The folks at Boundary.com, a networking vendor, have posted this interview of some thoughts of mine on the future of networking technologies, the cloud, and Web-based software.
Tomorrow’s data center is going to look very different from today’s. Processors, systems, and storage are getting better integrated, more virtualized, and more capable at making use of greater networking and Internet bandwidth. At the heart of these changes are major advances in networking. In my story for ArsTechnica, I examine six specific trends driving the evolution of the next-generation data center and discuss what both IT insiders and end-user departments outside of IT need to do to prepare for these changes.
I try to eat my own dog food, as the saying goes. Nonetheless, I found myself going through all the various steps in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs when my mailing list hosting provider sent me an email last week telling me that they were moving my server to the cloud.
Funny, isn’t it, when it happens to you? Exactly my thoughts. For the past several years I have been using the North Carolina-based ISP EMWD.com and their very reasonably priced Mailman list services to distribute this newsletter. I am very happy with EMWD: they are very service-oriented, the fee is low, and as I am very familiar with Mailman, there is nothing for me to learn. And over the last several years, I have given them referrals from people who have wanted to start their own mailing lists, and these friends are happy as well with their service.
Mailman isn’t as pretty as Constant Contact or Mailchimp or other Web-based emailers: it is just for sending out text-based emails to a bunch of people. If you want HTML hotlinks or embedded graphics, these two are probably better services for running your list.
So anyway, last week I got an email saying my provider is going to the cloud. My first thought was unprintable. My next thought was what was I going to do? Was it going to be secure? Would I have to spend a lot of time debugging things? What did this really mean for me?
Then it hit me: I was acting like a customer who had never used the cloud before. Stop it! After all, what difference did it really make to me whether my server was sitting in EMWD’s data center or somewhere else? All that mattered was an IP address, that the server was running, and that it worked the same. Calm down, Strom.
But that is exactly the issue for many of your own customers, who may not have as much knowledge or understanding of what is involved. And these days it is getting harder to tell what is in the cloud and what isn’t, as new products blur the line even more so.
My hosting company was moving to the cloud for all the usual reasons: quicker provisioning, lower costs, more flexibility and scalability. Now, I am not a very demanding customer of theirs: all I use is their Mailman hosting, and that wasn’t changing.
So the migration day is today. I put a new IP address in my DNS, and a few hours later, all is well. At least I hope so. Everything looks the same from my end. And so much for my cloud migration story. But perhaps you can learn from this too, and understand that sometimes change isn’t all that big of a deal.
Choosing from one of more than a dozen different Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud providers (IaaS) can be tiresome. Pricing comparisons are difficult, figuring out features isn’t always obvious, and understanding their limitations can be vexing and require a great deal of time and research. But if you are looking for a capable cloud provider that lets you have a lot of flexibility, is transparent when it comes to cost calculations, and comes with ability to support many different virtual machine (VM) configurations, then you should consider CloudSigma’s solution.
Software defined networks are seemingly everywhere these days, offering the promise of having a virtual network infrastructure that can be provisioned as easily as spinning up a new virtual server or storage network. But SDNs are also hard to find outside of a few marquee customers who have dedicated lots of operational resources to set them up and manage them.
In my story for Techtarget’s Modern Infrastructure ezine, I look at the history of SDN, where things stand today, some of the bigger obstacles and how you can begin to plan for them in your own data center.
The OpenStack project has over the past few months consolidated its lead and is headed in a positive direction. Mid-October saw the OpenStack Summit conference in San Diego, and there have been a series of big customer wins and deployments. Indeed, the fall season has been like a coming-out party for the open-source cloud-management solution, with more maturing services announced from partners. To be sure, anyone contemplating a move to it should carefully consider some of the alternatives, too. But with so much news around the project, it’s worth noting which areas are currently looking up for OpenStack and what to consider when using it.
Infoworld published the results of real-world tests on seven different platform-as-a-service (PaaS) vendors. Of the seven, CloudBees and Cloud Foundry came out on top.
A PaaS is supposed to manage your app deployment, set up your virtual infrastructure and app servers, and allow you to provision the particular instances of VMs that you need to run your apps. Infoworld looked at Amazon, Google’s App Engine, Microsoft’s Azure, VMware’s Cloud Foundry, Salesforce’s Heroku, CloudBees, and Red Hat Open Shift. I found Infoworld’s review of particular interest because there are so few comparative reviews of PaaS products.
Facebook has developed a heatmap-based visualization tool for monitoring at a glance the status of large numbers of caching servers. Here is the story of how the company did it.
One of Facebook’s more famous development initiatives is its use of Memcache to handle the large influx of data to keep performance up. And this week we are treated to Facebook engineer Sean Lynch explaining how he and his team came up with a monitoring tool called Claspin, which uses heatmaps to present the status of their systems in a format that can be grasped at a glance.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Boeing didn’t even have an IT department, let alone any processes in place to make use of the massive amount of data it collected to improve its aircraft manufacturing efforts.
But today’s aircraft couldn’t be manufactured without a significant amount of BI and data management. Boeing today moves 60 petabytes around its network, and the company is in the middle of several Big Data pilot projects as well. Let’s see what they’ve been cooking up.
Picking the right cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE) provider can be easier if you know ahead of time the right questions to ask. Here are some suggestions, from my latest post in Dr. Dobbs’ Develop in the Cloud.