Daily Tech Digest - December 14, 2021

How eBPF will solve Service Mesh - Goodbye Sidecars

Why have we not created a service mesh in the kernel before? Some people have been semi-jokingly stating that kube-proxy is the original service mesh. There is some truth to that. Kube-proxy is a good example of how close the Linux kernel can get to implementing a service mesh while relying on traditional network-based functionality implemented with iptables. However, it is not enough, the L7 context is missing. Kube-proxy operates exclusively on the network packet level. L7 traffic management, tracing, authentication, and additional reliability guarantees are required for modern applications. Kube-proxy cannot provide this at the network level. eBPF changes this equation. It allows to dynamically extend the functionality of the Linux kernel. We have been using eBPF for Cilium to build a highly efficient network, security, and observability datapath that embeds itself directly into the Linux kernel. Applying this same concept, we can solve service mesh requirements at the kernel level as well. In fact, Cilium already implements a variety of the required concepts such as identity-based security, L3-L7 observability & authorization, encryption, and load-balancing.

General and Scalable Parallelization for Neural Networks

Because different model architectures may be better suited to different parallelization strategies, GSPMD is designed to support a large variety of parallelism algorithms appropriate for different use cases. For example, with smaller models that fit within the memory of a single accelerator, data parallelism is preferred, in which devices train the same model using different input data. In contrast, models that are larger than a single accelerator’s memory capacity are better suited for a pipelining algorithm (like that employed by GPipe) that partitions the model into multiple, sequential stages, or operator-level parallelism (e.g., Mesh-TensorFlow), in which individual computation operators in the model are split into smaller, parallel operators. GSPMD supports all the above parallelization algorithms with a uniform abstraction and implementation. Moreover, GSPMD supports nested patterns of parallelism. For example, it can be used to partition models into individual pipeline stages, each of which can be further partitioned using operator-level parallelism.

What 2022 can hold for the developer experience

To improve the developer experience, and ultimately retain and attract talent, businesses should begin to make changes to reduce the strain placed on developers and help them achieve a healthier work-life balance. The introduction of fairly simple initiatives such as flexi-time and offering mental health days can help to reduce the risk of burnout and show developers that they are valued members of the business whose needs are being listened to. Additionally, organisations could look to provide extra resource and adopt the tools and technology to enable developers to automate parts of their workload. Solutions such as data platforms that make use of machine learning (ML) are a prime example of this. This use of this type of technology would enable developers to easily add automation and predictions to applications without them needing to be experts in ML. Adopting technologies that embed ML capabilities can also help to simplify the process of building, testing, and deploying ML models and speed up the process of integrating them into production applications.

2022 Cybersecurity Risk Mitigation Roadmap For CISO & CIO As Business Drivers

As companies become aware of the need for data protection, their leaders are likely to increase the adoption of encryption; which will find its way into organizations’ basic cyber security architecture in 2022. This will have a ripple effect, and we can expect newer and updated applications providing data encryption solutions to be launched for businesses in the coming year. One of the most disruptive technologies in decades, blockchain technology will be at the heart of shifting from a centralized server-based internet system to transparent cryptographic networks. AI has matured from an experimental topic to mainstream technology. As a result, 2022 will see better accessibility of Artificial Intelligence (AI) based tools for creating robust cybersecurity protocols within an organization. In addition, we expect the new lineup of technology tools to be more cost-effective and yet more effective than ever before. Last but not least, 2022 will see a mix of remote work and on-site physical presence, thereby continuing with the trends of cybersecurity adapted during 2021. 

Intel reports new computing breakthroughs as it pursues Moore’s Law

Intel made the announcement at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) 2021. In the press release, Intel talked at length about its three areas of pathfinding and the breakthroughs that prove it’s on track to continue following its roadmap through 2025 and beyond. The company is focusing on several areas of research and reports significant progress in essential scaling technologies that will help it deliver more transistors in its future products. Intel’s engineers have been working on solutions to increase the interconnect density in chip packaging by at least 10 times. Intel also mentioned that in July 2022, at the Intel Accelerated event, it plans to introduce Foveros Direct. This will provide an order of magnitude increase in the interconnect density for 3D stacking through enabling sub-10 micron bump pitches. The tech giant is calling for other manufacturers to work together in order to establish new industry standards and testing procedures, allowing for the creation of a new hybrid bonding chiplet ecosystem.

Designing High-Volume Systems Using Event-Driven Architectures

Thanks to the latest development in Event-Driven Architecture (EDA) platforms such as Kafka and data management techniques such as Data Meshes and Data Fabrics, designing microservices-based applications is now much easier. However, to ensure these microservices-based applications perform at requisite levels, it is important to ensure critical Non-Functional Requirements (NFRs) are taken into consideration during the design time itself. In a series of blog articles, my colleagues Tanmay Ambre, Harish Bharti along with myself are attempting to describe a cohesive approach on Design for NFR. We take a use-case-based approach. In the first installment, we describe designing for “performance” as the first critical NFR. This article focuses on architectural and design decisions that are the basis of high-volume, low-latency processing. To make these decisions clear and easy to understand, we describe their application to a high-level use case of funds transfer. We have simplified the use case to focus mainly on performance.

How Hoppscotch is building an open source ‘API development ecosystem’

The Hoppscotch platform constitutes multiple integrated API development tools, aimed at engineers, software developers, quality assurance (QA) testers, and product managers. It includes a web client, which is pitched as an “online collaborative API playground,” enabling multiple developers or teams to build, test, and share APIs. A separate command line interface (CLI) tool, meanwhile, is designed for integrating automated test runners as part of CI/CD pipelines. And then there is the API documentation generator, which helps developers create, publish, and maintain all the necessary API documentation in real time. Hoppscotch for teams, which is currently in public beta, allows companies to create individual groups for specific use-cases. For example, it can create a team for its entire in-house workforce, where anyone can share APIs and related communications with anyone else. They can also create smaller groups for specific teams, such as QA testers, or for external vendors and partners where sensitive data needs to be kept separate from specific projects they are involved in.

Synthetic Quantum Systems Help Solve Complex Real-World Applications

Quantum Simulation is the most promising use of Pasqal’s QPU, in which the quantum processor is utilized to obtain knowledge about a quantum system of interest. It seems reasonable to employ a quantum system as a computational resource for quantum issues, as Richard Feynman pointed out in the 20th century. Neutral atom quantum processors will aid pure scientific discovery, and there are several sectors of application at the industrial level, such as the creation of novel materials for energy storage and transport, or chemical computations for drug development. “At Pasqal, we are not only scientists, we are not only academic, we industrialize our technology. By working with quantum technology, we want to build and sell a product which is reliable, and which helps to solve complex industrial problems in many contexts,” said Reymond. Among Pasqal’s customers is EDF, the French electricity utility. In the energy sector, Pasqal is working with EDF to develop innovative solutions for smart mobility.

Enterprise email encryption without friction? Yes, it’s possible

It is often (grudgingly) acknowledged in security circles that sometimes security must be partly sacrificed for better usability. But with Echoworx you can have the best of both worlds: a seamless, secure experience for organizations, their partners, vendors, and customers. “Our customers are mostly very large global enterprises in the finance, insurance, manufacturing, retail, and several other verticals,” says Derek Christiansen, Echoworx’s Engagement Manager. “When working with them, we must be sensitive to their needs. We do this by offering like-for-like encryption when we can, and by tailoring the integration of encryption to their existing flows.” ... The only thing that the customer needs to do is direct any email that needs encryption to the company’s infrastructure. “They can use their own data classification. That can be something as simple as an Office 365 rule. It’s also common to use a keyword (e.g., the word ‘secure’) in the email subject to route the message. We also have an optional plugin for Outlook that makes it really easy for senders,” Christiansen notes.

7 Critical Machine Intelligence Exams and The Hidden Link of MLOps with Product Management

The past 12 months have seen many machine learning operations tools gaining prominent popularity. Interestingly, one feature is notably absent or rarely mentioned in the discussion: quality assurance. Academia has already initiated research in machine learning system testing. In addition, several vendors provide data quality support or leverage data testing libraries or data quality frameworks. Automated deployment does exist as well in many tools. But how about canary deployments of models and whatever happened with unit and integration testing in the machine learning universe? Many of these quality assurance proposals originate from an engineering mindset. However, more and more specialists without an engineering background perform a lot of model engineering. Further, recall that a separate person or team frequently runs the quality assurance activities. Supposedly so that engineers can place their trust in others to catch mistakes. More cynical characters might insist that engineers need to be controlled and checked. 

Quote for the day:

"Leaders dig into their business to learn painful realities rather than peaceful illusion." -- Orrin Woodward

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