MongoDB puts a wild (wired) tiger in its tank

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The open source cross-platform document-oriented database company MongoDB has acquired WiredTiger for its database storage engine technology.

Available for free under the GNU Affero General Public License, MongoDB is claimed to be among the world's fastest growing databases.

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The company (MongoDB) sells additional significant supplementary services on top of the free software such as:

  • advanced software elements,
  • production and development support,
  • certifications,
  • MongoDB Management Service (MMS) for cloud environments,
  • consulting and training.
MongoDB 2.8 supports "pluggable storage engines" so that the core MongoDB database can be extended with other capabilities and optimised for use with different hardware architectures.


"As a result, users will be able to build and run a wider variety of applications, with lower cost and complexity," claims the firm.

The company says that WiredTiger will contribute to the performance, scalability and hardware efficiency of MongoDB for all users with the upcoming release of MongoDB 2.8 when it arrives.

WiredTiger, is an open source storage engine that powers many high-performance systems, including services at Amazon.

The WiredTiger storage engine is available today in MongoDB 2.8.0 RC2 and will be included with MongoDB 2.8 and MongoDB Enterprise 2.8 soon.

"For many applications, WiredTiger will provide significant benefits in the areas of lower storage costs, greater hardware utilisation, and more predictable performance. Upgrades to the WiredTiger storage engine will be non-disruptive for existing deployments; applications will be 100% compatible, and upgrades can be performed with zero downtime," said the company, in a press statement.

Image credit: Disney http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Tigger

Spiceworks free Network Monitor system health check

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Spiceworks is offering its "free" (no, it actually is) Network Monitor software as 'now available' for download.

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The application claims to allow IT professionals to monitor and manage server and network devices in real-time.

GEEK NOTE: All time (as we know) is relative and, as we also know, the concept of real time does not physically exist in IT data transport in the real world, but data can be shared over networks fast enough for us mere humans to perceive it to be, in fact, provided in real time.

The product can be up and running (on a Windows-based server) in 10 minutes, or so they say.

The tool helps IT professionals understand what's happening in their environment by providing a dashboard showing network utilisation and server activity including:

  • Disk and CPU usage,
  • System memory,
  • Active services and processes and,
  • Other environmental data.

Sanjay Castelino, VP of marketing at Spiceworks says that real-time alerting and configuration options for a series of network conditions are also built in.

"This allows IT professionals to configure how they're alerted when individual issues arise, either via the Network Monitor dashboard or email depending on the severity of the problem and the preferences of the user. When issues arise, IT professionals can take action to resolve the problem and in the future, users will be able to use remote desktop capabilities to address issues from wherever they may be," he said.

National Geographic takes Raspberry Pi to Botswana

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Newswires this week suggest that a team National Geographic explorers have taken open source technology into the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Africa.

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The team of African wilderness specialists will use a Raspberry Pi and a selection of 'other' open source software and hardware to complete their studies of the area.

Water & wildlife

The National Geographic team will be looking at water quality in the area as well as wildlife sightings.

The Okavango Wilderness Project portal will exist as a data and information portal where all findings will be shared openly.

This project, in contrast to others, will be truly open -- the team states: in the past, scientists would go on expeditions and gather data, just to return and fiercely guard the data until they can publish it for scientific accolades.

The site itself is to be found at link: http://www.okavangowildernessproject.org/

Unnecessarily proprietary designs

Speaking to opensource.com this week, project member Shah Selbe said that his rationale for championing open source came out of seeing previous projects undertaken with what he called "a lot of innovation and opportunity being stifled by unnecessarily proprietary designs" and expensive solutions.

"That sort of climate tends to lock the system architecture into something driven by the patents and not necessarily what makes the best sense for the mission," he said.

You can read the complete story here.

Microsoft plays more open games

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The all-new "we love Linux" Microsoft company has continued its sluggish crusade into openness by talking up plans to open source Project Orleans.

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Project Orleans has been used by software application development pros to build the type of essentially distributed (but highly connected) cloud-based services (on the Microsoft Azure cloud) that are used by online players in the Halo 4 game.

The glitterati fraternity

Key international programming glitterati were invited by Microsoft to its Build 2014 conference to learn more of the minutiae behind this project itself, when it was first announced.

Sources suggest that some were even given a new Xbox.

For those still watching from afar, the http://orleans.codeplex.com/ pages note that the team has been working hard to fix issues with the code base.

Brought to you by the fine folks at the eXtreme Computing Group inside Microsoft Research (using the .NET platform as its foundation),Project Orleans claims to provide a "straightforward approach" to building distributed high-scale computing applications, without the need to learn and apply complex concurrency or other scaling patterns.

Open source: it had to happen

The Orleans team notes that the open sourcing move was "the next logical step" and the thing that many programmers had asked for.

The team blog reads, "The preparation work has already commenced, and we expect to be ready in early 2015. The code will be released by Microsoft Research under an MIT license and published on GitHub. We hope this will enable direct contribution by the community to the project. We thought we would share the decision to open-source "Orleans" ahead of the actual availability of the code, so that you can plan accordingly."

VMware is nuts for clusters (and containers)

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VMware has announced a batch of integrations with a number of technology entities as it strives to create a common platform for building and operating applications at scale.

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VMware VP Kit Colbert has said that the firm seeks to minimise the integration costs, time and effort to securely run and manage containerised applications wherever needed.

VMware is now integrating with:

Docker -- the open developer/sysadmins platform for automated deployment of distributed applications

Kubernetes, -- the open-source "container orchestration project" initiated and managed by Google (Ed - it's Greek for ship helmsman or pilot)

Mesosphere -- a so-called DataCentre Operating System (DCOS) is a new kind of operating system that spans all of the servers in a physical or cloud-based datacenter, and runs on top of any Linux distribution.

Pivotal Cloud Foundry -- to simplify enterprise container deployment and management.

The integrations hoped to enable "turnkey deployment" of Docker containers across the following elements of VMware infrastructure:

• VMware Fusion
• VMware vCloud Air
• VMware vSphere

VMware says it is collaborating with Mesosphere to provide broader choice for the deployment and scheduling of containers, containerised applications, and related applications datacentre services such as Hadoop, Spark, and Cassandra.

TECHNICAL NOTE: Mesosphere organises physical servers, virtual machines, and cloud instances and lets applications draw from a single pool of intelligently- and dynamically-allocated resources, increasing efficiency and reducing operational complexity.

According to VMware, "By enabling enterprises to quickly deploy containers, virtual machines or containers within virtual machines along with associated management solutions on a common platform, VMware helps DevOps teams to build, deploy and scale their applications with confidence."

These integrations follow VMware's collaboration with Docker, Google and Pivotal (in August 2014) to help run and manage containerised applications on VMware infrastructure or VMware vCloud Air.

"By offering enterprises a common platform for running virtual machines and containers, developers gain needed agility and speed while providing IT teams with the control they require. Additionally, VMware will bring to bear its compute, management, storage, networking and security capabilities to container environments," said the company, in a press statement.







How do you solve a web-scale deployment problem with MariaDB?

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MariaDB Corporation (the artist formerly known as SkySQL) is polishing up its open source database products this month.

A new version of MariaDB Enterprise has arrived, but so what?

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Luminescent luminaries

Well part of the "so what" factor is that MariaDB was built by an "engineer-led team of luminaries" behind the MySQL project, so we one could argue that this lot knows its transactional database technology onions.

The rest of the so what is that this is subscription-based product that combines certified, tested and installable binary distributions of MariaDB with advanced tools and support services for ongoing maintenance.

MariaDB Enterprise is claimed to be "the fastest-growing open source relational database that is application compatible with MySQL" today.

The latest version supports IBM's Power Systems architecture.

There is also a new Notification Service to simplify upgrades and security alerts.

Cluster buster

A second version of the product, MariaDB Enterprise Cluster, adds tools that make high-availability clustering for MariaDB easier to deploy, monitor and manage.

CEO of MariaDB Corporation says that web-scale applications are a commonplace element of enterprise IT, but selecting a data infrastructure that meets the web-scale challenge is complex.

"With new platform support, convenient notifications, hardened, certified binaries and easy configuration, MariaDB Enterprise delivers a solution to the web-scale database challenge. It blends the innovation of cutting-edge, open source technology with proven tools and services and decades of real-world implementation experience by our talented team," he said.

Pydio: open source alternative to Dropbox & Box

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Pydio (pron: 'pi-dee-yo') has released version 6.0 of its open source file sharing platform.

The firm's development team promise "the most workable solution to date" for corporate IT departments and developers seeking a controlled, open source alternative to consumer cloud services such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.

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Pydio 6.0 an open source file sharing solution that is said to offer "tight control of information" on the scale demanded by enterprises and service providers.

"Until now, open source file sharing solutions have failed to deliver a workable alternative to consumer-focused cloud storage services," explains Charles du Jeu, Pydio CTO and founder of the original open source project.

"Pydio 6.0 reinforces enterprise scalability, multi-device flexibility and extends the platform's centralised administration controls. But more importantly, we have combined this with a complete reworking of the front-end user experience."

A "controlled" service

The firm suggests that companies are currently exposed to massive liability, with employees using uncontrolled, consumer services to share and store sensitive company information.

"Without offering an intuitive, user-friendly alternative, IT departments will find it impossible to prevent employees reverting to these free, easy-to-use online services," continues du Jeu.

Formerly known as AjaXplorer, Pydio is now an established open source project in the file sharing space.

The tool is designed to focus on common day-to-day tasks.

Short video guides for sharing options are embedded into the user interface.

Power user pleasures

It also features deeper, enterprise-focused features for power-users and system administrators, but these have been moved to a second level to avoid confusing the majority of users.

With full functionality licensed under the AGPL, Pydio also provides a solution for developers looking to build multi-platform file sharing into their own products or cloud service offerings.

"Whether applications are installed in-house or delivered as hosted, cloud services, customers now expect to be able to work on the same content across multiple devices," continues du Jeu. "Pydio, provides developers with a ready-made, open source solution for integrating different client applications (PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, etc.) into a unified, multi-device platform."

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Samsung's strategic commitment to upstream open source development

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Samsung's open source team and developer technology proposition has grown.

Started two years back by one solitary Linux and FOSS advocate in the shape of Ibrahim Haddad, the Samsung Open Source Innovation Group now boasts 40 employees.

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As many as 30 full-time developers are said to now be working on upstream projects as they concentrate on "shepherding" open source development into the company.

The Linux Foundation's Linux.com website reports that Samsung's open source group is now "hiring aggressively" and plans to double the size of the group in the coming years.

According to Haddad, "[The] first targets are project maintainers and key contributors to 23 open source projects that are integral to Samsung's products, including the Linux kernel, Gstreamer, FFmpeg, Blink, Webkit, EFL, and Wayland. But they plan to eventually start hiring more junior open source developers as well."

Speaking on Linux.com, Haddad continued, "When Samsung approached me about starting the open source group I thought there was a big opportunity there to create a success story," he said. "This is a huge company, there's a lot of potential to unlock for the open source community."

Just about all open source

"Just about every Samsung product, from phones and tablets to home appliances, uses open source software," said Guy Martin, senior open source strategist at Samsung.

But what matters now, suggests Martin, is that until now.... the company hasn't had a strategic commitment to upstream development.

You can read the complete story at the embedded link above in this post.

DataStax bids to be THE Internet of Things database

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The Cassandra Summit Europe 2014 held this week in London has seen DataStax announce the general availability of DataStax Enterprise 4.6 (DSE 4.6).

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DataStax is a company that delivers open source Apache Cassandra at an enterprise level with maintenance and support.

The firm says that DSE could be the "leading database platform" for Internet of Things (IOT), web and mobile applications.

Really, why?

By offering integrated Apache Spark analytics and advanced enterprise search, DataStax says it combines innovation with "operational simplicity" in the new distributed database technology market.

Also of note, DataStax announced OpsCenter 5.1, the latest version of its visual monitoring and management tool for backup and restore capabilities to safeguard critical and distributed customer information.

"Data comes in all shapes and sizes making it increasingly challenging to find a database that can accommodate enormous amounts of information while scaling simultaneously," said Robin Schumacher, vice president of products, DataStax.

"With its new capabilities, DataStax Enterprise 4.6 customers have the confidence that their database platform can continually handle today's modern applications, especially in the event of unexpected downtime."

Google Santa free & open source anti-malware tool

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Google is bringing Santa in early for Christmas.

The search and cloud giant has brought forward its "internal" anti-malware tool known as Santa to free distribution on GitHub here.

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Naughty or nice?

Santa is so named because it keeps track of binaries that are both "naughty and nice" said Google.

The technology is a binary-based whitelisting/blacklisting system for use on systems running the Mac OS X operating system.

It consists of a kernel extension that monitors for executions.

There is also a "userland daemon" that makes execution decisions based on the contents of an SQLite database.

What is a UserLand daemon?

TECHNICAL NOTE 1: UserLand (sometimes also known as user space) is a term referring to "less privileged" software code (with related libraries) running outside the perimeter of an operating system's central kernel for I/O operations functions and tasks including the manipulation of file system objects.

TECHNICAL NOTE 2: A daemon (pronounced DAY-muhn) is a program that runs continuously and exists for the purpose of handling periodic service requests that a computer system expects to receive.

Also here is a GUI agent that notifies the user in case of a block decision and a command-line utility for managing the system and synchronising the database with a server.

Google Macintosh Operations Team sysadmins Russell Hancox is the tool's author.

Hancox drove the development of this software with the aim of protecting Google's own base of Macs, but it is now offered to the general public for free.

Image credit: http://allthingsip.com/







CloudStack Collaboration Conference & ApacheCon 2014: in pictures

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The CloudStack Collaboration Conference & ApacheCon 2014 event was held in Budapest this month.

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This isn't a trade-show masquerading as a conference: the CloudStack community says it focuses on making great software and this conference was designed reflect that ethos.

NOTE: In retrospect, having seen the event played out -- it is quite amazing just how much marketing goes into driving the content we see at "normal" vendor events. This gathering was, in contrast, real techies working on real software.

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Sébastien Goasguen was excited to inform the audience about his new O'Reilly Book -- 60 Recipes for Apache CloudStack, Using the CloudStack Ecosystem.

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"[We staged this event] 'spoil' the secret of us not being so well know -- so now ApacheCon and the CloudStack Collaboration Conference EU in Budapest marks the largest meet-up for the project to date," Mark R. Hinkle, senior director for open source solutions at Citrix.

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There just aren't enough female programmers and the issue of women in IT remains a key concern -- not just women at the top, but also the need for real coders and those with hands on operational skills. One lady software engineer was spotted though.

Berners-Lee: new HTML5 'open web' milestones

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The Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog noted on January 1 2013 that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) made note that a stable specification of the HTML5 web markup language has been laid down for web application developers to now focus on.

You can rely on HTML5

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The W3C (praise be upon them) has now blogged a set of October/November updates intimating that the platform-agnostic HTML5 is stable enough to now represent a set of features which software application web developers will be able to rely upon.

"Today we think nothing of watching video and audio natively in the browser, and nothing of running a browser on a phone," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director.

"We expect to be able to share photos, shop, read the news, and look up information anywhere, on any device. Though they remain invisible to most users, HTML5 and the Open Web Platform are driving these growing user expectations."

HTML5 brings to the web:

• video and audio tracks without needing plugins;
• programmatic access to a resolution-dependent bitmap canvas
• native support for scalable vector graphics (SVG) and math (MathML);
• annotations important for East Asian typography (Ruby);
• features to enable accessibility of rich applications.


W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe says that the Open Web Platform widely deployed and improving in function every day.

NOTE: The Open Web Platform is the collection of open (royalty-free) technologies which enables the web -- using the Open Web Platform, everyone has the right to implement a software component of the web without requiring any approvals or waiving license fees.

This goal of the OWP repository is to document the Open Web Platform and provide links to various helpful resources.

Work still to do

As popular as the OWP is, it is still too challenging for developers to create some types of web applications heeds Jaffe.

"Lack of broad interoperability for some features complicates development. Lack of standard features in the platform drives developers to create hybrid applications, implying a larger mix of tools, libraries, and interoperability issues. There is more work to meet growing expectations around privacy, security, and accessibility," he wrote in a recent blog.

The W3C reminds us: the web exists because of you.

An open source Christmas with Kano

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It's November 24th, so it's now officially Christmas right?

What better time then to be thinking about open source Christmas gifts -- or, if you happen to prefer more politically correct (PC) terminology:

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Now is the "holiday season also incorporating Kwanzaa" for the PC-aware.

So this season, what every open sourc-erer wants might just be Kano, a computer kit that comes will all the functions needed to build it and learn to code afterwards.

"Children as young as eight have used it to make games, choreograph music, animate characters," says its makers.

"A computer and coding kit for all ages, all over the world. Simple as Lego, powered by Pi. Make games, learn code, create the future."

The Kano website explains what is inside the kit and features the below video of a child putting the whole machine together in 1 minute 55 seconds.

According to opensource.com there is code on GitHub and their blog of endless Raspberry Pi-and-Kano-inspired projects from events they hold in the community.

Kano costs US $149.99 and is available with US, EU, UK or AUS electrical plug options.

Clearing up muddied waters in the 'Data Lakes'

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This is a guest post for the Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog by James Dixon, CTO at open source Business Intelligence (BI) products company Pentaho.

Four years ago when Pentaho first released Hadoop support, Dixon coined the term 'Data Lake' to describe a vessel for holding data from a single source. When selecting it, he thought very carefully about its suitability as both an analogy and a metaphor.

Lexicon of (data) love

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In one respect I'm pleased that the term has entered the data architecture lexicon.

Several companies have even designed products and services around the concept. Less pleasing is that since 2010 it's been gradually redefined, then subsequently refuted based on these new definitions.

But hey, this kind of thing happens in any modern, digital debate and at least it indicates there's a healthy interest in the subject matter. However, as one who spends most waking hours conceiving new information architectures to solve modern data problems, I thought it was time to revive the original Data Lake definition and explain its original role and relevance.

Clearing the air... and the water

In 2010, after speaking to many early Hadoop adopters, I learned that:

● 80-90% of companies were dealing with structured or semi-structured data (not unstructured).
● The source of the data was typically a single application or system
● The data was typically sub-transactional or non-transactional
● There were some known questions to ask of the data
● There were even more unknown questions that would arise in the future
● There were multiple user communities that would have questions of the data
● The data was of a scale or daily volume such that it won't fit technically and/or economically into an RDBMS

The Data Lake concept considered all these and also took the limitations of traditional approaches like 'data marts' into account. A fundamental problem with data marts is that only a subset of data attributes can be examined, so only known, pre-determined questions can be asked. Also, because data is aggregated, visibility into the lowest levels is lost.

NOTE: A data mart is a repository of data gathered from operational data and other sources that is designed to serve a particular community of knowledge workers.

Having said this, a data lake does not replace a database, data mart, or data warehouse. At least not yet. I explain this concepts and more in my initial video on the topic here: Pentaho Hadoop Series Part 1: Big Data Architecture

Not exactly wrong, not exactly right

The most vocal critics of data lakes were TechTarget's Barry Devlin and Gartner analysts Andrew White and Nick Heudecker.

In their articles and reports, the statements they make are not wrong, yet not really right.

I agree with Devlin that the idea of putting all enterprise data into Hadoop (or any other data store) is not a viable option (at least right now). You should use the best tool for the job. Use a transactional database for transactional purposes. Use an analytic database for analytic purposes. Use Hadoop or MongoDB when they are the best fit for the situation. For the foreseeable future the IT environment is and will be a hybrid one with many different data stores.

Gartner's take on Data Lakes says: "By its definition, a data lake accepts any data, without oversight or governance."
However the way I originally defined Data Lakes, they only accept data from a single source.

These are just a few examples of conclusions based on an 'evolved' version of my original definition. Somewhere in these critiques my main premise for Data Lakes has been lost, which is:

You store raw data at its most granular level so that you can perform any ad-hoc aggregation at any time. The classic data warehouse and data mart approaches do not support this.

As I said before, I'm not overly taxed by this because it's all part and parcel of debate. I'd be much more concerned if nobody was interested at all! However, if you're a developer involved with having to design a modern information architecture that incorporates big data, I would certainly encourage you to revisit my original 'data lake' concept here and draw your own conclusions.

Wang & Prokharchyk are top 2 CloudStack 'committers'

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It's tough to cover the thorny subject of women in technology without saying the wrong thing.

Should this subject even be news or a discussion point?

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Well, it is - so unfortunately, we do have to highlight the issue to hopefully redress the imbalance to some degree.

In conversations at the CloudStack Collaboration Conference Europe 2014 with David Nalley (who is VP for infrastructure at The Apache Software Foundation and also an employee of Citrix) - various commentators referred to coders on the coalface of CloudStack itself as "those guys" and so on.

No queue for the toilets

Males were actually able to use the ladies washroom at one event here this week - okay that was because the gents was under construction, but the irony did not go unnoticed.

It's true, at the conference itself there must be 500 people and there are scarcely enough females to make up a football team.

You will note that we didn't say 'ladies soccer', just football ... plain and simple.

Anyway, the point of interest here is that two of the top ten 'committers' (i.e. those people who 'commit' code to the project) are female.

Leading lights are Alena Prokharchyk (@Lemonjet), who describes herself as a European in the USA and as a full time software developer for Apache CloudStack; and a member for the ASF Project Manager Committee - plus also Jessica Wang, a senior Software Engineer at Citrix Systems.

Should we simply gloss over this point?

Or should we champion these two coding champions who happen to be outstripping the performance of their male counterparts?







CloudStack Collaboration Conference Europe 2014 #ccceu

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You might have heard of OpenStack as an industry consortium/community in the cloud computing marketplace - but then there is CloudStack.

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This is a community 'overwhelmingly' made up of users, rather than vendors.

Often described as one of the best kept secrets in cloud, CloudStack is in fact big in Japan -- but the interest is growing elsewhere too.

The CloudStack Collaboration Conference Europe 2014 was staged this week in Budapest.

Since it became Apache CloudStack, the community argues that its numbers are looking positive:

  • There are over 300 'known' clouds in production.
  • There are 25,300 code commits
  • There are a total of 2.5 million lines of code
  • there were a total of 6,100 unique IP downloads of CloudStack packages in the last three months
It is always interesting to attend a 'real' technology conference i.e. there are vendors here, but there are no vendor-driven agendas - this event is about community and the needs of real software application developers, software/cloud architects and practitioners at every level.


The community IS the roadmap

There is no roadmap, there is only community. That's not strictly true as there are plans for the immediate future, but the community dictates where CloudStack goes next and this a key defining characteristic for a true open source project said Hugo Trippaers (@spark404 Schuberg Philis & VP, Apache CloudStack) in his 'State of the Union' address.

Trippaers has confirmed that the community is now focused on more static code analysis to make the current 400,000 lines of code work better - Coverity tools are being used to execute this process.

#CloudStackWorks

There are bugs in the code, Trippaers and the team are open about this fact... but the software works and, crucially, the developers are aware of the number and weight of the bugs that do exist, so working around these issues to progress towards a more honed and refined technology proposition is a continual task.

ShapeBlue: why enterprise-grade CloudStack wins

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Big service providers want to remove proprietary software from their stacks.

This opening gambit is the core (claimed) truism tabled by Giles Sirett, who is CEO is founder of ShapeBlue, a firm that provides a range of strategic and technical consulting (and implementation) services for IT service providers.

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The company is a specialist in the design and implementation of IaaS cloud infrastructures for both private and public cloud implementations.

Sirett argued this point while speaking at the CloudStack Collaboration Conference & ApacheCon 2014 event in Budapest this week.

Architecturally elegant

The affable and informal CEO says that his firm has got behind CloudStack (as opposed to OpenStack) because OpenStack is "really just a science project", whereas CloudStack has always had a more practical, commercially relevant and architecturally elegant technology proposition to put forward.

"Although we started from a position of cloud agnosticism, what we saw in CloudStack was not only beautiful architecture, but also a piece of enterprise-grade technology that we understood we could build a services business upon," said Sirett.

Open in open source

But here's the interesting thing, crucially here, ShapeBlue decided to work under the Apache 2.0 licence and stay completely open in open source throughout.

"Most firms might take CloudStack and add their own IP on top of that and then sell that distribution as something that is essentially their own proprietary technology proposition. What we did was to stay open and pure such that we have deliberately monetised the services and support function of what we do," said Sirett.

Has it worked for ShapeBlue?

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Umm, well the firm is now the largest independent integrator of Cloudstack technologies globally and lists customers including:

• Paddy Power
• Trader Media (oh you know, Auto Trader magazine and stuff)
• Globo.com (South America's largest media group)

Why enterprise-grade CloudStack wins

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"Using open source gives firms a higher degree of control over their own technology future i.e. they not at the mercy of some other vendor's roapmap strategy if they happen to rely on one application that a vendor decides to 'retire' (or, as often seen, that it is pushed to 'maintenance mode' status) unexpectedly," argues Sirett.

So is CloudStack winning?

Or is it really just this 'best kept secret' kept alive by its personal fan club.

The 'facts' are that CloudStack actually drives more enterprise-grade production-deployed clouds than OpenStack...

... the trouble is, this is open source and not all users will purchase support services, so will never know how big the entire universe population of users is.

Still... this is the first CloudStack Collaboration Conference & ApacheCon 2014 event and next year's is already booked in the same location - so something is going right?

Why cloud needs annoying micromanagers

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Everyone hates over-involved 'micromanagers' who refuse to allow employees to just get on with their jobs, but in cloud the case if different.

Downtown San Francisco based GroundWork, Inc. has nothing to do with gardening -- the company specialises in monitoring solutions for IT operations with particular interest in hybrid cloud monitoring.

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Image credit: portical.org

The firm's new GroundWork BoxSpy monitors Docker and other Linux container environments.

Essentially, this is what is known as "micro virtualisation monitoring" today.

Micro Virtualisation Monitoring (MVM if you must) is linked to a new trend associated with the use of Linux "containers" as an alternative to virtualisation software.

This is a new technology that is used to make software applications more nimble in cloud computing and has gained prominence in the last year or so.

Docker gaps

While Docker and Linux containers represent a newer, often better way to develop virtualised applications, there are still significant gaps in terms of security and other concerns compared to traditional VMs says the company.

The technology proposition here is that BoxSpy addresses these challenges by providing a resource-efficient monitoring system for today's container technologies.

"Docker and containers represent a newer, often better way for developers, lines of business and organisations to develop and package applications, but for enterprise IT teams there are still significant gaps in terms of security and other concerns compared to traditional VMs," said Jay Lyman, research manager for 451 Research.

GroundWork BoxSpy wors 'out-of-the-box', but also has a REST API that makes it compatible with other monitoring technologies.

Crucially, it adds full-featured enterprise monitoring to Docker environments with the ability to correlate Docker performance with the rest of the IT environment.

How to break monitoring

Company Veep David Dennis claims that dynamic environments, like those based on Linux containers, tend to "break IT monitoring" or at best render them cumbersome and complicated.

"You can't be very dynamic if your management tools can't keep up with the speed of change," said Dennis.

"Also, running Linux containers in production requires the ability to see container performance data next to performance data from the rest of the infrastructure - the compute, network and storage components. If you can't do that, you can't optimise your application scale out. We're happy to have worked with Docker personnel to make BoxSpy solve both problems."

BoxSpy is based on Google's cAdvisor container monitoring technology and is available on GitHub.

What to expect from CloudStack Collaboration Conference & ApacheCon 2014

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CloudStack Collaboration Conference & ApacheCon 2014 is staged next week in Budapest from the 17-21 November.
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Actually, there is more to that statement...

The Linux Foundation and The Apache Software Foundation have already 'co-produced' this year's ApacheCon and CloudStack Collaboration Conference events in North America and Europe.

So this is ApacheCon Europe 2014 taking place at the same venue as the CloudStack Collaboration Conference Europe -- the expression of unity and collaboration is therefore carried forward.

SOCIAL NOTE: While we're talking community then, #ccceu is CloudStack Collaboration Conference and #apachecon is, suprisingly, ApacheCon.

What's hot in open source?

The topics covered (listed below) will arguably serve very well as a guide to which open technologies a) are hottest right now and b) therefore warrant the most discussion and analysis:
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  • Cassandra,
  • Cordova,
  • CloudStack,
  • CouchDB,
  • Geronimo,
  • Hadoop,
  • Hive,
  • HTTP Server,
  • Lucene,
  • OpenOffice,
  • Struts,
  • Subversion and
  • Tomcat, among others.

Apologies for the bullet points, but these technologies deserve a line of their own.

CloudStack Collaboration Conference & ApacheCon 2014 will bring together more than 100 Apache Software Foundation (ASF) project communities and, having worked personally with developer communities for more than 15 years now, this sounds like an intensely positive collaborative environment.

But is Apache important?

According to the Apache Software Foundation, "Apache products power over half the Internet, petabytes of data, teraflops of operations, billions of objects, and enhance the lives of countless users and developers."

STATISTICAL NOTE: There are code contributions by more than 3,500 ASF committers from around the world.

So what of the attendees?

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Giles Sirett CEO and founder of ShapeBlue, the largest independent integrator of Cloudstack technologies globally -- Sirett argues that this isn't a trade-show masquerading as a conference: the CloudStack community focuses on making great software and this conference will reflect that ethos.

"Apache CloudStack is the most commonly deployed IaaS cloud platform, is in production use with hundreds of organisations worldwide and has a growing and vibrant open source community around it. [If this is the case] then why has nobody heard of it -- and why does it not get the attention that other IaaS projects do?"

The quiet giant, about to roar

Sirett continues, "Next week at the CloudStack Collaboration Conference Europe, visitors will get the chance to see just how significant this 'quiet' project is. Developers and users of the software will come together to collaborate on ideas and share best practices. There will be over 60 technical talks, workshops and training."

Also at the conference we will hear about the widespread use of Apache Cloudstack. We will hear about service providers such as BT, Interoute, Ikoula and Kumo who run their major public cloud offerings underpinned by it and also many organisations that have built private cloud environments on CloudStack such as Paddy Power,Globo.com, Cloudera, universities and government departments.

Spoiling that special secret

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Mark R. Hinkle is senior director for open source solutions at Citrix (we've used his avatar, but he's a real person really, honest) -- he suggests that CloudStack is often dubbed the 'best kept secret in the cloud'.

"Next week we hope to 'spoil' that secret at ApacheCon and the CloudStack Collaboration Conference EU in Budapest, which marks the largest meet-up for the project to date."

"There will be many new user stories highlighted, including how BT is delivering unique cloud services with Citrix Cloud Platform powered by Apache CloudStack; the success DATACENTER Services has had with CloudStack in the past three years; and Globo.com's best practices for running a large-scale cloud in Brazil," said Hinkle.

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... and finally, the word from Mr Z

"Linux and open source software are driving the enterprise shift to the cloud. The CloudStack Collaboration Conference provides an unparalleled venue to learn more about some of the most innovative development happening to enable this shift, while also providing an important venue for the community to come together and collaborate on new and better ways of working and solving issues of mutual concern," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. "The Linux Foundation is proud to support this effort."

How to choose an open source license

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Open source license management provider Protecode has put together a simple overview (and accompanying infographic) on choosing the best open source license for a project.

NOTE from blog editor: We're about as keen on infographics as we are on tortoise sandwiches, but this one may just about be permissible.

According to the company, when licensing an open source project, all future iterations of that project can be credited to the developer for the foundation that was created, based on the license which was assigned to his or her work.

There are a variety of different licenses available for developers to choose from depending on their open source software project. This Infographic takes a look at four of these and will help the reader choose which open source license is the best fit for their project.

Apache 2.0

The Apache License is a permissive license, it requires preservation of copyright and disclaimer notices, however allows the user freedom with the software, including an explicit right to any patents. The "State Changes" clause means that you have to include a notice in each file that you have modified.

MIT

The MIT License is a free software license originating at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is a permissive free software license: basically, users can do whatever they wish with the code, as long as the original copyright and the license text are included in the file.

LGPL v3

The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) is a compromise between copyleft and permissive licenses. It allows users to link to the original LGPL software without being required to release the source code of their proprietary software. Also, users may modify and distribute the software, but they have to describe the changes, provide the source code and release them under LGPL.

GPLv3

The GNU General Public License (GPL) is a copyleft software license, which guarantees end users the freedoms to use, study, share (copy), and modify the software as long as they track changes/dates of in source files and release their code and any modifications under GPL. They can distribute their application using a GPL commercially, but they must open-source it under the same GPL license.

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