Driving Rapid Innovation With Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure

APAC is forecast to outpace every other region in the world in expanding its hybrid cloud computing market over the next few years. Asian nations are now on the brink of overtaking North America, as enterprises increasingly seek to capitalize on cloud solutions to cut costs, optimize operations and drive innovation. By 2021, the cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market in India will exceed $2.1 billion in end-user spending, according to Gartner.

Catalyst for cloud
What is the catalyst for this increasing focus? While the International Monetary Fund predicts strong near-term growth prospects for the region, the medium- to long-term outlook is less sunny. Global growth remains sluggish, and macroeconomic events such as China’s slowdown are contributing to economic uncertainty. Set against this, businesses know they need to modernize and innovate to stay competitive, and are often trying to do so with reduced or static IT budgets. Cloud, with all its benefits, offers a solution.

Early Stages
Some enterprises have already recognized the advantages cloud economics offers and started to move their workloads, but we are only in the early stages.

Why? Some business has been concerned that moving to a cloud infrastructure model would result in performance inconsistency and that the public cloud wouldn’t be as reliable as working with an on-premises system.

Data sovereignty laws have also been a major concern, particularly for mission-critical systems and those organizations operating in the more heavily regulated sectors such as government, education, healthcare and financial services, in which customer privacy and industry compliance are paramount.

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Article Credit: Business World

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Experts: We need to buck up on cyber security front

The city has grown phenomenally in terms of technology and industrialisation and it is time to set up a Cyber Center for Excellence here to protect the state, organisation and individuals from deadly cyber attacks, said Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary of IT, BT and Tourism.

The Synergia Conclave – Security 360, was inaugurated in the city on Friday. The conclave is based on the theme ‘Reimagining Security – 360’, where experts from security, intelligence, army, academia, media and other domains from across the world shared their views.

Margaret Alva, who was among the chief guests said, “I am glad that I have been invited to a security conclave because usually women are not involved in any kind of security aspect discussion. But when there is a security lapse it’s the women and children who suffer the most. I have no knowledge on the topic but have come with great interest to learn and gain knowledge.”

Former national security advisor M.K. Narayanan pointed out that 21st century is the age of destruction and the world should be prepared for everything.

Integrating tech
He said, “The conclave is about integrating technology for security. The world is full of uncertainties and it needs to be handled carefully.”

State Chief Secretary Subhash Chandra Khuntia said that a state government cannot handle security issues the way it is handled by the central government.

He also mentioned that the way the technology was developing it has given the opportunity to think security in different ways. The security situation should be analysed and we should be prepared to handle it.

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Article Credit: Deccan Chronicle

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UK seeks future cyber-security stars

A £20m initiative to get schoolchildren interested in cyber-security has been launched by the UK government.

The Cyber Discovery programme is aimed at 15 to 18-year-olds and involves online and offline challenges themed around battling hackers.

It is one of the several programmes trying to build interest in security work and help fill a looming skills gap.

One industry expert said a broad strategy would be needed to address the widening gap.

Hacker clubs

The free Cyber Discovery programme aims to “encourage the best young minds into cyber-security”, said Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in a statement.

Young people interested will be asked to enrol via an online assessment and the best performers in that test will then be put through a “comprehensive curriculum” that helps familiarise them with cyber-security work.

The curriculum will cover:

  • digital forensics
  • defending against web attacks
  • cryptography
  • programming
  • ethics of hacking

It mixes online challenges with face-to-face learning, role-playing and real-world technical challenges, said James Lyne, head of research and development at the Sans Institute, who helped draw up the programme. Extracurricular clubs will also be set up as part of the project that will be run by mentors who help participants take the skills they learn further.

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Article Credit: BBC

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How a half-educated tech elite delivered us into chaos

One of the biggest puzzles about our current predicament with fake news and the weaponization of social media is why the folks who built this technology are so taken aback by what has happened. Exhibit A is the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, whose political education I recently chronicled. But he’s not alone. In fact, I’d say he is quite representative of many of the biggest movers and shakers in the tech world. We have a burgeoning genre of “OMG, what have we done?” angst coming from former Facebook and Google employees who have begun to realise that the cool stuff they worked on might have had, well, antisocial consequences.

Put simply, what Google and Facebook have built is a pair of amazingly sophisticated, computer-driven engines for extracting users’ personal information and data trails, refining them for sale to advertisers in high-speed data-trading auctions that are entirely unregulated and opaque to everyone except the companies themselves.

The purpose of this infrastructure was to enable companies to target people with carefully customised commercial messages and, as far as we know, they are pretty good at that. (Though some advertisers are beginning to wonder if these systems are quite as good as Google and Facebook claim.) And in doing this, Zuckerberg, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and co-wrote themselves licences to print money and build insanely profitable companies.

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Article Credit: The Guardian

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The 40 best gadgets of 2017

UBTech Jimu Astrobot Kit (£190)

You can assemble one of three robots with this Lego-like kit, each fully mobile and equipped with an infra-red sensor to help it detect and interact with its environment. Best of all, it can then be programmed using the child-friendly block-programming app, opening limitless opportunities.

Nintendo Switch (£280)

While it can’t compete with the monstrous processing power or online multiplayer capacities of its rivals, this modular gaming tablet offers an entirely new approach to video-gaming, merging the Wii and the DS in a convivial hybrid. As a testament to its success, more and more non-Nintendo games are being released for the device and video streaming services are coming soon.

Sony Xperia Touch (£1,400)

This impressive appliance is an early iteration of what might well become a common household gadget: a projector that turns any surface into an interactive touchscreen. This means you can annotate a presentation, play Flappy Bird in huge dimensions, or beam a recipe on to your chopping board and scroll through it with doughy fingers.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 (from £1,700)

This powerful camera has a limitless catalogue of impressive specifications: physical and digital image stabilisation, extensive weatherproofing and professional-standard 4K video capacity. Sleek and neat, it’s a mirrorless number that seriously troubles its SLR competitors, and could easily become the videographer’s weapon of choice.

Oppo PM-3 (£349)

If you prefer a reliable set of passive headphones to the flashy Bluetooth or noise-cancelling alternatives, this lush, brushed-metal, over-ear pair is a luxurious option. The balanced magnetic drivers are designed to emphasise deep tones, and the phones themselves are indecently comfortable.

Nest Cam IQ (from £299)

For the vigilant and nervy among us, Nest’s IQ indoor and outdoor security cameras automatically identify human beings and even recognise their faces, alerting you via your phone. Add to that its infrared night vision, live warning speaker and multi-axis rotation, and you can turn your home into a cosy Orwellian utopia.

Motorola Moto G5 (£180)

A fingerprint scanner, a screen that is sharper than the iPhone 7 and a 13MP camera – all for the price of a few months of premium smartphone contract. There is no near-field communication (NFC) for Android Pay but, hey, think of that as another way to save money.

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Article Credit: The Guardian

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How algorithms are pushing the tech giants into the danger zone

The algorithms Facebook and other tech companies use to boost engagement – and increase profits – have led to spectacular failures of sensitivity and worse. How can we fight back?

Earlier this month, Facebook announced a new pilot programme in Australia aimed at stopping “revenge porn” – the non-consensual sharing of nude or otherwise explicit photos – on its platform. Their answer? Just send Facebook your nudes.

Yes, that’s right: if you’re worried about someone spreading explicit images of you on Facebook, you’re supposed to send those images to Facebook yourself.

If this sounds to you like some kind of sick joke, you’re not alone. Pretty much everyone I talked to about it did a spit-take at the entire premise. But in addition to being ridiculous, it’s a perfect example of the way today’s tech companies are in over their heads, attempting to engineer their way out of complex social problems – without ever questioning whether their very business models have, in fact, created those problems.

To see what I mean, let’s look at how Facebook’s new scheme is meant to work: if you’re concerned about revenge porn, you complete an online form with the Australia eSafety Commissioner’s office. That office then notifies Facebook that you submitted a request. From there, you send the image in question to yourself using Facebook Messenger.

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Article Credit: The Guardian

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5 Massive ‘Big Data’ Myths Most People Believe – But Shouldn’t

There’s so much hype around the subject of Big Data that it’s inevitable it will sometimes be over-sold. Don’t get me wrong – revolutionary advances are being made every day by organizations and businesses learning to combine the vast amount of data at their fingertips with cutting-edge analytics and data science. But it isn’t a magic cure-all for your (or the world’s) problems and mistakes and miss-steps happen all the time, often at great cost.

Here are some of the “facts” about Big Data which should be taken with a pinch of salt. Like all myths they may have been based on truths at some point but, though often believed, they don’t necessarily stand up to scrutiny.

  1. Everybody is doing it

With anything new and exciting there is often an impulse not to miss out – and Big Data has proven to be no different. Despite all the words written about it, though, research still shows that the number of companies effectively putting true Big Data technology to work is small. For the majority, it remains an ambition – something which everyone knows they ought to be doing but haven’t quite got right yet.

The danger here is rushing in due to a fear of being left behind. While fear can sometimes be a great motivator, it can also cause us to do things in a rushed or sloppy manner. Spending time building a strategy and assessing the impact of moving to a data-driven business model may delay your entry and possibly let other, more hasty competitors steal a momentary lead – but it’s an essential part of the process and shouldn’t be rushed due to a (false) belief that you’re being left behind.

  1. It’s all about size

Size – volume – is merely one of the defining characteristics of Big Data. Other things such as variety or velocity of the data are just as important. Data is coming in faster than ever – and the more quickly you can process it, the more up-to-date and relevant it is likely to be. Data is also available in increasingly diverse forms – a greater variety of data means you have more ways of looking at a challenge – and are more likely to find an innovative solution. I advise my clients to look beyond the size of their data and take into account the huge benefits faster and more diverse data can bring. In fact, too much data – particularly if it is unverified, old or from a limited number of sources, can be a very dangerous thing, making simple solutions appear complicated as well as incurring wasted expenditure on capture, storage and compliance.

  1. It will tell you what will happen next

When it comes to predicting the future, data doesn’t actually tell us anything that is certain – and anyone who tells you it does, is trying to sell you something.

Big Data-driven prediction is about extrapolating what is most likely to happen in the future, based on what you know has happened in the past. If you are analyzing real-time data, it can take into account what is happening right now, as well. But any predictions it gives you will be based on a probability, and there is always a margin for error. The more data you have, and the more relevant that data is, the more accurate your probability forecasts will be, but reality often has a way of throwing curve-balls – look at how inaccurate political forecasting has turned out to be during recent elections, in spite of the sophisticated statistical analytics which has been used.

  1. Big Data needs a big budget

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Red Hat launches Linux platform for SAP software environments

Open source solutions provider Red Hat has announced the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, an enterprise Linux platform optimised for running SAP software deployments.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions aims to provide a smoother path for organisations seeking to integrate or merge their heterogeneous SAP software environments, offering a single, standardised platform for big data analysis and management projects.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions offers an additional open choice for enterprises seeking to deploy SAP technologies via a single offering.

According to SAP, the solution will make it easier for IT organisations to pursue data centre standardisation without sacrificing their varied big data initiatives.

Jim Totton, Red Hat vice president and general manager for the platforms business unit says, “There is no single technology stack to solve every enterprise IT challenge, and big data analytics is no different.

Increasingly, we are seeing IT organisations use multiple SAP solutions to tackle the complex challenges of their evolving markets,” he says.

“With Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, we’re now able to provide a single, supported, open platform upon which enterprises can standardise their SAP deployments, all backed by Red Hat’s vast expertise in delivering enterprise-grade operating systems.”

The solution marks a continuation of Red Hat’s existing relationship with SAP and brings forth new capabilities to get the most out SAP’s analytics and data management portfolio.

This includes the addition of Red Hat Insights, Red Hat’s proactive analytics and real-time intelligence offering, which is designed to help users better understand, assess and optimise their SAP software landscape.

Red Hat says the solution combines Red Hat’s existing operating system offerings focused on SAP software, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Applications and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA, into a single, consolidated platform.

In addition to the features and support of the existing offerings, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions includes:

  • The High Availability Add-On which addresses the need for reliability of critical SAP applications.
  • The Smart Management Add-On for managing and updating large deployments of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions.

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SAP is expensive because of positive outlook

The shares of SAP (SAP) are currently a bit richly valued. However, the current share price still provides an 8% annual return potential from this moment onwards.

Majority of investors are more likely interested in how the valuation and possible long-term return for a specific stock look like. Let us start with valuation first. I will not be delving into the current business situation of SAP as there are already plenty of excellent articles covering this topic. Personally, I prefer to keep my estimates as conservative as possible in order to avoid negative surprises. In case of SAP, if we were to assume the historical 10 year annual revenue growth of 8% and free cash flow (FCF) to sales ratio of 19% could be sustained in the future, we would arrive at a normalized free cash flow level worth of $4412 million. With the current amount of outstanding shares, this translates into roughly $3.6 per share. Just as a reference, the 20 year historical values for the annual revenue growth and FCF to sales have been 9.2% and 20% respectively. For 2017, analysts are expecting free cash flow per share of around $3.19 per share, which is more pessimistic than mine.

For simplicity’s sake, when estimating the current valuation, let us only use the Gordon formula. This formula is simply valuation = dividend / (required rate of return – growth). In this exercise, I will replace the dividend in the previous formula with free cash flow. This is because we do not care whether profits are distributed to shareholders via share buybacks or via dividend payments. If SAP would not grow at all, free cash flow would equal to net profit as there are no costs related to growth. In addition, if management has no growth projects in sight exceeding the company’s weighted cost of capital, all profits can be distributed to shareholders.

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