Cloud Jargon: pick an approach carefully

Moving workloads to the cloud can provide scalability, agility and, sometimes, cost-efficiency. However, cloud migrations can be difficult, as many current applications require re-design before moving into the cloud.

You have probably heard some jargon for methods bandied about, but what do they really mean?  Here’s a few to consider:

Re-design: This tends to be expensive and time consuming, but provides the best opportunity to take advantage of the features and functionality of being in “the cloud”.  Applications need to be aware of the environment so that they can scale up and back when needed, or spin down when not needed.

Lift-and-Shift: Lifting an application off the servers in your datacenter without modifying the design and simply shifting it to “rental servers” in the cloud requires less effort, but doesn’t provide scalability or take advantage of other cloud-based features. This can be a viable option if the cloud is more cost effective than running the application in your own datacenter.  There is no magic rule for this, you have to run the numbers as the result will be different for every company.

Rip-and-Wrap: Using containers such as Docker to wrap your application and provide portability is an interesting alternative which seems to fall between lift-and-shift and the arduous re-design process.  You have to do SOME work to the application to make it work in a container, but it’s not a complete re-design.  In return, containers provide flexibility and some degree of protection against vendor lock-in.  Re-designing an app for the cloud typically means a commitment to the architecture of your chosen provider, and changing your mind later is difficult.

Catalina Air Show, October 2016

How cool! Another air show at Catalina Island!  Check out www.catalinaairshow.com for details and some great pics of the 2014 event.

This is an interesting show because there is no admission charge. They rely completely on company sponsorship.  Arrive in your boat or plane, or take the water taxi to Avalon.  If you really want to get there quick, take a Helicopter from Long Beach!  Long Beach has several boat launch ramps and they charge only $12/day.

P51 Mustang flying over Avalon harbor

Grumman Albatross at Avalon Harbor

A Grumman Albatross bobbing in the waves at Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island. (image via Catalina Air Show)

Cloud backup for files on your PC, or even for your business server! 5G free!

There are many backup solutions out there, but I ran across this one which has a really great feature set and is about half the price of services like Carbonite!  I figured I’d share this with you.  Click on the iDrive banner below, then when you sign up, it will ask you to confirm that “CappsNet” referred you – say yes, and you’ll get a 25% discount on your first year of service! (you are welcome)  If you want to “kick the tires”, sign up for a free 5G backup account to try it out, and if you like it, you can seamlessly upgrade at a later date.

IDrive Remote Backup

Windows 10 – Free Upgrade? Hmm…

Free upgrades as long as you upgrade within the first year, according to Microsoft’s blog. Sounds fantastic! Almost too good to be true, since Microsoft doesn’t tend to give stuff away. Hmm… this makes me wonder what the catch is. Obviously, MS wants everybody to be running Windows 10 as soon as possible. You could say that is to make support easier, but most folks that are running it at home don’t call MS ever, so that’s not it. For businesses, MS charges for support.  Now granted, they don’t want to be supporting XP anymore, I can certainly understand that, but they’ve never pushed so hard to get people to update the operating system right NOW.

Being the suspicious cynical type that I am, the mind rambles…

MS wants this code base in place globally presumably so they can push out updates and so forth. They have said that this is in line with their new release cadence.  They say version number will no longer be important, implying continual upgrades and fixes. Why would this be important? Well, if I were MS and I wanted to switch everyone to a subscription model (which is clearly their direction on everything else they are doing), I’d give them a free upgrade (can you say “trojan horse”), and after a while, I’d push out an update which enables subscription mode and requires you to send them $$ on an annual basis to keep your machine alive. This is speculation, but certainly seems plausible (not to mention Evil).  I don’t mind if they want to go to a subscription model, I’ll simply switch to another O/S as I don’t like the idea of paying somebody to keep something I own running.  It’s Evil if they do this without being transparent about it.

Do they have stuff in this new release that benefits THEM if everybody has it installed? Maybe it reports back software installs for licensing purposes, or DRM enforcement, or other big-brother type activities. Call me paranoid, but MS is a business and they are in this to make money, not to make people happy.

So… I’d like to know why they are doing this for free, and what are the future plans.

Textron Aviation – new logo

Now that Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker are firmly part of the Textron Aviation family, Textron has a new logo, and a new motto; “Gaining altitude together”

In the 1920s, Cessna and Beach worked together as the Travel Air Manufacturing Company in Wichita, KS.  The third partner that time was Stearman.  10 years later, the companies split again.  It will be interesting to see how this new trio does under the Textron umbrella.

OneDrive – less than helpful? Something went wrong

image

Really Microsoft? Something went wrong.  I suppose it would be way too much trouble to say WHAT went wrong, or give any other diagnostic information at all.  Talk about inane!

So I went to the Service status link, and it shows OneDrive up and running.  OK, but not in MY case.  So I try another login I have and it works fine.  Apparently only the documents and files I have under THIS account are (I hope temporarily) unavailable.  Good job I didn’t have business critical data in there.

New Canadian Anti-Spam Law

I’m guessing you have received some emails out of the blue like I have saying that due to Canada’s new anti-spam law, you need to click on a link or whatever and verify that it’s OK for the company who emailed you to continue to do so.  This is probably valid, for now, but I can see virus/malware criminals taking advantage of this to give you a nice link to click on to infect your system.  So beware!

What is the new anti-spam law?  According to the Toronto Star, the new law requires businesses emailing Canadians to have “express consent” to do so, rather than “implied consent” (such as having done business with the person at some point in the distant past).  Express consent means that the recipient must be told what will be sent to them and why and must specifically “opt in” to allow it to happen.  This law goes into effect July 1 2014.

This is causing a lot of worry with Canadian businesses because the penalties are not trivial; $1 million per violation for an individual and $10 million per violation for a business.  There are concerns that one slipup is going to cost a lot of money.  In reality, it’s more likely that warnings will be issued, at least initially.  There is also a three year transition period so if a business already has “implied consent”, they should make efforts to get “express consent”, but don’t have to worry for 3 years.

This seems like a really good idea to me. If other countries had similar laws, it might put quite a dent in spam.

Google Glass application: helper for Pilots in the cockpit

I’ve seen some fairly inane apps to leverage the Google Glass head-mounted display system.  A lot of them strike me as a solution looking for a problem.  Here’s one that seems like a really good one though; Aviation information (checklists, approach info, runway layouts, etc). 

The great thing about this is that the pilot can access this information without having to take their eyes away from the outside world.  This can be critical for avoiding things like collisions on the runway, or even mid-air.  When you are in “cruise mode”, you can afford to look down and do other things for a bit, as it’s a fairly low-event part of the flight.  Arrival and departure times are anything but!  There’s lots to look at, lots to do, and lots of information you need handy.

Here’s a video demonstration by Adventia European college of Aeronautics.  Ok, so it’s not thrill-a-minute footage, but a good flight isn’t supposed to be a hair-raising event!

Customs and Border Patrol – going a little overboard

Customs and Border Protection agents have been operating well within U.S. borders in recent years. Department of Homeland Security photo.

One would normally think of Customs and Border patrol protecting… well… our borders!  These days though they must be bored because they are stopping private pilots, searching their planes and passengers, and generally causing a lot of inconvenience and hassle.  The interesting part is that they don’t appear to have jurisdiction to DO that.  The FAA has the authority to stop a private pilot and do a “ramp check” to make sure the airplane paperwork is all in order, and so forth.  CBP has authority IF there is probable cause for naughtiness.  They do NOT have authorization to “help” the FAA by stopping pilots in the first place.  This is yet another case of a government department flexing their Homeland Security muscle and overstepping their bounds.

AOPA has a good article on this, and they are following this issue closely, lobbying congress and trying to put pressure on the CBP to just knock it off.