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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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Smart home arrives in SA

The smart home is no longer a distant vision confined to advanced economies, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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The smart home is a wonderful vision for controlling every aspect of one’s living environment via remote control, apps and sensors. But, because it is both complex and expensive, there has been little appetite for it in South Africa.

The two main routes for smart home installation are both fraught with peril – financial and technical.

The first is to call on a specialist installation company. Surprisingly, there are many in South Africa. Google “smart home” +”South Africa”, and thousands of results appear. The problem is that, because the industry is so new, few have built up solid track records and reputations. Costs vary wildly, few standards exist, and the cost of after-sales service will turn out to be more important than the upfront price.

The second route is to assemble the components of a smart home, and attempt self-installation. For the non-technical, this is often a non-starter. Not only does one need a fairly good knowledge of Wi-Fi configuration, but also a broad understanding of the Internet of Things (IoT) – the ability for devices to sense their environment, connect to each other, and share information.

The good news, though, is that it is getting easier and more cost effective all the time.

My first efforts in this direction started a few years ago with finding smart plugs on Amazon.com. These are power adaptors that turn regular sockets into “smart sockets” by adding Wi-Fi and an on-off switch, among other. A smart lightbulb was sourced from Gearbest in China. At the time, these were the cheapest and most basic elements for a starter smart home environment.

Via a smartphone app, the light could be switched on from the other side of the world. It sounds trivial and silly, but on such basic functions the future is slowly built.

Fast forward a year or two, and these components are available from hundreds of outlets, they have plummeted in cost, and the range of options is bewildering. That, of course, makes the quest even more bewildering. Who can be trusted for quality, fulfilment and after-sales support? Which products will be obsolete in the next year or two as technology advances even more rapidly?

These are some of the challenges that a leading South African technology distributor, Syntech, decided to address in adding smart home products to its portfolio. It selected LifeSmart, a global brand with proven expertise in both IoT and smart home products.

Equally significantly, LifeSmart combines IoT with artificial intelligence and machine learning, meaning that the devices “learn” the best ways of connecting, sharing and integrating new elements. Because they all fall under the same brand, they are designed to integrate with the LifeSmart app, which is available for Android and iOS phones, as well as Android TV.

Click here to read about how LifeSmart makes installing smart home devices easier.

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Matrics must prepare for AI

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students writing a test

By Vian Chinner, CEO and founder of Xineoh.

Many in the matric class of 2018 are currently weighing up their options for the future. With the country’s high unemployment rate casting a shadow on their opportunities, these future jobseekers have been encouraged to look into which skills are required by the market, tailoring their occupational training to align with demand and thereby improving their chances of finding a job, writes Vian Chinner – a South African innovator, data scientist and CEO of the machine learning company specialising in consumer behaviour prediction, Xineoh.

With rapid innovation and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), all careers – including high-demand professions like engineers, teachers and electricians – will look significantly different in the years to come.

Notably, the third wave of internet connectivity, whereby our physical world begins to merge with that of the internet, is upon us. This is evident in how widespread AI is being implemented across industries as well as in our homes with the use of automation solutions and bots like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. So much data is collected from the physical world every day and AI makes sense of it all.

Not only do new industries related to technology like AI open new career paths, such as those specialising in data science, but it will also modify those which already exist. 

So, what should matriculants be considering when deciding what route to take?

For highly academic individuals, who are exceptionally strong in mathematics, data science is definitely the way to go. There is, and will continue to be, massive demand internationally as well as locally, with Element-AI noting that there are only between 0 and 100 data scientists in South Africa, with the true number being closer to 0.

In terms of getting a foot in the door to become a successful data scientist, practical experience, working with an AI-focused business, is essential. Students should consider getting an internship while they are studying or going straight into an internship, learning on the job and taking specialist online courses from institutions like Stanford University and MIT as they go.

This career path is, however, limited to the highly academic and mathematically gifted, but the technology is inevitably going to overlap with all other professions and so, those who are looking to begin their careers should take note of which skills will be in demand in future, versus which will be made redundant by AI.

In the next few years, technicians who are able to install and maintain new technology will be highly sought after. On the other hand, many entry level jobs will likely be taken care of by AI – from the slicing and dicing currently done by assistant chefs, to the laying of bricks by labourers in the building sector.

As a rule, students should be looking at the skills required for the job one step up from an entry level position and working towards developing these. Those training to be journalists, for instance, should work towards the skill level of an editor and a bookkeeping trainee, the role of financial consultant.

This also means that new workforce entrants should be prepared to walk into a more demanding role, with more responsibility, than perhaps previously anticipated and that the country’s education and training system should adapt to the shift in required skills.

The matric classes of 2018 have completed their schooling in the information age and we should be equipping them, and future generations, for the future market – AI is central to this.

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