Category Archives: Living in the Cloud

Press Release: LivingSocial Makes Mobile Deal Purchasing Faster and Easier for Shoppers

LivingSocial has announced new updates for iPhone and iPad users to give shoppers a simpler, more intuitive approach to local offers and money-saving deals.

“Mobile accounts for over half of our traffic, approximately a third of our transactions, and tens of millions of consumer purchases,” said Ian Costello, VP of Product Development, LivingSocial. “It’s clear that the future of LivingSocial is mobile and we want to give our customers the best experience possible. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our app so that they can find the deals they want quickly and easily. Our improved mobile experience also benefits our merchants by providing an optimized channel for reaching their target customers.”

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It’s an All-Out Price War as AWS Slashes Cloud Costs to Match Google’s Move

Over at GeekWire, Blair Handley Frank reports that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has dropped its prices from 38% to 51%–depending on services–to counter Google’s reductions just days ago.

“The reductions come after Google announced a number of price reductions to its Cloud Platform yesterday, targeted at making on-demand instances less costly. While Amazon’s reductions will affect on-demand and reserved customers, the tone of the remarks today clearly show that Amazon thinks the best way to give users price reductions is to get them signed on to multi-year contracts.

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Dropbox Experiences Downtime but Quickly Gets to Work Restoring Services

Over at ITworld, Jeremy Kirk reports that Dropbox went down for awhile on Friday and immediately got to work to fix the outage and as of Sunday 99% of the users could access their files.

“One of the issues revolved around photos. It disabled photo sharing and turned off a “Photos” tab on dropbox.com. Photos were still available through the desktop client and the “Files” tab on dropbox.com, it (blog post) said. The Photos tab remained disabled on Sunday. “Were continuing to make a lot of progress restoring full service to all users, and are doing so in careful steps,” it said. Service outages and probes by cyberattackers are some of the biggest concerns for users of cloud-based services.

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Civic Operations Being Refashioned by Cloud Technology

At The Washington Post, Doug Cox reports that cloud computing is altering how civic leaders and planners approach American cities. Basic services like water and electricity have improved with these technologies as well as transportation and emergency response.

“But the cloud’s appeal goes far beyond simple cost savings. By compiling into one system all the key data and applications that are now siloed away, cities create a foundation for rolling out new services for citizens and employees, gathering and sharing urgent, useful information, and layering on new technologies, such as sensors, analytics, and mobile apps, which can help make their communities safer and more livable.

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Netflix Goes Open Source and Reveals Valuable Public Cloud Tools

Over at Network World, Brandon Butler reports that Netflix’s decision to open source its code written mainly for the public cloud will benefit the cloud world at large.

There’s this massive realization in the industry that if you’re benefitting from these projects, then why not pay it forward and get the benefit of community input,” says Michael Skok, an industry watcher and venture capitalist at North Bridge Venture Partners who advises early stage cloud startups. “Ultimately you’re reducing your costs and increasing your value when you’re contributing to a movement. Everybody wins.”

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Big Blue Turns to the Cloud for Social and Data Analytics Products

Over at The New York Times, Quentin Hardy writes that I.B.M. is diversifying its product offerings by buying up cloud-based companies in an attempt to be a bigger player in the Big Data world as well as other new fields.

I.B.M. used to sell complex hardware, software and services packages to chief executives and their ilk. In the new world, it must also offer products for executives more directly involved with day-to-day operations that their departments can use without complex training or lengthy procurement, hassles like installing servers.

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Google to Bring Cloud Computing to all Corners of the Globe

Over at ITworld, Tom Spring reports that Google is launching an initiative to bring internet access to the world via enormous balloons. In typical, irreverent Google fashion they are calling the ambitious exploit Project Loon.

Google is bringing new meaning to the word “cloud computing.” No Google is not rolling out a new SaaS solution. Instead Google is launching Project Loon that aims to bring Internet access to every corner of the globe via high-altitude balloons. Yes, that’s right it’s called Project Loon, as in “a crazy person” as Merriam-Webster defines the word. But it’s June and this is not an elaborate April Fool’s joke.

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Wearable Technology Will Have Many Uses in the Not-So-Far Future

At Silicon Angle, Saroj Kar writes that wearable computing will have an enormous impact on many facets including social networking, commerce and media. Cloud giant, Rackspace, contributes to the story via its comprehensive study on the subject.

The appeal of wearable technology is down to the rich data generated by the devices, which is stored and analyzed in the cloud,” said Drs. Chris Brauer and Jennifer Barth, author of the study. “The ability to access these insights from the cloud – anywhere, anytime -enables wearable technology users to boost their intelligence, confidence, health, fitness and even their love lives.”

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@WalmartLabs Announces Acquisition to Bolster Cloud Presence

Over at TechCrunch, Josh Constine reports that @WalmartLabs has acquired OneOps to increase its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings. The retail giant also procured social software developers Tasty Labs in a related move.

OneOps developed a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capability that Walmart explains will enable it to “significantly accelerate” its PaaS and Private Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) strategies. The company offered developer tools built from the ground up for those who host their applications on cloud services like Amazon Web Services, for example, as well as Rackspace and HP Cloud. Developers could publish to any cloud and seamlessly port their apps elsewhere as needed, eliminating lock-in.

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Google to Switch to Debian Linux Distribution

At Information Week, Charles Babcock reports that Google is no longer employing its custom version of Linux instead opting for the open-sourced Debian.

In moving to Debian, Google is demonstrating that it wants Google Compute Engine to become less Google-technology specific and more of a standard platform. Compute Engine’s predecessor, App Engine, a developer’s platform as a service, restricted itself to Google’s favorite language, Python, at its launch. Compute Engine workloads based on Debian means the favored operating system will be supported by a community larger than Google’s development team itself.

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The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Retail Lies in Big Data and the Cloud

Over at Wired, Vish Ganapathy reports that Big-box retailers are using Big Data analytics hosted in clouds to learn more about their customers and to compete with the e-commerce segment.

Cloud computing involves a new way of thinking about data. In a cloud, a single server can host many virtual servers, slashing hardware costs. The virtual servers can scale on demand depending on the need for computer capacity. That’s very useful for retailers, whose businesses are notoriously seasonal. Automatically expanding capacity on Black Friday, for example, can reduce lines at checkout counters and ensure quick service.

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Major OS Providers Put to Task by Cloud Technology

At Information Week, Thomas Claburn writes that Mozilla and Otoy have partnered to offer a JavaScript library that allows applications to be streamed from the cloud that is hardware and operating system (OS) neutral.

With ORBX.js, native code and legacy applications can be hosted in the cloud (e.g. Amazon EC2), and stream interactive graphics, 3D rendering or low latency video to a standard HTML5 page without using plugins or native code, or even the video tag (which, like Google NaCL,is vendor specific — ORBX.js works on all five major browsers),” explained Otoy founder and CEO Jules Urbach in an email. “The video codec created for ORBX.js can decode 1080p60 at a quality on par with H.264, using only JavaScript.”

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Big Data and the Cloud to Power the Future

Over at Power Engineering, LS Subramanian writes that Big Data and the use of cloud technology will be vitally important in meeting the world’s energy needs down the road.

As the cost of energy increases and its availability decreases there is an extensive use of collating data in the discovery, extraction, processing and transmission and distribution of energy. The energy business is increasingly using Big Data and cloud computing to ensure efficiency and cost effective solutions.

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Big Blue Acquires UrbanCode to Expand a Number of Different Services

Over at Talkin’ Cloud, Chris Talbot writes that IBM’s acquisition of UrbanCode will help Big Blue increase its presence in Cloud, Big Data and other areas as well.

UrbanCode’s technology promises the ability for organizations to reduce the cycle time of getting updates or new applications deployed from days or months to minutes, all the while keeping risks at a minimum and reducing costs. In the end, the goal is to provide end users with an overall improvement in the quality of applications and services.

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Hadoop as a Service from Joyent

Over at GigaOM, Derrick Harris writes that Cloud provider Joyent has a new Hadoop offering that the company claims can outperform most others on the market.

Joyent’s Hadoop service is based on the Hortonworks Data Platform (as are the Microsoft and Rackspace offerings) and — according to Joyent — runs three times faster than some other cloud-based Hadoop services. This is so, according to Joyent CTO Jason Hoffman, in part because Joyent’s cloud architecture is highly persistent (i.e., storage and compute are co-located and non-ephemeral), which means Joyent can bring the MapReduce processors to the data. In other cloud environments, data — potentially lots of it in the case of Hadoop jobs — might have to traverse a network in order to reach the Hadoop processors, running into variable performance and issues along the way.

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