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Spring Journal

Volume 29, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

Emergency response, information technology, and healthcare communications are three scenarios in which notification systems play a critical role. Recent disasters have demonstrated the benefits of crowdsourcing during response efforts, so notification systems are leveraging this responsiveness through two-way communication technology that can both disseminate and receive information.

The critical communications world continues to evolve, resulting in users taking a closer look at their existing notification systems to determine whether they remain effective tools for communicating crucial information. However, before these systems can be assessed, it is important to first understand a few of the ways these tools are being utilized, the challenges faced within each use case, and how, as we look forward to 2016, these hurdles can be overcome.



Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, is planning to build a data center specifically to collect and analyze data from cars equipped with a new type of Data Communication Module, an upcoming feature that will enable the company’s next-generation connected-vehicle framework, which will transmit data over cellular networks.

“To build the IT infrastructure needed to support this significant expansion of vehicle data processing, the company will create a Toyota Big Data Center (TBDC) in the Toyota Smart Center,” the company said in a statement. “TBDC will analyze and process data collected by DCM, and use it to deploy services under high-level information security and privacy controls.”

Connected cars are one of the new quickly growing sources of data expected to drive growth in demand for data transmission, storage, and processing capacity, collectively referred to as the Internet of Things.



Tuesday, 05 January 2016 00:00

Cloud Services are Eating the World

Shlomo Kramer is the Co-Founder and CEO of Cato Networks.

The cloud revolution is impacting the technology sector. You can clearly see it in the business results of companies like HP and IBM. For sure, legacy technology providers are embracing the cloud. They are transforming their businesses from building and running on-premise infrastructures to delivering cloud-based services. The harsh reality is that this is a destructive transformation. For every dollar that exits legacy environments, only a fraction comes back through cloud services. This is the great promise of the cloud – maximizing economies of scale, efficient resource utilization and smart sharing of scarce capabilities.

It is just the latest phase of the destructive force that technology applies to all parts of our economy. Traditionally, technology vendors touted benefits such as personnel efficiencies and operational savings as part of the justification for purchasing new technologies – a politically correct way to refer to fewer people, offices and the support systems around them. This has now inevitably impacted the technology vendors themselves. Early indicators were abundant: Salesforce.com has displaced Siebel systems, reducing the need for costly and customized implementations; and Amazon AWS is increasingly displacing physical servers, reducing the need for processors, cabinets, cabling, power and cooling.



Tuesday, 05 January 2016 00:00

Manufacturing Vs. IT: Mind The Gap

If businesses have been automating factories since the Carter administration, why is manufacturing the last acceptable data silo in so many companies? And when will that change?

Until recently, absorbing the factory floor into the enterprise has been too expensive and complex for all but the biggest companies.

Assuming the hardware (primarily sensors) and software needed to gather, disseminate and analyze manufacturing data continues to evolve at the current pace -- a safe assessment -- the mainstreaming of manufacturing integration should occur in less than a decade.



Two texts. That’s all it takes to avoid potential stomach pains in Evanston, Ill.

Or at least, that was the goal behind an endeavor that pairs the city’s restaurant inspection scores on Yelp with text message alerts for diners. When the SMS program launched early in 2015 it was a quiet release. In fact, Erika Storlie, Evanston’s deputy manager, described the undertaking as more of a four-month side project than anything else.

The city had just completed a project with Yelp to feed restaurant inspection scores to the review site and wanted to investigate joining the scores with its 311 non-emergency texting app. The problem was, Evanston’s 311 app required a person on the other end to retrieve or record data and submit replies.



Tuesday, 05 January 2016 00:00

Get Informed. Get Prepared. Get PrepWise.

CHICAGO – CNA is kicking off 2016 with its new PrepWise preparedness campaign, designed to help customers think ahead and prepare their businesses for critical exposures all year round. PrepWise is divided into six themes: Winter Prep, Hail & Flood, Hurricane, Heat & Wildfire, Cyber Security and National Preparedness.

"Experience is the best teacher, and PrepWise allows CNA to continue to help our customers utilize our Risk Control expertise through a series of educational resources and actionable tips," said Bill Boyd, senior vice president, Risk Control, CNA. "The coldest months of the year are just ahead of us, and we want our customers to be prepared – from frozen pipes to slips, trips and falls. Businesses that stay ahead of the winter weather also get ahead of the risk exposures, greatly reducing their chances of experiencing a business interruption."

CNA Risk Control has identified four key resource guides for businesses throughout the upcoming winter:

For more information about PrepWise, please contact Brandon Davis at 312-822-5167. CNA will also be providing a series of tips on its social media channels. Additional information and emergency preparedness resources can be found at www.cna.com/prepwise.

About CNA
Serving businesses and professionals since 1897, CNA is the country's eighth largest commercial insurance writer and the 14th largest property and casualty company. CNA's insurance products include standard commercial lines, specialty lines, surety, marine, and other property and casualty coverages. CNA's services include risk management, information services, underwriting, risk control and claims administration. For more information, please visit CNA at www.cna.com. "CNA" is a service mark registered by CNA Financial Corporation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the "CNA" service mark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities.

Follow CNA (NYSE: CNA) on: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube

Fusion's Cloud Solution Allows Internationally Recognized Institution to Leapfrog Over Legacy Infrastructure

NEW YORK, NY – Fusion (NASDAQ: FSNN), a leading provider of cloud services, announced today that a major East Coast University has signed a three year, $150,000 agreement to replace its costly and inefficient legacy communications infrastructure with Fusion's advanced, secure and reliable network connection to the cloud. The private institution, which is well respected for its outstanding undergraduate liberal arts and active graduate research programs, is housed in over 100 buildings spread across more than 200 acres. Fusion was selected in order to meet the university's need for a truly diverse, high quality communications solution that would allow the learning institution to securely access the many cost, efficiency and productivity benefits of the cloud while ensuring business continuity in the event of natural or other disaster.

The university selected the Fusion solution for the provider's robust, redundant and diverse national cloud network, which was designed to guarantee optimal network performance. The learning institution was also impressed by Fusion's powerful routing management portal that seamlessly distributes calls across multiple sites, ensuring that the university's communications can continue to flow during peak traffic periods or unforeseen interruptions in power or connectivity. While meeting the university's most immediate performance, network diversity and business continuity requirements, this initial cloud connection makes possible the future integration of additional Fusion cloud solutions, including cloud voice, connectivity, cloud computing, backup and recovery and secure file sharing. 

"Fusion is delighted to deliver a flexible and reliable solution that maximizes the university's control over its own changing service environment, reducing costs in the process and increasing productivity and efficiency. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud platform combines intelligent routing features with a real-time routing capability that takes the challenge out of capacity planning and addresses call overflows during peak usage periods or any service-impacting event. Replacing the university's aging, legacy infrastructure with scalable, flexible and cost-effective cloud solutions will future-proof its investments and help this well-respected learning institution meet its rapidly expanding communications requirements," said Russell P. Markman, Fusion's President of Business Services.

About Fusion

Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud communications, cloud connectivity, and cloud computing. Fusion's innovative, yet proven cloud solutions lower our customers' cost of ownership, and deliver new levels of security, flexibility, scalability, and speed of deployment. For more information, please visit www.fusionconnect.com.

Connectivity, High-Density Capability, Low-Cost Power and Design Flexibility Converge at Infomart Dallas to Enable the Next Generation of Supercomputing

DALLAS, Texas – Infomart Data Centers, a national wholesale data center provider, announces today that Nimbix, Inc., a leader in cloud-based, High-Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure and applications, has selected Infomart Dallas to support the infrastructure needs of its upgraded High-Performance Computing (HPC) cloud platform, JARVICE 2.0. Infomart Dallas provides Nimbix with a high-density data center complete with industry-leading connectivity options, access to the core Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) network hub, and the low-cost power it needs to deliver its innovative HPC solutions.

With plans to supply 100 MW of electricity to the building, Infomart Dallas provides Nimbix the capacity it needs to scale both density and footprint, necessary for maintaining the high-speed networking fabric required to deliver its HPC cloud applications. With power density requirements equating to three to four times the industry average for cloud computing, Nimbix also takes advantage of the building's access to low-cost power, which enables it to realize a 50 percent power savings as compared to other Dallas data center providers. Additionally, Nimbix's cloud-based supercomputing solution benefits from Infomart's flexible design options, including the use of containment and Vertical Exhaust Ducts (VEDs) to scale density and enable greater efficiency, and consequently, improve usage cost economics.

Infomart Dallas is among the most connected carrier-neutral data centers in the world, with over 75 carriers currently contracted in the building, including international and domestic network, content, cloud and Internet service providers. JARVICE 2.0 end-users require access to the platform from across the globe; Nimbix relies on Infomart's carrier-neutral Building Meet-Me Room (BMMR) for diverse connectivity to domestic and international carriers that enable this accessibility. With free client cross-connects in the BMMR, Nimbix will realize additional savings in traditionally aggregated cross-connect fees.

"Nimbix focuses on reducing the costs and complexities surrounding big data analytics and computation for customers around the world with JARVICE 2.0," says Rob Sherrard, Co-Founder and VP of Service Delivery at Nimbix. "Infomart Dallas is a catalyst for JARVICE 2.0, delivering the global connectivity, low-cost power, design flexibility, security and dynamic infrastructure critical to powering both the Nimbix cloud and high-performance processing platform."

The 1.6 million-square-foot Infomart Dallas facility is one of the nation's largest carrier hotels and the hub of connectivity for the Southern U.S. Offering best-in-class availability and engineered to eliminate downtime, Infomart Dallas has accrued zero minutes of downtime since 2009. The data center is also compliant with several industry regulations, including SSAE 16, HIPAA and PCI DSS.

"It's hard to fathom that nearly 90 percent of the world's data today was created in the last two years," says John Sheputis, President of Infomart Data Centers. "As businesses turn to next-gen cloud providers like Nimbix to derive more insight from this data explosion, Infomart's low-cost power, premier connectivity and award-winning infrastructure will continue to address these high-tech companies' high-density power requirements and global delivery demands."

Wholesale colocation space is still available inside Infomart Dallas. Learn more about the facility by visiting http://infomartdatacenters.com/locations/dallas/.

About Infomart Data Centers
Founded in 2006, Infomart Data Centers (formerly Fortune Data Centers) is an award-winning industry leader in building, owning and operating highly efficient, cost-effective wholesale data centers. Each of its national facilities meet or exceed the highest industry standards for data centers in all operational categories of availability, security, connectivity and physical resilience.

Infomart Data Centers offers wholesale and colocation facilities in four markets throughout the United States: San Jose, Calif.; Hillsboro, Ore.; Dallas; and Ashburn, Va. For more information, please visit www.infomartdatacenters.com or connect with Infomart on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Nimbix
Nimbix is a leading provider of purpose-built cloud computing for big data and computation. Powered by JARVICE™, the Nimbix cloud provides high performance software as a service, dramatically speeding up data processing for Energy, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Media and Analytics applications. Nimbix delivers unique accelerated high-performance systems and applications from its world-class datacenters as a pay-per-use service. Additional information about Nimbix is included in the company overview, which is available on the Nimbix website at http://www.nimbix.net.

MILPITAS, Calif. – ProphetStor Data Services, Inc., Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. and Mellanox Technologies, Inc. today announced that they have joined forces to build and promote a reference cloud computing platform based on the open-source projects OpenStack and Ceph, leveraging each company's respective strength in software-defined-storage, state-of-the-art server hardware, and high-speed networking.

Based on ProphetStor Federator® SDS, this joint project addresses the key issues of OpenStack's storage management solution as well as improving the functionality and performance of Ceph, the de facto storage backend for OpenStack.

Federator is a suite of data services software that includes storage management and orchestration, storage virtualization, I/O traffic modeling, elastic resource control, business continuity, disaster recovery, data migration, and copy management. When integrated with Ceph, Federator offers the following benefits to cloud service providers:

  • Automatic deployment of Ceph clusters through PXE (Preboot Execution Environment)
  • Simplified OSD and pool management with disk striping and grouping
  • IOPS performance classification and provisioning
  • Enterprise-grade features such as decompression, deduplication, thin-provisioning, RAID, snapshot, clone, and rollback
  • Trending graphic reports with an analytics engine
  • Optimized journal performance with SATA or NVMe SSDs
  • Much lower latency with iSER (iSCSI Extensions for RDMA) enabled by Mellanox switches and network adapter cards (NICs)

As a part of its effort to transition to a full cloud-based backend to support its dev-test environment and all future mobile applications, One of the largest investment banks in the People's Republic of China had conducted a thorough evaluation of this reference platform in terms of deployment, management, enterprise storage features, fault tolerance, recovery, performance, monitoring and analytics metrics. As indicated in its 68-page lab report, the sample deployment satisfied, and in most cases, surpassed all success criteria. The Ceph cluster achieved random read performance of up to 40,000 IOPS per node and random Read-Write (70-30%) performance clocked in at 20,000 IOPS per node.

ProphetStor, GIGABYTE, and Mellanox will engage in product integration and technology validation, prior to co-marketing the bundled solution through their perspective sales teams and channel partners worldwide next year (2016).

"Cloud computing represents a paradigm shift for the server hardware manufacturers," said Etay Lee, General Manager, Network & Communication Business Unit, GIGABYTE. "The hardware infrastructure is only as powerful as the software it runs, and vice versa. As a hardware company, we strive to identify first-class software vendors and collaborate with them to create tried-and-true total solutions for our customers. We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to work with ProphetStor Data Services to broaden our reach in the marketplace of software-defined data center and together bring cloud computing to a whole new level."

The end user application requirements represent only a fraction of the overall bandwidth needed. The Ceph network must handle OSD heartbeat, data replication, cluster rebalancing and recovery traffic. As a result, cluster (back-side) traffic significantly exceeds public (front-side) traffic under normal operating conditions and creates a large burden on the network fabric.

"Ceph is a perfect use case for Mellanox's high-speed Ethernet switches," said Kevin Deierling, Vice President Marketing, Mellanox Technologies. "Our SX1012 40Gb/s Ethernet switches and adapters increase Ceph performance while lowering the deployment costs. We are excited to be an enabling partner of ProphetStor and GIGABYTE for the scale-out cloud computing project. This is one of the best opportunities to showcase our networking capabilities in areas where they really count."

"When it comes to cloud platforms, enterprise customers are looking for total solutions instead of individual hardware and software components," said Eric Chen, ProphetStor CEO. "Teaming up with leading server and networking hardware manufacturers such as GIGABYTE and Mellanox allows us to recommend a select sets of hardware-software configurations that are fully integrated, optimized and validated so we can deliver to our mutual customers a converged OpenStack solution with expanded features and much improved scale-out storage performance."

About GIGABYTE Technology Co., Ltd.

GIGABYTE is a leading brand in the global IT industry with employees and business channels in almost every country. Founded in 1986, GIGABYTE started as a research and development team and has since taken the lead in the world's motherboard and graphics card markets. Drawing from its vast R&D and manufacturing capacities and know-how, GIGABYTE had further expanded its product portfolio to include PC components, PC peripherals, laptops, desktop computers, network communication devices, servers and mobile phones, with a goal to serve each facet of the digital life in homes and offices. Everyday GIGABYTE aims to "Upgrade Your Life" with innovative technology, exceptional quality, and unmatched customer service. Visit http://www.gigabyte.com for more information.

About Mellanox Technologies, Inc.

Mellanox Technologies is a leading supplier of end-to-end InfiniBand and Ethernet interconnect solutions and services for servers and storage. Mellanox interconnect solutions increase data center efficiency by providing the highest throughput and lowest latency, delivering data faster to applications and unlocking system performance capability. Mellanox offers a choice of fast interconnect products: adapters, switches, software, cables and silicon that accelerate application runtime and maximize business results for a wide range of markets including high-performance computing, enterprise data centers, Web 2.0, cloud, storage and financial services. More information is available at http://www.mellanox.com.

About ProphetStor Data Services, Inc.

ProphetStor Data Services, Inc., a leader in Software-Defined Storage (SDS), provides federated storage and data services to enable both enterprises and cloud service providers to build an agile, automated, intelligent, and orchestrated storage infrastructure.

ProphetStor was founded in 2012 by seasoned storage experts with extensive experience in cloud computing platforms, software-based networked storage, data services, business continuity and disaster recovery.

Headquartered in Milpitas, California, ProphetStor has branch offices in Asia-Pacific regions to serve international customers. For more information, visit www.prophetstor.com.

Additional Resources

ProphetStor Federator is a trademark of ProphetStor Data Services, Inc. in the US and other countries. All other company and product names contained herein may be trademarks of their respective holders.

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