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The New Stack Update

ISSUE 272: The New Stack, the Trade Publication for Scalability

Talk Talk Talk

“We are never going to need to write code on a whiteboard other than during an interview. The environment and pressures that you are testing are nothing like the work environment, so [it] cannot be a good measure.”

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Crispin Read, CEO of The Coders Guild, a UK tech apprenticeship program, on the futility of whiteboard tests in job interviews, “How to Make Tech Interviews Suck Less”.
Add It Up
Current Language

WebAssembly (WASM) has captured everybody’s attention because it allows developers to write code in their high-level language of choice and is platform agnostic. The recently released The State of WebAssembly 2021 shows that Rust is far and away that choice, but what other languages will be used by the next generation of WASM development?

What's Happening

The number of services cloud providers have begun to offer over the past couple of years has exploded, potentially exposing an exponentially larger number of microservices to vulnerabilities that support these services across multiple cloud and on-premises environments.

In this, The New Stack Makers podcast, TJ (Tsion) Gonen, head of cloud security for security provider Check Point, puts microservices security in context and describes the critical role security tools play and the support that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) offer. Jack Wallen, a correspondent for The New Stack, hosted this episode.

How to Secure Microservices in Ways Developers Like

The New Stack, the Trade Publication for Scalability

Scalability is what makes information technology (IT) different from every other trade, different from accounting, plumbing, psychiatry, mechanical engineering, orthodontics, chimney sweeping. In these other fields, a trade publication may cover some new gadget, technique or governance that might ease the job of the professional, but only in IT will you routinely get exponential improvements in technology that can completely change not only how the professional does their job, but could make (or break) the entire industry they work for. 

Like clockwork for decades, Intel would introduce a new processor every 18 months with double the processing capability (“Moore’s Law”). This exponential growth enabled not only faster computing, but new types of computing altogether, such as the ability to autosuggest what you write as you write it. While Moore’s Law may be slowing down, the advances continue through refinements in software algorithms and decentralized “parallel computing.”

One old apocryphal tale has it that when, in the early 1980s, computers with word processing software were put on the desks of the executives for one large company, they spent 60 days with the then-new technology fiddling with the font selection, line spacing etc. On the 61st day, the entire typing pool was fired. That’s the level of disruption IT can bring. “Disruption” has gotten a bad rep lately, thanks to the Silicon Valley power- and money-hungry TechBros, but fundamentally disruption can be a good thing, an equalitarian force-equalizer to minimize the amount of friction, or bureaucratic overhead, to doing whatever it is we want to do. But managing scalability comes with its own, unique set of issues, which is what we are all about, literally. And that’s what (in our minds) makes The New Stack special, even among IT trade publications, in that we focus on the immense transformative power of scalability.

A few decades back, before The New Stack was a glint in Alex Williams’ eye, we got the opportunity to interview Donald Becker, who co-created the Beowulf cluster software in the early 1990s while at NASA. This was the software that could tie together dozens or hundreds of x86 servers to work as a single unit, long before Kubernetes, OpenStack or cloud computing came along. This open source software was quickly and widely adopted by the supercomputing community, who saw it as a lower-cost option to powerful but high-priced high-performance computing iron from Cray or Silicon Graphics (remember SGI)? 

This was not an intuitive jump for most of us. After all, x86 was were not the fastest chips even then — they were mostly used for desktop computing. We asked Becker how did he know this would be a good idea? The answer was simple, he responded, because the x86 chips were so cheap due to their mass production, that when aggregated, they could provide the cheapest compute that would be available. At the end of the day, the lowest compute dollar spend — not some fancy instruction set or additional on-chip cache — shifted the entire high-performance computing industry over to commodity hardware. Scalability can be both tricky and industry-changing like that.

When The New Stack was launched a bit over seven years ago, co-founder Alex Williams quickly found a niche covering one very disruptive and scalable technology, that of Docker containers. Containers, and the dynamic management of them with Kubernetes, has fundamentally changed how application development, and later deployment, has been done. Oddly enough, we remember the editor's traditional IT publications, such as IDG’s, being reluctant to write stories about Docker or containers — better to stick with writing about IBM’s latest “Center of Excellence” or whatever new widget Microsoft added to Windows that year. It was a greenfield for The New Stack to harvest.

And we want to stay on this bleeding edge. These days, the big news is how enterprises can use Kubernetes to “disrupt” their own industries with exponential levels of improved efficiencies, which we will continue to cover. But we may also start expanding into other parts of IT as well. We are looking at how to manage the scale that comes with frontend web development, cloud computing, or even security, through techniques such as Zero Trust. We will also expand our coverage to cover not only the technical aspects of managing scalability but the human element as well — such as examining how to streamline the hiring process

Stay tuned, The New Stack itself is about the enjoy the fruits of scalability, and we hope that you, our trusted readers, would enjoy what we discover.

Next.js 11: The ‘Kubernetes’ of Frontend Development

Vercel, the creator of the popular Next.js React and JavaScript framework, recently introduced Next.js 11, the latest version of the framework with new features to accelerate performance and developer collaboration.

Use Ruckstack to Simplify Your Development Environment

Normally, Ruckstack is used to package and connect your services, databases, etc. into a single installable for on-site customers. But that same packaging logic can also be used to collect up everything you need for your development environment installations.

A New Partnership: Insight Partners and The New Stack

Global private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners has acquired The New Stack, the two companies announced Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though TNS co-owners Alex and Judy Williams have been spotted throughout the week with very glowing smiles. As per usual, we will keep readers informed in our stories of any potential conflicts of interest — in this case disclosing when and if we write about any of Insight’s investments.

Party On

cdCON2021: GitHub's Nicole Forsgren on why improving developer productivity really matters.

cdCON2021: Continuous Delivery Foundation's Tracy Miranda's continuous delivery keynotes.

cdCON2021: Google's Christie Wilson on "State of Continuous Delivery."

cdCON2021: Google's Christie Wilson shows how everyone "plays a part" in continuous delivery.

cdCON2021: (Clockwise) The New Stack's Jennifer Riggins, eBay's Ramin Akhbari, Fidelity Investments' Gerard McMahon and Puppet's Abby Kearns on why the "people factor" and well-being in general really counts for developers.

Cloud Foundry Summit // July 21-22 // VIRTUAL
JULY 21-22 // VIRTUAL
Cloud Foundry Summit

Developers: the Cloud Foundry Summit is made for you. We’ll be there, discussing what community leadership means in a time of deep complexity and shifting priorities — in work and the world! See you there. Register now!
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