Facebook Social Networking applied to Data Center Operations

Facebook’s James Swenson and Schneider Electric’s Bill Westbrook presented “Driving Business Results through Collaboration”

In Facebook’s DNA is social networking and you can see the application in its sharing of its collaborative effort to resolve a data center operations issue. 


The topic discussed is a series of arch flash events. James made the point how difficult it was to pull the trigger to include the below image. A picture communicates so much and supports root cause analysis.


Below is the Root Cause Analysis shared



Robbie Bach, 7x24 Fall 2017 Keynote - The Xbox Story “Shaping the Future”

Robbie Bach gave the opening keynote and he used the Xbox Story to tell the story of “Shaping the Future.”

Robbie covered the 3P as a key theme of his presentation which is detailed in this link.  https://www.robbiebach.com/3p/

“Robbie Bach is convinced that solving difficult problems requires a tremendous ability to simplify – getting caught up in the complexity of a situation reduces our ability to grab the low hanging fruit that can create great momentum. To that end, his book Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal explores the 3P Strategy Framework which simplifies problems by focusing on the critical items of Purpose, Principles, and Priorities. These 3Ps, when combined with a short list of action items, help teams and individuals tackle almost any type of problem, but especially those that feel the most intractable or complex.” 

Targeting the mission critical audience, Robbie talked about Uptime and users, making the point that mission critical now means business critical. Online services is not a support. Online is the business.

A story Robbie told is the beginning of Xbox. December 1999 is when Xbox was born with no strategy. What they thought was strategy was ship it by this date and make sure things explode really great.

For the 1st 18 months of Xbox development it was  hell. 15 months into the project Robbie wanted to resign. November 2001, Xbox shipped. Success. Well Xbox lost $5-7 billion dollars. Team of 20 grown to 2,000 people. This is not success so the have an offsite.

As part of the offsite the result was the 3P framework.

To change pace Robbie told story of how Apple Music’s $0.99 song was business innovation for transform the music industry.

It is now Weds, two day is after Robbie’s keynote and I have time to reflect on Robbie’s presentation.  His presentation was well received by the attendees, but I  knew there was something missing from Robbie’s story. I was at Micosoft from 1992-2006 and had plenty of friends who worked in Xbox. I have one friend who is still in Xbox, but it is not in the hardware group. He is is the Xbox Live group.

Xbox Live is the business opportunity that changed the business model of console games. Xbox Live is a separate business unit that has a different business model than Azure and given a different business model the data center environment, equipment, and network are designed differently.

It’s too bad Robbie didn’t tell the story of Xbox Live development and its history. The Xbox Live story has not been told and I don’t think it will every come out. 


Chris Crosby #7x24Exchange Hyperscale DC + Network Mesh

Chris Crosby gave a thought leadership presentation on “Understanding Hyperscale Campus Compartmentalizations”

One of the great observations Chris discussed is when a redundancy of 2 is not enough. Really need 3. Ideally 5. 


Consider the below network mesh image shows how 2 connections would not be enough.


How do you compartmentalize the stuff that runs on the intermesh network. The below slide goes through the logical and physical elements to support the network mesh.


So What do you do? Chris presents the idea of Intermeshed Networking applied to the physical building.


Consider Chris has spent much of his time in the past building huge data centers while at Digital Realty. In 2011 is when Chris left Digital. Think about how much the data center environment has changed in these 6 years. The physical data center have not changed much for many, but what is in the data center has changed in ways like Network Fabrics.  And now Chris is saying that there are limits to giant buildings that need to be designed for Intermeshed Networking and there are many details in the physical and logical design.

Chris’s summary is something that interestingly are conclusions I have arrived at my own, but haven’t taken the time to write about publicly. 

When you take the Intermesh within the data center it is a logical step to apply it to the portfolio of facilities and how they work in a mesh. 


Here is what a data center network fabric looks like.  This is what data centers are being designed for.


Security or Insecurity - what’s next? 7x24 2017 Fall Keynote Kevin Kealy

A 7x24 Keynote speaker favorite gave the Tuesday Keynote, discussing the current state of Security or Insecurity


Kevin started out discussing Equifax Hack

Kevin pulls no punches pointing out their stupidity and how they set a new benchmark for mismanagement. Equifax had a single server that needed to be patched and the CIO chosen not to apply a patch, because the service would have gone down. A single server???

Simple free thing to do is to apply the patches. Don’t defer the patching. Even at home. 


Kevin added a new topic that is not on his slides. https://www.krackattacks.com/  Kevin covered the reality and asked a great question on how many of you run LINUX and made the point that any of you who run Android is running LINUX.


Kevin uses Fortinet firewall and AP

And in the above slide Kevin repeats the need to patch.

Kevin mentioned many ideas that are ones that I live by and part of a good process is regularly review and watching Kevin is one of the most enjoyable ways to self evaluate. 

As usual Kevin is a crowd pleaser. 

and last here are some resources to help you out. 

Sorry this an image file and not a link clickable HTML. :-( 


Microsoft and AWS AI partnering, some one must have driven the idea

Technology wars are dumb like many other wars. Years and years ago I realized the font war between Microsoft and Adobe was dumb and the users were losing out as the Typographers at Adobe and Microsoft would fight the battle between TrueType and Type 1. I was behind the scenes brokering the deal between Microsoft and Adobe independent of the font teams at each company. It is sometimes what you have to do stop war.  

AWS and Microsoft have press releases on its AI partnership. Gluon



“What is Gluon?

Gluon is a concise, dynamic, high-level deep learning library, or interface, for building neural networks. It can be used with either Apache MXNet or Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, and will be supported in all Azure services, tools and infrastructure. Gluon offers an easy-to-use interface for developers, highly-scalable training, and efficient model evaluation–all without sacrificing flexibility for more experienced researchers. For companies, data scientists and developers Gluon offers simplicity without compromise through  high-level APIs and pre-build/modular building blocks, and more accessible deep learning.”

"The potential of machine learning can only be realized if it is accessible to all developers. Today’s reality is that building and training machine learning models requires a great deal of heavy lifting and specialized expertise,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, VP of Amazon AI. “We created the Gluon interface so building neural networks and training models can be as easy as building an app. We look forward to our collaboration with Microsofton continuing to evolve the Gluon interface for developers interested in making machine learning easier to use.” 

Digging around a bit I was trying to find more behind the scenes information.http://www.firstpost.com/tech/news-analysis/amazon-and-microsoft-team-up-to-launch-deep-learning-interface-called-gluon-4138859.html

”According to a report in the New York Times, the two rival tech firms were reportedly coordinating behind the scenes for the past year to make artificial intelligent assistants Alexa and Cortana communicate with each other.” 

There are lots of ex-Microsoft people in AWS. And there are lots of ex-AWS in Microsoft. With all those people moving back and forth and the companies are less than 10 miles apart it is relatively easy to have discussions like Gluon.  

How many more discussion are AWS and Microsoft having that we don’t hear about?