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Top 8 AI technology trends in 2018, and state of cloud, IoT, blockchain by 2020 revealed: NexGen 2017 Technology Expo

The NexGen 2017 Conference and Technology Expo, hosted by The Channel Company, successfully took place between December 11-13 in Los Angeles, CA.

The NexGen 2017 Conference was specifically designed for cloud solution providers, managed service providers and other IT solution providers who bring new business models built around next-generation technologies. They act as the innovators who leverage the cloud and cloud-based technologies to drive new revenue and future profits.

The event kickstarted with a keynote session by Tom DelVecchio, Founder, Enterprise Technology Research, who talked about the things that are driving the containers and the microservices market. Microservices lower capex and reduce time between release cycles that help in improving productivity and scalability.

Dorothy Copeland, Vice President, Global Business Partners, North America, IBM, talked about innovation related to data, IoT and blockchain. She identified 5 eras of innovation – Centralized Computing, Decentralized Computing, Data, IT and Intelligent Services (AI, IoT blockchain). She also talked about countless opportunities that exist in each era particularly in – cloud and artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and blockchain.

Later, Noah Johnson, Account Executive, Lenovo, discussed Lenovo’s journey to SDDC. He also talked about the significance of SDI (Software-Defined Infrastructure) technology for simplifying organizations’ cloud adoption process.

Asokan Ashok, CEO of UnfoldLabs discussed about the world of artificial intelligence and major trends to look forward to in 2018.

He discussed top 8 trends in the world of AI:
Trend 1: Large companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and IBM are set to lead the way in AI.

      Trend 2: The market will see the consolidation of Algorithms & Technology.

      Trend 3: AI companies will go after crowdsourcing large volumes of data.

      Trend 4: There would be increased M&As (Mergers and Acquisitions).

      Trend 5: Companies will open source their AI tools and algorithms to gain larger market share.

      Trend 6: There would be more interactions between humans and machines.

      Trend 7: AI will start having an impact on all major industry verticals.

      Trend 8: The rise of AI will also bring various privacy, security, ethics and moral issues in AI.

There were also sessions on cyber and endpoint security by Shannon Lucas, Senior Systems Engineer, FireEye. Laurie Potratz, VP, Global Channel and Alliances, LookingGlass Cyber Solutions, Sarah Morgan, Channel Account Manager, Webroot and many others. Managed services and security were identified as the key services to be on top list of organizational must-haves in 2018.

IoT was also a major point of discussion at the event with Stephen DiFranco, Founder at IoT Advisory Group talking about a partner’s IoT journey in his executive session. He discussed the upcoming IoT trends and how the coming years will see a huge rise in the usage of IoT devices by both, individuals and organizations.

IoT services revenue will double by 2021 with retail and healthcare representing services rich industries for a partner ecosystem, per the IoT Advisory Group.

The session headed by Bradley Brodkin, President & CEO of HighVail Systems, Inc. highlighted the role of containers in digital transformation. He said that containers have opened a world of opportunities for DevOps and have brought a multitude of business opportunities. This include empowering DevOps with modern application tools, transforming data center, enabling free movement of applications between public and hybrid cloud and automation of processes.

Solution Providers are looking for new skills and processes to deliver multi-cloud environments. For this, solution providers must introduce changes within their own organizations to support the multi-cloud environments.

The event is hosted annually by The Channel Company, and this year it was attended by vendors, solution providers and distributors. The attendees got the chance to interact and learn strategies from trusted partners to build the next generation business model based on advanced technologies.

The NexGen 2018 Conference & Technology Expo will be held on November 27-29 in 2018.

Hosting Interviews News

Interview: Jelastic CEO – Ruslan Synytsky on growing PaaS market and how PaaS with Containerization-as-a-Service will benefit the customers.

Containers offer a convenient form of application packaging. Combined with appropriate PaaS solutions, containers can highly automate certain IT provisioning processes.” – Ruslan Synytsky, CEO, Jelastic.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) has been increasingly favored by the enterprise development teams owing to streamlined application management, lower costs and faster time to market.  In addition to PaaS, technologies like Containers also play a significant role in application development.

PaaS and containers have a symbiotic relationship with many PaaS offerings making use of Linux based containers. Containers make PaaS exist and PaaS has the capacity to put containers on the map, giving enterprise developers a complete set of new possibilities.

As a result, there have been several developments across containerization technology from leading software firm Docker to technology giant like Microsoft launching SQL servers with Linux and Docker support.

There are also some enterprises that offer a single turnkey solution combining the power of PaaS and CaaS for maximum flexibility in application development.

Jelastic – one of the leading names in cloud technology providers, combines the power of PaaS and CaaS in a single package, having the capacity to unleash full potential of cloud for ISVs, enterprises, hosting service providers and developers.

It’s not a simple hosting platform, rather a complete infrastructure with PaaS functionality, smart orchestration, and support for containers.

Recently, the company launched version 5.3 (Cerebro) of its PaaS, with support for IPv6 and the latest containerization technologies.

We got in touch with its CEO – Ruslan Synytsky to discuss the rising PaaS market, its turnkey PaaS and CaaS solution and much more. Here’s the interview:

1.Can you please share with us how Jelastic offerings have changed over the years? Specifically, how its Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Containerization as a Service (CaaS) offerings in a single package help address the complexity associated with cloud deployments?

Jelastic was founded in early 2011 and from the very beginning we positioned ourselves as a true Java platform (“Jelastic” is acronym of Java and elastic), but step by step we’ve added support for PHP, Ruby, Node.js , Python and .NET. This enables developers to deploy, scale and manage a variety of applications in the cloud, regardless of the specific programming language or software stack.

Initially, our platform was built to support containerization (Virtuozzo). So when Docker technology evolved, we already had a strong expertise in this sphere and seamlessly added support for the Docker standard within our platform.

We’ve always targeted developers through hosting service vendors – never selling our own hardware but partnering with service providers worldwide. Using this unique model we’ve managed to offer Jelastic in 28 countries. We have also created a private cloud offering, and our platform can be now installed on premise or as virtual private cloud on any IaaS. And finally, we moved to hybrid and multi-cloud options, so our clients can mix and match different cloud combinations and vendors managing a full installation within a single panel.

Every year we have about five releases adding new features and improvements based on the needs of our customers and the latest IT innovations, so we are constantly changing and enhancing our product.

2. Nearly every hosting company in the market is offering IaaS in one way or the other. How does Jelastic prove to be a differentiating factor for their hosting provider partners?

IaaS is great but not enough for the current customers. They want more automation, built-in tools for development, and management capabilities. Usual VPS becomes commodity. That is why service providers are starting to increasingly look to PaaS.

Jelastic is a robust solution combining the benefits of PaaS and CaaS in a single turnkey package. It simplifies complex cloud-based deployments by automating the creation, scaling, clustering and security updates of microservices (cloud-native) or monolithic (legacy) applications. Jelastic’s vertical scaling approach allows hosting service providers to differentiate by offering a unique pricing model where customers pay only for what they use, as opposed to paying for pre-defined capacity limits that may not be used.

The platform supports a wide range of programming languages, a variety of software stacks, Docker and different tools for continuous integration and delivery, monitoring and troubleshooting out-of-box. So customers get a full featured package, while hosting providers don’t need to worry about extra integrations.

Jelastic was designed specifically for hosting service providers, helping them grow successful hosting businesses. After installing Jelastic, hosting providers get a full kit for cluster management and customer support, as well as access to Jelastic’s professional services team. We not only deliver an out-of-the-box solution but also share with the knowledge, expertise, and skills essential for success with our partners.

We take responsibility for Jelastic deployment, configuration and necessary customization. We provide support training, marketing and sales training and access to the Jelastic Partners Portal which includes a set of unique frameworks that help our hosting service partners boost their sales and generate superior revenue.

3. How does Jelastic provide developers with control over their environment? How exactly it helps developers address challenges in migrating apps from VMs to containers?

Developers can deploy and run different applications almost instantly on Jelastic, with no code changes. The deployment can be easily performed using GIT/SVN with automatic updates, archives (zip, war, ear) right from the dev panel or via integrated plugins like Maven, Eclipse, NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA.

Our self-service portal with user-friendly UI includes an intuitive application topology wizard, deployment manager, access to log and config files and a marketplace with prepackaged applications and functionality for team collaboration. SSH Gateway is available for access to the containers. Also, the Jelastic API and command-line interface (CLI) are open for automation of certain processes.

In terms of migration from VMs, if you have a complex legacy architecture on one server, you need to change it to a more modular approach in order to migrate to containers. A big advantage is that when moving to Jelastic-based containers, there is no need to change application code. If developers are familiar with container concept they can build complex projects with deep customization and specific interconnections across services. For unfamiliar developers, Jelastic hides all complexity and automates most of the process through pre-packaged solutions.

4. Please shed some light on Jelastic Zero Code Change Deployment.

Many Platform as a Service providers use the so-called Twelve-Factor App that provides a specific methodology for developers to follow when building modern web-based applications. This approach requires code changes when it comes to migrating legacy applications from virtual machines to containers.

With Jelastic, developers are not forced to use any specific standards and redesign applications. Also, they don’t need to modify their code to a proprietary API in order to deploy applications to the cloud. Developers can get their projects up and running in just minutes using, for example, war file or just the link to the project in GitHub. This makes the entry point easier and more seamless, reducing go-to-market time and eliminating vendor lock-in.

5. Why is containerization crucial for DevOps, what are the challenges and how does Jelastic PaaS help in overcoming them?

With containerization, DevOps teams can focus on their priorities – the Ops team preparing containers with all needed dependencies and configurations; and the Dev team focusing on the efficient coding of easily deployable applications and services.

Containers offer a convenient form of application packaging. Combined with appropriate PaaS solutions, containers can highly automate certain IT provisioning processes, thus eliminating human errors, accelerating time to market and enabling more efficient resource utilization.

6. Jelastic has recently launched the PaaS Cerebro 5.3 version – can you please tell us about its new features? How is it different from the previous versions?

Jelastic Cerebro 5.3 launched with support for Public IPv6. This most recent version of Internet Protocol fulfills the need for more web addresses, simplifies processing by routers, and eliminates NAT (Network Address Translation) issues and private address collisions. IPv6 can be used alongside IPv4, and can be easily enabled via environment topology UI or via an API.

Also, Jelastic PaaS users can now attach multiple IP addresses (IPv6 and IPv4) to a single container, adjust their number or swap them if required. This supports even greater utility from the cloud, for example, by running several websites on a single node.

In addition, we recently announced native support for Java EE 8 and Java SE 9. So Jelastic customers can easily install managed Docker containers with GlassFish 5 and Payara 5, in order to benefit from the latest Java EE 8 improvements.

7. For hosting providers considering different cloud and container platforms, what are Jelastic pricing and feature benefits that should consider?

Jelastic is a ready-to-go cloud PaaS business. We let hosting service providers differentiate among competitors by selling full featured PaaS, Docker hosting, auto-scalable VPS and wide variety of packaged clustered solutions (like Magento, WordPress, replicated SQL and NoSQL databases, etc) to their customers. Also, we provide all the needed tools to manage the platform, support customers, and monitor ROI growth. One of the core Jelastic differentiators is our pricing model for end users (developers), which allows hosting service providers to offer a “pay as you really use” system, versus charging for a capacity limit that is never hit by customer.

We practice a revenue sharing model, so our own growth totally depends on the business performance of our partners. This creates a unique atmosphere – in fact, we become one team with each of our partners, sharing the same values, striving to grow our joint business, and helping each other to conquer new markets and customers together.

8. Thanks Ruslan for giving us insights about Jelastic. Wrapping up, you recently attended JavaOne conference and a lot of other conferences are lined up for Jelastic this fall – DockerCon, OVH Summit and more. Can you give us a sneak peak of what Jelastic plans are for the next 12 months? Is there a specific strategy or demographic that Jelastic is targeting?

Yes, we are trying to actively interact with the developers community in order to hear their pains and find the best solutions. Our main strategy is to keep promulgating freedom of choice in cloud hosting – from technology toolkit to hosting locations. That’s why we’ll continue partnering with leading hosting service providers worldwide, to offer users even wider choice of data centers with a high level of local support. Also, Jelastic will continue implementing new features and improvements connected with containerization and DevOps process automation.


AWS joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation to support open-source containerization projects

Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently announced joining Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a Platinum member.

The news broke out exactly two weeks after its arch competitor Microsoft made news by signing up with CNCF as a platinum member.

By making this move, AWS confirms its commitment to support open-source projects that help developers build applications and easily run them on AWS or other supporting cloud platforms.

As the largest cloud provider, AWS brings years of experience in enabling enterprises to successfully adopt cloud computing and enormous expertise in cloud native technologies,” said Dan Kohn, Executive Director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

He added further, “We are honored to have AWS join CNCF as a platinum member, and believe that their participation will help shape the future of enterprise computing.”

Furthermore, AWS’ vice-president for cloud architecture – Adrian Cockcroft, will be joining the CNCF governing board.

The CNCF manages open-source container orchestration product – Kubernetes, which has now become a de facto standard for managing containerized software development environments. It also supports other projects like Prometheus, Fluentd, Linkerd, gRPC, CoreDNS, Containerd, Rkt and CNI.

Both Microsoft and AWS will be paying an annual fee of $350,000 to manage their seat on the board. It will give these companies some say in deciding the path taken for different projects at CNCF.

AWS was already running its own container orchestrator – Amazon EC2 container. Now, it will be seen supporting Kubernetes as well. A survey by CNCF also proved that 63% of customers were already running Kubernetes on AWS.

Reportedly, the company was also planning to develop its own service based on Kubernetes.

AWS was the last amongst its rivals like Google, IBM, Huawei, Microsoft and 11 others to join CNCF. By extending support to Kubernetes, these cloud providers make it easier for their customers to shift from one platform to another.


Microsoft strengthens its position in the evolving container space with ACI Service

Microsoft is swiftly but strategically contributing to open-source projects to strengthen its position in the cloud market. Recently, the cloud juggernaut announced two new game-changing decisions – introduction of Azure Container Instances (ACI) to drive innovation in the container space and joining Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) that’s hosted by The Linux Foundation as a platinum member, as a part of Microsoft’s continued engagement with the education and open-source community at large.

The new Azure service will provide users to instantly access containers allowing them to build applications quickly, without requiring any Virtual Machine infrastructure management. ACI is a unique, easy and fast service in the cloud as the container will start within seconds and will be billed for usage in seconds.

It will let the user applications perfectly fit on the infrastructure with versatile sizing capabilities. Users will be able to easily keep track of individual containers with role-based access and billing tags.

The Container Instances for Linux have been made available in the public preview but support for Windows containers will be available in coming weeks. It can be deployed either from a template or from Azure Command Line Interface (CLI).

Users can also deploy it from a public repository like Docker Hub or even pull from their private repository with the help of Azure Container Registry. The deployed containers will be separated from others through virtualization techniques.

Microsoft’s another move to join the entity that supports open source Kubernetes container orchestration project, will further strengthen its Azure containerization platform.

Also Read: Microsoft’s hiked quarterly earnings confirm its booming cloud business

Kubernetes was originally developed under Google. It was made open-source in 2015 when it came under CNCF. Now, it stands as a major technology that helps developers run their container applications anywhere.

Microsoft also mentioned in a blog that ACI tool is not an orchestration product, but it will work with such products (orchestration) to control container deployments. The company is also launching an ACI connector for Kubernetes, which will help link the two services.

Credit: Microsoft

By associating with Kubernetes, Microsoft aims to support the key technology trusted by many customers to help them built what they want.

Microsoft is trying to keep Azure relevant with all the latest technology trends and user demands. This announcement is another step towards this direction.