Data Sheet—Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 9, 2014, 12:47 PM UTC
Fortune

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. On this Tuesday morning, please join me in remembering pioneering tech journalist Eric Lundquist. The long-time editor-in-chief of PC Week (aka eWeek) passed away suddenly last Friday at the age of 64. Before him, tech coverage was all about speeds and feeds, but Eric taught his team (and subsequently his competitors) to think about the humans behind the machines. RIP, Eric. Here’s hoping you would appreciate the flood of news that awaits in today’s edition.

TRENDING

Would you prefer to cruise in the fast lane or the slow lane? It isn't just porn sites or gaming services fighting "net neutrality." Now, Cisco, IBM and Intel are joining the chorus of protests over proposed FCC rules that would let ISPs charge extra fees to ensure smoother downloads of stuff like video or image-laden content.

Home Depot makes it official. The number of credit card numbers stolen in the retailer's summer-long data breach—revealed last week not by the company but by a security blogger—could top 60 million, far more than the Target debacle in late 2013. (That one was "only" 40 million.) Yes, the lawsuits are already starting.

Can you say Fire sale? Brilliant price coup or act of desperation? Amazon is now selling its smartphone for $0.99 with a two-year wireless contract, in a move notable for its timing (the day before Apple's next-big-mobile-thing) and its severity (jeez, the thing's only been on sale for three months). Plus, act now! If you want to test an unmanned aerial vehicle, you can buy one on Amazon's new Drone Store for as little as $99.

Done deal. Oracle's acquisition of MICROS is officially complete, and the developer created a new hospitality business unit to exploit its technology.

Pressure pays off. Is Google the de facto "gateway to the Internet" in Europe? Microsoft and Oracle still think so, France is furious and Germany wants the company broken up. Together, they just managed to delay a proposed EU antitrust settlement that they didn't think went far enough to change things.

Intel aims for bigger piece of data centers. Its next-generation Xeon server chips promise three times the performance of the last bunch. More important: they can be programmed to handle specific networking or storage management tasks, helping eliminate the need for special hardware.

CLOUD CHATTER

You really need to read this first. At least that's what Microsoft's new Office 365 app, Delve, thinks. The software uses machine-learning to identify common interactions so it can prioritize emails and other notifications accordingly.

Never mind TIBCO's strategic worries. It's going up against the likes of Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce with a new marketing app-as-a-service called Engage. It's even got at least one high-profile customer, The North Face.

Yikes for Salesforce customers. It's warning users about "Dyre" malware, which could pilfer CRM log-in credentials. No incidents have been reported, but the developer offers several recommendations for tighter security.

STATS & SPECS

Verizon and AT&T agree: Don't mess with broadband definition. Another thing the FCC is considering (aside from the net neutrality issue) is whether to boost baseline expectations for broadband speeds. Most carriers and cable companies don't want to see that happen. (Because, after all, they'd have to improve their services.)

IBM, Lenovo share server roadmaps. The two have been pretty quiet about transition plans, but now that the government-blessed deal is almost complete, they're more forthcoming about how future products will be differentiated.

Know your digital rights. Adobe's HTML5 upgrade to Primetime will please those hoping to protect videos embedded into web pages (like customer Netflix) but right now it only works with the Firefox browser.

BYOD strategy with an industry-specific twist. Building on an existing relationship, Capgemini and VMware are unfurling joint services for enterprise mobility, including better discipline for BYOD policies, usage analytics and app development for healthcare, retail and financial services clients.

STARTUPS & DISRUPTORS

How to analyze data like Google and Facebook. The Quest query tool created by Metanautix (founded by former engineers from the two web companies) can work with structured information (think Oracle database) and random images, log files, documents, what have you. Its credentials are formidable, but so are its competitors: primarily Cloudera and MapR.

How's that mobile app doing? Fast-growing usage analytics player adjust, which is signing 100 new customers weekly, just raised another $7.6 million to fuel its expansion in China, Japan and the United States. (Earlier rounds totaled $4.5 million.)

FAQ

Fifty years after IBM invented the mainframe that help send man to the moon, the penetration of its latest model (the System z) is astonishingly high: IBM user group SHARE figures it at roughly 71% of the Fortune 500, 96 of the top 100 banks, 23 of the top 25 retailers, and nine of the top 10 insurance companies. (At least that's what it was about a year ago.)

And very few mainframe mavens are ready to ditch them. At least according to BMC Software, which makes a living off mainframe management (so what else would you expect it to say?) Still, its latest customer survey (due soon) suggests 46% of businesses plan to add new mainframe workloads in months to come, reports BMC exec Jay Lipovich. "We see a positive future," he says.

Alas! Beware the specter of higher monthly software licensing bills from IBM, which already account for 30% to 35% of the typical mainframe budget (more BMC math). What's a mainframe shop to do?

Cue noteworthy BMC launch: without getting too technical, the developer just released optimization software (BMC Subsystem Optimizer for zEnterprise, aka SubZero) that redirects database and application workloads, balancing them better across logical partitions. Outcome: you can minimize extra processing expenses. What's more, your developers don't have to rewrite the code. "Basically, we're overcoming a technical requirement that has cost customers a lot of money," Lipovich says.

What sort of money? "Depending on the configuration, this could reduce up to 20% of the costs," says Bill Miller, president of BMC's zSolutions division. That translates into millions of dollars that could be diverted from maintenance into IT transformation. By comparison, an enterprise license for the BMC technology will run anywhere from $50,000 per year to "multiple hundreds of thousands" depending on the size of the mainframe installation.

BMC went private in September 2013 and realigned into two divisions (the other business unit is focused on distributing computing architectures) that serve roughly 20,000 customers. This is the first major product launch since BMC built its new three-year-plan, and expands a family of utilities focused on cutting mainframe maintenance costs.

ONE MORE THING ...

OpenSSL: Stop leaking vulnerability info! Does disclosing detailed information about security flaws make them more prone to exploitation or help people get ready faster? The development project thinks it’s a bit of both, and it wants vendors to stop using "advance notice in marketing as a competitive advantage." Speaking of marketing and malware: be careful on YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo, where "malicious advertisements" are redirecting visitors to bad-guy download sites.

EVENTS

Open Data Center Alliance Forecast 2014: 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)

Enterprise Security Summit: Challenges, trends and solutions. (Sept. 30, 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: 1,400 sessions about the largest cloud ecosystem. (Oct. 13-16, San Francisco)

Strata/Hadoop World: 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: The latest about Amazon Web Services. (Nov. 11 – 14, Las Vegas)

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