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Showing posts from April, 2008

Another Example Of Google App Engine's Strength

Check out It's basically a REST interface to the Google BigTable database service that is included with Google App Engine . This is simple, yet powerful stuff. And, this is just another example - see my earlier post on creating a simple blog engine on top of this infrastructure . So, yeah. Your Google App Engine application could be an extension of some piece of the Google infrastructure. There are certainly some practical limitations here (like the current 500MB storage restriction). But, at this stage, the right things are happening. We're playing with the capabilities that this PaaS provides, and figuring out, along the way, how we can use it as a piece of the utility. Is this stuff hard? Here's the quote: Created by Andrew Hitchcock one weekend. Exciting times, to be sure. Tags: Google App Engine , BigTable , PaaS , REST , Web Services , Infrastructure , Andrew Hitchcock , Database , SimpleDB , Python , Brian Berliner , br - Open Source 1-Stop Shop For Yahoo! Flickr

Taste the rainbow. The Yahoo! Flickr team has their own Open Source code repository now, known as . Here's the announcement . The Subversion tree currently only has the source to their Flickr Uploadr tool , written in XULRunner , but that's a great start. The Flickr API is a beautiful thing. And, I'm happy that quite a few other sites have copied the basic structure of this Web Service API. Makes it easy to mash up solutions from web data. Hmm. Tasty. And simple. Like Skittles. Flickr is currently processing about 700 API calls per second across 109 public API methods. Nice. Tags: Flickr , Yahoo! , Open Source , Subversion , Uploadr , XULRunner , API , Software , Brian Berliner , brianberliner

IPython on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

Some interesting things have happened recently that have caused me to spend way too much time writing Python code: Google App Engine was release with native support for pure Python web applications. It's now really easy to write and deploy Python applications that are extremely scalable on top of a solid ( and portable )  infrastructure. Apple released Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, and included support for Python as a first-class citizen in its Xcode development tool (which lets you develop with Xcode/Interface Builder pretty seamlessly), in its ScriptingBridge (which allows you to access AppleScript enabled applications using the goodness of Python, and not the confusingness of AppleScript), and allowing for very easy interaction with Cocoa objects (Apple's GUI programming framework). The net result of all this is that I've been spending a lot of time in Python. Surprised the hell out of me, but it's the truth. I have found the IPython command-shell particul

Sharpcast SugarSync Launch Statistics

The folks at Sharpcast have taken notice of the articles that I have written recently about the online file synchronization market . They contacted me and shared some of the statistics for the SugarSync launch that happened on Mar 20. The stats were interesting, so I asked if I could share them with you all on my blog, and they agreed. Here's the quote: Only two weeks into our launch, we have a 15% conversion rate and have already doubled our first month's expectations in trials, and we are only half-way to the end if the initial 45-day free trial period. 75% of our customers sign up for 30GB or more.  A quarter of them are on 100 GB and 250 GB plans. And the country's most influential publications and analysts by and large are showing unanimous support that SugarSync is a new standard-bearer for the category. Sharpcast added that since the launch, SugarSync has synchronized over 75 Million files. It's always great to get some statistics - especially st

Cassatt: The Green Data Center As A Step To Utility Computing

ComputerWorld did a nice video interview with Bill Coleman , CEO of Cassatt Corporation, on the positioning of Cassatt as a "Green Data Center" software company as opposed to a "Utility Computing" software company. You should watch it. Some selected points raised by Bill include: Cassatt is trying to build the company around what people are willing to buy today. Cassatt is still a Utility Computing company. The Policy Management that we have built and is needed to do Active Power Management is the same as that needed to build a Utility Compute environment. Cassatt has 25 Patents Pending (23 utility and 2 method patents - I hold one of the utility patents). Inflection point in Utility Computing, going beyond Active Power Management, is 2009-2011. This is a platform because it is the Policy Management Framework by which end user customers define their success in using IT. The Web 2.0 stuff will be built out and there will be a huge bust - jus

Google App Engine Ported To Amazon EC2

As expected, folks are already starting to move the Google App Engine SDK over to run on top of the Amazon Web Services system . The worry over "Google Lock-In" has been a major concern for folks getting their first look at Google App Engine. I commented on exactly that point in one of the responses to my earlier post . My feeling was that the framework would be largely portable to non-Google environments. And, it looks like I was right - way earlier than I expected to be. Yeah, it's not perfect. Yeah, it's not as scalable. Yeah, the user ID's are not authenticated against Google's User database. But, all of these can be fixed in time. After all, Chris Anderson only spent 4 days putting this first cut together. The port is called AppDrop and is Open Source. This means that we can all just get going with bringing great applications to Google App Engine and not worry about the portability issues now, eh? I know I won't be losing any sleep...

Nuova Systems & Cisco: Sealing The Deal

I wrote a detailed look into the economics of the Nuova Systems and Cisco "M&A" deal (way back in October 2006) in the article: Nuova Systems & Cisco: New Corporate VC Model? Many thanks to my friend Tom Lyon for giving me an early look into what the Nuova Systems folks were up to. And congratulations to the team for completing this deal! Fast-forward to today (April 2008) and we find that Cisco has announced that they will acquire the remaining 20% of Nuova Systems , as per their original deal. I missed it, but apparently the two firms renegotiated the deal in April 2007 in Nuova Systems' favor "and raised the maximum potential payout of the transaction to $678 million". It was originally set to $578M. The latest announcement included additional information about the milestones of the payout: The Nuova transaction is success-based with the total value primarily determined by the revenue of Nuova products over three measurement periods. The first measur

An Example Of Why Google App Engine Will Win

So, we've all heard about Google App Engine by now, right? Well, here's a great example of how easy it is to make an interesting app, in a very small amount of code, on Google App Engine. And, have it be automatically scalable. Surf on over to Bret Taylor's blog . Bret is one of the FriendFeed founders. You'll notice that the blog is, in fact, hosted on Google App Engine. In under 100 lines of Python, there's a start at a perfectly functional blog engine (leveraging Disqus comments, which makes complete sense). There was no rocket science involved in what Bret put together. This is just the beginning. Of course, this specific example lets you know how easy it would be for somebody to take on with a Google App Engine hosted solution. And, this is just one, simple example. Forum software? OpenSocial apps? Software Project Management? Wiki? I predict a sharp increase in Python and Django book sales. Enjoy the ride O'Reilly!

Google App Engine Body-Slams Amazon Web Services

I love it. Google makes a strong move into the scalable web services arena with the introduction of Google App Engine . Features include: Dynamic webserving, with full support of common web technologies Persistent storage (powered by Bigtable and GFS with queries, sorting, and transactions) Automatic scaling and load balancing Google APIs for authenticating users and sending email Fully featured local development environment I had the chance to run through the Google App Engine documentation last night. It's very well done (especially since it is just a Preview Release). Yeah, it's all Python , but there's nothing wrong with that - Python Rocks. Yeah, they want you to use Django , but there's nothing wrong with that. Django Rocks. And, if you don't think so, just upload any Pure Python framework and roll your own. It's easy. But, how does it compare to Amazon EC2 + S3 + SimpleDB? It's completely different. Google App

IDC Virtualization Forum West – Simon Crosby

Simon Crosby , formerly the Founder & CTO of XenSource and, since the acquisition, now the CTO of the Virtualization & Management Division at Citrix, did a very nice job with the morning's kick-off sponsor presentation at the IDC Virtualization Forum West conference. Some takeaways that I found interesting: Virtualization is not an end-goal in and of itself. Virtualization is a feature set and simply serves a role in IT Application Delivery. Simon took a few jabs at VMware and, why not? Citrix/XenSource is now squarely positioned as the #2 contender. When you have the chance, you take a shot at the big boy. And, VMware is a big boy, to be sure. Simon said, "This is the year the world strikes back" (against VMware, I presume). Simon also said, of one of the sleeping dogs in the Virtualization space, "Microsoft is going to radically change the environment for virtualization". Presumably with their Hyper-V solution and their partner muscle.

IDC Virtualization Forum West - Part 2

At the IDC Virtualization Forum West Conference, John Humphreys , Program Vice President of the Enterprise Platform Group at IDC shared some more detailed thoughts on the virtualization markets (great presentation, BTW). Further takeaways include: Of the customers that are doing virtualization in their data centers today, IDC says that 22% of servers have already been virtualized, with an expected rise to 45% in 12 months. Note that Gartner claims that the overall virtualized server market share is 5%. Which means, to me, that there is a whole lot of headroom for virtualized server growth. Power & Cooling account for $0.50 for every $1 spent on servers, or about $29 Billion annually. Roughly $8 in maintenance spent for every $1 in new infrastructure. "Server consolidation" is already appearing to be "old news". Now "Desktop Consolidation" is hot - the ability to serve up the desktop client image from a central location, and all the centralize

IDC Virtualization Forum West – Eastwood Keynote

I attended the IDC Virtualization Forum West 2008 conference today. It was kicked off by Matthew Eastwood of IDC . He shared some of the IDC analysis of the virtualization markets. Some takeaways that I found interesting: Worldwide IT Spending on Servers + Power + Cooling currently at about $55 Billion annually. Data centers continue to grow with new server purchases annually (and relatively fewer servers retired annually, so absolute growth appears to never end). Server Management & Admin costs are rising at 4x the rate of new server acquisition growth, while Power & Cooling is growing at 8x the rate. Number of Rack "U" used annually increases 25x to 15.4 Million servers - this is 365,000 racks representing $15 Billion, with an additional $30 Billion going to Power & Cooling requirements. IDC conducted a survey where they asked IT customers about their interest in "Green Data Centers". Result, with n=191, was that 37% would Favor A Green Su

At IDC Virtualization Forum West Conference

I will be attending the IDC Virtualization Forum West conference tomorrow. Many thanks to Simon Crosby (formerly of XenSource, now with Citrix ) for the invitation. If you will also be there and would like to chat, please drop me a line. I'll follow-up here with some of the interesting takeaways. Tags: IDC , Virtualization , Conference , Forums , XenSource , Xen , VMware , Citrix , Brian Berliner , brianberliner

Some Nice Scalr Follow-Ups

Just ran across a couple of good follow-ups to my article on Scalr : One done by the awesome Amazon Web Services team, and the other done by the kick-ass team at TechCrunch. Glad to see the Scalr project getting some good coverage. Let's rally around this and make it great! Technorati tags: Scalr , AWS , Amazon Web Services , Open Source , TechCrunch , Brian Berliner , brianberliner

SugarSync Responds To Negative Pricing Coverage

In my article about Sharpcast and their recently released SugarSync product , one of my key criticisms was the fact that the service was priced too high. It appears that I was not alone. Sharpcast has cut their prices in half in response. From their Pricing page : Looking for the Founders' Circle (50% off) pricing information? As of April 1, 2008, the Founders' Circle promotional pricing is our new ongoing, everyday low price, as reflected below. We have listened to your feedback and are excited to offer you the best value possible. Sharpcast apparently rolled out the price cut quietly. I would not have known about it had I not read a review by Walt Mossberg (cross-referenced here ) which stated the lower price point. I was sure that Walt had it wrong. But, he did not. The price for the service has dropped. Good for them. I think they should continue to listen to their "customers". Of course, it seems odd that they would not have known that they were too

My Maxtor Hard Disk Clunks To Death

When your disk drive starts making loud, squealing noises when you first turn it on... That's a sign. When your disk drive starts making clicking noises as if it were a metronome... That's a sign. When your disk drive starts throwing I/O Errors to the console... That's a sign. When your disk drive no longer mounts its volume... That's a sign. Yeah - A sign that your disk is about to die or is already dead. That's what happened to my Time Machine disk that is attached to my Apple iMac desktop computer. It was a 750GB Maxtor One Touch III, purchased just 7 months ago. The Good News is that it was just my backup drive and not my primary drive. My primary drive is a 1TB disk, as shipped by Apple, and thankfully has hummed along perfectly. So, I could keep working. The Bad News is that you are no longer making hourly backups, and all of your Time Machine backups are no longer available, so you are completely exposed. I.e., I need a Time Machine backup disk

Zoto Open Sources Their Web Site Code - Maybe

The folks over at the photo sharing site Zoto have decided to Open Source the code for their site. Kord Campbell , CEO of Zoto and currently Chief Evangelist at Splunk , makes the announcement at GeekCEO : I'll keep this simple. I'm uploading the Zoto 3.0 source code to its new Google Code project tonight, and placing the BSD free software license on it. Version 2.0 of Zoto will follow in a couple of days (as soon as I find where we put it). We've also been working on a new site called Fotofluff, and its code is going up there as well. This is a very cool development, and very cool of the Zoto folks to do. Hundreds of files filled with Python goodness representing a very well done photo sharing site. Nice. However, while Kord claims that the code will be released under a BSD license, and the Google Code page specifically references the New BSD License , the About page on Google Code says: The server and the rest of the Zoto code base is now free for

Herb Savor Is A Cool Tool

I agree completely with this article from the folks a Cool Tools . This thing actually works. We do have a herb garden, which works so much better than buying herbs at the grocery store for $1.69 a throw. However, when the herbs are not growing, we're using this thing to eek out a little more life. This was a wedding gift for us, not on our registry, that really surprised us with its utility. Highly recommended. Technorati tags: Herb Savor , Herbs , Cooking , Brian Berliner , brianberliner

Y Combinator + RescueTime: Lessons Learned

Tony Wright wrote a nice article over at FoundRead about his experience with the folks at Y Combinator in getting his most recent company, RescueTime , to market. Definitely worth a read. I like the Y Combinator model that Paul Graham has put together. And, they're getting lots of great companies built (on the cheap, as it should be). Technorati tags: YCombinator , Paul Graham , RescueTime , FoundRead , Tony Wright , Lessons , Post Mortem , Brian Berliner , brianberliner