July 08, 2014

Use virtual volumes vs. SDS in the fight for storage efficiency
Freewheeling application cut and paste is just the beginning of the benefits, advocates say.Software-defined storage also means you don't need to add steps to provision new storage to the guest application when needed, or to ensure the proper services are associated with the new storage (data protection services, thin provisioning, deduplication and so on), or to change parameters and processes for managing storage with each configuration change. These things would all be enabled in the brave new world of server-attached, software-defined storage in a way they never were in legacy SAN or NAS, according to evangelists.

Comparing Cloud Compute Services
Comparing cloud compute or servers is a different story entirely. Because of the diverse deployment options and dissimilar features of different services, formulating relevant and fair comparisons is challenging to say the least. In fact, we've come to the conclusion that there is no perfect way to do it. This isn't to say that you can't - but if you do, or if you are handed a third party comparison to look over, there are some things you should keep in mind - and watch out for (we've seen some poorly constructed comparisons). The purpose of this post is to highlight some of these considerations. To do so, I'll present actual comparisons from testing we've done recently on Amazon EC2, DigitalOcean, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and SoftLayer.

Larry Page on Google’s Many Arms
Mr. Page, who was joined in the interview by Sundar Pichai, the executive in charge of Google’s Android and Chrome software projects, did not seem overly bothered by the outbursts. “We’re in San Francisco, so we expect that,” Mr. Page said of the protests. “There’s a rich history of protest in San Francisco.” Mr. Pichai pointed out that the company had introduced initiatives to improve its relationship with city residents. This year, it gave $600,000 to the city to bring free Wi-Fi service to San Francisco parks. “I think in some ways it’s good that there’s an open debate about it and I think we needed it,” Mr. Pichai said. “There’s been a lot of growth and the area is trying to adapt to that growth and that has been a concern.”

Databricks Unveils Spark as a Cloud Service
“One of the common complaints we heard from enterprise users was that Big Data is not a single analysis; a true pipeline needs to combine data storage, ETL, data exploration, dashboards and reporting, advanced analytics and creation of data products. Doing that with today’s technology is incredibly difficult,” said Databricks founder and CEO Ion Stoica. “We built Databricks Cloud to enable the creation of end-to-end pipelines out of the box while supporting the full spectrum of Spark applications for enhanced and additional functionality.” Spark provides support for interactive queries (Spark SQL), streaming data (Spark Streaming), machine learning (MLlib) and graph computation (GraphX) natively with a single API across the entire pipeline.

MapR Looks to Enhance Hadoop Accessibility with App Gallery
“Hadoop is a wonderful platform for doing large scale analytics on all different types of data, as long as you have got the right people running it that know what to do with it,” said John Webster, Senior Partner at Evaluator Group. “And sometimes those people can cost a lot of money. So there has been desire from the enterprise side to say, ‘Look, can you give us something easier to use to manipulate and get value from Hadoop other than going out and hiring the expertise?’ So this app gallery starts to fill that hole.” The app gallery also makes it easy for developers to submit their applications.

Top hardware firms join forces on IoT standards
The OIC is focused on defining a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to connect and manage the flow of information across IoT devices. The goal is to design of products that intelligently, reliably and securely manage and exchange information under changing conditions, the group said in a statement. "Open source is about collaboration and choice,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. “The Open Interconnect Consortium is yet another proof point how open source helps fuel innovation," he said.

Rollback and Recovery Troubleshooting; Challenges and Strategies
Changes to the structure and code of your databases can go seriously wrong, leading to down-time and data loss. Obviously, you’ll do anything possible to prevent this happening but this will just reduce the probability of things going wrong. The chance still exists of having a failed deployment, and you need to have effective ways of recovering from an event like this as quickly and effectively as possible. Have you the best possible ways to ensure that you can smoothly recover from your deployment disasters? What are the trade-offs of these various approaches? This article will walk through the different mechanisms you can use to ensure you have at least one effective documented procedure, hopefully more, to recover from, or even undo, a failed deployment.

Auto-Autonomy: Cars Are Racing Toward Disruption
The unbundling of features of cars such as keys, personalized maps and entertainment mean that I can walk up to a car, tap in and drive off comfortably. I can also summon an equally convenient ride with precise GPS location. These benefits are extended to commercial fleets of vehicles, which suffer these same inefficiencies on a microeconomic scale. You can see shared fleets of cars using sharing technology that keeps cars in use and reduces the number of cars on the road — better for the owners, better for the roads and better all around. Needless to say, fewer cars is a massive disruption to the auto industry.

There Are No 'Kodak Moments'
Kodak was a technical treasure-chest, but the problems that it faced were more marketing than technical, and had less to do with the product(s) than they did with the role that the products played in the customers’ lives. Kodak lacked the ability to either interpret those roles or articulate them in a way that could drive innovations with a higher probability of adoption. It undoubtedly did not help that Kodak attempted to reduce the risks it was under in the imaging business by diversifying (and dispersing scarce resources and top management attention) into such unfamiliar businesses as pharmaceuticals [with its purchase of Sterling Pharmaceuticals], which further blurred the vision of what the firm stood for and what it aspired to achieve.

Understanding the Android Resource System
A large part of any Android application falls under the category of resources. In this context, resources can include things like layouts, images, audio, video, language definitions, styles and so on. The resource system in Android is quite powerful, and while it may seem odd at first, there's a method to its madness. In this article, I'll walk through the basics of how this system works, and how you can take advantage of it in your apps. When you create a new Xamarin.Android application, some resources are provided by default, and can be found in several subfolders under the main Resources folder. I'll start by taking a look at those folders and files provided in the default project.

Quote for the day:

"The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas." -- Linus Pauling

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