There are critics of the Open Source Data Center Initiative. To be clear we don’t expect this to work for everyone. An example that illustrates the different approach is this IntoWorld article discussing the Google Android Phone vs. Apple iPhone. Some people want the iPhone, some want the Android. The Open Source Data Center Initiative is going to appeal to the users who consider the Android for its openness.
MARCH 03, 2010
Where Android beats the iPhone
Android's openness, flexibility, and Java foundation make it the best choice for many developers and the businesses that depend on them
The author starts out by discussing a simple feature of having a person’s picture show up when they call. You can do this on the iPhone as well.
But, the Google Android does this as well with Facebook integration.
The most interesting question to me is how Android's openness will change the entire ecosystem on the phone. On the first day I had the Nexus One, I created an entirely new test Gmail account to avoid any problems when I returned the phone. Yet when I called a friend by typing in his phone number, his face popped up on the screen. Was this a demonstration of the power of Google's endless databases to link together everything?
After some experimentation, I concluded that the photo came from the Facebook app I had installed on the phone. When I logged in to Facebook, the app pulled pictures, phone numbers, and who knows what else into my phone. I think I accepted this feature when the Facebook app's AndroidManifest.xml file was loaded, and I'm not sure if I can ever get rid of it.
Openness has its benefits.
This deeper openness is going to be the source of any number of surprises that will be even greater and more useful than the unexpected appearance of my friend's photo on the phone. I think some of the more serious companies will start to release APIs to their apps, allowing the programs themselves to link together and solve problems.
Yesterday I blogged about the concept of the Open Data Source Initiative having APIs.
Defining a Data Center API, on the list of things to do for Open Source Data Center Initiative
I have spent so much of my life working with Operating System nerds both at Apple and Microsoft that I take it for granted the concepts of an API.
An application programming interface (API) is an interface implemented by asoftware program to enable interaction with other software, similar to the way auser interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers.
Part of what the Google Android has is a more open development environment which encourages others to be open, but this doesn’t mean everything has to be open if you use the Open Source Data Center Initiative. In the same way that Google controls parts of the Android, we expect companies to implement their own ways to secure, protect, and optimize the designs to meet their business needs. But, at least we helped them with the 60 – 70% that is common across many data center designs.
There are other interesting questions about the role of cloud services in our smartphone future. Google is still guarding access to the Maps API and forcing developers to get an API key before deploying. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple, Palm, and others are frantically working on their own mapping, search, mail, and who knows what other cloud services. Right now the phones are little clients that aren't too closely linked to the Websites, but I can see that changing if better performance makes it possible to tilt the playing field. The quality of the cloud may become just as important as the slick GUI, app store, or number of pixels in the screen.
Consider the difference the author points out between the iPhone and Android audience.
This interaction with the cloud will be a question for the future. Right now, it seems that Apple won over the latte-sipping fashion plates who love the endless stream of cute games. Apple's decision to court the game developers is paying off in some amazing titles, but the Android platform is a real workhorse. Anyone who wants to do more than play games will find a huge range of possibilities in the Android platform.
While Apple is reportedly fixing some of the worst problems with the App Store process, the Android world avoids most of them by giving people the freedom to use the platform as they want. Considering that people have been using this freedom relatively successfully with PCs for decades, it's a welcome opportunity in the world of handhelds.
I have a good friend who is an operating system and application SW developer turned Data Center Service Manager, running online services for a Fortune 1000 company. He is a big user of open source operating system and data center tools, and he made the switch from the IPhone to Android for the development environment. This is a small percentage of the cell phone audience, and his points align with Peter Wayne’s. As Google and Apple fight the cell phone wars, think about all the Google Data Center guys who have Androids running their own mobile data center apps. At Apple and Microsoft, the mobile phone is not their data center tool, but Google it could be happening.
It would be interesting to play with a Google Data Center engineers Android and see their application list. :-) But, I doubt they’ll let it out of their hands.
The author Peter Wayne previously wrote about tools for IT Pros in Jan 2010.
Better Terminal Emulator
The outside world may call it a phone, but it's really a Linux box that fits in your pocket. And that means there must be a command line somewhere. Better Terminal Emulator is the simplest way to open a window into the guts of the machine. Price: $3.99 for Pro, free with ads and fewer features.
Do you worry that your server is down when you're out of the office?bMonitor can test a server with a variety of protocols, such as ping, FTP, and HTTP. If the connection fails, the phone starts ringing. The tool offers a variety of customization options, including the ability to set how often the phone burns up battery power by testing a server. Too many tests can really wipe out a charge. It's not perfect -- I've found that bMonitor can get mixed up if the network connection is unstable or hogged by another app, leading to a false alarm. But a false alarm is often better than none at all. Price: Free.
O'Reilly's Pocket Companion Guides
There are now hundreds of O'Reilly books available as Android applications, so you can answer that burning tech question or settle that bet from the bar without opening up the laptop. All are dramatically cheaper than the books themselves, thus making them a very good buy. Price: $2.99 and up
You asked for power, and GScript gives you the power to run shell scripts with a push of a button. Whatever you do, though, remember that GScript explicitly reminds you that the authors are "in no way responsible for the damage caused by running scripts with this app." It comes in an ad-supported Lite edition or a professional version. Price: €2.20 or free with ads.