April 18, 2014

Trace3 is Ranked 11th as the Best Place to Work in Denver

Filed under: Awards — smercier @ 12:53 pm

denverPost

Trace3 is proud to announce that we were voted the 11th best place to work in Denver, Colorado. As an organization, we value our employees and work hard to make our company a pleasant place to work. We are thrilled to be recognized in this way.

“At Trace3, we invest in our team members. Their success and happiness is important to us, and we work hard to make them feel valued,” says Tony, General Manager. “We’re especially excited to be the only VAR/SI on the list this year. In such a changing and innovative space, our employees are the constant and we strive to keep it that way.”

Trace3 invests in team members in many ways that go beyond health benefits, holidays, and a strong 401(k) program. Each employee has access to extensive training and development programs to maintain and improve their skillset. There are also advancement opportunities throughout the organization that helps individuals achieve personal career goals. We find that when our people feel invested in and important, we meet more goals as a company, whether it be in sales, community involvement, or partner participation.

Trace3 focuses on hiring the most talented and driven people in the IT industry. We value individuals who are strong communicators, independent thinkers, and are service oriented. We start with the best, and then build and empower those individuals to ensure their happiness and success.

Read more about the Denver Top Workplaces in 2014 here.

April 14, 2014

Top 5 Cloud Computing Challenges for 2014

Filed under: Cloud — smercier @ 11:30 am

For most organizations, developing a cloud strategy is no longer a matter of “if,” but a matter of how. The right cloud strategy can significantly reduce costs, offer instant scalability, and improve business agility. But to get the most from the cloud and position their businesses for the future, IT leaders must understand the trends that are shaping the rapidly changing landscape. Here are five considerations that should be top of mind for any IT decision-maker in the coming year.

1. Providing the best possible user experience.

When it comes to cloud, there’s only one thing that matters, and that’s the user experience. It’s easy to forget about the end user while getting caught up in the “arms race” of building and brokering cloud services. When consulting about cloud strategy for a healthcare R&D firm, my colleagues and I were asked the question: “Amazon offers these services, so why don’t we?”

At the end of the day, it’s the user experience that matters, not the number of cloud services offered or the amount of features available. Spend your time focusing on the experience that best fits your users’ needs and company culture rather than increasing the number of services offered.

2. Managing the convergence of mobile and cloud.

This year marks the beginning of a new phase of digitally realized experiences through the combined might of mobile and cloud. Among the most powerful trends in corporate IT, mobile and cloud are quickly becoming two sides of the same coin—one represents a more flexible experience, the other a more flexible platform.

Tablets and smartphones are only the beginning of a new era in which personal medical devices, smart cars, and even drones are all becoming part of the “Internet of things.” These devices are by nature collaborative and communicative, and rely on “always connected” cloud services to be effective. How end users access and interact with the cloud on mobile devices is becoming more and more critical to their experience. Companies that wait to incorporate mobile into their cloud strategy will find themselves further behind as the mobile revolution we’re witnessing accelerates.

3. Choosing the right mix of cloud for your business.

There are a tremendous amount of cloud service providers out there, and enterprises have many options when it comes to meeting varying workloads and service level requirements. Based on the criteria that matter most to your business, ask the question “where does my application best live?”

Often, a hybrid cloud approach works best: combining public cloud infrastructure and external cloud services with private cloud deployments and on-premises IT systems. Structuring hybrid IT services while maintaining control and assuring data governance as workloads transcend traditional data center boundaries will be a major area of focus for both vendors and enterprises in the coming year. Make sure it is one of yours.

4. Developing a security framework for the new world.

In the old days, the castle-and-moat model for enterprise security was well understood. You put the crown jewels in the castle and created a list of who you’d let the drawbridge down for. This was fine in the pre-cloud era when things inside the castle got updated periodically. In the new paradigm of cloud, however, security quickly becomes a complex web of interrelated policies, with firewalls hosting hundreds if not thousands of access-list entries that no one wants to touch. Workloads are constantly getting spun up (and down), moved to new places to maximize efficiency, and even split up between separate data centers. Control points for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) differ from Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), further complicating security frameworks.

Venture capital agencies have invested heavily in cloud security companies. Cloud security is seen as an emerging and lucrative frontier as IT ecosystems become ever more crucial and intertwined. So how does an enterprise tackle this challenge today? Develop policies and a security framework that relates to the business and is easily understood and audited by people outside of IT security. As the security frontier evolves, your framework acts as a compass to evaluate what technology best fits your needs.

5. Keeping service delivery high.

How long are you willing to wait for a video to load, or your mobile application to respond before you move on to another task? Chances are a few seconds—maybe a little more. Your users, most likely, aren’t any different. If cloud services don’t perform well, either they won’t be adopted, or they will hamper productivity, causing users to seek alternatives.

Enter application performance management tools, which according to analyst group 451 Research “are following application workloads to the cloud to provide users visibility for modern distributed workloads.” These services will be crucial in achieving transparency across an increasingly complex landscape of multi-cloud and multi-platform services. Remember, it’s all about the user experience, and over the next year we will see more enterprises investing in tools to help make sense of their cloud application architecture and underlying infrastructure in real-time. Knowing your application and exactly how it maps to the infrastructure is more critical than ever.

 

About the Author:

Anoj Willy is Director of Product Development at Trace3, a California-based IT solutions provider with deep expertise in data center, high-performance computing, and cloud technology.

April 10, 2014

Big Data Joe: Things You Need To Know – Apache Spark and Apache Tez – Near Real-Time Analysis of Data at Rest

Filed under: Big Data,Business Data Intelligence — smercier @ 5:20 pm

A buzzword for Big Data is “Real-time” and every product is stating they are capable of doing it. But “real-time”, just like “Big Data”, is defined by the user and what their use case and requirements are.

Apache Spark and Apache Tez focus on analysis of data at rest in a near real-time fashion. They still require user intervention to access the data at rest like running MapReduce or a SQL-like query, but have optimized it so it’s not something you need take a nap while you run your job because it’s going to take hours to get your results.

These two projects have done a lot to help you get value out of your data more quickly, but most importantly, they have tackled the two areas that slow down queries the most; spin up time of the processes in the clusters needed to run the job and avoiding unnecessary writes to HDFS.

Here is a break down of these 2 projects.

Apache Spark

  • Creators founded company called “Databricks” and received 14mil from Andreessen Horowitz in it’s first round of funding.
  • Cloudera supported
  • Created to address the performance issues of MR and be a high performance, low latency replacement for it
  • Created before YARN
  • Has been ported to successfully to YARN and running in production
  • Due to Apache Spark being a MR replacement, it improves it’s ability to move outside of the normal MR functions and expand it’s set of possible analyses over HDFS
  • Utilizes a tool called “Shark” which makes Apache Hive Spark compatible to give you the ability to run SQL-like queries

How It Fits: Apache Spark

Apache Tez

  • Hortonworks created and supported
  • Created to be run natively on YARN
  • Created to address the issues of MR and be a compliment to it. Apache Tez Improves the performance of existing MR jobs allowing MR devs to utilize it with little to no learning curve
  • Due to Apache Tez being able to support MapReduce, existing tools like Pig and Hive, that generate MapReduce jobs, will see a performance boost without having to modify their functionality
  • While Apache Tez is made to optimize MR out of the box, it does have the ability to replace MR in the long run as it’s functionality is extended

How It Fits: Apache Tez

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
There are a lot of products, projects and companies that are trying to solve near real-time analysis of data at rest but Apache Spark and Apache Tez seem to be the most promising. While these two projects are tackling the same issue, due to the fact they are going about it differently (Spark replacing MapReduce and Tez complimenting MapReduce) I think there is room for both, at least for the time being.

Want To Know More?
Apache Spark: http://spark.apache.org/
Databricks: http://databricks.com/
Shark: http://shark.cs.berkeley.edu/
Apache Tez: http://tez.incubator.apache.org/
Hortonworks: “A framework for near real-time big data processing” – http://hortonworks.com/hadoop/tez/
Apache Hive: https://hive.apache.org/

April 4, 2014

Skookum Jim and Blockchain Applications

Filed under: Innovation Group — smercier @ 10:36 am

Author: Mark A Campbell, Research Principal, Trace3

In August 16, 1896 a Yukon trapper named “Skookum Jim” discovered gold on the banks of Bonanza Creek. Word finally reached Seattle and San Francisco a year later triggering the Klondike Gold Rush – the frozen north was invaded by 40,000 “Cheechakos” (newcomers). Thousands of claims were filed, boom towns sprang up and Dawson City saloons were selling French champagne for $60 a bottle ($1,600 in today’s money).

But in only 14 months it was all over. In the summer of 1898 the Cheechakos horde swarmed to Nome, then Fairbanks, Nevada, Kenya…

Only a few found lasting wealth in the Klondike:

  • The “Sourdoughs” – The first strikers, like Skookum Jim, made fortunes from royalties
  • The Media – Robert Service and Jack London each had a shedload of international bestsellers
  • The Provisioners – Who sold the prospectors everything from whisky to gold pans
  • The Consolidators – The long-term thinkers who bought and merged low-grade Cheechako claims for pennies on the dollar then set up huge dredging and strip mining operations.

Fast forward to 2014.

Although Bitcoin is still in the claim staking stage of the Klondike timeline, we can already make a few predictions as to whom the winners will be:

  • The Sourdoughs – The early miners (and probably Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s mysterious father)
  • The Media – Who get endless blog-fodder from peddling Bitcoin hopes and fears (like me)
  • The Provisioners – Those selling 21st century cyber-gold-pans (like custom ASICs)
  • The Consolidators – And who will that be?

Here’s a guess…..

Bitcoin uses an underlying open-source algorithm called “blockchain”, which has several mathematical certainties built into it (including a sexy NP-Complete problem for you math geeks). The algorithm is used to form a series of data structures, called blocks, each of which has a hash of the previous block forming a chain that allows anyone to traverse from block to the block until reaching the “genesis” block.

This, interestingly enough, has the effect that as more blocks are added to the chain it becomes more secure. This chain is stored across distributed systems without a central controlling authority creating an effect called “distributed consensus”; meaning, given any Bitcoin, anyone can verify if it is valid, who owns it, when it was mined and if its lineage traces back to the Bitcoin genesis block.

I spoke with David Chen from Lightspeed Venture Partners, who “cannot imagine that in five to ten years blockchain will not be everywhere, as Bitcoin or the next generation”.

What is “the next generation”?

Ok, time to take out the “Men in Black” pens and forget any reference to Bitcoin – whewmph, whewmph. Let’s now just look at how blockchain and distributed consensus together can be applied to a whole host of real-world problems.

One example is Domain Name Services (DNS). The internet has a set of distributed files that map computer names to their more cumbersome IP addresses. Today, this is controlled by a swarm of DNS servers that pass information around amongst themselves. It is insecure (allowing bad people to do something called IP hijacking), slow (changes can take hours to propagate) and data can be lost if key servers go wonky at the wrong time – kind of like the DMV, I guess. A blockchain DNS systems would be simpler, faster and more secure.

How about some less mundane examples? Blockchain-based digital contracts require no lawyer, notary or interference by the courts. Expand this concept and you can create corporations (something called a “Digital Autonomous Group”), virtual identity cards (for real or pseudo-identities), exchanges (there is already a blockchain-based exchange dealing in gold, silver and platinum), media distribution and secure voting platforms (direct democracy – say what?).

Although we are out of the “cyber-anarchist” phase of blockchain, Lightspeed agrees that we are still in the early days. They are watching this space closely, even providing seed round funding for a block-chain startup, Ripple Labs, last year.

They are not alone. Several other big-time tech VC firms, among them Andreessen Horowitz, are eyeing blockchain-ers like Twister, Mastercoin, Ethereum, MaidSafe, Keybase and BitShares X. Even respectables like JP Morgan Chase and eBay have filed patents for their own blockchain solutions.

Is one of these the new blockchain strip miner? Only time will tell, but remember…

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

By the men who moil for gold;

The Cremation of Sam McGee, Robert Service

March 28, 2014

Big Data, Done NOW!

Filed under: Big Data — smercier @ 3:35 pm

By now you must be familiar with the term “Big Data”, but are you familiar with all of the benefits it can bring to your organization? It’s not just the latest IT buzz word- Big Data is a business enabling technology that allows your executives to make more informed decisions. By leveraging this technology, your company will be able to transition to a data-focused organization and make relevant, innovative, and intelligent pivots in the areas most critical to your business.

Sounds good, right? But how do you take unstructured data and turn it into the intelligence that will transform your business and increase your ROI and business agility?

The first step is defining your strategy. To truly leverage the benefits of Big Data, a well-planned strategy must be identified, planned, and implemented. Without a tactical approach in place, delays in your data can occur that will ultimately detract from the value of your information. For example, if you’re still waiting for batch processing to complete and reports to finish running, you’re losing valuable time and agility in your operations.

To capture Big Data and use it for its full potential, you need to be able to learn from what’s happening in your organization at any given moment- and that can be a difficult task. In fact, most companies don’t know where to begin, which is why we’re hosting a Big Data webinar. We’re joining forces with DataTorrent to spend an hour explaining how to make sense of your Big Data and answering any questions you might have. We hope you’ll register and join us- we promise you’ll learn valuable insights to implement into your organization.

Making Sense of Big Data in Seconds!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 11AM PT / 2PM ET

Please join Juan Guevara, BDI Practice Director at Trace3, and Rikin Shah, Vice President of Strategy & Solutions at DataTorrent and Thomas Weise, Senior Architect at DataTorrent.

They will show you how you can:

  • Act instantly on incoming data with real-time stream processing
  • Perform real-time ETL
  • Monitor and alert for business metrics and system events in real time
  • Accommodate any future changes to load, distribution, or business logic, as your needs evolve
  • Gain maximum value from your Big Data initiatives and your Human Capital

Register Now

Trace3 Named INNOVATION PARTNER OF THE YEAR by Cisco

Filed under: Awards,Cisco — TGallina @ 2:10 pm

Great news this week from Las Vegas as Trace3 received national recognition as INNOVATION PARTNER OF THE YEAR at the Annual Cisco partner Summit! Congratulations to John Bristol and team for all your hard work!

—————————

Trace3 Wins Two Top Awards at Cisco Summit 2014

Irvine, California – March 28, 2014 – Trace3, a leading Evolution Partner in the technology industry for advanced IT solutions, announced today being honored at the annual Cisco Partner Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada with two Cisco Partner Summit Awards. Trace3 was awarded the Commercial Partner of the Year for the West Region and Solution Innovation Partner of the Year for the US.

“We are delighted that the energy and investments Trace3 has committed to our Cisco practice is resonating with our customers as well as being recognized, supported, and appreciated by our strategic partner; Cisco Systems,” said Josh Berezin, President of Trace3.

The recent awards from Cisco Systems reinforces the consultative approach Trace3 pursues when collaborating with customers. The ability to recognize the importance of truly integrated solutions consisting of products from Cisco Systems and their eco-system partners (EMC, NetApp, VMware, F5, etc.) enables Trace3 to architect Big Data, Cloud, Converged Infrastructure, and other strategic business enabling solutions. “We are committed to providing our customers best-in-class service and support at all times and the accolades presented to us this week at the Cisco Partner Summit exemplifies our focus to do just that.” said John Bristol, Networking Practice Director at Trace3.

Trace3 maintains and exceeds the requirements for attaining the broadest range of expertise across multiple technologies and is currently a Cisco Gold Certified Partner. In addition to our technical capabilities across a broad range of tier 1 partners, Trace3 enables our customers to compete and differentiate with our unique offerings supported by our Innovation Group; Organizational Health, Education, and Emerging Technology via VC Briefings.

March 19, 2014

Trace3 Intro to our Big Data Intelligence workshops

Filed under: Big Data,events — TGallina @ 6:18 pm

March 18, 2014

2014 Outlier Award Finalist David Anderson

Filed under: Awards,Outlier Awards,video — smercier @ 9:20 am

David Anderson’s top-down support for an aggressive IT transformation allows CH2M HILL to truly operate as a global company. Under David’s leadership, the overall discussion of IT has shifted from cost to value, ultimately mitigating business risk and strengthening relationships with clients.

March 17, 2014

Business Solutions Magazine features the Trace3 VC Briefing Program

Filed under: Awards,Outlier Awards,Press — TGallina @ 3:18 pm

Business solutions article on Trace3

March 12, 2014

2014 Outlier Award Finalist Charles Connoy

Filed under: Awards,Outlier Awards,video — smercier @ 4:59 pm

VP, Global Platform at Sony Computer Entertainment America, Charles Connoy and his team are continually pushing the boundaries of technology making game creation and hosting faster, easier, and more cost efficient.

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