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Jira Roadmaps connect to Confluence, await Code Barrel

Atlassian’s Jira Roadmaps began to sync up with the rest of its cloud-based product line this week, and more integrations will become available this quarter, as users await further streamlining of the company’s tools.

Jira Roadmaps, which offer high-level views into team projects and their projected delivery timelines, became available for the latest version of Jira Software Cloud in October 2018. Jira Software Cloud is distinct from Jira Server, a much older on-premises version of the nearly 20-year-old product.

This week’s updates include several refinements to the Roadmaps workflow interface, such as clearer visualizations of dependencies between Roadmap projects, and finer-grained workflow editing features in the top-level UI. Most significantly, users can now add multiple live Jira Roadmaps images to Confluence documents that offer business managers an organization-wide view of software projects, a key component of enterprise BizDevOps strategy.

“We use Confluence for our internal wiki,” said Chester Dean, director of business technology operations at Looker, a business intelligence firm in Santa Cruz, Calif. “The new integration will give us access to embedded visualizations of next-gen workflows.”

Looker, which Google acquired in June 2019, uses its own project-tracking tools within the previous version of Jira, known as Jira classic, which Atlassian also offers to customers through a partnership between the two companies. Looker still uses the older version of Jira along with the latest version, dubbed Jira next-gen, as users can get started quickly on projects in the newer edition, but the company still relies on some older features.

“We get people to model what they want in next-gen, then build it in classic,” he said. “Next-gen reduces the amount of admin time it takes to learn and understand how to use Jira, but it isn’t yet ready to replace classic for us.”

Jira Roadmaps in Confluence
Atlassian’s Jira Roadmaps can now be embedded in Confluence documents

Jira Roadmaps, Code Barrel offer ease of use

One feature the latest version of Jira lacks is the ability to link workflows between different projects, but an Atlassian spokesperson said that feature is in the works. Dean said he understands that the priority for Atlassian is to keep Jira Roadmaps and the latest version of Jira Software Cloud current.

“There are a bunch of [vendors] building project management tools, and Atlassian has to be there for the next generation of developers,” he said.

Next month, Atlassian will also roll out integration between the latest version of Jira and the Jira automation tools it acquired with Code Barrel last fall. Code Barrel’s rules builder software automates routine tasks for Jira administrators, such as automatically pre-populating issues with associated subtasks.

Non-technical teams at Looker such as marketing and customer service have taken to the latest version of Jira because of such usability features, Dean said.

Still, Dean isn’t alone in wanting more cohesion between the two versions of Jira Software Cloud, as well as between the multiple products in the overall Jira line. Jira Roadmaps for the older version of the product are not yet generally available, but were previewed at the Atlassian Open summit in Boston last October, and users at that event also said they’d like to share information more easily between the two versions of the product.

However, Jira Roadmaps workflows are fundamentally designed to be independent from one another, so that Jira administrators don’t have to manage changes. This may complicate upgrades for users of the older version, but in the long run, analysts warn that enterprises should expect such disruptions.

“From one generation to another, there are new ways of working,” said Thomas Murphy, an analyst at Gartner. “Customers are used to a certain way of doing things, but those features might operate differently than they expect in a new product.”

Atlassian’s software integration balancing act

While cloud-only users wish for more features in common between Jira next-gen and classic, enterprise companies in on-premises and hybrid cloud environments would also like to see some next-gen Jira features added to Atlassian’s Jira Server.

But the company has made clear that its emphasis will be on cloud and next-gen products, and it says more than half of its enterprise customers have already moved to the cloud version. Some 45% of Jira users have also moved to next-gen as of this month, the company said. At this point, Jira Software Cloud and Server products are developed separately on different codebases, which introduce different constraints, making it unlikely they will share features.

In part, this is because Atlassian increasingly competes with Agile planning and DevOps software vendors that don’t offer on-premises products at all, such as Zendesk and GitLab, Gartner’s Murphy said. Another competitive product, Microsoft’s Azure DevOps, offers the same features both on-premises and in the cloud, but Azure DevOps users face their own integration and upgrade challenges as Microsoft moves toward GitHub.

Meanwhile, Atlassian sweetened the cloud deal for reluctant enterprise users when it shored up its cloud security features and began offering a cloud SLA last year, after a move to AWS in 2018 improved its reliability. In November 2019, the company introduced Atlassian Forge, a framework software partners and IT pros can use to convert popular plugins available for on-premises products for use with the cloud suite, which had been another major hindrance to enterprise cloud migration.

Atlassian has pledged to streamline and rationalize all of its Jira products, which include Portfolio for Jira and Jira Align, based on Atlassian’s acquisition of AgileCraft in 2019, and link them through a unified data repository. Company spokespeople said this week that work will continue throughout 2020, along with CI/CD pipeline integration for Jira, likely to be launched at Atlassian Summit in early April.

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Quantum F-Series line expands with entry-level NVMe flash

Quantum Corp. expanded its F-Series line of NVMe flash arrays this week with an entry-level option for businesses that maintain large media and entertainment files.

The F-1000 is the second array in the Quantum F-Series product family, following the 2019 launch of its F-2000 NAS. The F-Series servers run Quantum StorNext file system software in a scale-out file storage cluster for unstructured data.

For the F-1000, Quantum said it reworked commodity server hardware to create a lower-cost option, reducing the amount of memory needed to compute RAID. The 1U server contains a single controller and supports up to 10 NVMe SSDs, with RAID 10. By comparison, the 2U F-2000 has two controllers and takes 24 dual-ported NVMe SSDs.

Quantum F-1000 is offered in two capacity models: 39 TB and 77 TB, with 32G Fibre Channel and 100 Gigabit Ethernet via iSCSI extensions for remote direct memory access

“This innovation stems directly from Quantum’s strategy of focusing on video data. They have tailored a cost-optimized offering for a specific solution, rather than trying to sell you a general-purpose NVMe storage server,” as other storage vendors have done, said Scott Sinclair, a storage analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).

Quantum F-Series takes software-defined approach

Nonvolatile flash memory (NVMe) transmits data across PCI Express lanes instead hopping of between network components. NVMe provides faster data access and high parallelization, making it attractive for high-resolution video rendering and streaming media. NVMe flash media also comes with premium pricing, putting it beyond the reach of many organizations.

The Quantum F-Series marks the NAS vendor’s intention to adopt a software-defined storage approach, said Eric Bassier, a Quantum senior director of technical marketing. Quantum F-Series customers include major movie studios, government agencies and private corporations that need to capture, edit and store data for visual effects and computer-generated imagery.

This innovation stems directly from Quantum’s strategy of focusing on video data.
Scott SinclairStorage analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

Quantum targets the F-1000 for IT teams that need NVMe flash performance, but with moderate density. “It’s pretty cool to be able to port the same [StorNext] software to bring F-1000 server to market so quickly” after its debut in April, Bassier said.

Storage for unstructured data still growing

Organizations are dealing with a surge in newly created data, much of it unstructured data. Media content, particularly image and video, is a prime contributor. According to an ESG report on storage trends, nearly one-quarter of organizations cite digital media as a top driver of projected on-premises storage growth over the next several years.

“The idea that the data center is dying because of the cloud is not the case,” Sinclair said.

Quantum bills the F-1000 as a lower-cost alternative for dense media. It did not disclose pricing, but Bassier said Quantum F-1000 NVMe storage will cost roughly the same as its hybrid SAS arrays.

“We believe SAS SSDs are going to become obsolete rather quickly,” Bassier said.

In addition to StorNext-powered storage, Quantum sells ActiveScale object storage, DXi backup appliances, R-Series storage for in-vehicle storage, VS-Series video surveillance systems and Scalar tape storage systems.

The F-1000 is Quantum’s first product launch since resolving a dispute with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Quantum in December agreed to a $1 million settlement related to a series of earnings misstatements dating to February 2018. The SEC found that former Quantum executives booked revenue from multiyear contracts, but failed to disclose the revenue in financial reports. Quantum had previously agreed to pay $8 million to settle shareholder lawsuits arising from the probe.

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Dell EMC PowerVault ME4 launched for entry-level SAN

Dell EMC this week added a new line of entry-level storage systems, extending its PowerVault line to handle SAN and direct-attached storage.

The Dell EMC PowerVault ME4 line consists of three flash-based models: the 2U ME4012 and ME4024 systems and the dense 5U ME4084 expansion enclosure. 

The PowerVault block arrays can serve as direct-attached storage with Dell EMC PowerEdge storage servers, or they can extend SAN storage to enterprise remote branch offices. The latest PowerVault scales to 336 SAS drives and 4 TB of raw storage with ME expansion shelves.

The new PowerVault block systems provide unified file storage with Dell EMC PowerVault NX Series Windows-based NAS devices.

PowerVault ME4 models start at $13,000, and Dell EMC’s auto-tiering, disaster recovery, RAID support, replication, snapshots, thin provisioning and volume copy software are standard features. Dell EMC claims an HTML5 graphical user interface enables setup within 15 minutes.

PowerVault for large and small customers

Dell’s $60 billion-plus acquisition of EMC in 2016 created wide industry speculation that the combined Dell EMC would need to winnow its overlapping midrange storage portfolio.

Last week, Dell’s vice chairman of products and operations, Jeff Clarke, said the midrange Unity and SC Series platforms would converge in 2019.  But the vendor will still have a variety of storage array platforms. Dell EMC PowerMax — formerly VMAX — is the vendor’s flagship all-flash SAN. Dell EMC also sells XtremIO all-flash and Isilon clusterd NAS systems.

EMC was the external storage market share leader before the Dell acquisition. Post-merger Dell generated more than double the revenue of any other external storage vendor in the second quarter of 2018, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker numbers released last week.

IDC credited Dell with $1.9 billion in storage revenue in the quarter — more than double the $830 million for No. 2 NetApp. Dell had 29.2% of the market and grew 18.4% year over year for the quarter, compared with the overall industry growth of 14.4%, according to IDC.

Dell EMC PowerVault ME4084 5U expansion
Dell EMC’s extended PowerVault family includes the ME4084 5U expansion enclosure.

Dell initially launched PowerVault for archiving and backup, but repositioned it as “cheap and deep” block storage in back of the EqualLogic-based SC SANs.

Sean Kinney, a senior director of product marketing for Dell EMC midrange storage, said PowerVault ME doubles back-end performance with 12 Gbps SAS and is capable of handling 320,000 IOPS.

“We’ve talked over the past few months about how we’re going to simplify our [midrange] portfolio and align it under a couple of key platforms. We have the PowerMax at the high end. This is the next phase in that journey,” Kinney said.

The new PowerEdge arrays take self-encrypting nearline SAS disks or 3.5-inch SAS-connected SSDs, and they can be combined behind a single ME4 RAID controller. The configuration gives customers the option to configure PowerVault as all-flash or hybrid storage. The base ME4012 and ME4024 2U units come with dual controllers, with 8 GB per controller, and four ports for 10 GB iSCSI, 12 Gbps SAS and 16 Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity.

Customers could add a 5U ME484 expansion enclosure behind any ME4 base unit to scale Dell EMC PowerVault to 336 nearline disks or SSDs. Dell EMC claimed it has sold more than 400,000 units of PowerVault generations.

Enterprises use PowerVault arrays “by the hundreds” at remote branch sites, while smaller organizations make up a big share of the installed base, said Bob Fine, a director of marketing for Dell EMC midrange storage.

“If you only have one or two IT generalists, PowerVault could be your entire data center,” Fine said.

Cisco ASR 9000 router gets usage-based pricing

Cisco has introduced pay-as-you-go pricing for the latest line card of the ASR 9000 router, offering service providers a more flexible licensing model as they evaluate 5G infrastructure suppliers.

Cisco’s new licensing model, unveiled this week, applies to the new line card and subsequent generations. The latest hardware has a maximum throughput of 3.2 Tbps, uses a half watt of power per gigabit and is available with 32, 16 or 8 ports of 100 GbE. The cards fit into existing ASR 9000 chassis.

The pricing change lets service providers buy a license for ASR 9000 capacity across sites, but only pay for what they use. The cost would increase as ports are activated, said Sumeet Arora, the head of engineering for service provider network systems at Cisco.

Previously, service providers had to buy an ASR 9000 license for each site based on expected demand. As a result, the customers would pay for capacity they weren’t using, Arora said.

The ASR 9000 router in 5G

Cisco is making its pricing more customer-friendly as service providers consider technology like the ASR 9000 to support future 5G business and consumer services. The fifth-generation cellular technology delivers speed, capacity and latency improvements that will enable new products for healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment and the auto industry, proponents have said.

However, analysts do not expect the 5G services market to take off for several years. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins recently told financial analysts that he didn’t expect significant 5G sales until 2020.

ASR 9000
ASR 9000 router with 32 100 GbE ports

Until the 5G market opens, Cisco is aiming the new ASR 9000 line cards at the network edge where service providers deliver virtual private networks and other business services. Other “big use cases” include internet peering, data center interconnects and the IP infrastructure for mobile services, Arora said.

The ASR 9000 router competes with products from Juniper Networks, Huawei and Nokia. The latter two vendors, along with Ericsson, comprise the top three suppliers to service providers.

Last week, Juniper Networks announced a partnership with Ericsson to sell a collection of products for moving 5G traffic. Cisco announced a wide-ranging partnership with Ericsson in 2015, but that deal has stalled, and many analysts believe it is nearly dead.

“The Ericsson-Cisco partnership was a nonstarter, and both parties did not follow up on the promise that they had articulated during the announcement,” said Rajesh Ghai, an analyst at IDC.

Alexa for Hospitality brings AI voice assistant to hotel rooms

Amazon has released a line of Echo smart speakers custom-built for hotel rooms. Alexa for Hospitality is the company’s latest attempt to capitalize on the consumer success of its AI voice assistant to penetrate the enterprise market.

Alexa for Hospitality lets hotel guests place calls, set alarms, play music, order room service, summon housekeeping and control in-room smart devices. In the future, Amazon will allow guests to sign into their personal Alexa accounts on the hotel room devices.

The platform comes with a centralized console, so hotel administrators can remotely control the Echo devices in every room, managing default settings and resetting devices between guests.

Amazon’s platform is a logical first step for bringing AI to the enterprise market, said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research in Westminster, Mass. But Amazon will eventually need to build a business-grade platform with a more specific set of capabilities.

“Don’t just connect me to the spa, but know that the last four times I stayed there, this is the type of massage I got,” Kerravala said. “That level of personalization comes with having much deeper domain knowledge, and that’s what the consumer products aren’t meant for. They are meant to be broad platforms.”

Consumer smart speakers grow in the enterprise market

AI voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home have grown in popularity among consumers in recent years. The worldwide market for smart speakers is projected to increase at an annual rate of 23.7% per year between now and 2022, according to research released this week by IDC.

As more and more consumers become accustomed to AI voice assistants, tech giants like Amazon are stepping up efforts to sell those devices in the enterprise market. By 2022, for example, London-based research firm IHS Markit forecasts hotels will have installed more than 1.2 million smart speakers in rooms. 

Amazon has already netted one big customer, Marriott International, which will deploy Alexa for Hospitality in a select number of hotels starting this summer. Amazon has invited other hotel chains to apply for an invitation to use the product.

Alexa for Hospitality should complement the software and services provided by traditional networking and telephony providers. But it could make it harder for those vendors to sell some of their newer technologies.

In March, for example, Avaya released a version of its Avaya Vantage desk phone designed for the hospitality industry. Hotels can use the Avaya Breeze Client SDK to customize the capabilities of the Vantage touchscreen device, which also runs an AI voice assistant.

“Alexa for Hospitality and competitors like Avaya’s Vantage … offer identical features to hotel guests,” said Bryan Montany, an analyst at IHS Markit. “As Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world, Amazon’s partnership with Marriott will definitely put some pressure on these competitors.”

Security concerns a hurdle for Amazon

Alexa for Hospitality customers will have to educate hotel guests about how AI voice assistant devices work, said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

Many people may fear that the Alexa app is recording everything it hears in the room. In reality, the Echo devices only begin transmitting information to the Amazon cloud when activated by a wake word, such as “Alexa.”

Amazon faced similar concerns from enterprise IT buyers when it rolled out Alexa for Business last year. That platform connects to enterprise messaging and meeting software, letting users place calls and pull information with voice commands. 

Businesses have expressed trepidation about the fact that Amazon processes the data from its devices in the cloud. In contrast, the IBM Watson Assistant — a toolkit for building AI virtual assistants for the enterprise — gives business more control over their data.

“I’m not sure that the general population, at this point, is going to be excited about having an Amazon device potentially listening to them while they are in hotel rooms,” Lazar said.

Software Reviews | Computer Software Review

Bottom Line: Hootsuite is one of the first names people list when considering social media management, which is with good reason considering all its core features as well as the built-in listening, publishing, and integration capabilities. Still its fast-rising price and some publishing quirks mean it might not be for everyone.

Bottom Line: Hootsuite is one of the first names people list when considering social media management, which is with good reason considering all its core features as well as the built-in listening, publishing, and integration capabilities. Still its fast-rising price and some publishing quirks mean it might not be for everyone.

MSRP: $10.00

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Whole PC, i7, 1080, 16gb etc

Edit: adjusting down prices to stay in line with the market.

Selling this baddie… being a dad doesnt allow me to play around with my pc much anymore, so I am forced to downsize. Specs:

Case – Gamemax Sapphire Mirror – £60 -55£ – sold to ninjatheory
Cpu – Intel i7 -6700k delidded OC 4.5 @1.28v – £175 – 165£
Mobo – Asus Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 painted white, thermal armour cut up top (not visible) – £50 – sold to ninjatheory
Ram – Corsair vengeance lpx 4×4 GB 2400, XMP to 2666mhz – £130 -…

Whole PC, i7, 1080, 16gb etc

Whole PC, i7, 1080, 16gb etc

Edit: adjusting down prices to stay in line with the market.

Selling this baddie… being a dad doesnt allow me to play around with my pc much anymore, so I am forced to downsize. Specs:

Case – Gamemax Sapphire Mirror – £60 -55£
Cpu – Intel i7 -6700k delidded OC 4.5 @1.28v – £175
Mobo – Asus Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 painted white, thermal armour cut up top (not visible) – £50
Ram – Corsair vengeance lpx 4×4 GB 2400, XMP to 2666mhz – £130 – new price 115£
GPU – MSI GTX 1080 EK Seahawk X -…

Whole PC, i7, 1080, 16gb etc

Whole PC, i7, 1080, 16gb etc

Edit: adjusting down prices to stay in line with the market.

Selling this baddie… being a dad doesnt allow me to play around with my pc much anymore, so I am forced to downsize. Specs:

Case – Gamemax Sapphire Mirror – £60 -55£
Cpu – Intel i7 -6700k delidded OC 4.5 @1.28v – £175
Mobo – Asus Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 painted white, thermal armour cut up top (not visible) – £50
Ram – Corsair vengeance lpx 4×4 GB 2400, XMP to 2666mhz – £130 – new price 115£
GPU – MSI GTX 1080 EK Seahawk X -…

Whole PC, i7, 1080, 16gb etc

Whole PC, i7, 1080, 16gb etc

Edit: adjusting down prices to stay in line with the market.

Selling this baddie… being a dad doesnt allow me to play around with my pc much anymore, so I am forced to downsize. Specs:

Case – Gamemax Sapphire Mirror – £60 -55£
Cpu – Intel i7 -6700k delidded OC 4.5 @1.28v – £175
Mobo – Asus Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 painted white, thermal armour cut up top (not visible) – £50
Ram – Corsair vengeance lpx 4×4 GB 2400, XMP to 2666mhz – £130 – new price 115£
GPU – MSI GTX 1080 EK Seahawk X -…

Whole PC, i7, 1080, 16gb etc