October 25, 2014

A Closer Look at CloudFlare and Incapsula: Next Generation CDN Services
CloudFlare was among the first to offer a free CDN service, in essence sparking this revolution. Incapsula, spun off from security giant Imperva, upped the ante by imbuing the CDN platform with security-oriented technologies. Motivated in part by their own competition, the relentless innovation of these companies is advancing the CDN space forward in leaps and bounds. Today, this innovation is also ushering in a new trend of using cloud-based services to replace security and availability enterprise-grade appliance.

A first look at Distributed R
The primary use case for the Distributed R software is to move data quickly from a database into distributed data structures that can be accessed by multiple, independent R instances for coordinated, parallel computation. The Distributed R infrastructure automatically takes care of the extraction of the data and the coordination of the calculations, including the occasional movement of data from a worker node to the master node when required by the calculation. The user interface to the Distributed R mechanism is through R functions that have been designed and optimized to work with the distributed data structures, and through a special “Distributed R aware” foreach() function that allow users to write their own distributed functions using ordinary R functions.

Why companies that rely on open-source projects must insist on a strong code of conduct
While companies may be reticent to dictate the behaviors of the open-source community for fear that doing so will stifle innovation or cause members to question the motives of their corporate overseers, if a situation gets out of hand, it’s wise for companies to take some sort of action so that its open-source talent doesn’t leave and tensions don’t escalate. One way to combat bad behaviors and create some semblance of order is to create a strong code of conduct, which is a set of guidelines that dictates what the community believes to be acceptable behavior. First developed and popularized by the Ada Initiative

Managing Complexity: The Battle Between Emergence And Entropy
But complexity has a dark side as well, and companies like JP Morgan, IBM and Airbus often find themselves struggling to avoid the negative side-effects of their complex structures. These forms of “unintended” complexity manifest themselves in many ways – from inefficient systems and unclear accountabilities, to alienated and confused employees. So what is a leader to do when faced with a highly complex organisation and a nagging concern that the creeping costs of complexity are starting to outweigh the benefits?

Ensembles to Boost Machine Learning Effectiveness
Ensemble-based crowdsourcing for machines has many practical applications. Next-best action—the heart of decision automation and recommendation engines—rides on the best-fit model.3 Quite often, so do real-world experimentation and A/B testing. Notably, Kaggle competitions have been won by ensembles of independent decision-tree models.4 And then there are the computational sciences—for example, physics, econometrics, and so on—in which ensemble methods support independent verification of findings across distinct models developed by different researchers using different algorithms and approaches.

So, what’s in store for the cloud in 2015?
In 2015, we will become better at running the numbers for the cost benefit analysis of cloud-based platform usage within the enterprise. We’ll hear more about the “cost of risk,” value of resilience, service reuse benefits, and a lot of things that most enterprises never considered until they got the bill. Third, we’ll see the continued fall of the private cloud, yet another very easy prediction to make. Just follow the trend. bPrivate cloud was once the way that many enterprise software players wanted you to go, because it allowed them to continue selling on premise software systems. These days, most enterprises opt for public cloud over private. The reasons are obvious.

Why Google wants to replace Gmail
One key feature of Inbox is that it performs searches based on the content of your messages and augments your inbox with that additional information. One way to look at this is that, instead of grabbing extraneous relevant data based on the contents of your Gmail messages and slotting it into Google Now, it shows you those Google Now cards immediately, right there in your in-box. Inbox identifies addresses, phone numbers and items (such as purchases and flights) that have additional information on the other side of a link, then makes those links live so you can take quick action on them.

Things Boards Should do About Cyber Security Now
This week, The Wall Street Journal sat down with two top-tier experts in cybersecurity and risk management. Raj Samani, CTO EMEA at McAfee; and Stephen Bonner, Partner in the Information Protection and Business Resilience team at KPMG, laid out the key issues boardrooms need to look at to secure their company’s data and reputation.

What's keeping data science from playing a more central role in public policy?
You can be cynical about this or realistic: data science, by itself, is an ineffectual governance tool if it lacks strong champions who can wield it to get things done in the legislative, executive and judicial branches. Decision science is just as important as data science: being able to identify the myriad factors that drive policymakers, and to use this understanding to identify where data-driven methods might have some potential sway. One species of decision scientist, the political scientist, spend their careers dissecting these factors in diverse policy arenas.

How to Effectively Map SQL Data to a NoSQL Store
The SQL Layer is a sophisticated translation layer between SQL and the key-value API. Starting with a SQL statement, it transforms it to the most efficient key-value execution, much as a compiler translates code to a lower-level execution format. It is compliant with the ANSI SQL 92 standard. Developers can leverage the product in combination with ORM’s, a REST API, or access it directly using the SQL Layer command line interface. From a codebase point of view, the SQL Layer is completely separated from the Key-Value Store. It communicates with the Key-Value Store using the FoundationDB Java bindings.

Quote for the day:

"So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work." -- Peter Drucker