Thursday, December 15, 2011

Links for 12-15-2011

Podcast: Red Hat's Tushar Katarki talks grid

I sat down last week with Red Hat's product manager for grid products, Tushar Katarki, who joined us recently. In this interview, Tushar talks about:

  • What grid is
  • How it's evolving
  • What's new with Red Hat's MRG Grid product
  • How Dreamworks uses grid
  • What's coming

Listen to MP3 version (6:00)

Listen to OGG version (6:00)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Links for 12-14-2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Links for 12-12-2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

Links for 12-09-2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Links for 12-06-2011

Friday, December 02, 2011

Links for 12-02-2011

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Links for 12-01-2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Posting HTML from Pinboard

I finally jumped off social bookmarking site Delicious during the whole kerfuffle over their problem-laden relaunch and moved to Pinboard on the recommendation of @sogrady and others. I had previously setup an account when the then parent of Delicious, Yahoo, began to send signals that it was shutting the service down. I now switched full-time.

The problem was that some Javascript code I was using to easily generate HTML code from my bookmarks and notes for pasting into Blogger stopped working.(See, for example, this post.)  This was actually the reason that I didn't switch to Pinboard full-time when I first setup the account.

I'm far from a Javascript wizard and I had received the code indirectly through a friend so the issue wasn't immediately obvious. It should have kept working; the API's were supposedly compatible except for some documented format changes. But it didn't work.

However, with my full-time switch I had to do something so I dove in and started hacking at the code. What appears to have been the problem was that, with the old Delicious (the new Delicious broke the code too), an object with global scope was being instantiated by the JSON call that retrieves recent bookmarks. Copying the JSON object into a global variable seemed to fix the problem. This doubtless should have been obvious.

In any case, if you use Pinboard and ever have occasion to create HTML from your bookmarks for posting somewhere else, you may find this code useful. You just need to substitute your username into the JSON URL where the comment tells you to. You can also customize in other ways as shown on the Pinboard HowTo page.



Links for 11-30-2011

Big Data: Asking the right questions

In this interview by Mac Slocum over at O'Reilly Radar, Alistair Croll, Strata online program chair, weighs in on the differences between Big Data and more traditional Business Intelligence.
Big data is a successor to traditional BI, and in that respect, there's bound to be some bloodshed. But both BI and big data are trying to do the same thing: answer questions. If big data gets businesses asking better questions, it's good for everyone.
Big data is different from BI in three main ways:
  1. It's about more data than BI, and this is certainly a traditional definition of big data.
  2. It's about faster data than BI, which means exploration and interactivity, and in some cases delivering results in less time than it takes to load a web page.
  3. It's about unstructured data, which we only decide how to use after we've collected it and need algorithms and interactivity in order to find the patterns it contains.
When traditional BI bumps up against the edges of bigfast, or unstructured, that's when big data takes over. So, it's likely that in a few years we'll ask a business question, and the tools themselves will decide if they can use traditional relational databases and data warehouses or if they should send the task to a different architecture based on its processing requirements.
What's obvious to anyone on either side of the BI/big data fence is that the importance of asking the right questions — and the business value of doing so — has gone way, way up.
Croll's last point--that asking the right questions is critical--bears highlighting. There are many reasons that traditional data warehousing and business intelligence has been, in the main, a disappointment. However, I'd argue that one big reason is that most companies never figured out what sort of answers would lead to actionable, valuable business results.
After all, while there is a kernel of truth to the oft-repeated data warehousing fable about diapers and beer sales, that data never led to any shelves being rearranged.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Podcast: Red Hat's Kim Palko talks messaging and AMQP

Messaging used to be the province of expensive, proprietary software but--as in many other areas of the software universe--that's changed with open source. And the AMQP protocol provides a particularly good example of the open source development model in which innovation comes from customers as well as vendors. I sat down with Kim Palko, Red Hat's Senior Product Manager for messaging, to talk about the latest happenings with AMQP.
Topics we cover in this podcast include:
  • How customers use messaging products
  • What AMQP is and why it's generating so much buzz
  • Red Hat's MRG-Messaging implementation of AMQP
  • How Red Hat's OpenShift PaaS uses MRG-M
  • The new JCA resource adapter
Listen to MP3 (13:49)
Listen to OGG (13:49)

Red Hat's Doug O'Flaherty discusses Supercomputing (SC11): Big data and more

As far as I'm concerned, the Supercomputing show may just be the most interesting computer industry trade show. I didn't make it this year--the content is a bit less central to my day-to-day interests than in the past--but I did have the opportunity to record an interview with fellow Red Hat marketeer Doug O'Flaherty who did make it out to Seattle.

Topics we cover in this podcast include:

  • The big announcements and themes
  • What Red Hat was up to at the show
  • The cool hardware
  • Big data
  • How the TOP500 list has evolved

Listen to MP3 (6:57)

Listen to OGG (6:57)

Links for 11-29-2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Links for 11-22-2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Links for 11-21-2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Best Couple of Paragraphs Written About Tablets

The context of these paragraphs written by Marco Arment, the creator of Instapaper, is a negative review of the Kindle Fire. But they also capture why so many people either: 1.) Think anyone who buys an iPad must be some sort of uncritical Apple fanboi or 2.) Think anyone who isn't wowed by the iPad must be some sort of uncritical Apple hater.

A tablet is a tough sell. It’s too big for your pocket, so you won’t always have it available like a phone. It’s too small to have rich and precise input methods like keyboards and mice, and its power and size constraints prevent it from using advanced PC-class hardware, so it’s probably not going to replace your laptop. It’s just one more gadget to charge, encase, carry (sometimes), care for, and update. And it’s one more expenditure that can easily be cut and done without, especially in an economic depression.

“Tablets” weren’t a category that anyone needed to give a damn about until the iPad. It was a massive hit not because it managed to remove any of the problems inherent to tablets, but because it was so delightful, fun, and pleasant to use that anyone who tried their friend’s iPad for a few minutes needed to have one of their own.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Links for 11-15-2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Links for 11-14-2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Links for 11-11-2011

From Building a Cloud to Operating It

First you build your cloud. A week back, I shared my thoughts on how best to do so based on my keynote from the Red Hat Cloud Tour. But that's just the first step. Once your cloud is in place, you need to operate it.

What makes this less than straightforward in a typical enterprise IT environment is that there's a balancing act in play.


Users want the simplicity they get from public cloud providers. They want self-service. They want to be in control. They don't want to think about underlying infrastructure. They want things to just work. In short, they have expectations set by the consumer Web and by the plethora of "magical" iDevices that they increasingly bring to their day jobs.

Historical enterprise IT sat largely in opposition to these user desires. Applications focused on business processes rather than user interaction. Minimizing risk and cost was equated to minimizing user choice of user choice. And a myriad of unavoidable regulatory, compliance, security, and audit needs meant that laissez faire attitudes to where applications ran and data was stored were a non-starter.

Balancing these two sets of desires and requirements requires four capabilities, all of which Red Hat provides:

  • Self-service with rich policy
  • Application lifecycle management designed for the cloud
  • Application portability across clouds
  • Proven stack and ecosystem delivering enterprise-class SLAs in the cloud


Self-service is a sine qua non of cloud computing. It's fundamental to eliminating friction between users requesting a service and the IT infrastructure providing that service. Business processes and workflows also need to support rapid servicing provisioning of course; associated manual approval requirements adding days or weeks blunt any positive technology impact. However, even reasonably automated provisioning processes that require admin intervention can add significant latency and limit scalability.

The key in an enterprise context is pairing this self-service to a rich set of policies. Policies specify which standard operating environments (SOE) a user or group of users have access to. They specify where those SOEs may physically run, perhaps based on whether they're being deployed for dev/test or whether they're being put into production. Thus, for example, policies could allow a service to be deployed to a public cloud while it's being developed--using test data--but require that production applications working with customer data be run on-premise.


Traditional enterprise management was "heavyweight." It focused on relatively static environments that had, as their core, large, proprietary legacy servers ministered too by a cadre of specialized sys admins. A cloud environment, on the other hand, is highly dynamic. Workloads are more typically scale-out. They are mobile, often running at different locales at different points in their lifecycle. Application lifecycle management for the cloud needs to take these differences into account. The System Engine component within Red Hat's CloudForms Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud management software was designed with such cloud requirements in mind.


One of the ways that portability breaks down is that public clouds encourage ad hoc development that doesn't necessarily comply with an organization's standards for applications run on-premise. This may be fine for prototyping or other work that is throwaway by design. However, it's far too easy for prototypes to evolve into something more—as often happened in the case of early visual programming languages—and the result is applications that either have to be rewritten or that may have support, reliability, or scalability issues down the road.

One approach to addressing this problem is to provide consistent runtimes across public and private clouds. Red Hat does this through its Certified Cloud Provider program that provides access to certified Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) on public clouds. (Pay-as-you-go RHEL is initially available on Amazon. Cloud Access provides a way to transfer on-premise RHEL subscriptions to Premier Certified Cloud Providers.) By running the same runtime across physical servers, multiple virtualization platforms, and public clouds, application certifications and testing need happen only once.


Finally, just because the "cloud" word is getting thrown around doesn't change the needs of either the IT department or the users when it comes to quality-of-service (QoS), security, or reliability. Users may fixate on the simplicity of consuming external computing resources but they expect the high level of availability that they're (hopefully) accustomed to IT providing. And, as an organization starts building a cloud, the goal needs to be to meet or exceed traditional IT operational benchmarks.

This requires no-compromise infrastructure. Cloud management may abstract this infrastructure and it may span multiple underlying technology stacks. But the capabilities of that underlying infrastructure still matter--more than ever. Dynamism and multi-tenancy (whereby disparate users share physical resources) are fundamental to clouds and they amplify any underlying infrastructure weakness. Red Hat has a long history of providing platform software for the most demanding IT environments. The cloud is simply the latest such.

Cloud computing operations requires blending the new and the old. Our expectations as consumers come to the fore. The "Consumerization of IT" phrase is often taken as synonymous with bringing your own iDevice to work. But it equally applies to user expectations of IT as shaped by Google and Facebook. Yet cloud computing doesn't suddenly void all legal, security, customer data, and uptime requirements. Those organizations that hit the right balance will be the most successful ones.

Portable computing creates scalable private clouds that can be federated to a public cloud provider under a unified management framework. Portable applications mean that developers can write once and deploy anywhere, thereby preserving their strategic flexibility and keeping their options open, while lowering maintenance and support costs. Portable services simplify development and operations by eliminating the need to re-implement frequently needed functions in private clouds and enable the movement of data and application features across clouds. Portable programming models let existing applications be brought over to cloud environments or evolved incrementally.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Three Approaches to Building a Cloud

In the course of preparing for the Red Hat Cloud Tour, I (along with many others on the Red Hat cloud team) gave a lot of thought as to how best to articulate the value delivered by cloud computing, what's needed for a private or hybrid cloud environment, why you'd want to build a cloud in the first place, and which approach delivers the greatest value.

Let's talk about that last point with the aid of a few slides from my keynote presentation from the Cloud Tour.

The typical IT operation can be thought of as consisting of a set of silos. Some of these silos may be the result of deliberate plan--perhaps to meet some regulatory need to keep internal businesses completely separate. However, more commonly, they come about through the accretion of new technologies, products, and organizations. All these silos create complexity. One goal of implementing a cloud should be to reduce this complexity.

How best to proceed?

This first approach essentially attempts to translate the "Greenfield" methodology used by service providers into an enterprise environment. The thinking is that throwing out existing infrastructure and replacing it with a grounds-up, homogenous, standardized computing foundation is a dramatic simplification relative to the typical enterprise IT infrastructure as it exists today.

In fact, this approach does dramatically simplify. It's also naively simple. For the vast majority of organizations, IT assets tarred with the pejorative "legacy" are also critical and core to the business. More broadly, IT infrastructures advance in an evolutionary way rather than through wholesale replacement. Doing so keeps both risk and cost down. Cloud computing is no different. While infrastructure standardization, modernization, and simplification are frequently good practices, they can usually only be taken so far.

Suppose, instead, we tackle just part of the problem. There are a couple of different ways to go about this.

We could, for example, decide to add some self-service and automation to a specific virtualization platform. This is VMware's approach to cloud. vCloud Director essentially just extends the vSphere virtualization platform and therefore requires that the underlying platform, whether in a private or public environment, be running a VMware technology stack. Alternatively, we could roll in a dedicated cloud appliance for some single purpose, such as a database.

Whichever of these two paths we take, the result is the same. Our IT infrastructure now has another silo. Hardly a reduction in complexity!

This is not to say that we can't start our journey to a cloud on a subset of infrastructure. In most cases, a pilot project or proof-of-concept using a subset of applications will indeed be the prudent path. The difference is that a proof-of-concept is a first step; a new silo is a dead end.

The final approach, and the one that Red Hat advocates, is to enable bringing the broadest set of IT assets under a cloud management framework. Certain existing--often static--workloads may be kept separate for a variety of reasons. But such decisions should come about because they make the most sense from an IT operational perspective, not because of restrictions imposed by a technology stack.

Supporting these capabilities requires a cloud management product that can span multiple virtualization platforms, a variety of public cloud providers based on a variety of underlying technologies, and even physical servers. While most clouds will have a virtualized foundation of some sort, we have spoken with a number of customers who require blending physical and virtual environments for different types of workloads or use cases.

The Red Hat product that makes this approach possible is CloudForms, which provides Infrastructure-as-a-Service management for private and hybrid clouds. It works across virtualization platforms such as vSphere and the KVM-based Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and a variety of public clouds starting with Amazon. Its key interoperability component is the Deltacloud API, an incubator project under the governance of the Apache Software Foundation.

I've covered just a small part of our our Cloud Tour content. However, it's an important part because fundamental differences in approach to building clouds lead to fundamental differences in the business value that can be extracted from them.

Links for 11-04-2011

  • Apple's Supply-Chain Secret? Hoard Lasers - Businessweek - "“Operations expertise is as big an asset for Apple as product innovation or marketing,” says Mike Fawkes, the former supply-chain chief at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and now a venture capitalist with VantagePoint Capital Partners. “They’ve taken operational excellence to a level never seen before.”"
  • Can a Commercial Be Too Sexy For Its Own Good? Ask Axe - Martin Lindstrom - Business - The Atlantic - "However, the brand's early success soon began to backfire. The problem was, the ads had worked too well in persuading the Insecure Novices and Enthusiastic Novices to buy the product. Geeks and dorks everywhere were now buying Axe by the caseload, and it was hurting the brand's image. Eventually (in the United States, at least), to most high-school and college-age males, Axe had essentially become the brand for pathetic losers and, not surprisingly, sales took a huge hit. "
  • Tarmac delays traced to lack of buses to ferry fliers - - Rt @flight_status10: Tarmac delays traced to lack of buses to ferry fliers << airports too dependent on jetbridges
  • Daring Fireball: The Type of Companies That Publish Future Concept Videos - "I’m not arguing that making concept videos directly leads to a lack of traction in the current market. I’m arguing that making concept videos is a sign of a company that has a lack of institutional focus on the present and near-present. Can you imagine a sports team in the midst of a present-day losing season that makes a video imagining a future championship 10 years out?" << Mostly agree.
  • How Groupon Was Founded - Nice, detailed rundown on groupon history.

How to Browse the Amazon Kindle Lending Library from a PC

One of my complaints about Amazon streaming for Prime Members is that they don't make it easy to search and browse only within the stuff you can get for free. This seems to be the case with their new Kindle Lending Library as well. Here's a recipe for browsing the list (currently at 5,379 results) from this Amazon discussion thread:

Follow these steps to browse books that are in the new Kindle lending Library on your PC. 
1) When on the front page of Amazon take a look at the search function near the top of the page. 
2) Don't put anything in the search box. Select "Books" in the department drop down box. Click on the "Go" button. 
3) You will now see pretty much all of Amazon's books. All 34+ Million of them. Select "Kindle Edition" in the Formats you see up at the top of the results list. 
4) Now you have all 1+ Million Kindle books. Over on the left side of the screen is further filters. Go all the way near the bottom of the long list of filters is a check box for "Prime Eligable". Click on it. 
5) There ya go. All 5,377 Kindle books that are in the new Prime Lending Library. This is all of them as that is the same number of books that I got when I was looking at them on my Kindle.

Apparently this only works if you're already a Prime member. It also appears as if you then need to use your Kindle device (the lending library only works with Kindle hardware--not the apps for devices like the iPad) to actually download the title.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Links for 10-31-2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Links for 10-28-2011

  • - "A protester comments on the power of greed: “It’s weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it's time to go, they're still there. I guess that's why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That's the power of greed.” – Jeremy, 38"
  • Daring Fireball Linked List: HP to Keep PC Division - "You know what HP should do? They should acquire Netflix. Then a week later back away and say “Never mind.” Then a month later go ahead and buy Netflix. Those two are made for each other."
  • Bloggers Selling Links to Marketers? - Megan McArdle - Business - The Atlantic - "Well, I certainly got a wake-up call this morning.  You can imagine my shock and horror when I learned (via Google Reader and Twitter) that some bloggers may have actually accepted money to mention companies and commercial products such as our fantastic 50-inch Panasonic Viera plasma television." << Good discussion, amusingly written.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You Had Klout

I confess to having a few good belly laughs yesterday over the minor tempest that was Klout revising its algorithms. For the 99%+ of the population that has no idea what a "Klout" is, it's a site that purports to measure online influence as calculated by a user's activity on twitter, for example.

Klout recently revised its scoring algorithms. And, apparently, various self-styled social media experts saw their scores drop dramatically. Outrage ensued.

One user (no names used in the interest of protecting the terminally self-important) in a reply to Klout's blog announcing the changes:

Very unhappy with this change. My score went from 73 down to 53. 20 point drop. I've been working for months to increase my Klout score. Please fix this.

Really. Seems like a good use of time. This video captures the concept perfectly.

Another social media "guru" (and I use the term sardonically) is now faced with explaining to clients that he might have been, umm, wrong in getting them to put a lot of faith in this proprietary metric:

Not only have I used Klout to measure my score, but I've instructed my social media beginner consulting clients to use it too- as an easy way to market their progress as they begin Tweeting and using Facebook.  Thank you for making my job harder- now I have to explain why, with all of their hard work, some their scores went DOWN.

Paraphrasing: "I blindly pimped Klout and now they've screwed me":

Unfortunately, I have been promoting Klout to clients as one of the various metrics to use in measuring the impact of social media campaigns. This change has already caused me to lose clients, and I have to start over using PeerIndex instead. Pity they hit us so hard after we helped make KLOUT influential.

I could go on. The whole comment thread to Klout's blog makes for an amusing read.

It's hard to feel much in the way of sympathy for those affected. It would seem that they've been among the most responsible for promoting Klout, a score based on a proprietary algorithm, as something companies ought to weigh heavily. I'm also suspicious that many of these social media "experts" busily working to increase their Klout have probably been engaging in the sort of reciprocal linking and retweeting behavior that Google fights to keep out of its search rankings.

That was fun.

More seriously, though, was this a good or bad move on the part of Klout? I'm just going to throw a few thoughts out there.

Self-styled social media mavens getting their comeuppance is a feature, not a bug.

If a dramatic one-time change was needed to clear a backlog of gaming behaviors, so be it.

Although Klout published a graph showing how users were affected by this change in the aggregate, they haven't said anything--even at a very high level--about the sorts of behaviors that resulted in large swings. Even Google does this to a degree.

Most to the point though, OK maybe Klout needed to make a one-time change. But their business is predicated on the idea that their score means something. That complaints about this change aren't akin to complaining that your horoscope wasn't specific enough, as Jared Sprool remarked on Twitter. And this, in turn, implies continuity of results modulo ongoing changes needed to address specific types of behavior that Klout perceives as gaming their system.

Whether or not you think that there is any connection between a measure of influence derived from social media metrics and objective business results, that is Klout's mission in life. (Personally, I think the connections are tenuous but so are lots of measures that companies around the world make decisions based on every week from pageviews to clickthrough rates.) And therefore, it is also in Klout's interest to avoid making changes that amount to saying that its measurements last week didn't mean anything.

Links for 10-27-2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Links for 10-26-2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Links for 10-25-2011

  • IPads Change Economics, and Speed, of Hotel Wi-Fi-On the Road - - "The iPad represents the “final nail in the coffin” for the idea that all Internet is free, Mr. Garrison said. Amy Cravens, a market analyst with the mobile Internet group of In-Stat, a technology research and consulting company, agreed that tablets “have had a huge influence on bandwidth consumption.”"
  • Lead Bullets | TechCrunch - "As I excitedly reviewed the plan with my engineering counterpart, Bill Turpin, he looked at me as though I was a little kid who had much to learn. Bill was a long-time veteran of battling Microsoft from his time at Borland and understood what I was trying to do, but remained unconvinced. He said: “Ben, those silver bullets that you and Mike are looking for are fine and good, but our web server is five times slower. There is no silver bullet that’s going to fix that. No, we are going to have to use a lot of lead bullets.”"
  • Brave New Thermostat: How the iPod’s Creator Is Making Home Heating Sexy | Gadget Lab |
  • NSM: Often the Weakest Link in Business Availability - "Gartner research shows that an average of 80 percent of mission-critical application service downtime is directly caused by people or process failures. The other 20 percent is caused by technology failure, environmental failure or a disaster. The complexity of today's IT infrastructure and applications makes high-availability systems management enormously difficult (see "Making Smart Investments to Reduce Unplanned Downtime," TG-07-4033)."
  • (503) - Not sure how many of these still manufactured but (a few) ppl seem to still buy PDAs as if it's 1999
  • Microsoft to bump Apple into sync-hole? - ZDNet Asia News - ""Certainly by...2005, possibly by the end of 2003, Linux will pass Mac OS as the No. 2 operating environment," said IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky."
  • The Jobs backlash begins | Real Dan Lyons Web Site - "I’ve always felt that people did Steve a disservice by portraying him as a holy man, some kind of silicon saint leading us into the promised land. It seemed to me that Steve had a deep reservoir of darkness inside him, and that this dark energy was what fueled his genius. WIthout it, he would have been just another Silicon Valley marketing guy in a pair of khakis and an Oxford shirt. His challenge was to harness that dark energy and use it without being consumed or destroyed by it."

Video: Red Hat OpenShift's Under-the-Covers Secret Sauce

A couple of days ago, Matt Hicks sat down with me to talk about some of the cool ways that Red Hat's OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service offering is making seriously heavy-duty use of features like SELinux, cgroups, and AMQP messaging in underlying Red Hat products. It makes you appreciate just how much rocket science goes into running the infrastructure for Platform-as-a-Service. Matt's the Managing Principal Architect for Red Hat who is responsible for much of what goes into keeping OpenShift running. Have a look!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Links for 10-24-2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nevada Desert (near Lake Mead)

Nevada Desert (near Lake Mead)
Originally uploaded by ghaff

It hit 111 degrees in Nevada on the August day I headed towards Las Vegas from Zion National Park.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Links for 10-20-2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

General social media and contacting me update

I've been making some tweaks to where and how I publish and how I use various social networking and communications services over the past few months. Here's the current status:


I have two primary blogs.

Connections is my "personal" blog. It's personal in the sense that no one else has any control over what I publish here. That said, it's mostly (75%+) devoted to topics that fall generally under the umbrella of "tech." I generally keep the blog going with short link-comments when I'm not pushing out anything longer. In a new development, I expect to be publishing more posts that directly pertain to my activities at Red Hat here.

The Pervasive Datacenter is my CNET Blog Network blog. I typically publish once or twice a month on technology topics, nominally with an emphasis on enterprise IT although I do posts on photography and other consumer tech of interest from time to time. I am especially careful about topics that could be perceived as in any way a conflict of interest because of my day job at Red Hat and therefore mostly avoid getting into individual companies, strategies, and products.

Social Networks:

I am active on twitter as @ghaff. As with my blogs, I concentrate on tech topics but no guarantees that I won't get into other topics from time to time.

I mostly view LinkedIn as a sort of professional rolodex. If I've met you and you send me a LinkedIn invite, I'll probably accept though it might help to remind me who you are. I'm most likely to ignore you if you appear to be someone just building up a big network for spammy purposes.

I'm a pretty casual user of Facebook and I limit it to friend friends. That's not to say that some of them aren't professional acquaintances as well. But if you just met me at a conference somewhere and want to friend me, please understand if I ignore you.

I'm not sure where I stand with Google+ at this point. I'm on it, generally like the interface, and some of my friends are active. But I don't feel a great hole in my social media sphere that's calling out for a Google+ to fill. We'll see.

PR pitches, etc:

Lord, do I get a lot of crap sent my way. The redeeming aspect of this is that I periodically get some gem that gives the PR group at Red Hat a chuckle (after any embargo is off of course). If you work for a Red Hat competitor or their agency, you might also want to think twice about offering to pre-brief me on some new announcement.

With that out of the way, I'm interested in a wide variety of tech topics. However, for obvious reasons, I tend to avoid writing about specific companies that closely intersect with my day job whether as competitors or partners. It's also a matter of my bandwidth. I have less time for blogging than when I was an analyst but if I write about one company in a space, it's not really fair to turn down all the inevitable requests that come in from other companies doing something similar.

Links for 10-12-2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Links for 09-30-2011

  • Selling Is Not About Relationships - Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson - Harvard Business Review – "This finding — that Challengers win and Relationship Builders lose — is one that sales leaders often find deeply troubling, because their organizations have placed by far their biggest bet on recruiting, developing, and rewarding Relationship Builders, the profile least likely to win."
  • Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The remains of the book – "Up until now, there's been a fairly common assumption that a divide would emerge in the presentation of different kinds of electronic books. Reference works would get the full web treatment, tricked out with multimedia and hypermedia, while fiction and literary nonfiction would be shielded from the web's manifest destiny. They'd go digital without losing their print nature; they'd retain their edges. That assumption always struck me as naive, and Bezos's choice of a novel for his demo of X-Ray makes me even more dubious that literary works will remain exempt from webification."
  • You Are Who You Build For – tecosystems – "When enterprises were able to impose their will upon their employees, enterprise vendors enjoyed barriers to entry sufficient to shield them from the likes of Apple. Businesses only bought the products that they wanted, which in turn were the products enterprise vendors built for them. "
  • You Are Who You Build For – tecosystems – Consumerization of IT makes it more challenging f businesses to focus from @sogrady << Harder to segment
  • Pan Amorama | Blogs | Vanity Fair – "But where fashion runway models are unsmiling, robotic in their militant march steps, these stews smile like mod angels, their wings pinned to their snazzy blue jackets. No, Pan Am has none of the stomach-acid accidie of Mad Men--for primetime TV, it’s a far more formula drive--but it’s a wonderful throwback to Jean Negulesco films such as Three Coins in the Fountain and The Best of Everything. (Margot Robbie’s Laura Cameron, a flight attendant who lands on the cover of Life, is the Suzy Parker figure.) Nothing about Pan Am demands to be taken seriously and the espionage angle is an absurdity (even given the Cold War era), but everything was nicely done, and the crosscutting between adjoining hotel rooms of undressing lovers about to meet smack in the middle was elegantly, Europeanly sexy."
  • Ex-Fed CIO Vivek Kundra’s Cloud First policy trashed - The Troposphere – "According to the study, 92% of feds believe cloud is a good idea for federal IT, but just 29% are following the administration’s mandated “Cloud First” policy. And almost half (42%) say they are adopting a “wait-and-see” approach related to cloud. Respondents cite numerous challenges including security issues (64%), cultural issues (36%) and budget constraints (36%) as barriers to cloud computing."
  • Freakonomics » The Myth of Common Sense: Why The Social World Is Less Obvious Than It Seems – "What these results suggest is that in the real world, where social influence is much stronger than in our artificial experiment, enormous differences in success may indeed be due to small, random fluctuations early on in an artist’s career, which then get amplified by a process of cumulative advantage—a “rich-get-richer” phenomenon that is thought to arise in many social systems."
  • Autonomy's reaction to Oracle's statement | Business | – "Oracle seems a little confused about the sequence of events and origins of the data it has received, something that would suggests it needs better management of and insight into the unstructured data on its internal systems. We would be delighted to help."
  • Connections: Podcast with Red Hat's Carl Trieloff on oVirt – Check out my latest podcast. I talk oVirt (open source virt mgmt) with #redhat's Carl Trieloff:
  • AVOS’ Delicious Disaster: Lessons from a Complete Failure | ZDNet – "The re-launch of social link sharing site Delicious, now under the stewardship of YouTube founders Steven Chen and Chad Hurley under their AVOS startup banner, is nothing short of a complete, mind-boggling disaster. How AVOS took a beloved social sharing site and ruined it from stem to stem, and up to this minute have a complete, angry user PR explosion on their hands, is as enlightening as it is hard to watch."
  • | Survey Results and Conclusions: Evolving to the Cloud – Here are results and my commentary from a survey that Red Hat conducted at VMworld
  • Daring Fireball: Amazon's New Kindles – "Amazon built an alternative to the iPad, rather than a direct competitor. It’s a different market segment. As Steve Jobs explained back in 2010 at the introduction of the original iPad, there’s unexplored territory between smartphones and laptops." << Agree. It remains to be seen how viable the segment is but sometimes less really is more.
  • Assess enterprise applications for cloud migration – Good, albeit probably overly academic, overview of how to think about enterprise application suitability for cloud.
  • Bezos Portrays Kindle Fire as Service, Not Tablet- Bloomberg – RT @iwantmedia: Jeff Bezos: "We don't think of Kindle Fire as a tablet. We think of it as a service" <
  • Cisco Blog » Blog Archive » Re-Thinking Pork Bellies. Why There are No Commodity Clouds, Only Commodity Thinkers. – "Don’t confuse platform with commodity." << The "commodity" term makes me uncomfortable in a lot of contexts.
  • Workshop | oVirt Project – RT @mestery: 5 weeks until #ovirt kickoff meeting @ Cisco campus in San Jose. Have you RSVP'd yet?
  • - Discover Yourself! – is being relaunched. It does look prettier. But it seems to have broken existing APIs and tagging system.
  • The myth of standardisation – "We have to accept that. It’s evolutionary, in our genes. We wouldn’t have existed without this primordial urge to grow and divert whenever we can. Evolution means upward growth, based on a firm rock bottom. Don’t you think it’s funny that we now all have mobiles, yet download apps onto those like madmen? I do. A splendid opportunity for Cloud web apps, and what happens? Install local."
  • How to create an OpenShift github quick start project | Red Hat Openshift Forum – RT @gshipley: Check out my new blog post on creating #openshift quick start projects. #cloud #paas

Podcast with Red Hat's Carl Trieloff on oVirt

oVirt is the newly announced project focused on open source virtualization management, including high availability, live migration, storage management, system scheduler, and more. Earlier this week, I had a chance to sit down with Carl Trieloff, Red Hat's technical director for cloud, to discuss the ins and out of oVirt. Among the topics we cover are:

  • What is oVirt?
  • How does oVirt relate to the Open Virtualization Alliance and the KVM hypervisor?
  • How will licensing and code contributions work?
  • What's the governance model?
  • What comes next?

Listen to MP3 (9:06)

Listen to OGG (9:06)


Links for today seems to be broken

With the, ahem, less than elegant relaunch of the delicious bookmark saving tool, I'm back on pinboard. Alas, the Javascript I've been using to format JSON feeds into a form I could use to easily generate daily postings is now broken on both sites. (The delicious version never worked on pinboard.) My very inexpert eyes don't spy the problem immediately. I may fix this or I may, at least for the moment, continue to experiment with different ways of sharing content. One of my considerations here is that, while I'm all in for posting on the social media darling of the moment, I also want to largely mirror on a site I control or can at least easily export in a meaningful form--in this case, Blogger.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Links for 09-26-2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Links for 09-16-2011