VMware has unveiled an expanded portfolio of cloud services and made VMware Cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS) available in Europe, bringing the service closer to South African companies.
The announcements are key to the VMware strategy of enabling customers to work seamlessly with, and better manage, hybrid clouds. This will in turn provide local VMware users with the opportunity to marry multiple clouds, manage them from a single interface, develop for them, derive quantifiable analytics on use and behaviour, and leverage more effective cost analysis.
VMware and AWS will also enable system integrator and system outsourcer (SISO) partners, managed service providers, and solutions providers to grow their cloud business and help their customers realise the full benefits of hybrid cloud.
AWS does not yet have datacentres or local cloud infrastructure in South Africa. However, according to Ian Jansen van Rensburg, senior systems engineering manager at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa, the VMware Cloud Provider Programme partners have many customers that make use of AWS together with VMware. As long as they are not forced by legislation to keep the data inside the boundaries of South Africa, they are able to use AWS points pf presence in South Africa.
“Customers are focused on digital transformation and that is a business decision on how they leverage cloud,” states Jansen van Rensburg. “The needs of applications are driving these cloud decisions, as customers need to support both new and existing applications, which is conversely also driving massive cloud adoption, even locally.
“VMware Cloud is unique in the sense that you can develop any type of application and deliver these applications to any cloud and deliver to any device. All of this can be done while having a consistent infrastructure across cloud environments. This provides the customers the flexibility they need when using multiple cloud environments, as well as a way in which they can better mitigate the security risks involved in doing this.”
He believes that, when VMware transformed the data centre 20 years ago, it inadvertently laid the foundation for how we build cloud environments today. VMware Cloud Services are designed to give customers the flexibility to leverage any cloud environment while providing consistent operations for how clouds are managed and secured. VMware’s growing portfolio of Cloud Services therefore provides visibility, operations, automation, security, and governance across any cloud.
“VMware’s focus is to break down obstacles and barriers for customers and deliver the ultimate Hybrid cloud,” he says.
The full announcement, as provided by VMware, includes:
- New VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension Service for Private Cloud: A SaaS offering that provides application mobility and infrastructure hybridity across different vSphere versions, on-premises and in the cloud. Previously announced Hybrid Cloud Extension services for both IBM Cloud and VMware Cloud on AWS are now available, and VMware has now added a new service for self-managed private enterprise datacenters. Hybrid Cloud Extension provides the operational support that enables enterprises to complete large-scale workload movement in environments spanning multiple private datacentre locations. Hybrid Cloud Extension enables enterprises to manage secure application migration without modification, with little or no application downtime, and across heterogeneous VMware vSphere environments. Cloud migration is simplified by eliminating the need to replatform, retest, or change cloud tooling, all while maintaining business continuity, application uptime, network architectures, and performance. With the general availability of Hybrid Cloud Extension for both IBM Cloud and VMware Cloud on AWS, customers can also extend their VMware-based environments to the public cloud for on-demand capacity and geographical expansion.
- Expanded Wavefront by VMware Service: This SaaS-based, high-scale, metrics monitoring and analytics platform supports cloud-native and enterprise applications, and both public and private cloud infrastructure, including AWS, Google Cloud Platform, workloads running on Azure, and now VMware Cloud on AWS. VMware has added 45 new Wavefront integrations, including GCP, Chef, GitHub, Spark, Nginx+, and Mesos, in addition to already supported integrations , such as AWS Lambda, Kafka, and Docker, expanding the set of information that can be unified, visualised, and monitored by Wavefront, helping customers better optimise applications and deliver more compelling reporting and dashboards for dynamic applications. Wavefront now supports Kubernetes in Pivotal Container Service (PKS), application platform services such as Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF), and enterprise applications running on VMware-based private clouds. Wavefront also now integrates with VMware vRealize Operations, empowering IT to partner with lines of business and application owners by providing rapid onboarding of Wavefront, agent lifecycle management and control, and shared visibility not only of the infrastructure, but also for the applications that run on top. Wavefront is free to try at www.wavefront.com/sign-up.
- New VMware Log Intelligence Service: The newest offering for VMware Cloud Services, Log Intelligence will deliver deep operational insights into VMware-based datacentres and VMware Cloud on AWS. Log Intelligence provides rapid IT troubleshooting and centralised log management across multiple clouds including VMware Cloud on AWS. Log Intelligence uses machine learning algorithms and real-time log analytics to continuously scan for anomalies in datacentre and cloud environments. The service delivers high-performance log search and rich dashboards to give IT unified visibility into application behavior and the health of underlying infrastructure.
- Expanded VMware Cost Insight Service: Adding to the existing support for AWS, Microsoft Azure, and VMware private cloud datacentres, Cost Insight now delivers detailed assessments for migrating workloads to VMware Cloud on AWS, calculating the capacity and the cost of running apps in private or public clouds. Cost Insight offers a deep understanding into the true cost of migration through integration with VMware Network Insight, giving IT a more accurate view of the total cost of an app, including the estimates on network egress and storage IOPS costs post migration. Cost Insight offers an array of savings recommendations, alerts, and reporting capabilities including the ability to set cost thresholds to manage costs and maintain budget.
Samsung S10 in lock-step with its rivals?
Tonight Samsung will kick off the next round in the smartphone wars with the S10 range, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.
When Samsung unveils the new S10 smartphone at an event in San Francisco today, it will mark the beginning of the 2019 round of World War S. That stands for smartphone wars, although Samsung would like it to be all about the S.
Ever since the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in 2013, Samsung has held both technology and thought leadership in the handset world. Back then, Apple’s iPhone 5 was the last device from the American manufacturer that could lay claim to being the best smartphone in the world. With the 2013 launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple entered an era of incremental improvement, playing catch-up, and succumbing to market trends driven by its competitors.
Six years later, Samsung is fighting off the same threat. Its Chinese rival, Huawei, suddenly wrested away leadership in the past year, with the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro regarded as at last equal to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and Galaxy Note 9 – if not superior. Certainly, from a cost perspective, Huawei took the lead with its more competitive prices, and therefore more value for money.
Huawei also succeeded where Apple failed: introducing more economical versions of its flagship phones. The iPhone 5c, SE and XR have all been disappointments in the sales department, mainly because the price difference was not massive enough to attract lower-income users. In contrast, the Lite editions of the Huawei P9, P10 and P20 have been huge successes, especially in South Africa.
Today, for the first time in half a decade, Samsung goes into battle on a field laid out by its competitors. It is expected to launch the Galaxy S10 Plus, S10 and S10 e, with the latter being the Samsung answer to the strategy of the iPhone XR and Huawei P20 Lite.
Does this mean Samsung is now in lock-step with its rivals, focused on matching their strategies rather than running ahead of them?
It may seem that way, but Samsung has a few tricks up its electronic sleeve. For example, it is possible it will use the S10 launch to announce its coming range of foldable phones, expected to be called the Galaxy X, Galaxy F, Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Flex. It previewed the technology at a developer conference in San Francisco last November, and this will be the ideal moment to reclaim technology leadership by going into production with foldables – even if the S10 range itself does not shoot out the lights.
However, the S10 handsets will look very different to their predecessors. First, before switching on the phone, they will be notable by the introduction of what is being called the punch-hole display, which breaks away from the current trend of having a notch at the top of the phone to house front-facing cameras and speakers. Instead, the punch-hole is a single round cut-out that will contain the front camera. It is the key element of Samsung’s “Infinity O” display – the O represents the punchhole – which will be the first truly edge-to-edge display, on the sides and top.
The S10 range will use the new Samsung user interface, One UI, also unveiled at the developer conference. It replaces the previous “skin”, unimaginatively called the Samsung Experience, to introduce a strong new interface brand.
One UI went live on the Note 8 last month, giving us a foretaste, and giving Samsung a chance to iron out the bugs in the field. It is a less cluttered interface, addressing one of the biggest complaints about most manufacturer skins. Only Nokia and Google Pixel handsets offer pure Android in the local market, but One UI is Samsung’s best compromise yet.
It introduces a new interaction area, in the bottom half, reachable with the thumb, with a viewing area at the top, allowing the user to work one-handed on the bottom area while still having apps or related content visible above. One UI also improves gesture navigation – the phone picks up hand movements without being touched – and notification management.
The S10 range will be the first phones to feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, at least for the South African and American markets. That makes it 5G compatible, for when this next generation of mobile broadband becomes available in these markets.
They will also be the first phones to feature Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of the Wi-Fi mobile wireless standard. It will perform better in congested areas, and data transfer will be up to 40% faster than the previous generation.
The phones will be the first to use ultrasound for fingerprint detection. If Samsung gets it right, this will make it the fastest in-screen fingerprint sensor on the market, and allows for a little leeway if one pushes the finger down slightly outside the fingerprint reader surface. It does mean, however, that screen protectors will have to be redesigned to avoid blocking the detection.
Not enough firsts? There are a few more.
Most notably, it will be the first phone range to feature 1 Terabyte (TB) storage – that’s a thousand Gigabytes (GB) – at least for the top-of-the-range devices. Samsung last month announced that it would be the first manufacturer to make 1TB built-in onboard flash storage. Today, it will deploy this massive advantage as it once again weaponises its technology in the fight for smartphone domination.
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee
IoT set to improve authentication
By Sherry Zameer, Senior Vice President, Internet of Things Solutions for CISMEA region at Gemalto
As it rapidly approaches maturity, the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to continue a transformational trajectory, introducing new efficiencies in multiple fields by allowing measurement and analysis on a scale that has never been possible before. From agriculture to logistics, from retail to hospitality, from traffic to health, from the home to the office, the applications for monitoring ”things” are limited only by the imagination.
And South African (and African) businesses are showing abundant imagination in their practical deployments of IoT solutions in multiple settings, creating a better tomorrow through almost universal measurement and the introduction of new levels of convenience – including how to access locations, devices and services securely.
Any company, whether South African or international, should bear in mind that understanding consumer expectations can be the key to unlocking the full potential of IoT devices and related smart services.
According to Gemalto’s latest Connected Living study, improving the way consumers authenticate themselves to services is one of the most anticipated benefits of IoT, highlighting a desire for a more seamless and secure IoT experience.
Consumers are interested in advanced ways of authenticating themselves through automatic (based on behavioral patterns) or biometric techniques, lessening the need to have to intervene manually, all in the name of a much more streamlined authentication process. Smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have already placed fingerprint and facial recognition high on the agenda. There is also a widespread positive sentiment towards IoT’s potential for improving the quality of home life through connected, smart appliances.
Personalised services is something else that wins consumers over. In fact, a fluid, personalised and unified experience with continuity of services, together with security and privacy, is critical for the successful implementation of any technology.
And those types of services are today quite possible. With everything being connected – from small gadgets to digital solutions for large enterprises – IoT is no longer just a buzzword. That much is clear in a piece from Vodacom IoT managing executive Deon Liebenberg. Writing for IOL Online, Liebenberg provides insight into the sheer range of applications for IoT: the 20 use cases he cites range from the obvious, like transport and logistics, to the connected home and wearables; he even suggests tagging pets with IoT transmitters, for those who always need to know the whereabouts of the family cat.
Low-cost tags fitted to cats, dogs, lamp posts, shipping containers or other items are just one part of the puzzle, however. There are other two pieces; arguably the most complex part is the availability of communication networks in areas where there aren’t any WiFi networks, or indeed, anything else.
And that’s where the bigger takeaway from Liebenberg’s piece and other IoT trends articles becomes apparent. The communication networks are there, as are those tags: dedicated IoT networks (like LoraWAN, SigFox and narrowband IoT) are all available in South Africa.
So, too, is the third and final essential component. Software which is able to process the data generated by the tag and transmitted over the IoT network and into the internet. In this regard, there’s no shortage of solutions available from cloud providers like AWS and Azure; electronics giant Siemens, too, is in on the action, having recently launched a new cloud-based IoT operating system to develop applications and services for process industries, including oil and gas and water management.
This combination means it is quite possible right now to enable just about any use case. Business owners, who will know best how IoT can add value in their organisation, can now see their ideas becoming reality. Most crucial of all, IoT solutions delivering new levels of efficiency and convenience are not only possible, they are able to be offered with the simple and effective security that will drive consumer acceptance.