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Desktop Linux: Think Thin
The potential killer app for Linux

Thin-client computing is alive and well...and thriving in early-adopter environments. In this article, Dr. Migration explains why thin-client systems are showing up everywhere from POS applications to classrooms, and why you might want to consider a thin-client solution for your own organization.

Almost every desktop computer user today is familiar with the PC computing model in which user applications are executed on the local PC and data is stored on the local hard drive. This type of computing model is sometimes referred to as thick-client computing when extended to the network with file or print serving.

An alternative to this model is thin-client computing, in which applications are executed on the server and information is redisplayed over a network to "dumb terminals" or "thin clients" that offer input and video display capabilities. This model was necessary when computer-processing power was expensive and there was a need to share expensive mainframe computers. However, as computer hardware prices fell the PC became ubiquitous and, subsequently, the economics changed, allowing many users access to computers as an everyday part of their jobs and even in their homes.

Despite the rise of the inexpensive x86 commodity PC, thin-client computing is still alive and well for many who use client/server applications every day by virtue of the World Wide Web. Web services allow many applications that execute on the server to be redisplayed back to the PC via a Web browser. In addition to the Web, there are many other client/server applications that are truly thin client. Linux, which is a multi-user operating system, is ideally suited to power these thin-client solutions and being superbly suited to operate as a client OS for thin-client computing applications because it can provide the necessary thin-client tools in a small and efficient footprint.

What Does a Thin-Client Network Look Like?
A thin-client network has at least three components: server (or terminal server), network (preferably Ethernet), and thin client (software and/or hardware).

  1. Server or terminal server: The Linux operating system has been developed as a multi-user system with the capability to serve virtual terminals, hence the terminology "terminal server." Therefore, many individual users can log into the server and use it simultaneously. Individual user configurations can be limited to single applications or a full-blown desktop computing environment. Tools exist in most Linux distributions that allow administrators to limit permissions and grant access to certain applications only. Permissions can be controlled at a user level and users can be included in groups that have common traits and have like permissions and applications.
  2. Network: The network requirements for thin-client GUI implementations depend on a reasonable amount of bandwidth and low latency to be suitable for everyday use. In a corporate environment a 10/100 LAN that operates optimally with adequate bandwidth should serve well. Server sessions can be streamed to clients via the X.11 protocol and redisplayed by an X server in these optimal environments. However, in less ideal situations, redisplay technologies can be utilized to improve performance by compressing redisplay data and limiting the screen refresh and redraw rates. Technologies like Tarantella (www.tarantella.com) and Citrix (www.citrix.com), as well as the popular open source solution Tight VNC (www.tightvnc.com) offer such capabilities.
  3. Thin client: Thin-client software can reside on a PC or on a device designed for thin-client applications. These solutions normally provide a mechanism for video redisplay and input. Clients are normally stateless so data and configuration data are limited or nonexistent. Therefore, if the client is damaged the loss is only in the operating software or hardware - data and computing environments are preserved. Also, since information no longer resides locally, everyday occurrences like employee moves and coffee spilled on machines are less disruptive. Figure 1 shows a simple schematic for thin-client computing. Note that the processing resides on the server and thin clients redisplay video and relay keystrokes and other information over the network. Also, it's possible to run thin-client software on thick-client PCs.
 

Why Go Thin Client?
It's very easy to make a case for thin-client computing from a systems management standpoint. Environments are easily standardized, and costs for such systems can be considerably lower than for traditional PC environments. The advantages of the thin-client model are numerous. Following are some common benefits that organizations might find in thin-client computing.

Reduced Cost of Desktop Computing Hardware
Thin-client PCs only serve video and provide input functions in most cases. Because technology in these areas doesn't obsolesce as quickly as in the processor and memory world, the useful life of these devices can be many times longer than that of a traditional PC. Also, because storage is pooled on the server CPU, memory and storage can be leveraged over a pooled user base. Resources that were once dedicated to single users are now shared among a group. For example, when a user is on a break, or "off the network," a second user can take advantage of those extra cycles. Mice and keyboards, monitors, and video cards can have a useful life that is much longer than that of the rest of the PC.

Centralized Administration
Rather than process updates across individual desktop computers, administrators can process system-wide updates on the server. Updating software for many users can be taken care of with one simple installation. To evaluate how valuable this could be to your organization, speak to your IT help desk and ask them how much time they spend on the "SneakerNet." The "SneakerNet" refers to the time they spend walking around looking for cubicles, to fix user PCs. Not only do they need to find the cubicle, but also they need to bring parts, software, and tools to fix the PC. Thin clients are very low maintenance and most of the time formerly spent traveling to and from cubicles can be dedicated to improving the operating environment rather than maintaining it. If something does break, help desk personnel can open the user session locally at their desk, make the fix, and then allow the user to reacquire their session at their desk - no travel time required.

Portability of Computing Environment
Since there is little or no personal data kept on thin-client devices, users can pull up their computing environment from any network-connected thin-client workstation. On the Sun Microsystems campus, users simply carry their employee ID and embedded smart card with them and they can pull up their computing desktop at any Sun Ray workstation (www.sun.com/sunray) on campus, making it possible for employees to travel among connected campuses and pull up their work environment anywhere, from a cubicle to a conference room, which makes them much more productive. Sun also claims that they can more efficiently use space because of workstation mobility and sharing abilities.

The same flexibility Sun illustrates on their campus can be applied to telecommuting empowered by secure WAN redisplay solutions like Citrix and Tarantella. Workers at home can use thin-client software on top of their PC securely, without the need to maintain a corporate laptop that can take abuse during the commute to and from work. Helping home users maintain their work computing environments can be very difficult for corporate IT departments. Maintaining the environment in the data center limits the problems associated with remote PC maintenance.

High Availability
In businesses where employee downtime has immediate and severe effects, high-availability solutions are key. In an inbound sales center, for example, it's important that order processing and billing systems are highly available and rendundant. Desktop models in contrast are not redundant and have many points of failure. During the time that employees' computers are down they lose productivity. This isn't always obvious, but in many businesses employee downtime due to IT troubles can be much more expensive than the cheap IT systems on which the business saved a relatively small amount of money.

Rapid Deployment
Imagine the case of a large florist whose normal business increases tenfold for Mother's Day, or a large catalog company that quadruples its workforce for the Christmas holiday season. Rapid expansions like this can cause IT headaches. A relatively pain-free solution would be to simply add user accounts to a server farm and plug thin-client devices, such as Neoware's Eon (www.neoware.com/products/eon/preferred.html) or Sun's Sun Ray, into Ethernet ports in a cubicle versus installing operating systems and software on hundreds or thousands of PCs. Or in the case of disasters, for example, Hurricane Isabel in the eastern U.S. this past fall, if work environments were housed safely in hardened telecom facilities, displaced workers could simply go to a new network-connected facility while flood waters receded and infrastructure in the affected areas was repaired. In each case installation of new systems could be completed in minutes rather than a few days.

Standardization and Implementation of Standards
Because the computing environments are "virtual," it's easy to standardize the configuration so that all users have the same environment. This is valuable for training purposes as well as in accounting for computing systems and software.

These are all compelling arguments for deploying a thin-client environment. Even taken singly, each one has a common motivating factor: it could and would save organizations money. This is especially true in environments with large numbers of task-based workers who have relatively modest computing needs.

Thin-Client and Desktop Migration Strategy
Many organizations that are looking at migrating to Linux on the desktop still think in terms of fat-client PCs. However, in the case of a desktop migration in which the whole operating system changes it may be advantageous to deploy via a thin-client model. Not only does this model offer a relatively easy way to stage and implement a new desktop environment, it also frees users from their desks. Imagine developing a presentation with supporting documents in your office, then walking to a conference room with a thin-client terminal to pull up that same information - without carrying a laptop or CD. This model obviously offers flexibility within the office and could also be extended to any Internet terminal so that employees could telecommute easily or do remote-site presentations for clients, partners, and other employees.

Trial and Pilot Programs
Thin-client computing trials need not permanently change any PC other than the server you use to serve Linux. You could simply allow Windows users to receive their Linux sessions on Windows. That way they can dip their toes in the waters of Linux without giving up their Windows security blanket. There are many ways to do this without making irrevocable changes to your infrastructure. Consider the following tactics for a "trial separation" from Windows.

Live CD Trials
In my first LWM column (Vol.1, issue 1, www.linuxworld.com/story/33889.htm) I discussed Knoppix (www.knopper.net/knoppix), a bootable Linux CD that is an excellent way to get your feet wet with Linux. Before uprooting and replacing existing desktops you may want to consider the wave of bootable Linux CDs with a collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals to evaluate. These CDs can be booted from your existing CD drive and run Linux on your existing PCs without damaging your existing installations. Also, many of them have the ability to access your existing file system in read-only mode. Three good options are Knoppix (www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-old-en.html), LindowsCD (www.lindows.com/lindowscd_info.php), and SUSE Linux for i386 Live-Eval (www.suse.com/us/private/download/suse_linux/index.html). These live trial CDs are designed for running thick-client models but also offer the necessary software to temporarily convert desktops with a method for rollback.

X Windows on Windows
Herman Verkade's article "Cross-Platform Integration with X Windows" (LWM, Vol. 1, issue 1, www.linuxworld.com/story/33902.htm) explains how to run Linux applications on your existing Windows PC. This is also a good way for those not yet willing to commit to Linux, or those just looking for the best of both worlds, to obtain cross-platform integration. Linux applications can be integrated into your existing infrastructure easily and at little or no software licensing costs, and once again all applications are housed on the server, leaving current PC and infrastructure in place. Linux simply augments this environment.

Phased-in Approach to Migration
It's not practical for most organizations to take a giant leap to a new operating system. However, there will probably be inflection points in the enterprise software life cycle that will make phased-in migration more appropriate. Examples of transition opportunities to start deploying Linux thin-client desktops may include the addition of new employees, the end of useful life for thick-client workstations that could be easily converted to thin clients, or the time of renewal for your existing operating system. In some cases it may not be necessary or practical to switch all of your systems at once, but by introducing Linux, even gradually, into the desktop computing mix you begin to add a powerful and frugal tool to your infrastructure.

Recycle: It's Good for Your IT Environment
One very frugal approach to thin-client computing is the recycling method. This method works well when repurposing machines that have outlived their useful life as a desktop PC. Despite having lower CPU speeds, less memory, and limited storage space, these machines are far from useless. The LTSP - Linux Terminal Server Project (www.ltsp.org), an open source community project, helps breathe new life into what may have been thought of as useless hardware. This organization offers a blueprint for repurposing aging PCs into thin-client devices. They also outline how you could configure a terminal server to serve desktop environments. Granted, there will still need to be some investment in servers to drive the LTSP, but in comparison to a thick-client model, it's considerably cheaper than upgrading all the desktop PCs in environments with five or more PCs and task-based users.

Data and Application Replacement
Before making arrangements to move from one platform to another, it's important to inventory which data needs to moved and which supporting applications need to be available to the desktop computer user base. No matter what your strategy, either straight migration or phased movement from platform to platform, it's important to make sure that you have a plan to protect your infrastructure. One good first step is to migrate local PC data to file servers. A good Linux solution for Windows users would be a Linux server running Samba (www.samba.org), which can appear just like a Windows file server to the clients. Once data is uploaded it's just as easy to retrieve the information from the Linux thin client.

Retraining
An open source, thin-client model offers a multitude of benefits from an administration and software licensing perspective, but on the other side, the aspect that presents the most risk for many companies is the disruption caused by an OS migration. Retraining staff on a new suite of applications is the factor that has to be weighed most carefully. My recommendation for an organization that's making the choice to migrate to open source desktop environments would be to start using open source applications on their legacy OS first. By starting to use OpenOffice or StarOffice in place of their existing office suites users will cut down on the learning curve afforded by a brand new cast of applications and OS later on. By gaining familiarity with these suites in a comfortable setting (existing desktop environments) users can become familiar with applications that will be their sole choice down the road. Also, the use of Mozilla (www.mozilla.org) instead of Microsoft's Internet Explorer may be a wise choice. Not only does Mozilla offer nearly all the same features, it also offers some additional value in its tab-based browsing and pop-up blocker. E-mail clients are quick and easy switchover candidates. Not only are Linux e-mail clients fairly intuitive for users, IT staff will be thankful for the decreased vulnerability to Microsoft Outlook and Windows viruses that results from using Linux solutions. Additionally, for those applications that you have already invested in for Windows there are "bridging" technologies that allow you to run Windows applications on Linux. Codeweavers' CrossOver Technology (www.codeweavers.com) and NeTraverse's Win4Lin (www.netraverse.com) allow applications to run on Linux in the cases where retraining or application availability are limiting factors.

'Sweet Spots' for Thin-Client Technology
Early adopters of thin-client computing are those who have relatively modest computing needs in terms of their desktop computing complexity. They typically need their systems to be highly available, cost-effective, and mobile. The following functional groups and organizations meet this profile.

Point of Sale (POS)
One area where thin-client computing has seen success is in Point of Sale (POS) applications. POS is ideal for thin-client computing because retail is often required to expand and contract with seasonal shopping. Additionally, it's important that these applications are highly available because down time can cause sales losses. Apropos Retail Systems (www.aproposretail.com) in Bellevue, Washington, understands this and has converted their line of POS systems to Linux. They chose Linux as their preferred platform despite being located miles from Microsoft's Redmond campus. Levin Furniture (www.levinfurniture.com), a western Pennsylvania furniture retailer, is implementing thin-client technologies because they like the idea of mobile desktops that can run their Java-based sales applications from any workstation in their showroom. This makes it easier for them to speak to customers but still pull up SKUs and order information from their warehouses.

Call Center
Thin-client computing excels in call centers. Often call center employees have specific repetitive tasks. Also, they typically have large numbers of users with identical needs. Many times they require workstations to be shared and used by employees who may sit in a different seat every day. Because of this need for mobility it's advantageous for them to have a customized but mobile desktop. In a thin-client environment they could simply log in from any desktop and have access to all the tools they need to do their job.

Schools
For all the reasons that thin-client computing makes sense in the call center it makes sense in schools. Computer users, or in this case students, share workstations among as many as seven or eight users a day. Linux has robust user management systems that can be used to create individual virtual desktops for students or to create sessions that rebuild themselves automatically as classrooms turn over groups of students. In the Netherlands, systems integrator Siceroo has helped numerous schools provide this type of infrastructure through Linux and Sun Rays. Each student gets a smart card that holds his or her authentication data. Their computer labs are equipped with Sun Ray thin clients. When students arrive at class they can start their work at any stateless Sun Ray workstation. They can then remove their smart card and walk to the teacher's desk and pull up their work via a similar thin-client terminal. Schools who are often the beneficiary of donations of older computing equipment are ideal candidates for the LTSP or an offshoot of this program, which is the K-12 LTSP (http://www.k-12ltsp.org) for schools.

Branch Infrastructure
Branch infrastructure with many small offices where an on-site IT person makes little sense could benefit greatly from a thin-client configuration. Thin clients employed at the local branches would have fewer "moving parts" that might break, while complex desktop environments could be maintained in the data center and distributed over the wire to remote offices. Additionally, a standard server and user application configuration makes it easy to create uniform implementations that can be easily installed and maintained across a large number of branches. This is a cookie-cutter and plug-and-play model that is becoming popular in retail organizations. The fact that the Linux server license is free also makes it much more economical to replicate across hundreds or thousands of "small" servers, while a Microsoft server license would make such a strategy expensive.

Summary
Thin-client computing is an excellent solution for many environments. In my opinion it has the potential to be the killer application for Linux because the architecture is flexible and relatively painless to implement using a phased approach. The ideal candidates for early adoption have relatively modest desktop computing needs with large numbers of task-based workers. To date, the lack of a thin-client migration strategy or experience base, both of which are necessary to offer a quick and efficient desktop implementation, is one reason for the limited Linux desktop adoption. Thin-client computing is a practical approach for those looking for less volatile migration paths. Terminal servers offer a way to stage and cautiously deploy desktop environments. Additionally, the thin-client architecture adds value in the form of mobile, or device-independent, computing and reduced administration.

Case Study: Thin-Client Solutions in Schools
Siceroo (), a systems integrator in the Netherlands, implements IT solutions in primary and secondary schools. Their mission is to provide cost-effective solutions for educational institutions throughout their country. Schools need access to education applications written for Windows. However, they are limited financially, and by a lack of localized technical staff. Siceroo looked at a number of thin-client computing solutions, including Microsoft-based Citrix, to solve these problems. However, Linux teamed with bridging technology in the form of Win4Lin Terminal Server () made a Linux thin-client solution the logical choice.

Zodiac is Siceroo's answer to the schools' needs for a low-cost, dependable computing solution. Zodiac is Siceroo's thin-client approach to desktop computing, which works well because it not only offers a highly available, scalable desktop environment but also allows systems to be remotely managed. For primary schools this is a great advantage as system management problems are a limiting factor for not integrating computing solutions into daily lessons.

System Architecture
Students in the Netherlands utilize a number of educational applications written for Windows. Zodiac delivers these applications via a thin-client computing model. Windows applications are deployed from a central Linux server that has been enabled to run Windows applications thanks to NeTraverse's Win4Lin Terminal Server. The students' workstations are Sun Ray thin clients, which allow students to access their work via a smart card. This smart card lets them pull up their work at any Sun Ray desktop, be it at a workstation or their teacher's desk.

Typical Implementation
Ivar Janmaat, chief technology officer of Siceroo, is responsible for the deployment of these systems in Dutch schools. A typical school's configuration consists of a single Linux server, together with a Sun Ray setup for 15–50 concurrent users. Smart cards are used to maintain Linux desktop state on the Sun Rays, allowing students and teachers to instantly enable sessions on different clients by simply transferring the smart cards.

Windows on Linux the Best Choice
Siceroo did not come to the decision to use a Linux solution lightly. They investigated a number of different architectures, including Microsoft Citrix, but Linux-based NeTraverse Terminal Server was clearly superior because of the following:

  • Good audio/video/animation synchronization.
  • Good video performance. 2D panorama views in Encarta and 3D CAD/CAM applications are acceptable under Win4Lin; with Citrix this is unusable and slow.
  • Almost full Windows 95/98 compatibility is important for educational software written for Win3.1/95/98, which will not run on Windows NT or 2000 and thus not on a MS Windows Terminal Server.
  • Easy distribution of software utilizing Linux scripting tools.
  • The ability to install plain windows without an application. Schools can then install their own applications. Citrix doesn't allow this. Citrix Metaframe/MS terminal server is a shared environment, so supported applications could be corrupted by the installation of some software.
Summary
The solution has become a model for how schools with very limited resources, a large number of users, and shared workstations can deploy affordable computing systems. Siceroo continues to convert schools throughout the Netherlands to this model as it best utilizes their IT budgets without sacrificing their need for educational applications.
About Mark R. Hinkle
Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

We want to use IBM PPC405 based (Linux) STBs as thin clients with backend computing--to help bridge digital divide in India---is there an approach in this area?


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WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
"Cloud4U builds software services that help people build DevOps platforms for cloud-based software and using our platform people can draw a picture of the system, network, software," explained Kihyeon Kim, CEO and Head of R&D at Cloud4U, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.

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@ThingsExpo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers Include

MATTHIEU
Octoblu

MAHADEV
Cisco

MCCARTHY
Bsquare

FELICIANO
AMDG

PAUL
VenueNext

SMITH
Eviot

BEAMER
goTraverse

GETTENS
goTraverse

CHAMBLISS
ReadyTalk

HERBERTS
Cityzen Data

REITBAUER
Dynatrace

WILLIAM-
SON

Cloud
Computing

SCHMARZO
EMC

WOOD
VeloCloud

WALLGREN
Electric Cloud

VARAN-
NATH

GE

SRIDHARA-
BALAN

Pulzze

METRIC
Linux

MONTES
Iced

ARIOLA
Parasoft

HOLT
Daitan

CUNNING-
HAM

ReadyTalk

BEDRO-
SIAN

Cypress

NAMIE
Cisco

NAKA-
GAWA

Transparent
Cloud

SHIBATA
Transparent
Cloud

BOYD
Neo4j

VANDER-
MINDEN

Flatiron
Strategies

JAME-
NSKY

Embotics

KOCHER
Grey Heron

SPROULE
Metavine

BLACK
SQLstream

WARD
DWE

MILLER
Covisint

EVAVOLD
Covisint

MEINER
Oracle

MEEHAN
Esri

WITECK
Citrix

LIANG
Rancher Labs

BUTLER
Tego

ROWE
IBM Cloud

SKILLERN
Intel

SMITH
Numerex
@ThingsExpo New York All-Star Speakers Include

CLELAND
HGST

VASILIOU
Catchpoint

WALLGREN
Electric Cloud

HINCH-
CLIFFE

7Summits

DE SOUZA
Cisco

RANDALL
Gartner

ARMSTRONG
AppNeta

SMALLTREE
Cazena

MCCARTHY
Bsquare

DELOACH
Infobright

QUINT
Ontegrity

MALAUCHLAN
Buddy Platform

PALIOTTA
Vector

MITRA
Cognizant

KOCHER
Grey Heron

PAPDO
POULOS

Cloud9

HARLAN
Two Bulls

GOLO
SHUBIN

Bit6

PROIETTI
Location
Smart

MARTIN
nfrastructure

MOULINE
Everbridge

MARSH
Blue Pillar

PARKS
SecureRF

PEROTTI
Plantronics

HOFFMAN
EastBanc

WATSON
Trendalyze

BENSONOFF
Unigma

SHAN
CTS

MATTELA
Redpine

GILLEN
Spark
Coginition

SOLT
Netvibes

BERNARDO
GE Digital

ROMANSKY
TrustPoint

BEAMER
GoTransverse

LESTER
LogMeIn

PONO
-MAREVA

Google

SINGH
Sencha

CALKINS
Amadeus

KLEIN
Rachio

HOASIN
Aeris

SARKARIA
PHEMI

SPROULE
Metavine

SNELL
Intel

LEVINE
CytexOne

ALLEN
Freewave

MCCALLUM
Falconstor

HYEDT
Seamless

@ThingsExpo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers Include

SCHULZ
Luxoft

TAMBURINI
Autodesk

MCCARTHY
Bsquare

THURAI
SaneIoT

TURNER
Cloudian

ENDO
Intrepid

NAKAGAWA
Transparent

SHIBATA
Transparent

LEVANT-LEVI
testRTC

VARAN NATH
GE

COOPER
M2Mi

SENAY
Teletax

SKEEN
Vitria

KOCHER
Grey Heron

GREENE
PubNub

MAGUIRE
HP

MATTHIEU
Octoblu

STEINER-JOVIC
AweSense

LYNN
AgilData

HEDGES
Cloudata

DUFOUR
Webroot

ROBERTS
Platform

JONES
Deep

PFEIFFER
NICTA

NIELSEN
Redis

PAOLALANTORIO
DataArchon

KAHN
Solgenia

LOPEZ
Kurento

KIM
MapR

BROMHEAD
Instaclustr

LEVINE
CytexOne

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

GORBACHEV
Intelligent
Systems

THYKATTIL
Navisite

TRELOAR
Bebaio

SIVARAMA-
KRISHNAN

Red Hat
Cloud Expo New York All-Star Speakers Included

DE SOUZA
Cisco

POTTER
SafeLogic

ROBINSON
CompTIA

WARUSA
-WITHANA

WSO2 Inc

MEINER
Oracle

CHOU
Microsoft

HARRISON
Tufin

BRUNOZZI
VMware

KIM
MapR

KANE
Dyn

SICULAR
Basho

TURNER
Cloudian

KUMAR
Liaison

ADAMIAK
Liaison

KHAN
Solgenia

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

SUSSMAN
Coalfire

ISAACSON
RMS

LYNN
CodeFutures

HEABERLIN
Windstream

RAMA
MURTHY

Virtusa

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE MENO
CommVault

GRILLI
Adobe

WILLIAMS
Rancher Labs

CRISWELL
Alert Logic

COTY
Alert Logic

JACOBS
SingleHop

MARAVEI
Cisco

JACKSON
Softlayer

SINGH
IBM

HAZARD
Softlayer

GALLO
Softlayer

TAMASKAR
GENBAND

SUBRA
-MANIAN

Emcien

LEVESQUE
Windstream

IVANOV
StorPool

BLOOMBERG
Intellyx

BUDHANI
Soha

HATHAWAY
IBM Watson

TOLL
ProfitBricks

LANDRY
Microsoft

BEARFIELD
Blue Box

HERITAGE
Akana

PILUSO
SIASMSP

HOLT
IBM Cloudant

SHAN
CTS

PICCININNI
EMC

BRON-
GERSMA

Modulus

PAIGE
CenturyLink

SABHIKHI
Cognitive Scale

MILLS
Green House Data

KATZEN
CenturyLink

SLOPER
CenturyLink

SRINIVAS
EMC

TALREJA
Cisco

GORBACHEV
Systems Services Inc.

COLLISON
Apcera

PRABHU
OpenCrowd

LYNN
CodeFutures

SWARTZ
Ericsson

MOSHENKO
CoreOS

BERMINGHAM
SIOS

WILLIS
Stateless Networks

MURPHY
Gridstore

KHABE
Vicom

NIKOLOV
GetClouder

DIETZE
Windstream

DALRYMPLE
EnterpriseDB

MAZZUCCO
TierPoint

RIVERA
WHOA.com

HERITAGE
Akana

SEYMOUR
6fusion

GIANNETTO
Author

CARTER
IBM

ROGERS
Virtustream
Cloud Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers

TESAR
Microsoft

MICKOS
HP

BHARGAVA
Intel

RILEY
Riverbed

DEVINE
IBM

ISAACSON
CodeFutures

LYNN
HP

HINKLE
Citrix

KHAN
Solgenia

SINGH
Bigdata

BEACH
SendGrid

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE SOUZA
Cisco

PATTATHIL
Harbinger

O'BRIEN
Aria Systems

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

BIANCO
Solgenia

PROCTOR
NuoDB

DUGGAL
EnterpriseWeb

TEGETHOFF
Appcore

BRUNOZZI
VMware

HICKENS
Parasoft

KLEBANOV
Cisco

PETERS
Esri

GOLDBERG
Vormetric

CUMBER-
LAND

Dimension

ROSENDAHL
Quantum

LOOMIS
Cloudant

BRUNO
StackIQ

HANNON
SoftLayer

JACKSON
SoftLayer

HOCH
Virtustream

KAPADIA
Seagate

PAQUIN
OnLive

TSAI
Innodisk

BARRALL
Connected Data

SHIAH
AgilePoint

SEGIL
Verizon

PODURI
Citrix

COWIE
Dyn

RITTEN-
HOUSE

Cisco

FALLOWS
Kaazing

THYKATTIL
TimeWarner

LEIDUCK
SAP

LYNN
HP

WAGSTAFF
BSQUARE

POLLACK
AOL

KAMARAJU
Vormetric

BARRY
Catbird

MENDEN-
HALL

SUPERNAP

SHAN
KEANE

PLESE
Verizon

BARNUM
Voxox

TURNER
Cloudian

CALDERON
Advanced Systems

AGARWAL
SOA Software

LEE
Quantum

OBEROI
Concurrent, Inc.

HATEM
Verizon

GALEY
Autodesk

CAUTHRON
NIMBOXX

BARSOUM
IBM

GORDON
1Plug

LEWIS
Verizon

YEO
OrionVM

NAKAGAWA
Transparent Cloud Computing

SHIBATA
Transparent Cloud Computing

NATH
GE

GOKCEN
GE

STOICA
Databricks

TANKEL
Pivotal Software


Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
General Manager of Window Azure
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


Who Should Attend?
Senior Technologists including CIOs, CTOs & Vps of Technology, Chief Systems Engineers, IT Directors and Managers, Network and Storage Managers, Enterprise Architects, Communications and Networking Specialists, Directors of Infrastructure.

Business Executives including CEOs, CMOs, & CIOs , Presidents & SVPs, Directors of Business Development , Directors of IT Operations, Product and Purchasing Managers, IT Managers.

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@ThingsExpo Blogs
This is the time of year when everyone makes his or her predictions for 2018. I have my predictions as well, but wanted to do something a bit more fun. So I thought I’d look backwards to the state of technology 50 years ago to gain some insights that we can use to make projections about 2018. That is, what “predictions” made in the 1950’s might tell us about 2018. However, it’s really hard to find predictions about the future made in the 1950’s. There was no Internet or Social Media or Reality TV, so I found the next best proxy…sci-fi movies! I decided to review the most popular sci-fi mo...
Our cities have been connected since the dawn of urbanization in the Indus Valley and on the plains of Mesopotamia nearly ten millennia ago. Cities exist to gather and connect people, bringing us together into communities and joint ventures that need complex networks of communication. But in recent years the connected city has come to mean something more. Today and in the future, the connected city will not just be about people connecting with people, but people with machines, people with people via machines, and perhaps most importantly, machines with machines.
The time of year when crystal balls get a viewing and many pundits put out their annual predictions for the coming year. Copying off since 2012, rather than thinking up my own, I figured I’d regurgitate what many others expect to happen. Top 10 Cyber Security Predictions for 2018 – Infosec Institute kicks off this year’s Top 10, Top 10 list with a look back at their 2017 predictions (AI, IoT, etc.) and dives head first into 2018 noting that Ransomware will be the most dangerous threat to organizations worldwide; cryptocurrency will attract fraudsters looking to mine; cloud security will (ag...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development process, accelerating application delivery times, and ensuring that developers will become hero...
A strong declaration from a historically antagonist foe should put chills in the hearts of Americans preparing themselves for the world ahead: Russian President Vladimir Putin says the nation that leads in AI will be the ruler of the world [1]” … The ruler of the world! From the article (with some modification to avoid political landmines), we get the following: “The development of artificial intelligence has increasingly become a national security concern in recent years. It is China and the US (not Russia), which are seen as the two frontrunners, with China recently announcing its ambi...
This month, an AI (artificial intelligence) system passed a medical exam in China for the first time. I wonder how its bedside manner will be? In addition, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a robot named Sophia. With all these rapid advancements, I think it is time we explore the spiritual life of robots. Up till recently, programmers coded and configured algorithms, AI, automation and machine learning system and took personal responsibility for all the code. Today, however, AI has escaped the confines of human oversight and has been empowered and employed to self-program, self-optimize, ...
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been the subject of much discourse in the last several years. They were widely anticipated in the gaming and entertainment industries, but in marketing and corporate settings, the benefits were murky at best. Today, these technologies are becoming more of a reality in all areas of business. For example, the new IKEA® shopping app leverages augmented reality to help shoppers determine how certain popular items will look in their homes – no trip to a crowded megastore necessary. Marriott® deployed virtual reality for customers to see its hot...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As we end 2017, I’m tired of writing “lecturing” blogs about what organizations should be doing to master data monetization in order to power their business models and achieve digital transformation. While the objective of every organization should be to master big data and data science (artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning) to drive “data monetization,” let’s take a breath and have some fun. My recent ankle surgery afforded me the opportunity to binge watch “Game of Thrones.” As I watched the impending battle between the White Walkers and humanity, I couldn’t help but ...
For better or worse, big data has irrevocably altered the digital landscape. The explosion in variety, velocity, volume and value of information presents an abundance of previously unimaginable opportunity. But it also creates a number of challenges that need to be successfully navigated. This reshaped technical world poses the following question to organizations: do you risk presenting, stale, incorrect or erroneous data to your customers? Because, with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data now being created every day, finding a way to manage and harness such potential is a new experience for everyo...
Net Neutrality rules were originally enacted to ensure that all Americans would have equal access to a free and open Internet. We can argue about what Net Neutrality rules did and did not accomplish in a moment, but now I want to explore the most sensational of all the post–Net Neutrality fears: the death of the Internet. If you’re still reading, you know that the FCC voted to repeal Net Neutrality rules (aka the Open Internet) and replace it with the “Restoring Internet Freedom” order. The outcry from the Open Internet camp has been loud, hyperbolic, hypothetical, and mostly based on the fun...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be looking at some significant engineering investment. On-demand, serverless computing enables deve...
“Why incur the expense of generating and collecting all of this IoT data if you’re not going to monetize it?” Organizations are racing to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) as the pundits create “visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads.” McKinsey Global Institute released their study “The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value beyond the Hype” in June 2015 that highlighted the staggering financial value that IoT could create! (See Figure 1.)
Recently I read somewhere this statement – As we end 2017 and look ahead to 2018, topics that are top of mind for data professionals are the growing range of data management mandates, including the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation that is directed at personal data and privacy, the growing role of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in enterprise applications, the need for better security in light of the onslaught of hacking cases, and the ability to leverage the expanding Internet of Things.
There is a war a-brewin’, but this war will be fought with wits and not brute strength. Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration that “the nation that leads in AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be the ruler of the world,” the press and analysts have created hysteria regarding the ramifications of artificial intelligence on everything from public education to unemployment to healthcare to Skynet. Note: artificial intelligence (AI) endows applications with the ability to automatically learn and adapt from experience via interacting with the surroundings / environment. See the b...
What's disruptive innovation, and why does it matter to leaders in the C-suite? It's how the savvy non-conformist will target market opportunities. How does this happen, when established companies seem to have the advantage? Creative software developers can quickly apply new technologies and digital business models to capture untapped demand.

Moreover, the most disruptive new companies will eventually reshape entire industries, swiftly pushing aside the legacy incumbent players -- it's a form of Digital Darwinism. The global networked economy will blossom, thanks to the pervasive In...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to iterate use cases, bring understanding to those seeking to explore complicated technical concepts and ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infras...
So data warehousing may not be cool anymore, you say? It’s yesterday’s technology (or 1990’s technology if you’re as old as me) that served yesterday’s business needs. And while it’s true that recent big data and data science technologies, architectures and methodologies seems to have rendered data warehousing to the back burner, it is entirely false that there is not a critical role for the data warehouse and Business Intelligence in digitally transformed organizations.