Sputnik 3 — Great Reviews from the Blog-o-sphere

January 29, 2014

At the end of last year we launched the third generation of the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition, aka Sputnik 3, which features the 4th generation Intel processors.  This Ubuntu-based laptop is the third in a line of developer focused systems which began life as the internal skunk works effort, “Project Sputnik.”  Thanks to strong community input and support the project became a product a little over a year ago.

Over this past month there have been three great reviews that have come out that I wanted to share.

1) Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition review (Haswell, late 2013 model)

This first review, from J’s blog, is quite detailed and comprehensive.   It has great photos and got nice traction on Hacker News.  Here is the opening paragraph

The XPS 13 Developer Edition, aka “Project Sputnik”, is a laptop with a FullHD 13-inch screen, backlit keyboard, SSD, 4th gen intel CPU and comes pre-installed with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

What makes this machine so interesting is not so much that Ubuntu comes pre-installed on it (it would be easy for anybody to install it him/herself, after all), but rather that Dell put some extra-work in making sure everything works right out of the box and supports running Ubuntu on it. WiFi, keyboard backlight, screen brightness control, sleepmode, etc. are guaranteed to work. [read more]

2) Guide to Leaving Your Mac Laptop

Carin Meier not only reviewed the XPS 13 developer edition but walks folks who may be interested in leaving their Macs behind how she set up her programs that she uses on a daily basis.  This blog too has great pics.  Carin’s blog starts,

I felt like I was in a controlling relationship headed downhill. After two custom laptops returned for defective hardware, I wanted to leave. But leaving didn’t seem so easy after living in the walled garden of Apple all those years.

This blog post is about how to leave your Mac and return to OSS.

There are quite a few nice alternatives to the Mac Air out there. I decided to go with the new Sputnik 3. Some of my reasons:

  • Powerful – New Haswell processor
  • 13.3 inch touch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Ships with Ubuntu 12.04 (64 bit)
  • Nice design (yes looks are important) [Read more]

3) Got me a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

The third review, by David Pollack, is actually a twofer in that he posted a follow on entry,  Still Liking the XPS 13 Developer Edition, two weeks after the first.  David’s posts are succinct and well laid out and I love his concluding paragraph :-)

Just buy one

If you’re doing development like Clojure and Java, then the XPS 13 Developer Edition is a better choice than the MacBook Pro. It’s less expensive and just as impressive hardware-wise. And I like Linux a lot more than OS X. [Read more]

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Consumerization: setting the bar for IT

January 28, 2014

Mark Stouse of BMC has asked various people in the industry to answer seven short questions for his series Marking Predictions for 14.  The questions are around Cloud Computing, Big Data and Consumerization.

To give you a taste of what I was thinking about, here is my response to the second question and why I think Consumerization is a big deal:

Cloud Computing, Big Data or Consumerization: which trend do you feel is having the most impact on IT today and why?

Consumerization, because it sets the bar for how technology should look and be designed.  Workers want technology in the workplace that is as easy to use and intuitive as the consumer applications and tech products they use at home.  Consumerization has set a high bar for IT but one that I believe will ultimately benefit all involved through greater adoption, satisfaction and productivity.

You can see my complete responses on Mark’s blog and learn, among other things, why I think Tony Stark is like big data.

Pau for now…


“New Age of Apps” Think Tank to be streamed Live

January 21, 2014

On Thursday, January 23 Dell services will be hosting a think tank in Silicon Valley at the venture capital firm NEA.  While hosted in the Bay Area, the event will be streamed live for viewing around the world.

The title of the Think Tank is “The new age of apps and delivery gaps” and we have put together a group of 10 panelist that we feel represents a cross-section of technology and IT today:

  • Barry Libenson-SVP and CIO,  Safeway
  • Jay Ferro – CIO, American Cancer Society
  • Ranga Jayaraman- Associate Dean & CIO,  Stanford GSB
  • Luke Kanies – Founder & CEO, Puppet Labs
  • Alex Salazar – Co-Founder & CEO, Stormpath
  • Alex Williams – Blogger & Journalist, TechCrunch
  • Michael Cote – Research Director, Infrastructure Software at 451 Research
  • Sarah Novotny- Tech Evangelist, NGINX
  • Das Kamhout – IT Principal Engineer, Intel
  • Jimmy Pike – Sr. Fellow and Chief Architect, Dell

I will be acting as the moderator of the panel.

Join in

The event will begin at 9AM Pacific Time, and last for three and a half hours. The event will be divided into two main sessions and we’ll discuss such topics as the influence of application developers, the changing role of the CIO and why firms need to build API strategies  (see the session outlines below for more details)  You can follow and contribute questions and comments via Twitter at #TheAppGap.   Hope you can make it!

Session Outlines

Session 1- Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’    

The rise of cloud applications force companies to reevaluate their business architectures.  Leveraging new platforms, organizations can operate more efficiently, better engage with customers, and introduce innovative products and services faster than ever before.  In this session we’ll discuss and debate how to effectively leverage the best of today’s advanced (digital) technologies and capitalize on the opportunity for a ‘greenfield’ approach.

*Questions

  1. What would you do different to be ready for the digital age?  Entrepreneurs starting a company today, what are the architecture and design choices you’d recommend?
  2. What plans would you put in place to leverage cloud, big data, mobile and social media?  What would your API strategy be?
  3. How would you plan for growth over a 3-5 year horizon?

Session 2: Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

While CIOs are under pressure to reduce costs and improve efficiency, enterprise developers have become the new ‘kingmakers’ leading product development and customer applications.  Our experts will share experiences in managing these complex stakeholder relationships, brainstorm the way out from technical debt and examine the possibilities within existing applications.

*Questions:

  1. How do organizations evolve legacy existing environments to take advantage of emerging trends – what are the breakthrough processes and technologies?
  2. What does the CIO needs to do to re-connect with business leaders and organizational strategies? What roles do CIOs, CTOs, business and developers play?
  3. How do established companies take advantage of the changes that are happening today?   i.e. private/public cloud strategies, apps modernization, leveraging new architectures, API strategies.

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC — When DevOps goes wrong

January 9, 2014

One the most enlightening and entertaining presentations on Day one of DevOps Days NYC, was given by ScriptRock cofounder, Mike Baukes.

In his presentation, which is embedded below, Mike talks about a devops project he was on in Australia.  He and his team were brought in to a large trading firm to implement continuous delivery and integration, they got the code right but made a few critical mistakes.

Listen to Mike as he tells his cautionary tale.

Some of the ground Mike covers

  • Their charter and goal on the project
  • The team they created and the alienation it resulted in
  • What went wrong
  • How would he do it if he could it over again

Extra-credit reading

  • ScriptRock GuardRail, First Take: Cloud-based server monitoring and diagnostics – ZDNet

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC — Jonathan Reams of MongoDB

January 8, 2014

As I continue in my series of videos from DevOps days NYC a few months ago, here is an interview with Jonathan Reams of MongoDB.

Johnathan is systems engineer on Mongo’s DevOps team and is helping to make MongoDB, the NoSQL non-relational database, more appealing to operations.

Some of the ground Jonathan covers:

  • Mongo’s huMONGOus recent round of funding
  • As a NoSQL database, how is Mongo different from traditional relational databases
  • How does MongoDB compare to other non-relational databases like Couchbase or Basho’s Riak
  • Seeking to widen appeal beyond developers to operations
  • Whats next for Mongo for both developers and ops

Extra-credit reading

  • Military Supply Data Search Tool Uses MongoDB – InformationWeek
  • MongoDB grabs $150M in funding, now top NYC startup at $1.2B valuation – VentureBeat

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC – Mark Burgess of CFEngine

January 7, 2014

In my last entry, I featured an interview with SaltStack, the newbie in the infrastructure automation and configuration management space.  Today’s interview is with the man who started it all back in the 90′s, Mark Burgess, Founder and CTO of CFEngine.

Some of the ground Mark covers

  • How it all began a couple of decades ago at the University of Oslo
  • As scale has increased over the last twenty years, how has CFEngine kept pace
  • Inducted in JP Morgan’s Hall of Technology and how JP Morgan uses CFEngine
  • How does CFEngine differ from the other configuration management tools?  (hint: think model-based frameworks)
  • What does the next year hold for CFEngine

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC: Mike Ainsworth of SaltStack

January 7, 2014

Infrastructure automation and configuration management have become a hot topic as organizations, particularly those in the web and cloud space have continued to scale out. The first player, that helped define the space, was CFengine.  Heavy weights in this space now include Puppet and Chef, and at Dell we lead, Project Crowbar, an open source effort in this area.

The new kid on the block, based in Salt Lake city, is SaltStack.   Although relatively new, they count LinkedIn as one of their users.   At DevOps Days NYC back in October I grabbed some time with Salt solutions engineer, Mike Ainsworth.  Here is what Mike had to say:

Some of the ground Mike covers

  • What does SaltStack do
  • When did they get their start and how has their momentum been
  • How they differ from the other players in the space
  • How Linkedin is using SaltStack
  • The technical details re what they are focusing on going forward

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


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