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Updated: 3 hours 57 min ago

Greg K-H Tries to Code Linus' Behavior

Tuesday 10th of March 2015 03:31:01 AM

Yesterday Greg Kroah-Hartman committed small patch cc-4.0-rc2 to the kernel git documentation repository dubbed "Code of Conflict." The Code of Conflict is an attempt "to keep things civil and focused on the technical issues involved." Jim Zemlin took the opportunity to include diversity in the conversation as well although yesterday's commit didn't address that issue specifically.

The document committed by Kroah-Hartman yesterday begins by stating the process by which the kernel is developed "has been proven to create the most robust operating system kernel ever." It continues by saying that while the writers do not wish the quality of the kernel code to decrease but if anyone "feels personally abused, threatened, or otherwise uncomfortable due to this process" they should write the Linux Foundation and file a complaint. The Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board will then take action to resolve the issue.

Although it wasn't stated explicitly, the document is clearly aimed squarely at Linus Torvalds who has been quoted saying what some characterize as abusive comments to developers. Torvalds, who admits he is "not a nice person," is straightforward and has little patience for sloppy and buggy code. Torvalds is downright rude sometimes but perhaps the Code of Conflict can rein him in. The commit was signed by 60 developers and Torvalds accepted the patch no doubt knowing that it was directed at him.

Kroah-Hartman finishes the "code" with:

As a reviewer of code, please strive to keep things civil and focused on the technical issues involved. We are all humans, and frustrations can be high on both sides of the process. Try to keep in mind the immortal words of Bill and Ted, "Be excellent to each other."

There's been no public comment from Torvalds on the patch as of yet, but Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation today blogged, "There is a long way to go, but the kernel community is always evolving and we feel this patch is an important step." Zemlin also said, "It's no secret that the software industry would like to see more diversity. While this code does not address that directly, we feel it's an important step to make clear that civil discourse is an important part of an open source community and to make it very plain that all are welcome."

Torvalds was quoted as saying the code is what's important - not the color, gender, or sexual orientation of the submitter. Torvalds was scolded by many for that position and now complaints can be filed against him.

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WANdisco Joins Hadoop Open Data Platform Alliance

Monday 9th of March 2015 03:15:26 PM

Recently, we've been covering the Open Data Platform, recently announced by Pivotal, which is shaping up to be very influential in the Hadoop and Big Data market. Now, WANdisco, a provider of continuous-availability software for global enterprises working with Big Data, has announced that it has joined the Open Data Platform (ODP) Initiative. WANdisco has patented technology that enables Hadoop availability across data centers that can be very far apart, while also securing data.

"The members of ODP are excited to partner with WANdisco as the newest gold member of ODP. We are incredibly impressed with WANdisco's patented technology, as well as their staff of senior core Apache Hadoop committers, some of whom were among the original architects and developers of Hadoop," said the members of the ODP, in a statement. "We believe that enterprise users of the ODP Core will benefit immeasurably from WANdisco's participation."

"I am delighted that WANdisco has been invited to participate in the ODP Initiative with some of the largest players in the industry," stated David Richards, WANdisco Co-Founder and CEO. "This is clear recognition of the value our patented technology brings to mission critical Hadoop big data deployments, as well as our commitment to software based on open standards that give customers a choice, instead of locking them in to a proprietary platform."

f you're not familiar with the Open Data Platform, its founding members are GE, Hortonworks, IBM, Infosys, Pivotal, SAS, AltiScale, Capgemini, CenturyLink, EMC, Teradata, Splunk, Verizon and VMware. They have pledged to test and certify a group of primary Apache components, which will then form the basis of their Hadoop platforms. It promises unified development and standards going forward, and it's a big deal. 

According to Pivotal's original announcement:

"The ODP will work directly with specific Apache projects, adhering to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) guidelines for the contribution of ideas and code. A key benefit of the ODP will be for members to collaborate across various Apache projects as well as other open source-licensed big data projects with a goal toward meeting enterprise class requirements. The ODP is expected to promote a set of standard open source technologies and versions that will increase compatibility among big data solutions and simplify the process for applications and tools to integrate with and run on any compliant system."

 You can find out more about Open Data Platform here. 

 

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More Flags Raised Over Securing the Internet of Things

Monday 9th of March 2015 03:02:53 PM

With the Internet of Things (IoT) gaining momentum, there is a huge need for collaboration, open and interoperable tools, and standards. And, as IoT marches forward, there are also some concerns about security. Not only has the FTC raised issues about IoT security, but media outlets are now covering reports from a Norwegian newspaper reporter about discovering hundreds of Internet-connected devices that didn't even have basic password protection.

As Computerworld reported:

"A self-described security 'amateur' discovered hundreds of Internet-connected devices ranging from cameras to industrial control systems that were connected to the Internet without even basic password protection...They began by searching for basic security cameras, such as finding and taking control of a surveillance camera inside a nightclub. After that, they graduated to finding compromised control systems at military installations and railroads."

The FTC in the U.S. has already raised flags about these issues. The agency released a detailed report warning businesses to take steps to protect the privacy and security of American consumers. And, the report calls out the security quagmire surrounding the Internet of Things.

The FTC notes that 25 billion objects are now online globally, with sensors and other devices automating how the collect information and share it. The Internet of Things aims to make everything from cars to potted plants Internet aware.

According to a study from HP Security Research, 70 percent of the most widely used Internet of Things devices have notable security vulnerabilities.

“The only way for the Internet of Things to reach its full potential for innovation is with the trust of American consumers,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, in a statement. “We believe that by adopting the best practices we’ve laid out, businesses will be better able to provide consumers the protections they want and allow the benefits of the Internet of Things to be fully realized.”

You can find the FTC's best practices in its detailed report, available here

We recently interviewed the AllSeen Alliance’s senior director of IoT, Philip DesAutels, and he had the following to say about the AllSeen Alliance's IoT tools:

"We can add security and privacy control to your local network and help control inbound and outbound connections to that network. Security and privacy go together, too. You need security to get privacy."

According to a recent survey from Zebra Technology, more than 95 percent of retailers are about to embrace the Internet of Things, and as devices and tools in their stores relay information about you to the cloud and beyond, how secure might your personal information be? In the Zebra Technology survey, 56 percent of respondents listed integration challenges as the top barrier to IoT implementations, while 47 percent mentioned security and privacy as a chief concern.

 

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HP Refreshes Helion with Eucalyptus and an OpenStack Update

Friday 6th of March 2015 03:51:19 PM

It was all the way back in 2008 when OStatic broke the story about a cloud computing project at U.C. Santa Barbara called Eucalyptus, and recently we visited with Rich Wolski, the original UCSB Professor behind the cloud platform, for an interview. Fast-forward to today, and Eucalyptus Systems is under the wing of mighty Hewlett-Packard.

Now, HP has refreshed its Helion cloud computing platform, adding Eucalyptus and updating OpenStack to deliver for customers who are using Amazon's AWS public cloud service or HP's own cloud.

“The addition of Eucalyptus to the HP Helion portfolio gives customers the flexibility to deploy existing AWS workloads onto cloud environments they control (private or managed), addressing demand for cost-effective alternatives to public cloud vendor lock-in,” said HP in its announcement.

 Updates to HP Helion Eucalyptus 4.1 include:

- AWS Cloud Formation compatible service – Application deployment templates that streamline service delivery and reduce errors of complex configurations. By reusing existing AWS Cloud Formation templates, both existing and potential customers can quickly benefit from the new service on their own HP Helion Eucalyptus private cloud.

- HP Helion Eucalyptus Cloud Manager – Web-based tool now including a simple-to-use interface for managing S3 compatible object storage. Users no longer require separate tools to create, modify and delete buckets, or to upload and download. All features are available within the browser and can be used on both HP Helion Eucalyptus and AWS clouds.

“Open source and open standards are critical requirements for the New Style of IT,” said Orlando Bayter, CEO of Ormuco Inc. “The massive investment HP is making around OpenStack technology is a strong indication of their seriousness in supporting the project long-term. At Ormuco, we are encouraged by HP’s commitment to both upstream contributions and software quality in its distribution. We believe HP Helion can have a significant positive impact in our IT operations as we deliver on our highly scalable cloud platform to our diverse customers in the gaming, media & contact center industries.”

For more information on HP Helion cloud products and services you can visit: www.hp.com/helion.

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Red Hat Gives Docker Containers its Full Blessing

Friday 6th of March 2015 03:39:43 PM

As we covered, Red Hat has announced the releases of Red Hat Releases Enterprise 7 Atomic Host and Red Hat Releases Enterprise 7.1 update. In addition, it is evident that Red Hat is responding to the enormous popularity of Docker and container technology. The company's Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Atomic Host removes all utilities residing in the stock distribution of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) that are not required for running Docker containers. The move effectively gives Red Hat an operating system/container offering to bring to enterprises.

"Twelve years ago, Red Hat delivered the first iteration of RHEL, taking a cutting edge software technology and molding it into the backbone that powers the enterprise, from the server to the cloud," said Jim Totton, Red Hat's Platforms Business Unit VP, in a statement. Today, with the launch of RHELAH, we are doing the same for Linux containers, bridging innovative open technology with the stability and security required by the enterprise. More than just an addition to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux portfolio, RHELAH showcases the future of the enterprise application, a powerful, flexible application greater than the sum of its parts, and entirely fueled by the power of open innovation."

According to Red Hat's announcement:

"An application architecture based on Linux containers requires not only the tools to build and run containers, but also an underlying foundation that is secure, reliable, and enterprise-grade, with an established lifecycle designed to meet the ongoing requirements of the enterprise over the long term. These requirements include mitigation of security concerns, ongoing product enhancements, proactive diagnostics, and access to support. Red Hat is committed to offering enterprises a complete and integrated container-based infrastructure solution, combining container-based application packaging with robust, optimized infrastructure that will enable easy movement of Red Hat Enterprise Linux-certified applications across bare metal systems, virtual machines and private and public clouds - all of this with the product and security lifecycle that enterprise customers require. The release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Atomic Host delivers on Red Hat's intent to make Linux containers a stable and reliable component of enterprise IT across the open hybrid cloud."

At 11 a.m. EDT on March 12, 2015, Red Hat will host “Transform Application Delivery with Containers,” a virtual event focused on the real world use cases and value of Linux containers. For more information and to register, you can visit http://bit.ly/1Aigjde.

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Red Hat Releases Enterprise 7.1 and Atomic Host 7

Friday 6th of March 2015 04:28:16 AM

Red Hat, Inc. today announced the releases of Red Hat Releases Enterprise 7 Atomic Host and Red Hat Releases Enterprise 7.1 update. The latest Enterprise 7.1 brings "improved development and deployment tools, enhanced interoperability and manageability, and additional security and performance features."

In their announcement today, Red Hat said 7.1 "delivers key enhancements to Red Hat’s next-generation flagship platform, furthering the company's mission to redefine the enterprise operating system." These include Active Directory without winbind support, new features for Identity Management, the latest docker enhancements, better performance, and memory management. This release also "coincides" with the release of other systems such as Red Hat for Real Time and for POWER8 systems.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host 7 is another coinciding system announced today. Atomic Host is "an operating system optimized for running the next generation of applications with Linux containers. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Atomic Host provides all of the components necessary to easily package and run applications written for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7 as containers." Features include:

* Atomic updating and rollback through an image-like update mechanism.

* Container images in docker format can be deployed and run as application containers.

* Certification and support

* Container orchestration at scale through Kubernetes

* Stronger security by default through SELinux, cgroups and kernel namespaces

* Support for super-privileged containers

* Application portability across the open hybrid cloud

Following the announcements, Red Hat stock price remained relatively steady closing at $67.98 after losing 2% yesterday closing then at $67.19. That's down just a bit from a yearly high of $71.09 back on December 26, 2014.

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Open Data Platform Looms Large on the Hadoop Scene

Thursday 5th of March 2015 04:09:09 PM

While it's not on everybody's radar just yet, the Open Data Platform, recently announced by Pivotal, is shaping up to be, well, pivotal in the Hadoop and Big Data market. Meanwhile, here have been a lot of rumblings about how Pivotal itself is radically shifting its Hadoop strategy.

If you're not familiar with the Open Data Platform, its founding members are GE, Hortonworks, IBM, Infosys, Pivotal, SAS, AltiScale, Capgemini, CenturyLink, EMC, Teradata, Splunk, Verizon and VMware. They have pledged to test and certify a group of primary Apache components, which will then form the basis of their Hadoop platforms. It promises unified development and standards going forward, and it's a big deal.

Among other things, the Open Data Platform initiative is intended to deliver on these goals:

Accelerate the delivery of Big Data solutions by providing a well-defined core platform to target.

Define, integrate, test, and certify a standard "ODP Core" of compatible versions of select Big Data open source projects.

Provide a stable base against which Big Data solutions providers can qualify solutions.

Produce a set of tools and methods that enable members to create and test differentiated offerings based on the ODP Core.

ZDNet has an interesting interview up with Hortonworks president Herb Cunitz, in which he says players in the Big Data space are going to have to pick an alliance to favor going forward. He is quoted as follows:

 "[Vendors can either] work with what we're driving around Hortonworks Data Platform and the Open Data Platform and the alliance; or they can say, 'Hey, I don't want to align with anybody. I'm just going to take whatever comes out of Apache Software Foundation', and then they're beholden to package it, support it, distribute it themselves."

That is a big shift indeed on the Hadoop scene, where we have seen a lot of fragmentation and lack of standardization. The Apache Software Foundation has fought the chaos in some good ways, but it's still good to see Hadoop players joining forces.

We may also see the Open Data Platform help usher in standardized training to deliver Hadoop skills. There is a shortage of Hadoop expertise, as Tomer Shiran told us in a recent interview, where he said:

"There is a shortage of trained big data technology and analytics experts. Labor supply constraint is a key inhibitor of adoption and use of big data technologies. Current training offerings in the marketplace do not meet the cost, convenience and flexibility needs of today’s professionals. In-person training incurs significant costs, travel, and a big contiguous block of committed time."

According to Pivotal's announcement:

"The ODP will work directly with specific Apache projects, adhering to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) guidelines for the contribution of ideas and code. A key benefit of the ODP will be for members to collaborate across various Apache projects as well as other open source-licensed big data projects with a goal toward meeting enterprise class requirements. The ODP is expected to promote a set of standard open source technologies and versions that will increase compatibility among big data solutions and simplify the process for applications and tools to integrate with and run on any compliant system."

 You can find out more about Open Data Platform here. 

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Google Cloud Pub/Sub Connects Applications, Data Streams

Thursday 5th of March 2015 03:51:30 PM

Organizations everywhere have a growing need to run applications in the cloud, and lots of applications need to talk to other varied, distributed systems reliably and in real-time. How do you get messages exchanged between multiple systems simultaneously? That's the question that Google has tackled with the beta release of Google Cloud Pub/Sub. It's available today as a way to connect applications and services, including ones hosted on Google Cloud Platform or ones found on-premise. Here are more details.

Google's service helps applications send messages to each other at a rate of up to 10,000 per second. Google also claims that the messages will arrive at their destinations in less than a second, even when customer systems are generating more than a million messages per second.

According to an online post on Google Cloud Pub/Sub:

"The Google Cloud Pub/Sub API provides:

Scale: offering all customers, by default, up to 10,000 topics and 10,000 messages per second.

Global deployment: dedicated resources in every Google Cloud Platform region enhance availability without increasing latency.

Performance: sub-second notification even when tested at over 1 million messages per second.

Google reports that it designed Google Cloud Pub/Sub to deliver real-time and reliable messaging, in one global, managed service that helps developers create simpler, more reliable, and more flexible applications. It's also purportedly been tested extensively, supporting applications like Google Cloud Monitoring and Snapchat's new Discover feature.

Among example use cases, these are cited:

Integrated messaging between components of an application- for example, processing an office transfer in an HR system: developers need to control the distribution of updates to the company directory, to security badging, to the moving company, to payroll, and many other services.

Robust data collection from smart devices- for example, mobile device endpoints: providing developers with the ability to integrate sensor data from the endpoints with real-time data analysis pipelines, automatically routing the data streams to an application.

You can activate Google Cloud Pub/Sub today from the APIs & auth section of the Google Developers Console and monitor metrics with Google Cloud Monitoring dashboards. You can also share your feedback directly or join Google's mailing list for updates and discussions.

 

 

 

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Test Driving the Ubuntu Meizu MX4

Thursday 5th of March 2015 04:47:36 AM

Some folks are reporting today of their hands-on testing of the new Ubuntu smartphones. Jane Silber, CEO Canonical Ltd., told the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones that "it's time to change things up a little bit. People are tired of application grids and identical experiences." Ars writer Sebastian Anthony began by saying, "The best descriptor is... interesting."

The long awaited Ubuntu smartphones began making into consumers' hands recently and reaction has been mixed. The bq Aquaris 4.5 was underpowered and uninspiring according to some, but the newest model revealed at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain may change some of that.

A Canonical booth at the Mobile World Congress featured the Meizu MX4, "a mid- to high-end smartphone" with a 5.3 inch 1080p display with "an octa-core Mediatek SoC, 2GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, LTE support, and all the usual bells and whistles you'd expect on a modern non-budget smartphone." Sebastian Anthony caught up with Mark Shuttleworth at the show and played with his personal phone a bit. Anthony said of it, "The MX4 isn't as thin or light as the latest Apple or Samsung superphone, but it still feels like a solid, premium, well-balanced device. It doesn't have an SD card slot unfortunately, but it does have a removable battery."

On the performance, Anthony said Shuttleworth's phone with a "weeks-old" version of the OS, so it was slower and buggier than the model on display at Canonical's booth. He said "interesting" was the one word that came to mind when using the phone.

Unlike every other popular mobile OS, Ubuntu Phone is designed to work without a "home" or "back" button. Except for the power button or volume rocker, all of your interactions with the OS are through on-screen menus. To go back to the home screen, you swipe in from the left edge of the screen to reveal a list of your favorite apps/scopes and then hit the Ubuntu logo in the bottom left corner. Swiping in from the right side of the screen reveals the app switcher.

Anthony said he was "pleasantly surprised" overall with the Ubuntu phone but it's a problem there isn't more apps available for it. But Canonical's Jane Silber said at the booth they're going for "convergence," where a consumer can have a consistent experience across all their devices. She also said not only would folks want an Ubuntu phone, but they already do. Folks want something different and some like it because it's Open Source she added.

In related news, The Register looked at Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME and Ubuntu MATE 15.04 yesterday.

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The 2015 Linux Jobs Report Shows the Open Cloud Driving New Hires

Wednesday 4th of March 2015 03:57:59 PM

For several years running, OStatic has been reporting on the high demand found in the job market for people with Linux skills. Have you been pounding the pavement for a job, or wanting some extra work on the side, and getting ever more frustrated? Linux skills may be a solution for you, as evidenced by the latest findings from the 2015 Linux Jobs Report, which finds that the rise of open cloud platforms like OpenStack (often deployed on Linux) is only inreasing demand for people who know their way around Linux.

The 2015 Linux Jobs Report comes from The Linux Foundation, in conjunction with Dice, and includes data from hiring managers (1,010) and Linux professionals (3,446). Here you'll find details.

"Competition for Linux talent is accelerating, as the software becomes more ubiquitous," said Shravan Goli, President of Dice, in a statement. "Hiring managers need to ensure they are offering the right set of incentives to attract talent, while professionals need to provide evidence of their knowledge and skills, especially in areas of growing demand such as the cloud."

Key statistics from the report include:

Nearly all hiring managers are looking to recruit Linux professionals in the next six months. With new Linux-based systems, projects and products constantly emerging, hiring the right talent to support all the growth continues to be a priority amongst employers. Ninety-seven percent of hiring managers report they will bring on Linux talent relative to other skills areas in the next six months.

The rise of open cloud platforms is creating even more demand for Linux professionals with the right expertise. Forty-two percent of hiring managers say that experience in OpenStack and CloudStack will have a major impact on their hiring decisions, while 23 percent report security is a sought-after area of expertise and 19 percent are looking for Linux talent with Software-Defined Networking (SDN) skills.

Linux-certified professionals will be especially well positioned in the job market this year, with 44 percent of hiring managers saying they're more likely to hire a candidate with Linux certification, and 54 percent expecting either certification or formal training of their SysAdmin candidates.

"Demand for Linux talent continues apace, and it's becoming more important for employers to be able to verify candidates have the skillsets they need," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. "Formal training and certifications are a key way of identifying qualified talent, and as more people join the Linux community, it will be increasingly necessary for professionals to show they stand out in the crowd."

You can download the complete jobs report at: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/publications/linux-foundation/linux-jobs-report-2015

Also see our post on advancing your own Linux skills here.

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Docker Acquires SocketPlane to Boost Container Networking

Wednesday 4th of March 2015 03:46:49 PM

Docker, Inc., the corporate sponsor of the open platform for container-based applications, today announced the acquisition of software-defined networking (SDN) startup SocketPlane. SocketPlane was founded in Q4, 2014 with a vision of delivering Docker-native networking, and it has been an active participant in shaping the initial efforts around Docker’s open API for networking. "The explicit focus of the SocketPlane team within Docker will be on collaborating with the partner community to complete a rich set of networking APIs that addresses the needs of application developers and network and system administrators alike," reports Docker.

Among other things, the fact that this company is being acquired a few short months after launching is evidence of how red hot Docker itself is.

“Networking is a critical part of the stack for distributed applications and has become an increasing area of focus within the Docker partner ecosystem due to the rapid growth in multi-container, multi-host applications,” said Solomon Hykes, chief architect of the Docker Project and founder and CTO of Docker, Inc., in a statement “To sustain the velocity of community advancements in open, modular and secure Docker networking, we felt we needed to support those efforts with a dedicated team. Given the SocketPlane team’s collective experience with virtually every open source SDN effort, we felt they were the right people to carry forward our ‘batteries included, but swappable’ approach to drive a thriving networking ecosystem.” 

SDN efforts for Docker are targeted to provide infrastructure freedom of choice where admins can select which networking profiles are right for an application specific use case. In this manner, networking can be software-defined, and very portable, while limiting vendor lock-in.

As GigaOM reports:

"SocketPlane’s entire six-person staff is joining Docker and will be helping the container-centric startup develop a networking API that makes it possible to string together hundreds to thousands of containers together no matter if the containers “reside in different data centers,” explained Scott Johnston, Docker’s SVP of product."

APIs and other tools that Docker and SocketPlane develop will complement robust orchestration services that Docker announced just a few days ago.  Docker Machine, very notably, lets developers rapidly deploy Docker on popular cloud platforms including Amazon EC2, Digital Ocean, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, OpenStack, RackSpace Cloud and many VMware platforms. A single command can enable Docker for them.

Then there is Docker Swarm. According to Docker's announcement:

"Docker Swarm provides native clustering as well as integrations with third party tools and services. This ensures a uniform developer experience at any scale, as developers build and ship multi-container, multi-host distributed applications, while preserving the operational freedom to choose an infrastructure optimized for the performance and availability of these applications."

Joyent weighed in on the SocketPlane acquisition. “Enhancing Docker’s open API for networking, in a manner that fosters a robust partner ecosystem, is necessary to facilitate broader and accelerated adoption of Docker,” said Bill Fine, vice president of product, Joyent. “The acquisition of SocketPlane shows that the Docker team is serious about doing just that. We are delighted to see Docker add SocketPlane's networking expertise to their team, and we believe that it will help accelerate a productive, community-wide collaboration on this important issue.”

“Cross-host networking is an important requirement for Docker, and is fundamental to the vision for distributed applications,” said Sheng Liang, CEO, Rancher Labs. “We’ve worked closely with Docker and SocketPlane on integrating with RancherOS and Rancher to build a platform for running Docker at scale in production, and are excited to continue this collaboration moving forward.”

 

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Microsoft Extends its Cloud-Focused Support for Docker

Tuesday 3rd of March 2015 04:05:02 PM

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (seen here) made big headlines in 2014 when he proclaimed his full volume of welcome for open source and Linux. Reversing what was long perceived to be a hostile stance at Microsoft toward open source, Nadella said that he "loves Linux" and also claimed that 20 percent of Microsoft's Azure cloud is already Linux-based. And, the company announced Azure Marketplace's first Docker image: Docker on Ubuntu Server by Canonical and Microsoft Open Tech.

Now, Microsoft has extended its cloud-focused suport for Docker, adding Docker Machine to Azure and Hyper-V, and supporting Docker Swarm.

We've reported on how Docker, which continues to take the tech world by storm, recently launched a robust set of orchestration tools for its container platform. Docker Swarm is a key one of these tools. Docker Swarm. According to Docker's announcement:

"Docker Swarm provides native clustering as well as integrations with third party tools and services. This ensures a uniform developer experience at any scale, as developers build and ship multi-container, multi-host distributed applications, while preserving the operational freedom to choose an infrastructure optimized for the performance and availability of these applications."

"Swarm’s native clustering and scheduling capabilities can scale with the application development lifecycle from one laptop to spanning hundreds of hosts in production. Swarm’s scheduling capabilities determine the right host in a cluster for specific containers, assigns the right resources, and leverages Docker Hub for its host discovery."

 

 With the release of Docker Machine 1.0 Beta, Microsoft has blogged that users can create hosts with Windows using the lightweight Linux boot2docker. The blog post notes:

"Microsoft’s contributions to the Docker ecosystem continue to roll on. Today we announced a number of improvements to our Docker support on Azure, most notably Docker Machine support for Azure and Hyper-V and support for Docker Swarm. Once you have created your host you work with it using the normal Docker CLI tooling. For full details on getting started with Docker Machine see our documentation "How to use Docker-Machine with Azure".

A separate post on Docker Swarm and Microsoft notes:

"Docker Swarm enables you to deploy your container-based applications and workloads using a native Docker clustering and scheduling capability. Like Docker Machine, developers can choose their infrastructure, including Azure Virtual Machines, and scale as required for their dev, test, or production environments. You can use your normal Docker CLI to deploy and let Swarm handle the scheduling across the hosts."

"To get started with Swarm on Azure, install the beta client: Installing Docker Swarm. For step-by-step instructions to manage your Docker hosts with Docker Swarm on Azure VMs, please see our Docker Swarm on Azure User Guide."

 

 

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Google Talks Up Android Pay, Effectively a Payments API Layer

Tuesday 3rd of March 2015 03:50:01 PM

The mobile payments space is already one of the hottest arenas in technology, and now Google--after achieving only middling success with Google Wallet--is entering the fray with a brand new approach. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Google Apps Sundar Pichai announced a new mobile payments platform called Android Pay.

That sounds pretty similar to Apple Pay, doesn't it? It's actually different, although it will compete with Apple Pay, Square, PayPal and other offerings.

The key difference between Android Pay and other payments offerings is that Google is not building out a product, but rather an API layer that merchants and companies can leverage to support secure payments from Android devices and apps.

NFC, or Near Field Communication, will be built into Android Pay. NFC provides a means for smartphones and other devices to establish radio communication with other devices, and has been somewhat controversial.

Do you already use Google Wallet? It's not going away, but Google's announcement of Android Pay certainly implies that it might put the most energy behind the new initiative.

There aren't a whole lot of other details about Android Pay yet, but as is true for all payments technologies, carving out just a small share of the mobile payments market can mean big bucks. 

And, in case you're wondering, Google is focused on weaving biometrics into Android Pay, so that fingerprints and other human attributes can aid authentication.

 

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VMware Launches OpenStack/vCloud NFV, Focuses on Carriers

Monday 2nd of March 2015 04:03:35 PM

VMware, at Mobile World Congress on Monday, unveiled software to let carriers run OpenStack and the company's vCloud cloud manager in tandem. The VMware vCloud for NFV platform is targeted to help carriers move to OpenStack while running vCloud for production cloud services. "With support for more than 40 different virtual network functions (VNFs) from more than 30 vendors, VMware vCloud for NFV is the only platform available today that runs different VNFs from different vendors side by side on the same cloud platform," the company claims.

VMware's announcement is one of many focused on telcos and carriers coming out of Mobile World Congress.

Wrestling with declining margins and the need to accelerate service innovation, carrers globally are embracing NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) to make their core network more agile and cost-effective. There are also a lot of open source-focused players aiming to keep the move toward NFV open. They include Red Hat and Canonical.

"By moving Network Functions Virtualization into production today, our communications service provider customers, such as Vodafone, are accelerating their own transformation into next-generation cloud providers, building the operational expertise needed to succeed in the cloud era ahead of their competition," said Shekar Ayyar, recently appointed corporate senior vice president, Strategy and Corporate Development and General Manager, Telco NFV Group, VMware. "Today, CSPs can deploy virtual network functions on VMware vCloud APIs, building valuable production cloud DNA into their operations and support teams. At the same time, they can begin to test OpenStack-based VNFs on the same infrastructure and deploy to production as OpenStack's suitability for NFV use cases improves in future releases." 

VMware vCloud for NFV will include VMware Integrated OpenStack, VMware's own OpenStack distribution.  "With VMware vCloud for NFV, CSPs will be able to take a phased approach to adopting OpenStack, and VMware will help CSPs drive increasingly greater value from OpenStack as the framework evolves to help them accelerate service innovation and reduce costs," says the company.

The vCloud for NFV platform is available today, with VMware Integrated OpenStack scheduled to be available in the platform Q1 2015.

Meanwhile, The Linux Foundation has announced the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) Project, a group comprised primarily of telecom operators working across open source projects and vendors to implement NFV within their organizations. News has also steadily arrived from Red Hat about its work to drive NFV and telecommunications technology into OpenStack.

And, Juniper Networks and Canonical have expanded their existing  partnership and they will oversee co-development of a carrier-grade, OpenStack software solution.

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Google Firms Up Plans to Offer Wireless Carrier Services

Monday 2nd of March 2015 03:50:25 PM

It's becoming increasingly clear that telecom companies and technology are playing a more and more important role in today's cloud- and mobile-centric world. Shrewdly, Red Hat has focused its OpenStack efforts, and related initiatives, around telcos and their data centers. Working with Juniper Networks, Canonical is pursuing similar goals.

But neither Red Hat nor Canonical swings quite as big a stick as Google. That's why it's significant that for the first time Google has confirmed that it will offer connectivity to mobile users in the United States. Rumors had swirled that Google had carrier-class plans, but Sundar Pichai, the company's senior vice president, confirmed the news once and for all at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.

As reported in numerous media outlets, Pichai said "you'll see us announce it in the coming months."

Of course, there may be some regulatory and antitrust hurdles for Google to leap, but in all likelihood the company will become a connectivity service provider on the grand scale. Also, just as Google has brought a lot of innovation to the mobile operating system and browser arenas, it has the potential to push the innovation curve for mobile connectivity, cloud-based services and more. 

According to a BGR blog post, setting the innovation bar is Google's overarching goal:

"So what is Google planning on doing in the wireless space, then? The Information’s Amir Efrati tweets out that the Google MVNO is going to be to the wireless business what Google’s own Nexus devices are to the Android smartphone market. In other words, while Nexus devices might not be industry-shaking bestsellers, they do establish certain benchmarks that Google would like to see Android OEMs match in their own work."

"In his talk, Pichai said that Google will 'expect carrier partners to adopt' some of the practices it’s put forward in its own service, including the ability for Wi-Fi signals to automatically pick up phone calls if they’re dropped by carriers’ own LTE networks."

Many people may end up thankful that Google is becoming a mobile connectivity player. The company tends to be successful at setting standards and may bring more open standards to the world of connectivity. That, we would be happy to see.

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