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Spiceworks Cloud-Based Help Desk Application Goes Mobile

April 28, 2016 Comments off

SpiceworksAUSTIN, Texas — April 28, 2016 — Spiceworks, the professional network for IT, today announced IT professionals can deploy and manage its cloud-based help desk solution on smartphones and tablets via the Spiceworks Help Desk mobile app. Today’s announcement also includes new features to the cloud-based help desk, including service level agreement (SLA) ticket alerting, an IT Knowledge Base, and Spiceworks App Center integration. Collectively, Spiceworks provides a feature-rich help desk solution that can be deployed and managed in a way that works best for the IT professional.

 

“The IT professionals in my department are often running around the office supporting employees so it’s historically been difficult to address urgent user requests when we’re not at our desks,” said Brad Everts, IT supervisor at TW Garner Food Company. “The mobile app for Spiceworks’ cloud-based help desk gives us the flexibility to open, respond to, and close tickets from wherever we may be.”

 

Mobile support for Spiceworks’ cloud-based help desk builds on existing capabilities for the on-premises version and provides the same capabilities IT professionals need to support their growing businesses, including unlimited admin and end-user seats, no hosting or storage costs, ongoing updates, and free support. With the mobile app, IT professionals can also receive push notifications on their mobile devices to stay on top of help desk tickets while on the go.

 

In addition to the push notifications, new features for the cloud-based help desk solution include:

 

  • SLA ticket alerting allows IT professionals to create rules that will notify them when tickets are not responded to in a timely manner or closed in a pre-determined amount of time.
  • User portal updates include Active Directory integration to automatically add end users, authenticate users in the portal, and tag them to tickets.
  • IT Knowledge Base integration with the Spiceworks Community will be available soon for the cloud-based help desk, enabling IT professionals to easily access and share critical how-tos and tech tips with their colleagues.
  • Spiceworks App Center integration enables IT professionals to customize and extend their help desk with more than 150 third-party apps to add new features and functionality.

 

“We’re focused on helping IT professionals become more efficient by enabling them to run their help desk entirely from their phones or tablets,” said Sanjay Castelino, VP of Marketing at Spiceworks. “With a tool that’s easy to deploy and use on the go, IT professionals can now support their growing business in a way that works best for them.”

 

The Spiceworks Help Desk mobile app is available for download today on iOS- and Android-based smartphones and tablets.

 

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About Spiceworks

Spiceworks is the professional network millions of IT professionals use to connect with one another and thousands of technology brands. The company simplifies how IT professionals discover, buy, and manage an estimated $600 billion in technology products and services each year. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Spiceworks is backed by Adams Street Partners, Austin Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Goldman Sachs, Shasta Ventures and Tenaya Capital. For more information, visit http://www.spiceworks.com.

 

Follow Spiceworks on Twitter: http://twitter.com/spiceworks and connect with Spiceworks on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/Spiceworks.

 

Spiceworks is a registered trademark of Spiceworks, Inc. All other names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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Get To Know an MSP: Breakthrough Technology Group (BTG)

July 15, 2015 Comments off

Breakthrough Technology Group, Inc.Breakthrough Technology Group, Inc. – BTG
Managed Telecom and IT Services
Morganville, NJ.
(732) 978-4443
sales@btgroupinc.com

CEO – Jeff Kaplan

May 27, 2015 was a red-letter day for Breakthrough Technology Group, Inc. (BTG) in that it had two major announcements for its new partner programs: BTG Partner and BTG Private Cloud Partner. I spoke with CEO Jeff Kaplan about the new partner programs and BTG’s cloud offerings.

Podcast Info: Length: 26:15 minutes. Format: MP3. Rating: G (All audiences).

BTG Partner Program

The new BTG Partner Program opened to consultants, systems integrators, vendors and agents to offer cloud computing and services to enterprise, and midmarket and smaller businesses.

“When you look at the consulting community, there’s a ton of partners out there who don’t have a recurring-revenue stream and who are looking for the right partner, and the right reliability for their customers,” Kaplan said. “Those are relationships we’re looking to build.”

This program really focuses on the consultant community in an attempt to broaden BTG’s reach into smaller companies and to bring recurring revenue to consultants. BTG is also trying to help those consultants and VARs extend their reach and transform their businesses into a more sustainable format by enabling these new partners to leverage cloud services for their customers.

The program includes three levels for participation:

  • Adviser, which qualifies a customer, and initiates a discussion between BTG and the customer;
  • Reseller Billing Only, which becomes BTG’s client on behalf of the customer in terms of billing; and
  • Reseller White Label, in which everything, from the support portal to answering of phones, will be branded as the partner.

For consultants and vendors who want to use BTG’s infrastructure and cloud services as their own infrastructure, BTG offers a so-called “White Label” partnership where BTG becomes an extension of the partner for customer support. This partnership enables small consultancies the opportunity to offer a wider range of services and technologies to their customers with extended support from BTG.

BTG Private Cloud Partner Program

Systems integrators, VARs, and agents are now able to deliver secure cloud solutions, offer Tier-1 data center, applications and services without capital investment. This partnership program lowers the barriers to cloud solutions business for its partners, which otherwise would be unreachable due to the costs associated with infrastructure, networking, and support personnel.

“Analysts and industry experts worldwide agree that private cloud offers a tremendous opportunity for solutions providers to mitigate risk and deliver a secure, efficient computing experience,” said Kaplan. “Our Private Cloud Partner Program will open new doors for businesses of all sizes and markets by creating supplemental revenue streams, taking their companies to unprecedented heights.”

As a managed services provider, BTG puts itself in the background as the support system for its partners.

BTG’s Cloud-based Offerings

A major pain point for companies is how to manage desktop computing. To that end, BTG offers its AppsAnyplace solution that includes fully managed, hosted, custom virtual desktops and applications. The pain points of desktop computing are support costs, patch management, remote user support, consistent desktop environments, standardized applications, malware problems, and data security.

The standard Desktop-as-a-Service takes care of these issues by hosting virtual desktops in a private cloud environment and taking care of all support, security, and maintenance in the background.

BTG’s Private Cloud services leverage a highly redundant and virtualized security, networking, and SAN storage.

Private Cloud features include:

  • 24×7×365 infrastructure and private cloud management
  • Optional management and monitoring through the OS/Application layers
  • Cloud environment to host client applications
  • Optional replication of data and applications
  • 24x7x365 Help Desk
  • Support for dedicated virtual Linux and Windows servers
  • Application and data security
  • Consumption-based pricing

For SaaSAnyplace, BTG supports dedicated hosted Exchange Server, hosted SharePoint, hosted Lync Server, and hosted archiving & eDiscovery. For its DataAnyplace service, BTG uses Citrix ShareFile to enable users to use data on any device and for easy collaboration.

Founded in 2007, Breakthrough Technology Group (BTG) is a managed services provider that supports mid-market enterprise customers, through the use of advanced technology and telecommunications.

Cloud is Reshaping the World of Business for SMBs

June 29, 2014 Comments off

Cloud: Reshaping the World of BusinessOn Thursday, June 26, I participated in an hour-long IBM Business Insider Spreecast titled, “Cloud: Reshaping the World of Business,” where host Paul Gillin led the panel through a series of questions and thought points concerning Cloud and small to medium-sized businesses. There was also an associated Twitter Chat that used hashtag, #SMB4Cloud, that I participated in during the event. Though you can’t attend the live event now, you can click the link above and connect to the Spreecast and gain insight into the discussion that we had.

There were a few major highlights that sprang from the panel and participants. First, is the concept that mature businesses move slower to adopt new technologies than their newer counterparts do. Startups are especially onboard with new technologies, such as cloud computing, cloud storage, and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Startups don’t always have the capital to purchase infrastructure and data center space that can run into the millions of dollars for the kind of computing power required to run high capacity applications, to store big data, to maintain a potentially huge number of customers, to supply adequate bandwidth, and to provide 24×7 service uptimes.

Startups have to leverage cloud computing, IaaS, and new technologies in order to get into the market and compete effectively against established businesses.

Second, cloud computing allows companies, at any stage of development, to get to market faster than is possible with traditional computing infrastructure. Provisioning times with IaaS is measured in minutes rather than in weeks or in months.

Third, using a cloud provider or managed service provider (MSP) allows a company to use expertise that might not be available within the company. MSPs also allows companies to leverage these skills that might be out of their salary range. SMBs can effectively compete on a scale and at a speed that wasn’t possible just a few years ago. Only large companies could move infrastructure, people, and skills fast enough and on a large enough scale to take on significant contracts. Cloud computing has opened up new possibilities and expanded business opportunities for SMBs.

Fourth, cloud computing offers a high level of simplicity for SMBs. There are services available that are very easy to use. If the business doesn’t require a lot of customization or specialized services, then cloud usage can be as simple as a few mouse clicks, which allows SMBs to use current employee skillsets to step into cloud services without the complexity.

Finally, the cloud transforms IT people into business people. Fixing computers and troubleshooting problems now shifts to a provider. IT people are now becoming more focused on business outcomes, customer satisfaction, and business growth rather than day-to-day break/fix and operational objectives of running an IT shop.

Panelists:

Paul Gillin – Paul Gillin Communications, Host.
John Mason – General Manager, Midmarket at IBM.
Laurie McCabe – Co-founder and Partner, The SBM Group.
Subbu Balakrishnan – CTO and Co-founder, Good.co.

One of the panelists noted that, “Cloud works for DIY and “Do It For Me” businesses alike.”

That statement covers the gamut of what cloud computing can do for businesses at whatever comfort or expertise level they have at their disposal. Although it’s difficult for some IT people, even CIOs, to see is that if your company isn’t an IT company, then there’s no reason to be in the IT business. Cloud makes it possible to be in the business you’re in, but have the computing power you need to run your business without becoming an IT business.

The conclusions from the Spreecast and the Twitter Chat can be summarized as the following:

  • Established businesses must embrace cloud computing to remain relevant
  • Startups and young businesses use new technologies and adapt faster
  • Cloud computing enables a faster startup and faster presence for new services
  • Cloud computing is transforming IT from a service to a business quality organization
  • IaaS significantly shortens infrastructure provisioning times
  • Cloud computing allows businesses to focus on business rather than on IT

Cloud computing, for some, is quite controversial, but few would argue that cloud isn’t transformative and a paradigm shift from business as usual. Businesses that want to remain relevant and those that want to become agile, or even virtual, should examine the possibilities of what cloud can offer them.

If you’re considering cloud computing for your business, check out IBM’s Cloud Computing Marketplace.
IBM_logoThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

IBM’s Entry into Software-Defined Storage: Elastic Storage

May 30, 2014 Comments off

StorageBy now, everyone has heard of the hot new buzzword: software-defined data center (SDDC). SDDC is the new data center paradigm where everything is software-defined: network, computers, and storage. Yes, there’s underlying hardware making the whole thing possible but what do software-defined resources really do for us? The answer is simple: It abstracts hardware into pooled resources that users can partake of in discreet slices for cloud applications and for cloud workloads.

But the real story here is IBM’s venture into software-defined storage that it calls Elastic Storage. On May 12, 2014, IBM announced a portfolio of software defined storage products that deliver improved economics at the same time they enable organizations to access and process any type of data, on any type of storage device, anywhere in the world. Elastic Storage offers unprecedented performance, infinite scale, and is capable of reducing storage costs up to 90 percent by automatically moving data onto the most economical storage device.

For example, if a company has data that’s accessed infrequently, that data will be moved to tape or to low cost disk systems for archiving. Alternatively, data that’s accessed regularly or that requires high speed access will be moved to flash storage. Data redistribution is based on policy-driven rules and data analytics. This type of automated data movement shows cost savings of up to 90 percent.

“Born in IBM Research Labs, this new, patented breakthrough technology allows enterprises to exploit – not just manage – the exploding growth of data in a variety of forms generated by countless devices, sensors, business processes, and social networks. The new storage software is ideally suited for the most data-intensive applications, which require high-speed access to massive volumes of information – from seismic data processing, risk management and financial analysis, weather modeling, and scientific research, to determining the next best action in real-time retail situations.”

Elastic Storage features and benefits:

As for performance, IBM’s Elastic Storages boasts the capability of scanning over 10 billion files on just one cluster in less than 45 minutes. This type of performance as extreme implications for analytics and big data applications. IBM’s Elastic Storage solution is built for performance for big data and is based on the same technologies used in the Watson computer.

“Elastic Storage offers unprecedented performance, infinite scale, and is capable of reducing storage costs up to 90 percent by automatically moving data onto the most economical storage device.”

 

Part of Elastic Storage’s performance enhancement is due to IBM’s parallel data access technology: (General Parallel File System (GPFS). It eliminates the performance bottlenecks and so-called “choke” points of other data access algorithms and technologies.

What it all means is that now you have the same capability to access, analyze, and report on huge data sets in a fraction of the time it used to take to perform these analyses as large companies have. Elastic Storage puts the data where it needs to be to best serve you and your data requirements at a tremendous cost savings.

IBM Elastic Storage supports OpenStack Cinder and Swift interfaces. IBM is a platinum sponsor of OpenStack Foundation and is now its second most prolific contributor. It also supports other open APIs, such as POSIX and Hadoop.

IBM_logoThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Overcoming the barriers of going global through cloud and mobile technologies

August 6, 2013 1 comment

going_globalIn a previous post, “Transforming your company with cloud, mobile and MSPs“, I stated that these technologies level the playing field for companies wishing to break into a global marketplace. And it’s true, it does but barriers still exist, although the barriers are far lower than they were prior to the new “cloud revolution”. One of those barriers is expertise. Technology expertise, or the lack of that expertise actually, prevents many entrepreneurs and existing companies from taking that big global leap. There’s an excellent article by John Mason,  General Manager, Midmarket Business, IBM, on this very topic titled, “When Small Businesses use Cloud and Mobile to Go Global.

In the article, John describes the relationship between cloud and mobile technologies and how companies can harness these to launch their businesses on a global scale.

The problem that entrepreneurs face in their global business quest is that there is a clear disconnect between the technology and implementation of that technology towards a new market strategy. In other, more simple terms, there are no clear cut road maps to making that transition.

But it’s not all gloom and doom for the would-be global entrepreneur. Help is available.

In fact, John’s group at IBM can help with that. He speaks from a position of knowledge, authority, and history on the topic of global business and global opportunity. IBM, after all, since its official founding in 1911, was one of the first, if not the first, international (global) technology company. Additionally, it was also IBM that pioneered the technologies that we now refer to as “cloud computing”.

The underlying technologies might not interest you as a business owner or global business entrepreneur but what you need to know is that to overcome the remaining barriers to global business, you need a company, and its partners, behind you that blazed the global business trail.

But how can cloud computing and mobile technologies help launch your business into the global business arena?

John gives multiple examples in his article of how it works. For example, he states, “More and more small farmers are today harnessing the power of mobile to help them connect to agricultural services, information and markets. With a few taps, farmers in remote areas can obtain information about the optimum time to plant their seeds, the right way to keep pests at bay, or the best market in which to sell their crops.”

The keywords in his example are, “the best market in which to sell their crops.” What is the best market? Domestic? Foreign? If it’s foreign, the farmer has to connect to those markets. He has to schedule delivery, negotiate pricing, and then deliver the crops. How does a small farmer make that transition?

The answer is technology.

To overcome the barriers, you have to engage expertise that you don’t have. You have to find someone who’s been there and done that. And you have to find someone who’s done it many times before–successfully.

Moving to a global marketplace has never been easier but there are still barriers. You need a partner who knows the way.

IBM for Midsize Business

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Categories: Articles, Cloud, IBM, Mobile

Transforming your company with cloud, mobile and MSPs

August 6, 2013 1 comment

coffeeI just watched a video where IBM and two IBM partners discuss Managed Service Providers (MSPs), cloud, mobile, and transforming your business with technology. The video is part of a new IBM series targeting SMBs and demonstrating how cloud, mobile, and their MSP partners can transform or launch your business for very little money. They call the series Coffee and Conversation. It’s a casual and relaxed conversation over coffee about technological transformation. The two companies represented in this first video are CloudView and WakaDigital.

The message of the video is clear: MSPs can help transform or launch your business for little money and give you the global exposure and agility required to succeed in today’s market.

It sounds simple and it is simple.

Personally, if I were to launch a new business today, I would not lease office space. I wouldn’t buy or even lease a bunch of hardware for my own server room. I certainly wouldn’t go into massive and crushing debt to acquire the hardware, software, support staff, maintenance contracts, and the myriad of costly services and personnel required to run the business.

I would work out of my home, comfortably in my home office, and use an MSP and cloud technologies to empower me to:

  • Appear as a larger company.
  • Quickly spin up a usable computing infrastructure.
  • Enable my customers to interact with me via mobile and cloud technologies.
  • Allow customers to purchase my products and services securely online.
  • Be everywhere at once.

Now I know that sounds far-fetched but it isn’t. Finding the right business partners is essential to your success. Your MSP is your business partner. It provides everything you need to run your business from a technology perspective.

All you have to worry about is how to manage your supply chain, contingent workers, and accounting. But guess what? IBM has a solution for all of those problems too. Their partners cover the gamut of every needed service and possible line of support that you need.

As Leila Ashley (CloudView) says in the video, this new agile business model “levels the playing field” for SMBs who need to compete with hungry start-ups, as well as, established, well-funded enterprises. Ms. Ashley goes on to zero in on an important aspect of this new business model by stating that they can launch an e-commerce site in a day’s time instead of a week. What she’s telling you is that you can effectively have an idea at 8AM and realize that dream by 5PM the same day.

You don’t have to wait for proof of concepts, ordering new hardware, procuring software, installing, patching, and updating any operating systems or applications. You have an agile, automated solution waiting for you with very few obstacles and very low entry barriers.

Business is different today than it was even ten years ago. Cloud technologies and agile systems allow us to respond to changing business needs, to test new products and new markets without a heavy capital investment, and without long delays. We can now respond within the windows of opportunity that present themselves to us. That is true agility.

And what about businesses that can’t make the transition?

Denise Garth (IBM) makes an excellent point in the video by observing that businesses either will transform or possibly become irrelevant.

Forty years ago, you weren’t relevant if you didn’t have a Yellow Pages ad. Ten years ago, you weren’t relevant if you didn’t have a website. Today and tomorrow, you might become irrelevant if you can’t meet the challenges of a transformed business. Sure, some might say that business is business and people don’t change but, on the other hand, technology has transformed the customer into a technologically-connected buyer. That’s relevant to any business.

Businesses must transform to meet the needs of the new customer paradigm. Online, agile, cloud-oriented, connected, mobile, and social media-savvy is the new business paradigm.

IBM’s MSP partners can help you transform your business. Level the playing field by contacting IBM and its partners and go have a cup of coffee.

While you’re sipping on that hot cup of bean juice, take a look at how other companies just like yours are being transformed.

IBM for Midsize Business

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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IBM’s New Power Systems Bring Affordable Power to SMBs

February 13, 2013 Comments off

big-data-smBefore IBM announced its eight new Power Systems, big data solutions and cloud computing solutions were only available to enterprise-level customers. These eight new Power Systems, three new PureSystems models and new Storage Systems technologies bring high-powered but cost-effective results to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). At an entry-level price that’s under $6,000 USD and reseller agreements with TechData and Ingram Micro, IBM puts big computing power at standard x86 pricing into the hands of small business owners.

This “resurfacing” of IBM’s Power Systems allows SMBs to remove the complex nature of developing cloud-based services and applications by making it easier to provision, deploy and manage a secure cloud environment.

Implications for Big Data

Analytics that once seemed out of reach for SMBs are now possible with IBM Netezza Analytics. These new PureData Systems for Analytics, powered by Netezza technlogy, are optimized for big data applications and feature 50 percent greater data capacity per rack and the capability of analyzing data up to three times faster than earlier versions of PureData Systems for Analytics.

“IBM Netezza Analytics is an embedded, purpose-built, advanced analytics platform — delivered with every IBM Netezza appliance — that empowers analytic enterprises to meet and exceed their business demands.”

IBM Netezza Analytics’ is a fusion of data warehousing and in-database analytics. The result is a scalable, high-performance, massively parallel advanced analytic platform that is designed to crunch through petascale data volumes. This allows users to query the data that are only imagined on other architectures. IBM Netezza Analytics design provides better and faster answers to the most sophisticated business questions.

With IBM’s Netezza Analytics and new PureData System for Analytics, you can leverage the power and clarity of big data analytics without the huge cost layout associated with enterprise-level technology.

Accelerating Cloud Computing Adoption

Cloud computing doesn’t have to be painful or expensive. The smaller PureApplication System offers companies with limited budgets and technical resources a “cloud in a box” solution. All the infrastructure and management software required to develop and deploy new on-premise cloud are included to remove the complexity, the time and the labor usually associated with cloud migration projects. And there’s no performance sacrifice with these smaller configurations, so don’t assume that you’re getting less just because you’re paying less and dealing with less hassle.

One of the pudding proofs of this high performance, low cost and minimal hassle assertion is IBM’s Managed Service Provider (MSP) client market segment. MSPs assist SMBs solve complex technical problems. To grow their own businesses, MSPs must expand their IT infrastructures and service delivery capabilities and minimize disruptions and risks associated with business growth.  IBM offers services and infrastructure solutions designed specifically for MSPs including new MSP Editions, flexible “pay as you grow” financing options, and enhanced marketing and sales support. These offerings empower  MSPs to deliver cloud infrastructures that enable them to drive new revenue streams.

IBM’s new offerings for SMBs include:

  • Smaller PureApplication System
  • PureApplication System on POWER7+
  • Expanded Software Patterns Catalogue
  • MSP Editions for PureFlex System and Flex Systems
  • SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure

“PureSystems is part of IBM SmartCloud offerings, a portfolio of enterprise-class cloud computing technologies and services built on open standards that provides flexible deployment options including PureSystems and IBM SmartCloud services. IBM helps clients build private clouds with IBM SmartCloud Foundation, which provides a common cloud operating environment across the different deployment options. IBM SmartCloud helps clients quickly build and scale private clouds and hybrid clouds for cloud capabilities such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service.”

IBM’s new product offerings focus on small to medium-sized business needs in a way that no other vendor does. IBM and its partners continue to innovate to make your business more efficient and more profitable to operate. And if you need expertise to get it done, IBM and its partners are there to support you.

Big data analytics and cloud computing are but two of the hundreds of services and platforms available to meet your needs.

Read more about IBM Analytics, Data warehouse products and Cloud computing solutions. Download the Cloud Computing for Dummies ebook and find out how cloud computing can transform your business.

IBM’s Global Financing offers flexible and affordable financing to acquire the technology you need to expand and extend your business.

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IBM for Midsize Business

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Categories: Articles, Cloud, IBM
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