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Dispatches from the world of IT


ISC Cloud'12 Registration Open

Online registration is now open for ISC Cloud'12. The conference, which is organized by the team behind the International Supercomputing Conference, will be held September 24-25, in Mannheim, Germany.

According to the announcement, the ISC Cloud'12 program will focus on two of the biggest topics in high-performance computing – the potential of clouds to meet the demand for HPC and how best to deal with Big Data and HPC.

About 30 leading experts from academia, research, and industry are expected to present their experience and perspectives on HPC and Big Data. Discussions will include topics such as how to bring massive amounts of data nearer computing resources, as well as moving resources to where data is generated.

Key topics of this year's conference include:

General advanced registration, at a savings of EUR 50, is open through Saturday, September 15. If you attended ISC'12 and purchased a full-conference passport, you are entitled to 25 percent off the ISC Cloud'12 pass. To register for ISC Cloud'12, please use the code cloud4isc-2012. For more information, visit:

Phishing Activity at All-Time High

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) recently published its Phishing Activity Trends Report for 2012Q1. According to the report, the number of unique phishing sites detected in a month by the APWG reached 56,859 in February, which was an all-time high.

The APWG report states, "The total remained relatively consistent during the three-month period, indicating sustained and regular activity by phishers. The February figure eclipsed the previous record high of 56,362, which was recorded in August 2009, by almost 1 percent."

Phishing attacks targeting consumers remained at high levels throughout the quarter, however, with 25,000 to 30,000 unique phishing email campaigns documented each month. According to the report, each campaign can involve hundreds of thousands or millions of pieces of email sent to consumers.

Most phishing occurs on hacked or compromised web servers, and the United States remained the top country hosting phishing sites during the first quarter of 2012. Additionally, the financial services sector continues to be the most targeted industry sector for phishing attacks, with 38.1 percent of targeted attacks; it is followed by the payment services (21.5%) and retail (13.6%) sectors.

Phishing is described in the report as "a criminal mechanism employing both social engineering and technical subterfuge to steal consumers' personal identity data and financial account credentials." The report analyzes phishing attacks reported to the APWG by its member companies, its Global Research Partners, through the organization's website, and by email submissions to You can download and read the complete report at:

Dell to Deliver Ubuntu Laptop

Dell has announced that it will take Project Sputnik from pilot to product this fall. At that time, the company plans to deliver an official developer laptop based on the Dell XPS 13, preloaded with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and available in select areas. According to the announcement, the system will offer developers a complete client-to-cloud solution. The included software will allow developers to create "microclouds" on their laptops, simulating a proper, at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud.

"Project Sputnik is a great example of the employee-driven innovation we built Dell's incubation program to enable," said Nnamdi Orakwue, executive sponsor of the Dell incubation program. "This project represents the first of many new ideas Dell employees will test with customers or partners through the program, and we look forward to supporting Sputnik to be successful as it becomes a product this fall."

According to the Sputnik FAQ page, the solution is based on the current high-end configuration of the Dell XPS13 laptop: 13.3-inch screen with edge-to-edge glass (1366x768 resolution), i7 2GHz Intel Core2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD, all in a 0.88x12.56x9.3-inch device weighing 2.99 pounds.

The software is available now at During the pilot phase, forum support is available on Dell Tech Center. The company is currently evaluating support options for the official product that will be released in the fall. More information can be found at:

Puppet Labs Offering New Certification Program

Puppet Labs, a provider of IT automation software for system administrators, has launched a new Puppet Certification Program.

According to the announcement, the certification program will premiere at the company's IT operations conference, PuppetConf, on September 26, 2012, where the initial 144 conference registrants will be the first to take the computer-based certification exams.

Puppet certifications will be available in two key areas. The Puppet Professional Certification will validate system administrator competencies in using Puppet IT automation software to manage their infrastructure proactively throughout its lifecycle. The Puppet Developer Certification will validate skills and competencies for developers who want to expand their Puppet solution by developing extensions for Puppet in Ruby.

Worldwide availability of the Puppet certification exams at select Pearson VUE testing centers will begin on October 1, 2012. Exam price is US$ 200. You can learn more at:

OpenStack Announces ARM-Based Cloud

OpenStack community members have announced a collaboration to build the first ARM technology-powered OpenStack cloud as a zone in TryStack, the free sandbox for exploring and testing OpenStack.

The announcement states that OpenStack has added support for ARM processors, relying on the OpenStack pluggable architecture. Thus, OpenStack can be deployed across diverse architectures, including widely available virtualization technologies, different storage back ends, and CPU architectures such as ARM.

TryStack is a community-run cloud ideal for testing software on the diverse architectures supported by OpenStack, and TryStack users can now launch instances in two TryStack zones: an x86 zone running standard hardware and a new ARM-powered zone. Both zones run the latest OpenStack Essex software release. According to the announcement, the new ARM zone was made possible with hardware and engineering contributions from Calxeda, Canonical, and HP, with data center space provided by Core NAP. TryStack is also made possible by ongoing individual and corporate contributions from Dell, Equinix, HP, NTT, and Rackspace Hosting.

After exploring OpenStack in the TryStack testbed, users can install and deploy it through major Linux distributions, commercial products, and services available through OpenStack participating companies. Developers and users can learn more at local user group meetings and events, including the upcoming OpenStack Summit, October 15-18, in San Diego. For more information, visit