App Think Tank: Cloud vs. hyperscale

May 7, 2014

This is the final video clip from the Dell Services Application think tank held earlier this year.  Today’s clip features the always enlightening and entertaining Jimmy Pike.  Jimmy, who is a Senior Fellow at Dell and was once called the Willy Wonka of servers, was one of the 10 panelists at the Think Tank where we discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world.

In this clip, Jimmy talks about the fundamental differences between “purpose-built hyperscale” and the cloud environments that most organizations use.

As Jimmy points out, when moving to the cloud it is important to first understand your business requirements and what your SLAs need to be.

If you’re interested in hearing what else Jimmy has to say, check out this other clip from the think tank,  The persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era.

The Think Tank, Sessions one and two

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

Pau for now…


Talking to the Docker Dudes

September 12, 2013

This morning a group of us here at Dell met with Ben Golub, Jerome Petazzoni and Nick Stinemates of dotCloud, the company behind the wildly popular open source project, Docker, “the Linux container engine.”  They came to sample the great barbecue and to chat about how Docker might potentially work with Project Sputnik, the Crowbar Project and a few other efforts.

Docker, which went live in March already has 150 contributors, 60,000+ downloads and 1000s of applications containerized and uploaded to their registry.   Given the fact that the company only has 18 employees, quite a bit of this work has been done by the passionate community that has formed in the first six months.

Overview and Tech talk

I did two interviews with the gents from Docker, a higher level overview with Ben their CEO and a more technical talk with SRE manager Jerome and Nick, their sales and deployment engineer.  Enjoy!

Some of the ground Ben covers:

  • What is Docker?
  • How it developed out of dotCloud’s PaaS efforts
  • How Ben got involved with the project and his background
  • What are dotCloud’s plans for Docker and who is integrating with it?

Some of the ground Jerome and Nick cover:

  • How long they’ve been involved and what they focus on
  • How Docker works with LXC and how it might work without LXC
  • Ubuntu is recommended but all you need is AUFS support
  • In next release they plan to offer official support beyond Ubuntu
  • Holy DevOps batman, Docker has something to offer Devs, QA Engineers, Continuos  integration and Sys Ops.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Project Sputnik to go from Pilot to Product

July 18, 2012

A couple of weeks ago we announced a Beta program for the four-month old Project Sputnik — an effort to investigate creating a developer focused laptop based on Ubuntu and Dell’s XPS13 laptop.

Since the beta announcement we have received thousands of applications from around the world.  This tremendous response, on top of fantastic amount of input we have received on the Project Sputnik storm session, has convinced us to take this project from pilot to product.

This fall we will be offering an Ubuntu 12.04LTS-based laptop pre-loaded on Dell’s XPS13 laptop.

Going from skunk works to mainstream

Back in the Spring, project Sputnik was the first effort green-lighted by an internal incubation program at Dell.  Thanks to the incubation program we got a little bit of funding and some executive advisers.  This incubation program notwithstanding, project Sputnik  has been a pretty scrappy skunk works effort to date.

The idea behind the incubation program is to harness that scrappiness and inventiveness to explore & validate new ideas & products outside mainstream Dell processes. Thanks to the tremendous amount of support both outside (you, the community!) and inside Dell,  with today’s announcement, we will begin making our transition to an official, “mainstream” Dell product.

  I should also mention, if its not obvious, that we have not been doing the work alone. Canonical  has been “scrappin” right besides us, helping to drive the project and doing a ton of engineering on the software side.

Beta program

As I mentioned at the start we have been completely blown away by the number of applications we have received.  We’re currently working through logistics of how to handle the tons of applications, we’ll notify all applicants soon, and intend to keep that process and the future product aligned with the spirit of the program.

To make sure that we are listening to your ideas, please continue to post any thoughts about what you would like to see in a developer laptop on our Storm session.   If you have an XPS13 running Ubuntu and want to share your experience or report a bug or issue, see our forum on Dell Tech center.

For more information on the program see the Project Sputnik FAQ

Thanks everyone for all the interest and passion, stay tuned as we push forward!

Reference: current solution details

Hardware

The solution is based on the high-end configuration of the Dell XPS13 laptop.

Software

Available now

  • drivers/patches for Hardware enablement
  • basic offering of key tools and utilities

Coming soon

  • Profile tool: a software management tool to go out to a github repository to pull down various developer profiles e.g. javascript, ruby, android.
  • Cloud tool: will allow developers to create “microclouds” on their laptops, simulating a proper, at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud.

Extra-credit reading

  • Press release: Dell Demonstrates Commitment to Open Source Software, Developer Communities
  • Dell Tech Center: Sputnik wiki
  • PC World — Dell’s Ubuntu‬ Laptop Program Enters Beta, ‘Blows Away’ Expectations
  • Initial thoughts on Project Sputnik from O’Reilly’s Mike Hendrickson
  • Transcript from last week’s Sputnik chat on Tech Center

Pau for now…


IDC starts tracking the hyperscale server market

March 26, 2012

In a recent post that highlighted the demise of the midrange  server market, Timothy Prickett Morgan talked about the new server classification that IDC has just started tracking, “Density-optimized”:

These are minimalist server designs that resemble blades in that they have skinny form factors but they take out all the extra stuff that hyperscale Web companies like Google and Amazon don’t want in their infrastructure machines because they have resiliency and scale built into their software stack and have redundant hardware and data throughout their clusters….These density-optimized machines usually put four server nodes in a 2U rack chassis or sometimes up to a dozen nodes in a 4U chassis and have processors, memory, a few disks, and some network ports and nothing else per node.

Source: IDC -- Q3 2011 Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker

Here are the stats that Prickett Morgan calls out (I particularly like the last bullet :-):

  • By IDC’s reckoning these dense servers accounted for $458 million in sales, up 33.8 percent in a global server market that fell by 7.2 percent to $14.2 billion in the quarter.
  • Density optimized machines accounted for 132,876 servers in the quarter, exploding 51.5 percent, against the overall market, which comprised 2.2 million shipments and rose 2 percent.
  • Dell, by the way, owns this segment, with 45.2 percent of the revenue share, followed up by Hewlett-Packard with 15.5 percent of that density-optimized server pie.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


SXSW: Our Saturday night Dev/tech meet up

March 12, 2012

During SXSW Michael Cote and I, on behalf of Dell, organized a series of mini meet-ups focusing on developers, tech and social media folks.  The second event we held was on Saturday on the top level of Speakeasy.  Being Saturday night, this turned out to be the biggest of the three get togethers.

Here is a small sampling of the folks who dropped by (notice the atmospheric lighting, for half of them they were literally lit by candle light):

The Line up

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


The Value of Cloud Computing

January 5, 2012

Before the holidays I posted the first of three videos that Dell and Intel put together around cloud computing.  These videos are part of a larger series around key topics like IT reinvention, the consumerization of IT, social media etc.

This second video features myself, Dell’s VP of Platform marketing Sally Stevens and John Pereira, Intel’s director of data center and hosting.

Some of the ground we cover

  • Cloud as a component of a larger portfolio of compute models
  • Small companies and the power of the cloud (Animoto case study)
  • How much of IT spend goes towards maintenance and how can we lower this
  • Hardware abstraction and the value it brings

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Where Dell plays in the Cloud and how we got there

November 3, 2011

One of the interviews I did at Dell World was a video with IT in Canada.   I did the video with Paul Cooper, Dell’s country manager for Canada.

In the first half of the video I talk about how Dell got into the cloud and where we play in the space.  In the second half Paul talks about the roll the telcos will play in the delivery of cloud services in Canada as well as issues around privacy and data sovereignty.

Check it out.

From the article itself, here’s a great summary of our cloud participation and shows how we have built, bought and partnered along the way:

Dell’s excursion into cloud began with organic development of server and data centre capability in specialized systems to meet the needs of large cloud providers (Facebook, Microsoft Azure and Bing), progressed through modification of these systems for marketing to the “next 1,000”, and shifted to partnership with software makers such as Joyent to develop complete cloud solutions, and with companies such as VMware for the creation of a full service public cloud offering.

Supporting acquisitions along the way include companies with specific capabilities such as SecureWorks, which was purchased to address web security concerns that continue to dog broader cloud adoption, and BOOMI, a specialist in cloud integration, which enables Dell to better service customers who adopt a hybrid cloud approach to sourcing compute resources.

Extra-Credit reading


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