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TECHNOLOGY

Explore the Path to Digital Future: Interconnect, Integrate and Innovate

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Explore the Path to Digital Future: Interconnect, Integrate and Innovate

Together, We Go Further

I first heard about Equinix while getting my cybersecurity certification from MIT Sloan School of Management. The company is to network protection what Hogwarts is to wizardry: a precedent-setting, behind-the-scenes industry innovator. As the biggest on-demand data center company in the United States, staffed by more than 8,000 people, Equinix keeps millions of people safe online while, at the same time, remains anonymous to most. 

With more than 240 data centers around the world, its customer list is a who’s who of business titans: AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle and 80 of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies. As we enter the digital-first age, Equinix’s impact in our day-to-day lives is significant.

Many of the people I talk with agree that it’s a struggle to keep up. The Internet of Things, cloud computing, edge computing and data security are moving fast. It’s a constant race to keep pace with how people interact with technology, consumer demands and the new world of work. Figuring out best practices is a formidable task for any of us. 

That’s why I’m very excited about the Digital Leaders Summit 2022 (sponsored by Equinix) on September 15. Two things you need to know: it’s virtual and it’s a power-packed three hours (aka no travel and a doable, laser-focused investment of time).

I’m attending because I advise C-suite executives on digital transformation. This is a crowd that expects ready answers backed up by strategic reasoning. If you are tasked, in any way, to elevate your company’s digital strategy or strengthen your partner ecosystem, consider attending. The event is a rare opportunity to access industry thought leaders all in one place. 

Five panel discussions feature top technologists from Nasdaq, HKEX, Shell, Oracle, Dell, Microsoft and AWS, plus customers who have successfully interconnected their digital core, integrated with critical ecosystems and interacted at the digital edge all in a sustainable way. You’ll also have an opportunity to submit questions. For me, hearing from other digital leaders is always illuminating. 

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Register here 

The Digital Leaders Summit is like practicing your free-throws one day and then having the opportunity to talk about the finer points of the game with Michael Jordan. And not just His Airness himself, but LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird too. 

Also, registrants will be sent a digital copy of the “Leaders Guide to Digital Infrastructure” containing a compilation of Equinix’s observations on the best practices of today’s top companies. 

Sustainability is Everyone’s Responsibility

An important theme of the event is sustainability through pathways like industrial automation. With global challenges unfolding around us, we are called to look beyond the tech and explore the costs of finite resources and opportunities to protect our world through responsible innovation (Equinix aims to be carbon neutral by 2030).

I’m looking forward to getting inspired by best practices and cutting-edge strategies from a diverse group of people and their successful digital transformation stories as well as insight into the impact we have on the environment.

A Revealing Study About Future-proofing Business

The Digital Leaders Summit is a natural extension of Equinix’s research efforts. The company’s 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey is an easy, yet powerful read revealing what 2,900 IT decision makers in 29 markets are thinking when it comes to “future-proofing” priorities as a competitive advantage. 

The study itself points to why learning from others leads to successful outcomes. According to the study, the highest priorities are cybersecurity, complying with data protection regulations, future-proofing business and improving the customer experience. Cyberattacks as well as security breaches and data leaks are of highest concern when it comes to digital threats. 

None of these obstacles, however, show participants slowing down. Nearly half plan on business expansions and a bold 72% expect to expand in new cities, countries and/or regions within the next 12 months.

Curiosity Paves the Way to the Digital Future

Equinix is a major architect for our future digital-first culture. Security is never a flip of a switch.   How are you paving the way to digital transformation? What strategies are you using to ensure the best possible outcomes? What is your confidence level about having the right cybersecurity framework, cloud strategy, data center architecture and partners in place? How are you, as an IT leader, building a more environmentally sustainable future?

There are too many questions to walk the digital journey alone. I hope to see you at the Digital Leaders Summit. I look forward to learning with you and hearing your thoughts about our collective digital future that is unfolding right here, right now.


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TECHNOLOGY

Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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TECHNOLOGY

HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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TECHNOLOGY

Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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