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Data Sheet—Friday, August 22, 2014

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison turned 70-years-young last Sunday. He shows no real signs of retiring and there’s plenty to keep him busy (like beating Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff in cloud services). In fact, Larry is probably writing keynote speeches for the company’s big customer conference next month as you read this. Then again, it is Friday, and he does own a yacht. And a Hawaiian island. May your own weekend arrive quickly, Data Sheet readers. But first, here’s a taste of why Larry just can’t leave the world of enterprise tech.

TRENDING

Salesforce: We’re shooting for $5.4 billion. After reporting better-than-expected results for 2Q, the cloud software company will almost definitely top $5 billion for the first time this fiscal year—buoyed by lots of new international business. That’s all fine and good, but it still loses money. Next up: a “major new product” launch during Dreamforce.

Phishing around. Reports of cyber-break-ins are an everyday occurrence, but it’s been a long time since I’ve heard about an email scam campaign—especially at the scale of the one launched this week against JPMorgan customers.

Do you really care about Windows 9? I feel compelled to mention that Sept. 30 is the anticipated launch date. Then again, Microsoft has been known to change its mind and let’s face it: the best reason for this update might be to get rid of Windows 8.

CLOUD CHATTER

Amazon spruces up CloudFront security. Advanced encryption ciphers plus new connection approaches plus random keys plus quicker handshakes should add up to safer content delivery (over HTTPS). Oh my!

Microsoft turns NoSQL into a service. Azure DocumentDB, now out in preview, provides query and transactional capabilities at scale. It’s not fully open source, but the developer will release the client libraries to the community.

VMware: Serious about evolution. The virtualization leader is adding new partners for its newly redubbed vCloud Air hybrid cloud services portfolio. It’s sick of being an afterthought in cloud procurement decisions.

STATS & SPECS

Ready to re-architect your network? Virtualization, converged infrastructure, mobile apps, cloud services. These new demands on bandwidth prioritization, security and scale require more automation and flexibility than most routers and switches can handle. IDC thinks that will drive $8 billion in spending on software-defined networking by 2018. This week’s Exhibit A: new Hewlett-Packard storage story.

Be careful downloading that mobile app. Researchers have discovered it’s possible for malicious ones to mess with shared memory, where they could steal log-in info or swipe images (like the check you’re planning to deposit) from other apps. This is an equal-opportunity vulnerability, applying to Android, Apple iOS and Windows Phone.

Citrix lends more enterprise cred to Chrome OS. It’s teaming with Google on a native version of Receiver. This gives virtual apps and desktops used on Chromebooks more access to printing options, audio and video playback. Plus, Acer is planning a Chrome desktop for the U.S. market by September.

STARTUPS & DISRUPTORS

Fresh funds for Alfresco. When Doug Dennerline left SuccessFactors to join as CEO 19 months ago, most assumed it was to take the enterprise content management developer public. Instead, he just raised $45 million in “growth capital” that will go toward improving its cloud offerings (among other things).

FAQ

If your organization falls into the 45% of enterprises that find it difficult to develop mobile apps, Xamarin wants your attention.

Why should you notice? This week, the three-year-old developer snagged $54 million in funding (the biggest single round yet for a mobile app development platform, bringing its total to $82 million). The tech is behind some intriguing enterprise and consumer apps, including Tom Hanks’ super-viral, whimsical iPad typewriter app. Another bonus, the CEO has been around: the guy who started the company is Nat Friedman, co-founder of early Linux player Ximian (bought by Novell in 2003).

Xamarin’s pitch: it helps roughly 6 million developers with Microsoft programming skills turn code into native Apple iOS, Android or Windows Phone creations more easily. It has already convinced 700,000 of them, probably because Microsoft is actually a partner (along with SAP, Salesforce and Samsung). 

“They can do it with one language, one set of tools, one team,” Friedman says. “It’s not about cost savings as much as it’s about control and synchronization.” (An annual subscription is $1,000 per developer, per OS.)

One example of an enterprise app built with Xamarin is Xactware, an estimating tool used by 22 of the top 25 U.S. property insurance companies. Tesco, Bosch-Siemens, Dow Jones and Kimberly-Clark are also customers.

The new funding is earmarked for international expansion (30% of current customers are European), and possible acquisitions that help mainstream mobile development, Friedman says. “Our thesis is that mobile isn’t about phones and tablets, it’s about having access to your data and your services at any time, in the format that is most convenient for you, at that particular moment.”

What’s your mobile mission and how are you delivering against it? Email datasheet@heatherclancy.com with your insights.

ONE MORE THING

Why mentoring should be a two-way street. Incoming millennial hires might need schooling in corporate politics, best practices and work ethic, but CIOs at companies like Cisco, GE, The Hartford and Proctor & Gamble believe they could teach seasoned professionals a thing or two about social and mobile. If your traditional hierarchy gets in the way of “reverse mentoring,” it could be holding you back.

EVENTS

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

Boxworks14: Talk enterprise cloud strategy. (Sept. 2 – 4, 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)

Interop: Actionable solutions for IT headaches. (Sept. 29 – Oct. 3, New York)

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)

TBM Conference 2014: Manage the business of IT. (Oct. 28- 30, Miami Beach)

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)