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Rumor vs. Reality in Silicon Valley, Part 1
March 25, 2014
Like most small, inbred communities, Silicon Valley encourages and thrives on gossip, even when it's of little substance. In popular-speak, Valley gossip has a "low signal to noise ratio," but the rumor mill is vibrantly alive despite that shortcoming -- partly due to venture capitalists, whose efforts parallel the day-to-day business of technology.
The End of 'Good Enough' Computing
February 26, 2014
During the heyday of the dot-com boom, then-HP CEO Carly Fiorina espoused "good enough" computing. Despite significant performance differences between x86 servers and Unix and other enterprise-class systems, the dramatically lower cost of x86-based products would cause organizations to rethink their computing priorities and adopt, buy and deploy x86 whenever and wherever possible, she maintained.
Google May Let 34 More Cities Munch on Fiber
February 20, 2014
Google has revealed plans to expand its Google Fiber Internet service to as many as 34 new cities. Google Fiber offers connection speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps -- around 100 times faster than the average U.S. speeds of 9.8 Mb/sec, according to Akamai -- by providing service through fiber-optic cables instead of copper wiring. Google's service also delivers high-definition television.
IBM, Lenovo Deal Is All About Winning
January 31, 2014
Lenovo Group's $2.3 billion deal to purchase IBM's low-end, commodity x86 Server portfolios, related resources and operations is an all-around win for everyone involved. The sale of the IBM x86 servers has been rumored for well over a year, as Big Blue grappled with continuing pressure on its low-margin x86 servers. In its most recent quarter, IBM's revenue dropped 5.5 percent to $27.7 billion.
For IBM and Lenovo, System x Marks the Sweet Spot
January 28, 2014
In case you missed last week's announcement that Lenovo would be acquiring IBM's System x x86 server business -- rumors had been making the rounds for months -- here are some of the details: Lenovo is acquiring IBM's x86 server hardware business for $2.3 billion, approximately $2 billion of which will be paid in cash and the balance in Lenovo stock.
Lenovo Rising, IBM Evolving
January 27, 2014
The new deal IBM and Lenovo announced last week showcases that the companies are on very different paths toward two widely divergent but equally powerful goals in what is a rapidly changing market. Lenovo is on a path to dominate the hardware side's second technology wave, while IBM is jumping to what may be the fourth technology wave. IBM dominated the first wave -- mainframes.
IBM Deal Propels Lenovo Into Enterprise Hardware Game
January 24, 2014
Lenovo has struck a deal to acquire IBM's x86 server business. The deal, jointly announced Thursday, covers System x; BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches; x86-based Flex integrated systems; NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and related software; blade networking; and maintenance operations. Lenovo is paying around $2.3 billion for the business.
Got Cloud? What Companies Want
January 07, 2014
Cloud service users are becoming more vocal about what they want from cloud providers and how they want to pay for it -- and cloud providers may be listening. They are beginning to offer more flexible options and are gradually shifting to utility-style pricing models. There is no single factor driving these changes, but some of the things potential users want are showing up in their offers.
IBM's Insights 2013 and 'Restless Reinvention'
December 18, 2013
For IT industry analysts, autumn is a migratory time filled with trips to vendor conferences and summits. While their forms and locations tend to differ, most vendors use the time to delineate how their strategies, solutions and sales have progressed during the past calendar year and to discuss where they will be heading in the months and years ahead.
2014 Looks Bright for Cloud Services
December 13, 2013
Despite recent revelations regarding the NSA's extensive surveillance of email messages, Internet traffic and mobile communications, no one expects people or businesses to discard these essential habits and tools. In fact, I believe cloud-based alternatives to traditional, on-premises software and systems will continue to expand in 2014, as providers offer more deployment choices.
Google Joins Enterprise Cloud Slugfest in Earnest
December 03, 2013
The Google Compute Engine became generally available on Tuesday, almost 18 months after its introduction at last year's Google I/O. "We have been taking time and doing careful work to ensure that as we open Compute Engine to developers, they have a great experience with things like billing and support, tools, and our operating system support," said Google spokesperson Elizabeth Markman.
Dreamforce 2013 Notebook
November 22, 2013
There's always a lot to digest after Salesforce.com's annual bacchanalia, Dreamforce, which drew 135,000 registrants this year. Some of it is about Salesforce's announcements, but a lot more of it is about the implications of those announcements, the people who attend, and what goes on around the show. Despite its peculiar name, Salesforce1 is an important step for Salesforce.
Pivotal Delivers on Promises
November 22, 2013
A bit more than six months ago, EMC and VMware celebrated the launch of Pivotal, a new company led by former VMware CEO Paul Maritz. Pivotal's team included IP and personnel from EMC's Greenplum and Pivotal Labs organizations, and VMware's vFabric, Cloud Foundry and Cetas organizations. A considerable surprise was the support from General Electric, including $105 million for a 10 percent stake.
The Simmering Devops Debate
November 18, 2013
When open source software was still getting established in the enterprise five years ago or so, there was a lot of discussion about so-called open core ripoffs. The concern was that anyone and everyone was proclaiming an association with open source software, even if most or all of their products were proprietary. Today, a similar debate has arisen about devops.
9 Ways to Stay Up and Running on Cyber Monday
November 16, 2013
The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and that means e-commerce companies are now in the midst of the great run-up to the holidays -- an all-out sprint to get every possible new feature, bug fix and version tested and released in time for the big crush. This year, the stakes have been raised even higher with one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Latest Big Blue Sea Change
November 05, 2013
IBM's recent Enterprise 2013 conference in Orlando, Fla., was the Systems and Technology Group's inaugural event focusing on high-end business solutions. So it was no surprise that the CIOs, partners and IT practitioners -- data center admins and managers -- who work with IBM's System z mainframe and Power Systems platforms were thick on the ground.
HGST's New Hard-Drive Isn't Full of Hot Air
November 04, 2013
Western Digital subsidiary HGST has found a novel way of packing more storage capacity into a standard 3.5-inch hard disc drive: filling it with helium instead of air. The 6-TB Ultrastar He6 HDD is the highest-capacity drive in the world, according to the company. HGST has achieved this by packing seven disk platters into the drive instead of the standard five.
NIST Forges Ahead With Critical Infrastructure Security Plan
October 23, 2013
The National Institute of Standards and Technology on Wednesday released a preliminary cybersecurity framework for improving the cybersecurity of the United States' critical infrastructure. The Institute will soon open a 45-day public comment period on the framework, seeking input from reviewers on a series of questions. The dates will be announced in the Federal Register.
Revisiting Risk Assessment in the Cloud
October 01, 2013
The case for cloud is compelling for a number of reasons, but one of the more compelling reasons from a technologist's point of view has to do with the ability to abstract lower levels of the application stack. Depending on the model of cloud employed, varying amounts of the underlying technology components move out of the scope of your direct control.
IDF2013: Intel's Evolution Hugs the Inside Track
September 30, 2013
Silicon Valley loves an underdog. That's partly because such tales feed the industry's self-mythologizing and the IPO culture that attracts fresh money. To be honest, IT can boast more than its fair share of such successes: Hewlett and Packard, Jobs and Wozniak, and Page and Brin all helped make the industry what it is today. However, mythic underdogs also serve as distractions from another truth.
Oracle Plays Catch-Up With In-Memory Database Capabilities
September 24, 2013
Oracle on Monday announced an in-memory option for Oracle Database 12c that will accelerate analytics, data warehousing, reporting, and online transaction processing for Oracle in-memory applications that "deliver extreme performance on Oracle Engineered Systems," according to the company. "This is a story about Oracle being a bit late to the game," said Infostructure Associates' Wayne Kernochan.
Federal Networks Can't Handle Planned IT Upgrades
September 18, 2013
Ambitious plans to improve federal information technology systems could easily founder on the shoals of deficient networks. Government agencies currently are striving to meet the challenges associated with initiatives in five major areas: cloud technology; Big Data management; cybersecurity requirements; data center consolidation; and, increasingly, mobile IT.
A Satellite's-Eye View on Mobile Payments
September 17, 2013
Turn-by-turn directions have become a common technological enhancement to the automotive world thanks to a set of satellites dedicated to the task. To date, these radio positioning signals have been supplied to consumers primarily by the U.S. military through a satellite constellation called "GPS," or Global Positioning System. Essentially, receivers on the ground interpret the signals and tell you where you are.
Open Source Is Woven Into the Latest, Hottest Trends
September 12, 2013
We may not see or hear much about open source in the latest cloud or Big Data offerings, but it's playing a significant role in the most disruptive trends in enterprise IT. Just as we've seen with open source in cloud computing, it is an integral part of trends that currently are disrupting consumer and enterprise IT markets, including hybrid cloud computing, automation and devops, and Big Data.

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