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    A different interpretation of “Open Source” in an Intelligence Analysis scenario that defines how GreenM3 works public data

    I ran across the term Open Source Intelligence.

    Open source intelligence (OSINT) is a form of intelligence collection management that involves finding, selecting, and acquiring information from publicly available sources and analyzing it to produce actionable intelligence.

    This description fits what I have been telling others about the various data center sources of information. 

    “If there is a public publication of information, we are open to look at and provide feedback on the value we see in the information.”

    Which is a pretty good description of how this blog has been run, commenting on public available information.

    The description goes on to clarify the difference vs. open source software.

    In the intelligence community (IC), the term "open" refers to overt, publicly available sources (as opposed to covert or classified sources); it is not related to open-source software or public intelligence.

    Sources of information are:

    OSINT includes a wide variety of information and sources:

    • Media: newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and computer-based information.
    • Web-based communities and user generated content: social-networking sites, video sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies.
    • Public data: government reports, official data such as budgets, demographics, hearings, legislative debates, press conferences, speeches, marine and aeronautical safety warnings, environmental impact statements and contract awards.

    We have seen helicopters flying over Apple data centers, and world wide maps of Google data centers.

    • Observation and reporting: amateur airplane spotters, radio monitors and satellite observers among many others have provided significant information not otherwise available. The availability of worldwide satellite photography, often of high resolution, on the Web (e.g., Google Earth) has expanded open source capabilities into areas formerly available only to major intelligence services.
    • Professional and academic: conferences, symposia, professional associations, academic papers, and subject matter experts.[1]
    • Most information has geospatial dimensions, but many often overlook the geospatial side of OSINT: not all open source data is unstructured text. Examples of geospatial open source include hard and softcopy maps, atlases, gazetteers, port plans, gravity data, aeronautical data, navigation data, geodetic data, human terrain data (cultural and economic), environmental data, commercial imagery, LIDAR, hyper and multi-spectral data, airborne imagery, geo-names, geo-features, urban terrain, vertical obstruction data, boundary marker data, geospatial mashups, spatial databases, and web services. Most of the geospatial data mentioned above is integrated, analyzed, and syndicated using geospatial software like a Geographic Information System (GIS) not a browser per se.

    OSINT is distinguished from research in that it applies the process of intelligence to create tailored knowledge supportive of a specific decision by a specific individual or group.[2]

    I wonder how much OSINT has started searching twitter and Facebook.

    In the Open Source Data Center Initiative I anticipate we be using this type of description for what we will be doing.  Part of the challenge for the data center industry is there so much information out there, it is hard to make sense of it for an organization that doesn’t have a full staff of experienced professionals.

    Here is where I got the idea for Open Source Intelligence.


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    Hello Dave,
    Al Qaeda uses online videos to recruit and train. Other terrorist networks use audio files to disseminate messages. China circulates propaganda via video. The Internet is exploding with multimedia; streaming video, audio, images, PDFs and more. Open Source Intelligence needs to account for and take advantage of all advanced media types. But how?
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    Please join this free online seminar and see a live demonstration of Kapow Technologies’ advanced web harvesting capabilities in use at US Intelligence Agencies, extracting from sites like YouTube,, Al-Jazeera and MySpace.

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    Open Source Data Center Initiative openness, flexibility, and methods not for everyone

    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

    By Peter Wayner | InfoWorld

    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.

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    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


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    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 a software program to enable interaction with other software, similar to the way a user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers.

    A critical concept of an API is abstraction.

    An API is an abstraction that defines and describes an interface for the interaction with a set of functions used by components of a software system.

    The data center is waiting for abstraction..

    In computer science, the mechanism and practice of abstraction reduces and factors out details so that one can focus on a few concepts at a time.

    But the many people are concrete minded thinkers. Concrete Thinking is.

    Thinking characterized by a predominance of actual objects and events and the absence of concepts and generalizations.

    Google’s Urs Hoelzle and Luis Andre Barossa wrote on the concept of a Data Center is a computer.


    Well if the Data Center is a computer it should have a set of APIs.  It is a fact that Google has interfaces for its data centers.  I haven’t talked to a single Google employee on this concept.  But, it has to be.  How else are you going to interface with all the data centers around the world in Google’s inventory?  if you search the google document you see multiple references to API.



    In Google’s Warehouse-Scale computers they close with.

    At one level, WSCs are simple—just a few thousand cheap servers connected via a LAN. In reality, building a cost-efficient massive-scale computing platform that has the necessary reliability and programmability requirements for the next generation of cloud-computing workloads is as difficult and stimulating a challenge as any other in computer systems today.

    Google thinks about the programmability, the APIs, of the data center.

    I don’t need any more proof data centers need APIs.  But, concrete thinkers will not believe it until there are multiple customers already doing this.

    In the short term, we can use Johnson Controls solution GridLogix I blogged about as a reference point.

    Information Management for Sustainability
    Gridlogix provides your organization with the tools for sustaining your enterprise. More than going "Green", Gridlogix helps you continuously cut wasteful costs, prolong the life of your facilities’ equipment, and maintain a comfort level throughout your enterprise. With Gridlogix's Automated Enterprise Management solution, Gridlogix empowers anyone in your organization with the real time data that allows your organization to improve the efficiency of your facilities, typically reducing energy and maintenance costs by 10-20% with a payback of less than 18 months. Gridlogix delivers the best form of Green Energy, conservation.

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    Twitter results for blog on MSR’s measuring energy use of a VM

    I laugh when people consider what I do as press.  My blog writing started by documenting things I think that are interesting to green the data center and sharing the same information with my clients and high tech friends.

    Another thing I am interested in is running my own research on how important topics are to the community.

    I knew when I saw the MSR work on measuring the energy use of a VM, it was something that had high interest.

    Here is my last 4 days twitter feed hits.  I have a simple use of twitter, publishing tweets for every blog entry.  Look at how popular the MSR entry was.


    The traffic on my own blog doesn’t show this post was dramatically higher, but the tweets show the interest in the topic.

    Total views on tweets and blog are over 800 in less than 4 days.

    Click to read more ...


    InfoWorld writes about Open Source Data Center Initiative

    Mike Manos and I were interviewed by James Niccolai from IDG for an article on the Open Source Data Center Initiative.



    Group seeks to open source data-center design

    The Open Source Data Center Initiative wants to pool engineering resources that others can build on and implement

    By James Niccolai | IDG News Service

    A new industry group is trying to apply open-source principles to the design and construction of data centers, which it says could accelerate the use of new technologies and increase competition in the industry.

    The Open Source Data Center Initiative, announced this week, will act as a repository and test bed for mechanical and engineering advances in data-center design, which it hopes will be submitted by small engineering firms, graduate students doing research with federal grant money, and others.

    One of the points made to counter Mike’s point on engineering firms.

    The data center industry is "dominated by a handful of large engineering houses" that are wedded to mechanical and engineering designs that are "largely considered proprietary," he said. Those companies don't have enough incentive to educate their customers about simpler, more standardized alternatives, he said.

    "When you think of all the great things we've been talking about at data center conferences, about moving to greener designs and driving efficiency with new technologies -- a lot of that innovation is being held back because competition for those ideas is not out there," Manos said.

    is from an engineering firm.

    Not surprisingly, large engineering firms reject the idea that they are holding back the industry. Bruce Edwards, president of CCG Facilities Integration, one of the largest engineering companies, said data centers have seen significant innovation in the last 10 years, in areas such as electrical power delivery and cooling.

    "It's not like we're sitting there parceling out the work; we're at each others throats," he said.

    He also questioned the need for another industry group. "The idea that a nonprofit, collaborative, noncompetitive model will be a powerful engine to drive innovation -- I'm not convinced of it at this point," Edwards said.

    In the short term since we have made the announcement on Mar 2 and Mike wrote his blog post on Mar 3, I’ve been contacted by multiple interested parties, Mike has a list, and the ARG Investment group has a list.  Part of our strategy has been how to viral, and we need to start small and grow.

    One of the other points James Niccolai  makes which is right on mark is the educational focus of what we are doing.

    The group will also play an educational role, he said. It will publish real-world data about the cost of implementing projects, such as a fresh-air cooling system, so that customers have "more transparency" when making decisions.

    The discussion with James has helped us clarify the educational aspect.  We need to go back to Mizzou and discuss the education models in more detail and how we can optimize the educational aspect of what we are doing.

    I would personally like to thank James for taking the time to explain what we are doing on the Open Source Data Center Initiative, and I look forward to his asking of more tough questions.

    “Study, reflect, be inspired, act and enjoy!”

    Mike, I and the rest of team are having a blast, and we have a list of people ready to join the effort.

    Disclosure: My wife was an IDG VP, and she left IDG 10 years ago.  James and my wife had no connection as she was in Sales and he is in editorial, and overlapped maybe one year in 1999.  One of her jobs was working on advertorials for InfoWorld, and she takes pride in the InfoWorld publication.  Currently, my wife and I have no business relationships with IDG. And, she’ll kick me for letting it be known she was a VP.  :-)  One of the advantages I have is a supportive spouse who worked on the high tech executive viewpoints and will listen to my crazy ideas on how to change the IT world.

    Click to read more ...