Daily Tech Digest - October 21, 2020

6 tips for CIOs managing technical debt

Many applications are created to solve a specific business problem that exists in the here-and-now, without thought about how that problem will evolve or what other adjacencies it pertains to. For example, a development team might jump into solving the problem of creating a database to manage customer accounts without taking into consideration how that database is integrated with the sales/prospecting database. This can lead to thousands of staff-hours downstream spent transforming contacts and importing them from the sales to the customer database. ... One of the best-known problems in large organizations is the disconnect between development and operations where engineers design a product without first considering how their peers in operations will support it, thus resulting in support processes that are cumbersome, error-prone and inefficient. The entire programming discipline of DevOps exists in large part to resolve this problem by including representatives from the operations team on the development team -- but the DevOps split exists outside programming. Infrastructure engineers may roll out routers, edge computers or SD-WAN devices without knowing how the devices will be patched or upgraded.

The Third Wave of Open Source Migration

The first and second open-source migration waves were periods of rapid expansion for companies that rose up to provide commercial assurances for Linux and the open-source databases, like Red Hat, MongoDB, and Cloudera. Or platforms that made it easier to host open source workloads in a reliable, consistent, and flexible manner via the cloud, like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. This trend will continue in the third wave of open source migration, as organizations interested in reducing cost without sacrificing development speed will look to migrate more of their applications to open source. They’ll need a new breed of vendor—akin to Red Hat or AWS—to provide the commercial assurances they need to do it safely.  It’s been hard to be optimistic over the last few months. But as I look for a silver lining in the current crisis, I believe there is an enormous opportunity for organizations to get even more nimble in their use of open source. The last 20+ years of technology history have shown that open source is a powerful weapon organizations can use to navigate a global downturn.

It’s Time to Implement Fair and Ethical AI

Companies have gotten the message that artificial intelligence should be implemented in a manner that is fair and ethical. In fact, a recent study from Deloitte indicates that a majority of companies have actually slowed down their AI implementations to make sure these requirements are met. But the next step is the most difficult one: actually implementing AI in a fair and ethical way. A Deloitte study from late 2019 and early 2020 found that 95% of executives surveyed said they were concerned about ethical risk in AI adoption. While machine learning brings the possibility to improve the quantity and quality of decision-making based on data, it also brings the potential for companies to damage their brand and reduce the trust that customers have placed in it if AI is implemented poorly. In fact, these risks were so palpable to executives that 56% of them say they have slowed down their AI adoptions, according to Deloitte’s study. While progress has been made in getting the message out about fair and ethical AI, there is still a lot of work to be done, says Beena Ammanath, the executive director of the Deloitte AI Institute. “The first step is well underway, raising awareness. Now I think most companies are aware of the risk associated” with AI deployments, Ammanath says.

C# designer Torgersen: Why the programming language is still so popular and where it's going next

Like all modern programming languages, C# continues to evolve. With C# 9.0 on course to arrive in November, the next update will focus on supporting "terse and immutable" (i.e. unchangeable) representation of data shapes. "C# 9.0 is trying to take some next steps for C# in making it easier to deal with data that comes over the wire, and to express the right semantics for data, if you will, that comes out of what we call an object-oriented paradigm originally," says Torgersen. C# 9.0 takes the next step in that direction with a feature called Records, says Torgersen. These are a reference type that allow a whole object to be immutable and instead make it act like a value. "We've found ourselves, for a long time now, borrowing ideas from functional programming to supplement the object-oriented programming in a way that really helps with, for instance, cloud-oriented programming, and helps with data manipulation," Torgersen explains. "Records is a key feature of C# 9.0 that will help with that." Beyond C# 9.0 is where things get more theoretical, though. Torgersen insists that there's no concrete 'endgame' for the programming language – or at least, not until it finally reaches some as-yet unknown expiration date.

DOJ's antitrust fight with Google: how we got here

The DOJ said in its filing that this case is "just beginning." The government also says it's seeking to change Google's practices and that "nothing is off the table" when it comes to undoing the "harm" caused by more than a decade of anticompetitive business. Is it hard to compete with Google? The numbers speak for themselves. But that's because the company is darn good at what it does. Does Google use your data to help it improve search and advertising? Yes, it does. But this suit is not about privacy. It's about Google's lucrative advertising business. Just two years ago, the European Commission (EC) fined Google over €8 billion for various advertising violations. Though the DOJ is taking a similar tack, Google has done away with its most egregious requirements. These included exclusivity clauses, which stopped companies from placing competitors' search advertisements on their results pages and Premium Placement, which reserved the most valuable page real estate for Google AdSense ads. It's also true that Google has gotten much more aggressive about using its own search pages to hawk its own preferred partners. As The Washington Post's Geoffrey A. Fowler recently pointed out: if you search for "T Shirts" on Google, the first real search result appears not on row one, two, or three — those are reserved for advertising — or even rows four through eight.

7 Hard-Earned Lessons Learned Migrating a Monolith to Microservices

It’s tempting to go from legacy right to the bleeding edge. And it’s an understandable urge. You’re seeking to future-proof this time around so that you won’t face another refactor again anytime soon. But I’d urge caution in this regard, and to consider taking an established route. Otherwise, you may find yourself wrangling two problems at once, and getting caught in a fresh new rabbit hole. Most companies can’t afford to pioneer new technology and the ones that can tend to do it outside of any critical path for the business. ... For all its limitations, a monolithic architecture does have several intrinsic benefits. One of which is that it’s generally simple. You have a single pipeline and a single set of development tools. Venturing into a distributed architecture involves a lot of additional complexity, and there are lots of moving parts to consider, particularly if this is your first time doing it. You’ll need to compose a set of tools to make the developer experience palatable, possibly write some of your own, (although I’d caution against this if you can avoid it), and factor in the discovery and learning process for all that as well.

What is confidential computing? How can you use it?

To deliver on the promise of confidential computing, customers need to take advantage of security technology offered by modern, high-performance CPUs, which is why Google Cloud’s Confidential VMs run on N2D series VMs powered by 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors. To support these environments, we also had to update our own hypervisor and low-level platform stack while also working closely with the open source Linux community and modern operating system distributors to ensure that they can support the technology. Networking and storage drivers are also critical to the deployment of secure workloads and we had to ensure we were capable of handling confidential computing traffic. ... With workforces dispersed, confidential computing can help organizations collaborate on sensitive workloads in the cloud across geographies and competitors, all while preserving privacy of confidential datasets. This can lead to the development of transformation technologies – imagine, for example, being able to more quickly build vaccines and cure diseases as a result of this secure collaboration.

What A CIO Wants You to Know About IT Decision Making

CIOs know the organization needs new ideas, new products, new services, etc. as well as changes to current rules, regulations, and business processes to grow markets and stay ahead of competition. CIOs also know that the rules, regulations, and processes are the foundations of trust. Those things that seem to inhibit new ideas are the things that open customer’s minds to the next new thing an organization might offer. Without the trust established by following the rules, adhering to regulations, and at the far extreme, simply obeying the law, customers would not stick around to try the next new thing. For proof, look at the stock price of organizations that publicly announce IT hacks, data loss, or other trust breaking events. Customers leave when trust is broken, and part of the CIO’s role is to maintain that trust. While CIOs know the standards that must be upheld, they also know how to navigate those standards to support new ideas and change requests. Supporting new ideas and adapting to change requires input from you as the user, the employee or another member of the IT department, beyond just submitting the IT change form or other automated process.

The Biggest Reason Not to Go All In on Kubernetes

Here’s the big thing that gets missed when a huge company open-sources their internal tooling – you’re most likely not on their scale. You don’t have the same resources, or the same problems as that huge company. Sure, you are working your hardest to make your company so big that you have the same scaling problems as Google, but you’re probably not there yet. Don’t get me wrong: I love when large enterprises open-source some of their internal tooling, as it’s beneficial to the open-source community and it’s a great learning opportunity, but I have to remind myself that they are solving a fundamentally different problem than I am. While I’m not suggesting that you avoid planning ahead for scalability, getting something like Kubernetes set up and configured instead of developing your main business application can waste valuable time and funds. There is a considerable time and overhead investment for getting your operations team up to speed on Kubernetes that may not pay out. Google can afford to have its teams learning, deploying, and managing new technology. But especially for smaller organizations, premature scaling or premature optimization are legitimate concerns. You may be attracted to the scalability, and it’s exciting. But, if you implement too early, you will only get the complexity without any of the benefit.

Did Domain Driven Design help me to ease out the approach towards Event Driven Architecture?

The most important aspect of the Domain Driven Design is setting the context of a domain/sub-domain where domain would be a very high-level segregation for different areas of business and sub-domain would be a particular part in the domain representing a structure where users use a specific ubiquitous language with domain model. Without going into much detail of the DDD, another paradigm that one should be aware of is context mapping which consists of identifying and classifying the relationships between bounded contexts within the domain. One or more contexts can be related to each other in terms of goals, reuse components (codes), a consumer and a producer. ... The principles guiding the conglomeration of DDD and events help us to shift the focus from the nouns (the domain objects) to the verbs (the events) in the domain. Focusing on flow of events helps us to understand how change propagates in the system — things like communication patterns, workflow, figuring out who is talking to whom, who is responsible for what data, and so on. Events represent facts about the domain and should be part of the Ubiquitous Language of the domain. 

Quote for the day:

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” -- Steve Jobs

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