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How cloud speeds innovation

WILLIAM GIARD, CTO, IT Transformation, Data Center Group, Intel, explains how hybrid clouds provide a platform for application innovation.

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Cloud computing is one of those innovations that opened a door through which has flooded even more innovation. Originally, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings built on server and storage virtualization enabled rapid deployment of virtual servers. As IaaS has matured, though, it’s become clear that infrastructure virtualization—via public or private clouds—is simply step one in a longer journey that brings even greater benefits.

For a couple of months, I’ve been blogging about hybrid clouds—enterprise computing environments that seamlessly link a private cloud running in your own data centers to one or more public clouds. Today, I’d like to explain how hybrid clouds provide a platform for application innovation that promises to bring a new generation of apps that can deploy quickly, scale without bounds, and achieve resiliency that would take enterprises months and millions of dollars to create using traditional IT infrastructure approaches.

While IaaS provides self-service for IT infrastructure teams who can instantly respond to requests for new servers, progress immediately slows to a crawl as app teams provision the new server with the software infrastructure required by the applications—data base, Web server, application server, etc.—and then deploy the app itself. And because it is a different deployment platform, putting the app into production requires modifications to test and deployment processes and continuous integration and DevOps programs.

The corner that has been turned is that hybrid cloud-based infrastructure is bringing the benefits of cloud computing to application development teams by allowing them to develop apps without needing to provide for—or even know—the eventual deployment platform. Once developed, applications can be deployed into public clouds or into on-premises private clouds that share the same architecture, governance policies, development and deployment tools, and management and automation frameworks. And they can be redeployed as economics or business needs change.

That was the experience of Intel’s own IT organization when they implemented a private cloud within our data centers. They began by offering internal IaaS services and quickly fattened the platform by adding platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and database-as-a-service (DBaaS) to create a more standard app environment. They soon found, however, that they needed to completely change the way they thought about their computing environment. Rather than build the environment from the infrastructure up, they adopted an application–down approach that completely abstracted the infrastructure to enable an application stack that could deploy anywhere. The objective is every app running in the right place, where the right place is driven by the needs of the business.

Intel IT achieved infrastructure independence for its development teams using open source PaaS software designed to work across the entire app development lifecycle. It lets developers focus where they provide the most value—application functionality—rather than having to deal with the underlying infrastructure. To date, Intel IT has hosted more than 350 applications and 3,500 app instances on the new platform. By empowering developers, they improved time to market, reduced costs by 60 percent compared to IaaS services, and are operating at half the cost of public cloud services. They’re currently in the process of rationalizing a portfolio of 2,000 applications to determine which should remain in place, be re-hosted or redeveloped, replaced with SaaS solutions, or retired.

Application platforms built on cloud-native technology can bring benefits a traditional IT approach might take years to develop: Unlimited scalability, fault resilience, and dramatically reduced time to market. They let you achieve better architectural compliance for better governance and security and lower total cost of ownership.

The next wave of applications will be built on emerging cloud-native technology, but even now, solutions are available to let any enterprise take advantage of cloud-native application technology—often without even needing to redevelop the application. Solutions like Cloud Foundry, Stratoscale, VMware Cloud Foundation, and Red Hat OpenShift use container technology to allow apps to span your private cloud and an array of public clouds. And Microsoft Azure Stack* extends its cloud right onto your premises using the same cloud application platform used in its public offering.

What is clear is that the rate of innovation in the cloud is quickening, and it continues to evolve and transform. It’s becoming a platform for analytics, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, and network transformation.

The majority of today’s modern cloud data centers—public and private—are powered by Intel Xeon processors, and our latest offering, the Intel Xeon Scalable Processor family, builds on that legacy and delivers new features for the cloud—helping you deliver secure and agile digital services. It enables a common processor architecture spanning low-power, 8-core systems for edge computing up to an 8-socket system comprising 224 cores and supporting 12 TB of memory—all optimized for compute, storage, or networking workloads. It’s one of the ways we’re working to help you on your journey to the transformed computing environment that will enable you to bring your own innovations to the market faster and cheaper.

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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