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Software-defined data centres key to digital business

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Global Big Data revenues are expected to grow to just under $38 billion and cloud computing service revenues to more than $4 billion in 2016. MATTHEW LEE, Regional Manager for Africa at SUSE, looks at the growth of software-defined data centres.

There are market and technology forces at play that are driving the evolution of the data centre. If companies are to remain relevant for their stakeholders, they need to be able to adapt to these changing data requirements. Not only is the role of data becoming more integral in the success of a business, but it has become an indispensable tool for interpreting and analysing the sheer amount of information at the disposal of decision-makers.

In essence, software-defined data centres virtualise all elements of the infrastructure such as networking, storage, security, and processing power and runs it as a service. With the focus being on flexibility, scalability, and redundancy, the potential impact this will have on business models is significant.

Inside the organisation, CIOs have to be even more responsive to new service demands than before. Given the pressure of ever-decreasing budgets, they no longer have the luxury of throwing resources at challenges if they have to start playing catch-up to their competitors. This means investment in technology is done based on how quickly it can benefit the organisation and how it aligns to the business strategy.

What this boils down to is the fact that legacy applications alone are no longer good enough to meet the on-demand requirements of today’s digital business.

One of the benefits of the software-defined data centre is the fact that it gives organisations complete control over their hosted environments and the associated resources utilised. And because many solutions are built on open source components, easier integration into many of the existing company processes and system are ensured. This minimises any potential disruption and gives decision-makers the peace of mind to remain focused on meeting their business deliverables.

This modern data centre also means companies get access to specialised applications that simplify tasks and provide them with competitive advantage. It extends to business models that are more flexible and cater for anything from pay-as-you-use models to self-service IT and the capacity to quickly scale up or down as business needs change.

A digital business is required to be more agile when it comes to IT solutions than in the past. Across industry sectors, companies can ill afford to be stuck with a legacy approach only that is inflexible and cannot provide the innovation required to move beyond complexity. A virtualised approach addresses these issues. While understanding the importance of Big Data and the cloud was a first step, moving towards these more innovative data centres has to be the next.

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Now for a fake Face App

Kaspersky Lab has found a malware version of the app that allows users to view their older or younger selves

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Kaspersky has identified a fake application that is designed to trick users into thinking it is a certified version of FaceApp but goes on to infect victims’ devices with an adware module called MobiDash.

Once the application is downloaded from unofficial sources and installed, it simulates a failure and is subsequently removed. After that, a malicious module in the application rests discreetly on the user’s device, displaying adverts.

According to Kaspersky data, around 500 unique users have encountered the problem in two days this week, with the first detections appearing on July 7t. There were almost 800 different module modifications identified.

“The people behind MobiDash often hide their adware module under the guise of popular applications and services,” says Igor Golovin, security researcher at Kaspersky. “This means that the activities of the fake version of FaceApp could intensify, especially if we are talking about hundreds of targets in just a few days. We urge users not to download applications from unofficial sources and to install security solutions on their devices to avoid any damage.”

Kaspersky products detect and block the threat as not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.AndroidOS.Mobidash.

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Augmented reality reveals Hidden Side of Lego haunts

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South Africa’s first two Lego Certified Stores have celebrated the arrival of Lego Hidden Side, an augmented reality-enhanced play theme where kids must turn a haunted world back to normal, one ghost (and one brick) at a time.

Seamlessly integrating augmented reality (AR) with physical construction to reveal a hidden world of interactive play, Lego Hidden Side includes a series of eight ‘haunted’ buildings in the imaginary town of Newbury, each loaded (or is that haunted?) with awesome functionality and secret surprises accessed via a mobile app.

The sets come alive in an unfolding ghostly adventure once the bespoke AR app is activated, bringing the models to life and revealing a hidden world of mysteries and challenges to solve.

“The Lego Group has always been invested in tactile play, but massive leaps in AR technology have meant that the company could create an exciting experience that moves fluidly between physical and digital worlds,” says Robert Greenstein, co-founder of the Great Yellow Brick Company, license holders of South Africa’s Lego Certified Stores.

“These sets offer new ways to enhance Lego play with new action and master elements, in a new type of creative exploration where the physical world influences the AR layer, rather than the other way around,” he says.

Lego Hidden Side building sets deliver everything kids (of all ages) love and expect from a Lego building experience – the challenge of the build, a detailed model with functionality, and mini-figure characters set in a story-driven universe. Each model can be built as it appears by day – a school, house, bus, or graveyard, for example – and has transformative functionality to become the haunted version of itself.

Gameplay prompts kids to hold their phone up to the physical Lego models and interact with various elements, or “points of possession,” which release virtual ghosts that kids must then capture in the AR game to stop the haunting. Numerous scenarios create dynamic gameplay that requires kids to keep one hand in each world to progress the play.

The Lego Hidden Side app will be a free download from the App Store and Google Play, and the sets will be available at the Lego Certified Stores in Sandton City and Menlyn Park, or online at www.greatyellowbrick.co.za on 1 August 2019.

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