- Big Data in Law: Cloud Challenge, Analytics Opportunity - Forbes - "Adding to the uncertainty is piecemeal evolution of regulations governing privacy and data security, which depend largely on where you live and do business. Europe, Australia, and Canada are in the forefront of tackling data protection, while the U.S. lags, leaving a thorny legal landscape for multinational Internet companies."
- How MIT Became the Most Important University in the WorldBoston Articles
- The 200 Greatest Movie Performances Of All Time | TotalFilm.com
- Technology & Marketing Law Blog: How Zappos' User Agreement Failed In Court and Left Zappos Legally Naked (Forbes Cross-Post) - "Avoiding this outcome is surprisingly easy. Use clickthrough agreements, not browsewraps, and remove any clauses that say you can unilaterally amend the contract."
- Here's the CIO Playbook for the Next 5 years - Forbes - "In some ways the core idea in Martha Heller’s new book, The CIO Paradox is a paradox in itself. For Heller makes a strong case for CIOs to adapt to the new IT paradigm, but by adapting to it, the CIO becomes less CIO and more like their executive counterparts. Yet for me, that is the natural evolution of the CIO."
- Hurricane Sandy’s Biggest Idiots: Jet Skiing on the Hudson & More (VIDEO) - The Daily Beast
- Emerging Technologies Conference at MIT - All the session links. Couldn't make it this year. Look forward to watching some of these.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Server virtualization has become a familiar fixture of the IT landscape and an important foundation for cloud computing.
But virtualization is also relevant to client devices, such as PCs. To a greater degree than on servers, client virtualization takes many forms, reflecting forms of abstraction and management that take place in many different places. Client virtualization includes well-established ways of separating the interaction with an application from the application itself, the leveraging of server virtualization to deliver complete desktops over the network (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure--VDI), and the use of hypervisors on the clients themselves. In short, client virtualization covers a lot of ground, but it’s all about delivering applications to users and managing those applications on client devices.
It’s essentially a tool to deal with installing, updating, and securing software on distributed “stateful” clients—which is to say, devices that store a unique pattern of bits locally. If a stateless device like a terminal breaks, you can just unplug it and swap in a new one. Not so with a PC. At a minimum, you need to restore the local pattern of bits from a backup.
However, client virtualization (in any of its forms) has never truly gone mainstream, whether it was because it often cost more than advertised or just didn’t work all that well. It’s mostly played in relative niches where some particular benefit—such as centralized security—is an overriding concern. These can be important markets. We see increased interest in VDI at government agencies, for instance. But we're not talking about the typical corporate desktop or consumer.
Furthermore, today, we access more and more applications through browsers rather than applications installed on PCs. This effectively makes PCs more like stateless thin clients. And, therefore, it makes client virtualization something of a solution for yesterday’s problems rather than today’s.
Except for one thing.
Client virtualization, in its application virtualization guise, has in fact become prevalent. Just go to an Android or iOS app store.
Application virtualization has been around for a long time. Arguably, its roots go back to WinFrame, a multi-user version of Microsoft Windows NT that Citrix introduced in 1995. It was, in large part, a response to the rise of the PC, which replaced “dumb terminals” acting as displays and keyboards for applications running in a data center with more intelligent and independent devices. Historically, application virtualization (before it was called that) focused on what can be thought of as presentation-layer virtualization—separating the display of an application from where it ran. It was mostly used to provide standardized and centralized access to corporate applications.
As laptops became more common, application virtualization changed as well. It became a way to stream applications down to the client and enable them to run even when the client was no longer connected to the network. Application virtualization thus became something of a packaging and distribution technology. One such company working on this evolution of application virtualization was Softricity, subsequently purchased by Microsoft in 2006.
I was reminded of Softricity earlier this year when I spoke with David Greschler, one of its co-founders, at a cloud computing event. He’d moved on from Microsoft to PaperShare but we got to talking about how the market for application virtualization, as initially conceived, had (mostly not) developed. And that’s when he observed the functional relationship between an app store and application virtualization. And how application virtualization had, in a sense, gone mainstream as part of mobile device ecosystems.
If you think about it, the app store model is not the necessary and inevitable way to deliver applications to smartphones, tablets, and other client devices.
In fact, it runs rather counter to the prevailing pattern on PCs—regardless of operating system—towards installing fewer unique applications and running more Web applications through the browser. Google even debuted Crome OS, designed to work exclusively with Web applications, to great fanfare. As connecting to networks in more places with better performance improves and as standards, such as HTML5, evolve to better handle unconnected situations, it’s a reasonable expectation that this trend will continue.
But the reality of Chrome OS has been that, after early-on geek excitement, it’s so far pretty much hit the ground with a resounding thud. At least as of 2012, it’s one thing to say that we install fewer apps on our PCs. It’s another thing to use a PC that can’t install any apps. Full stop.
What’s more, it’s worth thinking about why we might prefer to run applications through a browser rather than natively.
It’s not so much that it lets developers write one application and run it on pretty much anything that comes with a browser. As users, we don’t care about making life easier for developers except insofar as it means we have more applications to use and play with. And, especially given that client devices have coalesced around a modest number of ecosystems, developers have mostly accepted that they just have to deal with that (relatively limited) diversity.
Nor is it really that we’d like to be able to use smaller, lighter, and thinner clients. Oh, we do want those things—at least up to a point. But they’re usually not the limiting factor in being able to run applications locally and natively. We don't want to make clients too limited anyway; computer cycles and storage tend to be cheaper on the client than on the server.
No, the main thing that we have against native applications on a client is their “care and feeding.” The need to install updates from all sorts of different sources and dealing with the problems if upgrades don’t go as planned. The observation that a PC’s software sometimes needs to be refreshed from the ground-up to deal with accumulating “bit rot” as added applications and services slow things down over time.
And that’s where centralized stores for packaged applications come in. Such stores don’t eliminate software bugs, of course. Nor do they eliminate applications that get broken through a new upgrade—one need only peruse the reviews in the Apple App Store to find numerous examples. However, relative to PCs, keeping smartphones and tablets up-to-date and backed up is a much easier, more intuitive, and less error-prone process.
Of course, for a vendor like Apple that wants to control the end-to-end user experience, an app store has the additional advantage of maintaining full control of the customer relationship. But the dichotomy between an open Web and a centralized app store isn’t just an Apple story. App stores have widely become the default model for delivering software to new types of client devices and certainly the primary path for selling that software.
The Web apps versus native apps (and, by implication, app stores) debate will be an ongoing one. And it doesn’t lend itself to answers that are simple either in terms of technology or in terms of device and developer ecosystems.
Witness the September 2012 dustup over comments made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that appeared to diss his company’s HTML5 Web app, calling it "one of the biggest mistakes if not the biggest strategic mistake that we made."
However, as CNET’s Stephen Shankland wrote at the time: “Those are powerfully damning words, and many developers will likely take them to heart given Facebook's cred in the programming world. But there are subtleties here -- not an easy thing for those who see the world in black and white to grasp, to be sure, but real nonetheless. Zuckerberg himself offered a huge pro-HTML5 caveat in the middle of his statement.”
It’s often observed that new concepts in technology are rarely truly new. Instead, they’re updates or reimaginings of past ideas both successful and not. This observation can certainly be overstated, but there's a lot of truth to it. And here we see it again--with application virtualization and the app store.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
- Ten IT Predictions For 2013 - Chuck's Blog
- Microsoft and Apple at Their Crossroads | MIT Technology Review - "It’s an interesting historical moment for the two founding companies of the personal-computing revolution. Microsoft knows it's slowly dying, and declines to accept its fate; Apple, flush with cash, doesn't yet have to admit that with the death of its tutelary genius, it has lost its way. But secretly, its executives, designers, and developers must fear that something is badly wrong."
- 007-style travel: Best James Bond hotels - Pack Up - Boston.com - I've stayed at two of these (and been in a third).
Saturday, October 27, 2012
The Head of the Charles last weekend was my first really heavy-duty use of the Sigma 150-500mm lens that replaced my old Sigma tele after its AF broke. When I sent that lens in for repair, I was offered a trade-in at a pretty good rate that it seemed silly to not take advantage of, even though it's a category of lens I don't use a huge amount.
I find the focus on the new lens is a lot more responsive than the old one (as well as having a top end of 500mm rather than 400mm). However, removing the lens limits also exposes the AF limitations of my EOS 5D a lot more. So it's got me leaning towards an upgrade to a 5D Mark iii rather than the not-yet-available 6D as I had been leaning towards previously.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
- Travis Shrugged: The creepy, dangerous ideology behind Silicon Valley’s Cult of Disruption | PandoDaily - I appreciate some of the arguments being made and even agree up to a point. But overall, I found it self-consciously over-the-top and can't really agree.
- The Cloud Evangelist | Spreading the Good Word about Open Cloud - RT @EMEACloudGuy: Podcast: Steven Hardy talks HeatAPI and #openstack @openstackwatch #redhat - EXCLUSIVE TO ,… http: ...
- The Online Photographer: Great Photographers on the Internet
- Top 5 ways cloud computing is making health IT inroads | Government Health IT
- Red Hat | Red Hat OpenShift: What is new and what is next? - RT @develsas: Red Hat OpenShift: What is new and what is next? OpenShift roadmap by @Juan_Noceda and @matthicksj
- Why keep Newsweek on life support? | Felix Salmon - This sounds about right, unfortunately.
- Amazon's Share Of Government Cloud Computing 'Accelerating' - - "As government agencies continue to adopt cloud computing, Amazon is among those reaping the rewards: the company announced Wednesday that more than 300 government agencies and 1,500 educational institutions now use Amazon Web Services."
- marketing worth sharing | Google keynote | Tom Fishburne: Marketoonist
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
- marketing worth sharing | Google keynote | Tom Fishburne: Marketoonist
- Velominati › The Rules
- open source software red hat charlie peters nstar teradyne burlington industries genrad - RT @MarkBoTech: Interview with a great CFO and terrific person ! In His Fourth Industry, Red Hat CFO Enjoys the View
- Untitled (https://plus.google.com/107543171463418626606/posts/g4mNyf7n9fk) - If you've started having upload problems from Lightroom to Flickr, check your filenames:
- Nimbula Joins the OpenStack Community - RT @CloudAve: Nimbula Joins the OpenStack Community
Monday, October 15, 2012
- 5 key forces driving open source today | Open Source Software - InfoWorld - "If the project is truly open, anyone can become a recognized contributor if they demonstrate merit, but in the end, "open, meritocratic oligarchy" is more apt than "democracy" in describing the way many open source communities operate: led by a stable group of recognized leaders, whose actions have demonstrated fitness to lead, yet who remain replaceable at any time should others prove more suitable."
- On the Moore's Law hot seat: Intel's Mike Mayberry (Q&A) | Cutting Edge - CNET News
- What would happen if Moore's Law did fizzle? | Cutting Edge - CNET News
- Moore's Law: The rule that really matters in tech | Cutting Edge - CNET News
- Cook’s Illustrated’s Christopher Kimball Believes Cooking Is Ultraserious Business - NYTimes.com
- Are community cloud services the next hot thing?
- Services hold key to cloud computing success | Cloud Computing - InfoWorld - "Cloud computing is, at its core, a new take on an old model (timesharing) for consuming IT resources, but for many enterprises, it requires a new architecture based on services rather than apps. As cloud computing evolves, we'll become more accustomed to viewing our tech needs through the prism of services, but right now, it's a departure for many in enterprise IT as they move from single monolithic applications to collections of widely distributed services, cloud and otherwise."
- Researchers Visit the 19th Century, Bring Back Wireless Data Center | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com - RT @bobmcmillan: My story on how to cut cords in a data center, with an assist from the 19th century: << Interesting!
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Thanks to a pointer from Joe McKendrick over at Forbes, this morning I had a chance to read a study looking at 2012 cloud adoption patterns (mostly at larger organizations) put together by Navint Partners. The bottom line? "While there’s still much debate over the Cloud’s security, the industry consensus is one of inevitability."
The study looked at both private and public cloud deployments although it's a bit hard to tease apart conclusions as to when they relate to on-premise versus hosted offerings--or a hybrid combination of the two. I've come to somewhat wistfully think back to a 2009 CNET Blog Network piece I wrote about cloud terminology and sorta wish that we, as an industry, had come up with a better way to unpack the different concepts and approaches that come together under the "cloud computing" umbrella. But I digress.
Among the study's findings was that 80 percent of respondents recognized cloud technology as giving their organizations a competitive advantage.
The report goes on to note that:
Cloud’s scalable nature and modern approach to data and infrastructure pushes organizations into a more competitive position. While most CIOs recognize the Cloud has existed in some form for a decade, SaaS solutions are, in many industries, still novel. [Navint's Robert] Summers explained that while larger corporations have been using private clouds for a while, small‐to‐mid sized businesses can dramatically scale their operations and outpace competitors if some processes are relegated to a SaaS or Cloud model.
This is consistent with what we've been seeing at Red Hat with early cloud deployments. The ultimate goal from a CxO's perspective is to use cloud computing in order to make technology a competitive differentiator rather than a keep-the-lights-on cost. This goal only becomes more important ads technology is increasingly core to how more and more businesses operate.
What form cloud takes will depend on the company. For smaller organizations, SaaS will likely play an outsized role.
But, as noted by Gartner's Eric Knipp in a recent blog post "While I don’t debate that 'the business' will have more 'packages' to choose from (loosely referring to packages as both traditional deployed solutions and cloud-sourced SaaS), I also believe that enterprises will be developing more applications themselves than ever before." He goes on to describe why he believes that a golden age of enterprise application development is upon up, partly because of the rise of Platform-as-a-Service. I'll discuss Knipp's thesis in more detail in a future post.
On the downside, the study also found that:
survey respondents still ranked security as the top concern (above compliance and integrity), and affirmed data security and privacy as the number one barrier to both public and private cloud adoption. Despite highly advanced security and fraud countermeasures employed by Cloud vendors, CIOs and other executives regard security guarantees and redundancy policies with guarded pessimism. Practically, this fear has had the effect that many companies have yet to move “mission‐critical” applications to the cloud.
I guess I'm not really surprised by this finding either. One wonders to what degree this is about perceptions, rather than reality. But, at some level, the distinction isn't that important if it's what potential customers believe.
The good news from my perspective is that I see a lot of good work happening out in the industry to bring structure to security (and compliance/governance/regulatory/etc.) discussions and really bringing together the tools to have discussions that transcend naive safe/not-safe dichotomies. I've got an upcoming piece that looks into the good stuff the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) is doing in this space.
Finally, it's clear that cloud computing isn't going to be about private or public.
36% of survey participants believe that budget dollars for public cloud computing will increase by as
much as twenty percent by 2014, and 46% expect budgets for private cloud computing to jump by more than twenty percent over the same period.
Which is why we're focused on open and hybrid at Red Hat.
- The Star Trek Top 100
- Tech Sex Sells? Understanding Marketing v. Advertising v. PR v. Branding - ESG - Enterprise Strategy Group
- Utility (Cloud) Computing…Flashback to 1961 Prof. John McCarthy « Life in the Cloud, Living with Cloud Computing - .@swardley I'd argue that John McCarthy was earlier (1961) with voicing utility concept in context of computing.
- Cloud business benefits seen in engineering, retail, media and logistics | Intel Business IT Hub | ComputerworldUK
- So Far, So Good: Fortune 500 CIOs Seem Happy With Cloud Computing - Forbes - "Many organizations are still in the early stages of their cloud computing journeys, and the reports are: so far, so good. No major flaws or “gotchas” have emerged in nascent cloud engagements, and CIOs are saying full steam ahead. Still needed, however, are more security assurances, and more vendor flexibility."
- Twitter / JaneCircle: Kudos colleague Eva and ... - RT @mikekhusid: #redhat by @RedHatEMEA at Barcelona #VMWorld, viewable on approach to airport! via @janecircle
- Pictures of Afghanistan in the Fifties and Sixties Are Totally Depressing - Hit & Run : Reason.com - RT @reason: Pictures of Afghanistan in the Fifties and Sixties Are Totally Depressing
- Revisiting “Ranking the popularity of programming languages”: creating tiers « Zero Intelligence Agents - RT @drewconway: Blog post related to my talk at #monktoberfest this morning, with link to slides at the bottom
- Open Source in the Public Sector: Redefining how Government Delivers Digital Services | govsummitdc - RT @davidegts: Just submitted my #RedHat slides for @acquia's World Governement Summit on #OpenSource. Can't wait!
- Byte Magazine Volume 00 Number 01 - The Worlds Greatest Toy : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive - The first issue of Byte Magazine at the Internet Archive
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
- 10 biggest doubts about the cloud include gov regulations, data privacy -- Government Computer News
- OpenShift & SCAP | The Cloud Evangelist - RT @EMEACloudGuy: Tying down OpenShift using OpenSCAP, a belts and braces approach to multitenancy PaaS security
- The meta-info of my OpenStack note « CloudPundit: Massive-Scale Computing
- Aircraft Carriers in Space - By Michael Peck | Foreign Policy