Microsoft's data-platform chief is moving on

2013-02-21 09:59:53

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Service Providers’ Big Date with Big Data
This guest post is written by Dana Porter, Head of Global Marketing at Amdocs, a provider of customer experience systems and services.Some industry terms strike such a chord – for reasons good or bad – that they become catchphrases used so broadly that it’s hard to remember what they originally stood for. "Convergence" is one of those terms, from a few decades back.  I would submit that "big data" is another (like "cloud" before it).But overuse shouldn’t obscure the fact that the intelligent use of big data is of vital importance to communications providers – be they mobile, cable, satellite or fixed-line – as they confront the challenges of meeting the demands of today’s "always-on" consumer.According to the Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI) released last May, there will be 1.3 zettabytes of IP traffic by the end of 2016 (a zettabyte equals 1021 bytes – that’s 21 zeros!). And a recent TM Forum report, "Big Data: big volume, big payback and big challenge," notes that data is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 29 percent over the past five years – and "is likely to continue to grow at a double-digit rate in the future."Storage costs rising The first challenge resulting from this growth is the operational aspect: how can service providers manage all of this data? Where will they store it, how can they secure it and how will they back it up? The reality is that without a significant change in their approach to data and operations in general, service providers will realize that the economics of the business simply don’t add up.Although the cost to store a gigabyte of data is declining, data usage is increasing to such a degree that the hardware spend required to keep up with that demand is actually continuing to rise. According to Barclay’s Capital, data stored by businesses is expected to increase by 42 percent in the five-year period finishing in 2014, which will cause storage spending by those organizations to increase by nine percent during that same period. So as service providers look at their operational environment, we can expect to see an increasing focus on architecture, and applications and systems that are Big Data-aware.
Microsoft's data-platform chief is moving on
Just a few months ago, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Ted Kummert was headlining the SQL Pass Summit 2012 conference. But as of next week, the head of Microsoft's Data Platform Group (DPG) is leaving the company.A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that Kummert's last day at Microsoft will be January 31. I've heard from sources he is not going to a competitor and that his new employer could be announcing his appointment some time in the next few weeks.As head of DPG, which is part of the Server and Tools business at Microsoft, Kummert led product strategy and development of Microsoft's application platform, meaning its database, application servers, cloud services and data programmability and modeling technologies. In this role, he worked with the teams on SQL Server, SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse, Windows Azure Data Services, Windows Embedded and Microsoft's business intelligence and big data offerings.In August of 2012, Microsoft reorganized its Server and Tools group, flattening the corporate hierarchy and organizing the unit more along the lines of Windows and Office. At that time, Embedded was moved under Kummert.The flattening of the hierarchies will continue with Kummert's decision to move on. Kummert's direct reports are going to be reporting to the head of Server and Tools, President Satya Nadella. That means Quentin Clark, the Corporate Vice President of Program Management; Dave Campbell, the Corporate Vice President of Development; and Jason Wilcox, the Corporate Vice President in charge of Test are now all reporting to Nadella. There are no organizational changes occurring beyond that, the Microsoft spokesperson said.Kummert joined Microsoft in 1989. During his tenure, he oversaw products including Windows Server Terminal Services, Microsoft Internet Security & Acceleration Server, Forefront Server Security for Exchange, Small Business Server, BizTalk Server, Commerce Server and Host Integration Server.
Big data grabs big chunk of government research cash
Big data and energy-efficient computing research will receive millions of pounds from the UK government over the next two years.David Willetts, minister for universities and science revealed a breakdown of £600m in science funding which was announced by Chancellor George Osborne late last year.Big data and energy-efficient computing will receive the largest portion of the funding, at £189m."Businesses will invest more as they see us invest more in computational infrastructure to capture and analyse data flows released by the open data revolution," said Willetts.Other technologies set to benefit from the funding, include: space (£25m); robotics and autonomous systems (£35m); synthetic biology (£88m); regenerative medicine (£20m); agri-science campuses (£30m); advanced materials (£73m); and energy (£30m). Willetts said that using the £600m to fund research institutes, invest in new facilities, and buy new equipment, will propel the UK to future growth and help with commercialisation.Willetts provided more detail on why the government is right to invest in big data and energy-efficient computing in a report to the Policy Exchange, published on Thursday."With the right investments, the UK is well placed for the big data revolution. We have 25 of the world’s 500 most powerful computers (out of 107 in Europe compared with 253 in the US, and 68 in China)," reads the report. "But crude computing power is not the be all and end all. We have a comparative advantage in IT because of two distinctive strengths."Willetts claims that the UK is good at the algorithms used to handle diverse large datasets and has strengths in mathematical and computer sciences, pointing to the involvement of British scientists at CERN, as an example. He also believes that the UK has some of the world's best and most complete datasets in healthcare, demographics, agriculture and environment. "We may not have the world's most powerful computer but we have a number of the world’s most energy efficient super computers," writes Willetts. "This means the UK is well placed to solve the challenges posed by clusters like the City of London which are close to reaching their energy and computing capacity. At the smaller scale, this means UK research leads the way in developing longer-life mobile communications such as mobile phones and tablet computers."
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