Western Digital’s ActiveScale adds new DR, workflow options

Western Digital’s ActiveScale 5.5 object storage update adds asynchronous object distribution for multisite disaster recovery and new workflow automation options for customers that have massive-scale unstructured data storage needs.

Western Digital claims ActiveScale can deliver up to 75 GB per second of data throughput and pack more data into a smaller footprint than past product versions, thanks to its newly integrated 14 TB Ultrastar enterprise hard disk drives (HDDs). The highest capacity HDD available with prior ActiveScale systems was 12 TB.

ActiveScale’s starting capacity is 676 TB, and deployments generally exceed a petabyte, according to Erik Ottem, senior director of product marketing for Western Digital data center systems. The largest customer, a hedge fund, stores about 200 PB, he said.

Object stores such as ActiveScale are designed to scale out on commodity server hardware and offer a more economical alternative to file- and block-based storage for applications that don’t require the highest levels of performance. Target workloads for ActiveScale include analytics, high-performance computing and internet of things.

Asynchronous geo-spread

ActiveScale 5.5’s new asynchronous “geo-spread” feature will give customers a “more efficient and less expensive” option to protect data than replication does, Ottem said. The common “triple-mirror” architecture for object storage replicates a full copy of a file to three locations. But geo-spreading replicates only a portion of an object and parity bits, so that any two locations have sufficient data chunks and parity to reconstruct the full object, Ottem said.

Western Digital has long supported a “strong consistency” model with synchronous geo-spreading. The addition of the asynchronous option will now add an “eventual consistency” option for customers with latency between geographically dispersed sites and distribute data in the background, Ottem said.

“With geo-spreading, you manage one system in three locations instead of three systems in three locations,” Ottem said.

The ActiveScale geo-spread feature gives customers the choice of 18 erasure code options based on the number of data center locations they have, capacity and data durability requirements, Ottem said.

Data Pipeline Service

Another key new feature in ActiveScale 5.5 is a Data Pipeline Service designed to facilitate workflow automation. ActiveScale provides real-time object notifications and connection capabilities to a messaging service, such as Apache Kafka, to trigger a chain of events to get work done, Ottem said.

ActiveScale View
Western Digital’s new ActiveScale View user interface is patterned after Amazon’s Simple Storage Service dashboard.

Potential use cases for the Data Pipeline Service include virus checking, document analysis for fraud detection, healthcare image analysis or video transcoding for a media and entertainment application. Western Digital will provide written and video instruction materials to help users implement the new workflow automation capabilities, Ottem said.

The ActiveScale 5.5 update also adds an optional graphical user interface (GUI), patterned after Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), to enable employees to create new object storage buckets without requiring IT assistance.

“Our traditional GUI was aimed at the IT audience, and this GUI is really aimed at end users. It doesn’t do everything. For instance, you don’t necessarily want your power user to do troubleshooting on which disk drive or which shelf needed to be replaced. But it does make a lot of sense to have your end user understanding what his bucket uses are and what versions are available,” Ottem said.

Western Digital offers two ActiveScale models: the P100 modular option for customers with their own racks and the X100 integrated system in a prepopulated rack. Ottem said channel partners set the pricing. Support for the new 14 TB HDDs — which offer higher density at roughly the same energy footprint — will increase the suggested retail price by 2.5% to 5%, Ottem said.

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Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18950 | Windows Experience Blog

Hello Windows Insiders, today we’re releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18950 (20H1) to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.IMPORTANT: As is normal with builds early in the development cycle, these builds may contain bugs that might be painful for some. If you take this flight, you won’t be able to switch Slow or Release Preview rings without doing a clean-install on your PC.
If you want a complete look at what build is in which Insider ring, head on over to Flight Hub. You can also check out the rest of our documentation here including a complete list of new features and updates that have gone out as part of Insider flights for the current development cycle.

Japanese IME Improvements
Thank you everyone who’s shared feedback so far about the new Japanese IME. The development team has been working on improving the quality based on your feedback. Here are some improvements that you can try out in this build:
Prediction Candidate window key navigation: We fixed an issue where the focus inside prediction candidate window wouldn’t move when using the Up Arrow key.
Key customization: We’ve improved the discoverability of key assignment settings. Also, based on feedback, we’ve updated the default assigned value of Ctrl + Space to be “None”. Ctrl + Space can still be used for toggling IME-on/off by changing the value through its setting.

Please don’t hesitate to continue sharing your thoughts with us about typing in Windows – our ears are open and we’d love to hear from you.

Snip & Sketch improvements headed your way
Thanks everyone who’s shared feedback so far for our updated snipping experience! We really appreciate it and are starting to roll out some more improvements based on what you’ve told us:
Single window mode: Do you tend to retake snips multiple times in order to get the perfect screenshot? We’re updating the New button to now open new snips in your current app window, so you don’t end up with a ton of open snips (that you then need to close.) If you’d rather keep all snips open in separate windows. the option is now a toggle in settings, so you can decide which mode you prefer.
 
Zoom: Need we say more? You can now zoom in on your screenshots if they’re a bit too small for you to annotate on (and yes, CTRL+Plus, CTRL+Minus and Ctrl+Mouse wheel are supported!). We’ll also zoom out to make sure the whole snip fits in the Snip & Sketch window. If you want to see the snip at its original size, click the Zoom button and then “Actual Size”.

Improving WIN+Shift+S discoverability: You mentioned you loved learning about using WIN+Shift+S to take new snips any time and we thought others would too! If you haven’t taken a snip yet, we’ll now use the canvas space in Snip & Sketch to help you learn how to start a snip without needing to open the app first.
These changes are currently available for a portion of Insiders in the Fast ring as we evaluate the quality before continuing the rollout. Note the rollout for each change mentioned above is being handled separately, with separate random populations in the initial rollout, so seeing one of the changes with app version 10.1907.2064.0 doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see all three.

Insiders may notice some references to “Cloud download” relating to PC reset or refresh. This feature isn’t available and working quite yet. We’ll let you know once it is, so you can try it out!
We fixed an issue where ctfmon.exe might crash if clicking the input mode indicator in the taskbar to switch the Japanese IME between modes.
We fixed an issue where pasting from clipboard history (WIN+V) wouldn’t work when using the Bopomofo IME.
We fixed an issue resulting in hanja conversion not working for the updated Korean IME when typing in certain apps.
We fixed an issue that could result in the OneNote app intermittently acting as if the Ctrl key was pressed when it wasn’t.

There has been an issue with older versions of anti-cheat software used with games where after updating to the latest 19H1 Insider Preview builds may cause PCs to experience crashes. We are working with partners on getting their software updated with a fix, and most games have released patches to prevent PCs from experiencing this issue. To minimize the chance of running into this issue, please make sure you are running the latest version of your games before attempting to update the operating system. We are also working with anti-cheat and game developers to resolve similar issues that may arise with the 20H1 Insider Preview builds and will work to minimize the likelihood of these issues in the future.
Some Realtek SD card readers are not functioning properly. We are investigating the issue.
Tamper Protection may be turned off in Windows Security after updating to this build. You can turn it back on. In August, Tamper Protection will return to being on by default for all Insiders.
Occasionally, the candidate selection in prediction candidate window for the Japanese IME doesn’t match with the composition string. We are investigating the issue.

The Windows Insider webcast is back tomorrow, August 1! We’ll have guests from the FX Amplify team joining us for a conversation and Q&A on their efforts. Local Seattle-area Insiders are also welcome to join us in-person for a quick meet and greet at 1 p.m. at the Microsoft Store in Bellevue.
Tune in at 2 p.m. PDT / 9 p.m. UTC on the Windows Insider Mixer channel!

Game on. Stay up to date with everything eSports. Use Bing to get tournament info, match details, and player/team rankings for your favorite online games. Check out events for League of Legends, CS GO, Dota 2, and Overwatch.
If you want to be among the first to learn about these Bing features, join our Bing Insider Program.
No downtime for Hustle-As-A-Service,Dona

New to Microsoft 365 in July—updates to Azure AD, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and more

This month, we’re announcing updates to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to help improve your security posture, updates to Microsoft Teams and Outlook on the web to help you be more productive, and updates to Desktop Analytics and Office 365 ProPlus to streamline IT management and improve efficiency.

Here’s a look at what’s new in July.

Strengthen security while simplifying processes

New capabilities help you protect against, discover, and remediate cybersecurity threats.

Go passwordless to reduce risk and improve account security—This month, we announced the public preview of FIDO2 security keys support in Azure AD. Now, with FIDO2 technologies, you can provide users with seamless, secure, and passwordless access to all Azure AD-connected apps and services. Additionally, administrators can assign passwordless credentials to users and groups and allow self-service sign-up. To get started, check out our step-by-step documentation on enabling passwordless sign-in for Azure AD.

Discover, prioritize, and remediate vulnerabilities in real-time—Last month, we announced the general availability of Microsoft Threat & Vulnerability Management (TVM). TVM delivers a new set of advanced, agentless, cloud-powered capabilities that provide continuous, real-time, risk-based vulnerability management. If you already have Microsoft Defender ATP, the TVM solution is now available within your Microsoft Defender ATP portal. If you don’t have a subscription, you can sign up for a trial of Microsoft Defender ATP including TVM.

Improve productivity and collaboration

New capabilities in Microsoft 365 help you collaborate easily with others, organize tasks, and quickly find answers.

Communicate and collaborate more easily with new capabilities in Microsoft Teams—This month, we added new capabilities to Teams including Read receipts and Priority notifications to help ensure time-sensitive messages are received and prioritized. We also announced the new Announcements feature to highlight important news and now post a single message across multiple channels.

Animated screenshot of Select channels being used in Microsoft Teams.

Finally, the new time clock feature in Teams for Firstline Workers brings clock in/out capabilities to the Team Shifts module. And the targeted communication feature enables messages to be sent to everyone within a specific role—such as sending a message to all cashiers in a store or all nurses in a hospital.

These updates for Teams will be rolling out over the next couple of months.

Add polls to your Outlook emails and book meeting rooms with Outlook on the web—This month, we’re announcing two new generally available features in Outlook on the web. With Microsoft Quick Poll, you can now add polls directly to your Outlook emails, so recipients can vote directly in the email or click the provided link and vote in a browser window. To get started, download the Quick Poll add-in for Outlook.

Additionally, you can now easily book meeting rooms in Outlook on the web. When creating a meeting, you can quickly see which rooms are available, search by city or room, and view rooms that are available during recurring events.

Animated screenshot of a Teams meeting being created in Outlook.

Make answers in Yammer more discoverable—Now, questions in Yammer will stand out from general discussions with new, unique styling. Post authors and group admins can also mark the best response to questions as a “Best Answer,” making it easier for users to find answers. These changes are currently in private preview and will roll out to all Office 365 subscribers later this summer.

Animated screenshot of a Best Answer being voted up in Yammer.

Work together on tasks in Microsoft To-Do—Now, you can assign a task to someone on a shared To-Do list and work together to knock out tasks more quickly. To get started, just @mention someone to assign them a task, and everyone on the shared list will be able to see it.

Animated screenshot of a task being assigned in Microsoft To-Do.

Streamline IT management

Data-driven tools help you deliver seamless software deployments and improvements for Office in virtualized environments.

Improve the quality and reliability of software deployments—This month, we announced the public preview of Desktop Analytics, a cloud-based service that provides intelligence for you to make more informed decisions about the update readiness of your Windows clients ahead of new Windows 10 deployments. In combination with System Center Configuration Manager, Desktop Analytics is designed to create an inventory of the Windows apps running in the organization and assess app compatibility with the latest feature updates of Windows 10. Desktop Analytics is currently offered as an Office 365 service and requires an Office 365 subscription in your Azure AD tenant. To get started, enable Desktop Analytics in the Configuration Manager console.

Screenshot of Desktop Analytics dashboard.

Improve the Office app experience in virtual environmentsThis month, we announced new capabilities to help improve the user experience in virtualized environments. First, FSLogix technology, which improves the performance of Office 365 ProPlus in multi-user virtual environments, is now available at no additional cost for Microsoft 365 customers. Second, Windows Server 2019 will now support Office 365 ProPlus and OneDrive Files On-Demand in the coming months. Lastly, Outlook, OneDrive, and Teams are getting new capabilities to improve the user experience in a virtualized environment.

Drive digital transformation with new Microsoft cloud regions—Microsoft Office 365 services are now available from our new cloud regions located in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These local datacenters open the door for more organizations to embrace the benefits of the cloud with resilient cloud services that can help meet data residency, security, and compliance needs.

Other updates

  • Teams is now included in the monthly Office 365 updates for existing customers and will begin rolling out to existing installations over several weeks.
  • We retired the “Online” branding for the Office apps on the web. You’ll see this change reflected in the product experience in places such as the app headers, platform-specific commands, and help menus. This change reinforces that Office is a cloud-connected experience, which you can use through apps on the desktop, web, or mobile devices.
  • We recently announced OneDrive Personal Vault, a protected area in OneDrive that you can only access with a strong authentication method or second step of identity verification.
  • These five Outlook mobile tips and tricks can help small business owners save time and get more done quickly.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Diversity and cybercrime: Solving puzzles and stopping bad guys – Asia News Center

Diana Kelley bristles at suggestions that cybersecurity is a dry or dull career choice – after all, she’s dedicated most of her working life to protecting data and blocking digital wrongdoers.

“I think it is the most interesting part of IT. It can be a fascinating puzzle to solve. It can be like a murder mystery on that show, ‘Law & Order,’ except that when they find a dead body, we find a network breach,” she says.

“As we investigate, we go back through all these twists and turns. And, sometimes we discover that the real culprit isn’t the one we had suspected at the beginning.”

As Microsoft’s global Cybersecurity Field Chief Technology Officer, she wants to erase misconceptions that might be stopping people from more walks of life from entering her profession – which, she argues,  needs new ways of thinking and innovating.

Successful companies know that by building diversity and inclusion within their ranks, they can better understand and serve their many and varied customers. Cybersecurity teams need to read from the same playbook so they can better anticipate and block attacks launched by all kinds of people from all sorts of places.

“Cybercriminals come from different backgrounds and geo-locations and have different mindsets,” Kelley says. “They collaborate and use very diverse attack techniques to come after individuals, companies, and countries. So, it helps us also to have a very diverse set of protection and controls to stop them.”

Knowing how attackers might think and act can be difficult for any cybersecurity team, particularly if it is made up of people from similar backgrounds with similar viewpoints. It is the kind of conformity that can even lead to a sort of “groupthink,” which results in blind spots and unintended bias.

The power of different viewpoints

“If people think in the same ways again and again, they are going to come up with the same answers. This only stops when different viewpoints are raised, and different questions are heard.”

Kelley says attackers come from, and operate in, many different environments, and cybersecurity teams need to match this diversity as much as they can. However, the make-up of today’s international cybersecurity community remains surprisingly homogenous.

“About 90 percent are men and, depending on where you are in the world, they are often white men,” she says. “In Asia, it tends to be a little worse. Only about nine percent are women.”

The need for change comes amid unprecedented demand for cybersecurity and a chronic shortage of skilled specialists across the world. Kelley sees this an opportunity.

“We’ve got this big gap in hiring, so why not create a more diverse and inclusive community of people working on the problem?” she said in an interview on her recent visit to Singapore, one of many global cities vying for talent in the sector.

One major concern is gender imbalance. Even though many well-paying jobs are up for grabs, relatively few women are taking up, and staying in, cybersecurity roles.

Fixing the gender imbalance

“When I got into the field almost 30 years ago, women had very low representation in computer science in general,” Kelley says. “Back then, I just assumed it would change over time. But it hasn’t.”

Studies show that girls often drop out of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects in middle or high school. Some women university graduates do enter the profession. But a lot end up leaving – many for cultural reasons in the workplace.

“There is a high attrition rate. We need to promote the value of studying STEM. And, we also need to work for the people who are in the field now by creating inclusive work environments.”

Kelley joined Microsoft about two years ago. Since then, she has been struck by its strong culture of respecting diverse viewpoints and encouraging inclusion – things she hasn’t seen stressed in some other companies.

“Not every idea is a great idea. But that doesn’t mean it should be mocked or dismissed. It should be respected as an idea. I have spoken to some women elsewhere who say because they didn’t feel heard or respected, they didn’t want to stay in IT.”

Bringing in all sorts of people

Kelley says more can be done to build up diversity and inclusion beyond fixing the gender mix. Again, she is impressed by Microsoft’s efforts. “Yes, we need to engage more women. But we also need to bring in all sorts of people from different social and career backgrounds.

“For instance, our team – the Cybersecurity Solution Group at Microsoft – is looking for people who may not have worked in cybersecurity in the past, but have a great interest (in technology) as well as other talents. So we are creating diversity that way too.”

Kelley recounts her own sideways entry into the field. She fell in love with computers and software during her teens when she discovered for herself how vulnerable networks at the time could be.

Later she graduated from university with a very non-techie qualification: a degree in English. Her first few jobs were editorial roles, but being tech-savvy soon meant she became the “go-to IT guy” in her office.

“Finally someone said to me, ‘Hey, you know what? IT is your calling, and we are hiring.’ So, what had been a hobby for me then became a career.”

She eventually moved into cybersecurity after an intruder broke into a network she had just built. “I pivoted from being a network and software person to someone very much focused on creating secure and resilient architectures and networks to thwart the bad guys.”

We need diverse thinkers

Looking to the future, she wants a broader pool of job seekers to consider careers in cybersecurity, even if they did not like STEM at school.

“We need diverse thinkers … people who understand psychology, for example, who can help understand the mindsets behind these attacks. We need great legal minds to help with ethics and privacy. And, political minds who understand lobbying.”

The cybersecurity world needs individuals who are altruistic and have a little more. “We go into this field because we want to do the right thing and protect people and protect data. That is a critical part. And, it also really helps to have a sort of a ‘tinkering mindset.’”

She explains that when cybersecurity professionals create systems, they also have to produce threat models. To do that, they need to think about, ‘What if I was a bad guy? What if I was trying to take this apart? How could it be taken apart?’ That is the point where they can start to work out how to make their system more attack resistant.

Meanwhile, she is eager to debunk a few myths swirling around the subject of cybercrime.

For starters, the days of the smart lone wolf kid in a hoodie hacking for fun from his bedroom are more or less over. Nowadays, only a tiny minority of perpetrators cause digital mischief and embarrassment just for the bragging rights or are “hacktivists” who want to advance social or environmental causes.

Ominously, there are sophisticated state-sponsored actors targeting the vulnerabilities of rival powers. Governments around the world are rightly worried about their citizens’ data. But they also fear for the security of vital infrastructure, like power grids and transport systems. Accordingly, military strategists now rate cyber as a field of warfare alongside land, sea, and air.

That said, most of the bad guys are simply in it for the money and do not deserve the glory and headlines they sometimes get.

“They are not glamorous. Many are in big criminal syndicates that just want to grab our data – hurting us and hurting our loved ones.”

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Beyond overhead: What drives donor support in the digital era – Microsoft on the Issues

One of the greatest challenges to running a successful nonprofit organization has always been that donors look at nonprofits’ stewardship of funds as a primary way to assess impact. While there is no doubt that nonprofits must use donor funds responsibly, tracking to see if a nonprofit maintains the highest possible ratio of spending on programs-to spending on overhead is a poor proxy for understanding how effective a nonprofit truly is. In fact, the imperative to limit overhead has forced many organizations to underinvest in efforts to improve efficiency. Ironically, this has long prevented nonprofits from utilizing innovative digital technologies that could help them be more efficient and effective.

Now more than ever, cloud-based technology can have a transformative effect on how nonprofit organizations increase impact and reduce costs. The same technologies that give for-profit businesses insights about customers and markets, create operational efficiencies and speed up innovation can also help nonprofits target donors and raise funds more strategically, design and deliver programming more efficiently, and connect field teams with headquarters more effectively. This means smart investments in digital tools are essential to every nonprofit’s ability to make progress toward its mission.

The good news is that a major shift is underway. As part of our work at Microsoft Tech for Social Impact to understand how nonprofits can use technology to drive progress and demonstrate impact, we recently surveyed 2,200 donors, volunteers and funding decision-makers to learn how they decide which organizations to support, what their expectations are for efficiency and effectiveness, and how they feel about funding technology infrastructure at the nonprofits they support.

The results, which we published recently in the white paper “Beyond overhead: Donor expectations for driving impact with technology,” make clear that people donate to organizations they trust and that donors are increasingly looking at data beyond the ratio of program spending to overhead spending to measure impact. We also found that those who support nonprofits now overwhelmingly recognize the critical role technology plays in driving impact and delivering value. Nearly four out of five supporters (which includes both donors and volunteers) and more than nine out of 10 funding decision-makers told us they support directing donations to improve technology at a nonprofit. An overwhelming majority — 85 percent of supporters and 95 percent of funding decision-makers — are more likely to contribute to organizations that can show that they are using technology to improve how it runs programs.

At the same time, the survey found that most people expect organizations to use donations more efficiently and to advance the causes they work for more effectively than in the past. Among supporters, for example, 79 percent believe nonprofits should be better at maximizing funding than they were 10 years ago. Just over 80 percent of funding decision-makers believe nonprofits should be more effective at achieving their goals and advancing the causes they work for now than in the past.

To give you a better sense of what potential donors are looking for as they consider where to target their nonprofit contributions and how much they weigh technology into their thinking, we have developed a tool using Power BI so you can look at the data in greater detail. Within the tool, you can see how people responded to questions about overall effectiveness and efficiency, the importance of technology as a driver of success, how likely they are to support organizations that use technology to demonstrate impact, and their willingness to fund technology improvements at the nonprofits they support.

To make the tool as useful as possible for your organization, you can sort the data by supporters and funding decision-makers, and you can explore how responses varied by region. As you move through the data, you will see how these critical groups of supporters and funders think about these important questions in the region where your organization operates:

The ultimate goal of this survey was to get a clearer picture of what motivates people to contribute to an organization and how technology can help nonprofits meet supporters’ expectations. Overall, I believe our research provides some important insights that can help any organization be more successful. Fundamentally, we found that people donate to organizations that are perceived to be trustworthy, and that trust is achieved though operational transparency and effective communications. More than ever before, donors recognize that using data to measure and demonstrate impact is the foundation for trust.

I encourage you to read the full report and learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to support nonprofits.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Google VM, microservices tools advance cloud migration strategy

Google hopes to advance its third-place standing in the public cloud market with additional cloud migration tools and enterprise-friendly features to entice more workloads onto the platform.

Migrate for Compute Engine can now move virtual machines from Microsoft Azure to Google Cloud, although the feature is in beta. Previously, Migrate for Compute Engine supported only migrations from AWS.

Google has also expanded support for service mesh, which provides a communication layer for application components to talk to one another. It’s favored for microservices-based application architectures and relieves the burden on developers to inject and maintain networking code in their apps.

Traffic Director, Google’s take on a service mesh control plane that was unveiled at Cloud Next in April, is now generally available, according to a blog post. Google terms Traffic Director as a global traffic manager for VMs and container workloads. It is now available for use with Anthos, the Kubernetes-based multi-cloud container management platform that became generally available in April.

Traffic Director provides a Google-managed version of Pilot, the traffic-management component of Istio, a popular open source service mesh launched by Google, IBM and Lyft in 2017. Pilot manages traffic between microservices on the network through the Envoy sidecar proxy, which executes the distributed networking functionality for apps.

If I’m just giving you a container platform that can run anywhere, there are a lot of companies that can do that with Kubernetes.
Gary ChenAnalyst, IDC

Google’s Layer 7 Internal Load Balancer is now in beta and based on Traffic Director and Envoy. It will give users comprehensive traffic control capabilities with the feel of a traditional load balancer, ideal for projects that involve legacy app migration to service mesh, according to Google.

Anthos is Google’s long-term multi-cloud play

Google has positioned Anthos as an ideal platform for companies that want to achieve parity for container workloads across multiple clouds and their own data centers. Anthos, which is built on Kubernetes, gives customers the ability to refactor applications once and then run them anywhere, according to Google.

While Google is happy to make money from customers that move VM workloads to Compute Engine, it also sees an opportunity for Anthos as a platform for application modernization. Companies that convert VMs to containers via Anthos Migrate get benefits, such as no more need to manually patch their OS, Google said in the blog.

Anthos is aimed at large enterprises and is priced accordingly. One clear rival is Red Hat’s OpenShift, which has similar intent around cross-platform workload portability, albeit with some technical differences. Now that the IBM acquisition of Red Hat is closed, Big Blue likely will unleash its massive global sales force to support OpenShift.

Gary ChenGary Chen

Although Google said it plans to offer Anthos on other public clouds, specific timelines are unclear. “I’m taking more of a wait-and-see attitude to see how that really turns out,” said Gary Chen, an analyst with IDC. Anthos is strongly tied to the Google Cloud, and its true value may be its association and integrations with other Google Cloud services, such as for big data analytics and machine learning.

“If I’m just giving you a container platform that can run anywhere, there are a lot of companies that can do that with Kubernetes,” Chen said.

Even as Google seeks to convert VM workloads to containers for Anthos, it has acknowledged a need to work with VMWare on other fronts. This week, the companies announced the upcoming availability of a VMWare on Google Cloud service.

The move followed the recent release of a similar service on Azure, while VMWare Cloud on AWS has been available since 2017 and gained significant market traction.

Ultimately, enterprise customers have more choices to port VMware workloads onto the public cloud, but they must now weigh considerations such as relative costs and the strength of associated partner ecosystems.

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Adobe Experience Platform adds features for data scientists

After almost a year in beta, Adobe has introduced Query Service and Data Science Workspace to the Adobe Experience Platform to enable brands to deliver tailored digital experiences to their customers, with real-time data analytics and understanding of customer behavior.

Powered by Adobe Sensei, the vendor’s AI and machine learning technology, Query Service and Data Science Workspace intend to automate tedious, manual processes and enable real-time data personalization for large organizations.

The Adobe Experience Platform — previously the Adobe Cloud Platform — is an open platform for customer experience management that synthesizes and breaks down silos for customer data in one unified customer profile.

According to Adobe, the volume of data organizations must manage has exploded. IDC predicted the Global DataSphere will grow from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 zettabytes by 2025. And while more data is better, it makes it difficult for businesses and analysts to sort, digest and analyze all of it to find answers. Query Service intends to simplify this process, according to the vendor.

Query Service enables analysts and data scientists to perform queries across all data sets in the platform instead of manually combing through siloed data sets to find answers for data-related questions. Query Service supports cross-channel and cross-platform queries, including behavioral, point-of-sale and customer relationship management data. Query Service enables users to do the following:

  • run queries manually with interactive jobs or automatically with batch jobs;
  • subgroup records based on time and generate session numbers and page numbers;
  • use tools that support complex joins, nested queries, window functions and time-partitioned queries;
  • break down data to evaluate key customer events; and
  • view and understand how customers flow across all channels.

While Query Service simplifies the data identification process, Data Science Workspace helps to digest data and enables data scientists to draw insights and take action. Using Adobe Sensei’s AI technology, Data Science Workspace automates repetitive tasks and understands and predicts customer data to provide real-time intelligence.

Also within Data Science Workspace, users can take advantage of tools to develop, train and tune machine learning models to solve business challenges, such as calculating customer predisposition to buy certain products. Data scientists can also develop custom models to pull particular insights and predictions to personalize customer experiences across all touchpoints.

Additional capabilities of Data Science Workstation enable users to perform the following tasks:

  • explore all data stored in Adobe Experience Platform, as well as deep learning libraries like Spark ML and TensorFlow;
  • use prebuilt or custom machine learning recipes for common business needs;
  • experiment with recipes to create and train tracked unlimited instances;
  • publish intelligent services recipes without IT to Adobe I/O; and
  • continuously evaluate intelligent service accuracy and retrain recipes as needed.

Adobe data analytics features Query Service and Data Science Workspace were first introduced as part of the Adobe Experience Platform in beta in September 2018. Adobe intends these tools to improve how data scientists handle data on the Adobe Experience Platform and create meaningful models off of which developers can work. 

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Naveego launches tool for analyzing data quality and health

Naveego has launched Accelerator, a tool that analyzes data accuracy and checks the health of multiple data sources.

Naveego Accelerator checks data health by auto-profiling and doing a cross-system comparison. It calculates the percentage of data with consistency errors that would affect a business’s operations and profitability by doing a cross-system comparison.

The tool then delivers analysts results and data health metrics within minutes, according to the vendor. Users can also have Accelerator set data quality checks to investigate issues further.

Data cleansing has long been an important part of data management for businesses. The process fixes or removes data that is wrong, incomplete, formatted incorrectly or duplicated. Data-heavy industries, such as banking, transportation or retail, can use data cleansing to examine data for issues by using rules, algorithms and lookup tables.

Naveego’s flagship product is the Complete Data Accuracy Platform, which aims to prevent issues stemming from inaccurate data. It is a hybrid, multi-cloud platform that manages and detects data accuracy issues.

Naveego has also expanded its Partner Success Program, partnering with Frontblade Systems, H2 Integrated Solutions, Mondelio and Narwal. The Partner Success Program provides a support package for partners that includes sales personnel, technical training and expertise, and marketing and promotional support.

As an emerging vendor in the data quality software market, Naveego must compete with market giants such as Informatica and IBM.

Informatica offers a portfolio of products designed for data quality assurance, including Axon Data Governance, Informatica Data Quality, Cloud Data Quality, Big Data Quality, Enterprise Data Catalog and Data as a Service. Informatica Data Quality ensures data is clean and ready to use, and it supports Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

IBM offers a handful of data quality products, as well, including InfoSphere Information Server for Data Quality, InfoSphere QualityStage, BigQuality and InfoSphere Information Analyzer. These products work to cleanse data, monitor data quality and provide data profiling and analysis to evaluate data for consistency and quality.

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StorONE launches S1aaS, a new storage-as-a-service product

StorONE has announced S1 as a Service, which integrates StorONE’s S1 storage service with Dell Technologies and Mellanox hardware.

One of the key components to S1aaS is the Total Resource Utilization (TRU) feature. This feature maximizes communication channels and balance between storage media and CPU utilization, according to StorONE. Additionally, one platform supports all storage services, all protocols and all media types.

StorONE designed TRU over the course of eight years and aims to remove underutilization in order to give customers 80% more capacity and performance from the same hardware. StorONE claims this gives the lowest capital expenditure and operational expenditure costs available.

Additionlly, S1 gives users hardware freedom, where they are not locked into a particular vendor’s pricing or portfolio. S1 is software-defined storage, which enables IT admins to manage shared storage resources through a single dashboard.

A study by ESG Research in 2017 about European storage trends found that nearly 60% of organizations have deployed or are looking into software-defined storage, while 21% are interested in it in the long term.

In an effort to improve data protection, StorONE designed S1 to speed up drive rebuild times, replace dedicated hot spares with an abstracted system with more granular resiliency and reduce costs. StorONE also uses erasure coding to give users unlimited, nestable, writable and persistent snapshots.

S1aaS can be deployed on premises but is available with a cloudlike subscription model. Organizations are billed monthly, quarterly or yearly, and capacity and performance are user-defined. Pricing starts at $999 per month for an 18 TB all-flash array (AFA), delivering 150,000 IOPS. For $1,797 per month, users receive a 36 TB AFA, delivering 250,000 IOPS. The 54 TB AFA and 300,000 IOPS option costs $2,497 per month.

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No one likes waiting on the phone for a GP appointment. So why do we still do it?

The team behind the services are experts at healthcare, as they also run Patient.Info, one of the most popular medical websites in the UK. More than 100 million people logged on to the site in 2018 to read articles about healthcare, check symptoms and learn to live a healthier life, and more than 60% of GPs in England have access to it.

They also produce a newsletter that’s sent to 750,000 subscribers and around 2,000 leaflets on health conditions and 850 on medicines.

People can access Patient.Info 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s the same for Patient Access but web traffic spikes every morning when people want to book appointments to see their GP. To handle that demand, Patient Access runs on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. As well as being reliable and stable, all patient data is protected by a high level of security – Microsoft employs more than 3,500 dedicated cybersecurity professionals to help protect, detect and respond to threats, while segregated networks and integrated security controls add to the peace of mind.

“About 62% of GP practices use Patient Access,” says Sarah Jarvis MBE, the Clinical Director behind the service. “They’re using it to manage their services, manage appointments, take in repeat medications, consolidate a patient’s personal health record and even conduct video consultations.

“Just imagine your GP being able to conduct video consultations. If you’re aged 20 to 39 you might not want or need to have a relationship with a GP because you don’t need that continuity of care.

“But imagine you are elderly and housebound, and a district nurse visits you. They phone your GP and say: ‘Could you come and visit this patient’, but the GP is snowed under and can’t get there for a couple of hours. The district nurse is also very busy and must visit someone else.

“Now, with Patient Access, a Duty Doctor can look at someone’s medical record and do a video consultation in five minutes. If the patient needs to be referred, the GP can do it there and then from inside the system. The possibilities are endless, and older people, especially, have so much to gain from this.”

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Author: Microsoft News Center