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Feature
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Oracle President Thomas Kurian on the Importance of User Experience in Enterprise Software
VIDEO
'When is the last time you read documentation about your iPhone?' That's the rhetorical question asked by Oracle President Thomas Kurian in this latest video emphasizing the importance of user experience in today's enterprise software. His quick answer of course: 'Never.' Usability and user experience isn't new for enterprise software providers; it's just increasingly becoming a requirement and a differentiator. The proverbial bar has been raised...
Five best practices for PaaS [Platform as a Service]
Infographic
In the Fall of 2014, ComputerWorld published a report detailing the results from a survey conducted with 300 IT executives and practitioners worldwide. The questions ranged from type of applications being run on the cloud now and in the future, support for mission-critical apps, the challenges faced from an interoperability perspective, and more. The results highlighted some critical insights from these experts which for certain topics were surprisingly significantly aligned. Calling this phenomena 'this alignment' the wisdom of the crowd, we bet that as the industry moves forward with the cloud initiative, IT leaders worldwide are increasingly adopting these practices, driving these to become best practices. Hence our attempt at culling these and putting these within an infographic, so its easily available at a bird's eye view level to IT practitioners undertaking their cloud journey right now.

Check out this infographic.

Exadata
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Controling Software Costs on Exadata
By Gurmeet Goindi
Gurmeet Goindi blogs, "We recognized the trend of processors getting bigger with every generation. Hence we introduced Capacity on Demand (CoD) licensing and Trusted Partitions on Exadata Database Machines.

Capacity on Demand allows users to disable a subset number of cores on a given database server to reduce licensing requirements, the maximum number of cores that can be disabled on a Exadata X5-2 Database Server is 60%. In other words, with Capacity on Demand, a user only needs to license 14 cores per Exadata X5-2 Database Server even though there are 36 physical cores, thus greatly reducing the number of software licenses required per server. Additional cores can be subsequently enabled and licensed as needed. Exadata comes with all the necessary software tools to provision and manage Capacity on Demand..."

Virtualization
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Getting to know Docker
a better way to do virtualization by Mark Nelson
Juergen writes, "In this post, with guest co-writers Edwin Biemond (@biemond) and Joel Nation (@joelith), we will explore virtualization with Docker. You may have heard of Docker, it is getting a lot of interest lately, especially with the recent announcement that Google are using it in their cloud service. What Docker does is that it allows you to create reusable 'containers' with applications in them. These can be distributed, will run on several platforms, and are much smaller than the 'equivalent' virtual machine images. The virtualization approach used by Docker is also a lot more lightweight than the approach used by hypervisors like VMWare and VirtualBox..."
Oracle VM VirtualBox
Friday Spotlight
"Today's spotlight is on Oracle VM VirtualBox, world's most popular cross-platform virtualization software that enables you to run multiple operating systems on your Mac, PC, Linux, or Oracle Solaris machine. Millions of users are using VirtualBox to test, develop, and demonstrate a variety of software on any of their favorite operating systems on one machine.

VirtualBox shines for desktop virtualization, with features that enhance the end-user experience:.."

IT - Storage
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What's Software-Defined Storage ? - White Paper
Storage Newsletter, February 6th, 2015
"Software Defined Storage (SDS) has been proposed (ca. 2013) as a new category of storage software products. It can be an element within a Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) but can also function as a stand-alone technology. The term Software Defined Storage is a marketing 'buzzword' that is a follow on to the term Software Defined Networking, which was first used to describe an approach in network technology that abstracts various elements of networking and creates an abstraction or virtualized layer in software. There is also work going on to define Software Defined Compute. The software defined approach abstracts and simplifies the management of networks into virtual services..."
Backblaze Releases Raw Data on All 41,000 HDDs in Its Data Center?
ComputerWorld, February 4th, 2015
"Cloud data backup provider Backblaze has popped the cork on files containing raw data collected over three years on the reliability of more than 41,000 hard disk drives (HDDs) in its data center.

Over the past 16 months, Backblaze has offered up studies and observations on the drives. The studies include information such as failure rates and the effect of temperature on drive performance..."

Like Americanos? Then you'll Love Distributed Storage?
Search CIO, February 4th, 2015
"The world is becoming increasingly distributed, and you can blame big data, that messy, complex, hard-to-define buzzword. But to understand how distributed systems work, you don't need complicated, messy explanations. In fact, according to Tim Berglund, all you really need to do is think about a coffee shop.

Take distributed storage, for example. "It's really easy when you've got one processor, one thread, one disc that you own entirely," Berglund, director of training at DataStax Inc., a NoSQL Cassandra database distributor, said during an O'Reilly Media webinar. "But that's not going to work for us. We're talking about a world where we can't get away with that."

Using SSD Cache can Extend Storage Array Lifespan?
Search VMWare, February 5th, 2015
"Solid-state disks are transforming storage. Their combination of low latency, high throughput and moderate cost are producing a range of solutions that use SSDs as a cache in front of larger, cheaper -- but slower -- hard disks.

One of the top characteristics that give SSDs their speed is their ability to read or write in tens of microseconds -- or about a hundred times as fast as a hard disk. This low latency makes SSD a great cache technology..."

I/O, I/O How Well Do You Know About Good or Bad Server and Storage I/Os??
Storage IO Blog, February 1st, 2015
"The best IO is one you do not have to do.

What about all the cloud, virtual, software defined and legacy based application that still need to do I/O?

If no IO operation is the best IO, then the second best IO is the one that can be done as close to the application and processor as possible with the best locality of reference.

Also keep in mind that aggregation (e.g. consolidation) can cause aggravation (server storage I/O performance bottlenecks)..."

FLUX
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Monthly FLUX Meeting @ NSU - Thursday February 12th
Meetup starts at Einstein's @ 6:30PM
Meet at the Einstein's Bagels on the ground floor of the Carl DeSantis building at 6:30pm

There will be a formal meeting with a presentation on the 19th. This meeting on the 12th is a "meetup" - and informal gathering. Let's grab a coffee and a some food at Einstein's then move to a classroom for introductions and informal discussions.

Directions onf FLUX website.

IT - Technology
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Introducing USB Type-C -- USB for 21st Century Systems
EE Times, January 29th, 2015
"Industry leaders are poised to start rolling out devices enabled with a new form of USB -- USB Type-C -- featuring a small, robust connector that can handle 20 Gbps and 100W.

Have you heard about USB Type-C? If not, then you'd better prepare yourself, because this little beauty is poised to take the world by storm. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) demonstrated USB Type-C at CES 2015, and industry leaders are expected to start launching USB Type-C-enabled products by mid-2015. This new USB incarnation offers so many advantages that I predict the rate of its deployment will make all of our heads spin like tops.

Now, if you are already au fait with USB in general, feel free to bounce directly over to the USB Type-C portion of this paper. Alternatively, if you'd care for a little refresher, read on..."

    Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking say Artificial Intelligence Represents Real Threat?
    CIO, January 30th, 2015
    "It may not be time to worry about a robot apocalypse, but artificial intelligence (AI) poses some very real threats, according to more than 100 leading scientists and tech luminaries, including Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking.

    I worry about a lot of things - my health, my kids, and the size of my retirement account. I never worry about an impending robot apocalypse ... but maybe I should. A handful of very smart people in the science and technology worlds are worried about that very thing..."

    Ford Drives Scheduling with Artificial Intelligence?
    ComputerWorld, February 4th, 2015
    "At Ford Motor Co., managers were struggling to work out a schedule for the growing number of people in a three-year program for new hires fresh out of college.

    They were caught in a quagmire of employee requests, the need for rotational assignments and a growing number of participants and jobs. Even with a group of people working on the schedule, the project was taking too much time and effort -- and getting worse..."

      5 Top Enterprise-Grade Business Gadgets
      CIO, February 4th, 2015
      "If you're a business professionals who travels frequently, runs presentations at work, needs to connect with colleagues, or who has to focus on getting work done before closing time, here are five gadgets you should check out.

      As we roll further into 2015, it's time to look back at the business gadgets that changed how we stay productive. These are the top picks for business professionals who travel frequently, who run presentations at work, who need to connect with colleagues, or who have to focus on getting work done before closing time..."

        IT - Bitcoin
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        Central Bank of Italy Declares Virtual Currency Exchanges Are Not Subject to AML Requirements
        Bitcoin Magazine, February 4th, 2015
        The Central Bank of Italy (Banca d'Italia) is that country's first governmental authority to issue a statement on virtual currencies. It recently published three directives:

        • Warnings on use of virtual currencies (30 Jan 2015);
        • Notice on virtual currencies (30 Jan 2015);
        • Notice of Central Authority for Reporting on virtual currencies (2nd Feb 2015).

        The 'Notice About the use of virtual currencies' (published on the Supervisory Bulletin No. 1, January 2015) is a summary of guidance previously issued by the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Banking Authority (EBA), and the Financial Action Task Force. The Central Bank of Italy is the first to release any statements based on the ECB's comments. The Notice clarifies the legal status of virtual currencies in Italy with this important statement:

        'In Italy the purchase, use and acceptance of virtual currency must be considered lawful activity: the parties are free to transact in amounts not expressed in legal tender.'

          How the Blockchain Could Stop Firms Cooking the Books
          CoinDesk, February 7th, 2015
          "Enron, WorldCom, Lehman Brothers and Saytam are all dark moments in corporate history. One way or another, they all cooked the books to hide their true financial position, at the expense of investors, customers, and sometimes, the tax payer. Could the blockchain be used to stop corporate fraud?

          It's unlikely that large organizations would begin trading entirely in bitcoin, but some believe that distributed ledgers could be used to 'bake' verified transactions directly into a company's accounts, even if those transactions are conducted in fiat currency..."

          'The Age of Cryptocurrency' Recorded on Blockchain
          CoinDesk, February 3rd, 2015
          "The Age of CryptoCurrency, the recently released book by Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna and senior columnist Michael J Casey, has been permanently recorded on bitcoin's public ledger, the blockchain.

          The book is the first by a major publisher with its exposure and interest to have a time-stamped digest recorded in the blockchain, actively demonstrating the technology beyond just the subject of the book.

          Digital Currency Council (DCC) director of curriculum Dan McArdle copied the book into Block 341705 using the firm's Blockchain Recordation Toolbox, which allows DCC professionals access to blockchain recordkeeping for clients. The process used open source platform Proof of Existence..."

          Bitcoin Begins The End Of 100 Years Of Slavery
          CryptoCoins News, February 6th, 2015
          "In 1907, the American banking system failed. To save the system, the US government sold control of the economy to a group of private bankers.

          The United States Federal Reserve is a private corporation. That sentence is not a contradiction. The system is a public/private hybrid. Signed into law by Woodrow Wilson in 1913, Congress officially recognizes the private bank, known as The Federal Reserve, as the central bank that controls the American banking system. Commissioned to fulfill three objectives: Maximizing Employment; Stabilizing Prices; and Moderate Long-Term Interest Rates..."

            Bitcoin Trading Volume Increased From $15 Billion To $23 Billion Last Year
            CryptoCoins News, February 3rd, 2015
            "Bitpay just sent us their smoking fresh infographic summoning up the year 2014 for Bitcoin. While the most discussed topic was the bitcoin price, there were clearly a lot more happening in 2014.

            One of the most intriguing facts is the astounding growth of the bitcoin trading volume. It has increased from $15 billion in 2013 to $23 billion in 2014, a whopping 57% increase. While the amount of active wallets have increased to 7.95 million..."

            Why Bitcoin Will Transform Traditional Vending Machines
            CryptoCoins News, February 2nd 2015
            "Tom Truitt hasn't been in the vending business a long time. But he knows one of the biggest changes taking place in vending machines found in cafeterias and break rooms is the introduction of cashless payment. And while the vending industry is adopting cashless payment and even mobile payment, Truitt has an even more futuristic vision for vending. He sees Internet cloud-based management of millions of vending machines that accept cryptocurrency..."
            Cloud Computing
            x
            Oracle Announces Oracle Marketing Cloud's New Life Sciences Consumer and Patient Solution
            Oracle Marketing Cloud solution helps marketers in life sciences field improve consumer and patient marketing effectiveness while addressing compliance concerns
            To help life sciences organizations overcome marketing challenges and implement modern marketing technology that enhances customer and patient engagement, Oracle has unveiled Oracle Marketing Cloud's new life sciences consumer and patient solution.

            The cost and complexity of HIPAA legislation compliance has had a significant impact on the adoption of modern marketing practices within life sciences organizations. Not only can this have a negative impact on the customer experience that life sciences organizations can provide, but as a recent Oracle and Forrester study found, it also can impact overall business performance.

            Announcing: Oracle Data Cloud Summit 2015!
            New York City, May 20th
            Oracle is pleased to introduce the Oracle Data Cloud Summit, May 20, 2015, in New York City during Internet Week. Prior to being acquired by Oracle, BlueKai hosted this industry-leading event to bring together the entire data ecosystem. In this conference Oracle will detail the current data environment, helping businesses understand and act on what their customers do, say, and buy on one platform of identity.

            Attendees will hear from and interact with data luminaries and practitioners who will show the way to the future based on the evolving realities of data-driven business...

            Linux
            x
            Oracle Linux Now Hosted on the Docker Hub Registry
            Enterprise-grade operating system joins the most popular open source database for easy access by the Docker community

            Oracle Linux images are now available on the Docker Hub Registry, a repository for Docker-based components, including applications and operating systems (OSs). Oracle Linux joins MySQL, which is already extremely popular on Docker Hub and has been downloaded millions of times. Additionally, Oracle plans to provide a new Oracle-maintained MySQL image for the official repos on Docker Hub in late February further enabling developers to rapidly benefit from the latest MySQL innovations.

            IT - Cloud
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            Is 2015 the year of converged cloud infrastructure?
            Information Age, February 4th, 2015
            "2014 saw the emergence of competing concepts of converged cloud and hyper-converged cloud infrastructures. From close of the year and into the New Year, analyst and media discussions have turned to the Internet of Things and a belief that hybrid clouds are now the way forward.

            This won't silence the arguments about what amounts to true converged. In fact, the growth of these technologies will no doubt increase the number of conversations that everyone will hear throughout 2015, such as when hybrid clouds will reach increasing maturity..."

              10 Ways Enterprises Can Take Control of the Cloud Chaos
              eWeek, February 6th, 2015
              "As organizations evolve and grow, employees turn to hundreds of cloud computing services without expressed permission from the enterprise or the IT department. Various business units also deploy cloud technology separately from other departments. This has led to a confusing cloud environment, resulting in misallocated expenses, lost efficiency and poor policy enforcement. Without visibility into the wide variety of cloud apps employees are using every day, organizations are struggling to monitor and control the associated expenses and face an array of problems such as potential liabilities and security issues..."
              Data Lakes
              Datamation, February 2nd, 2015
              "We've had data storage pools for years. Now we have data lakes. Other than drowning in marketing hype, what does the term 'data lake' actually mean?

              This is a loaded question with definitions of data lakes are all over the map. At its core, a data lake is a large storage repository that stores multiple data types in their native formats, and creates data constructs to present to analytical and business intelligence (BI) tools.

              Data lakes are usually built on commodity hardware for massive scalability; for this reason they are often cloud-based, although there is no requirement that they be so other than a SaaS offering. To put it another way, a data lake stores multi-source data as analytics-ready objects. Typical data types include application data, files, sensor data, customer-generated data, or Internet-attached devices..."

              No, Canada! You can't Keep Cloud Storage Local?
              InfoWorld, February 3rd, 2015
              "The Treasury Board of Canada is creating a government-wide policy on the use of cloud computing services. It has asked for input from the industry, but already this journey is taking some interesting directions.

              'Of particular interest are the privacy implications of using cloud computing services, particularly where the data is either hosted outside the country or by foreign-owned organizations,' writes Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. Indeed, proposed contractual clauses address encryption and data storage, as well as rules about where the data can reside..."

              IT - CxO
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              How Shadow IT Transformed the Role of CIO
              CIO Insight, February 5th, 2015
              "The majority of CIOs feel that their role is changing-and the rising trend of shadow IT is having a significant impact on this sentiment, according to a recent survey from BT Global Services. The report, titled "Art of Connecting: Creativity and the Modern CIO," indicates that CIOs must adapt due to shifting demands among customers, along with the increasing need for innovation. And the emergence of shadow IT - a term which essentially describes how non-tech departments are calling their own shots with respect to tech acquisitions and deployments, without involving IT - has presented even more complications. In fact, most CIOs fear that shadow IT may make their roles redundant..."
              5 Ways a CIO Can Make a Real Difference to Users?
              InfoWorld, February 3rd, 2015
              "It seems that at most companies, CIOs play nothing but defense, worrying about malware attacks, ERP integration, financial reporting, rogue users, and licensing changes. But you can't win if you only play defense, especially in companies that rely on people to create, develop, and sell the products and services that make money...."
                A CISO's Introduction to Enterprise Data Governance Strategy?
                Search Security, February 4th, 2015
                "January is the month when we identify and implement many resolutions for the year. We may sign up for a new class at the gym, or commit to eating healthier food. Does your list of resolutions also include a commitment to improve your data governance in 2015?

                No matter what your company's business is, its information systems hold the crown jewels. Ensuring the proper management and protection of these crown jewels should be part of your new year's resolutions. Here are a few suggestions..."

                6 Problems with Job Interviews Today (And How to Fix Them)?
                TLNT, February 2nd, 2015
                "What's wrong with job interviews today?

                Too much. In fact, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey of more than 6,000 global hiring managers, more than half of employers in each of the ten largest world economies have felt the effects of a bad hire.

                With that many people having had bad hires, something must be wrong with the way we interview job candidates.

                For starters, here are six (6) common problems with the job interview process today, and how to fix them to land better hires and improve employer brand:.."

                  How to create an effective data security communication plan
                  CSO Online, February 4th, 2015
                  "There is a need to create value around company data and one way to do this is to ensure that the workforce knows and understands the threats that are out there and the measures that are in place to protect against them

                  In today's global office, IT security leadership spends a great deal of time and resources creating a defense-in-depth approach to data security. This often includes layering on both logical and physical solutions as well as detailing out policies and procedures for accessing company data in a secure manner.

                  However, at the end of the day, this information is regularly being retrieved and used by the workforce at large and only including an overview on data security in an employee handbook won't guarantee that these records are kept safe..."

                  vBeers-SF
                  x
                  vBeers @ Broward - Funky Buddha - Wed February 11
                  6pm - 9pm (Sponsored Pizza and Beer)
                  Please join us for the next vBeers @ Broward. We meet on the 2nd Wednesday of each month in Broward County, Florida, USA.

                  The next Broward meeting will be at the Funky Buddha Brewery, which is located in Oakland Park, just a few minutes East of I-95.

                  This event will be sponsored by Volico and Nexenta. Volico Hosting will be buying the beers and Nexenta will provide pizza!

                  Bring your sense of humor and get ready for some great IT and virtualization conversations with some of the best people in South Florida's IT community. Please encourage to IT friends and colleagues to attend!

                  • Funky Buddha Brewery
                  • 1201 NE 38th St
                  • Oakland Park, FL 33334

                  Please RSVP at the vBeers South Florida meetup.com page for this meetup.

                  Join us for one of the three South Florida vBeers events. The South Florida vBeers events happen three times a month, once per county:

                  vBeers @ Delray Beach (Wed, February 18th, 2015)
                  6pm - 9pm - Saltwater Brewery - Sponsored
                  This month we have a field trip to the Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach. Saltwater is functional brewery - not a traditional bar. They have a regular rotation of food trucks that camp out there (Cuban, American, Mexican food). We will have some food delivered (wings and pizza).

                  Event participants will be treated to a private tour of the brewery by the Brewmaster and be given a commemorative Saltwater Brewery growler should they wish to take some home after the tasting and networking event.

                  The Saltwater Brewery is 300 yards WEST of 95 on Atlantic Blvd in Delray Beach on the north side of the road. They have recently celebrated their 1-year anniversary and offer an assortment of locally brewed beers. Flights and growlers are also available.

                  Bring your sense of humor and get ready for some great IT and virtualization conversations with some of the best people in South Florida's IT community.

                  Please share this invitation with your IT colleagues and encourage them to attend!

                  Please RSVP via meetup.com.

                  IT - DR
                  x
                  CEO - Here Are Three Key Business Continuity Questions That You Need To Ask
                  Continuity Central, February 3rd, 2015
                  "Many CEOs tend to see business continuity management purely within the context of complying with governance codes. But, says Leigh-Anne van As, business development manager at ContinuitySA, CEOs also need to see how business continuity management can help them answer three key strategic questions.

                  Van As argues that CEOs need to be able to answer ‘yes' to three key questions:..."

                  Study Reveals State of IT Disaster Unpreparedness, Value of Cloud BDR Solutions?
                  Business, February 5th, 2015
                  "Businesses lose hundreds of thousands of dollars due to IT operation interruptions that cause downtime. When a server crashes, the data center is flooded or a natural disaster strikes, employees can't access their systems, communications with customers are cut off and business transactions slow to a halt.

                  Therefore, it is not surprising that companies believe backup and disaster recovery are critical to the business; yet, few are able to recover from a major IT failure within one hour, according to a recent national survey conducted by Dimensional Research of more than 450 IT professionals on the current state of IT recovery. Furthermore, only seven percent were confident that they could recover operations within two hours, and almost 25 percent said it would take more than an entire day..."

                  IT - Networks
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                  'It Must Be the Network': How to Avoid the Blame Game and Reduce Downtime in An App-Centric It Environment?
                  Continuity Central, February 5th, 2015
                  "In the corporate environment, end users and, more worryingly, the occasional IT pro, are the first to point the finger of blame at the network when an application is sluggish, data transfer is too slow or a crucial Voice over IP (VoIP) call drops, all of which can have a wider impact on the bottom line.

                  Issues arise when the IT department looks to blame the network as a whole, rather than work to identify problems that are caused by an individual application running on the network. Poor design, large content and memory leaks can all cause an application to fail, yet IT departments can be slow to realise this..."

                    FCC Still Has Ton of Explaining to Do On Wi-Fi Blocking Rules?
                    Network World, February 3rd, 2015
                    "The FCC has been very clear that it didn't approve of a Marriott International hotel's blocking of convention center attendees' Wi-Fi hotspots: It fined the hospitality company $600,000 last fall and issued a stern warning on Jan. 27 that such wireless network interference by others will not be tolerated either.

                    But what remains murky to IT shops and wireless LAN product vendors is exactly what constitutes illegal 'Wi-Fi blocking.:..."

                    IPv6 Network Testing: Avoid the Top 5 Troubles?
                    NetworkComputing, February 3rd, 2015
                    "Network testing is essential but sometimes challenging, and running into bugs and broken devices is a normal part of a test environment. But what happens when there are no bugs and the device isn't broken, but the test still doesn't work? Is it the test that is broken? Is the engineer to blame? Or is the problem something else, perhaps more subtle?

                    Strange or unanticipated testing issues happen all the time, and running a test network using IPv6 is no stranger to these issues. This handy list will go through some of the most common issues associated with IPv6 testing, as well as their potential resolutions..."

                    Buying the Right Network Management Application for You?
                    Search Networking, February 4th, 2015
                    "Editor's note: In this two-part How to Buy series on what to look for when you're buying network management tools, part one addressed the features and capabilities of today's management platforms. Part two looks at the questions IT managers need to ask as they assess their current and future network requirements.

                    Finding the network management application that's the best suited for your infrastructure is a critically important task. Fortunately, there is no shortage of monitoring and management tools capable of providing the insight most network managers need..."

                    It's a bird, it's a plane, it's the rebirth of satellite Internet
                    Network World, February 5th, 2015
                    "SpaceX, Facebook, Virgin Galactic and Google have all announced major initiatives that would help connect the world -- especially developing nations -- to the Internet. But the next thing in worldwide connectivity isn't going to be in underground cables, so much as it will be over your head. It starts with satellites, but it gets a lot weirder..."
                    Beyond 10Gb: The future of the network
                    Information Age, February 2nd, 2015
                    "The network has undergone some significant changes in recent years with trends such as mobility, cloud and consumerisation taking hold and changing the way we think about managing IT infrastructure.

                    Users today can access applications, data and content from wherever they are, using whatever device they have and, while this increases productivity, it also makes the network far more complex and requires increased bandwidth to cope with demand.

                    As such, networks have been upgraded in order to ensure the responsiveness and availability of business critical applications and, where 1Gb architectures were once sufficient, it is now common to see 10Gb connections..."

                    IT - Linux
                    x
                    Which Linux Desktop is Right For You?
                    Datamation, February 2nd, 2015
                    "Over the years, the debate over the best Linux desktop environment has raged on. KDE, Gnome, one of the lighter weight Linux desktops - there are so many options to choose from. In this article, I'll examine the variety of desktops available and compare them accordingly.

                    In order to find the best fit, you have to be willing to step outside of your normal desktop environment to try something new. In the past, I tried out Elementary OS. It was a pleasant experience, offering me a new way of looking at the Linux desktop. What stood out to me the most with this distro was the Pantheon desktop. Being someone who hails from more traditional desktop options, the opportunity to spend some quality time with Pantheon was definitely time well spent..."

                    BackBox Linux 4.1 Keeps Security Researchers Anonymous
                    eWeek, February 4th, 2015
                    "There are many options available today for users looking at Linux distributions tailored for security research, and among them is BackBox Linux, which was updated to version 4.1 on Jan. 29. Backbox Linux 4.1 is based on the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Long Term Support) distribution and uses the Xfce desktop environment. BackBox Linux is not intended to primarily be a user-focused privacy distribution, as is the case with Tails, but rather is more aligned with Pentoo, CAINE and Kali Linux, all of which focus on providing tools for security analysis. Though BackBox is not primarily a privacy distribution, it does have tools that enable security researchers to stay anonymous while conducting research..."
                    Oracle Linux Image Added to Docker Hub
                    Data Center Knowledge, February 5th, 2015
                    "The wave of hype around Docker continues to rise, and Oracle wants a piece of the action. The Redwood Shores, California, giant has made images of its own Linux distribution available on Docker Hub, the public registry for tools and components developers can use as building blocks for their Docker-enabled applications.

                    Docker has created a lot of excitement among developers around its open source application container technology..."

                    IT - Operations
                    x
                    7 Powerful Advantages of Using a Document Management System?
                    Business, February 6th, 2015
                    "There are people who personally prefer chaotic work stations, insisting that chaos fuel their creativity. While that may be true, it hardly works in a business environment where people are usually equipped with the right productivity tools to do the right jobs. This article tackles the benefits of managing your business documents through document management software..."
                    Ten Ways to Optimize IT Team Structure?
                    Search Data Center, February 5th, 2015
                    "Data centers teem with unpredictable equipment -- about 42U tall and prone to failure -- but also are loaded with on-board intelligence: IT teams.

                    It's hard to keep servers, applications and other data center components running smoothly, but it's perhaps more difficult to build a productive, innovative IT team structure..."

                      IT - Security
                      x
                      Check Your Policy: 'C' in CGL Doesn't Stand for Cyber?
                      Risk Management Monitor, February 4th, 2015
                      "Data breaches continue to escalate and garner national attention, and 2014 may be known as the turning point when businesses realized the dramatic significance of such a risk - and that it is not when, but if, a breach will occur. The sheer number of high-profile breaches is also waking up policyholders to the fact that cyber insurance is a critical part of any insurance program.

                      In response to the continually-growing risk of loss from cyber and privacy violations, insurers are reacting in two ways. First, most insurance companies have excluded cyber risks from more traditional insurance policies, such as commercial general liability (CGL) or commercial property..."

                        Beyond Passwords with Biometric Technology?
                        CSO Online, February 2nd, 2015
                        "Tired of having hackers guess your password in three tries and break into your most critical systems?

                        Well, first, stop using "password" as your password.

                        Then, consider investing in some alternate means of authentication. Biometric technologies can supplement or even replace passwords entirely when used in conjunction with a password management program..."

                        Top Password Managers Compared?
                        CSO Online, February 2nd, 2015
                        "Unless you're living off the grid in a cabin in the woods -- and, if you're reading this, you're probably not -- you have more passwords than you can manage. They're all supposed to be long, complicated, unique, and difficult to guess. Oh, and you're supposed to change them all every three to six months.

                        The simple answer is to use a password management program. And, as the options below illustrate, there's a password manager out there for you regardless of your level of paranoia.

                        Plus, the leading options are getting pretty business-friendly, so if your company doesn't have a password management solution in place already, or is too small for one, then one of these password managers could do the job..."

                        How to Create an Effective Data Security Communication Plan?
                        CSO Online, February 3rd, 2015
                        "There is a need to create value around company data and one way to do this is to ensure that the workforce knows and understands the threats that are out there and the measures that are in place to protect against them

                        In today's global office, IT security leadership spends a great deal of time and resources creating a defense-in-depth approach to data security. This often includes layering on both logical and physical solutions as well as detailing out policies and procedures for accessing company data in a secure manner..."

                        3 Cyber Security Lessons from Super Bowl XLIX?
                        InformationWeek, February 2nd, 2015
                        "There were emotional ads. There were dancing sharks at Katy Perry's halftime show. And, amidst all the marketing hoopla and entertainment extravaganza, a football game was played.

                        Super Bowl XLIX was full of surprises. As anyone in IT can attest, cyber criminals are full of surprises too -- and proper preparation is key to fending off their attacks. Below are three lessons one can draw from this year's Super Bowl to better inform one's own cyber security policies and practices..."

                        CISOs Don't Get the Respect they Need, Says Consultant?
                        IT World Canada, February 2nd, 2015
                        "Jeff Bardin doesn't sound like an angry man, perhaps because he has a cold.

                        But on the line three days ago from California the U.S. security consultant sounds terribly resigned at how chief information security officers are treated - at least in his country.

                        What prompted my call was his column last month for an IT security Web site where he protested that CISOs are scapegoats for security problems that aren't their fault. I wanted him to expand on that..."

                        A Single DDoS Attack can Cost Businesses over $440,000?
                        LIFARS, February 2nd, 2015
                        Denial-of-Service (DoS) and Distributed-Denial-of Service (DDoS) attacks present major concerns to IT managers - mainly because of the high potential levels of damage and the simplicity of execution. DDoS attacks require very little technical knowledge, thus making them a relatively common occurrence.

                        Although they're common, they're by no means harmless. In fact, Kaspersky recently finished conducting a survey on the topic and according to their findings, the average cost of a DDoS attack for larger enterprises is $444,000 and $52,000 for SMBs per incident.

                          IT - Careers
                          x
                          IT Staff Shortage Poses a Challenge to Businesses
                          eWeek, February 3rd, 2015
                          "One in five companies have postponed or canceled projects due to IT staff shortages, according to the CompTIA study.

                          The challenge IT companies face in filling technical positions is likely to persist throughout 2015, according to a recent forecast released by industry trade association CompTIA.

                          The survey of nearly 650 IT companies found that 68 expect to face a challenging or very challenging hiring environment for technical positions this year..."

                            Why Soft Skills Are Key to a Successful IT Career?
                            CIO, February 2nd, 2015
                            "The most important IT career skills aren't necessarily technical. Communication, negotiation, team-building and conflict resolution are all critical to IT success, especially in leadership positions.

                            With IT sector unemployment at its lowest rate in seven years, it's a seller's market for professionals with technology skills. However, it takes more than just hard-core technical knowledge to get ahead in IT departments. While skills and hands-on technical experience are required for any IT professional, some of the most important contributors to a successful IT career have nothing to do with speeds and feeds or bytes and bits..."

                              Good-Bye and Good Riddance: The Gift of Getting Fired?
                              InfoWorld, February 4th, 2015
                              "I never thought I'd say I was grateful for losing a job. But looking back, I can now see the true misery of the situation.

                              The company I worked for was a good one, but the region where I was employed was treated like the unwanted stepchild of the corporation. As a result, our office was poorly managed, and the employees there were treated -- from the corporate office to our office managers -- as if they didn't know the first thing about doing their jobs..."

                                IT - Social Media
                                x
                                Quick and Dirty Is a Sure Way to Fail at Social CRM
                                CIO, February 4th, 2015
                                "Social media and user-generated content (UGC) are so effective because they don't come from the vendor. Customers and users of your product/service are much more credible than your best salesman and clearest marketing campaign. This better not be news for your executives.

                                The problem is that effectively leveraging social media and UGC requires a lot of sophistication of your staff and some pretty elaborate IT infrastructure. Too many firms go on a social media binge without making the necessary investments in process, policy, and products - you know: the boring, expensive, hard stuff that will actually make it work well. And therein lies the danger, because negative feedback loops typically go viral much faster than positive news does..."

                                IT - Email
                                x
                                The Power of the Internet of Things is Greater Than You Think - Here's Why?
                                Business, February 1st, 2015
                                "Whether we knew it or not, data has been collected about our lives for decades. Think about it. For over 30 years, we've made purchases on credit and debit cards. And of course, there's the government gathering tax and census information on a consistent basis. Then, Executives having a meeting in conference room everything changed when the world's first connected device -other than a computer - was a modified Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University that reported inventory and temperature of loaded drinks. Okay, maybe it didn't change everything, but it was the start of a new era where everything we do and say leaves a digital fingerprint. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Internet of Things (IoT)..."
                                Tom Wheeler Makes History With Full-On Net Neutrality Proposal?
                                InfoWorld, February 4th, 2015
                                "Internet freedom at last! FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal is for full Title II reclassification for ISPs, defining ISPs as utilities and preventing fast-lane profiteering

                                Despite all the lobbying money, all the public fearmongering, and all the threats of disaster and doom from the big ISPs and their minions, the FCC will vote this month to classify Internet service providers as Title II common carriers. The proposal put forth by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is a watershed event..."

                                Storage
                                x
                                Join the Oracle ZFS Storage User Group (OZUG)
                                Special Interest Group
                                The Oracle ZFS Storage User Group (OZUG) is a technical community for partners and customers to collaborate, ask questions, and share best practices.

                                At its core, it's a networking hub of ZFS storage experts, super users, and novices that gives its members the opportunity to share knowledge, solve challenges, and obtain the greatest efficiencies from their storage and related applications.

                                Membership is free.

                                ZFS: Doing It Right
                                Rock ZFS, Rock Your Performance Review

                                Imagine you're a system administrator, and an email arrives from your boss. It goes something like this:

                                "Hey, bud, we need some new storage for Project Qux. We heard that this [insert major company here] uses a product called the Oracle Sun ZFS Storage Appliance as the back-end for their [insert really popular app here]. We want to do something like that at similar scale; can you evaluate how well that compares to XYZ storage we already own?"

                                So you get in touch with your friendly local ZFS sales dudette, who arranges a meeting that includes a Sales Engineer to talk about technical stuff related to your application. The appliance, however, has an absolutely dizzying array of options. Where do you start?...

                                IT - Database
                                x
                                4 Career Options for Database Administrators (and How to Make the Move)?
                                IT World, February 2nd, 2015
                                "Reader Question: I've been a production DBA for four years. I love working with data, but would like to grow professionally. What are my potential career options?

                                Before answering the reader's question, I'd like to begin by describing the difference between a 'Production DBA' and an 'Application DBA'. Certainly there are many DBAs that perform both roles as part of their job, but it's worth describing the distinction between these two types of activities..."

                                  IT - Backup
                                  x
                                  The Purpose of 'Backup' Evolved When You Weren't Looking?
                                  Business, February 1st, 2015
                                  "If you're an old-school sysadmin, you likely think of backup as a kind of insurance, a way to recover after data's been lost. But backing up has become a far more powerful set of technologies.

                                  For those us who have spent years in the IT industry, certain things come to mind when we hear the term backup. For me, the thought is disaster recovery. I spent years as a system administrator, where I was accustomed to using the friendly tar command to move data to tape, not to mention some unpleasant times managing Arkeia systems. So it's impossible for me not to think of backup as an insurance policy - and really, that can be plenty valuable..."

                                  IT - Big Data
                                  x
                                  10 Phrases that Kill Big Data Projects?
                                  Information Management, February 2nd, 2015
                                  "What are the 10 dangerous phrases and mindsets that CIOs need to refute? You're about to find out. The phrases can also undermine big data projects - especially in organizations where emerging chief data officers (CDOs) face entrenched, risk-averse leaders who fear change. Here's the top 10 risky phrase list from Gartner, along with Information Management's big data perspectives mixed in..."
                                  Big Data Success Remains Elusive?
                                  InformationWeek, February 2nd, 2015
                                  "Just over a quarter of organizations say their big data initiatives are a success, according to a recent Capgemini study. So why are three of four unsuccessful?

                                  Nearly eight out of ten organizations have big data projects underway, but only 27% describe their efforts as "successful," and a scant 8% as "very successful." But despite this dim view of their data-driven efforts thus far, 60% of executives surveyed recently by consulting firm Capgemini say big data will "disrupt their industry" within three years..."

                                  What's the Biggest Big Data Challenge?
                                  Information Management, February 4th, 2015
                                  "Doug Laney is a research VP at Gartner Research covering business analytics, big data use cases, 'infonomics,' and other data-governance-related issues. He has also led a number of international analytics and information-management-related projects. Before joining Gartner, he launched the Meta Group's Enterprise Analytics Strategies research and advisory service and established and co-led the Deloitte Analytics Institute. He recently talked with Information Management's editorial director John McCormick about one of the biggest big data challenges - the variety of data. What follows is an edited transcript of their conversation..."
                                  Common Data Vocabulary helps Companies Globalize Governance, BI?
                                  Search Business Analytics, February 5th, 2015
                                  "Strong data governance is needed to maximize the value of business intelligence efforts -- and that starts with a common set of data definitions, consultant Wayne Eckerson says.

                                  know we're in the age of big data, but the key challenge facing most of the large companies I work with is a lack of a common data vocabulary. Internally, such organizations are a proverbial Tower of Babel, communicating at cross-purposes with data and performance metrics that are inconsistently or ambiguously defined. Departments and business units don't speak the same language, which undermines operational efficiency and competitiveness. What's missing is a strong, vigorous data governance program for managing data as a critical business asset..."

                                  Big Data 'Doesn't Apply' to 27% of Insurers This Year?
                                  Insurance Networking News, February 3rd, 2015
                                  "Social, mobile, analytics, big data, cloud and digital strategy soon will be basic capabilities, and insurers that get bogged down in ROI studies could miss opportunities.

                                  More than a quarter of insurers have decided that big data 'doesn't apply' to them in 2015, according to the 'Hot Topics for Insurers: Social, Mobile, Analytics, Big Data, Cloud, and Digital,' survey from Novarica. Further, 41 percent said they are still trying to understand the value of big data..."

                                  Big Data vs. Fast Data?
                                  Information Management, February 4th, 2015
                                  "When you hear the term "fast data," your first thought is probably the velocity of the data. That's not unusual in the realm of big data -- where velocity is one of the V's everyone talked about. However, fast data encompasses more than a data characteristic; it is about how quickly you can get and use insight.

                                  Working with Noel Yuhanna on an upcoming report on how to develop your data management roadmap, we found speed was a continuous theme to achieve. Clients consistently call out speed as what holds them back. How they interpret what speed means is the crux of the issue..."

                                  IT - Mobile
                                  x
                                  Tablet Shipments Dipped in Q4 2014
                                  Datamation, February 3rd, 2015
                                  "Is the market nearing peak tablet?

                                  New data from IT market research firm IDC shows that the tablet market slowed toward the end of last year. In the fourth quarter of 2014 (4Q14), tablet shipments - which include 2-in-1 devices - were down 3.2 percent year-over-year. In total, vendors shipped 76.1 million units.

                                  "Worldwide tablet shipments recorded a year-over-year decline for the first time since the market's inception in 2010," observed the analyst group in a statement.

                                  The news is not all bad. For the entirety of 2014, tablet shipments were up 4.4 percent, for a total of 229.6 million units..."

                                  Wearables Will Fuel a Massive Surge in Mobile Data By 2019?
                                  ComputerWorld, February 3rd, 2015
                                  "The rapidly growing popularity of wearable devices will lead to a surge in volume of mobile traffic, Cisco is predicting.

                                  Cisco forecasts that 578 million wearable devices will be in use around the globe by 2019, up from 109 million last year. That's a fivefold increase, but the resulting mobile data traffic will increase by a factor of 18 -- though most of that traffic will be channeled through smartphones, the networking giant claimed Tuesday in its annual look ahead at traffic trends..."

                                  IT - BYOD
                                  x
                                  Here's how to COPE with your BYOD bogeymen
                                  ITProPortal, February 2nd, 2015
                                  "Hot off the trail of being 2014's most mentioned issue 'BYOD' continues to menace businesses. We got in touch with Jim Haviland, CSO of Vox Mobile to talk all about the issues that BYOD policies create in business, how to handle those problems, and how to choose between BYOD, CYOD, and COPE.

                                  In a recent survey it was found that 68 per cent of businesses don't yet have a BYOD policy in place, but just because the business doesn't have an 'official' BYOD policy that doesn't stop employees taking their work out of the office. What are the dangers of this and how can they be avoided?..."

                                  Top10
                                  x
                                  Top Ten Articles for last few Issues
                                  Vol 203 Issues 1, 2, 3 and 4; Vol 202 Issues 2, 3, 4 and 5
                                  We track how frequently each article is viewed on the web site to determine which the readers consider the most important. For last week, the top 10 articles were:

                                  • 10 at 10
                                  • ZFS Data Encryption
                                  • LibreOffice 4.4
                                  • Top Five IoT Predictions for 2015
                                  • Oracle CEO Hurd: Company Will Grow Its Cloud Market Share
                                  • Core Java for the Impatient
                                  • Cloud Computing Definition & Architecture for Cloud Service Brokers
                                  • Data Encryption ... Be Safe or Be Sorry
                                  • Software in Silicon Cloud Lets Partners and Customers Test Oracle's New SPARC Technology
                                  • Powering a Demanding Enterprise Operation with Oracle VM

                                  The longer version of this article has list of top ten articles for the last 8 weeks.

                                    IT - Encryption
                                    x
                                    All You Need to Know About the Move to SHA-2 Encryption?
                                    InfoWorld, February 3rd, 2015
                                    "For the past couple of months I've been busy helping customers prepare for the coming enforcement of SHA-2, the set of cryptographic hash functions to succeed SHA-1.

                                    These customers have opted to go through the necessary growing pains and education now, which nearly all companies will encounter sometime this year. If you haven't heard, it's time to ditch SHA-1 and get on the SHA-2 train. The longer you wait, the less time you'll have to do it without panicking..."

                                      The Business Case for Email Encryption Software?
                                      Search Security, February 4th, 2015
                                      "Email encryption software is used by enterprises to automatically encrypt email messages and attachments that contain or are likely to contain sensitive information. So, for example, a business may choose to deploy email encryption when forwarding confidential personnel information to another organization, such as a payroll processor.

                                      Because email messages and attachments don't have their confidentiality protected by default, using email encryption software can protect those from eavesdropping as they transit the Internet. Optionally, organizations can also permit email encryption software to work at the client level, thus protecting emails from end to end (sender to recipient)..."

                                      IT - Server
                                      x
                                      What is Converged Infrastructure?
                                      StorageReview.com, February 4th, 2015
                                      "When organizations evaluate options for hardware and software infrastructure, they must decide whether they would rather choose the emerging hyper-converged infrastructure category or build their own solution using handpicked vendors of their choice. A big driver for the former option is the 'single throat to choke' argument, which has been heard and made so many times - and for good reason! Oftentimes enterprises that choose the latter option are left dealing with vendors that are playing the finger pointing game when an infrastructure goes down..."
                                      IT - Tape
                                      x
                                      Tape Data Storage Buying Guide
                                      Enterprise Storage Forum, February 2nd, 2015
                                      "It's a foolish data storage professional who considers that tape isn't worth paying attention to. The fact of the matter is that tape continues to be the medium of choice for the bulk of stored data and its usage is growing.

                                      'Data storage and archiving requirements aren't slowing down, so solutions that allow for smarter archiving and introducing or reintroducing tape are in high demand,' said Spectra Logic CTO Matt Starr.

                                      As a sign of the health of tape, storage players such as, Oracle, IBM, Sony, Quantum, Spectra Logic, Fujifilm and HP have all announced new tape products in recent months. Here are some of the highlights..."

                                      Developer
                                      x
                                      Oracle Mobile Application Framework 2.1
                                      Now Available
                                      Shay Shmeltzer wrote, "The Oracle Mobile Team is happy to announce the release of Oracle Mobile Application Framework 2.1 - a major update to Oracle's mobile development framework.

                                      This new version focuses on upgrading the framework's infrastructure and includes the following new features:..."

                                      Security
                                      x
                                      Data Encryption ... Software vs Hardware
                                      What's Better and Why

                                      John Szlendak asks, "Software vs Hardware Encryption, What's Better and Why..

                                      People often ask me, when it comes to storage (or data-at-rest) encryption, what's better, File System Encryption (FSE) which is done in software by the storage controller, or Full Disk Encryption (FDE) which is done in hardware via specialized Self Encrypting Drives (SEDs).

                                      Both methods are very effective in providing security protection against data breaches and theft, but differ in their granularity, flexibility and cost. A good example of this is to compare Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance that uses very granular File System Encryption versus NetApp storage that uses Self Encrypting Drives (SEDs)..."

                                      Nexenta News
                                      x
                                      NexentaConnect for VMware Virtual SAN 6
                                      Twice the Performance for their Virtual SAN Integrated File Services
                                      Nexenta Announces Day One Support for its Award Winning Software-Defined Storage Solution for VMware Virtual SAN 6

                                      Nexenta announced that its NexentaConnect for VMware Virtual SAN has been upgraded to offer day one support for VMware Virtual SAN 6. Nexenta's SDS solution, which simplifies and streamlines the provisioning of file services utilizing VMware Virtual SAN, now offers twice the performance - boosting users ability to create a hyper-converged solution without paying for expensive external storage arrays.

                                      Nexenta and VMware End User Computing Collaborate to Accelerate VDI Adoption
                                      Cost-effective Storage Solutions Validated Across VMware's Horizon VDI and Hyper-converged Offerings
                                      Leader in Software-Defined Storage Provides Cost-effective Storage Solutions Validated Across VMware's Horizon VDI and Hyper-converged Offerings

                                      Nexenta in collaboration with VMware, announced support and validation of NexentaConnect across all VMware Horizon deployment scenarios.

                                      IT organizations deploying desktop and application virtualization using VMware Horizon can achieve optimal performance, simplification of deployment and lower cost of their infrastructure with Nexenta. NexentaConnect solutions provide:

                                      • File services (NFS & SMB) to all Virtual SAN hosted virtual machines
                                      • Folder and volume level snapshots and replication
                                      • I/O acceleration
                                      • Increased density
                                      • Seamless and validated integration with VMware Horizon, vSphere and VMware Virtual SAN
                                      • Data compression and deduplication

                                      NexentaConnect solutions support Horizon across the following scenario...

                                      Webinar: Enterprise Class Storage: the new rule of three
                                      February 18, 2015 at 7 AM PDT (15:00 GMT)
                                      Today's modern storage solutions follow the old fashioned rule of three.

                                      Learn about the trifecta of Software Defined Storage (SDS) benefits from efficiency to flexibility to financial responsibility by joining Rolf Verslius, CTO at Adcap, a leading reseller in the SouthEast and Michael Letschin, Director of Products at Nexenta to discuss trends and use cases for SDS and their play with the major virtualization vendors.

                                      Webinar: How Snapshots CAN be Backups
                                      Thursday Feb 19 8AM PST (11AM EST)
                                      Join Nexenta on Feb 19 for an interactive discussion on how primary storage can be architected so that snapshots meet almost all of the data protection requirements an organization has.

                                      Join us to learn:

                                      • The Types of Snapshot Technologies (they're not all the same)
                                      • The Weaknesses of Snapshots
                                      • How to Create Primary Storage Architecture that Overcomes these Weaknesses
                                      • The Benefits of a Primary Storage Architecture that Protects Itself

                                      Snapshots have been a key feature of primary storage infrastructures that IT professionals have relied on for years. But storage systems have traditionally been able to support only a limited number of active snapshots. Although most IT professionals use snapshots sparingly for protecting data, learn from Storage Switzerland and Nexenta about how primary storage can be architected so that snapshots meet almost all of the data protection requirements an organization has.

                                      Trending in
                                      Vol 235, Issue 3
                                      Trending IT Articles