Displaying items by tag: cloud computing

Oracle, in collaboration with Redington, a leading distributor and an Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) partner operating across Middle East and Africa launched a dedicated Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) in Dubai to enable knowledge share and ready availability of Oracle Cloud to help Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN)members develop and implement transformative cloud projects across the Middle East.

SAP to cut 3,000 jobs as part of €1bn restructuring plan

Written on Tuesday, 29 January 2019 13:34

German software behemoth SAP has stunned staff by announcing that it will cut 3,000 jobs as part of a €1bn restructuring plan after profits stagnated in 2018.

However, the upbeat company insists it is still on track to grow revenues and earnings for this year, but that a restructuring of its overall operations and practices are necessary.

SAP’s CFO, Luka Mucic said the company expects a higher number of employees to leave that during its last job cull which occurred in 2015. He said, “We are talking about a completely voluntary program, we expect a number slightly higher than in 2015 of employees to leave.”

In 2015, SAP cut around 2,200 positions in a move that was described at that time as the company’s transition away from traditional software towards cloud computing. SAP plan to spend between 800m and 1bn on restructuring the company in an effort to simplify its structures and processes.

CEO Bill McDermott acknowledged that the job cuts are painful but reiterated that they were necessary in order to pave the way for SAP to make new investments in emerging growth areas within the software ecosystem.

The SAP CEO said, “We are going to move our people and our focus to the areas SAP needs the most, AI (artificial intelligence), blockchain, internet of things, quantum computing.  We currently have 95,000 people in the company, if we talk in a few years it will be more.”

Despite the messaging from SAP that the job cuts are necessary in order to create capital to invest in new areas, it’s clear the stagnation of profits and stunting of growth have heightened the pressure on the German software leader.

SAP announced that its net profits had grown by just 1% last year reaching 4.1bn euros.  In 2018, SAP continued its transformation away from the perception that it’s a traditional one-off sales’ of business software licenses to cloud computing, under which it charges customers a subscription fee to process data on the firm's computers.

Revenue from cloud subscriptions and support grew 32 percent over the year, to almost 3.8 billion euros. Meanwhile software licenses and support revenue shrank one percent, although it remains a far bigger source of income for now at almost 15.8 billion euros.

China Unicom taps Huawei for cloud computing solution

Written on Monday, 29 January 2018 07:03

Huawei has partnered with telecom provider China Unicom to deploy the latter’s first private cloud resource pool based on Huawei’s CloudFabric solution. The move marks a significant step for China Unicom in enabling its business transformation in the cloud era. 

The development of cloud computing technologies and services has enabled China Unicom to expand its businesses. Traditional data centers are no longer aligned with larger numbers of servers and the requirements for quick provisioning of new services. In response to increasingly complex business demands, China Unicom has joined forces with Huawei to build an intelligent and simplified private cloud resource pool using the CloudFabric solution.

The private cloud resource pool, built exclusively by Huawei, encompasses an extensive data center network resource pool with Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) technology to increase the number of servers from 1,000 to over 5,000 and raise network resource utilization by 90 percent. In addition, Huawei used SDN controllers to facilitate automatic network configuration, significantly shortening the new service provisioning cycle from months to days. Operating efficiency also improved by more than 50 percent.

“Huawei is dedicated to innovation and research aimed at enabling Carriers' Cloud Transformation,” said Wang Lei, General Manager of Huawei’s Data Center Network Domain. “The CloudFabric system deployed by Huawei and China Unicom simplifies service deployment and O&M and enhances flexibility. As a leader in the ICT industry, Huawei's cooperation with China Unicom signifies a new phase of our joint innovation in the digital transformation era."

Huawei's CloudFabric solution has now been deployed at more than 1,200 data centers in over 120 countries. By building agile, open and secure cloud data centers for customers, Huawei is committed to helping operators and enterprises gain a competitive edge in the cloud service market.

China Unicom’s mixed-ownership reform has leapt forward in business cooperation with Chinese internet company Tencent and e-commerce platform Alibaba Group. This represents the first major business cooperation with strategic investors after China Unicom’s mixed-ownership reform plan was approved.

China Unicom & Tencent

China Unicom and Tencent recently jointly announced to leverage their respective rich resources and capabilities in communications, cloud computing and network security, and mutually open up these resources in order to accelerate and deepen integrated innovation in this powerful alliance to build a brand-new “cloud, pipe, terminal” Internet industry ecosystem platform.

China Unicom and Tencent will deepen cooperation in cloud computing and other business areas, mainly focusing on three aspects. Firstly, to fully carry out in-depth business cooperation in “public cloud”, China Unicom and Tencent will co-build cloud data centers to offer value-chain-wide cloud computing-based products, services and solutions to the market. Tencent will leverage its expertise to provide public cloud technology support to “WO Cloud” of China Unicom.

Secondly, the companies will fully carry out in-depth business cooperation in “dedicated cloud” and “hybrid cloud”. With emphasis in Tencent’s high quality online services, together with China Unicom’s highly intelligent and flexible DCI high-speed core network (SDN/NFV), it is aimed to achieve “customized on demand with flexible delivery” service capability in traditional telecommunication service (dedicated line + cabinet), along with the operator’s comprehensive offline service network, and riding on benefits such as mutual synergies, mutual diversion, mutual commitment in this resources-sharing cooperation.

An open and worldwide coverage full-chain cloud computing industry ecosystem is aimed to be formed and well positioned to provide a one-stop comprehensive solution to enterprise customers.

Thirdly, the companies will fully carry out in-depth business cooperation in network security services. China Unicom and Tencent signed a cooperative agreement on network security operation and enhancement and will co-build a network security platform, committing to building a more secure and reliable Internet ecosystem and to providing strong network security technical assurance for the healthy and orderly development of the Internet industry.

China Unicom & Alibaba

On October 20, China Unicom and Alibaba Group announced to mutually open up cloud computing resources and deepen cooperation in cloud business. Alibaba Cloud will comprehensively open the public cloud service capability to China Unicom, while both companies will continue to expand collaboration in e-government cloud and dedicated cloud (Apsara stack) areas including vertical markets, as well as further deepen cooperation in the hybrid cloud business.

China Unicom and Alibaba Cloud will deepen cooperation in three areas including public cloud, dedicated cloud and hybrid cloud. For public cloud, Alibaba Cloud will comprehensively open public cloud services capabilities to China Unicom, including computing, storage, security, big data and artificial intelligence.

Together with China Unicom’s expertise in customer services and network operation, both companies will leverage the branding of WO Cloud computing to provide customers with powerful, general and inclusive public cloud computing services. Meanwhile, both companies will continue to build synergy between cloud and network, and further strengthen the cooperation in cloud computing service enhancement and talent development.

For dedicated cloud, both companies will combine the strengths in cloud computing and big data platform in order to offer strong support for product innovation and business growth acceleration to enterprise customers.

China Unicom, together with Alibaba Cloud, will collaboratively build a joint development team and supporting system targeting the e-government cloud, vertical markets, etc., pushing forward digital transformation and promoting IT capability enhancement for enterprise customers.

For hybrid cloud, China Unicom will open up key data centers nationwide and form hybrid cloud computing one-stop solution combined with current Alibaba Cloud’s public cloud sites. This will meet users’ seamless on and off cloud connectivity demand, thus helping enterprise consumers to further realize business values and enhance business flexibility.

On the basis of seamless interconnection at the data center, both companies will jointly and deeply collaborate in research and development on the cloud computing-based SDN network structure, further enhancing China Unicom’s network utilization efficiency, which allows users to open up nationwide interoperable hybrid cloud in real-time.

Meanwhile, China Unicom and Alibaba will have deep cooperation in network security operation and capability enhancement, in which both companies will co-build a network security platform, committing to building a more secure and reliable Internet ecosystem and to providing strong technology support in network security assurance for the healthy and orderly development of the Internet industry.

Oracle unveils world’s first autonomous database cloud

Written on Wednesday, 04 October 2017 13:08

Oracle Chairman of the Board and CTO, Larry Ellison, has unveiled his vision for the world’s first autonomous database cloud. The next generation of the database, Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud, uses machine learning to enable automation that eliminates human labor, human error and manual tuning, to enable high availability, performance and security at a much lower cost.

“This is the most important thing we’ve done in a long, long time,” said Ellison. “The automation does everything. We can guarantee availability of 99.995 percent, less than 30 minutes of planned or unplanned downtime.”

The Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud eliminates the human labor associated with tuning, patching, updating and maintaining the database. It includes capabilities such as ‘self-driving’ by providing continuous adaptive performance tuning based on machine learning. It automatically upgrades and patches itself while running and automatically applies security updates to protect against cyber-attacks.

The autonomous database is also capable of ‘self-scaling’ by instantly resizing compute and storage without downtime. Cost savings are multiplied because it consumes less compute and storage than Amazon, with lower manual administration costs. The solution is also capable of ‘self-repairing’ by providing automated protection from downtime.

SLA (service level agreement) guarantees 99.995 percent reliability and availability, which reduces costly planned and unplanned downtime to less than 30-minutes per year.

The Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud handles many different workload styles, including transactions, mixed workloads, data warehouses, graph analytics, departmental applications, document stores and IoT. The first Autonomous Database Cloud offering, for data warehouse workloads, is planned to be available in 2017.

Alibaba and Macau join forces to implement smart city vision

Written on Thursday, 10 August 2017 11:47

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group will contribute its cloud computing capabilities to transform Macau, an autonomous region on the south coast of China, into one of Asia Pacific’s leading smart cities, South China Morning Post reported. Alibaba and Macau signed an agreement on Friday August 4.

The two parties will collaborate in upgrading Macau’s IT infrastructure, by leveraging the technologies of Alibaba Cloud, the group’s cloud computing arm. Improving the city’s IT infrastructure is expected to bring in more digital developments in tourism, transportation, healthcare, governance and talent development.

The partnership will bring various benefits to both residents and tourists in Macau, which will see Alibaba Cloud leverage its experience in deploying smart city projects across mainland China. The tech giant’s expertise in the field include using artificial intelligence to improve road management, air and water transportation, and also customizing guided tours based on data-driven analysis.

The Chinese autonomous region of Macau has built a reputation for gambling similar to Las Vegas in the United States. In fact, Macau is currently the world’s wealthiest gambling hub, with casino revenues topping 23 billion patacas (US$2.86 billion) in July 2017, official data indicates.

“Alibaba Cloud’s big data and deep learning technologies have been helping to build ‘city brains’ in China to help local governments effectively make management decisions,” said Simon Hu, senior vice president of Alibaba Group and president of Alibaba Cloud.

In an interview with South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba, he said, “We are confident about making Macau’s transformation into a smart city a demonstration project across Asia-Pacific region.”

Alibaba’s partnership with Macau will span four years, with the first phase (2017 to 2019) focusing on cloud computing, smart transportation, smart tourism, smart healthcare, smart city governance, and talent acquisition. Training programs will be undertaken by Alibaba to increase Macau’s cloud computing and e-commerce professionals.

The partnership will mark Alibaba’s first smart city project outside mainland China. Macau chose to collaborate with Alibaba to foster the development of cloud computing and big data technologies, said a statement by O Lam, head of the region’s office of the chief executive, after observing how other cities have developed their own smart city visions.

“By leveraging the power of these technologies and connecting resources of different government departments, the project is expected to enhance the model of socio-economic operation in Macau, expediting the city’s transformation into a smart city,” O Lam said.

Alibaba has proven its smart city capabilities, particularly with Hangzhou City Brain, and artificial intelligence-enabled transportation management system, which has enabled traffic speed to increase 11 percent in the city’s Xiahshan district, where the project is being piloted.

US technology leaders Microsoft has shocked its workforce by announcing that it plans to cuts ‘thousands’ of jobs as part of company reorganization strategy. However, it’s been reported from a source close to Microsoft that most of the reductions will be made outside of the US, and will target staff in its sales and marketing departments.

Some analysts are claiming that the restructuring of the organization is being driven by the fact Microsoft aims to double down on its fast-growing cloud business. Microsoft shares have suffered a decline and are down 0.7% at $68.63. The Washington-based company employs 120,000 people globally, and figures indicate that around the marketing and sales staff account for around 19% of that figure.

In addition to this, the source also claimed that some Microsoft employees have already been informed of their fate, although in some locations, the firm allegedly plans to notify employees that their jobs are under consideration.

Since assuming responsibility as CEO in 2014, Satya Nadella has been praised by many for reenergizing Microsoft, and he has certainly sharpened the organization’s focus on its cloud computing unit in a bid to counter a prolonged slowdown in the PC market.

However, the news still come as a huge surprise to many, with the scale of the job losses really taking some technology analysts by surprise. According to them Microsoft are under the tutelage of a dynamic and driven leader in Nadella, and are performing extremely well overall, despite the decline in its share price.

Published in Finance

The combination of cloud computing and the shrewd acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft has seen growth in the tech giants profits. In a financial statement Microsoft disclosed that profits rose by 3.6% in the second fiscal quarter to $5.2 billion- while revenues edged up by 1% to $24 billion.

Microsoft have changed strategy in recent years, and moved away from its dependence on solely developing software to providing a broader array of services. That positioning has been proved to be a good decision and the acquisition of LinkedIn boosted revenue, but reduced profit. Microsoft bought the personal social business network platform as part of its efforts to improve connections with customers.

The LinkedIn deal added $228 million in revenue, but it also erased $100 million in profit, another aspect of Microsoft’s positive financial performance was due to cloud computing – which pushed its market share up by almost 1%.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella said the financial results confirmed that the organization’s decision to move away from its dependence on software to focus on new areas in cloud computing and artificial intelligence was the correct one.

The CEO said: “Our customers are seeing greater value and opportunity as we partner with them through their digital transformation. Accelerating advancements in AI across our platforms and services will provide further opportunity to drive growth in the Microsoft Cloud."

Other services which proved to be profitable was in Microsoft’s ‘intelligent cloud’ which rose by 8% - within that same sector – its Azure cloud computing unit saw an increase of 93% in revenue which was more than double than the previous year.

Microsoft reported a 10 percent jump in revenue from its productivity and business products, which include its Office suite of programs such as cloud-based Office 365. The personal computing segment, which includes the Windows operating system, saw a five percent drop in revenue in the quarter.
Microsoft also saw increases from its Bing search advertising and a drop in revenue from its Xbox gaming operations.

Published in Finance

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and Ernst & Young (EY) China have released the results of a joint survey into the adoption of cloud computing by the financial services industry in China, saying adoption has reached a tipping point within the industry.

Keith Yuen, partner and Greater China cyber security leader for Ernst & Young, said: “More and more FSI organizations have adopted or are planning to adopt some form of cloud computing technology. The key is to balance the risks with the benefits this technology offers to business."

Jeremy Pizzala, partner, cyber security leader of financial services risk advisory at Ernst & Young, said: "FSIs based in the Asia Pacific and Greater China region are facing an unprecedented challenge in terms of the cyber security environment they operate in. The rapid adoption of digital business models, including cloud, has exposed FSIs’ perimeters like never before and in the process made the task of anticipating and defending against cyber threats more complex.

“In addition the region’s financial regulators are increasing the scope of and penalties associated with cyber security regulations, in line with the increasing volumes and sophistication of cyber attacks that the market is witnessing. FSIs’ responses need to take a targeted approach, focusing on protecting their 'crown jewel' assets and processes and increasingly leveraging the power of data analytics to anticipate and detect threats before they cause significant loss."

The report publishes key findings in the areas of cloud adoption, IT security budgets, cloud computing and cyber security skills, as well as cloud service compliance and regulations.

Key findings include:
-  Forty eight percent of the FSIs in China say they are developing a cloud strategy, and 44 percent say they have developed a cloud strategy, and eight percent say they have a strict ‘no-cloud’ policy.

- Fifty four percent said their organization had no predetermined compliance regulations around putting data into the cloud. “This implies that over half of the organizations do not feel the need to define a strategy to address cloud service data security and compliance regulations within the organization,” EY said.

- Thirty eight percent of respondents said the top cloud threat in their organization was the lack of security management leadership. “When there is a lack of emphasis on cloud services regulations and requirements by the organization, it is almost a direct indication that the C-level management will do little to prioritize the initiative,” EY said.

 

Cloud RAN virtualization, centralization and coordination

Written on Wednesday, 20 January 2016 08:17

According to Ericsson, mobile broadband is approaching a point where cellular infrastructure will be a viable substitute for fixed broadband in many markets.

In this new environment, mobile operators are seeking ways to increase network capacity and coverage while reducing time to market for new services and achieving lower total cost of ownership.

By introducing cloud RAN architectures, operators will be able to meet accelerating demands through the use of network functions virtualization techniques and data center processing capabilities in their networks, enabling resource pooling, scalability, layer interworking and spectral efficiency.

Ericsson is forecasting phenomenal growth as the development of networks; economic growth and opportunities create more connectivity potential.

As cities around the region work progressively towards smart city status, a unique new ecosystem of stakeholders, technology and information is being formed where innovation can flourish at another level, and M2M connectivity can enhance the experience in many industries while addressing the many global challenges such as sustainability.

Residents are stepping into a revolutionized future where convenience is transformed by the Networked Society." The question now is how operators can best make use of virtualization technologies in RANs while at the same time building cost-, spectrum- and energy-efficient networks that offer a seamless user experience.

However, there are major distinctions between cloud computing in the RAN compared to the core network and service layer.

For example, the bulk of the cost of a mobile network lies in the large number of distributed base station and antenna sites, as well as in the last mile transport network links - not in central nodes and sites.

Consequently, to calculate the return on investment benefit of implementing cloud RAN, the costs associated both with the central parts of the network and its distributed elements and last-mile links must all be taken into account.

Cloud RAN options and challenges

The main challenges for mobile network infrastructure over the next five years will be to: manage large amounts of new spectrum, primarily on higher bands (> 4GHz) and then combine these with existing bands, so that by 2020 a typical mobile network operator could have access to more than 100MHz in five to 10 bands; deploy new sites to support new use cases - such as wireless offices and connected cars - which may also require new business models; develop efficient hardware and software solutions that enable the speedy introduction of new services in a sustainable way, from both an energy and cost perspective.

5G use cases and technologies, such as critical machine-type communication and full dimension multiple-input, multiple-output (FD-MIMO) may also drive the further evolution of the RAN architecture, exploiting advances in backhaul and antenna systems, among other things.

Cloud RAN architecture framework

Driven by greater needs for coordination as well as increasing resource efficiency and advances in network virtualization, cloud RAN architecture allows for the use of NFV techniques and data center processing capabilities such as coordination, centralization and virtualization in mobile networks. This supports resource pooling, scalability, layer interworking and spectral efficiency.

A Cloud RAN should support the following: separation of control and user plane to support flexible scaling of capacity for different functions of the RAN; a variety of deployment options for anticipated network scenarios, including a wide range of transport network solutions, base station configurations and user applications; alignment with legacy deployments, which reduces the overall network complexity thanks to a unified network architecture.

Implementation aspects

In general, virtualization is a technique that can mean different things in different scenarios, and it is unlikely to mean the same thing in a RAN context as in, for example, a data server context. The reason for this is the substantial difference in real time requirements imposed by the radio access protocol. Many of the synchronization requirements that ensure the performance of the radio access protocol are on the microsecond level and, in some cases, the nanosecond level.

Thus, RAN functionality is not easily hosted by the so-called virtualized platform as a service (PaaS) model, as is possible with straightforward applications and server-type functions. On the other hand, there is no need to virtualize all RAN functionality to provide the benefits of Cloud RAN.

Virtualization as an execution environment technique can be used to provide isolation, scalability and elasticity, among other things, for the Radio Resource Control (RRC) protocol layer. When applied in this manner, virtualization can be used to simplify the management and deployment of the RAN nodes, for example, by allowing the definition of arbitrarily-sized base stations and for more flexible scaling of higher layer functionality, separate from the scaling of other layers. Virtualization can also be used to leverage a common execution environment for RAN, core and application functionality, providing the ultimate in execution proximity and ensuring maximum responsiveness of, for example, a certain service.

The possibility to virtualize network functions in this way makes it feasible to place the functionality on a more generic and generally available execution platform together with cloud core applications and other latency critical services, sometimes even in a PaaS environment.

Centralization in Cloud RAN

Centralizing base station processing with Cloud RAN simplifies network management and enables resource pooling and coordination of radio resources. Pooling, or statistical multiplexing, allows an execution platform to perform the same tasks with less hardware or capacity. This is of greatest interest for tasks that require a large number of computational resources. It also means that the most desirable pooling configuration is a fully centralized baseband approach with a star connection long-haul CPRI between the pooled baseband and the distributed remote radio heads.

This is because processing of the lower layers constitutes such a large part of the computational effort. As mentioned earlier, however, there are not many cost-efficient solutions for long-haul CPRI. By using separate (data center) processing capacity for higher layers, new features can be introduced without affecting the performance and capacity of distributed baseband units.

The introduction of massive MIMO configurations - which will be of increasing interest with the move into ever-higher frequency bands - will also further highlight the need for optimized transport and baseband processing for centralized baseband configurations.

Coordination in Cloud RAN

Radio coordination between cells and bands is used to maximize spectrum efficiency and user experience. It is anticipated that there will be a need for different bandwidths of cells in different bands, as well as increasingly heterogeneous network deployments, and this will call for increasingly tight interworking between technologies and cell layers to ensure a seamless user experience.

Centralized coordination functionality is advantageous in order to simplify and maximize performance of the network, including handovers, carrier aggregation and interference management. Again, the centralized baseband configuration provides great potential to leverage interference management, joint processing and reception-combining techniques. But it is also still possible to have many levels of coordination in cases where centralization is limited to other higher layers of the radio protocol stack.

A Cloud RAN timeline
There are three primary developments that will shape the Cloud RAN environment going forward: deployments of heterogeneous networks with a mix of macro and small cells, and new bands with substantially different coverage will benefit significantly from radio resource coordination, which becomes more effective with the centralization of the execution of the resources seen in Cloud RAN; the imminent adoption of NFV into mobile core networks.

With the knowledge gained from this, focus will naturally shift towards the introduction of cloud RAN, which will enable operators to offer new services more rapidly over the future mobile broadband networks that will form the backbone of the networked society.

Published in Reports
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