How to Use a Quantum Computer

April 20, 2017

It is a dream come true that quantum computers are finally here!  But how are we going to use them?  PC World discusses the possibilities in, “Quantum Computers Are Here—But What Are They Good For?”  D-Wave and IBM both developed quantum computers and are trying to make a profit from them by commercializing their uses.  Both companies agree, however, that quantum computers are not meant for everyday computer applications.

What should they be used for?

Instead, quantum systems will do things not possible on today’s computers, like discovering new drugs and building molecular structures. Today’s computers are good at finding answers by analyzing information within existing data sets, but quantum computers can get a wider range of answers by calculating and assuming new data sets.  Quantum computers can be significantly faster and could eventually replace today’s PCs and servers. Quantum computing is one way to advance computing as today’s systems reach their physical and structural limits.

What is astounding about quantum computers are their storage capabilities.  IBM has a 5-qubit system and D-Wave’s 2000Q has 2,000 qubit.   IBM’s system is more advanced in technology, but D-Wave’s computer is more practical.  NASA has deployed the D-Wave 2000Q for robotic space missions; Google will use it for search, image labeling, and voice recognition; and Volkswagen installed it to study China’s traffic patterns.

D-Wave also has plans to deploy its quantum system to the cloud.  IBM’s 5-qubit computer, on the other hand, is being used for more scientific applications such as material sciences and quantum dynamics.  Researchers can upload sample applications to IBM’s Quantum Experience to test them out.  IBM recently launched the Q program to build a 50-qubit machine.  IBM also wants to push their quantum capabilities in the financial and economic sector.

Quantum computers will be a standard tool in the future, just as the desktop PC was in the 1990s.  By then, quantum computers will respond more to vocal commands than keyboard inputs.

Whitney Grace, April 20, 2017

Battle in the Clouds

April 10, 2017

The giants of the tech world are battling fiercely to dominate the Cloud services industry. Amazon, however is still at the pole position being the first entrant, followed by Microsoft, Google and IBM.

The Street in an in-depth report titled How Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM Battle for Dominance in the Cloud says:

Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is the indisputable leader, with a breadth of services and clients ranging from blue chips such as Coca Cola (KO) and General Electric (GE) to app-economy stalwarts like Netflix (NFLX), Tinder and Lyft. Microsoft and Google are closing the features gap, even if they are far behind on market share.

So far, these technology giants are fighting it out in cornering the IaaS market. Amazon with AWS clearly dominates this space. Microsoft, because of its inherent advantage of B2B software already running across major corporations has it easy, but not easy enough to topple Amazon. Google and IBM are vying for the remaining market share.

Apart from IaaS, PaaS is going to be the next frontier on which the Cloud battles will be fought, the report states. Consolidation is a distant possibility considering the fact that the warriors involved are too big to be acquired. With most services at par, innovation will be the key to gain and sustain in this business.

Vishal Ingole, April 10, 2017

Diffeo Incorporates Meta Search Technology

March 24, 2017

Will search-and-discovery firm  Diffeo’s recent acquisition give it the edge? Yahoo Finance shares, “Diffeo Acquires Meta Search and Launches New Offering.” Startup Meta Search developed a local computer and cloud search system that uses smart indexing to assign index terms and keep the terms consistent. Diffeo provides a range of advanced content processing services based on collaborative machine intelligence. The press release specifies:

Diffeo’s content discovery platform accelerates research analysts by applying text analytics and machine intelligence algorithms to users’ in-progress files, so that it can recommend content that fills in knowledge gaps — often before the user thinks of searching. Diffeo acts as a personal research assistant that scours both the user’s files and the Internet. The company describes its technology as collaborative machine intelligence.

Diffeo and Meta’s services complement each other. Meta provides unified search across the content on all of a user’s cloud platforms and devices. Diffeo’s Advanced Discovery Toolbox displays recommendations alongside in-progress documents to accelerate the work of research analysts by uncovering key connections.

Meta’s platform integrates cloud environments into a single keyword search interface, enabling users to search their files on all cloud drives, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack and Evernote all at once. Meta also improves search quality by intelligently analyzing each document, determining the most important concepts, and automatically applying those concepts as ‘Smart Tags’ to the user’s documents.

This seems like a promising combination. Founded in 2012, Diffeo made Meta Search its first acquisition on January 10 of this year. The company is currently hiring. Meta Search, now called Diffeo Cloud Search, is based in Boston.

Cynthia Murrell, March 24, 2017

Enterprise Search in the Cloud: Which Service Provider?

March 9, 2017

In the wake of Amazon’s glitch, a number of publications rushed to report on the who, what, where, and why. ZDNet took a different approach in “Which Cloud Will Give You the Biggest Bang for the Buck?” The write up recycled in the best tradition of “real” journalism a report from a vendor named Cloud Spectator. I won’t ask too many questions about sample size, methodology, the meaning assigned to “value,” and statistical validity. I will assume that the information is not Facebook news.

The guts of the write  up is this chart, which is impossible to read in this blog post, but the original is reasonably legible:

image

What this chart reveals about hosting is that the 1&1 system is the big dog. I would point out that the naming of the service is “1+1” in the chart; the “real” name of the company is “1&1”, a real joy to search using free Web search systems.

Okay, 1+1 was on my radar as a very low cost provider of Web page hosting and other services. Now the company remains a low cost provider and has added a range of new services. Cloud Spectator finds the company A Number One. I was tempted to type ANo1, another keen string to plug into a Web search system.

What interested me was the cluster of outfits which the Cloud Spectator survey pegged as small dogs; for example, Amazon Web Services, the very same outfit that nuked some major Web sites. (Send in a two pizza team, Mr. Bezos.)

Close to Amazon’s lower third ranking was Microsoft Azure. Somehow that seems par for the new Microsoft. Google and the financially challenged Rackspace were in the middle of the pack. (What happened to Rackspace’s love affair with Robert Scobel, recently removed from the Gilmore Gang.)

But the major news for me was that IBM, yep, the owner of the famed and much admired Watson thing, was darn near last. IBM nosed out DimensionDate for the “Also Participated” badge.

Net net: Maybe 1&1 should get more attention. Perhaps the company will change its name to minimize the likelihood of misspellings. Alternatively 1&1 can hire Recode to endlessly repeat that one spells embarrassed with two r’s and two esses.

When it comes to search in the cloud, the question becomes, “How does one deploy an enterprise class search and content processing on the 1&1 system?” Good question.

Stephen E Arnold, March 9, 2017

Amazon, the Walmart of Digital Selling, Is into Smart Software Too

March 3, 2017

Big day. Amazon, the company that reports its financials in a remarkably weird way, is now explaining that it is a player in the smart software poker game. Navigate to “Welcome to the New AWS AI Blog!” Now the DWs (digital Walmarters) are explaining that artificial intelligence, was, is, and will be the future of the mall killer.

How many AI and smart software services does the Main Street shopping pillager offer. Check out this chart:

image

There are “engines.” One can pay money to use this devices. Some of the names are semi familiar like TensorFlow; others may be unfamiliar to the shopping crowd; for instance, CNTK. Love that acronym.

There are complete platforms. Some of these are open sourcey, but when vendor lock in is one of the possible consequences of the cloud approach to software, one never knows, does one? I like Amazon machine learning and “EMR”, an acronym which means a variant of Google’s old school batch processing thing. Yikes! Batch processing in a zip zip world of real time flows.

The third layer is Amazon AI services. I noted the inclusion of Lex, Amazon’s home companion. Alexa, what’s the weather?

The idea is that Amazon is every bit as robust as some of the other smart software outfits. No less an authority than Mark Cuban is pressed into duty as an objective supporter of Amazon’s freshly repackaged collection of oddments.

The blog, I assume, will explain how those in search of smart software can order up machine learning along with an order of dog food.

Who should be nervous about Amazon’s repackaging of its industry leading cloud services? I would suggest that cross town pal Microsoft might be checking out Amazon’s AI chart. Then, of course, there are the wizards at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. I wonder of Amazon’s services will be of use to HPE when it meets up with Autonomy in court later this year. And the number one outfit likely to be consulting tea leaves for hints of Amazon’s AI impact? Good old IBM. Fresh from another quarter of declining revenues and more IBM Watson hyperbole, IBM might be wondering, “How did a digital Walmart get from used CDs to AI?”

And the Google? My hunch is that the Google  may note Amazon’s blog. But the company is in the ad business, has been, and probably will be for the foreseeable future. Amazon is too diversified to the Google to see many parallels.

My hunch is that Amazon does see search as vulnerable. Another Main Street? Perhaps?

Stephen E Arnold, March 3, 2017

Google Shoots for Star Status in the Cloud Space

February 21, 2017

Competition continues in the realm of cloud technology. Amigo Bulls released an article, Can Google Cloud Really Catch Up With The Cloud Leaders?, that highlights how Google Cloud is behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. However, some recent wins for Google are also mentioned. One way Google is gaining steam is through new clients; they signed Spotify and even some of Apple’s iCloud services are moving to Google Cloud. The article summarizes the current state,

Alphabet Inc’s-C (NSDQ:GOOG) Google cloud has for a long time lived in relative obscurity. Google Cloud results do not even feature on the company’s quarterly earnings report the way AWS does for Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN) and Azure for Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT). This appears somewhat ironic considering that Google owns one of the largest computer and server networks on the planet to handle tasks such as Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail. Further, the Google Cloud Platform is actually cheaper than offerings by the two market leaders.

Enterprise accounts with legacy systems will likely go for Microsoft as a no-brainer given the familiarity factor and connectivity. Considering the enterprise sector will make up a large portion of cloud customers, Amazon is probably Google’s toughest competition. Spotify apparently moved to Google from Amazon because of the quality tools, including machine-learning, and excellence in customer service. We will continue following whether Google Cloud makes it as high in the sky as its peers.

Megan Feil, February 21, 2017

Oracle Pays Big Premium for NetSuite and Larry Ellison Benefits

February 6, 2017

The article on Reuters titled Oracle-NetSuite Deal May Be Sweetest for Ellison emphasizes the perks of being an executive chairman like Larry Ellison, of Oracle. Ellison ranks as the third richest person in America and fifth in the world. The article suggests that his fortune of over $50B is often considered as mingling with Oracle’s $160B in a way that makes, if no one else, at least Reuters, very uncomfortable. The article does offer some context to the most recent acquisition of NetSuite, for which Oracle paid a 44% premium on a company of which Ellison owns a 45% stake.

NetSuite was founded by an ex-Oracle employee, bankrolled by Ellison. While Oracle concentrated on selling enterprise software to giant corporations, the upstart focused on servicing small and medium-sized companies using the cloud. The two companies’ businesses have increasingly overlapped as larger customers have become comfortable using web-based software.

As a result, it makes strategic sense to combine the two firms. And the process seems to have been handled right, with a committee of independent Oracle directors calling the shots.

The article also points out that such high surcharges aren’t all that unusual. Salesforce.com recently paid a 56% premium for Demandware. But in this case, things are complicated by Ellison’s potential conflict of interest. If Oracle had done more to invest in cloud business or NetSuite earlier, say four or five years ago, they would not find themselves forking over just under $10B now.

Chelsea Kerwin, February 6, 2017

Google and the Cloud Take on Corporate Database Management

February 1, 2017

The article titled Google Cloud Platform Releases New Database Services, Fighting AWS and Azure for Corporate Customers on GeekWire suggests that Google’s corporate offerings have been weak in the area of database management. Compared to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, Google is only wading into the somewhat monotonous arena of corporate database needs. The article goes into detail on the offerings,

Cloud SQL, Second Generation, is a service offering instances of the popular MySQL database. It’s most comparable to AWS’s Aurora and SQL Azure, though there are some differences from SQL Azure, so Microsoft allows running a MySQL database on Azure. Google’s Cloud SQL supports MySQL 5.7, point-in-time recovery, automatic storage resizing and one-click failover replicas, the company said. Cloud Bigtable is a NoSQL database, the same one that powers Google’s own search, analytics, maps and Gmail.

The Cloud Bigtable database is made to handle major workloads of 100+ petabytes, and it comes equipped with resources such as Hadoop and Spark. It will be fun to see what happens as Google’s new service offering hits the ground running. How will Amazon and Microsoft react? Will price wars arise? If so, only good can come of it, at least for the corporate consumers.

Chelsea Kerwin, February 1, 2017

Big Data Is a Big Mess

January 18, 2017

Big Data and Cloud Computing were supposed to make things easier for the C-Suites to take billion dollar decisions. But it seems things have started to fall apart.

In an article published by Forbes titled The Data Warehouse Has Failed, Will Cloud Computing Die Next?, the author says:

A company that sells software tools designed to put intelligence controls into data warehousing environments says that traditional data warehousing approaches are flaky. Is this just a platform to spin WhereScape wares, or does Whitehead have a point?

WhereScape, a key player in Data Warehousing is admitting that the buzzwords in the IT industry are fizzing out. The Big Data is being generated, in abundance, but companies still are unsure what to do with the enormous amount of data that their companies produce.

Large corporations who already have invested heavily in Big Data are yet to find any RoIs. As the author points out:

Data led organizations have no idea how good their data is. CEOs have no idea where the data they get actually comes from, who is responsible for it etc. yet they make multi million pound decisions based on it. Big data is making the situation worse not better.

Looks like after 3D-Printing, another buzzword in the tech world, Big Data and Cloud Computing is going to be just a fizzled out buzzword.

Vishal Ingole, January 18, 2017

Costs of the Cloud

December 15, 2016

The cloud was supposed to save organizations a bundle on servers, but now we learn from Datamation that “Enterprises Struggle with Managing Cloud Costs.” The article cites a recent report from Dimensional Research and cloud-financial-management firm Cloud Cruiser, which tells us, for one thing, that 92 percent of organizations surveyed now use the cloud. Researchers polled 189 IT pros at Amazon Web Services (AWS) Global Summit in Chicago this past April, where they also found that 95 percent of respondents expect their cloud usage to expand over the next year.

However, organizations may wish to pause and reconsider their approach before throwing more money at cloud systems. Writer Pedro Hernandez reports:

Most organizations are suffering from a massive blind spot when it comes to budgeting for their public cloud services and making certain they are getting their money’s worth. Nearly a third of respondents said that they aren’t proactively managing cloud spend and usage, the study found. A whopping 82 percent said they encountered difficulties reconciling bills for cloud services with their finance departments.

The top challenge with the continuously growing public cloud resource is the ability to manage allocation usage and costs,’ stated the report. ‘IT and Finance continue to have difficulty working together to ascertain and allocate public cloud usage, and IT continues to struggle with technologies that will gather and track public cloud usage information.’ …

David Gehringer, principal at Dimensional Research, believes it’s time for enterprises to quit treating the cloud differently and adopt IT monitoring and cost-control measures similar to those used in their own data centers.

The report also found that top priorities for respondents included cost and reporting at 54 percent, performance management at 46 percent, and resource optimization at 45 percent. It also found that cloudy demand is driven by application development and testing, at 59 percent, and big data/ analytics at 31 percent.

The cloud is no longer a shiny new invention, but rather an integral part of most organizations. We would do well to approach its management and funding as we would other resource. The original report is available, with registration, here.

Cynthia Murrell, December 15, 2016

Next Page »

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta