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    Wednesday
    Jan272010

    Trust in the Data Center, Lost in Translation

    Mike Manos’s post on why Private Clouds will exist brings up an interesting view, a belief that “trust” is what is going to define people’s behaviors using cloud computing.

    Private Clouds – Not just a Cost and Technology issue, Its all about trust, the family jewels, corporate value, and identity

    January 24, 2010 by mmanos

    I recently read a post by my good friend James Hamilton at Amazon regarding Private Clouds.   James and I worked closely together at Microsoft and he was always a good source for out of the box thinking and challenging the status quo.    While James post found here, speaks to the Private Cloud initiative being what amounts to be an evolutionary dead end, I would have to respectfully disagree.

    It’s a little ironic that Mike discusses ‘trust” as an issue when he is a Sr. VP at Digital Realty Trust.  But, this trust is more like this kind.

    In common law legal systems, a trust is an arrangement whereby property (including real, tangible and intangible) is managed by one person (or persons, or organizations) for the benefit of another

    The Trust Mike Manos refers to

    In sociology and psychology the degree to which one party trusts another is a measure of belief in the honesty, benevolence and competence of the other party. Based on the most recent research, a failure in trust may be forgiven more easily if it is interpreted as a failure of competence rather than a lack of benevolence or honesty. In economics trust is often conceptualized as reliability in transactions. In all cases trust is a heuristic decision rule, allowing the human to deal with complexities that would require unrealistic effort in rational reasoning.

    Part of the problems to establish trust is the lack of good communication.  Lost in Translation is a book on this topic for IT.

    Do you speak "business" or "IT"? Perhaps you speak a little of both. In today's connected world, where business and IT are fused, chances are that if you're a business or IT executive, or someone working to transform a business, you speak a little of both. But what if there was a "third" language? A common language that was natural for both "business" and "IT," straightforward enough to use, yet sophisticated enough to work in today's connected world? What if such a language only comprised a handful of words? With such a language, the "loss in translation" between the business and IT would happen less, because both would be using the same language. With such a language, business outcomes and transformations would become much more achievable. This handbook describes what this language is-the language of Information Systems for the 21st century.

    How many problems do you think could be addressed if both parties understood each other better?  And not Lost in Translation?

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Jan272010

    Complex technology projects, learn from Apple System 7 Blue Meanies

    One of the most enjoyable projects I worked on was Apple’s System 7.  There were many lessons I learned working on that project, one of which is “don’t tell the whole development team to innovate.”  Because if everyone innovates, the system doesn’t work.

    For all the years I spent working on Windows Operating Systems from 1992 to 2006, the last client OS i worked on was Windows XP, running the Technical Evangelism team. 

    When Windows Vista (aka Longhorn) came after Windows XP, I recognized the pattern from System 7 pushed too far as Jim Allchin and the rest of the executives ordered innovation in all parts of the OS.  We saw powerpoints for features that had little hope of seeing the light of day.

    One big lesson that worked well to ship System 7 was “Blue Meanies.”  Who are the Blue Meanies?  Here is the secret about box with the people.

    System 7.0.1:

    Help! Help! We're being held prisoner in a system software factory!

    The Blue Meanies

    Darin Adler
    Scott Boyd
    Chris Derossi
    Cynthia Jasper
    Brian McGhie
    Greg Marriott
    Beatrice Sochor
    Dean Yu

    What did they do?

    While the Meanies have sometimes been characterized as the "coders of System 7", the Mac OS was by then sufficiently large that major subsystems such as QuickDraw and QuickTime were developed and maintained by specialized groups, and the Meanies primarily focused on getting the pieces to work together.

    If you have a complex project where there is a lot of innovation which causes conflicts between groups when don’t work, think about creating a group of people whose job is to get the pieces to work together.

    Some may call this architecture, but getting systems to work together many times require the skills of implementation, not just architecture.  The Apple System Blue Meanies did it all.

    In your complex data center projects who are the Blue Meanies on your project?

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Jan272010

    My Apr 2009 predicion of an Apple Netbook (iPad) full day battery, 3g, keyboard, phone, wifi, and iPhone apps

    I am down in SJ and friends are discussing the iPad.  Then I remembered my post on Apri 6, 2009.

    Imagine a Netbook with full day battery life, 3G network, keyboard, phone, wifi, and iPhone apps.  This device could probably be always on like an iPhone.  With a bluetooth headset you can leave the Apple Netbook in your carrycase.

    The one area I got wrong is it is not a phone. Which is a smart move by Apple.  Probably 90% of the iPad users will also have an iPhone.  Don’t give users the option of not having an iPad only.

    The one thing that would keep me from buying an iPad is given it is iPhone OS, there is no support for the Dvorak Keyboard.

    The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout

    The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (pronounced /ˈdvɒrɔːk/) is a keyboard layout patented in 1936 by August Dvorak, an educational psychologist and professor of education[1] at the University of Washington in Seattle,[2] andWilliam Dealey. It has also been called the Simplified Keyboard or American Simplified Keyboard but is commonly known as the Dvorak keyboard or Dvorak layout.

    Although the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (“DSK”) has failed to displace the QWERTY keyboard, it has become easier to access in the computer age, being included with all major operating systems (such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and BSD) in addition to the standard QWERTY layout. It is also supported at the hardware level by some high-end ergonomic keyboards.

    I’ve been typing on the Dvorak keyboard since 1987 when I worked on Apple keyboards for the Mac.  Unfortunately, the Dvorak keyboard is a niche not worth the iPhone OS to support.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Jan262010

    Japan’s Mobile Market is a Galapagos of isolation

    I have been to Tokyo over 20 times, but haven’t gone recently.  One of my ex-Apple coworkers is currently in Tokyo working for another high tech company, and it reminds of how the Japanese Mobile Market is different.

    The NYTimes has a good perspective (written by a Japanese native) on why the Japanese Mobile Market is isolatee like the Galapagos island.

    Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global

    Robert Gilhooly/Bloomberg News

    Japanese cellphone makers want to expand, but their clever handsets do not work on other networks.

    • By HIROKO TABUCHI

    Published: July 19, 2009

    TOKYO — At first glance, Japanese cellphones are a gadget lover’s dream: ready for Internet and e-mail, they double as credit cards, boarding passes and even body-fat calculators.

    Enlarge This Image

    Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

    Competition is fierce in the relatively small Japanese cellphone market, with eight manufacturers.

    Enlarge This Image

    Junko Kimura/Getty Images

    Takeshi Natsuno developed a wireless Internet service that caught on in Japan.

    Readers' Comments
    Readers shared their thoughts on this article.

    But it is hard to find anyone in Chicago or London using a Japanese phone like a Panasonic, a Sharp or an NEC. Despite years of dabbling in overseas markets, Japan’s handset makers have little presence beyond the country’s shores.

    “Japan is years ahead in any innovation. But it hasn’t been able to get business out of it,” said Gerhard Fasol, president of the Tokyo-based IT consulting firm, Eurotechnology Japan.

    The point about the Galapagos island is made here.

    The Japanese have a name for their problem: Galápagos syndrome.

    Japan’s cellphones are like the endemic species that Darwin encountered on the Galápagos Islands — fantastically evolved and divergent from their mainland cousins — explains Takeshi Natsuno, who teaches at Tokyo’s Keio University.

    The article makes a final point on the issue of SW vs. HW innovation and the role of online app services from data centers.

    Meanwhile, Japanese developers are jealous of the runaway global popularity of the AppleiPhone and App Store, which have pushed the American and European cellphone industry away from its obsession with hardware specifications to software. “This is the kind of phone I wanted to make,” Mr. Natsuno said, playing with his own iPhone 3G.

    The conflict between Japan’s advanced hardware and its primitive software has contributed to some confusion over whether the Japanese find the iPhone cutting edge or boring. One analyst said they just aren’t used to handsets that connect to a computer.

    The forum Mr. Natsuno convened to address Galápagos syndrome has come up with a series of recommendations: Japan’s handset makers must focus more on software and must be more aggressive in hiring foreign talent, and the country’s cellphone carriers must also set their sights overseas.

    “It’s not too late for Japan’s cellphone industry to look overseas,” said Tetsuro Tsusaka, a telecom analyst at Barclays Capital Japan. “Besides, most phones outside the Galápagos are just so basic.”

    BTW, my friend in Tokyo is not one I would ask for his personal experience as he doesn’t own a cell phone even when he is in the US.  But, he works on mobile internet applications, so he has an interesting view developing for the Japanese market.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Jan262010

    Google shares production data center for compute clusters

    Google Research has a post reaching out to the academic community.

    Google Cluster Data

    Thursday, January 07, 2010 at 1/07/2010 08:11:00 AM

    Posted by Joseph L. Hellerstein, Manager of Google Performance Analytics
    Google faces a large number of technical challenges in the evolution of its applications and infrastructure. In particular, as we increase the size of our compute clusters and scale the work that they process, many issues arise in how to schedule the diversity of work that runs on Google systems.

    The areas of interest for Google are:

    We have distilled these challenges into the following research topics that we feel are interesting to the academic community and important to Google:

    • Workload characterizations: How can we characterize Google workloads in a way that readily generates synthetic work that is representative of production workloads so that we can run stand alone benchmarks?
    • Predictive models of workload characteristics: What is normal and what is abnormal workload? Are there "signals" that can indicate problems in a time-frame that is possible for automated and/or manual responses?
    • New algorithms for machine assignment: How can we assign tasks to machines so that we make best use of machine resources, avoid excess resource contention on machines, and manage power efficiently?
    • Scalable management of cell work: How should we design the future cell management system to efficiently visualize work in cells, to aid in problem determination, and to provide automation of management tasks?

    Thee Google Cluster data is here.

    This project is intended for the distribution of data of production workloads running on Google clusters.

    The first dataset (data-1), provides traces over a 7 hour period. The workload consists of a set of tasks, where each task runs on a single machine. Tasks consume memory and one or more cores (in fractional units). Each task belongs to a single job; a job may have multiple tasks (e.g., mappers and reducers).

    The data have been anonymized in several ways: there are no task or job names, just numeric identifiers; timestamps are relative to the start of data collection; the consumption of CPU and memory is obscured using a linear transformation. However, even with these transformations of the data, researchers will be able to do workload characterizations (up to a linear transformation of the true workload) and workload generation.

    The data are structured as blank separated columns. Each row reports on the execution of a single task during a five minute period.

    Time (int) - time in seconds since the start of data collection

    JobID (int) - Unique identifier of the job to which this task belongs

    TaskID (int) - Unique identifier of the executing task

    Job Type (0, 1, 2, 3) - class of job (a categorization of work)

    Normalized Task Cores (float) - normalized value of the average number of cores used by the task

    Normalized Task Memory (float) - normalized value of the average memory consumed by the task

    Please let us know about issues you have with the data.

    So far there have been 230 downloads.

    Filename ▼
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    google-cluster-data-1.csv.gz
    7+ hours of workload traces from a Google production cluster
    Dec 18
    29.8 MB
    230

    1 - 1 of 1

    Click to read more ...