Category Archives: Europe

Mariinsky Theatre taps IBM cloud to improve broadcasting

Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre is using a hybrid cloud to support live performance broadcasts

Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre is using a hybrid cloud to support live performance broadcasts

Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre is working with IBM to deploy a hybrid cloud solution that would improve its ability to stream live videos of performances to mobile devices globally.

The theatre already has more than 250,000 unique viewers around the world tuned into, where it currently hosts webcasts of live performances and on-demand recordings.

It had previously broadcast performances on the web using its own on-premise platform to edit and stream performances, but the company said it sought a cloud-based platform for this in a bid to expand its global reach and improve its ability to withstand peaks in demand.

“To support a growing global community of loyal Theatre audiences, we needed a scalable, hybrid cloud solution that could meet the standards for quality that we and our viewers expect,” said Eugene Barbashin, head of the computer technology department, Mariinsky Theatre.

The company said at times its digital platform would need to scale to support thousands of simultaneous viewers, particularly around very popular orchestra or ballet performances, but that it was struggling to cope with demand at times.

“We tried various competitive offerings from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, but viewers still had buffering issues while streaming performances. We chose IBM Cloud to more fully meet our needs in terms of reliable performance and ease-of-use,” Barbashin added.

European Commission to reform mobile cloud services regulations – report

The EC is looking to create a level playing field in how telcos and mobile cloud service providers are regulated

The EC is looking to create a level playing field in how telcos and mobile cloud service providers are regulated

The European Commission is considering plans to reform how mobile cloud service providers, also know as Over The Top (OTT) companies, are regulated, according to reports from the FT.

Draft documents unveiled by the commission indicate that initiative to create a level playing field between the telecoms industry, cable operators and mobile cloud services like Whatsapp and Skype has long since been forgotten.

According to the Commission, telcos are currently being forced to compete with OTT services “without being subject to the same regulatory regime”, and that it intends to create a “fair and future-proof regulatory environment for all services”.

One of the main directives of the digital single market proposals advocated by the commission relates to the roll-out of superfast broadband infrastructure across the continent. With traditional revenue streams for telcos, such as calls and messaging, on the decline, operators frequently point the finger at OTT services for enabling free and wide-reaching services.

As a consequence, operators claim a lack of incentive when it comes to investing in overhauling  increasingly depreciated copper network infrastructure, particularly around the last mile.

That said, telcos remain hesitant to give its competitors free access to high-speed broadband infrastructure if it isn’t able to suitably monetise the service, which is where net neutrality enters the picture. Aside from the ongoing debate raging in the US of late, net neutrality formed one of the cornerstones of Neelie Kroes’ digital single market proposals, along with the abolishment of consumer roaming fees.

Last month, reported that the European Union’s Telecoms Council effectively conceded that a U-turn on its net neutrality ambitions was on the cards. There has yet to be an update on whether the open-letter signed by more than 100 MEPs has convinced the Council to steer clear of paid prioritisation of any kind.

It is believed the commission intends to unveil its new digital single market strategy on the 6th May.

Equinix announces sixth London datacentre

Equinix has announced five new datacentres globally in the past month

Equinix has announced five new datacentres globally in the past month

Datacentre giant Equinix has announced the launch of its sixth London-based International Business Exchange (IBX) datacentre.

Equinix said the datacentre, LD6, will offer customers the ability to leverage its cloud interconnection service – which lets users create private network links to Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud services among others.

The company said the $79m facility, which is located in Slough, is extremely energy efficient (LEED gold-accredited), and utilizes mass air cooling technology with indirect heat exchange and 100 percent natural ventilation.

It measures 236,000 square feet (8,000 square meters) and has capacity for 1,385 cabinets, with the ability to add another 1,385 cabinets in phase two of the facility’s development. Once phase two is complete, the Equinix London Slough campus will provide more than 388,000 square feet (36,000 square meters) of colocation space interconnected by more than a thousand dark fiber links.

“LD6 is one of the most technically advanced datacentres in the UK. It has been designed to ensure that we can continue to provide state-of-the-art colocation for our current and future customers,” said Russell Poole, managing director, Equinix UK. “This latest addition to our thriving London campus sets new standards in efficiency and sustainability.”

The facility is among five new datacentres announced last month. Equinix announced plans in March to roll out new state-of-the-art datacentres in New York, Singapore, Melbourne and Toronto.

Ingram Micro expands cloud marketplace to EU

Traditional IT resellers are trying to rebuild the business model to fit cloud services

Traditional IT resellers are trying to rebuild the business model to fit cloud services

IT tech distributor Ingram Micro has launched a marketplace for cloud services in Europe in a bid to bolster its appeal to channel partners, many of which are increasingly offering their products as-a-service. The move is aimed at making its proposition in the cloud economy more compelling, particularly as other traditional IT vendors and cloud incumbents move in on reseller turf.

The Cloud Marketplace, which handles billing and service deployment for a range of services offered by cloud vendors, is already up and running in the US. But the most recent announcement will see the platform launch imminently in France, the Netherlands, and the UK.

The company said it plans to launch the marketplace in Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Sweden in the second quarter of 2015.

In prepared remarks the company said it wanted to enable channel partners to more effectively sell their cloud wares to clients, and in particular, exploit what Ingram sees as a growing opportunity in the SME market for resellers. With the Cloud Marketplace, channel partners can manage the complete end-customer subscription lifecycle from a single, automated platform, provided and supported by Ingram Micro, the company said.

“For our channel partners, enabling businesses to operate in a hybrid environment that includes cloud-based solutions is as much about business transformation as it is about technology,” said Carl Alloin, executive director Europe, Ingram Micro Cloud. “Our Cloud Marketplace was designed to help channel partners quickly scale as they seek to expand their footprint and profitability in the cloud.”

Ingram is among a growing number of resellers refitting their channel models for the cloud (Arrow is another big one in Europe that recently launched a cloud app marketplace), in part because other traditional vendors and cloud service providers are starting to threaten their role in the market. Vendors like IBM, which launched its cloud service marketplace last year, are much more willing to cooperate with other vendors they would otherwise compete with at different levels of the stack, while cloud incumbents like AWS are attracting a range of other software and service providers to its fast-growing ecosystem.

HP, EC launch public sector cloud pilots in several European cities

The EC is working with HP to bring cloud to municipal governments in Europe

The EC is working with HP to bring cloud to municipal governments in Europe

HP announced it is working with the European Commission on several pilot cloud implementations in a bid to test how internal and citizen-facing public sector services cloud be moved off legacy platforms into more elastic cloud environments. The move is part of the Commission’s broader efforts to catalyse the use of cloud services in the public sector.

HP is working with the EC on the organisation’s ironically-named STORM (Surfing Towards the Opportunity of Real Migration) cloud project, which envisions the establishment of a public services cloud that allows services and data to be securely shared between the public and private sector partners.

The project currently includes three HP-led trials in Valladolid, Spain; Águeda, Portugal; and Thessaloniki, Greece. As part of the initiative HP is defining, designing and implementing an OpenStack-based infrastructure-as-a-service platform.

The initial stage of the project will see Valladolid pilot Urbanismo en Red, an application that gives citizens access to municipal development plans online. Thessaloniki will trial Virtual City Marketplace, a portal to buy and sell local services, while Agueda aims to increase public participation by allowing citizens and communities to express their opinion online and submit ideas for urban improvements.

The goal, the company said, is to accelerate the “cloudification” of public services in Europe, and to fine-tune and seed out a cloud platform model that can be replicated in other cities in Europe.

“Europe must ensure that new IT devices, applications, data repositories and services interact seamlessly anywhere – just like the Internet,” says Xavier Poisson Gouyou Beauchamps, vice president, cloud computing EMEA, HP.

“This project aims to make collaboration between public authorities easier and more cost effective through the sharing and re-use of common platforms, components and infrastructures. As a result, municipalities across the EU will take a step closer to becoming truly ‘smart cities’.”

“HP is working closely with the EU across a number of projects tied to accountability, security and compliance in order to accelerate digital growth in Europe,” he added.

Toy retailer The Entertainer taps Rackspace for managed private cloud

The Entertainer has moved onto Rackspace's managed private cloud platform

The Entertainer has moved onto Rackspace’s managed private cloud platform

UK toy retailer The Entertainer has moved onto Rackspace’s managed private cloud platform in a bid to improve how the company’s site and databases handle traffic spikes.

Working with omni-channel retail consultancy Conexus, The Entertainer sought to enhance its website and databases in a bid to cope with rising seasonal demand.

The company, which has about 100 stores in the UK, said in the five weeks leading up to last Christmas last year it saw a 60 per cent sales increase from the same period in 2013 (it generates half of its annual revenues between November and December).

“In addition to the scalability that’s available through the Rackspace Private Cloud, the high performance it offers is also very important to us. It has allowed the business to deploy a Click and Collect service, which has improved the customer experience and boosted sales,” said Ian Pulsford, head of IT services, The Entertainer.

“A crucial aspect of Click and Collect is having an effective stock management system, which we also power by the cloud. Every evening between midnight and 4 a.m. we monitor the stock available in each store, collecting data on our 17,000 products. This ensures that the availability we offer our Click and Collect customers is accurate and updated in real time,” Pulsford said.

“However, as we’ve learned in the past with previous hosting providers, the technology alone is not enough if we don’t have access to a high level of support and expertise to keep it running smoothly,” he added.

Jeff Cotten, managing director of Rackspace International said: “Multi-channel retailing is highly competitive, which means both the in-store and online experiences have to be excellent to keep customers coming back. It’s been great working with The Entertainer and Conexus to build a Private Cloud environment that is high performing and highly scalable, so The Entertainer can focus on developing new services and increasing its presence across a growing number of ecommerce channels.”