Tag Archives: microsoft

  • Microsoft, RedHat and VMware offer attractive total cost of ownership

    The competition throughout the cloud industry has resulted in affordable suites for organizations. Certain vendors such as Microsoft, RedHat and VMware have made strides to offer adopters low total cost of ownership for their cloud solutions. 451 Research's latest Cloud Price Index: Private Edition discovered the costs of these companies' private models are $0.10 per hour, higher than the $0.08 for OpenStack counterparts. However, firms using the former can hire 3 percent more engineers because there is an apparent skills gap impacting OpenStack deployments, contributing to a higher TCO as a result.

    William Fellows, vice president of 451 Research, said the Cloud Price Index is an opportunity to educate adopters when comparing solutions for hosting workloads and applications or considering the pricing differences between vendors. He added that adopters can access accurate information related to cloud-based pricing to determine if vendors offer dividends or charge clients taxes.

    Microsoft and other vendors are not backing down from Amazon
    Amazon – a company not mentioned in the 451 Research report – is the vendor that all other brands are trying to gain market share from. A separate survey conducted by the research firm found 57 percent of the more than 1,500 IT professionals polled are using Amazon Web Services for their Infrastructure-as-a-Service needs. Another 35 percent of respondents cited AWS as the most important IaaS provider.

    "While the 2015 Vendor Window for IaaS shows Amazon Web Services as the clear leader based on multiple metrics, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace and VMware's vCloud Air are becoming competitive challengers," said 451 Research Senior Vice President Michelle Bailey.

    Microsoft Azure in particular has gained significant traction among enterprises. The 451 Research survey discovered 42 percent of respondents have adopted the solution and 20 percent of IaaS users cited Microsoft as the most important vendor in this sector.

    Rackspace is another vendor that is competing head-on with Amazon. The company is commensurate with AWS in terms of customer fulfillment and service-level agreements, 451 Research found.

    "As more mainstream customers move business-critical workloads to cloud environments, the decision criteria for evaluating potential vendors change relative to early cloud adopters, and in turn so do the vendors under consideration," Bailey suggested.

    Thorough testing leads to sound decision-making
    With so many options to consider, organizations planning any cloud deployment should try to find a way to compare the available services prior to launch. Doing so provides adopters insight into how their businesses will succeed when critical assets are transitioned to cloud environments. Some solutions may be less expensive and offer lower TCO, but perhaps operational efficiency is more challenging than the alternatives. It is important to find out which cloud suite is the right fit.

    Organizations that want this necessary insight should seek the help of managed service providers that use cloud migration tools. These systems enable MSPs to determine how applications, servers, networks and data centers perform in hosted environments prior to deployment, making the most informed decisions possible to make sure clients maintain efficiency during the entire implementation process.

    The post Microsoft, RedHat and VMware offer attractive total cost of ownership appeared first on RISC Networks.

  • Certifications With the Highest Demand

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    For years, cynical IT pros have maintained that certifications aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. But recruiters and analysts report a growing interest in IT certification. While it’s true that employers still want to see experience, certification can provide outside validation of your skills… and signal a commitment to furthering those skills.

    Certifications in these areas are showing some of the sharpest growth in demand:

    Security

    The recent breaches at Target, Home Depot and the almost-daily privacy and security lapses at healthcare institutions are making security a hot area for IT pros.

    Fortune 1000 companies are now spending millions of dollars on their privacy programs, with financial services, consumer products, and retail firms leading the way, according to a survey by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). A third of the responding companies said they plan to increase their privacy program staff, while only 3 percent expect to cut staffers.

    Upload Your ResumeEmployers want candidates like you. Upload your resume. Show them you’re awesome.

    That’s why certifications such as GIAC Certified Penetration Tester, InfoSys Security Management Professional (ISSMP/CISSP), and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker are among the fastest-growing with regard to premium pay, according to analyst firm Foote Partners.

    In addition, government jobs these days often require security certifications for contractors as well as staff positions.

    Mobility and Cloud

    In its predictions for 2015, Juniper Research maintains that mobile and cloud will alter the architectural landscape, and that DevOps techniques will revamp the way we deliver solutions to business stakeholders. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing companies, however, will be recruiting and retaining people will the skills to build applications quickly and to integrate them into legacy portfolios.

    Cloud employers are looking for pros skilled in Linux, Java/J2EE, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), Python, virtualization, and other areas, according to a recent analysis of the Dice database.

    Amazon Web Services recently unveiled a new DevOps Engineer certification, which validates the technical expertise required for provisioning, operating and managing distributed application systems on its public-cloud platform. (It’s still in beta through mid-December.) To be eligible, you must already be certified as an AWS Certified Developer – Associate or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate.

    Linux

    A new Gartner report cites a shift to open-source software as a major factor in the coming major disruption to data centers. IT leaders responding to a survey by TechPro Research put more faith in the future of Linux desktops than in the possibility of Apple elbowing ahead of Microsoft in the enterprise.

    Combine that with Microsoft open-sourcing its .NET code to run atop Linux servers, along with the wild popularity of container technology such as Docker, and the future of Linux seems bright.

    Linux Professional Institute certifications, CompTIA Linux+ and RedHat Certified Technician are among the skills making big gains in market value of late.

    While the ranks of Linux pros is growing, the segment isn’t expanding fast enough to meet demand, said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, in announcing two new vendor-neutral certifications: the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS), which covers the skills necessary for basic-to-intermediate system administration from the command-line for systems running Linux, and the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE), which focuses on the design and implementation of system architecture. Both are performance-based and can be on CentOS, openSUSE, or Ubuntu.

    Related Articles

    Image: Pepgooner/Shutterstock.com

    The post Certifications With the Highest Demand appeared first on Dice News.

  • Here’s the latest on OpenStack

    I think an update is in order to my original OpenStack blog post . Over the last six months, we’ve seen Icehouse, the software’s ninth release, come out of the gates, along with a very successful summit in Atlanta. So, let’s do a quick recap to see where it stands now. By the numbers There’s some really interesting information that has come out of surveys from the Atlanta summit . This is really interesting information on the size of installs, environments and what versions are currently in use. OpenStack components I mentioned in my previous post how OpenStack is written in Python (basically 2.x, but there’s some momentum to rewrite everything to 3.x within the next few major releases). One of the strengths and challenges of such a large and encompassing cloud management platform is that it does a lot of things.  All of these things are split out into modules: compute (“Nova”), object storage (“Swift”), block storage (“Cinder”), networking (“Neutron”), dashboard (“Horizon”), identity service (“Keystone”), image service (“Glance”), telemetry (“Ceilometer”), orchestration (“Heat”) and database (“Trove”).  You can easily search online for more information on each of these, so I won’t get into the details here. This modular architecture may allow the community to work in a more agile way, but also comes back to pose challenges, as everything basically still needs to communicate with each other to provide a unified, seamless platform. Platforms Another thing you might notice from the recently published numbers is that Linux rules as the underlying operating system of choice.  So, if you want to gain a certain level of respect, and be able to show or prove you know your stuff, you’ll also need to have some advanced skills in Linux. Along with Linux being the leading operating system, KVM is the leading choice for hypervisor, with VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V (on Microsoft Windows) quite far behind on use. Interfaces There are several basic ways you can interface with OpenStack that come packaged: dashboard (web browser interface), command-line, Python API and a REST API (for custom interface development). For the most part, I typically lean toward the command-line interface, but will fall back on the dashboard when I’m not sure what command to use. Deployment Setting up OpenStack, even in a controlled environment, can be quite a big task.  Fortunately, if you’re looking to get something up relatively quickly, maybe for a proof-of-concept, there are some great tools out there.  Tools like Red Hat’s packstack or devstack can get you up and running quickly with OpenStack. Personally, I’m a bit of a Red Hat fan, so I’m partial to following anything it does.  If you’re somewhat familiar with Linux, you may know about Fedora (this is free, and more of a Linux desktop version) and CentOS (a free Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone), which are both supported by Red Hat and work with packstack. These automated installers are very useful, but remember that to consider yourself at the master level, you’ll want to install from scratch.  I honestly haven’t tried this yet, but it’s just a matter of time before I do, in order to gain the whole experience. I find I learn the most when something doesn’t work as expected or I have to actually troubleshoot or read the documentation, or even install files before I can really grasp how it all works. Is OpenStack “better”? I’ve never been a big fan of trying to pick which technology is better.  A few years ago, it seemed to be a debate whether Linux or Microsoft Windows was “better.”  I was never interested in these opinion-based debates, rather, I like to use the best fit. In the private cloud space, VMware seems to have the bigger market share.  I saw a recent reference on Twitter that compared VMwar e and OpenStack like this: If you have money, use VMware; if you have time, use OpenStack. Now, nothing is that simple, because most organizations have a limited amount of money, and they also have to consider that OpenStack can have integration challenges since it’s not as polished.  It can be quite costly when something isn’t done right from the start, and considering that it might be beneficial to have a Python programmer help with any integrations, time isn’t the only factor you need to consider before implementing an OpenStack-based private cloud. It’s honestly hard to imagine OpenStack becoming a major player in the public cloud arena against the likes of Microsoft, Amazon or Google, for example. Industry convergence Just like Hadoop, quite a few companies were maybe too excited to launch their own distribution.  As reality set in, we saw one recent big partnership between Intel and Cloudera. There was also a relatively big acquisition by Red Hat (of eNovance), so there may be other shake-ups including an acquisition of RackSpace (one of the original project founders). Resources Make no mistake, if you think OpenStack is easy to grasp, you’re not wrong. But mastering it can be a challenge. After all that, if you’re still with me, Pluralsight is launching an introductory course to help you along with your learning experience.  There’s nothing like having an experienced professional lead you through your training, and using their own insight to help you succeed. A very interesting resource that was announced at the Atlanta summit is a new publication called Superuser .  It’s definitely worth checking out to supplement your learning experience. With the next release, Juno, planned for mid-October, OpenStack continues to move forward.  With most technologies, any hint of slowing down in updates can be a sign of weakness, but this doesn’t appear to be a problem with OpenStack. Only time will tell if it’s here to stay. To access Pluralsight’s latest OpenStack course, click here .

  • Microsoft: headed in ‘One’ direction

    Microsoft has really upped its game over the last four years. The turning point, at least for me, was in 2010 during the Windows Phone announcement in Barcelona. This completely revolutionary platform inspired me, and continues to do so today. Because of this, and so many other recent changes, it’s worth talking about where Microsoft is headed. What will it look like in the future? How does it stack against its competitors right now? Let’s take a look – but first, a little history. Power, products and PowerPoint When Microsoft rose to dominance in the 80s and 90s, it was due to its products, as well as a very cunning business strategy. There was Windows 95, which was a huge commercial success and put Windows-powered PCs on everyone’s mind. The company’s deal to put Windows on IBM personal computers eventually saw Microsoft Windows running on more than 90 percent of the world’s computers. In 1990, Microsoft introduced Office which, at the time, included Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These products would help make the Washington-based company an absolute giant in the software industry. Past Microsoft Office logos From the immense successes of Office and Windows rose a large number of products, some more obscure than others. Do you remember the Microsoft Liquid Motion , a Java animations tool? Or how about Microsoft Comic Chat ? Talking to people who worked at the Microsoft Orbital Head Quarters in the 90s, it’s clear that Microsoft was essentially made up of hundreds, if not thousands, of smaller companies. There was little communication between all of these entities, and though numerous products were released, any actual consistency or sense of unison was hard to find. Unlike Apple, Microsoft was a bit of a Frankenstein creation; where the left arm was from Microsoft Office and the right arm couldn’t even type. This continued right up until the early 2000s. As mentioned, the turning point for me was the announcement of Windows Phone 7. But that wasn’t the only thing that sparked a new era for Microsoft. The introduction of Office 2007 with its ribbon-style controls was a huge change for one of Microsoft’s most profitable product suites. What is now known as OneDrive first appeared in 2007, and Windows Azure (now Microsoft Azure) changed the space of cloud computing in early 2010. What Microsoft was doing was placing all of the pieces in an elaborate chess move. The new Microsoft All of the pieces in this intricate game are only now starting to become the winning formula. You may have noticed that more products being rebranded or named “One.” This alignment aims at a single experience within the product suite from Microsoft: One experience, one company, one user. This bold and highly ambitious plan makes so much sense. As users are becoming increasingly mobile, more connected and more involved, they want a single experience no matter where they are. This is the new Microsoft. In 2012 Microsoft took the final step away from the era of desktops, software on physical mediums and a fragmented product suite. But not in the way you might think. No, the company merely changed its logo. The old existing logo was retired and the current refreshed face of Microsoft was put in its place. The old logo symbolized 25 years of doing a lot of same thing over and over again. Microsoft logo 1987 to 2012 Microsoft logo 2012 While it may seem small, it’s actually quite significant and symbolic; changing the entire company image meant leaving a big legacy behind. Microsoft is now on a path to reinventing itself around a proven existing product suite. One of the keys to this is, without a doubt, OneDrive. This is the backbone of each single user’s personal data, and it provides integration with all platforms. Your Windows Phone will automatically save images to OneDrive, all of the Office products will keep track of last opened docs across devices using OneDrive, and even your Windows user settings will be the same across devices. The new Microsoft is about one experience. And I know you are thinking, “but that is exactly what Google and Apple are doing.” Well, yes – and no. These companies do have an online cloud solution for creating a single user profile and backing up content. Each also has its own smartphones, browsers and computers. But no other company has the complete experience that is Windows Phone, Windows, Xbox and OneDrive, which gives users a unified experience from their pocket to the living room. The new Microsoft may be slightly late to the game, but it holds all of the right pieces, and has the persistency to create something unique. Microsoft and innovation The future is looking bright for Microsoft. Things are only becoming more streamlined, and there are so many new initiatives to bring all of the products even closer together, at least for consumers. Windows is now at version 8.1, and it’s constantly being improved. Finding the balance between tablet and desktop on devices ranging in resolution, using a combination of touch and mouse, and having different relational formats is no easy feat. Windows is not perfect, but it is a lot closer than any of its competitors to bridging the gap between tablet and desktop. And at least it isn’t just doing the same thing over and over again anymore (I’m looking at you, Apple). I truly believe that Windows has the most innovative smartphone platform when it comes to design, unique features, development environment, camera functionality and much more. But as much as I am a WinPhan, I genuinely believe it’s a cornerstone of the Microsoft One strategy. And with the update to version 8.1, a large number of the features users wanted now exist. On top of that, developers are now able to create apps that work across Windows and Windows Phone. Build one app, sell it on both Windows Phone and Windows, and probably Xbox soon enough. Each app can even automatically carry settings across devices, and users only pay once. The One experience is not the only pioneering piece of infrastructure to come out of Redmond. My bet is that you’ve already heard of Microsoft Azure . This cloud solution is capable of a lot more than you might think. Want to host an Oracle database? No problem. Want to create your WordPress site? Done. Want to perform load testing on your cloud solution? Use the Loader IO add-on from SendGrid built right into Azure. And the team behind Azure is adding new features all the time. In fact it is evolving so fast , that by the time books are written and published, they are outdated. The Azure platform is the backbone of Microsoft services, and if you are a developer on the Microsoft stack, chances are you will use it soon. Oh, and did I mention it’s cheap? Very cheap . In fact, you can host websites for free, set up virtual machines at a very low cost. It makes more sense than building your own infrastructure. My prediction is that Azure will become an offering for the entire catalogue of Microsoft services. And despite all the jokes that come to mind, if you mention Microsoft and the auto industry, there are already prototypes of a version of Windows Phone being built for cars . It certainly isn’t finished, and by no means is it pretty, but cars will become part of the “One” vision in the future. Bottom line: Don’t discount Microsoft just yet. Yes, Apple might be selling truckloads of iPhones and iPads, and Google is dominating the smartphone landscape with a list of Android devices. But the old Redmond monolith is breaking up with the past and is the most focused it has been in years.

  • What Microsoft’s Satya Nadella Could Do Next

    When Microsoft appointed Satya Nadella as its new CEO in February, analysts and pundits immediately began to debate over what sort of leader he’ll turn out to be, and whether he’ll attempt to radically remake the company in his own image. Some answers to those questions are expected to emerge this week, when Nadella makes his public debut at a March 27 event in San Francisco. He’ll likely follow that up with an equally high-profile appearance at Microsoft’s BUILD conference next month. Nadella seems well aware of the challenges that confront Microsoft, which has fallen behind Google and Apple in the consumer-tech realm, and faces a number of strong competitors in the enterprise IT space. (Pessimistic pundits have suggested the company faces long-term obsolescence unless it undergoes a radical retooling over the next few years.) One anonymous Microsoft executive told Re/code that Nadella wants the company to behave more like the hungry underdog, seizing the initiative in nascent markets: “Satya was basically saying we can’t just assume we can dominate.” But on a concrete level, what will Nadella actually do ? That’s the multi-billion-dollar question. Here are some possibilities: Office for iPad: As the old saying goes: if you can’t beat ‘em, release software for their platform. Despite a more aggressive push into mobile devices, Microsoft has failed to make much of a dent in Apple’s commanding share of the tablet market. Now it’s widely expected that Microsoft will (partially) embrace its longtime rival by launching Office for the iPad, which could create a whole new revenue stream while protecting the mobile flank of Microsoft’s business divisions. An Office-on-iPad launch would also play into Nadella’s emphasis on cloud and mobile. Windows Not First: Under former CEO Steve Ballmer (and before him, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates), everything Microsoft did on a strategy level was seemingly designed to protect the cash cow of Windows. While that seemed a logical strategy for many years, the rise of the cloud has weakened the primacy of the operating system—your average user simply doesn’t need Windows (or iOS, for that matter) in order to access a vast plethora of browser-based software and services. In light of that, it’s probable that Nadella will shift his company’s emphasis toward building cloud-based software and services, all while focusing less (but not too much less) on maintaining Windows at the expense of other divisions. Acquisitions Time: Microsoft sits atop a lot of cash. While the company hasn’t been acquisitions-shy before, it’s mainly spent that money horde on sizable firms such as Nokia and Skype, with mixed results (Skype has proven something of a success, while the jury’s still out on Nokia). If Nadella plays toward his comfort zone and emphasizes the development of cloud properties, it seems likely that Microsoft will begin spending money on promising Web properties, which could place it in even fiercer competition with Google. As another element in his calculations, Nadella also knows that the right acquisitions can draw a lot of buzz— Yahoo demonstrated that if you buy enough startups, people will stop thinking you’re a dinosaur. Is Snapchat still for sale? The Big Question: Spinoffs? For quite some time, analysts and investors have badgered Microsoft to either break apart or sell off some of its divisions, focusing in particular on Xbox and Bing. The latter is now impossible for Microsoft to sell off or shut down—search is an integral part of the company’s cloud strategy, and eliminating it would leave Google with an unencumbered run of that particular arena. But Nadella might choose to abandon Microsoft’s longtime desire to dominate the living room, and spin off (or sell off) the Xbox division. While the likelihood of this seems small, outside analysts still think there’s a chance—especially if the new Xbox One fails to handily beat Sony’s PlayStation 4, which currently has a slight lead in sales. Whatever Nadella chooses to do, he faces several tough decisions over the next few quarters: running a company the size of Microsoft isn’t for the faint of heart. Related Stories Microsoft Taps Insider Nadella as CEO Microsoft’s Diversity at the Top Isn’t a Sea Change New Microsoft CEO Unlikely to Stem Defections Image: Microsoft The post What Microsoft’s Satya Nadella Could Do Next appeared first on Dice News .

  • Microsoft Taps Insider Nadella as CEO

    Microsoft’s enterprise business head Satya Nadella was named the company’s third CEO yesterday, succeeding Steve Ballmer, who announced his intention to step down last year. Meantime, company founder Bill Gates is giving up his role as chairman to work with Nadella on enhancing the company’s technology and products. Working with the title “Technology Advisor,” Gates is expected to work at Microsoft several days each week, according to Re/code . He’ll remain on the board of directors, which will now be led by former Symantec CEO John Thompson. Microsoft’s been having a tough time of late. With its Surface tablet struggling to find traction and Windows 8 given a lackluster reception at best , the company finds itself overshadowed by the likes of Apple’s iPad and Google’s Chrome OS in segments vital to its success. Nadella’s been with Microsoft for more than twenty years, most recently as executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise division. As Slashdot points out, he and his team were responsible for the creation of the Cloud OS platform that powers Redmond’s cloud services like SkyDrive, Azure and Office 365. Since he took over cloud services, revenue has grown by several billion dollars. Many observers speculate that by bringing in an engineer to lead the company, Microsoft is getting back to technology basics. “I think he’s the right person for the company right now,” Frank Artale, a former Microsoft manager who now works with the Seattle venture capital firm Ignition Partners, told the New York Times . “A strong technical leader is truly needed there.” See more coverage on Slashdot. Image: Microsoft The post Microsoft Taps Insider Nadella as CEO appeared first on Dice News .