November 7, 2011
Volume XXXVII, Issue 3
Cloud Computing Investment Accelerates
Excerpted from Financial Times Report by Paul Taylor
Leading global banks and other members of the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA), a group of more than 300 companies representing over $100 billion in annual information technology (IT) spending, are adopting cloud computing much faster than previously thought.
Members of the Alliance will triple their cloud deployment in the next two years according to a report published by the organization on Thursday. This adoption rate is five times faster than broad market forecasts for the $90 billion cloud computing market and reflects growing confidence in the delivery of cloud services based meeting industry standards.
The forecast came as the Alliance's leadership meeting in New York outlined plans to address the main obstacles to cloud adoption, including publication of best practices for cloud application development and resiliency as well as collaborations on potential standards with the leading industry organizations for cloud security and management, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF).
ODCA was formed a year ago to push for the development of industry standards for security, data center management, and cloud-enabled applications and to accelerate of over $50 billion in cloud investment over three years. It is led by a 12-member Board of Directors, which includes representatives of BMW, Capgemini, China Life, China Unicom, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, National Australia Bank, Terremark, Disney Technology Solutions and Services, and UBS.
"The ODCA membership comprises some of the largest adopters of cloud computing across the globe. Today's news illustrates how rapidly our membership is implementing cloud in internal environments and with service providers," said Marvin Wheeler, Terremark's Chief Strategy Officer and the Alliance's chairman. "We're delighted by the rapid progress to set standards for cloud security and management, and collaboration with data center industry leaders to deliver open, interoperable cloud solutions."
Among other findings from the recent survey of the membership, over 90% of Alliance members have completed strategic planning for cloud implementation or are actively developing plans for cloud adoption. Internal enterprise is leading cloud adoption growth, with more than 40 % of members expecting to run more a significant proportion of their internal IT on cloud-based infrastructure within the next two years.
More than 30% of the membership identified human resources, legal, and finance applications as primary targets for enterprise cloud adoption. Sales and marketing tools were also cited, making these applications the top targets for public cloud implementation.
Respondents identified application migration, security, and simplified management as the top challenges to broad cloud adoption, underscoring the importance of the collaborative work planned with the DMTF to develop industry standards for managing cloud computing.
"Transparent oversight is critical to broad adoption of cloud computing," said Curt Aubley, Lockheed Martin Vice President and CTO. "Working with DMTF enables our members to work hand in hand with some of the world's experts in data center management."
BitTorrent, Netflix Account for 40% of Traffic
Excerpted from XBIZ Report by Rhett Pardon
BitTorrent use and Netflix account for 40% of Internet traffic in North America on most days, according to new information published by Canadian networking company Sandvine.
On a normal day, 23.3% of all North American traffic comes from or goes to Netflix, while BitTorrent traffic accounts for 16.5%, Sandvine said in its Global Internet Phenomena Report.
The new information from Sandvine is published in its just-released report, the 10th in an ongoing series relating to traffic trends.
The report takes a look at mobile and fixed access traffic in North America and the Asia-Pacific region; it also looks at fixed access traffic trends in emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, Brazil, and Africa.
Report from CEO Marty Lafferty
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The DCIA's CONTENT IN THE CLOUD will take place as a conference within CES on Wednesday January 11th in the Las Vegas Convention Center.
This show will take you on an insider's tour of the many ways cloud computing is revolutionizing entertainment delivery, and enable you to come away with a deeper understanding of the impact of this technology on all parties involved in content distribution.
Whether you create, deliver, or store content - or just want to know more - don't miss these sessions!
Our opening keynote will be "A Vision for Content in the Cloud" by Mike West, Founder & CTO, GenosTV. This presentation will set the stage for the entire conference program that follows, which will delve into the many ways that cloud computing is transforming content delivery.
Our first panel will explore "The Impact on Consumers of Implementing Cloud Computing for Media Storage." What does cloud storage mean to users in terms of accessing entertainment content and owning copies of movies, music, TV shows, and games? Panelists will include Sean Barger, CEO, Equilibrium; Jim Cady, CEO, Slacker; Keith Friedenberg, Head of Research & Consumer Insights, WME; Ed Haslam, SVP, Marketing, YuMe; Gigi Johnson, Executive Director, Maremel Institute; Mike Lewis, Co-Founder, Kapost; Jostein Svendsen, CEO, WeVideo; and Dave Toole, CEO, MEDIAmobz.
Our second keynote will be "Consumer Benefits of Cloud-Delivered Content: Ubiquity, Cost, Portability Improvements" by Shahi Ghanem, EVP, Strategy, BitTorrent. Cloud-based solutions are being applied to popular entertainment properties. What are the advantages to users versus older methods of online distribution?
Our third keynote will be "Consumer Drawbacks of Cloud-Delivered Content: Privacy, Reliability, Security Issues" by Jim Burger, Member, Dow Lohnes. Cloud security is raising serious questions: What experiences have other industries had with inadvertent leaks or intentional hacking of confidential data? What can users do to mitigate not having access to their applications or accidentally losing their data when they go offline? What happens if a cloud provider goes out of business?
Our next panel will discuss "The Impact on Telecommunications Industries of Cloud Computing." How will cloud computing affect the way broadband network providers manage their intellectual property, utilize network resources, and provision new services? Tom Mulally, Principal Analyst, Numagic Consulting, will moderate panelists Sean Jennings, VP, Solutions Architecture, Virtustream; Wayne Josel, Counsel, Media & Entertainment, Hughes Hubbard & Reed; Bill Kallman, President & CEO, Scayl; Donita Prakash, Chief Marketing Officer, Acumen Solutions; Monica Ricci, Director of Product Marketing, CSG Systems; Nick Strauss, Director of Sales, Verizon Digital Media Services, Mark Taylor, VP, Media and IP Services, Level 3; and Richard Yang, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Yale University.
Our fourth keynote will be "Telecommunications Industry Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud-Delivered Content: New Opportunities vs. Infrastructure Challenges" by Mark Peterson, GM AppGlide, Alcatel-Lucent. What advantages do cloud-based solutions applied to popular entertainment properties bring to broadband network operators? How does the on-demand, always-accessible nature of cloud-based entertainment delivery challenge conventional distribution systems? Will older distribution methods disappear?
Our next panel will explore "The Impact on Entertainment Industries of Cloud Computing." How will cloud storage and distribution affect the ways in which content rights-holders manage their intellectual property (IP), realize new cost savings, and implement new business models? Panelists will include Kris Alexander, Chief Strategist, Connected Devices & Gaming, Akamai; Saul Berman, Partner & VP, IBM Global Business Services; Peter Csathy, CEO, Sorenson Media; Mark Friedlander, National Director, New Media, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) ; Jonathan King, SVP, Business Development, Joyent; Ty Roberts, SVP & CTO, Gracenote; Ramki Sankaranarayanan, CEO, Prime Focus Technologies; and Robert Stevenson, SVP, Business Development, Gaikai.
Our fifth keynote will be "Entertainment Industry Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud-Delivered Content: Innovation and Flexibility vs. Disruption and Accountability Issues Keynote" by Scott Brown, US GM & VP Strategy Partnerships, Octoshape. What improvements does cloud computing offer the content distribution chain? What issues do rights-holders face in adapting their internal content management processes to cloud-based media storage?
Our final keynote will be "Consumer Electronics (CE) Manufacturer Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud-Delivered Content: Expanded Opportunities for Products with New Features at a Range of Costs; New Challenges Related to Interoperability and Data Security" by Lucia Gradinariu, Chief Market Strategist, Huawei. What unforeseen impacts, both positive and negative, do cloud-based solutions applied to popular entertainment properties bring to CE manufacturers?
Our closing panel will address "The Impact on CE Manufacturers of Cloud Computing Deployment." Remotely accessing applications and data affects everything that must be integrated into networked end-user devices. The same holds true for servers and other edge storage hardware products. What new hurdles must be overcome with these technological solutions? Panelists will include Stefan Bewley, Director, Altman Vilandrie & Company; Shane Dyer, President, Arrayent; David Frerichs, Strategic Consultant, Pioneer Corporation; Kshitij Kumar, SVP, Mobile Video, Concurrent; AJ McGowan, CTO, Unicorn Media; Michael Papish, Solutions Architecture Director, Rovi Corporation; Jordan Rohan, Managing Director, Stifel Nicolaus; and Chuck Stormon, CEO, Attend.
Please click here to register now for the 2012 International CES and then add CONTENT IN THE CLOUD. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas, NV in January. Share wisely, and take care.
Comcast Sees the Cloud as Key to Future Innovations
Excerpted from The Denver Post Report by Andy Vuong
Amid a sea of MacBooks and a pool table, software developers and gearheads work on technology that could change the way millions of people watch television.
The next Google or Facebook in suburban Denver?
No, it's Comcast, the nation's largest cable-television operator.
Over the past three years, the company has beefed up its technology development arm, Comcast Labs, in an effort to be more nimble and almost startup-like. The company wants to cut development time on products and features such as its on-screen TV guide from as long as 18 months to perhaps a few weeks.
"We're trying to take the technology impediments out of the model," said Comcast CTO Tony Werner.
A key to the change is offloading the brains of its technology from set-top boxes (STBs) that reside in more than 20 million homes to the "cloud," or remote computer servers.
It also includes hiring the tech geeks who might otherwise work for the Googles of the world.
Comcast has bulked up its Labs team by acquiring startups such as Silicon Valley, CA based Plaxo, whose technology will help power the Skype TV video-calling service when it launches on Comcast next year.
The two-story Comcast Media Center in Centennial, CO is home to one of five primary offices for Labs. Locally, the team has more than doubled to 50 workers since early last year.
They're helping usher in Xcalibur, Comcast's next-generation video project that will integrate web features such as search and social networking apps, among other things.
Werner said the strategy is not a response to growing competition from online services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, though analysts say otherwise.
"For decades, they were the only place to get content beyond broadcast channels," said Ian Olgeirson, a senior analyst with industry research and consulting firm SNL Kagan. "Now, they have to adjust to competitive forces to maintain their dominant position in the living room."
Further, consumers are increasingly watching TV shows and movies on tablets and laptops, away from the living room and STBs.
"They can no longer rely solely on providing access to cable networks," Olgeirson said.
Comcast, which offers service under the Xfinity brand, isn't alone with its transformation.
Charlie Ergen's Dish Network is offering a subscription-based streaming video service through recently acquired Blockbuster. The nation's No. 2 satellite-TV provider also appears headed toward launching a mobile broadband service with an established wireless carrier such as Sprint.
Denver, CO based MapQuest, the 15-year-old online mapping giant, this year moved its headquarters from a high-rise office into a LoDo building as part of efforts to re-create its start-up mentality.
Comcast Labs employs about 1,000 people and also has offices in Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Seattle and Silicon Valley, CA.
"Denver has been our core base of really some of the best in the country, maybe even in the world, video expertise," said Werner, who has an office here but spends most of his time at Comcast headquarters in Philadelphia. "We've added a lot of people who are into the next generation of video."
The team in Centennial developed the Xfinity iPad app, which allows subscribers to view the TV Guide and change channels on the tablet, among other features.
"We were looking at doing something totally different," said James Capps, Vice President of Engineering and Software Development for Comcast. "We were looking at a recommendation engine to figure out what programming people would be interested in."
But a software engineer "figured out how to talk to the box" and the app was born. Since its release in November 2010, the program has been downloaded more than 3 million times.
The team is working on video technology called fragmenting, which chops up content into two-second clips and eight different quality types. The video feed will change seamlessly, depending on whether the viewer is watching on a high-definition (HD) TV set, a smart-phone or some other device, Werner said.
"It sounds simple. It's not," he said.
The fragmenting technology will allow Comcast to offer subscribers additional viewing features, such as alternate endings to on-demand video and different camera angles for sporting events.
Another product under development is a trivia game that can be played on-screen with multiple people while watching a movie on-demand.
With the near saturation of the pay-TV market, it makes sense for Comcast to branch out to software apps and games, said Bruce Leichtman, Principal Analyst for Leichtman Research Group.
"Close to 90% of people have some form of multichannel video service," Leichtman said. "Almost everybody who would want a service has it. Now, we get to focusing on apps that appeal to different segments."
Werner acknowledges that some of the technologies and products will never see the light of day.
Comcast was one of the first pay-TV operators to embrace 3D technology, and it's turned out to be a dud, so far.
"You have to kiss a lot of frogs," Werner said. "You just don't know which ones are going to turn into something."
Huawei Looks for Cloud Acquisitions, Partnerships
Excerpted from Reuters Report by Lee Yee and Huang Yunatao
Huawei Technologies, the world's No.2 network equipment maker, said it is open to acquiring and partnering companies with expertise in producing software for cloud computing.
Global technology companies from Cisco Systems to Oracle have been acquiring companies to boost their capabilities in cloud computing - the latest network technology trend that stores applications, data, and software online.
"Huawei is a private company, so our acquisitions won't be for huge amounts like other listed companies," Li Sanqi, Chief Technology Officer of Huawei's IT hardware product line, told Reuters on the sidelines of a company event.
"I feel that we will have acquisitions in the cloud and information and communications technology (ICT) arenas. We are searching, but we'll be careful in the United States for political reasons," he said from Shenzhen in southern China, where the company is based.
The cloud computing sector, which allows users to download games, music, documents, and other files from huge online databases to handheld devices, is expected to reach $3.2 billion this year in Asia alone from $1.87 billion last year, market research firm IDC said.
The cloud market globally could reach $55 billion in 2014, IDC said.
Over the past year or so, global companies have been stepping up deals with cloud-related companies.
Cisco Systems said in March that it planned to buy privately held software company newScale and late last year had struck a sales partnership deal with business software company BMC Software to sell cloud devices.
Last week, Oracle signed a deal to buy online customer service company RightNow Technologies for about $1.5 billion, sparking speculation of bids for other cloud technology companies.
"A lot of cloud technology companies are based in the United States. We have some partnerships in the United States. Other than the United States, we are also looking at Israel, Canada, and China," Li said.
Apple, Google Focus on Streaming Video
Excerpted from On Media Report by Diane Mermigas
It appears Apple and Google are picking up where Netflix left off, before its Qwikster debacle, to advance universal interface for television by integrating all forms of streaming and static video.
Like Netflix's original winning proposition, the latest TV iterations from Apple and Google are premised on the ease with which consumers can access any kind of video they want on any device.
Anyone who has struggled at home using a routine remote to access a YouTube video on their living room TV screen, criss-crossed the walled gardens of a cable's TV Everywhere and Apple's iTunes, and played mix-and-match the video collections of Netflix and Hulu knows universal video navigation and access remains a big nightmare.
Google's debut of a new YouTube app and original channels showcasing talent and targeted content, and providing a simpler search interface, is just the latest step to easy access to video on all screens. It is chipping away at the home TV screen, which is worth most because of the advertising dollars attached.
Google's move comes on the heels of renewed anticipation since the recent death of Apple founder Steve Jobs about his company's preparation of a new Siri voice activated search and access interface to revolutionize home television next year. All the false starts are partly rooted in stalemating by TV manufacturers.
Google inviting third-party developers to do for next generation TV what they did for the Android phone is brilliant and necessary. It will advance everyone's efforts.
But it is not about video content so much as it is about the billions of advertising dollars still tethered to conventional out-of-touch television. And the ultimate golden egg is the e-transaction - or sale - that is the end-game of advertisers and marketers.
For now, US mobile ad spending is growing 47% to nearly $2 billion next year and more than doubling to nearly $5 billion by 2015, backed by significant shifts in mobile ad spending by major marketers, according to eMarketer. Television remains the dominant medium at more than $60 billion in advertising spending this year, according to ZenithOptimedia.
As the lines blur between viewing experiences, convenience, ease of access, and types of video (TV shows and homemade YouTube videos), the advertising dollars will be redistributed across the all-screen video universe. Increasingly pervasive social media and networking will assist in the ultimate integration of universal video access and monetization.
But it's interesting to note that Google, Apple, and Netflix wrestle with the social applications that will be critical to their mass video efforts. It could be that the first one to align with Facebook wins that battle.
Facebook in particular is emerging as the premiere social network filter for creating value through "frictionless," real-time sharing and transacting. It will constitute the majority of the anticipated $670 billion in global mobile payments anticipated by 2015, according to eMarketer.
Facebook's new Timeline feature on user profiles is an interactive marketer's dream and a create way for video-providers to interface with users as they mark their favorite movies, TV shows, and other entertainment over the course of what Facebook founding CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls "the story of their lives."
As Google, Apple, and even Amazon continue down the universal video path, they would do well to heed the relevant hard lessons learned by Netflix and its founding CEO Reed Hastings: The most important: do not second-guess or manipulate the connected the consumer. You will lose.
Disaggregating old and new transitioning technologies is a bad idea. Consumers clearly prefer to transition to new technologies at their own pace. (Netflix's abrupt separation of its declining DVD mail-in business and its streaming video businesses is dramatic proof.)
Companies must carefully and strategically help consumers, advertisers, and related companies shift to new video dynamics at a natural, reasonable pace. Netflix lost more than 800,000 subscribers in less than two months because it failed to skillfully manage the two most important facts about the video evolution. Connected consumers love the convenience of watching video on their mobile devices. And they remain attached to the sedentary confines of their home televisions.
Constantly study consumer behavior and whims. Netflix presumed it knew consumers' changing expectations. Constant vigilance and assessment are required. Monitor timely marketplace data and then do something meaningful with it. Create a framework to analyze, understand and immediately act on it.
Study and respond to your ever-changing competitors; they will beat you at your own game if you let them. Or, you could make them your best ally.
Be prepared for your entire business model to be upended. Even under the best circumstances, it will be.
Cloud-Computing Company Raises $25 Million
SolidFire, a cloud-computing storage company that moved to Boulder, CO from Atlanta, GA in May, has raised $25 million in a second funding round.
It brings to $37 million the amount of venture capital that SolidFire, launched less than two years ago, has raised this year. The new investment comes from a group including New Enterprise Associates, Valhalla Partners, and Novak Biddle.
Video's Time Has Come
Excerpted from Video Insider Report by Rob Manoff
For those of us who live and breathe online video advertising, it's been really interesting to see which advertisers and industry sectors have been fastest to include the channel in their media plans. The recent announcement from Yahoo and ABC News may be just the kick in the pants more cautious advertisers need to really believe the potential of digital video.
The partnership combines a news network's global newsgathering organization with the reach of a portal, putting ABC News' rich content in front of more than 100 million users every month. It's the latest salvo in the war on online media, and it spells opportunity for everyone.
For Advertisers: In essence, the expansion of online content via video should create more and higher-value inventory. Today, one of the biggest problems with online video is the challenge to find and buy preferred inventory. Deals like this provide advertisers with a proven vehicle to tap preferred, premium inventory to generate more audience views.
For Agencies: Just the fact that there's more quality inventory available gives agencies more runway to be aggressive and creative with their digital ad buys. In the case of ABC News/Yahoo News, they've now got a well-known portal with great content. Agencies can run new video formats or create new ways to sponsor video and to display new, exciting advertising content.
Video metrics are also gaining validity. YouTube, for example, is now being tracked by comScore, giving media buyers real data to factor in to purchasing decisions. They've now got the tools to convince brands that they need to be transitioning TV dollars online.
For Publishers: Major publishers that are also content creators like National Geographic or USA Today now have a great example to demonstrate the value of video content to potential advertisers. This partnership opens the door for publishers to realize the value of their video content through similar deals that allow them to leverage existing digital advertising networks to grow their brands.
Users aren't going to just one destination to view and watch video. They're expecting to see it wherever they go, on whatever site they're on. Video has become a companion to whatever they're reading. As a content creator, you need consumers to be able to view your content across a number of venues, not just your own site.
oneDrum Enables Real-Time P2P Collaboration
oneDrum, a UK-based software development company, today launched its intuitive peer-to-peer (P2P) desktop application that lets users securely co-author, file-share, and interact in real time on Microsoft Office applications.
Inspired by the concept of a networked application that could reduce the cost and friction associated with true collaboration, oneDrum was developed to respond to the needs of the modern, mobile information worker. The application brings Google Docs functionality and more to Microsoft Office documents, with edits appearing in real time when working online, while offline edits synchronize effortlessly when connectivity is re-established.
Allowing users to work in their native Microsoft Office application environment, oneDrum takes the compromise out of collaboration and is the only application that lets users share documents on hand at every moment. This all takes place using a simple and model that combines user authentication, network security, and data encryption to ensure that all aspects of the collaboration process are completely secure.
"Our goal has always been to reset people's understanding both of what a networked application is, and how it should be built," said Jasper Westaway, Chief Executive Officer and Founder. "We designed oneDrum to be insanely powerful and with as few compromises as possible. Users want files to be accessible and editable offline while co-authoring, file sharing, and chat messaging are all experiences that people have become accustomed to and need for productivity."
oneDrum is written in Java, allowing the application to support multiple operating systems. The software supports all versions of Microsoft Office in a Windows environment. Mac for oneDrum will launch in beta in Q4 2011. File system integration for Mac will arrive this year, while integration with Mac Office will arrive in the first half of 2012.
The next phase of cloud computing will need to adopt a hybrid model that straddles data centers and user devices and applications more effectively, and oneDrum offers this. oneDrum's P2P technology is resilient, totally secure, and scalable to any size of business. Its advantage over cloud-based solutions is its immediate scalability and inherent resilience.
Vectored transformation is the technology underpinning oneDrum and the key to its unique approach. It is the mechanism that ensures that when multiple people or devices are exchanging data, everyone has access to and can edit that data, and that the data eventually becomes consistent across all nodes.
Up until this point, most collaboration has been done using e-mail and attachments. oneDrum offers dramatic efficiency over e-mail attachments because the latest version of the document is always accessible to all collaborators, changes occur in real-time, users can see what edits are happening and when, and it offers the ability to chat within the oneDrum platform with others working on a file.
"In general, e-mail looks like it helps collaboration, because it helps people communicate and pass files around," said Westaway. "In fact, it's a huge problem. E-mail results in proliferating legacy copies of files and users are generally operating outside of any kind of structured workflow. Receiving five versions of a document and having to merge, edit, assess, and audit everyone's input is classic document collaboration hell."
Seven Tips for Securing Data in the Cloud
The cloud technology experts at BizCloud compiled a list of tips to help organizations properly address their underlying security concerns and issues that are holding many of them back from migrating their IT infrastructures to the cloud. While cloud computing offers tremendous benefits, from capex reduction to improved business agility, companies are still cautious about moving their data to the cloud environment, often viewing it as a complete loss of control over security and data.
When an organization is considering adopting cloud computing technology, it is vital to demand transparency from a cloud solution provider and receive detailed instructions on the security measures that they have established.
The following are 7 key security tips and items to consider for protecting data in the cloud:
The cloud provider's security processes. Organizations need to choose a cloud vendor that employs the same or higher-level security measures that they do internally. If an organization employs measures such as monitoring, penetration testing, intrusion prevention and detection systems, a cloud provider should mirror that level of control. It is important to ensure that the cloud provider lists the guaranteed security controls in a SLA agreement.
Location of Data. Larger cloud providers have data centers offshore in countries with different privacy and security laws, meaning that control over user data may be exposed to a third party. The physical location of certain types of information is regulated by federal or international laws. For these reasons, organizations should ask the solution provider about the location of their data centers and also about the security measures they take in case of a security breach.
Right to Audit. A right to audit should be included in the contract with a cloud provider, so that an organization is granted the right to audit the cloud environment at any time. Having this level of insight into a cloud solution's security is vitally important for compliance.
Authorized Access. Organizations should ensure that proper controls are in place so that authorized users have access to the data at all times and, simultaneously, that all unauthorized access is blocked. Privileged-user monitoring is also required, as cloud service admins are granted access to data.
Legal Responsibilities. Organizations should make sure that the cloud provider's solution meets their regulatory requirements. The provider has the responsibility to assist the cloud customer in being compliant with governmental data security and privacy standards.
Data Encryption. Cloud customers need to make sure that a vendor uses encryption for securing data at rest and in transit, as encryption is critical to compliance and safeguarding data privacy. The cloud service provider should encrypt data on storage devices at all times in order to prevent data breaches. Companies have to make sure that their data is protected when transmitted over the Internet by always being encrypted and authenticated by the cloud provider.
Physical Infrastructure. To make sure that the physical access to their data is secured, organizations need to receive instructions from the cloud service provider on the measures that they have established to manage physical access to the infrastructure supporting their data.
Simplified Software Configuration with Cloud-Based Services
When it comes to software configuration management (SCM) there is likely no more successful example in the world than Subversion.
As a renewed focus on enterprise-scale versioning control takes hold, demand for Subversion management continues to grow as does the expectation for scale, security, and social development. This is where cloud-based services can be of help, but navigating the multitude of options can be tricky. Download and view Fast-Track your Subversion Journey to the Cloud, a live and interactive webcast to better understand your deployment options for the cloud and how your organization can maximize its transition.
The Cloud According to GARP
Excerpted from eWeek Report by Gordon Hoke
Records and information management (RIM) offers reduced risk to organizations sending data to the cloud. In recent years, some organizations sent data first and then asked records analysts to manage the information - an inverted sequence that produced problems. Even when well planned, records management in the cloud is a serious challenge.
The latest attempt to define age-old records management concepts comes from ARMA International's Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (GARP). These principles apply millennia of learning through a universal system that's appropriate for the cloud, as well as for ancient scrolls.
To apply GARP to the cloud, organizations and their records managers need to address the following:
1. Connectivity requirements: To meet the principle of availability, cloud providers must install adequate capacity for rapid retrievals and reliable availability. The communication system must consistently operate at an acceptable speed. Neither bandwidth nor processing loads should bring delivery speeds below specifications.
2. Loss of control: Storage in the cloud inherently lowers record owners' control over their data. Information from a single source may be stored in physically diverse locations. Control may further degrade when cloud providers merge, go out of business, or otherwise add layers of insulation between the provider and the user.
3. Responsibility: Cloud computing multiplies the variables at each stage of a record's life cycle. This increases the responsibilities of the information manager. To apply GARP in the cloud, a records manager must have resources in technology, compliance, and legal matters.
For example, many nations severely restrict the export of private information. If a service provider's cloud is in one of those countries, records may be trapped there. The savvy records manager will engage the services of a contract attorney to be sure any agreement with the cloud provider keeps private information both safe and available. The records manager cannot rely on the service provider to know the host country's law.
4. Liability: The principle of compliance has two sides. First, it requires that a records management program meet all applicable laws, regulations and ethics. Second, it requires a defined level of participation in records management by record owners and custodians. In the cloud, this can be problematic.
Implementations of cloud storage may be poorly defined with changing policies. Can a cloud user, having yielded aspects of RIM to a service provider, prove legal and regulatory compliance? Can the cloud provider guarantee, for example, that legal holds are effectively applied? Can the records manager easily audit the records to measure staff compliance with the organization's policies and procedures? Without definitive, positive answers to these questions, an organization may find itself legally liable for records policies beyond its control.
5. Disaster methodology: Usually, risk analyses direct disaster recovery and business continuity strategies. When records reside in indeterminate locations under unstated or fuzzy rules for protection against disaster, the risks are incalculable. Precise contracts, policies and procedures mitigate these risks, but it can be difficult to prove cloud vendor compliance.
6. Disposition: Disposing of unneeded records is as important as retaining needed ones. Cloud providers may not clearly state their means of disposition, and assessing their practice of disposition may be impossible. And they may not understand the threats lurking in residual traces of data and metadata. Records managers need reliable proof that disposed records are truly gone or, alternatively, ineligible for legal discovery.
7. Persistent preservation strategy: Similarly, it is difficult to ensure long-term, persistent (permanent) integrity of records in the cloud. In the intermediate term, routine maintenance and measurements threaten records' metadata. In the long term, changes in hardware, operating systems, application software, storage media, encryption keys, security utilities and more threaten to render records unreadable.
8. Interoperability: There are few defined provisions for interoperability in cloud storage. Evolution in technology can render records irretrievable or corrupted. Protection against this threat is hard to write into contracts, and when it is, compliance with the wording may be difficult to enforce.
9. Continuity: The rules of cloud governance are still fluid, and potential users must evaluate vendors' stability. Among the plethora of cloud providers, some will undoubtedly fail, merge, be acquired, or evolve into using other technologies. Records managers must be futurists and plan for potential breaks in their cloud provider's continuity. Contracts can provide for third-party receiverships, source code in escrow and advance warnings, but risks remain.
Practicing GARP becomes a framework for risk reduction. It allows organizations to ask the question, "How can we use best practices while taking advantage of the cloud? How can we enjoy the benefits while minimizing the risks?"
In the not-too-distant future, the obstacles to RIM in the cloud will diminish as cloud providers incorporate GARP into their offerings. And, as new technologies appear, and records managers will apply GARP to them as well.
Protect IP: The Bill that Threatens the Internet and Our Freedom
Excerpted from The Volokh Conspiracy Report by David Post
One of the obvious dangers of the Internet Age is that we'll be so distracted by everything going on around us - lots of it interesting, complicated, and even important (not to mention all the stuff that's idiotic and unimportant and fundamentally uninteresting) - that we will fail to recognize the truly important stuff when it comes along.
The IP bills that Congress now has before it - the Senate version of which is known as PROTECT-IP, the House version as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), sometimes known as the "E-Parasite" bill - are deep and profound threats to the Net and to our freedom on the Net. If anyone has good ideas about how to fight back other than to stand on the street-corner, as I am doing now, and shouting to the rooftops, I'd be interested to hear them.
I helped draft a Law Profs Letter in Opposition, and I've blogged about it a number of times before, as have others - good places to start if you are unfamiliar with the issue are the EFF site, the CDT site, and Techdirt.
But I'm going to keep at it because this is an issue that really needs more public traction than it is getting. I'm not going to stand here and say that this law will destroy the Internet as we know it, though I actually believe that to be true. I'm not going to say it, because predicting the future is impossible and I like to avoid doing it in public - though, like all of us, I have my own beliefs about what the future will bring.
So I'll put that aside and focus on the principles at stake; even if the damned thing weren't going to destroy the Net as we know it, it is of surpassing ugliness, and if you care about freedom and liberty, you'll agree with me.
Here's the Internet we get after this becomes law. The prosecutor walks into a courtroom with evidence that a website - or, more likely, 1000 websites - are "dedicated to infringing activities." If he/she can persuade the judge of that, those websites vanish from the Net (through a complex wave of judicially-mandated action that has to be obeyed by ISPs, domain name registrars, etc.). No need for messy "adversary proceedings," "due process," or similar niceties. No need to bother with details like "is there a defense to the charge?" No need even for the prosecutor, under the statutory terms, to prove what a copyright plaintiff would have to prove if this were an ordinary infringement suit: i.e., that the website operator in question had "actual knowledge of specific infringing files" on the site in question. None of that.
It's nice of Congress, I suppose, to provide that a neutral judge has to have seen the evidence and issued an order before sites can be eliminated; I'm sure there are plenty of folks in Congress and the US Attorney's Office who would like to eliminate that last bit of messiness and administrative inconvenience, too.
But there's a good reason why, except in truly extraordinary circumstances where public health and safety are imminently threatened, we don't throw people in jail, or deprive people of their livelihoods, or divest them of their property, whenever a prosecutor and a judge agree that those are just punishments.
And it's a lot worse than even that. Get this: The House version makes it unlawful (and subjects you to this elimination order) if you "take deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability of the use of the website to carry out acts that constitute a violation of the copyright or trademark statutes."
Take a careful look at what's going on here. If the prosecutors have been snooping around on my website to find infringing material and I take "deliberate steps" that prevent them from "confirming" that I have such material on the site - perhaps I have this pet peeve about government agents crawling around what I might regard as private space and I have tried to keep them out - then I have violated the statute - even if I don't actually have infringing material on the site.
That is, it's an independent violation of law to keep the prosecutors from "confirming" that you're violating the law - all the prosecutor has to show, to make you vanish from the Net, is that you've somehow tried to keep the prosecutor off of your website!
It violates principles I'm tempted to call sacred - and all for what? To protect the rights of a subset of our intellectual property (IP) owners - to make the world safe for our record companies and movie studios and publishing houses. Even if it was going to work, if the price for protecting those rights is that we have to abandon due process, and the notion that there are two sides to every story, and the notion that government agents do not have an inalienable right to know everything that I am doing on the Internet or anywhere else, that price is way too high.
And of course it's not going to work. I guarantee that. It's too easy to circumvent - anyone who understands the technology will agree with that. Sure, it will ensnare many unlawful actors. But at Internet scale, ensnaring some of the bad guys does not and cannot appreciably affect the conduct in question.
Think of it this way: If there are 10 bad guys out there, and you've got a way to catch, say, 5 of them, that's usually a pretty good scheme. We'll have 5 fewer bad guys, and who knows, maybe just by probabilistic chance you'll catch all 10; after all, if you're 50% likely on average to catch each bad guy, it's unlikely but by no means impossible that you'll get 'em all.
But if there are 10 million bad guys and you get rid of half of them, there are still 5 million bad guys out there. And, with IP, 5 million bad guys can do precisely as much "damage" to your intellectual property as 10 million.
If "stamping out copyright infringement" looks like a nightmarish game of whack-a-mole that you can't possibly win - well, I'm sorry about that, but that's just the way the world is, so get over it. There's more - much more - peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing going on today than in the heyday of Napster and Grokster. Deal with it - not by killing my Internet, thank you very much.
Coming Events of Interest
Future of Film Summit - November 7th-8th in Los Angeles, CA. An exclusive group of industry thought-leaders discuss the current state of the industry, and how film and transmedia deals will be struck in the coming years. This is a unique opportunity for creatives, producers, buyers, and film financiers.
Streaming Media West - November 8th-9th in Los Angeles, CA. Attended by more than 2,500 executives last year, SMW covers the entire online video ecosystem from content creation and management, to monetization and distribution. The number-one place to come see, learn, and discuss what is taking place with all forms of online video business models and technology.
World Telecom Summit 2011 - November 9th-11th in Singapore. The 2011 program will focus on topics that demonstrate innovation across the telecommunications industry, both on a commercial and technical level, to improve profitability and quality of next generation technologies and customer experiences.
Future of Television - November 17th-18th in New York, NY. Top television and digital media industry executives discuss the increasing importance digital media for the future of the television industry. Topics include viewer trends; programming for non-traditional platforms including online video, VoD, HD, IPTV, broadband and mobile.
2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) - January 10th-13th in Las Vegas, NV. With more than four decades of success, the International CES reaches across global markets, connects the industry and enables CE innovations to grow and thrive. This is the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow.
CONTENT IN THE CLOUD at CES - January 11th in Las Vegas, NV. Gain a deeper understanding of the impact of cloud-delivered content on specific segments and industries, including consumers, telecom, media, and CE manufacturers.
CLOUD TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE at NAB - April 16th in Las Vegas, NV. Don't miss this full-day conference focusing on the impact of cloud computing solutions on all aspects of production, storage, and delivery of television programming and video.