You’ll Never Believe Who BuzzFeed Japan Just Hired

buzzfeed shutterstock Actually, you will. Experienced journalist Daisuke Furuta, who spent more than ten years at one of Japan’s leading daily newspapers, is joining BuzzFeed Japan as its founding editor. In a statement, BuzzFeed said that Furuta will oversee hiring for the Japanese site’s editorial team and plan its content strategy as it prepares to launch this winter. While at The… Read More

VC Firm Ventureast invites Pitches via Twitter!

Ventureast brings to you “The 160 character Pitch” challenge. If you are an entrepreneur looking to get your start-up funded, or have a disruptive business idea, pitch to us in ONE TWEET! Remember to tag us with @Ventureast. If your’s is among the best entries selected, you will be invited for a private chat with the Ventureast team at the upcoming TiECON Chennai 2015. For more details about

Source: Red Hat is buying Ansible for more than $100M

Red Hat Jared Smith Flickr

Publicly traded enterprise software company Red Hat has acquired devops software startup Ansible for more than $100 million, VentureBeat has learned.

Red Hat will announce the news as soon as tomorrow, a source familiar with the matter told VentureBeat.

Ansible cofounder and chief executive Saïd Ziouani spent a decade at Red Hat as a vice president of sales and business development. Todd Barr, Ansible’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, is also a Red Hat veteran.

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Representatives of Red Hat and Ansible did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Red Hat, which sells distributions of Linux, among other things, has a reputation for being a successful open-source company. Buying Ansible — one of four major providers of at least partly open-source devops tools — makes sense, because it can add to Red Hat’s line of offerings. Plus, Ansible already integrates with Red Hat’s OpenShift, OpenStack, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux software.

Written mostly in Python, Ansible’s open-source software has gained popularity, but the startup also offers premium Tower software and consulting services. The software allows developers to more easily set up and manage IT infrastructure for applications at scale. For instance, Ansible can speed up the rollout of OpenStack Ceph storage software across companies’ data center infrastructure, according to a recent blog post from Red Hat.

Ansible is younger and less popular than well funded Puppet and Chef. Another devops contender is SaltStack.

Ansible started in 2013 and is based in Durham, N.C. — right near Red Hat’s Raleigh headquarters.

Ansible’s customers include Atlassian, Cisco, Cloud Physics, Evernote, HootSuite, Juniper, Twitter, and Red Hat. Ansible announced a $6 million funding round with backing from Menlo Ventures in August 2013. Other investors include

Recent Red Hat acquisitions include eNovance, FeedHenry, and Inktank.

The Challenges Of Building AI Apps

rubiks Artificial intelligence has an intellectual lineage stretching back to the greats of computer theory: Turing and, ultimately, Babbage, inventor of the calculating machine. What we now see in London, where leading teams such as DeepMind are working on machine learning, is the movement from the realm of computer science to practical uses and business cases. Read More

Former Twitter COO Ali Rowghani To Lead Y Combinator’s $700 Million Growth Fund

Twitter_Ali Almost a year-and-a-half after Ali Rowghani resigned as COO of Twitter, he’s been appointed the head of Y Combinator’s growth fund by the organization’s president, Sam Altman. TechCrunch had heard whispers of the move earlier this week, but Altman made the announcement official earlier today, tweeting of Rowghani that he’s a “wonderful partner to help companies… Read More

Nevada Gaming board: Daily fantasy sports is gambling

FanDuel and DraftKings will have to cease operations in Nevada.

It turns out that just because it is a new season every week, it doesn’t mean it’s not gambling.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board, the organization that oversees gambling and gambling-related activities in the state that is the home to Las Vegas, has determined that daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites like DraftKings and FanDuel are gambling. This means that all sites, including the two I just mentioned, will have to cease their operations in Nevada until they have filed for the appropriate licenses.

“Over the last several months, Nevada Gaming Control Board staff has analyzed the legality of pay-to-play daily fantasy sports pursuant to the Nevada Gaming Control Act,” Nevada Gaming Control Board chairman A.G. Burnett wrote in the official notice to daily fantasy industry. “[The board has] concluded that DFS constitutes gambling under Nevada law.”

The Board pointed to Chapter 463 of the Nevada Revised Statues, which claims that accepting wagers on the “collective performance of individuals participating in sporting events” requires a license.

“Therefore … all unlicensed activities must cease and desist from the date of this Notice until such time as either the Nevada Revised Statues are changed or until such entities file for and obtain the requisite licenses to engage in said activities,” wrote Burnett.

The chairman also noted that local companies in Nevada with gambling licenses should avoid doing business with companies that do not have the appropriate paperwork. That would seem to slow down the possibility of FanDuel and DraftKings partnering with Wynn or Caesars casinos.

Finally, we’ve reached out to the Nevada Gaming Control Board to ask how it defines sports and whether that includes esports. Both FanDuel and DraftKings — along with competitors like Vulcun — all run daily fantasy games for pro gaming competitions. But those events may not fall under the same rules that apply to traditional athletics. We’ll update this post with any new information.

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AMD says that ARM-based server chips will begin ‘modest’ shipments in Q4

AMD believes ARM chips can penetrate data center servers.

Advanced Micro Devices chief executive Lisa Su said that ARM-based server chips have seen slower-than-expected reception from the owners of data centers and server farms.

AMD delayed its own ARM-based Opteron microprocessor, code-named Seattle, until the fourth quarter of this year. ARM, which is supported by many chip makers such as AMD, is dominant in smartphones and tablets, but it is having a harder time penetrating the multibillion-dollar market for high-end server chips.

Su said in an analyst conference call that the company expects to see “modest production shipments” of Seattle in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, AMD’s Intel-compatible “x86” server chips will be the company’s mainstay product offerings for data centers.

“I view it as a longer-term bet,” Su said. “We continue our ARM efforts in a complimentary way.”


Netflix reveals the future of enterprise tech: Here’s why

This is the legacy: Data centers that most people don't need to think about any more.
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I was sitting in a conference on enterprise infrastructure this week when I realized that the generational shift long promised by cloud advocates is finally, irreversibly underway.

That shift is away from “legacy” data centers built on x86 servers, VMware-managed hypervisors, SQL databases from Oracle, and storage hardware provided by EMC. Replacing all that are web-scale (or at least wannabe web-scale) technologies based on containers, commodity hardware, NoSQL databases of various kinds, and flash storage. The new infrastructure is cheaper, easier to scale up to large volumes of data and computation, and more flexible and agile.

But who really cares about that architecture, except the billion-dollar infrastructure companies that are about to take a giant hit in their valuations? And by that I mean Dell, HP, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and, yes, EMC (which Dell is in the process of trying to buy). These companies might not quite be the walking dead, as Wired called them this week, but they are certainly headed for a world of hurt, which is why Dell is trying to buy EMC: It needs to shore up its legacy business.

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Who cares about them, except their shareholders? Because it’s now possible to build a billion-dollar company without ever setting foot in a data center. You don’t have to care whether the datacenter is using HP and Dell hardware or some cheap commodity CPUs built to spec by the cheapest possible manufacturer. All you need are virtual servers you can spin up on a moment’s notice, the ability to deploy containerized apps into that environment, and support for the unstructured databases you need to handle the massive influx of bits you’re about to start collecting and will need to analyze.

Netflix shows what that looks like, and why — for now — Amazon owns such a big piece of that future.

Neil Hunt, the chief product officer and vice president of engineering for Netflix, was speaking at the Engineering Summit on Infrastructure, which had been organized by Engineering Capital, a small, enterprise-focused VC fund. Hunt talked about Netflix’s longstanding use of Amazon Web Services, the market and technology leader in cloud services. But it’s not just Netflix, Hunt said: Everyone is moving toward AWS.

“AWS is now the basic layer of compute services,” said Hunt.

Netflix is not just heavily reliant on AWS — it’s about to become completely dependent. Hunt plans to power down his company’s last data center this year, at which point Netflix will be running almost entirely on outsourced cloud infrastructures, mostly operated by Amazon. (It’ll still run its own content delivery network — CDN.)

Note that this timeline is new. Netflix originally said it would shut down its last datacenter in 2014, and then again this past summer, but the future sometimes comes a little slower than expected. That’s one aspect of enterprise infrastructure that will probably never change.

Still, Hunt would be happy to be less dependent on a single vendor: “That’s a somewhat uncomfortable place: To be dependent on a partner who is also competing with you,” Hunt said, referring to the fact that Amazon also sells a streaming video service.

But up to now, Hunt hasn’t found a single provider that matches Amazon in terms of its capabilities and scope.

“AWS is years ahead of Azure and a year or two ahead of Google in terms of the features and levels of abstraction they offer,” Hunt said.

“It’s getting closer, but Amazon keeps raising the bar in terms of AWS features.”

Gleb Budman, the CEO of Backblaze, which also recently began providing storage services that compete with AWS, asked Hunt if he’d consider using other cloud providers, even piecemeal. For the most part, Hunt said, the answer was no. Apart from a few tests here and there (Netflix is backing up data to Google, for instance), the company is almost entirely based on AWS.

So is the battle for the next generation over? Hardly. AWS has an enormous head start, but there is still no standardization of cloud services — something that Hunt believes will be necessary.

Hunt looks forward to a day when there is more standardization among computing components — and, by extension, more competition for AWS.

“Let’s get it right. Let’s make a standard toolkit that software engineers use when building software, just like hardware engineers use when building a bridge,” Hunt said.

“Then we’ll see an incredible increase in productivity.”

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Netflix is down; now all we can do is chill [Update: Fixed]


No it’s not just you, Netflix is apparently experiencing some technical difficulties.

Some people took to Twitter to complain after the site wouldn’t load.

There doesn’t seem to be anything off with Amazon Web Services, which hosts Netflix content, so Netflix is likely having trouble internally. We’ve reached out to Netflix, and we’ll update this post as we learn more.

Update: Netflix is back up. We’re still waiting to hear what went wrong. 

Windows 10 isn’t necessarily driving a big PC refresh cycle, AMD CEO says

At Microsoft's Build developer conference in San Francisco on April 30.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system is driving a lot of downloads, but it’s not necessarily going to generate a huge amount of sales for PC chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices.

Lisa Su, chief executive of Sunnyvale, California-based AMD, said as much in a conference call with analysts. The comment is particularly significant given that AMD is one of the bellwethers for the larger PC ecosystem.

“While we are not anticipating Windows 10 will drive a dramatic near-term PC refresh cycle,” Su said, “the continued adoption of Windows 10, which has already been installed on 110 million PCs to date, provides a great opportunity for AMD over the coming year.” This opportunity is based on steady growth in consumer and commercial PC sales.

AMD makes chips such as processors, graphics, and combo chips that combine computing and graphics in a single chip.

“In the fourth quarter and beyond, our priorities are clear,” Su said. “We must make more progress returning our computing and graphics business to a healthy trajectory.”

Meanwhile, Su said the company is on its way to having its best year for semi-custom chip sales in 2015. Those chips include video game processors for the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One game consoles. She said that the company is on schedule to ship a new semi-custom chip in the second half of 2016.

AMD reported weaker-than-expected earnings for the third quarter.