Tired of the bragging it hears from the IT vendors, NASA is using its rockets to launch colored clouds.
“Rocket launches are spectacular, “wow” events that most of us don’t get to see with our own eyes. But between 7 and 9 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 7, residents in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States may get a glimpse of NASA”s next suborbital launch from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Approximately six minutes after launch, the sounding rocket will deploy four sub-payloads containing mixtures of barium and strontium will be released, creating a cloud that is blue-green and red in color.
Residents from Long Island, New York, 235 miles north of the launch site, to Morehead City, North Carolina, 232 miles south, 165 miles west in Charlottesville, Virginia -- and everyone in between -- could get a glimpse of the colorful evening launch.”
Containers break up apps into smaller packages of code, each bundled with all the basic system software the apps need to operate independently of whichever server plays host. This means programmers won’t have to rewrite the code for each new operating system and platform as an app evolves from a project on a laptop to a global hit with millions of users reached via enormous servers, says Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, a nonprofit that oversees the open source Linux OS. “A developer will be able to write that software and deploy it without having to spend six months” rewriting it for broader and bigger systems, he says. Moving containers from one cloud provider to another is as simple as downloading them onto the new servers.
While market share data are tough to pin down, Docker set the early standard in container software, and the leading options among its dozen or so rivals include Warden, LXD, and CoreOS, according to researcher IDC. Many of the container makers, plus Google, are also refining competing versions of container orchestration software, the layer of programming that helps containers knit themselves together in the proper order to make an app run. Kubernetes, an open source program led by Google, is the early front-runner, says Larry Carvalho, an analyst at IDC.
Most of the about 3 million ATMs installed worldwide contain computers that complete most tasks independently instead of getting their commands from a data center. Their owners have to dispatch a technician every time they want to make a major change to the operating system or add a new feature. Only 15 percent to 20 percent of the world’s leading banks have begun connecting their ATMs to the cloud, according to Wincor Nixdorf, a German ATM manufacturer.
NCR’s sales pitch to banks is that its Cx110 and companion Kalpana cloud management software can slash the costs of running an ATM by up to 40 percent. A company with 100 ATMs could see savings of as much as $800,000 a year, NCR estimates. Because cloud-connected machines can be monitored more closely, it will be easier for banks to manage their networks. Says Robert Johnston, marketing director for ATM software at NCR: “There’s less of a chance an ATM will run out of cash.”
It is an ancient post now, but I had written The Best UI is no UI. One of the most interesting things to come out of Unit4’s analyst summit last week was its vision of “self-driving” ERP, their vision of machine learning and artificial intelligence driving the user interface.
“Like a self-driving car, self-driving ERP takes care of tasks that are better served by technology, leaving people to focus on the exceptions that need human intervention.
Self-driving ERP doesn’t ask the user to constantly enter data. It doesn’t require huge amounts of training in order for users to understand how to achieve desired outcomes. Self-driving ERP becomes an intelligent support and planning system that utilizes information from all sorts of internal and external sources including productivity tools (calendar, outlook, document systems, social tools) to drive cases,projects and initiatives and tasks. It delivers actionable insight based on what it already knows. The system will make suggestions based on company behavior, personal behavior, the weather, traffic and all other possible sources it pulls data from.”
Three things I like about Unit4’s vision
a) They are leveraging Microsoft’s machine learning advances (it’s a broader arrangement where MS Azure data centers will also provide the IaaS for Unit4’s public cloud) (click image to enlarge)
b) They have already considered several vertical scenarios for the people/services industries they are focusing on. Since the Microsoft arrangement is not exclusive, how vendors like Unit4 differentiate with it will be key
c) Not something they mentioned last week, but listening to Thomas Staven and Ton Dobbe of Unit4 discuss electronic documents in the Nordic public sector, I was reminded that in I had profiled a Swedish government customer of Agresso (now Unit4) in The New Polymath in 2010. The document exchange involved 85,000 suppliers and tens of millions of invoices. I was impressed at the digitization progress even back then. Think of the ability to train machines with that much data already digitized. Also exciting to see Unit4’s ability to take that experience to other parts of the world.
As I wrote here, the quality of vendor analyst summits has improved dramatically in the last couple of years. Looking at the agenda I was sent ahead of coming to this week’s Oracle Cloud Summit I was prepared for an endless stream of Powerpoint presentations.
Instead I was impressed with the variety of perspectives – not just product centric, but executive, sales field, customer, partner as well. Day 2 was similar but focused more on HCM products – a bit of a repeat of the themes I had heard in Washington last month, but with a newer set of customer and executive voices
Thomas Kurian, President, set the tempo for day 1 with a slide a minute for 45 minutes where he summarized Oracle’s growing portfolio of –as-a-service offerings – SaaS, Paas, Iaas and DaaS. The man has a breathtaking command of Oracle products and you have to admire how efficiently he covered the portfolio. Across the two days, 20+ presenters marched through, by my estimate, over 750 slides.
CEO Mark Hurd took a different tack and presented more on state of the industry and a handful of slides with lots of white space, and instead answered several questions from the audience.
The night before as part of a reception, Oracle had several booths to show off its investments in UX. Day 2 we got to visit the applications UX lab with all kids of devices, motion analysis, eye tracking and other technology. The end result is a pleasing front end to a growing set of Oracle apps. Between the two days Oracle, also managed to showcase 20 short demos across the sessions.
Three panels hosted by Shawn Price, SVP Oracle Cloud, showcased 14 Oracle customers/partners, and 5 of Oracle’s field executives representing a breadth of industries and geographies. Many of them were available for conversations during the rest of the day. On Day 2, two HCM customers and two Oracle (internal) HR executives provided additional color
The setting – Half Moon Bay for Day 1 and Redwood Shores for Day 2 -allowed for plenty of fresh air and also pleased my FitBit. With so much to cover, it was thoughtful of Oracle to allow for enough “outside time”
Finally, given the mass of content at most of these summits, I find myself chasing the vendor for copies of slides for days afterwards. Oracle had them all on an internal portal by the afternoon of Day 1 and on a zip drive for Day 2. A minor detail, but again reflective of the logistical feat the event delivered.
I heard a few analysts bitch about information overload – clearly there was with that much content. Others complained there was not enough detail in some sessions. To me, that’s what follow up calls are for.
I for one appreciated the large investment Oracle made and for packing so much into the two days. It’s miniaturization applied to our world of content.
At Convergence this week, customers profiled in various sessions played to Microsoft’s positioning of the “intelligent cloud”. They represented Azure cloud computing, machine-learning and leverage of Internet of Things in a wide range of industries. CEO Satya Nadella posited that other industries could become as margin rich as the software industry has been if they can learn to tame the coming explosion of devices and data.
The customers represented asset-heavy ones like Ford (which is using the Azure cloud for various connected services and has partnered with Microsoft for its Sync infotainment system) , Rockwell Automation (using the Azure cloud to monitor asset health).
They include Wash (an operator of laundromats which described how Microsoft helps in a low margin industry to deliver differentiating service calls and how it is starting to help with dynamic pricing )
They also represented (somewhat) asset light ones like Accuweather (which amalgamates a wide range of weather related data feeds to provide forecasts and other useful weather/climate data), J&J Services (a UK food service provider which described how machine learning is making their eCommerce portal far more interactive). Marston Pubs and Taverns in the UK discussed Microsoft tools for social engagement.
Docker kicked off the container boom 18 months ago, when it released its technology (also called Docker) under a free-of-charge open-source license. The software sparked the kind of rapid uptake generally reserved for consumer gewgaws like FarmVille, clocking 43 million downloads as of early October. Users include Google Inc., International Business Machines Corp. , Spotify, Yelp Inc. —and, yes, Microsoft—as well as nontech companies like the BBC and a handful of big banks, according to people familiar with the financial institutions’ operations.
“The interest level is off the charts,” says Dave Bartoletti, an analyst with technology research firm Forrester Research Inc.
With Intercloud, Cisco is reprising the strategy that brought it success in hardware. In the 1990s its routers were in demand because they let various proprietary technologies work together—an IBM network could communicate with an Apple one.
More than 3,700 people have been pulled from all corners of Cisco to work on Intercloud. The company has set aside $1 billion to develop or acquire technology and to persuade cloud providers to join the Intercloud ecosystem. So far 40 partners, including Deutsche Telekom (DTE:GR), have signed up, and a handful of organizations, among them Johns Hopkins University and real estate investment trust Boston Properties (BXP), are using Intercloud.
Gillis now runs Bracket Computing, a startup that on Oct. 22 unveiled software designed to make public clouds secure enough for sensitive corporate data. Essentially, Bracket’s software wraps a company’s business applications in a bubble of encryption without making the applications harder to manage. “If we demonstrate that the public cloud is every bit as good, why would anyone build another data center?” says Gillis.
Security software is typically designed to protect a particular application or type of data. Bracket encrypts everything before it gets to the cloud servers, leaving the customer with the only key to decrypt it. Its setup also seeks to simplify how IT is managed.
Oracle invited me to moderate a panel in their DaaS launch today. Watch the whole hour for some great perspectives on this exciting new market category, and our panel starting around 26.00.
Talking to Steve Miranda and Omar Tawakol before and after I got even more excited about the concept
a) There is a new generation of data asset entrepreneurs like Omar (whose company, BlueKai Oracle acquired) who are about separating signal from noise– under NDA I have been briefed by other entrepreneurs focused on supply chain, HR and other DaaS. Scary smart folks.
b) Watching Omar talk about all the social and other marketing data feeds, Steve talking about feeds from machines and wearables, you realize we are not anymore in the Kansas of internal, structured data so many companies are still heavily invested in
c) How rapidly business and deployment models are changing. While the old model of “buy hardware, install software, load data, clean for quality – pay for all that” is not going away the speed of getting started with and the economics of DaaS are going to be compelling
d) How effortlessly Oracle with its decades of data management experience and horizontal and vertical application knowledge could play in a wide range of DaaS categories.