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Virginia Backaitis News & Analysis

Can a Plug and Play Data Lake Save the EMC Federation?

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Big data is new oil, the new gold, the new kale (wait … kale?). Honest to God, we’ve heard the latter one said.

Regardless of what analogy you use for the mass quantities of information your company stores or accesses, chances are good that it isn’t gleaning much insight from it yet.

And that’s not because CEO’s fail to see the value. In fact, a January survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit reveals that 48 percent of executives believe big data is a useful tool. And another 23 percent predict big data will revolutionize the way businesses are managed.

If this is the case, then why isn’t big data more broadly deployed?

Some claim companies don’t know how or where to get started — or think the time to value is too long.

The EMC Federation (EMC 2 + VMware + Pivotal + RSA + VCE) hopes to change that perception. Later this morning, it will unveil its EMC Federation Business Data Lake solution. Its promise is to enable organizations to realize the value of big data analytics in as little as one week as opposed to months.

Come Closer: Here's How You Can Win the #MarchMadness Pool

Loser.

If you turned in your March Madness brackets earlier this week, chances are that that’s how you feel.

Fear not, you’re not alone. ESPN says 99 percent of the brackets submitted to their website were damaged by yesterday’s results.

Who would have thought the University of Alabama Blazers would beat the third seeded Iowa State Cyclones? Many expected Iowa State to be in the final four.

Or what were chances of UCLA knocking off SMU? Ditto for the Georgia State — Baylor result.

A blindfolded monkey throwing darts at the brackets might have better success than I did. 😝😩😡 Just sayin... #Marchmadness

— Julie Goolsby (@crazymrsg) March 20, 2015

You might take some comfort in knowing that the number crunchers at Google and Microsoft probably didn’t fare any better.  Check out Bing’s picks and where it got it wrongDitto for Google.

Filling out ur brackets u think ur genius. End of 1st day u realize ur an imbecile #MarchMadness

— Billy Black Chip (@BillyBlackChip) March 20, 2015

Make Room for Gartner's BI and Analytics Platforms MQ Leaders

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Twenty four is a crowd -- yet that’s how many vendors made it into Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics circa 2015.

For enterprises that are shopping for BI and Analytics solutions, choice may seem like a good thing until you consider what evaluating that many vendors might look like -- most of us wouldn’t even consider trying on 24 pairs of jeans.

Cloudera Doesn't Spark Hadoop Wars, Really?

Don’t tell Oracle’s head honcho Larry Ellison that some of his former employees have taken a page from his book, but darn if geeks at Cloudera aren’t saying inflammatory things about the competition. In this case, the competition is Pivotal Software and certain members of the Open Data Platform (ODP) initiative. 

Check out the picture in the tweet below. It comes from a presentation at Cloudera’s analyst day held earlier this week. 

Kiai! EMC Grasps Open Source, Kicks Off Cloud Foundry Dojo

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EMC CEO Joe Tucci’s star didn’t rise in an open source world. In fact, the idea of paying engineers to write code that would be donated to “the community” might have seemed as crazy to him as taking the doors off of all of his vacation homes and inviting a bunch of hippies to move in.

But the times they are a changin’, as Bob Dylan likes to sing.

This morning EMC will announce that it is opening the first Cloud Foundry Dojo, a place where application developers can receive the training needed to gain full open source contributor (“committer”) status on the open source development project in six weeks. It typically takes as long as one year.

The move, according to a pitch we received from EMC, is intended to signal “a new strategic focus for EMC as a major contributor to open source.”

Dropbox Sweetens Its Business Products

Dropbox wants to be the place where you store, sync and share files at work, and, for the most part, it already is.

Only 9 percent of employers have official enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) solutions in place, so it doesn’t take an Einstein to discern that workers are going rogue.

Chances are good that they’re doing so using the most popular file sync and share solution in the world, Dropbox. In a recent conversation, Ilya Fushman, head of Product, Business and Mobile at Dropbox, told us that Dropbox is home to more than 35 billion office documents.

This is a good thing for Dropbox. But it would be even better and bosses would be happier if all this file sharing was done in the open — with employer consent and the knowledge that everyone was adhering to company policies.

That’s what Dropbox for Business is for, and why Fushman’s team is working at a rapid pace to meet the needs of business customers — and why Dropbox introduced two new products today.

Acrobat Wants You to Do Magic on Adobe's New Document Cloud

In this, the digital age, we’re still using paper, and a whole lot of it. About 80 percent of document-based processes are at least partly dependent on paper, according to research by the IDC.

“People are still being forced to print, scan, fax and/or mail documents at some point in the process,” said Mark Grilli, vice president of product marketing at Adobe.

It slows the pace of business to a snail’s crawl because we’re living in an increasingly mobile world. People aren’t tethered to their desks waiting to fill out forms and sign things, let alone fax them back or put them in an envelope in need of postage. And when it comes to circulating documents, forget about it.

What Does Box's Lousy Showing Mean to the Enterprise?

Box CEO Aaron Levie better have had an extra cup of coffee before he arrived at his company’s Silicon Valley offices this morning. Chances are he was staring at the NASDAQ ticker all morning -- his company’s shares are down a whopping 15.64 percent (as of 3:03 EDT).

Big Data Bits: Making Sense Edition

For all we write about Hadoop, Spark, NoSQL databases and the geeky IT-facing side of big data, what really matters is how it brings value to knowledge workers. That’s the point, after all, isn’t it?

Discovering actionable insights and finding new, data-rich perspectives to study and look at problems is the promise of this data age.

And it’s not only that, but it’s delivering data smarts to the people who need them most and, more often than not, they’re not data workers.

So when solution providers make progress in these areas, we can’t help but get excited.

Splunk Brings Operational Insights to Main Street

To some of us, the mere idea of gleaning insights from operational and machine data seems baffling — like something that only large enterprises with big bucks and sophisticated IT pros have the resources to do. This leaves the rest of us straining our eyes and brains, examining and analyzing log files to anticipate and solve problems. 

Oh Please Cloudera: It's Not Game Over Yet

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You know the kid on the block who claims victory even though the game is still being played — and when you ask him why he thinks he’s won, his answer is “because I said so?"

It seems that Tom Reilly, CEO of Hadoop distro provider Cloudera, might have borrowed a play from that book, inspiring Gigaom’s Derrick Harris to write the headline, “Cloudera CEO declares victory over big data competition.”

And while some might conclude that Reilly was talking only about Pivotal — which open sourced its big data platform last month and is now partnering with Hortonworks on its HDP distro — there's more to the story. There are at least two other Hadoop distro providers in the space whose market share is still growing, perhaps as fast or even faster than Cloudera’s. Analysts like them just as much, if not more, too.

Here's Another Reason for CIOs to Like Dropbox

There’s a reason why Dropbox is one of the defaults for saving Microsoft Office documents: 35 billion of them already live in the cloud file storage service. And though some might be homework assignments, recipes, directions to soccer fields and such, a large portion of them are about business.

Yet according to a recent survey only nine percent of work documents are stored in a company-sanctioned file sharing service.

This spells h-u-g-e  o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y for Dropbox for Business. After all, Dropbox is the unofficial file sharing service used by most workers. All Dropbox for Business needs to do to win the market is to earn IT’s blessing.

The company is working feverishly to do exactly that.

Are You Managing Documents Like It's 1990? [Infographic]

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Forget file-sharing services like Dropbox, Box, Nitro, Syncplicity and OneDrive for Business. Ditto for high resolution monitors, tablets and digital signatures. 

More than a third of us are working with documents and collaborating the old fashioned way, via email, printing and editing, hand signing and scanning -- you get the idea. So says a survey conducted by Nitro and the PDF Association. It looked at the way 1200 knowledge workers in 56 countries across 13 industries and 10 professions used documents on the job. And it’s not just small companies that we’re talking about, but those with as many as 10,000 employees as well. 

Gartner's Look at Advanced Analytics Vendors: Are You Using a Winner?

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Hats off to Gartner for resisting the temptation to call Advanced Analytics “Analytics 3.0” because no one knows what that means. Some say that 3.0 suggests “analytics for all," referencing “all” as average workers.

Advanced Analytics, by Gartner's definition, are anything but that, according to the Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics Platforms (registration required).

Instead, Gartner defines them as “the analysis of all kinds of data using sophisticated quantitative methods (for example, statistics, descriptive and predictive data mining, simulation and optimization) to produce insights that traditional approaches to business intelligence (BI) — such as query and reporting — are unlikely to discover."

In other words, advanced analytics are the scalpels used by highly trained data scientists.

What You've Been Missing: A Standard for Enterprise Apps

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If you’ve ever tried to set up Box, Workday, Oracle, SAP or one of many other Enterprise apps on an Enterprise Mobility Managed (EMM) device, you know it’s not fun.

In fact, chances are good you’ve downloaded a handful of apps you’ve never used — just because you couldn’t properly configure them.

“Public apps often get stuck on the device,” said Kabir Barday, lead product manager, application development at AirWatch by VMware.

Would-be users frequently become frustrated entering user names, passwords, server URLs and ports. Sometimes it’s cumbersome. Other times, they don’t have easy access to the required information.

The result? Error messages like “App can’t be displayed." But that’s not the biggest difficulty. The real problem is the loss of productivity.

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