More from: General Business

The “Data Center” of the Future

A visual model of the Data Center of the Future: Coffee Maker insides after years of use.

I just read through Network World’sHow a data center works, today and tomorrow” (see https://www.networkworld.com/article/3223692/data-center/how-a-data-center-works-today-and-tomorrow.html).

They feel ‘The future of data centers will rely on cloud, hyperconverged infrastructure and more powerful components’.

I partly agree, and partly disagree.

The IT business cycle is well known: IT starts as a centralized department, becomes a bottleneck, other departments set up their own IT for operational survival, the uncoordinated small IT becomes unmanageable, policy swings back to standardizing and centralizing IT, and the cycle repeats. So “Data Centers” will be centralized, then distributed, then centralized again … likely forever at the corporate level.

The controlling force will not be commercial dominance: no one company will succeed at becoming the global “Data Center Hegemon” – grass roots, open source, widely varied people driven interests will take over IN SPITE of corporate attempts to “own” the Data Center scene. The “Data Centers” inside large organizations will be a tiny part of the planetary Data Center.

Photo of a Nest Thermostat in The Bond Building. 20 June 2013, 11:54:32 by Amanitamano

I also disagree that the Data Center of the future will be composed mostly of more powerful things, rather I feel that it will be made up of far less powerful things, redundant, error correcting, in massive numbers, using cooperative computing protocols, to become a massive unified computing power. As each cell in a human body is little by itself, coordinated together all the cells form a much more significant and powerful organism: an organism that can loose many cells, survive, heal, and grow. No single corporation, or corporate alliance, can approach this potential because of management, legal, contractual, and financial encumbrances. The Data Center’s life blood is network connectivity and its future body will be shaped accordingly.

All technologies must eventually inter-operate, and those which do not will be relegated to irrelevance, but most of this will be from non-corporate innovation, not for profit initiatives. There will likely be government attempts initiated by corporate influence to eradicate all “unauthorized” software on some pretense: any software not sold by “authorized” programmers, such as that created by programmers not under corporate control and released for the public good without mandated government “back doors” or for profit motives may even be criminalized. Public software will not only survive but it will grow and the attempts to destroy it will drive it underground, improve it, increase its sophistication, and make it harder, not easier, to oppose.

And yes, I believe some large corporations will contribute to the process, which will eventually be overwhelmed and confiscated by massive grass roots factors, gently, slowly, imperceptibly until it is too late. The surviving Corporations will be the ones which recognize this from the start and design to work together with rather than oppose global communications.

There will always be “free public cloud” ( that is, network based file and app servers), sometimes  bootlegged inside ‘secure’ corporate systems, but there will be much more storage a kilobyte at a time from mundane and ignored things such as Mom’s pacemaker or Uncle Joe’s radio all coordinated by Harriot’s thermostat. IoT device security and control will improve accordingly. Remember BitCoin. In the future, my FitBit may be harboring 1% of your favorite vacation picture for you – but don’t worry, if I upgrade my watch Harry’s fish locator and Mary’s microwave have redundant copies just in case.

The idea that people in mass will keep their most private data on a server owned by some for profit entity that will turn everything over to secret government agencies or marketers at a whim is unworkable until people have absolute confidence that their private data will remain absolutely private NO MATTER WHAT. This can never happen with any ownership of centralized “Cloud” services because government can and will seize those centralized computers if they think it necessary.

Reading, gaming, sleeping… All in Kyiv subway by teteria sonnna from Obukhiv, Ukraine

There will probably be significant human influencers wearing rags and living in dilapidated buildings or on the streets as well as those wearing jeans or tuxedos and living in middle-class homes or skyscrapers. BOT nets will no longer be merely for mafia profits, ransomware,  and spam generators but will be a means to suborn “secure” private networks or effect communications kept temporarily private from “official” corporate or government eyes.

The “Data Center” of the future will not be one place but every place. It will be connected by multiple redundant means to circumvent corporate power to use government to silence profit syphoning opposition. It will not look like a ‘Max Headroom’ dystopia but free open source software will be critical in its reliable operation even though specific corporate proprietary software will also be present.

And the one thing we can count on is that it will be constantly changing all of the time. How can for profit corporate interests survive or thrive in this new world? Easy, simply make your corporation indispensable to the victors.


IBM Cloud Advances

Two women entering data on IBM 026 keypunch

This just in from Information Week on the IBM approach to Cloud Services.

https://www.informationweek.com/cloud/infrastructure-as-a-service/koehler-ibm-cloud-advances-with-integration-new-services/d/d-id/1329353

IBM is breaking away from the pattern of cloud infrastructure established by Google, Amazon and Microsoft. IBM’s future cloud offering can be based on whatever form of virtualization and server hardware that IBM chooses, as opposed to following the model of all x86 Intel architecture that Amazon Web Services and most other providers do.

“Electricity that comes out of the socket gets produced by a mix of coal, solar, hydro and nuclear, but it’s still 120-volt electricity,” Koehler said. By implication, he was saying in the future, cloud compute power may likewise stem from a mix of x86, IBM Power, Z series and graphics processors.

Stay turned, and keep watching. Someone is telling us they are waking up and responding to real market demands instead of trying to shape market to fit the product they already have. And IBM is good at technology for longer than most companies have existed. But expect their offering to be aimed squarely at businesses, like a Selectric typewriter, not individuals, like off brands.


Easy Passwords

locked-computer-cartoonGood ideas for real people dealing with ridiculous password demands from web sites – how to get a decent password you can remember and still be secure. The thing he says about LENGTH being the only thing that improves password strength is pretty complete. All this hubbub about making it nonsense just makes it harder for you to remember and as such less secure.

If you’d like to know an even better approach – far easier to remember and much harder to guess or reverse engineer, see me in person.

“A good password is not only strong and secure (hard to guess), but also easy to remember (practical). So: what’s a good password in everyday life? An important question….

The answer will probably surprise you. It surprised me, anyway! A strong password is above all…. long. Symbols, numerals, caps and punctuation marks don’t make it stronger, but they do make it harder for you to remember it.”

You’ve read it correctly: Tr0ub4dor&3 is less secure than correct-horse-battery-staple. Less secure, and much harder to remember. For three simple reasons:

1. The password sentence has simply more characters than the single word. In other words: it’s longer.

2. The “weird” characters are for the computer of an attacker not harder to crack than normal characters.

3. The dashes between the four random words, render a “brute force” dictionary attack futile: the attacker simply can’t know where the dashes are in the sentence, so he can’t use a dictionary at all. Furthermore, the words are random and don’t constitute an existing sentence.

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/password



Available Linux Mint/MATE v18

locked-computer-cartoonLinux Mint with MATE desktop version 18 is now available. This is a long term support release good through 2021.

The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” MATE Edition. Linux Mint 18 Sarah MATE Edition Linux Mint 18 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable   http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3052

There are some tweaks that can be done to improve on any install and one author’s extensive list and step by step implementation details are here: 10 things to do first in Linux Mint 18 Mate on the Sites.Google.Com  Easy Linux tips project

Congratulations, you have installed a brand new Linux Mint 18 Sarah, with the Mate desktop! What’s best for you to do, first of all?

I’ve made a list of the things to do, which I’ve divided into three categories:
– 10 absolutely essential ones (part 1);
– the recommended ones (not essential, part 2);
– the maybe useful (part 3).