Overheard: Word of the Day


December 1, 2008  2:51 PM

Overheard – Replacing Infiniband with 10GE

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
dan_tuchler.jpg Sure, it’s proven, and a lot of people use it. But like many proprietary technologies, it also has some unappealing characteristics. It demands specialized expertise. It’s not always as fast as advertised. It’s not completely reliable. It certainly doesn’t work and play well with others. Yes, we are talking about InfiniBand.

Dan Tuchler, Incoming: 10 Gigabit Ethernet for HPC

When it comes to reducing capital and operating expenses, one infrastructure is simply better than two — or more — and the HPC environment is no exception. High-performance computing clusters that use an InfiniBand interconnect also use Ethernet. Ethernet is necessary for user and storage connectivity, and for the management network that orchestrates the cluster. Replacing the InfiniBand interconnect with 10GE to create a single, all-inclusive infrastructure will cut hardware and power costs, and simplify manageability. And, that infrastructure combines high performance with low power needs and a sufficiently low latency for many HPC applications, making it an excellent fit for technical and budget requirements.

December 1, 2008  1:04 PM

Overheard – Data mining collective intelligence

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
thomas_malone.jpg For most of human history, people have lived in small tribes where everything they did was known by everyone they knew. In some sense we’re becoming a global village. Privacy may turn out to have become an anomaly.

Dr. Thomas W. Malone, as quoted in You’re Leaving a Digital Trail. What About Privacy?

This New York Times article is about a bunch of kids at MIT who are trading their “privacy” for a free smartphone. The article ends with this quote by Dr. Thomas Malone, the director of the M.I.T. Center for Collective Intelligence. He’s got a good point. I remember stories my grandmother told about kids listening in on her parent’s “party line” or how the small-town operator in our upstate New York town was such a gossip that if you had something confidential to share, you would NEVER use the telephone.


November 26, 2008  3:53 PM

Overheard – Frank Gillett’s cloud computing reality check

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Forrester’s Frank Gillett talks with Beet.tv about “cloudwashing.”  He does a nice job breaking down where the future might lie for cloud computing and unlike a lot of other pundits, Frank seems to have his feet on the ground (and not in the clouds).  Don’t miss this one.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/f7wv1i8ubng" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Thanks go to Dennis Shiao for recommending this video clip. My takeaway?  I need to keep an eye on three things: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and virtual infrastructure as a service (usually shortened to just IaaS).


November 26, 2008  3:27 PM

Overheard – Disruption Tolerant Networking Protocol

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
alan_boyle.jpg By the time astronauts make humanity’s next giant leap, they may well be getting their e-mail via a dot-space address.

Alan Boyle, Interplanetary Internet Passes Test

Today, NASA’s information superhighway to outer space flows through one major gateway – the Deep Space Network – to a host of space probes, scattered all the way out from Earth orbit to the edge of the solar system. As those probes proliferate, the Deep Space Network has to keep up with an increasingly complex communications schedule.

The new protocol developed by NASA to deal with complex communication scheduling is called Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN). It’s sort of works like TCP/IP, but it doesn’t assume there will be a continuous end-to-end connection. If a destination path can’t be found, the data packets aren’t discarded. Instead, each network node keeps the information until it can communicate safely with another node. It’s called a store-and-forward system.


November 25, 2008  12:34 AM

Overheard: Future of clouds remain hazy without standards

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
benjamin_ellis.jpg It is clear that without standards of one kind or another (de-facto or from a recognised body), there won’t be a market, and without a market, the cloud is unlikely to thrive. The competition isn’t as much between cloud providers, as it is between cloud providers and internal IT organizations. Cloud providers need to keep that firmly in mind.

Benjamin Ellis, CloudCamp London 2: On Standards. Special Guest Post

A standard image format might provide a base level of standardization, but there is a risk that the industry then gets caught up in a ‘lowest common denominator’ model that throttles much of the unique innovation that the scale and speed of cloud computing allows. There was a consensus for a pragmatic approach: a layering of APIs, standardizing a layer at a time.

(My apologies to Benjamin Ellis! I had originally credited this quote to James Govenor.)


November 24, 2008  8:32 PM

Overheard: Beyond the petaflop

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
doe.jpg Breaking the petaflop barrier, a feat that seemed astronomical just two years ago, won’t just allow faster computations. These computers will enable entirely new types of science that couldn’t have been done before.

Betsy Mason, Supercomputers Break Petaflop Barrier, Transforming Science

The U.S. Department of Energy announced that the XT Jaguar, housed at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has hit a peak performance of 1.64 petaflops. That’s more than a quadrillion mathematical calculations per second.

Officially, the computing power will be used for simulation. Simulating climate conditions, for example. Or maybe nuclear explosion modeling.


November 24, 2008  4:32 PM

Overheard: Cloud chargeback

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
johngannon.jpg Knowing which applications and departments are driving IT expenses is critical now, and will continue to be critical as cloud computing goes mainstream in the enterprise. Therefore, any cloud chargeback solution should integrate with the chargeback framework that the company uses to manage their physical assets.

John Gannon, Enterprise Cloud Computing: Understanding the Costs

James Govenor’s blog post wrapping up the speakers at Cloud Camp London is a must-read for anyone interested in the future of cloud computing. Before we even have the luxury of talking about cloud chargeback, there’s some serious work to do re: standards.


November 24, 2008  3:33 PM

Overheard: What’s another name for white space device? Brick

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
shellypalmer.jpg Unfortunately for the companies developing these devices, they’ve yet to demonstrate a device that accurately and consistently senses broadcast and wireless microphone signals. The development of these devices is absolutely crucial to the white space debate. If they can’t sense signals, they are essentially useless bricks.

Shelly Palmer, White Space – A Big White Lie

Thanks to Alex Howard for finding today’s “Overheard” quote!


November 24, 2008  1:30 PM

Overheard: 62% of rural America is still dialing up

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
arik_hesseldahl.jpg According to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, released in July, only 38% of rural American households have access to high-speed Internet connections.

Arik Hesseldahl, Bringing Broadband to Rural America

Comcast  is constantly looking for where to expand, and looks for areas that have at least 25 homes per one-mile stretch while meeting other criteria, says company spokeswoman Terri Weldon. “We are in business to make a profit,” she says.

Today’s WhatIs.com Word of the Day is white space device.


November 20, 2008  5:23 PM

Overheard: Chris Morell explains phase change cooling

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
chris_morrell.jpg For those people that aren’t HVAC engineers, Phase Cooling involves using a refrigeration compressor to compress a gas till it changes phases to a liquid. This liquefied gas is then pumped into an evaporator which is place on your processor/GPU. While inside the evaporator, the liquefied gas changes phases back to a gas, and while doing this it sucks up heat and gets pulled back into the compressor, completing the cycle.

Chris Morrell, Vapor Phase Change Cooling


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