Tag Archives: Oracle

Supplier Report: 4/22/2017

It has been an explosive week in tech news.

IBM reported their 20th consecutive quarter of loss. As their stock plunged, rival Oracle announced the acquisition of 2 companies. Oracle’s recent comments in the press caught the ire of Amazon who finally pushed back on Ellison and Hurd’s comments by calling out some of “big red’s” failings.

Microsoft took a hit this week after news leaked that the NSA created security holes in their products. The company says the vulnerabilities have already been patched, but many are wondering what else the government has done.

Acquisitions

  • VMware Buys Monitoring Company Wavefront

    The acquisition lets VMware “leapfrog into application management of next-generation modern applications,” according to VMware Senior Vice President Ajay Singh. By “modern applications,” he’s referring to applications in containers.

    Terms were not disclosed. Wavefront was certainly worth tens of millions of dollars, and VMware may have spent as much as $100 million or thereabouts, an estimate based on the amount of venture capital poured into Wavefront coupled with the startup’s recent claim of “hyper growth.” Wavefront attracted $11.5 million in venture capital in its series A in February of last year, followed quickly by a second round in October of $52 million.

    https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/vmware-buys-monitoring-company-wavefront/2017/04/

  • Oracle buys Wercker, a Dutch startup that automates code testing and deployment

    Database technology giant Oracle has announced plans to acquire Wercker, a Dutch startup that offers tools for automating the process of testing and deploying code. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Founded out of Amsterdam in 2012, Wercker offers developers a container-centric platform that helps automate the development of applications and microservices. It operates in a space that includes competitors such as Shippable, Codeship, CircleCI, Drone.io, and Semaphore, though Wercker cites its ability to integrate with Docker containers as one differentiator. It’s all about helping companies that are building software specifically for deployment in the cloud.

    https://venturebeat.com/2017/04/17/oracle-buys-wercker-a-dutch-startup-that-automates-code-testing-and-deployment/

  • Oracle acquires ad measurement company Moat

    Founded in 2010, Moat helps advertisers and publishers measure whether people see and interact with online ads. The need to create what CEO Jonah Goodhart has called “the currency for digital advertising” seems increasingly important given advertiser concerns around viewability, fraud and trust, and Moat has been working with some big names, including Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Unilever on the advertiser side, as well as ESPN, Facebook and Snapchat on the publisher side.

    And while Moat raised $50 million just over a year ago, the funding landscape for adtech companies hasn’t been great, leading to predictions of more acquisitions and consolidation. (Moat raised more than $67 million total from investors including SV Angel, Mayfield Fund and Insight Venture Partners).

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/18/oracle-acquires-moat/?ncid=rss
    Update: They are paying $850M

  • Microsoft acquires Intentional Software to bolster its productivity apps

    Interestingly, Intentional Software was originally founded by a former Microsoft employee, Charles Simonyi. At Microsoft, Simonyi oversaw the creation of Word and Excel, among others. After founding Intentional Software in 2002, Simonyi focused his efforts on making programming less complicated, eventually leading the Intentional Software team to “develop productivity scenarios for the future workforce.”

    Under the terms of the deal, Simonyi will be heading back to Microsoft along with members of the Intentional Software team.

    http://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-acquires-intentional-software-bolster-its-productivity-apps

Artificial Intelligence

  • The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

    There’s already an argument that being able to interrogate an AI system about how it reached its conclusions is a fundamental legal right. Starting in the summer of 2018, the European Union may require that companies be able to give users an explanation for decisions that automated systems reach. This might be impossible, even for systems that seem relatively simple on the surface, such as the apps and websites that use deep learning to serve ads or recommend songs. The computers that run those services have programmed themselves, and they have done it in ways we cannot understand. Even the engineers who build these apps cannot fully explain their behavior.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604087/the-dark-secret-at-the-heart-of-ai/

Cloud

  • Amazon cloud chief jabs Oracle: ‘Customers are sick of it’

    Jassy was addressing a cultural shift in the way technology is bought and sold. No longer does the process involve the purchase of heavy proprietary software with multi-year contracts that include annual maintenance fees. Now, Jassy says, it’s about choice and ease of use, including letting clients turn things off if they’re not working.

    He specifically went after Oracle’s core database business, saying that “over the last few decades, it has been a lonely place for customers” because of the high prices and vendor lock-in.

    “Customers are sick of it,” he said.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/19/amazon-aws-chief-andy-jassy-on-oracle-customers-are-sick-of-it.html

  • IBM’s cloud provides little silver lining

    It has survived mass extinctions before, but there’s mounting scepticism it can thrive in the current climate. Over the past five years, the company’s shares have fallen 16% compared to a 68% increase for the S&P 500 Index.The future for IBM resides in what it calls “Strategic Imperatives.” These initiatives, which include the AI initiative Watson and cloud operations, grew 12% over the past year and now account for more than 40% of total revenue.

    Ongoing opacity makes it hard to say exactly what it means, though. IBM doesn’t break out Watson’s figures, for example, because it says it’s a “golden thread” weaving throughout the company. The Cognitive Solutions arm in which Watson is housed only grew 2% over the past year. All other divisions shrank.

    http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/ibm%E2%80%99s-cloud-provides-little-silver-lining

Datacenter

  • Oracle data center comment raises eyebrows at AWS

    In reaction to Hurd’s comments, AWS VP and distinguished engineer James Hamilton said in a blog post: “Of course, I don’t believe that Oracle has, or will ever get, servers 2x faster than the big three cloud providers.

    “I also would argue that ‘speeding up the database’ isn’t something Oracle is uniquely positioned to offer. All major cloud providers have deep database investments but, ignoring that, extraordinary database performance won’t change most of the factors that force successful cloud providers to offer a large multi-national data center footprint to serve the world.”

    Hamilton went on to explain the need to have multiple data centers in a region for redundancy reasons – “One facility will have some very serious and difficult-to-avoid full-facility fault modes like flood and, to a lesser extent, fire. It’s absolutely necessary to have two independent facilities per region and it’s actually much more efficient and easy to manage with three.”

    http://www.datacenterdynamics.com/content-tracks/colo-cloud/oracle-data-center-comment-raises-eyebrows-at-aws/98186.article

Software/SaaS

  • Micro Focus signals job cuts after £7bn HP deal

    In the presentation to lenders on April 4, its executive chairman, Kevin Loosemore, and chief financial officer Mike Phillips said Micro Focus planned to bring profit margins at HPE Software up from 21pc to a group-wide 46pc within four years.

    It said that Micro Focus revenues currently equate to $273,000 a head compared with $185,000 at HPE Software, and highlighted previous acquisitions in which the company had cut staff numbers to boost profit margins.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/04/15/micro-focus-signals-job-cuts-7bn-hp-deal/

  • Slack, an Upstart in Messaging, Now Faces Giant Tech Rivals

    There is no illusion within Slack that success is certain. But Stewart Butterfield, the chief executive, said small tech companies with new ideas had long defeated larger rivals that tried to copy them. Think of Apple’s beating IBM in personal computing, Google’s beating Microsoft in search and Facebook’s crushing Google in social networks.

    One advantage Slack does have is focus, Mr. Butterfield maintains. Microsoft, for example, has numerous Slack-like products including Yammer, SharePoint, Skype for Business and now Teams. The executives who run those businesses within Microsoft must “compete for budget and mind share and attention,” he said, providing an opening for Slack to gain users while Microsoft managers wage internal wars.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/16/technology/slack-employee-messaging-workplace.html

Other

  • Cybersecurity Startup Tanium Exposed California Hospital’s Network in Demos Without Permission

    Tanium sells software that rapidly maps computer networks and diagnoses companies’ vulnerabilities. To drive sales, co-founder and Chief Executive Orion Hindawi designed a presentation that he said showed his company’s software running inside a client. The system in the demo belonged to El Camino Hospital, a nonprofit community hospital based in Santa Clara County, Calif. He and his staff gave the presentation hundreds of times, from at least as early as 2012 through mid-2015, according to people familiar with the matter and three demonstration videos posted online by Tanium and its resellers.

    “The hospital did not authorize desktop management data or other information to be used in any product demonstration and was not previously aware of these demonstrations or videos,” El Camino Hospital said in a response to inquiries by The Wall Street Journal. “We are dismayed to learn that desktop and server management information was shared. We are thoroughly investigating this matter and take our responsibility to maintain the integrity of our systems very seriously.” The hospital said Tanium didn’t have access to any patient information, and said, “based on our review to date, patient information remains secure.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/cybersecurity-startup-tanium-exposed-california-hospitals-network-in-demos-without-permission-1492624287

  • Edward Snowden: Latest NSA leak is ‘not a drill’

    Snowden said the NSA knew as recently as last year that their hacking methods were stolen, but accused the agency of refusing to tell software makers “how to lock the thieves out.”

    “It’s not safe to run an Internet-facing Windows box right now,” a hacker who used to work in the Defense Department told Motherboard. The unnamed hacker also said, “this is the worst thing since Snowden.”

    Microsoft says it is reviewing the leak and “will take the necessary actions to protect our customers.”

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/edward-snowden-latest-nsa-leak-is-not-a-drill/article/2620332
    Microsoft has already patched the NSA’s leaked Windows hacks

    Microsoft says it has already patched the Windows exploits released by the Shadow Brokers group. The hacking tools, likely originating from the NSA, were released online yesterday, and Microsoft was able to test and confirm patches are already available for all currently supported versions of Windows. That does mean that older Windows XP or Windows Vista systems could still be vulnerable to three of the exploits released, but it’s unlikely that Microsoft will supply patches for these older versions of Windows as they’re already unsupported.

    http://www.theverge.com/2017/4/15/15311846/microsoft-windows-shadow-brokers-nsa-hacks-patched

  • IBM shares dropped like a rock today

    As a result shares plummeted in after hours trading and refused to gain ground over the course of the day dropping nearly 5%, or over $8.

    As the Motley Fool noted, the miss and resulting tumble erased nearly $9 billion from IBM’s market capitalization and brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average down by 64 points.

    The problem for IBM is the dwindling value of the consulting business on which it built much of its fortunes in the 90s and early 2000s.

    First, the big numbers. Earnings per share were $2.38 vs. expectations of $2.35, according to Thomson Reuters. Meanwhile, revenue fell to $18.16 billion compared with the $18.39 billion that “the street” expected.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/19/ibm-shares-dropped-like-a-rock-today/?ncid=rss

  • Verizon, for First Time, Loses Core Wireless Customers

    The carrier posted its first-ever quarterly net loss of wireless subscribers during the first three months of 2017, showing the extent of the damage resurgent rivals T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp have inflicted on the nation’s largest carrier by subscribers.

    Verizon unexpectedly brought back unlimited data plans in February, which it had stopped selling in 2011, seeking to blunt the appeal of similar offers from T-Mobile and Sprint. That offer hit financials: Verizon had a 5.1% decline in revenue in its wireless business, to $20.9 billion. Total revenue has now declined four quarters in a row.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/verizon-for-first-time-loses-core-wireless-customers-1492691308

Photo: Yosh Ginsu

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Supplier Report: 4/15/2017

Oracle is telling customers they can do more with less.  While competitors Google, AWS, and Microsoft are expanding their cloud centers, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd believes Oracle’s databases are better optimized, thus consuming less infrastructure. Perhaps those smaller cloud centers will require less tax in Korea, as Oracle has been found to be underpaying in the country for several years.

With the success of Alexa, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is telling staff that AI is the future of the company (and to expect more AI innovation). The people at Planet Money also believe in the power of AI… they taught a bot to trade stock based on President Trump’s tweets (seriously… listen to the episode below).

Acquisitions

  • Foxconn Offers Up to $27 Billion for Toshiba’s Chip Business (next highest bid was $18B)

    The latest bid by Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., could put the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a tough spot. Some in the government are hoping to see a Japanese company or a joint U.S.-Japan team take the prized Toshiba asset because they see the chip business as strategic, say people familiar with the matter. But it would be hard for financially strapped Toshiba to turn down extra cash if Foxconn has the highest bid.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/foxconn-could-bid-up-to-27-billion-for-toshibas-chip-business-1491833399

  • Microsoft to buy Kubernetes container-orchestration vendor Deis

    In his own blog post, Gabe Monroy, chief technology officer of Deis, said the Deis team will continue with its contributions to Workflow, Helm, and Steward, as well as “maintaining our deep engagement with the Kubernetes community.”

    Microsoft originally announced plans to work with Google on Kubernetes in 2014. Kubernetes is an open-source container cluster manager that provides automated deployment, scaling and operations of application containers.In February this year, Microsoft made Kubernetes generally available on its own Azure Container Service.

    http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-to-buy-kubernetes-orchestration-vendor-deis/

  • AT&T to Buy Straight Path for $1.25 Billion as It Gobbles Up Spectrum

    Straight Path shareholders will receive $95.63 in AT&T stock, a sharp premium to Straight Path’s closing price last week of $36.48. The acquisition, expected to close within a year, gives AT&T access to Straight Path’s portfolio of millimeter wave spectrum, including 39 GHz and 28 GHz licenses.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/at-t-to-buy-straight-path-for-1-25-billion-as-it-gobbles-up-spectrum-1491833024

Artificial Intelligence

  • AI Is The Key To Amazon’s Future Success, Says Jeff Bezos

    “Machine learning” is a type of Artificial Intelligence and enables computers to “learn” without being programmed. It is used in all sorts of technology, from the mundane such as search engines and voice recognition through to high-profile projects, such as self-driving cars. AI technology has also made Amazon Go possible. Currently only open to Amazon employees as it’s in beta mode, the Amazon Go store in Washington is an entirely new concept in grocery shopping. The idea is that customers will be able to download an app, then walk into the store, do their grocery shopping and have it charged straight to their Amazon account without the need to pay at a checkout. This is made possible by cameras and sensors in the store. The project has taken over four years of work and was initially expected to open early this year, although that hasn’t happened yet and the company has not given any recent updates. The CEO ended his annual letter by promising “much more to come” in the area of AI.

    https://www.androidheadlines.com/2017/04/ai-key-amazons-future-success-says-jeff-bezos.html

  • Planet Money: Botus (Episode 763)
    Here is a great example of simple artificial intelligence use in a practical application (building a bot to trade stock based on President Trump’s tweets).
    http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017/04/07/522897876/meet-botus-planet-money-s-stock-trading-twitter-bot

Cloud

  • Microsoft, Oracle, NetSuite: Why Some Cloud Deals Are Fake News

    So why does this happen? The issue seems to be companies feel pressured to come up with news at their various events. And, in this cloud era in particular, they are threatened by AWS’ dominance in so many areas that they want to team up to combat the threat. But it’s hard for multi-party alliances to really take off: Too many cooks in the kitchen united only by a common threat.

    To compound the issue, reporters do not often follow up to see what happened with a given pact. Credit VMware here: At least it publicly announced that VMforce would never happen. Many companies just bury the dead alliance and hope no one notices.

    http://fortune.com/2017/04/14/netsuite-oracle-microsoft-cloud/

  • Tech’s High-Stakes Arms Race: Costly Data Centers

    Combined, Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet doled out $31.54 billion in 2016 in capital expenditures and capital leases, according to company filings. That is up 22% from 2015.

    Not every dollar of that is spent on data centers that deliver infrastructure as a service, but each company describes the cloud as a major investment area. Amazon, the leader in providing such web-based, on-demand resources, didn’t disclose the cost of the new cluster of data centers in Stockholm, known in industry-speak as a “region.” Analysts peg the price tag of a region at several hundred million dollars.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/techs-high-stakes-arms-race-costly-data-centers-1491557408

  • Oracle CEO: We Can Beat Amazon and Microsoft Without as Many Data Centers

    “We try not to get into this capital expenditure discussion. It’s an interesting thesis that whoever has the most capex wins,” Hurd said in response to a question from Fortune at a Boston event on Tuesday. “If I have two-times faster computers, I don’t need as many data centers. If I can speed up the database, maybe I need one fourth as may data centers. I can go on and on about how tech drives this.”

    Also:

    Oracle execs, including executive chairman Larry Ellison, have argued that Oracle’s big machines can actually work cheaper and more efficiently than the other public cloud configurations. Many industry analysts have their doubts on that, maintaining Oracle must spend much more to catchup with Amazon. Toward that end, in January, Oracle announced plans to add three new data center farms within six months and more to come.

    http://fortune.com/2017/04/12/mark-hurd-oracle-data-centers/

Datacenter

  • The serverless cloud could swallow up hardware

    Serverless computing is actually something of a misnomer, as it most definitely does not do away with servers. Rather, it takes away the need for the consumer of cloud computing to have to deal directly with servers, either in provisioning them or managing them, and instead focus on developing and deploying the business logic to power their own application or service.

    This sounds a lot like PaaS, or platform-as-a-service, a long established and well understood cloud service model, but the serverless approach sees applications and services broken down into smaller, more discrete functions. Some serverless proponents have even coined the term functions-as-a-service (FaaS) to describe it.

    http://www.datacenterdynamics.com/content-tracks/colo-cloud/the-serverless-cloud-could-swallow-up-hardware/98120.article

Software/SaaS

  • IBM Ramps Up China Blockchain Work With Supply Chain Trial

    The platform is designed to bring greater transparency into supply chain networks by tracking the flow of drugs, encrypting trading records and offering an easier means of authenticating transactions. The end goal is to reduce the time small retailers must wait to be paid after delivering medicine to hospitals – which currently can be as high as 60 to 90 days.

    Overall, Ramesh Gopinath, vice president of Blockchain Solutions at IBM, said that the use case offers an ideal example of how the company’s enterprise blockchain platform can smooth multi-party transaction processes.

    http://www.coindesk.com/ibm-amps-china-blockchain-new-supply-chain/

  • IBM Targets Pharmaceuticals With Blockchain Supply Chain Tech

    “Overall,” IBM and Heija said, “the platform is designed to help reduce the turnover time of funds on both sides of the supply chain and allow banks to be more informed and grant access to funding for small and medium pharmaceutical retailers.”

    The solution is already working with one pharmaceutical retailer, a hospital and a bank to facilitate transactions between these parties. The companies said they plan to add more retailers, hospitals and banks later this year.

    http://www.pymnts.com/news/b2b-payments/2017/ibm-blockchain-supply-chain-finance-management-pharmaceutical-industry-china/

Other

  • Oracle Korea slapped with $293M USD in back taxes

    The NTS slapped the punitive tax in January last year, after discovering that the company transferred some 2 trillion won of gains it earned in Korea between 2008 and 2014 to a tax haven abroad.

    Oracle Korea protested the decision and filed a complaint with the Tax Tribunal in April last year. But the tribunal dismissed the request in November.

    http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2017/04/133_227285.html

  • BlackBerry’s stock had a great day after the company won a big dispute with Qualcomm

    BlackBerry’s stock hit its highest point more than a year, and all it took was a lousy $814.9 million arbitration win. It’s a healthy bounce back for the embattled company, which has spent the last year working to make a major shift from all-in phone maker to software and services company.

    But while shareholders are likely pleased, BlackBerry no doubt would have rather its stock hit its highest level in 15 months due to, say, a new product or service, but, well, you take what you can get.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/12/blackberry-stock-qualcomm/?ncid=rss

  • Ubuntu Linux uncertainty continues as Canonical CEO walks away

    The timing of this could not be worse, as there is already a lot of uncertainty in the Ubuntu community — some stability would have been appreciated after all of the other recent chaos. Canonical would have been wise to wait a bit longer before making this announcement. After all, Silber isn’t leaving today, but in a few months — is the company trying to give Ubuntu users and developers ulcers? There are reports that there’s been a bit of an exodus by Canonical employees as a result.

    https://betanews.com/2017/04/12/ubuntu-linux-canonical-ceo-jane-silber/

Photo: Clay Banks

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Supplier Report: 4/8/2017

Google is investing in a new subsea cable that connects Singapore to Australia that should greatly improve international bandwidth to those countries and within the countries (especially Australia). But Google shouldn’t celebrate too hard, their Deepmind AI was recently defeated by an open AI solution playing old Atari games.

Analytic companies Tableau and Teradata announced changes to their software models. Tableau is shifting to a subscription model for their BI tools and Teradata was forced to admit their products are falling behind and need a refresh.

IBM is teaming up with Walmart to track food supply chains using blockchain’s general ledger system… once again trying to convince companies that blockchain has commercial applications outside of bitcoin.

Acquisitions

  • Oracle and Accenture? A non-starter and here’s why

    To give you a flavor of what this means, in its latest filing, Accenture recorded operating income of 13.7%. For its part, Oracle reported operating income of 32%. As you can readily see, there is no comparison between the two companies, despite the fact Accenture has been acquiring and developing its own software for solutions outside the ‘mainstream’ of solutions that Oracle sells.

    If a deal was on the table then Oracle would have some very difficult explaining to do about how margins would work given that it is under enough pressure over ambitious cloud based growth numbers. In short, it doesn’t make sense to distract Oracle management with profit table juggling when the company is already focused on other things.

    http://diginomica.com/2017/04/03/oracle-accenture-non-starter/
    Oracle rejects Accenture buyout speculation

    An ORCL spokesperson initially declined comment on Saturday but sent Fortune a categorical denial via email on Sunday.

    https://seekingalpha.com/news/3255046-oracle-rejects-accenture-buyout-speculation

  • Amazon and Google’s reported interest in Toshiba’s chip unit could be a sign of things to come

    While Amazon and Google’s flash needs are large and growing, it’s quite unlikely that either company (unlike Apple) could single-handedly consume all of the flash currently sold by Toshiba, or come close to doing so. Toshiba has been estimated to control about a fifth of a NAND market worth about $35 billion, and expected to see strong growth this year.

    Thus in the event that Amazon and Google are eying Toshiba’s flash business, it’s likely to buy a minority stake. One that would let the companies guarantee a stable supply of NAND in the coming years, and the chance to procure it at reasonable prices via long-term contracts.

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/14073764/1/amazon-and-google-s-reported-interest-in-toshiba-s-chip-unit-could-be-a-sign-of-things-to-come.html

Artificial Intelligence

  • OpenAI Just Beat Google DeepMind at Atari With an Algorithm From the 80s

    In one hour training on the Atari challenge, the algorithm reached a level of mastery that took a reinforcement-learning system published by DeepMind last year a whole day to learn. On the walking problem the system took 10 minutes, compared to 10 hours for Google’s approach.

    One of the keys to this dramatic performance was the fact that the approach is highly “parallelizable.” To solve the walking simulation, they spread computations over 1,440 CPU cores, while in the Atari challenge they used 720.

    This is possible because it requires limited communication between the various “worker” algorithms testing the candidate policies. Scaling reinforcement algorithms like the one from DeepMind in the same way is challenging because there needs to be much more communication, the researchers say.

    https://singularityhub.com/2017/04/06/openai-just-beat-the-hell-out-of-deepmind-with-an-algorithm-from-the-80s/
    Thanks JD!

  • Honda, IBM create Dave to solve recall riddle

    Dave — for Digital Assisted Virtual Engineer — is a virtual online agent Honda created in conjunction with IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence system. Essentially a highly developed online chat bot run out of Honda’s Chino, Calif., call center, Dave is designed to answer consumer questions about Honda and Acura recalls 24/7.

    “The concept of this was to say if we want to really service our customers in general, what is the gap?” Tony Gomes, assistant vice president of the parts, service and technical division at Honda, told Automotive News. “The gap is when the centers are closed.”

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20170401/MOBILITY/304039963/honda-ibm-create-dave-to-solve-recall-riddle

Cloud

  • IBM’s cloud adds support for Nvidia’s fastest GPUs yet

    There is still a chance that Google could beat IBM to the market, though. Late last year, Google also announced that it would support Nvidia’s newest GPUs early this year, but we haven’t heard when exactly the company plans to launch this feature. We asked Google for an updated timeline but haven’t heard back yet.

    AWS, too, offers GPU support, of course, and its machines can be outfitted with up to 16 GPUs (those are the older K80 cards, though 16 of those obviously offer a lot of raw computing power, too). Microsoft’s Azure offers a similar setup with support for up to 4 of Nvidia’s slightly older GPUs.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/05/ibms-cloud-adds-support-for-nvidias-fastest-gpus-yet/?ncid=rss

  • Why Amazon may eventually touch everything we do online

    Most of the websites that you already go to run through Amazon. Increasingly, their devices are actually coming into your home, you know, they’re delivering groceries. You will, at some point, not conduct business online without Amazon getting a cut of it. And so, they’ve been very good at slow and steady execution so far, and if they make money off everything you do online, there may be no such thing as stretched too thin.

    http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/why-amazon-may-eventually-touch-everything-we-do-online#stream/0

  • New Study Shows AWS Losing Ground to Azure in Enterprises

    “In the early days of the cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) took the lead as the cloud computing vendor of choice,” the survey report said. “But the survey revealed that as the cloud matures, organizations are becoming more comfortable with vendors other than AWS and are using multiple cloud vendors. In fact, while other reports show that AWS still has a lead in cloud market share, the top cloud vendor in this survey — which included only organizations with at least 500 employees — was Microsoft Azure.

    https://virtualizationreview.com/articles/2017/04/04/aws-losing-ground-to-azure-in-enterprises.aspx

Software/SaaS

  • Tableau switches to subscription pricing for its BI products

    Businesses will need to pay $70 per user per month for a license of Tableau Desktop Professional, and $35 per user per month for Tableau Server. That compares to the company’s boxed software prices of $2000 for Desktop, plus a $400 annual renewal fee for software updates, and $800 for Server, plus a $200 annual fee.

    It’s a move that will provide additional flexibility, scalability and risk mitigation for Tableau customers, according to Francois Ajenstat, the company’s chief product officer.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3187842/business-intelligence/tableau-switches-to-subscription-pricing-for-its-bi-products.html

  • Walmart and IBM Will Use Blockchain to Ensure Food Safety

    Yiannas explains in an article by Fortune that his company was inspired to utilize blockchain technology for supply chain monitoring by a deadly E. coli scare that happened about a decade ago. The tainted food was, in this case, spinach, and Yiannas believes it goes back to poor practices of sourcing and tracing the contaminated food products. “Consumers, in general, stopped eating spinach…if you could track and pinpoint where that came from faster, you could alleviate all that and ensure consumer confidence continues,” he said. Beyond that, in a case like this one, you could also potentially reduce the number of people who were sickened or killed by poisoned food.

    With an effort at retaining consumer confidence in the event of a similar scare, Walmart has worked with IBM and Beijing’s Tsinghua University to use blockchain to digitally track how pork products in China move. Walmart’s experiment makes use of blockchain technology designed specifically for this purpose by the Hyperledger Project. This is an open source project that was based out of the Linux Foundation and which aims to create blockchain applications for non-cryptocurrency purposes.

    http://www.investopedia.com/news/walmart-and-ibm-will-use-blockchain-ensure-food-safety-wmt-ibm/

  • Teradata CEO aims to regain ‘customer focus’ with embrace of cloud and open source

    He added: “We were shying away from new technologies like open source and cloud. We weren’t being as aggressive as we should be in moving forward to drive our offering to the point where the customer wanted.”

    However, he said that the vendor has moved at “lightning speed” over the last year to address some of the concerns.

    http://www.computerworlduk.com/applications/teradata-ceo-aims-regain-customer-focus-by-embracing-cloud-open-source-3656964/

Other

  • Google invests in new subsea cable that connects Singapore to Australia

    The cable will feature two fiber pairs with a total capacity of about 18 terabits per second — with the option to expand in the future.

    As Google notes, that’s enough to power 8 million simultaneous Google Hangout video calls (or are those Hangout Meet calls now?). Google, however, is obviously sharing the capacity here, so it won’t quite be able to handle all of those calls at any given time. It’s also worth noting that 18 terabits isn’t extremely fast by today’s standard. The subsea cable between Hong Kong and Los Angeles Google and Facebook invested in last year tops out at 120 terabits per second.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/05/google-invests-in-new-subsea-cable-that-connects-singapore-and-australia/?ncid=rss

  • Expect to see BlackBerry’s name (and tech) on more devices

    On the company’s earnings call, CEO John Chen said (via Seeking Alpha) that “We are now expanding to the next phase of our licensing program. This will focus on a broader set of endpoints. What this might mean, and I make no promise, is that you may soon see a BlackBerry tablet, and it will also extend to cobranded handset with IoT and Enterprise of Things to EoT devices. These endpoints will run our software and security features and be cobranded Secure by BlackBerry.”

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/01/expect-to-see-blackberrys-name-and-tech-on-more-devices/

  • EFF: Verizon will install spyware on all its Android phones (update)

    But the EFF spent a little time staring at AppFlash’s privacy policy, where it’s revealed that the software will vacuum up any and all of your private data. For instance, it’ll snag your cell number, device type, operating system and the apps or services that you use. More crucially, the app will also harvest the details of everything installed on your device, your location and the contact details of everyone in your phonebook.

    Verizon admits that the information will be shared within “the Verizon family of companies,” including that of (Engadget parent) Aol. From there, the data will be used to “provide more relevant advertising within the AppFlash experiences and in other places.” The other places being a euphemism for banner and display advertising all across the web.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/31/eff-verizon-will-install-spyware-on-all-its-android-phones/

  • Follow-up to SourceCast Episode 65: H-1B Visa Overhaul Could Actually Benefit Big Tech Companies

    “The top 15 job shops are all pretty much all from India. They get 85 percent of the H-1Bs. If they cut that number, then the American firms will get the bigger slice of the pie,” Shusterman said. “A lot of the Apples or Googles are paying over $100,000 a year. They’re going after top talent. This memo is really going after the lowest paid people.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-04/u-s-visa-revamp-poised-to-benefit-big-u-s-tech-punish-outsourcers

Photo: Thomas Shellberg

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SourceCast: Episode 65: The Consigliere Conundrum

Rumors of Oracle purchasing Accenture have been greatly exaggerated. Why wasn’t Larry Ellison interesting in buying one of the largest consulting firms in the world? I also look at other IT consulting firms to determine if the entire industry is in a decline.

Photo: Chevanon

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Supplier Report: 4/1/2017

There are so many rumors this week, yet so little facts. If you haven’t heard, there is talk that Oracle might try to buy Accenture consulting. For every article reporting the possibility, there are two shooting down the idea as… extremely impracticable.

Reports are still squawking that Microsoft could buy Citrix and that HPE is interested in purchasing back-up company Veeam.

While these companies decide what to buy next, Elon Musk is working on methods to directly connect your brain to computer systems and AI. How far away are we from the free version of McAfee security for your head?

Acquisitions

  • Analysts turn skeptical eye to Oracle/Accenture buyout speculation

    The Register reported that Oracle hired advisers to explore buying Accenture — an $80B company — outright, though with usual cautions that any such deal’s at an early stage.

    Also…

    Citigroup’s Walter Pritchard is of a similar skeptical mindset: “Accenture has relationships with nearly all software companies we cover, many of which compete with Oracle (SAP, Salesforce, Workday), making it difficult for an Oracle-owned Accenture to be viewed as independent.”

    https://seekingalpha.com/news/3254224-analysts-turn-skeptical-eye-oracle-accenture-buyout-speculation

  • GE invests $2 million in Alchemist Accelerator to back industrial IoT startups

    Alchemist Accelerator Managing Partner Ravi Belani said, “Industrial applications and next gen internet in industry are exciting right now. Robots and drones get a lot of attention. But AI and machine learning advances are also making forecasting and automation possible in ways we never even imagined.”

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/29/ge-invests-2-million-in-alchemist-accelerator-to-back-industrial-iot-startups/?ncid=rss

  • Is that a Veeam in HPE’s eye? IT giant may gobble backup biz

    However, HPE has recently bought SimpliVity for $650m and is buying Nimble Storage for $1.2bn – meaning it’s spending $1.85bn buying two suppliers. Does it have the appetite for a third?

    Veeam was founded in 2006 by CTO Andrei Baranov and President Ratmir Timashev. It had an undisclosed funding round in 2013. It is based in Baar, Switzerland. Its revenue and customer growth has been fantastic as it mined the golden backup seam of virtual machine protection better than anybody else.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/30/is_that_a_veeam_in_hpes_eye/​

  • Citrix may be selling, but is Microsoft buying?

    When making such claims in October 2015, Madden added that Microsoft will buy Citrix when they have to, “and not a day sooner”. Fast forward 18 months however and many now believe such a day has arrived.

    http://www.arnnet.com.au/article/616611/citrix-may-selling-microsoft-buying/

  • Apple has acquired Workflow, a powerful automation tool for iPad and iPhone

    Apple has finalized a deal to acquire Workflow today — a tool that lets you hook together apps and functions within apps in strings of commands to automate tasks. We’ve been tracking this one for a while but were able to confirm just now that the ink on the deal is drying as we speak.

    I haven’t been able to get financial details for the deal, but if I come up with them I’ll update. As far as I know it was a solid payday for the team and small upside for investors. Workflow had raised an unannounced seed round of what we’re hearing was in the range of a couple million from Lowercase, Eniac and General Catalyst.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/22/apple-has-acquired-workflow-a-powerful-automation-tool-for-ipad-and-iphone/

Artificial Intelligence

  • Elon Musk’s Neuralink wants to boost the brain to keep up with AI

    Neuralink isn’t going to be focused on upgrading ordinary human brainpower at first however, according to the WSJ report. Instead, it’ll explore how brain interfaces might alleviate the symptoms of dangerous and chronic medical conditions.

    These could include epilepsy and severe depressive disorder, according to the report. These efforts could build on existing therapies that use electrodes in the brain to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s, giving Neuralink a starting point with established science and an easier path to approval for human use. Clearing that lower hurdle would then set the company up for its longer-term goal of human augmentation.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/27/elon-musks-neuralink-wants-to-boost-the-brain-to-keep-up-with-ai/?ncid=rss

  • Why AI should augment, not replace, humans

    There is clearly an effort to have humans help train the AIs, but I’m not yet seeing much effort in returning the favor to the humans. We have massive growing problems with the care and effective development of people as well. AI’s have massive knowledge on how to help recognize these problems and advise the employee how to deal with them.

    This is where I think we need to make a breakthrough so that the human isn’t just making the AI a better part of the partnership by advancing its knowledge, but where the AI makes the human a more productive member of the team by dealing with his or her shortcomings as well. Then we get the kind of synergy an augmentation model anticipates and have the potential to reach the full potential of this new class of team.

    http://www.cio.com/article/3184572/artificial-intelligence/why-ai-should-augment-not-replace-humans.html

  • AI advances can slow a Salesforce cloud migration

    “There’s a general fear or distrust of new technology, because [government organizations] have used certain tools for so long,” Bhartiya said. “That’s exacerbated by newer technology, like mobile or AI. AI also introduces an interesting rub, because on the face of it, it looks like you’re replacing jobs with technology, and that’s not something you do in government.”

    http://searchsalesforce.techtarget.com/news/450415433/AI-advances-can-slow-a-Salesforce-cloud-migration

Cloud

  • IBM and Red Hat Partner on Hybrid Cloud and OpenStack Adoption

    IBM and Red Hat just announced a “strategic collaboration designed to help enterprises benefit from the OpenStack platform’s speed and economics while more easily extending their existing Red Hat virtualized and cloud workloads to the IBM Private Cloud.” As part of the agreement, IBM has become a Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider.

    Red Hat Cloud Access will be available for IBM Cloud by the end of Q2 2017.

    https://virtualizationreview.com/articles/2017/03/23/ibm-red-hat-partner-on-hybrid-cloud-openstack.aspx

  • Amazon Web Services jumps into call-center market with new ‘Amazon Connect’ service

    Amazon Web Services just unveiled a new service for running call centers, dubbed Amazon Connect, leveraging the same technology used by Amazon.com’s own customer service system to route and manage calls using automatic speech recognition and artificial intelligence.

    The announcement is the latest move by the cloud giant beyond its core infrastructure technologies and into higher-level cloud services. Amazon says the service incorporates its Lex technology, an artificial intelligence service for speech recognition and natural language processing, which also powers the company’s Alexa virtual assistant.

    http://www.geekwire.com/2017/amazon-web-services-jumps-call-center-market-new-amazon-connect-service/

Datacenter

  • Why IaaS Could Be a Key Theme of Oracle’s Cloud Strategy

    Amazon and Microsoft are the top two leading players in the cloud space and as a result, customers seem to prefer them over Oracle for moving their workloads to former IaaS vendors. If Oracle doesn’t offer an improved IaaS, its PaaS and SaaS offerings could also suffer because companies often prefer to obtain all cloud services from one vendor. SaaS is believed to be the most highly deployed global service.

    By focusing on IaaS, Oracle can attract its customers to its bundle of cloud offerings. Apart from offering stronger capabilities than its competitors, as the chart above shows, Oracle lowered the cost of its IaaS offerings to compete with its peers, especially Amazon. However, it is a debatable point as to how long these players can engage in price wars.

    http://marketrealist.com/2017/03/iaas-key-theme-oracles-cloud-strategy/

Software/SaaS

  • Is your organization at risk after HPE ALM sale to Micro Focus?

    However, Micro Focus has not been completely transparent about future plans with its products. This makes it challenging for businesses to determine which products will continue to support their needs. None of Micro Focus’ product pages, documentation, or release notes discusses product vision regarding current industry technologies or practices.

    Also…

    Integration is a key necessity for any business building software and can often be the deciding factor to eliminate entire vendors when a company is looking to upgrade or to roll out new installations. Micro Focus’ lack of clarity on its existing product pages, particularly in regard to integration with other systems, adds to the risk and confusion around its acquisition of HPE’s tools. This is an area that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

    http://www.itproportal.com/features/is-your-organisation-at-risk-after-hpe-alm-sale-to-micro-focus/

  • Blockchain achieving new heights of value in logistics arena

    The various ways in which the blockchain’s ability to transform logistics is considerable. From the new Procurement app by SAP Ariba, which seeks to simplify and perfect the running of a supply chain, to “Chained Finance,” at FoxConn, an alternative banking system available to vendors seeking short-term funding within the supply chain, blockchain is a dynamic approach to be a perfect fit for the industry.

    http://www.supplychaindive.com/news/blockchain-value-kestrel-solas-2017/438830/

  • IBM vs Microsoft: Two Tech Giants, Two Blockchain Visions

    While Microsoft’s BaaS is designed to work with a range of protocols, it has shown a preference for the ethereum blockchain, and soft-launched the service at an ethereum event in 2015.

    Most of its recent partnership announcements are with startups that use ethereum as their base, and Microsoft is a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, recently set up to explore business adaptations of the public blockchain.

    IBM, on the other hand, has so far largely stayed away from public blockchains. Its BaaS service is based on Hyperledger’s Fabric codebase, of which IBM wrote a large part.

    http://www.coindesk.com/ibm-vs-microsoft-two-tech-giants-two-blockchain-visions/

Other

  • Oracle’s increased cloud profits are cool for Catz
    The information in the article has been covered several times here at The Source, but the headline was so exquisitely bad, I had to call it out.
    http://normangeestar.net/2017/03/26/oracle-s-increased-cloud-profits-are-cool-for-catz/
  • No, Microsoft isn’t spying on everything you type in Windows 10

    Yes, there is a built-in keylogger inside Windows 10 that’s supposed to help Microsoft improve typing experiences for Windows users. “Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future,” the settings says. In a FAQ, Microsoft explains that it’s collecting keystrokes to improve handwriting and pronunciation recognition, not to monitor everything you do.

    It appears that said setting caused some commotion over on Reddit recently. According to Myce, some users found that turning the setting off doesn’t work, as Windows 10 turns it back on. Myce has not replicated the issue, however.

    That said, if you want to turn off the feature yourself, go to Start, Settings, Privacy, General, and disable the feature right there.

    http://bgr.com/2017/03/24/how-to-disable-windows-10-keylogger/

Photo: Chuttersnap

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