IT is going through a renaissance right now. New products and services are released every month that dramatically change how we can develop products and manage our IT shops. Innovation is everywhere. It can be hard to keep up, but that is part of the fun. Read More
When it comes to corporate IT, revolution is in the air. The way companies buy, build, manage, optimize and secure information technology is changing dramatically. From cloud computing to big data analytics to ubiquitous mobile connectivity, corporate IT systems are getting faster, more efficient, cheaper to operate and easier to use. In the process, a new wave of tech companies has emerged… Read More
Google has continuously made its Google Apps Admin Console for IT professionals who manage large Google Apps for Business, Education and Government deployments more powerful. But one thing it never offered these administrators was a mobile app to manage at least a subset of the Admin console’s features. Today, however, Google finally released its first official Android app, which allows admins to perform many common tasks right on their phones and tablets.
For the most part, the new Google Admin app focuses on handling user accounts. Admins can add users, reset passwords, manage groups, upload profile pictures and suspend users. Beyond user management, the app also allows them to contact support, view domain setting changes and review audit logs.
Today’s announcement comes just a few weeks after Google launched its completely revamped Admin console and two weeks after Google made its new Admin SDK available to developers who want to customize their own tools for their organizations.
Getting started with the app is pretty easy, but admins have to remember to enable API access for their organizations. Google recommends that Google Apps for Business users also enable Device Policies for their domains, but this is not mandatory. One other thing to note is that only “super administrators” will be able to log in to the app.
You probably won’t have noticed the following problem, unless you happen to be the IT manager in an architecture firm or other specialist environment, but it’s been an issue nonetheless. For all our ability to virtualize compute and graphical workloads, it hasn’t so far been possible to share a single GPU core across multiple users. For example, if you’d wanted 32 people on virtual machines to access 3D plumbing and electrical drawings via AutoCAD, you’d have needed to dedicate eight expensive quad-core K1 graphics cards in your GRID server stack. Now, though, NVIDIA has managed to make virtualization work right the way through to each GPU core for users of Citrix XenDesktop 7, such that you’d only need one K1 to serve that workforce, assuming their tasks were sufficiently lightweight. Does this mean NVIDIA’s K1 sales will suddenly drop by seven eighths? We couldn’t tell ya — but probably not.
Over the last few years, Israeli IT startup Soluto has morphed from simply being PC software that helps users run diagnostics on their hard drives, to a web-based platform that aims to turn you into a one-person Help Desk. In other words, Soluto now allows anyone to offer remote tech support and run diagnostics, whether that be for your mom’s computer or dozens of customers.
From the beginning, Soluto has been focused mainly on individual users, but today the startup is launching a new version of its remote PC manager that brings a handful of new features and beefed-up support to small businesses. In turn, Soluto is also releasing its first trend report, which compares and ranks the market’s best-selling laptops based on reliability and usability, giving small businesses some basic guidelines to consider when purchasing a new PC.
Lately, as tablets continue to eat into worldwide PC shipments and sales, the forecast for both the PC and for Windows has been increasingly grim. A recent report from IDC last month showed that global PC shipments in Q1 were even worse than it had expected, declining by 7.7 percent. The one bright spot for PCs, however, appears to be small businesses, which are expected to buy over 150 million PCs every year until 2017, Soluto founder and CEO Tomer Dvir tells us.
At the same time, 53 percent of small businesses are frustrated by their computing technology, he says. Soluto wants to be a part of the solution by helping SMBs improve their productivity, operations and the overall PC user experience. The startup’s new “Business” plan gives companies a full PC management and support service starting at $9/month, which the founder says makes it considerably more affordable than comparable services.
With the launch of Soluto For Business, the company will still offer a free plan for up to three PCs (or three sessions/week), along with its Pro plan for up to 10 PCs at $9/month, Business Pro for up to 50 PCs at $60 and a Business Plus plan for enterprise users that want support for more than 50 PCs. The company’s new business product allows IT managers to collect all the PCs they monitor in one place, receive email alerts when things go haywire, along with the ability to fix problems or remotely access a PC with one click from any of their devices.
In turn, the new and improved version of Soluto now includes cloud-based, offline support, allowing users to access PCs and fix problems even when the PC they’re fixing is offline, receive automatic activity reports and tap into better communication tools — all of which apply to each of Soluto’s plans.
With three million downloads to date, Soluto is now analyzing 100 million data points each day, including the frequency and types of crashes, app hangs, blue screens of death, boot times and background noise. When viewed in aggregate and put in context, this data can yield some valuable insights on trends in PC performance and help inform purchasing decisions.
So, today, in conjunction with its new plans and features, Soluto released its first industry report, which compares and ranks the best laptops on the market. From here on out, it plans to release new reports each month, which will be available to Business Pro customers. The report is based on a sample of 150K PCs that were analyzed over three months, including data points taken from over one million boots, 224,000 crashes, 84,000 BSoDs and so on.
In its description of the report, Soluto says that its “big-data frustration analytics” are unique because they’re based on “long-term, ongoing analysis of a huge number of PCs” and take into account events like the ones mentioned above (i.e. crashes, etc.).
In turn, it defends its findings by saying that most other “best of” PC lists are based on hands-on reviews made over the course of a few days, or benchmarking software that pushes the machine to the limits. Instead, Soluto’s report is based on real data taken from the experience of actual, live human beings “in the field” under real conditions. Price was not taken into account.
Without further ado, Soluto’s report found that the most reliable and best performing Windows PC laptop is … The 13-inch MacBook Pro. Ha. Yep. MacBook Pros that run Windows in parallel to its native OS X are the most stable, albeit the most expensive. Soluto’s explanation:
A main factor in this machine’s metrics is the fact that every Windows installation on it is clean. Today, with PC manufacturers loading so much crapware on new laptops, this is a bit of an unfair competition. But on the other hand, PC makers should look at this data and aspire to ship PCs that perform just as well as a cleanly installed MacBook Pro.
To its credit, Soluto also lists a few of the disadvantages of running Windows on a Mac, including longer set-up and configuration time and potential driver issues.
In second place, ranking as the top native PC, was the Acer Aspire E1-571. This was surprising even to Soluto’s analysts:
Our data has long shown that Acer machines are very stable and well-performing, but to find the E1-571 so high on the list was surprising even for us. The reason is that Acer’s E series are considered more entry level vs other series, like the V series (which you can find in the 5th place).
Dell’s XPS 13 captured third place, with Dell, Acer and Lenovo making up the rest of the rankings. You can find the full list here.
Microsoft’s relatively often finding ways to encourage software development in various fields, and the company’s latest venture has it setting footsteps near the Great Wall. According to a report by news agency Xinhua, the software (and hardware) company has reached a deal with China’s Hainan government that will see it build an innovation center in this territory. Focusing on IT development and skills in tourism and agriculture, this new property will be the first of its type in China, and Microsoft has high hopes that the joint efforts can, aside from becoming a crossroads of knowledge, also “boost the region’s efforts to become a major international tourist destination.” Frankly, seeing as how the highly populated nation doesn’t appear to be slowing down its all-around growth anytime soon, it wouldn’t surprise us if Redmond decides to start setting up more of these in the years to come.
Source: China Daily
It’s not a sexy acquisition, but it’s practical. VMware gets a tighter story for how it plans to add value, in face of deeper competition from the likes of Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and OpenStack, the open-source environment for building your own cloud.
VMware is the leader in the virtualization space but it needs a deeper play that goes beyond licensing virtual machines. DynamicOps has established itself by helping its customers turn their existing IT infrasrtuture into more elastic environments that essentially mimic the public clouds of the world.
Why this matters? It’s a battle that pits the Web-style, commodity infrastructure players versus the more IT oriented solutions giants. VMware is trying to do both by acquiring companies like DynamicOps and offering new ways for customers to manage multiple cloud environments with an IT focus.
That’s what it gets from DynamicOps, which supports multiple hypervisors. It can manage apps no matter if they run on VMware, Xen or a KVM virtualized infrastructure.
It also fits with VMware’s push to move higher up the stack, as Krishna Subramanian, principal at Rishidot Research, tells us.
“They see that the infrastructure market getting fragmented and moving towards a more federated ecosystem,” he said. “They also understand that competing in the commodity infrastructure market is not going to help them in the bottom line like how virtualization helped. They understand that the action is on the layers above the infrastructure (i.e. multi-cloud management, platform as a service (PaaS), application lifecycle management, SaaS, etc.”
It’s a big deal for VMware. It shows they are willing to look beyond their own environment to support apps that may run on any number of different architectures. That’s critical if they are going to remain relevant in increasingly heterogeneous world.
Enstratus CEO George Reese said the Big Four of IT (IBM, HP, Dell, BMC) have had difficulty int providing cloud management solutions. The deal puts VMware in position to reach into that market.
“This is definitely a meat and potatoes acquisition,” Reese said.
DynamicOps was founded in 2008. It spun out of Credit Suisse. The company had $16.3 million in funding. Last September it raised $5.3 million from Intel Capital.
Today’s data centers may have hundreds of software stacks independent of each other. DynamicOps provides an orchestration layer so those apps can run in a private data center, AWS or any other infrastructure. This type of hybrid cloud is increasingly popular. With DynamicOps, VMware will have greater ability to manage these virtual, physical and cloud resources and support the hybrid data center model.
CEO Erica Brescia of app marketplace BitNami said the deal “shows that VMware is serious about its plans to move up the stack. Supporting heterogeneous environments (other hypervisors as well as AWS) is a bold move for them, but the right one if they want to remain competitive.”
Well after the election, the Web continues to be a force to rally activists, including a new effort to fight bans on gay marriage.