Yearly Archives: 2013

Workday CEO to SAP and Oracle: cloud market is passing you by

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm

The chief executive of Workday has thrown down the gauntlet to major players SAP and Oracle, claiming that they are losing a battle to stop the exodus of customers to its own cloud-based services for human resources and financial management.

Speaking exclusively to V3, Aneel Bhusri, the founder of Workday and former PeopleSoft veteran before its hostile takeover by Oracle in 2005, said that SAP and Oracle, are moving too slowly to the cloud while firms like Workday and Salesforce are taking full advantage.

“It’s a classic case of any disruptive innovation, with firms like Salesforce or Workday changing the market and then the legacy players try to chase them down, but usually they don’t manage this, so it’s our market to lose,” he said.

“SAP and Oracle didn’t want the cloud to happen as it was disruptive to their traditional business, so they fought it for many years, but customer demand and the growth of cloud applications has forced them to jump on the bandwagon,” he said.

Bhusri admits it will not be easy due to the sheer size of its rivals, but he said the head start the firm has due to its earlier move to the cloud means it will win out.

“Our big advantage is our product, they have the sales and distribution channel. We have to build our distribution channel, but they have to build the actual products and if we’re successful in our sales push, I think it will be very hard for them to catch us.”

To date the firm has won some notable customers that have at least 20,000 seats, such as Primark, Aviva, the London Stock Exchange, Yahoo and many of the world’s largest social media sites, while HP revealed a 300,000-plus deployment.

However, the firm has yet to post profits, as it moves first to get customers on board. But its subscription revenue has risen 85 percent year on year, a rise that Bhusri claims proves the firm is on track and going through “hyper-growth”.

The firm’s next big push is around big data, with a planned offering coming later this year for HR and finance teams in order to help provide more insights into data within the application.

“This will be based on Hadoop and allow you to bring in data ranging from Twitter feeds to compensation data to provide a rich framework for analysis within the Workday system, and that’s already proving exciting to customers. We have four customers already using that ahead of general availability later this year.”

The fighting talk from Bhusri comes after SAP and NetSuite traded barbs earlier this month during their customer conferences, despite analysts suggesting a war of words is nothing more than posturing.

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Hybrid cloud computing will change IT skill sets, claims Morgan Stanley tech chief

Posted on December 9, 2013 at 8:58 pm

NICE: IT skill sets will need to evolve as the hybrid model of cloud computing becomes the dominant architecture used in the future, according to Morgan Stanley’s global head of data centres.

Speaking at the DataCentres Europe 2013 conference, Michael O’Toole said that the hybrid model offers the best mix between security, access and staff productivity. As such, this will lead to an evolution in the skill sets that IT staff will require to do their job.

In particular, IT will have to learn to deal effectiely with third party service providers that are used to host cloud-based applications and infrastructure outside of the IT department’s control.

“The face of IT departments is going to change. They will need to become a lot more commercially focused and have people who understand service levels, procurements, outsourcing and relationship building, rather than just using technology in silos and as components for putting systems together,” he said. “This will lead to roles like cloud architects and those working on cloud brokering services.”

O’Toole said it may be around three to five years before there is heavy demand for such skills, but he was upbeat that future generations would be equipped to deal with these issues.

“People will want to have the skills that are in demand. Graduates will understand that they will have to have a degree, say in computer sciences, but also financial and commercial skills, so they move to the top of the ranks in the IT world.”

He added that Morgan Stanley was currently developing its own internal strategies for this evolution, explaining that it has already moved some non-critical services to the cloud, such as business problem solving, into a system that now handles “millions of tickets a year”.

The firm also explained how it has a zone-based approach to its data centre needs based on speed, in an interesting insight into the demand of the financial sector.

  • Zone 0 covers data that needs to be accessed almost instantaneously, around 50-100 microseconds.
  • Zone 1 is for data centres that need to be close to the firm’s clients, so are often found in metropolitan zones, with latencies again around 50-100 microseconds.
  • Zone 2 is for staff applications where speeds of around 50 milliseconds are acceptable, although over 150 milliseconds is considered too slow.
  • Zone 3 data centres are those that are for non-time sensitive application requirements, such as overnight batch processing.

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HP expands developer offerings for mobile and cloud applications

Posted on December 7, 2013 at 10:52 am

HP has revealed a suite of software and services designed specifically for developers wanting to build business cloud and mobile applications.

Collectively called the Application Transformation Solutions suite, the three packages will be available to HP customers from this July.

Peter Schofield, practice director at HP EMEA Enterprise Services, told V3 the suite builds on the application lifecycle tools HP already offers the developer community.

“We see a lack of necessary skills for enterprise-grade application development. This is why we are increasing investment to make it easier for developers and enterprises to manage their application portfolio,” said Schofield. More key announcements will be made at the HP Discover event on 11 June, he added.

An HP User Experience Design Service will offer businesses advice on how they can improve the design of their business applications, while the HP Anywhere software platform will allow developers to easily build mobile applications and link them to their back-end systems, said Schofield.

“This software platform is to help enterprises manage their bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies, but it also reaches out to developers directly,” Scofield said. “Enterprises can also use a new HP solution, called Real User Monitoring to monitor the user experience of mobile applications running on the Android platform end to end.”

A Performance Anywhere cloud application will allow firms to monitor the performance and availability of mobile applications and wireless networks.

The final major component of the suite HP is releasing is the Application Integration to Cloud Services, which will allow developers to tie-in applications they have created to cloud-based services such as Salesforce, said Schofield.

HP announced disappointing profits earlier this month – with net income falling 32 percent to $1.1bn in the second quarter of 2013, compared with $1.6bn for the same period last year – as chief executive Meg Whitman continues to face a tough task turning the firm’s fortunes around.

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HP Moonshot low-power server technology in pictures

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

NICE: HP took advantage of the DataCentres Europe 2013 conference to wheel out its recently launched Moonshot server platform, as it tries to entice web-hosting firms with low-power kit.

Unveiled earlier this year, Moonshot is designed to meet the low-power needs of applications that require little processing power to manage, to help the growing number of firms operating in the cloud cut hardware and energy costs, and save space.

As part of this push the firm had some of the first-generation technology on display at the conference. V3 was able to have a peer at it, and take a few photos, to see just how small the firm has managed to make a fully functioning server.

As you can see from the above, a fully mounted rack is able to hold 45 server cartridges within a single unit, allowing a typical data centre rack to hold 450 servers. This is made by possible by the fact each server is only around the size of small pizza box (see below).


New versions of the technology are due to be rolled out towards the end of this year that will feature four nodes in a single cartridge, enabling 180 servers to be placed within a single chassis.

This will form the next stage of the Moonshot push, as the firm develops ‘application-specific servers’ that enable firms with all manner of storage, access and compute requirements to benefit from its low-power offerings.

The firm added that it already has some customers using these products in beta, and reconfirmed that products running on other silicon will be launched in the fourth quarter as it looks to ‘increase the flavours’ of Moonshot servers available.

While the current Moonshot cartridges are based on Intel’s Atom S1200 Series processors, AMD revealed today that its newly launched Opteron X-Series chips are to be used in Moonshot. HP has also made no secret of its intent to deliver ARM-based server modules, possibly before the end of this year.

29 May 2013

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London data centre hub putting UK businesses at risk

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 10:14 am

NICE: London’s position as the data centre hub of the UK is putting businesses at risk by opening up their data to a host of threats.

Speaking to V3, MigSolv chief executive Alex Rabbetts, whose firm owns a data centre facility in Norwich, said that a more distributed, regional model for data centre deployment is needed in the UK.

“London is rubbish. It’s on a 20-year flood plain, based on the Environment Agency’s own data. It has power problems, it’s a terrorist threat, so there are numerous issues. People say they have to be there for connectivity but that’s not the case anymore,” he said.

“Capital cities around Europe used to be considered the best sites for data centres and perhaps 10 years ago or so they were. But now connectivity around the UK is suitable, and areas like Manchester and Leeds, or Lyon and Marseille in France are growing for data centre sites.”

Rabbetts also cited the risk of having hubs of data centres in areas like Slough that have grown up in recent years as posing a risk to the UK. “If you put all your data in one place, that’s a risk. After 9/11, all the data centres [at Ground Zero] were wiped out, and the same problem could happen in London or Slough.”

MigSolv claims its base in Norwich, as an example, proves regional areas are more than suited for date centre hosting, due to strong connectivity options, good power access and a lower security risk from terrorists threats. The firm partners with other firms for backup, but Rabbetts told V3 the firm intends to build out more data centres in the future.

MigSolv also revealed it has now achieved PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) accreditation for any customers storing, transmitting or transacting credit card data through its facility.

Customers with MigSolv include various public sector and private sector organisations in areas such as oil and gas, managed services and larger enterprises.

Despite the argument put forward by Rabbetts, Daniel Domio, vice president of IT at energy management firm Schneider Electric, said that cities of the future must incorporate data centres at their heart, akin to churches in the Middle Ages.

“We’re going to have to add more infrastructure to cities in the next 30 years than we have in the last 4,000 years. We must build cities around data centres to maximise their data transfer and energy use,” he said.

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AMD Opteron X-Series takes on Intel Atom in high-density low-power server market

Posted on December 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm

AMD has expanded its Opteron server lineup with new chips designed for cloud-based services like Facebook and Amazon, which call for large volumes of high-density energy-efficient systems to serve the ever-growing data needs of mobile devices.

Available immediately, the Opteron X-Series is styled as the highest performance small-core x86 processor on the market, competing directly against Intel’s Atom S1200 chips. Like the Atom, the Opteron X-Series is set to be delivered in HP’s Moonshot servers as well as AMD’s own SeaMicro Fabric Compute systems.

However, the Opteron X-Series is all quad-core, delivering twice the performance of the Atom at the same clock speed for single-threaded workloads, according to AMD. It also supports up to 32GB of memory, four times that of Intel’s microserver chip.

Those cores are also AMD’s next-generation Jaguar architecture, as seen on the AMD 2013 mobility platforms that the chipmaker introduced last week.

The first versions available are the X1150 CPU and the  X2150 APU. The latter also integrates an AMD Radeon 8000 GPU with 128 cores, enabling it to handle highly parallel workloads such as offloading video decoding from client systems.

AMD’s new chips are similar to Intel’s Atom chips in power consumption and price. The 9W X1150 is clocked at up to 2GHz and will cost $64 in volume, while the 11W X2150 is clocked at up to 1.9GHz and costs up to $99 in volume. However, AMD points out that its chips have twice the number of cores.

The new Opteron parts will enable AMD to target “a vast array of the fastest growing workloads,” according to Andrew Feldman, head of AMD’s Data Center Server Solutions team and former chief executive of SeaMicro before AMD acquired it last year.

“A fundamental shift is taking place away from some types of workloads and towards other workloads. Workloads in the data centre used to be heavily computational. It used to be big hard problems, but right now the big driver is for highly parallelised modest-sized problems that suit low-power 2P servers,” Feldman said.

“Portable devices like tablets and smartphones essentially present information that is computed elsewhere, and that is the underlying driver for server growth,” he added.

The Opteron X-Series is “not good for heavy compute workloads like CAD/CAM,” Feldman explained, but it is ideally suited for hosting, driving virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), Hadoop deployments and handling object storage.

Feldman showed sample Opteron X-Series motherboards that meet the Open Compute specifications, with the implication that the chips will soon be finding their way into data centres that have adopted servers based on this platform.

AMD also hinted that the Opteron X-Series could be found in some workstations or other client systems. Both the initial models are system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs that integrate I/O including PCI Express, Serial ATA and USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.

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V3 Hot Seat: Rackspace technology vice president Nigel Beighton

Posted on November 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Nigel Beighton is the international vice president of technology for hosting company Rackspace, responsible for delivering the firm’s products.

Beighton also drives the OpenStack community internationally, a community co-founded and hosted by Rackspace, which offers those in the IT industry an open-source cloud computing platform alternative to the proprietary technology available from firms like VMware. Recently the firm announced it would build and manage cloud computing infrastructure for service providers, in a bid to promote the OpenStack platform.

Before Rackspace, Beighton has most recently worked as the group chief technology office for Associated Northcliffe Digital, covering the group’s digital businesses including FindaProperty, Prime Location, and Teletext. Over the past ten years Nigel has served as the CTO for and was also the director of enterprise strategy for Symantec.

Murray’s Hot Seat follows on from a host of leading industry figures ranging from government operating officer Stephen Kelly to chief technology officer Stuart Silberg.

V3: What would be your dream job (apart from your current role, of course)

Nigel Beighton: I’d really love to work as a research engineer on a Hadoop open source big data project. We’re only just starting to understand now how we can process huge volumes of data and so this is a really cutting edge area that I would love to be involved in – there is so much we can do to benefit the world with all that big data out there.

Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use

I use an iPad and I’m a huge user of so many great apps. When it comes to phones I actually have three; I have an Android unit and a Windows phone and an iPhone. But if I have to come back to one unit again and again it is the iPhone, because I’m really into my photography and I tend to use it a lot, as it’s generally always the thing that I have in my hand. They do say that the best camera is the one that’s with you at any moment, after all.

Which person do you most admire in the IT industry

Obviously there are many people in IT who have made massive changes to the way we work with technology, but I keep a special place in my heart two people. Alan Turing – because of what he did in terms of helping to start this industry and also help win the second world war – and secondly the American computer scientist Dennis Ritchie for his work in the early days of computing.

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Top 10 most read: Sony Xperia Tablet Z review, Google Pearson business win, BBC suspends CTO

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Sony has faced a tough time in the smartphone and tablet markets in recent years in the face of competition from Apple and Android devices, but it is slowly fighting back and interest in its products is growing.

Our review of the Xperia Tablet Z was the most popular item of the last week, with readers keen to know our impressions. We were impressed by its ultra-lightweight, slim build and reasonable performance, awarding it four stars, although its software let it down slightly.

Elsewhere a customer story in the ongoing Google verses Microsoft battle gave both sides cause for optimism, and concern. At first, it seemed Google had landed yet another blow when education firm Pearson said the majority of its 40,000-strong workforce were using Google services over Microsoft platforms. However, since the story went live, scores of unhappy staff at the firm came forward to decry the switch to Google.

Elsewhere, Sky’s boost of its backhaul network on Virgin Media Business services was of interest, possibly from Sky customers hoping to see a speed boost from their services.

Another notable headline from the past seven days saw the chief technology officer at the BBC suspended for overseeing a failed digital project that cost the corporation £98m without any clear benefit.

A final piece of interesting news came from Transport for London (TfL), which revealed that it is planning a major overhaul of its website, based on HTML5, in order to meet the demands from Londoners accessing its site on numerous mobile devices.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z review
A lightweight rugged tablet that’s ideal for working on the move





Google trumps Microsoft in Pearson’s cloud app offering to 40,000 staff
Firm sees most business units opting for Google




Sky pays Virgin £49m for broadband backhaul boost
Deal sees Rupert Murdoch forced to hand over cash to rival John Malone




Microsoft calls for Office attack victims to be more vigilant with security patches
Firm urges businesses to apply automatic updates to systems




Apache Darkleech PDF and JavaScript attacks infect hundreds more websites
Security firm Zscaler links harmful attack to Blackhole exploit kit version 2




Google pushes Android and Chrome SAP Fiori apps to attract enterprise
Company partners with German software house to push secure HTML5 apps onto browser and mobile platforms




BBC suspends CTO after £98m loss on failed digital project
John Linwood pays the price for unnecessary Digital Media Initiative project



Apple OS X Oslo malware linked to sophisticated India ‘Operation Hangover’ gang in India
Indian group tied to multiple crimeware outbreaks



DWP has no immediate plans to support systems newer than Windows XP and IE6 for benefits claims
Claimants restricted to phone and face-to-face meetings for certain benefits




TfL plans HTML5 website overhaul and ditches Bing Maps for Google
New site to be live before the end of the year, beta planned within two months

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HP updates mobile clients for Citrix XenDesktop

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 3:56 pm

HP has updated its mobile client lineup to support the Citrix XenDesktop 7 release.

The company said that its mobile client line would include the new mt40 notebook client system. Designed to run with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platforms, the client system connnects to a hosted instance rather than rely on local hardware for its computing and storage tasks.

The mt40 system will sport an Intel Celeron processor and support for both 802.11n WiFi connections and gigabit ethernet. The system is equipped with 16GB of local storage via an internal SSD and will rely on Intel HD graphics hardware.

HP is also unveiling updates to its HP Velocity virtualisation management platform. The company said that the platform will sport better integration with Citrix platforms both for VDI deployments and other cases such as unified communications and mobile data services.

With the update, HP said that it hopes to better integrate with Citrix’s new platforms and allow customers to better manage network traffic and improve throughput speeds for hosted platforms and systems.

“As office workers become more mobile and more smartphones, laptops and tablets enter the workplace, the challenge to secure data grows more daunting,” said Jeff Groudan, HP marketing director for thin clients.

“With innovations such as HP Velocity and our support for unified communications, companies can enable their mobile workforce while knowing they have the security, realibility and managebility of thin clients without sacrificing productivity, user experience or performance.”

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Colt expands cloud services platform with 20 European datacentres

Posted on November 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Cloud services firm Colt Technology Services is opening up enterprise access to what the company claims is the largest datacentre footprint in Europe.

The company said that its cloud services, which include platform management, IT as a service and managed storage offerings, will offer datacentres in some 20 European cities. Additionally, the company will offer support to customers in 15 different languages.

Our enterprise cloud services are designed to deliver scalable cloud solutions as well as flexible service and commercial levels delivered via our service catalogue,” said Colt vice president of portfolio and strategy Jon Bennett.

“After consulting closely with our customers, it is clear that being able to offer infrastructure, platforms and workloads will give the CIO confidence that they can focus on delivering business objectives, rather than managing technology.”

The company hopes that its wide range of datacentre locations and extensive portfolio of services will appeal to customers looking to perform large-scale IT automation projects and cloud migration initiatives and desire multiple datacentre locations for performance and stability.

In addition to the performance benefits, cloud platform providers have pointed to the presence of local datacentres as an important privacy and compliance initiative. With many government agencies and regulated industries weary of moving data to a physical location in a foreign state, having a datacentre within the coun try’s borders has been a growing concern.

In the UK, cloud providers such as Salesforce have announced plans to bring their new datacentre facilities to London in order to provided localised services.


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