High-tech computing firm Nutanix has purchased two startups to enhance its data and storage services, as the firm continues to grow its business despite a protracted delay in its initial public offering.
San Jose, California-based Nutanix said on Sunday it bought PernixData, a software company that facilitates data storage, and Calm.io, a development and automation startup, both also located in California.
Adding the new technologies will enable Nutanix to improve the speed of its cloud computing platform and enhance or create new software products, the company said.
The chief executives of both acquired companies said their company culture and technology were complementary with Nutanix’s.
“One thing that keeps both these companies going is innovation,” PernixData CEO and Co-founder Poojan Kumar said on a call with reporters.
The deal is a move to grow Nutanix’s business while remaining in the private market, despite the company filing for an IPO in December. At the time, the company estimated raising $200 million in the deal, but has not yet priced shares.
Investors expected Nutanix – valued at $2 billion after its last financing round – to be among the first companies out in January, but a volatile market battered public technology stocks and put the IPO market into a deep freeze. The market remains challenging, with just 59 deals pricing this year, down 55 percent from the same time last year, according to Renaissance Capital, a manager of IPO-focused funds.
Technology IPOs have been particularly difficult, as buyers are reluctant about valuations. There were no technology IPOs this year until April, and there have been only seven since.
Some experts say the acquisitions will further kick out Nutanix’s IPO, as the companies will need time to integrate their employees and technology.
“Larger transactions … push out IPOs as integration and other aspects of a deal can create one more thing for investors to understand and management teams to articulate,” said Kapil Venkatachalam, principal at Technology Crossover Ventures, who was not part of the Nutanix deal.
“The acquisitions of Calm.io and PernixData are completely independent of any IPO process and have no impact on any plans,” a Nutanix spokesman said.
There are now 200 companies putting their support behind Privacy Shield, the framework agreement allowing businesses to process the personal information of European Union citizens on servers in the U.S.
Companies must register with the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce to be covered. It’s a self-certification process, so the ITA is only checking that the forms are filled in correctly, not that companies are necessarily complying with all 13,894 words of the rules. The Privacy Shield rules are needed to ensure that EU citizens’ personal information is afforded the same legal protection in the U.S. as required under EU law.
The ITA began processing applications on Aug. 1, and by Aug. 26 had accepted 90, relating to a total of 200 companies including “additional covered entities.”
Two you might have heard of are Microsoft and Salesforce.
Microsoft’s promise to play by the Privacy Shield rules covers data processed by its Caribbean, Indian, Licensing, Mobile, Online, Regional Sales and Technology Licensing divisions as well as the main company.
But that same registration also says EU citizens’ data could be handled by a dozen partially digested acquisitions:Acompli, bought in 2014 to enhance the mobile clients for Outlook; Blue Stripe Software, a cloud management company it picked up in 2015; Android lock-screen maker Double Labs; e-discovery specialist Equivio; FieldOne Systems, an addition to its Dynamics CRM; sales gamification startup Incent Games; cloud monitor MetricsHub; customer self-service portal maker Parature; big data analytics platform maker Revolution Analytics; calendar app Sunrise Atelier; online mapping toolmaker Vexcel, and organizational analytics company VoloMetrix.
Salesforce.com’s registration is simpler: It covers “Salesforce.com, inc. and its U.S. subsidiaries.”
Privacy Shield is the successor to the Safe Harbor framework, which covered transatlantic data transfers from July 2000 until October 2015, when the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that it provided inadequate protection for Europeans’ privacy rights.
Some 5,534 organizations signed up to Safe Harbor before the court ruling came, with the certification status still listed as “current” for 3,375 of them.
If the ITA continues to process self-certifications at the current rate, it could take two years or more before all those who sheltered in Safe Harbor are defended by Privacy Shield.
Number crunchers working for Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry’s research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia have noted that during the second quarter AMD gained market share in the add-in board (AIB) market.
But while AMD fans might be cheering, and while Nvidia fanboys work out ways they can beat them up after school, JPR says that over all the AIB market decreased.
For those who came in late, AIBs using discrete GPUs are found in desktop PCs, workstations, servers, and other devices such as scientific instruments. They are sold directly to customers as aftermarket products, or are factory installed by OEMs.
AIBs are the higher end of the graphics industry with their discrete chips and private, often large, high-speed memory, as compared to the integrated GPUs in CPUs that share slower system memory.
The PC add-in board (AIB) market now has just three chip (GPU) suppliers which also build and sell AIBs. The primary suppliers of GPUs are AMD and Nvidia. There are 48 AIB suppliers, the AIBOEM customers of the GPU suppliers, which they call “partners”.
JPR has been tracking AIB shipments quarterly since 1987-the volume of those boards peaked in 1999, reaching 114 million units, in 2015, 44 million shipped.
The news for the quarter was encouraging and seasonally understandable, quarter-to-quarter, the AIB market decreased -20.8 percent (compared to the desktop PC market, which increased 2.5%), the report said.
AIB shipments during the quarter decreased from the last quarter -20.8 percent, which is below the ten year average of -9.7 percent.On a year-to-year basis, it found that total AIB shipments during the quarter rose 0.8 percent, which is greater than desktop PCs, which fell -0.2 percent, JPR added.
In spite of the overall PC churn, which is mostly because of tablets and embedded graphics, the PC gaming momentum continues to build and is the bright spot in the AIB market.
The overall GPU shipments (integrated and discrete) is greater than desktop PC shipments due double-attach-the adding of a second (or third) AIB to a system with integrated processor graphics.
Another reason is the increase in dual AIBs in performance desktop machines using either AMD’s Crossfire or Nvidia’s SLI technology Improved attach rate. The attach rate of AIBs to desktop PCs has declined from a high of 63 percent in Q1 2008 to 34 percent this quarter, a decrease of -22.7 percent from last quarter which was negative. Compared to this quarter last year it increased a single miserable percentage point.
This research said that the global GPU market demand in Q2’16 decreased from last quarter, and decreased from last year, to 83.32 million units.
“In recent years, as the gaming ecosystem is shaping up, software and hardware developers, information service providers, and even governments have been attempting to unearth market opportunities coming from this new arena. However, global PC shipment volume is forecast to fall further,” the report said.
Last week, Remedy tapped Tero Virtala to be its new CEO and said he would guide the Quantum Break studio’s move to developing multiple projects simultaneously. Virtala recently spoke with GamesIndustry.biz to flesh that idea out a little more and provide other details about his vision for the company’s future.
To start with, Virtala acknowledged that Remedy had intended to make a move into multiproject development for a while.
“This idea has lived for such a long time, but naturally, Quantum Break being such an ambitious and big project, it took most of the resources, people, the energy, most of the money the studio has been using for a long time,” Virtala said. “Now Quantum Break has been made and there is a new phase clearly starting for the company. As this strategic path has been discussed, it’s a commonly shared view that going for multiple projects is the way the people at the company want to go. And it also makes a lot of sense.”
Even though Remedy managed to put out the digital release Alan Wake’s American Nightmare and free-to-play mobile game Agents of Storm while Quantum Break was in the works, it’s clear much of the studio’s focus was on its Xbox One title. As Virtala explained, Quantum Break was an immense task for the studio: a new IP on a new platform with new gameplay mechanics and new tech, all paired with a new transmedia approach that would see a four-episode live-action serial created alongside the game.
“You take so many new things at one time and it made sense to focus on just one big project at a time,” Virtala said. “Now when we fast-forward to this moment, there’s so much more experience and skills, competencies that we can use with what we’ve learned. Also, the technology and tools we’ve developed are much further along and much more reusable than they used to be. So that built a base we can utilize, and then you take what else is needed for two projects.”
The studio’s old method of focusing on one big game for as long as five years at a time just isn’t sustainable in the long run, particularly when Remedy prides itself on cutting edge technology and envelope-pushing creativity.
“The industry’s developing so fast,” Virtala said. “On the one hand, there are so many great games out there, so when you’re bringing your game out, it has to stand out. It has to be unique. It has to be [high] quality. And if our studio is focusing on one project only, we’re putting all our people there. It usually means the length of the project grows, and if you take four or five years to develop a game, it’s a very risky game. You start the project with certain assumptions of the market, and in four or five years’ time in this type of creative, technology-driven industry, it changes so fast.”
That approach was also limiting the partners Remedy could work with. Virtala had nothing but great things to say about long-time partner Microsoft, but a relationship like that with a single-project studio would necessarily keep the company from collaborating with other publishers. And of course, Remedy fans would probably like more than one new game every five years or so.
Virtala wants Remedy to make more games, and he wants a shorter development cycle for those games. At the same time, he stressed, “We stay loyal to the strengths we have in this industry,” which he interprets as excellent games with a distinctive quality, visually impressive and immersive worlds populated with compelling characters.
As for how Remedy can deliver content to the same quality on a much shorter time scale, Virtala didn’t give many specifics. The company has a headcount of 125 people with another 15 open positions, but Virtala declined to say if there were plans to dramatically expand the staff size. As for doing more with the same amount of people, he did note that the technology and tools that have been developed for Quantum Break over the past five years can be used in future games, so “we are definitely able to provide AAA quality in a shorter time than we have before.”
He was similarly careful when talking about whether the shorter development cycle would be achieved by changing the types of games Remedy makes. The company is exploring “new game mechanics” that
“Our board, with the assistance of independent advisors, determined that this transaction, upon closing, will deliver immediate, significant and certain cash value to our stockholders,” said Graham Weston, co-founder and chairman of Rackspace, in a statement. “We are also excited that this transaction will provide Rackspace with more flexibility to manage the business for long-term growth and enhance our product offerings.”
The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Rackspace, based in Texas, has been known as a significant player in the cloud market, competing in the same company as Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft and AWS. It is also known as a web hosting provider.
However, Rackspace has focused on virtual private data centers, which are an extension of a private data center, while the cloud market is leaning heavily toward the pay-as-you-go, consumption-based pricing of the public cloud.
That change has been tough on Rackspace. In May 2015, the company’s stock was over $50 per share. Today it’s just over $30.
By being acquired, Rackspace will transition from a public to a private company that no longer will have stockholders, who likely would be unhappy with the costs and tumult that transitioning the company to a public cloud provider would entail.
“Rackspace has had a big brand and now they need to go through a transition,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “Going private can help companies make necessary transitions without worrying about quarterly numbers.”
Taylor Rhodes, president and CEO of Rackspace, said in a blog post that the acquisition will help the company grow.
The cloud storage service said it was asking users to change their passwords as a preventive measure, and not because there is any indication that their accounts were improperly accessed.
Dropbox said its security teams learned about an old set of Dropbox user credentials, consisting of email addresses and hashed and salted passwords, which it believes were obtained in 2012 and could be linked to an incident the company reported around the time.
In July 2012, Dropbox said its investigation found that usernames and passwords recently stolen from other websites were used to sign in to a small number of of Dropbox accounts. It said it had contacted the users affected to help them protect their accounts.
The move by Dropbox comes in the wake of several breaches including that of LinkedIn in 2012, which has led to concerns that email addresses and passwords used by people across accounts could be used to compromise other services.
Starting in 2007 with a consumer focus, Dropbox, which allows users to store, access and share files easily from a variety of devices, launched in 2013 its Dropbox Business service, its entry into the business market. The company claims over 500 million registered users, with over 200,000 businesses and organizations using Dropbox Business.
Users who signed in before 2012 and haven’t changed their password since then will be prompted by Dropbox to change it the next time they sign in. Users will have to set a stronger password with the help of a meter provided by Dropbox that measures its strength.
“If you don’t receive a prompt, you don’t need to do anything. However, for any of you who’ve used your Dropbox password on other sites, we recommend you change it on Dropbox and other services,” wrote Patrick Heim, head of trust and security at Dropbox, in a blog post.
Facebook Inc made updates to its popular “Trending” feature, which shows users the most-talked about topics of the day, to make it more automated and further eliminate the potential for human bias, the company wrote in a blog post.
The update is Facebook’s latest attempt in recent months to stress its neutrality as its influence grows.
The feature came under scrutiny in May after a news report alleged it suppressed conservative news, which prompted a demand from Republican members of the U.S. Congress for more transparency. Facebook said an internal probe found no evidence of bias.
The Trending feature shows users the most-talked about stories and topics on the top right-hand corner of Facebook’s home page with one-sentence descriptions. To eliminate the potential for bias, Facebook said it would no longer rely on editors to write descriptions for the topics and would instead show users the topic and how many people are discussing it.
Facebook said in an e-mailed statement that the composition of its Trending team would focus more on technical expertise since it no longer needed editors to write descriptions. The company did not say whether it was laying off employees.
Facebook maintains it is a neutral platform, but its political influence has come under scrutiny, especially as its user base swells. It has 1.7 billion people on its social network, and studies have shown it has the power to influence people’s behavior, ranging from registering as organ donors to registering to vote.
After the May news report first surfaced, Facebook penned a lengthy blog post explaining how the Trending feature works, the first time it had done so. Less than two weeks later, the company said it changed some procedures and outlined those changes in an effort to be more transparent.
Nvidia has updated its Grid software platform with deeper performance profiling and analytics tools for planning, deployment, and support of virtual GPU users.
According to the company the improved management tools address both host (server) managment and virtual client monitoring. Nvidia says that with the new Grid software, admins will be able to get information about the number of virtual graphics instances in use and the number they can potentially create.
They can also see usage information for the stream processors on board each card, the percentage of the card’s frame buffer that’s in use, and the load on each card’s dedicated video encode and decode hardware.
Each guest vGPU instance will tell admins information on encoder and decoder usage, frame buffer occupancy, and the vGPU use. Nvidia adds that it all takes the guess work out of vGPU provisioning and the data it’s exposing about vGPU usage will let system administrators tailor their virtual user profiles better.
All this means that it might stop the admins giving too much processing power to accounts when it is needed for the graphics team. Nvidia thinks those operational improvements will also help lower costs. The August 2016 Grid software update should be available immediately.
Google is believed to be spending a small fortune getting content ready for the platform, particularly video games and apps, licensing sports leagues and shooting 360-degree videos.
Daydream is being hardwired into Android 7.0 which launched this week. Google says that Samsung, HTC, ZTE, Huawei, Xiaomi, Alcatel, Asus and LG had agreed to make “Daydream ready” smartphones.
Google wants the software to be the Android of VR. It will provide a VR platform and other outfits will create the hardware and its Android chums will configure their smartphones to run the beast. But while the product is nearly good to go, so far no one has put their hand up and said they will be making headsets specifically for the platform.
The VR market is getting crowded from Facebook, Sony, Samsung Electronics and HTC. However there are a limited number of apps and even fewer games. Sony’s Morpheus headset is tethered to its PlayStation video-game console, but Google is focused on lower quality mobile-based VR, whereby consumers snap their phones into a visor or headset. With the headset on, Daydream presents users with an array of apps, from YouTube to HBO Now.
Developer nuTonomy invited a select group of people to download their app and ride for free in its “robo-taxi” in a western Singapore hi-tech business district, hoping to get feedback ahead of a planned dull launch of the service in 2018.
“This is really a moment in history that’s going to change how cities are built, how we really look at our surroundings,” nuTonomy executive Doug Parker told Reuters.
The trial rides took place in a Mitsubishi i-MiEv electric vehicle, with an engineer sitting behind the steering wheel to monitor the system and take control if necessary.
The trial is on an on-going basis, nuTonomy said, and follows private testing that began in April.
Parker, whose company has partnered with the Singapore government on the project, said he hoped to have 100 taxis working commercially in the Southeast Asian citystate by 2018.
Nutonomy is one of several companies racing to launch self-driving vehicles, with automakers and technology firms striking new alliances.
Swedish automaker Volvo AB said last week it had agreed to a $300 million alliance with ride-hailing service to develop a driverless vehicle.
Israeli driving assistant software maker Mobileye NV said its vehicle, developed with Delphi Automotive Plc, would be ready for production by 2019, while Ford Motor Co said its self-driving car was slated for 2021.
A report from the folks at NotebookCheck.net shows an Intel slide detailing some updates to the company’s mobile ULV processor lineup based on the Kaby Lake third-generation 14nm processor lineup.
As we mentioned in July, Intel is describing Kaby Lake mostly as a “2017 platform” and plans to launch some desktop processors in the fourth quarter of this year, but will have larger volumes planned for Q1 2017 and will probably announce them formally at next year’s CES.
Quad-core ULV chips arriving for the first time
With Skylake, Intel currently has its mobile processors separated into four categories – “Y”-series (Core M) for 2-in-1 notebooks, “U”-series for thin and light notebooks, “H”-series for gaming notebooks (with unlocked “HK” and “HQ” quad-core variants). The lineup includes some chips with Intel HD Graphics (listed as “+ 2” for “Tier 2”), while others feature upgraded Intel Iris Graphics (listed as “+ 3e” for “Tier 3”).
“U” series gets a quad-core 15W design
There will not be any new chip configurations for Core M from Skylake to Kaby Lake, as the new generation will also feature dual-core CPUs with Intel HD Graphics and a 6W TDP. According to the source, however, the Kaby Lake “U” series will be receiving a new quad-core variant with Intel HD Graphics inside a 15W TDP. This will be placed alongside two current dual-core CPUs with Intel Iris Graphics (3e) in 15W and 28W designs.
“H” gaming series gets a quad-core 18W design
The Kaby Lake “H” gaming series will also be receiving a quad-core design with Intel HD Graphics inside a remarkable 18W TDP.
Not much has been reported about Kaby Lake notebook processor lineups yet, other than that the integrated GPUs will be be capable of supporting High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, Wide Color Gamut (Rec.2020) and HDCP2.2 playback. This is a great value for consumers seeking thin and lightweight ultrabook lineups that don’t necessarily have physical room for a dedicated GPU, but who still want to experience 4K Ultra HD and similar resolutions with the benefits of a more complete color spectrum.
While we were hoping to see it bundled with some recently launched Polaris-based graphics cards, it appears that AMD wants to give some love to those that decide to buy AMD’s FX-series CPUs.
To be available in most popular retail/e-tail stores, the bundle will include a copy of the new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided game with a purchase of a 6- or 8-core AMD FX CPU. According to details provided by AMD, the promotion will run from August 23rd to November 14th or until the supply lasts.
Currently, some of the hot AMD FX-series CPUs like the 6-core FX-6300 or 8-core FX-8320 are selling for as low as US $100 and US $130, so bundling a US $60 game sounds like a really good deal.
Hopefully, AMD will decide to bundle the game with some of its Polaris-based graphics cards after Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gets its DirectX 12 patch later in early September.
IBM launched its Power8 lineup of superscalar symmetric multiprocessors back in August 2013 at the Hot Chips conference, and the first systems became available in August 2014. The announcement was significant because it signaled the beginning of a continuing partnership between IBM and Nvidia to develop GPU-accelerated IBM server systems, beginning with the Tesla K40 GPU.
The result was an HPC “tag-team” where IBM’s Power8 architecture, a 12-core chip with 96MB of embedded memory, would eventually go on to power Nvidia’s next-generation Pascal architecture which debuted in April 2016 at the company’s GPU Technology Conference.
NVLINK, first announced in March 2014, uses a proprietary High-Speed Signaling interconnect (NVHS) developed by Nvidia. The company says NVHS transmits data over a differential pair running at up to 20Gbps, so eight of these differential 20Gbps connections will form a 160Gbps “Sub-Link” that sends data in one direction. Two sub-links—one for each direction—will form a 320Gbps, or 40GB/s bi-directional “Link” that connects processors together in a mesh framework (GPU-to-GPU or GPU-to-CPU).
NVLINK lanes upgrade from 20Gbps to 25Gbps
IBM is projecting its Power9 servers to be available beginning in the middle of 2017, with PCWorld reporting that the new processor lineup will include support for NVLINK 2.0 technology. Each NVLINK lane will communicate at 25Gbps, up from 20Gbps in the first iteration. With eight differential lanes, this translates to a 400Gbps (50GB/s) bi-directional link between CPUs and GPUs, or about 25 percent more performance if the information is correct.
NVLINK 2.0 capable servers arriving next year
Meanwhile, Nvidia has yet to release any NVLINK 2.0-capable GPUs, but a company presentation slide in Korean language suggests that the technology will first appear in Volta GPUs which are also scheduled for release sometime next year. We were originally under the impression that the new GPU architecture would release in 2018, as per Nvidia’s roadmap. But a source hinted last month that Volta would be getting 16nm FinFET treatment and may show up in roughly the same timeframe as AMD’s HBM 2.0-powered Vega sometime in 2017. After all, it is easier for Nvidia to launch sooner if the new architecture is built on the same node as the Pascal lineup.
Still ahead of PCI-Express 4.0
Nvidia claims that PCI-Express 3.0 (32GB/s with x16 bandwidth) significantly limits a GPU’s ability to access a CPU’s memory system and is about “four to five times slower” than its proprietary standard. Even PCI-Express 4.0, releasing later in 2017, is limited to 64GB/s on a slot with x16 bandwidth.
To put this in perspective, Nvidia’s Tesla P100 Accelerator uses four 40GB/s NVLINK ports to connect clusters of GPUs and CPUs, for a total of 160GB/s of bandwidth.
With a generational NVLINK upgrade from 40GB/s to 50GB/s bi-directional links, the company could release a future Volta-based GPU with four 50GB/s NVLINK ports totaling of 200GB/s of bandwidth, well above and beyond the specifications of the new PCI-Express standard.
Notebook vendors have largely moved to on-board memory designs and are killing off DIMMs so that they can make their Intel Apollo Lake-based notebooks as slim as possible.
According to Digitimes shipments of Intel’s 14nm Apollo Lake CPUs, which feature low-power consumption, high performance and reduced sizes is apparently on the increase and with that a move to on board memory designs. The reason is that the manufactures think an anorexic look is super fashionable.
Numbers of new notebooks using LPDDR4 has also increased as vendors have continued to make efforts to minimize power consumption, improve performance, while prolonging battery life.
Acer has two new ultra-thin notebooks, the Aspire S 15 and S 17, both featuring a thickness of less than 17mm. Other vendors, including Lenovo, Asustek Computer, HP and Dell are also expected to focus on ultra-thin notebooks and 2-in-1 models for the second half of 2016, Digitimes said.
Software King of the World Microsoft has apparently been seen in public with the PC supremo Lenovo and insiders have been told that they want something more serious.
The pair have announced that they are deepening strategic ties but have not hinted about financial details. Instead Lenovo will load Microsoft’s productivity apps, including Microsoft Office, OneDrive and Skype on select Lenovo devices that use the Android operating system.
Microsoft did not say how much gear would be involved in the deal. Lenovo expects to ship millions of these Android-based devices worldwide over the next several years.
The deal is the latest in a string of similar deals by Microsoft with more than 70 Android device makers, including Samsung, HTC, Asus, Acer and Xiaomi.
The expanded collaboration between Microsoft and Lenovo also includes a patent cross-licensing agreement that covers Lenovo and Motorola devices.
Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, it has entered into more than 1,200 licensing agreements.
Nick Parker, corporate vice-president OEM division, Microsoft said that Vole was thrilled that its productivity apps will be pre-installed on Lenovo’s premium devices and was talking about marrage.
“The marriage of Microsoft’s apps and Lenovo’s Android-based devices will enable customers worldwide to be more productive and connected and achieve even more,” he said.