Businesses eye cloud for big data deployments

As 2016 draws to a close, a new study suggests big data is growing in maturity and surging in the cloud.

AtScale, which specializes in BI on Hadoop using OLAP-like cubes, recently conducted a survey of more than 2,550 big data professionals at 1,400 companies across 77 countries. The survey was conducted in conjunction with Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR, Cognizant, Trifacta and Tableau.

AtScale’s 2016 Big Data Maturity Survey found that nearly 70 percent of respondents have been using big data for more than a year (compared with 59 percent last year). Seventy-six percent of respondents are using Hadoop today, and 73 percent say they are now using Hadoop in production (compared with 65 percent last year). Additionally, 74 percent have more than 10 Hadoop nodes and 20 percent 20 percent have more than 100 nodes.

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Network World Cloud Computing

ZoneSavvy taps big data to help SMBs find best sites for businesses

Location, location, location: As the old joke goes, those are the three keys to business success. Now, with big data analysis, corporations can be smarter than ever before about where to open up new offices or businesses.

But what if you run a mom-and-pop shop, or you’re dreaming of quitting your corporate job and opening a boutique? Even medium-size businesses do not have the money to spend on the sort of systems and analysis teams that corporate behemoths use to locate new businesses.

This is where ZoneSavvy, a new website created by software engineer Mike Wertheim, could help. The site is straightforward: You enter a business type, the ZIP code of the general area where you want to locate the business, and the distance from that ZIP code you are willing to consider. ZoneSavvy then gives you suggestions for which nearby neighborhoods would be the best locations for your business.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Businesses struggle to hire workers with cloud skills

Cloud services are becoming the cornerstone of an enterprise’s IT infrastructure. However, IT leaders are finding it difficult to not only plan for and implement cloud technology, but also to hire qualified candidates. And part of that struggle, according to a recent study from Softchoice of 250 line of business managers and 250 IT decision makers, is a lack of qualified candidates as well as a general misunderstanding of how to create a successful cloud strategy.

“There’s incredible opportunity for businesses if they move to the cloud, but with a lack of skilled resources they are not able to realize those benefits as quickly. At best, this impacts revenue and profit potential in isolation. At worst, competitiveness and market relevance suffer,” says Craig McQueen, director of Microsoft Practice at Softchoice.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Businesses struggle to hire workers with cloud skills

Cloud services are becoming the cornerstone of an enterprise’s IT infrastructure. However, IT leaders are finding it difficult to not only plan for and implement cloud technology, but also to hire qualified candidates. And part of that struggle, according to a recent study from Softchoice of 250 line of business managers and 250 IT decision makers, is a lack of qualified candidates as well as a general misunderstanding of how to create a successful cloud strategy.

“There’s incredible opportunity for businesses if they move to the cloud, but with a lack of skilled resources they are not able to realize those benefits as quickly. At best, this impacts revenue and profit potential in isolation. At worst, competitiveness and market relevance suffer,” says Craig McQueen, director of Microsoft Practice at Softchoice.

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Network World Cloud Computing

What businesses should know about Privacy Shield

U.S. businesses may take some comfort from the fact that a successor to the Safe Harbor agreement has finally been named, but at this point, they shouldn’t get too comfortable.

Since it was first announced on Tuesday, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement governing trans-Atlantic data transfers has elicited considerable concern, not least because it remains largely unwritten and unclear. Privacy watchdogs in Europe have cautioned that it can’t be relied upon for legal protection for several months; some say it won’t be enough even then.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

What businesses need to know about Privacy Shield

U.S. businesses may take some comfort from the fact that a successor to the Safe Harbor agreement has finally been named, but at this point, they shouldn’t get too comfortable.

Since it was first announced on Tuesday, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement governing trans-Atlantic data transfers has elicited considerable concern, not least because it remains largely unwritten and unclear. Privacy watchdogs in Europe have cautioned that it can’t be relied upon for legal protection for several months; some say it won’t be enough even then.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Unsurprisingly, Dropbox to shutter Mailbox and Carousel, focus on businesses

Dropbox has abandoned its efforts to take over your smartphone. The company announced today that it will shutter two applications, Mailbox and Carousel, in 2016 as a result of its new focus on helping workers collaborate with each other. But it’s hard to see how chasing business workers instead of targeting consumers will change Dropbox’s core problem: That it remains a feature convinced it was a product, then a startup, and then a company that’s raised more than $ 1 billion.

This isn’t a new argument. People have been saying that Dropbox is a feature instead of a product almost since the company’s file storage service first debuted. There’s no denying the convenience afforded by that service. Being able to trust that files would appear on multiple devices, or on the Web, without having to carry around a bunch of flash drives filled with important documents was huge. But was it a strong enough lodestone for a billion-dollar company to be built on?

In December 2009, Steve Jobs warned Dropbox co-founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi that Apple would compete with their service if they declined an acquisition offer. He kept that promise. Apple released iCloud in 2011. Google followed it with Google Drive in 2012. Microsoft introduced several cloud tools. And other companies like SpiderOak, Box, and Amazon introduced tools that either competed indirectly with Dropbox or operated on a much different scale.

Dropbox’s core feature is still as amazing as it was a few years ago. It’s just that no-one can purchase a smartphone, tablet, or laptop without being prompted to use a competitive service. Using an iPhone? Set up iCloud. Created a Google account because of that new Android tablet? Use Google Drive. Replacing that Windows ME-running hunk of plastic with a newer PC? Here, try OneDrive. People can use sync services without ever having to know that Dropbox exists.

The same is true of the services being shuttered. Mailbox was ahead of its time: I remember downloading the app, swiping through my inbox, and wondering how I could ever live with another email app. But then it languished, seemed to be ridden with bugs that were never fixed, and I switched to Gmail’s official app. Other companies improved their email apps all the while, with Apple updating Mail, Gmail tinkering with Inbox, and Microsoft debuting a brand-new Outlook.

Carousel also worked fine. But that was exactly the problem — it was just fine. All the cloud services that Dropbox competes with for file synchronization also offer photo storage services. Products like Google’s new (and popular) Photos service takes it a step further by automatically sorting images and generating montages. Carousel doesn’t do anything that iCloud, Photos, and other services don’t do. So why bother setting up a service that can, and now will, disappear any moment?

Now, Dropbox will focus on its business customers. That begins with services like Paper, a collaborative writing app, and new-yet-boring features like PDF-editing. Are either of those going to be enough to convince businesses to choose Dropbox over competitive services that do the same things? (There are many, like Google Docs and the Microsoft Office suite, for starters.) The company seems to think that focusing on these apps and shuttering its consumer products might help.

No matter what happens, you have to give Dropbox credit. It survived after Jobs warned it about its prospects in 2009. Then, when Farhad Manjoo wrote in 2012 that Jobs was right, Dropbox kept moving along. Now, three years after that, the company is in the same position. Critics keep saying it’s a feature, and Dropbox keeps proving them wrong — or delaying the inevitable. The question is which.

Unsurprisingly, Dropbox to shutter Mailbox and Carousel, focus on businesses originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015.

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Cloud

With Dropbox Groups, businesses can finally sort folders based on departments

Dropbox is rolling out a new feature called Groups and a related API that should make it easier for businesses to manage all of their content stored in Dropbox, the file-sync-and share company is set to reveal on Thursday.

The new feature is now available for Dropbox for Business customers and was supposedly the most requested feature Dropbox customers — now hovering at over 100,000 businesses — were calling for, explained Dropbox product manager Waseem Daher in an interview.

Groups supposedly lets users create folders that only members of the appropriate group should have access to. The idea is that businesses can set up folders based on their departments and then assign the right staff members to those folders, said Daher. Now, marketing departments can create folders that contain their related documents and only sales and marketing staff should be able to touch them.

If a company hires a new salesperson, that new employee will “just need to be added to the sales group and they will automatically get access to all the content they need for the job,” said Daher. The new Groups interface will supposedly give IT administrators a central hub to manage all those employees in one place, and if a company wants, it can set up group owners with the ability to manage those folders as opposed to only IT staff.

The new Group API that’s also being released is similar to the recently launched Dropbox for Business API in that the API will give developers a chance to create custom applications or modifications to the new Groups feature per the needs of their organizations.

Daher said the biggest feature developers could create with the new API would be a custom integration with their organizations’ active directory, which some IT admins use to keep track of where all their company resources, user data and related items are be located.

Additionally, a bunch of identity-management and security startups — including Okta, OneLogin and Ping Identity — are all working on their own integrations with the new Group API, which makes sense because these startups are aiming to protect companies from rouge employees who may try sneaking into places they shouldn’t be. All of these startups have some sort of integration with active directory as part of their own technology, so the hope is that with the Group API they can just “mirror that right into Dropbox,” said Daher.

The new Groups feature is another example of how Dropbox has been busy morphing from a cloud storage repository into more of a workplace hub, similar to the company’s rival Box.

For these cloud storage startups to grow and court big enterprise clients, they need to show that they have more to offer than just a place to hold documents, as exemplified by the similar file-sync-and-share startup Egnyte moving into the data analytics space.

With Dropbox Groups, businesses can finally sort folders based on departments originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015.

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Cloud

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