Tag Archives: HPE

Supplier Report: 3/4/2017

Amazon Web Services had a bad day this week, and when AWS has a bad day, so does the rest of the internet. AWS had a 4-hour outage on Monday caused by human error.  Later in the week, the company reported that they have put processes in place to prevent this type of issue from occurring again.

IBM is making news for gaining a patent for out-of-office email responses.  IBM then made news for being ridiculed for attempting to patent basic technology that has been around for over a decade. Big blue made news a third time for offering the patent up for public use.

Acquisitions

No acquisitions for two weeks in a row… 

Artificial Intelligence

Cloud

  • The day Amazon S3 storage stood still

    By now you’ve probably heard that Amazon’s S3 storage service went down in its Northern Virginia datacenter for the better part of 4 hours yesterday, and took parts of a bunch of prominent websites and services with it.

    It’s worth noting that as of this morning, the Amazon dashboard was showing everything was operating normally.

    Additional Background:

    Amazon S3 is used by around 148,213 websites, and 121,761 unique domains, according to data tracked by SimilarTech, and its popularity as a content host concentrates specifically in the U.S. It’s used by 0.8 percent of the top 1 million websites, which is actually quite a bit smaller than CloudFlare, which is used by 6.2 percent of the top 1 million websites globally – and yet it’s still having this much of an effect.

    Information on S3’s historical uptime:

    To provide some additional perspective, CloudHarmony, a service that tracks cloud outages reports that S3 has typically exceeded its Service Level Agreement (SLA), which promises that the service will be up 99.9 percent of the time and offers refunds for those times when it’s not. CloudHarmony found that in most cases S3 has achieved 100 percent annual availability since the company began monitoring cloud services in 2014. The notable exception was an S3 outage in August, 2015.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/01/the-day-amazon-s3-storage-stood-still/?ncid=rss
    The root cause was human error

    Amazon apologized for the disruption on the AWS services page. It writes that a Simple Storage Service (S3) engineer was debugging an issue causing the S3 billing service to run slowly. They “executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process.”

    “Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended. The servers that were inadvertently removed supported two other S3 subsystems. One of these subsystems, the index subsystem, manages the metadata and location information of all S3 objects in the region.”

    http://www.techspot.com/news/68381-cause-amazon-web-service-failure-resulted-parts-internet.html

  • AWS Taking On Microsoft, Google with Productivity Suite

    Sources told The Information that AWS is still in the early development stages with its productivity suite and hasn’t ironed out exactly what apps it would include. The company is reportedly working to upgrade its existing WorkMail and WorkDocs to appeal to more corporate customers.

    http://www.geekwire.com/2017/amazon-may-take-microsoft-google-new-aws-productivity-suite/

  • Box’s Levie touts positive cash flow

    The company celebrated its first quarter as a free cash flow (FCF) positive business, with CEO Aaron Levie characterizing this as an “inflection point” in a call with TechCrunch. FCF was $10.2 million for the quarter, which they say is a $30 million gain year-over-year.

    But Wall Street was disappointed that Box cautioned its first-quarter earnings would likely lose 14 to 15 cents per share, worse than the negative 12 cents investors are watching for.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/01/boxs-levie-touts-positive-cash-flow/?ncid=rss

Datacenter

  • Why so sad HPE, IBM, Lenovo? Server sales? Let’s see… ah. Oh dear

    Overall, according to Gartner research VP Jeffrey Hewitt: “x86 servers continue to be the predominant platform used for large-scale data center build-outs across the globe, and the growth of integrated systems (including hyperconverged integrated systems), while still relatively small as an overall percentage of the hardware infrastructure market, also provided a boost to the x86 server space for the year.”

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/02/server_market_shrinks/

  • IBM flash storage key to turnaround, says GM Walsh

    Look at how you use data to drive your business through better insights. Say you’re doing a poll to get some analytics. How do you run the poll? How do you tell the system, ‘Tell me … this answer,’ and then put some understanding around the answer. Cognitive is placing reason around the data so you understand it and get help with decision-making. Those applications takes a lot of CPU and memory, so flash media allows you to do those things better.

    http://searchsolidstatestorage.techtarget.com/news/450413920/IBM-flash-storage-key-to-turnaround-says-GM-Walsh

  • HPE’s struggles might have something to do with Microsoft

    While Microsoft has been deploying some white-box servers for years, the company seems to have stepped up its efforts lately. In October, the company unveiled Project Olympus, a design for modular servers featuring internally-designed motherboards and power supplies. Olympus is being contributed to the Open Compute Project (OCP), a Facebook-led initiative to create open-source designs for low-power data center hardware.

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/14015918/1/hp-enterprise-s-struggles-might-have-a-lot-to-do-with-microsoft.html

Software/SaaS

  • Zipnosis, PokitDok intertwine claims processing and telemedicine

    “PokitDok designed claims administration tools to support emerging digital health companies like Zipnosis,” said Lisa Maki, co-founder and CEO of PokitDok. “This engagement really hit our sweet spot: working to strip costs and unproductive time out of clinical visits. We leveraged our HIPAA-compliant data connections to health insurers and payers to facilitate this new workflow. The result is quality care delivery with improved efficiency.”

    http://www.mobihealthnews.com/content/zipnosis-pokitdok-intertwine-claims-processing-and-telemedicine

Other

Photo: AJ Montpetit

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Supplier Report: 2/25/2017

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference happened this week and featured IBM CEO Ginny Rometty as a keynote speaker. As IBM extolled the virtues of artificial intelligence, industry insiders are asking if it is too early for the healthcare industry to embrace it.

While IBM tried to highlight AI’s benefits, AWS announced even more healthcare-friendly cloud environments and offerings.

Acquisitions

There were no major acquisitions this week!

Artificial Intelligence

  • IBM’s Rossi on AI ethics: ‘Start small and widen the scope

    An example, she said, is the work IBM and other companies, together with domain experts, are doing on decision-making support systems in healthcare. The approach is to go from medical specialty to medical specialty, scenario by scenario. “We understand what we expect from that doctor, and we expect the AI system to behave at least as ethically as a doctor, if not better,” Rossi said.

    http://searchcio.techtarget.com/blog/TotalCIO/IBMs-Rossi-on-AI-ethics-Start-small-and-widen-the-scope

  • The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates

    Gates said that a robot tax could finance jobs taking care of elderly people or working with kids in schools, for which needs are unmet and to which humans are particularly well suited. He argues that governments must oversee such programs rather than relying on businesses, in order to redirect the jobs to help people with lower incomes. The idea is not totally theoretical: EU lawmakers considered a proposal to tax robot owners to pay for training for workers who lose their jobs, though on Feb. 16 the legislators ultimately rejected it.

    https://qz.com/911968/bill-gates-the-robot-that-takes-your-job-should-pay-taxes/

  • Gartner Magic Quadrant Shows Microsoft Leading BI and Analytics Industry

    Kamal Hathi, GM for Microsoft BI, wrote in a blog post that Microsoft was able to achieve the recognition due to their customer-centric approach, regular development and ship cycles for Power BI. Microsoft also says that the development of Power BI was helped by high-value community feedback from more than 200,000 active participants submitting over 6000 ideas since Power BI’s July 2015 public launch.

    http://1reddrop.com/2017/02/18/gartner-magic-quadrant-microsoft-leading-business-intelligence-analytics-industry/

Cloud

  • Google’s new cloud service is a unique take on a database

    The service will be useful for companies that need millisecond-level consistency in their databases worldwide, according to Nick Heudecker, a research director at Gartner. In an interview, he called out financial services and advertising as two industries that might benefit from Cloud Spanner.

    Heudecker did point out that the service will require companies to port existing applications, which may prove challenging. Google is working with partners to help customers move over, according to Deepti Srivastava, the product manager for Cloud Spanner.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3169522/cloud-computing/google-s-new-cloud-service-is-a-unique-take-on-a-database.html

  • PokitDok, Merck, Orion Make AWS Announcements at HIMSS17

    Organizations looking to deploy third party software in their health IT infrastructure can now be sure that the solution will be compliant with the required healthcare standards. The category is made up of solutions that have been fully adapted to or built specifically for the healthcare and life sciences industries.

    AWS made this adjustment to its marketplace because of the unique requirements and environments of healthcare organizations. The amount of data collected by healthcare organizations makes them unique, and legacy systems simply can’t handle all the data coming in.

    http://hitinfrastructure.com/news/pokitdok-merck-orion-make-aws-announcements-at-himss17

  • NTT DATA and Oracle Corporation expanding relationship to include end-to-end cloud capabilities

    NTT DATA, Inc. announced the company’s existing relationship with Oracle Corporation is expanding to include end-to-end cloud capabilities for Oracle’s Healthcare Foundation, a unified healthcare analytics platform. The platform provides data integration and warehousing of clinical, financial, administrative and -omics modules in a cloud solution to customers worldwide. The healthcare cloud offering will provide organizations the ability to easily unify, grow or replace their existing healthcare data warehouse and data aggregation solutions. “This collaboration with Oracle will help healthcare organizations implement a cloud-based solution that will improve outcomes and deliver tangible business results,” said Dan Allison, president, global healthcare and life sciences, NTT DATA.

    http://www.benchmarkmonitor.com/2017/02/21/ntt-data-and-oracle-corporation-nyseorcl-expanding-relationship-to-include-end-to-end-cloud-capabilities/

Datacenter

Software/SaaS

  • SAP license fees are due even for indirect users, court says

    “Any business using SAP is now exposed to substantial SAP penalties and ongoing maintenance charges unless they obtain licenses not just for their internal users but also their customers and suppliers. The danger arises where there is any flow of data from the systems via customer portals to individual customers — even indirectly,” he said.

    “Although the ruling only has U.K. applicability, SAP’s license agreements are effectively harmonized globally; any corporate needs to take notice and see that SAP’s licensing reach goes far beyond use just within the internal business,” Fry said.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3170997/cloud-computing/sap-license-fees-are-due-even-for-indirect-users-court-says.html

  • There’s finally a commercial use for blockchain tech in finance

    According to Justin Chapman, Northern Trust’s head of innovation research, private-equity fund admin is currently a mess of paperwork that a blockchain platform will automate away. “It’s an extremely manual process at the moment,” he says. “It can take three to four months to agree on legal documentation for distribution. Now it can be done as soon as the lawyer gets to the paperwork.”

    Everything from share issuance to capital drawdowns and income distributions will be captured on the admin platform, Chapman says. But this can already be done with a conventional database or even a shared Excel spreadsheet, so why use fancy new tech? It’s because of blockchain tech’s secret sauce: trust. “Blockchain makes this immutable,” Chapman says. This means all the parties in a private equity deal can look at one version of transaction and other data, instead of trying to reconcile multiple copies of deal documents, which can be a laborious and error-prone process.

    https://qz.com/916601/northern-trust-and-ibm-announce-a-blockchain-for-private-equity-fund-administration/

  • NPR: Planet Money: Blockchain Gang

    Since we are talking about Blockchain – I listened to this podcast a few weeks ago and I think it does a great job of explaining what it is and the uses outside of bitcoin.

Other

  • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society 2017: Ginni Rometty Keynote

    AI to define the future of healthcare, says IBM CEO

    Rometty revealed IBM will be focusing on cognitive computing over the next few years to transform precision medicine and personalised care; at the beginning of the year, IBM experts also said AI will transform the future of mental health care by analysing patterns of speech and writing to determine the best course of treatment:

    “What were once invisible signs will become clear signals of patients’ likelihood of entering a certain mental state or how well their treatment plan is working, complementing regular clinical visits with daily assessments from the comfort of their homes.”

    http://www.hitcentral.eu/british-journal-healthcare-computing/ai-define-future-healthcare-says-ibm-ceo
    HIMSS17: Artificial intelligence focus asks the industry – too soon?

    The healthcare industry has never been renowned for its speed of adoption, despite the big tech conferences showing off all their latest futuristic capabilities other industries adopted years ago. On one hand, it still seems like the industry hasn’t fully achieved the theme of last year’s conference: Interoperability. Many businesses have become profitable by providing add-ons to legacy EHR systems which can’t function the way many providers want them to. Some physicians have still yet to adopt using email to communicate with their patients. The use of AI and the like seems like a far leap in the face of the industry’s present technological infrastructure.

    http://www.healthcaredive.com/news/himss17-artificial-intelligence-focus-asks-the-industry-too-soon/436807/

  • Everything You Need to Know About Cloudbleed, the Latest Internet Security Disaster

    You might not be familiar with Cloudflare itself, but the company’s technology is running on a lot of your favorite websites. Cloudflare describes itself as a “web performance and security company.” Originally an app for tracking down the source of spam, the company now offers a whole menu of products to websites, including performance-based services like content delivery services; reliability-focused offerings like domain name server (DNS) services; and security services like protection against direct denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

    http://gizmodo.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloudbleed-the-lates-1792710616

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise slumps on poor sales, weak forecast

    HPE Chief Executive Meg Whitman said the company is dealing with “several factors” that are affecting its performance. Those include foreign currency exchange rates, increases in the prices of commodity technology products such as DRAM memory, and what appears to be a tough market for its main server and storage products among its core service provider and enterprise business customers.

    http://www.siliconbeat.com/2017/02/24/hewlett-packard-enterprise-slumps-poor-sales-weak-forecast/?doing_wp_cron=1487958276.0218529701232910156250

Photo: Alex Wong

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Supplier Report: 2/18/2017

Oracle is having a heck of a week… they just started their 3rd round of lawsuits with Google over java API use, former employees filed a class action lawsuit over commission payments, and the finance blog Seeking Alpha laid out a horrific future for their database dominance.

Looks like Verizon is finally moving forward with the Yahoo purchase and managed to score a little discount thanks to Yahoo’s security issues.

IBM released an odd video of a young boy creating an Alexa-esque Watson assistant to help IT professionals monitor security threats. Is this the modern version of your dad making the baking soda volcano for your science project because “you didn’t do it right”?

Acquisitions

Artificial Intelligence

  • IBM’s Watson trained in the language of cyber security

    According to IBM, Watson can now help security analysts parse thousands of natural language research reports that have never before been accessible to modern security tools.For the past year, Watson has been trained on the language of cyber security with over one million security documents, and has been tested with over 40 clients and channel partners including the Ireland based partner Smarttech and Avnet.

    http://www.information-age.com/ibms-watson-cyber-security-123464427/

  • Elon Musk reiterates the need for brain-computer interfaces in the age of AI

    Musk’s comments recalled those made at Recode’s Code Conference last year, in which he discussed a “neural lace” that would interface directly with the brain, letting users communicate thoughts with computers with much more bandwidth and much less latency than is currently possible via input mechanisms like keyboard and mouse. The need for this, he said on Monday in Dubai, could “achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence, and maybe solves the control problem and the usefulness problem,” reports CNBC.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/13/elon-musk-reiterates-the-need-for-brain-computer-interfaces-in-the-age-of-ai/?ncid=rss

  • IBM wants to bring machine learning to the mainframe

    IBM wants to provide data scientists with the same types of machine learning capabilities in a mainframe environment that they are used to finding in the cloud. The goal is to automate the often monotonous work of creating, testing and deploying analytical models. The solution works with popular open source tools including languages like Scala, Java and Python, and machine learning frameworks like Apache SparkML, TensorFlow and H2O. It’s also designed to work with virtually any data type the customer brings to the table.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/15/ibms-bringing-machine-learning-to-the-mainframe/?ncid=rss

Cloud

  • Why AWS has such a big lead in the cloud

    The simple answer is that it was first, but as Andy Jassy, the AWS CEO said in an interview at the University of Washington last week, in some ways it was a classic case of disruption dynamics. The competition simply didn’t believe there was enough of a market to worry about it.

    It’s easy to dismiss an irritant until it’s too late. In fact, Harvard professor, Clayton Christensen outlined the problem in his seminal book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. The dominant players don’t have any reason to worry about someone attacking the bottom of the market, and that’s precisely what AWS was doing in the early days.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/13/why-aws-has-such-a-big-lead-in-the-cloud/?sr_share=facebook

  • Oracle Fleshes Out Cloud Data Strategy

    The cloud services challenger on Monday (Feb. 13) rolled out a data integrator cloud service designed to accelerate support for real-time analytics across enterprises. The service addresses the shift of more data to the cloud and the resulting challenge of delivering the results of data analytics to the appropriate applications and the employees using those apps.

    https://www.enterprisetech.com/2017/02/13/oracle-fleshes-cloud-data-strategy/

  • Cisco to Produce Azure Stack Hybrid Cloud Systems

    Echoing some of the benefits that business leaders seek when they implement cloud-enabled IT strategies, Centoni said the jointly-engineered solution would provide “accelerated growth and innovation for enterprise customers and service providers looking to grow their businesses quickly with an efficient and flexible cloud consumption model. Service providers can deliver Cisco-Azure infrastructure as-a-service (Iaas) and platform-as-a-service (Paas).”

    http://www.eweek.com/cloud/cisco-to-produce-azure-stack-hybrid-cloud-systems.html

Datacenter

  • Fujitsu has its own line of storage boxes, so, uh, why is it reselling XtremIO in Japan?

    The spokesperson said: “In the domestic Japanese market, Fujitsu provides end-to-end services for large customers, including the purchase of third-party products like XtremeIO – it is strictly for this market only due to the specific nature of the corporate customer business.”

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/14/why_fujitsu_resells_xtremio_in_japan/

Software/SaaS

  • The Death Of The Commercial Database: Oracle’s Dilemma

    The vast majority of SaaS providers today either use an open-source database, or, as is the case with SaaS HCM vendor Workday, develop their own. Every user of an on-premises enterprise application, including one of the five core client-server application categories: ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), HCM (Human Capital Management), SCM (Supply Chain Management), and BI (Business Intelligence) applications, which moves to SaaS therefore eliminates a commercial database seat, and with it, the maintenance/support and future upgrade revenue it would have generated. Even an enterprise seat that moves to Salesforce.com will generate far less revenue for Oracle than that seat did when it was deployed on-premises.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/4044813-death-commercial-database-oracles-dilemma

  • Amazon Wants to Be the Next Skype for Business with Chime

    Chime is currently available for free download on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows and is free to use for up to two people at once. For $2.50 per month per user, you’ll have access to screen sharing and a corporate directory but still for only two people. The plan Amazon hopes many will take advantage of is the $15/month/user tier which allows you to have up to 100 participants in a call at once, share screens, record calls, schedule conferences, set custom join URLs, and more. Of course, for a big company, that cost may shoot all the way up to $1500 per month just so you can communicate with employees, so Amazon is definitely not that concerned with pricing at least for now.

    https://mbeddedmaximum.com/2017/02/14/amazon-wants-to-be-the-next-skype-for-business-with-chime/

  • Oracle refuses to accept pro-Google “fair use” verdict in API battle

    Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement if certain elements are met. It’s decided on a case-by-case basis. “There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission,” according to the US Copyright Office. There are, however, at least four factors to be considered when deciding fair use: the purpose of use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and the effect of the use upon the potential market.

    Before going to the appeals court, Oracle asked US District Judge William Alsup to overturn the jury’s verdict. Alsup, who presided over the second trial, ruled that Google’s use cleared all four factors.

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/02/oracle-refuses-to-accept-pro-google-fair-use-verdict-in-api-battle/

Other

  • Privacy Advocates Celebrate as Judge Rules Microsoft Can Sue the DOJ

    Last April, Microsoft sued the Department of Justice over the FBI’s use of “sneak-and-peak” email searches and its refusal to allow the company to notify its customers that their data was under surveillance. The suit alleges that the FBI violated users’ Fourth Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure, as well as Microsoft’s First Amendment right to free speech. Robart rejected the Fourth Amendment complaint on the grounds that Microsoft couldn’t sue on behalf of its customers, but said the company had made a solid enough argument on the free speech issue to send it through to trial.

    http://thevarguy.com/var-guy/privacy-advocates-celebrate-judge-rules-microsoft-can-sue-doj

  • IBM leader defends role on Trump advisory council

    “Some have suggested that we should not engage with the U.S. administration. I disagree,” Rometty wrote in the letter, obtained by The Hill and first reported on by TechCrunch, which was distributed shortly after a meeting with Trump earlier this month.

    “Our experience has taught us that engagement — reaching out, listening and having authentic dialogue — is the best path to good outcomes.”

    http://thehill.com/policy/technology/319257-ibm-leader-defends-role-on-trump-advisory-council

  • Samsung chairman arrested for bribery

    Lee is being accused of directing Samsung subsidiaries to pay out over $30 million to Park’s confidante and related foundations. Ultimately, Lee wanted to secure the merger of two affiliates, which would have afforded him greater control of Samsung.

    https://www.technobuffalo.com/2017/02/17/samsung-chairman-arrested-for-bribery/

  • New name for CSC-HPE as deal approaches (DXC Technologies)

    The creation of DXC is just the beginning, of course. The plan for now is that the two companies will operate as different business units of DXC with their current management teams in place, which means that Marilyn Crouther, who runs the government business for HPE Enterprise Services, will continue in that role.

    https://washingtontechnology.com/blogs/editors-notebook/2017/02/csc-hp-new-name-dxc.aspx

  • Class-action suit claims Oracle stiffed salespeople out of commissions

    Marcella Johnson of Modesto, who sold software for the Bay Area tech giant for 16 months, alleged in the lawsuit that she worked for months without receiving commissions she’d earned, because Oracle had forced her to give back commission money she had already received.

    A lawyer representing Johnson said an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 salespeople at the company were also affected by what Oracle calls “re-planning.” Johnson is seeking class-action certification and more than $150 million in damages for herself and other current and former employees.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/14/oracle-stiffed-sales-staff-by-clawing-back-pay-150-million-lawsuit-claims/

Photo: Nick Jio

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Supplier Report: 2/4/2017

IT firms are struggling to keep up with President Trump’s international policy changes. As the new President creates laws that impacts immigration, companies are concerned about staffing issues.

As company chiefs become more vocal against President Trump, will he become more at odds with Silicon Valley?

IBM has been put into an uncomfortable situation as they are trying to remain on good terms with the President while meeting their own staffing demands. The company released a message of diversity, inclusion and tolerance without mentioning the President directly, which came under fire from critics.

Acquisitions

Artificial Intelligence

  • IBM’s five-year plan to remake healthcare

    Perhaps its greatest use, however, could be allowing people to know about health conditions before any symptoms begin to show. Take Alzheimer’s disease, for example: the neurobiological changes that cause signs of the disease will have done their work before any of those signs are evident in the patient. By checking a person’s blood for biomarkers of the disease at regular intervals, they can be informed if they show early indications of the condition, and start treatment or planning accordingly.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/ai-that-knows-youre-sick-before-you-do-ibms-five-year-plan-to-remake-healthcare/

  • Florida medical center adds IBM Watson to oncology team

    Developed by IBM and trained by experts at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York, the program draws upon over 300 medical journals, 200-plus textbooks, and almost 15 million pages of text to provide a rapid and evidence-based approach to the management of patients with cancer.

    Last December, at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas, a study was presented comparing the results of Watson for Oncology with the determinations of oncologists at Manipal Hospitals in Bengaluru, India. The researchers reviewed a total of 638 breast cancer patients and found that the oncologists agreed with Watson recommendations 90 percent of the time.

    https://www.dotmed.com/news/story/35223

  • H&R Block adds IBM’s Watson to its tax team

    The company said Wednesday that its employees will work with Watson to identify credits and deductions and find other solutions for customers. It’s the first time Watson, which has been used in health care, retail and other settings, will be applied to tax preparation.

    H&R Block and IBM trained Watson in the language of tax. The system will apply that knowledge to the thousands of questions and topics discussed during the return-filing process.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/hr-block-adds-ibms-watson-to-its-tax-team/

Cloud

  • Microsoft Azure Makes Monster Growth, Poses Threat to AWS In The Battle For Cloud Supremacy

    But despite being the underdog and the smaller player in the more intense Microsoft Azure-AWS cloud computing battle, analysts still believe that Microsoft will have the upper hand in this kind of battle.

    Analysts also said that Microsoft might become a bigger cloud player than Amazon in the long term because, in addition to the massive Azure infrastructure services, the software giant also has an actively growing SaaS (software-as-a-services) portfolio as well as a strong enterprise grip that AWS will never be able to match.

    http://www.universityherald.com/articles/63161/20170131/microsoft-azure-makes-monster-growth-poses-threat-aws-battle-cloud.htm

  • Google Pins High Hopes on This ‘Other’ Business

    For the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2016, the non-advertising business—which includes Google Cloud Platform along with Google’s popular G Suite software as well as hardware like the Pixel phone—hit $3.4 billion in sales, up 62% from the year-ago period. That business represents a bigger piece of total Google revenue—13% compared to 10% from last year’s quarter.

    http://fortune.com/2017/01/27/google-cloud-hopes/

Datacenter

  • IBM calls healthcare industry a ‘leaky vessel in a stormy sea’

    Healthcare providers are in a tight spot. Whether it is the US healthcare system or the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), organizations are under pressure not only to lower the consumer cost of treatment but also to modernize and provide digital solutions for professionals and patients.

    Successful data breaches cost the industry a fortune, but industry players may not have the budget required to keep data safe and controlled, and to make matters worse, attackers are likely to continue striking these core services as stolen information is valuable — and ransomware infections can be very lucrative.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/ibm-calls-healthcare-industry-a-leaky-vessel-in-a-stormy-sea/

Software/SaaS

  • Oracle cloud licensing requirements doubled for AWS, Azure users

    Oracle made subtle licensing changes on Jan. 23 that effectively doubled processor license requirements — and, in turn, list prices — for customers that use Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. The modified Oracle cloud licensing policy shouldn’t affect users with existing contracts, consultants said. But it would apply to new customers and possibly to added deployments not covered by a current contract. Some Oracle users commenting online also raised the specter of the changes taking effect if a company is audited for license compliance by the software vendor.

    http://searchoracle.techtarget.com/news/450412198/Oracle-cloud-licensing-count-doubled-for-AWS-Azure-users
    Oracle is pricing itself out of Amazon’s cloud

    I’m not sure why Oracle has doubled its AWS virtual CPU pricing, other than to steer customers to use its own IaaS platform rather than migrate to AWS. Although Oracle’s cloud is far behind AWS’s, doubling the price of using AWS may stall enterprises’ migration enough to give Oracle time to get its own cloud act together.

    http://www.infoworld.com/article/3164517/cloud-computing/oracle-is-pricing-itself-out-of-amazons-cloud.html

  • IBM and United Airlines collaborate on enterprise iOS apps

    The deal, part of IBM and Apple’s global partnership, will include both market ready and custom iOS apps for United employees. The airline has so far deployed more than 50,000 Apple devices to its workforce. The apps will be integrated with United’s core enterprise processes.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/ibm-and-united-airlines-collaborate-on-enterprise-ios-apps/
    Having flown United this week, they can use the help.

Other

  • Amazon beats profit expectations—revenue, not so much

    On Thursday, the online retailer reported net sales of $43.7 billion for the fourth quarter of 2016, up 22% over the same quarter a year ago. Those numbers fell short of analyst expectations, sending Amazon’s stock down more than 4% in after-hours trading. When asked on the company’s earnings call about the revenue miss, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said revenue would have been up 24% if not for an $800 million hit due to foreign exchange rates.

    https://qz.com/901782/amazon-misses-revenue-expectations/

  • The tech sector’s reaction to Trump’s immigration changes:
    Top Microsoft execs weigh in on Trump’s immigration ban

    Now two of the company’s top executives have weighed in on the matter. CEO Satya Nadella took to LinkedIn to share a memo sent by President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith to the entire Microsoft staff.

    “As an immigrant and as a CEO,” Nadella explained in his post, “I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/28/microsoft-immigration-ban/?ncid=rss

    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says Trump’s immigration order “is one we do not support”

    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has come out strongly against the executive order issued by Donald Trump regarding immigration and blocking certain refugees from entering the U.S. Amazon had previously expressed support for employees affected by the order in an email from HR VP Beth Galetti, but the new message from Bezos expresses opposition to the executive order in general, and also details steps Amazon has taken to fight the Trump administration measure.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/30/amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos-says-trumps-immigration-order-is-one-we-do-not-support/?ncid=rss

    IBM Strongly Criticized For Weak Response To Trump´s Muslim Ban

    Just two days after the major tech firms spoke out against the Muslim ban, IBM said that the company long believed in diversity, inclusion and tolerance, and that the path for prosperity, innovation and civil society is the path of engagement and openness to the world. In fact, IBM´s statement over the Muslim ban didn’t make any direct mention of the issue or president Donald Trump.

    Of course this is a quite different stance as the one taken by Apple, which clearly show its position through its CEO Tim Cook´s words, in which he explicitly said that this company would remain open to every person in the world, no matter where they come from, since the Cupertino giant would exist without immigration.

    http://www.itechpost.com/articles/79587/20170201/ibm-strongly-criticized-weak-response-trump%C2%B4s-muslim-ban.htm

  • Microsoft moving Michigan offices to Detroit

    The One Campus Martius building is home to Quicken Loans. Microsoft will occupy 40,000-square-feet inside the building, executives said.

    “Microsoft, like many tech companies in Detroit and around the country, recognizes that being located downtown is great for business,” Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert said. “Today’s tech talent wants to work and live in urban cores.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2017/02/microsoft_moving_downtown.html
    Related: My own analysis of Detroit’s fall from grace.

Photo: Christopher Burns

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Supplier Report: 1/28/2017

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. As Amazon’s AWS services continue to dominate the cloud sector, many analysts are reporting their lack of SaaS offerings as the chink in their armor.

Amazon is not alone in their weakness, poor sales is rumored to be forcing Oracle to eliminate jobs in the traditional software areas as they start to build up for their fight against AWS.

IBM’s good news regarding cloud growth is coming at a cost as the company announced a major reorganization in the cloud and power divisions.

Acquisitions

  • AppDynamics Acquired for $3.7 Billion

    What AppDynamics gives Cisco is a tool for monitoring the performance of applications, regardless the application delivery platform. The idea is to find issues and deal with them before they become a big problem for end users. The worst case is a full outage, but there are countless other issues that can cause slow-downs and other headaches, as every user is keenly aware. As it monitors these applications, AppDynamics is gathering tons of data about the applications, the connections to other systems, the devices being used to connect to the application and so forth. All of this data is a natural byproduct of the monitoring process — and could have great value when combined with other network information.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/25/cisco-appdynamics-3-7-billion-deal-all-about-the-data/?ncid=rss

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise makes second acquisition in a week

    Cloud Cruiser makes software that helps large companies visualize how and where their IT budget is being spent across different business units and different technology platforms. Its software can analyze changes in spending and ways specific business units might be able to save money.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2017/01/24/hewlett-packard-enterprise-makes-second.html
    HPE Acquires Cloud Cruiser In Stepped Up Flexible Capacity Hybrid Cloud Pay-As-You-Go Offensive

    The Flexible Capacity services offering allows customers to buy HPE private cloud infrastructure as a service based on the same monthly, fixed-fee, pay-as-you-go model that has fueled public cloud adoption. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    http://www.crn.com/news/cloud/300083513/hpe-acquires-cloud-cruiser-in-stepped-up-flexible-capacity-hybrid-cloud-pay-as-you-go-offensive.htm

  • IBM Acquires Agile 3, Makers Of A Security Dashboard For Business Leaders

    Agile 3, founded in 2009, offers a suite of products that help business leaders make decisions about security threats facing their companies through intuitive visualizations and analytics. The software design is heavily influenced by service-oriented architecture principles.

    Agile 3’s founder, Raghu Varadan, had been IBM’s chief architect for its SOA Center of Excellence, and was responsible for implementing service-oriented architecture solutions for the IBM Global Business Services division’s largest customers.

    http://www.crn.com/news/security/300083507/ibm-acquires-agile-3-makers-of-a-security-dashboard-for-business-leaders.htm

  • Yahoo surprises no one by pushing back its Verizon acquisition close date

    Yahoo has continued to work with Verizon on integration planning for the sale of its core business. In terms of timing, Yahoo had previously stated that it expected to close the transaction in Q1. However, given work required to meet closing conditions, the transaction is now expected to close in Q2 of 2017. The company is working expeditiously to close the transaction as soon as practicable in Q2.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/23/yahoo-unsurprisingly-pushes-back-its-verizon-acquisition-closing-date/?ncid=rss

Artificial Intelligence

  • IBM adds support for Google’s Tensorflow to its PowerAI machine learning framework

    While TensorFlow has only been available for a little over a year, it has quickly become the most popular open source machine learning project on GitHub. IBM’s PowerAI already supported other frameworks and libraries like CAFFETheano, Torch, cuDNN, and NVIDIA DIGITS, but Tensorflow support was sorely missing from this lineup.

    IBM clearly sees the combination of PowerAI with Nvidia’s NVLink interface and Pascal P100 GPU accelerators as a way to differentiate itself from the competition — and in this case, the competition it is gunning for is clearly Intel (though it’s worth noting that Intel and Google also recently teamed up to improve TensorFlow performance on its CPUs).

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/26/ibm-adds-support-for-googles-tensorflow-to-its-powerai-deep-learning-framework/?ncid=rss

  • Apple joins Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft in AI initiative

    The Partnership on AI was officially unveiled back in September 2016. At the time, Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft were the only founding members. Apple, Twitter, Intel and Baidu didn’t participate in the initiative.

    But Apple was already enthusiastic about the project, so today’s news is more about formalizing the company’s involvement. Siri co-founder and CTO Tom Gruber is going to represent Apple. You can find the full board of trustees on the partnership’s website.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/27/apple-joins-amazon-facebook-google-ibm-and-microsoft-in-ai-initiative/?ncid=rss

  • Will A.I. Allow Humans to Realize Our Full Potential?

Cloud

  • IBM’s SoftLayer is having a meltdown – and customers aren’t happy

    “Since IBM came along there have been loads of outages, planned and otherwise,” our reader in the field told us.

    “In the three years of service prior to this we had only one outage, in the six months after they took over we have had one outage that knocked out their AMS [Amsterdam] data center for four hours, [and] their entire global virtual server platform has had to be rebooted three times on separate occasions.”

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/26/ibm_softlayer_having_meltdown/

  • IBM Shakes Up Cloud Division in Executive Reorg

    Vice president and director of IBM research Arvind Krishna has been named senior vice president of Hybrid Cloud, which is a merger between the analytics business formerly run by Picciano, and the cloud division formerly run by LeBlanc. Krishna will report to John Kelly, senior vice president of Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research.

    http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/ibm-shakes-up-cloud-division-in-executive-reorg

  • How Long Can Amazon’s AWS Retain the IaaS Crown?

    During the most recent quarter Amazon reported $3.231 billion in quarterly revenues while Microsoft’s annualized cloud revenues exceeded $13 billion. At first glance, it would appear that both these companies are running neck and neck when it comes to earnings from cloud, but Microsoft has a huge bonus package in the form of its SaaS product, Office 365, which is experiencing strong growth.

    Though Azure is certainly growing at a healthy rate, it has a long way to go before it can compete at the same level as the IaaS offering from Amazon. Amazon has no such SaaS product lineup but still leads the race in terms of revenue thanks to its strength in IaaS. The company’s single-segment focus has helped Amazon add service after service and keep cutting prices, but still expand revenues – and margins along with it.

    http://www.gurufocus.com/news/475709/how-long-can-amazons-aws-retain-the-iaas-crown

  • Oracle outlines plans to take on Amazon in cloud

    “Oracle should be congratulated for its enthusiasm and the proactive way it is pursuing the cloud market,” says Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT, adding that the company was late to the market. Oracle has taken a similar approach to Microsoft and IBM in offering services across all three layers of cloud: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. “They still have a massive install base of customers that want cloud services. The question is whether they will choose Oracle as their cloud vendor as opposed to vendors they may be currently working with, or choosing to go with a more established, more innovative vendor.” King adds Oracle’s cloud will appeal most to existing customers, but he questions how the company will be able to attract net new brands.

    http://www.networkworld.com/article/3158725/cloud-computing/oracle-outlines-plans-to-take-on-amazon-in-cloud.html

Datacenter

  • HP Inc announces moderate price hike across products

    “HP is increasing the list price of its products in India. As a standard business practice, the company regularly reviews pricing and makes adjustments accordingly, based on a variety of factors including currency movement and commodities prices. Actual price increases will vary by product,” Rajiv Srivastava, Managing Director, HP Inc. India, told IANS.

    http://www.financialexpress.com/industry/hp-inc-announces-moderate-price-hike-across-products/516580/

  • Infinidat slims down in UK: Storage upstart has just handful of Brit staff

    Infinidat has slimmed its UK office from 17 heads to just four since January 2016, and has not won a new customer in that time, we’re told.

    We’ve heard that Infinidat has four UK customers: BrightSolid, Pulsant, BT and Barclays. BT, its biggest client worldwide followed by Barclays, is the most active, and is looked after by a director for enterprise sales. There are three technical and professional services people alongside him in the London office. Thirteen others have been let go.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/26/infinidat_slims_down_in_uk/

Software/SaaS

  • Why Salesforce is the new BlackBerry

    Earlier last year, Salesforce announced that it beat Q1 earnings following a 20 percent pricing increase. Its thousands of embedded (read: captive) users have had no choice but to pay up. Soon, however, a new generation of automated CRMs will emerge as a viable alternative, bringing intelligence and ease-of-use to a category of “dumb” CRM databases. They’ll offer products that are easily configured, always up-to-date, and entirely automated – delivering a delightful user experience in a tech landscape known for the opposite.

    Like BlackBerry, the disruption will happen much faster than Salesforce expects.

    http://thenextweb.com/opinion/2017/01/20/salesforce-new-blackberry/

  • OpenText completes $1.62-billion Dell acquisition

    The deal includes the Documentum enterprise content management platform and Dell’s enterprise content management division.

    With the acquisition, 5,000 customers, 2,000 employees and more than 300 partners join OpenText, the company said.

    http://www.cambridgetimes.ca/news-story/7080349-opentext-completes-1-62-billion-dell-acquisition/

  • Oracle Is ‘Toast,’ Layoffs In Sparc Business

    According to a report by Mercury News as part of statutory obligation, Oracle has intimated the Employment Development Department that it would lay off 450 employees in its Santa Clara systems division. According to the report, those affected include hardware and software developers along with managers, technicians and administrative assistants.

    Also:

    With the layoff reports, the analyst feels the reason for optimism on Oracle has proven to be completely wrong. The analyst also pointed to the industry’s belief that more layoffs in California, Colorado and Massachusetts are on the cards, with the guesstimate at 1,500

    https://www.benzinga.com/analyst-ratings/analyst-color/17/01/8932929/chowdhry-oracle-is-toast-layoffs-in-sparc-business

Other

  • Follow-up: US alleges systemic employment discrimination at Oracle

    The U.S. government says Oracle routinely and systemically pays white men more than women and minorities and that it favors Asian candidates over others in product development and technical roles.

    The investigation was triggered by a regular compliance review by the government. As a federal contractor, Oracle is prohibited from engaging in discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3158841/legal/us-alleges-systemic-employment-discrimination-at-oracle.html

  • Avaya says bankruptcy is a step toward software and services

    Networking and collaboration vendor Avaya declared bankruptcy last Thursday, calling the move part of its transition from a hardware to a software and services company.

    It plans to keep operating during the bankruptcy thanks to its cash from operations and US$725 million in financing that still needs approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Avaya said its foreign affiliates aren’t included in the filing and won’t be affected.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3159579/networking/avaya-says-bankruptcy-is-a-step-toward-software-and-services.html

  • Microsoft reportedly plans to lay off about 700 workers next week

    “The upcoming cuts won’t be specific to any single group, but will be spread across the company’s worldwide offices and business units, including sales, marketing, human resources, engineering, finance and more,” Business Insider said it was told by its source. “The goals of these rotating smaller layoffs is not to reduce costs but to update skills in various units.”

    http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2017/01/20/microsoft-layoffs-january-2017.html

  • Cisco debuts its own smart whiteboard priced to compete with the Google Jamboard

    The Spark Board works with fingers or a stylus and saves automatically. The system is priced to compete with Google’s Jamboard (which puts it significantly below Microsoft’s $8,999 Surface Hub) at $4,990 for the 55-inch version due out at the end of the month. A 70-inch version is due out before year’s end, priced at $9,990.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/24/cisco-spark-board/?ncid=rss

  • Verizon fourth quarter earnings fall short of analyst expectations

    Verizon this morning reported adjusted fourth quarter earnings of 86 cents per share, on revenue of $32.3 billion.

    On the earnings side, that falls short of what Wall Street analysts had expected — EPS of 89 cents per share and $32.1 billion in revenue. That also marks a 5.6 percent revenue decline from the fourth quarter of 2015.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/24/verizon-q4-earnings/?ncid=rss

Photo: Annette Beetge

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