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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UK Ministry of Defence opens up to FOSS, a bit

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The UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) is opening up, technologically speaking.

Earlier this year Computer Weekly reported news of the MoD's £2m in sponsorship for a competition to find innovative ways of automating cyber defences.

Continuing this 'openness to community contributions' policy, Her Majesty's Government's defence policy department is placing the code for a web application called Ideaworks on GitHub via its Defence Science and Technology Laboratory section.

Ideaworks is a free and open source web application that allows a group of people to collate, comment on and rate ideas.

It was initially designed and built by the UK Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (dstl) and released under AGPL as a prototype tool.

According to the team behind this project, "Ideaworks was the first piece of software to be released onto GitHub because of its simplicity, low risk and potential benefit to the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community - particularly those organising hackathons."

The application is split into 2 parts:

1. A Django project which provides the data API back-end and user authentication.
2. A responsive design HTML/js/CSS front-end.

NOTE: Django is a high-level Python web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.

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NetSuite on Android free on Google Play

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NetSuite has pulled in the techies, partners, users, customers (and a blogger or two) to converge on London this week for its SuiteCloud event.

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In line with this gathering the company has announced NetSuite for Android, an ERP Android OS application for mobile users to conduct business on the go.

The application is set to be available as a free download soon on Google Play, the software is intended for business users to manage business processes that are powered by NetSuite including:

• ERP,
• CRM,
• and ecommerce.

ANALYSIS NOTE: As established as ERP is, NetSuite has spent a good deal of time at this event already talking about the switch we are all experiencing from products to services - that being said, the E (as in Enterprise) is almost being usurped and replaced by an S (as in Service) resulting in the creation of a discipline which we may ultimate know as Service Resource Planning (SRP) today.

That being said, NetSuite does indeed market SRP as an end-to-end services resource planning (SRP) solution that supports an entire services business.

We digress, so back to Android

The initial NetSuite for Android release is expected to provide time and expense management, including time entry and bulk uploads of multiple receipts captured as images on mobile devices.

FUNCTIONALITY NOTE: The mobile app is also expected to offer the ability to track time and expense offline, while not connected to the Internet.

NetSuite Founder and chief technology officer Evan Goldberg explained that for example, a sales rep in the wholesale and distribution industry can get immediate access to inventory data while they're on the road, allowing them to tell a customer when the item will be delivered as the customer places the order.

Or ... a field service technician in the manufacturing industry can look up a customer's previous orders, customer service calls and notes while on-site, potentially reducing service time.

Or again... a sales rep in the services industry can look up case history on the way to a client meeting, arriving prepared with all the necessary background information.

"Smartphones and tablets have become a critical extension of the office, enabling businesses to meet customer and market demand for data, speed, and functionality anyplace, anytime," said Malin Huffman, NetSuite director of product management.

"Our mobile apps for Android and iPhone put the power of NetSuite literally in the hands of on-the-go personnel over mobile operating systems that command over 95 percent of the smartphone market."

The initial release of the NetSuite for Android application is expected to be available for download on Google Play in December 2014 with full roll-out expected in early 2015.

A 'proprietary' Linux would have cost $1 trillion & 8,000 person-years

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As CTO at open source Business Intelligence (BI) products company Pentaho, James Dixon is responsible for the firm's architecture and technology roadmap.

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He also appears to be responsible for personally authoring some of Pentaho's technical wiki pages, which is (arguably) only right and proper isn't it?

Dixon notes on the OpenScrum/Home page section that open source as a movement in the software realm is successful and growing rapidly.

Freshmeat is tasty

Sourceforge.net alone hosts over 150,000 open source projects and has over 1.6 million registered users and Freshmeat (a sister site to Sourceforge) has over 40,000 projects.

"The Linux source code is estimated to be over 30 millions lines of code which, using conventional methods, would have taken almost 8,000 person years at a cost of over $1 trillion (Wheeler)," writes Dixon.

He argues that the "productivity and momentum" of open source has been attained using a set of generally-accepted principles and philosophies that are able to produce high-quality software - and that exactly how and to what extent these principles are applied is up to the creators and administrators of each open source project.

But not all open source is the same

"Newcomers to the world of open source are expected to educate themselves on the general principles and etiquette of participating in each specific project. There is a high degree of variability in the tone, leadership, procedures, and development technologies across open source projects," writes Dixon.

NOT a methodology, open source is a guiding philosophy

He concludes, "The principles of open source are exactly that, a set of guiding philosophies. They are not, as some represent them to be, a software development methodology. Given the tangible outputs that the open source movement has created so far it is surprising that, comprised as it is of very vocal and creative people, it has not noticeably settled on, nor even proposed, a well-defined methodology for developing open source software."

Indeed, Dixon questions the facts i.e. given its success and history why is there no accepted open source software development methodology he asks.

Rackspace offers free open source private cloud templates

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Rackspace has produced a suite of free software templates for firms to use to deploy some of the most widely used open source applications available.

Promising the much-fabled 'one-click' functionality, these best practice reference architecture patters are supposed to allow users to launch a 'production-ready application stack' on a private cloud, Rackspace's one.

These templates deliver multi-tier, scalable applications with redundancy, caching and high availability built-in according to Bryan Thompson, senior director of product development for Rackspace.

This offer includes features such as software plug-ins for enhanced functionality.

There is also network isolation and firewall functionality.

We might think of this release as a starting point for the architecting, development and deployment of production-ready application stacks.

The templates are based on purely open source code and can be freely customised -- they include the following technologies:

• Magento, for open source e-commerce
• Drupal, for open source content management
• Galera, an open source database cluster solution for MySQL
• MongoDB, an open source NoSQL document-orientated database
• ELK stack, a stack for log aggregation & analytics
• Hortonworks HDP framework for processing and analysing large volumes of data

According to a blog from Rackspace's Thompson -- to deploy an application stack on your private cloud, download the desired template from the Github page, create a new stack in your Horizon dashboard under the "Orchestration" tab, upload the template and environment file, answer a few questions about your environment and click "launch."

"Rackspace OpenStack specialists built the solution templates, which reduce the time it takes to deploy these leading enterprise apps from months to minutes. You can consistently deploy production-ready application stacks using industry standards and best practices. This ability to consistently deploy application stacks helps to enable an improved, managed cloud experience," he said.

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The rise of 'subliminal democratised' analytics

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Only 25% of professional workers are using big data analytics says business intelligence company TIBCO.

Clearly, this is not enough.

Well, not if you sell data analysis and integration technology anyway.

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"Getting all stakeholders using analytics is both a technological and a business-cultural shift," says TIBCO CTO Matt Quinn.

The firm has unveiled a so-called 'vision' for the TIBCO Analytics platform and previewed new solutions and updates for TIBCO Spotfire and TIBCO Jaspersoft at its annual NOW technology conference.

An analytics goal

The company's goal is to make enterprise data accessible more quickly to all users, wherever they are... and in whatever application they are working.

So here's where the other 75% starts to come in.

The TIBCO Analytics platform is able to achieve this through the combined use of data visualisation capabilities in Spotfire, plus the contextual insight through embedded reporting and analytics (BI) from Jaspersoft.

What does that mean?

Well it means that users could be using analytics INSIDE of other applications.

Hence the term "embedded" reporting and analytics.

So do we mean any application at all then?

Well, potentially yes - but most likely it will be more online applications and services, but in theory it could be Microsoft Word if we follow the conceptualisation through all the way.

Subliminal analytics, for everyone

"Analytics is a term that scares people," said TIBCO's Quinn. "If you ask a line of business manager or salesperson if they use analytics they will say no, but they get a report every Monday morning and so they are as analytically driven as anyone is."

The firm's Visualize.js library exists to try and popularise the embedding of analytics inside other applications.

"The Jaspersoft guys have been brilliant at creating bindings to many web applications," asserts Quinn.

NOTE: Jaspersoft has an open source pedigree.

So this is play to give firms actionable data that is contextually relevant and delivered in real time.

Brian Gentile, senior vice president and general manager, TIBCO Analytics says that with the "combined power" of Jaspersoft and Spotfire, "TIBCO is positioned to utilise deep understanding of the data analytics market to deliver simple, fast and elegant solutions to empower end-user through data."

Inside TIBCO Jaspersoft 6 platform updates is a new dashboard designer that promises to give developers a means to build and deploy dashboards using a new version of its embeddable BI framework.

Using Visualize.js today, developers can embed interactive reports and dashboards inside their application using JavaScript.

TIBCO has also introduced TIBCO Spotfire Recommendations.

The new analytics recommendation engine is designed for business users to analyze data, but are not experts in analytics techniques.

Umm, sounds like subliminal democratised analytics again.

"Spotfire Recommendations delivers the correct visualisation the first time to speed decision-making, and eliminate the trial-and-error process associated with other suggestion-based solutions," said the company, in a press statement.

... and finally

When it comes to Spotfire and Jaspersoft Interoperability.

Over time, TIBCO hopes customers will be able to increasingly combine the power of the Jaspersoft business intelligence platform with the data visualisation capabilities of Spotfire.

Early examples of interoperability include broadening the reach of insight from Spotfire through Jaspersoft's reporting platform and enriching Jaspersoft reports with Spotfire GeoAnalytics' map-based visualizations.







How the connection mechanics work inside the Internet of Things

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TIBCO StreamBase now supports a wide range of open source connectors enabling customers to connect, understand and act upon the data processed from the Internet of Things.

Okay, slow down, can we have that in English please?

No problem, let's do it.

Internet_of_Things.jpg

TIBCO is an infrastructure and business intelligence software company.

StreamBase (now part of the TIBCO Software division) is Complex Event Processing (CEP) system for high-performance applications that analyse and act on real-time streaming data.

Then, (open source) connectors - a connector exists to allow provisioning (or other) software to grasp what could be called a 'consistent technology layer' between target resources and applications (in this case TIBCO, to the Internet of Things) to expose a set of programming functions.

So what connectors does TIBCO support?

Here we include connectors for MQTT, OSIsoft Pi, Insteon X10, iBeacons, Google Glass, Garmin sensors, SDR, OBD-II.

What are those?

For example, MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport) is a machine-to-machine (M2M)/"Internet of Things" connectivity protocol.

From sensors to drones and vehicles, TIBCO StreamBase can capture streaming events from all sorts of devices for organisations to use this information for awareness or decision.

"The Internet of Things revolution has transformed the way data is collected and analyed. Customers across all industries using TIBCO's Fast Data platform can now realise the promise of Big Data for business disruption," said Matt Quinn, chief technology officer, TIBCO.

450,000 open source big data connector customers served

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TIBCO stages its annual global convention next week - what used to be called TUCON is now called TIBCO NOW.

Yes, we preferred the old name too.

0W6NY.png

Any road up... the firm has just released version 5.6 of its Jaspersoft business intelligence (BI) software -- available for free download on the Jaspersoft Community site.

This new version includes several product updates, including new big data connectors, interactive reporting upgrades, an updated OLAP engine, plus performance enhancements to TIBCO Jaspersoft Studio.

Umm, big data connectors?

Okay yes sorry, these are software services that enables analysis of all data in the enterprise, both structured and unstructured - but we need to know more really.

Sorry to crash the TIBCO story, but here's a nice explanation of the way big data connectors work from Talend.

Talend provides an easy-to-use graphical environment that allows developers to visually map big data sources and targets without the need to learn and write complicated code. Running 100% natively on Hadoop, Talend Big Data provides massive scalability. Once a big data connection is configured the underlying code is automatically generated and can be deployed remotely as a job that runs natively on your big data cluster - HDFS, Pig, HCatalog, HBase, Sqoop or Hive.

450,000 served

Back at TIBCO, the firm says that more than 450,000 users have registered with the community, which hosts more than 150,000 unique visitors per month.

"Jaspersoft was originally founded as a result of an open source project, and we're proud to maintain that mentality and commitment to keeping our business intelligence platform available to the public as a community version," said Brian Gentile, senior vice president and general manager, TIBCO Analytics.

"We strongly believe that the Jaspersoft Community is responsible for much of our success and continued growth, and enables our software to be available to everyone from students learning to leverage BI to multi-national corporations requiring enterprise grade solutions through a competitive pricing model."

Also here, additional interactive reporting features to provide a more customizable experience for users. New capabilities such as the interactive zoom, string search, and bookmarking help make the interaction of reports a more intuitive and powerful experience.

Free work style analysis test

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Don't be disappointed, Jive Software's new WorkType Finder is not a personality test says the firm's exec VP Elisa Steele.

We increasingly analyse our lifestyle today (especially so given the rise of the so-called Internet of Things) to calculate where we can digitise, automate and bring technology innovations to bear - so why not analyse workstyle (one word) then?

According to Jive, by understanding their WorkType, employees can recognise their unique workstyles - the habits and preferences for how they prefer to work - and ultimately use this knowledge to work better.

"At the same time, managers can draw on this information to create more effective teams," said the company, in a press statement.

The WorkType Finder guides users through a series of six straightforward questions. Once completed, the WorkType Finder immediately calculates and provides participants with their primary and secondary WorkTypes.

The eight WorkTypes are:

• Explorers - provide new ideas and fresh perspectives.
• Experts - help solve the toughest problems.
• Planners - create the processes to streamline what needs to get done.
• Optimisers - drive organisation to increase efficiency and productivity.
• Energisers - achieve the seemingly impossible.
• Producers - bring vision into reality and deliver results.
• Connectors - thrive on meeting new people and bridging gaps.
• Coaches - bring out the best in people.

The test (ok sorry, it's not a test) is found linked here.

WorkType Matrix.png

Editorial analysis

This tool was presented as part of Jive Software's Jive World 2014 conference and exhibition. The predominant user type found at the conference (populated by developers, product specialists, technologists and other i.e. successful hardworking people) was "Explorers" with "Planners" coming in as the second most popular. Jive's Steele argued that this means: "not only are you all a bunch of creatives, you also want to get things done", as she put it. The only criticism here is that one imagines that this test could be a lot broader and feature a wider range of questions. Also, given that Jive is a self-styled 'communication and collaboration' player, then why not make the test more socially interactive and feature so-called 360 degree feedback from peers? It's an impossible argument because the company is merely trying to show that it has technology prowess in this field and is providing a snapshot web-based tool which is arguably quite fun to use.

So... open source?

Why is this story on the Computer Weekly Open Source Insider column?

Because Jive's 'Fall cloud release' offers enhanced mobile apps for both iOS and Android.

The Jive Android app now features announcement viewing and the ability for people to follow the content, people and places most important to them.

Intel INDE tools make programming not suck

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Intel has released what it says is 'the first' suite of tools for the development of native applications across architectures, operating systems and integrated development environments (IDE.)

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The acronym Intel INDE stands for Integrated Native Developer Experience.

This is essentially a productivity suite of C++ and Java tools and libraries designed to speed software application development of mobile and PC applications on Intel Architecture and Android applications on ARM and Intel Architecture.

Where does the speed come from?

The speed is achieved through code reuse and integrated workflow support.

Developers have the freedom to use Intel INDE within the IDE they prefer, including Microsoft Visual Studio, Google Android Studio, and Eclipse.

Intel INDE provides access to advanced platform capabilities like media acceleration, context sensing, OpenCL 2.0 and threading libraries, with a selection of compilers, analysers and debugging tools.

Media acceleration, you say?

Yes media acceleration -- Media Accelerator technologies are intelligent graphics engine powers built into the chipset itself.

Context sensing, you say?

Yes context sensing, this is another one of those terms that Intel expects us to understand - what is means is the ability for developers to create cross-platform context-aware experiences that understand the context of any action or event: build into an application there is the ability to understand user preferences & anticipate behaviour.

overview_statevector.png

Intel INDE is available immediately in three editions: Starter, Professional and Ultimate.

Why is Intel INDE important?

First of all says Intel, Android is now running on over 2 billion devices (says Intel).

If we want to develop for the mobile marketplace, you'll find that getting started on the Android platform is hard.

Gaming legend John Carmack recently stated "Brace yourself: Android setup and development really does suck. It's no fun at all."

Intel's Jeff McVeigh, general manager of performance client and visual computing asserts, "So not only does Intel INDE make Android IDE setup a snap, but it will help you develop apps that run at native performance on each platform. And you don't have to spend months learning to optimize for the performance and power characteristics of each and every target device."

Development workflow phases

McVeigh says that Intel INDE addresses each phase of the development workflow:

Setup: To target Windows platforms use an existing Visual Studio environment. For Android target systems, users have a choice of Android development IDE's: Microsoft Visual Studio, Eclipse and Android Studio.

"So if you've been developing for the Windows platform, the Android plugin for Visual Studio allows you to leverage your existing Windows development expertise over to the Android platform. Or if you're only developing for Android, Eclipse might make sense for you," said McVeigh.

Build: Then add one or more libraries of common functions that have been optimized for the Android and Windows platforms: OpenCL Code Builder, Media for Mobile, the Context Sensing SDK, Intel Integrated Performance Primitives (Intel IPP), Intel Threaded Building Blocks (Intel TBB), and the Media SDK (Windows only).

"Most of these tools work on multiple platforms, so your code is easily transportable across platforms. Then compile using the Intel C++ compiler, or use the GCC compiler for ARM* or x86-based devices," said McVeigh.

Debug: Debug Android apps from Visual Studio with the Intel INDE plugin, or use the Graphics Frame Debugger to debug your graphics apps on Android (both Intel x86 and limited ARM* devices).

Analyze and Optimize: Use System Analyzer to view key system metrics (CPU, GPU, and power utilization) to determine if your app is CPU-bound or GPU-bound, use Graphics Frame Analyzer to pinpoint graphics pipeline rendering issues, and use Platform Analyzer to visualize the interaction of your app's threads across the CPU cores and the GPU.

Intel Image Oct.JPG

Intel INDE bundles both Intel and 3rd-party software tools into a single product to streamline tool management and compatibility.

Platfora's big data iceberg and other stories

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Platfora has lots to say this week by golly.

Platfora who?

Okay yes, sorry, we haven't spoken about this firm much yet -- the company is a big data analytics specialist and its software works in tandem with the open-source software framework Apache Hadoop.

The technology proposition here is the firm's ability to assist users with tasks associated with rapid data analysis, data visualisation and sharing.

After news this week of Salesforce.com and its Wave technology, the company's CEO Ben Werther just couldn't hold on to an opinion that we need to help share.

Ouch! that smarts!

"Salesforce.com is playing catchup to last-generation of cloud business intelligence offerings rather than attempting a true big data analytics solution," said Werther.

(Ed - don't hold back Mr Werther, tell us what you really think yeah?)

"The data challenges of today are only solved with a native end-to-end big data analytics solution that lets business analysts directly ask the multi-structured questions that matter across exploding volumes of transactional, customer interaction and machine data and get answers in minutes and not months."

Interesting stuff, at this time we do not have any information on whether Werther is prepared to go into hand-to-hand combat with Marc Benioff.

Putting the petabyte on a pedestal

Platfora says that this week, with the launch of its version 4.0 product, it will be the first technology company enable business users (and data scientists) to visually interact with
petabyte-scale data in seconds.

Pardon? Petabyte-scale data in seconds?

Ah yes, well what the company is saying is that as the #1 native big data analytics platform for Hadoop (its tagline, not ours) that it provides advanced visualisations, geo-analytics capabilities and collaboration features that empower cross-functional teams to work iteratively with data at scale.

Werther's got more opinions, hang on...

"While it seems obvious that an organisation should be able to work with all of their data, the current reality is, most are only capable of analysing just the tip of their data iceberg and can't work the newer and more valuable forms of big data," said Werther.

Queue image infographic of BIG DATA ICEBERG.

1 Platfora .JPG

"Organizations are losing competitive advantage and exposing themselves to undue risk because their last-generation BI tools can't handle the growing volumes and varieties of machine, transactional and customer interaction data."

Platfora says that its big data analytics platform is the only end-to-end product with a native-Hadoop infrastructure --- and this enables analysts, business professionals and data scientists to access and drill down into the rawest forms of petabyte-scale data without the need for IT support.

While most analytics vendors say they work with any variety or volume of data, recent industry research found that 52% of analytics users trying to work with big data must break it down into smaller parts to analyze it*, causing additional data preparation and modeling tasks that slow down time to insight.

To make big data analytics more accessible beyond the most technical professionals, Platfora Vizboards provide an interactive, visual analytics experience that all roles in the organisation can use to explore and collaborate on analyses.

Platfora Big Data Analytics 4.0 includes enhancements to the visual analysis capabilities and processing engine, including:

• Interactivity at Big Data Scale - Platfora extends its ability to analyze the biggest of big data sets, with performance when analyzing entities with billions of unique values (e.g. customers, devices, endpoints).
• Advanced Visualizations - Platfora builds upon its library of data visualizations such as polar charts, trellises, packed bubbles, word clouds and gauges so that users can achieve new views and insights in seconds.
• Geo Analytics - Users can now visualize geographical data using interactive maps. Platfora Big Data Analytics 4.0 can display multiple attributes of data on the same map and zoom in or drill down to provide deeper views, making it easy to find relationships and insights--all with the speed and power of in-memory data processing.
• Insight Delivery - Users can capture and share visual representations of analyses with internal stakeholders with PDF email scheduling, without ever having to leave the Platfora environment.

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