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Updated: 1 hour 8 min ago

Critical infrastructure: Off the web, out of danger?

March 22, 2017 - 12:40pm

The debate over the chances of a catastrophic cyber attack taking down a major part of the nation’s critical infrastructure (CI) has been ongoing for a generation.

But it hasn’t been settled – in some ways it is more intense now than ever.

On one side are those, including high government officials, who warn of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” that could leave swaths of the country in darkness and cold – without electric power – for months.

Retired Adm. James Stavridis, dean at Tufts Fletcher School and a former NATO supreme allied commander, used that term just three months ago, saying such an attack would be aimed either at the electrical grid or the financial sector.

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IDG Contributor Network: What the Snap IPO means for the future of cloud infrastructure

March 8, 2017 - 2:27pm

Millions of words have probably been written about the public market debut last week of Snap Inc., the parent of the social media service Snapchat.

[ Related: Snap soars on IPO, now what? ]

The IPO was the first tech-related issue of 2017, raised $3.4 billion, and when its first day of trading closed on Thursday, Snap’s $24.48-per share price valued it at north of $33 billion, making it the biggest debut since China’s Internet giant Alibaba debuted in a 2014 offering valued at $167 billion. Snap shares have since declined in value by more than 10 percent. 

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MapR and Outscale partner on big data PaaS

March 6, 2017 - 6:52pm

At the Big Data Paris event in Paris, France, today, MapR Technologies and French enterprise-class cloud provider Outscale announced that they have joined forces to provide a big data platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering built on the MapR Converged Data Platform.

Outscale will provide the new premium cloud service in Europe, North America and Asia and says it will provide customers with a cost-effective and flexible platform to support their big data journey — from initial proof of concept to prototype and application deployment, all with unlimited scalability.

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How to get your infrastructure in shape to shake off scriptable attacks

March 2, 2017 - 12:11pm

According to F-Secure’s The State of Cyber Security 2017 report, criminal hackers perform most cyber-attacks using basic, scriptable techniques against poorly maintained infrastructure. This will continue as long as there are loads of attack scripts and plenty of poorly secured networks.

The number of attack scripts is climbing as elite hackers continue to create these scripts and sell them to others, says Itzik Kotler, CTO and Co-Founder, SafeBreach. There doesn’t seem to be any stopping this trend.

CSO examines scriptable attacks and the part of the problem that you can control: getting your infrastructure in shape to shrug off these breaches.

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IDG Contributor Network: SaaS is eating the infrastructure world

March 1, 2017 - 7:32pm

In many ways, we can compare the future of the software world to the emergence of self-driving cars. Just as we’re faced with questions around a unified set of operational standards for all companies eager to remove drivers from behind the wheel, serverless computing poses a similar set of challenges as software eats further and further into the infrastructure stack.

When that happens, the driver (or in this case, the infrastructure) will disappear into the background and the car (in this case, software applications) will take center stage. Whether we’re talking driverless cars or serverless computing, it’s going to be a bumpy road ahead as companies start to adapt. Here’s a look at what will happen when software eats the infrastructure world.

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IDG Contributor Network: How historical data helps you manage your IT infrastructure

February 8, 2017 - 5:49pm

When Ross joined a technology reseller as a system administrator, he felt like he was making decisions about the IT infrastructure in the dark. The company had not been monitoring their infrastructure, and he did not have the data he needed to do his job well.

Of course, Ross wanted to be able to fix problems that caused slowdowns and downtime. More importantly, his goal was to make the infrastructure more resilient and, thus, prevent issues from occurring. He resorted to creating scripts and exporting the data but he found the data added up fast, filling up his storage and causing more problems.

Ross looked at various monitoring solutions and discovered they usually had a limit on how long you could keep the data. He found one solution that enabled him to keep historical data for as long as he liked. Even better, it stored the information in the cloud, so he did not have to worry about its effect on the company’s infrastructure. He convinced leadership to invest in it by explaining the benefits of having historical information at his fingertips. They include the ability to do the following:

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Prices still climbing for enterprise mobility management software

February 2, 2017 - 6:27pm

User demand for enterprise mobility management (EMM) software continues to grow -- and vendors keep consolidating -- so prices are rising and buyers don't have much power at the negotiating table, according to analysts at IBISWorld Inc.

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(Insider Story)

Juniper battles Cisco, Huawei with new cloud infrastructure software, switches

January 31, 2017 - 9:59pm

Helping customers transform their enterprise environments to the cloud is the driving strategy behind new software, switches and services introduced this week from Juniper Networks.

The networking company is introducing what it calls the third pillar of its Unite architecture – the previous two focusing on enterprise and branch office networking. Unite Cloud combines Juniper’s switches and software to simplify management and growth of corporate cloud computing.

+More on Network World: Has Cisco broken out of the network hardware box?+

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What P4 programming is and why it’s such a big deal for Software Defined Networking

January 31, 2017 - 7:37pm

The dawn of software defined networking (SDN) ushered in an era of disaggregation of the networking control plane from the data plane; management of the network was no longer bound to the networking hardware it ran on.

This created a market of overlay control-plane software from companies like Nicira, which was sold to VMware and is now NSX; Cisco ACI and others followed suit. But at the data plane – where network packets are actually forwarded - there has been less innovation, says IDC data center network research director Brad Casemore says. Until now.

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Broadband, encryption and privacy top State of the Net agenda

January 31, 2017 - 3:27pm

WASHINGTON -- Tech-minded lawmakers intend to take up a host of issues closely watched by the industry in the new congress, including broadband infrastructure, encryption and privacy protections in the era of cloud computing.

In remarks in various sessions of the recent State of the Net conference, senators and representatives outlined an array of tech issues they plan to consider, beginning with efforts to expand the capacity and reach of fixed and wireless broadband networks

Already this year, the Senate Commerce Committee has approved the MOBILE NOW Act, a bill designed to promote the buildout of wireless infrastructure, in part through freeing up spectrum and by facilitating the expansion of privately owned broadband equipment on government property.

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Hyperconvergence in high demand

January 24, 2017 - 8:02pm

Hewlett Packard Enterprise's $650 million acquisition of SimpliVity last week highlights the growing popularity of consolidated computing systems that CIOs are adopting as an alternative to public cloud services.

SimpliVity is a market leader in hyperconverged systems, which bundle computing, storage and networking are bundled onto the same server. Such systems, once considered a niche market in a rapidly shrinking sector for on-premises technology, are rapidly gaining traction.

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Meet me in the parking lot: Walking meetings hit their stride

January 19, 2017 - 1:00pm

“Software engineer” might sound like a sedentary role, but it doesn’t have to be. Janice Lan schedules walking meetings to break the sitting habit.

“Walking meetings are preferable for one-on-ones because it actually gives you a break from staring at a computer screen,” says Lan, a software engineer at Sift Science, which develops machine learning technology to detect fraud. “I walk with either a manager or a peer, usually when we talk about high-level things.”

A walking meeting is just what it sounds like: a meeting that takes place during a walk rather than in a conference room or office. People can hold walking meetings on sidewalks and park trails or inside shopping malls and convention centers if the setting isn’t too noisy.

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IDG Contributor Network: The technological foundation for the age of the customer

January 17, 2017 - 5:23pm

According to Forrester Research, we are now firmly entrenched in The Age of the Customer. Their research shows that during the 20th Century and the New Millennium, companies that have outperformed their peers have been linked together by a core competence. From the 1900s through 1960, it was the age of manufacturing. Companies that mastered mass production, such as Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and U.S. Steel, rose to the top. From 1960 to 1990, we moved into the Age of Distribution during which companies like Walmart and UPS won. In the 1990s through the 2000s, it was the Age of Information with Google, Amazon, and Comcast emerging as top performers.

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Cruise ship CIO jettisons aging application infrastructure

January 11, 2017 - 7:09pm

If Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines CIO Michael Giresi has his way, passengers will soon sail through the cruise company's embarcation process, a complex affair that features thousands of data transactions generated by consumers booking their journeys. Giresi’s vision requires some significant rewiring of the application infrastructure supporting Royal's antiquated reservation system.

"Our architecture can't scale or meet expectations and must be redone with data and guests at the heart of it and seamlessly integrate throughout that journey," says Giresi, who joined the company in 2015 from retailer Tory Burch, where he transformed IT for the apparel retailer. He tells that Royal's software architecture would occasionally hit a "peak and crash" from the myriad transactions and other business processes competing for computing resources.

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5 reasons to automate your network

December 28, 2016 - 12:12pm
(Insider Story)

IDG Contributor Network: 4 steps to doing cloud ROI calculations right

December 23, 2016 - 2:01pm

I know of a company that had forecasted and budgeted for $2,000 a month cost with their cloud service provider when they moved to the cloud. Instead, about once every quarter, their bill edged over $5,000.

Why were they so far off on their budgeting?

Their cloud vendor’s pricing was fixed up to a maximum level of network bandwidth usage. Beyond that, the company had to pay incremental costs. When the company had built a profile of their performance and utilization requirements to use in attaining quotes from cloud vendors, they had only looked at the last 30 days of data. If they had looked further into the rearview window, however, they would have noticed the culprits that led to unexpectedly high fees—quarterly spikes in bandwidth utilization.

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Event-driven infrastructure and the move to higher worlds

December 22, 2016 - 6:26pm

At Amazon Web Services' (AWS) re:Invent conference two years ago, the company introduced AWS Lambda, a mind-blowing service that allows developers to specify and set up specific functions that would run in the event of particular events.

This was a remarkable development, for it heralded the ability to move beyond servers for specific processes and move to a model where the operation was the unit of measure. Functions would run only in the event of the particular triggers and would set in a idle state for eternity in the absence of those triggers. Developers would pay only when the particular functions were running.

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IDG Contributor Network: SUSE ups its IaaS, PaaS game

December 5, 2016 - 7:38pm

SUSE, the oldest Linux company has just upped the PaaS and IaaS game with the acquisition of HPE’s OpenStack and Cloud Foundry assets and talent. Michael Miller, President of Strategy, Alliances and Marketing at SUSE, told me in an interview that this acquisition involves assets from both the Helion OpenStack product and the Helion Stackato product.

Talent? What talent?

One of the highlights of this announcement was that SUSE will also be acquiring engineering talent from HPE. But we all know that HPE laid off many OpenStack engineers, so what kind of ‘talent’ will SUSE be acquiring through this acquisition?  Miller told me that “a significant number of HPE engineers with experience in OpenStack IaaS, Cloud Foundry PaaS, containers and Kubernetes will join SUSE after the close of the transaction.”

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Face-off: New Relic vs. AppDynamics for APM

December 2, 2016 - 12:00pm

Application performance management (APM) software must serve multiple masters -- developers, IT and business managers -- all of whom want visibility into the performance of corporate software to make sure it produces a great, reliable experience for the end-user.

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(Insider Story)

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