Daily Tech Digest - August 23, 2017

Its Time To Think Beyond Cloud Computing

Cloud computing giants haven’t ignored the lag problem. In May, Microsoft announced the testing of its new Azure IoT Edge service, intended to push some cloud computing functions onto developers’ own devices. Barely a month later, Amazon Web Services opened up general access to AWS Greengrass software that similarly extends some cloud-style services to devices running on local networks. Still, these services require customers to operate hardware on their own. Customers who are used to handing that whole business off to a cloud provider may view that as a backwards step. Edge computing’s vision of having “thousands of small, regional and micro-regional data centers that are integrated into the last mile networks” is actually a “natural extension of today’s centralized cloud,” Crawford says.

Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Solving the Impossible

Quantum computing differs from traditional binary computing in that takes advantage of the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time (it’s like your children, where you can both love and hate them at the same time). In classical digital computing, a bit is a single piece of information that can exist in two states – 1 or 0. Quantum computing uses quantum bits, or ‘qubits’ instead. ... One important area where quantum computing is expected to have a dramatic impact is in improving the ability for reinforcement learning to process an exponentially-wider range of operating variables in real-time, which is vital in automated cars and smart entities like factories and hospitals. As an example, Google has built a quantum computer which is 100 million times faster than any of today’s machines.

How To Bridge IT's Growing Generation Gap

The challenge for IT leaders is to manage those changes and balance differing priorities and expectations from the three age groups working in IT — millennials, baby boomers and the Generation X cohort stuck between them. It will require deft management skills, a lot of empathy and the ability to drive needed changes to keep organizations competitive in a fast-moving world. ... The push to accommodate millennials begins with the much-discussed need for companies to embrace "digital transformation" or become "digital organizations." IT experts may differ on exactly what that means, but there's widespread agreement about whom it applies to. "When it comes to the new skills required to accelerate digital transformation, a lot of existing staff who are baby boomers and Gen X-ers have legacy skills and need to be reskilled," says Lily Mok, an analyst at Gartner.

The winding road to GDPR compliance

With under a year to go, many businesses have not started preparations, and will need to develop and implement a strategy for compliance. Every organisation that processes the personal data of EU citizens will require a tailored strategy depending on, among other factors, company size, the types and amount of data it processes, and its current security and privacy measures. It is highly recommended that businesses seek legal advice to determine what may be required in their specific situation. However, there are common requirements that will affect all businesses – even the very smallest – that handle personal data. The first step on the road to GDPR compliance is to understand how personal data is stored, processed, shared and used within your organisation.

SDN: Technology to cut costs, speed new services

The past few years have seen the mainstream network vendors jump into SDN with both feet. They still offer feature-rich, turnkey switches with all the support and services mainstream enterprises have come to rely on but with a vendor-provided SDN controller. Many of the mainstream vendors also offer support for third-party controllers. The primary value is in reduction of operational expenses through the automation of configuration and management tasks instead of focusing on hardware costs. In actuality, network hardware accounts for less than 10% of overall data-center spend, while personnel costs can be well over half of a data center’s total cost of ownership. A small reduction in operational costs can pay significant dividends for the business.

The Hyper-Connected Economy: An Interview With Ken Sakai, MD Of Telehouse Europe

For companies that need secure, reliable access to one or more leading public cloud services, Telehouse Cloud Link, a multi-cloud connectivity exchange, delivers a private connection with predictable and scalable bandwidth between their network and cloud services. Telehouse’s collaboration with Microsoft allows enterprises and their IT infrastructure partners to seamlessly provision and manage private connections to Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365 using a dedicated and predictable connection. ... Additional cloud service providers are expected to be added to Cloud Link in the near future and this ability to connect to multiple clouds through a single source removes the complexity of traditional network procurement.

Mimecast’s newly discovered email exploit isn’t a vulnerability, it’s a feature

Mimecast says that their newly discovered exploit undermines "the security and non-repudiation of email; even for those that use SMIME or PGP for signing…" That sounds frightening, but the reality is completely different. This isn't an exploit, or vulnerability. It isn't even a bug. What Mimecast describes in their advisory is a feature, and one that isn't even widely supported. Outlook.com and Gmail for example, block external calls to CSS using the LINK attribute. Mimecast makes mention of using EMBED, OBJECT, FRAME, or IFRAME, even SVGs as alternate modes of exploitation. Again, these are all known attack methods, and once more, many of the mainstream email providers block them. In fact, Mimecast themselves admit that Gmail, Outlook.com, and iCloud.com were not affected by their discovery.

Software-based networking brings new automation perks, challenges

Network automation gives IT organizations deploying complex applications the ability to control the rapid provisioning of network resources. It provides the ability to centrally manage the network and reduce operational costs by shifting the challenges of configuration from people to technology. Software-based networks can select appropriate network services based on parameters, such as application type, quality of service and security requirements. ... Network professionals spend significant time and resources adapting the physical and virtual network to changes in applications, compute and storage resources, and device location. Software-based networking tools can automate change management by associating specific network and security policies with applications and devices that can "follow" them as they migrate physically and virtually.

The future will be fuelled by data

Overlaid with a cognitive platform the process would not only be streamlined, it would be far more valuable to all the participants. "There is a lot of data we are generating here: identifying the tenant, landlord, specific lease, specific property and specific segment of that property," says Dobson. Add in the data the banks already hold about tenants and their supply chains, Dobson believes, "There is a profound opportunity to use advanced analytics and predictive modelling to give insights to the tenant, the landlord and the bank. If you expand the scope of the network to other documents or instruments, you are probably scaling exponentially the data that you could observe and the conclusions you might draw." Financial services is just one area that blockchain will impact; supply chains, Internet of Things (IoT), risk management, digital rights management and healthcare are poised for dramatic change using blockchain networks.

Serverless computing may kill Google Cloud Platform

According to Allamaraju, serverless computing is outpacing industry darlings like Kubernetes. His own Expedia “did over 2.3 billion lambda calls per month” back in late 2016, a number that has climbed since then. Nor is Expedia alone in discovering the productivity gains to be found with serverless computing: Coca-Cola, Nordstrom, Reuters, and others have jumped in. Yet it’s been AI and machine learning technologies like Kubernetes that Google has pinned its cloud hopes on. Focused on its Kubernetes-to-GCP and machine learning plays, Google has not built out the array of serverless services that its competitors have. As Mytton notes, “Once your core runtime requirements are met, the differences between the [serverless vendors’] services aren’t particularly important. … What does count is the availability of services to consume from within the cloud provider ecosystem.”

Quote for the day:

"Leadership is the art of influencing people to execute your strategic thinking" -- Nabil Khalil Basma

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