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IBM’s AS/400 was first introduced way back in 1988, but a quarter of a century later, the midrange platform still plays a crucial role in IT for electronics retailer Dick Smith. Here’s how it plans to eventually get rid of the aging system and replace it with a cloud-centred platform using different best-of-breed components.
Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform is aimed at businesses of all sizes, but how does the tech giant use the service itself? During a recent media tour, Jon Ormond from Microsoft IT talked through some of the uses Microsoft’s internal IT department has found for Azure — and how shifting to the cloud could save it $US150 million.
Cloud computing has its roots in repetitive business and analytical processing, but as public cloud platforms mature, those resources are being used for an increasingly diverse range of tasks. Two recent examples highlight how cloud computing resources can be used to supplement local hardware for graphics-intensive tasks.
Banks and financial services firms are often held up as examples of businesses which won’t readily embrace cloud services — regulatory requirements and a general sense of caution mean they prefer to maintain their own IT systems. While there hasn’t been a wholesale embrace of cloud by banks yet, it’s now rare for them not to have some form of cloud computing as part of the mix.
As Amazon, Microsoft and other cloud providers move to break ground and build Australian data centres and points-of-presence, data sovereignty and the security of data stored offshore is still a massive concern for Australian companies. Microsoft is flipping the script on data sovereignty in a post-Snowden world, and now pledges to fight US Patriot Act orders it receives. So can the US government still take your company’s data despite Microsoft’s new fighting spirit? Sort of.
Cloud computing is being heralded as the next big thing. Gone are the days when people and businesses need to maintain expensive hardware to store their information, they can now pay someone else to look after it and access it whenever or wherever they like. But problems with the way the cloud operates are holding us back. Users are not quite ready to move completely to this brave new world because of some potentially serious glitches.
Azure is the big unifying theme at Microsoft TechEd this week; every session I’ve been to has made reference to it. But there’s one question that still doesn’t have an official answer: when will the Australian Azure data centres in Sydney and Melbourne finally open?
Microsoft’s opening day keynote at TechEd North America included a stack of new announcements relating to its Azure cloud services. Here are all the key Azure developments, from the new Azure Files storage system through to RemoteApp for delivering desktop apps to end users via Azure, and when they’ll become available.