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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

Computerworld - When Healthcare.gov was launched last October, it gave millions of Americans direct experience with a government IT failure on a massive scale. But the overall reliability of federal IT operations is being called into question by a survey that finds outages aren't uncommon in government.

Specifically, the survey found that 70% of federal agencies have experienced downtime of 30 minutes or more in a recent one-month period. Of that number, 42% of the outages were blamed on network or server problems and 29% on Internet connectivity loss.

This rate of outage isn't anywhere near as severe or dramatic as what Healthcare.gov faced until it was fixed. But the report by MeriTalk, which provides a network for government IT professionals, suggest that downtime is a systemic issue. The research was sponsored by Symantec.

The report is interesting because it surveys two distinct government groups, 152 federal "field workers," or people who work outside the office, and 150 IT professionals.

...

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9250494/IT_outages_are_an_ongoing_problem_for_the_U.S_government

For all the care and feeding we’ve given to the data center over the years, it must be remembered that all that technology and the skills to operate it are a means to an end. The real prize these days is application performance.

An increasingly mobile workforce is fostering dramatic changes in the way work and productivity are measured, and enterprise infrastructure needs to keep up with these trends in order to remain relevant in the years to come. That means issues like throughput and compute power are still important, but so are architectural flexibility and the need to become more responsive to user needs.

According to a recent survey from SolarWinds, 93 percent of business people say the performance and availability of apps like Exchange, Sharepoint and NetSuite are crucial to their job performance, with nearly two-thirds describing them as critically important. At the same time, however, 36 percent say they have waited a full day for problems to be resolved in mission-critical apps, while 22 percent have experienced wait times of several days.

...

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-enterprise-in-an-app-driven-universe.html

By Claire Phipps, MBCI

Businesses are usually in operation to make money and deliver a service or provide a product. To be successful there are many traits required and by ensuring your business is dynamic, adaptive, efficient and cost effective are all good starting points. Who would want a business that is passive, rigid, ineffective and expensive?

The same is true when talking about good management disciplines and recognised international standards and best practice.

So why don’t we evolve these disciplines and channel our way of thinking to change the way in which we deploy them. Adapt the methods in which we operate to one of ‘organizational resiliency’ - an all-encompassing comprehensive management discipline that ‘ticks all the right boxes’, provides success, growth, strength, security and a return on our investment.

Within my industry, there has long been an ongoing discussion and debate with regards to the future of business continuity and whether or not organizational resilience is the way forward. The fact that we are still not getting a concrete answer could be the answer itself. Yet again I’m hearing the phase being more commonly discussed and thought I would consider my own opinions on the topic and open this up for further discussion.

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature1217.html

Senior disaster management officials from APEC economies, meeting in Beijing in the aftermath of the Ludian Earthquake in Southwest China, have detailed new far-reaching measures to strengthen relief and risk reduction capabilities across the Asia-Pacific, the world’s most disaster-prone region.

Upon observing a moment of silence for the victims of the 6.5 magnitude quake, officials were briefed on efforts to help survivors and speed recovery, and sanctioned deeper cooperation to protect against future emergencies. Joint actions are being taken forward in technical capacity building exchanges between APEC economies.

“The frequent occurrence of natural disasters poses a serious threat to lives and the economic health of the entire region,” cautioned Dou Yupei, China’s Vice Minister of Civil Affairs, in remarks to the 8th APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials’ Forum. “We must join hands to reduce disaster risk and guarantee the coordinated development of society, economy and the environment.”

...

http://www.continuitycentral.com/news07326.html

IFMA, the US-based International Facility Management Association, has published an overarching guide to business continuity and emergency preparedness. It includes results from the IFMA 2014 Business Continuity Survey and research forums on emergency preparedness and business continuity.

‘High Stakes Business: People, Property and Services (Facility Management Perspectives on Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity in North America)’ looks at the growing necessity of emergency and business continuity planning as a strategic priority; one which provides a unique opportunity for facility managers to establish valued partner status in ensuring organizational resiliency and longevity.

“Emergency preparedness and business continuity are critical and complex tasks that affects all facets of commercial and institutional facilities are central to FM worldwide. This publication provides practical guidance to facility professionals in order to develop plans that will best equip their organizations to resume normal operations as quickly as possible after disaster strikes,” said Stephen Ballesty, IFMA Board of Directors, IFMA Research Committee Chair, Director, Head of Advisory, Head of Research.

The report is available at a cost of $180 for non IFMA members and £90 for members.

More details.

The 2014 BCI Asia Awards took place on Thursday 14th August at the 12th Asia Business Continuity Conference in Singapore. The BCI Asia Awards are held each year to recognise the outstanding contribution of business continuity professionals and organizations living in the region.

The Winners of the Awards were:

Business Continuity Provider of the Year (Product)
ezBCM

Business Continuity Team of the Year
Maxis Berhad

Business Continuity Innovation of the Year
Bluezoo

BCM Manager of the Year
Khalid Ahmed Bahabri

BCM Newcomer of the Year
Sachin Kumar

All winners from the BCI Asia Awards 2014 will be automatically entered into the BCI Global Awards 2014 which take place in November during the BCI World Conference and Exhibition 2014.

www.thebci.org

CloudSigma Continues U.S. Cloud Expansion into Honolulu-Based Data Center to Assist Companies Migrating to the Cloud and Strengthen Presence in APAC

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Following its recent Silicon Valley and Miami cloud location openings, CloudSigma, a public cloud IaaS provider with advanced hybrid hosting solutions, today announced that it has expanded its public cloud to the DRFortress data center in Honolulu, Hawaii. With the data center's proximity to Asia, both CloudSigma and its U.S.-based customers will now have easier access and faster expansion to the APAC market. This includes DRFortress' existing customer base, many of which are expected to combine their on-premise systems or migrate off legacy cloud providers to CloudSigma's highly-available, fully-scalable cloud.

CloudSigma's DRFortress location will be fully compatible with all of CloudSigma's other locations, which include Silicon Valley, Miami, Washington D.C. and Switzerland, and will be accessible via CloudSigma's WebApp. As such, current CloudSigma customers that expand to the Hawaiian cloud location will see no change in the way they manage their cloud servers and will reap the benefits of improved latency performance and redundancy in the region. DRFortress customers will now have a fully-fledged public cloud offering in the building with access to a network of cloud locations across the U.S. and Europe.

New customers can seamlessly incorporate CloudSigma capacity into their infrastructure strategy due to CloudSigma's neutral platform approach, which allows for flexible VM sizing, an open software layer running any x86/x64 OS and none of the other deployment restrictions imposed by many competing providers. DRFortress and CloudSigma are also working together to ensure customers are up and running in the cloud as soon as possible through joint cloud training for the DRFortress customers.

"Partnering with CloudSigma was a strategic decision. After testing the platform against competing providers, we knew from the onset that having CloudSigma colocated within our data center would be a huge selling point for our customers," said Fred Rodi, President, DRFortress. "While, today, it may seem like the cloud is ubiquitous from all the buzz and attention, the reality is that many companies have yet to make the transition. However, having a cloud like CloudSigma's that breaks down common deployment barriers readily-available in our data center, offers our customers and channel partners the ability to incorporate cloud-delivered infrastructure, all within the trusted environment of the DRFortress data center."

As CloudSigma continues to expand its global footprint, its presence within the DRFortress Hawaii  data center will strengthen its relationships with existing APAC customers while attracting new, Asia-based companies that want to leverage CloudSigma's U.S. jurisdiction for their U.S. clouds. What's more, deploying in CloudSigma's Hawaii-based cloud will allow current customers to better-serve the Asian market with low latency and high-performing compute resources.

"Over the last few years, we've developed strong partnerships with our data center providers and it's fueled new opportunities for our customers, including our hybrid hosting offering," said Robert Jenkins, CEO, CloudSigma. "Our relationship with DRFortress is no different, and by leveraging its geographic location and existing customer base, CloudSigma has strong potential for growth in the U.S., Asia and beyond. By granting DRFortress customers and channel partners easy access to a flexible, customer-centric cloud, we're able to further cloud adoption while also growing their customer base." 

About DRFortress
Based in Honolulu, DRFortress is Hawaii's premier managed colocation services provider offering network neutral data center and managed services to companies with mission-critical systems and business continuity plans as well as content creators and distributors, system integrators, carriers, wireless service providers, cable companies and ISPs. The company's state-of-the-art data center houses the densest concentration of IP carriers in Hawaii, including AT&T, Clearwire, Hawaiian Telcom, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, and tw telecom.

About CloudSigma
CloudSigma is a pure-cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider that's enabling the digital industrial economy through its highly-available, flexible, enterprise-class hybrid cloud servers and cloud hosting solutions, both in Europe and the U.S. CloudSigma is the most customizable cloud provider on the market, giving customers full control over their cloud and eliminating restrictions on how users deploy their computing resources. With CloudSigma, customers can provision processing, storage, networks and other fundamental computing resources as they please, as well as extend private networks out of existing infrastructure and elastically into CloudSigma's IaaS cloud to create easy to manage and transparent hybrid cloud solutions. For more information, please visit www.CloudSigma.com or find the company on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

No. 1-selling software for running Windows applications on a Mac becomes an even easier choice for millions of consumers and IT professionals worldwide with this most powerful version of the software to date

LONDON, UKParallels® today launched Parallels Desktop® 10 for Mac (www.parallels.com/uk/upgradepd10) and Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac Enterprise Edition, the industry-leading software for running Windows applications on Macs. New built-in intelligence and support for Apple’s latest operating systems – including OS X Yosemite[1] – greatly improves ease-of-use for both business users and consumers, allowing them to forget about the operating system and focus on the task at hand. Starting Aug. 20th, current users can upgrade to Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac at www.parallels.com/uk/upgradepd10. For new customers, Parallels Desktop 10 will be available for purchase at retail and online stores worldwide and via the Parallels website starting Aug. 26th.

“Millions of Parallels Desktop for Mac customers have come to expect ingenuity, ease of use and speed from Parallels and they will not be disappointed with Parallels Desktop 10,” said Parallels President Jack Zubarev. “With Parallels Desktop 10 customers can enjoy new levels of productivity without having to worry about whether the app they need is available on a specific operating system — Parallels creates a world of compatibility at home, work and on the road.”

Parallels Desktop 10 will bring many of the announced features of Mac OS X Yosemite[1] to Windows and Windows applications, supporting iCloud Drive, iMessages and SMS text sharing from Windows, and control of virtual machines from Spotlight preview and Finder QuickLook. New ease-of-use improvements include Wizards that guide users through optimising their experience, improved performance and battery life, and improved usability between operating systems so that people can complete tasks more quickly.

Parallels Desktop 10 gets out of the way so customers can think less about the tools being used and more about what’s important. It also offers the choice and freedom to use whatever operating system fits your needs – including OS X Yosemite, OS X Mavericks, Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Windows 8, Windows 7, Chrome OS, Android and a number of Linux operating systems – all on one computer.

“Today we are seeing a shift in consumer behaviour. Users’ expectations are that they should be able to simply run any application they need regardless of operating system,” said Laura DiDio, ITIC Consulting. “Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac is helping customers realise this goal by offering best-in-class virtualisation software and cross-platform access tools for consumer, SMB and enterprise users.”

Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise Edition

Parallels is also updating Parallels Desktop® for Mac Enterprise Edition — the best way to provide Windows applications on Macs in a corporate environment. Now IT managers can support Windows applications for Mac users with a configurable, policy-compliant solution that easily fits into existing IT business processes. New features allow administrators to select and enforce a USB device policy, install OS X guests using a NetBoot image from a server on the corporate network, encrypt OS X virtual machines with the help of the FileVault encryption feature built into OS X, and check the status of licenses and reclaim seats directly. Built upon the world’s best-selling Mac desktop virtualisation solution, it adds centralised administration and management capabilities as well as enhanced security to keep IT in control of virtual machines.

New Features and Improvements

Regardless of whether it’s ease-of-use, increased productivity, or better performance, Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac offers improvements across all fronts:

Performance and Optimisation:

  • Users can now open Windows documents up to 48 percent faster
  • Battery life is extended by up to 30 percent giving people additional work time when they need it most
  • Virtual machines use up-to 10 percent less Mac memory
  • New virtual machines with default settings launch Office 2013 applications up to 50 percent faster
  • Virtual machine only takes as much disk space on the Mac hard drive as it needs. Real-time optimisation automatically compacts virtual disk eliminating the need for periodic manual compacts.
  • Free Disk Space Wizard allows users to review and clean up space used by Parallels Desktop and Virtual Machines
  • Now with one click users can select from a number of choices to optimise their virtual machine based on what their primary usage is: productivity, games, design or development
  • The new Parallels Control Centre is a one-stop-shop for managing Parallels Desktop; it allows users to manage all their virtual machines and configuration settings from a single place
  • Windows installation has been streamlined, with new ways to configure virtual machines
  • Regional settings from the Mac are now set by default in Windows virtual machines
  • Users can share files, text or web pages from Windows using Internet accounts configured on their Mac such as Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, Flickr; or send them via email, AirDrop and Messages.
  • When users install a new Windows application, its icon will automatically be added to the OS X Launchpad
  • The unread email indicator on Outlook lets users see at a glance the number of unread emails in Outlook, just like with Apple Mail
  • Users can drag and drop files to the virtual machine icon in the Dock to open in Windows
  • Users also have the ability to easily restore any setting to its default value by clicking the Restore Defaults button in the Virtual Machine Configuration window
  • Users can drag and drop files to Mac OS X virtual machines

Easy to get started:

Seamless integration for best user experience:

What Customers are Saying About Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac

“Parallels Desktop 10 is - quite simply – remarkable. I've been a user of Parallels Desktop since version six,” said Steven Z.

“I installed OS X Yosemite Developer Preview as a virtual machine (VM) within Parallels Desktop 10. It works like a dream. I like the idea and ability to configure before launching a VM. I love the Parallels Desktop Control Centre - it looks elegant. I especially like the option to use compact or expanded views. Installation and integration is seamless. I installed Windows 7 and this worked flawlessly within Parallels Desktop,” said Mike B.

“Parallels Desktop 10 running Windows 7 Ultimate is running great! I love the smooth interface between Windows on Parallels Desktop and going to my Mac OS,” said Roland S.

Availability and Pricing

Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac is available beginning Aug. 20th, as an upgrade for current Parallels Desktop for Mac users. The full version will be available to new customers on www.parallels.com/products/desktop starting Aug. 26th. Packaged software will also be available worldwide starting on Aug. 26th.

The standard retail price (SRP) of Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac is £64.99, and the Student Edition is available for £32.95. Upgrades for existing Parallels Desktop 8 or 9 for Mac customers are £34.99. Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac customers receive a complimentary three-month subscription to the Parallels Access app (www.parallels.com/products/access) for up to 5 Macs and PCs and an unlimited number of iOS and Android mobile devices.

Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise Edition software is available via www.parallels.com/products/business.

Parallels Mac Management (www.parallels.com/products/mac-management) plugin for Microsoft System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM) extends your existing SCCM infrastructure to discover, enrol and manage Macs just like you do PCs, through a single pane of glass. From deploying Mac OS X images to managing virtual machines running in Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise Edition, it's everything you need to be a Mac management expert.

About Parallels

Parallels is a global leader in hosting and cloud services enablement and cross platform solutions. Parallels began operations in 2000 and is a fast-growing company with more than 900 employees in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Visit www.parallels.com for more information.

Stay connected with Parallels and our online communities: Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/parallelsdesktop, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/parallelsmac, and visit our blog at http://blogs.parallels.com/consumertech

CHICAGO – Monroe Capital LLC today announced the funding of a $14.3 million credit facility to support the merger of Venture Technologies with Information Systems Consulting Inc., along with the concurrent acquisition of Strategic Allied Technologies.

Based in Ridgeland, Mississippi, Venture Technologies is an IT solutions provider that delivers infrastructure solutions, collaboration solutions, and cloud based services to both private and public sector organizations. Venture Technologies also owns and operates certified Data Centers (VTCloud®) across the United States from which it provides a comprehensive suite of cloud services to thousands of domestic and international customers.

The merger and continued channel consolidation strategy is supported by FlatWorld Capital LLC, a New York-based private equity firm that specializes in funding and advising middle-market IT firms. Partnering with FlatWorld Capital LLC and Venture Technologies demonstrates Monroe’s capabilities and commitment to the technology sector.

About Monroe Capital

Monroe Capital LLC is a leading provider of senior and junior debt and equity co-investments to middle-market companies in the U.S. and Canada. Investment types include unitranche financings, cash flow and enterprise value based loans, acquisition facilities, mezzanine debt, second lien or last-out loans and equity co-investments. Monroe Capital prides itself on its flexible investment approach and its ability to close and fund transactions quickly. Monroe is committed to being a value-added and user-friendly partner to owners, senior management and private equity sponsors.Monroe has been recognized by Global M&A Network as the 2013 Small Mid Market Lender of the Year and by Private Debt Investor as the 2013 Unitranche Lender of the Year.To learn more about Monroe Capital LLC, visitwww.monroecap.com.

Testing with CacheAdvance Application Acceleration Software on MySQL OLTP workload delivers 14X increase in performance and 93% reduction in latency
SAN CARLOS, Calif. — CacheBox, Inc. has announced the addition of Micron’s P420m PCIe SSD to the company’s Hardware Compatibility List. The P420m joins other Enterprise SSDs from Micron that are qualified for use with CacheAdvance™, CacheBox’s unique application acceleration software that enables significant improvements in application throughput and processing with no disruption to a company’s compute or storage infrastructure. CacheBox CEO Lorenzo Salhi, said, “Micron continues to deliver world class innovations in Enterprise SSDs. Our mutual customers benefit from the leading edge value that each of us bring to the market. We’re very pleased to work with an industry leader like Micron.” “When using ultra-high performance storage like our P420m PCIe SSD, it’s important to focus on the most critical workloads,” said Allen Holmes, VP of Customer Enablement, Storage Business for Micron. “We’re excited to work with partners like CacheBox who can deliver innovative software solutions that help end users get the most out of their storage investment.” CacheBox’s internal testing of CacheAdvance shows significant performance improvements and latency reductions with MySQL and enables customers to realize the most cost effective solution for bridging application requirements of performance and capacity. CacheAdvance is a software-only, application centric solution that removes application input/output (IO) bottlenecks in a targeted manner. It works by monitoring application IO requests and intelligently determines which data to accelerate to provide optimal performance and user experience. About CacheBox, Inc. CacheBox is a privately funded, early stage global company with offices in Silicon Valley and Pune, India that is focused on using its advanced application centric architecture to vastly improve application performance. The CacheBox team includes software and storage industry veterans from companies such as sTec and Symantec /Veritas. For more information, visit www.cachebox.com