Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich will join us for TC Sessions: Enterprise on September 5

Being the CTO for one of the three major hypercloud providers may seem like enough of a job for most people, but Mark Russinovich, the CTO of Microsoft Azure, has a few other talents in his back pocket. Russinovich, who will join us for a fireside chat at our TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise event in San Francisco on September 5 (p.s. early-bird sale ends Friday), is also an accomplished novelist who has published four novels, all of which center around tech and cybersecurity.

At our event, though, we won’t focus on his literary accomplishments (except for maybe his books about Windows Server) as much as on the trends he’s seeing in enterprise cloud adoption. Microsoft, maybe more so than its competitors, always made enterprise customers and their needs the focus of its cloud initiatives from the outset. Today, as the majority of enterprises is looking to move at least some of their legacy workloads into the cloud, they are often stumped by the sheer complexity of that undertaking.

In our fireside chat, we’ll talk about what Microsoft is doing to reduce this complexity and how enterprises can maximize their current investments into the cloud, both for running new cloud-native applications and for bringing legacy applications into the future. We’ll also talk about new technologies that can make the move to the cloud more attractive to enterprises, including the current buzz around edge computing, IoT, AI and more.

Before joining Microsoft, Russinovich, who has a Ph.D. in computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon, was the co-founder and chief architect of Winternals Software, which Microsoft acquired in 2006. During his time at Winternals, Russinovich discovered the infamous Sony rootkit. Over his 13 years at Microsoft, he moved from Technical Fellow up to the CTO position for Azure, which continues to grow at a rapid clip as it looks to challenge AWS’s leadership in total cloud revenue.

Tomorrow, Friday, August 16 is your last day to save $100 on tickets before prices go up. Book your early-bird tickets now and keep that Benjamin in your pocket.

If you’re an early-stage startup, we only have three demo table packages left! Each demo package comes with four tickets and a great location for your company to get in front of attendees. Book your demo package today before we sell out!


Unveiling its latest cohort, Alchemist announces $4 million in funding for its enterprise accelerator

The enterprise software and services-focused accelerator Alchemist has raised $4 million in fresh financing from investors BASF and the Qatar Development Bank, just in time for its latest demo day unveiling 20 new companies.

Qatar and BASF join previous investors, including the venture firms Mayfield, Khosla Ventures, Foundation Capital, DFJ and USVP, and corporate investors like Cisco, Siemens and Juniper Networks.

While the roster of successes from Alchemist’s fund isn’t as lengthy as Y Combinator, the accelerator program has launched the likes of the quantum computing upstart Rigetti, the soft-launch developer tool LaunchDarkly and drone startup Matternet .

Some (personal) highlights of the latest cohort include:

  • Bayware: Helmed by a former head of software-defined networking from Cisco, the company is pitching a tool that makes creating networks in multi-cloud environments as easy as copying and pasting.
  • MotorCortex.AI: Co-founded by a Stanford engineering professor and a Carnegie Mellon roboticist, the company is using computer vision, machine learning and robotics to create a fruit packer for packaging lines. Starting with avocados, the company is aiming to tackle the entire packaging side of pick and pack in logistics.
  • Resilio: With claims of a 96% effectiveness rate and $35,000 in annual recurring revenue with another $1 million in the pipeline, Resilio is already seeing companies embrace its mobile app that uses a phone’s camera to track stress levels and application-based prompts on how to lower it, according to Alchemist.
  • Operant Networks: It’s a long-held belief (of mine) that if computing networks are already irrevocably compromised, the best thing that companies and individuals can do is just encrypt the hell out of their data. Apparently Operant agrees with me. The company is claiming 50% time savings with this approach, and have booked $1.9 million in 2019 as proof, according to Alchemist.
  • HPC Hub: HPC Hub wants to democratize access to supercomputers by overlaying a virtualization layer and pre-installed software on underutilized super computers to give more companies and researchers easier access to machines… and they’ve booked $92,000 worth of annual recurring revenue.
  • DinoPlusAI: This chip developer is designing a low latency chip for artificial intelligence applications, reducing latency by 12 times over a competing Nvidia chip, according to the company. DinoPlusAI sees applications for its tech in things like real-time AI markets and autonomous driving. Its team is led by a designer from Cadence and Broadcom and the company already has $8 million in letters of intent signed, according to Alchemist.
  • Aero Systems West: Co-founders from the Air Force’s Research Labs and MIT are aiming to take humans out of drone operations and maintenance. The company contends that for every hour of flight time, drones require seven hours of maintenance and check ups. Aero Systems aims to reduce that by using remote analytics, self-inspection, autonomous deployment and automated maintenance to take humans out of the drone business.

Watch a live stream of Alchemist’s demo day pitches, starting at 3PM, here.



Percona Live Europe Featured Talks: Automatic Database Management System Tuning Through Large-Scale Machine Learning with Dana Van Aken

Percona Live Europe 2017

Percona Live EuropeWelcome to another post in our series of interview blogs for the upcoming Percona Live Europe 2017 in Dublin. This series highlights a number of talks that will be at the conference and gives a short preview of what attendees can expect to learn from the presenter.

This blog post is with Dana Van Aken, a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Her talk is titled Automatic Database Management System Tuning Through Large-Scale Machine Learning. DBMSs are difficult to manage because they have hundreds of configuration “knobs” that control factors such as the amount of memory to use for caches and how often to write data to storage. Organizations often hire experts to help with tuning activities, but experts are prohibitively expensive for many. In this talk, Dana will present OtterTune, a new tool that can automatically find good settings for a DBMS’s configuration knobs. In our conversation, we discussed how machine learning helps DBAs manage DBMSs:

Percona: How did you get into database technology? What do you love about it?

Dana: I got involved with research as an undergrad and ended up working on a systems project with a few Ph.D. students. It turned out to be a fantastic experience and is what convinced me to go for my Ph.D. I visited potential universities and chatted with many faculty members. I met with my current advisor at Carnegie Mellon University, Andy Pavlo, for a half hour and left his office excited about databases and the research problems he was interested in. Three years later, I’m even more excited about databases and the progress we’ve made in developing smarter auto-tuning techniques.

Percona: You’re presenting a session called “Automatic Database Management System Tuning Through Large-Scale Machine Learning”. How does automation make DBAs life easier in a DBMS production environment?

Dana: The role of the DBA is becoming more challenging due to the advent of new technologies and increasing scalability requirements of data-intensive applications. Many DBAs are constantly having to adjust their responsibilities to manage more database servers or support new platforms to meet an organization’s needs as they change over time. Automation is critical for reducing the DBA’s workload to a manageable size so that they can focus on higher-value tasks. Many organizations now automate at least some of the repetitive tasks that were once DBA responsibilities: several have adopted public/private cloud-based services whereas others have built their own automated solutions internally.

The problem is that the tasks that have now become the biggest time sinks for DBAs are much harder to automate. For example, DBMSs have dozens of configuration options. Tuning them is an essential but tedious task for DBAs, because it’s a trial and error approach even for experts. What makes this task even more time-consuming is that the best configuration for one DBMS may not be the best for another. It depends on the application’s workload and the server’s hardware. Given this, successfully automating DBMS tuning is a big win for DBAs since it would streamline common configuration tasks and give DBAs more time to deal with other issues. This is why we’re working hard to develop smarter tuning techniques that are mature and practical enough to be used in a production environment.

Percona: What do you want attendees to take away from your session? Why should they attend?

Dana: I’ll be presenting OtterTune, a new tool that we’re developing at Carnegie Mellon University that can automatically find good settings for a DBMS’s configuration knobs. I’ll first discuss the practical aspects and limitations of the tool. Then I’ll move on to our machine learning (ML) pipeline. All of the ML algorithms that we use are popular techniques that have both practical and theoretical work backing their effectiveness. I’ll discuss each algorithm in our pipeline using concrete examples from MySQL to give better intuition about what we are doing. I will also go over the outputs from each stage (e.g., the configuration parameters that the algorithm find to be the most impactful on performance). I will then talk about lessons I learned along the way, and finally wrap up with some exciting performance results that show how OtterTune’s configurations compared to those created by top-notch DBAs!

My talk will be accessible to a general audience. You do not need a machine learning background to understand our research.

Percona: What are you most looking forward to at Percona Live Europe 2017?

Dana: This is my first Percona Live conference, and I’m excited about attending. I’m looking forward to talking with other developers and DBAs about the projects they’re working on and the challenges they’re facing and getting feedback on OtterTune and our ideas.

Want to find out more about Dana and machine learning for DBMS management? Register for Percona Live Europe 2017, and see his talk Automatic Database Management System Tuning Through Large-Scale Machine Learning. Register now to get the best price! Use discount code SeeMeSpeakPLE17 to get 10% off your registration.

Percona Live Open Source Database Conference Europe 2017 in Dublin is the premier European open source event for the data performance ecosystem. It is the place to be for the open source community as well as businesses that thrive in the MySQL, MariaDB, MongoDB, time series database, cloud, big data and Internet of Things (IoT) marketplaces. Attendees include DBAs, sysadmins, developers, architects, CTOs, CEOs, and vendors from around the world.

The Percona Live Open Source Database Conference Europe will be September 25-27, 2017 at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin.

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