Tag: Cloud

AMD intros Opteron 4000 series for the cloud

AMD is making a bid to capture the data centre and cloud market with a series of low cost processors that also, it claimed, are highly power efficient.

Gina Longoria, director of product management for AMD’s server business, said the Opteron 4000 is designed specifically for cloud and data centre customers – and for SMBs, because AMD claims it offers exceptional value. It claims it’s the world’s lowest power per core server processor.

The Opteron 6000 was launched in March but that’s targeted at performance per watt and expansion for 2P/4P.   But the Opteron 4000 is aimed at energy efficiency, designed for customised machines by OEMs. A number of OEM customers will introduce power efficient machines.

Customers need high density and to fit a lot of servers into a small space, said Longoria. OEMs will design units that meet the need of people without a lot of space. The 4000 uses DDR3 and will be upgradeable to Bulldozer cores in 2011.

AMD claims this series is the first “true cloud server platform”.  These Lisbon chips have six or four core options, 3MB or 2MB of L2 cache, 6MB of L3 cache, IO Virtualisation, Hypertransport 3.0, with  two X16 links of up to 6.4GT/s per link.

The chips have an integrated DDR3 memory controller with 1333MHz  support and up to 21.3GB/s memory bandwidth – power bands are 32W, 50W and 75W.

The chips have four power states – a sleep state, a reduced state when  a temperature limit is reached, remote monitoring, and lower memory voltages of 1.35V compared to the standard 1.5V.

AMD makes some ambitious claims for how much data centres with 10,000 servers can save – with up to 8.7kWH per year, and an estimated  $992,000 yearly savings.

The 4100 series, claims AMD, covers all the bases for low power including chips, chipsets, and memory, as well as software.

The chip can offer a 2P server system below $100. AMD claims that its entry level prices, compared to the Xeon 5600 is half the price, or more.

Dell, GatewayAcer, Tyan, MSI, Gigabyte and Supermicro will produce products in the next month or two. The Lisbon four and six cores that are in the 400 series, and codenamed San Marino and Adelaide, will be displaced by Valencia six and eight core systems next year.

Telekom to build Germany's largest data centre

Deutsche Telekom said it is going to construct a whopping 24,000 square metre data centre near the German town of Magdeburg, located in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt. Plans are to complete the high-security data centre by 2015. A first section is set to be finished in 2012 and will offer 9,000 square metres of space for servers. Deutsche Telekom also claims the first section will create around 70 new jobs.

The federal state of Saxony-Anhalt is supporting construction with subsidies “in the double-digit million range”. Minister of economics Dr. Reiner Haseloff, whose family name sounds close to “Hasselhoff” but unfortunately is no relation to Baywatch’s Mitch Buchannon, stated Saxony-Anhalt had “been holding intensive negotiations with T-Systems about the site since the end of 2009”. He’s oh-so delighted the Telekom subsidiary decided to build it in his state. Subsidies in the two-digit millions probably were a nice incentive, too. 

Deutsche Telekom’s CEO René Obermann claimed the new data centre is being built to “expand our cloud computing capacity.” He went on to say that “Germany offers an important locational advantage to our customers, including our international business customers: It has a particularly secure legal framework in terms of data privacy.”

“Cloud computing is a growth driver: When intelligence moves to the network, customers purchase and pay for ICT solutions on a flexible basis as required. At present, customers are primarily large corporations, but an increasing number of smaller firms and consumers will benefit from cloud computing in the long term,” said Telekom CEO René Obermann. “Consequently, we are gradually ” said Obermann.

T-Systems has around 45.300 employees wordwide and is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom delivering information and communication technology services to business and the public sectors. Last year, the unit had revenues close to 8.8 billion euro.

Youtube launches video editor

Google’s video portal Youtube today presented its new online video editing feature, which allows Youtubers to create mash-ups of existing videos and edit video in the cloud. Soundtracks can be added from Youtube’s AudioSwap library, however the songs will replace the original audio track. 

Users and makers of expensive, high-class video editing software such as Avid and FinalCut may laugh at the basic functionality of Youtube’s video editor, however more and more regular, desktop-based software is heading towards the cloud.

Just like video editing and movie making, the realm of Digital Audio Workstations (DAWS) has been an exclusive one in the last 20+ years, limited to people buying a sequencer and creating and recording music at home. Technological advancements such as USB 2.0, Firewire, DSPs and laptops made it increasingly easier to record music in a practice room or at home. High-quality audio interfaces could be bought on a budget, alongside software and sample packs containing additional instruments.

This gave users far more possibilities to create music than back in the ancient days when productivity was limited to a rather expensive four-track cassette multitracker and an expensive analogue synthesizer.

Nowadays, browser-based audio editing is becoming increasingly popular. Aviary has launched its “Music Creator” audio recording and editing application, after it bought Digimix, the original developer. Track and Fields allows people from around the globe to record songs together using a browser application, adding social networking to music production. The company has also launched online remix competitions with bands such as Ash and the seminal Krautrockers Neu!.

Youtube’s online video editor is an innovation in its field, however it is following a general trend. In ten years time, it might be commonplace to use a mobile device running Chrome OS to record one’s guitar strumming or create a video, upload it to the cloud and use it to create content with friends online. What once required a RAID-array, expensive external hardware and software is heading onto servers.

Microsoft ranks India over Silicon Valley

Even though Indian CIOs are largely sceptical about the “revolutionising” cloud computing, Microsoft boss, Steve Ballmer has taken an attempt to silence the critics of cloud computing in India.

The Microsoft CEO has ranked India’s prospects over Silicon valley’s in terms of growth in cloud computing. Ballmer firmly believes India would become the global hub for cloud computing which might take the world by storm.

Ballmer foresees India driving maximum deals as more and more companies will look to India to support their transition to cloud computing.

Ballmer said, “India will not only see a surge in cloud computing services but companies all over the world will look to India to support their transition to cloud computing.”

At a press meet here in India, Ballmer asserted saying that world’s largest software maker see a surge of business with its cloud services. This is a known fact that Microsoft is yet to match up to the success its competitors achieved in cloud computing. Companies like Amazon and Google tapped the market at the first go and quite successfully convinced enterprises to give up building and managing data centres and switch to their computer capacity.

At the press meet, Ballmer further underlined the importance of MS cloud services platform Azure, enabling users to use applications from email to payroll systems hosted online.

Microsoft claims to have 600 customers for its cloud services though it never breaks down the numbers geographically. So, how would we know what’s the number in India that inspires Mr. Ballmer to rank India over Silicon Valley?

Are you guys listening? I mean you, CIOs!. Mr. Ballmer is trying to prove you guys wrong!

Google wants to intercept all the world´s print jobs

Online giant Google wants to become the “World’s Print Spooler” of sorts, if one believes Google’s plans for printing from its “Chrome OS” and “other web-connected platforms”, as published recently in a firm’s blog at Chromium.org which hosts its Chromium open sauce browser.

Highlighting how things can go overboard when you misdiagnose a problem, the on-line behemoth says that the printing landscape is too complex, because a lot of drivers are needed for different printers, and that they have come up with a solution: called Google Cloud Print, a described as “a service that enables any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer.” It calls this scheme “a new approach to printing.”

Mis-diagnosis
The firm says that “today’s printers still require installing drivers which makes printing impossible from most of these new devices. Developing and maintaining print subsystems for every combination of hardware and operating system– from desktops to netbooks to mobile devices — simply isn’t feasible.”. There is a problem with that statement: it is false. Everybody in the IT field knows that real quality printers speak industry-standard languages, of which PCL and PostScript are the most popular.

There are Free Software implementations of both PostScript and PCL, namely GhostScript and GhostPCL  , both available under the Free Software Foundation’s GPL license. If Google wants to make printing easy from its Chrome OS, they should integrate the open source PCL and/or PostScript engines into Chrome OS. Of course, there’s the issue of the particular licensing of Chrome OS itself.  But let’s leave lawyers out of the equation for now.

By integrating those two industry standards into Chrome OS, most of the world’s “real” printers would work out of the box. The real problem for non-windows operating systems are the so-called “winprinters”, or GDI printers, or “dumb printers” as this scribbler likes to call them. Most low-cost inkjets fall into this category, with one notable exception: HP.

HP long ago decided to support GNU/Linux and has developed Linux drivers, with the name HP Linux Imaging and Printing System (HPLIP) which could be also integrated into Chrome OS for seamless printing, even to low-cost HP inkjets. That would, of course, leave out the low-end Canon, Lexmark, and any other minor player in the Ink-jet market, but perhaps Google could use the opportunity to promote the virtues of those with open source drivers and “real” printers with a brain  -an internal CPU and hardware-based page layout engine-. In other words: If a given printer does not support established standards, or the manufacturer does not provide open source drivers, that’s the printer manufacturer’s problem, they’ll lose Chrome OS users.

Google’s wasteful and dangerous vision: become the world’s print spooler
This scribbler could go on and on the lack of sense of Google’s proposal -making print jobs travel from computers to Google’s servers and back to a new breed of “Cloud-aware” printers, but the best way to put some light into this is to quote what the visitors to Google’s blog are thinking of this proposal.

One user says “This means that I can cloud print something in my house, walk to my local it store, pick it up and unfortunately not save any time”. Another named Sebastian wrote about his different priorities “That’s nice, but when will Chrome have a “print preview” option?”. Others think that the approach is unnecessary and wasteful, like Dave Johansen, who wrote: “Cool idea, but even putting privacy concerns aside, something about shipping a print job off to the cloud just to be sent back to my printer in my house seems unnecessary and wasteful.”

S. Sokolow agrees “This seems sort of like a Microsoft/Apple-style “doing it our way rather than the right way” move” with another one commenting “I do think it’s a little silly to send your print job from one side of the continent to the other and back again just because nobody in the Windows, Windows Printer, and mobile computing sectors are willing to invest in sticking a good UI, a roaming service or two, and a bit of polish on top of the CUPS + Zeroconf combination that Linux and Apple are continuing to develop.”, and Nizam agrees “very very wasteful. if you are developing a new communications protocol for printers to adapt, why won’t you use the same protocol over LAN rather than cloud? What is the exact benefit of the cloud here? I see none.”

Some people laugh at Google’s vision,  lots question it
Some users could only laugh at it. Vic Berggren said: “Is that so it can come back with adwords embedded in the print job?” A poster with the nickname CubanLinks added: “This is so ridiculous, it’s almost worthy of an April 1st post or a TheOnion article.”

Others point to the absurdity of relying on network (Internet) connectivity to be able to print: “Among other reasons I don’t like cloud services, as a user, I don’t like having my potentially unstable DSL as a single point of failure” says one, while another with nickname Deux wrote: “wait, so if I don’t have an internet connection, I can’t use my printer? Awesome! Always dreamed of that!”

Others, quite rightfully, think Google should stop trying to re-invent the wheel: Michael Brophy said “This Google Cloud Print is a folly — they can’t support printer drivers on Chrome OS because they don’t have the maturity of partnerships and OEM ecosystem that Microsoft has cultivated over the past 20 years. Not to mention Google just wants to turn everyone’s printers into another advertising outlet — like fax spam from the 80s and 90s.”

Carmen Kroc agrees, the answer is PostScript: “POSTSCRIPT. This problem was solved in the 70’s. How many more times is the world going to be hampered by obtuse printer manufacturers who insist on hitting users with the brand hammer so they can sell overpriced cartridges and install spyware on their machines. Google are going to have a much bigger fight with printer manufacturers by cutting off their access to abuse the user” (sic).

Finally, others like Les pointed about the security implications “You better get security right. The backlash you will get the first time somebody prints their taxes to the wrong printer or someone intentionally spams the wrong printer will be insane.” Mikko adds “Security? Confidentiality? Information integrity? Do you really trust Google so much?” Anthony Papillon writes “Honestly, if you look at this, there is no need for this project aside from Google having even more access to data. Installing a printer driver is a no brainer. Sorry, I’m a huge fan of Google but this is an obvious move to grab more data.”

Closing thought
Choosing a printer that supports PCL or PostScript is not a problem. Affording the overpriced INKJET INK or toner is the problem. Can Google make printer ink rain from the Cloud?.