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Data Sheet—Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. On the heels of record third-quarter financial results, EMC is holding a press briefing later this morning to talk strategy. Hewlett-Packard could introduce an entirely new computing form factor next week. Plus, read today’s FAQ to find out how a startup backed with $85 million from investors including GE, Qualcomm, and Andreessen Horowitz could make managing cloud services far simpler.


EMC explanation expected. Now that its third-quarter earnings report is out, Bloomberg reports that EMC plans to be more forthcoming about intentions for its four-year-old joint venture in data center technology (called VCE). EMC has become far more competitive with alliance partner Cisco over the past year, causing rifts over management direction and levels of investment. Word is EMC will buy Cisco’s stake and absorb the business. A briefing is planned for later this morning.

For Q3, EMC reported record revenue of $6 billion, up 9%. That’s much slower than over parts of its “federated” model. Data analytics company Pivotal grew 24% over the year-earlier period. VMware grew 17%, although that was less than expected; it also expects a weak fourth quarter.

Yahoo tops estimates (barely). The search giant grew revenue by just 1%, but that was enough to make analysts happy after declines for four of the past five quarters. CEO Marissa Mayer also is being more transparent about its mobile business, which should exceed $1.2 billion for the year. Fortune

FTC names technology policy chief. Former investigative journalist Ashkan Soltani will advise the commission on online security and privacy issues. His byline should be familiar: he co-wrote some of The Washington Post‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage about infamous NSA leaker Edward Snowden. New York Times


Another Google acquisition. Soon, it will be the official owner of Firebase, which sells a database that runs on Google’s cloud-hosted hardware and software. The technology sits behind applications such as chat or business collaboration services. Google isn’t disclosing terms, but the deal will enhance its competitive position against similar services from rivals including Amazon Web Services and IBM. Wired


New computing form factor from HP? What do you get when you combine an overhead projector with a 3-D scanner? Hewlett-Packard plans several introductions next week, including a device intended for reinventing presentations called Sprout. Sources say the product combines a large, touch-screen display (like what’s used in its consumer tablet computers) and an overhead scanner. Re/code

More iCloud security woes. Details are sketchy, but Apple has not denied multiple reports alleging the Chinese edition of its online data storage service was attacked over the weekend, compromising log-in information. The company moved the servers for this local version of iCloud into China over the summer; there are concerns the government was involved. NYT

Return of the dongle. Google is expanding its existing two-step account verification processes with an actual physical “key” option that comes stored on special USB devices. The technology also helps detect fake web sites set up just to steal information. Plus, Google apparently is working on changes to its search algorithms that make it harder to be duped by detect pirated sites. WSJ


Intel Capital visits China. It has awarded $28 million to five domestic companies working on wearable technologies: EyeSmart Technology (iris recognition), Gotye (mobile gaming), Fibocom (Internet of things), Appscomm (smart wearables), and LeWa (Android software). The money is part of Intel Capital’s third fund for China (this one worth $100 million).


Bracket Computing launches with $85 million to rewrite cloud management

When it comes to cloud computing, most Fortune 500 companies will embrace a hybrid approach: with server hardware, software applications, storage capacity and networking services spread between their own data centers and multiple service providers as appropriate.

Radical new virtualization technology from stealthy startup Bracket Computing makes those boundaries seamless, so computing workloads can be moved around more easily and processed wherever it makes the most sense from a cost or resource perspective.

“When you have a million servers at your disposal, you have the appearance of an infinite resource,” says Bracket CEO Tom Gillis, part of the founding team at security firm Ironport Systems (acquired for $830 millino by Cisco Systems in 2007). “Our question to ourselves was: can we build a layer that could present applications with highly reliable and secure performance?”

Founded in 2011, Bracket officially launches this morning with more than $85 million from strategic corporate investors GE and Qualcomm, along with Andreessen Horowitz, Norwest Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, ARTIS Ventures and Allegis Capital.

Called the Computing Cell, Bracket’s technology isolates applications along with their associated data and other services needed to run them. Each Cell can “float” across multiple cloud services, allowing businesses to keep tighter controls on service levels or, perhaps, on costs. Bracket also orchestrates the contracts with cloud service providers. “This isn’t theoretical, we’re in production with a small set of customers, most of them are Fortune 500,” Gillis says.

One large media company, for example, uses Bracket to smooth out the performance of its customer-facing relationship management applications when visitor traffic peaks, something that happens sporadically depending on events scheduled in a particular time period. The alternative? Sign expensive contracts for cloud computing capacity that mainly sits unused until these usage peaks occur.

An early customer who advised Bracket’s direction was The Blackstone Group. Notes Josh Scherzer, senior vice president of technology at the global investment firm: “We think that companies will want to leverage the flexibility of the public cloud in addition to their private cloud systems, and we worked with Bracket on technology that provides the security and controls that companies will require to do just that. We feel this dynamic hybrid public/private architecture will help companies facilitate movement of their systems into the public cloud.”

Bracket’s press release skips mentioning which “hyperscale” cloud services technology supports at launch, but Gillis says beta tests involved Google Compute Engine and Amazon Web Services. “It will span the major providers.”


Do you bring your own technology? Up to 40% of U.S. consumers who work for big companies rely on technologies they purchased personally in their professional lives—even if their employer doesn’t officially sanction this, according to a new Gartner report. The most commonly used device: desktop computer (followed closely by smartphone). Plus, here’s why Google CIO Ben Fried encourages this habit.: “when CIOs narrow technology choices they actually are setting a culture that is patriarchal and rigid.” (Note: Fried managed technology for 13 years at Morgan Stanley prior to joining Google.) WSJ


IBM Insight 2014: Big data and analytics. (Oct. 26 – Oct. 30, Las Vegas)

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

SIMposium 2014. Tech execs and practioners. (Nov. 2-4, Denver)

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)

IBM Interconnect 2015: Cloud and mobile strategy. (Feb. 22 – 26, Las Vegas)

Microsoft Convergence 2015: Dynamics solutions. (March 16 – 19, Atlanta)