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Data Sheet—Friday, August 8, 2014

TGIF! Tired of cobbling together umpteen security technologies to protect pieces of your network? Then you’ll be happy about the proposed union of Gemalto and SafeNet. The first order of business is an end-to-end solution for financial services. Plus: your company might soon be using the same server protection as Facebook. It’s buying PrivateCore, the brains of former engineers from VMware, Google, and the Israeli army. Enjoy your weekend. I’ll be back on Monday with more news about the business of technology. Thanks for making my first week successful.

TRENDING

A new powerhouse in end-to-end data security for financial services. Amsterdam-based Gemalto is paying $890 million for Safenet, which protects 80% of all global intra-bunk fund transfers. Gemalto’s specialty is at the other edge of the transaction: safeguarding embedded systems and payment terminals. Gemalto gets a pretty impressive customer list in the bargain, including HP, Kaiser Permanente, Netflix, and Starbucks.

IBM chip thinks like the human brain. The new SynNAPSE technology has “neurons” that sense event thresholds before they take action—it could show up in both sensors and supercomputers for applications such as surveillance. For stat geeks: the architecture crams in five times the number of transistors as traditional chips (5.6 billion) but it can run on a teeny amount of power (think hearing aid).

Yahoo gets the encryption religion. Call it copycat, but Yahoo will join Google in encrypting its email service—it will use the as-yet-unhacked PGP approach. More than 600 million consumers clamoring for better privacy use the two services but there could be an ulterior motive. Most businesses would never dream of outsourcing email services to Yahoo. Then again, most would have said the same thing about Gmail just five years ago.

CLOUD CHATTER

Integrator Computer Sciences bets way big on the IBM cloud. As part of a tighter alliance, CSC will pitch IBM’s SoftLayer service as an awesome way to accelerate cloud migration projects, especially those involving mobile development, big data analytics, or modernization of aging enterprise apps. CSC is so excited it will train more than 2,000 consultants and technical experts on various IBM’s cloud-related technologies. IBM has dumped a jaw-dropping $4 billion into its cloud portfolio in the past 12 months.

STATS & SPECS

Windows interface goes under the knife. Early tech leaks suggest virtual desktop support will headline Windows 9 (a.k.a. Threshold), which is kinda-sorta due in spring 2015. Linux and Apple OSX already do this, but it’s a feature that should excite people who need to switch frequently between apps. Plus: The “Start” menu returns!

Death knell for virtual machines? New “container” technology from Docker lets data center managers squeeze more apps onto the same servers than traditional virtualization approaches—it’s easily easy to get up and running in cloud environment. Docker is so popular that frenemies Microsoft and Red Hat both support it. The downside: you can’t use different operating systems inside them.

STARTUPS

Is this the missing link of big data? Founded by a former Google engineer, Adatao’s platform combines natural language processing plus machine learning plus in-memory computing to crunch results far quicker than other tools. Plus, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use it. Now, it has $13 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz to find more customers.

Fed-up Facebook decides to roll its own server security, and you can buy it too. PrivateCore’s vCage technology will protect Facebook’s massive data centers against both cyber break-ins, physical threats and NSA snooping. The startup’s pedigree: security veterans from VMware, Google and the super-security-savvy Israeli Defense Forces.

FAQ

Outsourcing may be on the outs with some companies, like GE, but the same isn’t true for crowdsourcing and or crowdfunded innovation.

Although most of us automatically associate the movement with under-resourced SMBs looking for a quick buck or a corporate savior, size really doesn’t matter.

More enterprises are looking to the crowd for inspiration or, as is more often the case, for fresh resources. IBM is a high-profile example: it uses an internal platform called iFundIT to help teams look outside the constraints of their immediate teams or buddy networks for good ideas. Dell’s IdeaStorm site serves a slightly different purpose: it’s for collecting feedback from outside the company that could into new features, new products, new whatever.

It was a no-brainer, literally, for NASA to use crowdsourcing—it was mandated three years ago to rethink how it conducts research. Yesterday, one partner in that work, a data scientist and developer community called [topcoder], updated me about several of the more intriguing “challenges,” including algorithms for asteroid detection and reduce “false” positives in image detection; a system for predicting the chemical toxicity; and a mobile app for tracking astronauts’ diets in microgravity.

What on earth does this stuff have to do with your own development problems? Turns out some of the approaches could easily be applied to business problems. That same code behind that chemicals database, could be applied to sales forecasting. “This is a prediction problem, not a science problem,” notes [topcoder] executive Narinder Singh.

The gating factor is whether your data is in order. But more big companies like IBM, HP and Comcast are putting the crowdsourcing approach to the test. “The place we see the most interest is where there is an imbalance between your appetite for innovation and your practical capabilities,” Singh says. Just don’t call it outsourcing.

ONE MORE THING…

An origami-inspired, space-saving robot made with Shrinky Dinks! If you’ve ever spent hours struggling to assemble IKEA furniture, you’ll appreciate a cool robotics project at Harvard University. Researchers are layering paper, plastic composites and flexible circuit boards that can be folded into the appropriate shape when needed. Just connect motors, microcontrollers and batteries to bring it to life!

EVENTS

Gartner Catalyst: Architect a digital business. (Aug. 11 – 14, San Diego)

VMworld: Learn about latest virtualization innovation. (Aug. 24-28, San Francisco)

Atlassian Summit: Build software, collaboratively. (Sept. 9 – 11, San Jose, Calif.)

Open Data Center Alliance Forecast 2014: Catch up on enterprise cloud computing trends. (Sept. 22 – 24, San Francisco)

Oracle OpenWorld: Get a roadmap reality check. (Sept. 27 – Oct. 2, San Francisco)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2014: Compare notes with peers. (Oct. 5 – 9, Orlando, Fla.)

Splunk .conf2014. Harness operational intelligence from machine data. (Oct. 6 – 9, Las Vegas)

Dreamforce: Pick from 1,400 sessions about the world’s largest cloud ecosystem. (Oct. 13-16, San Francisco)

Strata/Hadoop World: Analyze big data tools and techniques. (Oct. 15 – 17, New York)

AWS re:Invent: Hear the latest about Amazon Web Services. (Nov. 11 – 14, Las Vegas)

Gartner Data Center Conference: Get new ideas for operations and management. (Dec. 2 – 5, Las Vegas)