Daily Tech Digest - April 28, 2022

MPLS, SDN, even SD-WAN can give you the network observability you need

The starting point in traffic management is to examine your router policies to see whether you’re picking routes correctly, but sometimes even controlling routing policies won’t get your flows going along the routes you want. If that’s the case, you have a traffic-management issue to address. The best tools to add traffic management capability are MPLS and SDN. MPLS lets routers build routes by threading an explicit path through routers. SDN eliminates the whole concept of adaptive routing and convergence by having a central controller maintain a global route map that it gives to each SDN switch, and that it updates in response to failures or congestion. If your network consists of a VPN service and a complicated LAN, SDN is likely the better option. If you actually have a complex router network, MPLS is likely the right choice. With either MPLS or SDN, you know where your flows are because you put them there. There’s also the option of virtual networking, if neither MPLS nor SDN seems to fit your needs. Almost all the major network vendors offer virtual networks that use a second routing layer, and by putting virtual-network routers at critical places you can create explicit routes for your traffic.

Build desktop and mobile UIs with Blazor Hybrid apps

There’s a lot to like about this approach to UIs. For one, it builds on what I consider to be the key lesson of the last decade on the web: We need to design our APIs first. That makes UI just another API client, using REST and JSON to communicate with microservices. We can then have many different UIs working against the same back end, all using the same calls and having the same impact on our service. It simplifies design and allows us to predictably scale application architectures. At the same time, a fixed set of APIs means that service owners can update and upgrade their code without affecting clients. That approach led to the development of concepts like the Jamstack, using JavaScript, APIs, and Markup to deliver dynamic static websites, simplifying web application design and publishing. Blazor Hybrid takes those concepts and brings them to your code while skipping the browser and embedding a rendering surface alongside the rest of your application. You can work offline where necessary, a model that becomes even more interesting when working with locked-down environments such as the Windows 11 SE educational platform.

Parallel streams in Java: Benchmarking and performance considerations

The Stream API brought a new programming paradigm to Java: a declarative way of processing data using streams—expressing what should be done to the values and not how it should be done. More importantly, the API allows you to harness the power of multicore architectures for the parallel processing of data. There are two kinds of streams.A sequential stream is one whose elements are processed sequentially (as in a for loop) when the stream pipeline is executed by a single thread. A parallel stream is split into multiple substreams that are processed in parallel by multiple instances of the stream pipeline being executed by multiple threads, and their intermediate results are combined to create the final result. A parallel stream can be created only directly on a collection by invoking the Collection.parallelStream() method. The sequential or parallel mode of an existing stream can be modified by calling the BaseStream.sequential() and BaseStream.parallel() intermediate operations, respectively. A stream is executed sequentially or in parallel depending on the execution mode of the stream on which the terminal operation is initiated.

Design-First Approach to API Development

Design-First begins with both technical and non-technical individuals from each of the functions involved participating in the process of writing a contract that defines the purpose and function of the API (or set of APIs). Obviously, this approach requires some time upfront spent on planning. This phase aims to ensure that when it comes time to start coding, developers are writing code that won't need to be scrapped and rewritten later down the line. This helps create iterative, useful APIs that, in turn, lead to a better, more scalable API program — and value to your business — as a whole. Regardless of which approach you choose, the most critical thing to think about is how to deliver positive experiences for stakeholders, including end-users, third-party or in-house developers, and even folks from the rest of the company who may have a role. I think of APIs like technology ambassadors — the digital face of a brand — as they form a network of internal and external connections. And as such, they should be designed and crafted with care, just like any other product or service that your company offers.

At Western Digital, we recognize the importance of doing our part to contain global temperature rise. So it was important to pledge and set our ambitious goal to help limit the increase to less than 1.5°C by 2030. While we’ve made significant improvements the past few years, we have a lot of work to do to achieve our goal. It is particularly challenging to achieve the goal while the factory is going through expansion. So that’s why we rely on 4IR technologies to drive eco-efficiency. ... Our strategy hinges on three approaches: accountability, digital, and partnerships. First, it’s about setting bold climate commitments that demonstrate our accountability to making science-based progress. For more than three decades, we’ve been setting publicly facing environmental goals. And we continue to commit to bold goals, including the intention to source 100 percent of our global electricity needs from renewable sources by 2025 and to be carbon neutral in our global operations by 2030. Along with that, we’re harnessing digital and Industry 4.0 advanced-manufacturing technologies to reduce our carbon footprint and, to your earlier point, drive greater resilience. 

7 leadership traits major enterprises look for in a CIO

A resourceful CIO is able to blend prior experience with multiple variables, such as accepted frameworks, methodologies, and cultural and political landscapes. “In essence, the new CIO, when effectively using resourcefulness, is in the best position to challenge the current paradigm of the enterprise and chart the path forward,” says Greg Bentham, vice president of cloud infrastructure services at business advisory firm Capgemini Americas. Joining a major enterprise and establishing trust within a new organization is perhaps the most challenging task a CIO will ever face. Many obstacles will inevitably surface and need to be resolved. While prior experience and frameworks can be applied, reality suggests that history never exactly repeats itself. Top enterprises expect that their new CIO will possess the knowledge and creativity to overcome even the most challenging barriers. The best way to become resourceful is through direct experience gathered throughout an IT career, particularly experiences that spurred organizational changes, Bentham says.

How to use data analytics to improve quality of life

In a perfect world, employees in labor-intensive roles will be re-trained to tackle more creative and complex problem-solving tasks. Less-experienced workers will be able to quickly skill up with AI-augmented on-the-job training. In some cases, AI-equipped cameras are already enhancing, rather than replacing, human labor. By monitoring assembly-line production, tracking worker steps and processing findings into actionable feedback, this data technology can deliver valuable movement-efficiency training to employees on the line – including how to safely and efficiently move and operate in spaces shared by humans and robots. Yet who’s footing the bill here? How do business owners benefit from the adoption (and, of course, investment in) data technology? First and foremost is the obvious and immediate benefit of reducing lost labor hours due to injuries and worker-compensation-related costs. But there is also the knock-on effect of promoting a healthier and (hopefully) happier workforce. The question then becomes how to gain the buy-in of labor. 

Building the right tech setup for a multi-office organisation

IT and facilities teams sometimes rely on strong third-party relationships to enable multi-location collaboration. This often means having a good relationship with a telecommunication service provider (or providers, depending on the internet services available in the various locations), complete with a service level agreement that specifies the exact network performance standards to be met. Likewise, it’s essential to have built trust between all the companies that deliver the organisation’s collaboration technology, whether hardware or software. It may also be that IT teams rely on local managed service providers to provide on-site support on their behalf. Collaboration, and the technology that enables it, has become a core tenet of the post-pandemic workplace – but it means different things to different organisations. Sometimes, it’s about internal communication using voice and videoconferencing, messaging, and webinars. Perhaps these integrate with an office productivity suite or customer relationship management software, enhancing productivity and communication with colleagues, clients, or prospects. Other times, it’s about implementing the best solutions for your office space.

How edge computing can bolster aviation sector innovation

Edge cloud networks can provide continuous high-bandwidth connectivity between aircraft and the internet. This enables data transmission even in mid-air, with edge computing providing a filter for the most relevant information – reducing overall bandwidth usage. Servers on the ground can then selectively pull data from the edge servers on the aircraft for more detailed, real-time analysis – helping to spot potential problems and advise immediate remedial actions. This high-bandwidth connectivity can send the information needed to allow airlines to predict components and other failures before their occurrence and empower organisations to take the necessary steps to address these faults. Systems can generate automatic notifications from the plane to enable ground crews to prepare for repairs at the next landing point. Maintenance teams can more easily manage their parts and resources with access to detailed information. Edge computing also holds potential for enabling aviation operators to develop a mobility infrastructure that incorporates intelligent connected vehicles within a more extensive transportation network. 

How AI can close gaps in cybersecurity tech stacks

There are five strategies cybersecurity vendors should rely on to help their enterprise customers close widening gaps in their security tech stacks. Based on conversations with endpoint security, IAM, PAM, patch management and remote browser isolation (RBI) providers and their partners, these strategies are beginning to emerge in a dominate way among the cybersecurity landscape. ... Enterprises need better tools to assess risks and vulnerabilities to identify and close gaps in tech stacks. As a result, there’s a growing interest in using Risk-Based Vulnerability Management (RBVM) that can scale across cloud, mobile IoT and IIoT devices today. Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) vendors are moving into RBVM with vulnerability assessment tools. Leading vendors include CODA Footprint, CyCognito, Recorded Future, Qualys and others. Ivanti’s acquisition of RiskSense delivered its first product this month, Ivanti Neurons for Risk-Based Vulnerability Management (RBVM). What’s noteworthy about Ivanti’s release is that it is the first RBVM system that relies on a state engine to measure, prioritize and control cybersecurity risks to protect enterprises against ransomware and advanced cyber threats.

Quote for the day:

"The art of communication is the language of leadership." -- James Humes

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