Rock Eagle Wrap-Up

Index of posts:

  1. RE 2007: GeorgiaVIEW Meeting (Pre-Conference)
  2. RE 2007: Birds of Feather: GeorgiaVIEW Vista
  3. RE 2007: Top Ten Disruptive Trends
  4. RE 2007: Birds of a Feather: Luminis
  5. RE 2007: Administering Sakai
  6. RE 2007: GeorgiaVIEW Vista File and Content Sharing
  7. RE 2007: USG Digital Content Repositories: Resources to Share

After this point, I got wrapped up in other things, moderating, fireworks, a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament, and dealing with tickets. The above are all sessions which affect my area even tangentially. Hope you enjoy.

RE 2007: Top Ten Disruptive Trends

Rock Eagle 2007

Keynote – David Cearley, Gartner

Way too many unfamiliar acronyms an terminology. It moved really fast without spending much time to explain anything.

Disruptive trends selected by timing, speed, and likelihood.

  1. Multricore to fabric – Core on processors will double every two years through 2015. Applications will have to adapt to multi-cores. Software licensing around cores, influences purchasing. Sets the stage for hybrid systems where power core and cell processor cores integrated. 3D chip (cube of cores) is coming. Next evolution in blade technology is to have shared memory. Fabric allows dynamic allocation and partioning of memory and processors and I/O for servers.
  2. Tera-Archicture Compute Element – Self-assembling and self-managing applications.
  3. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) – Developers will create modularized applications for a dynamic, flexible environment. They will need new tools, training, vizualization. Way platforms are built change. Vendors will not off the components, instead, we will need to create these ourselves. Pervasive… It will hit every level of the enterprise.
  4. Open Source – Development tools, Application Servers, Security, Operating Systems currently hold the most maturity. It will have viable alternatives for 80% of software choices.
  5. Web 2.0 – Biggest disruption over next 10 years as it has been the last 10 years. Web 2-.0 – applications built on web tech and design prin that may exploit community based development and social networking and/or new web-based business models. Long-term journey for increasing community, business involvement. Web Oriented Architecture = SOA + WWW+ REST. WOA replaces complex public API calls in current SOA model in favor in simple interfaces.
    1. Mashups – Composite applications on the web. Classic portal model built complex APIs. Mashups use WOA using RSS and Atom to provide feeds of info. Typically used in simple, high value applications.
    2. Web Platform – Everything as a service. Service providers offering infrastructure. Google and IBM offering a service to universities to build applications using the Googleplex infrastructure and IBM support.
    3. Symantic Web – Microformats – Simple way offering metadata.
  6. Social software – RS, podcasts, folksonomies, blogs, wiki, social bookmarks, content rating, prediction parket, taste sharing, social networks. The Participatory Web. Threadless makes user designed teeshirts sold back to users. How can we create communities and harness the power of the collective. Start with a purpose. Nuture the community. Open socially mediated spaces work better than technically managed systems. Have a tipping point plan.
  7. Netowrk Virtual Worlds – Games – People are 3D, have a profound impact on people.
  8. Displays – UIs are changing.
  9. Video – Counterfeit reality – how are you sure video has not changed?

BbWorld Presentation Redux Part II – Monitoring

Much of what I might write in these posts about Vista is knowledge accumulated from the efforts of my coworkers.

This is part two in a series of blog posts on our presentation at BbWorld ’07, on the behalf of the Georgia VIEW project, Maintaining Large Vista Installations (2MB PPT).

Part one covered automation of Blackboard Vista 3 tasks. Next, let’s look at monitoring.

Several scripts we have written are in place to collect data. One of the special scripts connects to Weblogic on each node to capture data from several MBeans. Other scripts watch for problems with hardware, the operating system, database, and even login to Vista. Each server (node or database) has, I think, 30-40 monitors. A portion of items we monitor is in the presentation. Every level of our clusters are watched for issues. The data from these scripts are collected into two applications.

  1. Nagios sends us alerts when values from the monitoring scripts on specific criteria fall outside of our expectations. Green means good; yellow means warning; red means bad. Thankfully none in our group are colorblind. Nagios can also send email and pages for alerts. Finding the sweet spot where we get alerted for a problem but avoid false positives perhaps is the most difficult.
  2. An AJAX application two excellent members of our Systems group created called internallyl Stats creates graphs of the same monitored data. Nagios tells us a node failed a test. Stats tells us when the problem started, how long it lasted, and if others also displayed similar issues.We also can use stats to watch trends. For example, we know two peaks by watching WIO usage rise to a noonish peak slough by ~20% and peak again in the evening fairly consistently over weeks and months.

We also use AWStats to provide web server log summary data. Web server logs show activity of the users: where they go, how much, etc.

In summary, Nagios gives us a heads up there is a problem. Stats allows us to trend performance of nodes and databases. AWStats allows us to trend overall user activity.

Coradiant TrueSight was featured in the vendor area at BbWorld. This product looks promising for determining where users encounter issues. Blackboard is working with them, but I suspect its likely for Vista 4 and CE 6.

We have fantastic data. Unfortunately, interpreting the data proves more complex. Say the load on a server hosting a starts climbing, its the point we get pages and continues to climb. What does one do? Remove it from the cluster? Restart it? Restarting it will simply shift the work to another node in the cluster. Say the same happens with the database. Restarting the database will kick all the users out of Vista. Unfortunately, Blackboard does not provide a playbook on what to do with every support possibility. Also, if you ask three DBAs, then you will likely get three answers.
😀

Its important to balance the underreaction and overreaction. When things go wrong, people want us to fix the problem. Vista is capable of handling many faults and not handling very similar faults. The link example was a failed firewall upgrade. I took a similar tact with another firewall problem earlier this week. I ultimately had to restart the cluster that evening because it didn’t recover.

Part three will discuss the node types.

Turn the Tables

CrossRoads Newsletter and Career Development Center:

With corporate recruiters and executive search firms now using blogs as a prescreening tool for candidates, Whitcomb advises people to create online journals to demonstrate their skills, share their expertise, and lend potential employers insight into their personality.

“You can write about projects you are working on, industry events, ongoing research, current trends, new products, and evaluations. You can also include articles or papers you have written, a bio, project histories, a downloadable résumé, and even audio or video presentations,” says Whitcomb.

Netscape.com 3.0

Poor Netscape…. They work and work at achieving again the glories of their past. Through their browser (eventually outsourced), web server (eventually sold of to become iPlanet, SunOne, and now something else), and web site, this brand just has not seemed to flourish since their IPO back in the mid 1990s. Will this latest try at rebirth as a blog site change the tide?

Netscape, which started life as a Web browser company and then evolved into a media destination site, is being reinvented once again to merge news reporting and blogs with the latest Internet trends.

On Thursday, the revised Netscape.com will begin a public test of what its new general manager, dot-com news entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, said aims to reinvent the modern news service.

As a blogger and dabbler I will probably play with it. Doesn’t mean I will like it.

*Cough, Cough*

Not sure what to think about this. After all, the reasons for why people get sick are as varied as the illnesses. Why would two distinct populations have different rates of illness? Well just off the top of my head:

  • Genetics
  • Pollution
  • Bad habits
  • Poor management

These could all be slight contributors. Or it could be something else entirely. Observations of trends often make people go looking for problems that may not exist.

Study Shows Americans Sicker Than English – Yahoo! News

White, middle-aged Americans — even those who are rich — are far less healthy than their peers in England, according to stunning new research that erases misconceptions and has experts scratching their heads.

Americans had higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, strokes, lung disease and cancer — findings that held true no matter what income or education level.

Those dismal results are despite the fact that U.S. health care spending is double what England spends on each of its citizens.