Cloud and data center trends roundup 2016: Machine learning, hybrid cloud and Google’s enterprise ambitions

A decade on from the launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud market is continuing to evolve quickly. What was once seen as a toy for test and development purposes now hosts mission-critical workloads for some of the largest companies in the world, while vendors work on the next generation of cloud services, such as those around machine learning.

Business demand clearly shows no sign of abating. Gartner claimed the overall cloud market was valued at $ 208.6 billion in 2016, amounting to a 17.2 percent increase from $ 178 billion the year before.

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CIO Cloud Computing

9 gifts IT needed but didn’t get in 2016

Despite some significant arrivals, 2016 also failed to deliver some long-awaited technologies. And some of what we eagerly ripped the wrapping paper off proved to be a letdown.

Here’s a rundown of the gifts IT didn’t get in 2016.

Professional-grade 3D printing

If you want to print out a stand for your phone or a model for a new product, you can easily find a 3D printer for the office that can do that — as long as you want to print them out in plastic. You can spend more and get a 3D printer that can UV cure resin and make small objects like custom-fit earplugs in about 10 minutes (I watched my ACS Custom in-ear monitor headphones get printed from digital scans of my ear canals earlier this year). Even HP’s $ 140,000 Multi Jet Fusion printers — promised for this year and offering multi-color printing — only just went on sale, and they still only print nylon. You can prototype a (plastic) circuit board with conductive ink circuits with the Voxel8 Developer Kit, as long as you pause the printing and add the chips by hand.

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CIO Cloud Computing

9 technologies that IT needed but didn’t get in 2016

Despite some significant arrivals, 2016 also failed to deliver some long-awaited technologies. And some of what we eagerly ripped the wrapping paper off proved to be a letdown.

Here’s a rundown of the gifts IT didn’t get in 2016.

Professional-grade 3D printing

If you want to print out a stand for your phone or a model for a new product, you can easily find a 3D printer for the office that can do that — as long as you want to print them out in plastic. You can spend more and get a 3D printer that can UV cure resin and make small objects like custom-fit earplugs in about 10 minutes (I watched my ACS Custom in-ear monitor headphones get printed from digital scans of my ear canals earlier this year). Even HP’s $ 140,000 Multi Jet Fusion printers — promised for this year and offering multi-color printing — only just went on sale, and they still only print nylon. You can prototype a (plastic) circuit board with conductive ink circuits with the Voxel8 Developer Kit, as long as you pause the printing and add the chips by hand.

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Network World Cloud Computing

AI tools came out of the lab in 2016

You shouldn’t anthropomorphize computers: They don’t like it.

That joke is at least as old as Deep Blue’s 1997 victory over then world chess champion Garry Kasparov, but even with the great strides made in the field of artificial intelligence over that time, we’re still not much closer to having to worry about computers’ feelings.

Computers can analyze the sentiments we express in social media, and project expressions on the face of robots to make us believe they are happy or angry, but no one seriously believes, yet, that they “have” feelings, that they can experience them.

Other areas of AI, on the other hand, have seen some impressive advances in both hardware and software in just the last 12 months.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Why the cloud? In 2016, it was the lure of the new

Enterprises have all sorts of justifications for moving to the cloud: avoiding capital expense, adding scalability to applications, even cloud lust on the part of CEOs who want to “get out of the IT business” (um, sorry, administration still required).

But 2016 saw one reason rise to the top: Incredible new features all pre-provisioned and waiting for you in the cloud. Sure, you could stand up a GPU cluster and run your own deep learning algorithms, or jump into IoT by assembling an event-driven platform in your own data center. But … would you?

Not every potential cloud customer wants to leap into machine learning or IoT right away. But the major public clouds offer so much new functionality and the potential is so great,  particularly with machine learning, that lack of access to that stuff amounts to a competitive disadvantage.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

2016 will be 1 second longer: Google can help you cope

Like a man eager to show off his new watch, Google is encouraging anyone running IT operations to ask it for the time.

The company will let anyone use its NTP (Network Time Protocol) servers, a move to help IT shops cope with the next “leap second,” which will be tacked onto 2016 just after midnight on Dec. 31.

Leap seconds help to keep clocks aligned with the Earth’s rotation, which can vary due to geologic and even weather conditions. But an extra second can wreak havoc with applications and services that depend on systems being tightly synchronized.

Most Internet-connected devices get their time through NTP, an open-source technology that’s used all over the world. NTP has its own problems, mainly around funding, but it’s long been the standard. Google runs its own NTP servers and uses them to ease its systems through leap seconds, according to Michael Shields, technical lead on the company’s Time Team, in a blog post on Wednesday.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

HubSpot Inbound 2016: A tech conference disguised as a sales & marketing one

I had my reservations about hitting HubSpot’s annual Inbound conference in Boston this week. Yes, it would be easy enough to swing by from our suburban Boston headquarters, but Network World caters to enterprise IT professionals, not software maker HubSpot’s sales and marketing crowd.

Sure enough though, the 19,000 registered attendees at the flashy event full of funky seating arrangements and celebrity speakers (including President-elect Donald Trump, er, Alec Baldwin) were treated to a steady stream of tech talk, so I didn’t feel out of place at all. Neither did the target audience given that they are increasingly making the kinds of technology purchasing calls in this cloud-happy world of which IT staffs are well aware.

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Network World Cloud Computing

WWDC recap show: The highs and lows of Apple’s 2016 WWDC keynote

Apple unveiled major updates to all four of its operating systems: tvOS, macOS, iOS, and watchOS. Some of them are incredibly exciting, while others seem awfully familiar. Is Apple pushing software forward or playing catchup?
Computerworld Cloud Computing

WWDC recap show: The highs and lows of Apple’s 2016 WWDC keynote

Apple unveiled major updates to all four of its operating systems: tvOS, macOS, iOS, and watchOS. Some of them are incredibly exciting, while others seem awfully familiar. Is Apple pushing software forward or playing catchup?
InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Microsoft primes SharePoint 2016 for on-premises takeover

Now that SharePoint 2016 is formally and fully released, does it live up to its promise? Microsoft’s big push in this version was to introduce hybrid capabilities between Office 365’s cloud-based SharePoint Online and the on-premises version so many enterprises have in production.

The cloud-based SharePoint Online is not even close to being as capable as an on-premises SharePoint server farm. Yet many organizations that either don’t use SharePoint at all or use it in a limited manner may find SharePoint Online to be exactly what they need. For them, a collaboration tool for workflow without the cost of setting up the IT infrastructure and ongoing management by on-staff IT professionals is very attractive.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Global public cloud market expected to hit $204B in 2016

The worldwide market for public cloud systems is projected to hit $ 204 billion this year, a 16.5% increase over the $ 175 billion market in 2015, according to analyst firm Gartner.

“The market for public cloud services is continuing to demonstrate high rates of growth across all markets and Gartner expects this to continue through 2017,” said Sid Nag, research director at Gartner, in a statement. “This strong growth continues to reflect a shift away from legacy IT services to cloud-based services, due to increased trend of organizations pursuing a digital business strategy.”

Given that IT budgets are growing at a rated of 1% to 3%, cloud services is one of the fastest growing segments of IT,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “Traditional packaged software is having about 3% growth, so cloud is five times that. The cloud just greatly simplifies IT but also enables businesses to move faster.”

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Computerworld Cloud Computing