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Oracle gears cloud for customers in SA

Enabling organisations to move workloads to the cloud while keeping their data on their own premises, Oracle has launched the Cloud at Customer solution in South Africa.

Oracle Cloud at Customer is designed to enable organisations to remove one of the biggest obstacles to cloud adoption—data privacy concerns related to where the data is stored. While organisations are eager to move their enterprise workloads to the public cloud, many have been constrained by business, legislative and regulatory requirements that have prevented them from being able to adopt the technology. These first-of-a-kind services provide organisations with choice in where their data and applications reside and a natural path to easily move business critical applications eventually to the public cloud.

“Oracle Cloud at Customer is a direct response to the remaining barriers to cloud adoption and turning those obstacles into opportunities by letting customers choose the location of their cloud services,” said Francois-Xavier Leclercq –  Senior Vice President Business Development EMEA & APAC applications. “We are providing a unique service that enables our customers to leverage Oracle Cloud services, including SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, both on their premises and in our cloud.  Customers gain all the benefits of Oracle’s robust cloud offerings, in their own datacentres, all managed and supported by Oracle.”

Underpinning Oracle Cloud at Customer is a modern cloud infrastructure platform based on converged Oracle hardware, software-defined storage and networking and a first class IaaS abstraction. Oracle fully manages and maintains the infrastructure at customers’ premises so that customers can focus on using the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services. This is the same cloud infrastructure platform that powers the Oracle Cloud globally.

Customers will also have access to all of Oracle’s major PaaS categories, including Database, Application Development, Analytics, Big Data, Application and Data Integration, and Identity Management with Oracle Cloud at Customer These services take advantage of specific enhancements that have been made to the underlying Oracle Cloud at Customer platform such as servers with faster CPUs and NVMe-based flash storage, as well as all-flash block storage to deliver even better performance for enterprise workloads.

Oracle has also made available via Oracle Cloud at Customer, the ability to consume Oracle SaaS services such as Enterprise Resource Planning, Human Capital Management, Customer Relationship Management, and Supply Chain Management in their own datacentres. These best-in-class, modern applications help unlock business value and increase performance by enabling businesses and people to be more informed, connected, productive, and engaged. Major organisations are already adopting this new option to modernise their key enterprise operations and benefit from the speed of innovation in Oracle SaaS without having to move sensitive application data outside their premises. With the addition of SaaS services to Oracle Cloud at Customer, customers have access to Oracle Cloud services across the entire cloud stack, all delivered in a subscription-based, managed model, directly in their datacentres.

Also, newly available is the Oracle Big Data Cloud Machine, which is an optimised system delivering a production-grade Hadoop and Spark platform with the power of dedicated nodes and the flexibility and simplicity of a cloud offering. Organisations can now access a full range of Hadoop, Spark, and analytics tools on a simple subscription model in their own datacentres.

Oracle Cloud at Customer delivers the following Oracle Cloud services:

  • Infrastructure: Provides elastic compute, containers, elastic block storage, object storage, virtual networking, and identity management to enable portability of Oracle and non-Oracle workloads into the cloud.
  • Data Management: Enables customers to use the number one database to manage data infrastructure in the cloud with the Oracle Database Cloud, including Oracle Database Exadata Cloud for extreme performance and Oracle MySQL Cloud.
  • Big Data and Analytics:  Empowers an entire organisation to use a single platform to take advantage of any data to drive insights. Includes a broad set of big data cloud services, including Oracle Big Data Cloud Service, Oracle Analytics Cloud, and Oracle Event Hub Cloud.
  • Application Development: Enables organisations to develop and deploy Java applications in the cloud using Oracle Java Cloud, Oracle Application Container Cloud, Oracle Container Cloud, and Oracle WebCenter Portal Cloud.
  • Enterprise Integration: Simplifies integration of on-premises applications to cloud applications, as well as cloud application to cloud application integration using Oracle Integration Cloud, Oracle SOA Cloud, Oracle Data Integrator Cloud, Oracle GoldenGate Cloud, Oracle Managed File Transfer Cloud, and Oracle Internet of Things Cloud.
  • Security: Enables organisations to use Oracle Identity Cloud to implement and manage consistent identity and access management policies.
  • Software-as-a-Service: Provides organisations with a complete suite of software to run their businesses, including Oracle ERP Cloud, Oracle CX Cloud, Oracle HCM Cloud, and Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud.

Oracle Cloud at Customer

The Oracle Cloud at Customer portfolio of services enables organisations to get all of the benefits of Oracle’s public cloud services in their datacentres. The business model is just like a public cloud subscription; the hardware and software platform is the same; Oracle experts monitor and manage the infrastructure; and the same tools used in Oracle’s public cloud are used to provision resources on the Oracle Cloud at Customer services. This is the only offering from a major public cloud vendor that delivers a stack that is 100 percent compatible with the public cloud but available on-premises, ensuring that customers get the same experience and the latest innovations and benefits using it in their datacentres as in the public cloud.

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Cisco gives pre-owned tech a Refresh

In a market of constant upgrades, Cisco Refresh aims to keep quality product away from landfills, writes BRYAN TURNER.

When one gets a new smartphone upgrade, the old device may be used as a backup or can be used by someone else. In business environments, equipment upgrades may not be conducive to keeping old equipment around, which may send older, working equipment to landfills.

This is where Cisco’s Refresh initiative comes in. At Cisco Connect in Sun City this week, Ehrika Gladden, VP and general manager of Cisco Refresh, lifted the lid on a little-known aspect of the company’s strategy. 

“Refresh is Cisco’s global pre-owned equipment business unit,” said Gladden. “It is certified to meet the quality and engineering standards of Cisco. It is licensed for software and it’s also inclusive of a services warranty.

“Our responsibility in 80 countries around the world is tied to both the recovery of assets and the ability to leverage those assets at a lower price point. This ensures our sustainability and proper usage of the Earth’s resources while providing access to small and medium businesses. The products are typically in the range of 20-40% cheaper. The products represent the entire portfolio for Cisco in some part, the majority of that product set is 2+ years in terms of generation.”

Cisco’s Circular Economy initiative ensures a sustainable loop through businesses willing to pay a premium for the latest, cutting-edge solutions, while Cisco markets older, working equipment for resale to those who don’t require the latest solutions. This ensures far less new components need to be used in a product range.

“We are leveraging the model of remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and reusing,” said Gladden. “Depending on the product set, there is a certain set of product yield that we expect. They vary from product to product, but we do have a percentage that doesn’t make it through.

“Those are always reused, meaning we will look at those products and decide to use them completely differently, leveraging the components, remanufacturing back into the overall build process. If that can’t be done, we will go into a recycle process where we melt those products down to reuse them.”

Repairing and refurbishing older products isn’t just that. Cisco is creating repair centres that are owned by third-parties to uplift local ownership.

“The repair centres, as a global manufacturer, is Cisco’s entree into local ownership,” said Gladden. “I want to be precise about what I mean by local ownership. It’s critical for us to have a localised presence, but doing that through ownership. When you look at inclusive economies, those that are participative, to be sustainable – not in the product set, but generationally.

“The ability as a global manufacturer through a local ownership model  isto create a repair centre where a product can be returned, screened, tested, and repaired, leveraging the talent that the Networking Academy is creating.”

Cisco is working closely with local governments to understand where it operates and how to leverage the skills in the market.

Gladden said: “We are also super excited about the National Development Plan and African Union statements which with we align: eradication of poverty, job creation, ownership, healthcare, education, it all fits in the model. So we were very excited to have the opportunity to come to Africa first to announce this. Over the next twelve months, we want to establish our first repair centres, and in the next 3 to 5 years, build that vision into a reality.”

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Why Data Privacy has become a Pipe Dream

If you’re active on WhatsApp, Facebook or any other social platform, you’re not as safe as you thought, writes
AARON THORNTON, MD of Dial a Nerd

As you begin to read this, let’s perform a quick experiment! How many active conversations are you engaged in – right now – on WhatsApp? When was the last time you shared a picture or video on Instagram? Is Facebook currently open and active on one of your devices? And how many internet- connected devices are you using at this moment? Chances are, you have multiple devices running multiple applications most of the time. So what’s the problem, you ask? Since when did checking in with a high school buddy in Australia via Facebook become a dangerous act?  

In reply, we say, read on if you can stomach it!  

Nation-State Hacking & You  

It might seem like a laughably long shot to say that you are a key player in the increasingly sinister and sophisticated world of nation-state hacking. Well, you are. Given that individuals, businesses and governments are now constantly connected, round the clock, consumers and businesses have become fair game in cyber espionage. And as we create and share more and more data, both the value and accessibility of that data increases. According to a report by McAfee, IP theft now accounts for more than 25% of the estimated $600 billion cost of cybercrime to the world economy.    

With data having become the ‘new gold’, nation states are naturally pouring investment and key resources into building advanced cyber warfare tools. Indeed, entire divisions of armed forces as well as the upper echelons of corporate leadership are devising ways to harness data to gain economic, political and social power. At the highest level, tools and platforms are being developed with the specific aim of perpetrating cyber espionage and data theft. No surprise then, that the consumer and business environments are rife with increasingly advanced malware, ransomware and many other malicious hacking tools and methods.  

Still not convinced? Yes, we can smell the scepticism from here! So let’s take a moment to see how this has already played out, beneath our noses.  

Remember the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal of early 2018? For many, this was a watershed moment in the emerging war for consumer data – and the ensuing tensions between privacy, power and profit. Need a refresh? Well, in 2018, Facebook exposed data on up to 87 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, which worked for the Trump campaign. In essence, the data was harvested without user consent and used for political purposes.  

Another chilling but less direct example can be found in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. According to Politico, Russia launched a massive social media campaign to ‘sow discord’ leading up to the elections. The website reported that as early as 2014, an infamous Russian “troll farm” known as the Internet Research Agency – a company linked to Russian president Putin – developed a strategy using fraudulent bank accounts and other fake identity documents to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” 

When referring to the Russian hacks and their impact on election results, one U.S. Representative sagely noted: “They didn’t just steal data; they weaponized it.” 

Ignorance is not bliss 

Okay, so data is being ‘weaponized’, and ordinary people and businesses are being caught in the crosshairs of cyber warfare. A little bit frightening, but the good news is that savvy individuals like you can take steps to protect personal data and actively combat the creeping influence of juggernauts such as Facebook and Google.  

To begin with, awareness is key. As you engage with various platforms and applications at work and at home, take time to understand how your data is being used and what the terms of use are. Is your data being accessed and sold to advertisers? Have you consented to this? In addition to scrutinizing your consent, also pay close attention to how much data you share online – and the nature of the details you are divulging. Always keep in mind that hackers are employing smart social engineering tactics and using the details of your private life (birthdays, holidays, pet’s names, etc) to trick you into opening infected emails and clicking on malware. Whenever you are online, you are a target – and vigilance at all times is critical. Beyond that, it goes without saying that you must commit to following basic security protocols with your devices. So always keep software up to date and keep your data backed up so that you can reboot or wipe a device if needed.   

Now that we’ve left you sufficiently spooked, you can get back to those demanding WhatsApp/Facebook/Instagram notifications (same company, by the way)…albeit, we hope, with a slightly altered [cyber] worldview!  

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