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  • December 15, 2017

    The technology industry is under broad political attack

    I apologize for posting a December downer, but this needs to be said.

    The technology industry is under attack:

    These attacks:

    You’ve surely noticed some of these attacks. But you may not have noticed just how many different attacks and criticisms there are, on multiple levels.

    Read more

    August 22, 2017

    Imanis Data

    I talked recently with the folks at Imanis Data. For starters:

    Read more

    August 17, 2017

    More notes on the transition to the cloud

    Last year I posted observations about the transition to the cloud. Here are some further thoughts.

    0. In case any doubt remained, the big questions about transitioning to the cloud are “When?” and “How?”. “Whether”, by way of contrast, is pretty much settled.

    1. The answer to “When?” is generally “Over many years”. In particular, at most enterprises the cloud transition will span multiple CIO’s tenure in their positions.

    Few enterprises will ever execute on simple, consistent, unchanging “cloud strategies”.

    2. The SaaS (Software as a Service) vs. on-premises tradeoffs are being reargued, except that proponents now spell SaaS C-L-O-U-D. (Ali Ghodsi of Databricks made a particularly energetic version of that case in a recent meeting.)

    3. In most countries (at least in the US and the rest of the West), the cloud vendors deemed to matter are Amazon, followed by Microsoft, followed by Google. And so, when it comes to the public cloud, Microsoft is much, much more enterprise-savvy than its key competitors.

    Read more

    August 10, 2017

    Notes on data security

    1. In June I wrote about burgeoning interest in data security. I’d now like to add:

    We can reconcile these anecdata pretty well if we postulate that:

    2. My current impressions of the legal privacy vs. surveillance tradeoffs are basically: Read more

    June 30, 2017

    Analytics on the edge?

    There’s a theory going around to the effect that:

    There’s enough truth to all that to make it worth discussing. But the strong forms of the claims seem overblown.

    1. This story doesn’t even make sense except for certain new classes of application. Traditional business applications run all over the world, in dedicated or SaaSy modes as the case may be. E-commerce is huge. So is content delivery. Architectures for all those things will continue to evolve, but what we have now basically works.

    2. When it comes to real-world appliances, this story is partially accurate. An automobile is a rolling network of custom Linux systems, each running hand-crafted real-time apps, a few of which also have minor requirements for remote connectivity. That’s OK as far as it goes, but there could be better support for real-time operational analytics. If something as flexible as Spark were capable of unattended operation, I think many engineers of real-world appliances would find great ways to use it.

    3. There’s a case to be made for something better yet. I think the argument is premature, but it’s worth at least a little consideration.? Read more

    June 16, 2017

    Generally available Kudu

    I talked with Cloudera about Kudu in early May. Besides giving me a lot of information about Kudu, Cloudera also helped confirm some trends I’m seeing elsewhere, including:

    Now let’s talk about Kudu itself. As I discussed at length in September 2015, Kudu is:

    Kudu’s adoption and roll-out story starts: Read more

    June 14, 2017

    The data security mess

    A large fraction of my briefings this year have included a focus on data security. This is the first year in the past 35 that that’s been true.* I believe that reasons for this trend include:

    *Not really an exception: I did once make it a project to learn about classic network security, including firewall appliances and so on.

    Certain security requirements, desires or features keep coming up. These include (and as in many of my lists, these overlap):

    More specific or extreme requirements include:? Read more

    June 14, 2017

    Light-touch managed services

    Cloudera recently introduced Cloudera Altus, a Hadoop-in-the-cloud offering with an interesting processing model:

    Thus, you avoid a potential security risk (shipping your data to Cloudera’s service). I’ve tentatively named this strategy light-touch managed services, and am interested in exploring how broadly applicable it might or might not be.

    For light-touch to be a good approach, there should be (sufficiently) little downside in performance, reliability and so on from having your service not actually control the data. That assumption is trivially satisfied in the case of Cloudera Altus, because it’s not an ordinary kind of app; rather, its whole function is to improve the job-running part of your stack. Most kinds of apps, however, want to operate on your data directly. For those, it is more challenging to meet acceptable SLAs (Service-Level Agreements) on a light-touch basis.

    Let’s back up and consider what “light-touch” for data-interacting apps (i.e., almost all apps) would actually mean. The basics are:? Read more

    June 14, 2017

    Cloudera Altus

    I talked with Cloudera before the recent release of Altus. In simplest terms, Cloudera’s cloud strategy aspires to:

    In other words, Cloudera is porting its software to an important new platform.* And this port isn’t complete yet, in that Altus is geared only for certain workloads. Specifically, Altus is focused on “data pipelines”, aka data transformation, aka “data processing”, aka new-age ETL (Extract/Transform/Load). (Other kinds of workload are on the roadmap, including several different styles of Impala use.) So what about that is particularly interesting? Well, let’s drill down.

    *Or, if you prefer, improving on early versions of the port.

    Read more

    April 17, 2017

    Interana

    Interana has an interesting story, in technology and business model alike. For starters:

    And to be clear — if we leave aside any questions of marketing-name sizzle, this really is business intelligence. The closest Interana comes to helping with predictive modeling is giving its ad-hoc users inspiration as to where they should focus their modeling attention.

    Interana also has an interesting twist in its business model, which I hope can be used successfully by other enterprise software startups as well. Read more

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