Friday, 30 April 2010

Company to begin testing restaurant iPad POS system

Lecere will begin testing their iPad-based, Fully-Integrated Restaurant Management Software in a "major restaurant chain" this week.

The iPad FIRMS POS system, which can also be used with the iPod touch, offers a 90% savings on traditional POS systems and can be optimized to fit restaurants of any level -- form the individual restaurant to multinational chain restaurants, to hotels.

"Using those devices [iPad, iPod touch], along with a couple of standard ticket printers, brings the startup cost for the pilot to under $2,000," Lecere CEO Jim Morris said. "Contrast that with an upfront cost of about $20,000 to install a traditional, on-premises POS system with its heavy, non-movable POS terminals, printers, and back-office servers."

Ignoring the fact that the above video has the production values of a bad porno, the POS system on an iPad could easily take off, especially once you consider the cost savings over a traditional POS system. If any of you are restaurant dining this week and happen to see the FIRMS iPad POS system in action, be sure to let us know how the experience went and what restaurant chain you saw it at!

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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Cloud Computing: Sharpen Your SAAS Smarts Before Committing to the Cloud

The cloud revolution has taken the software industry by storm, heralding wholesale changes in how applications are consumed and delivered.

As with prior shifts in the software industry, cloud computing has created new opportunities and shaken up the positioning of market leaders. The industry is again seeing a new game changer with companies like, NetSuite and Workday taking the limelight with their cloud-only SAAS (software-as-a-service) delivery models. Many software companies, or ISVs, struggle with how they should begin offering cloud versions of their products to customers.

While moving from a traditional licensed software business model to a SAAS model is by no means trivial, there is good reason to make the switch—the market is hungry for cloud-based software options, and the SAAS model offers significant competitive advantage to the ISV when implemented properly. In this presentation, Apprenda, which develops its own platforms called SaaSGrid, lists what companies should know when moving to the SAAS model.

Original Article - eWeek

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Cloud Computing to Grow to "Billions and Billions"

No Matter How You Measure It, Cloud Computing is Getting Big

The BBC recently intoned that Cloud Computing's role in software development will double its revenues in the UK by 2012 and exceen 1 billion British pounds ($1.5 billion). Cloud currently consumes about 7.5 percent of an 8-billion-pound ($12-billion) market; its growth is said to be predicated on the growth of Google Apps.

Meanwhile, IDC came out late last year with a prediction that Cloud Computing services will maintain a CAGR of 26 percent through 2013, rising to a total in excess of $44 billion worldwide. These numbers encompass application software, application development and deployment software, systems infrastructure software, and server and disk storage capacity; they don't consider private-cloud installations.

IDC's Mary Johnston Turner, research director for enterprise system management software at IDC, said in announcing the IDC numbers, "As more and more organizations implement public cloud and SaaS solutions they will need access to monitoring capabilities that provide end-to-end visibility across internally run applications and public services and can be deployed just as quickly as the services they are monitoring."

Then there is the forecast from Global Industry Analysts, which says Cloud Computing will be a $222.5 billion per year industry by 2014.

By whatever measure, the momentum of Cloud Computing from Cloud Expo in New York in late April will continue, with the next events coming up in Prague June 21-22 and Santa Clara November 1-4.

A Rock Star Faculty, Top Keynotes, Sessions, and Top Delegates!
Cloud Expo 2010 West, November 1-4, Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, California will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.

The growth and success of Cloud Computing will be on display at the upcoming Cloud Expo conferences and exhibitions in Prague June 21-22 and Santa Clara November 1-4.

The recent Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City was the largest Cloud Computing conference ever produced, more sponsors, exhibitors and delegates than all other Cloud events of the year combined!

The four-day Santa Clara event will attract more than 6,000 delegates from 48 countries and over 200 sponsors and exhibitors on a 120,000 sq ft show floor, larger than Cloud Expo 2010 East, New York City event!

All main layers of the Cloud ecosystem will be represented in the6th and 7th International Cloud Expo - the infrastructure players, the platform providers, and those offering applications, and they'll all be here to speak, sponsor, exhibit and network.

"Cloud Expo was announced on February 24, 2007, the day the term ‘cloud computing' was coined," said Fuat Kircaali, founder and chairman of SYS-CON Events, Inc. "Cloud has become synonymous with ‘computing' and ‘software' in two short years, and this event has become the new PC Expo, Comdex, and InternetWorld of our decade. By 2012, more than 50,000 delegates per year will attending Cloud Expo."

Original Article - Cloud Computing Journal

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Wednesday, 28 April 2010 and VMware Form Strategic Alliance and VMware on Tuesday announced a partnership to jointly deliver, sell and support a new enterprise Java cloud called VMforce. VMforce will bring together the technologies, expertise and communities of the two cloud computing companies driving the tectonic shifts in the information technology industry.

With VMforce, the more than 6 million enterprise Java developers, including the over 2 million developers using the Spring framework backed by the SpringSource division of VMware, will have an open path to cloud computing. Now, CIOs and IT departments will be able to leverage their existing programming skills and investments in Java applications, and take full advantage of the industry-leading platform to build Cloud 2 enterprise applications that are social and work on any mobile device in real-time. VMforce will dramatically simplify how enterprises and enterprise Java developers can harness the economics of cloud computing without compromising the flexibility, control and choice they require.

"Enterprise Java developers, welcome to Cloud 2," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, "This fundamental shift incorporates cloud computing, real-time collaboration and mobile devices like the iPad to meet the new needs of the enterprise. Now, in partnership with VMware, we are delivering VMforce and bringing Java to so enterprise Java developers can create powerful new innovative Cloud 2 apps."

"Companies are looking for solutions that deliver the benefits of cloud computing while leveraging existing resources, expertise and infrastructure," said Paul Maritz, president and CEO of VMware. "By creating a dramatically simplified solution for modern application development, VMforce is a significant step forward in offering our customers a path that bridges existing internal investments with the resources and flexibility of the cloud."

VMforce is designed to deliver the first enterprise Java cloud that is:

Trusted: Running on's trusted global infrastructure, VMforce will inherit the benefits of a service delivery infrastructure that has received some of the most stringent security industry accreditations including ISO 27001, SysTrust and SAS70 Type II. Thousands of the largest companies worldwide are already working with VMware and Now, with VMforce they can leverage the combined strength of both companies to take their mission critical enterprise apps to the cloud.

Open: VMforce will support standard Java code: plain old Java objects (POJOs), Java Server Pages (JSPs), Java Servlets, and more through the popular Spring Framework. By building enterprise Java apps with Spring, companies will be able to easily port enterprise Java apps onto VMforce or vice versa.

Elastic: With VMforce, applications can scale automatically. VMforce customers will not have to worry about scaling up app servers, databases or infrastructure to meet performance demand. VMforce can handle scalability automatically, as a service.

Complete: VMforce will provide a comprehensive solution for enterprise Java development in the cloud, including the trusted global infrastructure, virtualization platform, orchestration and management technology, relational cloud database, development platform and collaboration services, application run time, development framework, tooling and more.

Cloud 2: Cloud 2 combines next generation mobility, social collaboration and real-time information access, creating new levels of productivity and taking enterprise cloud computing the next level.

VMforce: The Trusted Cloud for Enterprise Java Developers
VMforce will be mission-critical deployment environment for enterprise Java apps in the cloud. VMforce will be jointly delivered by and VMware, combining the world's most popular language, Java, the world's most popular Java framework, Spring, the leading virtualization platform, VMware vSphere, and running on the world's most trusted cloud platform, VMforce will be designed to include:

Spring Framework: VMforce will use the Spring Framework, the leading Java development framework which is backed by VMware's SpringSource division. Spring makes it easy for developers to build powerful enterprise Java apps, increasing development productivity and runtime performance while improving test coverage and application quality. VMforce will also use the SpringSource Tool Suite, an integrated, tested and certified development environment offering the most complete set of Eclipse-based tools for creating Java apps.

SpringSource tc server: VMforce applications will run on the tc Server(R) runtime, the Enterprise version of Apache Tomcat. tc Server is a wildly popular lightweight application server optimized for virtual and cloud environments. Chatter Services: As the world migrates towards Cloud 2 social and mobile applications, developers will be able incorporate collaboration services from Chatter in their applications. These pre-built services include profiles, status updates, groups, feeds, document sharing, the Chatter API and more. Development Platform and Services: Since VMforce will run on the platform, developers have access to pre-built business services that can be configured into their apps without requiring any custom coding. These services include search, identity and security, workflow, reporting and analytics, a robust web services integration API, mobile deployment, and more. Database: Developers using VMforce will get the benefits of the proven relational database, including automatic scalability, high availability, auto-tuning, back up and disaster recovery.

VMware vCloud technology: VMware's vCloud technology automatically manages the software stack that powers VMforce applications, freeing developers from the cost and complexity of managing hardware and software. VMware's vCloud technology will onramp the Java application onto the cloud, automate the wiring of the application to the database, and manage the underlying vSphere virtualization platform.

VMware vSphere: The virtualization platform provides the building blocks for VMforce by providing the resource isolation, management, and virtualization for the Java applications. Cloud Infrastructure: VMforce will run on's global cloud computing infrastructure, which handles an average of 250 million transactions daily from more than 72,500 customers for their most important business applications and their most sensitive data.

Original Article - Cloud Computing Journal

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Google Apps Even More Powerful Now

There is another feature that is just incredibly exciting about the Google approach to cloud computing

We have been writing for years about the megatrend of Cloud Computing, and have also underscored that many of the opinions on Cloud Computing reflected here are because of both hands-on experience with enterprise IT and also the use of cloud capabilities for our business at Crucial Point LLC.

The core IT capabilities of our firm is run by Google Apps. This provides us with full featured cloud computing power in online applications like email, calendars, documents, spreadsheets, chat, video, sites and an array of add-on applications like Manymoon for project management and SocialWok for business grade social networking.

Those many tools and features enable us to focus more on our mission and less on IT and they also provide great agility in where we work from. And they provide agility when it comes to ramping up to larger teams for bigger projects and, as important as that, in ramping down after the project is over.

But there is another feature that is just incredibly exciting about the Google approach to cloud computing. The Google team is constantly innovating around their cloud offerings. New features are rolled out and when they are they become instantly available to users. With each new capability my firm becomes a bit more flexible and a bit more agile and in some cases a bit better of a place to work. And since Crucial Point only exists to serve clients, when we are more agile and productive it can make direct contributions to our client’s satisfaction. So although tracking Google Apps upgrades is fun, learning them can also provide direct benefits to clients, which means they can generate real business value.

Here are some of the latest developments:

* Documents have much better import features, making it even easier to move documents to the cloud. More editing features have also been added, giving more control over images and text alignment, for example. And a new commenting feature has been added making it even easier to add, reply to, shift around comments. Real-time collaboration is now supported.
* Spreadsheets enable cells to be edited from the formula bar, enable columns to be dragged, and support much faster work online. Real time collaboration and chat are also available.
* A standalone drawing editor has been added to the tool suite as well, and it, like the other tools, supports real-time collaboration.

Read the original blog entry...

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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Panda Security Offers Cloud-based Protection of Endpoints, Email and Web

Panda Security, the Cloud Security Company, on Thursday announced the general availability of Panda Cloud Internet Protection (PCIP), a new cloud-based security service that protects small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) from Internet-borne threats, including Botnets, phishing, cross-site scripting and other complex Web 2.0 attacks.

The new service delivers instantaneous, unobtrusive protection of any device, anywhere, anytime, and features powerful policy enforcement, data leak prevention, and extensive reporting capabilities. With this release, Panda Security becomes the first IT security vendor to offer entirely cloud-based endpoint, email and Web protection. "SMBs increasingly have widely-distributed workforces, with employees accessing the Web from home offices, at client sites, while traveling, or in coffee shops," said Rick Carlson, president of US operations, Panda Security.

"The high vulnerability of these scattered Internet access points, coupled with highly-targeted cybercriminal methods, means that today's businesses absolutely require an Internet security service that can be managed remotely and deliver instantaneous protection without getting in the way of business."

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How will virtualisation and cloud computing change security?

Astaro’s Gert Hansen examines why virtualisation and cloud computing can provide more efficient management and automation of non-critical IT functions while, at the same time, doing so in a secure manner

Getting the most out of existing IT resources is one of the biggest concerns for organisations at the moment, as budgets remain tight and any economic recovery is still fragile at best. In this environment, cost-saving technologies such as virtualisation and cloud computing will continue to figure in most enterprise IT infrastructure discussions.

Virtualisation has already proven its worth in delivering ROI through server consolidation and better use of resources. The use of virtualisation across servers and desktops is widely anticipated to continue growing. Cloud-based systems and the success of IT service outsourcing have demonstrated how centralised remote computing approaches can deliver services to users in a more efficient way as well. But how are these new IT infrastructures affecting IT security strategies?
Virtual security, secure virtualization

Research from analyst firm Gartner in 2009 stated that around 16% of all servers within enterprise IT environments are now virtualised, increasing to around 50% by 2012. Virtualisation platforms are now supporting production workloads, rather than just existing in testing and development environments. VMware now has over 150 000 customers, while Microsoft and Citrix have thousands of happy customers as well. Take-up of the technology has been moving beyond the larger enterprise deployments and into smaller businesses.

As with any technology that is growing in importance, regardless of organisation size, it is expected that malware writers will begin attacking these virtualised environments, looking for vulnerabilities either within the hypervisor layer or to exploit opportunities within the guest VM environments. The overall aim will be to hijack workloads or steal critical data.

However, too often the security team is left out of discussions when it comes to virtualisation, leading to strategies either being put on after the virtual infrastructure has been designed and implemented, or gaps being left. As the use of virtualisation spreads into more production environments, security has to be a core concern. This includes evaluating business continuity aspects, as the proportion of workloads affected by an outage or virus attack will be much higher in a consolidated environment.

The security industry has begun working on ways to keep virtual environments secure, both from a product perspective but also as an industry. An example of this is the Payment Card Industry’s Special Interest Group around virtualisation and security, where vendors, major retailers and other industry experts have come together to provide best- practice information to the wider community around protecting credit card information.

In order to keep virtualisation deployments secure, a mixture of traditional IT security skills and awareness of new techniques is required. Virtualisation does bring in opportunities to simplify how IT is being run, but it adds its own complexities as well. Traditional tasks such as patching can be more difficult due to the additional layer of virtualisation software, while virtual machines can move around the IT estate as business demands and workload priorities evolve, making network design potentially more challenging.

In this fluid environment, planning and awareness of the possibilities that virtualisation can provide is important. Taking a proactive approach, such as keeping virtual and physical network traffic separated through use of VLANs, is a good first step. Installing intrusion prevention and firewall systems at the edge of the virtual infrastructure that can monitor and inspect traffic between the virtual machine host servers is also a valid approach.

Security functions can also be moved onto the virtual infrastructure, which can provide the IT security team with the same benefits of virtualisation that the rest of the business experiences. Virtualised appliances, which include a stripped down OS and the bare functionality required to support a service or a specific task, are also becoming more popular. A research report from IDC in December 2009 stated that virtual security appliance budget allocations will continue to grow over the next year to 18 months, as the total cost of ownership results are better than using separate point software products or dedicated hardware.

By using these virtual appliances, organisations can continue to consolidate their IT kit and still get the results that physical appliances can deliver. If a security system requires more horsepower, then the amount of resources can be scaled up to meet demand. Similarly, if a service is running idle, then it can be scaled back. This level of flexibility is not available with hardware or software versions, where capacity planning can be an issue.

From a planning perspective, virtualisation may be entering the mainstream, but the rules of security are still being set. In order to get the most out of virtualisation and security, both disciplines have to be borne in mind from the start.
A cloudy future?

Depending on who you talk to, cloud computing is either the greatest thing to hit IT or the latest in a long line of marketing exercises. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between. The most common definition of cloud computing is using the internet to deliver a reliable service to users, where the amount of that service can be scaled up or down depending on demand. Whereas this is similar to previous models such as managed services or application service providers, the main difference is in how you pay for cloud computing. The ‘pay-as-you-go’ billing model that real cloud services can offer make the approach attractive to organisations where funding for new IT projects is proving difficult to come by, and ongoing costs are preferred to upfront investment.

Whatever your opinion of cloud computing is, it has the potential to make IT service delivery more efficient and cost-effective. The biggest barrier to take-up of cloud services is around security, as organisations are giving up control of their data to outside providers. In industries where regulations on data retention and ownership are in place, moving over to the cloud may be impossible without establishing firmly defined standards, which will not be developed for at least a few years. No matter how attractive the potential savings, establishing trust and understanding around cloud computing will continue to be the largest hurdle to overcome with customers.

For organisations looking at their options for the cloud, the most important points to understand are where any data that is handed over will actually reside, and what regulation has to be followed. This will depend on the type of data that is moved over to the cloud provider; essential business records or personal information may have to be kept secure at a company’s head office, whereas non-critical information or archived material can be moved off-site.

Even though the data is stored by another company, it is the responsibility of the customer to ensure that this information is secure and that data protection rules are followed. If moving over to a public cloud provider does not suit the business, or if there are rules restricting information from being moved outside a country’s boundaries, then taking a trusted local partner that can remotely manage the systems on your premises can be a suitable ‘halfway house’ that can deliver the cost benefits of full cloud computing, while retaining some control.

Security providers are also looking at how the cloud can make procedures more efficient. The value of taking a cloud-based approach here for the organisation is in managing the process more efficiently, rather than hosting the products or service on-site. The most common examples of where cloud-based services can be effective are for those tasks where the business does not benefit from them being run well, but is hampered if they are not properly managed. Email archiving is a good case in point: there is little competitive advantage to be gained from this technology, so handing it over to a cloud service can provide better return on investment and reduce costs associated with storage compared with managing it in-house.

Best practices are building up around virtualisation and cloud computing, as the technologies become used across more companies and new offerings reach the market. For the IT security team, virtualisation and cloud computing can provide more efficient management and automation of non-critical IT functions.

In an age where IT resources are more stretched than ever before and the pressure is on to deliver better results on static budgets, this represents a significant opportunity to deliver the results that businesses need to remain competitive. As these technologies move into production, the right security planning can ensure that the use of virtualisation or cloud computing actually delivers the promised benefits.

Full Source: InfoSecurityMag

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How to Negotiate a Better Cloud Computing Contract

Standard cloud computing contracts are one-sided documents that impose responsibility for security and data protection on the customer, disclaim all liability, offer no warranties, and give the vendor the right to suspend service at will. So why would you bother to sign on the dotted line?

The typical cloud computing contract can look downright simple to an experienced IT outsourcing customer accustomed to inking pacts hundreds of pages long that outline service levels and penalties, pricing and benchmarks, processes and procedures, security and business continuity requirements, and clauses delineating the rights and responsibilities of the IT services supplier and customer.

And that simplicity, say IT outsourcing experts, is the problem with cloud computing.

"Failure to understand the true meaning of the cloud and to address the serious legal and contractual issues associated with cloud computing can be catastrophic," says Daniel Masur, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Mayer Brown. "The data security issues are particularly challenging, and failure to address them in the contract can expose a customer to serious violations of applicable privacy laws."

If a cloud services contract (whether it's for software-, infrastructure- or platform-as a service) seems less complex, that's because it's designed to offer products and services "as is"—without any vendor representations or warranties, responsibility for adequate security or data protection, or liability for damages, says Masur. (See Cloud-Computing Services: "Fine Print" Disappointment Forecasted.)

Cloud service providers will tell you the simplicity is precisely the point. They can offer customers low-cost, instantly available, pay-per-use options for everything from infrastructure on-demand to desktop support to business applications only by pooling resources and putting the onus for issues like data location or disaster recovery on the client. Adding more robust contractual protections erodes their value proposition.

"It is reasonable for vendors, particularly those who provide both traditional and cloud-type services, to point out that the further they are getting away from standard contracts—and, by implication, standard services—the more difficult it is for them to close the business case," says Doug Plotkin, head of U.S. sourcing for PA Consulting Group. "Much of the economic benefit that the cloud can deliver is predicated on the services—and the agreements—being standard."

Thus, the average cloud contract on the street is a one-sided document with little room for customer-specific protection or customization, says Masur. The question for new cloud computing customers is, Should you sign on that dotted line?

And the frustrating answer is, Sometimes.

"More robust contractual protection may or may not be the correct answer," says Masur. "It depends."
When to Negotiate a Better Cloud Services Contract

Prospective cloud customers should take into account the criticality of the software, data or services in question, the unique issues associated with cloud computing, and the availability and price of various alternatives, says Masur.

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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Apple's iPad war on Adobe and Flash (Guardian Article)

Why is Adobe's globally popular Flash program not supported by Apple's new iPad?

Last week's announcement by Apple that the UK launch of the iPad will be delayed by a month was the headline news for consumers, but for geeks a more significant development came on Thursday with some changes in the 21,000-word "agreement" that you have to sign if you are going to develop applications for Apple's iDevices.

Section 3.3.1 of the document stipulates that "Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++ and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the documented APIs (eg, applications that link to documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited)."

Incomprehensible, eh? An API is an application programming interface – ie the protocol that programmers must follow if their software is to work with the iDevice. The really interesting clause, though, is the one enclosed in brackets. Translated into English it reads: screw you, Adobe!

Some background may help here. Adobe makes a lot of influential software – the Photoshop image-processing program, for example; and Acrobat, the program that enables people to create and read PDF files. Adobe also sells Flash, a multimedia platform that has become the de facto standard way to add animation and interactivity to web pages; currently about three-quarters of all online video material is encoded in Flash format.

When the iPhone launched, many consumers were puzzled by the fact that it wouldn't play Flash video. When pressed about this, Steve Jobs claimed testily that the rationale was technical: Flash was "buggy" and allegedly the most common cause of crashes in Apple's Safari browser; and it hogs processor time. If true, these would be reasonable objections: operational stability is far more important for a phone than it is for a PC; and processor power on phones is pretty limited.

Naturally, Adobe disputed the slurs on its product, but – on the (plausible) assumption that Steve Jobs wasn't going to change his mind – set about devising a workaround. On Monday, Shantanu Narayen, Adobe's CEO, launched the latest (fifth) version of the company's Creative Suite – its toolbox for creating multimedia products. "The Adobe CS5", burbled Narayen, "is a phenomenal release which enables you, our customers, to create without boundaries while speeding the creative process from concept to execution. In addition to providing great design tools we also focused on helping you to achieve maximum impact by reaching the broadest number of customers possible." Tucked away in CS5 is a new tool, a Packager for iPhone, which is effectively a program for converting Flash applications into something that will run on the iPhone.

Which is precisely what Apple set out to exclude four days later. The Adobe Packager is what Apple calls "an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool". It'd be tempting to see this as just petty vindictiveness, but in fact it's a declaration of war. Steve Jobs sees Flash's near-dominance in the online animation and interactivity sphere as a strategic threat. If Flash continues to spread, then, in the end, Apple will find itself at the mercy of Adobe's development priorities and strategy. And Steve Jobs didn't get where he is today by being dependent on anyone.

There's a lot at stake here, and it's not at all clear how things will pan out. In one scenario, Apple's rebuff of Adobe's new tool will be seen as hubristic folly. As one expert, Dominique Jodoin, put it: "1.2 billion mobile phones are Flash-capable; 70% of online gaming sites run Flash; 98% of internet-enabled desktops use it; 85% of top 100 websites use Flash; it's the No 1 platform for video on the web – 75% of all videos use Flash (including Hulu, Disney and YouTube); 2-3 million person Flash developers community; 90% of creative professionals have Adobe software on their desktops. With numbers and penetration rates like that, the better question is, why wouldn't I choose to support this technology?"

On the other hand, Jean-Louis Gassée (a former Apple executive) proposes a simple thought-experiment: "By the end of 2010, there will be more than 100 million iPhone OS devices (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad). You're the webmeister at an important content site. The boss comes in and asks you why you're not supporting the iPhone OS devices. 'Our stuff is all Flash-based, chief, those guys don't run Flash'. You're about to become the ex-webmeister. The boss, a really patient sort, asks you to 'think different' about all these 'noncompliant' customers, each of whom has an iTunes account backed by a credit card, and has developed the habit (encouraged by Apple) of paying for content. So, one more time, with feeling: what's your answer?"

I wish I knew.

Original Article - UK Guardian

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iPhone OS 4.0: The Enterprise Mobility Perspective

So the day many of us have been waiting for is upon us. Apple just announced iPhone OS 4.0.

Having just finished watching the presentation on a couple of different web sites, I came away with some mixed feelings. As usual, details were rather light on the topics that mattered to me most (the enterprise mobility perspective), to focus instead on the things that Apple understands best – consumer desire.

There were some interesting side statistics that came out.

* About 450,000 iPads have been sold to date. That’s pretty impressive for something that is so new. It certainly doesn’t match the iPhone numbers, but let’s not forget that the Tablet PC is a “new” concept for the consumer.
* Speaking of the iPhone, over 50 MILLION have been sold thus far. All you can say to that is WOW.
* The App Store has over 185,000 apps on it. No count on how many are actually useful ;-)
* The mobile web. 64% of mobile web traffic takes place on the iPhone. No wonder AT&T has gotten so much bad press in the last 12 months around its network

Now onto the 4th iteration of the OS. First off, it definitely takes visual cues from the iPad. This is not at all surprising, and is in fact very logical in terms of providing a consistent user experience. There are also 1,500 new APIs that are being made available to developers. For the most part, they will fall under seven “Tentpoles:”

Tentpole #1 – Multitasking

Hallelujah! Funny how last March, the folks at Apple were telling us that multitasking was bad for the consumer. We in the enterprise have been waiting for this since the very advent of the iPhone. Interestingly these services are being provided as APIs. The Multitasking Services include:

1. Background Audio – OK, so you can now play audio in the background. Unless we’re talking about audio tutorials, I’m not sure how this is relevant to the enterprise.
2. VoIP – The fact that the new OS can support VoIP in a multitasking fashion is huge. Not surprisingly, Apple showed off the Skype application, but I can think of just a couple of companies (you know…like Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft, Siemens, IBM, just to name a few) that just may get excited at how this can now make Mobile UC on the iPhone real.
3. Background Location – Again, this will have huge potential. The easiest one that came to mind was for contextual wireless expense management. Imagine where you have an IT policy that has been set up by your company that prevents data roaming based upon your GPS locator. This is not new for other platforms, but does bring the iPhone up to par in this context.
4. Push Notifications - This was touched upon so lightly because there wasn’t anything new here really.
5. Local Notifications – The biggest deal I got from this was that it will no longer need to put a strain on the Apple servers (not that they can’t afford to buy a bunch of servers). I’m not sure yet how that will impact users.
6. Task Completion – This has some good potential in my opinion for the field/fleet service sector. Imagine as an insurance adjuster being able to take a picture of the claim, start the upload process and continue filling out the rest of your forms. That’s a nice time saver, I guess.
7. Fast App Switching – What…Versus slow app switching?

What wasn’t touched upon was multi-THREADING. Will applications be able to fully interact with each other? That could eventually pose a problem with application compatibility, or worse viruses and malware. My sense is we’ll all have to keep a close eye on that.

Tentpole #2 -Folders

All I can say is, it’s about the hell time. However the demo does not go into any details on how folders will play out for files vs. applications.

Tentpole #3 – Enhanced eMail

1. More than one Exchange account - This is very nice, although I can think of another company that had done so about a year ago.
2. Threaded conversations – OK, again, nice to have, but nothing earth shattering
3. Fast account switching – See point #2 above
4. Open attachments with applications – Now this has potential. I’m thinking about how productivity application companies such as QuickOffice can certainly use this kind of functionality to their advantage. You have to wonder if there will ever be a Microsoft Office available for the iPhone (doubt it).

Tentpole #4 – iBooks

I must admit to you that I’m not an avid reader of books. Sometimes, I’ll go back and read a classic that I haven’t looked at since my university days, but beyond that, I read enough during the day. When I want to relax and read, then I go open my beloved Economist magazine.

But now, onto the good stuff…..

Tentpole #5 – Enterprise Features

And at 10:43, some words I have been waiting to hear for ages:

1. Even better data protection – Well, frankly that’s not hard to say
2. Mobile device management – No details provided
3. Wireless app distribution – Again, little to now details
4. Multiple exchange accounts (we talked about this earlier)
5. Exchange Server 2010 - OK, this is good, but will the new OS support more of the built-in policies? The challenge though comes from Point #4. If you have more than one Exchange account, which one governs the device?
6. SSL VPN support – Uhm….OK. I’m not a security expert.

But at 10:46 they were on to the next Tentpole. Three whopping minutes spent on Enterprise features. Not surprising in one respect given the audience, but to have just glossed over such important topics makes me wonder how deep the improvements are actually going to be. Now mind you, I have heard that some of the data protection improvements are very large improvements, but I can’t speak to those yet.
Tentpole #6 – Game Center

I am behind the times and don’t know anything about games since the days of “Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A, START” (kudos to you if you know what I am referring to)
Tentpole #7 – iAd

We all knew it was coming. The Toy Story 3 and Michael Jordan demos were rather impressive. I’ll admit that I also liked the not so thinly veiled dig to Adobe with the comment on it all being done in HTML5. While I am not a fan of mobile advertising, I do see a very interesting opportunity for B2C applications…or perhaps even B2B2C applications coming down the pike.

The Target example is very much along the lines of what I was thinking. Imagine being able to create your own application that will then be able to sense your location, as well as the current inventories you have in your stores and provide you advertisements or mobile coupons on the fly.

Not surprisingly, this will be available in the summer. And at 11:02 am PDT, my device became all but obsolete….especially in the enterprise. How do you ask? The iPhone 3G will not support multitasking. I’m not sure I understand what hardware specifications are different in 3GS and 3G that would prevent it (I guess it’s not powerful enough). Candidly, this feels more like a way to get people and their companies to go spend money on new devices…maybe even a iPhone 4G should that be announced soon.

So all in all a mixed bag. There are some certainly welcome additions to the iPhone OS by throwing out so many buzzwords in the three minutes that made up Tentpole #5. However, with all things, the devil is in the details and I am sure we’ll learn more soon enough.

Don't forget, if you need to manage a large scale trial or deployment of iPhone or iPad, can assist in the provisioning, security and ongoing management of your estate as well as supporting other Smartphones such as Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian, PalmPre & Android.

Are you excited about iPhone OS 4.0? Sound off in the comments.

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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Google Cloud Print Reveals the Future of Printing

To print out a document, you rely on your local operating system, which must have a driver installed for the printer you intend to use.

Most of the time, it’s not an issue; at home, you probably have one printer and all of your PCs have the required drivers.

Things get a bit more complicated when you want to print something from a mobile device, like an iPad, or from a laptop based on Google’s Chrome OS, which relies entirely on web apps and services. This is why GoogleGoogleGoogle is working on Google Cloud Print, a service that enables “any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer.”

Google Cloud Print is still in the early days of development, but Google made the code and documentation public as part of the Chromium and Chromium OS projects. The documentation reveals how Google plans to solve some of the issues it will inevitably face, such as making Cloud Print work with legacy printers.

“The ideal experience is for your printer to have native support for connecting to cloud print services. Under this model, the printer has no need for a PC connection of any kind or for a print driver. The printer is simply registered with one or more cloud print services and awaits print jobs. Cloud-aware printers don’t exist yet, but one of our main goals in publishing this information at an early stage is to begin engaging industry leaders and the community in developing cloud-aware printers and the necessary open protocols for these printers to communicate with cloud print services.

“We want users to be able to print to legacy printers via Google Cloud Print. This is accomplished through the use of a proxy, a small piece of software that sits on a PC where the printer is installed. The proxy takes care of registering the printer with Google Cloud Print and awaiting print jobs from the service. When a job arrives, it submits the print job to the printer using the PC operating system’s native print stack and sends job status back to the printer.”

There are obviously some obstacles ahead, but it’s an amazing idea. If print jobs are handled in the cloud you won’t need drivers, and most of the problems users have with printing from devices like smartphones and tablets will be solved.

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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

But is that really cloud? What constitutes ‘proper’ cloud computing

Cloud computing is one of the most talked about topics in the industry at the moment.

One of the difficulties, however, is that it is sometimes hard to work out exactly what people mean by it. Different vendors and service providers use the term in relation to some quite different types of offering. Various well-meaning commentators and institutions have then tried to define cloud with a view to creating more clarity, but their different explanations have often just added to the confusion.

Against this background, the concern we have is that the misunderstandings that arise around cloud can sometimes get in the way of people appreciating what is relevant to them or otherwise. The truth is that while there is a lot of hype out there, there are also some interesting developments, and, indeed, some more traditional solutions that have found themselves getting wrapped up in the whole cloud thing.

The bottom line is that when you see something marketed as cloud based this or cloud based that, you really don’t know what that translates to. Sometimes it could be new and relatively unproven bleeding edge stuff, sometimes it could be some pretty well established practices that are totally bullet proof in nature.

So, without getting into all of the theory, we’d like to do a very pragmatic test with the help of Reg readers. What we would like you to do is simply read down the list we have put together below based on some of the offerings we have seen on the market today that have at one time or another been referred to as cloud, and tell us whether you think each really does qualify as cloud computing in your mind. Should only take you few minutes:

Take the Poll at The Register

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Monday, 19 April 2010

Privacy and trust up in the cloud (BBC Article on Cloud Computing)

Fifteen years ago people carried their documents around on floppy discs, then many people switched to memory sticks, and now a few are turning to the cloud.

Cloud computing means the ability to access, change and interact with data on any platform with a net connection, including on smartphones.

These online services require no software purchase and installation and most run via a browser. Users can pick from the growing number of cloud-based offerings, such as Google Docs and Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Evernote is another system where various pieces of information, such as webpages, business cards and text notes can be collected into virtual and searchable notebooks.

But there are concerns that storing personal data on a server somewhere in cyberspace could pose a major threat to the privacy of individuals.

Phil Libin, Evernote's boss, said his firm offers a two-tiered approach to security.

"Premium users have all of their data go over SSL [encryption], kind of like an online banking site. Free users currently are sending data back and forth just over http - the standard way that the web operates," he said.

"Your username and password is always kept encrypted. We don't see what your password is, we can't unencrypt it - no one will ever ask for it," he added.

Trust value
Dropbox has more than four million customers who can upload digital content which is permanently synced across a number of their devices.

Adam Gross, senior vice president of marketing for the storage service said the cloud needs the trust of users.

Mike Elgan from
Mike Elgan from said the cloud needs the users' trust

"I think with any cloud computing service, it's important that the provider have a trusted relationship with those people using the service," he said.

He believes the cloud is "helping people keep their files backed up and safe and secure, rather than the old model where each individual PC user had to be responsible for it alone."

Mike Elgan from warned users against being too trusting.

"Services say give us all your data and use the applications from the internet, and don't worry about anything, we'll take care of the security. It's a value proposition based on you trusting the provider," he said.

"What we've learned recently is that no matter how trustworthy the provider is, it's never as secure or bullet proof as you might think it is," he added.

Cloud danger
Unlike Dropbox and Evernote, some services do not synchronise data to personal computers and are based solely in the cloud.

An internet connection failure, or infrastructure downtime, is enough to cut people off from their files on these systems.

Many students have become heavy users of the free collaborative online tools that are based in the cloud. This has prompted some colleges to go as far as banning cloud computing completely.

I think with any cloud computing service, it's important that the provider have a trusted relationship with those people using the service
Phil Libin, Evernote

Others like the University of San Francisco have to send out constant reminders that trouble on the net is unacceptable as a classroom excuse.

Chris Brooks, an associate professor at the University of San Francisco, said: "I'll tell students 'this [site] may go down, don't do your homework at the last minute. Just like the library might be closed at 2am on Saturday morning when you want to do your homework'".

"It's another way of learning responsibility," he said. "But I do think you have to be explicit with them that this is not always a 24/7 thing, so plan ahead."

Limited options
Not relying on the cloud entirely is one concern, but critics advise students to ponder on the physical location of their work, issues over ownership, and the rising fees for accessing it.

These factors may have to be taken into account by governments too in the future, and legislation could be needed to define new parameters for consumers.

Moving information to a virtual computer puts someone else in control of security, and there is an ever-present risk from hackers.

Mr Elgan from said there was a lack of options.

"Keeping data locally or to manage all of its backup and maintenance yourself is also fraught with hazards. The hackers are going to go wherever the data is including on your own system," he said.

"The problems of managing an increasingly complex body of data is very daunting and that's one of the appealing things about cloud computing," he added.

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Friday, 16 April 2010

Cloud Computing - Early Adopters Share Five Key Lessons

While some large enterprises have moved their information-technology infrastructure to a third-party managed service to save costs, small firms—especially startups—have come to rely on cloud services to cut initial outlays and help them focus on the core services and products.

Infrastructure-as-a-service offerings, such as Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2), typically are used by larger enterprises to give research-and development groups flexibility in resources. For startups, eliminating the large capital expenditure of a data center at the outset has allowed many to reduce seed money and keep their burn rates that much lower, says Oliver Friedrichs, CEO of antivirus firm Immunet, which launched its first product last August.

"It's a big win for smaller companies to leverage the cloud because you are really saving a lot—it is really avoiding a large, up-front investment," says Friedrichs. "Five years ago, we would have had to build out a data center and the sheer cost of that would have made it much more difficult to launch our business."

Immunet has no datacenter of its own. Instead, the company uses Amazon's EC2 to analyze malicious code for patterns that can help its product, Immunet Protect, recognize viruses and Trojan horses. The firm also uses the cloud to keep antivirus service available to its more than 125,000 users, adding new virtual servers as its user base grows.

The cost savings and scalability of infrastructure-as-a-service offerings are well known advantages. Yet, there are others. In interviews, three small companies that use the cloud—and one that does not—share the lessons learned from growing up with cloud infrastructure.
1. From IT management to software development

Foregoing a datacenter immediately saves small companies a significant cost: Server administrators and datacenter managers. Yet, rather than reduce headcount, many companies are instead using the reclaimed budget to invest in software developers that have experience working in the cloud.

"In a traditional data center, we would need an IT person to rack the system, maintain the servers, and own the hardware," says Immunet's Friedrichs. "So rather than hiring someone, we now have software developers that are writing on a very flexible platform that Amazon maintains."

For sales forecasting and analytics firm Right90, the cost savings of moving its infrastructure to the cloud was too advantageous to ignore. Right90 didn't start its business using third-party infrastructure, but the cost savings and flexibility of cloud services beckoned. Last year, the company moved out of its data centers in Calgary, Ontario and San Francisco, California and adopted Amazon EC2 with backup to servers located at the firm's own offices. The lack of servers to manage has freed up Right90's IT management team, says Arthur Wong, the firm's CEO.

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Thursday, 15 April 2010

Apple IPad, Other Tablets Seen Driving SaaS, Cloud Storage

Cloud storage services are likely to benefit from the popularity of tablets like the iPad, both because the devices come with limited onboard storage and because consumers will demand ubiquitous access to data no matter what mobile device they're using at the time.

The rapid spread of tablet devices like the Apple iPad and HP Slate could prove to be a boon to providers of online storage services as users seek ubiquitous data access and synchronization across multiple mobile platforms for devices that don't have much internal storage capacity.

The flexibility that comes with cloud storage "is not just a nice thing to have but a necessity when you're dealing with storage-limited devices," said Avi Greengart, a consumer devices analyst at research firm Current Analysis in Sterling, Va. "If you have a device based on flash memory, you don't want to sync everything."

Most of the mobile tablet devices today use NAND flash technology to offer limited memory capacity, typically 64GB or less.

For example, iPads are available with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drives. And Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) this week disclosed that its upcoming Slate tablet computers will be available later this year with either 32GB or 64GB flash drives.

Greengart said that he expects that future tablet computers are also unlikely to offer the high storage capacities available in netbook and desktop computers, since they will be built more to consume data than to create it.

Tablet users can choose from several providers of cloud-based storage, including , Live Mesh , JungleDisk , DropBox and SkyDrive . In addition to offering online storage services, some of those vendors let users synchronize folders and files between multiple devices.

Adam Couture, an analyst at Gartner Inc. (IT), agreed that growing use of tablet devices could lead to significant growth of the storage services market.

"These services to date have been used by people with notebook computers and PCs that [also] have hefty hard drives," Couture said. Cloud products could become the primary storage option for users of tablet devices, he added.

"Even to use the apps on a BlackBerry, you've got to buy incremental memory. Wouldn't it be nice instead of doing that if you could use some drive in the sky for incremental memory? I can see the world going there," Couture said.

Cloud-based storage services "have been there for a very long time, but the introduction of the iPad is making everything old new again. We're looking at it in new terms," Couture said. "It means you're not going to be synchronizing your data at cross purposes now that you can access that cloud in the sky, it doesn't matter what device you're using because you're always going to have the right file ... and you're just going to access it from different devices."

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Wednesday, 14 April 2010

VMware & to Unveil Mysterious Cloud Computing Service...

VMware and are on the verge of redefining the entire virtualization and cloud computing market -- or, at least, that's what they want you to think.

The companies have set up a Web site called "," and promise that they will unwrap the details on April 27 with "an exciting joint product announcement on the future of cloud computing." The marketing site features a picture of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Paul Maritz, the former Microsoft executive who became VMware's CEO almost two years ago. But it contains zero details on what VMforce might actually be.

It's not hard to make a few guesses, though, based on the name "," and past products and strategy announcements from VMware and Salesforce.

Salesforce has a cloud service that lets businesses quickly develop applications and host them in the Salesforce infrastructure. The service is called, and is in the "platform-as-a-service" portion of the cloud computing market.

VMware, meanwhile, believes its technology should be the primary virtualization engine behind platform-as-a-service offerings. Toward that end, VMware acquired SpringSource, an enterprise Java vendor, and Rabbit Technologies, which makes an open source messaging platform which may make it easier to build cloud networks.

Add the "VM" from VMware to "" and you have, well, ""

Given all that, an extension to Salesforce's platform-as-a-service offering, powered by VMware, probably makes the most sense, says Yankee Group analyst Phil Hochmuth, who covers the cloud computing and virtualization markets. But it's not a sure bet. "They certainly left this open to speculation by being so coy about it," Hochmuth says.

Several news articles and blogs about VMforce have used the phrase "virtualization-as-a-service" to describe the mysterious offering, but it doesn't appear that VMware or Salesforce have used the phrase themselves. A VMware spokeswoman declined to offer additional details beyond what appears on the VMforce Web site.

What "virtualization-as-a-service" means, if anything, is anyone's guess. "That's just a term people are throwing out because they don't know what VMware and Salesforce are going to do," Hochmuth says. "It doesn't mean anything. That's like saying 'power-and-cooling-as-a-service.'"

Thinking creatively, perhaps virtualization-as-a-service could refer to offerings such as Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, which gives customers access to virtual server capacity over the Web. Or it could be a Web service that lets customers manage internal virtual servers.

VMware and Salesforce offering a virtual server platform along the lines of Amazon's EC2 would be big news, but "more of a reach" than the simpler play of extending the platform, Hochmuth says.

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Is the iPad viable as an Enterprise business tool ?

The iPad is getting a reputation as being good for many things — media consumption, mobile messaging and games — to name a few.

It certainly does all of those things but even before getting my hands on one I started thinking about the iPad in the enterprise. Not so much as a laptop replacement for the workforce, but as a specialized tool for certain functions that I believe the iPad would be good at doing.

After using the iPad for a few days (I wish!), I am more convinced than ever that there is a place in big companies to take advantage of the special features of the device. I can see customer support employees using special apps to fill out forms as they deal with customers on the phone. The touch interface could be leveraged to good effect doing this, as many support departments operate with “scripts” written to handle problems over the phone.

The iPad is perfect for this type of repetitive data entry with the proper app running the show. The on-screen keyboard is adequate for the short data entries that don’t fit a scripted mode, while common entries can be programmed to mere button taps. The iPad is perfect for this, with only a light development effort needed to bring common tasks like this to life as an app.

I really believe that IT support staff can use the iPad to troubleshoot employee computer problems. I have spoken to many who do this for a living and they are already using LogMeIn on the iPhone to fix computer problems remotely. Throw in the larger screen of the iPad and this method is an outstanding way to provide this type of support.

Yesterday I ran some errands and found myself in a Target store picking up some items. I carried the iPad in a little case, along with the MiFi for 3G connectivity, just in case. I decided to get a coffee in the Starbucks in the Target, and I sat down to enjoy the drink. I hit the button on the MiFi, and pulled out the iPad to kill some time.

I was having fun in the Starbucks, surfing the web on the iPad, when I remembered I forgot to run a system scan for malware on the ThinkPad back in the home office. I started LogMeIn Ignition (as shown in my video) and logged into the ThinkPad on the iPad. I fired up Microsoft Security Essentials and instigated a full system scan on the ThinkPad. Once that started I logged off and continued my web surfing on the iPad. The system scan was running on the ThinkPad in the office while I was sitting in Starbucks enjoying my coffee.

One nagging question in everyone's mind is "How do we deploy, secure and manages these devices in the field?". MobileIron's Smartphone Device Management platform (distributed in the UK by Cloud Distribution) is able to support iPad out of the box as well as iPhone, WM, Symbian, Android and Blackberry.

I’d love to hear your opinions on the iPad in the workplace. Can you see functions in your company that would be performed well with the iPad? Share it in the comments.

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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

What Matters Most in the Cloud

The study reveals that collaboration and speed are two major drivers for enterprise adoption of cloud computing

Here’s a surprise.

Ignore everything you’ve been reading lately about the pressing concerns that businesses and consumers have about maintaining and accessing data and apps safely on the cloud. Apparently, what matters more, according to a new survey by cloud platform provider CloudShare, are the ability to collaborate and ease of use.

The independently conducted survey, which polled 2,500 enterprises, asked respondents to cite factors driving their particular organization’s move towards cloud-based services. “The study reveals that while security continues to be an area of consideration for cloud adoption, it is no longer regarded as the number one concern for selecting a cloud provider,” says CloudShare

Here are the top factors that poll-takers cited as “very important” to have in a cloud provider:

* 71% said support for their existing in-house IT architecture, including unmodified operating systems, applications and network topology,
* 57% said it is an all-inclusive business model that includes servers, bandwidth and storage, rather than a ‘nickel-and-diming’ approach,
* 54% cited a “point and click” level of ease of use.

In addition, the study also reveals that collaboration and speed are two major drivers for enterprise adoption of cloud computing. About one-third of survey respondents said the most important factor fueling their organization’s interest in the cloud is improved collaboration on projects that involve IT infrastructure. Meanwhile, another three-quarters said that faster time to deploy IT is the driving force behind their move to the cloud.

“All of this demonstrates that the other three S’s — speed, simplicity and similarity to a current environment — are surpassing security as a major concern for cloud adoption,” says CloudShare.

What’s missing from this survey? At least in the summary I read, what’s missing is the percentage of those polled who think security and safety is still the most important factor in migration to the cloud. I have no doubt that support, speed, ease of use, quick deployment and collaboration matter, but I have my doubts that, when it comes to the cloud, some of them are more important than security.

Anybody else out there wondering the same?

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RipCode Enables Clientless Adobe Flash Video on Apple iPad

RipCode, Inc., the leader in transactional transcoding, announced today its newest product, the TransAct Transcoder V6 can intercept Adobe Flash-based file or live video requests and convert them to a container, video codec, and audio codec accepted by Apple Inc.'s new iPad - all transparently to the end user device and without the need for any pre-transcoding or device-based client.

The iPad is poised to further accelerate and expand the mobile video device market just as the iPhone has over the last several years. However, one of its noted shortcomings has been Apple's lack of support for Flash video playback, given the dominant position of Flash in professionally generated entertainment, sports and news content. HTML5 has been purported to address this dilemma by introducing Apple device applications that are simply 'thin clients' communicating back to a web site hosting and subsequently delivering Flash files without a device-based player, but HTML5 is not yet widely adopted. RipCode's Transactional Transcoding platform enables an alternate and immediate solution to this issue, opening up video content to users without requiring the content hoster to move to HTML5 or pre-transcode entire video libraries from Flash to an iPad-accepted container format. By transcoding the content 'in the cloud', it is essentially analogous to a network-based Flash to MP4 or MPEG-TS video adaption layer.

"Transcoding is an integral part of any volume-based video preparation and delivery infrastructure. With new codecs, devices, resolutions, delivery protocols, rights management controls, and monetization needs constantly evolving the video delivery landscape, this space will continue to churn for many years," stated Brendon Mills, CEO of RipCode. "The 'Flash on iPad' dilemma is really just the latest in a long line of speed bumps on the road towards 'any-content, any-time, any-place, any-device' that we all desire. Fortunately, our technology removes this barrier in a way that is attractive to content hosters, a key device manufacturer, a key video player provider, and the end user alike."

RipCode's V6 transcoding appliance is equipped with industry-leading transcoding flexibility (file-to-file, file-to-stream, stream-to-stream, stream-to-file, and RipCode's On-Demand Transcoding), codec and container flexibility, concurrency, video processing functions, and resolutions ranging from QVGA to 1080i/p. Further, the V6 supports a rich suite of integrated video delivery options including QuickTime, MP4 Progressive Download, Apple's MPEG-TS Adaptive Progressive Download for file-based and live content, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, and RTSP. It is easily integrated - as hardware or software - into any content hosting/delivery operation given its Linux/Intel processing core. Working in conjunction with RipCode's Commander and Detector, content requests from an iPad is automatically detected, which launches an intelligent content transcoding workflow that re-encodes a Flash file to one of the aforementioned iPad-accepted formats, and then delivers either via MP4 Progressive Download or Apple's MPEG-TS Adaptive Progressive Download.

RipCode will be demonstrating this capability for both live and video on demand applications at NAB 2010 this week in Las Vegas. Please access to arrange an appointment to visit our suite at the Hilton, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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Monday, 12 April 2010

Cloud Start-Up Tackles UK Climate Change

Entrepreneurs deliver cloud-based solutions to manage carbon emissions at low-cost

London, 9th April 2010 - Today sees the launch of CloudApps, Europe's first enterprise application vendor focused on climate change regulatory compliance and the management of carbon as a business asset. The company researched the market for 18 months, before piloting solutions based on customer feedback. It is now set to revolutionise the way companies across the planet proactively deal with their environmental impact.

CloudApps uses innovative cloud-based technology to deliver software over the internet, removing the need for additional on-site IT equipment. It has already attracted attention from major UK enterprises looking for a cost-effective way to manage carbon as a business asset, whilst ensuring they comply with EU regulations and the UK Carbon Reduction Commitment, which came into effect at the start of April 2010.

Globally, the carbon management market is independently estimated to be worth $380 million last year and to be growing at some 40% per year until 2017. CloudApps was founded and self-funded by a UK-based team of software veterans to address this fast-growing market, following successful careers at international software companies including Oracle, Siebel, and Deloitte.

CloudApps CEO, Simon Wheeldon, has executive experience at some of the most successful software companies in history, spending the last 4 years at building its business, helping grow Siebel to become the world's 5th largest software company and previously holding executive positions at Business Objects (now SAP) and Accenture.

Commenting on the launch of CloudApps, Wheeldon said: "Carbon management is a rapidly growing business issue. Using CloudApp's innovative cloud-based technology, enterprises can measure, monitor and engage with all their employees to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. By doing this they can drive significant cost savings, comply with climate change legislation and further enhance their brand. I am convinced this approach will make CloudApps a global leader in this exciting new space."

In the next 90 days, Cloudapps will announce its early customer and partner successes, as well as its first products and is actively looking for talented software professionals to deal with customer demand.

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Lock the Front Door for Cloud Computing Security

Enterprises continue to expand the use of cloud computing, and particularly software-as-a-service applications (SaaS), to achieve operational performance enhancements and efficiencies.

Implementation of these technologies introduces several challenges related to identity management, such as administration and delegation of account authentication and authorization. A new approach to identity is required to ensure the continued growth and success of cloud computing: we call this Identity 2.0. One of the most critical challenges is the need to accurately identify and manage users of these services. Yet at the same time, users are demanding greater control, convenience, and security.

The challenges faced by a greater emphasis on the cloud are ones of both centralization and de-centralization: the centralization of computing resources combined with the decentralization of identity, authentication and authorization. Identity 2.0's challenge is how to cope with these two competing forces while avoiding the pitfalls of the past. During this session, Fran Rosch will address whether Identity 2.0 is prepared for an explosion of cloud computing, or do we need some other model?

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Friday, 9 April 2010

iPad as virtual desktop? Citrix says yes

If you haven't heard yet, Apple released a new device this past weekend called the iPad. It's basically a computer and an iPhone rolled into one, but, like, 8 billion times better.

At least, that's what people seem to think. So, if you're an IT pro you can probably expect users to be clamoring for ways to use the new, totally awesome device at work.

Luckily, there's a new technology that can turn just about any user device into a fully functioning desktop without completely sacrificing IT security rules -- it's called desktop virtualization. Citrix and Wyse Technology have already released software applications that extend Windows desktops to the Apple iPad.

"I'm convinced it's going to be a really big hit in the enterprise," says Chris Fleck, vice president of community and solutions development at Citrix. "We see a big demand from any kind of mobile worker, and teleworkers. We see salespeople adopting it quickly because it means they can travel lighter. They can do presentations from the iPad."

But virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and other types of desktop virtualization are not yet mainstream, and businesses may rightfully wonder if their virtualization efforts should focus on thin clients instead, which are much less expensive than the iPad and have already been proven in large customer deployments.

Most likely, employees who want to use the iPad for business will have to buy their own, says Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf.

"I haven't talked to a client yet whose internal organization is willing to fund the iPad as a mobile device," Wolf says. "Right now, the techies in the organization are willing to buy their own. Sure, maybe IT will provide connectivity," but the iPad is not yet a device for strategic deployments of virtual desktops throughout an enterprise.

Citrix's new marketing campaign claims the iPad is "open for business," and the company released two pieces of software to the iPad App Store that enable business use of the consumer-focused device. Citrix Receiver lets iPad users access corporate applications and documents, while Citrix GoToMeeting offers Web conferencing capabilities.

With Citrix Receiver, customers can connect iPads to existing implementations of Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop to deliver Windows applications and desktops to the iPad. Security is strong, Fleck says, because applications are running in the data center rather than on the endpoint itself.

Wyse Technology, which sells thin clients, also released an iPad app that provides access to Windows-based virtual PCs and supports multiple virtualization technologies, including VMware View and Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol.

VMware hasn't made any iPad announcements, and one VMware employee has expressed skepticism about using the iPad as a virtual desktop client. VMware application performance engineer Todd Muirhead wrote in January that the iPad seems like a good device for reading books and checking out Facebook, but not for getting a lot of work done on a desktop.

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Cloud Computing Differences Between U.S. And Europe

The trans-Atlantic 451 Group has its eye on how cloud computing is developing in Europe and the rest of the world as well as the U.S. The old adage that European IT lags the U.S. by a couple of years applies to cloud computing--more than that when it comes to infrastructure as a service.

For example, The 451 Group's William Fellows in a "Cloud Outlook 2010" Webcast, says that 57% of spending on cloud computing is done in the U.S., 31% in Europe and 12% in Asia. But when it comes to the adoption of infrastructure as a service, the way to leap the furthest into cloud computing by using Amazon's EC2 or Rackspace, 93% of that spending is done in the U.S., 6% in Europe and 1% in Asia.

Several service providers are trying to get more cloud customers in Europe, he said, including Rackspace, Terremark and Savvis. But they have not established data centers there to serve their European customers, giving those with an interest in cloud computing a reason to delay signing up.

Ninety-nine percent of businesses in Europe are small and medium sized businesses, he added. They may be able to look to their telecommunications provider, of which there are many, for cloud services, if U.S. cloud service providers don't figure out the European market soon.

One obstacle to both sides is the U.S. Patriot Act, which gives the U.S. government a right to demand data if it defines conditions as being an emergency or necessary to homeland security, and a measure that contradicts that power when the data is of European origin, the European Union's Data Protection Directive. In 2006, the European Court of Justice ruled that an agreement negotiated with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was too broadly construed and violated the EU's directive. The agreement was about sharing data on European airline passengers headed for the U.S. The data sought by the U.S. was too broadly construed and violated the EU's directive, the court said.

"Both measures could prevent establishing a cloud without borders," Fellows noted. Cloud advocates say services established via an Internet data center should be accessible by people around the world, and they are in the case of Google search or Facebook apps. But when it comes to sensitive data, national borders still prevail because of conflicting laws.

Since his Mar. 10 Web cast, troubles between Google's search engine in China and what the Chinese government will allow to be aired illustrates another national boundary shutting down the international operation of cloud computing. It may look formless, but in many instances, the cloud still has invisible national boundaries blocking the free flow of information.

Total spending on cloud services amounted to $500 million in 2009. It will amount to $13 billion by 2013, Fellows said in the Web cast.

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Thursday, 8 April 2010

Ten Ways to Convince Your Boss You Need an iPad

1. You will end up doing more work... Sitting on the couch at home, in the stands at the kids ball game, checking in from vacation...

2. You will be more productive. Even at work you will get more done while your PC is rebooting, roaming the building(s), during lunch...

3. With Citrix Receiver you will have access to all the apps you need to do work from anywhere.

4. If you're an IT Admin you can get to any server admin console and fix any issues wherever, whenever.

5. You need to learn how to support the iPad before all the exec's get an iPad and demand IT support.

6. You need to test the iPad for security issues and recommend an implementation that meets the company compliance requirements.

7. Instead of a 2nd , 3rd ( or 4th ) display, you can also use an iPad while docked and set to a real-time dashboard app to monitor.

8. You will have a record of all the notes and tasks you take at meeting vs the paper notebook full of scribbles that you don't go back to.

9. If you're in sales you will be more effective at selling and closing deals. Any product demo will always be at your fingertips, pull it up and hand it to a prospect. You will always know if your product is in stock and have access to information to answer any question.

10. You won't be risking company assets or IP if you lose the iPad.

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Security Implications in a Virtualized, Cloud Computing Environment

"How will your internal controls over financial reporting be affected by virtualization?," asks Robert Grapes, CTO of Cloakware. "Will you be able to prove that the application running in your cloud today is the same application that was running there yesterday?"

Robert will be presenting a session entitled, "Let's Get Unphysical" at Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York. He writes about the session, "while the benefits of virtualization are clear and measurable, what isn't so clear are the security ramifications of deploying critical application infrastructure in a virtual environment.

"Security conversations today are focused on mapping the current known security techniques to the virtual environment. This session will explore appropriate security techniques - control flow and data transformations, debugging resilience and software-based key and algorithm protection techniques."

Robert Grapes is Chief Technologist for Cloakware's Enterprise Solutions business. His expertise on enterprise security and Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC) has enabled many large government and financial service organizations to meet their audit while reducing risk and improving operational efficiency.

Prior to joining Cloakware in 2004, Grapes spent many years with Entrust Technologies as a software toolkit product manager, with Cognos in vertical analyst relations, and with Allen-Bradley as a control systems automation developer.

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Wednesday, 7 April 2010

MobileMe gains Find My iPad, Remote Wipe features for iPad

Apple has extended its popular "Find My iPhone" service to the iPad with its just-announced iPad-friendly features in MobileMe.

Not only will you be able to find your lost iPad, but iPads will also inherit the iPhone's remote wipe capabilities as well as a number of other features carried over from MobileMe.

The new "Find My iPad" will work on both WiFi and 3G-enabled iPads, though it goes without saying that the WiFi-only version will only be findable while connected to a WiFi network. Like Find My iPhone, users can log into MobileMe to see the approximate location of their iPads and even send a message down to it along with a sound to help you (or a friendly passerby) locate the device. As many iPhone owners have discovered, this feature has been a life-saver for travelers and the absent-minded alike, so it's certainly cool that it's now part of the iPad experience as well.

Apple's MobileMe tweaks also include Remote Wipe for iPad. Just like on the iPhone, you can now wipe your sensitive data (notes, e-mails, etc.) from a lost iPad by going through MobileMe, which can be restored later from a backup on your computer. And, of course, MobileMe's other cloud-friendly features also apply here, including bookmark sync, contact sync, and e-mail sync.

With so many people managing one or more computers, one or more phones, and a tablet device in their lives, services like this can be really helpful. And, if you're an iPhone user, the Find My iPhone/iPad and Remote Wipe services will work for both your iPhone and your iPad. Is MobileMe worth the $99/year subscription yet?

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What Do We Call This Cloud Storage Thing?

Not all cloud storage is equal, but it's even difficult to talk about those that are more comparable.

Does an API make it a platform? Are all APIs the same? Setting these questions aside temporarily, we come to a more fundamental question: What should we call cloud storage services, anyway?

The Case for "Platform as a Service" (PaaS)

Platform as a Service is variously defined, but it generally refers to a middle layer between infrastructure (hardware and software) and applications. Cloud platforms offer simplified interfaces for a new generation of applications that use web protocols and are often coded in languages like php, Java, .NET, Ruby, Python, and the like. Public cloud storage solutions like Amazon S3, Nirvanix SDN, and AT&T/EMC are fundamentally different from traditional storage infrastructure.

* Both control and access use a web services (REST) API rather than a traditional block or file storage protocol.
* These APIs are really programming interfaces, and libraries make them highly accessible to modern web-oriented languages.
* To varying extents, these systems do a lot more than just storing data - they can organize it, manage it autonomously, and even process it!*
* Cloud storage APIs often allow rudimentary programming of data control and disposition.
* Public services like these are multi-tenant and have much more extensive accounting and reporting than any conventional storage system.

In short, public cloud storage services match the letter and spirit of Platform as a Service definitions like the one at Wikipedia

The Case for "Infrastructure as a Service" (IaaS)

No storage system is a programming environment, and even the best public cloud storage service isn't anything like what is generally understood as PaaS. Find 10 people who think they know what PaaS is, and few will name Amazon S3 (the most visible public cloud storage service) in their examples. In fact, most won't even think of storage at all! Storage is infrastructure and always will be. The new REST access methods are great, but does an interface change the nature of a system? There are REST APIs to control old-school non-platform storage, too, and vendors might tack on API access at some point. That Wikipedia article about PaaS goes on and on about programming and application development, making scant mention of storage. It's not a platform, so it must be infrastructure!
The Case for "Something Else as a Service"

Storage really isn't PaaS or IaaS. Those definitions are all about compute, and storage is different enough to warrant its own definition. Whether it uses a web services API for control and access or uses old-school block or file mechanisms, storage as a service is a new business model for an old commodity. So what do we call it?

* NetApp and Iron Mountain like "Storage as a Service", abbreviated as "STaaS". But that's also used for "Software Testing as a Service".
* SNIA suggests "Data Storage as a Service", abbreviated as "DaaS". But that sounds awfully like "DAS" or "direct-attached storage", exactly the wrong connotation!
* How about we ditch the "XaaS" format entirely, as Sam Johnston suggested, and just call it something like "managed storage services". But that's exactly what the old managed storage providers called their offering a decade ago!

What do you suggest?

Call it Anything

In the end, it really doesn't matter what it is called. Cloud storage is here in many guises: Hardware or software products, purchasing models, and novel services alike. Soon, it is likely that the "cloud" moniker will lose its luster, too, but that won't change the core value proposition that some storage solutions bring to the table. Certainly this entire discussion will be forgotten as the market adopts some name or other for the thing. And that's for the best.

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Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Choosing a Cloud Strategy? Here's What You Need to Know

So you have been hearing a lot about Cloud Computing - and you have moved a few applications out to Google Apps or even migrated all your sales management to

In so doing, you have adopted a software deployment model (SaaS) first introduced in the early part of this decade... Granted, the model has only recently become popular because of big players getting into the fray, but SaaS (while a big chunk of the Cloud model) is still just scratching the surface.

With hyper-fast Internet access becoming cheaper and the Web becoming more ubiquitous than ever, there is a whole new realization in the industry that everything that was traditionally managed in-house can in fact, be moved out to being a shared resource as long as there is data security, validation and accessibility. Whether that is a fleeting phenomenon like many such hype cycles before it, or here to stay remains to be seen... but there is no doubt that a lot of Venture Capital investment has gone into it already (and more flowing in every week).
Now, if you map your existing stack from the data center to the Cloud, you get 3 basic kinds of Cloud offerings: Software (SaaS), Platform (PaaS) and Infrastructure (IaaS).

Last year, when I first looked at the Cloud offerings, there were precious few options - and the ones that were reliable (for corporate environments) were all established players doing limited things. But as you can see in the illustration above, there are a whole new set of companies (and a few who have repositioned themselves) to provide value in everything from building infrastructure in the Cloud (Amazon, Rackspace, Go Grid, to name a few), providing a platform for application development (e.g. Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine,, Heroku, Engine Yard) as well as lots of new and established SaaS providers.

SaaS software has also come a long way from the first application for sales automation. Today, we can get SaaS for everything from utility / small business needs to complex ERP (NetSuite), Corporate Email (Microsoft Exchange Online, Google Mail

Original Article - Here

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4G Essentials

There is plenty of hype around 4G technologies but beyond the rhetoric some real implementations are happening. 4G technologies basically represent the next stage of wireless data technologies and generally deliver average download rates of 3Mbps or greater. In contrast, today's 3G networks typically deliver average download speeds about one-tenth of that rate. Here's a roundup of the latest coverage of the 4G world.

If you were to think of 4G wireless technologies as Harry Potter movies, then the first half of 2010 promises to be like the time spent waiting in between new releases. You can expect lots of exciting trailers and teasers that will tide you over, but don't expect to see any real action until the latter half of the year.

The advent of 4G technologies such as WiMAX and LTE has generated a lot of buzz in the consumer market, particular for their potential to change the smartphone market.

While Long Term Evolution (LTE) is without a doubt one of the most hyped mobile data standards to come along in quite some time, you probably shouldn't expect the 4G network technology to make a big impact in 2010.

There could soon be a new 4G-based carrier taking aim at cell providers. According to documents filed recently by the Federal Communications Commission, investment firm Harbinger Capital Partners plans to use its recent acquisition of satellite communications company SkyTerra to build out a 4G network of its own.

I'll be watching this space closer in the coming months.

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Thursday, 1 April 2010

When will cloud computing start raining cash?

Open-source cloud vendor Eucalyptus is rumored to be raising venture money at a $100 million valuation. Meanwhile, an Under The Radar conference dubbed “Commercializing the Cloud” is set for mid-April at which a host of new start-ups will talk about how they’re set to shake the clouds free of billions of dollars in sales.

Will money fall from the sky?

It can’t come soon enough. For all the talk about cloud computing, the business of cloud computing is still in its infancy.

When will it grow up?

There’s no shortage of exceptionally cool cloud technology. The most recent company to get buzz (and props from Amazon Web Services’ chief evangelist) is JumpBox, which enables open-source applications to be delivered as virtualized cloud services.

But is there gold in them thar clouds?

Of course there is. The question is when it will materialize.

By some estimates, it already has. Gartner pegged the cloud computing market at $56.3 billion back in 2009, but that estimate took a pretty expansive view of what comprises the cloud, throwing SaaS and a host of other things into the cloud category.

What about infrastructure-as-a-service and more “traditional” definitions of cloud computing. How is that market doing?

Not nearly as well, though it is growing. Some have speculated that Amazon’s EC2, the epicenter of IaaS, is now generating north of $220 million in annual revenue. That’s a big number, but is it enough to warrant the cloud hype?

In a word, yes. That’s because although we’re still a year away from cloud computing trickling into the mainstream–and hence creating serious revenue waves–it’s clearly coming. Talking with open-source cloud vendors such as Eucalyptus, VMops, and Open Nebula, as well as others like Northscale, VMware, etc., there’s a tremendous amount of trial and evaluation happening right now, which should translate into paid engagements in the very near future.

So, $100 million may seem rich for Eucalyptus, given that it’s still in its youth as a cash-generating business. But it’s also a sign of good revenue to come in the next few months, not years. Full Source

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