Daily Tech Digest - June 03, 2024

What’s eating B2B SaaS

Recently however, there has been increasing speculation that large language models (LLMs) are a threat to the entire Software ecosystem. In an aptly named short essay titled “The End of Software”, venture capitalist Chris Paik of Pace Capital contends that can significantly lower the cost of software development and maintenance, leading to a proliferation of new, agile software solutions that could replace traditional SaaS models. Paik argues this shift may result in a fundamental rethinking of how software is built, sold, and consumed, potentially rendering existing B2B SaaS business models obsolete as the market transitions to AI agents. He goes so far as to say “Majoring in computer science today will be like majoring in journalism in the late 90’s”. ... Most SaaS is priced by the seat. Given there is a direct correlation between the workforce reduction and revenues, this easily equates to billions of dollars in lost recurring revenues across the industry. Indeed, one of the main benefits touted by SaaS companies was this ability to scale up and down as needed without commitment.

Deploying scalable modular data centers at the Edge

Requirements around the build-out of data centers have also led to a rethink of how these buildings need to be constructed. Building data centers at the Edge is the way to combat some of the challenges that the industry faces, Lindsey argues. “We see Edge as a way to activate infrastructure very quickly, where today, as you know, we have a wildly low vacancy rate,” he says. “That should continue through the next several years, and people still need data, so we see this as a way to scale out where we have now. We’re now on track over the next five years to be able to scale out at gigawatt scale.” ... “We wanted to create an integrated platform that allows for our customers to build and deploy data centers, with an experience that's much more akin to building and buying a car,” he explains, noting that Flexnode focuses on connecting three key parts. “The first part was an industrialized building system that is designed for disassembly, configurability, adaptability, and designed to go anywhere.” The second part, he says, is focused on its fully digitized process which helps its customers design and configure their data centers. The final part, he adds, is the ecosystem of partners Flexnode partners with, spanning engineering and construction.

Saudi entrepreneurs launch fintech startup to spur open banking growth in GCC

The projected growth of open banking in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries has motivated Rayan Azab and Salah Khashoggi to partner with Dubai-based fintech entrepreneur Ash Kalra to spearhead this venture after four years of market research. This comes as open banking is projected to account for over $124 billion worth of transactions in the GCC region alone by 2031, up from $14 billion in 2020, with an annual growth rate of 22 percent, according to a report by Allied Market Research. ... “Saudi Arabia has recently advanced its open banking initiatives and is poised to become a regional leader in open banking," he explained. Highlighting the potential impact of open banking growth in the GCC on their trajectory, Azab mentioned that the segment is already established in the region, and they are not introducing something entirely new. “We are just revamping it. Thimsa is going to come and help small businesses that cannot afford to just go and do the huge accounting or whatever,” he said, adding that they will be adding value to these businesses.

A Journey From the Foundations of Observability to Surviving Its Challenges at Scale

The amount of data generated in cloud-native environments, especially at scale, makes it impossible to continue collecting all data. This flood of data, the challenges that arise, and the inability to sift through the information to find the root causes of issues becomes detrimental to the success of development teams. It would be more helpful if developers were supported with just the right amount of data, in just the right forms, and at the right time to solve issues. One does not mind observability if the solution to problems are found quickly, situations are remediated faster, and developers are satisfied with the results. If this is done with one log line, two spans from a trace, and three metric labels, then that's all we want to see. To do this, developers need to know when issues arise with their applications or services, preferably before it happens. They start troubleshooting with data that has been determined by their instrumented applications to succinctly point to areas within the offending application. Any tooling allows the developer who's investigating to see dashboards reporting visual information that directs them to the problem and potential moment it started.

Faultless with serverless: Cloud best practices for optimized returns

The Single Responsibility Principle (SRP) is an essential rule to ensure the modularity and scalability of serverless computing. According to the rule, functions should be small, stateless, and have only one primary reason to modify. Stateless functions can easily scale up or down based on demand without any overheads of managing the state. ... An asynchronous, event-driven architecture is best suited for a serverless execution model. Serverless applications achieve resilience, scalability, and efficiency by decoupling components and handling the workloads asynchronously. The technique involves queues and event streams, where the tasks are offloaded and exclusively processed by serverless functions. ... With built-in monitoring solutions, organizations can track function invocations, durations, errors, and resource utilization. This helps them identify and resolve issues proactively and optimise opportunities. To understand this better, consider a serverless IoT platform. Through a strategic process for monitoring and observability, enterprises can remediate issues pertaining to data ingestion, processing, and delivery. 

Emerging Trends in Application Security Testing Services

The integration of security into DevOps practices, known as DevSecOps, continues to gain traction. DevSecOps emphasizes collaboration and communication between development, IT operations, and security teams. By automating security checks throughout the development pipeline, DevSecOps ensures that security is not a bottleneck but an integral part of the development process. This proactive approach significantly enhances the overall security posture of applications. ... Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing application security testing. Advanced ML algorithms can analyze vast datasets to identify patterns and anomalies, helping security experts detect and respond to threats more effectively. AI-driven tools can automate identifying vulnerabilities, predict potential attack vectors, and suggest remediation strategies. ... With the proliferation of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) in modern applications, API security testing has become a critical focus area. APIs facilitate seamless communication between different software systems but can also be vulnerable points if not properly secured. 

Kenya & US Aim to Bolster Digital Security in Africa

The news comes as Kenya has seen a spike in attacks, including significantly disruptive incidents. For instance, the country suffered a massive denial-of-service attack that disrupted access to its e-Citizen government-services site last year, nd eventually affected electric utilities and rail-ticketing systems. ... "The government ought to adopt good multi-stakeholder practices such as courting local private sector players—especially small and medium-sized enterprises operating in and affected by developments in cyberspace—alongside the local sector leaders and tech multinationals operating in the country," the group stated. "Kenya also has a vibrant information security community that should be incorporated in cyber drills through professional associations." ... Both Kenya and the United States highlighted the efforts of private industry in partnering with the East African nation to improve its cybersecurity posture. In addition to its cyber operations work, Google will be aiding Kenya with incident-response solutions and improving infrastructure resilience.

How to Find the Right AI Solution: 3 Innovative Techniques

The real issue is that AI, as a product or service, doesn’t fit well into the RFP process. First, AI isn’t akin to a magic wand. It works slowly and deliberately, producing incremental -- but very real and significant -- improvements over time. These gains are hard to explain using an RFP, which, again, demands results that are achievable rapidly and according to a strict timeline. Instilling confidence -- without conveying false hopes or unrealistic expectations -- is difficult given the sheer volume of specific and detailed questions that RFPs require. ... For AI to do what it does best, it requires access to every bit of available data over an extended period of time. Limiting AI to a very brief timeline, which includes piecemeal and/or partial access to data, yields results that are effectively useless. A POC, in short, gives no indication of what the technology could do if these restrictions didn’t exist, which makes it hard for vendors of all sizes to use proofs of concept to bolster their submissions -- and even harder for organizations to trust what the POC is claiming.

Advanced CI/CD: 6 steps to better CI/CD pipelines

One surprising data point in the State of CI/CD report was the number of CI/CD platforms respondents had in place and how it impacted DORA metrics. Companies using a hybrid approach of self-hosted and managed CI/CD platforms outperformed those who standardized on one approach or were not using CI/CD platforms. Of the companies using a hybrid approach, 49% had a lead time of less than one week for changes, and 24% had a lead time of less than one day. Sixty-six percent could typically restore service performance from an unplanned outage in under a day, and 25% could do so in under an hour. These rates were significantly better than those using only one approach. The report also showed that organizations using three or fewer CI/CD platforms generally outperformed those with more than three tools. There are many reasons why organizations may have multiple CI/CD platforms. For example, a company may use Copado or Opsera to deploy apps to Salesforce, use Jenkins for data center apps, GitHub Actions for cloud-native applications, and then inherit implementations using AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodePipeline after acquiring a business. 

Key Considerations for C-Suite Leaders Involved in Digital Transformation Initiatives

Poor data can lead to poor decisions, especially with AI-based technologies where foundational models rely solely on data without context. While making good decisions relies on complete and accurate data, using incorrect data can lead to significant financial losses. ... Before embarking on a transformation, leadership needs to understand the regulatory environment specific to their industry. This requires looking at current regulations and understanding potential changes happening in the relatively short term. ... Before and during a transformation, C-suite leaders must keep their finger on the pulse of cybersecurity. Newer technologies are aggregating large datasets of customer, banking, and personally identifiable information (PII), which demands a premium and can be extremely valuable on the dark web. Implementing an innovative technology is a perfect time to ensure adequate cybersecurity measures, and post-implementation testing of new integrations will provide additional peace of mind. Protecting digital assets is not only a technical challenge; it’s a human challenge. 

Quote for the day:

"Earn your leadership every day." -- Michael Jordan

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