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Veeam acquisition puts heat on rivals

Although at least one analyst warned that the Veeam Software acquisition by Insight Partners should have its competitors wary, two of Veeam’s closest backup rivals said they will benefit from the deal.

After disclosing the deal last week, Veeam and private equity firm Insight executives said the backup vendor will shift its strategy toward hybrid cloud data protection and expanding its U.S. presence.

Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said Veeam’s competitors should be wary of a competitive shakeup. Unlike the scenario where a larger tech player buys up Veeam to bolster its product offerings, Insight has stepped in solely to expand Veeam’s reach to generate a return on investment. Bertrand said Veeam now has the financial backing to acquire and accelerate on its expansion strategy.

“Clearly they have a sponsor here who is very focused on growth. It’s a private equity firm; they want a good return out of it,” Bertrand said.

However, cloud-based backup vendor Druva and data protection and management software vendor Commvault painted the Veeam acquisition in a positive light for them. Executives from those rivals said Veeam’s acquisition validates the importance of backup — and proves their technology and business strategies are on the right track.

Druva CTO Stephen Manley said his company is already established at cloud-based backup, which is part of Veeam’s new focus.

“We’ve got a head start in this market. They have a lot of work to get to where we are,” Manley said.

Druva launched its Druva Phoenix platform in 2014, enabling server backup to the cloud, built on AWS. The company acquired Cloud Ranger in 2018 for its AWS backup and disaster recovery features and received a $130 million funding round in June 2019, led by Viking Global Investors.

Manley said the Veeam acquisition will help Druva by drawing attention to cloud-based backup. When large, established vendors make a move into this industry, it generates buzz that customers will inevitably follow. Manley said this leads to customers eventually finding Druva, as well.

Ranga Rajagopalan, vice president of product management at Commvault, said the Veeam acquisition underscores the importance of the backup market. Since June 2018, investors have poured more than $1 billion into cloud data protection vendors Cohesity, Rubrik, Actifio, Druva and Clumio. Insight Partners also poured $500 million into Veeam in January 2019, a year before buying out the entire company.

Rajagopalan said backup is a way to gather all the data. While protecting it remains important, Rajagopalan said that investors and industry experts envision using that data to accelerate application development, analytics and other non-backup purposes.

“It’s more than just backup — it’s data management. There’s so much more customers can do with their data if they can manage it better,” Rajagopalan said.

Commvault’s strategy has shifted toward broadening beyond backup, according to Tom Broderick, vice president of strategy and chief of staff at Commvault. He said customers wanting to do more with their backup data has been a growing trend, and the Veeam acquisition shows it’s a trend investors are keen on riding and getting a return on.

“We see it as validation for backup and the broader data management scope,” Broderick said. “It’s very much an encouraging sign.”

Rajagopalan said Commvault has an advantage in the enterprise market because its software can be used across all environments. Veeam would have to get a similar breadth of coverage in order to land enterprise deals. Just protecting VMware environments nowadays is no longer sufficient, as enterprise customers use other hypervisors, as well. Rajagopalan also added that merely protecting the data is similarly insufficient.

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OTI Lumionics: Accelerating materials design with Azure Quantum

Whether you’ve noticed or not, you probably spend at least some part of your day staring into an OLED (organic LED) display, as they are found in smartphones, tablets, televisions, and computer monitors, to name just a few applications. OLED displays use organic carbon-based molecules to generate light of different colors under an applied electrical current.

Breakthroughs in displays, and most other technological fields, can be traced back to advances in materials science that enable the discovery of advanced materials with unique properties. However, designing new materials with specific desired attributes is extremely difficult because small changes in the structure of atoms that make up a material can dramatically influence its properties.

Computational chemistry simulations can help accelerate the design of new materials, by providing a better understanding of these structure-property relationships. These simulations pose a huge computational challenge because of the complexity of simulating the characteristics of quantum physics, which governs the interactions between atoms, but we now have the compute power to solve some problems that previously seemed intractable on classical hardware, leading to breakthroughs in new materials discovery.

OTI Lumionics has developed a fast materials design approach, tailored to OLEDs and other electronic materials, that consists of a combination of machine learning techniques, computational chemistry simulations, optimization, rapid synthesis, and closed-loop feedback from testing of new materials in pilot production. They work with the largest electronics companies in the world to design new materials that are mass-production ready, enabling the next generation of exciting consumer electronics.

One application of OTI Lumionics materials, that has been designed using this approach, is in transparent displays, which will soon be available in smartphones, helping to hide the array of sensors and front-facing camera under the display. When you are “heads-up driving” – viewing your speedometer and mileage on the windshield of your car – you are looking at another application of this technology.

Instead of using a traditional approach to materials discovery which requires synthesizing and testing thousands of variations to find the suitable candidate, OTI Lumionics has developed software tools to simulate and predict the properties of new materials, allowing a larger pool of candidates to be screened than could otherwise be synthesized and tested. Thus, new materials that meet the precise requirements of the largest electronics manufacturers can be “designed” rather than discovered by chance.

The slowest and most expensive part of the workflow is the computational pipeline – the bottleneck on available hardware when running extremely large simulations, which scale exponentially with size. In addition, some simulations are so compute-intensive that they are literally unsolvable with today’s classical computers. The trade-off between simulation accuracy and compute-intensity is thus a major bottleneck in using a computational approach for commercial size problems.

To get around this bottleneck OTI Lumionics has been investigating quantum computing as a potential candidate to help accelerate computational chemistry simulations of new materials. Since many structure-property relationships of materials are governed by quantum physics, quantum computing, which uses quantum mechanical effects to perform computations, is a natural candidate to simulate these systems more accurately.

“Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize materials design, by enabling highly accurate simulations that could otherwise not be solved on classical hardware. Unfortunately, current gate-based quantum computing is far from being powerful enough to simulate commercial-sized problem,” said OTI Lumionics Head of Materials Discovery, Scott Genin.

quantum simulation diagram

quantum simulation diagram

Using Azure Quantum and quantum optimization solutions running on classical hardware, Quantum Inspired Optimization (QIO) can enable quantum methods for materials simulations that yield more accurate results.

Scott Genin again: “In the field of computational chemistry, high accuracy property prediction is considered to be very difficult; in fact, some computations are nearly impossible on today’s classical hardware. We have developed new methods, that allow quantum computing algorithms for computational chemistry simulations to be represented as binary optimization problems. Running our quantum computing methods with Azure Quantum optimization solutions, we are getting results that are more accurate than other algorithms.”

As an early adopter of quantum computing, OTI Lumionics has invested in a team of quantum chemists, computer scientists, and software engineers to develop their own quantum computing algorithms and software for materials design, and have made significant theoretical and practical advances in the field. With their algorithms now running on Azure Quantum, OTI Lumionics is able to demonstrate meaningful results on commercially relevant sized problems, today. For example, by using Azure Quantum’s optimization tools in their pipeline, OTI Lumionics successfully performed a complete active space configuration interaction simulation of an archetype green light emitting OLED material – Alq3 [Tris (8-hydroxyquinolinato) aluminum].

“We have designed our solver platform in Azure Quantum with customers in mind,” said Microsoft Principal Research Manager, Helmut Katzgraber. “Our quantum solutions on classical hardware do not have the limitations of other solvers and optimization hardware and are driven by some of the most powerful algorithms currently available, while being easy to use as there is no need to tune parameters. “

alq3 graph

alq3 graph

To give you an idea of the computational savings the same simulation of Alq3 would require 42 error-corrected qubits on gate-based quantum hardware. Mapping the problem to an industry-standard quadratic unconstrained binary optimization (QUBO) using OTI Lumionics reparametrization would require a quantum annealer (or QUBO solver) that could handle 58,265 variables. Solving a QUBO problem with this many variables is intractable, and even an equivalent simulation of Alq3 using standard classical computational chemistry software would require a supercomputer. In contrast, using Azure Quantum, the higher-order binary problem can be handled natively, meaning that this problem only requires 132 variables on classical hardware to perform the simulation.

“The fact is that we have compelling results that show that we can start using quantum solutions for commercial problems in a matter of months, not years,” said OTI Lumionics Co-founder and CEO, Michael Helander. “Using Azure Quantum, we now have the potential to dramatically increase the accuracy and throughput of the computational chemistry simulations that underpin our entire materials design workflow.”

Using Azure Quantum, OTI Lumionics can open their computational pipeline to run more accurate simulations at significantly higher speeds, which could ultimately lead to timelier and lower cost materials design, and thus better OLED displays.

We are excited to be working with OTI Lumionics in helping them find breakthrough discoveries in materials through quantum computing and Azure Quantum.

Learn more about the Azure Quantum preview and sign up to become an early adopter.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

IT services acquisitions get early 2020 start

IT services acquisitions got off to a fast start in 2020 with at least three transactions surfacing in the first week of the new year.

The early activity suggests the brisk pace of deals among services providers in 2019 may persist a bit longer. Consider the following:

IT services acquisitions: Deal drivers

The recent IT services acquisition emphasize the value buyers place on vertical market expertise, technology skill sets, software development and geographic reach.

Perficient’s purchase of MedTouch, based in Somerville, Mass., has boosted Perficient’s healthcare business revenue by nearly 10%, according to vice president Ed Hoffman. The acquisition adds 50 employees to the company’s roster.

Perficient’s healthcare business, the company’s largest vertical market, delivers business optimization and customer experience services to payer, provider and pharmaceutical organizations. MedTouch adds digital marketing “solutions and services focused on patient acquisition, customer experience, patient engagement and loyalty, and physician marketing,” Hoffman said.

MedTouch also contributes to Perficient’s customer experience (CX) work. Perficient’s Sitecore practice designs, builds and delivers websites based on the Sitecore Experience Platform. MedTouch brings experience with Sitecore, Acquia and other CX platforms, Hoffman noted.

Quisitive, meanwhile, has expanded its Microsoft technology resources and its geographic reach through its acquisition of Los Altos, Calif.-based Menlo Technologies. Menlo provides capabilities in Azure, Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics, along with software development services.

The Menlo Technologies deal furthers the company’s goal of becoming a Microsoft solutions provider spanning North America. Quisitive launched that strategy in 2018  and has since expanded to eight North American offices from its original base of operations in Dallas and Denver.

Mike ReinhartMike Reinhart

Quisitive CEO Mike Reinhart said the Menlo Technologies acquisition and its 2019 purchase of Corporate Renaissance Group “give us the fuel necessary to drive organic growth” as it builds its Microsoft business.

“These two acquisitions were critical in the sense that it added deep expertise in Microsoft Dynamics 365 capabilities, first-party SaaS IP, offshore development capability and full U.S. geographic coverage,” Reinhart said.

Ahead’s acquisition of Platform Consulting Group, based in Denver, marks the company’s fourth transaction. In October 2019, Ahead merged with Data Blue and acquired Sovereign Systems. The company also purchased Link Solutions Group last year.

Platform Consulting Group focuses on cloud-native application development and modern development frameworks, targeting enterprise clients. That customers are working to rationalize and refactor applications or build new applications with cloud-native patterns influenced Ahead’s purchase of Platform.

“This was part of the core thesis for our acquisition,” said Eric Kaplan, CTO at Ahead. “In addition, the lines are blurring between infrastructure and applications and our clients are looking for help from partners who can provide an end-to-end solution.”

More deals on tap?

Industry executives suggested the current run of IT services acquisitions looks set to continue in 2020.

We expect continued consolidation in the space in 2020 and remain in active dialogue with many firms.
Ed HoffmanVice president, Perficient

“We expect continued consolidation in the space in 2020 and remain in active dialogue with many firms,” Perficient’s Hoffman said.

He said Perficient is “highly selective when it comes to M&A,” emphasizing industry expertise, partner ecosystems, corporate cultures and values, and “exceptionally talented workforces.”

Reinhart also pointed to more consolidation. “Microsoft is exploding with growth in their cloud offerings and the partner ecosystem continues to be fragmented,” he said. Fragmentation, he added, opens an opportunity for Quisitive to look at regional and point-solution partners. Microsoft has said it has more than 64,000 cloud partners.

Quisitive, Reinhart said, “will be very surgical” in its acquisition approach, making sure targeted companies offer differentiated market strength or add to Quisitive’s geographic expansion and Microsoft specialization.

“I believe M&A activity will be strong, but highly correlated to overall markets,” Kaplan noted.

In Kaplan’s view, valuations in particular markets are inflated. “Segments of the market where skills are at a premium and where repeatable solutions exist will obviously command a premium,” he added.

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Wanted – Graphic card for 1440p/4k video files

Hi All , I am after a GPU to playback films on my 1440p monitor and in future 4k monitor ,All I need is a gpu with at least 1 dvi and 1 dp and 1 hdmi port ,thanks.
my system is as follows .thanks.

AMD Ryzen 5 – 2400G
Corsair CMK16GX4M2B3000C15R Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 3000 MHz C15 XMP 2.0
ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB M.2 SSD
WIN 10 Pro 64 bit

City of London

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Lessons learned from PowerShell Summit 2019

Most Windows administrators have at least dabbled with PowerShell to get started on their automation journey, but for more advanced practices, it helps to attend a conference, such as the PowerShell Summit.

For the second straight year, I attended the PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit in Bellevue, Wash., earlier this year. As an avid PowerShell user and evangelist, I greatly enjoy being around fellow community members to talk shop about how we use PowerShell in our jobs as well as catch the deep dive sessions.

This year was a bit different for me as I also presented a session, “Completely Automate Managing Windows Software … Forever,” to explain how I use Chocolatey with PowerShell to automate the deployment of third-party software in my full-time position.

There’s a lot of value in the sessions at PowerShell Summit. Administrators and developers who rely on PowerShell get a chance to learn something new and build their skill set. The videos from the sessions are on YouTube, but if you don’t attend in person you will miss out on the impromptu hallway discussions. These gatherings can be a great way to meet a lot of veteran IT professionals, community leads and even PowerShell team members. Jeffrey Snover, the inventor of PowerShell, was also in attendance.

In this article, I will cover my experiences at this year’s PowerShell Summit and some of the lessons learned during the week.

AWS Serverless Computing

Serverless computing is a very hot topic for many organizations that want to cut costs and reduce the work it takes to support a Windows deployment. With serverless computing, there is no need to manage a Windows Server machine and all its requisite setup and maintenance work. You can use an API to run PowerShell, and it will scale automatically.

I have not tried any sort of serverless computing, but it didn’t take much to see its potential and advantages during the demonstration.

Andrew Pearce, a senior systems development engineer at AWS, presented a session entitled “Unleash Your PowerShell With AWS Lambda and Serverless Computing.” Pearce’s talk covered how to use Amazon’s event-drive computing with PowerShell Core.

I have not tried any sort of serverless computing, but it didn’t take much to see its potential and advantages during the demonstration. Pearce explained that a PowerShell function can run from an event, such as when an image is placed in an AWS Simple Storage Service bucket, to convert the image to multiple resolutions depending on the organization’s need. Another possibility is to run a PowerShell function in response to an IoT event, such as someone ringing a doorbell.

Simple Hierarchy in PowerShell

Simple Hierarchy in PowerShell (SHiPS) is an area in PowerShell that looks interesting, but one that I have not had much experience with. The concepts of SHiPs is similar to traversing a file system in PowerShell; a SHiPs provider can create a provider that looks like a hierarchical file system.

Providers have been a part of PowerShell since version 1.0 and give access to data and components not easily reached from the command line, such as the Windows certificate store. One common example is the PowerCLI data store provider to let users to access a data store in vSphere.

You can see what providers you have on a system with the Get-PSProvider command.

PowerShell providers
The Get-PSProvider cmdlet lists the providers available on the system.

Another familiar use of a PowerShell provider is the Windows registry, which PowerShell can navigate like a traditional file system.

Glenn Sarti of Puppet gave a session entitled “How to Become a SHiPS Wright – Building With SHiPS.” Attempting to write your own provider from scratch is a complex undertaking that ordinarily requires advanced programming skill and familiarity with the PowerShell software development kit. SHiPs attempts to bypass this complexity and make provider development easier by writing provider code in PowerShell. Sarti explained that SHiPs reduces the amount of code to write a module from thousands of lines to less than 20 in some instances.

In his session, Sarti showed how to use SHiPs to create an example provider using the PowerShell Summit agenda and speakers as data. After watching this session, it sparked an idea to create a provider for a Chocolatey repository as if it were a file system.

PowerShell Remoting Internals

In this deep dive session, Paul Higinbotham, a member of the PowerShell team, covered how PowerShell remoting works. Higinbotham explained PowerShell’s five different transports to remoting, or protocols, it can use to run remote commands on another system.

In Windows, the most popular is WinRM since PowerShell is most often used on Windows. For PowerShell Core, OpenSSH is the best option for cross-platform use since both Windows and Linux. The advantage here is you can run PowerShell Core scripts from Windows to Linux and vice versa. Since I work in a mostly Linux environment, using Secure Shell (SSH) and PowerShell together makes a lot of sense.

This session taught me about the existence of interprocess communication remoting in PowerShell Core. This is accomplished with the command Enter-PSHostProcess and the main perk being the ability to debug scripts on a remote system from your local machine.

Toward the end of the presentation, Higinbotham shared a great diagram of the remoting architecture and goes over what each component does during a remoting session.

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Wanted – StarTech 40 Pin Male IDE to SATA Adapter Converter

I have exactly what you want , at least appearance- and brand-wise. Not used for a while now, not sure if it is working but definitely from a quickly failed project on a TV recorder. Comes with power cables. £10 (?) posted with RM 1st class once you confirm they’re working?

EDIT: “they” as in TWO of them. Sorry, a little like London busses…?

Click to expand…

Wanted – StarTech 40 Pin Male IDE to SATA Adapter Converter

I have exactly what you want , at least appearance- and brand-wise. Not used for a while now, not sure if it is working but definitely from a quickly failed project on a TV recorder. Comes with power cables. £10 (?) posted with RM 1st class once you confirm they’re working?

EDIT: “they” as in TWO of them. Sorry, a little like London busses…?

Click to expand…