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Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see the point of proprietary network services (or cloud computing, or Software as a Service, if you prefer). Not when you have Free software as an alternative (“Free,” in this case, being analogous to open source or GNU/Linux).

In fact, proprietary network services strike me chiefly as a way to offer the incidental features of Free software without the provider giving up control. But in the last year, I’m glad to say, this dodge has started to become less tenable, as Free software has started to focus on network services.

Oh, I understand why developers might have enjoyed the idea, back a couple of years ago when network services were new. I may not be a developer myself, but I understand how the challenge of the delivery model might add interest to your work, at least before it became commonplace.

Nor would I suggest that network services should never have been developed. Diversity never hurts, and if a technique is plausible, someone is going to develop it. I accept that.

How about centralized bug-fixes and updates? Through the repositories and package management systems of Free operating systems, Free software offers those, too.

The same is true with privacy concerns. Although encryption is starting to be offered by some network services, not only can you do far more to secure your data on a local network or workstation, but, with Free software, you can scrutinize the code and satisfy yourself that no back doors exist for intruders. You don’t have to trust the provider, because you can take steps for yourself.

Just as important, many network services have fewer features than their local counterparts, particularly those for office productivity. No doubt part of the reason is that local applications are more mature, but another seems to be that Web apps jettison features in the interests of faster transmission. As a result, network services can be especially frustrating if you’re a power user, since many of the features you rely on for speed and efficiency simply aren’t available in them. Frankly, given a choice between ajaxWrite and chúng tôi or ajaxSketch and the GIMP, who in their right minds would choose the Web app?

Surely nobody with serious work to do. Such choices would be like insisting on working in a text editor or a paint program when more mature applications are available.

The only reason I can see for clients preferring proprietary Web apps (aside from the fact that they’re trendy) is that software as a service is less of a stretch for the average managerial mind than Free software. Even today, many find the idea of Free software a challenge to standard business practices, because it requires rethinking software procurement, supplier relationships, and, at times, existing business models. By choosing network services, a convention-bound company can often get the use of cost-free software (just as they could with Free software), but without having to worry about any of the mind-stretching aspects that go along with it.

Besides, outsourcing services is something that modern businesses do all the time.

But the ones who really benefit from network services are the suppliers. Unlike traditional software providers, their support costs are lower because most of the maintenance is centralized. Even more significantly, they can protect their so-called intellectual property without adopting a Free license. Furthermore, they can do so while offering — at least to casual or light users — what many outsiders consider the dominant feature of Free software: Availability at no charge.

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Edge Computing Vs. Cloud Computing: What’s The Difference?

The term cloud computing is now as firmly lodged in our technical lexicon as email and Internet, and the concept has taken firm hold in business as well. By 2023, Gartner estimates that a “no cloud” policy will be as prevalent in business as a “no Internet” policy. Which is to say no one who wants to stay in business will be without one.

You are likely hearing a new term now, edge computing. One of the problems with technology is terms tend to come before the definition. Technologists (and the press, let’s be honest) tend to throw a word around before it is well-defined, and in that vacuum come a variety of guessed definitions, of varying accuracy.

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Edge computing is a term you are going to hear more of in the coming years because it precedes another term you will be hearing a lot, the Internet of Things (IoT). You see, the formally adopted definition of edge computing is a form of technology that is necessary to make the IoT work.

Tech research firm IDC defines edge computing is a “mesh network of micro data centers that process or store critical data locally and push all received data to a central data center or cloud storage repository, in a footprint of less than 100 square feet.”

It is typically used in IoT use cases, where edge devices collect data from IoT devices and do the processing there, or send it back to a data center or the cloud for processing. Edge computing takes some of the load off the central data center, reducing or even eliminating the processing work at the central location.

IoT Explosion in the Cloud Era

To understand the need for edge computing you must understand the explosive growth in IoT in the coming years, and it is coming on big. There have been a number of estimates of the growth in devices, and while they all vary, they are all in the billions of devices.

* Gartner estimates there were 6.4 billion connected devices in 2023 will it reach 20.8 billion by 2023. It estimates that in 2023, 5.5 million new “things” were connected every day.

* IDC predicts global IoT revenue will grow from $2.71 billion in 2023 to $7.065 billion by 2023, with the total installed base of devices reaching 28.1 billion in 2023.

* IHS Markit forecasts that the IoT market will grow from an installed base of 15.4 billion devices in 2023 to 30.7 billion devices by 2023 and 75.4 billion in 2025.

* McKinsey estimates the total IoT market size was about $900  million in 2023 and will grow to $3.7 billion by 2023.

This is taking place in a number of areas, most notably cars and industrial equipment. Cars are becoming increasingly more computerized and more intelligent. Gone are the days when the “Check engine” warning light came on and you had to guess what was wrong. Now it tells you which component is failing.

The industrial sector is a broad one and includes sensors, RFID, industrial robotics, 3D printing, condition monitoring, smart meters, guidance, and more. This sector is sometimes called the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the overall market is expected to grow from $93.9 billion in 2014 to $151.01 billion by 2023.

All of these sensors are taking in data but they are not processing it. Your car does some of the processing of sensor data but much of it has to be sent in to a data center for computation, monitoring and logging.

The problem is that this would overload networks and data centers. Imaging the millions of cars on the road sending in data to data centers around the country. The 4G network would be overwhelmed, as would the data centers. And if you are in California and the car maker’s data center is in Texas, that’s a long round trip.

Cloud Computing, Meet Edge Computing

Processing data at the edge of the network — where it is taken in – has a number of benefits, starting with reducing the latency and makes connected applications more responsive and robust. Some applications might need immediate response, such as a sensor for failing equipment or for detecting a break-in.

It also takes the computation load off the data center if data can be processed and reacted upon at the point of origin rather than making the round trip to and from the data center. So it reduces the burden on both the data center and the network.

One company specializing in this is Vapor IO, a startup that puts mini data centers called Vapor Edge Computing containers at cell towers. The containers are smaller than a car but contain redundant racks of computing systems that use special software for load balancing. The load is balanced both at each container and between containers scattered at cell towers around a city.

A special software stack for managing a group of locations makes the containers in an area function and appear as a single data center. It has all of the standard data center features, such as load balancing and automated site-to-site failover.

Vapor IO is a part of what are known as micro data centers, self-contained systems in ruggedized containers to withstand the elements that provide all the essential components of a traditional data center but in a small footprint. Vapor is not alone, although it is a startup dedicated specifically to the micro data center.

Some very big names in data center technology are also experimenting with micro data centers. Schneider Electric, the European power and cooling giant, has a line of micro data center modules, and Vertiv (formerly Emerson Network Power) has its own line of outdoor enclosures.

It looks to be a growing market as well. The research firm Markets and Markets believes that the micro data center sector could be worth a staggering $32 billion over the next two years.

You may hear edge computing referred to by other names than micro data centers. They include fog computing and cloudlets. Fog computing, or “fogging,” is a term used to described a decentralized computing infrastructure that extends the cloud to the edge of the network.

Cloudlets are mobility-enhanced micro data centers located at the edge of a network and serve the mobile or smart device portion of the network. They are designed to handle resource-intensive mobile apps and take the load off both the network and the central data center and keep computing close to the point of origin.

The cloud is a great place for centralized computing, but not every computing task needs to run on a centralized system. If your car is getting real-time traffic and GPS updates from the surrounding area, there’s no reason to send data back and forth to a data center five states and a thousand miles away. So as the IoT grows, expect edge computing to grow right along with it. They will never be an either/or choice for data center providers, the two will always work in tandem.

Openstack Folsom Release Accelerates Open Source Cloud Stack

The OpenStack Folsom release is now available, providing users of the open source cloud stack platform with new compute, storage and networking innovations.

Folsom is the second OpenStack release in 2012, following the Essex release, which debuted in February. Folsom is also the first release of OpenStack made under the auspices of the newly minted OpenStack Foundation.

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The OpenStack Foundation now has the support of some of the largest IT companies in the world, including: IBM, Dell, HP, Cisco and AT&T as well as the three largest Linux vendors, Ubuntu, SUSE and Red Hat.

“Folsom is a huge release,” Brian Stevens, CTO of Red Hat told Datamation. “Every release is always better in the land of open source in terms of features and stability.”

OpenStack is not just one large homogenous project, but rather a grouping of multiple sub-projects. At the core is the Nova compute project, which has been further stabilized and improved for the Folsom release.

“Nova was one of the net new pieces when OpenStack launched,” Stevens said. “Nova has had a lot of active development on it and now OpenStack developers have been putting Nova in the hands of end users. And they are getting things done.”

Stevens noted that Nova is now being used in production and there has been a lot of deployments among what he termed as ‘smart end-users’. In the Folsom release, Stevens doesn’t see any large architectural shift with Nova, rather just the benefits of time and effort by developers.

When the OpenStack project first launched it was all about compute with the Nova compute project and the Swift storage project. In the Folsom release that is expanding with the official inclusion of the Quantum networking project.

Quantum first appeared as a technical preview in the OpenStack Diablo release back in September of 2011. A core component of Quantum is the vSwitch virtual switch as well as components that enable a Software Defined Networking deployment for an OpenStack cloud.

Stevens explained that Quantum follows the overall OpenStack approach of being a framework for services plugins. He noted that while Quantum works with vSwitch, it also works with centralized controllers as well, from multiple vendors including Cisco and NTT.

“The holy grail is that when you lay out your compute and storage you need to be able to enable the network layer efficiently as well so you can build arbitrary domains for wherever you place your virtual machines,” Stevens said. “Quantum has that architecture to allow the IP connectivity to follow wherever you place virtual machines in an automated fashion.”

The Folsom release also introduces the new Cinder block storage component to OpenStack.

Steven noted that OpenStack started out with an object-based storage system with the Swift project. In his view, the OpenStack Swift system is great for storing and retrieving large blobs of data, however it’s not as efficient for use as the core data storage system for rapidly changing data. “Cinder solves a huge gap and provides robust block storage,” Stevens said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at chúng tôi the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

10 Best Cloud Computing Companies To Watch

Today, every business wants to go digital. For serving the purpose, numerous technologies have evolved, aiding far more than proposed requirement. These technologies are not only cost effective but also long-term and agile. Cloud computing is one of the technology boom, which has certainly added an extent of ease and accessibility for every second business to manage their data and operations in a more sophisticated and organized way. The cloud management services are offered with various compatibility criterias. In fact, choosing the best one is an arduous task. Here we have got some of the best companies, which offers wide range of solution oriented cloud services.  

1) Amazon Web Services

Amazon web services (AWS) established in 2006, is a subsidiary of amazon. The company is headquartered in the US. AWS is well known for its large customer base, right from individuals to companies and governments. The wide range of services offered are purely customer centric which are paid and with a free tier for 12 months. Currently, AWS is serving in 16 geographical regions including India, China and UK. The success behind the wide adoption of AWS is the varied product range offered by them, including Elastic Compute Cloud, Amazon Elastic Beanstalk and Amazon Lambda. Website:

2) AT&T Inc.

AT&T is originally named as ‘American Telephone and Telegraph’ and was founded in 1885. The company is the world’s largest telecommunication provider, headquartered in Texas. The biggest asset of AT&T is its IT infrastructure spread across the globe. The cloud-based connectivity and security features of the company are exceptional. The successful product of the company, Synoptic Hosting is key to the success for AT&T. Website:

3) Google Cloud Platform

Google the name itself is enough. The cloud service primarily works on the internal applications of Google like Google search and YouTube. The cloud service was launched in May 2010 and in a short period of seven years, it has acquired a commendable position in the market. The USP of Google is its widely spread customer base and user accessibility. The most used products of the company are, Google Compute Engine, Google App Engine, Bitable, Big Query and Google Cloud Functions, etc. The well-established infrastructure of Google is an additional benefit for the firm to set itself into the field. Website: 

4) Microsoft

Microsoft is yet another big fish in the sea. It was founded in 1975, and since then the company has not looked back. The success milestones of the Microsoft are being added since then. Specifically, in the cloud sector, Azure is a brand name. It is a windows service platform incorporated by operating system and developer options that are used to access and enhance the web-based cloud applications. The data migration from current systems to Azure is quite easy, and that is the game changer for Microsoft. Website:

5) RightScale


6) Enomaly Inc.

Enomaly Inc. is a Toronto-based cloud management and software development company which was founded in 2004. The company is a subsidiary of Virtustram and was established as an open source platform. Enomaly’s current software, named Elastic Computing Platform offers a programmable virtual cloud infrastructure for small, medium and large businesses. In November 2010, Enomaly launched chúng tôi which is a revolutionary product in the cloud management services. Website:

7) GoGrid

GoGrid is a subsidiary of DataPipe, which is amongst the topmost cloud service management companies worldwide. The company was acquired by DataPipe in 2023. It is headquartered in the US. GoGrid is honored to be the first company with multi-server control panel empowering deployment and management of need driven server hosting. The company is one of the prime competitor to Amazon’s cloud storage services. It has a couple of technical superiorities over Amazon. The USP of GoGrid is that it is being served with preinstalled software including Apache, PHP, Microsoft SQL and MySQL. Website:

8) RackSpace


9) IBM Cloud

IBM cloud computing is a set of cloud management services offered by IBM. These are provided with three major categories: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). The features of these services include client centered deployment, customization, flex image technology, and the most crucial one is integration capability. Some of the reliable products of IBM that have turned out to be the name worth are, IBM softlayer, IBM Bluemix etc. Website:

10) Oracle Cloud

The company is an established player in the market. Oracle cloud is a service platform suite developed by the company to serve the cloud computing needs of customers. The latest version of oracle database for cloud management services was launched in 2013. The Oracle cloud management services offer one stop solution for enterprise level cloud computing needs including SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS. Planning, forecasting and monitoring the credentials, leading to operational intelligence are some of the major features of Oracle cloud management services. Website:


Objectssearch Offers Open Source Search Results

ObjectsSearch Offers Open Source Search Results

Aiming to provide users with unbiased website ranking, chúng tôi has launched an open source search engine based on’s search. ObjectsSearch looks to solve problems related to search result manipulation and information overload. ObjectsSearch claims that their open source approach provides an “alternative to commercial web search engines. Only open source search results can be fully trusted to be without bias.” This premise goes against the major search engines in the methods in which they rank search results.

“All existing major search engines have proprietary ranking formulas, and will not explain why a given page ranks as it does. Additionally, some search engines determine which sites to index based on payments, rather than on the merits of the sites themselves. ObjectsSearch, on the other hand, has nothing to hide and no motive to bias its results or its crawler in any way other than to try to give each user the best results possible.”

Each result that appears on OS’s results page contains four different links. They have cached links, which displays the page that OS downloaded. Results have an explanation link that describes how the site received its ranking, the result links feature an anchor link that shows a list of incoming anchors that have been indexed for the page in question and finally plain text link – displays the plain text version of the page that ObjectsSearch downloaded.

While Vivisimo’s Clusty is grabing headlines about the ability to cluster search results, ObjectsSearch uses an interesting cluster method in its results. In fact, OS claims to be the first search engine “which cluster[s] its own search results unlike other meta search engines, which get their search results from other search engines.” To accomplish this, OS uses what’s known as a “Clustering Engine”.

A description of OS’s approach to search results and clustering appears on their about page: “one approach is to automatically group search results into thematic categories, called clusters. Assuming clusters descriptions are informative about the documents they contain, the user spends much less time following irrelevant links.”

It’s always interesting to see what the little guys like Gigablast, IceRocket, and ObjectsSearch are trying out in the search field because just because they don’t have the funds to set up a city of International developers working on new features day in and day out, they do have gumption and the flexibility to test out new stuff on the fly.

Dell’s Open Source Plans Favor Oracle

Dell Wednesday expressed its faith in open-source computing like never before and expanded its pacts with vendors Oracle and EMC .Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison joined Dell CEO Michael Dell onstage at the Pierre Hotel to discuss how the two companies had inked a global sales agreement to implant Oracle databases and application servers on Dell servers in Europe and Asia, and create cost-effective servers powered by Oracle software for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Specifically, Dell will craft server and storage platforms primed for Oracle 9i Database with Real Application Clusters for both Red Hat Linux Advanced Server and Microsoft Windows environments. This cluster computing, which allows multiple computers and systems on a network to work as one, is aimed at prying customers from using, say, IBM mainframes that do not scale the way the cluster system employed by Dell using Oracle software would. The firms said the systems will start at $18,000.

While that was the meat of the news, Dell spent the bulk of his time on stage discussing the total cost of ownership benefits and return-on-investment mantra of how much the enterprise sector is endorsing open source software — and by extension how much money it is saving — to power their information technology infrastructure.

Dell used a presentation peppered with a number of studies from such research firms as IDC, Gartner and Meta Group detailing estimates, figures and predictions as to how much more the enterprise customer will benefit from going to open source — especially Dell servers powered by Oracle software — as opposed to proprietary Unix-based systems. He cited statistic after statistic about how, driven by customers’ desire to have powerful systems at as low a cost as possible, standards-based products were winning the day over proprietary forebears from the likes of IBM, HP and Sun.

“[Dell] are the only large computer systems maker employing standards-based systems,” Dell said. When it came time to discuss cluster computing, Dell called Ellison to the stage.

Ellison peppered his address with anecdotes, some of them humorous, but his message was clear: Oracle wants to help Dell drive out proprietary, Unix-based systems made and sold by rivals such as IBM, HP and Sun in favor of Linux-based cluster computing.

Calling the database the “choke point” in the enterprise data center, Ellison said the point is to get information to put into the database to help people do their jobs. Over time, he said, this role hasn’t changed, but the depth and breadth to which people need to access information has increased. Because of this, the IT world requires software and systems that provide more performance and more reliability. The catch — something Ellison said is his company’s great challenge — is that they want to spend less. Then he peppered his cluster computing speech with stabs at IBM’s database, mainframes and “on demand-computing” strategy.

“When IBM wants to show off their fastest new Unix computer,” Ellison said, “Oracle is the database they use because the benchmarks all show we’re the fastest.”

He then went on to explain how IBM’s DB2 database is not fast enough, is too expensive, and how IBM mainframes and Unix boxes have a single point of failure. Moreover, if an enterprise needs more power, it needs “to throw the old machine out and get a bigger one.”

With Oracle’s Real Application Cluster technology running on Dell servers, Ellison said the grid aspect makes it possible for a single system to fail, but the network will experience no downtime because another one steps up to takes it place. This, he said, saves companies time and money. He cited his own company, saying Oracle employs 24 server for its operations worldwide. If one goes down, the other 23 step up to take its place.

Ellison did not go unchallenged in the question and answer period. Illuminata Analyst Gordon Haff posed the question that, seeing as how Oracle is stressing that proprietary systems will buckle under increasing pressure from the open source community, was he not concerned that the same might happen to the database realm?

Ellison said no, because his company’s databases are some of the most secure software applications ever composed. If the data within in is lost, unlike an operating system failure, it cannot be recovered. He claimed Oracle hasn’t had one of its databases cracked in a decade.

“The database is the last piece of software that faces a threat from open source,” he said.

Dell and Oracle have been partners since 1998 and Dell most recently served as Oracle’s launch partner for its “Unbreakable” Linux strategy. The pair will also team on a migration program to lure Unix customers to Oracle9i Database with Real Application Clusters on Dell systems.

Dell said the new CX200 systems are perfect for lightweight applications. The modular architecture of Dell EMC storage arrays supports this.

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