Podcast: Stephen O’Donnell on Massively Scaled Datacenters and Edge Service Layers for Innovation

In this week’s podcast, we speak with Stephen O’Donnell, Senior Analyst for Global Hive and author of What Every CIO Wants. He focuses on several interesting topics:

  • Building Massively Scalable Datacenters
  • What is the Edge? Complete 25 Use Case Definition
  • Enterprise Datacenters Move to Edge
  • Layering Solutions on Edge Services

Topic                                                            Time (Minutes.Seconds)
Introduction                                                   0.0 – 2.17
Lessons Learned at Data Center Scale    2.17 – 4.00
How make Changes at Scale?                    4.00 – 6.09 (Financial Driven)
Symbian Army                                               6.09 – 7.41 (Software Survival)
Changing Server Design Thinking              7.41 – 12.25
Operational Turnover                                    12.25 – 14.28 (All about ROI)
Edge Datacenter Definition                          14.28 – 21.58 (25 Use Cases: Latency, Human Life, …)
Street Furniture to Cloud                              21.58 – 22.53
Edge to Cloud Tiers                                       22.53 – 26.09 (Edge is Multi-Tenant)
Internet turn Inside Out                                 26.09 – 26.45
Data Flow Reverses                                        26.45 – 28.09 (Write Once / Read Never)
Enterprise Datacenters are Edge                 28.09 – 30.41
Managing Edge w/ Low Touch Solutions  30.41 – 33.20 (Edge Infrastructure Saloon)
Edge Infrastructure is not Wide-Open       33.20 –  37.40  (Can everyone leverage Edge?)
Wrap Up w/ Alexa                                         37.40 – END

Podcast Guest
Stephen O’Donnell, Senior Analyst, Global Hive

Steve O’Donnell has over three decades of global high technology experience. He is currently works as a Senior Analyst for Global Hive, a specialist Data Center consulting and analyst firm he founded. He served as Transformation Director for Ferguson plc working to fundamentally modernise business operations. He served as CIO for G4S plc, a managed services firm who are the second largest employer the world. He was CTO at Amlin Underwriting in the UK. He formerly served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GreenBytes (acquired by Oracle Corp), a Providence, Rhode Island-based manufacturer of cloud-scale Desktop Virtualization solutions, O’Donnell currently serves as Chairman of the Board at KSBC plc and Lanix, and Chairman of the Advisory Board at Eco4Cloud srl. O’Donnell is also a partner and founder at IABpro, a global Industry Advisory Board business

Previously, O’Donnell was CEO at MEEZA in Qatar, a large data center and managed services business, Managing Director at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a leading analyst firm, Global Head of Data Centre Operations at British Telecom, and member of the Advisory Board at Fusion-io (FIO) and Violin Memory Inc (VMEM). He leads the judging panel of the Tech Trailblazers Awards.

Recognized as an expert commentator in Data Centres, Storage, IT Security and Cloud & Managed Services, O’Donnell has been the recipient of six industry awards including the British Computer Society Best Use of Green Technology. He has acted as a spokesperson for the IEEE on Cloud and IT Security, and is credited as the initiator of the Green Grid’s Data Center Maturity Model.


Podcast with Chris Steffen on Security for Cloud, Edge, and the Coming of GDPR

In this week’s podcast, Chris Steffen, Technical Security Director at Cryptzone joins Rob Hirschfeld and myself to cover the latest topics in cloud, edge and data security. Chris is a well-respected cloud security expert with practical experience securing large infrastructures as well as an excellent speaker and influencer on all things security,

Key Highlights:

  • Current State of Cloud Security
  • Where & What is On-Premises?
  • Hardware Security and Lack of Industry Use
  • Coming of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation from European Union) and Impact on US and Global Industry

Topic                                                             Time (Minutes.Seconds)

Introduction                                                    0.0 – 0.30
State of Cloud Security                                0.30 – 2.52
Complexity is Enemy of Security               2.52 – 7.36 (Illusion of On-Prem being Secure)
People are a Vulnerability                           7.36 – 9.20 (Eliminate ALL People)
Rant Cast on Mgmt & Shadow IT               9.20 – 11.57 (Rant Podcast)
Cyxtera is Data Center / Why Security?   11.57 – 15.37 (More than Data Centers)
What is On-Prem?                                        15.37 – 20.00 (Physical Access is not Security)
Let’s Secure the Hardware                         20.00 –  21.39
Why Don’t Turn on H/W Tools?                 21.39 – 24.15
Disabling Security for Time to Market      24.15 – 26.02
GDPR is Coming                                           26.02 –  31.28
Data: Privacy and Ownership                     31.28 – 34.25
Edge Infrastructure and Security              34.25 – 36.29
Data Sensitivity in Edge Areas                   36.29 – 42.28 (Data locality and gov’t reach)
Conclusion and Wrap-Up                           42.28 – END

Podcast Guest: Christopher Steffen

Christopher Steffen joined Cryptzone in October 2016 as the Technical Director to educate and promote information security and regulatory compliance as it relates to network access management and cloud computing solutions. Before joining the team at Cryptzone, Chris served as the Chief Evangelist – Cloud Security for Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). He has also served in executive roles as the Director of Information Technology at Magpul Industries (a plastics manufacturing company) and as the Principal Technical Architect for Kroll Factual Data (a credit service provider). Steffen has presented at numerous conferences and has been interviewed by multiple online and print media sources. Steffen holds several technical certifications, including CISSP and CISA. Follow him on Twitter at @CloudSecChris.

Podcast with The CTO Advisor on Edge vs Cloud, Compute vs Data Gravity, and Impact of Massive Scale

Joining us this week is Keith Townsend, The CTO Advisor, for a joint podcast of the L8ist Sh9y and CTO Advisor Podcast. Keith and Rob discuss the Edge Computing concept and several issues facing enterprise companies looking to move beyond the current cloud offerings. Key highlights from the podcast:

  • What is the Edge? 2 Separate Definitions are Discussed
  • Comparison of Edge and the Electricity Model
  • Building and Managing Apps for Edge at Massive Scale
  • Data vs Compute Gravity

Topic                                                        Time (Minutes.Seconds)

Introduction                                              0.00 – 1.30
What is Edge?                                           1.30 – 2.30
Hands-Off Edge Infrastructure              2.30 – 5.20   (Snowball Edge)
General Purpose App Stacks in Edge  5.20 – 6.38
AWS Predictions                                      6.38 – 7.32
Enterprise Model for Edge                     7.32 – 9.24
Bernard Golden and Death Cloud        9.24 – 15.15   (Edge vs Electric Market / AWS in China)
Will Edge be Transaction Model?        15.15 – 19.32  (Workloads Space Access?)
What is the Edge? (Second Pass)         19.32 – 21.55
Scale of Edge / Thousands of Nodes   21.55 – 25.27   (Building Apps for Massive Scale)
Centrally Managed Edge                       25.27 – 29.20   (Patch Management)
Cloud Outages                                         29.20 – 31.39
SAP Example                                            31.39 – 33.10
Scale and Automation from AWS         33.10 – 34.46
Edge not like Cloud for App Devs        34.46 –  37.04  (Control Plane too large for Edge)
Compute Now has Gravity                     37.04 – 40.00  (Data vs Compute Gravity)
Conclusion and Wrap-Up                      40.00 – END


Podcast Guest: Keith Townsend, CTO Advisor

Keith is a Principal CTO Advisor with 20 years of experience helping organizations achieve their mission through optimized IT infrastructures. Keith holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computing and a Master’s in IT Project Management from DePaul University. Follow Keith on Twitter @CTOAdvisor

Podcast with Bernard Golden talking Edge Computing and the Container Hotel

Joining this week’s L8ist Sh9y Podcast is Bernard Golden, a long-time tech innovator and visionary and one of the ten most influential people in cloud computing according to Wired.com. Bernard and Rob Hirschfeld discuss the latest blog from Bernard and the impact of Edge Computing and the reality of implementing this concept. We are also introduced to the Container Hotel.

Topic                                                                              Time (Minutes.Seconds)

Introduction                                                                               0.0 – 0.39
Edge Computing Blog                                                             0.39 – 3:35    (Bernard Blog)
Other Non-Control Loop Use Cases                                     3.35 –  7:10
Environmental Computing / IOT                                           7:10 – 9:05
Fallacy of Vendor-based Solutions                                       9:05 – 13:25
How Manage Edge Hardware                                                13:25 – 16:00
Container Hotel                                                                         16:00 – 16:50
No One Cares about Hardware                                              16:50 – 23:40
Cloud Extensions – Not Mini Clouds                                     23:40 – 27:05
Like Cloud but Own Data-Center Can’t Do What I Want   27:05 – 29:55
Wrap-Up                                                                                     29:55 – END

Podcast Guest: Bernard Golden

Bernard Golden is a long-time tech innovator and visionary. Wired.com named him one of the ten most influential people in cloud computing, and his blog has been listed in over a dozen “best of” lists. He is the author/co-author of five books, including Amazon Web Services for Dummies, the best selling cloud computing book ever.

From 2012 to 2015 Bernard served as an executive at two cloud computing software startups: Enstratius (acquired by Dell, 2013) and ActiveState Software (cloud product line acquired by HPE, 2015).

After leaving ActiveState, Bernard began researching and consulting across a number of new technologies, including machine learning, drones, genomics, and 3D printing. One, however, stood out as the next innovation platform that will transform our society: blockchain.

Podcast: David Linthicum on Reality of Cloud, DevOps, and Industry Trends

Rob Hirschfeld, CEO/Co-Founder of RackN speaks with David Linthicum, an internationally known cloud computing and SOA expert and Sr VP at Cloud Technology Partners. Rob and David cover a variety of IT topics in this podcast including a Buck Rodgers quote from David.

TOPIC                                                             TIME

Introduction & Ask Podcaster                     0:00 – 3:20
Lack of Skillsets in IT                                    3:20 – 5:43
Accumulation of Technical Debt                5:43 – 10:57
DevOps and Automation                              10:57 – 14:08
CI and CD                                                        14:08 – 15:48
When Not Go CI and CD                              15:48 – 18:00
What to pay attention to in cloud?             18:00 – 20:17
How select right cloud tech?                       20:17 – 23:49
Hybrid is best of breed tech                        23:49 – 25:39
Are Containers the silver bullet?                25:39 – 29:14
Serverless vs Containers                             29:14 – 33:16
Kubernetes – Meso – Docker Opinion     33:16 – 36:04
Predictions and Trends                                36:04 – 37:10
Edge Computing                                           37:10 – 38:25
Wrap Up – where to find David L.             38:25 – END



Podcast Guest – David Linthicum @DavidLinthicum

Dave Linthicum is Sr. VP at Cloud Technology Partners, and an internationally known cloud computing and SOA expert. He is a sought-after consultant, speaker, and blogger. In his career, Dave has formed or enhanced many of the ideas behind modern distributed computing including EAI, B2B Application Integration, and SOA, approaches and technologies in wide use today. In addition, he is the Editor-in-Chief of SYS-CON’s Virtualization Journal.

For the last 10 years, he has focused on the technology and strategies around cloud computing, including working with several cloud computing startups. His industry experience includes tenure as CTO and CEO of several successful software and cloud computing companies, and upper-level management positions in Fortune 500 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years, and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including University of Virginia and Arizona State University. He keynotes at many leading technology conferences, and has several well-read columns and blogs. Linthicum has authored 10 books, including the ground-breaking “Enterprise Application Integration” and “B2B Application Integration.” You can reach him at david@bluemountainlabs.com. Or follow him on Twitter. Or view his profile on LinkedIn.

Making Server Deployment 10x Faster – the ROI on Immutable Infrastructure

Author’s note: We’re looking for RackN Beta participants who want to help refine next generation deployment capabilities like the one described below.  We have these processes working today – our goal is to make them broadly reusable and standardized.

We’ve been posting [Go CI/CD and Immutable Infrastructure for Edge Computing Management] and podcasting [Discoposse: The Death of Configuration Management, Immutable Deployment Challenges for DevOps] about the concept of immutable infrastructure because it offers simpler and more repeatable operations processes. Delivering a pre-built image with software that’s already installed and mostly configured can greatly simplify deployment (see cloud-init).  It is simpler because all of the “moving parts” of the image can be pre-wired together and tested as a unit.  This model is default for containers, but it’s also widely used in cloud deployments where it’s easy to push an AMI or VHD to the cloud as a master image.

It takes work and expertise to automate building these immutable images, so it’s important to understand the benefits of simplicity, repeatability and speed.

  • Simplicity: Traditional configuration approaches start from an operating system base and then run configuration scripts to install the application and its prerequisites.  This configuration process requires many steps that are sequence dependent and have external dependencies.  Even small changes will break the entire system and prevent deployments.  By doing this as an image, deploy time integration or configuration issues fare eliminated.
  • Repeatability: Since the deliverable is an image, all environments are using the exact same artifact from dev, test and production.  That consistency reduces error rates and encourages cross-team collaboration because all parties are invested in the providence of the images.  In fact, immutable images are a great way to ensure that development and operations are at the table because neither team can create a custom environment.
  • Speed: Post-deployment configuration is slow.  If your installation has to pull patches, libraries and other components every time you install it then you’ll spend a lot of time waiting for downloads.  Believe it or not, the overhead of downloading a full image is small compared to the incremental delays of configuring an application stack.  Even the compromise of pre-staging items and then running local only configuration still take a surprisingly long time.

These benefits have been relatively easy to realize with Docker containers (it’s built in!) or VM images; however, they are much harder to realize with physical systems.  Containers and VMs provide a consistent abstraction that is missing in hardware.  Variations in networking, storage or even memory can cause images deployments to fail.

But… if we could do image based deployments to metal then we’d be able to gain these significant advantages.  We’d also be able to create portability of images between cloud and physical infrastructure.  Between the pure speed of direct images to disk (compared to kickstart or pre-seed) and the elimination of post-provision configuration, immutable metal deploys can be 5x to 10x faster.  

Deployment going from 30 minutes down to 6 or even 3.  That’s a very big deal.

That’s exactly why RackN has been working to create a standardized, repeatable process for immutable deployments.  We have this process working today with some expert steps required in image creation.  

If this type of process would help your operations team then please contact us and join the RackN Beta Program with advanced extensions for Digital Rebar Provision.

Note: There are risks to this approach as well.  There is no system wide patch or update mechanism except creating a new image and redeploying.  That means it takes more time to generate and roll an emergency patch to all systems.  Also, even small changes require replacing whole images.  These are both practical concerns; however, they are mitigated by maintaining a robust continuous deployment process where images are being constantly refreshed.

Podcast: OpenStack OpenDev Highlights Edge vs Cloud Computing Confusion

Rob Hirschfeld provides his thoughts from last week’s OpenStack OpenDev conference focused on Edge Computing. This podcast is part of a three blog series from Rob on the issues surrounding Edge and Cloud computing:

Post 1 – OpenStack on Edge? 4 Ways Edge is Distinct from Cloud
Post 2 – Edge Infrastructure is Not Just Thousands of Mini Clouds

Clouds & Water (Blog Action Day)

Today Change.org is coordinating Blog Action Day 2010 to raise awareness about Water.  It is widely reported (and worth repeating) that scarcity of clean water is more likely to impact your daily life than scarcity of energy, food, shelter or other basic human rights.

Water scarcity has little impact in my daily life.  <shameless plug>While The new cloud servers my employer, Dell, sells consume less power and thereby less cooling water; these efficiencies do relatively little to impact people’s access to fresh water.</shameless plug>

However, waste is a huge impact.  Since Americans are water, food and energy hogs, we are also in the position of wasting disproportionate amount of these limited resources.  I believe that we commit this waste unconsciously without any real gauge on its volume or impact.  Imagine the impact to your driving behavior if you had to fill your gas tank up a cup of gas at a time (64), water your lawn from a 5 gallon bucket (30+) or refill your toilet with a table-spoon (409!).

The key to addressing waste in the land of plenty is to measure and show impacts.  I believe that people abhor waste when they see it.  Our challenge is not to change people, but to show them in real terms the consequences of their choices.

For example, just having an MPG calculator on our cars has changed the way that we drive them.  I am personally disappointed with how little useful feedback these gauges provide, but it’s a start.

One of the things I like about Cloud Computing is that we want to measure and reduce waste.  We get mad about waste: wasted computer time, wasted equipment, wasted power, and especially wasted time.

As we make strides to make computing and information more personal and mobile, I believe we need to include ways to show people data about the choices that they are making.  So next time you water your lawn or flush your toilet, this about what it would mean if you had the haul that water in a bucket up from a well.  Sound crazy?  That’s status quo for more people than those of us that enjoy indoor plumbing.

IEEE “Pragmatic Clouds” Presentation (2/24/10)

Tonight I presentated “Pragmatic Clouds” to the IEEE Central Texas Consultants Network Meeting.

The abstract was, “Cloud computing seems to mean everything! We’ll talk in specifics about how application development and delivery models are changing based on new “cloud” commercial models. We’ll also explore how the plumbing behind the curtains is changing to reflect these new models.”

In the presentation, I covered drivers for cloud business models and how it impacts creating applications for clouds. I also described how to write a future-proof application that can work for IaaS clouds today and PaaS clouds tomorrow.