On April 8, 2014 two Microsoft products – Windows XP and Office 2003 – will reach "end of support". End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance for these products.
What Does This Mean?
End of support is significant for a number of reasons. First, this means that Microsoft will no longer be a support option should complex issues arise surrounding the software.
Secondly, Microsoft will no longer provide security hotfixes or any patches for these systems. This means that any security vulnerabilities left in these systems will no longer be addressed by Microsoft and calls to their support will not be worked.
The longer workstations keep Windows XP and Office 2003 versions, the more vulnerable they become to virus/malware/rootkit infestations and risk potential data compromise.
Are you like one of the millions of people pondering the answer to ‘what is hypervisor-based replication and how will it change my disaster recovery approach’? I know I was.
So, let me help you with that!
Our technology experts here at Eze Castle Integration spent some time in the lab testing and evaluating hypervisor-based replication and recently incorporated it into our Eze Disaster Recovery 2.0 offering. We think it delivers excellent benefits, but let’s start with the basics.
What is hypervisor-based replication?
TechTarget defines hypervisor-based replication as “a technology that automatically creates and maintains replicas of virtual hard disks or entire virtual machines (depending on the platform that is being used).” Analyst firm IDC goes on to say that this replication approach “protects virtual machines (VMs) at the virtual machine disk format file level rather than at the LUN or storage volume level, thus replication can be done without the management and TCO challenges associated with array-based replication.”
We are happy to announce that our friends over at Ledgex have just launched their new website. In light of their recent achievement, I sat down with their Managing Director Brian Macallister to pick his brain on who Ledgex is and where he sees the company going in the future. Brian is the chief architect and product visionary of the Ledgex platform and is responsible for leading the company’s engineering, support and client service teams.
Q: It has been a while since we covered Ledgex on Hedge IT. For our readers not familiar with Ledgex, can you give us your elevator pitch?
A: Ledgex provides a portfolio management system for managers who invest with multi-firms. It delivers key functionality that supports portfolio management, investor relations and manager research for firms that invest with other managers. Through a series of intensive processes we make our clients’ data repeatable to improve integrity, increase efficiency, and reduce error. We have produced a unique enterprise reporting platform and process management system tailor-made for the financial industry.
You may have heard of it – the newest social media app that’s sweeping the 18-25 year old demographic – Snapchat. But what is it, and how could the technology behind it affect the business world?
Snapchat is a photo messaging application in which users can take photos or record short videos on their smartphones, then add text or drawing and send them to select contacts. When sending the content, users have the ability to set a time limit for how long the recipients can view it (up to 10 seconds), after which the photo or video will disappear from the recipient's device.
Here’s a recent Snapchat ad that depicts how the app is used:
Earlier this week, our friends at Varonis Systems joined us for a webinar to talk about information technology ownership and hedge fund data protection. IT threats as a result of external hackers or internal security breaches are on the rise, and therefore firms are encouraged to protect and audit file data in order to answer two simple questions:
Who has access to my data?
Who has accessed my data?
Let’s take a closer look at how Varonis helps investment firms accomplish this.
Context is king
Firms can hasten data protection by achieving a greater amount of context awareness. Some contextual questions to ask are:
- Who owns the data?
- Who uses the data?
- Who should have access?
- Who should not have access?
- Who granted access?
- Who moved my data?
To quote PC World, “A high-end SSD is the pinnacle of computer storage today. Ditching your hard drive for one of the latest SSD models is like dumping your go-kart and hopping into a Formula One car.”
But what is SSD?
SSD is a storage device that stores persistent data on solid-state flash memory, using integrated circuit assemblies as memory. SSD has no moving parts, which is one of many distinctions between SSD and traditional hard drives that have spinning disks.
SSD offers huge performance gains over other commonly used storage drives including SAS (serial attached SCSI) drives. For perspective, the typical enterprise spinning disk is a 15K SAS drive, which offers approximately 200 IOPS. Mainstream enterprise SSD on the other hand can offer 10,000-100,000 IOPS.
Why should I care?
Investment management firms are presented with an increasing amount of data, much of which holds the potential to uncover new investment opportunities. For some strategies (think high frequency trading and algo), the speed at which the data is processed is linked to the size of competitive gain.
We hosted a webinar earlier this week, App Hosting 101: Managing Your Essential Applications in the Cloud, in which Steve Schoener, Eze Castle Integration’s Vice President of Client Technology, and Martin Sreba, Senior Director at Advent Software, discussed topics such as industry trends in application hosting, key drivers of application solutions, common myths about the cloud, and the right time to put an application into effect. Continue reading for an overview of the webinar.
Industry Update: What’s Going On?
Increasing demands from hedge funds’ current and target investors are driving a variety of trends. Due diligence requirements are more advanced, as investors expect to see candid looks into a fund’s systems, disaster recovery capabilities and more. The increasing complexity of investments is also driving the need for more complex systems to handle these instruments.
Firms are starting smaller in today’s environment, with many starting with under $100mm in assets under management. Startup funds are looking for technology solutions to complement their size and give them the tools to efficiently run their businesses.
We were recently asked by a COOConnect member about the best sources for information about the strengths/weaknesses of the various hedge fund applications including front, middle and back office. Since we know many folks have this same question, today we are going to expand on the answer given by our expert, Mark Coriaty.
Now the way a hedge fund uses an application will vary based on its investment strategy, and therefore the perceived strengths and weaknesses may vary as well. However, there are multiple ways to establish a baseline of strengths and weaknesses.
Service Provider Reports: Balancing Bias with Value
First up are free reports from hedge fund service providers such as Eze Castle Integration. Each year we publish a benchmark study that outlines top applications used in select front, middle and back office categories by hedge funds. This report will provide a baseline of the top three application vendors used in each category, but doesn’t dive into specific feature sets. The report can be downloaded HERE.
Vendor reports can be helpful in getting an initial understanding of the most frequently used applications and top features used by firms. You should always consider the source, as some vendor reports or whitepapers will be biased.
In the wake of the 2008 financial credit crisis, investment firms have recognized the need for more robust liquidity risk management tools and procedures. However, due to shifting regulations and detailed fund and investment structures, fund of funds, private equity firms, hedge funds, and institutional investors continue to grapple with liquidity management and reporting within their investment portfolios. The following is a high level overview of both the liquidity risk challenges facing firms today, and the ways in which some fund managers are overcoming these challenges.
What is liquidity risk, and how does it affect funds?
Liquidity is the extent to which an asset or security can be bought or sold in the market, while not impacting the asset’s price. The concept of liquidity is comprised of illiquid assets, which are the result of liquidity risk and cannot be instantly sold due to value uncertainty and lack of a market. Liquidity risk refers to the concept that an asset or security cannot be traded at the rate necessary to achieve returns and bypass losses. In the last several years, worldwide economic challenges including rising liquidity costs, a more uncertain market and lower levels of market assurance have contributed to the liquidity management challenges facing funds. Liquidity risk’s ability to negatively impact and compound other types of risk, such as credit risk, also has far reaching consequences for the financial markets. These consequences make it even more imperative for firms to get a handle on their liquidity risk management practices.
This fall, Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system captured the attention of many customers. Windows 8, however, isn’t the only Microsoft change 2013 will bring. Microsoft is planning to provide stricter oversight of its auditing process by conducting up to 30,000 licensing audits on small to midsize companies by 2014. Here is an overview of why you should ensure that your software is up to date and what to expect when it comes to the Microsoft licensing audits.
What are the Microsoft Licensing Audits?
In 2013, Microsoft will conduct audits on customers’ software usage. The audits will be mainly focused on mid-size companies with 500 - 2,000 computers. Many large companies have already put strict companywide licensing policies in place, but smaller firms typically have less formalized processes for ensuring all devices are licensed appropriately. As a result, Microsoft’s auditing focus is shifting to smaller companies. These audits will ensure that clients’ software is correctly licensed and paid for.
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