Constellation Insights

Welcome to Digital Transformation Digest, Constellation's daily compendium of news and analysis covering forward-thinking enterprises, mega-vendors, startups and developers.

ARM's Interesting IoT Move: Sometimes the price tag of a technology industry acquisition belies its symbolic significance. Such is the case with chipmaker ARM's £11.7 million purchase of Simulity Labs, which makes eSIMs (embedded subscriber identity modules), as V3 reports:

eSIMs are a new version of a standard SIM card which are not replaceable, often soldered directly to a circuit board. They are used in M2M/IoT applications, where there is no need to change the SIM card, and can also be used in remote SIM provisioning (switching a SIM between providers through software).

POV: "The difference between the design and specification of chips for use in IT-oriented devices such as servers and PCs, and chips for the millions of endpoint devices that are part of IoT is seen clearly in this acquisition," says Constellation Research VP and principal analyst Andy Mulholland. "Adding discrete SIM functionality to ARM's expertise in mobile technology is a powerful move that suggests ARM has a clear competitive vision for the high-growth IoT market."

Eyes on Five Eyes: The Five Eyes Alliance, comprised of the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand, dates to 1946 and is based on intelligence sharing, counterterrorism and other national security issues. The problem, says the UK nonprofit group Privacy International, is that it has operated essentially in secret for far too long. PI wants a U.S. court to shed some light on the Alliance:

The most recent publicly available version of the Five Eyes surveillance agreement dates from 1955. Our complaint was filed before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

For years, PI has tried to obtain information about the agreement and the rules governing the Five Eyes alliance via freedom of information requests and other methods.

In the US, PI has made freedom of information requests to the National Security Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the State Department, and the National Archives and Records Administration. All four agencies are subject to the Freedom of Information Act and all agencies have withheld the records PI seeks.

Our complaint seeks to compel disclosure of the current version of the agreement and records relating to the rules governing the government’s exchange of intelligence with the other members of the Five Eyes alliance.

PI "is seeking the agreement’s legal standards and limitations, not operational details," the statement adds.

POV: It's not clear whether PI's effort will be successful, but the Five Eyes Alliance does play a crucial role in privacy policy. Go here to read Constellation Research VP and principal analyst Steve Wilson's take on how the group can best set guidelines around cryptography.

Integrating data integrators: Private equity firms have made aggressive investments in enterprise software companies over the past 12 to 18 months. The trend is continuing with a $1.26 billion deal between Clearlake Capital and Centerbridge Partners that will merge data-integration vendors Syncosrt and Vision Solutions.

The company will go forward under the Syncsort name. Syncsort started out with a focus on data-sorting for mainframes but has since broadened its focus toward other types of data transformation. It positions itself as a "Big Iron to Big Data" specialist. Vision Solutions, meanwhile, focuses on data protection and backup for IBM Power Systems.

POV: Go here for a look at Constellation VP and principal analyst Doug Henschen's in-depth profile of Syncsort. As for this week's announcement, it makes a good deal of sense, Henschen says.

"Where Syncsort has long specialized in data-integration and processing options for the mainframe, Vision adds cloud migration, cloud backup and cloud disaster-recovery-as a-service for IBM Power, including IBM i and AIX deployments," he says. "It's a one-stop-shop that offers a broader and more cloud-centric focus than Syncsort could previously support."

Legacy Watch: The VAs half-billion dollar boondoggle: Cost and timeline overruns are sadly nothing new when it comes to U.S. government IT projects, but a particularly troubled effort at the Veterans Administration stands apart from the pack.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services was awarded a $543 million contract four years ago to create a real-time tracking system for medical devices. A major reason for the project was a desire to ensure equipment is regularly sanitized in order to prevent disease and death, the Austin American-Statesman reports:

But the contract has been beset by a host of problems, including failed operational tests, questions over the reliability of equipment tags and fundamental concerns over whether the department’s WiFi can support the system, according to thousands of pages of emails, reports and documents obtained by the American-Statesman using the Freedom of Information Act.

The issues come as the VA prepares to replace its pioneering but ancient medical records system, VistA, at a cost of up to $16 billion. While VistA is 40 years old, its lack of viability going forward isn't due to core structural reasons, but rather neglect on the part of government officials, as an in-depth Politico report compellingly argues.

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