Intel will provide early access to fast Optane SSDs via the cloud

Intel isn’t yet shipping its Optane SSDs, but they soon will be available for testing in the cloud.

This is good news for enterprise users, who are eagerly awaiting the new class of storage and memory shown to break SSD speed records.

Optane is based on 3D Xpoint technology, which is 10 times faster than the technology in standard SSDs. It also can serve as a substitute to traditional DRAM, but software needs to be written so parts of Optane operate like memory tiers.

Optane SSDs will be available at the end of the year to enterprises and gamers. Unfortunately for gamers, the cloud-based Optane test bed will be accessible for free only to enterprise users looking to test applications tied to financial transactions, machine learning, autonomous driving and other uses, Intel said.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

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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CIO Cloud Computing

Salesforce users: Early contracts might get you discounts, but after that watch out

Volume discounts are nothing unusual in the world of enterprise software, but over the last year or so Salesforce reportedly has been approaching customers early about upcoming renewals and wooing them with considerable extra discounts if they sign on ahead of time for the CRM vendor’s full software suite.

That’s according to a report Thursday in The Register, which attributed the information to an anonymous industry source who advises companies about Salesforce licensing.

The discount can be as much as 25 percent on top of Salesforce’s standard volume discount, according to the report. But it’s only available if customers sign up not just for its Sales Cloud but also for Marketing Cloud and consulting services.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing