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Winter Journal

Volume 28, Issue 1

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Jon Seals

The Indian refining and marketing giant subsidiary, Essar Oil (UK) Limited, has selected Aspect's energy trading and risk management solution, AspectCTRM to help optimize its European refinery-related trading, supply and risk management activities.


Essar is a multinational corporation with annual revenues of USD$35 billion and investments in steel, energy, infrastructure and services. With operations in more than 29 countries, it employs over 60,000 people.


One factor which made Essar Oil UK select Aspect was its modern technology stack which allows for painless integrations. AspectCTRM is being integrated with several in-house solutions including Essar UK's refinery and planning system, SAP ERP and its curve management provisioning tools.


Vice President of EMEA Sales, Yags Savania commented, "Aspect's relationship with Essar goes back almost 10 years, where our market data solution AspectDSC was used by Essar's supply and trading group in Mumbai. It's nice to see the relationship mature to where AspectCTRM will now become an integral part of its trading business."

About Aspect Enterprise Solutions
Aspect is a leading global provider of multi-commodity trade, risk and operations management solutions delivered Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) in the cloud. With almost 500 customers in 90 countries, it's one of the fastest growing providers with rapid deployment, affordable subscriptions, and immediate ROI for all size companies. Solutions include AspectCTRM®, a full-featured commodity trading and risk management enterprise suite for front, middle and back office. It's available in three editions: Lite, Standard and Enterprise, expanding in functionality according to the needs and budgets of clients. Aspect is the only ETRM/CTRM solutions provider with market data and analytics tools delivered with its trade and risk functions on the same platform. This provides users with a seamless packaged solution beginning with pre-trade pricing analysis and market assessments via AspectDSC. Aspect's solutions are available on desktop, tablets and mobile devices and through its new Aspect Partner Program (APP).

LAS VEGAS, NVAvere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, announced a strategic collaboration with Google to enable customers to move compute intensive workloads and large data sets to Google Cloud Platform in order to reap the benefits of its highly-scalable and reliable infrastructure. Avere allows easy movement of data between NAS storage systems and Google Cloud Platform, delivering low latency and high-performance for big data processing and storage in the cloud.


Google Cloud Platform gives customers access to the same infrastructure that allows Google to return billions of search results in milliseconds, serve 6 billion hours of YouTube video per month and provide storage for 425 million Gmail users. Avere FXT Edge filers provide the flexibility to deploy and scale compute in Google Compute Engine using both on-premises and/or Google Cloud Storage resources. It is the only solution on the market today that lets companies finally connect the dots between cloud computing and on-premises storage.


“By collaborating with Avere, we have unlocked new cloud computing opportunities for innovative enterprises,” said Patrick McGregor, product management lead for Google Cloud Platform. “In industries such as media, financial services, and life sciences, we make it easy for enterprises to focus on doing what they do best—and we help them manage hybrid cloud storage. Our customers can flexibly run demanding apps in the cloud and store data anywhere, without sacrificing performance.”


At the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) exhibition in Las Vegas, from April 13-16, Avere will be demonstrating at booth SL10227 how its FXT Edge filer solutions work in conjunction with Google Cloud Platform for media and entertainment application workflows such as rendering, transcoding and storing large media archives. Avere will be joined by Google Cloud Platform engineers for these demonstrations and will host live Q&A sessions during show hours.


“With this collaboration, Avere is providing an easy transition to Google Cloud Platform by enabling the integration of compute and storage services with existing on-premises resources,” said Ron Bianchini, CEO and president of Avere Systems. “The result is a solution that provides ultimate flexibility for customers without sacrifices.”


About Avere Systems

Avere is radically changing the economics of data storage. Avere’s hybrid cloud solutions give companies – for the first time – the ability to put an end to the rising cost and complexity of data storage by allowing customers the freedom to store files anywhere in the cloud or on premises without sacrificing the performance, availability or security of their data. Based in Pittsburgh, Avere is led by veterans and thought leaders in the data storage industry and is backed by investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Tenaya Capital, and Western Digital Capital. For more information, visit www.averesystems.com.

Tailor-made solution allows seamless transfer of live golf tournament feeds


MADLEY, UK – ETL Systems, a global designer and manufacturer of RF signal distribution equipment for satellite communications, has been chosen by CP Communications to support its new line of mobile production vehicles.


A range of ETL’s RF equipment including switch matrix / routers and RF combiners and splitters has been used to provide broadcasting capability to CP Communications’ six RF mobile units. ETL Enigma matrices are housed in the production trucks and allow CP Communications to seamlessly switch the RF-over-fibre mini-sites for 18-hole coverage of a live golf tournament.


Living up to its reputation of providing tailor-made solutions, ETL also developed a remote control software solution to meet CP Communications’ unique and highly specific requirements.


“We are delighted to be chosen by CP Communications, as this demonstrates that our RF range is flexible enough to be used in mobile solutions rather than just fixed satellite teleports,” said Susan Saadat, VP of ETL’s North American Office. “CP Communications needed RF distribution equipment with strong RF performance, especially signal isolation, and the Enigma L-band matrix design is the leader in this field.”

In addition to the Enigma series routers in the mobile units, CP Communications built a RF matrix flight pack using two Victor series matrix with RF distribution. This system debuted in Scotland at the Ryder Cup golf tournament.


Kurt G Heitmann, of CP Communications, a global leading provider of video and audio broadcast products and services, said: “CP Communications has the most comprehensive up-to-date digital equipment rental inventory in the industry so it is incredibly important that we choose products that will deliver the best broadcast ability available. ETL not only provides high-quality RF kit but was also able to provide a customised solution to exactly fit our specification.”

For further information about ETL Systems please see http://www.etlsystems.com/.

HOUSTON, Texas – The SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC) will be hosting its annual RHPC (Regional Healthcare Preparedness Coalition) CMOC (Catastrophic Medical Operation Center) functional exercise April 14-16 at the Harris County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

“The RHPC hosts an annual exercise to allow regional and local healthcare agencies to test current emergency plans, policies and procedures ahead of an actual emergency,” said SETRAC Regional Preparedness Operations Director Lori A. Upton. “Exercises like these allow us to find gaps in our plans, and correct them before a real event occurs.”

A functional exercise examines the coordination, command and control between various multi-agency coordination centers. Although a functional exercise does not involve first responders or emergency officials responding to an incident in real time, some area hospitals will be conducting specific training like decontamination scenarios to test their personnel.

The exercise is primarily for healthcare agencies, emergency medical services (EMS) and hospitals, but was also open to area jurisdictions, schools, local offices of emergency management and public health agencies.  More than 170 agencies will be participating in this exercise.

“This year we will simulate a mass casualty incident, similar to the Boston Marathon bombing, to allow hospitals, EMS and CMOC to manage a large-scale mass casualty incident,” added Upton. “We will conduct the same scenario five times, once in each corridor.”

The scenario, will be an explosion at a public venue and a chemical release. This will help test the region’s ability to manage a large-scale simulated terrorist attack and surge and mass fatality plans in the region.  

CMOC will activate at the Harris County EOC, located at Houston TranStar, all other agencies will participate from their own facilities.

The SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC) has two separate missions which are the Hospital Preparedness Program and clinical service lines. SETRAC prepares our twenty-five county region for manmade or natural emergencies, disasters and mass casualty events.  Trauma, stroke, cardiac and pediatric service lines focus on establishing protocols and standards of care to deliver our community the appropriate care through the appropriate facilities with the appropriate care givers. 

The Regional Healthcare Preparedness Coalition (RHPC) is the preparedness committee of SETRAC. RHPC provides collaborative planning and response to emergencies, and preserves the medical infrastructure of the region.         

Peer 1 Hosting study reveals declining use of On-Premise and Private Cloud


LONDON, UK – Independent research commissioned by Peer 1 Hosting has found that hybrid cloud adoption is set to triple over the next three years. This shift coincides with corresponding reductions in the use of Private and On-Premise cloud hosting environments, despite adoption of these technologies continuing to grow overall.


The study, which canvassed the opinions of over 900 IT decision makers from Canada, North America and the UK, asked: "What do you expect your organisation's approach to look like in one and three years' time?" 10% ofrespondents stated that currently they primarily use hybrid cloud, with 28% anticipating they will be using hybrid cloud in three years' time. In contrast, use of On-Premise hosting is anticipated to fall from 31% to 17% over the same period, whilst Private Cloud drops from 52% to 41%.


The drivers behind this shift appear to be largely economic. When asked to name the top IT Priorities within their organisations, Cutting IT Costs (49%) and Improving Processes and Operational Efficiencies (45%) were the two most commonly cited issues. When asked what the challenges in achieving these priorities were, Security (53%) and Data Protection (46%) were the most frequent responses given.


Toby Owen, Vice President Product, Peer 1 Hosting said: "The proposition of Hybrid Cloud is very compelling: cost savings, business agility and operational efficiencies are the qualities that IT decision makers are looking to bring into their organisations. From the research, it's clear that hybrid cloud adoption is outpacing that of public and private cloud."

Owen continues: "Hybrid cloud adoption appears to be held back by concerns largely related to security and data protection. Clearly these are areas where businesses cannot compromise. Fundamentally these concerns are about a perceived lack of control. As the industry responds to this, with truly scalable, flexible and controllable hybrid cloud solutions, I believe that IT decision makers will be quicker to adopt hybrid cloud than this research suggests."

Coffee Distributor Outsources Network Responsibilities, Enabling IT to Concentrate on Strategic Business Enablement

BATON ROUGE, La. – Venyu, a leader in business continuitycloud-based virtualization, and battle-tested data recovery, today celebrates their Community® Coffee Company partnership. The largest family-owned and operated retail coffee brand in America has selected the company’colocationservices.  Through the outsourced services, the leading coffee distributor has streamlined its data center operations, created new levels of application reliability, and allowed IT staffers the time to support rapid growth through new business initiatives. For more information, please view the full case studyhttp://www2.venyu.com/Casestudy-communitycoffee.

A leading roaster, importer and distributor of unique coffee beans from around the world, Community Coffee is a provider for some of the world’s leading retailers  as well as distributed to restaurants, offices and online markets.  The company relies on its corporate Website, real-time business collaboration tools, and a highly-dispersed mobile sales force to compete within the market.

“For more than 95 years, Community Coffee has been a leading coffee distributor -- largely driven by an ability to look forward, get creative and leverage the latest technologies to support our operations. That’s why our corporate data center has become so critical.  It is the very engine that powers today’s sales,” said David Fahr, Director of Technology, Community Coffee Company.

For decades, the company has relied on its in-house data center to support the business.  But as demand for Community Coffee increased, they realized internal IT operations were being taxed. Community Coffee was outgrowing its power needs, space for IT devices and HVAC unit capabilities. Additionally, the infrastructure’s reliability and redundancy couldn’t keep pace with online sales demand and 24x7 business communication needs. 

“We were becoming too large to keep investing in our home office data center.  While we did have the space to expand, time constraints quickly became roadblocks.  In addition, I wanted the IT team to focus on business applications rather than spending valuable time ensuring the HVAC was working properly or if the generators had enough diesel fuel,” Fahr said.

To help the company meet its growing needs, Community Coffee selected Venyu’s Commercial Grade data centers and three server racks connected through multiple storage area networks. 

Free from the burden of routine hardware and software maintenance, the coffee distributor’s IT staff is now able to implement more strategic business applications in support of their rapid growth.  Moving forward, the coffee leader plans to leverage Venyu’s multiple data centers for interconnectivity and to mitigate the risk of downtime.

“Venyu’s colocation services have allowed our IT staff to focus more on business development and not be consumed with the routine tasks of keeping the data center running; in addition to the application reliability and network scalability needed to properly support our future growth,” Fahr concluded.

“Companies continue to trust us with one of their most valuable assets – their business applications.  We are proud to support Community Coffee’s continued growth through our colocation services,” said Scott Thompson, CEO, Venyu.

About Community Coffee Company
Now in its 95th year, Community Coffee Company is the largest family-owned and operated retail coffee brand in America, and four generations of the Saurage family have operated the company since its inception. Founded in 1919, Community Coffee Company is an importer, roaster and distributor of the highest-quality premium coffees and teas, using only 100% Arabica coffee beans. For additional information, visitCommunityCoffee.com or find the brand on Facebook and Twitter.

About Venyu
Venyu is a premier provider of data center, managed hosting, cloud, virtualization and data protection solutions. By leveraging Venyu's portfolio of innovative, ROI-focused solutions, including VenyuCloud and RestartIT, within secure, highly available data centers, organizations can reduce IT costs while increasing security and scalability. For more information about Venyu and its industry-leading offerings, please visit 
www.venyu.comYour Data Made Invincible™.

Friday, 10 April 2015 00:00

The Heartbleed Anniversary

Has an entire year actually passed since the Heartbleed vulnerability was discovered? It seems like only yesterday that my social media news feeds were in pure panic mode. Chicken Little, the sky is falling! Or, in this case, the Internet is broken and our privacy is gone and everything we ever posted is going to be stolen!

The mass hysteria was unlike anything I’ve witnessed before or since in regards to IT security, and I’d be willing to bet if I asked 10 people about Heartbleed today, at least eight of them would have no memory of it. They’ve moved along to the next crisis, real or imagined.

So Heartbleed might be out of mind, but it isn’t out of our networks. And that’s the problem. A year later, 74 percent of Global 2000 companies are still vulnerable, according to a new study by Venafi. In August, a similar survey found that 76 percent of Global 2000 companies hadn’t fully addressed Heartbleed. I’m not a math whiz, but a 2 percent improvement over an eight-month period doesn’t sound positive. Plus, this just includes the 2,000 biggest companies in the world. I have my doubts that if large corporations are still struggling with Heartbleed, smaller companies are doing any better.



(TNS) — Mine rescue entered the 21st century Wednesday with the successful test of a suite of technologies that will keep rescue teams in constant communication with the emergency command center, state and federal officials said.

“We think we're ready to rock and roll with the systems we've built,” said Joe Main, the assistant labor secretary in charge of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The MSHA, the Department of Environmental Protection, Consol Energy and the Homer City-based Special Medical Response Team ran a simulated emergency at Consol's Harvey Mine in West Finley to test the system.



(TNS) — A Belfast-based epidemiologist and family physician who investigated infectious disease outbreaks for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that public hysteria and paranoia are not the answer when such crises emerge.

A case in point was the recent furor over Ebola. Maine made international headlines when Kaci Hickox, a nurse who until recently lived in Fort Kent, was quarantined after returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa despite having no symptoms of the disease.

As Dr. Peter Millard sees it, there is a better way.

“We’re going to have epidemics. Epidemics are always going to be with us. We’re going to have a bad epidemic eventually and if we don’t pull together and use science as a basis for our response, we’re going to be in big trouble,” Millard said Monday evening during a lecture in Husson University’s Kominsky Auditorium.



A new survey out this week offers good evidence as to why so many businesses today bungle their response to security compromises and breach discoveries.

The study of 170 businesses conducted by the Security for Business Innovation Council (SBIC) and RSA, The Security Division of EMC (EMC), shows the majority of businesses lack incident response plans and have no capabilities to correlate security-related  data from IT infrastructure, can't properly analyze live network forensic  and have no way to take advantage of industry-wide threat intelligence.

"Organizations are struggling to gain visibility into operational risk across the business," said Dave Martin, chief trust officer for RSA. "While many organizations may feel they have a good handle on their security, it is still rarely tied in to a larger operational risk strategy, which limits their visibility into their actual risk profile."