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Monday, November 30, 2015

5 million VTech customers affected by major data breach

VTech has announced that it has experienced a data breach, which has affected up to five million of its customers.
The specialist electronic toys and technology company revealed that its Learning Lodge website, which has been “temporarily suspended”, was compromised on November 14th.


5 million VTech customers affected by major data breach

BigCommerce, Xero Partnership Adds Cloud Accounting to Online Stores

BigCommerce and Xero are combining their talents to produce an easier business experience by automating data entry into Xero bookkeeping software.
BigCommerce provides search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, promotions and coupons, email marketing and multi-channel marketing. The online store is hosted on a secure server with features such as a checkout cart.


BigCommerce, Xero Partnership Adds Cloud Accounting to Online Stores

Different nations’ online banking habits: better safe than sorry?

Would you bank online without the protection of security software? If your answer is yes, then you are in agreement with the more than 77% of British internet users who make sure they have asecurity solution in place when using online financial services.
This is according to a survey conducted by ESET in four countries – the US, the UK, Germany and Russia – which found that Britain the most security-focused nation when it comes to online banking.


Different nations’ online banking habits: better safe than sorry?

The security review: Biometrics, Dridex in Europe and online payments

From biometrics to Dridex in Europe and a fascinating insight into how different nations pay for things online – this week’s security review is a busy one.



The security review: Biometrics, Dridex in Europe and online payments

Online banking on-the-move? For most it's a no-go

What environment do you consider the safest for online banking? Would you make your financial transactions solely in the safety of your own home, or would you be less concerned about security on-the-go or in the office?
A series of ESET surveys focused on online banking habits have shown that even though home networks are the most popular option for users managing their finances, every fourth Russian (26.7%) would not shy away from a mobile connection. In comparison, Americans, Brits and Germans like to keep it more old-school, with four in five opting to use their home network (US 79.23%, UK 81.64%, DE 80.9%, RUS 57.3%).


Online banking on-the-move? For most it's a no-go

23 Tips for Choosing the Right CRM Software

CRM software has many benefits to small businesses. It can save you time on customer communications. It can offer personalized communications to your best customers. And it can help you improve you sales and marketing efforts.
But that’s only if you choose the right CRM software for your particular business. Below are some tips to help you pick the best CRM provider to meet your needs.


23 Tips for Choosing the Right CRM Software

Saturday, November 28, 2015

IBM’s Watson Predicts the Top Products and Trends for Black Friday

From IBM:


IBM’s Watson Predicts the Top Products and Trends for Black Friday

Strong Thanksgiving Day Online Sales to Drive Double-Digit Growth Today
ARMONK, N.Y. - 27 Nov 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) predicts online sales will grow by more than 14.5 percent over 2014. Led by mobile shopping, consumers indicate the Apple Watch, Samsung, Sony and LG TVs, Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and more are at the top of their shopping lists, according to the IBM Watson Trend App.  
Available for free download in the Apple App Store, IBM Watson Trend features the hottest 100 consumer electronics, toys and health and fitness products at any given time.
For Black Friday IBM has identified additional popular products and the stories behind them:
  • Beats by Dre: Beats headphones, earbuds, and speakers have been wildly popular since first appearing in 2008. Watson finds growing chatter around the Beats Solo2 Wired On-Ear headphones as well as the release of Dr. Dre's unheard tracks on Apple’s Beats 1 streaming music channel. Additional trending headphones include Sennheiser, Bose, Skullcandy and Sure.
  • Jordan Shoes: Known best for its original Air Jordan line of basketball sneakers, Jordan Brand has released a new line of performance running shoes. Watson finds that the line is being lauded for both their aesthetics and foot support and is gaining popularity among consumers who sported the original sneakers in the 1990s.
  • Nintendo Super Smash Bros: Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros for Wii U is generating significant buzz and Watson knows why. While the game features popular Nintendo characters such as Mario, Donkey Kong and Pok√©mon, it’s the “unprecedented” addition of Final Fantasy’s Cloud Strife that has gamers buzzing with excitement.
  • MeccaNoid Personal Robots: Personal robots including those from Star Wars are popular this year but many parents are also looking to more “edutainment” focused gifts. Watson reports that many parents are looking at MeccaNoid, which teaches kids from ages 8 to 12 how to create, learn and code so they can ultimately build their own robot.
IBM has also identified the fastest trending products. These are based on the impact (size of the conversation) and the momentum (the rate of growth of the conversation):
  • Toshiba Satellite Laptops
  • Disney Princess Legos
  • NordicTrack Treadmills
  • Klipsch Speakers
  • Asus Zenbook Laptop
IBM Watson Trend not only reports on what products are popular and why but how consumers are shopping.  According to IBM, mobile led the way for early-Black Friday shoppers who are spending more money on gifts this year than in 2014. IBM Watson Trend identified the following Thanksgiving Day shopping insights:
  • Consumer Spending Remains Strong: Online sales for Thanksgiving were up 26 percent over the same day in 2014, with consumers spending $123.45 per order.
  • Mobile Shopping Sets New Records: Mobile traffic reached nearly 60 percent of all online traffic, an increase of 14.8 percent over 2014. Mobile sales also grew, with 40 percent of all online sales coming from mobile devices, an increase of 23.8 percent over Thanksgiving Day 2014.
  • Smartphone Shoppers Dominate: Smartphones were the Thanksgiving shopper’s device of choice, accounting for 46.7 percent of all online traffic versus tablets at 13.7 percent.  Smartphones also surpassed tablets in sales, driving 23.9 percent of online sales versus tablets at 16.1 percent. 
IBM Watson Trend leverages natural language and machine learning technologies to uncover consumer preferences, pinpoint patterns and trends and reveal why people are choosing certain products or brands. IBM Watson Trend also features predictive analytics that allow it to forecast if a particular trend is a fleeting fad or will continue to remain strong.
To learn more about IBM Watson Trend and to download the app please click here. For a real-time look at how consumers are shopping across the desktop, tablets and smartphones please click here.

MEDIA ALERT: New IBM Cloud Service Enables Developers to Rapidly Translate Apps into Nine Languages

ARMONK, N.Y. - 25 Nov 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a new cloud-based service that enables developers to automatically translate cloud and mobile apps into the world’s most-spoken languages.

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/48172.wss

Friday, November 27, 2015

Next Evolution of VCE Vblock with Cisco ACI | The Network

VCE Vblock System Brings Together Cisco ACI Infrastructure and Operational Elements into Tightly Integrated VCE Vscale Architectural Model



Next Evolution of VCE Vblock with Cisco ACI | The Network

Is the UK’s Trident nuclear program at risk from cyberattack?

In an interview with the Guardian this week, former British defence secretary Des Brown called on the British Prime Minister to hold an ‘end-to-end assessment’ of the Trident nuclear program’s cybersecurity, or risk potential weaknesses in the system.
Brown highlighted a report by the US department of defense which warned that the US and its allies “cannot be confident” about the security of their system in the event of a cyberattack by a well-resourced opponent.


Is the UK’s Trident nuclear program at risk from cyberattack?

Russians embrace Bitcoins, the West sticks with PayPal

One day, as you’re busy surfing on one of your favorite online stores, you stumble upon a pair of chic shades … they’re the very ones you’ve been looking for, for quite some time. And that’s not it. Best of all, they are really cheap. So you add the sunglasses to your shopping cart, proceed to payment and choose to pay … wait for it … with Bitcoins. Sounds like some techie’s fantasy? It’s not − at least for 6.9% of Russians, who are opting to use the cryptocurrency ever since their country’s financial system has come under pressure.



Russians embrace Bitcoins, the West sticks with PayPal

Brocade Executives to Present at Upcoming Financial Conferences (NASDAQ:BRCD)

Brocade Executives to Present at Upcoming Financial Conferences (NASDAQ:BRCD)

Police arrest couple suspected of running malware encryption service

British police arrested a man and a woman earlier this week, suspected of operating a website which offered services to online criminals which could help them evade detection by anti-virus software.
The couple, both aged 22, were arrested in Colchester, Essex, are alleged to have run the reFUD.me website, used by malware authors to encrypt their creations, rewriting malicious code so it is no longer easily detected by anti-virus products. In this instance, “FUD” does not stand for “Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt” but “Fully UnDetectable”.


Police arrest couple suspected of running malware encryption service

Cisco Announces Upcoming Events with the Financial Community

From Cisco:



SAN JOSE, Calif, --- November 23, 2015 --- Cisco today announced that it will participate in the following events with the financial community during the month of December. These events will be webcast. Interested parties can view these events on Cisco's Investor Relations website at investor.cisco.com.
Nasdaq 33rd Investor Conference
December 2, 2015
9:15 a.m. ET / 2:15 p.m. GMT
London, UK
Phil Smith, SVP, UK and Ireland

Barclays Technology, Media & Telecommunications Conference
December 8, 2015
11:55 a.m. PT / 2:55 p.m. ET
San Francisco, CA
Hilton Romanski, SVP and Chief Strategy Officer

About Cisco Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dell eDellRoot SuperFish-like Caught | Fortinet Blog

If you recall last February, Lenovo came under significant scrutiny when it was found that SuperFish adware was preinstalled on many of its notebooks. This week, some researchers shared that Dell, the third biggest personal computer vendor according to Gartner, is also affected by the same kind of vulnerability. Some Inspiron 500 series and XPS models come preinstalled with a self-signed digital certificate called eDellRoot.



Dell eDellRoot SuperFish-like Caught | Fortinet Blog

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gordon Bell Prize Awarded for Most Realistic Simulation of the Dynamics of Earth's Interior to Date; Opens Path to Better Understanding of Earthquakes and Volcanoes


AUSTIN - 20 Nov 2015: Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin, IBM Research (NYSE:IBM), New York University and the California Institute of Technology have been awarded the 2015 Gordon Bell Prize for realistically simulating the forces inside the Earth that drive plate tectonics. The team’s work could herald a major step toward better understanding of earthquakes and volcanic activity.

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/48151.wss

MEDIA ALERT: New IBM Cloud Tool Eliminates the Need for Users to Share Personal Data with Apps

ARMONK, N.Y - 20 Nov 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBMIdentity Mixer, a new tool to protect a consumer’s personally identifiable information, is now generally available on IBM Cloud.
Accessible to developers on Bluemix, IBM’s Cloud platform, Identity Mixer is built on years of cryptography research, and holds the key to helping to reduce identity theft happening as the result of sharing personal data on mobile and web apps. Using algorithms, the tool allows developers to build apps which can authenticate users’ identities without collecting personal data, otherwise known as a “zero-knowledge proof”.

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/48150.wss

IBM Launches First Global Consortium, Consulting Practice To Modernize Venues and Sports Experience of the Future

ARMONK, N.Y. - 19 Nov 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the Sports and Entertainment Global Consortium, which was created to design, build and deliver the ultimate fan experience.  IBM also announced the new Sports, Entertainment and Fan Experience consulting practice led by Jim Rushton, who joins IBM after serving as Chief Revenue Officer of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium.  

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/48129.wss

IBM’s Watson Forecasts Trends and Products for Holiday Season

ARMONK, N.Y. - 18 Nov 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today launched the IBM Watson Trend App, a new way for shoppers to understand the reasons behind the top trends of the holiday season and also predict the hottest products before they sell out. The app is available via a free download at the Apple App Store. 

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/48109.wss

IBM Research and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Pioneer Next-Generation Cognitive Environments for Business Decision Making


YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. and TROY, N.Y. - 18 Nov 2015: IBM Research (NYSE: IBM) today announced plans for a multi-year collaboration with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to pioneer new frontiers in the scientific field of immersive cognitive systems. The research collaboration will be housed in the newly established Cognitive and Immersive Systems Lab (CISL) on the Rensselaer campus in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/48118.wss

IBM Expands U.S. Federal Cloud Ecosystem with Five New Partners

From IBM:


IBM Expands U.S. Federal Cloud Ecosystem with Five New Partners

- Partnerships Focus on Advancing Hybrid Cloud across Federal Agencies
ARMONK, N.Y. - 17 Nov 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that five new cloud partners have joined its growing ecosystem serving the U.S. federal government. Together with IBM, these resellers and distributors will focus on delivering new hybrid cloud innovations to help spur wider cloud adoption across federal agencies. Arrow, Avnet Government Solutions, Ingram Micro, Tech Data Corporation and ViON will combine and bundle their solutions with IBM Cloud.
Despite all the attention that the federal government has placed on cloud, IDC estimates that only about six percent of federal applications run in the cloud. At the same time, the Administration’s proposed fiscal 2016 budget estimates that about $7.3 billion will be spent on cloud computing and not simply for cost savings, but also to change how services are delivered.
“Federal agencies are really beginning to view cloud as transformational, but first they need a reliable partner to help them get started,” said Anne Altman, general manager of IBM US Federal and Government Industries. “With our partners, we have a strong understanding of the IT investments agencies have made, and how to help them with their migrations to cloud in a secure and strategic way.”
These partners bring specialized expertise to the table:
Arrow helps partners integrate IBM’s Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) into their products and services, and assists in building cloud solutions from the IaaS layer up.
“The federal government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy puts FedRAMP-approved data centers at the forefront of the hybrid-public cloud movement,” said Steve Robinson, global vice president and general manager of Arrow’s cloud business. “We have a unique opportunity to deliver value to public-sector channel partners through our collaboration with IBM, and by leveraging Arrow’s commercial value-add cloud model in our federally focused immixGroup organization.”
Avnet Government Solutions helps business partners accelerate the development of their cloud portfolios with a scalable, secure base for the delivery of cloud services across its entire network around the world. Avnet and IBM’s Cloud capabilities will allow federal agencies to place their data where and when it is required.
"With our recently opened office in the Washington, D.C., area and investments in public sector capabilities, Avnet Government Solutions is perfectly positioned to help our partners sell IBM’s FedRAMP-certified SoftLayer federal cloud,” said Pete Rzonca, vice president of Avnet Government Solutions. “For federal clients, Avnet brings more than 30 years of IBM expertise, our skilled cloud solutions team, and the recently launched Avnet Cloud Marketplace.”
Ingram Micro markets, sells and supports IBM Cloud on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace. Through a single online portal, channel partners can configure and manage IBM Cloud while driving cross-sell and revenue-generating opportunities within its partner community. As a master cloud services provider, Ingram Micro offers its cloud onboarding capabilities, partner enablement, marketing support, and end-to-end technical and operational support to its channel partners focused on building cloud solutions.
“Ingram Micro is pleased to partner with IBM to serve U.S. federal government agencies in their transition to the cloud,” said Tarik Faouzi, vice president, Global Cloud Partners and Solutions, Ingram Micro Cloud. “By leveraging our cloud migration capabilities and value-added services, we remove the barriers and complexity of the migration process to ensure a seamless and secure migration that supports business transformation to the cloud.”
Tech Data Corporation is one of the world's largest distributors of technology products, services and solutions. Its advanced logistics capabilities and value added services enable 115,000 resellers to efficiently and cost effectively support the diverse technology needs of end users in more than 100 countries.
ViON offers its on-premise private cloud leveraging 13 years of experience as an IaaS solution provider. With IBM’s FedRAMP-certified SoftLayer, ViON is uniquely positioned to integrate the security of an on-premise solution with the scalability of a public cloud to address Federal hybrid cloud initiatives.
“For nearly two decades, ViON’s partnership with IBM has enabled our Federal customers to achieve their mission success,” said Tom Frana, ViON CEO. “Our customer service intimacy model coupled with IBM’s public cloud offering will allow us to continue to meet the demands of our customer today and tomorrow.”  
Federal agencies are turning to IBM’s SoftLayer Federal cloud, which integrates existing and new services in a hybrid environment, driving new innovations and helping agencies better decide, manage and secure where their data and apps reside. SoftLayer meets all Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requirements for government workloads.
Under terms of their agreements, the five new partners will resell and market IBM Cloud Services with a focus on implementing hybrid solutions where some applications and data remain on premise but can easily integrate with systems moved to the cloud and new services launched on the cloud. They also have access to Bluemix, IBM’s Cloud platform; and IBM’s Software as a Service portfolio.
For the federal market, IBM offers a portfolio of FedRAMP compliant services. In December 2014, IDC named IBM a leader in U.S. Government private cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service.
For more information about IBM Cloud, visit: http://www.ibm.com/cloud-computing.

IBM Rallies Developers to Help Build New Cloud Apps for First Responders

From IBM:


IBM Rallies Developers to Help Build New Cloud Apps for First Responders

• Partners with Vencore, U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) and the Association of Public Safety Communications (APCO)
• IBM Bluemix Cloud Platform Supporting First Responder Application Challenge
ARMONK, N.Y. - 17 Nov 2015: IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced that it is providing access to the IBM Cloud as part of the First Responder Application Challenge that runs through Dec.14. IBM and its partner Vencore, Inc., in coordination with USGIF and APCO, have teamed up to develop an application ecosystem that enables the development and delivery of predictive analytic and mobile applications that can significantly improve the operational capability of first responders, be built and delivered on the cloud, and apply data and innovation to solve real-world problems.
This challenge continues IBM’s focus on growing an ecosystem to drive further U.S.  Federal and public sector cloud adoption. IBM also announced today the addition of five new federal partners to focus on advancing hybrid cloud. IDC’s U.S. Government Private Cloud Infrastructure as a Service 2014 Vendor Assessment cited IBM Cloud as playing a “leading role for federal hybrid clouds,” and indicated that BluemixIBM’s Cloud Platform, coupled with the capability to “deliver innovation for new cloud workloads” is a “game changer” for the federal market. In addition, in its latest Federal Cloud Computing Competitive Landscape Snapshot, Deltek showed IBM leading the market for contracts won between 2011-2015. 
Bluemix, which will be used by challenge participants, is proving to drive innovation in government. Last April, participants in NASA’s Space App Challenge used Bluemix, resulting in thousands of new Bluemix users. IBM is currently working with Book Zurman, Inc., a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), on the Department of Veterans AffairsCare Coordination Challenge, developing proposed solutions that combine cognitive capabilities with Bluemix applications.
As part of a U.S. Federal Partner Acceleration Program, IBM has boosted the public sector ecosystem surrounding Bluemix. The team has hosted more than 70 events, including hackathons, challenges and workshops for the federal market and the federal system integrator community. With the growing entrepreneurial, developer and startup ecosystem supporting the federal government, academia and other business areas, the Washington Metropolitan area is ripe for this type of innovation. 
“The best innovation takes place when you drive toward a common goal. And it’s no different in government, where an ecosystem of developers, academia, technologists and others come together to address challenges,” said Anne Altman, general manager of IBM U.S. Federal and Government Industries. “With Bluemix, we bring a cloud platform that can help all those involved in championing better solutions for our first responders through innovation to quickly build and implement new solutions.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) vision for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) includes providing an ecosystem where innovative applications are available to first responders that help improve how they carry out their duties and ultimately save lives and property. 
During the challenge, participants will work directly with vendors and universities to build software applications that use a variety of real-time remote sensing data, field data, GIS tools and other content to create mobile and web-based apps. Solutions will be created using an operational application ecosystem which will allow first responders and solution providers to work together in a virtual environment designed specifically for delivery of effective, tailored first responder applications.
Vencore has developed an application ecosystem using its Intelligent Data Exploitation and Analytics System (IDEAS). Using the latest technology available from IBM, IDEAS delivers predictive analytic solutions, mobile applications, development services and collaboration services to enable first responders to define needs and work directly with providers to build and deploy tailored solutions that meet those needs.
“Our IDEAS platform brings together first responders with both content provider and app developers in a collaborative and secure environment with the objective of delivering value-added applications that directly address unmet needs in the public safety community,” said Kent Matlick, senior vice president and general manager of Vencore’s Mission Integration Group. “Vencore’s solution makes these apps easily accessible to the entire public safety community.”
To win the challenge, participants must build the best solution that addresses one or more of five unmet needs, e.g., Improving 9-1-1 services, Emergency Tracking, First Responder Assistant Apps, Easier Access to Information, Preparation and Fire Prevention, have a fully functioning app installed and running on Bluemix or IDEAS, and submit a written description of how the app functions. Details on the challenge, including criteria, rules, prizes and other information can be found here. Registration is open until Dec. 11. 
IBM launched Bluemix with a $1 billion investment in 2014, growing rapidly to become the largest Cloud Foundry deployment in the world. The open-standards-based Bluemix catalog includes more than 120 tools and services spanning categories of big data, mobile, Watson, analytics, integration, DevOps, security and Internet of Things. IBM Bluemix was recently shown to be the "developers’ choice" of PaaS, and is growing 10-times faster than the overall PaaS market, according to research firm ESG.
For more information about IBM Cloud, visit: http://www.ibm.com/cloud-computing.

IBM and OpenPOWER Members Deliver Accelerated Technologies to Break Big Data Speed Barriers

From IBM:


IBM and OpenPOWER Members Deliver Accelerated Technologies to Break Big Data Speed Barriers

Surge of Co-Developed, Accelerator-Based Solutions Sets Direction for Change in Tech Industry
AUSTIN, TX - 16 Nov 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and several fellow OpenPOWER Foundationmembers today revealed new technologies, collaborations and developer resources to enable clients to analyze data more deeply and with incredible speed. The new offerings center on the tight integration of IBM’s open and licensable POWER processors with accelerators, dedicated high performance processors that can be optimized for computationally intensive software code.
The accelerated POWER-based offerings come at a time when clients are seeking the ideal server platform for Internet of Things, machine learning and other cognitive computing applications. Through an open, collaborative model, IBM and more than 90 members participating in the OpenPOWER Foundation’s Accelerators Working Group are developing and delivering a wide range of accelerator-based solutions.
“There is a need for systems that provide greater speed to insight -- for data and analytics workloads to help businesses and organization make sense of the data, to outthink competitors as we usher in a new era of Cognitive Computing,” said Brad McCredie, IBM Fellow and OpenPOWER Foundation President. “IBM and our fellow OpenPOWER members are on the forefront driving the changes necessary for innovation at all levels of the technology stack, including the development of the industry's first open, high-speed interconnects between processors and accelerators.”                
OpenPOWER Member Commitments to Accelerated Infrastructures
New products, collaborations and further investments in accelerator-based solutions on top of the POWER processor architecture include:
  • Accelerating Watson: First made famous for beating humans on the Jeopardy! game show, IBM Watson’s ability to “think” is transforming industries worldwide by enabling a new relationship between people and computers. IBM revealed today that the incorporation of NVIDIA® Tesla® K80 GPUs, the flagship offering of the NVIDIA Tesla Accelerated Computing Platform – coupled with Watson’s POWER-based architecture – accelerates Watson’s Retrieve and Rank API capabilities to 1.7x of its normal speed. This speed-up can further improve the cost-performance of Watson’s cloud-based services. For example, a call center agent responding to an individual’s health and insurance query can leverage Watson’s natural language processing technology to obtain an answer in real-time even faster than before, potentially increasing customer satisfaction and lowering service costs. In addition to bolstering response time, the GPU acceleration also increases Watson’s processing power to 10x its prior performance.
  • Strategic Collaboration with Xilinx:  Newest OpenPOWER Platinum member Xilinx and IBM today announced a multi-year strategic collaboration to jointly develop data center and network function virtualization (NFV) solutions that bring together the systems, software, and management components around Xilinx FPGA accelerators. The solutions focus on emerging workloads including high performance computing, cognitive computing, machine learning, genomics and big data analytics.
  • Accelerated Networking: Mellanox announced the world's first smart network switch, the Switch-IB 2, capable of delivering clients an estimated 10x system performance improvement. NEC announced availability of its ExpEther Technology that is also suited for POWER architecture-based systems, along with plans to leverage IBM’s innovative Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) technology to deliver additional accelerated computing value to its clients in 2016. 
  • New OpenPOWER-Based Systems: Two OpenPOWER members, E4 Computer Engineeringand Penguin Computing, revealed new systems based on the OpenPOWER design concept incorporating IBM POWER8 and NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators. 
  • IBM Key Applications Ported and in Beta:  IBM has ported a series of key IBM Internet of Things, Spark, Big Data and Cognitive Era applications to take advantage of the POWER architecture with accelerators.  
Expansion of Developer Resources
Responding to growing demand from developers for test servers to build, port and optimize applications that can take advantage of accelerators on POWER-based systems, IBM and fellow OpenPOWER members have built a global network of physical centers and cloud-based services for no-charge access to accelerated POWER-based infrastructure. New and expanded resources include:
  • Expanded GPU Services on SuperVessel: NVIDIA and IBM worked together to accelerateSuperVessel, a global cloud-based OpenPOWER ecosystem resource launched in June. SuperVessel now provides GPU-accelerated computing as-a-service capabilities, giving users access to high-performance NVIDIA Tesla GPUs to enable Caffe, Torch and Theano deep-learning frameworks to instantaneously launch from the SuperVessel cloud.
  • Expanded FPGA Services on SuperVessel: Xilinx and IBM have developed a new FPGA accelerator service on SuperVessel that makes coherent reconfigurable accelerators available to developers via the cloud.  By enabling high-level language programming like C, C++ and OpenCL, Xilinx and IBM are dramatically expanding how users can leverage FPGAs in the cloud for innovation on applications like machine learning, big data analytics and HPC.
  • New Cluster at University of Texas at Austin:  IBM and new OpenPOWER Foundation member, the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin, announced a POWER8-based accelerated computing cluster to be made available to academic researchers and developers. The new cluster is currently running successfully in an early user mode, and will begin accepting requests for access this week.
  • Oregon State University Expands OSUOSL: Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab (OSUOSL) has expanded the footprint of POWER8-based systems in their existing OpenStack cluster with additional compute and memory capacity.  The expansion can significantly increase the number of distinct users OSUOSL can support for research and development on OpenPOWER/OpenStack infrastructures.
Transforming Industries with Open Acceleration
Several IBM clients understand firsthand how the coupling of accelerator technologies with POWER processors can and are delivering breakthrough performance to enable industries to transform.
  • According to Bryan O'Neil, Director of Data Architecture, Allegiant Travel, "A company's data represents an immense opportunity -- and the speed at which you can glean insight from it is what will separate the winners from the losers in today's highly competitive industries. IBM and OpenPOWER members are delivering the kinds of acceleration technology our industry needs to enable real time decision making.  Allegiant Travel is impressed with what we are seeing and eager to leverage accelerated solutions in our data center as we continue down the path to becoming a cognitive business."
  • Last month a team of noted researchers led by Erez Lieberman Aiden, a geneticist and computer scientist with appointments at Baylor College, Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University, was nationally recognized for breakthrough genomics research – a new procedure designed to modify how a human genome is arranged in three dimensions in the nucleus of a cell, with extraordinary precision. Today, the team revealed that the feat was achieved using Power Systems accelerated with NVIDIA Tesla GPUs and Mellanox network infrastructure to build a 3-D map of the human genome and model the reaction of the genome to this surgical procedure, without disturbing the surrounding DNA.
  • Coming on the heels of announcing its new supercomputer Delta based on the OpenPOWER server platform, Louisiana State University has released a white paper  today documenting how an IBM POWER8-based server using acceleration technology rendered 7.5x to 9x performance increases over an Intel Xeon based LSU HPC server without acceleration technology (1)
For further details about the OpenPOWER Foundation visit www.openpowerfoundation.org
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  1. Source: "IBM POWER8® HPC System Accelerates Genomics Analysis with SMT8 Multithreading" - November 16, 2015. Results are based on testing by Louisiana State University- Center for Computational Technologies (CCT) of a 40 Nodes IBM Power System S824L cluster, SMT8 enabled, IBM Spectrum Scale Elastic Storage, 512TB compared to the SuperMikeII 120 node with two 8-core Intel Sandy Bridge Xeon processors at 2.6GHz core speed with hyper-threading disabled.  Each IBM POWER8 node had 256GB memory (RAM) as compared to 32GB RAM in the LSU SuperMikeII system. The IBM node provides 16 independent, high bandwidth memory controllers, providing 16GB per memory controller.  Results will vary depending on individual workloads, configurations and conditions. The accelerator-based technology, the CAPI/Flash Controller, is an option on all IBM POWER8-based servers for an additional charge.