Daily Tech Digest - February 19, 2022

CIO Strategy for Mergers & Acquisitions

The success of merging of two organizations relies on multiple factors like, economic certainties, accurate valuations, proper identification of targets, strong due diligence processes and technology integration. However, the prominent factor among all these is technology integration i.e. merging their IT systems. The IT systems of each organization consists of a set of applications, IT infrastructure, databases, licenses, technologies and their complexities. After integration, one set of systems and their infrastructure becomes redundant. Greater the amount of duplication, higher is the redundancy leading to an increase in costs and complexity of an integration. The role of CIO and Information Technology (IT) in M&A has become increasingly important, as the need for quick turnaround time is the primary factor. The CIO’s need to be involved during the deal preparation, assessment, and due diligence phase of M&A. In addition, the CIO’s team needs to identify key IT processes, IT risks, costs and synergies of the organization.

Eight countries jointly propose principles for mutual recognition of digital IDs

There are 11 principles in total, all contained in a report [PDF] about digital identity in a COVID-19 environment, that the DIWG envisions would be used by all governments when building digital identity frameworks. The principles are openness, transparency, reusability, user-centricity, inclusion and accessibility, multilingualism, security and privacy, technology neutrality and data portability, administrative simplicity, preservation of information, and effectiveness and efficiency. According to the DIWG, the principles aim to allow for a common understanding to guide future discussions on both mutual recognition and interoperability of digital identities and infrastructure. In providing the principles, the DIWG noted that mutual recognition and interoperability of digital identities between countries is still several years away, with the group saying there are foundational activities that need to be undertaken before it can be achieved. These foundational activities include creating a definition of a common language and definitions across digital identities, assessing and aligning respective legal and policy frameworks, and creating interoperable technical models and infrastructure.

Joel Spolsky on Structuring the Web with the Block Protocol

The Block Protocol is not the first attempt, however, at bringing structure to data presented on the web. The problem, says Spolsky, is that previous attempts — such as Schema.org or Dublin Core — have included that structure as an afterthought, as homework that could be left undone without any consequence to the creator. At the same time, the primary benefit of doing that homework was often to game search engine optimization (SEO) algorithms, rather than to provide structured data to the web at large. Search engines quickly caught on to that and began ignoring the content entirely, which led to web content creators abandoning these attempts at structure. Spolsky said this led them to ask one simple question: “What’s a way we can make it so that the web can be better structured, in a way that’s actually easier to write for a web developer than if they [had] left out the structure in the first place?” ... The basic building blocks of the web — HTML and CSS — describe content and how it should be displayed in a human-readable format, “but it doesn’t describe anything about that type of data or what the data is or what it does,” said Spolsky. 

Avoiding the Achilles Heel of Non-European Cybersecurity

US-based organizations are beholden to regulations such as the CLOUD Act and the US PATRIOT Act, which pose a risk to data belonging to any other region. Any application or solution built in the US — be it concerned with cybersecurity, hosting or collaboration — is required to have a backdoor built-in, allowing third parties to access the data within, often without the owner ever knowing — particularly if they’re foreign. Moreover, on his last full day in office and following the large-scale Solar Winds attack, former President Trump signed an executive order decreeing that American IaaS cloud providers must keep a wealth of sensitive information on their foreign clients — names, physical and email addresses, national identification numbers, sources of payment, phone numbers and IP addresses — in order to help US authorities track down cyber-criminals. As these services include “destination” cloud networks, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, it impacts many citizens and companies worldwide. 

5 Questions for Evaluating DBMS Features and Capabilities

Among RDBMSs, both SQL Server and Snowflake use a kind of umbrella data type, VARIANT, to store data of virtually any type. The labor-saving dimension of typing is much less important here. For example, in the case of the VARIANT type, the database must usually be told what to do with this data. The emphasis in this definition of data type goes to the issue of convenience: BLOB and similar types are primarily useful as a means to store data in the RDBMS irrespective of the data’s structure. Google Cloud’s implementation of a JSON “data type” in BigQuery ticks both these boxes. First, it is labor-saving, in that BigQuery knows what to do with JSON data according to its type. Second, it is convenient, in that it gives customers a means to preserve and perform operations on data serialized in JSON objects. The implemenation permits an organization to ingest JSON-formatted messages into the RDBMS (BigQuery) and to preserve them intact. Access to raw JSON data could be valuable for future use cases. It also makes it much easier for users to access and manipulate this data

Digital payments: How banks can stave off fintech challengers

To safeguard their payments business, banks must pursue two main objectives: replace their existing legacy systems and improve the payment services and functionality they offer to retail and corporate customers. In this way, banks can ensure that their provision of payment services remains intact. Some banks have tried to solve this problem by acquiring a fintech challenger. Others have sought to build their own technology from scratch – although this has been shown to carry risks. However, one of the best options for banks is to find new partners, both in terms of technology and services, which they can work with to create a more loosely defined infrastructure for payment services. This in turn, will help them to become more agile in the payments sphere, according to Frank. “Banks like JP Morgan are a standard bearer here and commit huge sums to tech investment annually,” says Frank. “The key is to target a more agile tech stack both in terms of infrastructure – that is in terms of cloud adoption, enhanced security, devices and networks, as well as applications – whether it is delivered as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or a white-labelled service.”

Cloud Data Management Disrupts Storage Silos and Team Silos Too

In the context of enterprise data storage, unstructured data management has been a practice for many years, although it originated in storage vendor platforms. Now that enterprises are using many different storage technologies — block storage for database and virtualization, NAS for user and application workloads, backup solutions in the data center or in the cloud — a storage-centric approach to data management no longer fits the bill. That’s because, among other reasons, storage vendor data management solutions don’t solve the problem of managing silos of data stored on different platforms. Silos hamper visibility and governance, leading to higher costs and poor utilization. As more workloads and data move to the cloud to save money and enable flexibility and innovation, cloud data management has become a growing practice. Cloud data management (CDM) goes beyond storage to meet the ever-changing needs for data mobility and access, cost management, security and, increasingly, data monetization. 

Executive Q&A: Data Management and the Cloud

Understanding which type of cloud database is the right fit is often the biggest challenge. It’s helpful to think of cloud-native databases as being in one of two categories: platform-native systems (i.e., offerings by cloud providers themselves) or in-cloud systems offered by third-party vendors. Platform-native solutions include Azure Synapse, BigQuery, and Redshift. They offer deep integration with the provider’s cloud. Because they are highly optimized for their target infrastructure, they offer seamless and immediate interoperability with other native services. Platform-native systems are a great choice for enterprises that want to go all-in on a given cloud and are looking for simplicity of deployment and interoperability. In addition, these systems offer the considerable advantage of having to deal with a single vendor only. In contrast, in-cloud systems tout cloud independence. This seems like a great advantage at first. However, moving hundreds of terabytes between clouds has its own challenges. In addition, customers inevitably end up using other platform-native services that are only available on a given cloud, which further reduces the perceived advantage of cloud independence.

The metaverse is a new word for an old idea

These are good conversations to have. But we would be remiss if we didn’t take a step back to ask, not what the metaverse is or who will make it, but where it comes from—both in a literal sense and also in the ideas it embodies. Who invented it, if it was indeed invented? And what about earlier constructed, imagined, augmented, or virtual worlds? What can they tell us about how to enact the metaverse now, about its perils and its possibilities? There is an easy seductiveness to stories that cast a technology as brand-new, or at the very least that don’t belabor long, complicated histories. Seen this way, the future is a space of reinvention and possibility, rather than something intimately connected to our present and our past. But histories are more than just backstories. They are backbones and blueprints and maps to territories that have already been traversed. Knowing the history of a technology, or the ideas it embodies, can provide better questions, reveal potential pitfalls and lessons already learned, and open a window onto the lives of those who learned them. 

Slow Down !! Cloud is Not for Everyone

“Most often It’s not the main course but Desserts that bloat your Bill” In the cloud, it’s not only the cost of compute and memory, but the cost of lock-in. Assume you have an on-prem license of a database enterprise edition that couldn’t be ported to the cloud (incompatibility or contractual complications or much higher cloud licenses) and you opt to move into a native DB offered by your chosen cloud provider. What might appear as straight-cut migration efforts is basically a much deeper trap of locking you in with your cloud vendor. As the first step, you need to train your workforce; then slowly, you will be mandated to rewrite or replace all the homegrown and/or SAS features of your product to be compatible with the new service. These efforts are something that was never part of your earlier plan but now has become a critical necessity to keep the lights on. Say after a certain period when you realize the cloud service is not a great fit and you decide to shift back or move-on to a better alternate there comes the insidious lock-in effect. They make such onward movement particularly difficult – you need to burn significant dollars to migrate out.

Quote for the day:

"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." -- Ernest Hemingway

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