Much has been said about Facebook’s Timeline feature, but very little attention has been paid to the actual tech behind the feature. Timeline goes well beyond the scope Facebook’s previous profile pages and deal with years of Facebook activity. Starting this Fall, O’Reilly and Cloudera are going to be smooshing together their conferences, and Siddharth Anand has some thoughts on the state of NoSQL in 2012.
The State of NoSQL in 2012 – Anand has some thoughts on the limitations of today’s NoSQL options. “Many of the NoSQL vendors view the “battle of NoSQL” to be akin to the RDBMS battle of the 80s, a winner-take-all battle. In the NoSQL world, it is by no means a winner-take-all battle. Distributed Systems are about compromises.”
BitNami Cloud Tools now supports DynamoDB – BitNami has added support for DynamoDB with its BitNami Cloud Tools stack. The Cloud Tools includes the most popular command line tools (and dependencies, of course) for working with the Amazon APIs for EC2, Beanstalk, RDS, SES and others.
Cloudera Teams With O’Reilly Media to Merge Hadoop World and Strata Conferences – It can be tough to attend all the trade shows that are relevant, so this is good news for Hadoop folks. Cloudera is going to be folding Hadoop World into the 2012 Strata Conference New York this Fall. The Strata Conference New York is being held October 24 and 25, the call for papers starts on February 28.
Building Timeline: Scaling up to hold your life story – I still haven’t decided quite how I feel about Facebook’s Timeline feature, but I do admit that the technical challenges behind it are quite interesting. Ryan Mack describes the tech behind Timeline and how they whipped data into shape, and how the project got started. “Timeline started as a Hackathon project in late 2010 with two full-time engineers, an engineering intern, and a designer building a working demo in a single night. The full team ramped up in early 2011, and the development team was split into design, front-end engineering, infrastructure engineering, and data migrations.”
A growing number of embedded systems – devices with built-in firmware and non-PC form factors – are running Windows, including point-of-sale terminals, kiosks, and digital signage. But up to now they’ve required a server capable of running Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM).
This morning, Hewlett-Packard announced that for the first time, it will offer thin client PCs – systems that run Windows Embedded Standard 7 already – that have Embedded Device Manager 2011 (EDM 2011) pre-installed. This way, out of the box, customers that run Windows Embedded 7 (based on the Windows 7 kernel) don’t have to install a separate server PC (even if it’s just a virtual or cloud-based one) to monitor and maintain devices such as cash registers.
Usually the pre-installation of software on a system is not enough to merit an entire story, but this is an exception due to 1) the system involved, and 2) the relationship of this software to that system. Embedded systems have historically been more difficult to manage and maintain than PCs. Until recently, their firmware kernels haven’t really been large enough to merit an abundance of graphical tools, so an embedded Linux admin finds himself having to be a master of command-line tools and scripting languages for automating scary processes like system updates.
For Windows Server, the SCCM 2007 software typically manages processes such as operating system updates, security configurations, and device inventory, though it was made for full-fledged Windows. But since last March, Microsoft has made EDM 2011 available for implementing SCCM to manage embedded devices… from a PC (or remote device). Now that EDM comes pre-installed on a thin client like a t5570e (right) or t5740e (above) costing somewhere in the mid-three-digit range, depending on configuration, admins can use a thin client to capture and redeploy fully configured system images to a collection of clients.
According to HP documentation released today, “SCCM Software Update Management simplifies the complex task of delivering and managing updates to IT systems across the enterprise. IT administrators can deliver updates of Microsoft products, third-party applications, custom in-house line-of-business applications, hardware drivers, and system BIOS to a variety of devices.”
Embedded devices such as HP’s thin clients utilize a Microsoft feature called enhanced write filtering. It’s a way of using local memory as a cache for storing the images of changes that software running on the client may try to make to the disk – for example, when a Web browser stores cookies. For a system whose real function is point-of-sale, you often don’t want permanent disk changes, so write filtering lets the disk’s original contents be instantly restored by simply rebooting and “forgetting” the changes.
That’s nice, until you – the admin – want to make permanent changes to the operating system like security patches or service packs. You might have had to write a script that turned filtering off, applied the patch, then turned filtering on again. And someplace in that scenario, you worked in some time for praying it all worked right before re-engaging the filter.
One of the benefits of using EDM is that it knows how to programmatically disengage enhanced write filters prior to deploying updates. Another is being able to enroll multiple like devices (e.g., all the front registers) as a single collection, and roll out changes to the entire collection on a manageable itinerary.
Microsoft announced System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (the successor to System Center Configuration Manager 2007 – that’s right, the year got kicked from the end to the middle of the name) last month, though it may yet take some time for SC2012CM to make its way into the field. For now, HP’s solution supports SCCM 2007 and EDM 2011.
Mozilla has put its Ubiquity add-on for Firefox on the back burner, so we dug up some alternatives for power users who want to explore other ways of using text commands in their browsers.