May 12, 2014

Thoughts from SFD5 – Using Flash DIMMs for Server-Side Storage
Loading up servers with RAM and letting workloads chew up large quantities for a RAM-cache feels very legacy. Unless you’re working with an application that just absolutely must entertain near-zero latency for all transactions, there’s usually little need to load all of the working set into memory, right? We’re talking niche stuff, indeed. Thus, I would imagine that databases and highly transactional workloads would be the initial target, with more mainstream folks who just want to “cram a bunch of VMs on a server” following after the price point is a little less insane. After all, the idea of having ESXi hosts that are CPU bound as a general rule sounds cool to me; we’re almost always RAM bound in today’s world.

5 Business Benefits of Open Source Software
Built on the principles of openness, collaboration and technology contribution that define the open source development model, Red Hat came to the realization that there is a massive economic benefit as customers are more fully able to take advantage of modernizing an infrastructure around open source. "We always say we want millions of users and hundreds of thousands of customers. If you can adapt to that model where it is not monetized 100%, there are massive opportunities out there with customers that need a partnership. It's a win-win model," says Stevens.

Unplug ghost servers, save a bundle
When business units add new applications, IT operations will buy and install servers to meet the need based on capacity projections. With time, application use may migrate or diminish, leaving the servers behind, said Killian. A business unit might trigger the expansion, but it takes "a real push from IT operations to force the issue" once hardware has outlived its usefulness or is under-utilized, said Killian. "We're at the point where you are essentially monopolizing valuable data center space and raised floor space and power," he said. Killian said decommissioning can be a lengthy process involving both IT and the business interests, which may be focused on developing new products -- not on getting rid of old equipment.

Algorithmic culture. “Culture now has two audiences: people and machines”
Technology and culture can “shape” or “influence” each another if and only if one proceeds from the assumption that they are separable, conceptually or semantically. For most of the past two centuries this has effectively been the case, but it is has not always been so. Until about 1800, the word “culture” in English referred to husbandry—that is, to techniques for tending crops and domesticated animals, including selective breeding. Sometimes it was used interchangeably with the world “coulter,” which is a part of a plough. Technology and culture used to be very closely aligned, so much so that it was difficult to imagine the one apart from the other.

Running IT as Business
Let revenue generation/increase become the focus vs. cost savings/ optimization. That's not to say ignore the cost completely. Basically, start showing small wins in helping revenue increase and IT will get opportunities to transform from mere enabler to accelerator of business. From culture perspective, IT needs to break out of the service provider mindset and see itself as a center of value creation, not just service provision. If you don't have that mind-set, how can you expect the rest of the business to think differently. if you want to add value, you must be part of the business, understand it, help set its strategy, and innovate its products and processes, not just be an order-taker.

Principle #1 of Capacity Planning: The Team as a Resource Unit
Unfortunately, most portfolio managers are ill-equipped to reap the benefits of their Agile delivery groups. The thinking must evolve from, “Which roles do I select for the virtual team I will assign to a project, and when do those roles free up to work on the next project?” to, “Which teams are the best fit to work on strategic initiatives, and how do I balance my teams to be more innovative while sustaining current applications and products in the market?” We’ve known for a while now that stable teams perform better; dismantling and re-forming teams for specific projects takes a toll on both quality and productivity.

Glue Networks brings orchestration to Cisco SDN WAN
"Our largest apprehension was around performance of Internet-based services coming into the office against hig-speed going out," explained Taylor. "A couple of T-1 lines weren't going to cut it." There was also concern about connections between branch offices since at times communication is heavier between two remote sites -- for example, Phoenix and Southern California -- than between a branch and the St. Louis headquarters, Taylor said. Glue offers dynamic WAN provisioning to solve that problem. WWT had an MPLS network to connect its international sites, but opted for more flexible and less-expensive broadband Internet-based VPN links within domestic regions.

Controller-less WLAN solution helps Swansea pick Aerohive for schools
The overall manageability of the new WLAN was a critical factor in Swansea council’s decision, said senior ICT programme delivery manager Ricky Holdsworth. “We provide a managed service for schools in Swansea,” he said, “and they buy in through SLAs [service-level agreements] with the local authority. So, as part of that, it was even more critical that we had manageability because ultimately it is us supporting it; it’s not delegated out to schools.” For this reason, Aerohive’s HiveManager platform and controller-less APs came up trumps in the procurement process, said Holdsworth.

CIO Discovers the 'Terrifying' Reality of Cloud Apps Running Wild
Rogue cloud services have ripped open gaping holes in the security fabric of a company, putting both the firm at grave risk and the CIO in a tough spot. However, rogue cloud services also show the critical need for a tech-savvy consultant -- or cloud services broker-- to patch holes, maintain compliance, negotiate cloud contracts and enforce service level agreements, since many cloud service providers deliver shoddy service, reports Research in Action. Faced with a massive amount of rogue cloud services, Keithley's first instinct was to block them -- but that would solve nothing. After all, IT's history of blocking unfamiliar technology most likely spawned these rogue cloud services in the first place.

Chocolatey brings Linux-style package management to Windows
The many options for Windows package or software management can be confusing. NuGet is a package management system for developers -- that is, it handles packages and references for projects, thus allowing the developer to concentrate on code. While NuGet handles packages, Chocolatey handles applications at a system level. So, you would use Chocolatey to install an application such as Puppet on your development machine. It appears Chocolatey is becoming the de facto standard for Windows package and dependency management, but it still is not a standard Windows component.

Quote for the day:

"To succeed in business it is necessary to make others see things as you see them." -- Aristotle Onassis