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Bitcoin Community Cheers as Miners Back New Scaling Framework

(Bloomberg) — Bitcoin backers celebrated as the community embraced a new mechanism to improve usage and allow it to scale, boosting confidence in the virtual currency and sending prices back near record highs.
The community, which had been split on how best to make the cryptocurrency more manageable, rallied behind a code upgrade known as SegWit2x, which aims to increase the network’s transaction capacity. That fueled a rally on Thursday in bitcoin’s price against the dollar, which had plummeted from a peak in June as concerns grew about its future.
What Service Providers Need to Know About Bitcoin
“We’re thrilled to get past this impasse,” said Andrew Lee, head of bitcoin-shopping startup, whose team celebrated with beers at their San Francisco office. The development opens “the doors to much-awaited innovations,” he said.
Bitcoin enthusiasts in New York and San Francisco, to Hong Kong and Tokyo, gathered in bars and offices to hold impromptu parties, while others took to Twitter and social media to cheer the move, as well as the price rally.
The impasse arose from a limit placed on the size of blocks underpinning the network in bitcoin’s early days, in order to prevent hacker attacks. As the virtual currency grew in popularity over the past nine years, transaction times and processing fees soared, curtailing the community’s ability to process payments with the same efficiency as services like Visa Inc. Miners and developers were locked in

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Many Options Available for Service Provider Skills Training and Certifications

The shortage of skilled, certified applicants for IT jobs is well documented. Professionals in cybersecurity, cloud and other areas of IT are in high demand around the world, and companies, governments, educational institutions and industry groups have responded by creating more opportunities for skills training and certification.
A 2014 report by the RAND Corporation said the low number of cybersecurity professionals in the labor market could pose a risk to national security, and in May IBM cited a Frost & Sullivan estimate that the workforce will be 1.8 million cybersecurity professionals short of demand by 2022 when it announced a set of initiatives to train “new collar” workers. The growing demand for AWS and DevOps skills was noted as far back as a 2013 report by tech career site Dice.
While many professionals in the industry have IT-related degrees or diplomas, it is possible to work in the field without one. Here are some of the options available to help close the skills gap and open up career opportunities.
Web Hosting
Web hosting control panels like cPanel and Plesk provide training and certification, but with somewhat different focusses. cPanel certifies for sales, WHM admin and command line systems administration, and has two new certifications “coming soon.” Plesk courses and exams cover a variety of Plesk tools as well as Linux, Windows, WordPress, and Git.
The Linux Foundation offers webinars and courses for individuals, as well as corporate

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BC Partners Acquires PlusServer from GoDaddy in €400M Deal

GoDaddy has reached an agreement to sell managed hosting provider PlusServer to funds advised by BC Partners for €397 million ($456 million), the company announced Tuesday.
PlusServer is based in Cologne, Germany, and was acquired by GoDaddy as part of the €1.69 billion Host Europe Group (HEG) deal in December. GoDaddy said at the time it would consider strategic alternatives for PlusServer, including its sale, and it was treated as an asset for sale since the deal closed in April. GoDaddy will now use the funds from the sale plus cash on hand to repay its €500 million bridge loan, according to the announcement.
Reuters reports that PlusServer had over 300 employees and earned approximately €100 million in revenue last year.
“The market for managed hosting in Germany is highly fragmented, and PlusServer is an ideal platform for consolidating this market,” BC Partners managing partner Stefan Zuschke said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
PlusServer will assume €23 million in liabilities and retain €12 million in cash under the deal, GoDaddy says.
BC Partners other current investments include Cyxtera, the data center provider it formed, along with Medina Capital, by acquiring CenturyLink assets in May.
The deal is subject to standard regulatory approval, and is expected to close by the end of August.

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Private Cloud Can Beat Public Cloud on Price: Report

Two out of five IT decision makers say their private clouds are operating at lower unit costs than public cloud, according to survey results released Thursday by VMware and 451 Research.
451 surveyed 150 IT decision makers on behalf of VMware in February 2017 for Can private cloud be cheaper than public cloud? According to the results, data protection is cited as a reason for private cloud use by 71 percent of users. Cost-efficiency motivates private cloud use for 54 percent, asset ownership does so for 43 percent, and integration with business processes motivates 42 percent.
Almost a quarter (24 percent) say they pay less than a 10 percent premium for operating a private cloud environment, in addition to the 41 percent finding private cloud cost lower than public cloud. More than half said cost-efficiency is drives private cloud use. Respondents also said they would migrate only 50 percent of their workloads to public cloud if its cost were half that of private cloud.
The factor considered most important in achieving cost savings with private cloud is capacity-planning tools (18 percent), followed closely by favorable software license terms and automation tools (17 percent each), and cost/budgetary management tools (15 percent). Another factor in price savings for public clouds is the ability of some companies to negotiate favorable terms with software or hardware vendors or data center providers, or to reuse existing licenses.
Using a “basket-of-goods” methodology,

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IBM Unveils Next-Generation Mainframe Technology with Pervasive Encryption

IBM launched what it calls “the next generation of the world’s most powerful transaction system,” IBM Z, on Monday. The technology is able to run more than 12 billion encrypted transactions per day, and introduces an encryption engine which it says makes it possible for the first time to pervasively encrypt data from any application, cloud service, or database.
Only four percent of the nine billion records have been stolen since 2013 were encrypted, according to IBM, and cybercrime will have an $8 trillion impact on the global economy by 2022, necessitating new data encryption capabilities. The company compares the impact of IBM Z on mainframe technology to its embrace of Linux and open source software over a decade ago.
“The vast majority of stolen or leaked data today is in the open and easy to use because encryption has been very difficult and expensive to do at scale,” said Ross Mauri, General Manager, IBM Z. “We created a data protection engine for the cloud era to have a significant and immediate impact on global data security.”
IBM Z can be extended across any data networks, external devices, or applications without changing the application or business SLAs, according to the announcement. It also addresses the performance degradation issues that IBM chiefly blames for only 2 percent of corporate data being encrypted, while more than 80 of data on mobile devices is. IBM says Z encrypts data 18 times faster than x86 platforms for

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Atlantic.Net Taps Trend Micro for Managed Hosting Security

Atlantic.Net has tapped Trend Micro to back its Managed Hosting Solutions with the Deep Security Suite, the company announced Monday.
Trend Micro’s data center and cloud-optimized security techniques are now available to Atlantic.Net managed hosting customers to protect their servers by applying an instant “virtual patch” to servers, virtual desktops, and application vulnerabilities. Deep security also consolidates multiple security controls under central management to assist with compliance, and enables the auditing and reporting necessary to managed environments.
Atlantic.Net cites research by Forrester showing that cloud security spending will reach $3.5 billion by 2021 in the announcement, and says the expansion of its partnership with Trend Micro, along with its routinely inspected, fully audited, and SSAE 16 (SOC 1) Type II certified data center infrastructure demonstrates its commitment to client security.
“Atlantic.Net’s partnership with Trend Micro is part of a concerted effort to store our client’s information safely and reliably. In addition to our current security offerings, we are now able to boast managed hosting solutions backed by their world-class security suite,” said Marty Puranik, CEO of Atlantic.Net. “Considering the ever-increasing complexity of regulatory compliance, increased cyber security threats and growing Malware attacks, it’s especially important that we ensure the safety of our clients here at

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How to Use AI to Serve Your Customers Better

Among the early benefits of artificial intelligence systems, machine learning and natural language processing have the potential to transform customer service processes that are too often frustrating for customers and expensive for web hosts and service providers. A number of tools are currently available to enable companies to overhaul their interactions with customers contacting them for help by telephone or over the internet.
Customer service or sales calls often require that customers listen to menus of options and provide information-sometimes more than once-before a company representative even begins helping them. This experience can cause frustration, even when successful in the end.
Advanced automation services leveraging AI provide an alternative approach. For example, chat and messaging services like Facebook Messenger and Kik offer chatbots, which simulate human conversation through AI. More than 100,000 chatbots were created in their first year of availability on Messenger, according to VentureBeat. A survey by Oracle found that 80 percent of companies will be using chatbots by 2020, Business Insider reports.
Below are some of the options web hosts and service providers can use to enhance customer service experiences, without making massive investments in call centers and teams of expert representatives. Each option emphasizes its delivery of real-time analytics, easy-to-use data dashboards, and support for multiple languages.
The Amazon Lex

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How Cloud and Automation Helps Evolve Legacy IT

User mobility, digital workloads, and new levels of virtualization are all changing the modern business. We’re creating new types of go-to-market strategies, business enablement methodologies, and allowing the user to be truly productive. The reality here is that the pace of technology isn’t slowing down. Are you keeping up? Are you using technology to create a truly agile business model?
It’s critical to see just how far we’ve come and where current spend is trending. Consider this, global spending on IaaS rose to almost US$16.5 billion in 2015, an increase of 32.8 percent from 2014, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2014 to 2019 forecast at 29.1 percent, according to Gartner’s latest forecast. Last year in particular was a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to gave way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. These organizations are leveraging agile infrastructures to dynamically control resources and user experiences.
Related: Managing the Millennial Technologist: Letting Go of Legacy Practices
This allows them to let go of legacy IT and evolve into a next-generation ecosystem.
New levels of intelligence in the data center and business world are helping create a much more fluid organization and cloud ecosystem. Automation and orchestration tools tie into almost every aspect of the business and the underlying data center, bringing forward big benefits:


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Microsoft-Backed Security Startups Outsmart Hackers with Hackers

To beat a hacker, you have to think like a hacker, and in some cases, even work with them, according to two Microsoft Ventures’ startups who spoke during the Microsoft Inspire 2017 event this week.
Microsoft Ventures launched last year to focus on startup investments, unlike Microsoft Accelerator, which focuses on startup enablement through its accelerators around the world. Two companies that were added to its portfolio this year were on hand at Microsoft Inspire to talk about their approaches to cybersecurity, which remained a hot topic over the week dominated by news about Microsoft 365 and Azure Stack.
Synack Crowdsourced Cybersecurity Platform Helps Close Talent Gap
In a breakout session on Wednesday, Synack CEO and co-founder Jay Kaplan talked about its crowdsourced approach to cybersecurity, which he said is much more scalable than hiring security pros, particularly in light of the massive cybersecurity talent gap.
“Clearly there’s a big issue here; we need to recruit more talent and frankly most organizations are not going to be able to fill the positions they need,” he said.
The company is based in Redwood City, Calif., and was launched in 2013 when Kaplan and Mark Kuhr left the NSA. In March, it closed $21 million in Series C funding, with Microsoft Ventures participating in the round.
Kaplan said that crowdsourced security is not a new concept, pointing to bug bounty programs, which have been around since the mid-nineties. But he says Synack lets

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