Supplier Report: 12/10/2016

AWS continues to grow and gain customers. As their competition finds ways to differentiate themselves, Google opened their Deepmind training environment up to the masses and announced they will run their data-centers on 100% renewable energy by the end of 2017.

Speaking of data-centers… Verizon is selling theirs to Equinix for almost $4B to raise cash. Interesting number considering they are spending just over $4B on Yahoo (which I maintain they don’t need since they already own AOL).

President-elect Donald Trump announced the formation of an economic council and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty was the sole technology CEO in the group… good for IBM, bad for an economy  that is driven by technological innovation.


  • Equinix to Buy Some Verizon Data Centers for $3.6 Billion

    Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam said at an investor conference Tuesday that Verizon didn’t have very much scale in data centers so it was better to sell them and put that money to better use. The carrier wants to “trim the branches of the tree so the tree can be stronger,” Mr. McAdam said.

  • Oracle Corporation (ORCL) Aims To Benefit From NetSuite Inc (N) Acquisition

    Derrick Wood, Cowen analyst highlighted that Oracle did not offer any financial commentary related to the acquisition and the news is likely to come along with earnings report later this month. “NetSuite will be organized as a separate Global Business Unit (GBU) within ORCL, with Jim McGeever being the President and COO of the unit reporting to Mark Hurd. ORCL confirmed its commitment and support for N’s products with plans for investment in sales and distribution, R&D, international expansion and verticalization,” commented Mr. Wood.

  • Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition approved by regulators, but there’s a catch

    In order to receive the approval of those in Europe, Microsoft said that it is doing several things over the next 5 years to preserve competition: ensuring that LinkedIn competitors will still receive access to participate in Office Add-in and promotional opportunities in the Office Store, not entering into agreements with PC manufacturers to pre-install a Windows LinkedIn application or tile that would “favor LinkedIn on an exclusive basis,” and more.

Artificial Intelligence

  • Google DeepMind Makes AI Training Platform Publicly Available

    DeepMind is putting the entire source code for its training environment — which it previously called Labyrinth and has now renamed as DeepMind Lab — on the open-source depository GitHub, the company said Monday. Anyone will be able to download the code and customize it to help train their own artificial intelligence systems. They will also be able to create new game levels for DeepMind Lab and upload these to GitHub.

  • Zo is Microsoft’s latest AI chatbot
    Microsoft is attempting to do another chatbot after the unfortunate racist hacking of Tay a few months ago…

    And now, it seems like Microsoft is ready to introduce its next chatbot. Meet Zo — the software giant’s latest take on chatbots powered by artificial intelligence. The chatbot was spotted by Twitter user Tom Hounsell, and users can give it a try right now. At the moment, Zo is only available on Kik which is definitely an interesting platform to choose. Unlike Tay, Zo isn’t yet available on Twitter and that’s not really a surprise after what happened earlier this year. However, the app will likely come to Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat once it’s officially announced.

  • IBM creates Watson-powered robot for eldercare assistance

    IBM MERA combines Watson AI with a technology called CameraVitals, developed at Rice University, that calculates vital signs using recorded video of a person’s facial expressions. The MERA runs on the IBM Cloud and uses a Softbank Pepper robot interface to estimate an individual’s vital signs, including heart and breathing measurements in a non-invasive manner. It can view and respond if a person has fallen, alerting the caregiver that a patient may be in distress.


  • Google says it will hit 100% renewable energy by 2017

    While it’s not quite there, Google says it will cross the 100% mark next year due to its commitments to purchase enough direct wind and solar-sourced power to match its annual consumption for the year. Google isn’t being solely charitable with this drive to adopt green power, either; it notes in a blog post that solar, wind and renewables as a general category is becoming the cheapest source of power around, meaning that as its data center operation costs grow with an increasing investment in cloud-based services, it makes the most fiscal sense for Google to continue to invest in creating new renewable sources to help meet its growing demand.

  • AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud – Best Prices and Discounts

    The charge rate is influenced by a lot of factors such as storage, networking and computing power so users need to pay attention to those details before choosing a cloud service. The most important thing users need to pay attention to is discounts, because all providers offer up different discounts.

  • AWS Launches Managed DDoS Protection

    Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels announced Amazon Shield, new layers of protection designed against service interruptions like the cyber attack that took down top websites and affected some Amazon Web Services customers in October.

    “This will really help you protect yourselves even against the largest and most sophisticated attacks we’ve seen,” he said on Thursday at AWS re:Invent, a conference in Las Vegas that drew 32,000 attendees.

  • Can Oracle Really Beat AWS?

    However, Oracle’s biggest risk is that despite its platform and software strength it might gradually become irrelevant with the new waves of open source software hitting the enterprise shores. A well-defined cloud strategy which would help it leverage its strengths can save it in the long run. I believe offering customers the chance to deploy containers on bare-metal is such a strategy. Why? Well, as I said, I believe containers will be used extensively in the cloud IaaS space going forward.

  • Netflix to Hand Over Infrastructure Management to Amazon Cloud Service

    ZDNET reported Netflix CPO, Neil Hunt, gave a presentation at AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas yesterday, revealing that AWS will now manage the entire infrastructure of the world’s leading online TV network, particularly where it is not Netflix-specific. With this, the streaming titan’s development team can rather focus on providing features that can deliver “most compelling service” to its subscribers.

  • Connectria Certifies Microsoft Azure Hosted HIPAA Compliance

    “Connectria has supported customers in Azure for the past two years,” said Rich Waidmann, Connectria President and CEO of Connectria Hosting. “We’re excited to now enable customers to host HIPAA Compliant environments in Microsoft Azure. Our extensive background in HIPAA Compliance, combined with our close partnership with Microsoft, will help ensure that healthcare providers and healthcare software companies can meet their HIPAA requirements when they store electronic PHI in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud.”


  • Infinidat CEO Moshe Yanai on providing speedy, affordable, reliable storage

    We think the trend in 2017 is the rise in “hyper storage”. That is ultra-high density, enterprise-class, software defined, flexible storage for the cloud and enterprise data centers.

    One of the main characteristics of that will be that it will run on any hardware — it does not have to be proprietary, or hard wired into a particular model. People want to see a hardware stack that can adapt to any media type.

  • Dell posts $2B loss, but sees accelerating growth

    Dell said legacy revenues were flat but that the addition of EMC increased total revenue by 28 percent. Officials cautioned that the consolidation with EMC and its operating companies makes year-over-year comparisons extremely difficult, adding that the discontinuity is likely to continue for several years. As a quasi-public company, Dell isn’t required to issue guidance on future revenues or profits.

    Dell said it has already cut the $57.4 billion in debt it incurred at the time of the acquisition of EMC to $50.5 billion. The recent divestiture of its software, services and content management divisions added $7 billion to its cash hoard, enabling the company to accelerate the payment of its debt obligation and end the quarter with $15 billion in cash.


  • Slack and Google announce partnership focused on better integrating their services

    One of the new integrations is a Google Drive Bot that will post comments and requests for access into Slack. Recipients can then approve or reject requests from Slack, or settle comments, or they can launch Google Docs to work with the files directly.

    Slack will also allow users to preview Google Docs files in the app itself, and, when shared, Slack will check the permissions on the file. If you’re sharing with people who don’t have access currently, Slack will prompt you to update your sharing settings.

  • Microsoft’s Plans for LinkedIn Sound Awful
    This article is a little dramatic… but it does provide a solid overview of potentially new features.

    Tying a LinkedIn identity into Outlook and MS Office is more problematic. Let’s say I tie my LinkedIn ID to my Outlook account here at New York. Next week I am fired after fabricating several interviews and many key facts for my post “Why Google, Facebook, and Apple Are Merging Right Now at This Very Second.” When I eventually find a new job writing for one of the web’s fastest growing sites,, how will I disconnect my LinkedIn ID and my old Outlook account and connect it with my new one? Will an Outlook admin need to do it? Why did I link my LinkedIn profile to my Outlook account anyway, considering Outlook is widely only used by people at work, and LinkedIn is mainly a place to look for other jobs?


  • There’s only one tech CEO on Trump’s economic advisory team

    Rometty is an interesting choice for a lot of reasons. She’s not from the center of the tech universe, Silicon Valley. IBM is headquartered in New York. We don’t know if she knows Trump personally or not, but as a fellow New Yorker, its likely they’ve at least hobnobbed a time or two.

  • “Bullsh*t and spin”: Autonomy founder mocks HP’s $5B fraud suit against him

    HP originally paid Lynch $730 million for his stake in Autonomy. Now its trying to recover that money and what it thinks it overpaid for the big data company. HP ended up having to write-down nearly $9 billion of the $11 billion buyout after Autonomy fell apart in its arms. Lynch is countersuing for $160 million, claiming the fraud suit ruined his reputation.

  • Two top EMCers bail from Dell EMC

    The two are Core Technologies Division President Guy Churchward and Emerging Technologies Division President CJ Desai.

    Churchward was responsible for products spanning the bulk of EMC revenues; Avamar, Data Domain, Networker, RecoverPoint, Spanning, Unity, ViPR, VMAX, VNX, VPLEX, and XtremIO. Desai looked after Isilon and IsilonSD Edge, ECS, DSSD and ScaleIO.

    This leaves Chad Sakac, rently promoted as President of Converged Platforms (Vblocks, VxRail, VxRack, XC Appliances) as the sole remaining Tucci-era product business line manager of consequence.

  • Nadella confirms Microsoft isn’t stepping away from Windows phones

    What we are going to do is focus that effort on places where we have differentiation. If you take Windows Phone, where we are differentiated in Windows phone is it’s manageability, it’s security, it’s continuing capability that is the ability to have a phone that in fact can even act like a PC. So, we are going to double down on those points of differentiation. In fact, the HP X3, which came out recently, is perhaps a great example of a differentiated device built using the Windows phone platform and that sort of points for the direction. We will keep looking at different forms, different functions that we can bring to mobile devices, while also supporting our software across a variety of devices. So, that’s the approach you will see us take.
    A look at the X3:

Photo: Matt Palmer

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SourceCast: Episode 51: Watching your health


This week news broke that Motorola is going to stop making smart watches and Peeble is being purchased by FitBit. What happens to the utopian medical data scneario when companies stop making these devices?

Photo: S Zolkin

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News You Can Use: 12/7/2016


  • Management Thought is Bankrupt

    We are seeing the dominance of measurement.  KPIs abound. Big Data everywhere. Your personality is tested and measured. As is your engagement. On an ongoing basis. Every project has thousands of targets, deadlines and measurable processes. Data, data, data. Numbers, numbers, numbers. Measure, measure, measure.

    Taylorism for the hi-tech generation. A model we know does not work and does not motivate, but one we’ve re-embraced anyway. And we wonder why there is no meaning or engagement at work.

  • Why Avoiding Office Politics Isn’t Always the Best for Your Career

    When it comes to office politics, Simosko warns, “There is no way around it. Once you start working with a team you are going to experience it. I am not a fan of politics, but I have learned that ignoring them can have negative consequences.” She insists that learning to deal with office politics is vital for leaders at any stage of their career. “It can determine whether you are successful in your career or not,” she said.

  • What everyone ought to know about Social Media (thanks JD!)

    How technology hijacks people’s minds
  • The tech that will feed the world

    Now computing capacity is cheap, and it’s possible to model all possible choices and their potential outcomes. A smartphone with Google Maps, for example, can evaluate every path from point A to point B to decide, based on the current traffic conditions, which will likely be the shortest or fastest route.

    Simulation and modeling also help from getting lost when it comes to growing crops. At the most basic level, plants need sunlight, water and nutrients at levels that vary during various stages of growth. It sounds simple, but at scale, optimizing each factor has a huge payoff.

  • Microsoft executive bonuses could soon be tied to diversity goals

    According to Gwen Houston, Microsoft’s General Manager for Global Diversity and Inclusion, Nadella is working on a plan that will make meeting diversity goals a major factor in deciding if executives receive their full bonus each year. “Diversity and inclusion is something you’ve got to ingrain,” Houston said. “That’s what Satya has been doing.” Still, Houston says the company has more to do. Layoffs from sale of Nokia assets severely hurt the company’s percentage of women and minority workers, and new hires haven’t made up the difference yet.

Photo: Vitaly Taranov

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Supplier Report: 12/3/2016


Amazon is all over the news this week as they are introducing more AI/machine learning tools, more industry specific platforms, and more flexible GPU pricing.

Last week there were rumors that IBM was having issues with their cloud hosting financials, but they bounced back this week by securing American Airlines as a Bluemix customer and also bringing more focus on their blockchain solutions.

HPE is… just confusing me with every public action and comment they make.


  • SUSE Acquires HPE OpenStack Cloud Technology and Talent

    Linux vendor SUSE is acquiring OpenStack cloud and Cloud Foundry Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technology and staff from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in a deal announced on November 30. Financial terms of the acquisition are not being publicly disclosed and the deal is set to close in the first quarter of 2017.

  • IBM closes acquisition of financial consulting firm Promontory (old news)

    The firm’s statement continues, “The acquisition complements IBM’s Industry Platforms business, formed to develop open vertical platforms – the first comprehensive ‘as a service’ offerings designed from the ground up for individual industries. These platforms will integrate IBM Cloud, Watson and capabilities from across digital ecosystems of specialized providers, and serve multiple clients in an industry – delivering dramatically reduced costs for outcomes spanning speed, quality, audit-ability, security and transparency.”

  • Twitter buys startup Yes, Inc. and scores a new VP of product in the process

    The new VP of Product, Keith Coleman, steps into the role as part of Twitter’s purchase of seven-person mobile app startup Yes, Inc., where he served as CEO. Prior to that gig, the exec worked as a product manager for another little startup called Google.

  • Fitbit is buying troubled smartwatch maker Pebble for around $40 million

    A source close to the company told TechCrunch that watch maker Citizen was interested in purchasing Pebble for $740 million in 2015. This deal failed and before the launch of the Pebble 2 Intel made an offer for $70 million. The CEO, Eric Migicovsky refused both offers. Our source said that Fitbit is now paying between $34 and $40 million for the company and is “barely covering their debts.”
    I am putting this news item on the report as now there is one less IoT/wearable company that could be making health related devices
    Related News:
    Smartwatches wear out their welcome with Motorola

    Android Wear has had a rough year. What started with a promising announcement of Android Wear 2.0 at Google I/O has ended with a delayed launch, an utter lack of new models and now, a disillusioned manufacturer. In an interview with the Verge, Shakil Barkat, Motorola’s head of global product development, said in no uncertain terms that the company has soured on smartwatches and doesn’t “see enough pull in the market” to release a new model anytime soon.

  • Can CSC spin-merger help HPE strike the infrastructure-services balance?

    “With ES moving out, it gives us the opportunity to partner far more with the likes of [professional services company] Accenture,” he said.

    HPE VP Alistair Winner says this:

    When asked if HPE is still primarily a product and hardware company, Alastair answered resolutely, “No.”

    He said where once customers just wanted to buy gear from them and move on, “now customers are saying, ‘Actually, I don’t want to buy gear anymore. Help me consume it, whether that’s on premise or on the cloud.’”

    This is a total copout BS statement and Alistair needs to be called out on that.

Artificial Intelligence

  • AWS comes out swinging with A.I. services

    The three services being rolled out are Amazon Rekognition for image recognition; Amazon Polly for text-to-speech services; and Amazon Lex, the technology inside its smart device Alexa, offering speech recognition services.

  • Should Microsoft be your AI and machine learning platform?

    The cloud-based machine-learning marketplace is increasingly crowded, with competing services from the likes of Google, IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Mike Gualtieri, VP at analyst house Forrester, said that while Microsoft offered simpler tools for firms building their own machine-learning models, the quality of the firm’s on-demand, pre-trained speech, vision and language recognition services would likely be less effective than Google’s because of the search giant’s access to huge amounts of training data.

  • Pfizer to use IBM Watson to devise immunotherapies for cancer

    “With the incredible volume of data and literature available in this complex field, we believe that tapping into advanced technologies can help our scientific experts more rapidly identify novel combinations of immune-modulating agents,” said Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s president of worldwide research and development. “We are hopeful that by leveraging Watson’s cognitive capabilities in our drug discovery efforts, we will be able to bring promising new immuno-oncology therapeutics to patients more quickly.”


  • How Amazon Web Services is luring banks to the cloud

    Jassy said the trend started at last year’s re:Invent, where Capital One Financial Chief Information Officer Rob Alexander talked publicly about recreating the consumer banking experience in the cloud. On Tuesday, Amazon said that over the next five years, Capital One will migrate “many core business and customer applications to AWS.”

    Intuit, whose tax and payroll software exposes it to strict regulations, has moved completely to Amazon’s cloud. And the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, is headed in that direction.

  • How to compare cloud costs between Amazon, Microsoft and Google

    One advantage of IaaS is that customers can spin resources up and down as needed. But the most expensive way to buy cloud-based virtual machines is to pay for them on-demand. If customers plan and commit to a long-term contract, they will save money.

    In AWS, the primary way to do this is by using Reserved Instances (RIs). “You get the discount in exchange for making a one-year or three-year commitment with the longer commitment giving a higher discount,” RightScale engineers explain. “If you also pay for some or all of that committed usage upfront, the discount gets larger.” RightScale says discounts of RIs compared to on-demand VMs range from 24% to 75%.

  • American Airlines selects IBM as its Cloud provider

    As part of the partnership, American Airlines will move select enterprise applications to IBM’s Cloud. The airline will be able to leverage the global footprint of IBM Cloud, which consists of more than 50 data centers spanning 17 countries, as well as a wide range of application development capabilities through IBM Bluemix. In addition the company will have access to IBM advanced analytics capabilities and technologies, all of which will enable the company to advance its enterprise into a cognitive infrastructure that offers greater resiliency and better customer experiences.

  • Amazon Web Services is rolling out a way to use to use just the GPU power you need

    That means companies can tap into just a sliver of GPU power, or a larger amount, on demand as they need it and pay for that amount. GPUs can run a ton of tasks in parallel and have a lot of advantages in certain compute situations, like rendering games. But some lightweight processes don’t necessary require a full GPU cluster, which running for a company — especially a smaller one — might become prohibitively expensive very quickly. The new product, introduced at AWS Re:Invent, is called Elastic GPU for EC2.

  • Docker for AWS: Who’s it really for?

    The biggest clue as to who Docker for AWS is aimed at: its use of CloudFormation as its interface to AWS. Cloud Formation was created to allow AWS services to be stood up as a single unit, without the user needing intimate knowledge of how to configure each piece. Configuring services like Elastic Load Balancing or CloudWatch isn’t a trivial process, and most AWS components have a learning curve associated with them.

    Docker for AWS reduces the overall learning curve for those who want to use Docker—and Docker Swarm—on AWS. But users can also manually configure a setup later on if the need arises.


  • Here’s More Bad News for Tech Hardware Makers

    Spending by small and medium businesses (SMBs) on laptops, PCs, peripherals, and other hardware will show a just a 1.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next four years compared to 6.6% growth in software spending, and 3.8% growth in IT services spending, according to IDC.
    Note: This article is a bit of a mess. Cloud is not called out specifically but is probably included in business services, which includes outsourcing.

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise Demonstrates World’s First Memory-Driven Computing Architecture

    “We have achieved a major milestone with The Machine research project — one of the largest and most complex research projects in our company’s history,” said Antonio Neri, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise Group at HPE. “With this prototype, we have demonstrated the potential of Memory-Driven Computing and also opened the door to immediate innovation. Our customers and the industry as a whole can expect to benefit from these advancements as we continue our pursuit of game-changing technologies.”


  • IBM is continuing its blockchain push

    Putting blockchain to use for real-world transactions is likely not that far off. If working groups’ tests are successful, firms could be using it to transact real value as early as the end of this year and we could see widespread industry application within the next few years.


  • Why Have IBM’s Global Business Services Failed to Grow?

    The government remained tight-lipped about the specifics of what was discussed, but did say that among the topics of discussion was the IT skills gap and the Digital Single Market – an initiative to ensure people and businesses across the continent can access digital services seamlessly and are subject to the same rules and regulations.

Photo: vedanti

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SourceCast: Episode 50: Buyer’s Remorse


A recent report from Seeking Alpha is suggesting that IBM has to write off their investment of SoftLayer.  Is IBM losing the cloud challange or are they playing a larger game?

Photo:Trent Yarnell

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