Showing posts from 2012

Object Store in OpenStack–the secret weapon

  Or, why swift rocks Swift is the Object Storage component of Openstack. Object Storage is a new paradigm for storage. It’s not files (as in a filesystem) or blocks (as in SCSI variants), but rather Objects. Objects are immutable; once written, their contents can’t be changed, only replaced. Why would you want that? Think facebook, or tumblr or flickr – you’re not likely to ever update the content of an image… and the benefits that Swift brings are worth the loss of this capability. To clear some confusion, Swift is SOFTWARE. It is not a piece of hardware or an appliance, like a NAS box. It is not a Service (Like the S3 offering from Amazon, or CloudFiles from Rackspace).  Swift is software, and free open-source software at that. The cost to deploy it is driven by the choices of hardware (physical or virtual) and operational choices made. But what considerations drive those decisions, and what are the tradeoffs? A coarse understanding of what magic Swift performs and how, is requi

Stacked for Business

Or, my impressions from the OpenStack Folsom Summit OpenStack proved again that it's a community effort. The number of developers in design half and overall participants in the Conference part was amazing. Most design sessions (I focused on Quantum and a few Nova sessions) were standing room only. literally. The representation of big name vendors was palpable, though it was nice to see that big names didn't necessarily get undue influence on the conversation. (For my part, the fun started on the way there , on an RV for 1800 miles...but that's a story told somewhere else ) My major takeaway is that Openstack is open for business, in multiple ways. The first is that Openstack is production ready. This was manifested even prior to the summit, with dueling announcements from HP and Rackspace about deploying the Essex release into their respective production public clouds. A second way in which business friendliness is achieved is by opportunities More supporting evidence

Cloud and AI

Or, Running Lisp Probabilistically, backwards. It started at a talk I attended in previous post . Yes, there's been lots of talk about analytics and cloud, even made famous in popular media .... But the "whats" and the "hows" are in constant flux. The curiosity triggered by the subtitle, lead to a weekend filled with AI and to this post. AI is a big space. I'm focusing on one small part, Machine Learning. And specifically, translation and categorization, in exploring how The cloud supports AI, and AI supports the cloud... What does the could have to do with machine translation? The early attempts at machine translation (circa 1950's) went down the path of Natural Language Processing. They failed for various reasons. current approaches  (do the quizzes!!), as in Google Translate, play a matching game. Use the cloud to collect ridiculous amounts of sample translations, e.g a newspaper which publishes in more than language, restaurant menus and other

Cloudy data

Or, if you have the bits, but not the information.... I'm sitting at an event  which combines a common thread of thoughts that has been floating in my head - Hadoop deals with lots of data... but how do I get to the Information contained there. ThaDa... Big Data and machine learning are made for each other. I've just learned about the Mahout  - the tool to make information out of data, by using machine learning! Definitely something to look at. Update: I've spent some time reading and digesting some of the AI topics, with the results in this followup  post

Openstack and Pizza !!!

Or ... some thoughts about organizing OpenStack Meetups On February 1st I've had to joy (and hassle) to coordinate another Boston OpenStack meetu p. This time, using Harvard facilities, which are quite different than our previous venue - suffice to say that Harvard is very different than the Lexington Historical Society (you don't need to know where the vacuum is). But I digress. If you were in the room, you know all about the value of a community, so skip ahead to the "closing notes" for links to preso's, future events, acknowledgements and such. What I find exciting about open source projects is the sense of shared mission and destiny. An open source project fails or succeeds to a large extent based on how well it builds a community.  To be successful a project needs to create a dedicated community of users, developers, vendors and service providers. Users have real problems to solve. Real use cases, real businesses, real money. Developers want to wri

To Be (HA) or Not to Be

Or, what does it really mean to be highly available in the cloud Good IT practices try to maximize SLA conformance, especially around availability. Lessons learned from a disk failure in the Exchange server leading to mail outages and the inevitable fire drills have been deeply embedded into minds. REDUNDANCY EVERYWHERE. power supplies, network connections, disks - if you can put 2 of them suckers in there, you do. Just to keep that machine running. That machine should never fail. The web has mitigated things somewhat. Rather than a relying on hardware redundancy (where you don't use half your equipment), deployment strategies have evolved. A large pool of web servers can sustain SLA's with some servers failing by utilizing load-balancers to only direct traffic to live web servers. This scheme brings with it worries about session state availability and other share information (e.g database) but nonetheless its progress. Since hardware is now allowed to fail, software devel