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+ - Book review: Architecting the Cloud

Submitted by benrothke
benrothke (2577567) writes "Architecting the Cloud: Design Decisions for Cloud Computing Service Models (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS

Author: Michael Kavis

Pages: 224

Publisher: Wiley

Rating: 9/10

Reviewer: Ben Rothke

ISBN: 978-1118617618

Summary: Extremely honest and enlightening book on how to effectively use the cloud





Most books about cloud computing are either extremely high-level quasi-marketing tomes about the myriad benefits of the cloud without any understanding of how to practically implement the technology under discussion. The other type of cloud books are highly technical references guides, that provide technical details, but for a limited audience.



In Architecting the Cloud: Design Decisions for Cloud Computing Service Models, author Michael Kavis has written perhaps the most honest book about the cloud. Make no doubt about it; Kavis is a huge fan of the cloud. But more importantly, he knows what the limits of the cloud are, and how cloud computing is not a panacea. That type of candor makes this book an invaluable guide to anyone looking to understand how to effective deploy cloud technologies.



The book is an excellent balance of the almost boundless potential of cloud computing, mixed with a high amount of caution that the potential of the cloud can only be manifest with effective requirements and formal security architecture.



The full title of the book is: Architecting the Cloud: Design Decisions for Cloud Computing Service Models: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. One of the mistakes of using the cloud is that far too many decision makers rush in, without understanding the significant differences (and they are significant) between the 3 main cloud service models.



The book crams a lot in under 200 pages in the following 16 chapters:

1 Why Cloud, Why Now?

2 Cloud Service Models

3 Cloud Computing Worst Practices

4 It Starts with Architecture

5 Choosing the Right Cloud Service Model

6 The Key to the Cloud: RESTful Services

7 Auditing in the Cloud

8 Data Considerations in the Cloud

9 Security Design in the Cloud

10 Creating a Centralized Logging Strategy

11 SLA Management

12 Monitoring Strategies

13 Disaster Recovery Planning

14 Leveraging a DevOps Culture to Deliver Software Faster and More Reliably

15 Assessing the Organizational Impact of the Cloud Model

16 Final Thoughts



In chapter 1, he provides a number of enthusiastic cloud success stories to set the stage. He shows how a firm was able to build a solution entirely on the public cloud with a limited budget. He also showcases Netflix, whose infrastructure is built on Amazon Web Services (AWS).



Chapter 3 is titled cloud computing worst practicesand the book would be worth purchasing for this chapter alone. The author has a number of cloud horror stories and shows the reader how they can avoid failure when moving to the cloud. While many cloud success stories showcase applications developed specifically for the cloud, the chapter details the significant challenges of migrating existing and legacy applications to the cloud. Such migrations are not easy endeavors, which he makes very clear.



In the chapter, Kavis details one of the biggest misguided perceptions of cloud computing, in that it will greatly reduce the cost of doing business. That is true for some cloud initiatives, but definitely not all, as some cloud marketing people may have you believe.



Perhaps the most important message of the chapter is that not every problem is one that needs to be solved by cloud computing. He cites a few examples where not going with a cloud solution was actually cheaper in the long run.



The book does a very good job of delineating the differences between the various types of cloud architectures and service models. He notes that one reason for leveraging IaaS over PaaS, is that when a PaaS provider has an outage, the customer can only wait for the provider to fix the issue and get the services back online. With IaaS, the customer can architect for failure and build redundant services across multiple physical or virtual data centers.



For many CIO's, the security fears of the cloud means that they will immediately write-off any consideration of cloud computing. In chapter 9, the author notes that almost any security regulation or standard can be met in the cloud. As none of the regulations and standard dictate where the data must specifically reside.



The book notes that for security to work in the cloud, firm's needs to apply 3 key strategies for managing security in cloud-based applications, namely centralization, standardization and automation.



In chapter 10, the book deals with creating a centralized logging strategy. Given that logging is a critical component of any cloud-based application; logging is one of the areas that many firms don't adequate address in their move to the cloud. The book provides a number of approaches to use to create an effective logging strategy.



The only issue I have with the book is that while the author is a big fan of Representational state transfer (REST), many firms have struggled to obtain the benefits he describes. RESTful is an abstraction of the architecture of the web; namely an architectural style consisting of a coordinated set of architectural constraints applied to components, connectors and data elements, within a distributed hypermedia system. REST ignores the details of component implementation and protocol syntax in order to focus on the roles of components, the constraints upon their interaction with other components, and their interpretation of significant data elements.



I think the author places too much reliance on RESTful web services and doesn't detail the challenges in making it work properly.RESTful is not always the right choice even though it is all the rage in some cloud design circle.



While the book is part of the Wiley CIO Series, cloud architects, software and security engineers, technical managers and anyone with an interest in the cloud will find this an extremely valuable resource.



Ironically, for those that are looking for ammunition why the cloud is a terrible idea, they will find plenty of evidence for it in the book. But the reasons are predominantly that those that have failed in the cloud, didn't know why they were there in the first place, or were clueless on how to use the cloud.



For those that want to do the cloud right, the book provides a vendor neutral approach and gives the reader an extremely strong foundation on which to build their cloud architecture.



The book lists the key challenges that you will face in the migration to the cloud, and details how most of those challenges can be overcome. The author is sincere when he notes areas where the cloud won't work.



For those that want an effective roadmap to get to the cloud, and one that provides essential information on the topic, Architecting the Cloud: Design Decisions for Cloud Computing Service Modelsis a book that will certainly meet their needs.





Reviewed by Ben Rothke"

+ - Fedora to get a new partition manager->

Submitted by sfcrazy
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "Developer Vratislav Podzimek announced the next-gen partition manager for Fedora, blivet-gui. It is eventually going to replace GParted, the most popular GUI based partition manager found in all major distros. The new tool is named blivet-gui as it is based on the blivet python library (originally Anaconda’s storage management and configuration tool). The need of a new partition manager is roots from the fact that none of the existing GUI partitioning tools supports all the modern storage technologies. Fedora’s Anaconda base supports all and is hence chosen as the back-end for this new intuitive tool. The application is only a few months old but is already looking nice and useful. Features like RAID and BTRFS support are being worked on. Vojtech Trefny is the other developer working with Vratislav on blivet-gui."
Link to Original Source

+ - Ancient worms may have saved Earth->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "You can credit your existence to tiny wormlike creatures that lived 500 million years ago, a new study suggests. By tunneling through the sea floor, scientists say, these creatures kept oxygen concentrations at just the right level to allow animals and other complex life to evolve. The finding may help answer an enduring mystery of Earth’s past.

The idea is that as they dug and wiggled, these early multicellular creatures—some were likely worms as long as 40 cm—exposed new layers of seafloor sediment to the ocean’s water. Each new batch of sediment that settles onto the sea floor contains bacteria; as those bacteria were exposed to the oxygen in the water, they began storing a chemical called phosphate in their cells. So as the creatures churned up more sediment layers, more phosphate built up in ocean sediments and less was found in seawater. Because algae and other photosynthetic ocean life require phosphate to grow, removing phosphate from seawater reduced their growth. Less photosynthesis, in turn, meant less oxygen released into the ocean. In this way, the system formed a negative feedback loop that automatically slowed the rise in oxygen levels as the levels increased."

Link to Original Source
Programming

+ - Minecraft as the Ultimate Coding Education System?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at UCSD have launched software to help make Minecraft into the ultimate platform for teaching coding to kids. It's like Scratch but for Minecraft, allowing kids to create mods for Minecraft in their browser. They're also offering online Minecraft modding courses for kids, granting college computer science credit hours through UCSD.

The press release:

http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.e..."

Link to Original Source

+ - Edward Snowden is not alone!-> 2

Submitted by bobbied
bobbied (2522392) writes "Apparently Edward Snowden is not alone. CNN is reporting http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/05/... that recent leaked documents published by "the Intercept" (a website that has been publishing Snowden's leaked documents) could not have been leaked by Snowden because they didn't exist prior to his fleeing the USA and he couldn't possibly have accessed them. Authorities are said to be looking for a new leaker."
Link to Original Source
The Military

+ - Boeing Building an Enormous Laser for the US Navy->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Boeing is working to build a huge, incredibly powerful, soon-to-be-seafaring laser for the US Navy. This free electron laser can produce light of any wavelength (ie, color) directly from an electron beam, and gets an energy boost from a superconducting particle accelerator. Once it's onboard ships, the laser could be used to shoot down cruise missiles and artillery shells."
Link to Original Source
Businesses

Inside the Mechanical Turk Sweatshop 267

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the she-works-hard-for-the-money dept.
Barence writes "PC Pro has investigated the appalling rates of pay on offer from online services such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk, YouGov surveys and affiliate schemes. One Mechanical Turk task the writer tried involved finding the website, physical addresses and phone numbers of hotels for a travel website, for only $0.01 per hotel. The details often took more than a minute to locate, which equates to a rate of around $0.60 an hour, barely enough to cover the electricity bill. Meanwhile, filling out surveys for YouGov generates a maximum income of £3 an hour, and you could end up waiting more than a year for your cheque to arrive, because the site only pays out when you reach £50. 'The result is often that those who carry out online or casual work do so for surprisingly low rates of pay, with no job security or protection from unfair terms and practices,' an employment lawyer told PC Pro."
Image

Volkswagen Creates Sewage-Powered Beetle 83 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the 35-miles-per-burrito dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that Volkswagen is giving new meaning to the term 'Dung Beetle' with a prototype able to cover 10,000 miles annually on the waste from 70 households. The Bio-Bug was launched by Wessex Water, which is generating methane from human waste at a sewage treatment works near Bristol. 'Our site has been producing biogas for many years, which we use to generate electricity to power the site and export to the National Grid,' says one company official. 'We decided to power a vehicle on the gas, offering a sustainable alternative to using fossil fuels which we so heavily rely on in the UK.' The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association says the launch of the Bio-Bug proves that biomethane from sewage sludge can be used as fuel. 'This is a very exciting and forward-thinking project demonstrating the myriad benefits of anaerobic digestion (releasing energy from waste). Biomethane cars could be just as important as electric cars.'"
Space

A Hyper-Velocity Impact In the Asteroid Belt? 114

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-played-that-game dept.
astroengine writes "Astronomers have spotted something rather odd in the asteroid belt. It looks like a comet, but it's got a circular orbit, similar to an asteroid. Whether it's an asteroid or a comet, it has a long, comet-like tail, suggesting something is being vented into space. Some experts think it could be a very rare comet/asteroid hybrid being heated by the sun, but there's an even more exciting possibility: It could be the first ever observation of two asteroids colliding in the asteroid belt."
Image

Music By Natural Selection 164 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the survival-of-the-grooviest dept.
maccallr writes "The DarwinTunes experiment needs you! Using an evolutionary algorithm and the ears of you the general public, we've been evolving a four bar loop that started out as pretty dismal primordial auditory soup and now after >27k ratings and 200 generations is sounding pretty good. Given that the only ingredients are sine waves, we're impressed. We got some coverage in the New Scientist CultureLab blog but now things have gone quiet and we'd really appreciate some Slashdotter idle time. We recently upped the maximum 'genome size' and we think that the music is already benefiting from the change."
Transportation

Chinese Automaker Unveils First Electric Car 341

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the jump-start-on-the-competition dept.
JuliusSu writes "A Chinese auto manufacturer, BYD, is introducing today the country's first electric car, a plug-in hybrid vehicle. It plans to sell at least 10,000 cars in 2009 for a price of less than $22,000. This put the company ahead of schedule against other entrants to this market, such as Toyota, due to release a similar car in late 2009; and GM, whose Chevy Volt will be launched in late 2010. The company is best known for making cellphone batteries, and hopes its expertise in ferrous battery technology will allow it to leapfrog established car manufacturers."

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