Tagged: Enterprise

BIG IRON: The Manframe Story (so far)

If you look back to some of the original posts on this blog, one of the ideas that I share with respect to virtualization is that we are seeing an industry wide shift back to centralized computing. We have realized ‘the errors of our ways’ and are migrating from incredibly sprawled distributed computing infrastructures to smaller and tighter virtualized infrastructures. While we are still using x86 hardware and multiple distributed nodes, companies like VMware are allowing that hardware to operate as one homogenous logical machine. VMware is also taking huge strides in simplifying management across the infrastructure as well as making it easy to port more and more enterprise workloads into this homogenous infrastructure. Does this sound familiar? It should. It’s the modern rendition of the venerable, stable, secure and powerful mainframe. IBM Systems Magazine has partnered with CA Technologies to produce a short set of films that document the history of the mainframe from the 1960s through 2010 and beyond. It was definitely an interesting series and I think there is a lot that can be gleaned in terms of business computing, compliance, workload management, compatibility and infrastructure design. Take a look and leave some comments on what you think.

The Documentary Film Thousands of Years and Countless MIPS in the Making

BIG IRON: The Mainframe Story is the long-awaited chronicle of the most innovative and enduring computer technology the world has yet known.

CA Mainframe Chorus and IBM Systems Magazine co-present BIG IRON: The Mainframe Story (so far). This documentary film chronicles the mainframe’s origins and storied history with an eye toward its bright future. Each chronological segment features events, photos, video and factoids from Stonehenge and Alan Turing to System/360 and virtualization to System z10 and beyond. Experts, historians and innovators share their insights to bring the platform’s story to life.

Take a walk with us through Mainframe’s past and future history with BIG IRON: The Mainframe Story (so far).

VIEW the documentary by decade, or in its entirety (below):

RDBMS as a Service? In the Cloud? Yes!

There are many amazing things emerging out of Dreamforce 2010 (I really regret that I couldn’t make it) and thus far, one of the biggest may be Salesforce’s new RDBMS as a Service offering. I don’t suppose Salesforce could have purchased a better domain name, Database.com, but the prospect of having an RDBMS in the cloud is very appealing to a broad range of developers. So what is all the hoopla about with Database.com?

Well, Database.com is essentially an enterprise grade database that is offered as a service in a utility billing context. That means that you only pay for what you use. What does this mean for developers and organizations in terms of real world benefits? To start off, the need to pay the egregious licensing fees that Oracle charges are gone. Imagine if Oracle were to come to you as an enterprise and say “well since you only have X amount of records and execute Y amount of transactions with Z amount of users, you only need to pay X in licensing costs.” Yea right! Not going to happen. The reality is that with most RDBMS products, you will pay a minimum (yet high) licensing fee regardless of how much you actually use the database. Sure, the case can be made that you shouldn’t deploy such an expensive solution until you are ready for or absolutely need it, but in reality, do you want to work within those limitations? What if I told you that you could start off small for free and scale as you need to, only paying for what you actually consume in resources? Wait! That’s too fair. You can’t be fair in software licensing! Or at least enterprise vendors like Oracle would have you believe that.

So, with the very high level basics covered, lets do a quick summary (from the Database.com site) on what Database.com is.

“Say hello to Database.com Please leave hardware and software at the door.” I definitely concur.

What’s under the covers?

Sure, you can build tables, fields and relationships with Database.com, but it’s much more than that. It includes a social data model, file storage, user management, authentication and development tools that make it easy to build killer apps.

When you’re ready to put it into production it is automatically elastic. It’s massively scalable. It‘s automatically backed up. Upgrades are taken care of for you. What’s not to love about that?

What can I use it for?

Build your apps in any language, like Java, C#, Ruby or PHP. Run them on any platform, like Force.com, VMforce, Amazon EC2 or Google AppEngine. Or run them on any device, like the iPhone, the iPad, Android or Blackberry. They can all securely access Database.com through standards based APIs, like REST, SOAP, OAuth and SAML.

Built for mobile and social apps

Database.com makes it easy to build next generation business app. It comes with toolkits for connecting apps that run natively on mobile platforms. It also includes a social data model that makes it easy to build apps with profiles, status updates, news feeds and groups.

And finally…the pricing:

Free to Get Started

  • 100,000 records
  • 50,000 transactions per month
  • 3 users

Additional Capacity

  • $10 / month / additional 100,000 records
  • $10 / month / additional 150,000 transactions

Enterprise Services

$10 / user / month

  • Identity
  • Authentication
  • Row-level Security

Development of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS to incorporate major changes.

The Ubuntu team has decided to take a different approach to development for the next Long Term Support (LTS) release of Ubuntu. Lucid Lynx, which is slated for an April 2010 release, will benefit from these changes through increased stability, more focused agile development and a tighter synchronization with the main Debian development cycle. According to the Ubuntu LTS Wiki, the overall aim of an LTS release is to be more enterprise focused with increased hardware compatibility and more overall testing. What is not intended for an LTS release is cutting edge package inclusion nor a hot of new features. Because the core focus of an LTS release is stability, the user base should appreciate the level of refinement that will go into the release and not fret over the lack of ‘cool new features’ that often accompany non-LTS releases.

So how does Ubuntu plan to ‘reign in the sprawl’ with respect to development of Lucid Lynx? I believe Matt Zimmerman, technical leader of the Ubuntu project, said it best on his blog.

Merge from Debian testing

By merging from Debian testing, rather than the usual unstable, we aim to avoid regressions early in the release cycle which tend to block development work. So far, Lucid has been surprisingly usable in its first weeks, compared to previous Ubuntu releases.

Add fewer features

By starting fewer development projects, and opting for more testing projects over feature projects, we will free more time and energy for stabilization. This approach will help us to discover regressions earlier, and to fix them earlier as well. This doesn’t mean that Ubuntu 10.04 won’t have bugs (with hundreds of millions of lines of source code, there is no such thing as a bug-free system), but we believe it will help us to produce a system which is suitable for longer-term use by more risk-averse users.

Avoid major infrastructure changes

We will bring in less bleeding-edge code from upstream than usual, preferring to stay with more mature components. Where a major transition is brewing upstream, we will probably opt to defer it to the next Ubuntu cycle. While this might delay some new functionality slightly, we believe the additional stability is well worth it for an LTS release.

Extend beta testing

With less breakage early in the cycle, we plan to enter beta early. Traditionally, the beta period is when we receive the most user feedback, so we want to make the most of it. We’ll deliver a usable, beta-quality system substantially earlier than in 9.10, and our more adventurous users will be able to upgrade at that point with a reasonable expectation of stability.

Freeze with Debian

With Debian “squeeze” expected to freeze in March, Ubuntu and Debian will be stabilizing on similar timelines. This means that Debian and Ubuntu developers will be attacking the same bugs at the same time, creating more opportunities to join forces.

He goes on to talk more about the set of tools that the developers will be using to track their progress and the use of agile development methods to make that easier. The developers will also be posting their progress publicly so that the community can follow along. In essence, the final goal of this LTS release is to gain the confidence of IT departments who will be deploying Lucid Lynx and maintaining it for a period of years thereafter.