however, Google partnership with Broad is not exclusive.
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Amazon Web Services has decided to enter India after having localized services in China. The decision to move into India was influenced by the fact that India is expected to see a lot of growth and has seen the emergence of a multitude of startups, including Flipkart, Snapdeal, payment services such as Paytm, which is backed by Alibaba and Uber’s main rival called Ola. Gartner research vice president Ed Anderson has said “Organizations in India seeking IT outsourcing services are increasingly turning to public cloud services as an alternative to traditional ITO offerings. In fact, cloud services are not only being used for low-value or transient workloads but also increasingly for production workloads, including some mission-critical initiatives.”
More traditional businesses are also a part of Amazon Web Services. These businesses, like automobile giant Tata Motors, media firm NDTV, and national flower retail chain Ferns N Petals, will be some of the initial launch partners.
While Amazon Web Services is already available in India, its expansion of its cloud computing platform will improve service for existing customers while potentially drawing in new ones.
Andy Jassy, senior vice president for Amazon Web Services, said in a statement: “Tens of thousands of customers in India are using AWS from one of AWS’s eleven global infrastructure regions outside of India. Several of these customers, along with many prospective new customers, have asked us to locate infrastructure in India so they can enjoy even lower latency to their end users in India and satisfy any data sovereignty requirements they may have.”
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North State Communications, a leading fiber optic network, data center and cloud services provider, has announced its plans to purchase Stalwart, an IT security integration firm. The purchase will complement DataChambers, North State Communication’s data center and cloud computing subsidiary. While North State Communications said that it expects to close the deal in the third quarter, no details pertaining to the deal were disclosed.
Royster Tucker III, CEO of North State describes, “North State is extremely pleased to be gaining such a highly qualified and well-rounded IT security firm as Stalwart. Their professional integrity and mastery of advanced threat protection are ideal counterparts for DataChambers’ data center and cloud offerings. Bringing Stalwart onboard further fuels our strategic growth and helps round out our ability to effectively address some of the greatest IT challenges facing businesses today.” Tucker also said that the deal originated from North State Communication’s search for ways to add value for business customers.
Tucker also said, “As businesses begin to move into the cloud and IT infrastructure becomes distributed and moves into the cloud, we wanted to build that business and Stalwart has real expertise in IT infrastructure and security. Today more than ever, you have to wrap that in an envelope of security, and that’s what Stalwart brings to the table.”
Bill Cooper, CEO of Stalwart, also shared his opinion of the deal: “North State is a strategic acquirer who shares our core virtues and beliefs. This, more than anything, will continue to make Stalwart unique and better. It is exciting to think of the myriad ways our team will now be able to create additional value for our coveted and growing customer base.” Bill Cooper will continue to lead Stalwart as it joins North State.
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Oracle has been working to establish itself as a major player in the cloud computing industry and is preparing to take on Amazon Web Services. Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison has said the company will offer online storage and customers will be able to have their applications run entirely on Oracle’s cloud network.
The new cloud service, called Oracle Cloud Platform, will be a lower cost alternative to Amazon Web Services and will contain automation to improve cost efficiency and faster processing. In addition, there will be 24 new cloud services such as Oracle Database, Oracle Integration and Oracle Process Cloud to increase Oracles presence in SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. These programs are designed to give users a better experience while increasing productivity, allowing Oracle to compete with the big names in cloud computing like Amazon. As an example of the cost differences between Oracle and Amazon, Ellison has said “Our new archive storage service goes head-to-head with Amazon Glacier and it’s one-tenth their price.”
Also, Oracle Cloud Services has been growing rapidly. Ellison notes, “Oracle is growing really fast. We sold $426M worth of business in SaaS and PaaS last quarter, a 200 percent increase over the same quarter last year. That’s an industry record; no company has ever sold that much in just one quarter… Oracle is the only company on the planet that can deliver a complete, integrated, standards-based suite of services at every layer of the cloud. Those technology advantages enable us to be much more cost-effective than our competitors.”
So, while Amazon Web services may be the big name in cloud computing for now, Oracle is on the rise in the rapidly expanding industry.
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Box and IBM have paired up to boost both of their sales in a corporate setting. Both companies will benefit from this pairing; IBM becomes more modern with the integration of box into its cloud services and Box has a new channel with larger corporations and will be able to reach customers in new settings like finance and healthcare.
Box users will be able to store files on IBM’s SoftLayer cloud platform and IBM’s mobile apps will deliver Box services on Apple’s iPhones and iPads long with IBM’s content management and security tools. “We see this partnership as a kind of blueprint for where enterprise technology is going to go,” said Box CEO Aaron Levie. While building Box into SoftLayer will take more than a year, BM could start building Box’s services into custom software immediately.
Out of a registered 37 million box users, few pay for the services. In order to increase revenue, Box has built services aimed at markets such as Healthcare.
The partnership will also allow Box to expand globally, as it would be able to utilize IBM 40 data centers in 17 different countries. “We plan to use IBM’s cloud in at least a dozen or so key markets that we’re going after internationally,” Levie said.
Recently, IBM has faced declining revenues in its hardware, software and services businesses. It is looking toward companies like Box to revive it as a cloud services company and enable it to compete with companies such as Microsoft.
This partnership is just one of many both companies have made in recent months. Box has paired with both Microsoft and Cisco and IBM has also made a string of agreements that ally it with the fast growing internet.
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