a reckoning for tech by the humans that work with it

Suits are from Mars, Hoodies are from Venus – TechReckoning Dispatch v3n6

The TechReckoning Dispatch, Vol. 3, No. 6. El Granada, Calif. Sunday, April 3,  2016. 
Kite surfers on Waddell Beach north of Santa Cruz

Cloudy Days

I attended the Intel Cloud Day event this week. It was the kind of event that mashed up the suits talking about cloud business with the techies talking about cloud tech. This is difficult, because the two different conversations are pretty orthogonal. The business discussion is often directional (“here’s where we’re going”) but the technology discussion is usually about reification (“here’s what we made real”). It’s hard to even put them in the same room. Maybe somebody should write a¬†Mars/Venus Book¬†for hoodies and suits.

Intel did a great job bringing together people in the ecosystem. (The Tech Field Day crew was there, as was The New Stack.) On the techie side, Intel is putting forth a lot of people (i.e., time and money) to make sure the future happens. I caught friend-of-TR Nick Weaver talking about open telemetry framework Snap. I also was interested in the Intelligent Storage Acceleration Library, another open source project to ensure your erasure coding and other storage protocols are both correct and fast. Like crypto, this is code you do not want to write yourself. Who else is going to open source this kind of thing? (See last week for the perils of actually trying to sell software these days.)

One takeaway I do want to leave you with is that, increasingly, the smarts are coming in underneath the cloud, or maybe passing through it. We sort of screwed everything up with virtualization throwing everything into an IO blender, and building a big uniform cloud fabric is not helping anything. The guest OS, the storage system and the caching systems will start to figure out what kind of data is coming through and how it is being stored. The example shown was with Intel Cache Acceleration Software (and I think OpenStack Swift?) knowing that Yahoo was storing pictures split up into metadata + 8 chunks for erasure coding; if you store the metadata more efficiently, you get massive latency and speed improvements. Cool stuff.

Worth A Click

The Microsoft Build event was also last week here in SF. The most interesting impression I had was that everybody took away something different: ¬†Bash on Windows(!), HoloLens, IoT platform, Azure growth, Cortana, Tamarin — each part of the Microsoft ecosystem noticed a different announcement, which I think means Microsoft is doing something right. Everybody keeps wondering out loud could a CEO change really make¬†this much¬†of a difference?

Microsoft’s ambitions are huge and surprising, because they have to be¬†by Vlad Savov at The Verge.

The one giant of the American tech industry that’s transforming faster and more violently than all the others is Microsoft. Today’s Build 2016 event was a marathon two-hour affair, but it was almost completely devoid of incremental or iterative improvements. Dead-end projects like Windows Phone didn’t even get a mention. Everything Microsoft showed was about addressing the next big change in how we interact with technology, whether that comes in the form of virtual and augmented reality, the development of more natural inputs like handwriting and conversation, or the eyebrow-raising concept of AI bots talking to other AI bots. It was an event filled with uncynical enthusiasm for the potential that lay beyond the immediate horizon.

Microsoft, Google make their pitches to unseat Amazon in the cloud by Brandon Butler at Network World

Microsoft’s Day 2 keynotes seemed much more grounded to what enterprises are using the cloud for now, and what they’ll likely use the cloud for in the near future. Google’s announcements seemed to focus on the company’s engineering prowess, but it’s unclear how much of that technology will be used in the enterprise. How many customers went home after GCP NEXT and built an app using the company’s new voice-recognition machine learning API? Microsoft’s news of making Xamarin free for Visual Studio customers was met with thunderous applause across the Moscone Center. 

IBM vs Google, if you’re still scratching your head over GCP.¬†Parallels Amidst Different Clouds¬†by IBM’s Ruben Orduz.

I like Hybrid IT a lot better than “Bimodal IT”. A lot of private and hybrid cloud criticism from Gartner’s Lydia Leong and Ovum’s Laurent Pachal.¬†¬†Hybrid cloud: Why hybrid IT may be the better choice¬†by Nick Heath at ZDNet.¬†The whole thing is worth a read – it’s true, now that private cloud is actually pretty good IaaS, public cloud has loaded up with lots of additional services – but do most IT shops need them?

The answer may well be hybrid IT: that is, running existing, non-cloudy, corporate IT infrastructure alongside public cloud and gradually migrating those systems to the public cloud over time.

“Not everything can or should be cloud,” said Gartner’s Leong.

“Customers have plenty of applications that they probably will never move to the cloud — or at least will not move to the cloud in any kind of reasonable timeframe.”

You really need to know more about Object Storage. Seriously, you block-heads. This report from Enrico Signoretti is really good. It is sponsored by Scality, but ignore that last paragraph and get a good primer into the market need, size, and players.

All backup problems are a combination of people and tech. Are your users storing all their important files, 1.7 petabytes, in some scratch disk somewhere? The largest unplanned outage in years and how we survived it by Olli-Pekka Lehto on the csc.fi blog.

A day in the life of a young black male engineering “coding” student.¬†Short version: coding camp black guy gets a stipend, has no bank, so goes to a check-cashing place, is accused of stealing it, police involved, then the school. Take home: fixing inequalities in the tech profession requires systemic change in our society, not just training.

Keep Up With Your Neighbors

Upcoming:¬†¬†Silicon Valley VMware User Group¬†on¬†April 12¬†in San Jose – I’m on a panel and the Geek Whisperers will be in residence.

For¬†ZertoCON¬†in Boston on¬†May 23-25, there will be a TechReckoning Mini-Track with sessions on career growth and DevOps. If you’re in the area email me.

We had a great conversation with @divinetechygirl Christina Morillo on Geek Whisperers this week. Is Tech Evangelism Dead Yet Or Can I Be One Too? Episode 108.

TechReckoning is growing! We’re still looking for some part-time remote positions: a community manager, a blog editor, and a coder to work on an RSS project.

Always Read The Comments

We just got one comment about last week’s note about hardware. (Well, several comments, but only one was for publication. Feel free to say hi.)

Ravi Venkatasubbaiah (@ravi_venk) said:

Hardware is probably the fad of the day right now. The enduring rivalry (or the shifting landscape, if you prefer) between hardware and software has been grossly overstated and oversimplified. Answer quickly: Which came first, hardware or software? This is by no means an easy question to answer (a la the chicken and egg). Computing has been around since the time of (and most likely before) the age of cave dwellers, only the definitions of hardware and software have changed. My view is that hardware and software closely represent the two people involved in a typical tandem roll in gymnastics. Improvements in one of them simultaneously enable and also drive improvements within the other. With due respect to persons such as Marc Andreessen, statements such as his make for great sounds bites with only a tenuous connection to reality. (Quite possibly they emerge from seeing that gigantic tree up front, that could be blocking view of the forest). Specialized hardware and software have always been developed to address the needs of cutting edge problems, while their generic counterparts address mainstream needs. Over a period of time, features of specialized hardware and software start showing up in generic versions, which could probably lead to incorrect near-term conclusions.

Just Hit Reply

Is Microsoft interesting to you? What was the most interesting announcement at Build? I’ve got no desire to have Windows in the house, but I can’t see how you ignore them if you are using any MSFT tech in your business. Use your favorite Microsoft technology to email¬†jtroyer@techreckoniong.com¬†and I’ll include your comments next week.


The TechReckoning Dispatch. A periodic newsletter from John Mark Troyer with links and opinions about enterprise technology. I hope you are enjoying Spring. I hope you are enjoying this newsletter. I enjoy making it for you.¬†Archive.¬†Subscribe.¬†Email.¬†“It was, that year, a particularly wonderful spring, and of all the months at San Salvatore April, if the weather was fine, was best. May scorched and withered; March was restless, and could be hard and cold in its brightness; but April came along softly like a blessing, and if it were a fine April it was so beautiful that it was impossible not to feel different, not to feel stirred and touched.”