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The Twighlight of Small In-House Data Centers 180

dcblogs writes "Virtualization, cloud services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) is making it much easier to shift IT infrastructure operations to service providers, and that is exactly what many users are doing. Of the new data center space being built in the U.S., service providers accounted for about 13% of it last year, but by 2017 they will be responsible for more than 30% of this new space, says IDC. 'We are definitely seeing a trend away from in-house data centers toward external data centers, external provisioning,' said Gartner analyst Jon Hardcastle. Among those planning for a transition is the University of Kentucky's CIO, who wants to reduce his data center footprint by half to two thirds. He expects in three to five years service provider pricing models 'will be very attractive to us and allow us to take most of our computing off of our data center.' IT managers says a big reason for the shift is IT pros don't want to work in data centers at small-to-mid size firms that can't offer them a career path. Hank Seader, managing principal of the Uptime Institute, said that it takes a 'certain set of legacy skills, a certain commitment to the less than glorious career fields to make data centers work, and it's hard to find people to do it.'"

Comment Re:It's About Time (Score 5, Informative) 385

I think most people here are not understanding the target audience for this tool (hint: it's not for your typical linux environment). It's not about package management or having a universal installer... it's about being able to run your application in a different environment where you don't have admin rights.

In a lot of university clusters or compute grids researchers have access to a large collection of compute nodes, but they usually don't have any rights to those machines. In fact, most of the time the programs are ran in a sandbox and have a restrictive environment. To run their codes reliably, researchers often have to perform some sort of static linking or package up all of the dependencies with the executable. apt-get or yum are not options in these environments... you may not even be able to ssh into them. Ideally, you could ask the system administrator that controls the cluster to install certain packages, but again, this is not always possible particularly if the researcher requires a niche package used in their domain.

Moreover, the cluster may be composed of heterogenous set of machines with different versions of Linux. Package management does not help you here. The only way to reliably execute your programs on such a heterogenous cluster is to statically link or include your dependencies. If you are wondering who would use such a maddening environment where you have no admin rights... google Condor, OpenScienceGrid and Globus. This is how a lot of research computation is done.

Of course, the hot new thing is virtual machines and clouds... but firing up a VM each time you want to run an application is very heavyweight... especially if your applications has a short run-time.

TL;DR: this isn't for your typical ubuntu or fedora install; it's for scientific research that is done on restrictive computing clusters and grids.

As a side note, I made and use a much cruder tool that packages everything up (executables, libraries, and data) in a self-extracting tarball which can be executed on remote hosts. It's not as slick as CDE, but it's been used with success by various research groups that I collaborate with.

Comment Too bad MPDv2 isn't out yet (Score 3, Interesting) 76

I usually use MPD (Music Player Daemon) on my Linux and NetBSD boxes so I can play audio remotely (or locally too). MPDv2 is suppose to support Windows, but it isn't out yet. Another trick that I've used for Linux/BSD -> Windows is that I ran a esound server (esd -public -tcp -port 6666) on the Windows computer and used mplayer (mplayer -ao esd) to send the audio output to the remote windows computer. It's very fun to send Avril Lavigne songs to the university's clusters' computers to piss off your hard working friends :).

Anyway, a quick google came up with PlayerPal, which runs on Windows and seems to be what you want. In fact, it seems to do a lot of things that MPD and its various clients do. Good luck.

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