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Microsoft Azure Sphere chip for end-to-end IoT security from the Cloud to Network Edge

“MediaTek is a good partner [for Microsoft] to have for its Azure Sphere secure IoT chip,” said Laura DiDio, principal analyst with ITIC. “They will provide a Wi-Fi controller, the processor will run Microsoft’s Linux-based IoT OS and you’ve now got a highly secure, connected device at a decent price point.”

Channel Futures, April 17, 2018

Microsoft Reorganization:

“Microsoft has actually been moving away from Windows and more towards the cloud, analytics and AI for the past ten years,” explained Laura DiDio, an analyst at ITIC. “This did not happen overnight.” DiDio pointed out that Nadella has made major changes quickly during his tenure. “That’s the way you have to move,” to stay relevant, she said. “You’ve got to be agile to stay ahead of the game.”

The changes don’t mean that Microsoft is totally giving up on Windows, DiDio said. But they do mean that Nadella is focusing the company’s energies around stronger assets.

“They’re de-emphasizing Windows,” she said, in order to become a stronger “player in cloud and artificial intelligence, because that’s where the money is.”

CNN Money, March 29, 2018

Failure to deliver reliability and uptime:

“Time is money,” DiDio says. “Systems, networks and connectivity devices are subject to failure. If the downtime persists for any significant length of time, it can be expensive in terms of monetary losses. It can disrupt operations, decrease worker productivity and negatively impact the organization’s business partners, customers and suppliers.

“A security outage of any significant duration can also be a PR nightmare and damage the company’s reputation, causing lost business,” DiDio says. “Reliability and uptime go hand in hand with a comprehensive, detailed backup and disaster recovery plan that also includes an internal operational level agreement that designates a chain of command in the event of any type of service disruption.”

Every organization should have a disaster recovery plan that includes an itemized list of who to contact at vendor organizations, cloud and third-party service providers, DiDio says. “The CISO should also know what the company’s contracts stipulate as the response time from vendors, cloud, and third-party service providers to respond to and thwart security incidents and track down the hackers,” she says.

CSO Online, November 21, 2017

Cal State University and Hartnell College Launching Cohort Program:

“Since 2013, the two institutions have promoted this program as a way to attract minorities, women and students who are the first in their families to attend college to Computer Science and STEM subjects. The Cohort program nurtures these students by having them take their CS classes as a group.” DiDio says. It also helps them adjust more quickly to college life by providing them with group study and life skills classes to help them stick with CS as a major and graduate.

“So far, so good. A 75% majority of students enrolled in the CSUMB/Hartnell CS Cohort program graduate. This is well above the national average of about 30%,” DiDio notes.

ITIC Corp, November 17, 2017

Burger King Ad Creates Whopper of a Mess:

“In the Internet of Things environment, where you can have “an ecosystem or ecosystems of ecosystems interconnected, the attack vector universe is potentially limitless,” noted Laura DiDio, research director for IoT at 451 Research.

The risks are “everywhere, and what you can do is mitigate risk to an acceptable level,” she told the E-Commerce Times — but that requires vendors to make secure products.

E-Commerce Times, April 13, 2017

United Airlines Customer Service Snafus:

United’s behavior was “cavalier and callous,” said Laura DiDio, research director for IoT at 451 Research.

“The deck is stacked against passengers these days,” she told CRM Buyer.

However, this situation “is a PR nightmare for United Airlines,” DiDio added, “and it’s not going away.”

CRMBuyer, April 11, 2017

For the tenth straight year, IBM and Lenovo servers again achieved top rankings in ITIC’s 2017 – 2018 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey.

 IBM’s Z Systems Enterprise server is in a class of its own. The IBM mainframe continues to exhibit peerless reliability besting all competitors. The Z recorded less than 10 seconds of unplanned per server downtime each month. Additionally less than one-half of one percent of all IBM Z customers reported unplanned outages that totaled greater than four (4) hours of system downtime in a single year.

Among mainstream servers, IBM Power Systems 7 and 8 and the Lenovo x86 X6 mission critical hardware consistently deliver the highest levels of reliability/uptime among 14 server hardware and 11 different mainstream server hardware virtualization platforms. Each platform averaged just 2.1 minutes of unplanned per annum/per server downtime (See Exhibit 1). 

That makes the IBM Power Systems and Lenovo x 86 servers approximately 17 to 18 times more stable and available, than the least reliable distributions – the rival Oracle and HPE ProLiant servers.

 Additionally, the latest ITIC survey results indicate just one percent of IBM Power Systems and Lenovo System x servers experienced over four (4) hours of unplanned annual downtime. This is the best showing among the 14 different server platforms surveyed.

ITIC’s 10th annual independent ITIC 2017 – 2018 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey polled 800 organizations worldwide from August through December 2017.  In order to obtain the most accurate and unbiased results, ITIC accepted no vendor sponsorship.

Survey Highlights

Among the other key survey highlights:

  • IBM Z Systems Enterprise mainframe class servers topped all platforms for reliability, accessibility, performance, and security among.  The Z servers deliver true mainframe fault tolerance experiencing just 0.91 – less than one minute of unplanned per server, per annum annual downtime. That equates to a barely perceptible 7.6 seconds per month or “blink and you miss it,” 1.8 seconds of weekly unplanned downtime.
  •  The z Systems family of servers also the lowest incidence – 0% — of > 4 hours of per server/per annum downtime of any hardware platform.
  • To reiterate, IBM Power Systems and Lenovo System x servers once again consistently demonstrated the least amount of unplanned downtime 2.1 minutes per server/per year among all mainstream server offerings. Both the IBM and Lenovo offerings shaved several seconds off their previous results of 2.5 and 2.8 minutes per server/per year, respectively in ITIC’s 2017 Mid-year Reliability poll in June. These latest results underscore the stability and consistency of the IBM and Lenovo distributions running Linux as well as top notch service and support. Additionally, both vendors are aggressively updating their platforms to support Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and stronger embedded security and management capabilities.
  • And 88% of IBM Power Systems and 87% of Lenovo System x users running RHEL, SUSE or Ubuntu Linux experience fewer than one unplanned outage per server/per year.
  • Only one percent of IBM and Lenovo servers recorded over four (4) hours of unplanned per server/per annum downtime; followed by six percent of HPE servers; eight percent of Dell servers and 10% of Oracle servers (See Exhibit 2).
  • IBM and Lenovo hardware and the Linux operating system distributions were either first or second in every reliability category, including virtualization and security.
  • Fujitsu PRIMEQUEST and newcomer Huawei’s Kun Lun server platforms both scored high reliability rankings. It’s noteworthy that both the Fujitsu and Huawei server distributions are mainly deployed in Asia/Pacific and Europe. To date, neither has seen significant deployment in the North American region.
  • Cisco UCS and HPE Integrity Superdome servers are getting more competitive with each subsequent ITIC Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey. In this latest 2017 Mid-Year Update poll, only two percent of Fujitsu PRIMEQUEST and three percent of Cisco, HPE Integrity and Huawei Kun Lun servers recorded in excess of four (4) hours of unplanned downtime.
  • Lenovo x86 X6 mission critical servers scored the highest reliability ratings among all x86 platforms.
  • Commodity Aging Hardware: Some 69% of survey respondents said aged hardware (3 ½+ years old) had a negative impact on server uptime and reliability vs. 31% that said it has not impacted reliability/uptime.
  • Reliability continues to decline for the sixth year in a row on the HPE ProLiant and Oracle’s SPARC & x86 hardware and Solaris OS – each of which experienced 37 minutes and 33 minutes of unplanned outages per server/per annum. Reliability on the Oracle platforms declined slightly mainly due to aging. Many Oracle hardware customers continue to eschew or prolong upgrades and instead migrate to rival platforms.


In summary the ITIC 2017 – 2018 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability Survey findings indicate that the reliability and uptime of the core infrastructure: server hardware, server operating systems and server virtualization are all more crucial than ever to the health of the overall on-premises datacenter and cloud-based environments.

Server hardware, operating systems, mission critical applications and networks must be available 24 x 7. Reliability and availability are crucial to uninterrupted business operations and productivity. IBM and Lenovo once again continued to deliver the highest levels of reliability. IBM’s z Systems Enterprise mainframe is in a class by itself and is the clear winner in terms of unparalleled fault tolerant levels of 99.999% or greater reliability.

Among the “work horse” mainstream systems, the IBM Power Systems, Lenovo System x are the most reliable and offer the highest levels of technical service, support and customer satisfaction.

Cisco UCS reliability is likewise very strong and consistent. The most recent ITIC survey also showed impressive gains by veteran vendor Fujitsu’s PRIMEQUEST E Series and newcomer Huawei’s Kun Lun mission critical server. To date, though these firms’ server offerings do not have a substantial presence in the North American region, though they are strong in Asia Pacific. Their strong showing in reliability makes them worth watching.

Organizations must have confidence in the reliability and stability of their server hardware and server OS platforms. The underlying advances in semiconductor, software and management technology bolsters the reliability of the servers. However, these technology gains can be undone by human error, increasingly complexity and the ever-present threats posed by Security, BYOD and IoT.

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