Archive for September, 2011

Disrupt Yourself Before Others Disrupt You: Netflix, the cloud, branding and business models

30 September 2011 –  Says Chirag Mehta, an enterprise software generalist and a passionate blogger:  “Recently, Netflix separated their streaming and DVD subscription plans. As per Netflix’s forecast, they will lose about 1 million subscribers by the end of this quarter. The customers did not like what Netflix did. A few days back, Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, wrote a blog post explaining why Netflix separated their plans. He also announced their new brand, Qwikster, which will be a separate DVD service from Netflix’s streaming website. These two services won’t share the queues and movie recommendations even if you subscribe to both of them. A lot has been said and discussed about how poorly Netlflix communicated the overall situation and made wrong decisions.

I have no insider information about these decisions. They might seem wrong in short term but I am on Netflix’s side and agree with the co-founder Marc Randolph that Netflix didn’t screw up. I believe it was the right thing to do, but they could have executed it a little better. Not only I am on their side, Read more

Desktop Virtualization and the Death of the PC


29 September 2011 — Recent talk regarding a potential spin-off of HP’s PC business drove a heated debate about whether other technology firms might do the same. Will the PC continue to provide value to end users or has its grave been dug?

Global information and communications technology provider Dimension Data recently commissioned a survey on the desktop virtualization market, conducted by Forrester Research, revealing growing trends that may provide some answers. Although factors such as cost, administrative and user familiarity and legacy ecosystems could keep the PC on life support in the short term, there are other powerful forces that may propel its demise. These forces include worker mobility, the rise of smartphones and tablets, and perhaps most significantly, the growth of cloud computing and virtualization, which is rendering local storage and processing power – traditional hallmarks of the PC – much less significant than in the past.

So ultimately, it may simply be a question of “when” not “if” a range of mobile computing devices displaces the PC for all but the most specialized use cases and applications.… Read more

The Many Words for Visualization

29 September 2011 –  There are a lot of words to describe visualization and visualization-related things, Big Data and otherwise:  data visualization, visualization, viz, information visualization, infographic, etc., etc..   And who better to turn to for some basic definitions than the folks behind Flowing Data

For more click here.… Read more

Cloud transforming financial services industry business models

28 September 2011 –  The financial services industry (FSI) is at a tipping point where the old ways of doing business are no longer applicable and need to be transformed, with cloud computing identified as a key enabler of such change.

According to Stanley Young, CEO of NYSE Technologies, the commercial technology arm of NYSE Euronext, an industry transformation is at hand and this is necessary for what it means to be a stock exchange in the 21st century. He noted that the business environment had shifted with heavier regulations imposed on the industry and the “old ways” of doing business are no longer working, which in turn has led to shrinking commission pools.

As such, the company now includes cloud computing services in its portfolio of IT products, which target FSI customers such as dealers, brokers and asset managers, the CEO pointed out during the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Financial Services Industry roundtable organized here Wednesday.

The company’s Capital Markets Community Platform aims to foster virtual trading spaces, “liquidity hubs”, for broker-dealers to access exchange markets such as those in Tokyo, … Read more

Ex-NASA man squeezes cloud onto USB stick


28 September 2011 —  Yes, you can fit a cloud on a USB stick.  Founded by several of the brains who conceived OpenStack – the open source software platform for building Amazon-like “infrastructure clouds” – San Francisco startup Piston Cloud Computing has squeezed the platform onto a memory stick in an effort to streamline the creation of such clouds behind the firewall.

Set for an unveiling at next week’s OpenStack conference in Boston, this “cloud key” also includes Piston’s Linux-based PentOS. According to the company, when plugged into a network switch, the key lets you configure an OpenStack cloud in a matter of minutes.

“This is the boot disk of your private cloud,” Piston CEO Joshua McKenty tells Wired, noting that the key was inspired by old Linux-based portable firewall, FloppyFW. “You take away all the configuration at the hardware side. Let the software figure out which servers to run.”

The way McKenty describes it, an IT manager plugs the key into a PC and sets the parameters for a cloud – an online service that provides access to readily … Read more

Amazon’s Kindle Fire is Powered by the “Cloud”

28 September 2011 — Amazon is finally jumping into the tablet market with the Kindle Fire, a 7-inch $199 device built off of Android with its own custom interface and plenty of hooks into Amazon’s marketplace of  digital goods. But beyond being just a cheap tablet, the Fire is leveraging a lot of Amazon’s smarts across its inventory of assets, including some very impressive work in the cloud. That reliance on the cloud makes sense for Amazon, which is using all its strengths to help launch the Kindle Fire, just like Apple has poured in great design and user experience into its tablet.

The tablet also taps into Amazon’s cloud infrastructure to offer free cloud storage and back-up of all content, so users don’t have to worry about irrevocably deleting something from local storage. And there’s also simple wireless syncing and integration of Amazon’s Whispersync technology in movies and TV shows, so users can keep their places in videos when they switch from one device to another.

For more click here.… Read more

Google Drive Takes Aim At Amazon, Apple For Cloud Storage

26 September 2011 – Google upcoming Google Drive, or GDrive, is expected to compete with similar offerings from Amazon and Apple.  Google Drive has been rumored to be in the works for years and the images show a Google Docs-style interface with the word “Drive” in the upper left corner, indicating that it’s a cloud-based storage offering.

For more click here.… Read more

Desktop Encryption Moves to the Cloud

26 September 2011 – Laplink’s new PC Lock aims to secure files on your desktop through online management.  The PC Lock Management Console can be accessed from any web-enabled device, including smartphones, letting users change settings, reset passwords and, if a computer is lost or stolen, lock the system or even delete information.  For lawyers and other professionals handling sensitive data, encryption is an increasingly popular and necessary utility.  The cloud is making it possible to remotely secure that data even after the hardware containing it has been lost or misplaced.

For more click here.… Read more

Will Big Data Create As Much Prosperity As Little Data?

26 September 2011 —   Jon Bruner of Forbes Magazine reports “I spent three days at the O’Reilly Strata conference on big data last week, and came away impressed by what I saw: visualizations, new ways of understanding human patterns, new kinds of business intelligence. It was the most optimistic gathering that I’ve visited in a long time: while the country as a whole confronts a dim economic outlook, the mood within this industry is strikingly positive: it’s one of the very hottest parts of the tech sector right now, and lots of presentations ended with “we’re hiring” slides.

The big data revolution, which allows anyone to capture and analyze quantities of data that were too large to handle just a few years ago, stands to have a big impact on the business world, where the emphasis seems to be on big data’s role in guiding operations from an executive level. Decisions will be made with better foresight, trends will be better predicted and day-to-day operations will be better understood. I’m certain that all of this will result in better-run companies … Read more

You Can’t Handle the Truth About Cloud Computing!

25 September 2011 —   The climactic scene in the movie A Few Good Men is a dramatic courtroom confrontation between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson. Cruise, playing the role of a Navy lawyer, is aggressively challenging Nicholson, playing the role of a Marine Corps colonel, about his role in the death of a Marine private. Their courtroom exchange is eerily similar to the discussions that are currently taking place between the providers and consumers of cloud computing capabilities (hopefully, with a little less dramatic embellishment!). If you’ll pardon the artistic license, those exchanges go something like this:

Cloud Vendor: You want answers?
Cloud Customer: I think I’m entitled to answers.
Cloud Vendor (with feeling): YOU WANT ANSWERS??
Cloud Customer (with more feeling): I WANT THE TRUTH!!

At this point many vendors are thinking to themselves the retort that Nicholson delivers in the movie, namely: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!

Although most IT organizations are seeking ways to realize the benefits of cloud computing, most are poorly prepared to adopt the changes to procurement practices, operational procedures, and organizational structures … Read more