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Virginia Backaitis News & Analysis

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.

Can Dropbox Buy Its Way into the Enterprise?

2014-11-June-IntheDoor.jpgIf you don’t have enough time or talent to build it, maybe you can buy it. At least if you have as much money as Dropbox.

OK, we admit that we’re being a bit sarcastic here, but we actually have enough information to present a pretty good case around Dropbox trying to buy its way into the Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) market.

We won’t bore you with all of the details, but consider that last week Dropbox acquired Droptalk and that late yesterday MobileSpan announced that it had been acquired by Dropbox as well. 

Do Sync & Share Files Belong on Public Clouds?

2014-10-June-Paper-Airplanes.jpgIt was only a matter of time.

With public cloud storage costs quickly heading toward zero, it may not make sense for some Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) providers to store customer files in their own data centers.

Last night news broke that EFSS provider Egnyte will now leverage Google Cloud Services to store client files.

It’s a move that didn't shock Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a research director at the 451 Research.

“Many cloud service providers are finding out that low cost and free subscriptions are hard to upsell and the cloud storage costs alone can be a huge drag on the limited finances of a startup,” he said.

On the Eve of Box's IPO, Dropbox Raises Its Enterprise Play

While the battle between BYOD and company issued mobile devices is pretty much over (BYOD takes it all), the competition between Enterprise File Sync & Share providers seems to be getting more and more intense.

It’s a bit unfortunate for Aaron Levie’s once red hot Box which is trying to go public (Quartz reports that this is supposed to happen within weeks) because its competitors, and would be competitors, keep upping their plays, adding appealing end-user facing features as well as safeguards to suit the CIO’s fancy.

Consider that last week Salesforce’s Mark Benioff and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced plansfor a tight integration between their products (including EFSS), and that SAP and OpenText made arrangements to offer TempoBox to certain mutual customers for free.

Add to that Microsoft’s recent announcement that it’s increasing OneDrive for Business storage from 25GB to 1TB per user.  Levie finds himself in a crowded field (Apple may join soon) that includes not only the 100+ existing players (see our recent EFSS update), but also 300 million user Dropbox that seems to be getting serious about the Enterprise.

Hadoop's Holy Moment #hadoopsummit

Thumbnail image for 2014-5-June-hadoop's-holy-moment.jpg.jpgLook, I’ll be the first to admit that the so-called “Hadoop Wars” can be kind of interesting. Who isn’t going to click on a link that says something like “The Hadoop Wars: Cloudera and Hortonworks' Death Match.”

Or read beyond this first sentence:

“Another day, another set of choice words hurled at one Hadoop vendor by another. This time, it’s Hortonworks doing the hurling, claiming that Cloudera’s business model isn’t designed for today’s big data market.”

But sometimes, when we get so busy consuming this kind of content, we fail to remember the other story -- how Hadoop came to be and why, as a technology, it’s been able to evolve so quickly and become one of the major catalysts ushering in computing’s third age.

What's Cooler Than Beats Music Using MapR? #HadoopSummit

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We all know streaming music is a big thing — people no longer get excited about building playlists or hitting shuffle on their iPods only to hear the same tired tunes over and over again.

Today we want to listen to crowd-sourced, curated music that’s selected specifically for us. And services that can provide that need to process and crunch lots of data (demographic, psychographic, mobile, social …), big data and to then apply predictive analytics to determine what might delight us.

While providers like Spotify and Pandora have been doing that for quite some time, Beats Music recently came out of nowhere and disrupted the scene — so much so that Apple bought it (and Beats Electronics) from Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

Now we’re not going to tell you that either of those music moguls knows a lot about big data (they could, but we sort of doubt it). But we do know this: Beats Music uses MapR for its big data needs.

Oh My Hadoop! Cloudera Buys Big Data Encryption Specialist Gazzang

Critics who scream that Hadoop platforms lack security can now begin to calm down. Last month Hortonworks bought XA Secure, a data company that provides a comprehensive security suite for Apache Hadoop.

This morning Cloudera announced that it has acquired big data security expert Gazzang to “dramatically” strengthen its security offerings, which already includes Apache Sentry.

Actian to Cloudera: Eat My Dust

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Until now, we thought the Hadoop wars were only between the distro providers. But that’s no longer the case. It seems other ecosystem vendors who provide ancillary solutions are coming after Cloudera as well, claiming to have solutions that outperform it.

One such vendor, Actian, maintains its SQL on Hadoop solution outperforms Cloudera Impala, big time.

Cha-Ching: SAP Introduces SAP Simple Finance #SapphireNow

Simple Finance. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? 

Not according to SAP. They’ve worked hard to make their finance solutions simple to use, real time, SAP HANA-powered and cloud based. 

This morning, SAP CEO Bill McDermott announced his organization's new finance solution during his keynote address at SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP's user conference being held in Orlando, Fla.

Now You Can Now Have SAP Fiori for Free #SapphireNow

customer experience, Hey SAP User, You Can Now Have SAP Fiori for Free

Even Steve Lucas, president of SAP Platform Solutions, admits his company’s traditional user interfaces are ugly — for this day and age — and that the company's user experiences leave a lot to be desired.

Instead of being colorful, “delightful” and productivity-oriented, they come in and act in on something Lucas describes as “a palette of grays”.

And they aren't anywhere as exciting as those 50 shades you may envision.

This isn’t an experience that modern users who expect consumer-like feel and function want. 

SAP has a product, SAP Fiori, that changes all of that. But it has come at a price that many enterprises haven’t been willing or able to pay.

This has caused quite a bit of anger. 

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