VMware’s new management tools are hybrid, hybrid, hybrid

VMware has been on a news blitz this week, announcing updates to many of its management products and one specific focus has been on enabling hybrid cloud computing.

The company has a stronghold in its compute virtualization software based on vSphere, but as more enterprises use public cloud services, VMware is extending the support of its management tools to include off-premises resources. VMware hopes that any customer looking to use Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform will choose the company’s vRealize Suite to centrally manage their on-premises virtualized environments and the public cloud.

VRealize Suite combines management software products, such as the newly updated vRealize Operations 6.2, which is meant to be a portal for monitoring and managing a virtual environment. It gives users a central view into all of the virtualized resources in an environment, allowing issues to be resolved and compliance monitoring to be done from a single interface.

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Microsoft’s Power BI sports new ‘publish to Web’ feature

Microsoft’s Power BI data visualization service is making it possible for companies to share their business information with the world in an interactive format. 

On Tuesday, Microsoft launched the beta version of a new publish to Web feature that lets people take Power BI dashboards (which display information from a variety of data sources) and show them off on the Web in a live-updating format.

The feature means that companies’ Power BI use can work double duty as both an internal tool to help employees keep track of key statistics, as well as a way to share that information with the outside world. Companies can build custom visualizations so that the dashboards they create are tailored to the work they do. 

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Yahoo To Lay Off 15% Of Workforce, Hints At Sale Of Assets

Yahoo said it plans to cut 15% of its workforce and hinted at selling its non-strategic assets. Another strong indication that change is afoot is the resignation of a high-profile board member — the second one in the past two months.
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Madden, Bing pick Carolina Panthers to win Super Bowl 50

Sorry, Peyton. Both Electronic Arts’ Madden simulation as well as Microsoft’s Bing have picked the Carolina Panthers to top the Denver Broncos this Sunday in the Super Bowl.

During the past 12 Super Bowls, Madden has picked the correct winner 9 times. This year, Madden NFL 16 says that the Panthers will top the Broncos, 24-20. Bing has also predicted that the Panthers will win, but didn’t forecast a final score. 

While Microsoft uses a variety of data to arrive at its final predictions, including betting lines, historical matchups. and social signals, EA attempts to simulate the game with actual players. That means that EA supplied a wealth of detail about the “game,” such as predicting that Panthers quarterback Cam Newton would end up as the game’s MVP, after a goal line scramble ended with him scoring the game-winning touchdown.

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WhatsApp gains 1,000,000,000 whippersnappers (and my lawn)

WhatsApp has one billion users. That’s how many active accounts it had last month, at least according to the Facebook subsidiary — an instant-messaging service for young persons (or so I’m told).

It won’t surprise you to know that Jan Koum, the Ukrainian-born CEO, is overjoyed. I dare say Mark Zuckerberg is also fairly happy.

Listen, kid: In my day, we made do with two tin cans, connected with taut twine. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers tut-tut about today’s youth. Not to mention: my lawn get off it)

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
[Developing story: Updated 8:27 pm PT with more comment]

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Microsoft’s revenue falls, but cloud remains a bright spot

Microsoft is betting on reinventing itself as a cloud company, and the financial results it released Thursday show that its push is paying off despite an overall decline in revenue. 

Azure revenue rose 127 percent from a year earlier, and sales of Azure Premium Services like Machine Learning were three times higher during the last quarter of 2015 than in the same period of 2014. (Not counting the effects of currency exchange rates.) The company also bragged that more than one-third of the Fortune 500 is using its Enterprise Mobility solutions, which make it easier to secure devices that a company controls. 

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Apple Buys Education Software Startup LearnSprout

Some of the tech industry’s biggest players — including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, are battling for the supremacy in the education market. Apple’s acquisition of LearnSprout adds to its arsenal.
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Office Options Grow, Q2 Earnings Rise On Cloud: Microsoft Roundup

Cloud dominated again in Microsoft’s Q2 financial report, closing out a week of news on Windows 10, Cortana, iOS apps, and Office Online.
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Amazon cloud profit up 3x, so stock plummets. Wait, what?

Amazon Web Services profits triple, yet the stock takes a hammering. Actually, it makes complete sense—here’s why…

Amazon increasingly looks like a cloud company with a failing retailer attached. AWS is the consistent profit engine that props up the books ‘n’ gizmos side of the house.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers bite Bezos.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

What’s the craic? Shaun Nichols cards the wool, with Investors furious that Amazon only made $ 482m last quarter:

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Microsoft’s revenue falls, but cloud remains a bright spot

Microsoft is betting on reinventing itself as a cloud company, and the financial results it released Thursday show that its push is paying off despite an overall decline in revenue. 

Azure revenue rose 127 percent from a year earlier, and sales of Azure Premium Services like Machine Learning were three times higher during the last quarter of 2015 than in the same period of 2014. (Not counting the effects of currency exchange rates.) The company also bragged that more than one-third of the Fortune 500 is using its Enterprise Mobility solutions, which make it easier to secure devices that a company controls. 

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VMware Cuts 800 Jobs, Narrows Cloud Business

VMware is cutting 800 jobs. The move slices into its vCloud Air cloud computing business unit, a further sign that it’s scaling back from its johnny-come-lately cloud business, a sector where Amazon and Microsoft dominate.
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IDG Contributor Network: The new Rogue IT: A growing, invisible threat to your IT operations

Back in the day, “rogue IT” typically entailed departments building servers and putting them under their desks in an attempt to circumvent the IT department and all of the pesky security controls that came with IT-approved servers.

Often, those servers sat under a desk, inside a closet or back room — unpatched, unprotected, and non-compliant — for long stretches of time before finally being discovered. 

Those were the good ol’ days, compared to the new type of rogue IT that’s quickly spreading through today’s IT landscape. It’s invisible, nearly undetectable, and completely unacceptable, to say the least. 

The new rogue IT involves departments buying things online (think Amazon Web Services, Google Services, and Microsoft Azure), and setting up off-the-books IT operations outside of your organization’s boundaries. 

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Microsoft’s Bing just called the first four primaries for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

In March, Microsoft said it would use its Bing technology to predict the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. On Tuesday, Microsoft jumped in with both feet, calling the first four Republican primaries for Donald Trump.

Microsoft’s Bing predicts that Trump will win the Republican primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada relatively easily, topping Ted Cruz in all four states. Hillary Clinton is expected to win three out of the first four Democratic primaries—Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada—losing New Hampshire to Bernie Sanders. 

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The sun sets on original Docker PaaS

In yet another sign that the Docker container technology has grown bigger than any one PaaS, the dotCloud PaaS from which Docker originated will be shut down Feb. 29, as it no longer has a discernible advantage over more upscale competitors.

Docker was originally created as an internal application for dotCloud by Solomon Hykes, but generated so much interest that it was spun off into its own product. dotCloud even changed its name to Docker Inc., to better declare its newfound direction, and eventually sold dotCloud to the Berlin-based startup CloudControl, a PaaS used mainly by European customers.

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Google Street View on top of a mountain (all covered in snow)

Ah, Google, your Street-View publicity stunts never fail to entertain. This time, the Mountain View pranksters have stuck their 360-degree cameras up an actual mountain—Mont Blanc, to be precise.

In fact, Google claims to also be helping scientists track the effects of global climate change warming. This is while the ice atop the massif is said to be shrinking.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers feel cold just looking at it.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

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IDG Contributor Network: 2016: The year of IT-driven solutions to business problems

It wouldn’t be the beginning of a new year without two hallmarks: resolutions and predictions. My 2016 resolution is to help companies understand the importance of strong financial management when moving into hybrid clouds. Every day, I’m reminded by examples I hear, read, and experience which remind me that, if you don’t start with a strong financial management foundation, things quickly get out of control in the highly scalable and automated world of cloud.

As for my predictions, they too focus on hybrid cloud. In 2015, we saw the C-suite begin to recognize the pervasive force of both private and public cloud, and 2016 promises to be the year of hybrid cloud as the two merge into a single offering. 

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IDG Contributor Network: Cloud is now a core strategy — are you onboard?

What are clouds?

That’s a question a child might ask, but for CIOs today, the answer centers on a completely different meaning. Top tech chiefs and company executives are trying to figure out how to use cloud technology and to what degree it should be part of their company strategy.

Without a doubt, statistics show the cloud can no longer be ignored:

  • According to a Gartner study cited by Information Age, public cloud spending increased 32 percent in 2015 and is expected to reach $ 16.5 billion this year
  • A Forbes survey found 93 percent of organizations run cloud applications, and 82 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy
  • A Verizon survey found that cloud strategies enabled 69 percent of respondents to reengineer their business processes

Security, however, remains a top concern. To find out more about the use of cloud, I connected with Bryce Austin, CIO and CISO at Digineer and a cybersecurity expert. We talked about cloud strategies, misinformation about security issues, and why public and private clouds are part of a sound strategy. 

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SAP sees cloud, support revenue overtaking software in 2018

German business software maker SAP expects its revenue from cloud subscriptions and support to be higher than its revenue from software licenses in 2018, reflecting an industry trend.

This would be a dramatic shift for a company, which earlier had licenses and support of its business software as its mainstay business. There was considerable skepticism whether it would be able to quickly make the transition to the cloud with a new revenue model based on subscriptions rather than one-time payments. 

The market has moved significantly for SAP and its rivals like Oracle from on-premise software and services to applications delivered through the cloud on a subscription model.

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SAP sees cloud, support revenue topping software by 2018

German business software maker SAP expects its revenue from cloud subscriptions and support to be higher than its revenue from software licenses in 2018, reflecting an industry trend.

This would be a dramatic shift for a company, which earlier had licenses and support of its business software as its mainstay business. There was considerable skepticism whether it would be able to quickly make the transition to the cloud with a new revenue model based on subscriptions rather than one-time payments. 

The market has moved significantly for SAP and its rivals like Oracle from on-premise software and services to applications delivered through the cloud on a subscription model.

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Google’s new managed containers are brought to you by Red Hat

A new incarnation of Red Hat’s OpenShift Dedicated service for running containers will be available on Google Cloud Platform and could further Google’s plans to create a genuinely open-source hybrid cloud.

OpenShift Dedicated was originally hosted on Amazon EC2, but it’s based on technology that can theoretically allow it to run anywhere. Now that Google and Red Hat are teaming up, instances of OpenShift Dedicated will be available on Google Cloud Platform. There are no details about pricing or availability as yet. 

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The top 5 Hadoop distributions, according to Forrester

A new report by Forrester Research’s big data analysts says that adopting Hadoop is “mandatory” for any organization that wishes to do advanced analytics and get actionable insights on their data.

Forrester estimates that between 60% and 73% of data that enterprises have access to goes unused for business intelligence and analytics. “That’s unacceptable in an age where deeper, actionable insights, especially about customers, are a competitive necessity,” analysts Mike Gualtieri and Noel Yuhanna write in their Wave report on Hadoop distributions that’s out this week. Application developer and delivery professionals are adopting Hadoop “en masse” they say, and the analysts predict that 100% of large enterprises will eventually adopt Hadoop.

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Sponsored post: Building For Success on AWS: Five Best Practice Tips

As AWS increasingly becomes the preferred deployment model for enterprise applications and services, it’s never been more important for a software or AWS SaaS provider to work effectively with AWS. Many leading technology providers are therefore optimizing their software to run on AWS as well as building globally available cloud services delivered through AWS’ worldwide regions.

Splunk has been very pleased with the success of our SaaS business on AWS, so we thought we’d share what we’ve learned in the form of best practices for you to keep in mind when developing your software or SaaS business on AWS.

1. Embrace the change

If you’ve attended the keynote at any recent AWS Summit, you’ve heard the message “cloud is the new normal.” Our advice is to take this to heart, and invest in your business knowing the momentum behind cloud will only continue to accelerate.

This is a boon to businesses of every size and in every location around the world—cloud makes it easier than ever before to innovate, rapidly bring an offering to market and serve your customer.

2. Relentlessly focus on the customer experience

Focusing your business on customer success is a must when building a business on AWS.

Why? Because the number one driving factor behind everything AWS does is to help its customers be successful and innovative. Tactically, this can mean many things for a SaaS Partner, but the one that stands out is building technology integrations that can provide additional value to AWS customers.

A good example of this involves AWS CloudTrail and AWS Config, services that deliver log data on AWS API calls around user activity and resource changes. When properly harnessed, these services help enable enterprises ensure security and compliance of their AWS deployments. A handful of SaaS Partners deliver integrations for these AWS services. The importance of these integrations is clear when you think of the importance of security and compliance for any successful AWS deployment.

3. Leverage your customers in your go-to-market strategy

When it comes to building your software or SaaS business on AWS, nothing beats customer validation. One of the most compelling stories is when a customer fully integrates your technology into their AWS strategy.

A great example of this is the Federal Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA is an independent regulator that examines all securities firms and their registered persons and monitors trading on U.S. markets. To respond to rapidly changing market dynamics, FINRA is moving its platform to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to analyze and store approximately 30 billion market events every day. FINRA uses Splunk Cloud to ensure security and compliance in their AWS deployment.

4. Choose AWS and go “all-in”

When building out your cloud strategy, you have to make choices. Our advice: When two roads diverge in the cloud, choose AWS.

This is a best practice because AWS has the richest and broadest set of services in the market. If your offering is storage intensive, there are specific solutions for that; if it’s compute intensive, there are specific solutions for that; if it’s I/O intensive, there are specific solutions for that as well. Regardless of what you need on the infrastructure stack—whether it’s automated provisioning, configuration or management, AWS has a mature solution that fits the bill.

In addition, business today is global. To successfully grow your business you need the ability to rapidly expand around the world. AWS offers that through their 11 worldwide regions.

5. Leverage the ecosystem

If you’re building on AWS, chances are that other folks building on AWS will find it useful. This is what makes the AWS announcement of its SaaS Partner Program so exciting. If you’re building a SaaS storage solution, odds are we could use it for our SaaS operational and security monitoring solution. Since we’re building a SaaS operational and security monitoring solution, odds are you could use it for your SaaS storage solution.

We have the opportunity to be better together on AWS for the benefit of all of our customers.

To learn more about our cloud solutions, visit us here.

Building For Success on AWS: Five Best Practice Tips originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2016.

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Microsoft will cut some Azure compute prices

Good news for businesses using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform: their infrastructure bills may be shrinking come February.

Microsoft announced that it will be permanently reducing the prices for its Dv2 compute instances by up to 17 percent next month, depending on the type of instance and what it’s being used for. Users will see the greatest savings if they’re running higher performance Linux instances — up to 17 percent lower prices than they’ve been paying previously. Windows instance discounts top out at a 13 percent reduction compared to current prices.

160115 microsoft Microsoft

Right now, the exact details of the discount are a little bit vague, but Microsoft says that it will publish full pricing details in February when they go into effect. Dv2 instances are designed for applications that require more compute power and temporary disk performance than Microsoft’s A series instances.

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Amazon Adds ‘Scheduled’ Reserved Instances To Server List

Amazon Web Services has created what it calls “Scheduled Reserved Instances,” a variation to its low cost Reserved Instances, which is scheduled to run at specific times.
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2 tips to avoid sticker shock in the cloud

If you build big data systems in the public cloud, you know that it costs money to move data in and out of the cloud — that is, network traffic. Public cloud providers vary on this expense, and it changes all the time.

Regardless of the fluctuating prices, if you’re running huge databases in a public cloud, you need to consider the data traffic you’re consuming.

Here are two tips that I have learned after having done a few of these:

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Microsoft will cut some Azure compute prices

Good news for businesses using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform: their infrastructure bills may be shrinking come February.

Microsoft announced that it will be permanently reducing the prices for its Dv2 compute instances by up to 17 percent next month, depending on the type of instance and what it’s being used for. Users will see the greatest savings if they’re running higher performance Linux instances — up to 17 percent lower prices than they’ve been paying previously. Windows instance discounts top out at a 13 percent reduction compared to current prices.

160115 microsoft Microsoft

Right now, the exact details of the discount are a little bit vague, but Microsoft says that it will publish full pricing details in February when they go into effect. Dv2 instances are designed for applications that require more compute power and temporary disk performance than Microsoft’s A series instances.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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Foursquare founder @dens given Special Project by VCs. Huge haircut after down round

Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s remaining co-founder gets kicked up to the boardroom, “of his own volition.” In news that may or may not be connected, 4sq gets yet another honking chunk of change to burn through—but the price is said to value Foursquare at way less than it was worth previously.

This will be the Series-E round, worth $ 45 million, led by Union Square. Other investors number Morgan Stanley, DFJ, Andreessen Horowitz, and Spark.

Presumably one or more of these VCs weren’t keen on Crowley’s performance at the location-based service, so asked him to tag in the old COO and CRO. Meanwhile, he’s been asked to “make something awesome.”

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Bitcoin is a failed experiment, says major Bitcoin developer

Fissures in the Bitcoin community appear to be turning to chasms, with one prominent developer abandoning the cryptocurrency for good.

Mike Hearn, a longtime developer who often speaks about Bitcoin to the press and in presentations, wrote on Medium that he’s sold all his coins and will no longer participate in development.

“What was meant to be a new, decentralised form of money that lacked ‘systemically important institutions’ and ‘too big to fail’ has become something even worse: a system completely controlled by just a handful of people,” Hearn wrote. “Worse still, the network is on the brink of technical collapse. The mechanisms that should have prevented this outcome have broken down, and as a result there’s no longer much reason to think Bitcoin can actually be better than the existing financial system.”

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Apple May Axe iAds Sales Team

Apple is reportedly moving to dump its in-house iAd sales team and making iAds solely a self-service platform.
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Bing Predicts begins March Madness early with NCAA tourney invitation predictions

The 2015 March Madness tournament was a triumphant year for Bing Predicts, the predictive algorithms that Microsoft uses to pick the outcomes of everything from reality TVs to sporting events. For 2016, Microsoft has launched March Madness even earlier, with a site predicting which schools will receive an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

The premise behind the new Arewein.net site is a simple one: Pick a university, and Bing will attempt to predict whether a given school is in or out, the overall chance they’ll make the tournament, and even their seeding in the overall bracket rankings.

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