Category Archives: Content & Applications

Adobe posts 22% Q4 revenue growth, driven by Creative Cloud

AdobeAdobe Systems has claimed it is only just starting to gain from cloud adoption, after reporting record earnings.

Strong growth in subscriptions to Adobe Systems’ Creative Cloud has contributed to the ninth consecutive quarter in which the software vendor topped market expectations, as it reported revenue of $1.31b in Q4 of the fiscal year ending in November 2015. Of this, revenue from its digital media business, including Creative Cloud, rose by 35% to $875.3 million.

The vendor added 833,000 new subscribers to the Creative Cloud in the three months ending in November, some 150,000 more than market analysts expected. Meanwhile, Adobe Marketing Cloud brought in $352 million in revenue thanks to an unexpectedly strong adoption of its software as a service (SaaS) offerings.

Adobe’s strong growth from Creative Cloud has come as enterprises and professionals have adopted the new model of purchasing apps like graphic design tool Photoshop, web design software Dreamweaver and web video building application Flash. According to Adobe 52% of its customers subscribe to the full Creative Cloud bundle, with the remaining 48% subscribing to individual products within the portfolio.

Adobe Systems’ Photoshop Lightroom is now the fastest growing app in its Creative Cloud, CFO Mark Garrett told Reuters. “It’s growing the most because it’s attracting hobbyists and consumers,” he said. Since these were people that would never buy Adobe’s products before, the Creative Cloud and the switch from traditional licensing to web based subscription has expanded its market, Garrett said. “Our financials show that the benefits of our move to the cloud are just beginning.”

Adobe’s digital marketing business, which makes software that analyses customer interactions and manages social media content, grew by just 2.3% in comparison, to $382.7 million.

The company’s shares jumped 4.7% to $93.10 following the release of its latest trading figures.

Web companies create their own problems on Black Friday – research

online shopping cartThe artificially created surge in demand for online bargains on Black Friday could be damaging many brands, according to a recent report by hosting giant Rackspace.

Though Black Friday falls on a national holiday in the US, its lack of cultural significance in the UK hasn’t failed to prevent it become an online retail landmark. Companies ranging from Amazon to John Lewis to Orange have created one day, limited offer shopping deals to generate demand surges, with customers flooding both their online and in store outlets on Black Friday.

On Friday traffic analyst Traffic Defender live blogged that the John Lewis online store was unavailable and gave a low down on the performance of a variety of online players.

With e-commerce loyalty at an all time low, according to Rackspace, these artificially engineered spikes in traffic and public interest in cloud computing performance may be counter productive to any cloud based service provider.

In a Rackspace survey of 2,000 consumers, 39% of respondents recognised that websites failure is due to poor construction and maintenance. The vast majority (83%) of UK consumers claim a consistently slow or unavailable websites negatively affects their brand loyalty. Almost one in five consumers (18%) would only wait 10 seconds or less for a website or page to load before they would abandon their search and look elsewhere.

“This Black Friday, ecommerce loyalty is at an all-time low. Consumers now have a vast choice of retailers available to them online, so it’s easy for them to change their mind about which shop to spend their hard earned cash with,” said Paul Bolt, VP of Technology Practices at Rackspace.

The ‘inevitable website traffic spikes’ and ‘uncompromising demand from customers’, however, could contribute to the tarnishing of a brand, warned Bolt, “There really is no place for outages.” If companies are going to risk their brand image for a single day of busy trading they must put the cloud foundations in place, Bolt argued.

Data consumption outgrows personal storage capabilities – research

Cloud storageThe sheer weight of data is growing far too fast for personal storage devices to cope, says new research which will delight device makers and disappoint cloud storage providers, if true. The study suggests that the majority of consumers are stressed by the prospect of deleting their content to overcome capacity issues. The only way to cope with the newly identified syndrome, Post Deletion Stress Disorder (PDSD), is to buy more capacity. However, they want to own the device that stores their data, rather than rent it, says Western Digital.

According to the independent study conducted on storage device maker WD’s behalf, 56% of UK consumers have been forced to delete content from a technology device, due to capacity issues, and regretted it. Researcher Vanson Bourne, which talked to 1,000 UK consumers, found that 7% are running out of storage on their mobile daily, 16% are reaching full memory at least weekly and 31% run out of storage capacity at least monthly.

However, given a choice, consumers generally prefer to own storage outright, rather than rent it, it claimed. Meanwhile storage allocations on devices are being pushed with 77% downloading an app to a mobile device at least monthly, and around one third (33%) downloading a feature film to a mobile device this often. Photographs take up the most storage capacity across a range of consumer devices, while 44% of consumers admit they ‘don’t know’ what content is taking up storage capacity on their devices.

With 44% of the survey sample trying to manage on just 64GB of device storage not enough people (just 33%) have invested in an external hard drive to solve their storage problems, says WD a maker of external hard drives. By contrast, just 2% of those surveyed use a paid cloud storage service and only 16% use a free cloud storage service.

“Clearly consumers are sacrificing precious memories and valuable content to make more space on their devices,” said Jim Welsh, general manager of Content Solutions at WD, “we believe consumers will look for external storage solutions that bring more value with features that help them store, share and backup their digital content from mobile devices and computers.”

Google appoints ex-VMware boss to lead enterprise web services business

Google officeGoogle has appointed former VMware CEO and current Google board member Diane Greene to head a new business-oriented cloud service.

Though Google is associated with consumer products and overshadowed by AWS in enterprise cloud computing, the lead is not unassailable, claimed Google CEO Sundar Pichai, in the company’s official blog, as the appointment was announced.

“More than 60% of the Fortune 500 are actively using a paid Google for Work product and only a tiny fraction of the world’s data is currently in the cloud,” he said. “Most businesses and applications aren’t cloud-based yet. This is an important and fast-growing area for Google and we’re investing for the future.”

Since all of Google’s own businesses run on its cloud infrastructure, the company has significantly larger data centre capacity than any other public cloud provider, Pichai argued. “That’s what makes it possible for customers to receive the best price and performance for compute and storage services. All of this demonstrates great momentum, but it’s really just the beginning,” he said.

Pichai stated the new business will bring together product, engineering, marketing and sales, and Green’s brief will be to integrate them into one cohesive offering. “Dianne has a huge amount of operational experience that will continue to help the company,” he said.

In addition, Google is to acquire bebop, a company founded by Greene, to simplify the building and maintain enterprise applications. “This will help many more businesses find great applications and reap the benefits of cloud computing,” said Pichai.

Bebop’s resources will be dedicated to building and integrating the entire range of Google’s cloud products from devices like Android and Chromebooks, through infrastructure and services in the Google Cloud Platform, to developer frameworks for mobile and enterprise users and finally end-user applications like Gmail and Docs.

The market for these cloud development tools will be worth $2.3 billion in 2019, up from $803 million this year, according to IDC. The knock on effect of those developments is that more apps will run on the cloud of the service provider that supported development and that hosting business will triple to $22.6 billion by 2019, IDC says.

Greene and the bebop staff will join Google once the acquisition has completed. The new name for Greene’s division has yet to be named but will include divisions such as Google for Work, Cloud Platform, and Google Apps, according to Android Central.

Ticketmaster VP of Engineering talks DevOps

Stephen Williams VP Engineering TicketmasterIs there anything that Stephen Williams, VP Engineering at Ticketmaster can’t do? Whether it be leading the technology and development of the International Ticketmaster and Live Nation consumer platforms for the last 10 years or building web and apps across a heterogeneous range of technologies that include the best of breed OSS and commercial software founded on Java, PHP and .Net stacks. There is no doubt that he will be a great addition to the speaker line up and the upcoming DevOps World event on November 4th in London.

Over the last 2 years Steve has been focusing attention across all international teams to define and direct the change and implementation of co-ordinated engineering strategies in collaboration with Product and Technical Operations teams. A primary focus has been the evangelising and embracing DevOps culture: Steve led defining the aspects of Ticketmaster DevOps program, the development of a unique way to visualise the program of work and the journey they’re now on. Prior to the event Stephen shared some views on DevOps and a few other things besides.

What does your role involve and how are you involved with DevOps?

My role involves overseeing the management of two teams, in London and Sweden, working on the Ticketmaster International and Live Nation consumer platforms both supporting in 10-15 markets and growing. I’m very fortunate in having two great managers on both platforms, which enables me to also focus on larger strategic projects across our entire international engineering organisation.

I’ve been very involved with DevOps from the start within Ticketmaster International. Myself and another colleague together defined the International TM DevOps strategy. Following the release of the strategy we set up focused working groups to create some essential standards around tooling and instrumentation. From there we worked with various teams to convert the strategy into requirements and enable all teams to begin their journey. At the same time defined KPIs show where DevOps is having positive impacts and allow us to report this back to the business to promote the benefits, or if benefits are not being realised as expected then we can re-evaluate the strategies.

How have you seen DevOps affecting IT teams’ work?

Our TM DevOps Strategy has provided goals and a shared vision for our Teams. The strategy is defined in a way that allows each team to select their own path, which they select depending on the context of their needs. If you think of a roadmap, there are many ways to get from Point A to Point B – you the driver will determine which is the most appropriate route depending on various factors. Our strategy works in a similar way.

Having the right vision and ability to choose your path has created motivation and desire to succeed across our teams. It’s inspiring them to want to deploy faster and create opportunities for the business to learn quicker about new features. Having standards for tooling and best practices is helping to create a culture where more collaboration and sharing of ideas is starting to happen so we only solve problems the one time.

What is the biggest challenge you are facing with DevOps and how are you trying to overcome it?

The biggest challenges is capacity within the systems engineering team to align closer to the product delivery teams, whilst still having a large operational support requirements to service. It can be a slow process to unpick some areas and re-align teams when so many demands are coming in. There are several initiatives we’re employing such as shift left, moving operational tasks to support teams and free some capacity for the Systems Engineers to work more closely with developers. A lightweight CAB and improving demand management filtering have also been put in place to funnel requests.

Can you share a book, article, movie that you recently read/watched and inspired you?

I’m currently working on an organisational strategy to implement competency based skills frameworks to standardise the roles across the international engineering organisation, increase operational efficiency and support career progression and the satisfaction of staff. Research to develop the strategy led me to several articles and videos on Holacracy. Holacracy is attempting to define a way an organisation can be more flexible by allowing individuals to have more authority to solve problems and cut through bureaucracy.

It’s a fascinating approach to creating more autonomy, increase flow and a higher performing organisation. If Windows and MacOs are to an agile organisation then it’s more like mobile O/S for the organisation. I’m starting to ask what if we tried this, how could we, where will the benefits be. A great video to learn more about Holocracy is by Brian Robertson:

15880-DevOps-World-LogoWhat are you hoping to achieve by attending the DevOps World?

As with all conferences there is a bit of promoting our brand through the promotion of the exciting and great work we’re doing at Ticketmaster but also to use it as a learning opportunity to hear more about Devops, maybe we can use the information to extend our own DevOps strategy, or learn what not to try potential risks to watch out for, from other people and to meet new people to make relationships.

Microsoft and Azul Systems say Zulu Embedded will encourage IoT in Windows

internet of things farmingAzul Systems and Microsoft are to give Java developers open source development tools, device I/O libraries and a Java runtime targeting Internet of Things (IoT) applications on Windows 10.

The two vendors have created Zulu Embedded for Windows 10 IoT, which is a Java Development Kit (JDK), Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and a set of device I/O libraries. The libraries are based on OpenJDK, which has been certified by Azul for use with Windows 10 IoT Core and is compliant with the Java 8 SE specification.

Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Core, is a modified version of Windows 10 that has been tailored to suit cheap, small-footprint embedded devices such as those based on Raspberry Pi 2 and Minnowboard Max.

The aim of the partnership is to ensure Zulu Embedded meets Java development and runtime requirements for Microsoft’s IoT initiatives. The success of the joint effort will be gauged by the number of Java compatibility updates, security patches and the levels of support for additional IoT device connectivity, control and communication, according to a joint statement.

There are Java developers around the world using Windows 10 IoT core, according to Steve Teixeira, Director of Program Management for the Windows Internet of Things team at Microsoft. These new initiative means they will be assured of a high-quality foundation for their Java projects if they use the latest advances in OpenJDK.

“Developers have many development and deployment choices for their IoT applications,” said Teixeira. By giving them more support, they are more likely to stay in the Microsoft cloud camp, he said. “Microsoft and Azul have made it easy for those who prefer Java to build premier IoT devices running Windows.”

Azul Systems is committed to updating and evolving Zulu Embedded to meet the specific requirements of Microsoft’s IoT platforms, said Scott Sellers, CEO of Azul Systems.

Zulu Embedded for Windows 10 IoT is free to download and use and may be distributed without restriction.

New Egnyte service promises to impose strict version in the cloud

AppsCloud file service provider Egnyte has launched a Smart Reporting and Auditing service which promises to impose order on the way content is created, edited, viewed and shared.

The service is currently exclusive to Egnyte customers who want visibility and control over their organisation’s entire content life-cycle, whether files are in-house or in the cloud. The rationale is to help companies stop wasting money on the multiplication of effort involved when multiple versions of the same file exist across the diaspora of in-house systems, private and public clouds.

The promised returns on investment in these cloud services, the company says, are lower costs, less risk and higher productivity through visibility. Cost savings are promised on reducing bandwidth consumption, minimised support issues and less wasted employee time. Risk will be minimised, according to Egnyte, as fewer files will be leaked out of the organisation and suspicious activities – both internally and externally – can be highlighted. Visibility improvements will boost productivity by speeding the progress of projects and the prevention of unchecked document replication and mutation, which leads to multiple teams working on multiple different versions of the same project.

Companies and vendors have still not cracked version control yet, said one analyst, and the cloud will only make the task more complicated.

“Content is at the core of just about every business process today, but users are accessing files across multiple devices, anywhere, any time,” said Terri McClure, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group. “It is entirely too costly and there is simply too much data.”

Solving the big data analytics problem will be increasingly important, said McClure.

Devcon Construction, the largest general contractor in Silicon Valley, has used the service on trial to track confidential design plans and blueprints. “It gives complete visibility on how the files are shared and accessed, so we can effectively manage desktop and tablet device workflows out in the field,” said Joe Tan, director of IT at Devcon Construction.

The cloud service now makes detailed file analytics and insights possible, claimed Isabelle Guis, chief strategy officer at Egnyte. “It’s critical for businesses to optimise file infrastructure and protect against potential threats,” she said.

Infosys to use IBM’s Bluemix make next generation of cloud apps

IBM and Infosys have announced a joint venture where Infosys will use IBM’s Bluemix system to prototype, develop and roll out new cloud apps for its client base in 50 countries.

The partners will launch a Bluemix-powered Innovation Lab in which Infosys and its clients can work together to create applications. Infosys developers are to be trained on Bluemix and tutored on cloud app development. Infosys will also get access to the IBM Bluemix Dedicated, a library of cognitive computing and analytics systems and services for building client apps.

The Infosys Innovation Lab will be staffed with a dedicated team of designers, ‘extreme agile’ specialists and industry and technology architects. Infosys has 187,000 employees and a turnover of $8.7 billion.

IBM launched Bluemix with a US$ 1 billion investment in 2014 and it now claims to be the largest Cloud Foundry deployments in the world, with a catalogue of over 120 tools and software-services, with all the top open-source, IBM and third-party technologies.

The partnership is all about getting access to these technologies and sharing them with clients, according to Srikantan Moorthy, Head of Application Development and Maintenance at Infosys. “Our goal is to bring these advanced technologies to clients’ application landscape in the most rapid and collaborative way possible,” said Moorthy, “Infosys will also incorporate any Bluemix-related curriculum into its on-boarding and training process.”

The disruptive forces of cognitive computing, analytics and IoT are all delivered through the cloud and Bluemix will only exacerbate these changes, according to Steve Robinson, IBM Cloud’s General Manager. “Developers can accelerate the deployment of these next-generation apps and this collaboration with Infosys will advance our clients’ journey.”

Software AG launches web-based Digital Marketplace

Marketplace. Keyboard digitalSoftware AG has launched an online shop for development components in a bid to make cloud application development easier for enterprises.

The Digital Marketplace allows programmers at enterprises to choose and use the essential IT development components they need to solve their business problems. The stock on offer includes solution accelerators, business process models, application components, adapters and industry frameworks. Clients can also get fully-fledged systems created by Software AG’s partners and customers.

Software AG says it has two million developers and an expanding partner base contributing to the online resource. Visitors to the site can browse and take inspiration from industry-specific use cases and – if they fit the bill for the client’s own installation – download components of the systems described.

The vendor was compelled to set up the resource as the model for software purchase and consumption is changing, said Eric Duffaut, Chief Customer Officer for Software AG. “Digitisation is changing everything. Enterprises and governments have to develop and implement their unique digital strategies to meet customer and citizen expectations,” said Duffaut.

The hub is designed to make the increasingly complex world of cloud computing less threatening to the enterprise buyer, many of whom are not particularly technical, according to Duffaut. “These are not run-of-the mill investments and every one is a strategic decision. The Digital Marketplace will make digitisation easier, based on the collective experience of Software AG, our partners and customers.”

Meanwhile, partners will have a new channel to market, said Harish Dwarkanhalli, the Global Delivery Head of Software AG partner Cognizant’s Integrated Process Management practice. “Co-innovation is a key part of the value to our mutual clients. The Digital Marketplace is a new way to highlight the innovation, frameworks and thought leadership we’ve developed.”

Cognizant is using the online market to launch its Intra Day Liquidity Monitoring (ILM) system to clients.

Adobe tweaks Document Cloud to unblock Dropbox and make e-signing easier

AdobeAdobe has announced two improvements to document management in the cloud, by making PDF files more manageable in Dropbox and solving one of the snags in electronic document signing.

One billion users of Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Acrobat Reader will now be able to edit PDFs as they sit in Dropbox folders, the vendor has announced, as it has worked with Dropbox to simplify the way that PDF files can be edited with Adobe apps.

According to Adobe, the billion mobile devices and desktop computers in the world that have Adobe Acrobat software contain 18 billion PDF files whose functions are limited by Dropbox. The blockage that stopped users from editing those files has now been removed as part of a drive to make Adobe Document Cloud more efficient, the vendor claims.

The improvement was achieved after the two companies integrated their applications and services on mobile devices, desktops and the web, according to Kevin M. Lynch, general manager of Adobe Document Cloud.

Users can now view and edit PDF files stored in their Dropbox Basic, Pro and Dropbox for Business accounts with any changes automatically saved back to Dropbox. Collaboration has also been simplified, Abode claims, as Acrobat DC users can now execute the full range of tasks promised by the application. Editing text on PDF files, organising pages and converting documents to their original format will no longer be hindered by Dropbox environment. Meanwhile, the synchronisation of documents will no longer be restricted by glitches between Adobe and Dropbox operating software.

Adobe has had to adjust as customers have constantly evolved, said Lynch. “Today, mobile has become the rule and people expect to complete work quickly and simply wherever and whenever they need. Our work with Dropbox will help Document Cloud customers be more productive,” said Lynch.

Adobe has also created new options for e-signing in Document Cloud in a bid to make electronic document management easier. New functions include a visual drag-and-drop Workflow Designer, digital signatures (a more advanced secure form of e-signatures) and Enterprise Mobility Management and Signature Capture.

Adobe said it has worked with Workday, Salesforce and Ariba to add e-signing options to their respective HR, sales, procurement and legal systems.

Bryan Lamkin, Adobe digital media’s general manager, promised, “a new level of efficiency”.