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Six Hours of Downtime: Is the Tag #AzureFAIL or #AzureTITSUP?

  Microsoft suffered a major failure starting at 00:52 GMT on November 19. The incident sparked at least one funny headline in the popular press, with London’s The Register calling the worldwide outage of Azure a “TITSUP cloud FAIL” – a turn of phrase using military slang that abbreviates a Total Inability to Support Usual Performance. The opinionated Register report described global users of Azure storage, cloud servers, SQL databases, and directory service Active Directory as “sucker-punched” by the incident. Azure Meltdown News reporters obviously do their best to be objective, but this outage should be considered unacceptable from an organization that charges a premium for its reputation and reliability. Faults that occurred within Azure effectively shut down thousands of independent websites and made parts of Microsoft’s own site inaccessible. An official statement from Azure notes that the errors were experienced worldwide. The corporation’s systems in Europe experienced longer downtime than anywhere else. Two of the computing company’s top services, Office 365 (business applications) and Xbox Live (interactive game platform) were disrupted. Undoubtedly, this massive failure will not help with Azure sales. As the BBC reports, Microsoft – like IBM and Google – is trying to oust AWS from the [...]

Earth to Cloud: AWS is Not “Winning” the Race to Zero

Sometimes it seems that large tech news sites would rather discuss Amazon, Microsoft, and Google – profiting off the name recognition and staying on universally comprehensible ground – than make sense. A well-framed and assumedly well-intentioned article in Business Insider named some rather ridiculous front-runners in the as-a-service market’s “race to zero.” Julie Bort explained the general scenario aptly on November 9: the cloud sector is so incredibly crowded that the prices keep getting lower and lower. Meanwhile, resource thresholds on typical plans continue to increase. Actually the term race to zero has been around at least since December 2010, and it is a little more complicated than affordability. Joshua Geist of recovery-as-a-service (RaaS) firm Geminare coined the term and defined it as “the time when commodity pricing is driven so low that the only way to drive continued market value is by focusing on the value over and above the core commodity offering – the applications the commodity enables.” He elaborates that as this process occurs, gradually applications start to trump the supportive backend. That shift in turn leads to widespread acceleration within the industry (i.e. more businesses using the cloud and investing in it more substantially). Why the [...]

Study: Business is Not Properly Securing the Cloud

A study conducted by SafeNet Research and the Ponemon Institute demonstrates the struggle ICT (information and communications technology) personnel experience with security in cloud environments: Computing professionals are having a hard time with cloud data oversight, with two out of five distributed virtual systems managed by third parties. Enterprises don’t have one unified “single point of accountability” for protection of their multi-cloud environments. Safeguards that have worked in traditional infrastructures are challenging to deploy in cloud settings, so firms are using multi-factor authentication and various encryption tactics. Most IT executives do not have comprehensive details on the information security of cloud architectures, a blind spot that has created an area of vulnerability for sensitive data. A study funded by the data protection firm SafeNet and conducted by the Ponemon Institute arrived at that disturbing conclusion after polling almost 2000 IT decision-makers around the globe. The study determined that firms are getting more of their operational power from “as a service” cloud plans than ever before, and IT personnel are not able to control the applicable data as well as they would like. Less than two out of every five companies (38%) have policies in place that establish titles and responsibilities to [...]

Big Data is Wild, and Washington Wonks Want to Set It Free

This article will cover the following: Introduction – Big Data Role & Skepticism Third Platform Poker – Big Data is Wild Big Data Versus Underground Railroad – Skeptic’s Corner Conclusion – Let’s Be Careful Introduction – Big Data Role & Skepticism Big data, like “cloud,” is kind of a stupid term, but, well, it’s what we have to work with. By the way, if you ever need a definition of big data, don’t trust anyone who doesn’t include either the word humongous or gargantuan in their description. The word massive simply isn’t extreme enough to befit the scope of this treasure trove of computing information. It is not small or average in size. Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s look at big data within the context of the third platform, what Mark Neistat of US Signal Company calls “the next phase of the IT revolution.” Then we can explore a November 7 Slate piece that questions the wisdom of collecting every possible piece of information (on a personal level, regardless the benefits for government and industry). Third Platform Poker – Big Data is Wild Neistat describes the third platform (which I discussed previously in this blog), [...]

Worldwide, Systemic Disruption Accompanies 3rd Platform

Research firm IDC (International Data Corporation) released its projections last December for the development of the ICT (information and communications technology) market in 2014. The forecast was shaped considerably by the rise of the third platform (a.k.a. the 3rd platform), which represents a new phase of computing based in part on rapid-fire processing. The platform is an amalgam of mobile device access, distributed virtualization (a.k.a. cloud), predictive analytics (i.e., big data), and social media. As noted previously in this blog, Mark Neistat of cloud provider US Signal Company explored the topic of the third platform on behalf of professional association Technology First in May 2013. Here are three key characteristics of the platform from his perspective: Virtual & Lightweight – The third platform, which started to emerge in about 2005, followed a twenty-year reign for the second platform, the PC (personal computer), which in turn was preceded by the original platform, mainframe computing. Business Anywhere – Of the four technologies that compose the third platform, the most fundamental – or as Neistat calls it, “the biggest plank” – is mobile device access. Analytics, cloud, and social networking are all performed within mobile environments. The New Normal – Tablets, cell phones, [...]

Third Platform Will Cause Havoc in Business

Introduction – Smashing Timeworn Paradigms We are now entering the age of the third platform. Famed 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote that when our intellect “smashes, jumbles, and ironically reassembles [the conceptual] framework, pairing what is most foreign and separating what is closest, it reveals that it has no use for such makeshifts of need and that it will no longer be guided by concepts.” We must be careful not to follow that format when transitioning to the so-called “third platform” of computing (defined and described below). Let’s not crush anything, and let’s certainly not construct our new environments ironically. Although Nietzsche’s comments may not be relevant to conscientious computing transitions, they came to my mind on the topic of the third platform because of the extent to which it is effecting disruption throughout the business world. Third Platform – Trending #hereitcomes In a report published December 2013 (explored in this blog previously), research firm IDC forecast that 2014 would be a year in which the third platform (or the “3rd Platform,” as IDC and computing professional association Technology First call it) – which encompasses the use of mobile devices, cloud technology, predictive modeling and analytics, and social media [...]