Logitech-Banner-for-Blog-PRESENT-YOUR-BEST-SELF-ON-VIDEO

Work from home hacks to present your best self on video

How to look and sound great in every meeting

We’ve all heard the expression, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” Thankfully, that famous ad slogan is more cliché than truth. Every time you step into a video meeting you have an opportunity to make a great impression. The following tips are designed to help you do just that.

Tips for meeting participants

Let’s start with the visuals. Making a good impression on video begins with lighting and framing. Have you ever been in a video conference with someone who appears to be completely in shadow while the background is brightly lit? Or spent a meeting talking to someone’s forehead? It can be awkward.

Hit the lights!

Unlike external webcams, the cameras on laptops and computer monitors are not typically designed to handle situations with low light or bright contrasts. But if you don’t have a high-quality webcam available, you can still make it work. For starters, make sure you are well-lighted, facing your computer, and not in front of a background that is brightly lit. 

Facing a window with your camera pointed toward you and away from the window is much better than having the window at your back. If a window in the background is unavoidable, consider closing the curtains or blinds to reduce backlighting.

Roll the camera!

Having the camera at eye level or slightly above is far more flattering than the alternative. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching a “nasal cam,” you know what we mean. If you have a webcam, positioning it on top of your computer monitor is usually best. If you’re using a laptop, try placing it on a stack of books to bring it up to eye level. If you must use your phone, you’ll do everyone a favor by propping it against something in front of you rather than holding it low in your hand. Trust us on this one.

The scene is important too. A distracting background can draw attention away from you or what you’re talking about. Whenever possible, position yourself in front of an uncluttered background. Having your back to a wall is a good solution. Background replacements are a popular and fun alternative, but they can quickly become distracting to others if the image doesn’t render properly.

Cut! Who called for lawn service?

Lastly, let’s talk about barking dogs and that noisy lawnmower next door. You may be able to tune out the background sound, but it’s a guarantee other meeting attendees will focus on it obsessively. 

A purpose-built headset can make a big difference – and not just for you. Your sound quality will be better, and the mic will help reduce ambient noise.

Obviously, finding a quiet location is ideal, but some interruptions can’t be avoided. It’s a good practice therefore to mute yourself when not speaking. It’s also helpful to colleagues if you give them a heads-up about potential disruptions, like a loud neighbor or co-working canine.

If you do need to work with what you have, any headset, including the one that came with your phone, is better than putting your meeting on speakerphone for all the world to hear.

Tips for IT

For IT teams, the best advice we can offer is communication and training. Sharing best practices like those above can help educate end users who hadn’t stopped to consider how they come across in a video meeting. This is especially true for employees who are new to video conferencing. A little education can go a long way to improving meetings for employees and reducing requests to IT for assistance.

Beyond that, consider provisioning webcams and headsets that are purpose-built for video meetings:

  • High-quality webcams with HD resolution and light-adjusting capabilities can significantly improve situations with low lighting or too much contrast.

  • Headsets improve sound not only for people wearing them but also for others in the meeting. Make sure everyone can hear and be heard.

With the sudden move from working in the office to working at home, many of your end users are making do with the cameras and mics on their laptops. But IT teams should anticipate that those same users will begin requesting higher-quality video conferencing tools, especially as work-from-home orders are extended. You can get ahead of this curve by planning today for this eventuality.

Keeping-Your-Data-Protected-During-Chaotic-Times

Keeping Your Data Protected During Chaotic Times

The world events of the past weeks have given us a clear view of what not having a plan looks like. We are learning that current infrastructures cannot support a pandemic the likes of what we’re currently living through and we’re managing it in crisis mode. Learning this lesson came at a great cost, but it is challenging us to rethink our preparedness. As I sit here on a stay indoor order from our local leadership and doing my due diligence to protect myself and others, I can’t help but draw parallels (being in the technology space) from these life-altering events to digital cyber-criminal events that are occurring right now as I write this. In my last blog, I wrote about the importance of testing your IT network and pointed out some strategies to use to ensure you are well prepared should ransomware or other cyber-attacks infiltrate your datacenter and cause irreparable damage. In this blog, I want to discuss – no, stress once again the importance of testing your backup strategies and business continuity plans.

Training & Preparedness

With a lot of the workforce working remotely, it is crucial that employees are trained to be alert to activity that targets regular users like you and me – watch out for those coronavirus emails that are being used as bait by phishers! There are sites that are using COVID-19 and Coronavirus as a lure to make victims ‘click the link’. Paul Chichester, Director of Operations at the NCSC, said: “We know that cybercriminals are opportunistic and will look to exploit people’s fears, and this has undoubtedly been the case with the Coronavirus outbreak.

Time and time again we’ve heard that cyber-attacks come in different forms such as data breaches, ransomware, phishing campaigns, and even some advanced hacking attacks. Investing in an excellent cybersecurity software plus employee training will play a major role in averting a disaster. Persistent criminals will take advantage of the opportunity to infiltrate your network via the various forms of cyber-attacks so let’s learn from previous incidents causing millions of dollars in damage (see previous blog – link) and avoid the same fate as best we can. Just last week, a report on the NCSC site stated that a global network of bots was brought down and dismantled. These criminals are believed to have infected more than nine million computers worldwide. https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/weekly-threat-report-13th-march-2020

The right mix of technology

Let’s start by asking the right questions. First, asses your cyber risk. Check out the NCSC website for guidance https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/risk-management-collection/essential-topics . Is your organization prepared to weather a cyber-attack? Is your network not only protected but resilient and able to predictably recover stolen, encrypted or lost data? What are the RPO/RTO’s that need to be met, and can they be met with your current data protection technology? If your network backup copies are compromised, do you have a copy offline and air-gapped? These and many more questions need to be asked to ensure that whatever data protection solution you choose, test your Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) to understand efficiency resiliency and predictability so you have the peace of mind that your data is protected.

The experts, highly recommended that you apply the time-tested best practice rule of 3-2-1-1 rule to be safe. Have both disk and tape to ensure a reliable copy is available when you need it. Whether you use cloud or hardware on-prem, be it fast performance technology to quickly process your hot data to cold storage technologies for long-term storage – the most cost-effective way to tier-off your data as it shifts in value is to leverage the different technologies that are available.  Here is an example from Quantum with DXi and object storage for enterprise backup where cost-effectiveness, scalability, and management of unstructured data is of extreme importance.

All these technologies combined will help you meet your RPO/RTO’s but in addition, should you need to call on your backup copy for any reason and your copy on spinning disk is compromised, your insurance will be the copy that is offline and air-gapped.

If we knew when disaster will strike, everyone would prepare. The reality is we never know. Test and practice your response to a cyber-attack. Whether you are small or large organizations, testing your resiliency is critical. Create practice scenarios in a safe environment where you can test your network and backup strategies, there are plenty of online help tools available if you’re organization does not have IT, professionals, to handle this type of exercise. Be prepared to handle a crisis scenario. If you’re in the public sector and funds are tight, leverage organizations like NCSC with their exercise in a box tool to practice your response https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/exercise-in-a-box .

These times call on us to provide you, the IT professional with all the tools and necessary information to help you make the best decision for your organization. Crisis or no crisis preparedness is key!

MakerBot-Article-Web-Banner

How to Sand your 3D Prints

Sanding 3D printed models can be a great way to eliminate layer lines in preparation for painting, silicone molding, or vacuum forming.

In this “how to”, we will show you the best practices associated with sanding your 3D prints.

Working time will vary depending on your model. The process shown took us about 3 hours from start to finish.

STEP 1: PREPARE & PRINT MODEL

Consider: Print settings, print orientation, number of build plates. Surfaces printed in the Z axis will have the smoothest surface finish.

TIP: Surfaces printed in the Z axis will have the smoothest surface finish.

STEP 2: ROUGHING

Supplies used: Needle-nose pliers or flush cutters and chisels

A. Remove the print from the build plate                  

B. Remove rafts and support material from the model               

TIP: When removing supports using pliers or clippers, be sure to wear eye protection.

C. Remove large pieces of support first, and then approach smaller pieces and fine details

D. Clean the edges and seams of your model to ensure better alignment of pieces

TIP: If you plan to glue your model, take care not to remove too much material around seams or joining surfaces, or you will need to use filler later on.

STEP 3: SAND WITH COARSE GRIT SANDPAPER (DRY)

Supplies used: Electric sander and 80 grit sandpaper

  1. Begin sanding with coarse (80 grit) sandpaper

TIP: Be sure to wear eye protection and a respiratory mask as sanding will release particulates.

B. When sanding with 80 grit sandpaper, the goal is to remove any leftover blemishes from raft or support material, and create an even surface that you will later refine. This process will remove the most amount of material and take the most time.

C. In early stages of sanding you will notice that your model surface that was once fairly shiny will become dull and rough and change in color. The shine will return as you move to higher sanding grits.

TIP: Be sure not to sand in one place for too long as heat generated from friction could melt the PLA.

D. To save some time you can use an electric sander or multitool. If using a multi tool, be sure to choose a low setting to avoid overheating/melting the PLA.

E. After each sanding stage, clean the model of any dust and inspect for a uniform surface finish

Move on to sanding with higher grits when all large to medium sized imperfections or blemishes have been removed.

STEP 4: SAND WITH MEDIUM GRIT SANDPAPER (DRY)

Supplies used: Electric sander and 120 & 240 grit sandpaper

A: Sand with 120 grit sandpaper (dry)
B: Sand with 240 grit sandpaper (dry)
C: If you notice large imperfections that you have missed, return to a lower sanding grit to refine those areas

TIP: As you move up through various finer grits, sanding should require less time. You will also notice that the model’s texture becomes more refined and much smoother.

STEP 5: SAND WITH FINE GRIT SANDPAPER (WET)

Supplies used: 1000 grit sandpaper, plastic bin and water

When your model’s surface is even and refined it is time to wet sand the model using fine grit sandpaper. This process will not remove much material, but will do the most to polish its surface.

A: Submerge the model in a tub filled half way with water

TIP: Take care around fine features, round surfaces, and other small or difficult to reach places.

B. Using 1000 grit sandpaper, sand the model until it is completely smooth to the touch

C. Dry the model and inspect for a uniform surface finish

FINAL PART

If you have properly sanded your model, its surface should now be even, blemish free, and glass-like to the touch.

Here you can see the difference between the unfinished surface and final sanded part.

Poly-5-Tips-on-Working-from-Home-2

Poly 5 Tips for Working from Home

We’re all reading a lot about remote working in light of the coronavirus, and the steps many companies are taking to help protect their employees. I’ve been an active participant in flexible working for the past seven years and can offer both rants and raves on various aspects. Yes, it’s great to have the office dog, and yes, it’s annoying to have to keep my home office pristine for video (but I’m thankful I have a home office and am not working from my kitchen counter). Through some trial and error, though, here are some things to keep in mind.

TIP 1: TURN YOUR CAMERA ON

Use the video service that your situation allows, and really, turn your camera on. I can’t say this enough. Conference calls that are audio-only drive complacency, multitasking, and just plain not paying attention (remember this? Too true!). Video allows you see people, expressions, reactions, and personality. It keeps a key part of your brain engaged. Neuroscience has shown that video makes meetings more inclusive because mentally you parse the group as ‘your’ crowd.

TIP 2: SET THE STAGE

Small tweaks make a difference — light in front of you, not behind you. If you’re using your laptop camera, think about raising that laptop a bit – maybe on a few books, or in my case, a ream of copy paper — this prevents the camera from going for the ‘nose-hair view’. I also recommend a bright lipstick, if that’s your jam. My personal go-to is ‘Regal’ by Bobbi Brown.

TIP 3: STAY ON MUTE WHEN YOU’RE NOT SPEAKING

Know where your mute button is, and don’t be afraid to use it. Dogs, cars, leaf blowers, vacuums, family members… There are distractions at home that can be disruptive to others on the call. But don’t forget that hitting the mute button means remembering to unmute, too.

TIP 4: PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Most laptops were not designed with audio capability that rivals what you get with a quality headset or speakerphone. The occasional call is one thing – but if you work from home regularly, it’s another. Use a headset or a portable USB speakerphone that works with your communications software of choice, like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. That way you’ll also have prompts to remind you when you start talking on mute – and, therefore avoiding that, “Sorry, Karen, we can’t hear you… you’re on mute” part of the call.

TIP 5: REMEMBER TO MOVE

I’ve had days where I’ve checked my smartwatch early afternoon to discover I’ve only taken all of 13 steps… ouch! Set a timer to remind yourself to stand, to stretch, to check out another room in the house. It’s important to stay active and to air out the cobwebs. In fact, a hidden benefit of WFH is that you can throw in a midday workout if your schedule allows. Whether that’s a walk around the block or a quick ride on the Peloton (my choice), getting your heart and body engaged will make you more productive.

Sources: https://blogs.poly.com/5-tips-working-from-home

veritas-blog-22-01

Dark data exceeds 50%, creating major security blind spot for most companies

Over half of company data remains unclassified, despite a rise in security breaches and stringent data protection regulations.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – June 4, 2019 – Global businesses continue to house ‘dark data’ within their organizations, creating a honeypot for cybercriminals, finds research from Veritas Technologies, a worldwide leader in enterprise data protection and software-defined storage.

The Value of Data study, conducted by Vanson Bourne for Veritas, surveyed 1,500 IT decision makers and data managers across 15 countries. It reveals that on average, over half (52 percent) of all data within organizations remains unclassified or untagged, indicating that businesses have limited or no visibility over vast volumes of potentially business-critical data, creating a ripe target for hackers.

Classifying data enables organizations to quickly scan and tag data to ensure that sensitive or risky information is properly managed and protected, regardless of where that data lives. This broad visibility into data helps companies comply with ever-increasing and stringent data protection regulations that require discrete retention policies be implemented and enforced across an organization’s entire data estate.

Public cloud and mobile environments represent the weakest links in data security, with the majority of data across these environments most likely to be left unclassified and potentially unprotected. Just five percent of companies claim to have classified all of their data in the public cloud, while only six percent have classified all of the data that sits on mobile devices. Three in five (61 percent) companies admit they have classified less than half of their public cloud data, while over two-thirds (67 percent) have classified less than half of the data that sits on mobile devices.

Veritas’ previous Truth in Cloud research revealed that an alarming majority (69 percent) of organizations wrongfully believe data protection, data privacy and compliance are the responsibility of their cloud service providers, although cloud provider contracts usually place data management responsibility on businesses.

“As workforces become more mobile and the barriers between work and personal life break down, company data has become dispersed across numerous environments,” said Jyothi Swaroop, vice president, Product & Solutions, Veritas. “When data is fragmented across an organization and has not been properly tagged, it is more likely to go ‘dark’, threatening the company’s reputation and market share if it falls foul of data protection regulations such as GDPR. So it’s vital that organizations take full responsibility for ensuring their data is effectively managed and protected.”

The dark age of data

Organizations consider strengthening data security (64 percent), improving data visibility and control (39 percent) and guaranteeing regulatory compliance (32 percent) among their top key drivers for day-to-day data management. Yet the majority of respondents admit that their organization still needs to make improvements in all of these areas.

“A company’s dark data reservoir may be out of sight and out of mind for many organizations, but it’s an enticing target for cybercriminals and ransomware attacks. The more organizations know about the data they hold, the better they will be at judging its value or risk,” added Swaroop. “But with the average company holding billions of data files, manually classifying and tagging data is beyond human capability. Businesses must implement data management tools with algorithms, machine learning, policies and processes that can help manage, protect and gain valuable insights from their data, regardless of where it sits in their organization.”

Read more about the key findings of this study in a VOX blog here. To learn more about how Veritas can help global organizations protect their data and bottom line, download the full report here. For more information on implementing a centralized data management strategy, visit www.veritas.com.

Methodology
A total of 1,500 IT decision makers and data managers were interviewed in October and November across the US, the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, the UAE, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

About Vanson Bourne
Vanson Bourne is an independent specialist in market research for the technology sector. Our reputation for robust and credible research-based analysis, is founded upon rigorous research principles and our ability to seek the opinions of senior decision makers across technical and business functions, in all business sectors and all major markets. For more information, visit www.vansonbourne.com.

About Veritas
Veritas Technologies is a global leader in enterprise data management. Over fifty thousand enterprises—including 90% of the Fortune 500—rely on us to abstract IT complexity and simplify data management. Our Enterprise Data Services Platform automates the protection and orchestrates the recovery of data everywhere it lives, ensures 24/7 availability of business critical applications, and provides enterprises with the insights they need to comply with evolving data regulations. With a reputation for reliability at scale and a deployment model to fit any need, Veritas supports more than 500 data sources and over 150 storage targets, including 50 clouds. Learn more at www.veritas.com. Follow us on Twitter at @veritastechllc.

Forward-looking Statements: Any forward-looking indication of plans for products is preliminary and all future release dates are tentative and are subject to change at the sole discretion of Veritas. Any future release of the product or planned modifications to product capability, functionality, or feature are subject to ongoing evaluation by Veritas, may or may not be implemented, should not be considered firm commitments by Veritas, should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions, and may not be incorporated into any contract.

Sources: https://www.veritas.com/news-releases/2019-06-04-dark-data-exceeds-50-percent-creating-major-security-blind-spot-for-most-companies

sap-suse-article-3

Trans Business Testimonial

If key sales systems at Trans Business are unavailable, the company could lose up to US$5 million in potential revenues per day. Dissatisfied with its existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform for SAP ERP, Trans Business opted to migrate to SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications with SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension. Since then, the company has enjoyed a perfect availability record, along with substantially improved performance and ease of management.

Overview

Trans Business for Trading and Distribution LLC is the distributor of Philip Morris International tobacco products in Egypt. The company distributes some of the country’s top-selling cigarette brands, including L&M Blue and Red, Marlboro Red and Gold, and Merit.

The Challenge

To keep vendors stocked, the Trans Business salesforce works in the field six days a week from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm, generating approximately EGP100 million (US$5 million) in cash sales daily. To book sales and generate invoices, employees use handheld terminals connected directly to the company’s SAP ERP applications. With no manual sales systems to fall back on in the event of a technology outage, Trans Business sets a high premium on the reliability and availability of its core systems.

Ahmed Samy, Head of IT at Trans Business, said: “Although we run both a clustered high-availability environment and a separate disaster-recovery landscape for SAP ERP, on two occasions we nevertheless suffered a complete halt in production caused by an operating system outage—once for a couple of hours, and once for a whole day. This represented up to US$8 million in lost revenue.”

Aiming to protect against future unplanned downtime, Trans Business decided to migrate away from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system that supported its SAP ERP landscape.

“A key advantage of the SUSE operating system is that, unlike the Red Hat offering, it did not require us to buy any add-ons from SAP to create the high-availability environment.”

SUSE Solution

Following recommendations from SAP, Trans Business selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications and migrated from Sybase to SAP HANA for the database layer.

“As we are a very high-revenue company, we depend enormously on our IT resources,” said Ahmed Samy. “We make ongoing investments to ensure we stay up to date on the latest technologies that enhance availability, reliability and performance, including the adoption of best-of-breed solutions like SAP HANA and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.”

Trans Business worked with Master Linux, a regional leader in open source technology, to perform the migrations. Master Linux made use of the saptune utility that ships with the SUSE operating system to perform comprehensive tuning and configuration, ensuring that all deployed SAP systems perform well and work together without problems.

“Master Linux completed the work to a very high standard and helped make the migration process seamless and non-disruptive,” said Ahmed Samy.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications ships pre-tuned for the demands of SAP ERP, and includes bundled HA components that competing vendors sell separately.

“A key advantage of the SUSE operating system is that, unlike the Red Hat offering, it did not require us to buy any add-ons from SAP to create the high availability environment,” said Ahmed Samy. “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications comes with all of the required HA components, so it’s simple to buy and deploy.”

Since the migration, Trans Business has extensively tested the SUSE system’s failover functionality, and found it to be completely reliable. “Moving to the HA instance is fully automated, and we have successfully tested going back and forth between production and HA on a number of occasions,” said Ahmed Samy. “In general, it’s much easier and more dependable than it was previously with the Red Hat distribution.”

The Results

Migrating from Red Hat Enterprise Linux to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications produced immediate improvements in system performance and availability for Trans Business. The IT team saw a significant reduction in the number of issues flagged in its weekly SAP EarlyWatch Alert reports, and there have been no incidents of unplanned downtime since the switch.

“By migrating to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, we have achieved our primary goal of avoiding costly downtime,” said Ahmed Samy. “We have had zero problems with availability, so our sales teams have been able to work uninterrupted.”

As Trans Business also migrated from a conventional relational database to the columnar, in-memory SAP HANA database, the company achieved substantial performance improvements. For example, a regular business report that previously took two hours to run now completes in a matter of seconds. In other cases, reports that once took six hours to run are now complete in less than one minute.

Ahmed Samy said: “Of course, HANA is a much faster database platform, but I believe the performance improvements we’ve seen are at least 20 percent due to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The environment is easier to manage, and my team is much less dependent on external help to keep the operating system running in optimal condition.”

sap-suse-article-2

Duas Rodas Testimonial

Overview

In 1925, Duas Rodas opened Brazil’s first ever essential oils factory in Jaraguá do Sul. Today, Duas Rodas is one of the largest flavor’s producers in Latin America, operating seven production units and a further seven centers for research. The company serves more than 10,000 clients in the food and beverage industry with a portfolio of over 3,000 products.

The Challenge

After nearly a century of natural oil production, Duas Rodas is one of the most recognized names in the Latin American food industry. With an international network including seven production sites and another seven research centers, keeping track of resources can pose a real challenge.

Willian Rios, Database Administrator at Duas Rodas, explained: “We work primarily in the B2B space, using natural oils to create flavors for the food and beverage industry. Some of our best-selling products are flavors for ice cream and soft drinks, but we have a portfolio of around 3,000 tastes, which we sell to over 10,000 businesses. Keeping track of all that is a daunting task, so it’s crucial we maintain a robust IT infrastructure.”

Rafael Dall’Anese, IT Manager at Duas Rodas, elaborated: “Five years ago, we decided to invest in a new enterprise resource planning system, and selected SAP ERP. We have historically run our enterprise systems on AIX, but we decided that the move to SAP necessitated a change of operating system. We cannot afford any downtime as a company, but we also needed a platform scalable enough to support the business as we continue to grow.”

“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the best possible foundation for our SAP environment. We have seen 100% availability following implementation, and SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension has made IT management easier than ever before.” – WILLIAN RIOS | DATABASE ADMINISTRATOR | DUAS RODAS

SUSE Solution

After evaluating the market for enterprise systems, Duas Rodas decided to implement SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, which includes SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension, running on HPE hardware.

“The SUSE solution simply made sense to us,” said Rafael Dall’Anese. “Given the strong alliance between SUSE and SAP, SUSE Linux Enterprise felt like the natural foundation for our new SAP system, unlike our previous AIX solution, and we could benefit from the strength of that partnership.”

“On top of that, SUSE was able to guarantee stability,” added Willian Rios. “With SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension, we knew we could avoid system downtime. The SUSE solution integrated very well with our existing VMware environment, enabling us to seamlessly rotate between servers, and allowing automatic fail-over in the unlikely event of an outage.”

The company had previously been unfamiliar with SUSE technologies, but gained confidence after receiving training from S-SYS Sistemas e Soluções Tecnológicas, SUSE’s official partner for training in Brazil, and the first SUSE solution partner in Latin America.

“We completed S-SYS’s SUSE training course, covering the basics of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and the High Availability Extension,” said Rafael Dall’Anese. “We learned that SUSE’s solution was far more flexible than our legacy AIX system, and the transition was much smoother than we had imagined. The SUSE team also provided excellent support during the implementation process, alongside their hardware partner, Sercompe, and their workload partners, HPE, Integrity, LUME, and Pin Point.

“The 25-year strategic partnership between SUSE and HPE, with both of them collaborating across their product portfolios, gave us confidence in our joint investment in their technologies. They helped assure us that SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications was the right choice for Duas Rodas.”

The Results

Since adopting SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, Duas Rodas has experienced consistent system uptime, enabling greater business agility for future commercial expansion.

“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the best possible foundation for our SAP environment,” said Willian Rios. “We have seen 100% availability following implementation, and SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension has made IT management easier than ever before.”

The company was also impressed with the clarity and user-friendliness of SUSE’s graphical user interface (GUI).

“SUSE’s GUI has improved system visibility across the board,” said Rafael Dall’Anese. “The stability and flexibility of the SUSE solution gives us room to scale up our IT infrastructure as business expands, making it a sound long-term investment.”

With SUSE technology a dependable part of its IT infrastructure, Duas Rodas is looking deploy further SUSE solutions going forward.

Willian Rios concludes: “We are currently preparing a proof of concept for SUSE Manager, which we expect to begin implementing next year. Overall, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP applications has proven a rock-solid foundation for business operations.”

Source: https://www.suse.com/c/success/duas-rodas/​

sap-suse-article-1

Bosch Group Testimonial

Overview

Bosch Group (Robert Bosch GmbH) is a leading global supplier of technology and services headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. The company offers solutions in four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. Bosch employs more than 400,000 people in 60 countries and reports annual sales of EUR 78.1 billion.

To keep delivering innovative products for an increasingly connected world, Bosch focuses on the Internet of Things (IoT) and develops IoT solutions for smart homes, cities, connected mobility and Industry 4.0.

The Challenge

EMBRACING A CONNECTED FUTURE

Taking advantage of the digital transformation happening across all industries, Bosch wants to build on its high-quality solutions and expand its offerings with new, digital services. Dr. Elmar Pritsch, CIO at Bosch Group says: “The importance of IT solutions in the connected world continues to grow, because they are becoming an essential part of the products and their related services. This is why we have systematically realigned our in-house IT division over the past several months. We used to primarily ensure efficient in-house IT infrastructure, but today, we are focusing more on advancing digital business models created by Bosch.”

GETTING READY FOR CLOSER IT INTEGRATION

With IT playing an ever more important role in Bosch’s business strategy around new digital services, the IT division needed to adapt to new challenges and to gain the ability to offer cutting-edge technology solutions more flexibly. The new online services must be integrated with core business processes and master data stored in ERP systems. To enable this, the IT division had to create the foundations that would allow the company to offer connected solutions that can interact quickly and seamlessly with business applications.

Volker Fischer, Senior Manager Server Services AIX and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications at Bosch Group says: “To support all of our business sectors in developing innovative business models for the future, in integrating their new offerings into existing ERP systems easily and in leveraging advanced new data analytics tools, we needed to refresh our infrastructure with the latest technologies such as the SAP HANA in-memory database. And in preparation for our broader transformation initiative at Bosch, we also needed to improve the scalability of our infrastructure.”

“The SUSE support is second to none—thanks to the close collaboration between SUSE, SAP and IBM, we get quick and comprehensive responses from the support team and can keep our systems running reliably.” – VOLKER FISCHER | SENIOR MANAGER SERVER SERVICES | BOSCH GROUP

SUSE Solution

RUNNING SAP HANA ON IBM POWER SYSTEMS

To streamline IT operations around its core business systems, Bosch runs all SAP applications centrally. This also means that all subsidiaries around the world rely on the availability of the central SAP applications to do their business. Given the growing importance of IT, the company requires reliable processes to ensure business continuity for all systems, including its new SAP HANA databases.

Bosch had already gained practical experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications from running 100 such systems for the SAP Business Warehouse Accelerator. When business sectors started asking for SAP HANA, the team decided that it wanted to use IBM Power Systems as a reliable infrastructure platform, which would also align the SAP HANA instances with its main SAP ERP application servers on a common platform. The company looked at the available options and quickly selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications on IBM Power Systems.

Volker Fischer explains: “With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications being the leading operating system for SAP HANA, especially on IBM Power Systems, it was not difficult to get all of our internal clients on board. And since we had been using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications on x86 servers for many years, we were convinced that the outstanding stability and reliability of this operating system—specifically optimized for SAP software—would help us to expand our service portfolio while keeping the administration workload low.”

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF A TAILORED OPERATING SYSTEM

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications is an operating system created through joint development by SAP and SUSE; validated and certified by SAP across different platforms, including IBM Power Systems. A dedicated SUSE update channel ensures that all patches, fixes and updates have been thoroughly tested to work smoothly with SAP applications to deliver the best possible performance and reliability. In particular, the dedicated update channel helps to eliminate any potential disruptions in service, enabling enterprises to apply patches without concerns about impacting the stability of their most mission-critical systems.

In addition, SUSE has worked with SAP to include a range of optimizations specifically for SAP software. For example, SUSE has developed the Page Cache Management for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications to give users full control of page caching. The page cache limit kernel parameter helps Bosch to run a performance-optimized operating system and keep mission-critical SAP applications fast at all times.

During the simple installation routine, the operating system also applies best-practice performance configurations for SAP HANA systems automatically. SUSE also continuously works to further increase security, including in-memory system security hardening techniques. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications includes a comprehensive security package to protect SAP HANA systems from all kinds of security incidents.

DEPLOYING A COMPLETE SOLUTION

It highlights the capability of SUSE solutions, that although the majority of Bosch’s more than 1,000 SAP systems currently use other operating systems and databases, the company’s 80 SAP HANA databases run exclusively on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications on IBM Power Systems. To meet the performance requirements of new services enabled by IoT solutions as well as the growing interest in real-time data processing, more and more divisions at Bosch are starting to look at the SAP HANA in-memory database. Volker Fischer confirms: “At the moment, we have 16 large IBM Power Systems E880 servers running SAP HANA. Using IBM PowerVM virtualization, we run SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications and the IBM AIX operating system side by side on the same platform to leverage our management infrastructure and platform knowledge, and to use our resources efficiently.

Thanks to this flexible virtualization solution, Bosch has complete freedom of choice about where to run its SAP HANA databases and can maximize resource utilization. The company can also avoid downtime by moving systems from one physical server to another easily if necessary—for example, during planned server maintenance or hardware infrastructure component upgrades.

Another reason for Bosch’s selection of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications was its seamless integration with SUSE Manager—an IT infrastructure management solution that helps Bosch to keep its servers up to date by streamlining and automating system administration tasks.

To be able to offer its internal clients maximum business continuity when necessary and minimize unplanned downtime, the team also installed SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension, which is included with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications. Based on mature, industry-leading, open-source high-availability clustering technologies, SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension offers easy and fast setup of SAP HANA clusters. It simplifies cluster management and offers a graphical user interface for user-friendly monitoring of the clustered environment. Should a business sector request it, Bosch can now easily deploy a complete high-availability solution for SAP HANA.

The Results

BENEFITING FROM TOP PERFORMANCE AND SUPPORT

By choosing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications to run SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems, Bosch is taking advantage of a successful partnership between three major IT vendors. Volker Fischer remarks: “The SUSE support is second to none—thanks to the close collaboration between SUSE, SAP and IBM, we get quick and comprehensive responses from the support team and can keep our systems running reliably. Furthermore, the inclusion of SUSE Extended Support Pack Overlay Support gives us additional security against critical vulnerabilities and helps us facilitate long-term IT infrastructure planning to increase the stability of our deployments.”

To streamline its server operations, Bosch wanted to deploy SUSE Manager on IBM Power Systems too. Volker Fischer confirms: “It was important for us to run the management solution on the same platform as our SAP HANA databases. SUSE was very flexible and made SUSE Manager available on IBM Power Systems rapidly, helping us to leverage our existing infrastructure.”

 

SAVING TIME WITH INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT

Thanks to the simple user interface and comprehensive set of features, Bosch can automate many routine system administration tasks with SUSE Manager.

Volker Fischer elaborates: “SUSE Manager has had a significant impact on the workload of our administration team. When we started using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, we did not immediately use SUSE Manager. The manual workload to keep our 100 instances updated was immense: one member of our team was almost exclusively working on routine administration and patching tasks. With our move towards SAP HANA, we also implemented SUSE Manager with a single installation that integrates both our physical servers on x86 and our virtualized systems running in logical partitions on IBM Power Systems. Today with SUSE Manager, we have doubled the number of instances but substantially reduced the time needed for the management of the systems, freeing up resources we can use to create additional value for our internal clients and expand our services, instead of just keeping operations running.”

Automating systems management for SAP HANA allows Bosch to decide about the future of its 1,000 SAP systems without limitations, since the existing IT team can easily scale up the operational processes to include many more SAP HANA systems.

GAINING FLEXIBILITY TO OPTIMIZE OPERATIONS

Running SAP HANA with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications on IBM Power Systems gives Bosch the flexibility to combine scale-up and scale-out configurations based on the individual business needs. The company runs scaleup environments with up to 8 TB and scale-out solutions with up to five nodes and 5 TB per node.

Bosch has also already evaluated SUSE Linux Enterprise Live Patching for IBM Power Systems and plans to put it into production soon. Volker Fischer notes: “SUSE were the first to bring Linux live patching to IBM Power Systems. We have tested it with the goal of maximizing availability further and improving business continuity, and we’re planning to start using this brand new, cutting-edge feature in production. It will allow us to apply patches to the Linux kernel without rebooting our systems and keep our applications running smoothly to get even closer to zero-downtime deployments.”

By deploying SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications on IBM Power Systems, Bosch has created a stable platform for the future. Volker Fischer concludes: “SUSE has become a very valuable partner to us. Thanks to the close collaboration between SUSE, SAP and IBM, we can now respond quickly to new requirements from the business. Since our strategy is to add more and more digital services and integrate our products with IoT solutions, it is essential that with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications on IBM Power Systems, we are ready for these real-time analytics and growth challenges.”

Looking at the broader picture, Dr. Elmar Pritsch states: “IT is an essential part of the products and services of tomorrow. Digital business models require an IT infrastructure that is powerful, scalable, open, and secure at the same time.”

huawei-safe-city-article-header

Making Manila’s ‘Crown Jewel’ a Safe City

Background

In 2003, plans were made to upgrade Bonifacio Global City (BGC), part of a former Philippine Army base near Manila, into a world-class business and residential center. The Bonifacio Global City Estate Association (BGCEA), which provides integrated property management services, began working to transform BGC into Manila’s ‘crown jewel’ and a model for other cities. Today, BGC is a thriving financial and residential district.

“With the rapid growth of BGC as a successful world-class commercial and residential development, we continuously look for ways to improve services for Bonifacio citizens,” said Rodney M. Medrano, Executive Director, BGCEA.

A major goal was to make BGC a safer city.

Challenges

Medrano said one of BGCEA’s first tasks was to ensure that the city had the right infrastructure to manage and maintain security.

Previously, city surveillance consisted primarily of low-definition analog cameras that did not meet safety requirements. Low-resolution surveillance footage lacked the kind of detail needed by law enforcement to carry out successful investigations. For example, car license plates were unreadable. In addition, manual conversion of all videos from analog to digital, coupled with serious storage constraints, meant that the videos could not be kept for very long after conversion.

What’s more, decentralized camera surveillance made it difficult to analyze footage. Poor legacy network infrastructure included limited, but expensive, fiber networks for transferring images.

All these issues severely hampered law enforcement and crime prevention efforts. Giving the city a larger view of public security meant that changes were needed: A new, high-definition surveillance solution had to be centrally connected and managed. Also monitoring points for installed networked cameras needed to be evenly distributed to ensure comprehensive coverage of the city. Finally, these images must be transmitted across varying distances, unblocked by high-rise buildings.

“We wanted to ensure that public safety remained a top priority, and that meant overcoming any issues with the underlying security and network infrastructure,” Medrano said.

Solution

BCG first contacted Huawei in 2014. While competing vendors were considered, none were able to offer Huawei’s comprehensive solution that addressed all the city’s public security concerns.

“We were thoroughly impressed, even at the proof-of-concept stage, “said Bernard Beltran, IT manager, Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation. “Huawei looked into every possible aspect of the issues we presented, and arrived at a set of solutions that left no stone unturned. “

Huawei’s Safe City solution consists of High-Definition (HD) Intelligent IP Cameras strategically located to ensure comprehensive coverage. Huawei’s network design ensured that images could be transmitted across varying distances to the command center without being blocked by high-rise buildings.

Cameras are connected to a central command center by means of a Wi-Fi backhaul network across the city’s major grids. This makes an expensive fiber network unnecessary. Personnel at the command center use video analytics to coordinate camera visuals. Although BCG now uses a microwave backhaul network, it plans to soon change to a more cost-efficient mesh network.

Benefits

  •  24/7 intelligent security surveillance with data analytics detect crime and help manage traffic.
  • Local law enforcement now has an effective platform to help them deter crime in BGC.
  • BGC is considered the safest business and residential township in the Philippines and has set the benchmark for other cities to emulate

BGC was the first Huawei Safe City project in the Philippines. The success of the project led the city to expand the scope (Phase 2) and increase coverage from 70 percent to 100 percent. Phase 3 is now underway, and includes closed parking areas, office space, major shopping areas, and traffic management with video analytics.

autodesk-realistic-game

Making realistic game characters: rigging and body deformation

Designing compelling 3D characters for your video game is one thing; making sure they look and behave realistically is another. From leveraging motion capture data and retargeting animation with Maya, to choosing an A-pose over a T-pose during development, Santa Monica Studio went the extra mile to ensure that their characters look, feel, and act real. Here are a few best practices from a GDC 2019 presentation by the studio’s Lead Character Technical Artist, Axel Grossman, for making realistic game characters.

Producing animation with mocap

Use motion capture

Image courtesy of Santa Monica Studio

In getting your characters ready for battle, nothing beats motion capture instead of hand-keying movements. In the case of God of War, MotionBuilder was used for its speed and ability to use real-time camera work. A transfer-rig matching Maya’s coordinates was utilized, allowing for objects baked in MotionBuilder to be imported directly onto nodes in Maya, allowing for scenes to be built in MotionBuilder.

Make use of animation retargeting

Image courtesy of Santa Monica Studio

Animating character cycles one by one? Ain’t nobody got time for that! One tool you can take advantage of to speed up this process is an animation retargeter, which allows you to swap out characters and maintain the same animation cycle.

Striking a realistic pose

Using Pose Space Deformation (PSD) and Radial Basis Functions (RBF)

For your character to feel real, they need to act out the part in each of their movements. Simply choosing an A-pose over a T-pose can have an impact on how realistic your character’s movements are, with A-poses making for a more natural appearance and proper shoulder height. Pose Space Deformation (PSD nodes) uses Radial Basis Functions (RBF) to ensure that poses are properly blended from movement to movement.

Image courtesy of Santa Monica Studio

For the making of God of War at Santa Monica Studios, PSD was used primarily for muscle corrections for Kratos and Baldur, facial fixups and corrections. RBF, on the other hand, is about correcting poses, moving joints around. In the case of God of War, it was used for armor deformation on Kratos and other heavily armored characters, such as The Traveler, some props and environment rigging, and Freya’s hair.

Rigging and body deformation

Remember driver coverage

When it comes to making sure that props and objects in your environment act according to your character’s movements, you’ll want to keep driver coverage in mind. Drivers are basically our way of representing the field on which the poses play. Without proper driver coverage, you can fall out of your pose space and get pops and visual glitches. Using a ROM (range of movement), you can determine all the spaces where something can move.

Image courtesy of Santa Monica Studio

Without proper driver coverage, you risk running into problem areas on your characters.

Build dependencies for body deformation

You’ll want a system or hierarchy in place for body deformation so that all your world space matrices allow for your character to easily call up their poses. This might involve deforming by clavicle first, then humerus, then clavicle and humerus together.

Image courtesy of Santa Monica Studio

Traditional skeletal hierarchies combined with linear skinning lose volume. When it comes to body deformation, keeping your character in its pose space becomes an increasingly greater challenge. Linear skinning can cause things like a peck or deltoid popping out and becoming fat and round when it should be thinning out during a movement of the clavicle.

Image courtesy of Santa Monica Studio

Focus on areas most visible to the camera

When rigging your character, you’ll want to pay extra attention to areas that undergo a high degree of rotation, for example, twisting along bone axes such as the shoulder (where you can get the candy-wrapper effect) and other areas most visible to the camera, like the neck.