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VMware helps customers into multi-cloud

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At VMworld 2017 Europe in Barcelona last week, advancements to its cloud management platform to help customers deploy, operate and manage IT infrastructure and application services across a multi-cloud landscape were announced.

The introduction of VMware vRealize Suite 2017 will integrate the latest releases of vRealize Operations, vRealize Automation, vRealize Business for Cloud , and vRealize Log Insight and feature new lifecycle management capabilities to support customers’ data center modernization and cloud integration efforts.

“As IT organizations strive to become more agile and innovative, VMware is helping them achieve these outcomes by modernizing their data centers and integrating public clouds with their private clouds,” said Ajay Singh, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Management Business Unit, VMware. “VMware vRealize Suite 2017 introduces new lifecycle management capabilities to enable IT to accelerate time to value for their cloud management platform, and deliver and manage application and infrastructure services faster and more efficiently than ever before.”

Digital transformation is accelerating as more companies across all industries take advantage of technology trends such as big data, cloud, social, IoT and mobility. In a 2017 VMware customer survey, 67 percent of enterprise customers said they foresee an ideal end state in which they rely on multiple clouds. Managing resources and applications across multiple clouds, however, raises new challenges including workload cloud portability and the need to monitor performance, manage capacity and achieve cost transparency across clouds.

VMware vRealize Suite 2017 will deliver a comprehensive cloud management platform that can manage hybrid environments across private and public clouds. It will speed up the delivery of IT services through automation and pre-defined policies, providing a high level of agility and flexibility for developers and lines of business while maintaining governance and control. The suite will also support heterogeneous environments that are a mix of both traditional and cloud-native applications across VMs and containers, running in a software-defined data center (SDDC) environment or multiple clouds.

The suite will help customers address three common use cases – intelligent operations, automated IT and developer cloud. VMware vRealize Suite 2017 will provide enterprises with advanced intelligent operations and automated IT capabilities to more easily stand up and operate a VMware-based cloud. Additionally, the suite will feature increased support for public clouds as well as containers and configuration management solutions to ease moving applications from dev-test into production. Updated capabilities in the suite include:

  • (NEW) Streamlined Day 0 through Day 2 Tasks – VMware vRealize Suite 2017 will take a leap forward with simplifying daily administration and operations of the suite with new built-in, automated lifecycle management of Day 0 through Day 2 tasks. The lifecycle management capabilities will help customers speed time to value by automating the deployment, configuration and upgrading of the products in the suite.
  • vRealize Operations 6.6 – vRealize Operations 6.6 offers substantial new intelligence to workload placement decisions to fully automate workload balancing across clusters and data stores based on business requirements. It also features predictive Distributed Resource Scheduler (pDRS) and native VMware vSAN management and monitoring capabilities for hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solutions powered by vSAN.
  • vRealize Automation 7.3 – vRealize Automation 7.3 features support for Admiral 1.1, the highly scalable and lightweight container management portal, Virtual Container Host instances generated by VMware vSphere Integrated Containers, Docker hosts, and for Docker volumes enabling users to create and attach volumes to containers. It also delivers increased support for VMware NSX® through advanced, fine-grained control for Day 2 operations across key network and security functionality such as load balancing, network address translation and security groups.
  • vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3 – vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3 is now included as a tab in vRealize Operations 6.6 for new insights that show how capacity utilization drives cost efficiencies by combining operational and cost metrics. Additionally, vRealize Business for Cloud 7.3 delivers improved insight into the complete costs of AWS and Microsoft Azure instances alongside VMware-based private cloud costs.
  • vRealize Log Insight 4.5 – vRealize Log Insight 4.5 offers complete 360-degree log integration with vRealize Operations to deliver last-mile root-cause analysis with metrics and logs provided side-by-side and in context.

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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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