Friday, September 28, 2012

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Podcast: Cloud Evangelist Chat: Talking Intel Developer Form

The Intel Developer Form, held the week of September 10 in San Francisco, is always a good opportunity to reflect on what's happening with hardware. That's what my fellow Red Hat Cloud Evangelist Richard Morrell and I do in this podcast. Did the cloud make it possible to keep delivering chip performance improvements? Did the cloud fundamentally cause the ongoing disruption in the client space from iPads to Android to ARM?

You can check out Richard's blog at

Listen to MP3 (0:24:46)
Listen to OGG (0:24:46)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

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You can't just say no

This post by James Staten is a bit of an ad for some detailed Forrester reports, but in nonetheless offers solid succinct advice about how most organizations should approach a cloud use policy.

It's too late for your policy to say, "The use of cloud services is not allowed," so you need to start from an assumption that it is already happening — and that more of it is happening behind your back than in front of your nose. In fact, any policy that takes a draconianly negative tone probably won't go over very well (it might just be blatantly ignored).

A better approach is to actually encourage its use — in the right way. Your cloud policy needs to present IT as an assistant to the business in the use of cloud and as an advocate for cloud. This will ensure that IT isn't seen as the internal police that you need to hide your business-driven cloud use from. Because your policy should help bring cloud use into the light where it can be monitored, managed, and made better.

As Red Hat's CIO Lee Congdon put it in a webinar I did with him back in March: "Moving to cloud? Your business may have already beaten you to it." with "websites, social media presence, customer service, and CRM." 

The situation is similar to (and, in many respects, related to) Bring-Your-Own-Device. When I write about BYOD, I invariably get comments to the effect that it's a passing fad waiting for a disaster to strike and for IT to subsequently clamp down. This reader's response is fairly typical of such an attitude: 

Eventually when many of the younger crowd starts to understand why they can't find work, they will realize that employers call the shots. The BOYD trend was started by a small group of people who thought their devices manufacturer (I'll give you 3 guesses who the manufacture was, and the first two don't count) is so superior to other devices that they refused to work on anything else. I would happily wish those people well finding employment elsewhere and call for the next interviewee.

As Staten correctly notes, in most environments trying to roll back the clock will merely drive usage underground and beyond the ken of IT governance and policy--to say nothing of cutting off IT and line of business users from the genuine benefits of public cloud services.

The reality of cloud usage (in its various forms) is one reason why many users with whom I speak are intensely interested in topics such as hybrid clouds and application/portability. They realize that cloud is happening and they don't want to stop it. But they do want to bring it under an integrated management and policy framework that empowers users while protecting the company.

And this is why at Red Hat, everything we're doing in cloud from Red Hat CloudForms, to OpenShift to OpenStack to our Certified Cloud Provider Program is built around the twin concepts of open and hybrid.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I talk cloud on Silicon Angle's theCube

This video was shot back in June at Forecast 2012.

Hotel del Coronado LinuxCon event

Hotel del Coronado LinuxCon event
Originally uploaded by ghaff

This was taken at a Hawaii-themed party at LinuxCon/CloudOpen a couple of weeks back. The whole conference was fun and it was great to catch up with various folks.

Brute force computing doesn't replace models

Writing in The New York Times' Bits blog, Quentin Hardy notes that:

The brute force computing model is changing a lot of fields, with more to follow. It makes sense, in a world where more data is available than ever before, and even more is coming online, from a connected, sensor-laden world where data storage and server computing cycles cost almost nothing. In a sense, it is becoming a modification of the old “theorize-model-test-conclude” scientific method. Now the condition is to create and collect a lot of data, look for patterns amid the trash, and try to exploit the best ones.

I rather like the term "brute force computing."

On the one hand, it generalizes beyond Big Data to Big Compute as well. The common thread is that bits of storage and cycles of computing are cheap enough that they don't need to be applied judiciously. The article offers an example from Autodesk. "The idea is to try thousands of different conditions, like temperature, humidity, tensile strength or shape, in just a few seconds. Most of the outcomes will be lousy, a couple of them will probably affirm what a designer thought to begin with, and a few might deliver surprising insights no one had considered."

In another respect, "brute force computing" is a narrower term than Big Data, which really talks to the speed and size of the data rather than the sophistication applied to its analysis. The application of sophisticated models to large realtime data streams may fall under Big Data--but it would be hard to call such merely brute force. That there's such demand for data scientist skills is but one indicator that there's a lot more to data analytics than having a big server farm. Rather, the idea that useful results can fall out when lots of CPUs crank on lots of bytes is more akin to an idea that Wired's Chris Anderson popularized in his provocative 2008 article "The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete."

And that's where I'd have liked to see a bit more counterpoint in Hardy's article. It's not that lots of compute plus lots of data can't yield interesting results. But as repeatedly discussed at conferences such as O'Reilly's Stata, it isn't that simple. The numbers often don't just speak for themselves. The right questions have to be asked and the right models, however refined and tested by data and compute, developed. "Brute force computing" has a place but it's got an even larger place when augmented with intelligence.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

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