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Submission + - Why Brexit could cause data privacy headaches for US companies (

Brandon Butler writes: More fallout from Brexit, this time for tech companies. The UK voting to leave the EU could create huge headaches for companies with international operations. When the UK is part of the EU it has the same data sovereignty laws as other member countries. When the UK breaks away, those laws could change. Although no official data privacy laws have been established yet, companies operating in Europe may have to manage one set of data privacy laws for the UK and another for the EU post-split.

Submission + - Chef's open source tool lets applications automate infrastructure provisioning (

Brandon Butler writes: Chef, a company that has made a name for itself developing infrastructure automation software products, released a new open source project named Habitat this week that it says is defining a new category: Application automation.

Habitat is a way of packaging an application in a way that lets the app provision the infrastructure it needs to run. This process gives Habitat the ability to run on any type of infrastructure, from physical to virtualized servers, in data centers or in the cloud.

This is a fundamentally different view of application and infrastructure management. Too often applications have to be built to the infrastructure specifications they will be running in: An app running in a cloud must have certain characteristics; one running on bare metal would have another. The idea of Habitat is that the application would dictate its run-time need and would integrate with a cloud management platform, a container scheduler or Chef’s infrastructure automation tools to provision those resources.

Submission + - Should AWS spin out of Amazon? (

Brandon Butler writes: Last week when Amazon released financial figures for Amazon Web Services ($6 billion annual revenue run rate, $680 million in annual profit) and in doing so it proved its cloud division is big enough to be its own company. But would Amazon ever spin AWS out? lost $50 million in the first quarter of this year, and that's with AWS contributing a $165 million profit. It's doubtful Amazon would shed the AWS cash-cow any time soon, but some analysts are calling for it.

Submission + - Nanocomputers connected to the cloud will be implanted in your brain by 2030 (

Brandon Butler writes: Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil predicts in a TED Talk that by the 2030s small bots that can connect to cloud-based servers will be implanted through the bloodstream into the brain to allow for "hybrid" brain power. The nanocomputers will aid existing brain functions
to help provide quick answers to complex problems and provide the extra juice needed to come up with creative new ideas.

Submission + - Today is the Pi Day of the Century ( 1

Brandon Butler writes: Each year March 14 is Pi Day. But this year is the Pi Day of the Century. Why? Write out the next handful of Pi digits: 3.1415... What is this year? 3/14/15.

It gets better. Keep going with the Pi digits: 3.151592653â¦

On 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 will be the biggest Pi moment of our lifetimes.

So, go eat pie, or build a Rasberry Pi computer or something.

Submission + - The myth about how Amazon's Web service started just won't die (

Brandon Butler writes: There’s a rumor that goes around cloud circles about how created what is now the multi-billion dollar infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud computing industry in the early 2000s.

Some people wrongly assume that Amazon had spare, excess computing capacity from their ecommerce site that was used as the basis for Amazon Web Services' (AWS) cloud.

It’s something that Benjamin Black has heard a lot. But it’s not true. And he would know: Black is widely credited with co-authoring the initial proposal at Amazon that led to the creation of AWS.

“Why will that not die?” Black says about the rumor. “It’s totally false.”

Black, who recently accepted a new position at cloud company Pivotal, says from day one, every part of AWS has been purpose built for AWS.

Submission + - How Google avoids downtime

Brandon Butler writes: Google has an innovative way of attempting to keep its services — like its cloud platform and apps — up and running as much as possible. The man in charge of it is Ben Trenyor, who runs Google's Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) team.

Each Google product has a service level agreement (SLA) that dictates how much downtime the product can have in a given month or year. Take 99.9% uptime, for example: That allows for 43 minutes of downtime per month, or about 8 hours and 40 minutes per year. That 8 hours and 40 minutes is what is referred to at Google as an “error budget.”

Google product managers don’t have to be perfect — they just have to be better than their SLA guarantee. So each product team at Google has a “budget” of errors it can make.
If the product adheres to the SLA’s uptime promise, then the product team is allowed to launch new features. If the product is outside of its SLA, then no new features are allowed to be rolled out until the reliability improves.

In a traditional site reliability model there is a fundamental disconnect between site reliability engineers (SREs) and the product managers. Product managers want to keep adding services to their offerings, but the SREs don’t like changes because that opens the door to more potential problems.

This “error budget” model addresses that issue by uniting the priorities of the SREs and product teams. The product developers want to add more features, so they architect reliable systems. It seems to work; according to tracking company CloudHamrony, Google had one of the most reliable IaaS clouds among the major vendors in 2014.

Submission + - The Internet is one step closer to universal HTTPs (

Brandon Butler writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) applauded content delivery network provider CloudFlare for the company’s recent announcement that it will offer encrypted HTTPs as its default setting for any website it hosts. CloudFlare says that with the addition of its 2 million sites covered by HTTPs that the number of sites online using the SSL encryption has doubled to 4 million. The company had previously offered the features as part of a paid plan. The EFF is calling on other CDN providers to offer HTTPs/SSL encryption as a free, default service instead of a paid add-on.

Submission + - Amazon readies major reboot of its cloud servers (

Brandon Butler writes: Amazon Web Services will be updating a substantial number of its cloud servers in the coming days and customers are recommended to re-launch their instances. Amazon is not saying why the reboot is happening over the next five days starting tonight, but there is speculation that it's related to a security flaw in the Xen hypervisor.

Submission + - Containers are cool again (

Brandon Butler writes: Containers are not new, but if you listen to the big tech giants you may think they were. VMware, Microsoft, Cisco and Red Hat have all made news about containers recently, mostly around supporting Docker, the open source container engine. Perhaps the most surprising company to embrace containers is VMware, which says that it can provide a unified platform for managing containers and virtual machines. It’s an interesting move from the virtualization company to embrace a technology that could cannibalize its VM business.

Submission + - Google Kevlar-wraps its trans-Pacific fiber cables to protect from shark attacks ( 1

Brandon Butler writes: As an ode to Shark Week: Sharks have been known to show an appetite for fiber cables underwater, and last week a Google official said to prevent sharks from wreaking havoc on the company's trans-Pacific fiber lines, it wraps them in Kevlar. It's believed that the emission of electrical currents from the fiber piping is mistaken by sharks occasionally as prey.

Submission + - Gartner: Internet of Things has reached hype peak (

Brandon Butler writes: In the annual battle of the buzzwords, the Internet of Things has won. Each year the research firm Gartner puts out a Hype Cycle of emerging technologies, a sort of report card for various trends and buzzwords. This year, IoT tops the list. On another note, somewhat surprising is that Gartner says the "cloud computing" is not just hype anymore, but becoming a mainstream technology.

Comment Re:More virtualisation than cloud (Score 1) 99

OpenStack is more about managing virtual servers compared to being about virtualization. OpenStack needs a hypervisor, there is no function for that in the code. Just clarifying here that OpenStack is a package of components that are built to manage virtualized servers. OpenStack doens't actually do the virtualization. Still need KVM, Hyper-V or (gasp) ESX

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