MWC 2014 - Enterprise management company CA Technologies launched the Management Cloud for Mobility platform, a new cloud service. There is specific interest in the advancing enterprise mobility management (EMM) technology aimed at keeping devices secure in an increasingly mobile workplace.
CA Technology hopes "Smart Containerization" will give companies the chance to address security, device performance and compliance while not interfering in day-to-day use.
"The growth of mobile devices and apps in the enterprise is blurring the lines between personal and corporate data and leading to new challenges for enterprises," said Chris Hazelton, Research Director for Mobile & Wireless solutions at 451 Research, in a statement. "The EMM space is evolving as companies are looking for more complete offerings that support customers and productive mobile employees."
The EMM market is on full display at both MWC in Spain and the 2014 RSA Conference currently underway in San Francisco - as businesses understand keeping mobile solutions secure is a major priority.
Its been a few months since I first reported on Microsoft being forced to rename SkyDrive, and just a few weeks ago we learned that the service would be transitioning to the moniker "OneDrive." The initial announcement said that it would take several weeks for the new branding to be fully implemented, and today Microsoft's cloud storage service is now officially named OneDrive.
Visiting Skydrive.com redirects you to the OneDrive site as does OneDrive.com, but the official URL is OneDrive.live.com, something that may be confusing to some non-technical customers. Microsoft has only changed the service's name and all functionality appears to have remained the same. New users who sign up receive 7GB of free storage space and an additional 500MB for each additional user they invite to the service. Additionally, users who opt into auto backing up images from their smartphone receive an additional 3GB of free storage space.
"Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to get all of your favorite stuff in one place - one place that is accessible via all of the devices you use every day, at home and at work. Because let's face it, until now, cloud storage services have been pretty hard to use, and the vast majority of us still have our stuff spread out everywhere," said Microsoft's Chris Jones. "In fact, according to a recent poll, at least 77 percent of people who are familiar with the cloud still have content stored on a device that is not backed up elsewhere. We want to change that."
Microsoft has just made a big change to its cloud storage service, where it has changed its name from SkyDrive to OneDrive. This is something that has gone into effect today.
The software giant has also updated its Android app, which now features automatic camera backups that will see your precious moments automatically uploaded to your OneDrive account. Microsoft is also rolling out monthly storage plans, which start at $4.49 per month for 50GB, ranging up to $11.49 per month for 200GB.
Enterprise IT spending will mainly focus helping companies move forward with cloud computing and mobile-based services, while overall budgets are increasing. Mobile app development should see a strong boost in 2014, with decision makers hoping to keep users productive and customers happy.
"One of the learnings we had early last year when we were starting to play with cloud technologies was that there was always a risk of something like this happening," said Hugh Scott, Energy Plus CIO, when speaking of a recent Amazon Web Services outage. The downtime hit Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and countless other services that had to deal with upset customers.
Both Google and VMware recently announced a joint effort to accelerate development of corporate desktops, powered for the "Mobile Cloud Era." The service is designed to provide businesses and enterprises with access to a secure cloud on desktops, smartphones, and mobile devices.
New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella plans to spend a large portion of his early days at Microsoft moving the company forward in the mobile and cloud markets.
Cloud computing is predicted to reach $121.1 billion by 2015, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets, though other analysts guess the market will have a difficult time in 2014. Embracing the cloud gives users the chance to utilize a scalable and cost-effective way to access and share information from any Web-connected device.
For companies trying to sell cloud services to the consumer or B2B markets, it's quickly coming down to service quality. Any company trying to drive innovation in the cloud market must pay attention to good product support, customer support, and clear lines of communication with users.
Companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon tend to get a lot of headlines for their respective cloud efforts, though software providers like Red Hat and CA are expected to have a difficult time growing this year.
Following criticism accusing Microsoft of giving the National Security Agency (NSA) easy access to customer data, Microsoft is now allowing overseas customers to keep their information stored outside of the United States.
"People should have the ability to know whether their data are being subjected to the laws and access of governments in some other country, and should have the ability to make an informed choice of where their data resides," said Brad Smith, Microsoft General Counsel, in a statement to reporters.
If this happens, it will mark one of the more drastic moves by companies trying to limit concern over the access NSA has to documents, files, and personal information. Other companies prefer to keep information stored in the U.S., even with NSA snooping concerns, and will follow Microsoft's overseas effort carefully.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has continually denied that the NSA has a Microsoft-created backdoor to access information ranging from customer data to cloud access to browse files.
During the first half of last year, Microsoft found itself in a bit of hot water when the British Sky Broadcasting Group took Redmond to court over the SkyDrive name. Following the courts ruling, Microsoft agreed to change its cloud service's name to something else. Today, more than six months later, the new name has arrived.
Microsoft SkyDrive will now be known as Microsoft One Drive, and the company says that the re-branding will take place soon, and that no changes will be made to the service that affects your data. In a statement, Microsoft said: The Service "will continue to operate as you expect and all of your content will be available on OneDrive and OneDrive for Business respectively as the new name is rolled out across the portfolio."
"Changing the name of a product as loved as SkyDrive wasn't easy," admits Microsoft's Ryan Gavin. "We are excited about what is to come, and can't wait to share more." Gavin's statement leads us to believe that Microsoft is planning the launch of new features for OneDrive, but with the service already fully featured, I am not sure what else they could add.
The battle for cloud computing supremacy recently accelerated to a new level, with Amazon and Microsoft both slashing prices to stay competitive. Amazon should stay the leader in public cloud offerings, but Microsoft's immediate response indicated it's a fight that will continue for the foreseeable future.
From the Microsoft website: Here are the details... We are matching AWS' lowest prices (US East Region) for S3 and EBS by reducing prices by up to 20% and making the lower prices available in all regions worldwide. For Locally Redundant Disks/Page Blobs Storage we are reducing prices by up to 28%. We are also reducing the price of Azure Storage transactions by 50%.
Amazon cut prices for the S3 storage prices by 22 percent, while the EBS Standard volume storage and I/O operations saw a price cut up to 50 percent.
In the future, both companies will continue to roll out enhanced features with more competitive pricing, so consumers and business users have more flexibility in choosing a service. Google, IBM, Rackspace, and other established cloud vendors also have cut prices to undercut competitors and force additional sales and marketing efforts from rivals.
IBM recently announced the newest generation of its X-Architecture for System x and PureSystems, as the company continues to focus on business clients. As more companies embrace cloud computing and big data analytics, there is a need for a modern architecture that is scalable to support changing business needs. Of note, the IBM X6 provides three times more scalable memory than rival X86-based systems, with up to 12.8 terabytes of flash memory support.
"Our enterprise X-Architecture for x86-based servers and solutions delivers high performance and the highest customer satisfaction in the industry, making us number one in hig-end x86 systems," said Adalio Sanchez, IBM x86 general manager, in a statement. "We continue to innovate and deliver leadership performance, reliability and investment protection for mission-critical workloads with X6."
IBM remains an industry leader in enterprise technologies, though tends to not grab the same amount of media attention as rivals.
According to John Dinsdale, an analyst at market research Synergy, Amazon "dwarfs all competition" when it comes to cloud computing. Considering the total cloud computing market pulled in a total revenue of $2.5 billion in Q3 alone, this is a big market.
Amazon took most of this revenue, growing its own cloud revenues by 55%, as well as increasing its overall market share. The problem is, Amazon doesn't report just how much money it makes in the cloud, as it throws its cloud-based revenue into the "other revenue" category. It's estimated that Amazon will generate over $3 billion from its cloud business this year.
This hasn't stopped Synergy from pushing out estimates that Amazon had cloud revenues of around $700 million, making Amazon's cloud business more profitable than that of Microsoft, IBM, Google and Salesforce.com... combined, by 15%.
Sony is doing wonders behind the cloud, thanks to its acquisition of cloud gaming service Gaikai last year. But what is Microsoft doing? Well, according to 'sources familiar with a meeting' who revealed to The Verge, it has shown off Halo 4 running on a Windows Phone and PC, both streaming the first-person shooter from the cloud.
It's currently just a concept project, but reportedly ran smoothly on both devices, with the Redmond-based giant getting the latency on a Lumia 520 down to just 45ms. The demonstration at Microsoft had a Windows Phone with an Xbox controller attached through an accessory, and a low-end hybrid PC. The company doesn't have a name for its cloud-based service just yet, but it should be quite the announcement when Microsoft decides to out the service.
We could see Microsoft pushing out backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games to the X box One, with Microsoft's Senior Director of Xbox, Albert Penello, saying: "it could be more complicated things like rendering full games like a Gaikai and delivering it to the box."
Microsoft's cloud service, SkyDrive Pro, has seen an increase of its base 7GB storage to a better-competing 25GB. Administrators can even increase this to 100GB, if they're willing to shell out the coin for it.
Microsoft is even offering incentives if you use that extra space, where the Redmond-based software giant now offers a larger 2GB file cap, automatic versioning for new users and a new client view that displays all shared documents. The new storage should be hitting users right now, so if you're a SkyDrive Pro user, check your account!
Russian search giant Yandex announced today that it would be expanding its Google Drive-like cloud storage service to include more storage based on a new pricing structure. 20GB of space is currently free and users can now buy an additional 10GB for just $1 per month, or $10 per year. 100GB will cost you $5 per month or just $50 per year, and those who need a lot of cloud storage can purchase 1TB for $30 per month or $300 per year.
The company says that even though this cloud service is based in Russia, Yandex.Disk is available internationally and already has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, Windows Phone, and a browser-based UI. Yandex has also reported that the service has over 12 million unique users per month, with the majority of the traffic coming from within Russia and about 7 percent from the rest of the world.
Lenovo enters the cloud storage market with new Reach service, will officially launch 'later this year'
Lenovo has announced their intentions to enter into the cloud storage market. Their new service is called Reach and will feature a beta starting June 22. Consumers can preview the service, though only a few select testers will gain access to the beta.
The official launch will come "later this year", with the exact date depending on how smoothly the initial beta goes. Lenovo could have some trouble gaining market share as there are already a plethora of free cloud storage offerings. Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, and others offer centralized storage for free, with more space available for an up-charge.
With new software offerings like BitTorrent Sync, Lenovo could face even more difficulty obtaining users as some only use Dropbox for its syncing functionality. Sync has easily replaced Dropbox for my needs.
We'll have more on Lenovo Reach when an official announcement is made.
Microsoft has debuted new per-minute billing for its Windows Azure cloud computing network. This new rate is just one of several billing-related changes implemented by Microsoft and detailed in a blog post earlier this morning. Other changes include not charging for stopped virtual machines.
- No charge for stopped VMs
- Pay by the minute billing
- MSDN use rights now supported on Windows Azure
- Discounted MSDN dev/test rates
- MSDN monetary credits
- Added portal support for tracking MSDN monetary credit usage
Starting with the headlining change, Microsoft has introduced per-minute billing, a feature that Google already offers on its Google Compute Engine. Amazon Web Services charges by the hour, which is how Microsoft previously billed. This meant that a user would have to pay for the full hour, even if they used the system for just a few minutes.
Another change is Microsoft will no longer charge for stopped VMs, allowing developers to power off a VM over the weekend to save cash. Previously, developers would have been required to pay as Microsoft kept a reserved instance running, unless the deployment was explicitly deleted.
Both NBC Universal and Warner Bros have filed an official request asking Google to de-list Mega.co.nz from its search results, even though Mega's homepage does not list any links or mention any of its content.
This unwarranted action comes hot on the heels of two DMCA request filed by the Hollywood giants that cite copyright infringement on the films Mama and Gangster Squad. While I understand the takedown request for the files, I do not understand the de-list request at all. Mega encrypts every file on its website and has no way of knowing what file is legal and what file is illegal. In my opinion, the request to de-list is just a bully tactic to try and intimidate the site's founder, Kim Dotcom.
"This is in line with the unreasonable content industry behavior we have experienced for years," said Dotcom. "The constant abuse of takedown rules and the ignorance of DMCA obligations by the content industry are based on the confidence that the current U.S. administration is protecting this kind of behavior. The political contract prosecution of Megaupload is the best example."
I use services like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive every day, and each one has a specific use case for me. Fox example, Box is my personal cloud storage, while Dropbox is used for syncing files to my phone, PC and tablet, and Drive is my place to collaborate on files with co-workers. For personal storage of files that I share with friends regularly, I have begun to rely on Mega, and today things just got better for Kim Dotcom's file hosting service.
This morning Mega announced that it has launched two new features to its cloud based file locker service. First up is Event Notifications, which collects and shares with you "relevant activity" data on what others are doing with the files you shared with them. Up next is maybe my most wanted feature, Zipped Downloads. That's right, now you can zip and share entire folders with your friends - users can simply select "download as zip" when viewing files, and Mega will package everything up and deliver it in a neatly wrapped package.
The company clarified the Event Notifications feature on its blog:
"MEGA no longer leaves you in the dark about what is happening inside your shared folders. Every user now has an event notification timeline, which shows you, how and when which folders were replaced, moved, accessed and every other conceivable way people can interact with them."
Earlier this week Google announced that it was increasing Drive storage to 15GB and today we are finding out why. At today's Google I/O keynote the company showed off several new and exciting features on how its Google+ social network handles image storage, manipulation and sharing.
In the past, if you uploaded full size images, you had just 5GB of storage, but now with 15GB you can upload all of your images to Google+. Google pointed out that it is the only social network that allows true full resolution image uploads and included a graphic showing the relative resolution of various social networks.
Google also unveiled a sort of intelligent image sorting process that is aimed at reducing the time it takes for a photographer or individual to sort through large image albums. Google can now take your entire vacation photo album and automatically highlight the best. Say there is 600 photos total, it will filter out duplicates, analyze for bad exposure and automatically identify major landmarks. Then it will look for people, and for photos of people smiling.
Microsoft has updated its cloud storage offering with new features. SkyDrive now has a photo timeline that functions much like Faceboook's Timeline function in that pictures are organized by time. This makes it much easier to find that picture you know you took last month.
SkyDrive now allows quick locating of pictures. Users can quickly navigate to a specific month and see all the pictures that were taken during that time period. SkyDrive will also allow users to view all photos in a filmstrip presentation. The filmstrip can also be turned into a slideshow for public display.
Microsoft also notes that performance feedback was taken into consideration. Over the past few months, Microsoft has reworked the server code and SkyDrive desktop app. The result, according to Microsoft, is pictures that upload 2-3x faster than before. Not bad!
Amazon has updated their Cloud Drive service to support file syncing, a step that is desperately needed for the service to become a viable alternative to SkyDrive and Dropbox. Cloud Drive originally launched in May of last year without file syncing capabilities, meaning that files had to be manually placed in the Cloud Drive and updated after editing.
Today's update brings with it the ability for files and folders to sync across all of your linked Cloud Drive devices. Amazon is still offering 5GB of free storage for users, so now may be as good as time as any to switch. You can learn more and download Cloud Drive from Amazon's website.
GDC 2013 - NVIDIA had their Grid technology skipping along at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where our man on the ground Trace Hagan got to check out some cloud-based gaming.
The cloud wasn't far away for the demo, with a huge server array just a foot away from the LG Smart TV the game was being played on. As you can see from the above video, cloud-based gaming is in NVIDIA's future. There's no details on resolution or detail levels just yet, but as Trace says in the video, that'll come down to the variables with consumers' Internet connections and compression methods used by NVIDIA.