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Cloud Computing News & Analysis

Microsoft VP: Yea, We're Better Than Amazon

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In an exclusive interview with CMSWire’s Virginia Backaitis last week, Microsoft Corporate Vice President T. K. “Ranga” Rengarajan threw down the gauntlet with Amazon. He challenged Amazon's Redshift cloud-based data warehouse to scale the way Microsoft’s new Azure SQL Data Warehouse does, with respect to both compute size and storage capacity.

Rengarajan’s challenge raised some interesting questions, including, “What are we talking about here?”

What's Up With SharePoint? #MSIgnite

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What's Microsoft have in mind for SharePoint — and what's the future hold as momentum grows behind the SharePoint 2016 release?

Seth Patton, senior director of product management for the SharePoint team, and Bill Baer, a senior technical product manager in the SharePoint product group, answered some of those questions. But many others remain unanswered as the Ignite conference in Chicago continues.

Rewiring SharePoint Around End User Experiences

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​From the earliest days of SharePoint, companies were attracted to the platform's range of functionality, relatively quick installation and the ability to shape the platform to meet an organization's unique business needs.

But as Microsoft shifts its focus to the cloud, many organizations are struggling to maintain the last point -- as the ability to shape SharePoint Online (SPO) is not quite the "Swiss army knife" that its on-premises version has been for the industry.

While Microsoft pushes forward with its NextGen portal solutions on top of Office 365, there is a gap in understanding how these new pieces will fit into existing strategies.

As a result, companies are increasingly looking at hybrid solutions, which promise the bet of both worlds: management and control over data, maintaining custom solutions and custom branding, combined with the power and innovation of new cloud platform capabilities. In effect, the cloud has expanded the options available to organizations -- not limited them.

Nadella Claims 'Breakthrough' in Database Tech #MSIgnite

The storage tier for the next edition of Microsoft SQL Server will pool together on-premise database storage and Azure public storage. The upshot: the ability to stretch the storage location for individual tables to a bypass pool in Azure, while the database manager maintains the underlying index.

During this morning's keynote at Ignite in Chicago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called this little feature “the biggest breakthrough in database technology that you have ever seen.” Those of us who remember SQL being standardized for the first time might respectfully disagree, though the concept of “granular big storage,” to coin a phrase, may indeed be big.

EMC's Vision May Not Be Documentum #EMCWorld

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When EMC's Enterprise Content Division President Rohit Ghai takes the stage at EMC World later today, don’t expect to hear much about Documentum.

Instead Ghai is likely to spend most of his time on stage talking about Project Horizon — it’s a code name for EMC’s next Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform. And though no one yet knows exactly how Project Horizon will eventually be branded, we do know this: very little, if any, of it resembles Documentum— the ECM solution that has lived in Gartner’s ECM Leader’s Quadrant for as long as we can remember.

Current Documentum users need not worry. Documentum isn’t going away any time soon. It’s just not where the future is. After all, Documentum was founded 25 years ago, before the world was cloudy, mobile and social. Before big data and analytics became consumerized. And before companies began to recognize the advantages of leveraging open source.

Metalogix Wants to Take a Bite Out of Data Loss

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Metalogix announced today that it's putting its new personal information watchdog into technical preview. It's called Sensitive Content Manager (SCM) — and Metalogix promises it will help users raise hell with anyone who abuses your personal information.

It's offered as a standalone product that can be used with competitors products, but it also comes with ControlPoint 6.0, which manages SharePoint governance, permissions, auditing and reporting for SharePoint administration.

Keys to Ignite 2015: What's Ahead from Microsoft

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We're only one-third of the way through Microsoft’s 10-day tour (appropriately numbered) promoting the future value of Windows 10 and the new model of deploying server-side applications (new for Microsoft, at least). 

Next Monday begins a second round of keynotes and demonstration sessions, this time from Chicago at the company’s Ignite 2015 conference.

Act II will focus more on infrastructure and the cloud, and CMSWire will be on hand with daily reports and updates for the entire week.

Documentum's Digital Journey Has Begun

You don’t have to tell Rohit Ghai that we’re living in an increasingly mobile-first, cloud-first world. Mention the notion to the chief of EMC’s Enterprise Content Division (ECD) and you get the idea that he might be building his new headquarters there.

But we won’t know for sure until Ghai gives keynote at EMC World on Monday (or you read CMSWire hours before his presentation even begins.)

Terms like digital workplace, digital value chain and digital mindset pepper Ghai’s speech when he talks. But what he seems most excited about is the role that content takes in each of the aforementioned. “Content is a force factor in the digital world, it has a critical role to play,” he said.

3 Features Office 365 Needs to Launch in 2016

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Once upon a time we all worked in cubicles, separated from colleagues and very much siloed. These days many of us are lucky enough to work in more funky, open plan spaces. Some of us even have bean bags. Barriers have been broken down, collaboration and communication is more important, and physical silos have been reduced.

This parallels -- in much the same way -- how enterprise IT has changed from individual, isolated, desktops to the connected and collaborative cloud. Devices are linked, more and more applications talk to each other, and we are encouraged to use digital tools to work more closely together.

When Microsoft released Office 365 in 2011, it had many of the above stated goals. Not only did it want to foster better digital working, but it wanted to pull teams and workers closer together. 

Much of this has come to pass. You can now write documents online in Word, churn data through PowerBI, and share information with colleagues via Office 365 Groups. The purchase of Yammer put a social twist on everything, and tools like Delve are now trying to guess what we want to do before we do it.

In short, Office 365 wanted to make work ever more collaborative, social and interactive.

Simple Lessons on E-Signatures [Infographic]

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In the past few months, we've heard a lot of speculation why e-signature software has been so slow to gain traction — from legal and security issues to worker resistance and misunderstandings about how to use them.

But Sam Thorpe, director of product at San Francisco-based Nitro, a document productivity company, blames it on simple lack of education.

"A lot of people are unaware of the benefits or potential return on investment (ROI) of e-signatures,“ he said.

Is Salesforce For Sale?

Did you hear the one about Salesforce.com selling itself to a competitor? It's not a joke, at least according to news reports that sent shock waves through the technology world Wednesday.

The company that transformed CRM from an acronym to a ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange is toying with the idea of an acquisition Bloomberg reported. Specifically, reporters Alex Sherman and Cory Johnson noted Salesforce is apparently "working with financial advisers to help it field takeover offers after being approached by a potential acquirer."

While the potential suitor was not named, one thing is clear: the buyer would need extraordinarily deep pockets since Salesforce has a $49 billion market cap. That puts the spotlight on several companies, including Microsoft, SAP, IBM — and one especially close to the heart of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Oracle.

And here's something else. Benioff has been steadily selling stock. In the past month, he's reduced his outstanding common shares from more than 37.937 million to 37.675 million yesterday, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission

Shares surged 13.5 percent in late trade yesterday on news of the rumored takeover.

Microsoft Aims for Amazon with Elastic SQL #Build2015

Hey Amazon, can Redshift do this?

We know the kinder, gentler, “we play nice with everyone” Microsoft would never egg AWS boss Andy Jassy on like this, but here's the deal: Today at Build 2015, Microsoft executive vice president for cloud and enterprise Scott Guthrie made a whole slew of “elastic” announcements — some involving technologies that will make data scientists pretty happy.

Most notable, from our point of view, is the Azure SQL Data Warehouse, an elastic Data Warehouse-as-a-Service with enterprise class-features.

"Unlike Redshift, you can independently adjust the amount of compute and storage you use in a SQL data warehouse. This allows you to... adjust your data warehouse in seconds... allowing you to increase and decrease pretty much at will," said Guthrie.

Is Microsoft Still Relevant?

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If Microsoft has the tenacity to hold the technology press in suspense for more than a week, with back-to-back conferences (Build this week in San Francisco, Ignite next week in Chicago) — and overflow sessions extending well into Sunday — then you’d think the company should have something very important to say for itself.

“We’re sorry for Windows 8” would be nice enough, but that would take no more than three seconds.

At the time Microsoft adopted its new “four-square” logo in 2012, executives said each color represented one of the company’s “pillars.” Exactly which color stood for what pillar depended upon who you asked, and maybe whether they were forced to hold conference sessions on a Sunday.

Jive Launches Secure, Real Time Enterprise Messaging

We work in a digital world. There’s no time for email or waiting for return phone calls. We need collaboration now, in real time — and few of us work alone.

But can we really be expected to sit at our desks 24/7? Because that’s when we work, ask and answer questions … We’re global, we’re mobile and we need everything now. It has become our nature, and it can even be our key to gaining a competitive advantage.

While this work style might seem intrusive to those who grew up with landlines, snail mail and fax machines, it’s the norm to digital natives. They’ve refused to be weighed down by their employers’ ball and chains, and it’s not really necessary for them to be in the office all of the time anyways. They’re always on alert.

But it doesn’t seem to be a bother— it’s a BYOD world in which 83 per cent of millennials sleep with their phones.

You're Crazy to Move to Office 365 - Without Thinking

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Joe Shepley has called Office 365 a disaster waiting to happen. His logic is that Microsoft and its partners are encouraging firms to migrate their networks to Office 365 without organizing, classifying, purging or adding any information governance.

Shepley contends this puts organizations at greater risk from a compliance standpoint.

Any experienced practitioner in the enterprise content management (ECM) space will tell you that a straight move into any system is a huge mistake. But contrary to what Shepley maintains, it's not a disaster.

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