Tome's Land of IT

IT Notes from the Powertoe – Tome Tanasovski

Category Archives: Trends

Look back at 2014 and look forward to 2015

A look back at 2014

2014 was the year of containers for me.  I spent a lot of time looking at Docker, Kubernetes, Mesos with Marathon and Aurora, and working (and using) tooling around the core Linux Kernel components that make these platforms possible.

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Additionally, this was the year that I fully embraced and understood Apache Zookeeper and played with etcd.  For me, Zookeeper becomes the foundation of nearly any distributed system I write.  It’s easy and it works.  Etcd has a place when zookeeper is overkill, but I have yet to use it in anything real.

Elasticsearch – I finally got dirty with elasticsearch.  I have a lot of positive things to say about it.  I’m interested in seeing how far the software can be taken.  Specifically to see whether the datastore (that can now be backed up) will become an actual data tier rather than just an efficient layer on top of a data tier.

In the Perl world, I learned Moose which make Perl actually usable in modern day programming.  It provides objects and types to Perl.

I was really happy to have the opportunity to implement ZeroMQ into something I was working on.  I am really excited by this library and I hope 2015 gives me a chance to write something about PowerShell and ZeroMQ.  There are very few platform and language agnostic libraries out there.  Additionally, the perfect abstraction with robust patterns and documentation make it a lot of fun to tinker with new communication topologies with just a few minor changes to code.  I have not been so inspired or zealously passionate about something like this since PowerShell 2.0 took my brain.

I played with AngularJS a bit.  It was fun.  However, every time I sit down to do UI work, I feel defeated.  It’s just something I’m not amazing at nor do I think I really want to be.  I’m glad to understand the framework and how it works, but I’ll save the meaty part of that work for others.

Pester Pester Pester!!! Test-driven development took over my PowerShell life (as well as all other languages).  My coding takes longer, but I have much more faith in it.  Pester is the greatest thing to happen to PowerShell from the community ever!  I was really happy to work with my internal corporate teams to build SDLC best-practices for PowerShell that involve Continous Integration (CI) and a Pester as the testing framework.

In 2014 I was introduced by my mentor to some time management techniques outlined in Eat that Frog.  Basically it’s about turning your life into Agile.  That sounds strange and the book doesn’t mention agile once – it is my interpretation of it.  It’s really about prioritizing daily and choosing the items that are most impactful to your company and yourself while deprioritizing everything else.  Additionally, I have adopted the more and more common practice of ignoring most e-mails and checking them less frequently throughout the day.  If it’s important, they will get back to you in a way that you cannot ignore.  Otherwise, it’s just getting in the way of the things you prioritized for the day.  If you start to follow this advice, I would add that you should also set up some alerts to ensure that certain people are never ignored.

An unhealthy obsession with gaming returned to my life in 2014.  However, I was successful in squashing it at the end of 2014 – well all of it except for the updates to candy crush I have to do when a new level comes out 🙂  Hopefully the squash will return some valuable time I need in order to blog a bit more and round myself in the wee hours of the night.

The 2015 Hitlist

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Golang

Use golang in an actual project.  I really like golang.  It feels like an interpretive language (PowerShell, Python, Perl), but it is compiled and has the potential to automagically make things more efficient as the engine matures.  I have played with golang a bit, but I want to find a project to use it with that will prove/disprove my initial thoughts about the language.

Openstack

Learn Openstack.  I’m sick of being in conversations where I cannot speak with authority about what open stack can and can’t do.  I need to understand all of the components and how they work.  This is pure lab time that I should have done last year.

Public cloud

Re-evaluate the cloud providers.  It’s been about two years since I last looked at AWS and Azure.  I’d like to get a handle on the current offerings and take a closer look at the Google compute engine stuff.

PowerShell Talks and Blogs

Put some new talks together about PowerShell 5.0 and the ZeroMQ library.  Perhaps finally blog or do a talk about the heuristic and deterministic algorithm implementations I have done with PowerShell.

Publish my unpublished article around running a PowerShell script as any user in AD without credentials 🙂 (it’s possible, but requires a configuration you will likely never want to do – but hey, from a research perspective, it’s fun to try).

Podcast

Revisit the cmdlet of the day podcast (no link because the storage is currently not working).  Of all of the things I have ever been involved with, this is the one that I get the most positive feedback from.  I have been thinking it would be fun to kick off the year giving 5-minute discussions about enterprise scripting best practices. There’s so much potential in the short-form podcast format for something highly technical.  I’d love to do this right and perhaps inspire others to pick up the torch in similar technologies that I could benefit from listening to.

The 2015 Watchlist

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PowerShell

PowerShell as a development language – I still firmly believe that PowerShell is one of the best languages ever written.  In my opinion it is a better interpreted development language than Python and Perl.  I would love to see it used the way it should be.  This is probably a losing battle as Microsoft’s focus is on making it feel like a development language strictly to get providers written for DSC, but I constantly hold my breath waiting for something more.  My hope is that the open sourcing of .NET along with the new language mode in 5.0 may open that door a bit more.  However, my face is slowly turning blue and I may not see the sweet release of air any time soon.  Additionally, I just don’t work on anything that would allow me to prove this outside of little pet projects here and there.  I suppose this is more of a crylist entry than a watchlist entry.

Microsoft open source

.NET being open sourced.  What does it mean?  What’s going to happen with it next?

Windows containers

Containers on Windows – What in the world does it all mean?  How will it manifest to IT shops, and how can I exploit it for the benefit of cheap, secure, and flexible compute where I work?

Checkpoint/Restore

In early 2013, I ran a successfull POC that leveraged CRIU to migrate an app including all of its state from one Linux server to another and have it start running again as if nothing happened.  Why is this not being exploited or am I missing projects that are leveraging it?  Either way, it’s still the most cutting-edge bit of magic out there.  I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Happy New Year!

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What’s Big in 2012?

A friend of mine asked me an innocent enough pair of questions, “What’s going to be big in 2012?” … “What’s worth learning?”  I approach these questions cautiously.  In most organizations 2012 is a year of finishing up projects: mainly win7, virtual desktops, or both.  You should have a good handle on application delivery or at least a strategy for how to handle it in the years to come.  You’ve probably spent some time looking and perhaps implementing some of the layering technologies that can be used with VDI.  For many, that is still the focus area.  Some of you are putting focus back into Citrix for published desktops or for app delivery as people bring their devices to work.  Finally, a few of you are evaluating the multitude of cloud services that are now available that may act as a better alternative to what you can do in your own house.  Others are still scratching their heads as they try to figure out what a private cloud means to them.

Rather than be the pundit on a pulpit making predictions, I’ll just tell you what I plan on doing this year.

What’s in your lineup for 2012, Tome?

Glad you asked.  First and foremost this is obviously the year that Microsoft wants me to get up to speed with Windows 8 and System Center 2012.

Windows 8

I’m not talking desktop here.  I’m talking server!  Metro apps are aesthetically in this millenium, which is nice.  However, the pieces of meat that interest me have nothing to do with HTML 5, fake suspended apps that instantly recreate state, or the way search works.  Nope, the interesting stuff is definitely in server.  There is a new file system (REFS), extensions on existing ones (NTFS with dedupe), tons of new cmdlets, a direction from the Server team to go all server core (the command line only version of Windows Server), VHD improvements (vhdx), virtual aware DCs, Active Directory Admin Center (ADAC), and who knows what else I’m about to learn this year when I hit this topic hard.

Hyper-V

I’m finally ready to learn everything I can about this hypervisor.  I know ESX very well and I love it.  I’ve had plenty of opportunities to have tongue-in-cheek comments like, “I think Microsoft just announced that they invented v-motion” or “Hey, look at this: Hyper-V can overcommit memory now”.  Now the feature set is full, and Microsoft is starting to use the technology in ways that are integrated into other products – like …. wait for it …  Private Cloud

System Center 2012

Hand in hand with Hyper-V are some of the components within System Center.  I think the best way to put it is that if it runs the private cloud infrastructure, I plan on trying it out.  While the term cloud is an overused word that describes development best practices for the past few years, the mainstream adoption and flexibility of virtualization have made this a sexy term.  What I believe Microsoft is offering (I will know better once I start playing with it) is their new application framework.  I believe that their hope is that if IT Pros can easily create and set up Azure-like services, that it will be easier to convince developers to develop on those services.  This, of course, means it’s much easier to then push those services to the public cloud at a later date – perhaps due to in-demand bursts, perhaps due to outsourcing, perhaps just for the sexiness of it.

Big Data

I spent a lot of time near the end of last year getting up to speed on some of the big data options.  If you’re not familiar with the term, let’s just say that it’s quantities of data that would make a relational database feel uncomfortable while maintaining the querying speed of a relational database – in most cases it is faster due to the fact that you are leveraging multiple servers to pull back data in parallel streams.  I have played with some simple nosql data stores like mongodb and Cassandra, and I have tackled some map reduce with Hadoop, couchdb, and Splunk.

Splunk

Splunk is where I am committing my time at the moment.  Splunk allows you to ingest time-series data from disparate sources, but that’s only the beginning.  The power is twofold: First, in their slick query language that lets you spin real-time slices of that data in ways that were traditionally only possible with a data architect and a defined cube of your data sets.  Second, in their ability to combine and reconcile data events from the multiple sources that you feed it.  The fact that they require very little setup (compared to the other options) to get going makes them the easiest way that I know of to implement a big data solution without a lot of heavy developer work.  This relatively simple time-to-implement has also enabled them to adopt this ridiculous pricing model that is horrible for us, but is sure to keep them in business long enough to keep their competitive edge.

1010Data

Also, I’m keeping an eye on 1010data. They are a business-driven solution that enables people to get the same slicing and dicing power that you can get from Splunk without requiring a data architect, but the solution is 100% cloud based and uses an online spreadsheet to empower their users.  It currently acts as the data warehouse for NYSE – they store every historical trade in their trillion row spreadsheet.  This is a much different beast than Splunk.  Splunk is right now the IT Pro’s tool for managing the sprawl of machine data.  1010data is all about number crunching and speed.  Splunk enables IT Pros and Devs, while 1010data enables business.  Both of these are extremely valuable things to understand if you plan on designing the future vision of IT in your environment.

Teradata Aster

I’m really curious to see what Teradata‘s aquisition of Aster bears.  I’m not overly up to speed with Teradata to begin with, but I know it’s a “hot” product that I should know.  The fact that Aster provides map reduce capability to the Teradatadata data store makes my eyebrow rise a bit higher.  I’m committed to some more research – I expect that will be conversations with people in that area and a lot of reading more than anything practical.

PowerShell

How could I talk about 2012 without PowerShell.  V3 was so Q4 of 2011, but I am waiting for the next CTP or beta release to see what is making the cut and what will not.  Soon it will be time to actually use V3 in production – now that’s when it gets fun.

Additionally on the PowerShell front, I’ve been hitting a series of AI/Collective Intelligence algorithms hard the past few months to see what I can use them for in PowerShell.  This is more of an academic pursuit than anything else although it was directly spawned from a task I was handed at work.  The plus for the rest of the world is that I’ve been developing a fairly nice suite of cmdlets that can implement the various algorithms.  I hope to release this as a module in 2012.

Comments

What do you think is hot in 2012?  What am I missing?  Drop a line in the comments here or on Google+

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