The phone in your pocket is an amazing, fluid, multi-functional tool. When it comes to talking to other devices, such as your TV or laptop, the user experience drops off sharply. Bill Buxton speaks eloquently on the subject, describing three stages of high tech evolution:
But connecting devices is a pain and we have been squarely at stage 2 since the release of the iPhone. There are many competing approaches to do this: Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, WiFi direct, discovery over the same local WiFi network, and many many others. This post is dedicated to attacking this problem from an unexpected angle: using ultrasound to broadcast and receive data between nearby devices. Best of all, the approach uses the Web Audio API, making it viable for pure web applications:
Airplay and Chromecast are great approaches to a subset of the problem for devices within the same ecosystem (eg. Apple, or Google), but the general problem remains hard to solve.
Perhaps we should stop creating bespoke automation and rally around a common standard toolkit for managing large-scale cloud application deployments. This toolkit could provide mechanisms for configuration management, orchestration, health management, and rolling upgrades. It could further, as part of its architecture, build an adapter layer between its core components and the underlying infrastructure provider. Plugins could then be developed to provide the toolkit with the ability to manage all of the common infrastructure providers.
Enter BOSH and it’s Cloud Provider Interface (CPI) layer. BOSH was initially developed as the means of deploying and managing the Cloud Foundry PaaS platform, but it’s much more generally applicable. BOSH can today deploy any distributed system, unchanged, to any of several popular IaaS providers: VMware vSphere, VMware vCloud Director, Amazon Web Services, and OpenStack. Heresy you say! Not so. Just ask Colin Humphreys of CloudCredo, who recently described their wildly successful deployment of Cloud Foundry to a hybrid composition of vSphere and AWS-based clouds. He recently presented a technical deep dive in Pivotal’s offices in which he made the statement (paraphrasing) “I took the same Cloud Foundry bits that were running on AWS and deployed them unchanged to vSphere using BOSH.” As anyone can tell, this isn’t just theory, it’s production.
Bottom of the DrinkThey had to go. The Coke machine, the snack machine, the deep fryer. Hoisted and dragged through the halls and out to the curb, they sat with other trash beneath gray, forlorn skies behind Kirkpatrick Elementary, one of a handful of primary schools in Clarksdale, Mississippi. That was seven years ago, when administrators first recognized the magnitude of the problem. Clarksdale, a storied delta town that gave us the golden age of the Delta blues, its cotton fields and flatlands rolling to the river, its Victorian mansions still beautiful, is at the center of a colossal American health crisis. High rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease: the legacy, some experts say, of sugar, a crop that brought the ancestors of most Clarksdale residents to this hemisphere in chains. “We knew we had to do something,” Kirkpatrick principal SuzAnne Walton told me.
Walton, Clarksdale born and bred, was leading me through the school, discussing ways the faculty is trying to help students—baked instead of fried, fruit instead of candy—most of whom have two meals a day in the lunchroom. She was wearing scrubs—standard Monday dress for teachers, to reinforce the school’s commitment to health and wellness. The student body is 91 percent African American, 7 percent white, “and three Latinos”—the remaining 2 percent. “These kids eat what they’re given, and too often it’s the sweetest, cheapest foods: cakes, creams, candy. It had to change. It was about the students,” she explained.
Take, for example, Nicholas Scurlock, who had recently begun his first year at Oakhurst Middle School. Nick, just tall enough to ride the coaster at the bigger amusement parks, had been 135 pounds going into fifth grade. “He was terrified of gym,” Principal Walton told me. “There was trouble running, trouble breathing—the kid had it all.”
IBM’s support for the Cloud Foundry project signals their belief that the PaaS market will be strategic. Given the aforementioned context, it also means that after an extended period of evaluation, IBM has decided that Cloud Foundry represents the best bet in terms of technology, license and community moving forward. These are the facts, as they say, and they are not in dispute.
A cloud is a service, and not just software. As far as the users of the service are concerned, a cloud is a set of APIs and tools backed by an elastic infrastructure that offers what the APIs and tools promise. Users care about availability of the cloud, elasticity of infrastructure, and on-demand self-service access to maintain business agility.