Category Archives: Collaboration

Cisco reports 3% growth for Q3 and sets targets on IoT market

Cisco corporateCisco has reported 3% year-on-year growth for Q3, topping $12 billion for the quarter, with its security business leading the charge, though the team have reconfirmed IOT, software cloud and collaboration markets are priorities for the future.

The security portfolio demonstrated revenue growth of 17% while deferred revenue grew 31% driven by the ongoing shift from hardware to more software and subscription services. The Collaboration portfolio grew 16%, while the team were also confident in the performance of its next generation data centre portfolio. The ACI platform grew revenues approximately 100%, exceeding a $2 billion annualized run-rate.

“We delivered strong Q3 results against the backdrop of the Macro environment that continues to be uncertain,” said CEO Charles Robbins. “Despite this uncertainty we executed very well, with revenue growth of 3%. The operational changes we continued to make will further enable our customers to leverage strategic role to network as they transform their businesses to become digital.”

Regionally, the America’s accounted for a 4% lift, whereas EMEA and APJ were slightly less at 2% and 1% respectively. The emerging markets demonstrated healthy results for the business, as BRICs increased by 4%, Mexico by 4%, China up 22% and India up 18%. The team highlighted while there was good growth in the public and service provider segments, the enterprise was not as positive as the team pointed towards pressure driven by macro uncertainty as the reasoning.

The quarter also saw Cisco as one of the more active players in the M&A market, completing five acquisitions over the course of the quarter. The $1.4 billion acquisition of Jasper Technologies now makes Cisco the largest cloud based IOT service platform in the industry, the team claims. Cisco also completed the acquisitions of Acano, Synata, Leaba and CliQr during the period, the latter a $260 million orchestration platform to help customers simplify and accelerate their private, public and hybrid cloud deployment. Cisco had already integrated CliQr with its Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Unified Computing systems (UCS) prior to acquisition.

“These acquisitions are clearly focused on our key growth areas including IOT, software cloud and collaboration as well as continuing to strengthen our core,” said Robbins.

The IoT market has been a long time target of Cisco, with the Jasper deal adding to the ParStream acquisition last year. The acquisition offered the opportunity for instant analysis of masses of data at the network edge with minimal infrastructural or OPEX repercussions, the company claimed.

Microsoft Partnering With Accelerators To Give Startups Free Cloud Computing Credits

Microsoft has begun to partner with startup accelerators to gift startups that qualify for their BizSpark Plus program free cloud computing on their Azure platform. Beginning July 1, these startups will receive $10,000 a month in credits for one year. They will be able to apply through accelerators or incubators such as Techstars, ERA, MassChallenge, Seedcamp, and 1871.

Startups can use these credits to help alleviate stress related to cloud services. This includes Microsoft’s App Service (a set of tools designed to power mobile, Web and other applications) as well as infrastructure services like virtual machines and high-level services like Azure Machine Learning.

 

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In addition to the Azure credits, startups get access to free software like Office and Visual Studio, which is supported by Microsoft Ventures, a division of the company that works with startups. Startups that qualify for the BizSpark Plus program can also receive up to $750 in Azure credits from BizSpark’s own system.

Getting growing companies to use their products drives Microsoft’s core business growth. Many other cloud service providers, such as Amazon Web Services, also offer similar programs. In order to qualify for this program, startups must be less than 5 years old, be privately owned and have less then $1 million in annual revenue.

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Government Agencies Adopting The Cloud At A Faster Rate Than Before

In a new report from Forbes Insights, partnering with Microsoft, strong evidence is pointed towards government agencies reaching a tipping point when it comes to adopting the cloud. Many government groups are heading towards a cloud-first orientation rather than just dabbling with the technology. The amount and type of cloud installation in this setting is expected to grow exponentially.

 

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Moving data over to the cloud has many benefits, including lower costs and higher efficiency and security, and though there was a cloud-first policy implemented back in 2010, agencies and groups have been very slow to adopt it. Cloud services account for a mere 2% of all IT spending in federal agencies.

 

Agencies have been moving slowly, testing the waters to make sure that the benefits the cloud claims to present are actually happening. Now that they have seen positive results, attempts are being made to employ the cloud in other, more in-depth implementations, such as mission-critical applications.

 

Agencies and groups on the state, county and even city level have also begun to implement cloud technology to better their services. For example, the City of Miami implemented a cloud-backed mobile and Internet application that allows for better scheduling.

 

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CERN and Rackspace Team Up Again

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and managed cloud provider Rackspace have been working together since 2013 when Rackspace created an OpenStack-based hybrid cloud set-up for CERN. Now, the two organizations are working together again to create a multi-cloud, collaborative work environment for CERN’s global research teams.

 

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So far, the reference architecture and operation models have been created in order to better manage the cloud environments. Identity authentication tools have also been made to cover multiple OpenStack clouds. This model allows the data obtained at CERN to be shared with all of their overseas research teams.

 

The amount of data collected when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is running is on the petabyte scale, and all of it flows and is stored through OpenStack. The easier this data can be shared among CERN’s researchers and with less technology the better.

 

To make sure this system flows properly and efficiently, Rackspace has a full time research fellow on location at CERN to provide assistance with design and implementation issues that come up among its OpenStack cloud environments. The open-source software is also used to manage the data center resources that power the LHC, which reportedly produces more than 30PB of data per year.

 

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Using open-source software instead of proprietary software keeps costs low while keeping flexibility high. This is a plus for research labs all over the world, especially those who are under-funded.

 

The next phase of this partnership is creating standard templates to speed up the creation of OpenStack clouds so that CERN researchers have access to the data sooner.

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HP Cannot Compete As Public Cloud Service Provider

One year ago HP thought it would be competing with Amazon, Google and Microsoft to become the leader in cloud services. HP has re-branded and re-launched their cloud services many times, the most recent being their Helion service. However, the customer base is practically non-existent.

 

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Last year they acquired Eucalyptus, an open-source vendor that was marketed as being Amazon Web Service compatible. This deal made no sense, and just added to HP’s gloomy cloud history. Though they are ceding the public cloud, they are still selling servers. Their largest customers are cloud companies or cloud behemoths. For other companies, HP hopes to build smaller cloud systems in ways that they can also utilize Amazon, Microsoft and other services.

 

For example a company could use HP computers to create content and Microsoft to handle email or heavy workloads on information. Salesforce.com is cloud platform used to share information.

 

HP was the leader in selling computer services to business, so it looked like selling computing in a new way would be easy for them. However, due to the scale of public clouds, with more than a million servers on each one, being difficult to learn it is very hard for newcomers to enter the market.

 

Enabling companies to create their own software applications is an important aspect of corporate technology, and is an area where HP seriously lacks. HP has put their engineers and sales people together to become better acquainted with each others services in order to promote the sharing of assets and collaboration.

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IBM’s Internet of Things + Partnership With The Weather Channel

Last fall, IBM announced their Internet of Things (IoT) Foundation service on its BlueMix cloud-based platform. This news was overshadowed by the announcement this week that they plan to invest over $3 billion to build a dedicated IoT unit consisting of over 2,000 consultants, researchers and developers over the course of the next four years.

 

Along with this news, IBM announced that they are building a cloud-based platform to assist clients and partners to enhance real-time data and insights from various sources directly to business operations. In a separate announcement they said they would be partnering with The Weather Channel for an IoT service, as The Weather Channel is adding IBM as its cloud services provider.

 

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The IoT foundation already has offered developers a set of APIs to simplify data access from Internet-connected devices. The new service includes IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries (new analytics services offered directed at developing and delivering vertical industry IoT apps for cloud customers), BlueMix IoT Zone (new IoT services to support integration of IoT data into cloud-based apps) and the IoT Ecosystem (expanding partnerships with existing chip, device and industry partners to confirm the secure and easy integration of data solutions and services to their cloud platform).

 

The Weather Company, parent company of The Weather Channel, runs its weather-data-services-platform on Amazon only. They capture more than 20TB of data per day in order to drive their predictions accurately. The use of IBM’s cloud platform shows how the cloud market is heating up. The CIO/CTO of The Weather Company says they believe in multi-cloud stories, so cloud-based businesses or applications need to be built in an agnostic manner. This is the reason why they have been on a three-year journey to integrate IBM’s SoftLayer to power opportunities beyond what AWS could do alone.

 

The data from the Weather Channel’s WSI (B2B) will be made available to IBM IoT ecosystem customers so that they can make decisions about supply chains and customer buying patterns with accurate up to minute forecasts. IBM creating a dedicated business unit means that they can bring more focus and scale IoT opportunities. IBM feels that it is the right time for IoT to become the mainstream source of innovation across various industries.

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Microsoft and Ford’s New Cloud Based Partnership

Microsoft and Ford have worked together in the past to bring us Sync: a revolutionary technology that shifted a long standing reliance on hardware-based in-dash content and brought in an era of being able to access a portable device for entertainment. The original Sync system was way before the age of the cloud, and it was basically used to access music on iPod devices and take calls through Bluetooth.

 

Sync was the first software-based system, meaning it could be upgraded and features could be added later on. Other companies tried to follow suit, and the second generation Sync MyFord Touch system fell short of expectations. For the newest version of Sync, Sync 3, Ford teamed up with QNX. Many saw this as Ford ditching Microsoft, but they recently announced that they are working together on the Ford Service Delivery Network powered my Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform.

 

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This network is not going to rely just on Wi-Fi, and will include a built-in modem that can connect with the cloud and smartphone applications. This leverages the existing MyFord and MyLincoln smartphone apps.

 

Though Ford was the first to introduce this innovative technology with the original Sync, a lack of embedded connections in its cars has meant that Ford is already being left in the dust by automakers like Tesla who take advantage of over-the-air update capability. The new embedded modems will allow the new system to do exactly this.

 

The new capabilities of this Delivery Network will be in select vehicles by the end of the year, and will begin to be implemented in most vehicles by the end of next year. There is not yet a pricing structure, but the price of it is not subscription based and will be included in the price of the vehicle. However, additional features and new services that will be added in the future will most likely be a pay as you use or pay as you go sort of model.

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Secure File Delivery with an Audit Trail

My Docs Online has enhanced its web-based secure file delivery feature to add additional controls and a comprehensive delivery audit trail.

“We were the first to offer web-based file delivery, back in 1999,” said Stephen Campbell, CEO of My Docs Online, “and we’ve consistently enhanced and expanded our capabilities as user needs have evolved. What we are seeing now is the need for optional controls like passwords, variable expiration limits, and most importantly, a detailed audit trail documenting delivery and the ability to make changes after the fact. No other product offers our range of options coupled with an audit trail.”

In order to offer such a wide range of options without making the feature cumbersome to use, customization controls allow unneeded options to be hidden, allowing a streamlined, custom experience for each user. In addition, group administrators can control defaults and enforce group policies such as requiring passwords or setting a fixed expiration.

The new “Smart Label” feature allows users label a Share, and also save default values like custom comments and expirations for future use. Smart Labels also add more value to the Share Management portion of the product, making it easier to locate, verify and control Shares.

Users also have the option to generate a link they can send themselves, or select email addresses from an address book and let My Docs Online send the email.

The file delivery page displays the customer’s logo, and offers an optional zipped download of all files when there is more than one.

A web API is also available for third-party use.

More details are available in the My Docs Online FAQ.

Six Steps for Choosing a Software Vendor for your Start-Up

You’ve decided to take the plunge. Your dream business is on its way to make it big and you’re scaling up rapidly. As a startup entrepreneur you’re conscious of your costs – bottom-line matters the most to you and outsourcing is the answer.

For your business, every decision that you take not only affects you immediately but can have rippling effects. It is important then that these decisions are taken after carefully considering the impact, yet you may not enjoy the luxury of time in this competitive business landscape.

As a budding business house, there are a few challenges that you will face – tight budgets, short turnaround times, robust software support, right skills and people resources, high focus on business development and competitive pricing norms. Most of these challenges will remain, but when it comes to choosing your software vendors, here are six steps that can ease your decision:

Understand your requirements
An in-depth analysis of how software is going to support your business is most critical. You not only need to understand your current requirements, but as a start-up your growth curve is exponential. You would need to have a sense of direction of where the business is headed and how your requirements will change. This will then be helpful for you to match your needs with the offerings of the vendors you screen.

Is the vendor flexible enough?
Sometimes you will have to choose between an extremely well-known name that provides you with a standard set of software offerings or an isv that is more willing to tweak systems as per your requirements. This will probably give you much more flexibility as you grow, enhance or modify your software requirements in a dynamic business environment.

How open are communication channels?
One of the biggest challenges you may face with vendors is the lack of open channels that can help cater to fast moving changes in your systems. Transparent communication channels, no language barriers and 24 by 7 customer support should be top of your list when selecting vendors.

Do they have the right people?
Do they have the right skills and people resources? Are they able to retain these people? Are their teams able to provide expert counsel to you in matters of software, emerging technologies and project management?

Confidentiality and security?
Does your software vendor provide you with a sense of peace when it comes to managing your data? Look at testimonials from other users and conduct a proper survey on how vendors manage their own security, confidentiality and look at legal agreements carefully before signing on.

Expansion capabilities and hidden costs?
Will the software vendor be able to support rapid expansion, do they have open architectures that facilitate growth and revisions? Look at all hidden costs clearly; articulate as much as is possible at the outset. But also do a professional ethics check to see that the vendor adheres to corporate norms when unwritten requirements crop up.

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