Artificial intelligence and new instances dominate headlines at AWS re:Invent

aws-reinventMore than 32,000 IT pros gathered in Las Vegas this week for Amazon’s AWS re:Invent 2016 and a look at what’s new with the cloud platform. Each day is a firehose of new announcements, ranging from minor updates to major upheavals.

Here are some of the most interesting announcements from the conference so far:

New instances. The first wave of announcements centered on AWS’ bread-and-butter IaaS offerings, with CEO Andy Jassy unveiling new instance families and capabilities during his keynote earlier today. These range from fairly straightforward new generations of the Compute, IO, and memory optimized instances, to some more dramatic announcements, including:

  • GPU-as-a-service – Businesses can now attach “elastic” GPUs to any AWS Cloud instance.
  • Amazon Lightsail – A lower complexity virtual private server offering that lets you very quickly and easily set up simple servers, without the need for deep knowledge of the plumbing of AWS.
  • New F1 – FPGA instances — These deliver the ability to do hardware acceleration through field programmable gate arrays. This will open the door to some interesting new classes of problems moving to AWS where performance is absolutely critical.

Amazon Artificial Intelligence. Some of the biggest announcements today were related to the introduction of three new AI services:

  • Amazon Rekognition — Image recognition-as-a-service that enables you to detect who’s in a picture, what’s going on, and even what emotions are being expressed.
  • Amazon Polly — A text-to-speech engine with a healthy sprinkling of AI. It takes text in and produces naturally phrased speech out.
  • Amazon Lex — The brains behind Amazon’s Alexa, now offered as a service for businesses to build interactive experiences for customers. Even more intriguing, Amazon announced canned connectors between this and a number of enterprise applications, including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and others.

Follow me on Twitter and check back here later this week for more news, products, and reactions coming out of AWS re:Invent.

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SHI’s revenue soars to $2 billion in Q3 on the back of strong legacy, emerging partnerships

Earnings-releaseSHI’s growth continues to accelerate in 2016. SHI reported $2 billion in revenue in Q3 — 14 percent year-over-year growth — and the company’s revenues for the first three quarters of 2016 totaled $5.3 billion. This surge puts SHI on pace for another record year. Continue Reading…

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Is your health care organization prepared for a cyber attack?

healthcare-itRansomware and cybercrime hacking have been two of the most common IT security threats in 2016, but many health care organizations aren’t ready to play defense: Only about 60 percent of surveyed organizations had the security capabilities in place to detect and remediate these attacks.

That’s problematic, of course, but is it surprising? After all, many health care organizations place more importance on HIPAA compliance than security, or they aren’t agile enough to protect themselves against the newest threat. Organizations tend to sink their energy into defending against the latest threat of the day, but lag on improving their entire security architecture. Continue Reading…

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SHI’s Austin office named one of city’s best places to work

awardsCheers to SHI’s office in Austin, Texas – you’ve just been named one of the capital city’s top workplaces!

That’s right: SHI’s local office was once again recognized as one of the city’s best large employers by the Austin American-Statesman. Our Austin office employs nearly 1,000 people, and serves as the epicenter of corporate and SMB sales. The Austin office is SHI’s second largest office, after our world headquarters in New Jersey.

The Austin American-Statesman’s Top Workplace designation is based on an anonymous employee survey – sent to employees by the Statesman – that measures workplace qualities such as company leadership and direction, employee engagement, career opportunities, working environment and training, communications, and compensation.

SHI employees highlighted the positive work environment, competitive pay and benefits, and strong local leadership in the survey. They also praised the opportunities for advancement, rewards for hard work, supportive and empowering team leaders, and SHI’s culture.

“SHI’s growth has always been fueled by an enthusiastic and dedicated workforce, and our Austin office is a vital cog in our sales and customer support machine. The office has grown considerably over the past few years, and the hard-working and experienced SHI employees in Austin consistently go above and beyond to fulfill our customers’ needs,” said Thai Lee, President and CEO of SHI International Corp.  “I am pleased to hear that our employees consider SHI one of the best places to work in Austin. Congratulations are in order to everyone in the office from top to bottom!”

2016 marks the fifth year SHI has been named a Top Workplace by the Austin American-Statesman — SHI was honored with the designation in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015.

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Before buying a UPS, answer these 4 questions

uninterruptible-power-supplyWhen was your last time downtime incident? If you’re like the respondents in a recent IHS survey, you’ve seen five downtime events in the past month.

That adds up to millions of dollars in lost revenue and productivity – midsize companies reported one downtime event cost approximately $1 million — and possible equipment repairs or replacements. Lost or damaged data is an unquantifiable cost.

If you don’t already have a proper battery backup and power protection plan in place, it’s time to do so. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system that costs a few hundred dollars will pay for itself many times over if it gets your organization through even a single power failure. Continue Reading…

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Here’s how to take advantage of the Apple-Cisco partnership

wifiWe’ve been anxiously awaiting the fruits of the Apple-Cisco partnership and now we finally have the details.

Apple and Cisco have integrated their mobile and networking technologies to give users optimized Wi-Fi connectivity and streamlined VoIP capabilities, all while prioritizing business traffic. That means more reliable and faster speeds for employees connected to Cisco wireless networks.

Cisco and Apple have laid the groundwork for these enhancements, but system administrators will need to check a few boxes to make sure their users are up and running.

Let’s run through what network admins must know about these capabilities and how to enable them. Continue Reading…

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Adobe gives Creative Cloud for enterprise the VIP treatment. Here’s what it means for you.

whats newAdobe’s Creative Cloud for enterprise suite can now be licensed through a Value Incentive Plan (VIP) Agreement. Translation: Organizations are no longer required to license Creative Cloud for enterprise solely through an Enterprise Term License Agreement.

Creative Cloud for enterprise gives users some of the industry’s most powerful creative apps across desktops and mobile devices. This suite allows users to share assets across apps and teams, accelerate the design process, and manage the enterprise to work securely.

You might be asking yourself, “Does this affect me?” Let us explain what this option means and how you can capitalize on Adobe’s latest subscription licensing option. Continue Reading…

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