Enterprise IT Watch Blog


January 4, 2016  12:36 PM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (12/28 – 1/4)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh
AWS, CIO, DevOps, SDN, Unified Communications

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2016 image via Shutterstock

The New Year is finally here! What are your IT goals and resolutions for 2016? Check out what some experts think in this week’s roundup.

1. IT goals for 2016 include DevOps, automation push – Meredith Courtemanche (SearchDataCenter)

The New Year is a chance to step back, reflect and really zero in on the IT goals that you can tackle in 2016, whether that be higher efficiency or putting the right team in place.

2. The top five UC technology trends to watch in 2016 – Irwin Lazar (SearchUnifiedCommunications)

According to one expert, the future of unified communications should see more API adoption, video conferencing in small meeting rooms and vendor consolidation.

3. SDN development gets serious in 2016 – Antone Gonsalves (SearchSDN)

Next year is expected to be a breakout year for SDN development, as a large number of enterprises and service providers take their projects into production.

4. Top five AWS application development tips of 2015 – David Carty (SearchAWS)

Developers have a bevy of AWS app development options. Our SearchAWS.com experts tackled a variety of those topics, and these five tips struck a chord with our readers.

5. CIOs talk 2016 IT resolutions – SearchCIO Staff (SearchCIO)

From new technology projects to leadership strategies, eight IT leaders tell us what they’re resolved to do in 2016.

December 29, 2015  2:17 PM

Prediction 2016: Cognition comes to all things

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh
Cognitive computing, Internet of Things

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Internet of Things image via Shutterstock

By James Kobielus (@jameskobielus)

As we move into the new year, a new burst of innovation is remaking everything we see, own, use, touch, and consume.

Catalyzed by the Internet of Things (IoT), this new reality is what you might call “cognitive IoT,” though adjectives such as smart and intelligent and nouns such as thing, sensor, device, endpoint, edge-node, and agent are also commonly used to refer to this phenomenon.

At heart, it’s all about physical objects that “think,” or, rather, everyday items that incorporate semi-autonomous agents that leverage machine learning and other cognitive IoT technologies to automatically sense, reason, and learn from fresh unstructured data. The data processed through cognitive IoT analytics will include whatever the devices collect locally and whatever they can fetch from the cloud.

In 2016, we’ll see an acceleration of the trend toward embedding of cognitive IoT–based digital assistants into every conceivable product, be it physical or virtual. These assistants will be infusing the enabling technologies of online civilization—including speech recognition, image matching, natural language processing, pattern sensing, semantic search, and contextual question-and-answer—into every application. They will enable continually contextual IoT-based “next best actions” in everything we might do on our smartphones, in our smart cars and buildings, and with our smart appliances and infrastructures. And they will enable this practical magic both in cloud-based applications and, to varying degrees, in intermittently connected IoT usage scenarios.

As we push deeper into 2016, cognitive IoT will become the dominant new “secret sauce” that designers add to products of every variety. Signs of this growing trend are everywhere:

For those of you still evaluating how cognitive IoT might add value to your products or operations, here’s an informative slide presentation that provides context on this trend. And here’s a recent blog by Chris O’Connor to bring you up to speed on IBM’s plans for cognitive IoT, leveraging Watson cognitive technology.

By the end of 2016, you’ll have trouble finding a creative designer, engineer, or manufacturer anywhere who isn’t already building cognitive IoT capabilities into their products (physical or virtual) or who doesn’t have plans to do so before the end of the decade.


December 27, 2015  6:57 PM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (12/21 – 12/28)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh
Cloud Computing, Data Center, Unified Communications, VMware

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Cloud predictions 2016 image via Shutterstock

What do you think will happen in the cloud industry in 2016? See what some of our experts think in this week’s roundup.

1. Cloud predictions to watch for in 2016 – SearchCloudComputing Staff (SearchCloudComputing)

Between major acquisitions and the rise of containers, the cloud market was bustling with activity in 2015. But what will 2016 bring?

2. The hottest VMware tips and tricks in 2015 – Marissa Comeau (SearchVMware)

From containerization to hyper-converged infrastructure, 2015 was an interesting year for VMware. Check out these top SVM tips for 2015.

3. Data center experts predict 2016 IT trends – Austin Allen (SearchDataCenter)

Software-defined everything, security, IoT, APIs and other technologies top our experts’ predictions for 2016 data center trends.

4. Keen UC insight the hallmark of 2015 – Luke O’Neill (SearchUnifiedCommunications)

In 2015, intriguing developments shaped the unified communications industry, highlighted in part by the emergence of Skype for Business, and the impact of WebRTC and VoIP technology.

5. AWS cloud cost management in the spotlight for 2016 – Beth Pariseau (SearchAWS)

AWS users want more built-in cloud security and control tools in 2016, and vow to improve cloud cost management — something Amazon will help with through a new free tool.


December 20, 2015  10:02 PM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (12/14 – 12/21)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh
Data Center, Docker, SDN, Windows 10

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2015-2016 image via Shutterstock

Between the news in 2015 and the predictions for 2016, this week’s roundup has it all. Come check it out.

1. Microsoft Windows 10 news dominates 2015 – Eddie Lockhart (SearchEnterpriseDesktop)

The top news stories for enterprise desktop admins in 2015 revolved around Windows 10, including new features such as HoloLens.

2. The top Docker container technology tips of 2015 – Kathleen Casey (SearchCloudComputing)

Docker’s fan base has increased since it stepped into the spotlight last year. To learn why — and to get more out of your containers — here’s a look back at the top Docker container tips of 2015.

3. Eight emerging data center trends to follow in 2016 – Robert Gates (SearchDataCenter)

Data center facilities are undergoing tremendous change, with trends such as open standards and DCIM catching on, and emerging technologies pushing the limits of density and power.

4. SDN learning: Top expert advice of 2015 – Alissa Irei (SearchSDN)

You’ve got SDN questions, and we’ve got answers. Covering topics ranging from SD-WAN to NFV, here is the most-read advice from SearchSDN’s experts this year.

5. Examining the mobile technology trends for 2016 – Matthew David (SearchSOA)

2015 was a big year for mobile — and 2016 is bound to be even bigger. But what IoT and mobile technology trends can we really expect in the new year? Matthew David offers his take.


December 13, 2015  10:15 PM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (12/7 – 12/14)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh
Cisco, EMC, Microsoft, VMware

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Hybrid cloud image via Shutterstock

Do you think the EMC-VMware cloud venture will work out? Find out what some experts thought in this week’s roundup.

1. EMC-VMware hybrid cloud venture gets thumbs up from some – Ed Scannell (SearchCloudComputing)

Investors may have objections to the deal, but analysts and users see a lot of upside to the EMC-VMware joint cloud venture, with the EMC-acquired Virtustream at its center.

2. Microsoft delivers 12 fixes for December Patch Tuesday – Tom Walat (SearchWindowsServer)

Microsoft ended the security cycle of 2015 by releasing eight critical bulletins, including details on a font exploit.

3. Dell Quest, SonicWall users face another acquisition deal – Bridget Botelho (SearchDataCenter)

SonicWall and Quest Software users, who endured Dell’s acquisition three years ago, face more uncertainty, as Dell reportedly considers the sale of those companies to reduce debt.

4. FBI: Encryption backdoor laws are unnecessary, if companies comply – Michael Heller (SearchSecurity)

FBI Director James Comey is sticking to the message that the FBI doesn’t want encryption backdoor legislation, but one senator doesn’t expect companies to comply without the legal impetus.

5. Cisco, Microsoft UC battle to benefit tech buyers – Antone Gonsalves (SearchUnifiedCommunications)

Tech buyers can take advantage of the fight between Cisco and Microsoft for UC customers — a battle that intensified this week with Cisco’s overhaul of Spark.


December 7, 2015  9:41 AM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (11/30 – 12/7)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh
Big Data, HP, IT gifts, Office 365

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IT gifts image via Shutterstock

What ‘techie’ gift is on your Christmas wish list? Find out what’s at the top spot this year in this week’s roundup.

1. ‘Star Wars’ memorabilia tops geek gift wish lists in 2015 – Beth Pariseau (SearchDataCenter)

Geek gift ideas can be tricky, but this year, it’s hard to go wrong with just about anything related to the ‘Star Wars’ movie franchise.

2. Timeline shows bumpy road led to HP split – Robert Gates (SearchDataCenter)

A timeline of HP through the years shows the defining moments that ultimately led to the split into HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

3. Microsoft heats up SMB market with new Office 365 features – Tracee Herbaugh (SearchUnifiedCommunications)

Microsoft’s latest Office 365 features are expected to heat up the competition with Cisco and other telephony vendors in the SMB market.

4. Dropbox abused by APT group for spear phishing campaign – Rob Wright (SearchCloudSecurity)

FireEye researchers discovered an advanced persistent threat group that used Dropbox to launch a spear phishing campaign against Hong Kong media companies.

5. Survey: BI and big data professionals ahead of peers on pay – Ed Burns (SearchBusinessAnalytics)

Employees who have BI and big data jobs are feeling pretty good about them, according to TechTarget’s 2015 salary survey. High pay and strong job prospects are a couple reasons why.


November 30, 2015  3:03 PM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (11/23 – 11/30)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh
Cisco, Data Center, Red Hat, Security

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Security image via Shutterstock

Is security at the top of your IT project list? Check out the entire list from TechTarget’s Annual Salary and Careers Survey in this week’s roundup.

1. Security is the common theme in 2016 top IT projects – Nicole Laskowski (SearchCIO)

TechTarget’s 2015 Annual Salary and Careers Survey results reveal how CIOs and senior IT leaders are coming to terms with shadow IT.

2. Red Hat cloud buoyed by Ansible buy, Microsoft partnership – Trevor Jones (SearchCloudComputing)

The acquisition of automation platform Ansible and a partnership to run its services on Microsoft Azure highlight a busy month of bolstering for the Red Hat cloud strategy.

3. Data centers seek creative skills to drive innovation in IT – Meredith Courtmanche (SearchDataCenter)

Now more than ever, data centers need creative employees to adapt and outwit problems for a more efficient, reliable IT infrastructure.

4. Dell fixes root certificate issue reminiscent of Superfish – Michael Heller (SearchSecurity)

Dell issued a fix for a root certificate similar to Superfish that could potentially allow attackers to intercept encrypted private data on its PCs.

5. Cisco launches open tech for containerized applications – Antone Gonsalves (SearchNetworking)

Cisco has launched an open source project, called Contiv, to build technology that automates the use of security, storage and networking in cloud-based containerized applications.


November 24, 2015  12:38 PM

Social learning to instill confidence in data science applications

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh
Data Science, Machine learning

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Data science image via Shutterstock

By James Kobielus (@jameskobielus)

Societies are massive learning machines. Cultures endure because groups refine and perpetuate repeatable learning processes, such as child rearing, community schooling, and organized religion.

In societies, everyone gets indoctrinated, whether they like it or not, and whether or not they agree with the “urtext” being instilled in their central nervous system. Indoctrination can be utterly essential if the lessons help us to survive and thrive. We can have confidence in what we’ve learned if it corresponds to what we experience in the world around us. And we can have confidence in machine learning (ML) if what it detects in the data corresponds to what’s being observed in the real world. And that, in turn, demands that the outputs of ML models align with some sort of authoritative urtext.

What I’m referring to is “training data,” which is the fundamental urtext in the dominant ML practice known as “supervised learning.” Without a baseline set of curated training data labeled by one or more knowledgeable humans, supervised-learning algorithms can’t work their magic. What these algorithms do, at heart, is search for correlations in the observational data that are consistent with those previously tagged and flagged in the training data. Another, more evocative term for training data is “ground truth.”

Ground truth, in supervised-learning ML applications, can come from groups just as readily as from individual human experts. Depending on the algorithmic task at hand, the knowledgeable individuals may in fact be a crowdsourced group of anonymous strangers who’ve been asked to respond to specific challenges. In other words, a species of “social” indoctrination can be used for improving the performance of ML algorithms. The upshot is that we can have greater confidence in ML models if collective human judgments are used to continuously vet, adjust, and improve their outputs.

That’s what this recent Computerworld article describes as “human-in-the-loop computing.” The article gives examples of supervised learning ML applications where crowdsourced inputs are essential. These include such challenges as identifying handwritten alphanumerics, annotating the narrative revealed in photographic images, and providing failsafe checkpoints to autonomous vehicles. As the article states, the benefits of this social-learning man-machine symbiosis are undeniable. “It’s often very easy,” states author Lukas Biewald, “to get an algorithm to 80 percent accuracy but near impossible to get an algorithm to 99 percent. The best machine learning lets humans handle that 20 percent since 80 percent accuracy is simply not good enough for most real-world applications.”

But, strangely enough, social learning can even apply when there are no humans in the loop, as discussed in this recent MIT Technology Review article. It discusses a research project in which groups of robots share data with each other in order to master a neuromuscular capability that most organic creatures have hardwired into their DNA. Researchers are using deep-learning algorithms to help robots collectively and iteratively to figure out how to manipulate physical objects with greater control and precision. Leveraging a continuous feed of training data fed from cameras and infrared sensors, robots are teaching themselves how to manipulate an order of magnitude more objects more rapidly than any of them could if they were operating in isolation from their peers.

As global society adopts algorithmic processes into every element of our existence, we’ll be demanding that social-learning approaches be used to continuously and automatically refine the underlying machine learning models that drive it all. If we extrapolate the above-cited robot-social-learning capability out to the Internet of Things, it’s clear that humans may someday be able to leverage worldwide sensor grids to drive robotic social-learning applications to manipulate every last physical objects in the world around us, or even in space. And if we leaven this robotic social learning with crowdsourced human judgments, we can extend human control over the physical environment to an awesomely cosmic extent.

Our confidence in the algorithmic economy will ride on the knowledge that it’s continually learning from society as a whole. And by that I mean both the societies of crowdsourced humans and of our colonies of intelligently machines everywhere.


November 23, 2015  10:44 AM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (11/16 – 11/23)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh
Data Center, Docker, Encryption, Video conferencing

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Data Center image via Shutterstock

A floating data center? It’s not as crazy as you think. Check out how one organization created the concept in this week’s roundup.

1. Floating data center reduces cost, power use – Robert Gates (SearchDataCenter)

A new data center provider promises big benefits from its novel floating data center, but the idea of running IT equipment on a barge is enough to make some IT watchers seasick.

2. Docker security updates aim to sway IT pros – Trevor Jones (SearchCloudComputing)

Docker has added greater control for IT ops and new container security tools, along with its containers as a service offering.

3. Growing demand for video conferencing in huddle rooms – Tracee Herbaugh (SearchUnifiedCommunications)

The popularity of office huddle rooms is behind a growing demand for low-cost video conferencing in the small meeting spaces.

4. Going dark: FBI continues effort to bypass encryption – Olivia L. Eckerson (SearchSecurity)

The FBI’s effort to gain access to encrypted devices and data has led to a standoff with technology companies, such as Apple. Here’s where the ‘going-dark’ debate stands.

5. Cloud first, mobile first are key themes for new Dynamics AX – Lauren Horwitz (SearchManufacturingERP)

Due out early in 2016, the major new release of Microsoft Dynamics AX adds mobile-friendly HTML5 user interface, embedded analytics and Excel macro-like task guides.


November 16, 2015  10:28 AM

TechTarget’s weekly roundup (11/9 – 11/16)

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh
Data Center, Dell, EMC, Microsoft Lync

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Data Center image via Shutterstock

What data center trends do you see coming to fruition in 2016? Check out IDC’s predictions in this week’s roundup.

1. Top data center industry trends to fuel the data centers of 2016 – Robert Gates (SearchDataCenter)

Data center industry trends include managers who don’t just manage servers, storage and networking, but instead manage ‘hybrid IT.’

2. Massive tax bill increases uncertainty in Dell-EMC deal – Ed Scannell and Robert Gates (SearchDataCenter)

Dell’s deal to buy EMC and VMware for $67 billion is in doubt after revelations that the company could face a $9 billion tax bill, forcing some uncertain IT buyers to look elsewhere.

3. November Patch Tuesday closes gaps in Internet Explorer, Windows – Tom Walat (SearchWindowsServer)

Microsoft releases 12 security bulletins covering a wide range of applications, including Skype.

4. FBI accused of paying Carnegie Mellon $1M to hack Tor network – Michael Heller (SearchSecurity)

The Tor Project said that the Carnegie Mellon researchers behind an attack on the hidden service subsystem carried out last year were paid $1 million by the FBI to hack Tor network.

5. Microsoft updates Lync video conferencing technology – Tracee Herbaugh (SearchUnifiedCommunications)

Microsoft updates Lync Room System, giving the video conferencing technology the same user interface as Skype for Business.


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