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Meltdown and Spectre exploits: Cutting through the FUD

There is lots of information circulating about the new exploits of computer chips from Intel and others announced in the past few days. Some of it has been accurate, and some has been sensationalist and overblown. There is much technical information with high level of details available for both Meltdown and Spectre, so I won’t get into a lot of technical detail here. Rather, I’ll focus on the higher-level issues affecting business and personal computer users.First, to be clear, these exploits affect all the major computer chip architectures. The major chip makers — AMD, ARM and Intel — have decided to work together to mitigate the potential effects of a common enemy that affects most modern computer chips — a good sign for future industry collaboration. And all the major software vendors of Linux, Microsoft for Windows, Apple for macOS, and virtualization software suppliers such as VMware and Citrix have all collaborated to mitigate this threat.To read this article in full, please click here

39% off American Red Cross Blackout Buddy Emergency Nightlight – Deal Alert

Just leave the slim and trim Blackout Buddy in your wall socket and you’ll never be in the dark. It automatically turns on when the power goes out so that you can easily locate it. Then, fold away the prongs and you've got yourself a flashlight. A very bright idea from the American Red Cross. Flip a switch and the Blackout Buddy also doubles as an LED nightlight, so you can keep your kids' rooms, hallways, or kitchen always illuminated. The Blackout Buddy keeps itself charged and provides up to 4 hours of light when needed. It averages 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 1,800 people on Amazon (read reviews). Its typical list price of $14.64 has been reduced 39% to just $8.98.To read this article in full, please click here

34% off TurboTax Deluxe 2017 Tax Software, Federal & State – Deal Alert

TurboTax coaches you every step of the way and double checks your return as you go to handle even the toughest tax situations, so you can be confident you’re getting every dollar you deserve. Its typical list price of $59.99 has been reduced a generous 34% to $39.86 in a deal that is exclusive to Amazon. Also exclusive to this Amazon deal, receive a free 1-year subscription to Quicken Starter Edition 2018. Learn more, or take advantage of the deal now, on Amazon.To read this article in full, please click here

Intel’s processor flaw is a virtualization nightmare

2018 is off to a very bad start for Intel after the disclosure of a flaw deep in the design of its processors. And while the company has publicly said the issue won’t affect consumers, they aren’t the ones who need to be worried.The issue is found in how Intel processors work with page tables for handling virtual memory. It is believed that an exploit would be able to observe the content of privileged memory by exploiting a technique called speculative execution.Speculative execution exploit Speculative execution is a part of a methodology called out-of-order execution (OOE), where basically the CPU makes an educated guess on what will happen next based on the data it has. It’s designed to speed up the CPU rather than burn up CPU cycles working its way through a process. It’s all meant to make the CPU as efficient as possible.To read this article in full, please click here

IoT: A vulnerable asset but also a recovery tool in disasters

If you think the proliferation of mobile devices changed the concept of the network edge, get ready for the emerging Internet of Things (IoT), where a network-connected sensor could be located on top of a mountain, in a corn field or even in the ocean.So, how does an enterprise incorporate IoT into its disaster recovery plan? In one sense, IoT creates a unique challenge because it is far-flung and vulnerable. But it can also become part of a DR solution, helping to protect the business in the event of a disaster, according to experts.+Also on Network World: REVIEW: 4 top disaster-recovery platforms compared; Review: Microsoft Azure IoT Suite+To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Leveraging reconfigurable computing for smarter cybersecurity, part 2

In my last column, I looked at the challenges facing security teams today and, in particular, the need for more intelligent cybersecurity solutions, more powerful cybersecurity appliances and faster response to security incidents. We also looked at how reconfigurable computing solutions are addressing the need for more powerful appliances and enabling faster response to security incidents. In part 2, we will dive deeper into the latest developments in enabling more intelligent and comprehensive cyber security solutions and how reconfigurable computing can make a difference.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: 5 predictions for the Internet of Things in 2018 and beyond

The Internet of Things (IoT) has started to move to the mainstream in enterprises across all industries. With IoT spending set to increase by 15 percent to reach $772.5 billion by the end of 2018, the coming year will undoubtedly bring further growth in the number of connected devices and enterprise IoT projects. More importantly, I believe that in 2018 enterprise IoT projects will finally move beyond merely automating existing business processes, to truly transforming industries by creating entirely new revenue streams and business models. This will be due in part to the concurrent rise of synergistic technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and fog computing, as well as an industry-wide move toward greater interoperability, standards and collaboration.To read this article in full, please click here

SD-WAN deployment options: DIY vs. cloud managed

So you’re ready to deploy an SD-WAN. Now you have a decision to make: Do it yourself or buy it as a managed service?As the Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) market continues to see substantial growth, the ways that organizations are deploying this technology – and the ways vendors offer to sell it –  are evolving.+MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: After virtualization and cloud, what's left on-premises? |  SD-WAN What it is and why you’ll use it one day | IDC: SD-WAN growth is exploding for at least the next five years +To read this article in full, please click here

Linux resolutions for 2018

It’s always a good idea to start a new year with renewed intentions to be even better users and administrators of our Linux systems. For auld lang syne (for the sake of old times), let's touch on some of the ways we might improve our system practices in 2018.1: Automate more of the boring stuff There are several good reasons to turn tedious tasks into scripts. The first is to make them less annoying. The second is to make them less error-prone. And the last is to make them easier to turn over to new team members who haven't been around long enough to be bored. Add a small dose of meaningful comments to your scripts and you have a better chance of passing on some of your wisdom about how things should be done.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: 4 advantages of using a Bluetooth mesh network

Companies everywhere are waking up and starting to realize that implementing a mesh network is the best choice for them if they want to remain relevant well into the future. While various technologies are being employed across the nation to achieve this goal, it remains inarguable that Bluetooth is the best option for most companies aiming to leverage a mesh network for success in the marketplace.So why should you choose to employ a Bluetooth-based strategy, and what specific advantages will you gain from it that others who shun it will miss out on? Check out these boons that you’ll soon be enjoying if you rely on a Bluetooth mesh network, and your company will be clamoring to adopt it in no time.To read this article in full, please click here

Tech predictions for 2018: Data center trends to watch for

Yes, it's that time of the year again. Another year gone by, which means another batch of predictions for the future.As is always the case, I own up to my misfires by leading off with the predictions I made last year and admitting what came true and what didn't. So, let's get that out of the way.My 2017 predictions: some hits, some misses Apple continues to lose its cool. — I think I got this one right. iPhone 8/X sales are not what they were expected to be, the list of complaints is growing and more and more people say the company has fallen behind. Hell, even I switched to a Galaxy after frustration with the poor quality of iOS 11. Cloud adoption will slow. — Oh, boy, did I blow that one. Some tech manufacturing will return to the U.S. — I don’t know about tech, although I did see Microsoft has moved Surface manufacturing to China. But overall, manufacturing has gained 138,000 jobs in 2017 vs. a loss of 34,000 in 2016. And we all know who will take credit for that. China will lose its luster as a manufacturing hub. — Clearly that has Continue reading

IDG Contributor Network: New IDC report forecasts huge growth for IoT

In case you’re still not sure about the viability of the Internet of Things (IoT) as a business concept, some new findings from research firm International Data Corp. (IDC)—predicting significant growth for the market in the coming years—should be convincing.In addition to a rise in investments in IoT products and services, the IDC research describes how software and services will play a major role in the success of IoT project.According to the IDC study, worldwide spending on the IoT is forecast to reach $772.5 billion in 2018. That represents an increase of 15% over the $674 billion that will be spent on IoT in 2017. The new update to the firm’s Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide forecasts worldwide IoT spending to sustain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14% through the 2017-2021 forecast period, surpassing the $1 trillion mark in 2020 and reaching $1.1 trillion in 2021.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: Mega increase in cloud adoption underway

No matter how you look at it, the cloud is growing fast.To compare the market’s growth to the rest of IT, cloud computing is expanding seven times faster than non-cloud computing, according to a report from IDC released on February 21.To gauge the business decision-maker, the State of the cloud Survey gives us a good sense of how adoption decisions are changing, along with other internal insights. The 2017 version of the poll, based on the responses of 1,002 IT executives, found that the concerns related to cloud that have held back a higher degree of adoption are taking a nosedive. While 32% listed lacking expertise and resources as a top challenge last year, that number dropped to 25% this year.To read this article in full, please click here

Can IoT help make the enterprise more secure?

It’s no secret that the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) presents massive new security challenges. Heck, I’ve written about the issue here more than once. But one company claims that enterprise IoT also shows promise for addressing key security issues.Also on Network World: Is the U.S. finally about to take IoT security seriously? and The time to deal with IoT security is now Tim Lang, CTO at BI and data analytics firm MicroStrategy, notes that 70 percent of security breaches come from the inside, and he says Enterprise Internet of Things (EIoT) can help enterprises “monitor and prevent these breaches before they happen.” To read this article in full, please click here

What is a hypervisor?

Hypervisors often get overlooked as a technology in favor of the flashier concept of virtualization, but you can’t get to the fun of virtualization until you understand what a hypervisor does within a computing system.While the benefits of virtualization and cloud computing may now seem like old hat within the IT infrastructure, that wasn’t always the case, and it is hypervisor technology that has helped drive innovation in the world of cloud computing.Hypervisor definition A hypervisor is a process that separates a computer’s operating system and applications from the underlying physical hardware. Usually done as software although embedded hypervisors can be created for things like mobile devices.To read this article in full, please click here

Top 10 data center predictions: IDC

IDG The lifecycle of a data center is measured in decades, yet the tech that’s inside is changing constantly.“Today’s data centers are really out of sync with the equipment that’s inside them. It would be like using the enclosure for a 1984 Macintosh with the current generation of iMac. It just doesn’t jive very well. The power, cooling and space requirements have all morphed,” says Jennifer Cooke, research director for IDC's datacenter trends and strategies teamTo read this article in full, please click here

Gartner report: Worldwide server sales revenue increases 16%

The drive toward the cloud is lifting all boats. The need for capacity and new servers combined to lift the server market in the third quarter, with more growth to come, especially for the “white box” vendors.Gartner reported worldwide server revenue grew by a very impressive 16 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2017, while unit shipments grew by 5.1 percent. That gulf between revenue and units means more higher-end, more decked-out servers are being sold than cheap, commodity hardware.Also on Network World: REVIEW: How rack servers from HPE, Dell and IBM stack up It helps that in recent months, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Dell EMC and Lenovo have all released new hardware, which is helping to drive sales as enterprises refresh their on-premises hardware. So all told, the third quarter was marked by new hardware and continued growth of the cloud.To read this article in full, please click here

BrandPost: Putting VNFs to work

Network functions virtualization (NFV) makes it possible to replace traditional dedicated customer premise equipment with software in the form of virtual network functions (VNFs), running on standardized hardware. Despite the confusing acronym overlap of NFV and VNF, the technology is intended to vastly simplify enterprise wide area networking.Virtualization and Cloud Review describes NFV as a younger cousin to software-defined networking: “Like SDN, NFV is fundamentally about the shift from proprietary hardware-based solutions to more open, software-based substitutes,” David Ramel explains.To read this article in full, please click here

Big changes coming for the application delivery controller market

Application delivery controllers (ADCs) have long been a critical piece of infrastructure.  They sit between applications and infrastructure and are the only piece of technology that can speak the language of both applications and networks. I have often characterized the ADC as the “Rosetta Stone” of the data center, as it’s the key to being able to translate application speak to the network and vice versa.IT is undergoing a rapid modernization process, and things such as software-defined everything, the cloud, containers and other initiatives are having a profound impact on infrastructure.Also on Network World: Enterprise network trends to watch 2018 To understand how these trends are impacting ADCs, I recently conducted an Application Delivery Controller Survey to get a pulse of IT professionals who work with ADCs. The demographics of the survey were 100 U.S.-based respondents across a variety of industry verticals and company sizes and is an accurate representation of the current opinions of ADCs with respect to IT modernization.To read this article in full, please click here

IDG Contributor Network: The rise of modular plug terminated links

A modular plug terminated link (MPTL) is nothing more than an Ethernet cable that is terminated with a female socket (jack) on one side and a male plug on the other, whereas a standard permanent link is terminated with sockets on both sides of the cable. Simple, right? Wrong.Installing is one thing, testing is another The name modular plug terminated link is new, but the practice of installing LAN cabling with a socket on one side and a plug on the other goes back to the beginning of twisted pair cabling. An MPTL makes perfect sense to anyone who wants to connect a networked device by plugging the cable directly into the device. Installers of IP security cameras have been doing this since the advent of IP CCTV.To read this article in full, please click here