By now, everyone in our industry has heard a future IT vision where virtual machines (VMs) migrate from one physical server to another for load balancing, disaster recovery, or maintenance windows. Sounds great in theory, but things in IT aren't this simple. Each VM actually represents an operating system and some associated services or applications. When VMs move around, will they maintain their configuration state or need to be reconfigured? Will multi-tiered applications know that one of their peers has moved to a new neighborhood? Will the network recognize the VM as an old friend or will it assume … Read more
Yahoo has signed up three new universities to participate in Internet-scale computing research, the Internet pioneer said Thursday.
The University of California-Berkeley, Cornell University, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst have joined an effort that already included Carnegie Mellon University, Yahoo said Thursday. The universities get access to a cluster of Yahoo computers called M45 that runs open-source software called Hadoop that can be used to process data rapidly.
Yahoo is a major contributor to Hadoop, a project within the Apache Software Foundation's collection, but Google created the underlying technology through its MapReduce algorithm. MapReduce and Hadoop can be used … Read more
Judging by the heavy interest in last week's look at Google's previously secret server and data center design, I thought it would be useful to note that Google has now put much of the information on YouTube.
The disclosures came at a Google-sponsored conference on data center efficiency, which boils down to getting the most computing done with the least electrical power. The idea is core to Google's operations: the company operates at tremendous scale, tries to minimize its harm to the environment, and has a strong financial incentive to keep its costs low.
There are a number of videos from the conference online, starting with the tour of a Google data center. Google's servers, which the company itself designs, are packed 1,160 at a time into shipping containers that form a basic, modular unit of computing.
Also worth a look is the tour of Google's water treatment facility. Google uses water to cool the hot air the servers produce. Most Google data centers use chillers to cool the water by refrigeration, but one data center in Belgium is experimenting with the use only of the less power-hungry evaporative cooling.
This was originally posted at ZDNet's Between the Lines.
Venture capitalists are becoming slightly more upbeat about the economy and market, according to the latest read from the Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index, which was released Wednesday.
The ongoing survey of VCs in the San Francisco Bay Area found that venture capitalist confidence registered a 3.03 on a 5-point scale (5 shows high confidence). The first-quarter read was up from the fourth quarter's tally of 2.77, which was a five-year low. (See report overview, PDF).
Is it party time? Not quite.
University of San Francisco … Read more
Corrected at 11:53 a.m. PDT. See below for details.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--In a case of converging technologies, Google App Engine took several steps toward the mainstream on its first birthday Tuesday at the same time that the concept of cloud computing in general is becoming more accepted.
Cloud computing presents applications as Internet-accessible services rather than software that runs on corporate servers or people's own PCs. It can mean anything from raw computing services that can be bolted together, as in the case of Amazon Web Services, to finished products such as the Picnik photo-editing site or SalesForce.com customer-management service. Google App Engine is an intermediate level, offering a general-purpose foundation.
Thus far, App Engine had been limited to Web applications written in the Python programming language favored internally at Google but not as much elsewhere. But on Tuesday, the top-requested App Engine feature, support for Java programs, arrived--albeit only in a preview form initially available only to the first 10,000 developers who sign up.
"It's the language of the enterprise," said Ryan Nichols, leader of product management and marketing at Appirio, a 140-person start-up that builds software for clients who want cloud computing applications. "It allows us to have a different level of conversation with our customers."
Google announced the Java support and a handful of other new App Engine features on its blog and at a Campfire One event for developers at its headquarters here. As with the regular App Engine service, use within certain limits is free, but developers must pay for heavy-duty App Engine use.
Writing software that can simultaneously make use of multiple processors can be hard. Yet the advent of multicore processors--four cores per chip is now common--means that more and more software needs to do just that.
With processor performance increases now increasingly coming through the ability to handle more execution threads, rather than handling individual ones faster, multithreaded programming, in one form or another, is pretty much the only path to writing faster software, going forward.
Researchers and developers are tackling this issue from a lot of different angles, including new languages and a greater focus on multithreaded programming in computer … Read more
Updated at 10:45 p.m. PDT throughout.
Intel celebrated the first anniversary of the Atom processor by introducing two new models, while confirming the arrival of Nehalem-based mobile processors later this year and disclosing a new chip dubbed "Jasper Forest."
The chipmaker also did a live demonstration for the first time of the next-generation Atom-based platform, code-named Moorestown. The platform will include a new Moblin software version that will enable a PC-like Internet experience along with cellular voice capabilities, Intel said.
Intel announced two new Atom processors for mobile Internet devices, or MIDs: the Z550 and Z515. … Read more
Acer executives said that Google's Android still has a long way to go before it can be used as the operating system for the hot new category of laptops known as Netbooks. And the CEO of the Taiwanese company hinted that its Netbooks may soon end up on Verizon Wireless' network.
At a press event Tuesday night to launch the company's new line of consumer and business computers, Chief Executive Gianfranco Lanci and Jim Wong head of Acer's IT products business line, told reporters that the company plans to use Google's Android operating system on its … Read more
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Google announced Tuesday it's adding support for Java to App Engine, its service for running software on Google's own computing infrastructure.
Today, Google offers only applications written in Python, a language that's popular among the search giant's engineers but not as widely used in the outside world. Java, though, is commonplace among organizations' server software, and Java support was the top-requested feature for Google App Engine.
"I'm really excited to give you an early preview of Java language support on App Engine," Graham Spencer, a Google engineering director, said at … Read more
Updated at 3:50 p.m. PST: correcting for Intel GN40 graphics support and adding pricing information for target market.
Acer launched a PC Tuesday that attempts to bring PC-class performance to Atom-processor-based PCs.
The Acer AspireRevo is the first Atom-based PC from a major PC supplier to use Nvidia's Ion chipset that packs GeForce 9400M graphics, the same graphics used in the Apple 13-inch MacBook and MacBook Air.
By design, Atom is a more power frugal and, concomitantly, slower processor than Intel's mainstream Core 2 chip architecture.
The AspireRevo's marquee external feature is the diminutive size: … Read more