OpenStack in transition

OpenStack is one of the most important and complex open-source projects you’ve never heard of. It’s a set of tools that allows large enterprises ranging from Comcast and PayPal to stock exchanges and telecom providers to run their own AWS-like cloud services inside their data centers. Only a few years ago, there was a lot of hype around OpenStack as the project went through the usual hype cycle. Now, we’re talking about a stable project that many of the most valuable companies on earth rely on. But this also means the ecosystem around it — and the foundation that shepherds it — is now trying to transition to this next phase. The OpenStack project was founded by Rackspace and NASA in 2010. Two years later, the growing project moved into the OpenStack Foundation, a nonprofit group that set out to promote the project and help manage the community. When it
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InVision design tool Studio gets an app store, asset store

InVision, the startup that wants to be the operating system for designers, today introduced its app store and asset store within InVision Studio. In short, InVision Studio users now have access to some of their most-used apps and services from right within the Studio design tool. Plus, those same users will be able to shop for icons, UX/UI components, typefaces and more from within Studio. While Studio is still in its early days, InVision has compiled a solid list of initial app store partners, including Google, Salesforce, Slack, Getty, Atlassian, and more. InVision first launched as a collaboration tool for designers, letting designers upload prototypes into the cloud so that other members of the organization could leave feedback before engineers set the design in stone. Since that launch in 2011, InVision has grown to 4 million users, capturing 80 percent of the Fortune 100, raising a total of $235
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Box expands Zones to manage content in multiple regions

When Box announced Zones a couple of years ago, it was providing a way for customers to store data outside the U.S., but there were some limits. Each customer could choose the U.S. and one additional zone. Customers wanted more flexibility, and today the company announced it was allowing them to choose to multiple zones. The new feature gives a company the ability to store content across any of the 7 zones (plus the U.S) that Box currently supports across the world. A zone is essentially a Box co-location datacenter partner in various locations. The customer can now choose a default zone and then manage multiple zones from a single customer ID in the Box admin console, according to Jeetu Patel, chief product officer at Box. Initially customers wanted to have a choice to store data in a region outside the U.S., but over
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GUN raises more than $1.5M for its decentralized database system

GUN is an open-source decentralized database service that allows developers to build fast peer-to-peer applications that will work, even when their users are offline. The company behind the project (which should probably change its name and logo…) today announced that it has raised just over $1.5 million in a seed round led by Draper Associates. Other investors include Salesforce’s Marc Benioff through Aloha Angels, as well as Boost VC, CRCM and other angel investors. As GUN founder Mark Nadal told me, it’s been about four years since he started working on this problem, mostly because he saw the database behind his early projects as a single point of failure. When the database goes down, most online services will die with it, after all. So the idea behind GUN is to offer a decentralized database system that offers real-time updates with eventual consistency. You can use GUN to build a
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Okta introduces ‘Sign in with Okta’ service

Consider that there are millions of Okta users out there using the service to sign into their company applications with a single set of credentials. Yet getting customers to work together using Okta authentication was an enormous task for developers. Okta wanted to simplify it, so they created a service they are calling it ‘Sign in with Okta.’ The new API allows developers to add a few lines code and give Okta customers the ability to sign into one another’s websites in a similar way that OAuth allows you to use your Google or Facebook credentials to sign onto consumer sites. Frederic Kerrest, COO and co-founder at Okta, says the ‘Sign in with Okta’ uses an extension of OAuth called OpenID Connect, which his company has been supporting since 2016. He says the new service gives customers the ability to expand the use of their Okta credentials beyond
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Platform.sh raises $34 million to simplify cloud deployment

French startup Platform.sh has raised a $34 million funding round. The company wants to help you manage your cloud infrastructure by handling the most tedious part of the job. When you use Platform.sh for your application, the startup is going to handle testing and deployment to your cloud infrastructure. Every time you want to iterate and update your application to a new version, deployment is as easy as a git commit. Partech is leading the round, with Idinvest Partners, Benhamou Global Ventures, SNCF Digital Ventures and existing investor Hi Inov also participating. Platform.sh targets big clients. The company is currently working with 650 enterprise clients, such as Magento, Gap Inc. and The Financial Times. In 2018, revenue has more than doubled compared to the same period last year. Platform.sh can create new instances and deploy clones of your web applications in less than 60 seconds. That’s
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Meet the speakers at The Europas, and get your ticket free (July 3, London)

Excited to announce that this year’s The Europas Unconference & Awards is shaping up! Our half day Unconference kicks off on 3 July, 2018 at The Brewery in the heart of London’s “Tech City” area, followed by our startup awards dinner and fantastic party and celebration of European startups! The event is run in partnership with TechCrunch, the official media partner. Attendees, nominees and winners will get deep discounts to TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin, later this year.
The Europas Awards are based on voting by expert judges and the industry itself. But key to the daytime is all the speakers and invited guests. There’s no “off-limits speaker room” at The Europas, so attendees can mingle easily with VIPs and speakers. What exactly is an Unconference? We’re dispensing with the lectures and going straight to the deep-dives, where you’ll get a front row seat with Europe’s leading investors, founders and
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The Kata Containers project launches version 1.0 of its lightweight VMs for containers

The Kata Containers project, the first non-OpenStack project hosted by the OpenStack Foundation, today launched version 1.0 of its system for running isolated container workloads. The idea behind Kata Containers, which is the result of the merger of two similar projects previously run by Intel and Hyper, is to offer developers a container-like experience with the same security and isolation features of a more traditional virtual machine. To do this, Kata Containers implements a very lightweight virtual machine (VM) for every container. That means every container gets the same kind of hardware isolation that you would expect from a VM, but without the large overhead. But even though Kata Containers don’t fit the standard definition of a software container, they are still compatible with the Open Container Initiative specs and the container runtime interface of Kubernetes. While it’s hosted by the OpenStack Foundation, Kata Containers is meant to
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Dropbox beefs up mobile collaboration in latest release

Dropbox announced several enhancements today designed to beef up its mobile offering and help employees on the go keep up with changes to files stored in Dropbox . In a typical team scenario, a Dropbox user shared a file with a team member for review or approval. If they wanted to check the progress of this process, the only way to do it up until now was to send an email or text message explicitly asking if the person looked at it yet — not a terribly efficient workflow. Dropbox recognized this and has built in a fix in the latest mobile release. Now users can can simply see who has looked at or taken action on a file directly from the mobile application without having to leave the application. In addition, those being asked to review files can see those notifications right at the top of the Home screen in
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Packet teams up with Platform 9 and Datera to launch its new private cloud platform

Packet, the bare metal cloud provider, today announced that it has partnered with open source hybrid cloud specialist Platform9 and storage and data management service Datera to launch a new private cloud solution for businesses that want to have greater control over their platforms. Packet argues that this new solution can save businesses up to 50 percent in cost when compared to using a public cloud solution. “What we’re providing here is the polished experience of the public cloud, but with significantly more choice and performance,” noted Zac Smith, CEO at Packet . “By combining the strengths of market leaders like Datera and Platform9 with Packet-managed bare metal, we’re able to deliver it at a fraction of the cost of traditional public or private cloud solutions.” Packet notes that this partnership came about after Platform9 itself migrated away from AWS. The restrictions of the public cloud model, the company
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Don’t expect Ubuntu maker Canonical to IPO this year

Canonical, the company best known for its Ubuntu Linux distribution, is on a path to an IPO. That’s something Canonical founder and CEO Mark Shuttleworth has been quite open about. But don’t expect that IPO to happen this year. “We did decide as a company — and that’s not just my decision — but we did decide that we want to have a commercial focus,” Shuttleworth told me during an interview at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Canada today. “So we picked cloud and IoT as the areas to develop that. And being a public company, given that most of our customers are now global institutions, it makes for us also to be a global institution. I think it would be great for my team to be part of a public company. It would be a lot of work, but we are not shy of work.” Unsurprisingly, Shuttleworth
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Adobe to acquire Magento for $1.68B

Adobe announced today that it was acquiring Magento for $1.68 billion. The purchase gives Adobe a missing e-commerce platform piece that works in B2B and B2C contexts and should fit nicely in the company’s Experience Cloud. It should also help Adobe compete with Salesforce, which offers its own marketing, sales and service offerings in the cloud and which bought Demandware for more than $2 billion in 2016 to provide a similar set of functionality. Brent Leary, who owns CRM Essentials and keeps a close eye on the intersection between marketing and CRM, says this fills an obvious hole in Adobe’s Experience Cloud. “Now they have an offering that allows them to close the loop with consumers, who are able to finalize a digital transaction that started online with digital marketing tools Adobe already offered,” Leary explained. Leary also sees this deal bringing Microsoft and Adobe, who have already announced
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OpenStack spins out its Zuul open source CI/CD platform

There are few open source projects as complex as OpenStack, which essentially provides large companies with all the tools to run the equivalent of the core AWS services in their own data centers. To build OpenStack’s various systems the team also had to develop some of its own devops tools, and in 2012, that meant developing Zuul, an open source continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) platform. Now, with the release of Zuul v3, the team has decided to decouple Zuul from OpenStack and to run it as an independent project. It’s not quite leaving the OpenStack ecosystem, though, since it will still be hosted by the OpenStack Foundation. Now all of that may seem a bit complicated, but at this point, the OpenStack Foundation is simply the home of OpenStack and other related infrastructure projects. The first one of those was obviously OpenStack itself, followed by the Kata
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AWS adds more EC2 instance types with local NVMe storage

AWS is adding a new kind of virtual machine to its growing list of EC2 options. These new machines feature local NVMe storage, which offers significantly faster throughput than standard SSDs. These new so-called C5d instances join the existing lineup of compute-optimized C5 instances the service already offered. AWS cites high-performance computing workloads, real-time analytics, multiplayer gaming and video encoding as potential use cases for its regular C5 machines and with the addition of this faster storage option, chances are users who switch will see even better performance. Since the local storage is attached to the machine, it’ll also be terminated when the instance is stopped, so this is meant for storing intermediate files, not long-term storage. Both C5 and C5d instances share the same underlying platform, with 3.0 GHz Intel Xeon Platinum 8000 processors. The new instances are now available in a number of AWS’s U.S. regions,
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Sprinklr hires former fed CIO Vivek Kundra as COO

Sprinklr, the unicorn startup best known for helping customers interpret social signals has been moving into the broader customer experience market in the last year. Today it announced is was hiring a heavy hitter as Chief Operating Officer, bringing in former federal CIO and Salesforce executive Vivek Kundra. He began working at his new position just this week. Kundra says that he sees a company that is in a good position and poised for growth. It will be part of his job to work with CEO Ragy Thomas to make sure that happens. “When I look at the 1200 customers we have today, I see a massive opportunity to provide technology to change the way [our users] interact with customers,” Kundra told TechCrunch. He says that, with his background, whether working under President Obama or with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, the focus has always been on the customer, however
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Parsable secures $40M investment to bring digital to industrial workers

As we increasingly hear about automation, artificial intelligence and robots taking away industrial jobs, Parsable, a San Francisco-based startup sees a different reality, one with millions of workers who for the most part have been left behind when it comes to bringing digital transformation to their jobs. Parsable has developed a Connected Worker platform to help bring high tech solutions to deskless industrial workers who have been working mostly with paper-based processes. Today, it announced a $40 million Series C cash injection to keep building on that idea. The round was led by Future Fund with help from B37 and existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Airbus Ventures and Aramco Ventures. Today’s investment brings the total to nearly $70 million. The Parsable solution works on almost any smartphone or tablet and is designed to enter information while walking around in environments where a desktop PC or laptop simply wouldn’t be practical.
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Dialpad gets AI injection with TalkIQ acquisition

Sometimes two companies get along so well together and fit each other so perfectly, they almost have to come together. That’s what happened when Dialpad, a business communications platform whose products include UberConference, started working with TalkIQ. They liked them so much, they bought the company. Dialpad CEO Craig Walker says the two companies actually started working together about 8 months ago when Dialpad began looking at artificial intelligence options and they found that most weren’t real time and were expensive. Walker liked the fact that TalkIQ had that near real-time solution and that it was also built on the Google Cloud Platform like his company. In addition, the principals from both companies each came out of Google and had actually worked together at various points. When the teams came together under that commercial agreement, Walker says, they really clicked. At some point, they began talking about making it
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Google Compute Engine now offers VMs with up to 3844GB of memory

Sometimes, you just need more RAM. That’s especially true when you want to run memory-hungry enterprise applications like SAP’s HANA database or high-performance computing workloads. Until now, if you wanted the Google Compute Engine to run applications like that, your options topped out at 624GB of memory. Starting today, though, the company is going beyond that by introducing three new tiers on top of this that top out at 3844GB and 160 virtual compute cores. These three new machine types, dubbed “n1-ultramem,” join Google’s existing “n1-megamem” machines. Unsurprisingly, this kind of performance comes at a price. Running the “low-end” machine with 40 cores and 938GB of RAM for a month will set you back just over $3,221. The high-end machine, with 160 cores and 3844GB of RAM, is yours for $12,885.1716 per month. You can see the hourly prices below: With these new machines, Google now matches the top-end
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Auth0 snags $55M Series D, seeks international expansion

Auth0, a startup based in Seattle, has been helping developers with a set of APIs to build authentication into their applications for the last five years. It’s raised a fair bit of money along the way to help extend that mission, and today the company announced a $55 million Series D. This round was led by led by Sapphire Ventures with help from World Innovation Lab, and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures, Meritech Capital and K9 Ventures. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $110 million. The company did not want to share its valuation. CEO Eugenio Pace said the investment should help them expand further internationally. In fact, one of the investors, World Innovation Lab, is based in Japan and should help with their presence there. “Japan is an important market for us and they should help explain to us how the market works there,” he
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AWS introduces 1-click Lambda functions app for IoT

When Amazon introduced AWS Lambda in 2015, the notion of serverless computing was relatively unknown. It enables developers to deliver software without having to manage a server to do it. Instead, Amazon manages it all and the underlying infrastructure only comes into play when an event triggers a requirement. Today, the company released an app in the iOS App Store called AWS IoT 1-Click to bring that notion a step further. The 1-click part of the name may be a bit optimistic, but the app is designed to give developers even quicker access to Lambda event triggers. These are designed specifically for simple single-purpose devices like a badge reader or a button. When you press the button, you could be connected to customer service or maintenance or whatever makes sense for the given scenario. One particularly good example from Amazon is the Dash Button. These are simple buttons that
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