Archive for the ‘Software News’ category

The benefits and challenges of software-defined power

April 24th, 2014

The software-defined data center (SDDC), considered by many to be the final step in the evolution of virtualization, ignores the main cause of most application outages: power.

Over half of outages are power-related. These outages lead to headline-news events, such as the outages of major public cloud providers or the lack of service from major government systems. Millions of dollars are lost each week due to downtime caused by power events. Perhaps the time has come for more-analytical and proactive thinking about the concept of power management.

Moreover, most data center infrastructures are designed for peak load capacity that is structured for cyclical or seasonal workloads. This creates inefficiencies and waste for average workloads, which creates the need to turn off power to servers in an automated manner to realize massive savings on the energy bill.

Software-defined power provides a few key benefits. First, to achieve ultimate reliability, applications must be abstracted from the data center power infrastructure. Second, it’s necessary to automatically transition application workloads from one location to another — turning off and on the associated IT and facilities equipment. But how real is this technology, and is anyone using it yet? That question is on the minds of those who own and manage data centers, as well as those who drive private and public clouds.

At its essence, software-defined power is about abstracting power away from the physical dimensions. Software-defined power abstracts the data center itself by dynamically moving the application load between data centers. Moreover, this technology can match IT resources to the application load, powering down equipment that is not required while ensuring it remains available.

Additionally, software-defined power can increase power efficiency by:

Providing dynamic workload redistribution
Supporting testing and DR operations
Providing dynamic reallocation of resources to optimize the use of power and finding the least costly power
Providing resource-consumption planning, allowing for bulk purchases of power and demand planning
Collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing IT and facilities data to improve capacity, performance, and utilization
Automating responses to environmental changes or other trigger events
Adjusting to changing power needs based on application demands

This paper explores the fundamentals of software-defined power and reviews how IT organizations can apply software-defined power in their data centers to increase the availability of applications and data.

Key takeaways from this report include:

Software-defined power is evolving. The benefits of this technology will make it commonplace in just a few years.
Because of software-defined power’s ROI and reliability benefits, it can pay for itself in a short time.
Innovative companies are leveraging software-defined power to increase reliability and reduce costs.
Approach this technology with a bit of planning to optimize success.
Follow a step-by-step procedure to insure the proper course that will maximize the value of this technology.


Cloud Spending by Companies Outpaces Predictions, Forrester Says

April 24th, 2014

Corporate spending on cloud-computing services, software and resources will reach $191 billion in 2020 as companies replace older equipment and programs with Internet-based systems, a research firm said.

Growth in the cloud market is outrunning prior forecasts, according to Forrester Research Inc. (FORR), which projects a rise from $58 billion last year to $72 billion this year. The market is on course to be about 20 percent bigger by 2020 than estimated earlier, Forrester said in a report to be published today.

Cloud computing has reached “hypergrowth” as businesses replace standard licensed software from companies such as Oracle Corp., SAP AG and Microsoft Corp. with Web-based subscription versions, known as software-as-a-service, said Andrew Bartels, an analyst at Forrester. Many companies have also shunned building out their own data centers in favor of using Internet-based computing power from outside vendors, he said.

“There’s been a higher level of replacement than we had assumed,” said Bartels, who is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “A lot of companies are not building data centers. They’re going to public providers.”

The biggest contributor to the total will be software-as-a-service, offered by companies such as Inc. (CRM), which corporations typically use to manage customer, sales and operational data. By 2020, 25 percent of the total of $523 billion of software applications purchased will be software-as-a-service, Forrester projects.
Data Centers

By 2020, some 19 percent of the $230 billion spent on servers and storage hardware will be on machinery used for cloud data centers. Companies such as Inc., through its Amazon Web Services unit, and Microsoft are building data centers on multiple continents in anticipation of increasing demand, the report said.

While the public cloud is growing quickly, it will never totally replace in-house computing resources, Forrester said. Companies want to continue to run applications that are unique to them on their own equipment, and there is some older software that isn’t worth the cost of updating, the researcher said.


What Is Malware? How It Can Affect Your Computer

April 24th, 2014

The Internet is no longer the safe place it was many years ago. Malware, or malicious software, is on the rise and can be found in all corners of the Internet. By simply navigating to a website or opening an email, you are at risk of infecting your computer.

Malware takes the form of code, scripts, content and even legitimate software to obtain access to your computer and the personal information it houses.

Types of malware

Malware is the umbrella term used to describe many different types of malevolent software. Computer viruses, computer worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware and adware are all different varieties of malware, each of which interacts with your computer in a different fashion.

Regardless of what form they take, each piece of malware exploits weaknesses in your computer software to gain access for a variety of purposes.

The goal of malware

Pranksters and malicious hackers alike write tens of thousands of new malicious applications daily, for a variety of reasons. Pranksters simply want to see the havoc their programs can wreak, or want to get a special message out. Hackers do it to further their reputations, disrupt operations or gather private information.

On the personal-computer level, malware can steal information valuable to identity thieves, such as Social Security numbers, credit card information, email addresses and passwords.

Many hackers design malicious software with the goal of making money. Certain malware applications disguise themselves as legitimate applications, or even fake antivirus applications, in order to gain access to your computer. The fake antivirus software generates pop-up windows telling you your computer is infected, and that only by buying its bogus products will you be clean.

Keystroke logging is when a piece of malware tracks every keystroke you make on your computer’s keyboard. Based on the keystrokes, hackers are able to pick out login IDs and passwords to bank accounts and whatever other websites you may be visiting.

A botnet is a network of computers working together over the Internet. Many piece of malware infect computers and draft them into botnets to be used as part of a spam campaign — to send spam emails throughout the world — or a distributed denial-of-service attack, which repeatedly loads a website with bogus requests with the intention of making it unreachable.

Protecting against malware

Firewall software and antivirus software are two defenses against malware. Windows offers its own built-in firewall and antivirus protection, though one of the mistakes computer users make is to turn off the built-in firewall and antivirus software provided with Windows.

Unless you are using other antivirus software with a firewall function, these features should never be turned off. Instead of using Windows’ firewall and antivirus protections, many users purchase third-party software for increased levels of protection. These applications index the countless malware applications that exist and act as a barricade against infiltration.


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