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EMC debuts Native Hybrid Cloud

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At EMC World in Las Vegas this week, EMC announced Native Hybrid Cloud – a turnkey platform for cloud-native application development and deployment.

NHC enables enterprises to innovate and scale faster. It helps enterprise IT and operations teams to better collaborate with developers, allowing for rapid application development and delivery, while providing the needed protection, controls and insight to IT.

In today’s dynamically changing digital economy, rapid application development and shortened release cycles are the new normal. DevOps, leveraging continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) and a more integrated operating model and culture between developers and IT, can provide a competitive edge, but shifting to DevOps is difficult without the right development platform and tools. Cloud-native platforms address this need. Cloud-native refers to a new software architecture that enables agile application development that follows cloud-native principles, a shift toward microservices versus monolithic app stacks, and embraces container infrastructure abstraction models.

Many enterprise customers have spent months – and in some cases years – trying to “build” their own cloud-native stacks, and now realize that deploying these stacks is difficult, and maintaining them after “day two” operations (update/maintain/report/support) is nearly impossible. Many have also suffered seeing multiple waves of cloud-native employees come and go, leaving unfinished pilots that were unsuitable for full production, and were not adequately designed to be supported and sustained for future evolution and growth .

Native Hybrid Cloud helps enterprises realize the promise of cloud-native applications and DevOps with an “It Just Works” experience. The platform has the following components, all validated to work together:

·         Continuous Innovation Cloud-Native Platform – Native Hybrid Cloud leverages Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the industry-leading cloud-native platform. Pivotal Cloud Foundry delivers platform capabilities that enhance developer productivity, enable operational excellence, and provide enterprise grade security, scalability, high availability, and operational control, so customers can accelerate their time to market for software solutions. Developers can more quickly design, build, deploy, and scale cloud-native applications because of the tight integration of NHC IaaS with Pivotal Cloud Foundry. Applications built using Pivotal Cloud Foundry are truly portable and can elastically run on any cloud – private or public.

·         Developer and IT Ops Services – Native Hybrid Cloud brings developers a rich set of services for deploying, scaling, and managing the application life cycle while providing IT the visibility, control, and financial insights by including logging, monitoring, and reporting, showback, application performance, big data analytics, and management and automation through open APIs. For enterprises seeking real-time business insights, NHC offers an add-on option that produces a comprehensive toolkit for data scientists to perform big data analytics, delivering more differentiated value.

·         Turnkey – but flexible choices for On-Premises and Off-Premises IaaS Options –Native Hybrid Cloud is built on the VCE® VxRack™ System 1000, a hyper-converged rack-scale infrastructure providing a turnkey IaaS experience for application development, deployment, and operations. The VxRack System allows customers to choose the cloud software stack based on their preference: VMware vSphere with FLEX Nodes for customers looking to leverage what they know, a turnkey OpenStack® option for those wanting to leverage the OpenStack ecosystem with Neutrino Nodes. In the near future, VMware Photon Platform, a cloud-native infrastructure solution optimized for containers and modern applications, will be supported on Neutrino Nodes, along with data fabric options including, but not limited to the Apache Hadoop ecosystem. VxRack System with Neutrino Nodes provides a simple rack-scale management and orchestration capability for cloud-native IaaS stacks, dramatically simplifying “day two” operations and scaling infrastructure elastically to match the needs of the developers – making what used to be complex now simple and predictable.

·         For customer deployments that require an off-premise IaaS option, EMC Native Hybrid Cloud offers day one support for leading public clouds: Virtustream Enterprise Cloud, VMware vCloud Air, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Microsoft Azure.

For customers initially looking for a cloud-native IaaS system, VxRack System with Neutrino Nodes and FLEX Nodes for cloud-native IaaS is a great option because it speeds the provisioning of resources based on open source technologies to less than one hour.

For many enterprise businesses, Native Hybrid Cloud aligns closer to the agile development strategy as it delivers a turnkey developer platform for cloud-native applications.

Fully supported end-to-end by EMC, sustained as one product and deployable in days, Native Hybrid Cloud enables enterprises to significantly reduce the cost, time, complexity and uncertainty associated with building, deploying and maintaining a cloud-native solution and navigating the cultural shift to DevOps.

DELIVERING CLOUD-NATIVE APPS AT THE SPEED OF BUSINESS

Native Hybrid Cloud increases business agility and fosters innovation through an engineered platform that brings together infrastructure elasticity, self-healing, automated application runtime, and extended developer and IT Ops services. Key benefits include:

·         Deploy a cloud-native developer platform and infrastructure services in as few as two days, composed of Pivotal Cloud Foundry integrated with the EMC and VMware powered IaaS, making it ready for tailoring to a customer environment, if desired. Native Hybrid Cloud delivers 93 percent faster time-to-code compared to a practice where customers build a complete cloud-native platform from the ground up.

·         3x faster time to market. Develop and deploy cloud-native applications in days or weeks rather than months or years. Rapid application development from idea to production as a result of the extensive developer and IT Ops services and tools.

·         Improved DevOps collaboration. New DevOps partnerships made possible by self-service capabilities for developers while allowing IT to retain control and insights.

·         2x Boost to developer productivity. Developers can self-provision infrastructure for cloud-native application development and enjoy an “it just works” user experience. A streamlined workflow and the ecosystem of toolsets simplify how cloud-native applications are built, deployed, and managed.

·         Single-call support. EMC provides single-call support for the full solution.

·         Reduced complexity. The Native Hybrid Cloud platform is engineered, maintained and sustained as one platform. This means that as the software ecosystem continues to innovate, the Native Hybrid Cloud stack continues to get updated and supported as a singular platform for the customer.

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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