Category Archives: Computing

Will Nokia Bounce Back with its Cloud Routers?

Nokia, the embattled cell phone manufacturer, has come up with a new set of routers that it claims will lay the foundation for future technologies such as 5G and the Internet of Things.

In an announcement made by the company, it said that Nokia has made ground-breaking innovations that’ll give more opportunities for service providers to build powerful networks. These are powered by the new FP4 silicon, which is the world’s first multi terabit chipset. It is touted that this chipset is six times more powerful than existing network processors, and this could propel faster speeds for networks.

Two products built on these chipsets are 7750 Service Router and 7950 Extensible Routing System. The first one is expected to transmit 144 terabits per second while the latter can transfer 576 terabits in a second, provided they are in a single system.

Nokia said that these new routing platforms make modern networks more adaptable, faster and safer than before, and at the same time, delivers improved network security and intelligence. These platforms can signal the arrival of the next generation of technologies that include deep learning, machine learning, AI, IoT and more.

A common aspect of all these emerging technologies is the need for handling large amounts of data and “teaching” machines to learn from this data. This obviously requires bigger and faster networks and this is exactly where Nokia is placing its bets.

This brings up the big question of why Nokia chose these routers instead of other lines of business?

For starters, this is one area that Nokia that considerable experience and the other is that it forecasts IP traffic to go to 330 exabytes a month by 2022.

This is why with this new platform, Nokia wants to get back into the business and resurrect its brand name and operations. Though Nokia was one of the leading manufacturers of cell phones, it fell out of favor from customers after the emergence of companies like Samsung that were able to get more powerful smartphones to the market within a short time.

So, is this the right product for Nokia? Will it help the company to become an important player in the technology sector in the future?

Apparently not, according to analysts at Wells Fargo who believe that Nokia needs to do a lot more to get back into the networking business. These analysts contend that service providers are not ready to embrace this high-speed chipsets and platforms yet, so it may take time for Nokia to see the implementation of its new products.

Also, these analysts are skeptical about the ability of service providers to put these platforms to the best use. This means, though Nokia’s new platform can transfer a minimum of 144 terabits per second, will the surrounding infrastructure allow it is a big question.

In the meantime, it makes sense for Nokia to focus on more near-term products that can get some money flowing into its coffers while keeping these platforms as its long-term strategy.

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Encryption is mandatory for healthcare data

More hospitals are turning to cloud-based services to store their data.  They want to tap into the existing infrastructure and convenience, not to mention reduced costs and lesser maintenance hassles that come with this transition.

That’s not all. The data that is stored on the cloud can be analyzed quickly to get meaningful insights. For example, it’ll be easy to know the rate of child obesity or the demographic groups that are more vulnerable to diseases like diabetes. With such deep insights, providing care will become streamlined and focused. At the same time, the government and the healthcare industry can come together to create a way to prevent such diseases from plaguing those demographic groups.

In fact, the above situations are just a tip of the iceberg as cloud storage and analytics opens the world for all kinds of possibilities in the medical world. Little wonder that more companies are moving to the cloud to leverage these benefits.

To cater to this growing demand from hospitals to store and analyze patient data, many companies have setup public healthcare cloud. But how safe are these cloud services?

A report called Cloud Infrastructure Security Trends released by cybersecurity vendor RedLock shows that 31 percent of databases in public healthcare clouds are easily accessible over the Internet and 40 percent of organizations have one or more cloud storage services exposed to the general public. In fact, this study looked at multiple verticals and were able to access 4.8 million records that includes many sensitive data about patients.

You may wonder what happened to the many privacy regulations including HIPAA?

HIPAA lays down certain regulations when it comes to public healthcare cloud, of which, a primary one is to ensure that the data you store is safe. Though these healthcare clouds have to comply with these regulations, it’s not completely foolproof. HIPAA as such faces many challenges, so the onus is on you to take measures to protect the safety and integrity of your data.

One way to ensure that your data is safe is to keep it encrypted. The report further states that 82 percent of databases are not encrypted, so the chances for accessing information with low to medium effort is fairly high. As a hospital authority, you have to make sure that all your data and databases are encrypted. This should be one of the most important aspects that you should talk about before signing a contract with a service provider.

Another option is to go with a zero-knowledge provider. If you’ve never heard this term before, don’t worry as you’re not alone.

Zero-knowledge providers are those that encrypt your data using AES algorithm and only you have the key to decrypt them. In other words, no other person other than you, not even the employees of your service provider or any other third party such as your Internet Service Provider or the NSA can access your data. Since this service doesn’t even store your username and password, you can ensure that you’re records are safe.

That said, not many zero-knowledge providers are out there and even among those, not many abide by HIPAA regulations. All this means, you’ll have to put in more time and effort before you park your healthcare data online.

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Edge Computing vs Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is now an established technology that transforming the world in more ways than we can imagine. But, technology and its outreach is growing too, so can cloud computing manage all the data.

Let’s take an example here. The Internet of Things (IoT) is real and will soon become an integral part of our lives. It will ease our everyday operations and become a handy way to get more out of life. At the same, IoT will generate large amounts of data, way more than what we can even imagine to begin with.  A report from Cisco states that cloud computing will grow by four-fold before 2020, and will reach a whopping 14.1ZB (zettabytes) of data. To give you a perspective, 2015 had a mere 3.9ZB of data.

This explosive growth brings up the question of whether cloud computing can handle this workload. Is the existing infrastructure capable of processing such vast amounts of data? Well, the simple answer is we don’t know. Based on some estimates, it may be possible, but still the infrastructure will be overworked.

To ease out this pressure on cloud computing, we can use what’s called edge computing. This is a technology that allows us to move computation to the edges of the network, thereby distributing the workload among different nodes. In contrast, cloud computing is the process where all the data are collected and processed in a centralized location. Obviously, moving data to the edges can make computing faster and data more accessible since much of this happens near the data source.

These benefits have triggered the big question – can edge computing replace the cloud?

No, because cloud and edge computing are complementary technologies that can work in tandem. There’s no need for one to replace the other completely, rather both centralized and edge processing can happen. This way, more data can be processed without putting excess pressure on the underlying infrastructure, and at the same time, it can give superior service to customers as the workload is distributed.

Additionally, end devices can be made smaller and cheaper because they don’t require any computing capabilities at all. With edge computing, a fair amount of processing will happen at the nodes and the remaining will be handled by centralized cloud computing infrastructure. There’s no need for any processing from the end devices and this could be a huge saving for customers, both in terms of size and cost.

Another benefit of using both the technologies is better management of applications and more resilience. With cloud computing, we’re relying heavily on the network to move our data to a central location and this is going to cause network congestion sooner or later. When we combine edge computing, we can obviously avoid this network congestion and improve the overall performance of our applications.

This integration of both edge and cloud computing opens new possibilities for a connected world because we’re no longer restrained by network  and infrastructure limitations. Exciting times are ahead of us for sure!

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How is Snap Faring on its Cloud Agreements?

Snap is a popular social media network that’s caught on in a big way, especially among teenagers. It’s estimated that more young people prefer to use Snap when compared to other social media platforms.

That’s not the only distinction. It’s also one of the few social media companies that doesn’t spend tens of millions of dollars to store all content on its own servers. To get around this capital-intensive option, Snap is tapping into the infrastructure of companies that specialize in cloud. In other words, it uses the cloud for storing all its data and to gain the many advantages that come from it.

In fact, Snap’s biggest expenditure is the cost it pays to cloud companies for hosting its content.

Over the last year, Snap entered into an agreement with both Alphabet Inc and Amazon Web Services, though this platform was originally built on Google Cloud platform. The agreements signed with both these companies offers good discounts to Snap, as it has committed to spend almost $2 billion on Google cloud and an extra $1 billion with Amazon.

If you look at both these agreements, you’ll see that it’s contract with Google is fairly straightforward. It will spend $400 million per year for the next five years, amounting to a total of $2 billion. Out of these five years, Snap can defer only 15% of that $400 million for the next year. But with Amazon, it’s a little more complex. The spending will start with $50 million this year and will slowly increase to $350 million by 2021.

With this deal in place, how is Snap faring?

In 2017, Snap will spend $390 million on cloud and this includes the 15% deferred allowance from Google. Snap already spent $99 million in the first quarter for hosting. This is almost $14 million less than what it spent in the fourth-quarter of the previous year.

If you’re wondering why this fall, it all amounts down to user engagement. During the first quarter, Snap increased its daily users by eight million and each user is believed to have spent an average of 30 minutes every day. Essentially, when more users spend more time on Snap, the hosting costs go down and this is exactly how Snap was able to bring down its costs by $14 million. These numbers are only expected to improve and this means, lesser cost for more users.

In addition, Snap plans to move some of it’s tasks from Google Cloud to Amazon, in a bid to save some money. It’s agreement with Amazon is more robust and flexible than that of Google, and this explains the reason for this shift.

All this means Snap is doing really well, both on its commitments as well as in its business operations. But the big question is if this pattern is sustainable. If user growth slows or user engagement falls, then Snap is in trouble as it has committed to almost $3 billion.

In all, Snap’s deals are working great now, but let’s hope it doesn’t back later to bite it.

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Do we Still Need Enterprise-Owned Data Centers?

With cloud technology booming and more companies moving their data and applications to the cloud, this is the right time to analyze if we still need enterprise-owned data centers.

Well, the answer is a surprising yes, according to a research conducted by Uptime Institute.

This study asked 1,000 IT professionals around the world about their respective companies’ preferred way to store data. It is reported that two-thirds of the respondents, almost 68 percent, said that they deploy their IT assets in enterprise-owned data centers. Out of the remaining, only 13 percent deploy it in the cloud while the remaining 22 percent deploy in multi-tenant data center providers.

This study is shocking in many ways because the general belief was that more companies are moving their assets to the cloud, leaving data centers behind. But this study has proved this theory wrong as only 13 percent of companies park their data in the cloud.

In fact, a significant aspect is that data centers have remained the central component around which many developments have happened such as improved processor performance, expansion of server virtualization and adoption of cloud computing.

This discussion would obviously rise the question why?

Well, we believe there’s no single answer to this question. First off, security continues to be a major concern for many companies as the management is unsure if their critical resources should be moved to the cloud at all. Some analysts point that companies prefer to keep their assets closer to them and would like to exercise a high degree of control over its usage and access.

Though that’s a common fear, cloud security has indeed come a long way from its nascent stages. The number of attacks on cloud networks have reduced drastically and this has made data more resilient and safe than before. However, the myths and misconceptions surrounding cloud security still remain, so it’s up to cloud companies to dispel these fears by providing the right tools and information to potential companies.

The second aspect that could acts as a possible deterrent to move to the cloud is the presence of legacy systems. The architecture and IT systems of many companies continue to be based on n-tier and legacy architecture that are not conducive to the cloud. Moving such applications can bring more harm than good, so it’s a wise move to continue to sue data centers.

By doing so though, companies miss out on the many benefits that come with cloud. A best approach in this case is to use the cloud when it’s time to decommission the existing legacy systems. Alternately, they can also slowly start building applications that work well in the cloud, because that’s after all the future.

In this process, cloud companies should also take an active role in coming up with ways and tools to help companies migrate the data from their legacy applications to the cloud.

Overall, data centers continue to dominate when it comes to IT. This should change and for that, a concerted effort is needed from all parties involved so everyone can reap the many benefits that come from cloud.

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Is Middle East Moving to the Cloud?

When we think of cloud, we often think of advanced countries like the U.S, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Scandinavian countries. Or we think of emerging economies like India and China. We rarely associated cloud technology with the Middle East and that’s probably what needs to change.

A report by Gartner shows that companies in the Middle East are all set to spend more than two billion dollars over the next three years as they want to move their data and applications to the cloud. This represents a 22 percent growth as the revenue figures stood at $956 million in 2016.

So, what’s driving the cloud here?

The report further states that platform as a service (PaaS) is recording the highest growth rate at 28.8 percent closely followed by software as a service (SaaS) at 28.5 percent. Growth in both these areas indicate that companies are looking to migrate their applications and workloads from an on-premises data center to the cloud.

As with the rest of the world, companies operating in the Middle East also understand the benefits that come from cloud, and they want to make the most of it. Contrary to popular opinion, Middle East is no longer about oil. Falling oil prices and the growing demand for alternate sources of energy has forced oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia to look at development of other industries.

Already Dubai and Abu Dhabi are leading the way as one of the best cities in the world for travel and living. There are many companies that have a presence in these two cities, thanks to their advanced infrastructure and friendly corporate policies. Other cities too such as Cairo are looking to follow suit, and it won’t be long before these countries become attractive destinations for companies of all sizes and sectors.

With such a trend, it’s no surprise that cloud will boom here too, as many companies will depend on the cloud one way or the other. In fact, keeping this trend in mind, companies like Alibaba have already started setting up cloud data centers in this part of the world.

This is a smart move considering that data center traffic will reach 366 exabytes per year, up from 68 exabytes in 2013. Such an explosive growth needs a ton of facilities and this is exactly what major cloud companies are vying to setup.

In addition to data center traffic, consumer adoption of cloud storage is also expected to grow astronomically. It is expected to represent 61 percent of total cloud transactions in 2018, up from 26 percent in 2013, according to a report by Cisco. To top it, Cisco predicts that this region will rank second in the world, just behind the Asia Pacific region when it comes to growth.

All these numbers and trends point yet again to the growing might of cloud and its overarching reach to almost every part of the world. Let’s hope that soon African and Asian countries also join the bandwagon, so every individual in every part of the world can leverage the benefits of cloud technology.

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Nvidia Finds its Niche in Non-gaming Technology

Nvidia has been a gaming company for a long time, and it has always tied its revenues and business to its gaming hardware.

But, that’s now changing as the company is seeing profits in its artificial intelligence (AI) segment as well. Over the last year and a half, Nvidia realized that it can go beyond its traditional gaming business.

These efforts are evident in the first quarter results of its 2018 fiscal year. In fact, its traditional gaming business performed less than expected. It earned a revenue of only $1.03 billion against the average forecast of $1.13 billion.

During this same time, its data-center business saw a big boost in revenue. It reported an earnings of $400 million, which is close to what the company earned in the entire fiscal year of 2016. This goes to show the growth of its data center business over the last one and half years. Besides its data center, its self-driving and automation division also saw a big jump in revenue.

A deep analysis reveals some interesting trends for the company. Firstly, it’s moving away from its core business slowly and steadily, as the loss in its gaming division was made up by the buoyant revenue from its AI and data center divisions. In fact, this expansion into other areas was given a big thumbs-up by the investors. As soon as the results were announced, the stock price of Nvidia went for a joy ride.

Secondly, the company’s move came at a right time when cloud computing companies are vying with each other to woo customers. In the process, they want to offer products with faster processing speeds. This requires chipsets with advanced deep learning and AI technology, something that Nvidia was able to cater to.

A press release by the company said that it attributed much of its efforts in cloud due to the adoption of its chipsets by some of the largest companies in the world such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Alphabet Inc, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM and Alibaba Group Holding.

If you’re wondering what’s special about Nvidia’s chipsets, well nothing actually.

The Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) were initially being used for 3D rendering and for gaming. Soon, cloud companies realized that the same chip can be used for other processes too as they have high processing power. So, they were adopted by these companies to increase their computing power and that’s how Nvidia’s GPUs became a much sought after product.

Going forward, almost every major cloud provider is looking to standardize the use of GPUs, and this is definitely good news for Nvidia. For its investors and management, it means another few years of bounty results and less dependence on the changing gaming industry. One of the drawbacks of the gaming industry is that it is cyclical, with sales soaring  through the holiday season, but remaining subdued through the rest of the year. This move to the cloud means the company can no longer worry about it.

Once again, these results and trends show the over-reaching impact of cloud technology across all companies and it also affirms the fact that cloud is the driving technology of the future.

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Punjab University Turns to Cloud for Admissions

Cloud is all-pervasive and is an integral part of our everyday life. Almost every organization, regardless of their niche, is adopting the cloud for varied aspects of their operation. The latest to join this bandwagon is universities, led by Punjab University of India.

This university will hold its online admissions for the next academic season through a cloud-based online admission management tool. This process will be followed, both in its main campus as well as in its regional centers.

Students who wish to submit their applications to the Punjab University have to register online in the university’s portal, after which they will get an email ID and password. These login credentials have to be used throughout the admission process. In fact, this will be the preferred form of application submission and based on the details, the university will make admission decisions.

However, there are some restrictions that have been put in place by the university’s syndicate to ensure that the admission process is streamlined and in tune with its changing rules. For example, students cannot apply for more than four courses in the same application form. Based on a student’s credentials and marks, the university will award a particular course for each student.

So, why did the university take the cloud route for its admissions? According to its Registrar, G S Chadha, the admission process is one of most arduous processes in the university as it takes many weeks to complete it. With a cloud-based software, the university believes it can complete the admission process within a much shorter time than before, thereby saving more resources including time and money.

In general, the admission process in India is a drawn out affair because students apply for many courses in the same university. The manual process of entering the student’s name under each course, updating details such as marks and analyzing whether the students meets the criteria for a given course is effort-centric and time-consuming to say the least.

To top it, India has a unique reservation system where students belonging to certain caste categories have to be given seats even if their marks are lower than the average. For example, a student belonging to a reserved caste category may have a cut off marks of just 60 when compared to a student who doesn’t belong to that reserved caste, as he may have a cut off mark of 90. So, this factor also has to be considered and this complicates the process by leaps and bounds.

Punjab University believes that a cloud tool will greatly ease this process and will reduce the burden for university authorities.

In addition, it’s also beneficial for students because they get to know their admission status in Punjab University, based on which they can decide if they want to study here or look for admission elsewhere.

Overall, such applications bring out the true power of cloud as it benefits people in a real sense. Let’s hope such applications cloud so that every single entity is benefitted by it in some way.

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IBM Delivers Mixed Results

On April 18, IBM released the first quarter results of 2017 and its not a happy picture. The overall revenue declined by 2.8 percent and this is the 20th straight quarter that has seen year-over-year revenue declines for the company.

IBM reported a total revenue of $18.16 billion this quarter and this is 2.8 percent less than the revenue of $18.68 billion it generated during the same period in 2016. It also feel short of analysts’ expectations as they were looking for a revenue of around $18.39 billion.

The net income for this period was $1.75 billion and this is way short when compared to$2.01 billion it reported a year ago. Also, the GAAP earnings per share is $1.86 compared to $2.09 last year. Due to these results, the stock price of IBM fell by five percent during the after-hours trade.

Though these results looks bleak and dismal, they’re actually not. Over the last few years, IBM has been making strategic changes for its businesses. In fact, it’s the newer initiatives like analytics, cloud computing and artificial intelligence that have generated positive results for the company. These new initiatives represent $7.8 billion of the company’s total revenue and this has registered a 12 percent increase when compared to the first quarter of last year.

In fact, cloud can be the real savior for IBM here. The company a revenue of $3.5 billion in this quarter and this is a 33 percent increase year-over-year. This goes to show that there is a lot of change happening in terms of IBM’s operations and it’s its past businesses that are slowing it down.

In many ways, this result shows some important trends that are happening in this industry now. There is a clear shift towards cloud technologies and any company that doesn’t want to ride this trend is sure to be left behind.

Also, this reflects that there is a growing demand for technologies like cloud and cognitive computing, and this reflects the changing nature of the IT industry as a whole. Gone are the days when we were focusing on software products. Today, we want to have everything as a service that can be used on a demand basis.

For example, when we wanted to use a tool like Adobe photoshop, we had to buy a CD and install it in our system a decade ago. Today, you can simply pay a subscription, go online, use the tool and save your files on the cloud. This goes to show how much we have evolved as a society and how well we have adapted to these changes.

Going forward, IBM should focus more on these emerging technologies as they are likely to be the revenue drivers and generators over the next decade.

In short, IBM’s results was a mixed bag as the ghosts of its past businesses are pulling it down, but the newer business areas are doing exemplarily well. This simply reflects the changing nature of business and how IBM is adapting to this change.

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Cloud tools for Business Tasks

When it comes to running a businesses, it’s the small things that take up a ton of your time and effort. On another side, we’ve heard so much about the cloud and the benefits it offers in the form of saving time, money and effort, not to mention the reduced hassles of managing technology. Can we combine these two to use cloud tools for everyday tasks?


Let’s look at a few tasks that we can do with cloud tools.


One of the most painful tasks is to get an appointment with someone. This pain multiplies with the number of appointments you have to make for your business.

Let’s say, you want to get a sales appointment with the executives of a handful of companies to showcase your products to them. Imagine how much time you’ll spend to get an appointment with each of them. Cloud can ease this task for you.

ScheduleOnce, Appointy, TimeTrade, Calendly and SetMore are examples of such cloud tools that get appointments and manage them for you in a jiffy. They even integrate this with your calendar, so you can always stay on top of your appointments.

Customer Service

There is a staggering amount of cloud tools available in the area of customer service. Part of the reason for this proliferation is the fact that customer service is an integral part of every business, and also a time-consuming one.

In addition, every call and interaction you make with customers have to be tracked for analytics as well. This can require much effort, and one way to take some load off your shoulders, is to use a cloud-based CRM service. There are different tools with extensive customization options, so you can choose the one that best fits your business needs.


Reports show that many companies prefer to hire freelancers to save on overheads. For this, you can make the most of cloud solutions like Upwork and Fiverr as they gave you access to freelancers worldwide.

There are cloud tools that can also ease the process of selecting and hiring full-time employees. These tools help you to connect with the right candidates to reach the best fit among thousands of people who’re looking for work. In this sense, cloud tools can be a blessing when it comes to hiring full-time employees and freelancer.

Payroll processing

Another complex task of any business is payroll processing. Paying your employees and freelancers, keeping track of the hours they worked and paying them is anything but simple. In addition, you have to manage meticulous records for the purposes of taxation and analytics, and this can take a substantial amount of your available resources.

To help you perform such a complex task, there are many cloud tools like QuickBooks, Payroll Mate and Payroll by Wave. Each of these tools can automate the entire payroll process, save records for tax and can even run analytics for you to give you an idea of how much your spend.

We hope this list helps to save some time and effort for you. Do let us know if you know more such tools.

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