Ed Oswald

Microsoft, Symantec team on future disaster recovery solutions for Azure

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Customers of Microsoft's Windows Azure platform will gain disaster recovery features thanks to a partnership with Symantec announced this week. The offering is the first such service for the Azure platform, the two companies say.

While the effort was announced this week during Microsoft's annual TechEd conference in Orlando, Microsoft says the actual service itself will not be available until sometime next year, and is a move that makes sense for Symantec at this point.

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Amazon improves customer support options for AWS customers

Amazon has expanded its support options for its Amazon Web Services cloud offering, giving better free support to all customers and reducing the pricing of paid support tiers. The company is also renaming the paid tiers to better represent its target customers.

These tiers had been named Bronze, Gold and Platinum -- they are now referred to as Developer, Business, and Enterprise. Amazon expanded its paid support options back in January, and added third-party support and Trusted Advisor services in beta to its Gold and Platinum support levels. Thursday's moves take these offerings out of beta, and makes the higher-level support options affordable to a wider range of AWS customers.

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Cisco debuts networking products for the cloud

Cisco knows that the cloud is worthless without networking, so its Cloud Connected Solution announced on Wednesday shouldn't surprise anyone. The company debuted both new cloud-enabled software for its ASR and ISR routers as well as a virtualized router aimed at extending virtual private networks to the cloud.

This new router software will be found on the ISR G2 platform, and a new Aggregation Services Router (ASR) platform based router, the ASR 1002-X was introduced. Cisco announced new Unified Computing System (UCS) E-Series Server Modules on the ISR G2, which is also on the way.

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Cloud adoption is finally beginning to live up to all the (over)hype

Cloud computing is one of the most hyped (some would say overhyped) concepts in IT right now. But data from research firm Strategy Analytics suggests that real-world application of the cloud is now beginning to match that hype.

SaaS is experiencing significant growth, as it is perhaps the easiest cloud technology for enterprises to adopt and deploy. Some 64 percent of the 1,750 organizations surveyed across the US, UK, France, Germany, China, India and Brazil report increased spending year over year. Other cloud technologies are seeing growth, but nowhere near to the degree of SaaS.

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Amazon S3 hits 1 trillion objects stored in the cloud

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) has reached the one trillion mark in number of objects stored. For some perspective, that's 142 objects for every person on the planet, or counted one per second, it would take you 31,170 years to count them all.

The feat shows that Amazon's cloud business growth continues to accelerate. In a blog post announcing the event, web services evangelist Jeff Barr notes object growth reached an astronomical 3.5 billion per day, or about 40,000 every second. There doesn't appear to be any end to it either as more and more large scale customers hop onto S3.

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iOS 6 Developer Preview out today, public release this fall

While the focus of WWDC's iOS 6 announcements surround Apple's decision to kick Google to the curb when it comes to maps, there are plenty of other features coming to the next version of Apple's mobile operating system that deserve mention.

"iOS 6 continues the rapid pace of innovation that is helping Apple reinvent the phone and create the iPad category, delivering the best mobile experience available on any device", iOS chief Scott Forstall says.

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Apple dumps Google Maps

The marriage is over. As widely rumored, Apple debuted its own mapping service alongside the unveiling of iOS 6 at the Worldwide Developers Conference Monday. The move had been expected for awhile now, considering the Cupertino, Calif. company's recent acquisitions.

Apple's Maps include turn-by-turn navigation with smooth vector-based graphics. "Flyover mode" is the company's answer to Google Earth and Street View: it includes photo-realistic views of major cities, even allowing you to fly around and see all sides of a particular building. Traffic including crowd-sourced reports are built in, which can be used to change directions on the fly.

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Apple's WWDC 2012 Keynote Liveblog: iOS 6 and more

Apple's yearly developer conclave is here, and we're expecting a good deal of news out of this year's event. We'll see the debut of iOS 6, and likely a significant refresh to the Mac lineup. Of course, Apple always likes to surprise, so it's fairly likely that some of the rumors we've heard -- from new native apps to some enhancements to iCloud -- will also be announced.

WWDC 2012 is also the first major company event to happen after the death of Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs. It will be interesting to watch how CEO Tim Cook and the team handle the event without their iconic and charismatic leader running the show.

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Microsoft: the cloud is your future, and ours

Microsoft is doing what it can to promote cloud computing, focusing on the platform at the TechEd annual developer conference in Orlando, Fla. this week. In the event's opening keynote, Server and Tools chief Satya Nadella told a sold-out crowd of 10,000 that the future of Microsoft is in the cloud.

In the month or so leading up to TechEd, Microsoft has made a fair number of cloud-related announcements. Some of this is out of necessity, because of customer demand, but a lot of it has to do with competitive pressures.

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Microsoft gets 80,000 seat Office 365 contract with FAA, DOT

Microsoft's Office 365 cloud productivity suite gained even more momentum on Thursday, with both the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration announcing they will move some 80,000 employees to the platform.

The deal is worth some $91 million over seven years, and is provided through Microsoft partner Computer Sciences Corp. Office 365 plays a central role in the SaaS deal, which will offer DOT and FAA employees email, instant messaging, calendaring and webconferencing tools in a multi-platform environment.

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Red Hat moves hybrid cloud management software CloudForms out of beta

Red Hat moved its hybrid cloud management software called CloudForms out of beta on Thursday, aiming to allow IT customers with considerable infrastructure to leverage it with public cloud resources to enable easy migration between the two.

The open-source software company first introduced CloudForms last May, then positioning it as an IaaS product. Since then, the company has begun contributing heavily to the OpenStack IaaS platform, and is now a platinum member of the OpenStack Foundation.

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Microsoft wants Azure cloud to play with the big boys


Microsoft beefed up its Windows Azure cloud platform Thursday, announcing a host of features that take it out of a primarily Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) role and place it into the realm of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). The Redmond, Wash. company appears ready to take on IaaS heavyweights like Rackspace and Amazon Web Services, as well as new entrant Oracle, who announced its own cloud offering on Wednesday.

Microsoft doesn't "catch a new trend right with the first iteration but they keep at it and eventually strike the right tone and in more cases than not, get good enough", Forrester analyst James Staten says of the company's moves. "And often good enough wins".

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Oracle debuts massive end-to-end cloud strategy

Oracle jumped head-first into the cloud Wednesday, announcing the immediate availability of its comprehensive cloud offering. Oracle's cloud service spent seven years in development, and is comprised of over 100 apps.

In an event announcing Oracle's cloud strategy, CEO Larry Ellison stressed that his company's efforts were a long time coming and that Oracle had no interest in being a "niche" provider. "Very few companies can cross the chasm from one technology to the next" like Oracle has, he told attendees.

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Change your LinkedIn password NOW: 6.5 million accounts at risk

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LinkedIn users are advised to change their passwords after it was revealed that more than 6.5 million encrypted passwords were posted to a Russian hacker website. The hackers are attempting to enlist help to crack the encryption, and 300,000 accounts are already compromised.

Security experts who have seen the data say the encryption appears weak and will likely be broken in short order. This means millions more will soon be at risk of having their accounts compromised. While the social network has yet to confirm the breach, it did say it was "looking into reports".

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Meg Whitman battles to convince world that HP isn't in terminal decline

HP Discover is the company's yearly opportunity to showcase its product lineup for enterprise customers. This year's event takes on a different tone, as some people are concerned about the company's future direction and whether or not HP's best days are behind it.

HP CEO Meg Whitman took over the company last September, following mixed messages on the fate of its consumer-facing businesses and a failed mobile operating system strategy in WebOS.

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