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Virginia Backaitis News & Analysis

Databricks' Spark Could Light SAP's Fire

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SAP HANA seems to have taken a bit of a public beating lately, namely because its creator, Vishal Sikka, and several other notable executives left the company.

And while some might speculate the Guinness World Record setting in-memory database has had its best days, there are very few facts to support that contention. In fact, we say the best may be yet to come.

After all, SAP HANA hasn’t yet infiltrated most Enterprises and SAP, as a whole, has become no holds barred, cloud-bound only lately.

Will Dropbox's New Feature Be Enough?

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Dropbox wants legitimacy in the Enterprise, and it’s racing to get all the boxes (no pun intended) checked that will win it official entry through company doors. 

To be fair, according to Dropbox for Business product manager Anand Subramani, they already have 4 million users in businesses. We haven’t called any of them to ask if they’re spending a dime on the service; in fact, it would be interesting to know how many of them are personal accounts or shadow IT.

But as we’ve asked workers at large enterprises to try to create accounts on the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) service, the most common response we get is “it’s blocked.”

Will MapR Be the First Hadoop Vendor to IPO?

2014-30-June-Wall-Street-Bull.jpgGoogle Capital doesn’t invest in that many companies, in fact, before today there were only six.

And when do they invest, they’re hardly silent partners.

“We have the capability to use our money, our time, our effort, our expertise, our brain power, and the Google brand to help build great companies,” said David Drummond, chairman of Google Capital. Drummond is also Google’s senior vice president, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer.

While that statement doesn’t tell us much about how quickly Google Capital expects to realize a return on its investments, the particular partner they assign to a startup may be telling.

This morning Gene Frantz, a general partner at Google Ventures, who specializes in late stage startups, takes a seat on MapR’s board.

MapR, for anyone who doesn’t already know, is a San Jose, Calif.-based enterprise software company that develops and sells Apache Hadoop-derived software.

Is Google's Drive for Work Too Little, Too Late? #io14

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Every time Google or Microsoft makes an announcement about lowering the price of storage, someone asks us why anyone would pay more for a service like Dropbox, Box, Syncplicity, Egnyte, Accellion … you get the picture.

So yesterday, at its I/O Conference, when Google announced Google Drive for Work (a combination of Google apps and Google Drive with added security and reporting features that comes with unlimited storage for $10 per user per month), we were slammed with inquiries. Has Google had just entered — and, all at once, won — the file sync and share market in the Enterprise?

Here's What You're Missing at #MongoDBWorld

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MongoDB is not your daddy’s database, and you probably didn’t learn it in college.

But chances are good if you work just about anywhere in the next few years, you’ll find it there. Ok, maybe not everywhere, but at least in 75 percent of enterprises, said Dwight Merriman, the company’s chairman.

If that sounds ambitious, it’s reasonably well-grounded. Consider there have been more than 7 million downloads of the Open Source database, that 10,000 plus are participating “in the product” in meetups, user groups and such, and that the company has over 500 partners including some pretty notable vendors like IBM, Teradata and SAP, as well as other up and comers like Cloudera, Pentaho and Red Hat.

MongoDB has come from its initial release in 2009 to become the fifth largest database in the world according to DB-Engines, just behind PostgreSQL, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.

What’s its goal? “We want to become the leading database in the world,” says Merriman. “But that will take time.”

What Microsoft Will Do to Keep Your Business

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Dropbox wants Enterprises to store their content in Dropbox. Box wants it in Box. Egnyte, Accellion, Syncplicity … you get the picture. They all want to be your provider as well.

And Microsoft has something to lose if it lets that happen. And it’s not the dollars (you pay for services on the aforementioned vendors’ clouds as units of storage) that these other companies could potentially earn.

The world’s largest software company needs you to keep living and working in its products, like Office and SharePoint, which you wouldn’t have to do if you stored your stuff on these other clouds.

Box Notes Takes Flight

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Finding Box Notes in your Box iOS app may not seem like that big deal. But for Box users who want to create simple content or collaborate with their team mates while on the road, it could be huge.

Launch the Box app on your iPhone or iPad, select “Create a Note” and you’re in business. There’s no need to download software or open the premium Office app. Same holds true for Google Docs, Evernote or whatever.

Plus the option to create, share, discuss and work together with others in real time or offline is simply there. And get this, you’re always in sync, always on the Cloud, and you’re not breaking any compliance rules while you’re at it.

Like with Box itself, Enterprise worthiness is a given.

Box Watch No. 2: $100M More, Please

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Maybe Re/code has a bug  (of the non-insect variety) planted in Aaron Levie’s hair or an electronic tracking device imbedded in his shoes. But somehow the site has learned — and is now reporting —that Box is considering taking on $100 million from investors.

Re/code reported that Box is in the early stages of talks with private equity firm TPG. It quoted “sources familiar with the matter,” adding that “no final decision has been made on whether or not to accept the funding”.

Big Data Bits: We're Hooking-Up, But That's Not All

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Does an alliance or partnership between two tech companies have as much impact as a new software release? We wonder if anyone has ever done the calculations. If so, please share.

As for us, we’ve taken our valuation hats off for the day to report on the big data and analytics news, which is all about (surprise!) new alliances, new capabilities and new releases.

Box Watch: We're Talking About the IPO Again

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You know Box boss Aaron Levie can’t be sleeping too well — every time the guy blinks (or doesn’t) there’s news about his company’s impending IPO.

And as much as Levie would probably like to comment every now and then, he’s got to keep his lips zipped.

You can almost picture Box advisors and investors like former Microsoft bigwig Steve Sinofsky, Glen Tullman, former US Government CTO Aneesh Chopra and others like venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, taking turns following Levie around with a roll of tape or a gag of some sort chanting “not a word.” Or maybe they’re threatening to break his Twitter finger. Horowitz recently wrote a book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things.

Well, Aaron, not saying anything back when people are saying things about you is hard.

Brick-and-Mortar 'Cloud Store' isn't What it Seems #AmazonEvent

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It could be a coincidence, but then again, maybe not. Either way, it seems all but certain that Amazon will finally unveil its very own smartphone later today at a launch event in Seattle.

And that could have a great deal to do with the “day-long boot camps,” “classes” and tutorials that Amazon is conducting “free of charge” in its brick-and-mortar pop-up cloud store in San Francisco.

Reports indicate the new “device,” which was probably developed in Amazon’s Silicon Valley-based hardware Lab126, will be different than the iPhone and the Android devices we use today because it will have a 3-D, Google glass-type interface.

Chances are good that even the most experienced smart phone app developers might benefit from one-on-one tutorials (like you get at the Genius Bar at Apple) or need some related training to make the most of the new device’s capabilities.

After all, in order for a new smartphone to make a dent in today’s market, its apps and services have to be incredible. And it seems that at least some of those built for Amazon’s forthcoming device already may be.

Will Streem(ing) Make Box More Alluring to Enterprises?

Box wants to be the place where enterprises store, sync and share their content. We’re talking all of your content, all of the time, regardless of its format or size.

Today Box’s head honcho, Aaron Levie announced the acquisition of Streem, a YCombinator startup that has developed a means of accessing all of your content stored in the cloud via your desktop.

What’s interesting about Streem is that it has developed StreemFS, a new file system that is supposed to turn the cloud into an extension of your hard drive.

Can Microsoft's Newest Azure Service Help Change the Future?

2014-16-June-Zoltar.jpgNo, Microsoft’s new boss, Satya Nadella, hasn’t gone loopy on you.

But today the world’s largest software provider unveils a cloud-based, big data/analytics solution to help enterprises predict the future and to react to it -- ahead of schedule -- thereby increasing the odds of achieving a desired result.

“It’s been cooking for a while,” said Eron Kelly, general manager of the company’s data platform division. 

“It,” to be more precise, is a Microsoft Azure Machine Learning service, AzureML, that helps enterprises apply advanced analytics to big data to forecast and take action on what is yet to come.

World Cup Data ... Visualized

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As we've noted before, people think in pictures, not Excel spread sheets. The human brain doesn’t react well to seeing millions of lines and rows of data.

And in the age of big data and analytics, where gleaning and reacting to insights faster than the competition can make the difference between winning a market or perishing, avoiding disasters or falling prey — and even saving lives or losing them.

It’s no wonder companies in the data visualization business are booming. Take, for example, Tableau. In just one quarter, the market leader landed 120 deals in excess of $100,000 and added 1,800 new customers. The company also reported that it has exceeded more than 1,000 cumulative customer accounts using Tableau Online for analytics in the cloud.

Breaking News: Vishal Sikka Grabs Infosys' Top Job

Did we call it or what?

Vishal Sikka just confirmed via Twitter that he will be leading Infosys into the future.

The Stanford PhD who, up until early last month, was an executive member of SAP’s Board and is widely credited for bringing Guinness World record breaking database SAP HANA to life, has now accepted the challenge of leading Infosys, the $31.1 billion global provider of business consulting, information technology, software engineering and outsourcing to a new level of greatness.

Sikka will be the Infosys’ first non-founder CEO.

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