A VP pick from tech’s front yard, Cisco cuts $1B in expenses and Microsoft introduces a service mesh and an AI program to recycle server parts

August 13, 2020 | Posted by: Jin Woo

Published every Thursday, The Blue Print recaps the industry’s most intriguing news, unexpected shifts and developing trends that are defining the business and technology landscape.

TechCrunch: Kamala Harris brings a view from tech’s epicenter to the presidential race
Joe Biden’s decision to name California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the quest to unseat President Trump means that the next vice president could be not only the first Black and Asian American woman on a presidential ticket in the U.S — historic milestones by any account — but also a Californian who built a career in the tech industry’s front yard. Born in Oakland, Harris served as San Francisco district attorney and later as the attorney general for California before being elected to the Senate in 2016. And while the newly named vice presidential nominee is likely to bring a deeper understanding of the tech industry to the race, her positions on how a Democratic administration should approach tech’s most powerful companies during an unprecedented moment of scrutiny aren’t exactly crystal clear. Harris attracted considerable support from Silicon Valley executives in her bid for the Democratic nomination, outpacing other candidates in donations from employees from large tech companies early on.

Why It Matters: While Harris has recently been critical of Facebook, she has largely avoided being critical of Silicon Valley tech companies. Given her familiarity with California and Silicon Valley and relationships with tech execs, it will be interesting what tech policies emerge out the presidential campaign with Joe Biden.

Tags: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Donald Trump, Silicon Valley

Bloomberg: Cisco Tumbles After Weak Forecast Shows Recession Biting
Cisco Systems Inc. shares tumbled Thursday after the company gave a lackluster sales forecast, signaling that businesses are spending less in the pandemic-driven recession. Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins pledged to reduce expenses by $1 billion through a reorganization that will include job cuts and early retirement for some workers.

Why It Matters: With no end in sight to the pandemic many organizations are looking for ways to reduce spending. Solutions that offer more flexibility and scalability to support digital initiatives driven by 5G, edge computing and analytics are also being favored as cost savings and speed to innovation are two critical requirements.

Tags: Cisco, Chuck Robbins, pandemic

InfoWorld: Microsoft breaks ranks with its own service mesh
Microsoft has announced that it will release its own open source service mesh — called Open Service Mesh (OSM) — and transfer it to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as soon as possible. This sets the Redmond-based company apart from its cloud rival Google, which recently announced that its own Istio service mesh will no longer be part of the vendor-neutral CNCF and will instead sit under Google’s own Open Usage Commons (OUC) foundation.

Why It Matters: OSM is a lighter weight service mesh interface than Istio and Microsoft hopes it will help simplify its use by developers; the company’s customers say it works better with Azure Kubernetes Service. Meanwhile, Google continues to draw criticism for its perspective on open governance and the creation of OUC.

Tags: Microsoft, Open Service Mesh, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, CNCF, Google, Istio, Open Usage Commons

Database Trends & Applications: IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Study Reveals True Cost of Today’s Security Glitches
IBM Security has announced the results of a global study examining the financial impact of data breaches, revealing that these incidents cost the companies studied $3.86 million per breach on average, and that compromised employee accounts were the most expensive root cause. Based on analysis of data breaches experienced by more than 500 organizations worldwide, 80% of these incidents resulted in the exposure of customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Out of all types of data exposed in these breaches, customer PII was also the costliest to businesses studied. A separate IBM study found that over half of surveyed employees new to working from home due to the pandemic have not been provided with new guidelines on how to handle customer PII, despite the changing risk models associated with this shift.

Why It Matters: There are two trains of thought when it comes to cybersecurity. The first is that there needs to be ongoing training to develop a culture that minimizes accidental insider threats and data breaches including lateral movement attacks from privileged user accounts. The other is that of a seamless user experience that is non-disruptive to the efficiency and productivity of employees. Smart organizations are using a combined approach to develop good employee habits while enhancing security technology that minimizes disruptions to improve its security posture.

Tags: IBM, security, cybersecurity, data breaches, personally identifiable information

SDXCentral: CIOs Embark on 5G Edge Cloud Journey
The top five public cloud providers strengthened their collective hold on the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market last year as global revenues reached $44.5 billion, according to Gartner. Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba, Google, and Tencent captured 80% of global IaaS revenues in 2019 up from 77% in 2018. Overall, the market grew 37.3% last year, Gartner said. Enterprise spending on public cloud services, fueled by growing interest in edge computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and 5G, is poised to grow even more as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, according to Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner.

Why It Matters: While CIOs are still trying to understand digital opportunities, the pandemic forced companies to rethink IT spending for cost savings and in support of remote workforces. However with the continued rollout of 5G, cloud adoption is expected to continue to support edge computing, industrial IoT and analytics driven initiatives to increase productivity, efficiency and deliver new services to engage customers and grow revenue.

Tags: Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba, Google, edge computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G

SiliconAngle: Who needs live events? Virtual conferences are attracting more people than ever
In telephone and email interviews, executives from 20 technology companies that pivoted from in-person to digital events in the first half of this year unanimously said that the experience has been positive. Up to seven times as many people attended some virtual conferences as had traveled to past in-person gatherings. Costs were as much as 90% lower. And many organizers said the volume new business opportunities that grew out of their digital interactions were far greater than what they had seen previously at physical events.

Why It Matters: Vendor shows and industry event keynotes are delivering great results both in attendance and leads. But overall the vendor community is struggling to stand out from the crowd and reap the benefits from virtual events. For the better performing events, professional productions, gamification and compelling content are helping generate unprecedented registrations but because events are now free, there is a huge drop off rate. Even still the ability to attract global audiences and watch recordings are paying off for vendor led shows.

Tags: Domo, HPE, Professional Convention Management Association, Adobe, Docker, F5, SAP, Red Hat, Okta, Rubrik, MariaDB

Network World: Microsoft uses AI to boost its reuse, recycling of server parts
Microsoft is bringing artificial intelligence to the task of sorting through millions of servers to determine what can be recycled and where. The new initiative calls for the building of so-called Circular Centers at Microsoft data centers around the world, where AI algorithms will be used to sort through parts from decommissioned servers or other hardware and figure out which parts can be reused on the campus. Microsoft says it has more than three million servers and related hardware in its data centers, and that a server’s average lifespan is about five years. Plus, Microsoft is expanding globally, so its server numbers should increase. Circular Centers are all about quickly sorting through the inventory rather than tying up overworked staff. Microsoft plans to increase its reuse of server parts by 90% by 2025.

Why It Matters: Reusing hardware in data centers aims to curve the amount of waste generated and at the same time decreases the dependence on components that are imported. Overall this could lead to better transparency on the environmental impact of decommissioned hardware.

Tags: Microsoft, data center, Circular Centers