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Oracle ups its cloud game

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At Oracle OpenWorld 2017 in San Francisco this week, Oracle unveiled a revamped portfolio that added significant new capacity and capability to its Cloud Platform.

Thomas Kurian, Oracle president of product development, showcased new services and enhancements, with deep product knowledge, integration, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) built into every layer of the stack.

Kurian demonstrated several of these new services on stage, showing how customers can transform business with Oracle’s cloud services. Innovations spanning infrastructure, analytics, data management, and applications showcased in the session included:

  • Infrastructure as a Service: With built-in servers, storage, networking and supporting cloud services (such as load balancing and DNS), Oracle Cloud Infrastructure provides the foundation for customer innovation. As Kurian demonstrated in a number of scenarios, the platform was architected from the ground-up to provide the fastest compute, fastest GPUs, and fastest block storage to drive unmatched performance, predictability and lower costs for even the most intense enterprise workloads. Kurian also introduced new network capabilities including a Public Cloud Service offering 25 gigabit Ethernet to the host with a global scale elastic DNS Service.

Providing customers ultimate choice in how they deploy their architecture, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure enables customers to maintain visibility into their on-premises systems and extend them to the cloud. Kurian highlighted new developments in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure—including enhancements to Compute, Storage, Networking and edge capabilities—offering IT operations, developers and researchers infrastructure services optimized for production-ready enterprise applications.

  • Platform as a Service: Oracle’s PaaS offerings serve as the underlying foundation for developing, integrating, monitoring, securing and optimizing applications with newly built-in AI and machine learning powered tools. Kurian shared Oracle’s vision for the future of PaaS where software automatically learns, manages, tunes and scales to meet changing compute needs. Kurian also discussed the world’s first autonomous database cloud. Powered by the newly announced Oracle Database 18c, the next generation of its industry-leading database, Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud eliminates complexity, human error, and manual tuning, making it easy for customers to provision and operate databases with lower administration costs and freeing them up to focus on other critical business tasks. Also noted was the latest generation of Oracle Exadata (X7); new innovations in the Oracle Big Data Cloud Platform with new artificial Intelligence, data lake and data integration capabilities; and leading-edge new cyber security and systems management solutions.
  • Application Development Cloud Services: Oracle gives customers unparalleled choices when it comes to open source tools, programming languages, and data management platforms that meet desired price-performance needs. This enables customers to preserve existing investments and increase productivity, while eliminating costly learning curves and dramatically reducing integration costs. Kurian discussed major advancements to the Oracle Application Development Platform – highlighting how Oracle is making it even more open, modern and easy to use with container-native development and high scale, fully managed Docker and Kubernetes services; expanded polyglot support; and a new intelligent chatbot platform. He also showcased Oracle’s newly announced serverless computing offering. Based on open-source project Fn, the service helps customers reduce cloud infrastructure and management costs by only paying for the time their functions are running, and not for the entire time the cloud compute is on and sitting idle.
  • Software as a Service: Helping companies operate more intelligently and effectively—whether it’s closing the books, serving employees or engaging with customers—Oracle has built-in AI capabilities across its application suite. No matter what the business opportunity or issue, Oracle is the only vendor to offer customers a complete and connected application suite to run an entire business in the cloud. Offering intuitive UIs and embedded collaboration—amplified with new developments in machine learning, AI and Internet of Things (IoT) and chatbots connectivity—Oracle’s suite of cloud applications help customers better connect critical business functions and accelerate intelligent outcomes. Kurian highlighted new AI SaaS capabilities for finance, human resources, supply chain, marketing, commerce, sales and customer service professionals. He also demonstrated how companies can integrate core elements of the Oracle stack to transform business, such as building next-generation applications with built-in Blockchain capabilities.
  • Data as a Service: Powering Oracle Adaptive Intelligent Apps, Oracle Data Cloud enables them to learn, react and adapt in real time based on historical and dynamic customer data. This empowers marketers to quickly identify audiences, connecting their behaviors across devices and platforms—so they can deliver the right message, to the right customer—at the right time. Oracle Data Cloud, which is the largest data marketplace in the world, features a collection of more than 5 billion global consumer and business IDs and more than 7.5 trillion data points collected monthly.

Quotes from Thomas Kurian

  • “I am incredibly proud of the work our development organization has done these last 10 years to bring you the Oracle Cloud, and to introduce all these new innovations that we showed you today.”
  • “Over 10 years ago when we started building the Oracle Cloud, we had a very simple mission: we wanted any person anywhere in the world to be able to access and use our software. And all that they would need is an Internet browser or a phone.”
  • “Here at OpenWorld we’re going provide a glimpse of the future of Oracle and how we’re infusing new technology in autonomous computing, artificial intelligence, IoT, blockchain and new forms of human interface into our cloud offerings.”
  • “We’re doing this to give you, our customers and developers, a canvas on which you can paint your vision and your ambitions and dreams, to use information technology in a new way, in a fundamentally new way, to transform your organization, your companies and the world.”
  • “We’re introducing amazing technology in the infrastructure layer. So you can get world-class infrastructure delivered to you through a browser.”
  • “The vision for platform-as-a-service was to eliminate the next barrier to technology adoption by our customers. And that was to eliminate all the mundane, manual labor that human beings needed to do in order to use Oracle technology.”
  • “Our vision for the human interface for applications is to become seamless for humans. No longer is it just web and mobile screens, but you could speak to the application. You can interact with it with messaging. You can take pictures and we can identify images, compare them with other things, and automate transactions.”

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Bring your network with you

At last week’s Critical Communications World, Motorola unveiled the LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. It allows rescue personal to set up dedicated LTE networks for communication in an emergency, writes SEAN BACHER.

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In the event of an emergency, communications are absolutely critical, but the availability of public phone networks are limited due to weather conditions or congestion.

Motorola realised that this caused a problem when trying to get rescue personnel to those in need and so developed its LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. The product is the smallest and lightest full powered broadband network to date and allows the first person on the scene to set up an LTE network in a matter of minutes, allowing other rescue team members to communicate with each other.

“The LXN 500 weighs six kilograms and comes in a backpack with two batteries. It offers a range of 1km and allows up to 100 connections at the same time. However, in many situations the disaster area may span more than 1km which is why they can be connected to each other in a mesh formation,” says Tunde Williams, Head of Field and Solutions Marketing EMEA, Motorola Solutions.

The LXN 500 solution offers communication through two-way radios, and includes mapping, messaging, push-to-talk, video and imaging features onboard, thus eliminating the need for any additional hardware.

Data collected on the device can then be sent through to a central control room where an operator can deploy additional rescue personnel where needed. Once video is streamed into the control room, realtime analytics and augmented reality can be applied to it to help predict where future problem points may arise. Video images and other multimedia can also be made available for rescuers on the ground.

“Although the LXN 500 was designed for the seamless communications between on ground rescue teams and their respective control rooms, it has made its way into the police force and in places where there is little or no cellular signal such as oil rigs,” says Williams.

He gave a hostage scenario: “In the event of a hostage situation, it is important for the police to relay information in realtime to ensure no one is hurt. However the perpetrators often use their mobile phones to try and foil any rescue attempts. Should the police have the correct partnerships in place they are able to disable cellular towers in the vicinity, preventing any in or outgoing calls on a public network and allowing the police get their job done quickly and more effectively.”

By disabling any public networks in the area, police are also able to eliminate any cellular detonated bombs from going off but still stay in touch with each other he says.

The LXN 500 offers a wide range of mission critical cases and is sure to transform communications and improve safety for first responders and the people they are trying to protect.

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Kaspersky moves to Switzerland

As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.

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This includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland.

Global transparency and collaboration for an ultra-connected world

The Global Transparency Initiative, announced in October 2017, reflects Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. The new measures are the next steps in the development of the initiative, but they also reflect the company’s commitment to working with others to address the growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust. Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability.

The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of the first Transparency Center.

Relocation of customer data storage and processing

By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab will have established a data center in Zurich and in this facility, will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data.

Relocation of software assembly

Kaspersky Lab will relocate to Zurich its ‘software build conveyer’ — a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software out of source code. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide. The relocation will ensure that all newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation and show that software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit.

Establishment of the first Transparency Center

The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in a dedicated Transparency Center that will also be hosted in Switzerland and is expected to open this year. This approach will further show that generation after generation of Kaspersky Lab products were built and used for one purpose only: protecting the company’s customers from cyberthreats.

Independent supervision and review

Kaspersky Lab is arranging for the data storage and processing, software assembly, and source code to be independently supervised by a third party qualified to conduct technical software reviews. Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join.

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