Industry Buzz

Preparing For The Big Data Revolution

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

It is no accident that we have recently seen a surge in the amount of interest in big data. Businesses are faced with unprecedented opportunities to understand their customers, achieve efficiencies and predict future trends thanks to the convergence of a number of technologies. Businesses need to take every opportunity to store everything they can. Lost data represents lost opportunities to understand customer behaviour and interests, drivers for efficiency and industry trends. A Perfect Storm Data storage costs have fallen dramatically. For instance, in 1956 IBM released the first hard disk drive, the RAMAC 305. It allowed the user to store five megabytes of data at a cost of $50,000 – that’s around $435,000 in today’s dollars. In comparison, a four-terabyte drive today can fit in your hand and costs around $180. If you were to build the four-terabyte drive using 1956 technology, it would cost $350 billion and would take up a floor area of 1,600 square kilometers – 2.5 times the area of Singapore. Also, 10-megabyte personal hard drives were advertised circa 1981 for $3,398 – that’s $11,000 today, or $4.4 billion for four terabytes. Gordon Moore’s prediction in 1965 that processing capacity doubles approximately every two years has proved astoundingly accurate. Yet the amount of data we can generate has far outstripped even this exponential growth rate. Data capture has evolved from requiring specialised engineers, then specialised clerical staff, to the point where the interactive web allowed people to capture their own data. While this was a revolutionary step forward in the amount of data we had at our disposal, it pales before the most recent step: the “Internet of Things,” which has opened the door for machines to automatically capture huge amounts of data, resulting in a veritable explosion of data, way outstripping Moore’s Law. The result: the data load became too much for our computers, so we simply threw a lot away or stopped looking for new data to store. With the price of storage decreasing sharply, the economies of storage have meant we can afford to capture more data: it has become increasingly important to find new ways to process all the data being stored at the petabyte scale. A number of technologies have emerged to do this. Pets Versus Cattle Traditionally computer servers were all-important – they were treated like pets. Each server was named and maintained with great attention to ensure that everything was performing as expected. After all, when a server failed, bad things would happen. Under the new model, servers are more like cattle: they are expendable, easily replaced. Parallel processing technologies have superseded monolithic approaches and allow us to take advantage of using many low-cost machines rather than increasingly more powerful central servers. Hadoop is one project that has emerged to handle very large data sets using the cattle approach. Hadoop uses a “divide and conquer” approach, which enables extremely large workloads to be distributed across multiple computers, with the results brought back together for aggregation once each intermediate step has been performed. To illustrate Hadoop: imagine having a deck of cards and someone asks you to locate the Jack of Diamonds. Under a traditional approach you have to search through the cards until you locate the card. With Hadoop, you can effectively give one card each to 52 people, or four cards each to 13 people, and ask who has the Jack of Diamonds. Much faster and much simpler when complex processes can be broken into manageable steps. NoSQL, which was intended to mean “not only SQL,” is a collection of database technologies designed to handle large volumes of data – typically with less structure required than in a typical relational database like SQL Server or MySQL. Databases like this are designed to scale out to multiple machines, whereas traditional relational databases are more suited to scaling up on single bigger servers. NoSQL databases can handle semi-structured data; for example, if you need to capture multiple values of one type or obscure values for one person. In a traditional database, the structure of the database is typically more rigid. NoSQL databases are great for handling large workloads but they are typically not designed to handle atomic transactions: relational SQL databases are better designed for workloads where you have to guarantee that all changes are made to the database at the same time, or no changes are made. Network Science Network science studies the way relationships between nodes develop and behave in complex networks. Network concepts apply in many scenarios; examples include computer networks, telecommunications networks, airports or social networks. Given a randomly growing network, some nodes emerge as the most significant and, like gravity, continue to attract additional connections from new nodes. For example, some airports develop into significant hubs while others are left behind. As an airport grows, with more connections and flights, there are increasingly compelling reasons why new airlines will decide to fly to that airport. Likewise, in social networks, some people are far more influential either due to the number of associations they develop or because of the effectiveness of their communication skills or powers of persuasion. Big data can help us to identify the important nodes in any contextual network. Games console companies have identified the most popular children in the playground and given them a free console on the basis that they will have a lot of influence over their friends. Epidemiologists can identify significant factors in the spread of diseases by looking at the significant nodes and then take steps to prevent further contamination or plan for contagion. Similarly, marketers can use the same approaches to figure out what is more likely to “go viral.” Benefits Big data assists businesses to gain a better understanding of customers, treating each customer as an individual – the so-called marketing segment of one. Understanding what moves customers can build strong brand loyalty and evoke an emotional response that can be very powerful. Imagine an airline that recognises recognizes that a particular passenger travels from A to B every Monday to Thursday. However, if that passenger plans to stay in B for two weeks, imagine how much loyalty could be generated by offering them a free flight over the weekend to C, a discounted flight for their spouse from A to C, and a discounted hire car and room for the weekend away together. Digital body language and buying habits can lead online retailers to be able to make astute decisions about what product to offer customers. Target was able to identify pregnant customers very early by their shopping patterns: customers buying certain combinations of cosmetics, magazines, clothes would go on to buy certain maternity products months later. Big data can be used to drive efficiencies in a business. The freight company UPS, for example, was able to save almost 32 million litres of fuel and shave 147 million kilometers off the distance its trucks travelled in 2011 by placing sensors throughout the trucks. As a side benefit, they learned that the short battery life of their trucks was due to the drivers leaving the headlights on. By analysing customer relationships, T-Mobile was able to mitigate the risk of a domino effect when one customer decided to leave its service. It did this by identifying the customers who were most closely related digitally to the person churning and making a very attractive offer to those people, preventing the churn from spreading. Further, by analysing people’s billing, call dropout rates and public comments, they were able to act in advance to reduce churn by 50 percent in a quarter. CERN conducts physics experiments at the Large Hadron Collider involving sending 3.5 trillion electron volts in each direction around an underground ring, resulting in particle collisions that provide an understanding of the basic building blocks of matter. The Higgs-Boson was proven by analysing the data that was generated in smashing the particles together. About 15,000 servers are used to analyse the one petabyte of data that is generated per second and 20 gigabytes is actually stored. This is orchestrated using cloud techniques built on OpenStack and designed and supported by Rackspace. Conclusion We have reached a point where it is now better to start storing everything today so that we have a business case for analytical tools tomorrow. Once we start getting used to the idea that everything is available to us, we will find new ways to think about how we leverage our information. The businesses that succeed in the future will be those that constantly look for ways to mine the information they have gleaned. [This article has been slightly modified from an article I wrote that was previously published in Technology Decisions magazine.]

Early Access Program from Name.com: Week of April 23, 2014

Name.com Blog -

Another week of the Early Access Program to New Domains from Name.com is here. That means you can purchase the domains you’ve been eyeing and start using them immediately—even before before the general availability date! The New Domains available in the Early Access Program this week are .agency, .bargains, .boutique, .cheap, .zone. You can search for your name below: Happy Early Access Program domaining!

Object Storage Tomorrow: Erasure Coding

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Introduction My last post talked about the benefits of Object Storage today. My next few posts will talk about the future direction of Object Storage technology, and the upcoming features that you should be aware of. Today, I will talk about Erasure Coding. Once again, this post will be Swift-centric, but many of these concepts will likely be embraced by other platforms as well. The What of Erasure Coding Erasure coding (EC) is an established technology: it is what makes RAID possible. EC transforms an object and creates parity data that makes the object resistant to data loss. EC parity is generally referred to by the number of data segments plus the number of parity segments. For example, if you think of a 5 disk RAID5, you effectively have 4 data disks, and 1 parity disk. This would be represented as 4+1, indicating, depending on which way you want to look at it, that 4 disks are required for full data integrity, or that you could lose a single disk without losing any data. If we were to add another parity disk (RAID6 or ADG depending on your storage vendor), we would have a 4+2 model. The models generally discussed for Object Storage are 10+4 or 10+5, although there is no reason why other models could not be used (e.g. 10+2, 100+15). For a bit more detail on the concept, see this Wikipedia article. The Why of Erasure Coding The biggest benefit of EC is that the 3x overhead inherent in Swift can be reduced to a lower number (probably 1.2x to 1.5x depending on durability requirements). The downside is that object storage, retrieval, and error correction (in the event of bit-rot, drive failure, etc.) is significantly more computationally intense, making EC ideally suited for objects less frequently accessed (“warm” storage). For many large-scale storage use cases, the vast majority of data stored is not accessed on a regular basis. When this is the case, there is minimal downside to utilizing erasure coding for cold data, and the potential for massive reduction in total cost of ownership (e.g. in an environment where 90 percent of the data is cold, and a 1.2x parity level is acceptable, this would yield over a 50 percent reduction in TCO). This greatly enhances the archival value of the Swift platform, as it allows you to achieve tape-like costs, and “warm” storage performance characteristics. Another potential benefit is greater durability for EC data. A great example is comparing EC vs. 3x replication both with 3x overhead. EC data could be structured in, e.g. 30 “slices,” any 10 of which could be used to recreate the object. This would match the 3x overhead of Swift’s replication model, but while 3x replicas would result in data loss with as few as 3 drive failures (ignoring Swift’s built in data protection features for a minute), the EC object would require 21 drive failures before the data would be lost. At that point the odds of a datacenter-level catastrophe would likely be significantly greater than the odds of data loss through hardware failure. The Why Not of Erasure Coding There are already several solutions based on EC available on the market today (e.g. Cleversafe and Scality), however a pure EC solution performs at a dramatic penalty when compared to a replica-based solution. The algorithms available today can encode very efficiently, but retrieving the object is an O(n) operation, so will be considerably slower and more CPU-intense than a replication-based solution. Additionally, since each replica is a full copy of the object in the replica-based solution, object retrieval can happen at 3x the rate of the EC system, where only a single, costly-to-retrieve copy is stored. The easy resolution to this is to take the best of both models and use replication-based data protection for “hot” data, and EC for “cold” data, and that is what Swift’s approach is seeking to accomplish. Another major hurdle is that due to the relatively large number of “slices” of an object, EC requires a substantially larger number of devices to achieve a desired level of fault-tolerance, so is not suited for small clusters. Finally, EC is not efficient for encoding small objects, so for datasets involving primarily less than 1 million files, EC is not appropriate (this could be worked around by aggregating a number of files into a single archive, but at a further performance penalty, and greater management overhead). The When of Erasure Coding This feature is expected to reach production-ready status within a few months of the Openstack Juno design summit in May 2014. More details are available in this blog post by Swift PTL John Dickinson.

Specialist Interactive: 5 Questions To Answer Before Migrating Your App To Rackspace

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

In my position as a Launch Manager on our Cloud Launch Team, I speak everyday with customers who are bringing an application over to Rackspace from another hosting provider. Whether it’s a WordPress blog, a Magento eCommerce site, or a custom-built mobile app, my fellow Launch Managers and I work with our customers to provide a smooth transition from one provider to another. Today, I’ll outline five questions you should ask before starting a migration to Rackspace (or any other hosting provider). I will also be hanging out at 1 p.m. CDT  Thursday, April 24 with other Rackers to discuss these questions in more detail. Join us on Google+ to Hangout, or watch the embedded video below. 1. Why are you moving from your current host? What are your current pain points? There are many, many reasons you might be moving – a performance increase; your app has grown to need a hybrid hosting platform; the need for better, specialized support; maybe you need a more reliable platform; or perhaps your app needs to scale beyond the scope of your current hosting provider. Whatever the reason, we want to make sure you have a good “why” before you move to Rackspace.
 Wait, is Rackspace trying to convince me to stay with my current host? Not necessarily, we just want to make sure that you account for all of the reasons you need to migrate so that answer: 2. What does a successful migration look like? When this is done, how will we know we succeeded? Gather your stakeholders, and find out what matters to them. Look back at the reasons why you need to move hosts. Does fixing those issues constitute success? Are there other factors that would help to improve your and your end users’ experience? The definitions of success should include both experiential metrics and concrete metrics. For example, load time less than 2 seconds; or no more than 30 minutes of downtime. Take that feedback and write out a realistic version of a successful outcome. By clearly establishing what success looks like, we’ll know when we get there. 3. Who is managing the project? Who is responsible for each aspect of the migration? Who’s handling the infrastructure? Who will move the files, and who will switch the DNS when you’re ready? Asking and answering these questions now will help us delegate tasks as they come up, and can greatly decrease the amount of time needed to complete a migration. 4. What’s your timeline? When do you need to have your project online here at Rackspace? Do you have a hard and fast deadline for leaving your current host? Are you up against a deadline for a major media appearance? Think Shark Tank or Good Morning America. By establishing that timeline early in the process, we’ll be able to allocate the appropriate resources to meet that deadline. We’ll work with you to establish the timeline for building the infrastructure, moving over your existing content and the final DNS migration. Of course we’ll also need to leave enough time for the most important question: 5. What do you need to test? Did we meet our definition of success? The one thing customers don’t leave enough time for is testing. The tyranny of the urgent often dictates that we change hosting providers right now! When your site is down at the current host, it seems like the most important thing in the world is to get back up and running on your new provider. But things do change from one host to another, from one server to another, and taking the time to test is still extremely important. What should you test? Test for the definitions of success. Our Launch Team will work with you to help establish those definitions, and also help with testing that they have been met. You should test basic site functionality, while we work with partners like New Relic and Load Impact to test application performance under load. I can’t stress enough how important testing is – always make sure to make time in your timeline for testing. I can’t guarantee that answering these five questions will make any transition free of complications, but I can tell you that I’ve seen enough successful migrations to know that it will greatly help. Hangout with us for more discussion If you want to discuss this further, join our live, interactive Hangout on air at 1 p.m. CDT  Thursday, April 24. My Cloud Launch Teammate Drew Cox and I will discuss these five questions and other ideas around migrating to Rackspace. You can learn more about the Hangout here.

Three New gTLDs Available for Registration, Including .FARM

1&1 Online Success Center -

1&1 Internet has launched three new generic top-level domains (gTLDs)! This week, users can immediately register the following domain extensions for their website: .CODES .FARM .VIAJES Businesses and organizations now have even more opportunities to secure a unique and memorable website address with these new gTLDs. To stand out from competition and build upon your online brand, register your new domain name at http://www.1and1.com/new-top-level-domains. As always, those that have pre-registered a domain name with 1&1 in the past will be given priority as the new domain names are launched. After successful registration, users can link their existing website to the new gTLD via the 1&1 control panel. For the first year of registration, .FARM can be registered for just $19.99, and .CODES and .VIAJES for $39.99. Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/mac99

Scattered Optimism for Future of Global Economy: LinkedIn Economic Confidence Outlook

LinkedIn Official Blog -

LinkedIn now has more than 300 million professionals around the world from nearly every major industry and job level, including many executives and managers. Together, they represent a wealth of professional knowledge, insights and opinions. With the health of local and global economies on everyone’s radar, we decided to tap into the minds of senior business leaders on LinkedIn to get a sense of where our economy is headed in the near future. In the first quarter of 2014, we surveyed more than 14,000 senior business leaders on LinkedIn in the 16 countries around the world that represent almost two-thirds of global economic output. The survey consisted of questions designed to gauge leaders’  confidence level in the global economy and that of their local country, as well as their opinions about employment and staffing levels. Below are highlights from this survey in our first ever LinkedIn Economic Confidence Outlook. This data represents the kind of knowledge we’ll be able to share as we continue to develop the Economic Graph. We will revisit this research on a quarterly basis to track how the insights of business leaders around the world change and evolve regarding the future of the global economy. Summary: Sentiment on the likelihood of a global recovery was mixed, but there were some signs of scattered optimism. The majority of senior business leaders represented in the survey are concerned that their own countries will be left behind in any sort of a global economic recovery. Net confidence in job growth was guarded when looking at the next 12 months, being limited to only a handful of countries and industries. Senior business leaders from a majority of European countries, in particular, feel positive about their own country’s economy and the global economy. LinkedIn Economic Confidence Outlook Q1 2014 from LinkedIn We will return with our LinkedIn Economic Confidence Outlook in the second quarter of 2014. In the meantime, follow the Economic Graph Showcase Page for continuing coverage of issues impacting the global economy. About The Data: The survey was conducted in February 2014 of LinkedIn members director-level and above. Responding executives were located in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries represent almost two-thirds of global economic output.

Hosted Microsoft Lync Instant Messaging And Video Calling Now In Beta

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Last week, we gave you a sneak peek at the instant messaging and video calling capabilities that are coming in Hosted Microsoft Lync at Rackspace. Today, Hosted Microsoft Lync is available through an Early Access program (beta). With Hosted Microsoft Lync, you get: Encrypted instant messaging Video calling (one-to-one) Presence and status messages (available, busy, do not disturb) with photos and location information Secure file transfer Seamless integration with Outlook, Outlook Web Apps and mobile devices The award-winning Fanatical Support you’ve come to expect from Rackspace Sign Up for Beta! Hosted Microsoft Lync is available to customers who use our Hosted Exchange 2013 email platform. If you’d like to be considered for the limited Early Access program, please complete this form and we will contact you with availability. If you’re considering Rackspace Hosted Exchange for the first time or using an older Rackspace Exchange platform, please chat or call us at 1-866-201-7852 for more details on Exchange 2013.

Mashing up the future of cloud services at Parallels Summit with Blake Irving

GoDaddy Blog -

Disruptive technologies, by their very definition, are difficult to predict. We can however track the course of online consumer and developer trends today to make smart assumptions about the technology landscape in the years to come. Our CEO, Blake Irving, shared his unique perspective on how looking backward with a focused lens reshapes the way we all look (and design) forward. From machine learning and predictive analytics to mobile everywhere and client side architecture, Blake shared his point of view on the potential impacts of tech mashups at Parallels Summit 2014, the global gathering of more than 1,200 professionals in the hosting and cloud industries. In human culture, we have always combined existing ideas to create completely new art forms. In music, for example, jazz was a mashup between African music and European music. Fast forward twenty years from the Jazz Age, and rock was the mashup between jazz, R&D and country. And the pattern continues. Mashups are an incredibly powerful form of innovation. Everything from mashups that were too early or missed the mark (Microsoft Bob and Apple Newton) to current successes such as WhatsApp to Pandora are, at their core, mashups of pre-existing technologies that are being put together in a new way. Music streaming services Spotify and Pandora are mashups. (At their core, these types of services are mashups between personal clouds and smartphone ubiquity and music.) Services such as NetFlix and Hulu and Amazon Prime Streaming are mashups between broadband ubiquity and new client architectures. Machine learning plus Siri plus big data results in IBM Watson and wins Jeopardy. Ultimately, Blake contends that the ability to leverage open standards and combine various capabilities into new services and solutions can help networks of businesses answer the “what should I do next?” question as well. He posits that mashing up cloud-based services with big data using capabilities like Hadoop can actually provide insights into “what’s working and what’s not” for small businesses, by providing incredibly valuable benchmarking data, enabling everyone from web designers and developers to a new corner bakery gain a view into the trends that can help them run their business more effectively. So, take a watch of Blake’s presentation if you have a few minutes. Would love to know what you think!     The post Mashing up the future of cloud services at Parallels Summit with Blake Irving appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

How to Increase Your Social Media Click-Through Rates

Social Media Examiner -

Want more traffic to your website? What if you could double the click-through rates of your social media updates? Extra traffic from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter would be nice, right? In this article you’ll discover four steps for crafting a great call to action that improves click-throughs. Why Driving Traffic Matters Your website is the [...]This post How to Increase Your Social Media Click-Through Rates first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Live video chat & co-browsing app added to Yahoo Commerce Central

Yahoo! Small Business Blog -

Live video chat & co-browsing app added to Yahoo Commerce Central: commercecentral: VeriShow, a live personal engagement solution has recently been added to Yahoo! Commerce Central. The app allows merchants to plug the solution into many popular ecommerce platforms, including Amazon Webstore, Shopify. and 3dCart. Verishow adds a “Live Help” button to the site that customers can…

Open Source Databases And The Cloud: Takeaways From The Percona MySQL Conference [Video]

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

In the last few years we have seen new distributions emerge, like MariaDB and Percona Server, as viable alternatives to MySQL. These new distributions create more choice for users with increased focus on performance and offer new configurations that empower users to push the limits of their database and optimize in new ways. At the Percona MySQL conference earlier this month in Santa Clara, Calif., Rackspace connected with the MySQL community to learn about new innovations in the open source database space and speak directly with the community about what DBAs want from a managed database service.  This year’s conference was especially exciting and boasted sessions and keynotes around revolutionary changes to a very stable ecosystem. At the conference, Daniel Morris and I (Sean Anderson) sat down with SiliconANGLE’s “The Cube” to discuss the conference, the community and the work Rackspace is doing in the data space. Feel free to watch the entire interview, but it is important to take note of these four key points from the conversation: Data lives in the cloud. Increasingly data is generated by applications that live natively in the cloud.  The ease and scalability of the cloud allows for the generation of countless data points, logs and metrics.  This data is used to optimize user interactions and create new functionality in applications that are termed “data driven.”  Since this data was bred in the cloud it only makes sense to store and process it in the cloud.  Data can only move at the speed of light so there are complications in moving data between environments.  This is prompting developers to seriously consider having their data only exist in the cloud.  This brings about new concerns with the integrity of data and congruency of database systems that are being tackled by the community. “We don’t exist in a world where it’s cloud or nothing.” Daniel makes a very staunch point here that in the world of Rackspace it’s not “cloud computing or nothing.”  The reality is that moving to the cloud is a journey.  Each company/application/initiative is somewhere in that journey.  There are applications that may never live in the cloud whether due to compliance or performance concerns or other factors.  The way that Rackspace adds value in this journey is by helping them make informed and prudent choices based on the recommendations of experts along with specific considerations of their applications.  Having hybrid capabilities means that we do not shy away from making the best infrastructure recommendation for the desired workload/operation. The roadmap is important. The emergence of various cloud providers gives users choices – they can choose the cloud provider that best fits their lens of the future.  Every provider has a different strategy.  It doesn’t mean that one is right and the other is wrong, but one provider may be better aligned with your business needs than others.  Choosing a cloud provider with a roadmap that mirrors your future technology aspirations is key to success.  As open communities accelerate new technology innovation it becomes more important to have expertise behind these new technologies.  We are seeing users pay close attention to the various providers’ roadmaps to understand which will be best equipped to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.  Faith in that roadmap gives developers the peace of mind that they will have the right teams in place if new problems arise. Open means more than open source. Daniel points out that Rackspace doesn’t approach the idea of open to just be defined as open source software.  While an open strategy consists of open source technologies, it encompasses more than just the application.  Open means that you can port a workload or application between providers and platforms without disruptive redesign.  Proprietary software will continue to be a part of an open strategy without the added benefit of the communities.  Being open means that development, deployment and growth are all free of the constraints of any specific technology provider. The future is bright for the open ecosystem of data technologies, whether they are traditional open-sourced databases or new data platforms.  Rackspace will continue to lead in contributions to open initiatives like Trove.  SiliconANGLE Founder John Furrier makes a great point in the video that “open-source wins.” That point is validated by the increased emphasis put on new open data technologies.  Daniel wraps up the sentiment nicely by saying “Just when people think MySQL is running out of steam, the community rallies around it to figure out as workloads change, as things move to the cloud, how do we bring MySQL forward?”  While we don’t have all of the answers about how this will play out, we are excited to be a part of this revolution in data.

Introducing our global Google+ page for webmasters

Google Webmaster Central Blog -

Webmaster Level: AllWe’ve recently launched our global Google Webmasters Google+ page. Have you checked it out yet? Our page covers a plethora of topics:Official news and announcements like when our blog launched en françaisTips such as how to handle 404s correctlyQ&A office hours with our teamExclusive behind the scenes including planking puns and adventures with GooglebotFollow us at google.com/+GoogleWebmasters and let us know in the comments what else you’d like to see on our page! If you speak Italian, Japanese, Russian or Spanish, be sure to also join one of our webmaster communities to stay up-to-date on language and region-specific news.Hello from around the world!Posted by Mary Chen and Andrey Lipattsev, Webmaster Outreach Team

Pin Picks: 7 life hacks for Earth Day

Oh, How Pinteresting! -

Planet Earth gives us shelter, warmth and is a place we call home. Today is Earth Day—dedicated to learning and raising awareness for the environment. And these days, you don’t have to break the bank or adopt drastic lifestyle changes to make a difference. In fact, a lot of you are coming together on Pinterest and discovering simple DIY projects and activities to make an impact. So for this week’s Pin Picks—and with a little help from our Pinners—we discover how to appreciate and protect the environment with 7 life hacks for Earth Day. 1. Wheel around town - If you want to prevent air pollution, save on fuel, and get blood circulating for better health, Ben Teoh has a board with all the gear you need to ride and reduce transportation emissions. Follow Ben Teoh’s board Cycling: Commuter Gear on Pinterest. 2. Just keep sipping - Styrofoam coffee cups are created with fossil fuels and aren’t biodegradable. Karl Pearson-Cater shows us that using reusable coffee mugs make a huge difference for your morning routine and the planet. Follow Karl Pearson-Cater’s board Coffee Mugs on Pinterest. 3. Create art with spare parts - Old computers often contain toxic elements such as lead, mercury and even arsenic to run their circuit boards making disposing extremely difficult. Berczik Andrea shows us how to recycle and design your space with old technology. Follow Berczik Andrea’s board recycle computer on Pinterest. 4. Pack a reusable lunch - Stephanie Poff shows us that using simple re-usable containers to pack a daily lunch is not only healthy, but a great way to reduce trash and waste. Follow Stephanie Poff’s board Pack your Lunch on Pinterest. 5. Breath easy at work - it’s no secret that plants help circulate oxygen. Gonzalo Rey Liste shares tips on the best air-filtering houseplants that purify the air. Perfect for your home, or even your office desk! Follow Gonzalo Rey Liste’s board Office plants on Pinterest. 6. Toss your fruits and veggies - Daniel Martin gives us tips on how to inexpensively turn organic materials into rich soil to reduce a toxic footprint. Follow Daniel Martin’s board Compost on Pinterest. 7. Clean with green - Bethany Hertog shows us how to stop hazardous chemicals from slipping into our drains and oceans with DIY cleaning products. Follow Bethany Hertog’s board Green (& Cheap!) Household on Pinterest. We’re doing our part here at Pinterest for the environment too. Our very own Pinterns (Pinterest interns) have created a place board of places they’re planning to reduce their carbon footprint by walking and hiking. Create your own board and let us know in the comments below on how you’re planning on celebrating Earth Day. And of course, tune in next week for more Pin Picks. —Pari Mathur, Content Guru, Currently pinning to Outside the Box

Is Your Business Email Secure?

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

When choosing your email provider, the security of your users’ data should be a top priority. Email routinely contains confidential and proprietary information both to your business and to individual users. It’s likely there is information about your business plans, financial projections and human resource data residing in a string of emails. How can you make sure this information remains private and only accessible to the intended recipients? Can you risk hours or even days of email downtime due to a virus that employees unknowingly spread? Reduce the burden of on-premise email security concerns with Rackspace® Hosted Email and our multi-layer spam and virus protection, world-class datacenters, email archiving and our focus on business-class email. Protecting your Users from Spam and Viruses Rackspace hosted email proactively monitors email environments 24×7 and takes daily measures to help protect email communication such as monitoring queues for deferrals or rejections, extreme connection rates or dropped connections. Our dedicated postmaster and operations team review a constant stream of data from our system as well as industry feedback to block or disable specific users throughout the day or apply new patches and upgrades. Though we’ve been providing email to our customers since 1999, take a look at our stats1 from 2013 alone: 36 billion message received 3.5 billion messages sent 15 billion pieces of spam and virus messages blocked 2.6 billion messages archived 720,000 new mailboxes added 500 new servers added Yes, you read that right. We blocked almost five times the amount spam and viruses than legitimate email that was sent in 2013. Five times more! There are malicious viruses that are meant to trick your users with a legitimate look or message. Without advanced email protection, it’s likely that even with the best intentions you may have a user who will click on a malicious message that could open your domain to vulnerability. Rackspace Hosted Exchange has three layers of spam and virus protection to help filter malicious messages out of your inbox. World-Class Datacenters Rackspace Hosted Exchange is geographically dispersed in multiple datacenters. What does this mean for you? It means an environmental event in one location such as a hurricane, earthquake or even a winter freeze will not disrupt mail flow as another datacenter would be able to accept and send mail. Get a quick glimpse behind the locked doors of one of our world-class datacenters here. Each datacenter is highly secure, clean and setup with multiple climate control and network systems. Long Term Email Retention—Search and Save for Critical Email Another consideration is email archiving. Instances often occur where you need a record of information and conversations from emails on your domain. Sometimes this capability is a compliance requirement needed to respond to audits. Is all of this information still on your email server? Do you have to manually search each mailbox to find it? Rackspace Email Archiving provides unlimited storage retention for your entire domain’s email data beginning from the time the policy is enabled. It’s easy to access and search so your company’s email is at your fingertips without maxing out your email storage or Outlook capabilities. Business-Class Email, Not Advertising, Focus With business plans and intellectual property such as designs, future advertisements and patents living in your emails, can you risk another company scanning your emails for metadata? Regardless if this information is used to advertise to you or just discarded, the fact that email providers may scan your email and pick keywords to sell can be a concern. This is business-grade email; you deserve more. Your information is yours, not ours–we have no business interest in selling Adwords via your email account. Email security is a critical component of your communication strategy. A bump in the road could set your company back days in productivity; money in lost time and data; and many sleepless nights for the IT administrator. When you’re considering hosted email options, make sure to take into account the spam and virus protection your provider offers, the archiving solution you will implement for retention and other needs you may have. You can trust Rackspace Hosted Exchange and Rackspace Email to treat you, your business and your data with the importance it deserves. Call 1-866-201-7852 or chat with an email specialist to learn more or start your 14-day free trial now. 1Data collected from Rackspace Hosted Email servers Jan-Dec 2013

The Security and Convenience of Installing 1&1 Click & Build Applications in “Safe Mode”

1&1 Online Success Center -

Most of the world’s websites are built using some form of free, open-source software. Using a content management system (CMS) or ecommerce platform, like WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, Typo3, or Magento, can significantly simplify the process of creating an online presence. To meet the needs of today’s Web developers, over 40 popular open-source applications can be installed with just a few clicks via the 1&1 App Center. Upon selection of their preferred application, developers then have the option to choose their desired level of management and flexibility: Safe Mode or Free Mode. Here is a breakdown of installation in Safe Mode: - Best User: Safe Mode is ideal for the user that wants a Web hosting solution geared towards security and convenience as well as the user who is less experienced in working within open-source applications. - Customization: Customization is most certainly possible within this mode though it does not have as high of a level of freedom as Free Mode. Because 1&1 manages the platform for the user, there are some restrictions and limitations to coding in order to enable delivery of necessary security updates. Nevertheless, the apps contain a variety of plug-ins and themes to choose from including options for mobility and security. - Type of Installation: Quick and easy installation can be completed within just a few clicks via a guided installation wizard. - Benefits: This method offers the convenience of a fully managed platform which is secured by 1&1’s experienced technicians. Important routine updates to software and security are no longer a concern for this developer, so they can better focus their time on important projects. Understanding that the demands of Web projects often change, and that users crave increasing independence as they become more familiar with a platform, users can graduate from Safe Mode at any time. By easily switching to Free Mode, users can employ their creativity and construct fully customized projects – anything is possible. 1&1 Click & Build Applications, including Safe Mode and Free Mode installations, are available in 1&1 Basic, Unlimited, and Performance Linux Web Hosting Packages. While 24/7 technical support is available for all 1&1 customers, the 1&1 Performance Package provides users with direct access to 1&1 App Expert Support. These specialists are happy to answer beginner to expert level questions about WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, Typo3, Magento, PHP, and MySQL to help customers make the most out of their Web hosting package.

Why We Craft OpenStack (Featuring Rackspace Software Developer Ed Leafe)

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

As OpenStack Summit Atlanta fast approaches, we wanted to dig deeper into the past, present and future of OpenStack. In this video series, we hear straight from some of OpenStack’s top contributors from Rackspace about how the fast-growing open source project has evolved, what it needs to continue thriving, what it means to them personally, and why they are active contributors. In the video below, Ed Leafe, Rackspace Software Developer, talks about the power of the developer community as both makers and users of OpenStack. “It’s much, much easier to experiment when you can have the source code right on your system,” Leafe said. “You can change it. You can play around with it. You can release it and say ‘hey, what do you think?’ and get feedback from it. To me, that’s OpenStack. That’s where OpenStack will be key in that development.” Be sure to check out previous installments in the “Why We Craft OpenStack” video series featuring Kurt Griffiths, Rackspace Principal Architect, and Jarret Raim, Rackspace Product Manager. We look forward to seeing you in Atlanta for OpenStack Summit, May 12 through May 16.

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