Why Workload Placement Is The Key To a Strong IT Foundation

How you design your IT house can be as important as how architects design physical homes...getty

Where you decide to run your applications is as important as what you run. What does your workload placement strategy look like? Home architects are very careful about their design choices. Many of their decisions, such as the best locations for load-bearing walls, support beams and other infrastructure, have long-term consequences.

Where do they put windows and skylights will deliver optimal sunlight? How do they situate bedrooms and bathrooms? What is the right density of wood, concrete and other materials required to construct safe walls, roofs and floors? Those are just the broad strokes; architects plan thousands of minor details as well, often well before raw materials are purchased.

Like their home-building counterparts, IT systems architects carefully design technology systems. Which is why workload placement has emerged as a critical strategy for governing what applications and other resources run where.

IT has grown more complex, thanks to a proliferation of environments comprised of public and private clouds, on-premises infrastructure and edge devices. IT leaders who placed assets in these locations have constructed a multicloud house without planning for the long-term impact on their organization.

For example, while it may have initially made sense to build a key business application in a certain IT environment, perhaps performance began to lag as usage grew. Maybe the goalposts for security and compliance shifted, forcing you to rethink your choice.

Whatever architectural concerns arise, where you decide to put what in your IT house can be as important as how architects design physical homes. CIOs are thinking about this a great deal, as 92% of 233 IT decision makers Dell surveyed said that they have a formal strategy for deciding where to place workloads. Half of those executed this strategy in the past year.

Related: More Clouds, No Problem: Simplifying Your Multi-Cloud World

The Great Overcorrection

The public cloud grew rapidly, as engineers learned how easily it enabled them to launch and test new applications. Soon IT teams notched quick wins, including flexibility as they lifted and shifted existing business applications to the cloud.

Then came the overcorrection. Emboldened by the prospect of saving money while fostering greater agility as they innovated, many CIOs declared a “cloud-first” strategy. Those who were initially more measured in their adoption of cloud technology saw their colleagues migrate their entire IT estate and followed suit.

As workloads got more complex it turned out that the public cloud-first stance was not always the best fit for the business. Hasty decisions had unanticipated ramifications, either in the form of escalating costs or failed migrations.

The reasons: Workloads are unique. Each application has its own set of business requirements and benefits. Just as the home architect must carefully weigh each design choice, CIOs must be intentional about where they put their software assets.

Variations on a multicloud

Let’s consider some examples where the right workload is tied to a business outcome. Cloud environments—public or private—make sense where you get huge bursts of data traffic. Cloud technologies enable you to quickly spin up compute resources and dial them down as requirements subside.

Retail ecommerce is a classic example. For brands selling clothing, footwear and other merchandise, holiday seasonality drives peaks and valleys to web and mobile sales. Large traffic spikes in October or November through Christmas subside, then stabilize.

Or think of a digital crossword puzzle published every weekend. With most people completing these on the weekend, traffic bursts Saturday and Sunday before slowing over the remaining 5 days.

For such use cases, a public cloud that provides massive scalability may yield the desired business outcome.

Conversely, so-called “steady state” use cases—in which applications’ compute needs fluctuate little if at all—often run better on-premises, either in traditional IT infrastructure or in a private cloud. Thousands of these applications run without much deviation across business lines.

Think traditional general ledger software in ERPs. Travel and expense utilities. Software that governs data backups. Applications, such as those that monitor anomalous network traffic, often run locally for security reasons.

Other applications with disparate patterns and needs are emerging. Applications requiring minimal latency—think Internet of Things software—are moving to the edge for faster processing and cost efficacy.

In Dell’s survey, 72% of IT decision makers said performance guided their decisions to place workload, followed by data protection and security at 63% and 58%, respectively. Venues include public clouds, data centers, colocation facilities and edge environments.

Workload types vary, but 39% of respondents said they had placed data protection workloads while 35% each said they had placed ERP and CRM systems.

Diverse workloads require fungible infrastructure

There are no absolutes in determining workload placement. Well, not in the way many IT leaders think. Every software asset will have different requirements, which will influence where you decide to place them.

Just as an architect decides how to situate walls, beams, rooms and other physical infrastructure, where an IT architect places assets matters. The wrong choices can have negative consequences.

These decisions aren’t easy nor should they be made lightly, as the ramifications of poor asset placement can impact your bottom line, make your business more vulnerable or prompt you to run afoul of compliance mandates.

All diverse workloads require a flexible infrastructure that enables enterprises to move their applications and other workloads to move seamlessly across clouds, on-premises and edge venues, based on their business requirements.

As-a-Service infrastructure, which includes on-premises equipment ordered on demand, can power these workloads to meet requirements for performance and availability, as well as your needs for simplicity, agility, and control. How will you lay the foundation for your IT assets?

Keep reading: Why the Hybrid Workplace Needs a Hybrid IT Model

Vice President, Product Management, Dell APEX

Chad Dunn has been with EMC and Dell Technologies for over 15 years.

Source: Why Workload Placement Is the Key to a Strong IT Foundation

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Google And Facebook Hit With $238 Million Fines In France Over Privacy Violations

France’s data protection regulator on Thursday hit Google and Facebook with fines of €150 million ($170 million) and €60 million ($68 million), respectively, for failing to provide internet users an easy way to disable online trackers, marking the latest in a series of fines faced by the two American tech giants for failing to comply with European privacy laws.

Key Facts

In a statement outlining its investigation, French regulator CNIL noted that Facebook, Google and Youtube’s websites offered a button that allowed users to immediately accept cookies but did not provide a similar button to easily refuse them.

The regulator added that the process of refusing the online trackers was several steps longer.

The CNIL ruled that this process affects users’ freedom of consent as it influences their choice of accepting or rejecting cookies.

While cookies can be essential for a website’s functioning—allowing for user authentication and remembering preferences among other things—they can also be used to track a user’s online behavior and serve them advertising.

In addition to the hefty fines, both companies have been ordered to update their interface for French users—making it easier for them to reject cookies—within three months.

Key BackgroundThe fines against Google and Facebook follow a series of similar regulatory actions facing U.S  tech giants including Apple and Amazon in Europe. In December 2020, Google and Amazon were hit with similar fines for their handling of web cookies to track user activities without seeking proper consent..

Last year, regulators in France, the U.K., and the EU initiated formal antitrust probes into Google and Facebook’s online advertising business. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which went into effect in May 2018 has dramatically increased the powers of the bloc’s privacy enforcers. Under the law, serious privacy breaches can lead to fines of as much as 4% of a company’s annual global revenue.

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I am a Breaking News Reporter at Forbes, with a focus on covering important tech policy and business news. Graduated from Columbia University with an

Source: Google And Facebook Hit With $238 Million Fines In France Over Privacy Violations

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Reducing Risk When Migrating Mission-Critical Applications To The Cloud

Over the last decade, significant strides have been made in cloud computing, and today’s enterprises have substantial data and application footprints in the cloud. Many organizations are moving toward implementing cloud-based operations for their most crucial business applications.

A cloud-first mindset is usually a given for new companies and continues to gain traction for established enterprises. Still, existing legacy infrastructures and large on-premise footprints that don’t map easily to cloud architectures are slowing and even blocking faster adoption.

Organizations are poised to prioritize cloud investments over the next five years, according to the results of IDC’s Future of Operations research. The appeal includes the potential for an improved experience for customers, employees and suppliers/partners, better development agility, improved time to market and increased operational efficiency across organizations.

Although a pivot to the cloud could complete the evolution of the business from an operational and capital perspective, significant barriers to broader adoption still exist.

Cloud spending is on track to surpass $1 trillion by 2024, partly due to urgent changes to business operations driven by the pandemic, which accelerated cloud adoption timelines for many companies. And the results of recent research find that optimizing cloud costs tops companies’ 2021 priorities for the fifth year in a row.

Increasingly ambitious migration timelines are driving important decisions about moving critical applications without fully understanding the risks. Organizations are addressing application and data migration with largely ineffective one-size-fits-all solutions that don’t always meet expectations, often causing more problems than they promise to solve.

Others are moving with extreme caution when deciding which applications to keep on-prem and which to move, migrate or refactor. Mission-critical apps remain on the legacy infrastructure to assure control over the foundational data and safely maintain business as usual.

Moving from massive, on-prem data centers to the cloud presents a future filled with possibilities but also a level of risk due to the various unknowns within this significant paradigm shift. After all, a mission-critical app can be essential to the immediate viability of an organization and fundamentally necessary for success.

Although moving to the cloud is the way forward for many modern companies, migration can prove time-consuming and highly challenging, often with incomplete or unacceptable results. Successful migration can further business opportunities, but the risk of failure is considerable, and the high visibility that accompanies these major initiatives increases the level of exposure and consequences of said failure.

Mission-critical initiatives often cross the length and breadth of organizations, across low-level operational groups up to the C-suite and beyond. But just as all data is not created equal, neither are clouds or migration strategies.

Data Mobility Matters

With increasing cloud investments comes a growing need for more accessible data mobility. As more data moves to the cloud and strategies expand to occasionally include multicloud environments, there’s an expectation that underlying cloud resources deliver about the same level of performance as on-prem. But, often, the required type and volume of cloud resources are not available and deployment is difficult or impossible.

Performance is instrumental in determining where a mission-critical application should live and drives myriad scaling considerations and challenges. Sometimes, particular features, functionality and capabilities are lacking.

Perhaps the data primarily resides in a private or hybrid cloud to engage in cloud bursting on the public cloud when capacity needs to balloon. Longtime legacy challenges of architecting for the peak versus the average persist. Still, cloud decisions have forced IT leaders to relinquish a level of control over the physical infrastructure, significantly increasing risk.

Managing data mobility is challenging. To increase success, plan an approach that minimizes workflow disruptions of critical processes while ensuring sufficient capacity to support expected workloads and providing enough scalability to handle unexpected workloads. Managing random workload fluctuations requires a solid plan and a scalable, flexible and agile architecture to avoid those black swan events that are all too threatening.

Cloud Migration Considerations

Successful migration is not easy, but for many applications, it’s pretty simple to migrate to a platform as a service (PaaS) or managed service and be up and running fairly quickly. But for those performance-sensitive vertical stack monolithic applications running on the most expensive hardware for decades, moving can prove challenging and even impossible.

Ideally, refactoring enhances an application without negatively modifying external behavior and improving the internal architecture, as well as perhaps gaining cost efficiencies, maintenance or performance. But not all mission-critical applications are a fit for a refactor. Complexity, cost and the risk of disrupting a mission-critical app that’s performing as expected are valid reasons to leave some apps on-prem.

Others are constrained by performance requirements that aren’t achievable in the cloud with current offerings. There are fundamental limitations to the types of applications and databases that can quickly move to the cloud, and overhauling those solutions introduces significant risk, possibly resulting in critical delays and higher costs.

Solving Migration Problems

The best plan to mitigate the risks and improve the odds for cloud migration is to eliminate silos between multiple clouds and on-prem — regardless of type or location — facilitating a free flow of information in a simple, resilient, well-understood fashion. The next truth can’t be overstated:

Data is the new oil and should be treated as such. Just as trained specialists are leveraged to find and extract oil, specialized experts should be utilized when performing high-risk, business-changing moves regarding mission-critical data and the application stacks that access it. Ideally, the team migrating mission-critical applications should be proficient in enabling data mobility across environments without refactoring to reduce risk.

The question of cloud migration in 2021 is often no longer “if” but “when and how.” The material risk of maintaining the status quo can be significant, and avoiding moving mission-critical applications to the cloud is often no longer an option. A wise man once said, “What’s dangerous is not to evolve,” and this truism fully applies to an organization’s journey to the cloud.

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Source: Reducing Risk When Migrating Mission-Critical Applications To The Cloud

Big Tech Privacy Moves Spur Companies to Amass Customer Data

 Shoppers browsing at Houston’s Galleria mall on Black Friday. Brandon Bell/Getty Images 

Marketers are staging sweepstakes, quizzes and events to gather people’s personal information and build detailed profiles. New privacy protections put in place by tech giants and governments are threatening the flow of user data that companies rely on to target consumers with online ads.

As a result, companies are taking matters into their own hands. Across nearly every sector, from brewers to fast-food chains to makers of consumer products, marketers are rushing to collect their own information on consumers, seeking to build millions of detailed customer profiles.

Gathering such data has long been a priority, but there is newfound urgency. Until now, most advertisers have depended heavily on data from business partners, including tech giants and ad-technology firms, to determine how to focus their ads. But all of the traditional tactics are under assault.

Apple Inc. rolled out a change on its devices this year that restricts how users can be tracked. Google is planning a similar push for its popular Chrome browser. New privacy laws in California and Europe are adding to the squeeze on data.

So brands are deploying an array of tactics to persuade users to surrender data to the brand itself—loyalty programs, sweepstakes, newsletters, quizzes, polls and QR codes, those pixelated black-and-white squares that have become ubiquitous during the pandemic.

Avocados From Mexico, a nonprofit marketing organization that represents avocado growers and packers, is encouraging people to submit grocery receipts to earn points exchangeable for avocado-themed sportswear. It is also conducting a contest for the chance to win a truck. To enter, consumers scan QR codes on in-store displays and enter their name, birthday, email and phone number.

“We have a limited window to figure this out, and everybody’s scrambling” to do so, said Ivonne Kinser, vice president of marketing for the avocado group. It has managed to capture roughly 50 million device IDs—the numbers associated with mobile devices—and is working to link them to names and email addresses. The group plans to use the customer information for ad targeting and to make its ads more relevant to its customers.

Building detailed profiles of customers can be costly, since it requires sophisticated software and data science expertise. “We can do a little bit at a time, but it will take years,” Ms. Kinser said. Consumer packaged-goods companies, in particular, will likely struggle to get meaningful quantities of data, since many don’t sell directly to their customers.

No matter how successful brands are in these efforts, they will have a minuscule amount of user data compared with giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon.com Inc. Marketers will still spend huge sums to advertise on those platforms for the foreseeable future. But by having their own robust databases, companies could make their online ad campaigns less costly and more effective.

Miller High Life ran an online contest this summer to give away a branded patio set. The lucky winner got a bar, stools and neon signs. The company’s prize was the personal details of almost 40,000 people who signed up, including emails, birthdays and phone numbers. The reason it asks for birthdays is to validate ages, since it’s an alcohol brand.

Molson Coors Beverage Co., Miller’s parent company, said as more people opt out of being tracked by apps, having more customer data can help keep its ad costs from rising when it buys digital ads across social media channels and from online publishers using automated ad-buying systems.

Molson has conducted more than 300 data-collection efforts this year, including sweepstakes and contests at bars around the country. Many customers signing up in the contests agree to let the brewer store their information and use it for marketing purposes.

“You could think it’s a bad thing, like, we’re trying to access people’s information, but people actually have no problem sharing that information because they’re getting a benefit out of it as well,” said Sofia Colucci, global vice president of marketing for the Miller family of brands.

The Milwaukee-based brewer currently has more than a million customer profiles and says it is hoping to increase that to at least 13 million by 2025. Apple’s new privacy policy, introduced in April, requires apps to ask users if they want to be tracked. According to Flurry, a mobile-app analytics provider, U.S. users opt into tracking only about 18% of the times they encounter the Apple privacy prompt.

The upshot is that major apps, including Facebook, will have less data over time to help brands target ads on their platforms. Apple declined to comment. Reaching desirable audiences on Facebook is already getting more expensive for e-commerce brands. The company, whose parent is now known as Meta Platforms Inc., said Apple’s change hurt its sales growth in the most recent quarter. Meta said it is working on technology to mitigate the issues.

Buying and targeting online ads has long been helped by cookies, tiny files stored in a browser that carry information about a person’s online behavior. Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., has said that by late 2023 it plans to pull the plug on third-party cookies within Chrome, in the interest of user privacy.

Google recently tested a new form of ad targeting that would let marketers direct their ads at large cohorts, such as people interested in travel. In some cases, Google will let marketers use their own customer data to target individuals on Google properties such as YouTube—another move that makes it important for companies to collect their own data.

Developing strong relationships with customers, always critical for marketers, “becomes even more vital in a privacy-first world,” David Temkin, Google’s director of product management for ads privacy and trust, said in a written statement.

California’s Consumer Privacy Act and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation have both made it more difficult for ad-tech firms and data brokers to collect information that brands can use, helping put the onus on companies to gather data themselves.

Companies aren’t after just a few personal details. Many aim to log most of the interactions they have with customers, to flesh out what is called a “golden record.” Such a high-quality customer record might include dozens, even hundreds, of data points, including the store locations people visit, the items they typically buy, how much they spend and what they do on the company’s website.

This kind of information doesn’t just help with online-ad targeting but also lets brands personalize other parts of their marketing, from the offers they send people to which products are displayed to customers online.

PepsiCo Inc., which began to get more serious about data collection several years ago, already has roughly 75 million customer records and is looking to double that in two years. The data pile has helped the snack and beverage giant save tens of millions of dollars, said Shyam Venugopal, senior vice president of global media and commercial capabilities.

Buying ads on platforms such as Facebook and Snap Inc. is more expensive if marketers use those companies’ data, several marketing executives said. In North America, most of PepsiCo’s online ad targeting now uses its own customer data, so the costs are lower, according to Mr. Venugopal. Its campaigns are also more effective at reaching the right audiences, he said.

Partly to expand its cache of data, PepsiCo has launched an online store for its Mountain Dew Game Fuel brand aimed at gamers. About 35,000 people registered in the first six months and provided some personal information, Mr. Venugopal said.

Companies in retail, travel and hospitality are well positioned to harvest data because they deal directly with consumers. Many such companies have long invested in loyalty programs that offer perks such as fare discounts or hotel-room upgrades, and have already built customer databases for personalizing marketing.

Dining chain Chili’s Grill & Bar has about nine million active loyalty members, and its records contain about 50 different bits of information, including how many times a person ordered certain foods such as burgers, fajitas, ribs or a kids meal, the company said. Chili’s also has some emails, phone numbers and purchase history for 50 million customers who aren’t active loyalty members, which it can use for ad targeting.

In an example of how the data help to tailor messages, ads sent to someone who frequently orders appetizers might say, “Come in for a free app,” said Michael Breed, senior vice president of marketing at Chili’s, which is owned by Brinker International Inc. He credits the chain’s stash of customer data for helping avoid major fallout from the policy change Apple made.

Some retailers that saw a surge in online sales early in the pandemic supercharged their data collection. “It allowed companies in a very natural way to know a lot more about you,” said Chris Chapo, former vice president of advanced analytics for Amperity, a marketing technology firm.

In 2020, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. added 8.5 million new loyalty-program members, or athletes, as it calls them. The company has more than 20 million loyalty members.

Dick’s loyalty-member profiles can include up to 325 data points and customer traits. These include the purchases members make, whether they have children, what draws their attention on the website, how much they have spent with Dick’s over 12 months and what is their “lifetime value”—an estimate of how much they will eventually spend with the company.

Molson began ratcheting up its efforts in reaction to the European privacy laws. A pivotal moment came in 2019, when Brad Feinberg, vice president of media and consumer engagement for North America, paid a visit to a bar in Madison, Wis., where a field marketing manager was hosting a contest. Patrons put their names in a fish bowl for the chance to win two tickets to a football game.

Mr. Feinberg asked the marketing manager what he did with the bowl of names after the contest. “I throw them in the garbage,” the manager replied, according to Mr. Feinberg.

He realized how much data Molson was failing to capture, given hundreds of such events it held weekly. He eventually persuaded the company to invest in data collection and set data goals for each of its 80 brands. Molson said its customer-records collection has helped it save more than $300,000 this year on data fees when buying online ads.

By: Suzanne Vranica

Source: Big Tech Privacy Moves Spur Companies to Amass Customer Data – WSJ

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Clearview AI Ordered To Delete All Facial Recognition Data Belonging To Australians

Controversial facial recognition firm Clearview AI has been ordered to destroy all images and facial templates belonging to individuals living in Australia by the country’s national privacy regulator.

Clearview, which claims to have scraped 10 billion images of people from social media sites in order to identify them in other photos, sells its technology to law enforcement agencies. It was trialled by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) between October 2019 and March 2020.

Now, following an investigation, Australia privacy regulator, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), has found that the company breached citizens’ privacy. “The covert collection of this kind of sensitive information is unreasonably intrusive and unfair,” said OAIC privacy commissioner Angelene Falk in a press statement. “It carries significant risk of harm to individuals, including vulnerable groups such as children and victims of crime, whose images can be searched on Clearview AI’s database.”

Said Falk: “When Australians use social media or professional networking sites, they don’t expect their facial images to be collected without their consent by a commercial entity to create biometric templates for completely unrelated identification purposes. The indiscriminate scraping of people’s facial images, only a fraction of whom would ever be connected with law enforcement investigations, may adversely impact the personal freedoms of all Australians who perceive themselves to be under surveillance.”

The investigation into Clearview’s practices by the OAIC was carried out in conjunction with the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). However, the ICO has yet to make a decision about the legality of Clearview’s work in the UK. The agency says it is “considering its next steps and any formal regulatory action that may be appropriate under the UK data protection laws.”

As reported by The Guardian, Clearview itself intends to appeal the decision. “Clearview AI operates legitimately according to the laws of its places of business,” Mark Love, a lawyer for the firm BAL Lawyers representing Clearview, told the publication. “Not only has the commissioner’s decision missed the mark on the manner of Clearview AI’s manner of operation, the commissioner lacks jurisdiction.”

Clearview argues that the images it collected were publicly available, so no breach of privacy occurred, and that they were published in the US, so Australian law does not apply.

Around the world, though, there is growing discontent with the spread of facial recognition systems, which threaten to eliminate anonymity in public spaces. Yesterday, Facebook parent company Meta announced it was shutting down the social platform’s facial recognition feature and deleting the facial templates it created for the system. The company cited “growing concerns about the use of this technology as a whole.” Meta also recently paid a $650 million settlement after the tech was found to have breached privacy laws in Illinois in the US.

Source: Clearview AI ordered to delete all facial recognition data belonging to Australians – The Verge

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