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From scooters to servers: The best of Launch, Day One

Rafe’s top picks from the big startup conference include a service to help you get financial aid, one to get you in shape, and cloud storage company with no servers.

The Space Monkey storage pod lives in your house.

I’m an official Grand Jury judge at the Launch startup conference that’s in town right now. Tomorrow I’m supposed to render my judgment on the presenting companies to help determine which ones get pieces of the $1 million in investment prizes that have been contributed to this event. Nothing says I can’t talk up the products I like ahead of time, though. Here are five. And some bonus picks.

1. Space Monkey This was the favorite of most of the judging panels today, as well as my top pick. Not only is it being a potentially very disruptive product, but it’s got a killer value proposition for consumers as well as good sales potential. It’s a faster, larger Dropbox for less money, and since it has a physical component it can be sold easily in retail. See my full writeup for more, including the significant challenges this business faces.

2. Alltuition The conference demos kicked off with what seemed like a very boring product: A Web service to help you find financial aid for college, and apply for all the various programs for which you might be eligible. But any parent can tell you how terrifying the mountain of paperwork can be, and how high the stakes are if you make mistakes on it. This service addresses a real need, not a want, and it has a tangible value. It’s a good business.

The uGrokIt scanner is colored bright orange so you don’t lose it. Because then what would you do?

3. uGrokIt I confess that I am ambivalent about this company, but everyone I talked to about it just loved it, and it is a fun idea. It’s a gizmo for finding stuff that you lose in your house. You attach a paper-thin RFID tag to things that are likely to get lost (your 3-year-old’s shoes, his favorite stuffed toy, your wallet, etc.) and then you can find these things later by docking your smatphone with a scanner gizmo (see picture) that will bleep like a metal detector as you get closer to your item. It has a range of 6 to 10 feet, which makes it easy enough to definitively, and quickly, sweep a room for an item.

4. Budge A little mobile service that helps you pace your fitness goals over time, and that includes nags (if you ask for them) and a way to join groups of people who have similar goals. There have been, and are, dozens or hundreds of fitness apps, but something about the philosophy and design of this one seemed, to me, to be completely dialed in. We’ll see if it works over time (I’ll let you know), but I have a better feeling about this fitness product than most that I see.

Bonus: In the “Demo pit” (showing off in the exhibit center but not presenting on stage) there was another fitness app I liked, Wello. It’s a service that connects personal trainers to clients over Webcams. The idea is to free trainers from the lock that gyms have over them (and the fee that gyms take) and allow them a more flexible, and efficient schedule. Tags are cheap (a dollar each for now, less in the future) and unpowered, so you don’t have to worry about replacing their batteries. But the scanner is big and bulky and can get lost itself. Still, the number of people I talked to who said they’d really like to have one of these in their kitchen stuff drawer for contingencies tells me the company is on to something. And I could see it selling extremely well on SkyMall or QVC.

Scoot CEO Michael Keating on his product.

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From scooters to servers: The best of Launch, Day One

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Cisco rolls out UCS servers with Intel Xeon E5 chips

Cisco has expanded its data centre portfolio this week with servers and networking gear to better support virtualisation, cloud computing and Big Data.

Cisco says the rollout represents its third generation fabric computing platform and addresses data centre scale and promptness in responding to changing business needs.

As expected, the new servers in Ciscos Unified Computing System (UCS) fabric computing platform support Intels new Xeon processor E5-2600 line, also known as “Romley” and “Sandy Bridge”, and includes multiple form factors, up to eight times the memory capacity and four times the I/O of previous UCS servers.

The UCS Manager now supports Ciscos UCS rack-mount servers, enabling those form factors to reach management parity with the UCS blade servers. Cisco also added fabric extenders, interconnects and I/O modules to support the new servers.

The new servers include one blade and two rack-mount units, all based on the Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor. The Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server comes in a half-blade form factor supporting 24 DIMM slots and up to 80 gigabits of I/O bandwidth.

The UCS C220 M3 Rack Server is a one rack unit (1RU) unit, targeted at business workloads like web services to distributed databases. The UCS C240 M3 Rack Server is a 2RU server designed for storage-intensive workloads, from big data to collaboration.

The new rack mount servers and Ciscos existing rack-mount units can now be managed by Cisco UCS Manager. UCS blade and rack-mount servers can be managed uniformly within a single domain by UCS Manager, Cisco says.

In the second half of 2012, Cisco says it will deliver the capability for UCS Manager to control multiple UCS domains, which would improve scale. The centralised manager will be able to govern and orchestrate thousands of servers in or between global data centres, Cisco says.

Naturally, the network has to support these increasingly virtualised and distributed workloads. So Cisco rolled out the chassis I/O module 2204XP. It offers 80Gbps and 160Gbps down to each chassis to handle workload bursts. The module also offers load balancing across all ports.

Supporting it is the VIC 1240 interface card, which connects the server to the chassis I/O module and delivers the 80G to the server.

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Cisco rolls out UCS servers with Intel Xeon E5 chips

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New Cisco servers have Intel Xeon E5 inside

Cisco this week expanded its data center portfolio with servers and networking gear to better support virtualization, cloud computing and Big Data.

Cisco says the rollout represents its third-generation fabric computing platform and addresses data center scale and promptness in responding to changing business needs.

As expected, the new servers in Ciscos Unified Computing System (UCS) fabric computing platform support Intels new Xeon processor E5-2600 line also known as Romley and Sandy Bridge — and includes multiple form factors, up to eight times the memory capacity and four times the I/O of previous UCS servers.

IT’S HERE: Intels Romley products could put crimp in competition

Also, the UCS Manager now supports Ciscos UCS rack mount servers, enabling those form factors to reach management parity with the UCS blade servers. Cisco also added fabric extenders, interconnects and I/O modules to support the new servers.

Cisco says it now has 11,000 UCS customers since the platforms introduction in 2009. And at a $1.3 billion annual run rate, UCS is the fastest growing product in Ciscos history, company officials said.

The new servers include one blade and two rack-mount units, all based on the Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor. The Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server comes in a half-blade form factor supporting 24 DIMM slots and up to 80 gigabits of I/O bandwidth.

The UCS C220 M3 Rack Server is a one-rack-unit (1RU) unit, targeted at business workloads like Web services to distributed databases. The UCS C240 M3 Rack Server is a 2RU server designed for storage-intensive workloads, from big data to collaboration.

The new rack mount servers and Ciscos existing rack mount units can now be managed by Cisco UCS Manager. UCS blade and rack mount servers can be managed uniformly within a single domain by UCS Manager, Cisco says.

In the second half of 2012, Cisco says it will deliver the capability for UCS Manager to control multiple UCS domains, which would improve scale. The centralized manager will be able to govern and orchestrate thousands of servers in or between global data centers, Cisco says.

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Leading Analyst Firm Recognizes Savvis as a Leader in Two Cloud-Focused Magic Quadrants

Savvis Positioned in Leaders Quadrant in Two Reports: Managed Hosting, Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service

ST. LOUIS , March 8, 2012 /CNW/ – Industry analyst firm Gartner Inc. has positioned Savvis, a CenturyLink company (NYSE: CTL – News) and global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for enterprises, in the Leaders quadrant in both the Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting and the Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111122/CG10879LOGO )

The cloud-focused reports can be accessed at http://www.savvis.com/en-US/Advantages/Pages/gartner-magic-quadrant-leader.aspx.

“Many of the world’s largest and most well-known companies rely on Savvis’ enterprise-class cloud solutions, and we believe these Magic Quadrant recognitions speak loudly to the reasons our clients see us as a global cloud leader,” said Bill Fathers, president of Savvis. “Our focus on cloud will continue as demonstrated by our recently accelerated investment in our cloud offerings. We deliver cloud-based solutions that improve business agility and reduce costs.”

Savvis’ flexible enterprise cloud services are designed and deployed to meet a broad range of global computing needs. From integrated and hybrid cloud designs to fully virtualized cloud data center solutions, Savvis cloud services deliver business agility and can transform enterprises through maximum scalability and security, seamless migration, a flexible engagement model and superior performance for even the most mission-critical of business requirements.

The Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting was published on March 5, 2012 . The Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service report was published on Dec. 8, 2011 . Both reports were authored by Gartner analysts Ted Chamberlin and Lydia Leong .

The evaluation for both reports was based on vendors’ completeness of vision, including market understanding, offering strategy and innovation, among other criteria. The Magic Quadrant also assesses ability to execute, which includes capabilities, overall viability and customer experience.

About the Magic Quadrant

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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Leading Analyst Firm Recognizes Savvis as a Leader in Two Cloud-Focused Magic Quadrants

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ServInt Announces the First Finalist for Its Inaugural Sextant Award, Recognizing the Most Effective Use of the …

MCLEAN, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

ServInt, a pioneering provider of managed cloud hosting for enterprises worldwide, today named the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) as the first quarterly finalist for the inaugural ServInt Sextant Award. The Award recognizes ServInt customers who are making the most profound community impact with their Internet-based enterprises.

Each quarter, a finalist for the $5,000 Sextant Award will be chosen from among ServInts customers. These finalists will be given three free months of hosting services to recognize the positive difference their web-based enterprises make in their community. In December, all ServInt customers will be given the chance to vote to choose the organization that they believe best embodies the Awards values.

The Sextant Awards values mirror those found in ServInts own core values:

Create possibility for yourself, for the customer and for the Company. ServInt empowers its employees to create possibility every day.

Invite challenge. Never sit still. Embrace the new, the unknown. Look for challenges that can be overcome to create better products and a better customer experience.

Better yourself and the next guy. Always strive for improvement. Pursue new knowledge, advance relationships and embrace change.

Be open to most everything and everyone. From open doors to open minds, welcome the input of others.

ServInt Chief Operating Officer Christian Dawson explained the purpose behind the Sextant Award, saying, Theres a reason why this award is named after a trusted technology that has helped humankind find its true course for nearly a thousand years. In a sense, were looking for the ServInt customers who show all of us the way toward a better tomorrow, through the use of the Internet and our hosting technology.

Dawson added, MCAN is one such customer. It uses its network of web sites to help ensure that no Michigan student is denied the opportunity to move on to postsecondary education a vitally important service in a state still struggling to rebuild after the near-collapse of its manufacturing sector. Were proud that MCAN chose ServInt to host its sites, and prouder still to recognize its good work by naming it a finalist for our 2012 Sextant Award.

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Hosting.com Positioned as Challenger in Managed Hosting in Gartner's Magic Quadrant

DENVER, Mar 08, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) Hosting.com, a leading provider of enterprise-class cloud hosting and recovery services, today announced that Gartner, the worlds leading information technology research and advisory company, has positioned the company in the Challengers quadrant for the updated Managed Hosting Magic Quadrant.

We believe our inclusion in Gartners Magic Quadrant is a testament to our execution, customer responsiveness, cloud expertise, and completeness of vision with hosting and recovery solutions, stated Art Zeile, CEO of Hosting.com. Hosting.com is committed to the mid-enterprise market and ensuring their mission-critical applications are always on. Being recognized by Gartner in the managed hosting sector provides great reassurance to our existing and future customers.

The March 5, 2012 report, Gartner analysts, Ted Chamberlin and Lydia Leong state, The most heavily weighted criteria for a hosters ability to execute are service offering and service excellence, as reflected in the customer experience with sales, support and operations. The report is focused on the enterprise-class, managed hosting market, regardless of whether the hosting is done on physical servers or a virtualized infrastructure. The report analyzes managed dedicated hosting, managed utility hosting, managed cloud hosting, and managed hybrid hosting.

Additionally, the report continues, Overall business viability, as reflected in the ability to successfully service a customer over a three-year period without significant disruption, and the service providers track record also contribute to this rating. Here, we emphasize immediate capabilities for the use cases that we see most often.

Hosting.com has emerged as a leader in the data availability and recovery sector with a focus on the enterprise cloud hosting marketplace with six data centers, four cloud super sites, geographically-dispersed, and inter-connected; by providing expansive cloud management and professional services; and by providing an industry-leading web-based customer portal for managing cloud computing resources on-demand, self-provisioning, and advanced monitoring. In addition, Hosting.coms cloud offers distinct high availability and disaster recovery solutions for companies needing production ready, enterprise-class technology. The company is leading the industry with its VMware-based Cloud Replication product that enables the replication of data between their internal data centers and customer premises sites.

About Hosting.com

Hosting.com is a global provider of enterprise-class IT infrastructure solutions, services and facilities that ensure clients mission-critical applications are cloud-enabled and Always On. Hosting.coms geographically-dispersed data centers and Cloud Supersites, coupled with the industrys top networking and connectivity technologies, provide the highest levels of availability, security, and responsiveness. The most recognized names in SaaS, Healthcare, Retail, Financial Services, and Government repeatedly rely on Hosting.coms portfolio of dedicated hosting, managed cloud hosting, and colocation solutions to deliver the business continuity advantages they require. Hosting.com has been recognized by Gartner as a Challenger in the Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting and Cloud Infrastructure as a Service and is also included in the Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service report.

Hosting.com currently operates PCI Level 1 cloud and dedicated infrastructures and SAS 70 Type II certified data centers in Dallas, TX; Denver, CO, Irvine, CA; Louisville, KY; Newark, DE; and San Francisco, CA.

All Hosting.com products and services are supported by 24×7 live expert technical support through toll-free telephone, email, and online chat

About the Magic Quadrant

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Hosting.com Positioned as Challenger in Managed Hosting in Gartner's Magic Quadrant

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Leading Industry Analyst Firm positions Hosting.com as a Challenger in Managed Hosting Magic Quadrant

DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Hosting.com, a leading provider of enterprise-class cloud hosting and recovery services, today announced that Gartner, the worlds leading information technology research and advisory company, has positioned the company in the Challengers quadrant for the updated Managed Hosting Magic Quadrant.

We believe our inclusion in Gartners Magic Quadrant is a testament to our execution, customer responsiveness, cloud expertise, and completeness of vision with hosting and recovery solutions, stated Art Zeile, CEO of Hosting.com. Hosting.com is committed to the mid-enterprise market and ensuring their mission-critical applications are always on. Being recognized by Gartner in the managed hosting sector provides great reassurance to our existing and future customers.

The March 5, 2012 report, Gartner analysts,Ted Chamberlin and Lydia Leong state, The most heavily weighted criteria for a hoster’s ability to execute are service offering and service excellence, as reflected in the customer experience with sales, support and operations. The report is focused on the enterprise-class, managed hosting market, regardless of whether the hosting is done on physical servers or a virtualized infrastructure. The report analyzes managed dedicated hosting, managed utility hosting, managed cloud hosting, and managed hybrid hosting.

Additionally, the report continues, Overall business viability, as reflected in the ability to successfully service a customer over a three-year period without significant disruption, and the service provider’s track record also contribute to this rating. Here, we emphasize immediate capabilities for the use cases that we see most often.

Hosting.com has emerged as a leader in the data availability and recovery sector with a focus on the enterprise cloud hosting marketplace with six data centers, four cloud super sites, geographically-dispersed, and inter-connected; by providing expansive cloud management and professional services; and by providing an industry-leading web-based customer portal for managing cloud computing resources on-demand, self-provisioning, and advanced monitoring.In addition, Hosting.coms cloud offers distincthigh availability and disaster recovery solutionsfor companies needing production ready, enterprise-class technology. The company is leading the industry with its VMware-based Cloud Replication product that enables the replication of data between their internal data centers and customer premises sites.

About Hosting.com

Hosting.com is a global provider of enterprise-class IT infrastructure solutions, services and facilities that ensure clients mission-critical applications are cloud-enabled and Always On.Hosting.coms geographically-dispersed data centers and Cloud Supersites, coupled with the industrys top networking and connectivity technologies, provide the highest levels of availability, security, and responsiveness.The most recognized names in SaaS, Healthcare, Retail, Financial Services, and Government repeatedly rely on Hosting.coms portfolio of dedicated hosting, managed cloud hosting, and colocation solutions to deliver the business continuity advantages they require. Hosting.com has been recognized by Gartner as a Challenger in the Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting and Cloud Infrastructure as a Service and is also included in the Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service report.

Hosting.com currently operates PCI Level 1 cloud and dedicated infrastructures and SAS 70 Type II certified data centers in Dallas, TX; Denver, CO, Irvine, CA; Louisville, KY; Newark, DE; and San Francisco, CA.

All Hosting.com products and services are supported by 24×7 live expert technical support through toll-free telephone, email, and online chat

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Leading Industry Analyst Firm positions Hosting.com as a Challenger in Managed Hosting Magic Quadrant

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Bill The Server Guy Introduces the New Intel XEON e5-2600 (Romley) Server CPU’s – Video


06-03-2012 14:46 Servers, workstations, and storage solutions based on the new Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family deliver the best combination of performance, built-in capabilities, and cost-effectiveness to make data centers more flexible and efficient. From virtualization and cloud computing solutions to design automation or real-time financial transactions, you’ll be delighted by better than ever performance no matter what tasks you face. Your investment in industry standard technology from Intel combined with innovative solutions from partners help future-proof your data center with infrastructure that grows with your business. Contact Nor-Tech today at http://www.Nor-Tech.com or via email at info@nor-tech.com to get a price quote for one of these exciting new servers!

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Lansing Cloud Host Introduces Faster ‘Storm SSD’

Inside a Liquid Web data center

LANSING Storm On Demand, the cloud hosting arm of the Lansing-based managed hosting provider Liquid Web, Wednesday announced its latest high performance hosting product, Storm SSD.

In Storm SSD the company says it has tweaked its cloud servers, already the industry standard in terms of high performance, to include solid state drives and full redundancy.

This innovation sees Storm On Demand outdoing itself, by increasing the power and speed of a product which was already the fastest available I/O Performer in the Cloud market indeed, the company said, delivering input-output rates and access times that are literally impossible to achieve with a traditional disk based system.

Storm is among the early adopters of SSD in cloud computing. In addition to improved speed, the company said Storm SSD will operate with a low server load, eliminating bottlenecks and enabling a servers processing power to be fully utilized.

In testing, the system has shown capable of up to 475,000 inputs and outputs per second, vs. 7,800 for Amazon.

Storm SSD is ideal for High Performance web applications, large databases and indexes, as well as any environment in which data is subject to frequent access, said Liquid Web and Storm On Demand founder and CEO Matthew Hill. By improving upon our already rapid I/O performance, we are eager to see the new horizons our customers are able to explore.

Costs of the service ranges from $75 to $300 a month depending on speed and storage space requirements.

Liquid Web is a privately held managed web hosting company founded in 1997, with three wholly owned data center facilities in Lansing. In 2010 Liquid Web opened a software development office in Scottsdale, Ariz. Liquid Web has more than 20,000 clients in more than 120 countries. Liquid Web was a member of the Inc. 5000 list of Americas fastest growing privately held companies in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

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