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The New Stack Update

ISSUE 212: A Lesson in Chaos

Talk Talk Talk

Availability Theater is “Everyone going through the motions as if they had a real disaster recovery plan, but it’s all play-acting.”

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Adrian Cockcroft, “The Rise of Continuous Resilience
Add It Up
What are the biggest data challenges

Predictive data models are only as useful as the data they incorporate.

Epidemiologists, journalists, citizen data scientists and anyone else working with COVID-19 data sets realize this truism. While artificial intelligence using deep learning is exciting, it appears that overcoming data integration and data sharing obstacles is the best way to maximize most COVID-19-related analytics efforts. Indeed, “data quantity, quality and availability” rivals “business and process challenges” as the greatest constraints on AI usage, according to over 1,000 surveyed for MIT Technology Review Insights’ The Global AI Agenda.

What's Happening

Massive scaling capabilities and robust infrastructure to service perhaps tens or even hundreds of millions of users are required to deliver massive deployments. Cloud native environments provide the reliability and performance to scale as needed, typically on a wide mix of on-premises and multicloud environments. Telcos, in many ways, often require the aggregated scaling and computing capabilities that Kubernetes and microservices offer. Such distributed capabilities could help deliver very large-scale voice, data and media applications to millions of customers — and maintain operational control of infrastructure that is often several decades old.

In this new episode of The New Stack Makers podcast, Bill Mulligan, who plays a key role in helping customers automate their IT operations with Kubernetes and operators for Loodse, discusses his background — taking him from the University of Wisconsin-Madison via the University of Oxford to his life in Berlin today — and the key role cloud native plays in supporting telcos and other Loodse customers.

Automating Infrastructure That Dates Back 100 Years - w/ Bill Mulligan of Loodse

A Lesson in Chaos

Here’s a tip for start-ups: When setting up your official Twitter account, don’t use the company’s date of foundation. You may get auto-booted for violating Twitter’s terms-of-service.

We just found this out this week, when we went to search for the Twitter account of “failure-as-a-service” provider Gremlin. We’re excited about Gremlin’s upcoming virtual conference, Failover Conf, taking place next week. Looking to spread the word on Twitter, we went looking for the company’s Twitter page (@gremlininc), which … according to Twitter that morning, “doesn’t exist.” That’s funny, we thought. It “existed” just last week. 

So we emailed Gremlin to find out what was up. It turned out that someone from the company was updating the Twitter account and, in the section for the birth date, put the date that the company was officially incorporated, Jan. 26, 2016. Well, it turned out that this violated Twitter's 13+ age policy, and the service automatically locked down the account (Instead, Twitter wants the birthday of the person who operates the account, we’ve since learned).

Hopefully, Twitter can restore the account by the time you read this. But there is a lesson here, one that is particularly appropriate for this particular conference: Namely that even if you do make a change to a system that seems like a smart idea, for whatever reason, things may go awry. Which is why testing for failure is such a good idea. Things WILL go wrong eventually, so the key is being able to recover quickly. 

This is what Failover Conf will be all about. With noted luminaries such as Adrian Cockcroft from Amazon Web Services, Jennifer Petoff from Google, and Danyel Fisher and Liz Fong-Jones from Honeycomb speaking, you’ll learn all about how to stay resilient in this time of maximum chaos. 

The Network Impact of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic

How has the worldwide pandemic stressed our networks? In multiple ways, according to this report from our London correspondent Mary Branscombe. Internet traffic is generally 25% to 30% higher than usual. You can also see the change in where people are connecting from; usage is up in residential areas but visibly down in downtown San Francisco, downtown San Jose and especially the Cupertino and Mountain View neighborhoods where Apple and Google have their campuses. 

U.S. Unemployment Surge Highlights Dire Need for COBOL Skills

One of the surprise stories coming from the global pandemic has been the dire need for COBOL developers. Who would have seen that one coming? New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is now asking for volunteers with COBOL skills. New Jersey’s 40-year-old mainframe benefits system was besieged by a 1,600% increase in usage, as over 371,000 people have filed claims in the past month.

Keep Your Endpoints Secure During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We are also seeing more reports of security breaches indirectly due to the spreading virus. In this excellent contributed post from CalSoft’s Sagar Nangare, he notes that people are scared and hungry for more information around events like COVID-19. In panic mode, they surf the internet, visit fake pages, and fall prey to phishing scams. Also, endpoints for remote access have increased due to remote working, increasing surface areas for cybercriminals to target.

Party On

The virtual pancake breakfast green screen sweater award goes to Kathryn Erickson of DataStax.

What a stack from Sam Ramji of DataStax!

Virtual pancake breakfast time, sponsored by DataStax with (clockwise top left) The New Stack's Alex Williams and Joab Jackson; Janakiram MSV of Janakiram & Associates; Sam Ramji of DataStax; Kathryn Erickson also of DataStax; and Aaron Ploetz of Target.

On The Road
FailoverConf // APRIL 21 // VIRTUAL @ 8AM - 4PM PDT

APRIL 21, 2020 // VIRTUAL @ 8AM - 4PM PDT

FailoverConf

It’s all about reliability and resilience engineering in this age of at-scale development, deployment and management. Head to FailoverConf on April 21 to learn about building systems that are hardened against the expected failures and resilient enough to withstand the unexpected ones. Register for FREE now!

The New Stack Makers podcast is available on:
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Technologists building and managing new stack architectures join us for short conversations at conferences out on the tech conference circuit. These are the people defining how applications are developed and managed at scale.
Copyright © 2020 The New Stack, All rights reserved.


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