Globe Newspaper Has to Rethink IT Infrastructure

April 30, 2014

The article “Boston Globe Rebuilds Its IT Infrastructure After New Owner Takes Over” published in eWeek creates speculation about how flawed the newspaper’s tech was. The New York Times sold The Boston Globe in October 2013 and more than management changed. The New York Times centralized all of The Globe’s IT systems, but when it broke away so did the infrastructure. Wade Sendall, VP of IT at The Globe, must work with a limited budget and a staff of sixty to rebuild workflows.

Wendell and his team decided use the Mendix App Platform and it resolved many pressing problems. Not only were immediate issues resolved, but also Mendix provided solutions for others within the six to nine month deadline.

“ ‘In the past, applications were built by developers and they’d eventually leave, leaving a hodge-podge” of code and applications, said Sendall. ‘So what we’ve tried to do is put this platform in place to increase flexibility. It means easier changes, support and documentation for the future,” since it is all stored in the platform.’ “

Not a bad resolution to what could have been a catastrophe. It does beg the question, is The New York Times’ infrastructures in desperate need of revamping as well?

Whitney Grace, April 30, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Prediction for IBM January Announcement

January 8, 2014

Folks at the Register have been reading the signs and believe they know what big announcement IBM plans to make at its Infrastructure Matters virtual event on January 14th. “IBM Flashy January Announcement: Wanna Know What’s in It?” predicts the launch of data centers with all-flash memory. That would be one way to combat storage latency. What makes writer Chris Mellor so sure? Several clues led to the prediction.

First, Mellor points to an SEC filing in which Netlist is sewing Diablo and SMART Storage for allegedly using its DIMM tech. The filing revealed that IBM is planning to introduce ULLtraDIMM to the market in one of its X-Series servers in January. If the filing is accurate, that would add around a terabyte of flash alongside a server’s main memory, cutting access time in half.

Then there’s a blog post from Woody Hutsell, who found himself working in IBM’s FlashSystems division after Big Blue bought up his former employer, Texas Memory Systems. According to Hutsell’s post, IBM plans to introduce flash arrays to cover both high-end and efficiency markets; the post hints at a connection to the January announcement.

If those leads aren’t enough, a simple look at the speakers IBM has lined up convinced Mellor that his suspicions are correct. He writes:

“Looking at the three featured speakers at the event we see:

*Adalio Sanchez, General Manager, System x

*Alex Yost, VP, IBM PureFlex, System x and Bladecenter

*Michael Kuhn, Vice President and Business Line Executive, Flash Systems.

“With these three speakers highlighted, your Vulture thinks we are going to be told about IBM X-Series servers fitted with ULLtraDIMMs, other servers fitted with FlashSystem PCIe Flash Adapters, and a new line of Flash System arrays that will feature in-line deduplication and other data management functionality. They will be IBM’s response to Pure System’s arrays, EMC’s XtremIo, NetApp’s EF550 and coming FlashRay, and Violin Memory’s 6000 and 3000-series products.

“The Flash Adapters are IBM’s response to Fusion-io and the many other PCIe flash card vendors such as LSI, Micron and Violin.

“The ULLtraDIMM X-Series servers will be an industry-first and give IBM an edge over Cisco, Dell and HP in the server game.”

So, is IBM ready to move into the all-flash realm, or is our “Vulture” on the wrong trail? We will find out soon.

Cynthia Murrell, January 08, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Oracle Claims Irritate Competitors

October 13, 2013

Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison has been talking trash about his company’s competitors, and they are not taking it lying down. Business Insider reports, “IBM and SAP Say You Shouldn’t Believe Larry Ellison’s Latest Claims About Oracle’s New Products.” The latest pair of Ellison assertions to cause a stir comes from a presentation the executive gave at Oracle’s recent conference. In that keynote speech, Ellison claims their new server is much faster and cheaper than the IBM alternative. Writer Julie Bort tells us:

“The problem is that Oracle has already been busted three times for advertising campaigns claiming that Oracle’s servers are faster, better, or cheaper than IBM’s. IBM has complained about these ads to the advertising industry’s self-regulation body, the National Advertising Division, and NAB has consistently sided with IBM and told Oracle to change the ads. When IBM asked NAB to look into the truth of a fourth campaign, NAB threw up its hands and asked The Federal Trade Commission to investigate Oracle’s ads for ‘possible law enforcement action,’ it said last month.”

Bort does note that IBM has a habit of dragging regulators into its disagreements. Still, the fact that IBM is not the only company aggrieved by Oracle‘s claims may lead some credence to its position. In the same conference presentation in which he blasted IBM’s server, Ellison asserted that Oracle’s in-memory database feature “instantly makes the database work at least 100 times faster.” SAP, home of the comparable yet cheaper HANA database, takes issue with the claim. SAP’s Hasso Plattner replied that Oracle is:

“. . . still trying to make queries run faster but missed the chance to simplify the data management at the same time. SAP HANA has been delivering real-time performance to our customers in real world environments for years.”

I have to wonder whether the controversy helps or hurts Oracle. Either way, since the company maintains a hold on about half the database market share, I should think its CEO could afford to dial back the controversial claims, if only out of professional courtesy.

Cynthia Murrell, October 13, 2013

Watson Gets A Few More IQ Points

September 24, 2013

Watson impressed the world with a computer’s potential when IBM first introduced it in 2009. According to PC World, the powerful processor is about to get a few more IQ points: “IBM”S Watson Could Get Even Smarter With Power8 Chip.” Watson is currently running on the Power7 chip, but number 8 was discussed at a recent conference and is described as being two to three times faster. IBM’s Power line and Intel’s Xeon processor are used in most of the world’s supercomputing. Whenever IBM upgrades its product it uses Watson as a test dummy and the ultimate marketing tool.

Watson is already a powerful tool used in customer service applications, financial applications, and potentially smartphones. The new upgrade will make Watson and other computers that use the Power more than double their processing speed.

IBM has yet to release Power8, but it will soon:

“Recently, IBM announced its OpenPower initiative, where it will license the Power chips and co-develop an ecosystem around the Power architecture with companies like Google, Nvidia, and Mellanox. Up until now, IBM primarily used the Power design in its own servers. This new initiative makes it possible for cloud services and their technology providers to redesign the chips and circuit boards where computing is done, optimizing the interactions of microprocessors, memory, networking, data storage and other components, IBM executives said.”

More is just around the corner for Watson. I have made the joke before and I will continue to do so, I just hope it is not world domination.

Whitney Grace, September 24, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Approaching Infrastructure Challenges with Intelligence API

August 6, 2013

The rise of metadata is here, but will companies be able to harness its value? Concept Searching points to the answer that ROI has not been successful with this across the board. A recent article, “Solving the Inadequacies and Failures in Enterprise Search,” admonishes the laissez-faire approach that some companies have towards enterprise search. The author advocates, instead, towards a hands-on information governance approach.

What the author calls a “metadata infrastructure framework” should be created and should be comprised of automated intelligent metadata generation, auto-classification, and the use of goal and mission aligned taxonomies.

According to the article:

The need for organizations to access and fully exploit the use of their unstructured content won’t happen overnight. Organizations must incorporate an approach that addresses the lack of an intelligent metadata infrastructure, which is the fundamental problem. Intelligent search, a by-product of the infrastructure, must encourage, not hamper, the use and reuse of information and be rapidly extendable to address text mining, sentiment analysis, eDiscovery and litigation support. The additional components of auto-classification and taxonomies complete the core infrastructure to deploy intelligent metadata enabled solutions, including records management, data privacy, and migration.

We wholeheartedly agree that investing in infrastructure is a necessity — across many areas, not just search. However, when it comes to a search infrastructure, we would be remiss not to mention the importance of security. Fortunately there are solutions like Cogito Intelligence API that offer businesses focused on avoiding risks the confidence in using a solution already embedded with corporate security measures.

Megan Feil, August 6, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Beyond Search

Google Competes with Amazon and Apple on Infrastructure Spending

May 1, 2013

According to the article titled Google’s Infrastructure Spending Spree Continues; $1.2B in Q1 on GIGAOM, Google has almost doubled its spending from last year’s first quarter. It continues spending on property and equipment, and to maintain efficiency. Apple and Amazon have not released their earnings report as of yet, although in the previous quarter each company spent over 2 billion. The article explains,

Apples-to-apples comparisons can be tough, because everyone’s businesses are different and decisions to build or buy new gear can affect expenditures, as can massive new headquarters. But here goes: In its fiscal third quarter earnings announced on Thursday, Microsoft claims it spent $930 million. Facebook, Apple and Amazon have not yet released their latest earnings, although both Apple and Amazon spent more than $2 billion on “property and equipment” in the previous quarter. Facebook spent $198 million and another $89 million leasing property and equipment.”

Apple especially has drawn attention for its new headquarters, reportedly nearing 3 billion dollars over budget due to extravagances like 15 acres of trees and cast ceiling molds that will be lifted into place, according to this article, Apple’s Massive Jobs-designed Future Headquarters projects is $2B Over Budget. Microsoft’s spending sound meager in comparison at 930 million. Google’s huge investment in infrastructure makes us wonder, will the company with the biggest computer win the revenue wars?

Chelsea Kerwin, May 01, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

MuleSoft Readies for IPO for Enterprise SAAS

April 12, 2013

MuleSoft is making headlines for its ability to connect applications on-site and in the Cloud. As it launches into an IPO, big funding is rolling in. Read all of the details in the TechCrunch article, “Readying For An IPO, Enterprise SaaS Integration Platform MuleSoft Raises $37M From NEA, Salesforce And Others.”

The article begins:

MuleSoft, an integration platform for connecting SaaS and enterprise applications in the cloud and on-premise, has raised $37 million led by NEA . . . This bring the company’s total funding to $81 million. MuleSoft lets organizations integrate their cloud and on-premise applications. The company’s newly launched platform allows for a complete integration platform to enable connectivity to any application, data service or API, across the entire cloud and on-premise continuum.”

For organizations that already have a large infrastructure and need to connect their scattered components, MuleSoft may be a good solution. But, for organizations that are just launching a content management and enterprise search infrastructure, you want to do it right the first time. In this case, LucidWorks would be a great solution. LucidWorks can turn every bit of multi-structured data into a business advantage and is available in the Cloud. Scalable and cost-effective, LucidWorks can help prevent constant restructuring and reassessment of outdated infrastructures.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 12, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Beyond Search

The Cloud Stops Here

March 15, 2013

In the last few years cloud technology has taken off. It seems that many of the world’s biggest companies all have their head in the cloud but there are still some people out there that aren’t sold on the technology. The Tech Eye article “Forget the Cloud, Get a Mainframe” talks about a large retailer that has stayed away from the cloud. Tasmanian retailer Coggans is not relying on cloud technology but instead has decided to upgrade its Unisys mainframe system. It will be used for their mission-critical applications as well as its online infrastructure. This move is newsworthy for several reasons. The most obvious is that with the popularity of cloud technology why pass on it. Secondly, Australia is not big in the mainframe game and only about 6 organizations within Australia actually use the Unisys’ mainframe system. However, Coogans continues to forge ahead with its mainframe system and has its reasons for staying away from the cloud. According to the IT manager Peter Jandera

“if there was a disastrous crash of the company production machine, the outfit could switch to a disaster recovery environment. Both systems are separate and there is also an offline backup of the entire environment. No one guarantees the last mile and there were real dangers because the cloud means that you do not necessarily know where the data is going. All it would take is a person with a space to cut through a cable and the company is stuffed.”

It seemed that everyone was moving to the cloud so it’s always nice to see that some people are “bucking the system” and choosing other viable types of technology. Perhaps this busts the field wide open for OpenText BRS search engine and Stairs III and could highlight a shift in the industry. Even if it doesn’t it’s always good to see a bit of old mixed in with the new.

April Holmes, March 15, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Aussie Retailer Sticking with Mainframe Approach to Data

March 12, 2013

One Tasmanian organization refuses to buy into to the cloud-migration trend. TechEye informs us that retail outfit Coogans is saying, in effect, “Forget the Cloud, Get a Mainframe.” The company is forging ahead with plans to upgrade its old standby, the Unisys mainframe. The article tells us:

“To understand how unusual this is, you have to realise that Australia never really had the mainframe bug and there are only about six organisations in Australia to use Unisys’ mainframe systems. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Coogans has been a loyal client of the Unisys and its predecessor, Burroughs, since before 1965, and this new fangled cloud tech just does not cut the mustard.

“It just took a weekend for Coogans to set up one mainframe, the latest Unisys Libra 460s, at each of its Hobart and Moonah locations in Tasmania and migrate its real-time custom production application, called Coogans Online Stock, Financial And Rental System, which was written in 1992 and is the centrepiece of the retailer’s IT architecture.”

It seems like a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But won’t they regret eschewing the advantage of cloudy redundancy? Nope. The company maintains a separate disaster-recovery environment at a nearby building, complete with VPN–ensured redundancy.

Okay, so they’re covered there. Still, why resist what many consider an inevitable shift? IT manager Peter Jandera is simply uncomfortable with not knowing exactly where his company’s data is going, and with knowing that “all it would take is a person with a space to cut through a cable and the company is stuffed.” He emphasized that Coogans cannot afford to lose even a minute from their working day; he is simply unwilling to trust another organization with that responsibility. I can’t say I blame him.

If more organizations were to buck the cloud trend, would it mean new hope for systems like BRS Search and IBM’s STAIRS?

Cynthia Murrell, March 12, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

New Terminology Does Not Change Power of Data Delivery Solutions

February 26, 2013

Many venture capitalists were chomping at the bit to fund big data start ups not too long ago. However, according to a recent article from Venture Beat it is time to move on. This venture capitalist chasing news source tells us, ‘Big Data’ Is Dead. What’s Next?

The article goes on to discuss who killed it. Everyone from media sources to industry leaders to marketing experts all the way down to the vendors themselves had a hand in the death of big data, according to this piece. Instead of the big data deluge, this article warns against a big data headache. The only cure: a big data Advil.

Writer John De Goes states:

As the industry matures, there won’t be a single term that replaces the big data moniker. Instead, different tools and technologies will carve out different niches, each more narrowly focused and highly specialized than the universal sledgehammer that was big data.I’m going to talk about some of the niches you’re going to hear about again and again. Alas, some of these will be spun into buzzwords that, like big data, accumulate so much “momentum” they eventually lose meaning.

Life after big data will involve smart data, data science, NewSQL and predictive analytics according to this article. If one thing can be certain it is that there will be new terminology to apply to new vendors in the big data game as time goes on. However, big data as a term will always be able to quickly and simply capture the essence of solutions from data delivery vendors to enterprise infrastructure solutions.

Megan Feil, February 26, 2013

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Beyond Search.

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