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Amazon, VMware, team up for new hybrid cloud service

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Two of the global leaders in cloud computing have entered a strategic alliance to combine the best of public cloud and private cloud.

VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, have announced an alliance to build an integrated hybrid offering.

A company statement says the service “will give customers the full software-defined data center (SDDC) experience from the leader in the private cloud, running on the world’s most popular, trusted, and robust public cloud”.

AWS provided the following information:

VMware Cloud on AWS will enable customers to run applications across VMware vSphere-based private, public, and hybrid cloud environments. Delivered, sold, and supported by VMware as an on-demand, elastically scalable service, VMware Cloud on AWS will allow VMware customers to use their existing VMware software and tools to leverage AWS’s global footprint and breadth of services, including storage, databases, analytics, and more.

Most enterprises rely on VMware to run applications in their vSphere-based private clouds, and often these same customers are also running applications on AWS. Increasingly, these customers have asked both companies to make it easier to run their existing on-premises environments alongside AWS using the VMware software and tools they’ve come to rely on.

VMware Cloud on AWS is a jointly architected solution that will integrate the world’s leading private cloud and the world’s leading public cloud. VMware Cloud on AWS is powered by VMware Cloud Foundation™, a unified SDDC platform that integrates VMware vSphere, VMware Virtual SAN and NSX virtualization technologies, and will provide access to the full range of AWS services, together with the functionality, elasticity, and security customers have come to expect from the AWS Cloud.

This new service represents a significant investment in engineering, operations, support, and sales resources from both companies. It will run on next-generation, elastic, bare metal AWS infrastructure. Customers will have the ability to purchase services through their existing VMware commercial agreement and use their existing VMware software investments to secure additional loyalty discounts for their VMware Cloud on AWS hybrid environment.

“VMware Cloud on AWS offers our customers the best of both worlds,” said Pat Gelsinger, CEO, VMware. “This new service will make it easier for customers to preserve their investment in existing applications and processes while taking advantage of the global footprint, advanced capabilities, and scale of the AWS public cloud.”

“Our customers continue to ask us to make it easier for them to run their existing data center investments alongside AWS,” said Andy Jassy, CEO, AWS. “Most enterprises are already virtualized using VMware, and now with VMware Cloud on AWS, for the first time, it will be easy for customers to operate a consistent and seamless hybrid IT environment using their existing VMware tools on AWS, and without having to purchase custom hardware, rewrite their applications, or modify their operating model.”

Availability

Available in mid-2017, VMware Cloud on AWS will be delivered, sold, and supported by VMware as an on-demand, elastically scalable service. Pricing will be made available closer to the general availability date.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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