Turbo Todd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

dev@Insight 2014: Turbo’s Podcast Preview

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Todd previews the upcoming IBM dev@Insight technology event in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 26-30, 2014.


You can follow the IBM Insight event social stream over the next week at #ibminsight.


Written by TurboTodd

October 24th, 2014 at 5:07 pm

IBM Business Intelligence Practice Cited For Its Leadership

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IBM oday announced that Forrester Research, Inc. recognized its Business Analytics & Strategy (BI Services) consulting practice as a leader in business intelligence services, and placed it among vendors who have the most mature, broad and global analytics services in the industry.

Forrester also noted that “IBM maintains a breadth and depth of expertise few providers can match.”

The report, “Forrester Wave: Business Intelligence (BI) Service Providers,
Q4 2014,” analyzes the most significant BI services firms worldwide.

IBM “received high scores for its capabilities across a breadth of services, from strategy to implementation to outsourcing,” and was cited for the highest score among all vendors in categories including Current Offering, Skills, Overview of Capabilities, Strategy, Corporate Strategy and Market Presence.

The report notes that “IBM provided Forrester with some of the largest, most-transformational case studies and client references of all the providers.”

Forrester notes that IBM’s ability to combine professional analytics services with hardware and software “provides it with a unique opportunity to take on projects with outcome-based contracts.”  

Through vendor surveys and client reference calls, Forrester evaluated the top 12 most significant BI providers and used quantitative metrics to differentiate each firm. The goal of the study is to help clients select the right service partner to fulfill their business analytics services needs.

A recent IBM Institute for Business Value study entitled “Analytics: A Blueprint for Value” found that more than two-thirds of respondents are applying business analytics to support revenue-generation strategies, versus cost containment.

The study also found that almost 40 percent of companies see a rapid return on investment (ROI) — within the first six months of analytics adoption.

The IBM Business Analytics & Strategy practice brings together thousands of practitioners focused on applying strategy and advanced analytics capabilities to drive transformations and business advantage for clients.

Written by TurboTodd

October 24th, 2014 at 2:55 pm

IBM Expands Global Cloud Footprint In France

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IBM today announced that it will open a new SoftLayer cloud center in Paris, France, before the end of this year. The facility will complement SoftLayer cloud centers in London and Amsterdam, offering clients more options for moving data and operations to the cloud in Europe in a secure environment.  

IBM Cloud will also provide cloud infrastructure services for customers and companies in France that require in-country data residency.

The facility is part of a new 15 cloud center expansion and a $1.2 billion investment by IBM Cloud to grow its cloud presence around the world. It has capacity for thousands of physical servers and offers the full range of SoftLayer cloud infrastructure services, including bare metal servers, virtual servers, storage, and networking. It seamlessly integrates via the company’s leading private network with all SoftLayer cloud centers and network PoPs around the world. With services deployed on demand and full remote access and control, customers can create their ideal public, private, or hybrid cloud environments.

 “We’re addressing clients’ and countries’ growing desire for data sovereignty head on,” said Lance Crosby, CEO of SoftLayer. “With each new cloud center we’re bringing our complete cloud services portfolio to the doorsteps of local customers. The Paris cloud center allows us to support workloads and applications from French customers who want their data to stay in the country and secure in the cloud, and provides our global clients with an opportunity to get even closer to their end user customers in the region.”

The new Paris cloud center opening comes at an opportune time as French analyst firm Markess recently reported that the cloud computing market in France has increased by €2.2 billion in 2012 to €4.1 billion in 2014 as more companies adopt cloud to deploy Web-centric workloads or transform their existing operations. 

“We’ve been a SoftLayer customer for four years now,” said Nicolas Zumbiehl, CEO of Hypernia Corporation, a SoftLayer customer that provides fully managed hosting and gaming services. “We appreciate SoftLayer’s robust cloud environment and worldwide network, and since we’re a global company with clients in France, we’re excited about SoftLayer’s global expansion, and especially about the new data center in France.” 
France consistently ranks in SoftLayer’s top 10 best-performing countries within EMEA and continues to grow as new French customers come on board. 

“We chose SoftLayer because it could deliver the infrastructure we needed to enable our customers with training, localization, and real-time performance support,” said Michel Balcaen, CEO of Assima PLC, a global company with French founders that develops end-user performance software for large organizations around the world. “IBM provided us with the expertise to design our cloud solution, while SoftLayer met all the requirements we had in terms of location, data privacy, flexibility, and performance. We manage centrally the Virtual Machines for all our clients worldwide from our R&D Center in Paris.”

You can learn more about the new Paris data center here.  

Written by TurboTodd

October 23rd, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Austin Startup To Focus on Cognitive Cloud Computing

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Though Austin has gained stature as a social media and social business hub over these past few years (BazaarVoice, Spredfast, MassRelevance, Dachis Group…the list goes on), there have also been companies sprouting up in the life sciences, big data, and other high tech sectors.

Today, one of those new companies made its public debut by announcing the industry’s first techology independent cognitive cloud platform.  

Cognitive Scale, which also announced four vertical industry applications, some key partnerships, and 22 patents, was founded by former IBM Watson Labs CTO, Matt Sanchez.  The team also draws upon experience from those formerly at Dell, Oracle, Perot Systems, and MIT.

The company is privately funded by The Entrepreneus’ Fund, a venture fund for early stage cognitive computing companies started by Manoj Saxena (formerly the GM of IBM Watson and now chairman of Cognitive Scale.

Cognitive Clouds Help Accelerate Big Data Value

Though estimates from Deloitte have the cognitive computing market growing to $50 billion U.S. by 2018, Cognitive Scale’s leadership team asserts there are some major inhibitors on the big data analytics and cognitive computing front.

“There are three jaw-dropping facts that limit the capabilities of Big Data. First is 55 percent of big data initiatives fail. Second is 70 to 80 percent of the world’s data is trapped in silos within and outside company walls with no secure and reliable way to access it. Third, valuable insights are lost because 80 percent of data is not machine readable; this is commonly referred to as “dark data,” said Matt Sanchez, founder and chief technology officer, Cognitive Scale. “We address these gaps through cognitive computing to help customers improve decision making, personalize consumer experiences and create more profitable relationships.”

Today, Cognitive Scale announced “Insights Fabric,” a portable, open standards-based cognitive cloud platform that accelerates value from a company’s existing investments in big data by extracting patterns and insights from dark data sources that are almost totally opaque today.  That includes information from databases, devices, blogs, reviews, emails, social media, images, and other unstructured data sources.

Cognitive Scale asserts it has three key differentiators:

(First)…its ability to extract insights from data while enforcing security and sovereignty policies. Second, its ability to understand natural language and generate personalized insights that learn with every user interaction. Third, the ability to create a cognitive cloud in 10 seconds, deliver your cognitive app in 10 hours, and customize it with your data within 10 days using any infrastructure including IBM Bluemix, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.

Cognitive Scale also announced vertical industry clouds for the travel, healthcare, retail and financial services industries, as well as partnerships with content, technology and systems integrators including Avention, IBM Watson, IBM Bluemix, IBM SoftLayer, Amazon Web Services, and others.

Last year at the IBM Smarter Commerce Summit in Nashville, I had an opportunity to sit down and interview Manoj Saxena about cognitive computing and IBM Watson in some detail.  You can find the fruits of that interview below.  

In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for future tidings from Cognitive Scale, “the cognitive cloud company.”

Written by TurboTodd

October 22nd, 2014 at 6:58 pm

IBM, Microsoft Partner To Offer Greater Hybrid Cloud Choices

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IBM and Microsoft announced today that they are working together to provide their respective enterprise software on Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud.

As adoption of hybrid cloud computing accelerates, this relationship will give clients, partners and developers more choice in the cloud, helping them drive new business opportunities, spur innovation and reduce costs.

Specifically, the newly announced relationship provides the following client benefits:

  • IBM and Microsoft will make key IBM middleware such as WebSphere Liberty, MQ, and DB2 available on Microsoft Azure.  
  • Windows Server and SQL Server will be offered on IBM Cloud.
  • IBM and Microsoft are working together to deliver a Microsoft .NET runtime for IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform. 
  • To support hybrid cloud deployments, IBM will expand support of its software running on Windows Server Hyper-V, and the companies plan to make IBM Pure Application Service available on Azure. 

“Together we are creating new opportunities to drive innovation in hybrid cloud,” said Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, Software and Cloud Solutions Group, IBM. “This agreement reinforces IBM’s strategy in providing open cloud technology for the enterprise. Clients will now gain unprecedented access to IBM’s leading middleware and will have an even greater level of choice over the tools that they use to build and deploy their cloud environments.”

“Microsoft is committed to helping enterprise customers realize the tremendous benefits of cloud computing across their own systems, partner clouds and Microsoft Azure,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft. “With this agreement more customers will be able to take advantage of the hyper-scale, enterprise performance and hybrid capabilities of Azure.”  

IBM and Microsoft will make key products within IBM’s enterprise-proven middleware software portfolio, including WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere MQ and DB2 database software, available in the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines service for development and production deployment.  

Microsoft and IBM are working together to provide .NET runtimes, along with relevant tooling, in IBM Bluemix, IBM’s open cloud platform-as-a-service. This could open the door for millions of .NET developers to build applications at scale for clients on IBM’s cloud platform. The companies will begin with a limited preview offering of .NET operating within Bluemix.

The companies will enable customers to bring their own software licenses to the IBM and Microsoft clouds, helping customers avoid extra cost. Microsoft will also offer IBM middleware software licenses, such as WebSphere Liberty, MQ and DB2, to Azure customers with pay-per-use pricing.

The companies also plan to make IBM Pure Application Service available on both Microsoft Azure and IBM SoftLayer for automated deployment, configuration and license management in a hybrid cloud environment. 

IBM SoftLayer currently provides and supports a wide range of Microsoft software, including Windows Server, Hyper-V, WebMatrix, Windows Firewall, SQL Server and others.

Written by TurboTodd

October 22nd, 2014 at 2:02 pm

dev@Insight 2014: Big Data For Developers

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Starting this Sunday, IBM Insight, The Conference For Big Data and Analytics, will commence at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This event is expected to see 13,000+ attendees this year, making it the largest big data conference in the world. And there’s more than ample content and sessions this year to back up that claim.

The event will feature over 700 sessions on topics related to big data and analytics, including “streams” on Business Analytics, Enterprise Content Management, and Information Management. It will also feature an estimated 1,500 technical sessions, hands on labs, and developer activities focusing on cloud, mobile, security, social, Watson and other relevant topics.

In fact, this year’s event will feature a track devoted exclusively to developers, dev@Insight. This architect and developer-specific program will help practitioners deepen their knowledge, hone their skills, and build their network. 

dev@Insight will include architects, data scientists, and other practitioners wanting to share their insights, experience, and expertise in more than 130 hands-on labs, sessions, workshops, Ignite talks, hackathons, and certifications.

dev@Insight’s host this year will be Katie Linendoll, the Emmy Award winning TV personality, writer, and tech expert.  And dev@Insight’s keynote speakers will include IBM Fellow Laura Haas, who will speak to the issue of “The Future of Data and Analytics — Today,” and Adam Kocoloski, co-founder and CTO of Cloudant and an IBM Distinguished Engineer. Kocoloski is also an Apache CouchDB developer and the lead architect of a Dynamo-flavored clustering solution for CouchDB and which serves as the core of Cloudant’s distributed data management platform.

You can learn more about and register for IBM Insight and dev@Insight here, and if you can’t attend in person (or even if you can) plan on following the event stream on Twitter at #ibminsight.

Written by TurboTodd

October 21st, 2014 at 9:10 pm

IBM Reports 2014 Third-Quarter Results

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IBM today announced third-quarter 2014 diluted earnings from continuing operations of $3.46 per share, compared with diluted earnings of $3.77 per share in the third-quarter of 2013, a decrease of 8 percent.

Operating (non-GAAP) diluted earnings from continuing operations were $3.68 per share compared with operating diluted earnings of $4.08 per share in the third-quarter of 2013, a decrease of 10 percent.

“We are disappointed in our performance. We saw a marked slowdown in September in client buying behavior, and our results also point to the unprecedented pace of change in our industry. While we did not produce the results we expected to achieve, we again performed well in our strategic growth areas – cloud, data and analytics, security, social and mobile – where we continue to shift our business. We will accelerate this transformation,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“We are executing on a clear strategy that is moving IBM to higher value, and we’ve taken significant actions to exit nonstrategic elements of the business. This includes the announcement that we will divest semiconductor manufacturing to focus on research and development that will differentiate our systems. We will continue to make the investments and the changes necessary to manage our business for the long term. And we remain fully committed to returning significant value to shareholders through dividends and share repurchase."

Following is a topline of IBM’s 3Q earnings:

o Diluted EPS from continuing operations:

– GAAP: $3.46, down 8 percent;

– Operating (non-GAAP): $3.68, down 10 percent;

o Net income from continuing operations:

– GAAP: $3.5 billion, down 17 percent;

– Operating (non-GAAP): $3.7 billion, down 18 percent;

o Consolidated results, including net loss on discontinued operations of $3.4 billion:

– Net income: $18 million

– EPS: $0.02

o Gross profit margin from continuing operations:

– GAAP: 48.6 percent, down 40 basis points;

– Operating (non-GAAP): 49.2 percent, down 90 basis points;

o Revenue from continuing operations: $22.4 billion:

– Down 4 percent; down 2 percent adjusting for divested customer care outsourcing business and currency;

o Strategic imperatives grew double digits year-to-date:

– Cloud revenue up more than 50 percent year-to-date;

— For cloud delivered as a service, up 80 percent year-to-date with a third-quarter annual run rate of $3.1 billion;

– Business analytics revenue up 8 percent year-to-date;

– Mobile revenue more than doubled year-to-date;

– Security revenue up more than 20 percent year-to-date;

o Impact of customer care outsourcing, industry standard server and Microelectronics business divestitures, based on full-year 2013:

– Generated more than $7.0 billion of annual revenue;

– Incurred more than $0.5 billion in annual pre-tax losses.

Written by TurboTodd

October 20th, 2014 at 4:05 pm

GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Acquire IBM’s Microelectronics Business

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IBM and GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced that they have signed a Definitive Agreement under which GLOBALFOUNDRIES plans to acquire IBM’s global commercial semiconductor technology business, including intellectual property, world-class technologists and technologies related to IBM Microelectronics, subject to completion of applicable regulatory reviews.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES will also become IBM’s exclusive server processor semiconductor technology provider for 22 nanometer (nm), 14nm and 10nm semiconductors for the next 10 years.

The Agreement, once closed, enables IBM to further focus on fundamental semiconductor research and the development of future cloud, mobile, big data analytics, and secure transaction-optimized systems.

IBM continues its previously announced $3 billion investment over five years for semiconductor technology research to lead in the next generation of computing. GLOBALFOUNDRIES will have primary access to the research that results from this investment through joint collaboration at the Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), SUNY Polytechnic Institute, in Albany, N.Y.

As part of this Agreement, GLOBALFOUNDRIES will gain substantial intellectual property including thousands of patents, making GLOBALFOUNDRIES the holder of one of the largest semiconductor patent portfolios in the world. GLOBALFOUNDRIES also will benefit from an influx of one of the best technical teams in the semiconductor industry, which will solidify its path to advanced process geometries at 10nm and below.

Additionally, the acquisition opens up business opportunities in industry-leading radio frequency (RF) and specialty technologies and ASIC design capabilities.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES will acquire and operate existing IBM semiconductor manufacturing operations and facilities in East Fishkill, New York and Essex Junction, Vermont, adding capacity to serve its customers and thousands of jobs to GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ workforce.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES will also acquire IBM’s commercial microelectronics business, which includes ASIC and specialty foundry, manufacturing and related operations and sales. GLOBALFOUNDRIES plans to invest to grow these businesses.

IBM will reflect a pre-tax charge of $4.7 billion in its financial results for the third quarter of 2014, which includes an asset impairment, estimated costs to sell the IBM microelectronics business, and cash consideration to GLOBALFOUNDRIES.

Cash consideration of $1.5 billion is expected to be paid to GLOBALFOUNDRIES by IBM over the next three years. The cash consideration will be adjusted by the amount of working capital which is estimated to be $200 million.

The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of regulatory requirements and customary closing conditions.

Written by TurboTodd

October 20th, 2014 at 3:12 pm

IBM Powers OVH Public Cloud On POWER8

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IBM oday announced that leading Internet hosting provider OVH has launched an on-demand cloud service based on IBM’s POWER8 processor, tuned specifically for Big Data, high performance computing and database workloads. 

In addition to introducing this new cloud service, OVH has become the newest member of the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community over 60 members strong worldwide collaborating to further leverage the POWER processor’s open architecture for broad industry innovation.

OVH serves 700,000 customers with 180,000 hosted environments in 17 data centers around the world. The company was looking to provide current and future clients with a fast, robust public cloud service that could specifically meet the needs of clients who manage large amounts of data or require extreme scalability. OVH turned to IBM and its new Power Systems for the release of the newest version of its cloud service, RunAbove.

RunAbove is OVH’s public cloud offering that provides on-demand services at an hourly rate. The newest RunAbove service, enabled by PowerKVM virtualization and the Fedora Linux open source operating system, OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service software and POWER8 processor-based Power Systems is specifically designed to allow developers access to high performance hardware for their Big Data and analytics workloads in a public, scalable cloud environment.

To cater to specific customer requirements, OVH has developed two cloud offerings that deliver advanced technology with IBM Power Systems.

The S offering is based on shared virtual servers hosted on a single POWER8 system and the set up is ideal for developers who want to test the characteristics of the POWER8 architecture to fit a range of their applications.

While the 2XL service, which offers one virtual server per physical host, provides customers dedicated access to the power of the IBM POWER8 architecture and is well-suited for workloads that require compute-intensive resources. This specific offering is designed to service high-tech research and development efforts.

These two offerings take advantage of both OVH infrastructures and data centers in North America and Europe.

To test the RunAbove compute-based POWER8 services, please visit http://labs.runabove.com.

IBM and OVH Group will showcase the new RunAbove service during the OVH World Tour San Francisco event on October 20. For more information or to register, please visit: http://www.ovh.com/sf.

Written by TurboTodd

October 17th, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Apple Announcement Recap: New iPad Air 2, Retina 5K iMac, Availability Soon of Apple Pay and WatchKit SDK

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Though Apple offered up its fall “big bang” with the announcement last month of the Apple Watch, today’s October event proved a pretty worthy follow up.

Once again, there were streaming challenges at the start of the webcast that seemed to settle down as Apple drew closer to the key announcements, but this post will start where Apple CEO Tim Cook ended the webcast, in his broader positioning of the current Apple product portfolio:

  • People need different types of technology for the way they live their lives. Sometimes you want to sit at your desk in front of a huge, beautiful, immersive screen packed with powerful technology. (iMac)
  • Sometimes you want to take that powerful technology with you wherever you go. (Macbook Pro/Air)
  • Sometimes you want to be close to your content — touching it. And we’ve made that experience even better today (iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3)
  • Sometimes you want to hold that technology in the palm of your hand, and there’s no better way than the iPhone 6/6+
  • And soon, you can wear that powerful technology right on your wrist (Apple Watch)
  • This is our vision of personal technology, and we are just getting started.

The lead product reveal was the introduction of the iPad Air 2, which is 6.1mm, the “thinnest iPad we’ve ever made,” said Cook, and 18 percent thinner than the original iPad Air. It’s powered by the new A8X chip that was touted as having 180X faster graphics performance than the original iPad, but still maintains a 10-hour battery life.

For photogs, it has an 8MP iSight camera with f/2.4 aperture and 1080p HD video, and a whole slow of cool new photography effects and capabilities. It also includes Touch ID and Apple Pay, and comes with iOS 8.1.

Apple also announced a new 27-inch iMac with retina display, and for the real gadget hounds, breathed new life into the Mac Mini with a new iteration running a 4th-gen Intel Core and great energy efficiency and priced at $499.

Apple Pay will kick into effect starting this coming Monday, with Cook announcing the additional support of 500 other banks — and just in time for the holiday shopping season!

Here’s what Apple had to say about Apple Pay in a press release:

Apple Pay offers an easy, secure and private way to pay using Touch ID™ on iPhone® 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in stores and within apps. Users of the just-announced iPad Air™ 2 and iPad mini™ 3 will be able to use Touch ID on their devices for Apple Pay within apps. The new service will be enabled by a free software update to iOS 8.

As to some of the retailers supporting Apple Pay with the touch of a finger, the list includes 262 Apple retail stores and the following partners:

Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Babies”R”Us, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, Chevron and Texaco retail stores including ExtraMile, Disney Store, Duane Reade, Footaction, Foot Locker, House of Hoops by Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Nike, Office Depot, Panera Bread, Petco, RadioShack, RUN by Foot Locker, SIX:02, Sports Authority, SUBWAY, Toys”R”Us, Unleashed by Petco, Walgreens, Wegmans and Whole Foods Market. In addition, many others will add support this year, such as Anthropologie, Free People, Sephora, Staples, Urban Outfitters, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and more.

Online shopping partners at launch will include: 

Apple Store app, Chairish, Fancy, Groupon, HotelTonight, Houzz, Instacart, Lyft, OpenTable, Panera Bread, Spring, Staples, Target and Uber. Many more will support Apple Pay by the end of this year with popular apps such as Airbnb, Disney Store, Eventbrite, JackThreads, Levi’s® Stadium by VenueNext, Sephora, Starbucks, StubHub, Ticketmaster and Tickets.com

For the Apple Watch, Apple announced the WatchKit SDK would be available in November.  WatchKit will give developers the ability to build apps for the Apple Watch in advance of its debut sometime next year.

Written by TurboTodd

October 16th, 2014 at 6:44 pm

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