119 posts • joined 13 Jan 2010
Screw that, build your own
Re: Um... John Conner?
Perhaps they just haven't found him yet-
Re: Im all for bashing the NSA
The main issues with "hoarding" zero-day security flaws are these:
1) They will be kept secret and won't get fixed by the vendors.
2) You and I will never know whether our systems are vulnerable to these security flaws, until it is too late.
3) There is no guarantee these flaws won't be exploited by others, particularly if they are being sold on the black market.
All in all, an extremely irresponsible position to be taken by any government agency. They may have the power to penetrate a few bad guys, but the whole world is at risk of being pnwed.
Yes it happens, when the BOFH is not on the payroll
Accounting dept: We need more storage space for our end of year reports
IT Dept: of course, we'll get right on it. clickety click...
Okay, you can start using this new drive share as of tomorrow morning.
Accounting dept: We are still out of space.
Support Bod (me) dispatched to scene. I look at the complaining user's windows box and see the dreaded out of space bubble both for local and network drives.
Analysis reveals the accounts droid was cutting and pasting the department's extensive video collection (he was office video librarian and had more selections than Netflix, really) back and forth across the company network share and onto his colleagues C: drives for local viewing, pretty much whenever a hot new film was released.
Although traffic filtering rules prevented streaming video, they could not prevent resourceful users from home downloading, followed by an update of the office film repository with Hollywood's latest. Space quotas had long ago been vetoed by upper management.
Boy, did I enjoy explaining that one to the CFO.
There are other ways to make information gathering less intrusive>
1) Make all collected personal data more anonymous and collect only what is needed.
By all means, let AT&T gather and collect cell phone usage data to improve service, just ensure it can not be easily collated later and linked back to an individual.
This is slightly tricky but workable if the phone companies begin to police themselves. Google et al are already becoming proactive with encryption policies. It is high time that other businesses storing our personal data begin doing the same.
Personal data could be maintained separately for law enforcement purposes and billing. But this should only be for a reasonable amount of time (see below) and accessible only with a search warrant (remember those?).
We can also ensure that collected Personally Identifiable Data is assigned a fixed shelf life. Data owners (you and me) can then opt for either a) data persistence or b) data correction or deletion.
In fact, with a bit of effort, privacy, like security, can quickly become part and parcel of a good service/product design. Of course, it will require that policy makers and service providers speak and interact with some privacy experts.
Re: Interesting development
Most of the unpleasant knock-on effects of ubiquitous technology can be solved by better technology.
SMTP was a crap protocol for securing email, but the correctly applied use of private/public key technology solves many of the security issues associated with its use.
I for one, look forward to an internet where strong encryption of all communications data is routine and expected. We might then return to the same levels of privacy afforded by paper mail when it was sent inside sealed envelopes-
Obligatory Oatmeal comic reference
If you haven't seen it before you will love it
Of course the cloud will eat your lunch, time for a new diet
If you work from the premise that industrial evolution inevitably tends towards a more efficient system of production (a bit Darwinian, yes), many of the author's statements make complete sense.
Firstly, any startup business which needs IT or data center services will naturally gravitate towards cloud based offerings. Why? If investors must choose between building a million dollar computer site and a no capex, pay as you go model, which one do you think will win?
Secondly, if you are building and operating cloud centers and must choose between expensive proprietary OEM hardware OR cheap bulk-buy commodity hardware, what do you think will happen? Razor thin margins cut both ways and will continue to do so in future.
Thirdly, if you are a business with conventional data centers and about to renovate...... (unless you and your share-holders stuck your heads in buckets for the last few years).... you will have noticed the above trends and act accordingly.
All this spells a very disruptive future-present for companies that depend on proprietary hardware sales and outdated service models.
There are some clear winners already:
Google (sheer volume),
Amazon (sheer staying power),
and probably Microsoft (sheer presence in the enterprise and sheer marketing skill).
The losers will be the companies that refuse to adapt to the new reality.
The winners will be the ones who make the new reality work to their advantage.
And so it goes....
I see a future where the giants simply consolidate further and beat everyone else on price. New arrivals are going to have trouble competing with players lhat increasingly resemble the power utilities or telco monopolies of old.
Incumbents selling whips and buggies will need to up their game or find a new line of business. Has anyone seen a new PC or server manufacturer startup lately?
Of course, business owners and individuals will continue to shop around for cheaper electricity, gas, phone service etc. And the same will happen with computing resources.
But replacing the cloud utility with your own solution (unless it is a backup generator in an area with spotty power supply) will soon become foolhardy, because it just doesn't scale.
A fairly obvious bet.... BUT
Although movement towards public clouds may seem inevitable, companies that work with a hybrid, community or private cloud scenario are certainly not excluded from doing public cloud later.
If anything, a company's previous experience with private cloud solutions will make them very careful shoppers. Public cloud providers may need to work harder to win their business. And companies who choose private cloud technology can also work out their initial growing pains on their own terms and on their own-premises.
CAPEX and OPEX price tags are not the sole considerations for companies already running their own data centers., security, confidentiality, control and many other factors will also play a role in the business decision.
Whereas, for a startup, the decision to use cloud services is usually a no brainer.
I also like DIsk2VHD. TBH, the only time I ever had problems with it was when the network connection between the source and target became shaky, was less than optimal or had too many hops.
Problems like this can be quickly solved by putting both systems on the same switch or linking with a cross cable.
Re: It depends on the distro...
Or even a terminal window on a thin client, by golly
Re: as one of those unicorns
Re: as one of those unicorns
IMHO, there are two or maybe three ways to correctly use cloud services:
1) as a palliative, quick fix for certain start-up data processing problems (not having enough to build and run your own data center is an obvious one). Of course, if your business goes viral, AWS and its brethren quickly become the more costly option, so remember to stay in touch with your disgruntled, unemployed but talented techie friends and associates.
2) A properly analyzed, properly specced solution to existing data processing problems (like not having enough resources to manage demand spikes, resiliency needs or other scale-out, scale-up scenarios).
3) A solution for rationally compressing and optimizing traditional data centers, after doing all the homework and analysis.
All these scenarios presume that the management and IT bods (if any are involved) can do the math that will honestly and accurately assess, measure and monitor real work-flow capex and opex requirements.
By extension, that also presumes their ability to distinguish between snake oil and offerings which can provide measurable ROI. Use of a cloud service, provider or technology does not automatically eliminate the need for sysadmins, support or other technical people in the enterprise. But these roles will certainly evolve, some may disappear, some new ones may be created. In the old days, it was called skilling up. Nowadays, pink slips seem to be the preferred solution and are the uglier side of technological disruption.
But those who believe cloud services can cure any disease and solve any problem deserve what they get. There are many vultures waiting in the clouds ready to pick apart their plump, juicy carcasses.
Again and again, the technology is never the real issue, it is the PEOPLE who buy, deploy and make the wrong technological decisions that cause the heartbreak.
Cloud technologies are just tools in a box, not the Second Coming. Realizing this is the first step towards more success stories.
Re: Good lad!
Yes but every good conspirationist knows this part of the US is well known for its UFO crashes, top secret experimental government sites, missing gangsters and multiple sightings of Elvis Presley.
A Nevada teenager building a nuclear reactor probably wouldn't even make the evening news.
One vote up for a great comment! I just wish I could upvote the headmaster as well.
" I don't really get the point of Bitcoin. Any legal transaction can be done just as easily and cheaply with PayPal or the right (no foreign currency loading) credit card. "
Bitcoin transactions incur little to no costs for parties involved in the bitcoin transaction.
Paypal doesn't charge when you pay someone else, but they do charge the recipient/seller. The same rule applies to credit cards (for which we normally pay a yearly fee). Merchants can pay as much as 4 % for a credit card transaction.
In a bitcoin transaction, you simply transfer money from your electronic wallet to theirs. This incurs no bank fees, no wire transfer charges, no currency conversion commissions, etc. With the current volatility of bitcoin exchange, it does incur some risk for private transactions, but merchants now have tools that allow them to convert bitcoin at the prevailing exchange rate to minimize that risk.
You can also quickly verify whether or not the bitcoin transaction went through (and when). The recipient can do the same. You just look at the block chain to see if it worked or is on its way.
Try to do that with an international bank transfer or by calling Visa when an online transaction has disappeared, gone awry or been trapped in the system.
The decentralized nature of the crypto-currency environment is both a weakness (because no one entity seems to control it, which causes concern, and leads to abuses) and a strength (because anyone who wants to can play at little cost).
The fact that the government has little to no involvement with bitcoin transactions is a mainstream-press sideshow that distracts the public from the true power of a bitcoin eco-system.
Fortunately for bitcoin and its users, nothing is more dangerous than a good idea.
The Silk Road bust has shown that the government can and will go after bad guys who use crypto currency for their nefarious deeds. Bitcoin is probably easier to trace then real cash.
Hence the reason cyber-crims are starting to make their own crypto coins and deserting bitcoin.
Bitcoin enables small (and large) businesses to save a lot by using it for online transactions. Essentially the middle man is gone. I would argue that the crypto-currency model is exactly what online payments and transfers would be using (think PayPal 2.0) , if they had been designed correctly from the beginning, instead of being bolted onto existing payment physical systems.
Any bitcoin regulation will most likely come from the bitcoin community.
In this respect, bitcoin works a lot like any open source software project.
So when will El Reg get a bitcoin icon? Or better yet, a bitcoin donation button?
At least one Fed Reserve person has read about bitcoin
Interestingly, Manchin's campaign was financed by JP Morgan (amongst others) so there is just the "slightest" possibility he has a banking industry axe to grind.
The Manchin letter also makes great reading (particularly when you substitute "US Dollar" for "bitcoin").
I'm impressed that the BTC foundation made such a level-headed response to the senator's transparent attempt to grab headlines before the mid-term elections.
The Bitcoin Foundation's response:
I believe bitcoin is here to stay and will most likely flourish. There are security warts of course, but the advantages are rapidly starting to outweigh the disadvantages. Once the Mt. Gox mess is resolved and some decent security best practices have been defined, I predict a very bright future for bitcoin. New types of online business, new payment systems, lots of potential work for unemployed financial services staff and analysts etc.
Could be just what we need.
Who can remember how difficult and time-consuming it was to patch MS platforms BEFORE the introduction of tools like WSUS and scheduled monthly patch releases?
Trust me... it was a lot worse... Now it is almost routine
Nice article, thanks for the linkz
Re: Very local services: talk to neighbours?
There is a pretty succint definition of defamation (which can be either spoken "slander" or written "libel") here
If defamation with intent occurred, then the people who defamed the plaintiff can expect some civil or crinimal punishment, particularly if the anonymous defendants are unable to prove their claims and the judge or jury then rules that claims were intended to do harm Of course, they must first identify who made the comments in the first place, hence the interest of this case.
For me, putting a comment onto Yelp is somewhere on a par with running an ad in a newspaper or publishing an article in a consumer choice magazine.
If your business is all about reputation grading, then some due diligence is clearly in order. Should Yelp prohibit anonymous contributions or withdraw the shield from anonymous commentary when required by a subpoena? For the latter, my guess is yes, they may well have to. After that, there are still a lot of legal minefields to navigate, so it is anybody's guess what will happen next.
OTOH, putting something on a public forum (like this one) against a public figure is usually held to a lower standard, given that people in the public eye have to expect a certain amount of mud slinging.
Besides, people wouldn't normally come to the Register or the New York Times to ask about a restaurant or dry cleaner's service. But even if they did, smart posters would probably express their honest opinions and not willingly and deceptively defame a restaurant or dry cleaner's reputation. As far as I recall, expressing one's political views, parodizing or satrically expressing opinions about public figures is stlll OK, even in today's increasingly paranoid cyberspace.
All in all, this would be an interesting test case. Libel and slander cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute effectlvely in the US, perhaps less so in the UK. Most people will settle out of court for a retraction or public apology. Proving that monetary damages were incurred from defamation is also pretty hard.
But I am not sure I'd want our multiple fanboi rantings and the occasional tirades seen on illustrious sites like this one to ever be qualified as defamation (particularly anonymous ones!). But most of us reasonable types take the anonymous with the bad.
Re: SMTP connections are (often) still unencrypted
Thanks for that reminder, I just checked a mail recently sent by my banks' robo-reply.
Interestingly (this is GMAIL) the message is not encrypted when sent to me from the GMAIL server via an unroutable private address 10.x.x.x, therefore not encrypted within Google's walls. More defense In-depth would be a welcome next step for our friendly neighborhood service providers but that may be a while coming, if ever-
The bank however is encrypting with ESMTPS and the mail content is indeed encrypted inside my header. The bank's encryption standard is (version=TLSv1 cipher=RC4-SHA bits=128/128) which isn't tops as stated in the article, but better than none.
Keep spreading the word, Marcel. If nothing else. this might make more people pay attention to the level of security (or lack of it) accorded to the private communications they send over public networks.
Tablets are ok for performing basic software input functions and consulting cloud data and apps, yada yada.
I think of mine as a bigger, slightly better, more visible smart phone I can use to check my email, social networks, skype, flight reservations, and ebay. It lets me play games on the train, occasionally take a poke at the Android OS or even read the Register.
I willingly accept its limitations.
Because of their small size, light-weight, decent battery life and mobility, tabs CAN BE marginally better (or just more convenient) for some tasks but that's where it stops for me.
For real work, I still must go upstairs and fire up the big, fan-cooled iron/silcon beast sitting in my office.
That's why I'm now typing this post on a KVM guest session. Way easier and faster than typing it on my tab (and way, way faster and easier than typing it on a smart phone). And why is that so?
Primarily because it has a physical keyboard.
Do typing speed tests qualify as scientific proof? Methinks yes.
My laptop, desktops and servers can be used for testing, building VM environments and tools, doing backups, burning and storing media, developing/compiling code, or typing/creating documents and SO MANY, MANY other things.
A large percentage of tasks are too clumsy, slow or impossible to do on a tab. I'm still trying to teach mine to print, for heaven's sake.
Yeah yeah sure, I can SSH or RDP to another server from my tablet, but why would I bother?
It's like choosing a dial up network connection over a readily available 1 GB connection.
Maybe if both my legs were broken and I couldn't make it upstairs.
And if you needed any more evidence that touch hasn't quite conquered the world for anything more than the simplest tasks, try using a tablet with USB keyboard and kick stand for any length of time.
At first, the kludge is amusing. However, it will soon dawn on you that you've transformed your sweet little tablet into a mutant, bastard-child: a reduced-function, crippled, schizophrenic laptop.
And if you are like me, you will quickly return to finger mode and leave that bastard child alone, unless you have no other choice.
Chromebooks have combined the best features of both worlds (an Android OS and a physical keyboard) but still look like laptops without wifi hardware to me. I think we are still missing a few links in this technological evolution. It's either that or the economy has failed to cull enough marketing droids.
Tablets make sense if your business is delivering packages, taking notes, looking at pictures, reading web pages, taking opinion polls, taking bar/restaurant orders. visiting customers and so on.
They have their place in the data entry eco-system and that space will continue to grow.
But even today, I believe a web or graphics designer would balk at doing any serious work on a commodity tablet. As would most sys admins, developers or DBAs. I mean would you seriously drop a corporate database table with a finger swipe or from a mini keyboard?
Not on my tablet, you wouldn't, although it's OK for playing Angry Birds.
Will that ever change ?....... maybe one day.
However, there are good reasons why replacing the keyboard and mouse is not a trivial challenge, despite the hype.
Keyboards have existed since the 19th century and pointers have been around for decades.
This is because they work and are still the most efficient tools for data entry.
Such venerable devices need to be replaced by BETTER options before they can disappear completely.
In sum, when it becomes just as simple to do your job on a super-thin tab client as it is on a traditional thick desktop, you might. As long as the opposite is true, you, like me, will probably keep going back to that office/keyboard. And the five million souls who can only pay 30 quid for their tablet will still find its use restricted to certain tasks, at least for now.
Did I miss something?
Don't understand why the user won't use OwnCloud?
It is relatively easy to set up and use on a Debian platform, a little harder to set up on IIS, but doable.
Security is in the eye of the beholder, both platforms can be locked down to nearly anyone's requirements.
Inquring minds and all that.....
Try Owncloud, you can set up your own file sync service on the server of your choice.
Some assembly required-
Easy to set up and manage, particularly on a Linux box, a little more tricky to get running on a Windows box
Re: Oh come on...
Agreed, the only way to justify an investment in WIndows 8 is if you have already justified the investment in touch screens and smart devices that will make it usable.
Otherwise there isn't much point. When everybody starts working on tactile screens and tablets, Windows 8 (or 9) will probably surge into the workplace.
In the meantime, Android tablet and smartphone devices will keep getting people very interested in the new eco system that is touch computing.
Re: Even Win 7 is iffy
Currently migrating 2000 XP users onto Windows 7. This is an international public sector organization customer, so things only get done here when there is no other choice,
Most of the users are loving WIN7. The fact that most of them already have 7 installed at home helps.
It runs faster than XP and virtually all their apps (with some small exceptions) are working just great. In my opinion 7 is one of the better desktop OSes ever released by Microsoft, with XP a close second.
Before the anti-MS down voters swoop down from the rafters, I'm have also been a *nix user since the mid 80s. Different strokes for different folks. Large organizations will keep buying Windows because is easier to manage, support and deploy, not because it provides any perceptible technical superiority over other OSes.
I've been shopping around for some cheap Android phones on a couple of Chinese sites, take a look here
All good fun and some are in the 80 to 125 USD range. Check it out
Could have been worse
I counted 32 patches on my Win 7 laptop this morning all OK.
At work, patching is handled by a managed up date tool and other than being longer than usual (50 updates!) it had been delayed long enough to avoid the madness.
Patch in haste, repent at leisure
Re: Why Southeastern sold?
Dell closed at 13.82 and was up 0.84 % on Friday, so I don't think that strategy is working out.
More likely that SAM just decided to take some money and run.
My guess is Big Mike will end up paying 14 bucks a share one way or another, but a least he should be able to take the company private, which is a good thing.
After all, it has his name on it.
Re: Or somewhere in a darkend room..
.........a sysadmin is feeling both despair and a strong desire to change their underwear, identity, job and town.
Re: Time to grow up and why Less is More
The question is not whether we should allow a democratically elected (sort of) government to freely slurp up all available data on it's citizens.
The government will slurp up that data, as long as it can afford to and citizens allow it. If it is done legitimately, for valid reasons and intelligent, democratically legislated safeguards are in place (as opposed to secret courts and gag orders) then why not?
Why can't we do it that way?
Because there are quite a few things missing from the equation.
What will government agencies do with this data?
How much will it cost the economy to collect and store this data?
How long will it be stored?
Who will pay for it?
Who will have access to this data?
Who can see what data has been collected?
Who can change the data when it is incorrect?
What safeguards will exist to ensure the data will not be used illegally or abusively?
What recourse exists when the collected data has been used abusively or illegally?
Quid pro bono?
Google slurps up our data to send us targeted advertising,
Most of us can accept that.
But, if you need:
a driver's license,
a plane ticket,
a credit card,
a bank account ,
access to the court system,
a liquor or business license,
to build or buy a house,
to buy a car.
to drive or park your car
you will eventually interface with some government entity.
Many of us can accept that as well.
But there are MANY good reasons why public officials should only govern with the consent of the governed.
Governments can fine you, prevent you from travelling, conscript you, start wars, print money, deprive you of your liberty....take you to court...etc.
They also gather revenue, pass laws, spy on other countries, hunt and catch criminals, isolate deviants, identify subversives and dissidents, influence public opinion based on current trend analysis, profile individuals and groups etc.
And this is just the obvious stuff they can do with our data.
I think I'd rather take my chances with the targeted advertising.
Of course, you could stop using google anytime you want or even go off the grid completely, but your life would soon become very complicated.
Hardly an option for most people living in a modern society.
Reasoned debate (and laws) that ensure a civilized amount of data and privacy protection, data isolation, anonymization, limited retention and limits to data access, will provide us with much better protection than ranting on forums (valuable as that is!).
In fact, less. more-restricted, government data gathering should be the goal as it will translate into more individual privacy and freedom. less burning of public money, and more international respect for the US.
Getting people and public officials to debate all of this rationally is the first big challenge. Finding and electing the officials who can even understand these issues is already a challenge.
I am happy that some individuals and organizations are at least defining and confronting the issues.
Strange that major laws had to be broken before such issues could even make it to the public radar.
Personally, I do not like seeing publically elected officials trying to minimize these issues. They should confront them head on and help frame the debate, not ignore it.
Spending more money on security theater is not making us safer, it is making us poorer.
And with 20 % of the US already living under the poverty line, it won't be too long before there are real security problems to worry about.
Living in a relatively free society, we need to debate and define the limits of control we are willing to live with and then vote. Less is more.
Make sensible rules and abide by them. Less is more.
Elect people who can be trusted to apply any such rules fairly and objectively.
And kick them out when they don't.
Less is more.
Or as they say
Experience is the ability to recognize a mistake... before you make it again
More like sticking your head in, seeing that no one is home and then using the phone to dial everybody else in the neighborhood.
Re: So many choices...@Tank boy
My Mint laptop (an ancient IBM a21p) has become the backup web browser for the whole family (one wife and two pre-teens). There was a little resistance at first, but it evaporated when they saw it could do most of what was needed (surf, send mail). Learning curve was small to none (login, click here, select Internet and select Firefox). I also tried Puppy, Lubuntu and Xubuntu but found Mint provided the best hardware support.
Mind you, this laptop is nearly 12 years old (an Intel P III), and has a whopping (maximum) 512 MB of memory.
The box is way too old to run WIN7 and used to struggle with XP which is why I tried Mint, after a friend's suggestion.
Some assembly was required to make all laptop features work but this is also a great way to learn about Linux.
If your box is somewhere above that spec, you should be happy but I would try a Live CD trial first before going large.
In the interests of full disclosure, I do get a little more resistance when this laptop can't play the occasional You tube video.
It also can't run Chrome (because it runs out of memory) so FF only, instead. If anyone here can suggest a better browser for this venerable laptop, please do. I can't put anymore memory inside. It works reasonably well with HTML5 sites that do video.
But these are all hardware resource issues, not OS issues. Otherwise, no complaints.
I found one of the best things about MInt was the community of people who have made it run on a large variety of hardware platforms (old and new) and are happy to share their experience.
Go for it. !
Re: Mint is great but ...
Agreed, stay with the stable LTS Ubuntu version..... although Fedora and Redhat are pretty solid releases as well. I'm also a Mint fan.
A good sub note to this article would have been to talk about Linuxes for really small hardware like Puppy, Lubuntu and Debian squeeze. Some people like to install Linux to keep old under-powered boxes that can't run Windows as viable desktop units (Guilty...) A lot of people also don't know that it is remarkably easy to boot and run a working *nix right off a USB stick or CD, (try that with Windows).
Good article, most impressed by the number of commentards.... and the so-far non fanatical discussions.
Re: Small fine
What is this obsession with letting bureaucrats define market choices?
The world economy and in particular the EU have enough things to worry about without having to tax or fine every thing that moves. That is no way to rebuild the economy.
It's getting downright medieval and will only stifle trade and economic growth further. One of the many reasons the Great Depression became Great was because the major trading nations of the era decided that the best defense was a good offense. The resulting trade and tariff wars only worsened the situation further. It took a World War before the world economy could get off the ground again.
The best thing these clowns can do is get out of the way and let the market decide. Given the current state of affairs and most IT budgets, my money is on FOSS and lower cost, cloud based solutions. Bring it on, and may the best browser win.
Re: Teenage mutant Ninja turds
I started off fine, now I'm feeling a little queasy....
Re: i feel the same way!
Nice attempted bow shot from VMware and an equally nice retort from AWS. But I still think Amazon won on points.
Of course nothing beats actually understanding how to use the virty systems, the cloud OSes, the models and the related technologies effectively in the first place. Unfortunately, such people are thin on the ground or busy getting shouted down by entrenched luddite vendors or their customers.
As a result, people will continue to dump their server loads onto AWS (and pay too much) or shell out big bucks for VMWare (and still pay too much) either because
a) they haven't looked at alternatives
b) haven't correctly sized their public/private cloud requirement (if any) in the first place.
But reasons like a) and b) have spawned bad purchasing decisions for decades and will continue to do so.
Fact is, all these solutions have their attractions and warts,
ONE MUST CHOOSE the warts and attractions that best fit and respond to their particular situation(s).
A pinguin, because most of the really cool cloud deployments are running on "nixen anyway.
But I like Hyper-V too.
Blue Pill? Red Pill?
Except that there is so much more to the "cloud" than Microsoft Azure.
First of all, I do not like using the term "cloud". It is basically a marketing buzz word and means whatever people want it to mean. Unfortunately, we need some kind of shorthand term so cloud it is, at least for today.
Second of all
Cloud != the end of IT as we know it.
Arguing that this Azure meltdown invalidates all cloud solutions is like saying the Toyota brake system recall invalidates the internal combustion engine.
Azure is a public "cloud" service that offers storage and compute resources for rent. For many companies, that can be incredibly useful and cost effective. Microsoft is one of multiple companies offering the same service. It is using technology that is readily available to private IT shops. This market is growing by 40 % annually.
Although Azure just failed at providing that service (for about 12 hours based on recent reports), it doesn't mean cloud services and technology can't be used successfully by people who know what their doing.
With the proper staff and know-how you can build your own Azure cloud and still save money. You may even do it better than MS (or not).
Like all tech, when used properly cloud solutions can save money and even generate new business.
But a LOT of people just can't or won't grok this.
I suspect that weavers and carriage drivers also refused to accept steam engines and cloth looms, but hey, whatcha gonna do?
Refusing to understand mega trends is a very counter-intuitive approach in a market where there is a massive shortage of people with cloud skills but clearly no shortage in ostrich techies.
A business needs IT systems that help them make and save money . This fundamental rule still applies to even the most "special" environment, particularly during a bust economy
You also imply that managers choosing cloud options have never thought about the risks. But I fail to see how managers can even assess these risks without some knowledge.
When was the last time a manager asked you about the risks associated with this or that redundant power supply, server clustering technology or the company's off-site backup strategy ?
Would "never", "once" or "hardly ever" be right answers?
Imagine if these same managers then asked their IT people about the cloud and were effectively told it "it is too risky and it sucks". Then next weekend, one of their country-club drinking buddies explained how cloud services saved their company 1,000,000 USD on last year's IT budget.
I suggest you at least learn about cloud options so you can explain them to PHBs, otherwise someone else will.
It really is that simple.
Re: This doesn't kill "the cloud" for me
Good points cpreston,
Microsoft Azure is not the only cloud service available. And I have never seen or heard of a data center that has met a 100 % SLA. Not in my past 25 years in the business. We will have to wait for Skynet Singularity and the deletion of all humans before that happens.
All these big cloud players must have at least one MAJOR fail on their books (look at AWS in Northern Virginia, FFS) as do .... *cough" .. most, if not all ,privately managed data centers.
Some of these massive failures make the news, and some ... don't.
Statistically, they are most often caused by human error.
Afterwards, failure can be measured economically (the right way) or by the degree of exposure and ensuing media frenzy (the most common way).
I will admit this is a rather SPECTACULAR fail because of the company, number of data centers, customers and zones involved. The apparent simplicity of the reason for which it happened just makes it juicier (but when is there ever a good reason?).
"Too big to fail" might work for banks and investment houses. But that 21st century oxymoron will never apply to data centers, networks, nuclear power plants, ATC systems, etc. Some things just can't be covered up. Hidden or ignored flaws have a way of finding you, usually late at night , when you are sleeping, on vacation or having a coffee break.
Whilst some of us can still rush in during that bank holiday weekend and bring the payroll system back to life before Monday morning (after a long-ignored, "too expensive to fix", SPOF finally pukes all over the system) and leave quietly with no one the wiser, that doesn't make us particularly smarter, it just makes us lucky.
Fortune 500 managed systems proposing 24/7/365 availability are obviously held to a higher standard. I suspect some highly-placed corporate dweeb-bonehead-ms-drone-bean-counter (choose all that apply) decided that automatic cert renewal might be too *expensive*. Which could also explain the magnitude of the policy error.
School boy mistake indeed.
Personally, I would call it a hanging offense, at the very least worthy of a hefty and vigorous b*tch slapping followed by 4 year re-assignment to an Alaskan data center. Pity the poor fool who ends up taking the rap.
Full disclosure: yes I did see this happen (once) in our shop, to a little-used web service.
We were lucky and smarter afterwards. Policy put in place, etc. forgiven and forgotten, bla
IMHO cloud computing will become a much healthier and more viable eco-system when it is no longer dominated by a handful of big players. Accidents like this will improve cloud deployments in the long run, particularly if companies start hiring and listening to talented people again.
Remember there is more than one way to do cloud, here are just a few:
1) Go public all the way, preferably with non-core services first until you gain confidence. There are many options out there, just go look at them.
2) Set up your own private cloud first and think about what you can peel off to a public cloud, when and if it becomes economically justifiable
3) Some hybrid of the two.
Of course, step 0 is to conclusively prove that any proposed cloud option(s) are less expensive and troublesome to run than by using your conventional data center. That is not always easy to do. But as soon as you have that proof, ît is time to to consider cloud services and solutions in the same way you consider any IT purchase. Of course, some research, assembly and homework will be required.
Remember that as long as it's cheaper and easier to do cloud options, companies will.
Although some companies may be CAREFULLY re-thinking that Azure subscription (or at least re-negotiating it).
A self -confessed, mildly obsessed, fanboi, cloud-tech lover
Re: I can see both sides... YEAH But
Unlocking your phone and technically breaking your contract with Joe Telco is a bit naughty, particularly if you signed or clicked on a document saying that you wouldn't.
However, I don't think it deserves the draconian penalties provided in the DCMA. In fact, I can't even see how the DCMA applies. What started out as a not too bad but slightly outdated law, now just looks like a charter for corporate, copyright holder oppression.
Before the world went insane, breaking contractual terms (like those you might sign with a mobile provider or those implicitly agreed to when you bought a magazine or book) were private, civil matter.
So were copyright issues. I would like to know why jail breaking a phone is now on a par with capital crimes and major felonies in terms of real punishment.
Why should a quasi monopoly with lots of money be able to criminalize its customers and put them into orange jumpsuits? Most of these fecking contracts are only worth 20 bucks a month.
I'm still trying to understand how it got this bad.
People need to vote with their feet, technology AND their wallets....
If a good cloud mobile phone solution with un-restricted access (and free device unlocking existed) consumer choice would soon put monopolist turds out of business.
Class-action suits', massive boycotting of firms that restrict your consumer rights , followed by some serious trust-busting wouldn't hurt either. Instead, we are still giving them money.
I seem to recall there were laws against this kind of boorish corporate behavior, but they aren't being used anymore. What ever happened to people like Ralph Nader? Or common sense?
Laying down and taking this crap will just encourage monopolists to take your first born, next time.
Re: eh heh heh heh
Various IP location services now map it in Wichita Kansas.
On opening day, it was mapped a block away from the White House.
The fat man may not understand digital economics as well as you Andrew, but he certainly understands irony.
Re: 352 million PCs
Recently bought four old dell T300s for about 200 bucks apiece on Ebay. .These boxen have E5 2.8 Ghz x64 procs and can host multiple virtual servers and desktops. They can be built up to use 8 TB of disk space and 24 GB of ram. I now have a cheap server farm which can be used for testing, real work or hosting virtual desktops for many of my aging client systems which have a network connection. Why buy a new PC?
In fact it's almost a waste of time and money to buy any new kit at all, unless I just want to look flash on the train (or get mugged). And the flood of trailing edge hardware on the gray market just keeps getting bigger. I might be tempted to buy a tablet or very cool smartphone, when they become even cheaper, otherwise forget it.
I suspect this trend will accelerate, PCs are just too last millennium
Re: I can claim the fist phishing then?
My favorite was to go to an unattended (but logged in) DEC VT and change the users' login prompt to
Heh heh! Hours of fun.... and much more powerful and effective than a thousand "lock your terminal, you silly git" security reminders!
Ah yes, those were the days,,,,,
Re: State funded is a bad thing?
The arguments you put forth are sound (although I don't like the state-funded part, very much). In general, the state doesn't do a very good job of regulating anything, and the internet is no exception.
The most obvious consequence of the internet's impact on the entertainment industry is that there are now many more outlets for creative content distribution i.e. netflix, spotify, Itunes, streaming radio and of course, bit-torrents and pirate bays. For the most part, consumers are flocking to these outlets because they get what they want, not because they don't want to pay. All attempts to stop this natural market progression are doomed to fail.
Simply put, the business model of stamping content onto bits of plastic and charging for each physical unit's consumption is on its deathbed
What is not dead is the need to continue paying artists and creators for their work.
As a consumer, my wish is to consume music, film, television and news anywhere and everywhere without having to open my wallet every time I consume.
Given that the internet is the shared medium by which this all happens, it is clear that billing (if there is to be any) must happen here, at what is essentially the point of sale.
So, logic (as well as human economic behavior) dictates that we will move ever closer to centralized internet distribution models where customers can pay a flat rate and artists should get a fair percentage of that rate payment.
This is what the entertainment industry should try to develop, if it wants to survive. I (and I am sure many will agree with me) would happily pay a bit more for my monthly bandwidth connection if it let me watch the latest blockbuster films (in my favorite language), play all my oldies but goldies and listen to the latest music offerings, without shelling out 20 bucks and discovering that it is crap.
Those who want to sell me content should make my life easier, not harder. I don't have any trouble seeing that extra revenue I spend each month go back to the people who provide that content.
Re: Profit != Turnover
But these are MPs, and they sometimes struggle with real-life accounting principles, unlike the businesses that help pay for their nice offices. chaffeurs and stately homes.
Re: The problem
Free markets tend to drive prices down and encourage innovation. When the US automotive industry last used Congress to crack down on lower priced, economical (and better quality) Japanese imports, the US auto industry stagnated for decades while the Japanese proceeded to dominate world markets.
I would like to believe we learned a lesson from that last big clusterf*k but this latest debacle doesn't help convince me.
Trade wars and protectionism killed too many people and jobs in the last Great Recession, it really is time to move on.
I've been using DNT in three browsers (chrome, FF and IE) for months and here is my verdict
a) anything that stops advertisers or other parties from tracking people's online activity is a good idea, YAY Microsoft.
b) DNT works reasonably well under Chrome, great under FF, but breaks IE9 every 5 minutes. The IE10 upgrade will be installed on my box, if it performs as advertised. Otherwise, I will be sticking with its competitors
c) As pointed out, there is a difference between advertising and tracking. I don't want ads all over my page, but accept that they help web site operators pay the bills. What I do resent is people hoovering up where I have been and what my favorite pages are etc and then monetizing it or worse. A Minority Report life experience is not really what I want for myself or my kids.
We need to fight back before privacy becomes a quaint old-fashioned notion. This will help set the example
The good old days.... yeah I remember those
My grandfather worked most of his life for a Fortune 500 where he enjoyed a very successful career. He even wrote a book about it. He strongly believed that treating employees like human beings was the secret to building a successful company.
But before that golden era, he spent a brief, dark period working as a clerk in an accounting firm. This was back in the 1920s, BTW.
One of his favorite stories was about their accounting office manager. This martinet insisted that employees lift their finger (just like in primary school) whenever they needed to go to the loo. You can imagine the rest of that dickhead's management style. The fact this behavior was considered asinine even in the 1920s kind of says it all.
Personally, I believe this McManager fellow is representative of the new/old dysfunctional-economy McManager. McManagers don't buy into any of this touchy-feely "people-management" human stuff but can still quote and apply a mean rule book. They are great people to have on the team, particularly if you are trying to destroy a team.
I suspect there were also many such no-style, no-imagination guys around during the years leading up to the Great Depression. But people like him are not really fit to manage a customer service organization because their management style eventually trickles down to the rest of the staff. Eventually this leads their companies and shareholders into ruin, unless they are removed first.
In the 1930s, people called them "spotters" I have no idea what they are called today but I am sure fellow Reg-readers can provide a few choice epithets.
McManagment proponents need to be weeded out now, before the rot grows and they start giving employee-management seminars.
After flipping a few thousand burgers, some might even learn humility and become fit to manage.
Personally, I hope that Ms. Finch gets a lot of money and promoted and that McManager gets relieved of his cushy franchise job.
Ideally, he would first be sent to a personal awareness course where people dressed as HamBurglers catch him while he is falling...... probably his worst nightmare...!
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