24 Hours of Pizza-fueled Innovation

March 7, 2014

RevoltTV

Postponed:  Over the weekend, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to postpone our first hackathon.  Stay tuned for more details.

Im very psyched to announce Dell’s first Hackathon which will be happening next week right here in Austin.

The Dell Center for Entrepreneurs and Dell Software Information Management Solutions are teaming up with music and entertainment television network, Revolt TV  for this 24 hour code-battle.

The event, which will take place at the #DellVenue, kicks off on Monday, March 10th and ends 24 grueling hours later at noon next day.

The Challenge

The task at hand is for the developers to create an app against the Revolt API that is based around Music, Videos, and/or Artists and their data.  Revolt has put together their wish list of apps and functionality they’d love to see created, but sky’s the limit (within 24 hours ;)

Applications that can be used

  • Windows Phone 8
  • Xbox
  • Android
  • Node.js
  • .NET

Databases that can be used

  • MS SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • MongoDB
  • Redis

The competition is limited to 50 developers who can form teams of up to five people.  At noon on March 11th the teams will present their work to a panel of judges and 3 team-finalists will be chosen.  All panelists will receive a badge to the Fader Fort for the preview party that night, with the winning team announced at the event.

The Reward

The top finalists will receive products and swag from Revolt and Dell.

  • The grand prize winning team receives $2,500 and the chance to work with Revolts’ team to integrate their app.
  • XPS13Im also particularly proud to say that each member of the winning team will receive the Ubuntu-based XPS13 developer edition aka Project Sputnik.  But wait, there’s more…all developer finalists get a free 1 year license of Dell Software’s Toad Data Point.  :)

Want in?

If this sounds like something you like to take part in, we are taking the first 50 devs who sign up here.  Who knows, you could be one of Dell’s first ever Hackathon champions.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


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…


Sputnik 3 online in Europe just in time for Holidays

December 20, 2013

Last month in the States we announced the availability of Sputnik 3, the XPS 13 XPS13-DEDeveloper Edition featuring the 4th generation Intel processors. This laptop, which is touch-enabled, is replacing the existing XPS 13 Developer Edition.

We had hoped to make the offering available online across Europe a couple of weeks about but a few online glitches kept us from making it so.

Various countries have been coming online recently and today I would like to announce that the XPS 13 developer edition is available (see below for the specs) in the following countries/languages:

Sputnik 3  (XPS 13 Developer Edition) Product specs :

  • Processor: 4th generation Intel i7
  • Display: 13.3″ Full High Definition touch display (1080p)
  • System memory: 8GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD graphics 4440 (HD 5000 in the case of the enterprise version)
  • Hard drive: 256GB SSD drive
  • Standard Service: 1 year Dell ProSupport and onsite service after remote diagnostics
  • Operating system: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
  • Community projects: Cloud launcher and Profile tool (for more info see the update from last week)

Thanks for your patience and happy holidays!

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Update: Project Sputnik Profile tool

December 11, 2013

About a month ago I blogged that, with renewed vigor and resources, we were tackling the Project Sputnik Profile Tool – a tool that enables a developer to quickly set up an environment without cluttering up their system. The announcement included a new collaboration with the folks from Docker and a request for feedback from the Community by December 3.

That date has now passed and Peter Owens, who is the project manager for the Profile Tool effort, has collated the feedback and mapped it against our vision for the tool and our minimum requirements.

(When not managing the profile tool effort Peter, as Director of Software Engineering in Dell Services, leads a development team responsible for the delivery of Managed-Private Clouds to global customers and expanding Dell’s OpenStack /DevOps development capability. Peter is based Dell’s Cloud Centre of Excellence in Dublin Ireland.)

Here is Peter’s  summary:

What we’ve learned

It is clear that you believe we are on the right track with the Profile Tool and that our plan to leveraging Docker will allow users to set up environments with minimum impact on system resources.

Where the feedback became very interesting was in the following areas:

1) project lifecycle

We need to define user stories for the following scenarios:

  • where the tool is re-run or a project has already been setup by a user
  • the project definition is changed
  • adding and removing packages
  • handling changes to languages or frameworks pulled into a project

2) User specific configurations

  • to avoid conflicts, profiles should not be keyed solely on username

3) Specifying language versions

  • we need to specify language versions within potentially multi-project environments
  • users should be able to specify the language version from within a project

It was generally felt that separating out usernames, packages and config definitions was the correct approach. There were also some useful comparisons with other tools such as Boxen which enables you to centralize your configs for an entire organization. This means a “template” can be created for new hires or groups of developers.

 A Big Thanks and Next Steps

We are very grateful to those who took the time to contribute, share this initiative with their respective communities and provide feedback. Based on the feedback we’ve received we have started working on user story requirements which we hope to have done by the end of the year.  After that we will start coding in January.

As you’d expect we will be using a GitHub central repository where all the code can stay in sync. Code changes will be committed to this and other developers will pull them (sync them to their local repository). To start with we will be providing read-only access to the central repository, so the community will be able to keep track of our progress!  Once we get a little further along we will open up the repository for others to jump in.

Stay tuned and thanks again!

Extra-credit reading

  • Dell aims for cloudy orbit with Sputnik Ubuntu developer project – The Register

Pau for now…


Introducing Sputnik 3 and its unofficial big brother

November 15, 2013

Sputnik3

Sputnik 3

First, a little background.  Nearly a year ago today we launched the first Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition.  This Ubuntu-based client-to-cloud platform was the result of an internal skunkworks effort, Project Sputnik.  Thanks to strong community input and support the project became a product.

Within a few months of launching the initial XPS 13 Developer Edition (Sputnik 1), we introduced “Sputnik 2” solving for the biggest issue with the first release, monitor resolution.

Today we are announcing the availability of Sputnik 3, the XPS 13 Developer Edition featuring the 4th generation Intel processors. This laptop, which is touch-enabled, will replace the existing XPS 13 Developer Edition.

ubuntu_black-orange_hexAnd since we’re talking about systems and Ubuntu, in response to the continuous requests for a more powerful version of the Developer Edition, we have taken the first steps by doing some testing on the Precision M3800 and posting the results.

This system news is on the back of our announcement earlier this week about the relaunching of the Profile Tool effort and our request for input from you all.

The Sputnik 3 Product specs are as follows:

  • XPS13-DEProcessor: 4th generation Intel i7
  • Display: 13.3″ Full High Definition touch display (1080p)
  • System memory: 8GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD graphics 4440 (HD 5000 in the case of the enterprise version)
  • Hard drive: 256GB SSD drive
  • Standard Service: 1 year Dell ProSupport and onsite service after remote diagnostics
  • Operating system: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
  • Community projects: Cloud launcher and Profile tool (for more info see Tuesday’s update)

Availability of Sputnik 3

Starting today the updated XPS 13 Developer Edition is available in the

Pricing for the system will not increase and will remain $1,549.99

Early next week the Developer Edition will be available in Canada.

For North America, the US and Canada, in addition to the i7 configuration, there will also be an i5/128GB config  that will be available on a build-to-order basis and priced at $1249.99.

By the end of November, the Developer Edition will be available in

[Update 12/20/13: Sputnik 3 now available in Europe]

  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Switzerland

Europe – Wave 2:  Available in December

  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Sweden

Testing Ubuntu on the Precision M3800 mobile workstation

While the XPS 13 has proven to be very popular with developers, since we started

Dell Precision M3800

Dell Precision M3800

project Sputnik there has been a group in the community that has been asking for a “big brother” for the XPS 13 developer edition, i.e. a system with 16GB of RAM that offered a larger screen and more horsepower.

With the above in mind, when Project Sputnik team member Jared Dominguez learned about the sleek new  Precision M3800 that was coming out, he finagled his way into getting a system to do some testing.

You can find Jared’s detailed results here but the net is “For the most part, everything [he] tested works,” the one exception being the SD card reader.   The resourceful Jared then shipped his system to Chris Ball, a buddy of his that maintains the SD/MMC/SDIO subsystem of the Linux kernel, and who graciously agreed to volunteer time debugging the Linux driver for this card reader.  We will keep you updated on the progress.

So while Jared’s testing is not official it should be enough to get most devs going running Ubuntu  on the M3800.  And like the initial project Sputnik offering, if we get enough positive feedback, we might be able to offer it as an official pre-installed offering.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Project Sputnik Profile Tool: Dell commits engineering resources, Docker joins the cause and we want your input!

November 12, 2013

Sputnik_Sticker_FinalWhen we first introduced Project Sputnik over a year ago we talked about two community projects: the profile tool and the cloud launcher.  We garnered a fair amount of attention and made some progress but unfortunately not as much as I would have liked.  I am very happy to report therefore that recently we have put together an intrepid group of developers and architects within Dell to pick up the profile tool charge.

While we’ve had a few false starts in the past, besides the addition of committed Dell resources, there are a couple of other things that set this time apart: 1) we are starting from an internal use case and 2) we are working with and leveraging some of the work of Docker.

And just like when project Sputnik originally kicked off, we want to get your input and feedback on the Profile Tool and its direction (see a few paragraphs down for what specifically we are looking to you all for).

Internal need

Scratching your own itch is a key component to any self-respecting open source project. Read on to see where ours came in. A group within the Enstratius team, which we acquired back in the Spring, is switching to Sputniks (Dell XPS 13 developer edition) as their primary laptop. One thing that team member John Vincent was tasked with doing was getting these new systems set up quickly for the team. He was looking for a way to automate the process when his boss suggested he check out what we were hoping to do with the profile tool.  John liked what he saw so much that he joined the team.

Besides this representation from the Enstratius team, the Sputnik team also includes members from Dell Services’ office of the CTO and the Dell Cloud Services development and architecture team.

Working with the Docker crew

DockerRather than re-inventing the wheel, and to help provide perspective, we are now working with the folks from Docker.  They will be giving us their feedback, helping with integration and creating a Go profile.

As their CEO Ben Golub said, “The Dell team has delivered real benefits for the developer community through Project Sputnik and we expect same from the profile tool. We’re committed to working with their team to provide the best possible integration with Docker so those benefits continue to grow.”

Profile tool: Some details and a quick POC

The idea behind the profile tool is to enable a developer to quickly set up an environment without cluttering up their system.  This applies whether it is a “clean” computer for a new hire or a new project for an existing team member where the developer needs to use a new language or tool-chain.

A profile is basically a collection of simple YAML files, stored in a pre-determined directory structure, which specify one or more of the following:

  • Language:  a programming language e.g. Python, Ruby, JavaScript
  • Framework:  a language-specific software platform which simplifies the programming task (e.g. Django, Rails, Node.js)
  • Library:  an additional software component, such jinja2 or numpy for Python
  • Service: a software service used by the project, such as a database or message queue

To use a profile, it is downloaded to the developer’s machine, and an isolated environment (Linux container) is automatically created using Docker if it is part of the profile.

Input from the community

Here is the Profile Tool repository on Github and to give you a feel for how the profile tool might work, here is a quick POC (note that these actions aren’t actually being executed. We’re just logging them as if we were).

We would love to get your input. Some of the different ways you can contribute are as follows:

  • Open issues on this repository with suggestions on proposed definition syntax
  • Fork the repository and propose your own definition for a language
  • Share this initiative with your respective communities
  • Offer insight into how your community or company can use this
  • Be honest and tell us what works and what doesn’t

While almost everything is open to modification, we have a few small requirements.

  • The definition format MUST be YAML. YAML was chosen because it allows the appropriate data structures, is both human- and machine-readable and allows comments
  • Respect the goals of minimalism and composition defined above
  • This is based on Ubuntu 12.04 amd64 (for now) as the primary use case is for inclusion in the Sputnik laptop

We will be soliciting feedback for the next three weeks so please get us your thoughts by December 3.

What about the cloud tool?

We haven’t forgotten about the cloud tool, which allows you to deploy your applications to the cloud.  While you can currently use Linux containers and JuJu to get your apps into the clouds, we are working on a version that will provide even greater automation.  This will be phase II after we get the profile tool a bit further along, stay tuned!

But wait, there’s more…

If you’re interested in Project Sputnik you’ll want to watch this blog which will be bringing some more news in the not too distant future. :)

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


My O’Reilly Video — Telling the Project Sputnik story

August 29, 2013

While I interviewed a bunch of folks at OSCON, I also got the chance to be on the other end of the camera.  On Thursday of the event I sat down with Meghan Blanchette, editor at O’Reilly media and we talked about Project Sputnik, where it’s been and where it’s going.  Check it out:

Some of the ground I cover:

  • How Sputnik came to be and our biggest challenge
  • The three main components: XPS 13 developer edition, the Profile Tool, the cloud launcher
  • Our recently announced 3-free months on the Joyent Cloud
  • Getting some help from an internal development team

Update re Profile tool help

The internal team that I mentioned in the video is gearing up to get cracking on the profile tool.  The idea is first to gather requirements and user stories and then get jammin’ with design and development sprints.  It looks like after a bunch of false starts we are ready to push this in to high gear.  Look for an update next week.

Extra-credit reading

  • Will Developers Move to Sputnik?  The past, present, and future of Dell’s project – O’Reilly programming
  • Connecting the client to the cloud, The Sputnik Story – Slideshare

Pau for now…


OSCON: The Project Sputnik story & giveaway

July 29, 2013

Last week, Dell was out in force in Portland, Oregon, representing at OSCON.   We had a booth and gave a few talks.

The talk that Cote and I delivered covered the story behind the Project Sputnik: Connecting the client to the cloud  – The Sputnik Story :

Give it away, give it away, give it away now

In addition to talking about Project Sputnik, we gave away three of the XPS 13 developer edition systems.  Here is the crowd waiting for us to draw the winner at the Dell booth:

The Sputnik drawing at the Dell booth.

The Sputnik drawing at the Dell booth.

And here is the lucky winner, Katrina Prosise, a comp sci student in Portland.

Barton George (Dell), the lucky winner, Joseph George (Dell)

L->R: Barton George (Dell), Katrina Prosise (the lucky winner), Joseph George (Dell)

Stay tuned to this blog over the next week or so as I will be sharing a bunch of the video interviews I conducted while at OSCON.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now..


Project Sputnik now comes with 3 month free trial on Joyent cloud

July 23, 2013

Joyent logoAs of today we are making available three months of free use of the Joyent Cloud to owners of the XPS 13 developer edition.

The idea behind Project Sputnik, has always been to provide a client-to-cloud platform for developers and today we are offering access to the Joyent Cloud to complete the solution.

What you get and how you get it

With the trial you get either two g3-standard-0.625-kvm instances running Ubuntu for 3 months or one g3-standard-1.75-kvm instance running Ubuntu for 3 months.

We will be setting up a landing page in the next day or two provide elegant access to the Joyent Cloud but for those who want to get started right away you can simply follow the “How do I get Started” instructions below.  We are kicking this off to begin with with 500 free accounts, first come first served.

3 components wJoyentProfile Tool and Cloud Launcher

Also available now are the Project Sputnik Cloud Launcher and profile tool.   The profile tool is designed to provide access to a library of community-created profiles, and to configure and quickly set up development environments and tool chains.  Today we have three sample profiles available: Emacs, Ruby and JavaScript.  Documentation on how to create a profile will be coming soon so stay tuned.

The cloud launcher creates a seamless link from the client to the cloud, to facilitate ongoing development of application environments.  There is a Juju version of the launcher that currently comes with Sputnik and today we are announcing a version that Opscode has developed which uses spiceweasel as its underlying library.  You can check out a demo of it here.  We are also working to connect the chef version of the cloud launcher to the Joyent trial, more to come on that soon.

But wait, there’s more

In related Dell Open Source news we’ve got a whole lot of momentum going on.  You can check out all the news in today’s press release but here are the highlights:

Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution

Now available with: OpenStack Grizzly support, support for Dell Multi-Cloud Manager (formerly Enstratius), and extended reference architecture support, including the Dell PowerEdge C8000

Dell Cloud Transformation Services

The new consulting services provide assistance with assessing, building, operating and running cloud environments, and enable and accelerate enterprise OpenStack adoption.

Dell Cloudera Hadoop Solution

Now supports the newest version of Cloudera Enterprise. Updates allow customers to perform real-time SQL interactive queries and Hadoop-based batch processing, simplifying the process of querying data in Hadoop environments.

Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop

Dell has tested and certified the Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop on Dell PowerEdge servers. Additionally Dell Solution Centers validated the reference architecture and developed a technical whitepaper that simplifies the deployment of Intel Distribution on the Dell platform

 Crowbar

Dell has released RAID and BIOS configuration capabilities to the Crowbar open source community.  SUSE has integrated Crowbar functionality as part of SUSE Cloud to make OpenStack-based private cloud deployments seamless.

Dasein open source project

Dell confirmed its commitment to further develop and support the Dasein open source project, as pioneered by recently acquired Enstratius.

Phew, a whole lot of shaking going on! :-)

===========================================

How do I get Started with Joyent Cloud trial

Step 1:

Open a terminal window press Ctrl + Alt +T

1.1. $ wget https://us-east.manta.joyent.com/jens/public/sputnik.tar

1.2. $ sudo tar -C / -xvf sputnik.tar

Step 2:

Find and run the “Install Joyent Public Could” in the launcher.

Look for the big Joyent LOGO.

Step 3:

Signup for a free trial account on the Joyent Public Cloud.

Open Firefox, goto http://www.joyent.com

Step 4:

Back in the terminal window, type the following command:

$ /usr/share/applications/joyentInstaller.sh

Step 5:

5.1. $ wget -O key-generator.sh https://us-east.manta.joyent.com/jens/public/key-generator.sh

5.2. $ chmod 755 key-generator.sh

5.3. $ ./key-generator.sh (enter you username and password for the jpc)

To source your new environment variables run the following commands

5.4. source ~/.bash_profile

Step 6:

6.1   To Confirm that the Joyent cloud SDK is installed:   $ sdc-listdatacenters

6.2   To confirm that the Joyent Manta SDK is installed:   $ mls /manta/public/sdks

How do I provision a new instance?

Sign in to the Joyent portal and click the  in the upper right portion of the screen. Once you’re there, the tool will walk you through the choice of datacenters, images, and instance types and sizes. You’ll have a chance to review the hourly and monthly cost of the instance, and provide a memorable name for the instance. Once you’ve decided on the type of instance that fits your project, click the  button and the system will ask to confirm your request. The provisioning will start immediately, but may take a few seconds to complete. Clicking on the new named instance will show its assigned public IP address when provisioning is complete. You may SSH into the instance with ssh -l root <ip address>.

How do I stop, resize or reboot instances?

Shutting down, resizing or rebooting your instance can all be executed through the customer portal of Joyent. In addition, we’ve provided a script you can use to perform these steps within your instance.

How do I install software on my instance?

To install or update software on your instance, you’ll need to run commands as either the administrative or root user of your instance. For tips on how to run commands and installation processes, check out the pages on how to install software on your instance.

How do I secure my instance?

Joyent take cloud security very seriously and we have refined many processes to reduce risk and preserve the integrity of data managed in your instance. For a full list of security checks and processes, please visit the security center in our documentation.

How do you manage your instance resource usage?

One of strengths of Joyent is the ability to have full and detailed transparency of every aspect of your infrastructure and application. You can use Cloud Analytics to provide you real-time, diagnostic heatmaps of system behavior. In addition, using these tips here can provide you better control over optimizing the performance of your instance.

How do you manage a database on your instance?

Instances on Joyent can be pre-configured to run a wide range of databases and database services. Joyent supports: MySQL, Percona, Riak, MongoDB, as well as integration to database services from companies like, Cloudant or MongoLab. For big data projects, Joyent is an ideal platform for configuring and running a Hadoop cluster. Check out these guides on how to set up a database or configure your Hadoop cluster.

How do you analyze performance of my instances?

Joyent is the best cloud in the industry for monitoring the entire health of your stack. Using Cloud Analytics, you have the ability to examine, in real-time, the performance characteristics of every level of your application, and network. If you just want to perform server level monitoring, we’ve built integration with leading monitoring tools from New Relic and Nodefly as well.

Where can I learn more?

Our documentation center and engineering blogs are terrific resources for you to learn more about Joyent and participate in the Joyent community. The Dev Center resources we’ve built for you will hopefully get you started on a path to success with Joyent. For additional help or training, please visit:

Pau for now…


Dell and Sputnik go to OSCON

July 18, 2013

Next week, myself, Michael Cote and a whole other bunch of Dell folk will be heading out to Portland for the 15th annual OSCON-ana-polooza.  We will have two talks that you might want to check out:

Cote and I will be giving the first and the second will be lead by Joseph George and James Urquhart.

Sputnik Shirt

And speaking of Project Sputnik, we will be giving away three of our XPS 13 developer editions:  one as a door prize at the OpenStack birthday party, one as a drawing at our booth and one to be given away at James and Joseph’s talk listed above.

We will also have a limited amount of the shirt to the right so stop by the booth.

But wait, there’s more….

To learn firsthand about Dell’s open source solutions be sure to swing by booth #719 where we will have experts on hand to talk to you about our wide array of solutions:

  • OpenStack cloud solutions
  • Hadoop big data solutions
  • Crowbar
  • Project Sputnik (the client to cloud developer platform)
  • Dell Multi-Cloud Manager (the platform formerly known as “Enstratius”)
  • Hyperscale computing systems

Hope to see you there.

Pau for now…


Shuttleworth raves about Dell XPS13 developer edition

May 24, 2013

At the OpenStack summit last month we caught up with Ubuntu and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth.

Below is a quick snippet taken from our chat with Mark where he talks about the Dell XPS 13 developer edition aka Project Sputnik.  Mark dubs the system “freakin’ awesome” and the “environment of choice for anyone doing web or cloud development.”  :)

Extra-credit reading

  • Laptop Week Review: The Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition With Ubuntu – TechCrunch
  •  It just works: Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Linux Ultrabook review – Ars Technica

Update: Project Sputnik Profile Tool and Cloud Launcher

May 6, 2013

During last week’s DevOps Days here in Austin, Matt Ray of Opscode and Charles Lowell of the Frontside did a demo showing the status of the Project Sputnik profile tool and the cloud launcher.  The profile tool is still at a very early stage, and while the Cloud Launcher exists today in the form of LXC + JuJu, we are working on a version that works using Chef.

After Matt and Charles’ talk I grabbed sometime with them as well as Chris McClimans of Opscode to talk about where we’re at, where we’re going and what’s a spice weasel.

Profile Tool & Cloud Launcher Tool Slide

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Sputnik satellite sited in Portland Oregon

April 26, 2013

Last week, during the OpenStack Summit that was held in Portland, Oregon, a 55 year-old soviet satellite was spotted a various indoor locations.  Rumor has it that the satellite was named after a project at Dell to create a developer client-to-cloud platform.

Sputnik satellite streaks through warehouse where Mirantis/Dell party is held.

Sputnik satellite streaks through warehouse where Mirantis/Dell party is held during OpenStack summit.

Sputnik satellite spotted hovering above Dell booth on the floor at the OpenStack summit.

Sputnik satellite spotted hovering above Dell booth on the expo floor at the OpenStack summit.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Talking OpenStack, DevOps and Project Sputnik at the OpenStack Summit

April 25, 2013

Last week Dell’s cloud group was out in force at the OpenStack Summit in Portland, Oregon.  Its amazing to see how the event has grown since the first design summit back in July of 2010.

I got to catch up with a bunch of people, and attend a few sessions and some parties.  I also got to spend a fair amount of time in our booth and was impressed by the amount of interest we had in the XPS 13 developer edition.

Near the end of the first day I joined John Furrier and Jeff Frick in the Cube for a chat.  We talked about the growth of OpenStack, DevOps and Project Sputnik.

Extra-Credit reading

Pau for now…


Ars Technica provides detailed review of Dell XPS 13 developer edition

April 22, 2013

If you’re thinking about getting a Dell XPS 13 developer edition you might want to check out the comprehensive review published by Ars Technica this weekend:

It just works: Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Linux Ultrabook review — Dell’s substantial investment in making a functional Linux Ultrabook pays off.”

Here is the summary intro:

In an effort originally known as Project Sputnik, Dell dedicated resources into doing Linux on an Ultrabook “right”—writing code where necessary (and contributing that code back upstream like a good FOSS citizen) and paying attention to the entire user experience rather than merely working on components in a vacuum. The result is a perfectly functional Ultrabook with a few extra tools—that “Developer Edition” moniker isn’t just for show, and Dell has added some devops spices into the mix with this laptop that should quicken any developer’s heartbeat.

Check out the entire review

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Available online in Europe, the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

March 1, 2013

Last week we announced the arrival of the 1080p version of the XPS 13 developer edition, code name Sputnik 2.  At that time the system was available online in the US and Canada and from Dell reps in Europe.  Today the system is available online in the following European countries:

  • Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK (see below for the links to the individual product pages).  Norway will be coming online next week.
The Ubuntu logo graces the base plate of the XPS 13 developer edition

The Ubuntu logo graces the base plate of the XPS 13 developer edition

Product pages for XPS 13 developer edition by country/language

Available by calling Dell

In the following three countries you get your hands on an XPS 13 developer edition by calling your local Dell office:

  • Finland +358 (0)207 533 533
  • Luxembourg +352 26 30 47 1
  • Poland +48 22 579 59 99

Working on

We are currently working out a strategy to try and support the following countries.  Stay tuned for updates.

  • Israel
  • Morocco
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • Turkey
  • UAE

With regards to the Asia Pacific region, we currently do not have plans to introduce the XPS 13 developer edition in that region.  We continuously listen for customer feedback and demand and will reevaluate accordingly.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


XPS 13 Developer Edition: Specsheet and a short overview

February 20, 2013

On Monday, we announced the new 1080p display for the XPS 13 developer edition and its upcoming availability in Europe and beyond.   To support that launch, here is the official spec sheet as well as a brief presentation on the project and resulting product.

Stay tuned for more news.

Pau for now…


Sputnik 2 is here: Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition goes 1080p and lands in Europe

February 18, 2013

source: greatbigcanvas.com

Sputnik 2 & Laika source: greatbigcanvas.com

When we launched the Ubuntu-based XPS 13 developer edition at the end of November we got a lot of great press.  That being said, the two complaints we heard loud and clear were 1) the resolution is too low, and 2) it needs to be available outside the US and Canada.  Since that time we have been working hard to address both.

As of today the XPS 13 developer edition comes with a Full HD (FHD) display (1920 x 1080) and has begun rolling out in Europe.

On beyond North America

ubuntu_black-orange_hexFor those in the USA and Canada Sputnik 2, the XPS 13 developer edition with the FHD display, is now available online.  Across the pond Sputnik 2 has started rolling out and will be available online next week.  I will post the links when they become available but here is the list of the countries where Sputnik 2 will be landing:

  • Available online – France, Germany, UK, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
  • Available from your Dell rep – Israel, Luxembourg, Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, UAE

With regards to the Asia Pacific region, we are currently evaluating options to introduce the XPS 13 developer edition in Australia and other countries in Asia, but don’t have details to share at this time.  That being said, if you would like to help with the introduction, share your opinion in the comments :)

XPS13-DEProduct specs

The new FHD version of the XPS 13 developer edition will replace the existing unit.  All other specs of this client-to-cloud solution will stay the same.

Here are the highlights:

  • Processor: 3rd generation Intel i7
  • Display: 13.3″ Full High Definition (1080p)
  • System memory: 8GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD graphics 4000
  • Hard drive: 256GB SSD drive
  • Standard Service: 1 year Dell ProSupport and onsite service after remote diagnostics
  • Operating system: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
  • Community projects: Cloud launcher and Profile tool

To reflect the upgrade to the improved display the new price for the solution will be $1,549.

What about the Cloud Launcher and Profile Tool?

Ever since we first announced that we were launching a project to explore the creation of an open source developer laptop, we talked about two associated community beta projects: The Cloud Launcher and the Profile Tool.

  • Profile Tool: The idea behind the profile tool is to provide access to a library of community created profiles on github, such as Ruby and Android, to quickly set up your development environments and tool chains.
  • Cloud launcher: The cloud launcher enables you to create “microclouds” on your laptop, simulating an at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud.

With the mad rush to get Sputnik and then Sputnik 2 out the door we haven’t focused as much attention on the associated projects as we would have liked.  Now that the systems are going out the door we are looking to kick them up a notch.  We will soon be taking the Profile Tool effort off of pause.

With regards to the Cloud launcher, we have big plans for it (its what puts the “cloud” in “client-to-cloud” solution).  Today the launcher uses Juju to jettison application environments from the laptop, to the cloud.  Recently though we have been working with Opscode to create another version that leverages Chef and that will connect to the Dell Cloud on Demand.  We should have a demo and more available soon!

Links and Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Intel and ARM systems in same chassis and managed remotely

January 21, 2013

Last week I was out in the Bay Area attending the Open Compute (OCP) Summit.  The event was packed and full of energy.  My employer Dell was a platinum sponsor and we were showing off  some pretty cool stuff:

At today’s Open Compute Summit in Santa Clara, California, Dell showed off a new generation of X-Gene 64-bit ARM-based servers that the company is developing for data center customers. It also demonstrated new management software based on Open Compute Project standards allowing remote control of both Intel and ARM-based servers. The software and server designs Dell demonstrated would allow Intel and ARM-based systems to run in the same chassis. – Ars Technica

Here is the schematic of the management system (check out the client running the ipmitool :)

OCPremonteManagement

As part of the first day plenary sessions, Dell VP and Senior Fellow Jimmy Pike gave a brief historical overview of computing and management, leading up to the above solution.

The next Open Compute Summit will be in Vegas in the fall.  Look for us there.

Extra credit reading

Pau for now…


Sputnik has landed! Introducing the Dell XPS 13 Laptop, Developer Edition

November 29, 2012

A little over six months ago we announced a scrappy skunkworks project to pilot a developer solution based on Ubuntu 12.04LTS and our sleek XPS 13 laptop.  Thanks to the amazing feedback and support we have received from the community, today we are announcing the availability of the resulting official product – the Dell XPS 13 laptop, developer edition.

What’s exactly is it?

Here is an overview of the components of this client-to-cloud solution and some key facts:

Hardware: XPS 13 laptop, high-end config

  • I7 CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD

Software

Price: $1,549 $1,449* (includes 1 yr ProSupport)

*Updated 11/30/12: the community pointed out we had not priced consistently across our online stores, this has been fixed.  This offering was always intended to be priced less than Windows.

Availability

  • Small office/consumer - U.S.
  • Enterprise – U.S./Canada
  • Outside the US  – early 2013

Community projects: Profile tool and Cloud Launcher

The profile tool and cloud launcher are beta open source projects that we have just kicked off on github.  These projects are quite nascent at this point and we are looking for more people to get involved and help get them going (hint, hint :) ) .

  • Profile Tool: The idea behind the profile tool is to provide access to a library of community created profiles on github, such as Ruby and Android, to quickly set up your development environments and tool chains.
  • Cloud launcher: The cloud launcher enables you to create “microclouds” on your laptop, simulating an at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud.  Today the launcher utilizes Linux Containers to model your environment on your laptop and then uses Juju to jettison that environment to the cloud.  The launcher project on github will allow for community expansion on this concept using different technologies and approaches.

How did we get here?

As I mentioned at the beginning, project Sputnik began as a skunkworks effort.  It was made possible by internal incubation fund designed to bring wacky ideas from around the company to life in order to tap innovation that might be locked up in people’s heads. 

Just weeks after the basic concept was greenlighted by the innovation team, it was publically announced as a pilot project at the Ubuntu developer summit.  The big focus of our efforts, particularly in the beginning, has been to work with Canonical to make sure that we had the appropriate drivers for all functionality including the pesky touchpad.

From the start, the idea was to conduct project Sputnik out in the open, soliciting and leveraging direct input from developers via our Project Sputnik StormSession, comments on this blog, threads on the Sputnik tech center forum as well as the project Sputnik beta program.  In fact it was the tremendous interest in the beta program that convinced us to take Project Sputnik from pilot to product.

I would like to give a special shout out to the beta cosmonauts who signed on.  They were an intrepid lot who were patient and diligent working through issues to help make sure that when we went to production we had a product that developers would want.

Where do we go from here?

The next big thing for XPS 13 developer edition is availability outside the United States.  We are working with teams inside of Dell to make this so as quickly as we can.  The other direction we are looking at potentially expanding is offering a bigger beefier platform for developers.  The XPS 13 is perfect for those who want an ultra light and mobile system but we have heard from a bunch of devs who would also like an offering that was more workstation-like with a bigger screen and more RAM.

Today is a very proud moment for our team, putting together an official Dell offering for developers with their input and suggestions through out the process.  Stay tuned for more to come!

 Pau for now…


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