Category Archives: Technology

Social And Organizational Issues Related To Big Data

Social And Organizational Issues Related To Big Data

Working With Big Data

Every day, the world is creating new data through online purchases, click-throughs, social media interactions, and the many, many other activities performed which, whether we’re aware of it or not, collect and store information about individual behaviors, preferences, and the likes. In its latest prediction, IDC estimated that by 2025 total worldwide digital data would reach 180 zettabytes, a nearly incomprehensible quantity alone, but even more staggering when considering that in 2011 the world created ‘just’ 1.8 zettabytes of information. This big data is used by businesses to personalize customer experiences and amplify engagement, it helps companies make smarter decisions, and with the right tools and analytics in place can improve conversion rates and raise revenue. However, the power of big data is perhaps more talked about than actually implemented and several obstacles prevent organizations from being more data-driven.

Challenges for Big Data Utilization in the Organization

According to SAS, pairing big data with visual analytics can help significantly with the presentation of data, but there are still a number of hurdles to address. The sheer quantity of data produced may seem challenge enough, creating a minefield of data management and data sharing difficulties, but several more subtle components set up their own complications. Data quality is one such component more often considered today as analysts recognize the necessity for both accurate and timely data for the generation of the most valuable insights, and enterprise data management strategies are being implemented more regularly to help address data quality needs.


Another key consideration is the sharing of data, be it within the business across departments or units, or amongst different people. Organizations face a range of dilemmas regarding data sharing such as adequate security of the data, necessary authentication requirements to ensure only those individuals granted access are able to retrieve information, and protection of privacy related to the extremely personal and sensitive nature of some data. Aside from data security and protection, data sharing introduces a subset of challenges regarding whether or not, and how much, data should be shared between businesses. Though competitive stances would suggest the less shared with rivals the better, there is some advantage to be gained from a more open culture of data sharing.

Big data analytics, while a key solution for better data utilization, also produces its own set of challenges, and currently many marketers feel they lack an intuitive way to make sense of all of the available data and generate actionable insights from it. It’s possible that such concerns can be handled not only with the creation of a resilient data culture within organizations, but an analytics culture that promotes quality data collection, information monetization, and broadens the overall understanding of the insights available through data analysis.

Big Data & the Social Sphere


Aside from the data being collected and analyzed in organizations, big data holds a weighty position in the social sphere too. As the internet creates the channels for personal communication between strangers, it’s necessary to contemplate the trust many of us put in the advice and reviews of product and service provided by other users. Networks such as Amazon, eBay, and Airbnb rely on user interaction and information for repeat business, and these networks have developed sophisticated trust and safety mechanisms that may emulate the intentions of government regulations is many ways, but instead of implementing up-front granting of permission achieve their objectives through the concentrated use of peer review and data. Utilizing social data efficiently opens up an entirely new field for marketers with a different set of challenges and opportunities.

The role of big data and it’s analysis will only grow in the coming years and with it many avenues for business improvement through marketing, customer engagement, decision making, and product development. The right solutions help organizations make the most of their big data and provide the upper hand in today’s highly competitive markets.

Article sponsored by SAS Software and Big Data Forum

By Jennifer Klostermann

Benefits of Licensing Software as a Service In The Cloud

Benefits of Licensing Software as a Service In The Cloud

Software as a Service In The Cloud

When Microsoft moved to a monthly cloud-based subscription package for its Windows 10 operating system (Secure Productive Enterprise E3, and Secure Productive Enterprise E5), it represented the most significant recent example of software evolving into an as-a-service model (SaaS). Other vendors have also continued to migrate their software and application offerings to SaaS environments.

A handful of key reasons have driven companies such as Microsoft in this direction, all of which greatly benefit businesses of all sizes. First, IT departments are shrinking, and moving software to a subscription model based in the cloud enables for easier licensing management from service providers who serve as external IT departments for businesses.

business SaaS

Second, a cloud-based subscription model enables for businesses to license software on a per-consumption basis. Projects come and go, and the scale of these projects can vary. SaaS models enable organizations to scale their software needs based on timely consumption requirements.

A Cloud-Based Business Philosophy

The decision to move Windows 10 to SaaS was born out of the success Microsoft has had with Office 365, which has been a cloud-based offering for a few years now and enjoyed by businesses both large and small.

The timing also coincides with the change in business philosophy driven largely by the cloud itself. Businesses of every size are shifting many of their operations to the cloud, and everything from content management, social media management, and customer relationship management activities are also now residing in the cloud in a SaaS environment.

This shift also impacts a larger technology picture that goes beyond business use. As more software-based resources move to the cloud, this will further impact the broader spectrum how people, technology and “things” become inter-connected, known as the Internet of Things (IoT). SaaS models are at the center of this evolution.

The Need for External IT Departments To Manage Software

Clearly put, the days of the shrink-wrapped box of software are gone, and now everything lives and is licensed in the cloud, managed by an external IT department service provider.

According to research firm, Gartner, the shift to the cloud will soon be mandatory. According to the firm’s recent press release:

By 2020, a corporate ‘no-cloud’ policy will be as rare as a ‘no-internet’ policy is today, according to Gartner, Inc. Cloud-first, and even cloud-only, is replacing the defensive no-cloud stance that dominated many large providers in recent years. Today, most provider technology innovation is cloud-centric, with the stated intent of retrofitting the technology to on-premises.

The firm goes on to predict how organizations will embrace cloud offerings:

By 2019, more than 30 percent of the 100 largest vendors’ new software investments will have shifted from cloud-first to cloud-only.”

SaaS models tied in with licensing also enable for a more seamless user experience across multiple devices now used in business. From the laptop to the tablet and the mobile device, a cloud-centric subscription-based access to software enables a seamless experience for the user, no matter which device they’re on, with virtual access wherever they are. This is also beneficial for workflow that involves remote employees from different regions all desiring access to the same files and data.


Adding Services to the Software Experience

Lastly, the word “services” is key in the SaaS relationship. Service providers acting as external IT departments can help manage the software and application experience, which includes security offerings and managing license deployments for scale. And as software vendors such as Microsoft continue to enhance their software offerings, service providers will be the experts that help manage these upgrades and new features for their organizational clients.

By Kim Kuhlmann

kim_kuhlmannKim Kuhlmann is a Senior Customer Advisor for HPE SLMS Hosting. Through its range of full-service hosted software licensing capabilities and its detailed knowledge of the latest licensing programs from Microsoft and elsewhere, HPE SLMS Hosting offers the expertise service providers need to capitalize on new opportunities and grow their businesses at the pace of the cloud services market overall.

Follow HPE SLMS Hosting on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn for additional insight and conversation, and visit the HPE SPaRC resource community at

R.I.C.E: Reducing Cost, Improving Compliance, Controlling Data, Enhancing Experience

R.I.C.E: Reducing Cost, Improving Compliance, Controlling Data, Enhancing Experience

R.I.C.E Therapy for Next Generation Customer Experience

As industries worldwide adapt to the digital transformation that is modernizing many business processes, one big benefit is the ability to focus more on improving customer experience. An example of this change is the digitization of client communications. Today’s client is tech-savvy, and expects access to their sensitive documents at any time, from any device. However, the need for augmented communication calls for an evaluation of how organizations can deliver both transparency and security to ensure and easy and secure user experience.

Current customer experience roadblocks


In addition to the rising concern of leaking sensitive information, there are several other customer and client experience roadblocks in today’s processes, including:

  • Lack of e-mail surveillance risk of important documents ending up in the wrong inbox, digging through piles of e-mails
  • Poor communicationlag in sending time, confusion in attached documents, clunky interface causing both employee and client frustration
  • No ROIcostly printing and mailing fees, growth at a gridlock
  • Weak securityfailing to comply with regulations, risk of being fined

Leveraging online communications platforms that are vetted and validated can help organizations avoid these all-too-familiar pain points. Companies should look towards technologies that incorporate features and benefits to fit the needs of their growing customer base.

Turning to R.I.C.E for support

What’s the best way to ensure a speedy recovery from a sprained ankle? Some experts stand suggest a little R.I.C.E therapy will have you back on your feet in no time: a little rest, ice, compression and elevation typically does the trick. But what’s the best way to repair client communication?

R.I.C.E can work for organizations looking to transform client communication, too. Reducing cost, money and effort; improving compliance; controlling data; and enhancing experience are key ways companies can overcome current roadblocks and put them on a path toward customer experience recovery.

  • Reduce cost, money, and effort responding to more client and financial advisor requests in less time, reducing printing and mailing costs
  • Improve compliancestrengthening policies and procedures related to safeguarding client data
  • Control dataalternatives to e-mail when sharing “high value” information such as clients’ personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Enhance experiencefocusing on digital client engagement, providing real-time access to information, delivering investment information in clients’ preferred format

By following these core concepts, businesses can not only ease customer or client nerves about data collection and cloud storage, but also improve and streamline communication. With a secure content collaboration platform to back companies up, common customer grievances such as trust and responsibility will no longer be a concern.

Building client credibility: Tryperion

As a niche real estate investment firm in Los Angeles, Tryperion serves a range of foundations, family offices, and high net worth investors. Tryperion is a great example of a company that realized it needed a new tool to meet its industry’s transition of priorities to fostering better client relationships, rather than just enhancing performance. The rising concern of private investment statements and real estate investment reports ending up in the wrong hands made Tryperion recognize the need for an upgraded digital solution that delivered greater transparency and security.

Clients were complaining about their experiences using Tryperion’s existing portal, so retaining investors and making them happy was a key driver for change. Tryperion also had to manually put documents into each investor’s portal, and when that portal wasn’t working properly, the Tryperion team wasted hours trouble-shooting and sending out individual emails to investors. With its new enterprise-grade, secure collaboration platform, Tryperion can now securely and seamlessly upload various documents one time and automatically distribute them to each investor. This frees up the team to focus on more important issues affecting the growth of the firm. Moreover, their investment managers can now get up to speed and exceed their investor clients’ expectations via a platform that offers a convenient and hassle-free interface where clients can access capital calls, distributions notices, K-1 reports, capital account statements, tax forms and several other classified investment documents from a click of a mouse.

One size fits all: The ACE bandage of communication

R.I.C.E can apply to industries everywhere, not just investor communications. Organizations across all fields need to identify key areas of opportunity to improve customer experience and act on them. Taking a look at client communication is a good place to start.

By Daren Glenister

Around The Cloud – Tech News For The Week

Around The Cloud – Tech News For The Week

Around The Cloud

Ars Technia has been buzzing this week about how safe the Linux kernel is, calling its current situation an “unprecedented security crisis”. Linux now underpins not only server farms but also the cloud, Android phones, Chromebooks, and everything connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). It now serves as the single point of failure that, like the first domino in a line, can send all the pieces crashing down should an exploit be discovered. Kees Cook, the head of the new Linux Kernel Self Protection Project, said “…the Linux kernel needs to deal with attacks in a manner where it actually is expecting them and actually handles gracefully in some fashion the fact that it’s being attacked.”

Google is planning on showing off their latest and greatest innovations at an event in San Francisco on October 4th. We’re expecting to see new phones, new pricing and release dates for Google’s Amazon Echo competitor, a new Chromecast, and a new router. But what the internet is really buzzing about are the new Pixel and Pixel XL phones, which will be showcasing Android Nougat 7.1 and Google’s new virtual assistant app called Allo. The Verge goes in more details about the Pixel phones, as well as Google Home (the Amazon Echo competitor), Chromecast, Google Wi-Fi, and a mysterious new operating system for laptops and tablets nicknamed “Androme”.


In other Google related news, TIME reported today that Google has started testing their Uber competitor, Waze Rider, in San Francisco. The Waze Rider app searches to connect riders with drivers that are already traveling in the same direction as the rider. In contrast, Uber just seeks to connect a rider with the nearest driver, disregarding where the driver is headed and requiring the driver devote themselves entirely to the rider’s interests. While this results in cheaper fares for riders, it also means lower pay for drivers. However, drivers also do not have to turn it into a part time or full time job, making Waze Rider the ideal way to earn a little money while on your way to work or running errands around town.

An angry French man has won the internet today with his display of passion in an Apple store. While Apple often has received praise for their high standards in customer service, evidently this man did not agree. He entered an Apple store in Dijon yesterday and started calmly smashing Apple devices with a weighted boule metal ball (used in a French bowls game) to make his point clear, perhaps because he felt that no one was taking him seriously before. Video footage of this event can be seen at The Verge.

By Jonquil McDaniel

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Cloud Architecture

These days, Multi-Tier Applications are the norm. From SharePoint’s front-end/back-end configuration, to LAMP-based websites using multiple servers to handle different functions, a multitude of apps require public and private-facing components to work in tandem. Placing these apps in entirely public-facing platforms and networks simplifies the process, but at the cost of security vulnerabilities. Locating everything across back-end networks causes headaches for the end-users who try to access the systems over VPN and other private links.

Many strategies have been implemented to address this issue across traditional datacenter infrastructures. Independent physical networks with a “DMZ” for public-facing components, complex routers and firewall configurations have all done the job, although they do add multiple layers of complexity and require highly specialized knowledge and skill sets to accomplish.

Virtualization has made management much easier, but virtual administrators are still required to create and manage each aspect of the configuration – from start to finish. Using a private cloud configuration can make the process much simpler, and it helps segment control while still enabling application administrators to get their jobs done.

Multi-tenancy in the Private Cloud

Private cloud architecture allows for multi-tenancy, which in turn allows for separation of the networking, back-end and front-end tiers. Cloud administrators can define logical relationships between components and enable the app admins to manage their applications without worrying about how they will connect to each other.

One example is a web-based application using a MySQL back-end data platform. In a traditional datacenter platform, the app administrators would request connectivity to either isolate the back-end database or to isolate everything and allow only minimal web traffic to cross the threshold. This requires network administrators to spend hours working with the app team to create and test firewalls and other networking rules to ensure the access they need without opening any security holes that could be exploited.

Applying private cloud methodology changes the game dramatically.

Two individual virtual networks can be created by the cloud administrator. Within each network, traffic flows freely, removing the need to manually create networking links between components in the same virtual network entirely. In addition, a set of security groups can be established that will only allow specified traffic to route between the back-end data network and the front-end web server network – specifically ports and protocols used for the transfer of MySQL data and requests. Security groups utilize per-tenant access control list (ACL) rules, which allow each virtual network to independently define what traffic it will and will not accept and route.

Private cloud networking

Due to the nature of private cloud networking, it becomes much easier to not only ensure that approved data is flowing between the front and back end networks, but to ensure that traffic only flows if it originates from the application networks themselves. This allows for free-flow of required information but blocks anyone outside the network from trying to enter through those same ports.

In the front-end virtual network, all web traffic ports are opened so that users can access those web servers. With the back-end network, the front-end network can be configured to easily reject any other protocol or port and only allow routing from the outside world to the front-end servers, but nowhere else. This has the dual effect of enabling the web servers to do their jobs but won’t allow other administrators or anyone else in the datacenter to gain access, minimalizing faults due to human error or malicious intent.

Once application and database servers are installed and configured by the application administrators, the solution is complete. MySQL data flows from the back-end network to the front-end network and back, but no traffic from other sources reaches that data network. Web traffic from the outside world flows into and out of the front-end network, but it cannot “leapfrog” into the back-end network because external routes would not be permitted to any other server in the configuration. As each tenant is handled separately and governed by individual security groups, app administrators from other groups cannot interfere with the web application. The admins also cannot cause security vulnerabilities by accidentally opening unnecessary ports across the board because they need them for their own apps.

Streamlined Administration

Finally, the entire process becomes easier when each tenant has access to self-service, only relying on the cloud administrator for configuration of the tenancy as a whole and for the provisioning of the virtual networks. The servers, applications, security groups and other configurations can now be performed by the app administrator, and will not impact other projects, even when they reside on the same equipment. Troubleshooting can be accomplished via the cloud platform, which makes tracking down problems much easier. Of course, the cloud administrator could manage the entire platform, but they no longer have to.

Using a private cloud model allows for greater flexibility, better security, and easier management. While it is possible to accomplish this with a traditional physical and virtual configuration, adding the self-service and highly configurable tools of a private cloud is a great way to take control, and make your systems work the way you want, instead of the other way around.

By Ariel Maislos, CEO, Stratoscale

ariel-maislosAriel brings more than twenty years of technology innovation and entrepreneurship to Stratoscale. After a ten-year career with the IDF, where he was responsible for managing a section of the Technology R&D Department, Ariel founded Passave, now the world leader in FTTH technology. Passave was established in 2001, and acquired in 2006 by PMC-Sierra (PMCS), where Ariel served as VP of Strategy. In 2006 Ariel founded Pudding Media, an early pioneer in speech recognition technology, and Anobit, the leading provider of SSD technology acquired by Apple (AAPL) in 2012. At Apple, he served as a Senior Director in charge of Flash Storage, until he left the company to found Stratoscale. Ariel is a graduate of the prestigious IDF training program Talpiot, and holds a BSc from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science (Cum Laude) and an MBA from Tel Aviv University. He holds numerous patents in networking, signal processing, storage and flash memory technologies.

Battle of the Clouds: Multi-Instance vs. Multi-Tenant

Battle of the Clouds: Multi-Instance vs. Multi-Tenant

Multi-Instance vs. Multi-Tenant

The cloud is part of everything we do. It’s always there backing up our data, pictures, and videos. To many, the cloud is considered to be a newer technology. However, cloud services actually got their start in the late 90s when large companies used it as a way to centralize computing, storage, and networking. Back then, the architecture was built on database systems originally designed for tracking customer service requests and running financial systems. For many years, companies like Oracle, IBM, EMC and Cisco thrived in this centralized ecosystem as they scaled their hardware to accommodate customer growth.

Unfortunately, what is good for large enterprises, does not typically translate to a positive experience for customers. While the cloud providers have the advantage of building and maintaining a centralized system, the customers must share the same software and infrastructure. This is known as a multi-tenant architecture, a legacy system that nearly all clouds still operate on today.


Here are three major drawbacks of the multi-tenant model for customers:

  • Commingled data – In a multi-tenant environment, the customer relies on the cloud provider to logically isolate their data from everyone else’s. Essentially, customers and their competitors’ data could be commingled in a single database. While you cannot see another company’s data, the data is still not physically separate and relies on software for separation and isolation. This has major implications for government, healthcare and financial regulations, and not to mention, a security breach that could expose your data along with everyone else.
  • Excessive maintenance and downtime – Multi-tenant architectures rely on large and complex databases that require hardware and software maintenance on a regular basis, resulting in availability issues for customers.  While some departments can experience downtime in the off hours such as sales or marketing, enterprise applications that are used across the entire enterprise need to be operational nearly 100 percent of time. Ideally, enterprise applications should not experience more than 26 seconds of downtime a month on average. They simply cannot suffer the excessive maintenance downtime of a multi-tenant architecture.
  • All are impacted – In a multi-tenant cloud, any action that affects the multi-tenant database such as outages, upgrades, or availability issues affect all those who share that multi-tenancy. When software or hardware issues are found on a multi-tenant database, it causes an outage for all customers. The same goes with upgrades. The main issue arises when this model is applied to run enterprise–wide business services. Entire organizations cannot tolerate this shared approach on applications that are critical to their success. Instead, they require upgrades done on their own schedule for planning purposes and for software and hardware issues to be isolated and resolved quickly.

With its inherent data isolation and multiple availability issues, multi-tenancy is a legacy cloud computing architecture that will not stand the test of time. To embrace and lead today’s technological innovations; companies need to look at an advanced cloud architecture called multi-instance. A multi-instance architecture provides each customer with their own unique database. Rather then using a large centralized database, instances are deployed on a per-customer basis, allowing the multi-instance cloud to scale horizontally and infinitely.

With this architecture and deployment model come many benefits, including data isolation, advanced high availability, and customer-driven upgrade schedules.

Here’s a closer look at each of these areas:

  • True data isolation – In a multi-instance architecture, each customer has its own unique database making sure their data is not shared with other customers. A multi-instance architecture is not built on a large centralized database, instead, instances are deployed on a per-customer basis, making hardware and software maintenance easier to perform and issues can be resolved on a customer-by-customer basis.
  • Advanced high availability – Ensuring high availability of data and achieving true redundancy is no longer possible through legacy disaster recovery tactics. Multiple sites being tested infrequently and used only in the most dire of times, is simply not enough. Through multi-instance cloud technology, true redundancy is achieved with the application logic and database for each customer instance being replicated between two paired, yet geographically separate data centers. Each redundant data center is fully operational and active resulting in almost real-time replication of the customer instances and databases. Coupling a multi-instance cloud with automation technology, the customer instances can be quickly moved between each data center resulting in high availability of data.
  • Customer-driven upgrades – As described above, the multi-instance architecture allows cloud service providers to perform actions on individual customer instances, this also includes upgrades. A multi-instance cloud allows each instance to be upgraded on a schedule that fits compliance requirements and the needs of individual customers.

When it comes down to it, the multi-instance architecture clearly has significant advantages over the antiquated multi-tenant clouds. With its data isolation and a fully replicated environment that provides high availability and scheduled upgrades, the multi-instance architecture puts customers in control of their cloud.

By Allan Leinwand

Infographic: 9 Things To Know About Business Intelligence (BI) Software

Infographic: 9 Things To Know About Business Intelligence (BI) Software

Business Intelligence (BI) Software 

How does your company track its data? It’s a valuable resource—so much so that it’s known as Business Intelligence, or BI. But using it, integrating it into your daily processes, that can be significantly difficult. That’s why there’s software to help.

But when it comes to software, there are lots of options, and it’s hard to weigh all the pros and cons. First, you must realize what makes up BI software, and how it works. BI software is going to focus on gathering all that information, and enabling you to create reports for analysis.

It may not seem as though BI software is worth it, but it can do a lot for your workflow. You might find decisions easier to make, or your operations more efficient. You also might be able to build your business by figuring out both trends and opportunities.

No matter what software you decide on, make sure it has some essential elements, including dashboards and reports. This infographic discovered via Salesforce can work you through the often complicated BI software decision.


Cukes and the Cloud

Cukes and the Cloud

The Cloud, through bringing vast processing power to bear inexpensively, is enabling artificial intelligence. But, don’t think Skynet and the Terminator. Think cucumbers!

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) conjures up the images of vast cool intellects bent on our destruction or at best ignoring us the way we ignore ants. Reality is a lot different and much more prosaic – A.I. recommends products or movies and shows you might like from Amazon or Netflix learning from your past preferences. Now you can do it yourself as one farmer in Japan did. He used it to sort his cucumber harvest.


Makoto Koike, inspired by seeing Google’s AlphaGo beat the world’s best Go player, decided to try using Google’s open source TensorFlow offering to address a much less exalted challenge but nonetheless a difficult one: sorting the cucumber harvest from his parent’s farm.

Now these are not just any cucumbers. They are thorny cucumbers where straightness, vivid color and a large number of prickles command premium prices. Each farmer has his own classification and Makoto’s father had spent a lifetime perfecting his crop and customer base for his finest offerings. The challenge was to sort them quickly during the harvest so the best and freshest could be sent to buyers as rapidly as possible.

This sorting was previously a “human only” task that required much experience and training – ruling out supplementing the harvest with part-time temporary labor. The result was Makoto’s poor mother would spend eight hours a day tediously sorting them by hand.

Makoto tied together a video inspection system and mechanical sorting machines with his DIY software based on the Google TensorFlow and it works! If you want a deep dive on the technology check out the details here. Essentially the machine is trained to recognize a set of images that represent the different classifications of quality. The challenge is using just a standard local computer required keeping the images at a relatively low resolution. The result is 75% accuracy in the actual sorting. Even achieving that required three days of training the computer on recognizing the 7000 images.

Expanding to a server farm (no pun intended) large enough to raise that accuracy to 95% would be cost prohibitive and only needed during harvest. But Makoto is excited because Google offers Cloud Machine Learning (Cloud ML), a low-cost cloud platform for training and prediction that dedicates hundreds of cloud servers to training a network with TensorFlow. With Cloud ML, Google handles building a large-scale cluster for distributed training, and you just pay for what you use, making it easier for developers to try out deep learning without making a significant capital investment.

If you can do this with sorting cucumbers imagine what might be possible as cloud power continues to increase inexpensively and the tools get easier to use. The personal assistant on your phone will really become your personal assistant and not the clunky beasts they are today. In your professional life they’ll be your right-hand minion taking over the tedious aspects of your job. Given what Makoto achieved perhaps you should try your hand at it. Who knows what you might come up with?

By John Pientka

(Originally published Sept 22nd, 2016. You can periodically read John’s syndicated articles here on CloudTweaks. Contact us for more information on these programs)

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