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Data Sheet—Thursday, August 14, 2014

Welcome to all our new Data Sheet readers! Here’s a clip that’s bound to become a Throwback Thursday classic: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella taking the viral ice bucket challenge for ALS awareness. Hey Jeff Bezos and Larry Page: what’s your response? Now, down to business. Lots of buzz today about familiar enterprise faces, including Cisco, Dell and NetApp. Plus: “converged infrastructure” sales could reach $6 billion this year. How do you control this stuff? A former HP enterprise exec wants to help.

TRENDING

Are U.S. companies getting too personal? Privacy group Center for Digital Democracy is readying a complaint on behalf of European citizens against 30 U.S. companies, including Salesforce.com, Adobe, Marketo and Oracle-owned BlueKai. Their beef: “commercial surveillance of EU consumers by U.S. companies, without consumer awareness or meaningful consent.” Expect more paranoid, post-Snowden fallout.

Tough times for data center stalwarts. After reporting yet another down quarter, Cisco CEO John Chambers is slashing the networking company’s headcount by 8%, or 6,000 jobs, in a “limited restructuring.” No surprises here: this is habitual for Cisco, and the fourth consecutive summer that the company has pared positions. (Last year’s whacks were 4,000-ish.) Which makes me wonder: why does it keep buying cool startups when a little focus might help? Cisco’s buddy, storage darling NetApp, also had a rough earning’s call last night. It made money for its latest reporting period, but product sales were off 5% as businesses migrate into cloud environments.

Intel’s latest diversification bid. It’s paying $650 million for Avago, which makes wireless and network chips used by the likes of Alcatel-Lucent, Brocade, Cisco, Ericsson, HP, IBM and (deep breath) Juniper. Aside from the stellar client lists, this one matters for the Internet of things.

CLOUD CHATTER

Amazon Web Services battens down managed desktop service. New multi-factor authentication support means notebook and tablets can log into WorkSpaces using existing remote access options. Which means users don’t have to learn a different process.

STATS & SPECS

Reach out and touch someone. Hooray! Forrester anticipates a second-half IT spending bump to $2.2 trillion, especially for stuff that improves customer “processes” like CRM, marketing automation, mobile apps and targeted analytics. Guess who’s spending most on that sort of thing: U.S. businesses.  

Hey look, it’s reversible! The slimmed-down USB Type-C connector—meant mainly for mobile gadgets—speed-transfers data at up 10 gigabits per second. Even better, it doesn’t care which way you plug it in when you’re fumbling around in the dark.

Dell’s workstation comeback. High-end CAD applications and other memory-intensive software could be well-served by three new tower and rack models out in September, among the first to use Intel’s faster DDR4 RAM tech.

False sense of security? Surprise! (Not really.) Virtual servers are just as prone to breaches and malware as their physical cousins. Here’s what you need to know.

STARTUPS

Note to self, start watching Lookout. It just closed $150 million to finance a push into enterprise accounts with technology that thwarts smartphone malware—because you know those attacks are only going to get more frequent, right? Lookout already covers 50 million gadgets through wireless carrier deals, including three of the top four U.S. ones.

Weed out bad sales leads. EverString hooks into CRM applications, using artificial intelligence and analytics to prioritize good prospects dynamically. Its $12 million Series A round comes from Lightspeed, Sequoia and IDC Ventures.

FAQ

What do E*TRADE, Citgroup, RackSpace and Booz Allen Hamilton have in common? They’re among notable companies using technology from Atlanta-based upstart StrataCloud to manage virtual infrastructure. 

Now StrataCloud is tackling a more complex problem: providing a single dashboard to keep tabs on “converged” equipment including storage, networking, server and security components, alongside cloud services. To figure out how, it just hired ex-HP enterprise strategy exec Brian Cohen as its CEO and got an infusion of $2 million from Hallett Capital and BLH Partners. (It previously raised $19 million.)

Cohen got involved with HP when he orchestrated its buyout of SPI Dynamics in 2007; he’s spearheaded global accounts for the past four years until he “retired” from HP in April. “What is great about this company is that it has great technology, and it’s had poor execution from a sales and marketing, from an everything standpoint, really,” Cohen told me when we chatted about his new role.

“There’s a rapidly growing market for infrastructure and cloud management, I think we’ve got a platform that is ahead of time,” he said. “What we need to do is leverage the very large investment was made in engineering by appropriating the appropriate amount of funds into sales and marketing and moving it forward.”

How big is this market? Gartner projections forecast converged hardware sales at $6 billion for 2014, a 50% bump over last year. First up from StrataCloud will be support by the fourth quarter for FlexPod, the NetApp-plus-Cisco solution. (Sorry HP.) It doesn’t expect customers of its flagship product, Virtualization Management Center, to migrate until mid-2015. “Our ultimate goal is to be able to allow you to plug in any kind of hardware, or any kind of service,” Cohen said.

Skeptical? Excited? Confused? Weigh in with feedback or other FAQ topic ideas by sending email to datasheet@heatherclancy.com.

ONE MORE THING …

Can you trust that resume? When it comes embellishing skill sets and credentials, IT job seekers are more prone to fibbing than pretty much anyone else. Only would-be employees of hospitality and financial services companies lie more. You can blame automation: many inflate backgrounds to fool computer screening. Want to start with better candidates in the first place? Check out Greenhouse, which just got another $7.5 million. Its recruiting software helps the likes of Uber, Pinterest and Snapchat hire engineers.

 

EVENTS

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 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. (Oct. 5 – 9, Orlando, Fla.)

Splunk .conf2014: Glean 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)