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Rows of servers like these could become fully automated with software-based networking
Rows of servers like these could become fully automated with software-based networking

Small Business Briefing

No hardware? Startup aims to revolutionize Internet Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz. Download our app here.

California's Nicira wants to create switch to software-based networking

U.S. startup Nicira is aiming to create software to replace the existing hardware that routes information on the Internet, a move that could revolutionalize the way digital information is accessed, according to Wired.

The Silicon Valley startup has partnered with Google to create a new breed of network that would exist only as software, a move that would make managing and modifying information on the Internet far easier.

Currently, engineers need physical switches and routers to manage networks, but the proposed change would shift management duties onto servers in a process called software-defined networking, or SDN. Nicira hopes to make creating and managing networks as easy as programming a computer, as opposed to the current labour-intensive process.

The company began from research conducted at Stanford University, a collaboration between Nicira's co-founder and chief technology officer Martin Casado, Stanford professor Nick McKeown and Scott Shenker, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Nicira has been able to attract some major customers for its existing network virtualization products, including AT&T, eBay and financial giant Fidelity. Ideally, the shift to SDN would eliminate network crashes, as the software drivers could be rerouted to another server station nearby. As such, it would create a more stable network and make physical damage to a network less critical to the overall operation.

RFID-blocking HuMn wallet raises nearly $300,000 on Kickstarter

An Oregon pair has designed a new, slim wallet that promises to protect e-security by blocking radio-frequency identification devices from skimming information off of cards, according to The Oregonian.

Ken Minn and Scott Hussa have designed the HuMn Wallet made of aluminum or carbon fibre, a minimalist design meant to reduce the bulk of a traditional wallet while upping security in an age when cards can be scanned from a distance and have important personal information stolen from them.

The wallet is comprised of two thin pieces of RFID-blocking material bound together by an elastic strap. The pair was able to finance their startup through $295,402 of Kickstarter donations, well above their intended goal of $66,000. (That seems to be a growing trend, following Pebble Technology's Kickstarter fundraising effort, which has already raised an incredible $6.5-million, skyrocketing from its opening goal of just $100,000 -- with 23 days still to go.)

Banking on nostalgia while reducing startup costs

Enterprising businesses are looking toward nostalgia-fueled buying practices in their new ventures, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Brands of a bygone era have many entrepreneurs snapping up dead or dying brands and rejuvenating them to suit contemporary tastes. Brands like National Premium Beer, Seafood Shanty restaurants and Boast polo shirts are getting new legs and should be back on consumers' radar in the near future.

The advantage of reviving an old brand is that entrepreneurs don't have to invest as much in initial marketing due to brand recognition dating back to the original property, according to George T. Haley, who teaches marketing at the University of New Haven's College of Business.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Today's the day: Small Business Summit Calgary

The Small Business Summit in Calgary is now underway. Brought to you by The Globe and Mail's Report on Small Business in conjunction with Achilles Media, the one-day event for entrepreneurs is filled with strategies, sessions and presentations that will offer essential insights to growing a business. Check out our live blog coverage here.

Business of aging

The MaRS Business of Aging Summit aims to offer companies "entrepreneur-driven solutions" to harness the talents of the aging workforce. The summit will include discussions and strategies to improve the health and increase productivity of aging employees and those caring for aging parents.The summit takes place April 30 in Toronto. For more information, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

How to hire the perfect fit

This week's Challenge: Toronto-based branding company Level 5 Strategy Group is facing too much turnover, especially among senior staff. The problem: finding employees who mesh with its corporate culture.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

'I feel good' in James Browns's PJs

After 12 years of organizing events for everyone from anxious brides to Hollywood stars, twin brothers Jian and Page Magen, who co-own Markham, Ont-based Magen Boys Entertainment, consider their collection of legendary bad boy soul singer James Brown’s sequin-studded jumpsuits and silk pyjamas a prized symbol of their business success, wrote Anita Elash in the kickoff story of our Splurge series last May.

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