Apr
21
2018
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Pivotal CEO talks IPO and balancing life in Dell family of companies

Pivotal has kind of a strange role for a company. On one hand its part of the EMC federation companies that Dell acquired in 2016 for a cool $67 billion, but it’s also an independently operated entity within that broader Dell family of companies — and that has to be a fine line to walk.

Whatever the challenges, the company went public yesterday and joined VMware as a  separately traded company within Dell. CEO Rob Mee says the company took the step of IPOing because it wanted additional capital.

“I think we can definitely use the capital to invest in marketing and R&D. The wider technology ecosystem is moving quickly. It does take additional investment to keep up,” Mee told TechCrunch just a few hours after his company rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

As for that relationship of being a Dell company, he said that Michael Dell let him know early on after the EMC acquisition that he understood the company’s position. “From the time Dell acquired EMC, Michael was clear with me: You run the company. I’m just here to help. Dell is our largest shareholder, but we run independently. There have been opportunities to test that [since the acquisition] and it has held true,” Mee said.

Mee says that independence is essential because Pivotal has to remain technology-agnostic and it can’t favor Dell products and services over that mission. “It’s necessary because our core product is a cloud-agnostic platform. Our core value proposition is independence from any provider — and Dell and VMware are infrastructure providers,” he said.

That said, Mee also can play both sides because he can build products and services that do align with Dell and VMware offerings. “Certainly the companies inside the Dell family are customers of ours. Michael Dell has encouraged the IT group to adopt our methods and they are doing so,” he said. They have also started working more closely with VMware, announcing a container partnership last year.

Photo: Ron Miller

Overall though he sees his company’s mission in much broader terms, doing nothing less than helping the world’s largest companies transform their organizations. “Our mission is to transform how the world builds software. We are focused on the largest organizations in the world. What is a tailwind for us is that the reality is these large companies are at a tipping point of adopting how they digitize and develop software for strategic advantage,” Mee said.

The stock closed up 5 percent last night, but Mee says this isn’t about a single day. “We do very much focus on the long term. We have been executing to a quarterly cadence and have behaved like a public company inside Pivotal [even before the IPO]. We know how to do that while keeping an eye on the long term,” he said.

Mar
31
2018
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Red Hat looks beyond Linux

The Red Hat Linux distribution is turning 25 years old this week. What started as one of the earliest Linux distributions is now the most successful open-source company, and its success was a catalyst for others to follow its model. Today’s open-source world is very different from those heady days in the mid-1990s when Linux looked to be challenging Microsoft’s dominance on the desktop, but Red Hat is still going strong.

To put all of this into perspective, I sat down with the company’s current CEO (and former Delta Air Lines COO) Jim Whitehurst to talk about the past, present and future of the company, and open-source software in general. Whitehurst took the Red Hat CEO position 10 years ago, so while he wasn’t there in the earliest days, he definitely witnessed the evolution of open source in the enterprise, which is now more widespread than every.

“Ten years ago, open source at the time was really focused on offering viable alternatives to traditional software,” he told me. “We were selling layers of technology to replace existing technology. […] At the time, it was open source showing that we can build open-source tech at lower cost. The value proposition was that it was cheaper.”

At the time, he argues, the market was about replacing Windows with Linux or IBM’s WebSphere with JBoss. And that defined Red Hat’s role in the ecosystem, too, which was less about technological information than about packaging. “For Red Hat, we started off taking these open-source projects and making them usable for traditional enterprises,” said Whitehurst.

Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat president and CEO (photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

About five or six ago, something changed, though. Large corporations, including Google and Facebook, started open sourcing their own projects because they didn’t look at some of the infrastructure technologies they opened up as competitive advantages. Instead, having them out in the open allowed them to profit from the ecosystems that formed around that. “The biggest part is it’s not just Google and Facebook finding religion,” said Whitehurst. “The social tech around open source made it easy to make projects happen. Companies got credit for that.”

He also noted that developers now look at their open-source contributions as part of their resumé. With an increasingly mobile workforce that regularly moves between jobs, companies that want to compete for talent are almost forced to open source at least some of the technologies that don’t give them a competitive advantage.

As the open-source ecosystem evolved, so did Red Hat. As enterprises started to understand the value of open source (and stopped being afraid of it), Red Hat shifted from simply talking to potential customers about savings to how open source can help them drive innovation. “We’ve gone from being commeditizers to being innovators. The tech we are driving is now driving net new innovation,” explained Whitehurst. “We are now not going in to talk about saving money but to help drive innovation inside a company.”

Over the last few years, that included making acquisitions to help drive this innovation. In 2015, Red Hat bought IT automation service Ansible, for example, and last month, the company closed its acquisition of CoreOS, one of the larger independent players in the Kubernetes container ecosystem — all while staying true to its open-source root.

There is only so much innovation you can do around a Linux distribution, though, and as a public company, Red Hat also had to look beyond that core business and build on it to better serve its customers. In part, that’s what drove the company to launch services like OpenShift, for example, a container platform that sits on top of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and — not unlike the original Linux distribution — integrates technologies like Docker and Kubernetes and makes them more easily usable inside an enterprise.

The reason for that? “I believe that containers will be the primary way that applications will be built, deployed and managed,” he told me, and argued that his company, especially after the CoreOS acquisition, is now a leader in both containers and Kubernetes. “When you think about the importance of containers to the future of IT, it’s a clear value for us and for our customers.”

The other major open-source project Red Hat is betting on is OpenStack . That may come as a bit of a surprise, given that popular opinion in the last year or so has shifted against the massive project that wants to give enterprises an open source on-premise alternative to AWS and other cloud providers. “There was a sense among big enterprise tech companies that OpenStack was going to be their savior from Amazon,” Whitehurst said. “But even OpenStack, flawlessly executed, put you where Amazon was five years ago. If you’re Cisco or HP or any of those big OEMs, you’ll say that OpenStack was a disappointment. But from our view as a software company, we are seeing good traction.”

Because OpenStack is especially popular among telcos, Whitehurst believes it will play a major role in the shift to 5G. “When we are talking to telcos, […] we are very confident that OpenStack will be the platform for 5G rollouts.”

With OpenShift and OpenStack, Red Hat believes that it has covered both the future of application development and the infrastructure on which those applications will run. Looking a bit further ahead, though, Whitehurst also noted that the company is starting to look at how it can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to make its own products smarter and more secure, but also at how it can use its technologies to enable edge computing. “Now that large enterprises are also contributing to open source, we have a virtually unlimited amount of material to bring our knowledge to,” he said.

 

Mar
26
2018
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The Linux Foundation launches a deep learning foundation

Despite its name, the Linux Foundation has long been about more than just Linux. These days, it’s a foundation that provides support to other open source foundations and projects like Cloud Foundry, the Automotive Grade Linux initiative and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Today, the Linux Foundation is adding yet another foundation to its stable: the LF Deep Learning Foundation.

The idea behind the LF Deep Learning Foundation is to “support and sustain open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning while striving to make these critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere.”

The founding members of the new foundation include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa and ZTE. Others will likely join in the future.

“We are excited to offer a deep learning foundation that can drive long-term strategy and support for a host of projects in the AI, machine learning, and deep learning ecosystems,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation.

The foundation’s first official project is the Acumos AI Project, a collaboration between AT&T and Tech Mahindra that was already hosted by the Linux Foundation. Acumos AI is a platform for developing, discovering and sharing AI models and workflows.

Like similar Linux Foundation-based organizations, the LF Deep Learning Foundation will offer different membership levels for companies that want to support the project, as well as a membership level for non-profits. All LF Deep Learning members have to be Linux Foundation members, too.

Mar
13
2018
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Don’t Get Hit with a Database Disaster: Database Security Compliance

Percona Live 2018 security talks

In this post, we discuss database security compliance, what you should be looking at and where to get more information.

As Percona’s Chief Customer Officer, I get the opportunity to talk with a lot of customers. Hearing about the problems that both their technical teams face, as well as the business challenges their companies experience first-hand is incredibly valuable in terms of what the market is facing in general. Not every problem you see has a purely technical solution, and not every good technical solution solves the core business problem.

Matt Yonkovit, Percona CCOAs database technology advances and data continues to be the core blood of most modern applications, DBA’s will have a say in business level strategic planning more than ever. This coincides with the advances in technology and automation that make many classic manual “DBA” jobs and tasks obsolete. Traditional DBA’s are evolving into a blend of system architect, data strategist and master database architect. I want to talk about the business problems that not only the C-Suite care about, but DBAs as a whole need to care about in the near future.

Let’s start with one topic everyone should have near the top of their list: security.

We did a recent survey of our customers, and their biggest concern right now is security and compliance.

Not long ago, most DBA’s I knew dismissed this topic as “someone else’s problem” (I remember being told that the database is only as secure as the network, so fix the network!). Long gone are the days when network security was enough. Even the DBA’s who did worry about security only did so within the limited scope of what the database system could provide out of the box.  Again, not enough.

So let me run an experiment:

Raise your hand if your company has some bigger security initiative this year. 

I’m betting a lot of you raised your hand!

Security is not new to the enterprise. It’s been a priority for years now. However, it has not been receiving a hyper-focus in the open source database space until the last three years or so. Why? There have been a number of high profile database security breaches in the last year, all highlighting a need for better database security. This series of serious data breaches have exposed how fragile some security protocols in companies are. If that was not enough, new government regulations and laws have made data protection non-optional. This means you have to take the security of your database seriously, or there could be fines and penalties.

Percona Live 2018 security talksGovernment regulations are nothing new, but the breadth and depth of these are growing and are opening up a whole new challenge for databases systems and administrators. GDPR was signed into law two years ago (you can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation and https://www.dataiq.co.uk/blog/summary-eu-general-data-protection-regulation) and is scheduled to take effect on May 25, 2018. This has many businesses scrambling not only to understand the impact, but figure out how they need to comply. These regulations redefine simple things, like what constitutes “personal data” (for instance, your anonymous buying preferences or location history even without your name).

New requirements also mean some areas get a bit more complicated as they approach the gray area of definition. For instance, GDPR guarantees the right to be forgotten. What does this mean? In theory, it means end-users can request that all their personal information is removed from your systems as if they did not exist. Seems simple, but in reality, you can go as far down the rabbit hole as you want. Does your application support this already? What about legacy applications? Even if the apps can handle it, does this mean previously taken database backups have to forget you as well? There is a lot to process for sure.

So what are the things you can do?

  1. Educate yourself and understand expectations, even if you weren’t involved in compliance discussions before.
  2. Start working on incremental improvements now on your data security. This is especially true in the area’s where you have some control, without massive changes to the application. Encryption at rest is a great place to start if you don’t have it.
  3. Start talking with others in the organization about how to identify and protect personal information.
  4. Look to increase security by default by getting involved in new applications early in the design phase.

The good news is you are not alone in tackling this challenge. Every company must address it. Because of this focus on security, we felt strongly about ensuring we had a security track at Percona Live 2018 this year. These talks from Fastly, Facebook, Percona, and others provide information on how companies around the globe are tackling these security issues. In true open source fashion, we are better when we learn and grow from one another.

What are the Percona Live 2018 security talks?

We have a ton of great security content this year at Percona Live, across a bunch of technologies and open source software. Some of the more interesting Percona Live 2018 security talks are:

Want to attend Percona Live 2018 security talks? Register for Percona Live 2018. Register now to get the best price! Use the discount code SeeMeSpeakPL18 for 10% off.

Percona Live Open Source Database Conference 2018 is the premier open source event for the data performance ecosystem. It is the place to be for the open source community. Attendees include DBAs, sysadmins, developers, architects, CTOs, CEOs, and vendors from around the world.

The Percona Live Open Source Database Conference will be April 23-25, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara & The Santa Clara Convention Center.

Mar
07
2018
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Percona Live 2018 Featured Talk: Securing Your Data on PostgreSQL with Payal Singh

Payal PostgreSQL 1

Percona Live 2018 Featured TalkWelcome to another interview blog for the rapidly-approaching Percona Live 2018. Each post in this series highlights a Percona Live 2018 featured talk at the conference and gives a short preview of what attendees can expect to learn from the presenter.

This blog post highlights Payal Singh, DBA at OmniTI Computer Consulting Inc. Her talk is titled Securing Your Data on PostgreSQL. There is often a lack of understanding about how best to manage minimum basic application security features – especially with major security features being released with every major version of PostgreSQL. In our conversation, we discussed how Payal works to improve application security using Postgres:

Percona: Who are you, and how did you get into databases? What was your path to your current responsibilities?

Payal: I’m primarily a data addict. I fell in love with databases when it was first taught to me in high school. The declarative SQL syntax was intuitive to me, and efficient compared to other languages I had used (C and C++). I realized that if given the opportunity, I’d choose to become a database administrator. I joined OmniTI in summer of 2012 as a web engineer intern during my Masters, but grabbed the chance to work on an internal database migration project. Working with the DBA team gave me a lot of new insight and exposure, especially into open source databases. The more I learned, the more I loved my job. Right after completing my Masters I joined OmniTI as a full-time database administrator, and never looked back!

Percona: Your talk is titled ” Securing Your Data on PostgreSQL”. Why do you think that security (or the lack of it) is such an issue?

Payal: Securing your data is critical. In my experience, the one reason people using commercial databases are apprehensive of switching to open source alternatives is a lack of exposure to security features. If you look at open source databases today, specifically PostgreSQL, it has the most advanced security features: data encryptionauditingrow-level security to name a few. People don’t know about them, though. As a FOSS project, we don’t have a centralized marketing team to advertise these features to our potential user base, which makes it necessary to spread information through other channels. Speaking about it at a popular conference like Percona Live is one of them!

In addition to public awareness, Postgres is advancing at a lightning pace. With each new major version released every year, a bunch of new security feature additions and major improvements in existing security features are added. So much so that it becomes challenging to keep up with all these features, even for existing Postgres users. My talk on Postgres security aims to inform current as well as prospective Postgres users about the advanced security features that exist and their use case, useful tips to use them, the gotchas, what’s lacking and what’s currently under development.

Percona: Is PostgreSQL better or worse with security and security options than either MySQL or MongoDB? Why?

Payal PostgreSQL 1Payal: I may be a little biased, but I think Postgres is the best database from a security point of view. MySQL is pretty close though! There are quite a few reasons why I consider Postgres to be the best, but I’d like to save that discussion for my talk at Percona Live! For starters though, I think that Postgres’s authentication and role architecture significantly clearer and more straightforward than MySQL’s implementation. Focusing strictly on security, I’d also say that access control and management is more granular and customizable in Postgres than it is in MySQL – although here I’d have to say MySQL’s ACL is easier and more intuitive to manage.

Percona: What is the biggest challenge for database security we are facing?

Payal: For all the databases? I’d say with the rapid growth of IoT, encrypted data processing is a huge requirement that none of the well-known databases currently provide. Even encryption of data at rest outside of the IoT context requires more attention. It is one of the few things that a DBMS can do as a last-ditch effort to protect its data in SQL injection attacks, if all other layers of security (network, application layer, etc.) have failed (which very often is the case).

Percona: Why should people attend your talk? What do you hope people will take away from it? 

Payal: My talk is a run-through of all current and future Postgres security features, from the basic to the very advanced and niche. It is not an isolated talk that assumes Postgres is the only database in the world. I often compare and contrast other database implementations of similar security features as well. Not only is it a decent one-hour primer for people new and interested in Postgres, but also a good way to weigh the pros and cons among databases from a security viewpoint.

Percona: What are you looking forward to at Percona Live (besides your talk)?

Payal: I’m looking forward to all the great talks! I got a lot of information out of the talks at Percona Live last year. The tutorials on new MySQL features were especially great!

Want to find out more about this Percona Live 2018 featured talk, and Payal and PostgreSQL security? Register for Percona Live 2018, and see her talk Securing Your Data on PostgreSQL. Register now to get the best price! Use the discount code SeeMeSpeakPL18 for 10% off.

Percona Live Open Source Database Conference 2018 is the premier open source event for the data performance ecosystem. It is the place to be for the open source community. Attendees include DBAs, sysadmins, developers, architects, CTOs, CEOs, and vendors from around the world.

The Percona Live Open Source Database Conference will be April 23-25, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara & The Santa Clara Convention Center.

Feb
28
2018
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OpenStack gets support for virtual GPUs and new container features

 OpenStack, the open-source infrastructure project that aims to give enterprises the equivalent of AWS for the private clouds, today announced the launch of its 17th release, dubbed “Queens.” After all of those releases, you’d think that there isn’t all that much new that the OpenStack community could add to the project, but just as the large public clouds keep adding… Read More

Feb
22
2018
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Feature Labs launches out of MIT to accelerate the development of machine learning algorithms

 Feature Labs, a startup with roots in research begun at MIT, officially launched today with a set of tools to help data scientists build machine learning algorithms more quickly. Co-founder and CEO Max Kanter says the company has developed a way to automate “feature engineering,” which is often a time consuming and manual process for data scientists. “Feature Labs helps… Read More

Feb
21
2018
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Percona Live 2018 Open Source Database Conference Full Schedule Now Available

Percona Live 2018 Featured Talk

Percona Live 2018The conference session schedule for the seventh annual Percona Live 2018 Open Source Database Conference, taking place April 23-25 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA is now live and available for review! Advance Registration Discounts can be purchased through March 4, 2018, 11:30 p.m. PST.

Percona Live Open Source Database Conference 2018 is the premier open source database event. With a theme of “Championing Open Source Databases,” the conference will feature multiple tracks, including MySQL, MongoDB, Cloud, PostgreSQL, Containers and Automation, Monitoring and Ops, and Database Security. Once again, Percona will be offering a low-cost database 101 track for beginning users who want to start learning how to use and operate open source databases.

Major areas of focus at the conference include:

  • Database operations and automation at scale, featuring speakers from Facebook, Slack, Github and more
  • Databases in the cloud – how database-as-a-service (DBaaS) is changing the DB Landscape, featuring speakers from AWS, Microsoft, Alibaba and more
  • Security and compliance – how GDPR and other government regulations are changing the way we manage databases, featuring speakers from Fastly, Facebook, Pythian, Percona and more
  • Bridging the gap between developers and DBAs – finding common ground, featuring speakers from Square, Oracle, Percona and more

Conference Session Schedule

Conference sessions take place April 24-25 and will feature 90+ in-depth talks by industry experts related to each of the key areas. Several sessions from Oracle and Percona will focus on how the new features and enhancements in the upcoming release of MySQL 8.0 will impact businesses. Conference session examples include:

Sponsorships

Sponsorship opportunities for Percona Live Open Source Database Conference 2018 are available and offer the opportunity to interact with the DBAs, sysadmins, developers, CTOs, CEOs, business managers, technology evangelists, solution vendors and entrepreneurs who typically attend the event. Contact live@percona.com for sponsorship details.

  • Diamond Sponsors – Continuent, VividCortex
  • Platinum – Microsoft
  • Gold Sponsors – Facebook, Grafana
  • Bronze Sponsors – Altinity, BlazingDB, SolarWinds, Timescale, TwinDB, Yelp
  • Other Sponsors – cPanel
  • Media Sponsors – Database Trends & Applications, Datanami, EnterpriseTech, HPCWire, ODBMS.org, Packt

Hyatt Regency Santa Clara & The Santa Clara Convention Center

Percona Live 2018 Open Source Database Conference is held at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara & The Santa Clara Convention Center, at 5101 Great America Parkway Santa Clara, CA 95054.

The Hyatt Regency Santa Clara & The Santa Clara Convention Center is a prime location in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Enjoy this spacious venue with complimentary wifi, on-site expert staff and three great restaurants. You can reserve a room by booking through the Hyatt’s dedicated Percona Live reservation site.

Book your hotel using Percona’s special room block rate!

Feb
13
2018
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InfluxData scores $35 million Series C to expand time series database business

 In a world where sensors are capturing ever-increasing amounts of data, being able to collect that high volume and measure it over time becomes increasingly important. InfluxData, the startup built on top of the open source time series database platform, announced it has received a $35 million Series C investment today led by Sapphire Ventures, the investment arm of enterprise software… Read More

Feb
08
2018
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Sylabs launches Singularity Pro, a container platform for high performance computing

 Sylabs, the commercial company behind the open source Singularity container engine, announced its first commercial product today, Singularity Pro. Sylabs was launched in 2015 to create a container platform specifically designed for scientific and high performance computing use cases, two areas that founder and CEO Gregory Kurtzer, says were left behind in the containerization movement over… Read More

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