Posts tagged ‘business cloud news’

Ford deploys connected car platform on Microsoft’s cloud

Source: Business Cloud News

Ford-connected-car-platform-300x204Ford plans to roll out the Azure-based service later this year

Ford Motor Company and Microsoft have teamed up to create the Ford Service Delivery Network, a cloud-based connected car platform for Ford vehicles the companies said would make it easier and faster to add more in-car digital services.

Microsoft said the service will provide Ford a global platform to enable over-the-air software updates and expand availability of MyFord and MyLincoln Mobile connected services, which ships with features like scheduled remote start, vehicle finder, and vehicle status (fuel or charge level, tire pressure).

The connected car platform will be hosted on Azure-based technology in a combination of Azure and Ford datacentres.

“As consumers shift toward more cloud-based services, the Ford Service Delivery Network architecture is a strategic approach to keep vehicles up-to-date and relevant throughout the vehicle ownership period by making it easy to add or evolve services. Microsoft Azure provides a global common cloud platform that allows Ford to deliver services worldwide and scale quickly to reach its broad customer base,” explained Sanjay Ravi, senior director of worldwide manufacturing at Microsoft.

“This means that Ford can send updates as they become available, ensuring customers will have the latest technology as it becomes available,” Ravi said.

Customer deployment will begin later this year, the companies said.

Microsoft is among a growing fleet of technology firms looking to capitalise on growth of the connected car market. According to global telecoms association the GSMA, the size of the market will nearly triple over the next four years to $53bn.

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Telcos voice concerns about taking core networks to the cloud #telcocloud

Telcos voice concerns about taking core networks to the cloud | Business Cloud News

Under threat from companies not traditionally viewed as competitors, telcos are racing to both offer cloud services to end-user customers and tap into the cloud to run core network functions in a bid to make their value propositions more competitive and infrastructure more dynamic. But cloud experts from Orange, Swisscom and AT&T have each voiced concerns around just how capable the sector may be at managing such a bold transformation with existing tools.

Speaking at the OpenStack Summit in Paris on Tuesday, experts from major European and US telecoms firms, all of which are experimenting with using OpenStack to stand up core network services or cloud services for end-users (or both), agreed that existing telecoms industry regulation can pose challenges when introducing NFV and cloud architectures to underpin them.

Toby Ford, AVP cloud technology, strategy and planning at AT&T, which has made some progress in recent months with its NFV experiments and in rolling out its cloud stack, said that the extent to which telcos in the US can virtualise networks is limited in some part by stringent regulations.

“The actual facilities we use have a lot of legal rules we have to apply, so we’re doing a lot of work to work around those as we go forward [with NFV],” he said.

This issue, particularly with respect to security, isn’t altogether dissimilar from what other highly regulated verticals are facing. The key question is how do you as a company demonstrate a virtual appliance is as reliable as physical hardware in terms of resilience, uptime, security, and so forth?

Markus Brunner, head of standardisation in the strategy and innovation department of Swisscom said guaranteeing quality of service, which in some contexts is legislated, is also a key challenge.

“It’s really about guarantees. We have a set of services which require guarantees – legally require certain guarantees,” he said.

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Six unexpected challenges of cloud

For years now there has been talk of how business is driving IT to move to cloud. In many cases, business teams go so far as to circumvent IT and buy cloud services themselves, taking decisions into their own hands. Much has also been written about why IT should eagerly accept this imperative and embrace the use of cloud. In reality, however, managing a cloud footprint is much harder and more specialised than many imagine.

Today there are many good reasons why IT should be pushing for cloud, not just for those super-innovative new business-led projects, but for existing, run-of-the-mill IT operations. However, the promise of cloud has traditionally touted less work for IT. Many times, it is characterised as a commodity and positioned as a rapid path toward innovation. In general, IT expects cloud to give them have fewer boxes to maintain, fewer hypervisors to operate, and even fewer purchasing decisions to make.

But this brings with it certain challenges. Cloud services must be selected, workloads must be migrated and usage must be tracked. Not unlike other complex IT systems, cloud infrastructures have to be monitored and managed, and cloud’s much touted ‘easy scalability’ depends on specific infrastructure capabilities and a watchful eye to identify and correct problems.

Over the years, clouds have emerged that are built on proprietary platforms and optimised for the comfort and efficiency of the cloud providers. This has shifted the burden of learning how to operate and optimise these platforms onto the user. In fact, many cloud implementations require deep knowledge of scripting, an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the architecture, and at a minimum, a strong familiarity with the new platform.

Along with this, the pricing models of clouds have become a feat of financial engineering. This has compounded the burden on IT – not just to operate the cloud footprint but to optimise its cost according to a set of remarkably challenging pricing models.

And many teams continued to be surprised by the challenges of cloud. In fact, in April 2014 when iland commissioned analyst firm EMA to conduct a global survey on real-world experiences with public cloud providers, 98% of UK respondents reported they experienced at least one unexpected cloud challenge.

Among a survey pool of 400 professionals, the vast majority had made some foray into cloud, and what became apparent was that there were six primary areas where companies discovered unanticipated obstacles. Here are the top six unexpected challenges:

  • Pricing (38 per cent) – The top challenge unearthed in the survey indicated that while cost savings may be a key benefit of cloud, current pricing models under which they operate are difficult to understand. Organisations therefore need to carefully analyse pricing models and their own IT needs before they commit.
  • Performance (38 per cent) – Different clouds are architected with different back ends, and some are more susceptible to ‘noisy neighbour’ syndrome than others. For organisations sensitive to variations in performance this can impact the cloud experience.
  • Support (36 per cent) – The realities of cloud support contracts often take companies by surprise.  Simple email or ticketing support may only be available to organisations at lower tiers. Companies purchasing higher-end support may still have difficulties getting access to adequate levels of hands-on expertise. Poor or overly expensive support can become a grating factor limiting cloud success.
  • Downtime (35 per cent) – Though many perceive cloud to be immunised from outages, the reality is failures can and do happen. It’s important to understand service level agreements and business continuity options.
  • Management of Cloud Services (33%) – Just like on-premise systems, cloud services require IT management. However, many cloud vendors focus on technology innovation instead of simplifying cloud service management. The cloud is a new platform to most IT shops and it can take some time to learn.
  • Scalability (33 per cent) – A top promise of cloud is scalability, as it is supposed to allow teams to scale up to meet demand and scale down when the peek has passed. However, most companies experience real challenges both in scaling individual workloads and scaling their entire footprint. Knowing when and how to scale is not always straightforward – especially because some vendors require an environment to be shut down and moved in order to get the job done.

Clearly organisations cannot turn their backs on cloud computing as it represents a key tool in the race for innovation and competitive advantage. Indeed, cloud has a way of opening up opportunities for the business, of freeing the company to dream up new products and services, innovate on existing offerings, and lower the cost of experimentation.

I would however advise organisations to carefully consider their cloud choices. Select a cloud vendor with live, human support – and pay attention not just to the availability of such support, but also its cost. Separate, hefty support contracts can quickly compound the cost of cloud. Your cloud vendor should be a partner to your IT department. Look for a cloud that makes your job easier – a cloud with familiar management metrics, functionality and straightforward pricing. Ensure the cloud provider can bake in features such as high availability and reporting to ease your management task. And finally, make sure you can explain the pricing model to your manager because believe me, you’ll be asked to sooner or later.

By Dante Orsini, SVP of Business Development, iland
Source Business Cloud News

Internap takes bare metal cloud to London, Hong Kong #cloudasia

BCNInfrastructure as a service provider Internap announced that it has expanded it bare metal public cloud service to London and Hong Kong. The move comes as other cloud incumbents look to bolster their bare metal cloud offerings alongside their virtualised platforms.

Internap’s bare metal cloud platform claims to offer all of the flexibility of traditional virtualised cloud platforms with the performance of bare metal, and is underpinned by its own proprietary traffic route optimisation software.

The company said it has expanded the platform to London and Hong Kong in the face of rising demand for platforms spec’d to run big data analytics and online gaming applications, which typically require higher-performance infrastructure to run smoothly.

“Organizations deploying real-time, data-intensive applications are increasingly seeking cloud services that provide flawless performance, reliability and cost efficiency across globally distributed environments,” said Christian Primeau, senior vice president and general manager of cloud and hosting at Internap.

“Our bare-metal cloud uniquely addresses these demands, and the addition of our London and Hong Kong locations delivers broader reach in key end user markets,” Primeau said.

Internap is the latest of a number of cloud service providers keen to bolster their bare metal cloud offerings. Rackspace recently launched its OnMetal service, a single-tenant infrastructure as a service that can tap into the full range of APIs available in the OpenStack ecosystem, in a bid to appeal to IT decision makers looking to minimise exposure to the performance tax sometime incurred in virtualised clouds.

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OpenStack network virtualisation player Plumgrid scores $16.2m #SDEnterprise

bcnPlumgrid, a provider of network virtualisation solutions for OpenStack private and public clouds announced that it has secured $16.2m in its latest round of funding.

The company’s technology, which is aimed largely at telcos at this point, brings a range of virtualised network services and features to the OpenStack platform, as well as a range of monitoring and analytics tools that can be used for troubleshooting.

Its latest round of funding, led by Longworth Venture Partners with participation from US Venture Partners, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and Swisscom Ventures, bring the total amount the company has secured to $29m.

“The leadership team behind Plumgrid has a track record of developing innovative technologies in the network and virtualisation infrastructure space and backing it up with solid execution. USVP partners with entrepreneurs that have a strong vision and big ideas,” said Jacques Benkoski, Plumgrid board member and partner at US Venture Partners.

“An end-to-end solution in this space will go a long way in getting service providers and enterprises to adopt public and private cloud at large scales,” Benkoski said.

Companies delivering network virtualisation capabilities are set to grow according to some analysts.

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Brad Casemore, director of research for datacenter networks at IDC said that many enterprises adopting private cloud, as well as service providers offering public cloud, have a need for network infrastructure that can securely perform at scale and automation requirements that cloud requires.

“These customers also have operational models that are different from those of traditional enterprises with more conventional client-server workloads,” he said. “Plumgrid is focused exclusively on this cloud opportunity, correctly perceiving that cloud implies a set of requirements that traditional approaches to networking, architectural and operational, were not designed to solve.”

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Verizon appoints Francis Yip to Lead Asia-Pacific business #cloudasia

Francis-YipVerizon Enterprise Solutions, the cloud computing and enterprise IT-focused division of American operator Verizon has appointed Francis Yip to group vice president of Verizon Asia Pacific, where he will lead all of the business’ strategic initiatives.

He will be responsible for delivering strategic cloud, security, mobility, network and connected machines solutions to Verizon’s multinational enterprise clients across the region

bcnYip most recently served as Verizon’s managing director for North Asia with responsibility for Verizon’s business in Hong Kong, China, Korea and Taiwan, but the promotion will see Yip lead the business across the broader Asia Pacific region including southern Asia.

He will replace Andrew Dobbins, who announced his retirement earlier this month.

Before joining Verizon Yip was responsible for managing Dimension Data’s North Asia operations, and has also held senior management positions including general manager for China at Equant, which was acquired by Orange Business Systems in 2005.

“Francis is an exceptional talent, and we believe he has the experience and expertise to continue to grow our business in Asia-Pacific,” said Christopher Formant, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

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“His leadership in North Asia in the past two years has earned him a first-class reputation for commercial acumen. His in-depth understanding of technology businesses in Asia, particularly in emerging markets, will be instrumental in helping our customers move their businesses forward,” he added.

G-cloud sales nudge £200m but adoption lags in wider public sector #publicsectorcloud

The CIO’s role shifting focus to compliance, brokerage

Author: Jonathan Brandon

exhibition 1As cloud services increasingly make their way into organisations the role of the CIO will likely become centred on compliance and service brokerage, if it continues to be relevant at all, according to a number of senior UK IT decision makers.

“The traditional role of the CIO today doesn’t innovate,” said Derek Cockerton, director of converged cloud, HP, speaking at the Cloud World Forum in London today. “The traditional CIO is simply too busy fighting fires,” he said, adding that the role of the CIO is undergoing a major transformation – and may even cease to exist.

A number of enterprise IT decision makers and technology leaders discussed the role of the CIO as it is today and how they believe the role will evolve as their organisations lean on an increasing number of cloud-based services.

Consensus seemed to have formed around the notion that, as these organisations get out of the business of buying hardware and software and move towards consuming and subscribing to services, the role of the CIO will move towards one focused on IT service management, and fostering an IT department and strategy that puts security and compliance at its core.

“From CIO to chief compliance officer is what’s happening. The role will become about how you ensure your IT systems are complying with the rules applying in the country your businesses is in,” said Martin Bishop, global head of network applications and & service portfolio at Telstra Global.

“Compliance and security or procuring delivered services could even become a subset of the sales or go to market organisations,” he said, suggesting that the role of IT’s role could be limited to an initial security management and qualification.

But some technology and IT heads suggested the role, like any corporate role, will evolve along with the new challenges and opportunities brought about by technological shifts impacting them.

Jagdeep Singh, UK Government head of technology said that the role of the CTO and the CIO will begin to combine into a kind of hybrid function as emphasis shifts to service brokerage and technical integration.

“We’re all in agreement that the role of the CIO needs to evolve but in central government there’s a tendency towards the CTO role moving slightly ahead of the CIO. But they will need to work together to facilitate integration,” Singh said.

“From a name of the role perspective it’s less relevant, but the role of that function will only get more important in terms of facilitating the innovation it drives,” he said.

There are still a lot of legacy systems where the bulk of the organisation’s data resides, which means the role will likely continue to be focused on balancing systems modernisation with legacy integration, he explained.

The shift to cloud will also bring new infrastructure and cost-management challenges of the fore. “Cloud is still very much evolving. It has simplified some things, taken things off my plate and put them in the hands of the business, but I’m still here to manage infrastructure as a service and the new challenges that brings along with it,” said Graham Hobson, CTO of Photobox.

“You’ve got to be aware of the different models: private, public, hybrid, and understand what your teams internally need. CIO’s need to learn their craft and how to optimise for that,” he added.

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Half of UK businesses struggle to extract value from data, study claims #cloudwf

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Research published this week by Hitachi Data Systems suggests over half of UK organisations are struggling to extract value from the data they collect, with many CIOs claiming that they are limited by their IT systems and processes currently in place.

“IT-accelerated’ businesses use technology as a strategic asset, helping them to derive intelligence and mobilise information, enabling them to be more competitive,” said Hicham Abdessamad, executive vice president, global services at Hitachi Data Systems.

“Organisations that take a ‘Business Defined IT’ approach to information, leveraging it beyond its primary and intended use, and connecting it with other datasets, will lead the way with innovation, and benefit from the creation of new revenue streams.”

The Hitachi Data Systems research, which included a survey of 200 senior UK IT decision makers and CIOs with organisations of over 1,000 employees, suggests 90 per cent of CIOs agree that IT’s traditional approach to storing and managing information is preventing their businesses from leveraging data insights to drive growth.

Of that 90 per cent, 63 per cent suggest the primary reason for this is that information is stored in disparate systems and varying formats, making it difficult to extract value.

A whopping 91 per cent of CIOs believe IT could be doing more to support business leaders in their goal of leveraging data to fuel growth, but of those 91 per cent, 25 per cent also said CIOs don’t understand how they can extract insights from their data.

“Information can be a transformative force in business if decision-makers are able to shape what it does. By realigning the relationship between business management and IT, and tapping into the vast troves of company intelligence, organisations can quickly accelerate beyond their nearest competitors,” said Richard Gadd, regional vice president and general manager, United Kingdom and Ireland at Hitachi Data Systems.

“Organisations that view IT holistically can enable greater productivity, drive new revenue opportunities, and unleash growth potential,” he added.

The results of the research also suggest that CIOs are deeply concerned over compliance as it relates to the data they collect and believe these challenges will only increase along with accelerated growth in data volumes, an issue that has gained significant attention both in Europe and the United States as of late. 74 per cent of CIOs said they were concerned about whether existing data protection policies are capable of handling big data analytics.

Written by Jonathan Brandon, Business Cloud News

IBM aims software defined storage solutions at Big Data #SDEnterprise

IBM announced a patented software defined storage technology this week that it says can reduce digital storage costs up to 90 per cent in some cases. It said the innovation is ideal for big data applications that at times cost big money.

The patented technology behind Elastic Storage includes a method for optimising deduplication in a data storage system by moving the duplicated data onto the most economically priced storage platform.

The method is notable because in many cases cloud storage isn’t as cheap as many assume (especially for big data apps), and because enterprises are still getting dinged (financially and time-wise) for high I/O applications.

IBM said the technology is well-suited to data-intensive applications that require low latency like financial analysis, weather modelling, and scientific research for instance, making these applications more suitable to place in a cloud-based environment. Its architectural limits stretch into the thousands of “yottabytes”; one yottabyte is one billion petabytes.

“Digital information is growing at such a rapid rate and in such dramatic volumes that traditional storage systems used to house and manage it will eventually run out of runway,” said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president, IBM Systems and Technology Group.

The company has used the software defined storage technology to underpin its Watson cognitive computing as a service platform, which can scan through hundreds of millions of pages of structured and unstructured data in seconds.

It also works with the OpenStack platform (Cinder and Swift), and will be used to underpin a range of IBM software services like big data analytics that are based on the open source platform and use storage virtualisation at their core. It will be available on SoftLayer later this year.

“Our technology offers the advances in speed, scalability and cost savings that clients require to operate in a world where data is the basis of competitive advantage,” Rosamilia added.

Written by Jonathan Brandon, Business Cloud News

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