Going (Cloud) Native

first_imgInteroperability in computing environments is a repeating problem affecting multiple parts of an organization. When systems cannot communicate with one another, the result is slowdowns in every way, from technology performance (as data has to be converted from one system to another) to human processes (such as teams spending time in yet another meeting trying to devise workarounds for data translation challenges). Interoperability must emerge, because common formats to send and store data are a necessity. This isn’t a new topic or concept, but this time, it’s being applied to modern infrastructure.It’s time to address this issue in DevOps. We want to do for storage and containers today what Sun’s network file system protocol (NFS) did for client/server storage in the 80s: enable performance, simplicity, and cross-vendor compatibility.Happily, we’re in a position to participate in the process and the conversation around ensuring different pieces of the ecosystem fit together. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, a division of the Linux Foundation, aims to help organizations build, deploy, and run critical applications in any cloud. The CNCF has under its umbrella other projects aligned with our goals, such as Kubernetes and Prometheus.Today we recognize industry collaboration moving forward with major container and storage platforms. This initiative is called CSI, short for Container Storage Interface, and we are proud to have just introduced a first example implementation. We’re seeing immediate progress, as we expect CSI to be introduced as a CNCF project later this year, bringing storage for cloud native officially into Cloud Native environments. While there are other organizations and initiatives in this space, such as OpenSDS, we are fully supportive of CSI and are proud to be a part of the community of customers, container orchestrators and other vendors standing behind this initiative. Along with this, we see REX-Ray as a prospective CNCF project, bringing support for storage for cloud native workloads.Why It’s Necessary In nearly every historical case, interoperability standards have emerged: common formats we use to send and store data. Specifically in the storage industry, we’ve even seen this time and again from SCSI, NFS, SMB, CIFS, and VVOLs. Since I’ve always been a fan of Sun, I’ll use NFS as my example. In 1984 Sun developed the NFS protocol, a client/server system that permitted (and still permits!) users to access files across a network and to treat those files as if they resided in a local file directory. NFS successfully achieved its goals of enabling performance, simplicity, and cross-vendor compatibility.NFS was specifically designed with the goal of eliminating the distinction between a local and remote file. To a user, after the appropriate setup is performed, a file on a remote computer can be used as if it were on a hard disk on the user’s local machine.There’s plenty of architectural history to consider in how Sun achieved this, but the bottom line is: If you are a server, and you speak NFS, you don’t care who or what brand of server you’re talking to. You can be confident that the data is stored correctly.Thirty years later, we technologists are still working to improve the options for data interoperability and storage. Today, we are creating cloud-computing environments that are built to ensure applications take full advantage of cloud resources anywhere. In these cases, the same logic applies as the NFS and server example above: If you have an application, and it needs fast storage, you shouldn’t have to care about what is available and how to configure it.Storage and networking continue to be puzzle pieces that don’t always readily snap into place. We’re still trying to figure out if different pieces all work together in a fragmented technology ecosystem – but now it’s in the realm of containers rather than hard disks and OS infrastructure.Ensuring Interoperability Is a Historical ImperativeAs I wrote earlier, and to quote Game of Thrones,  “winter is coming.” Whatever tenuous balance we’ve had in this space is being up-ended. Right now it’s the Wild West, where there’s 15 ways to do any one thing. As an industry, cloud computing is moving into an era of consolidation where we combine efforts. If we want customers to adopt container technology, we need to make the technology consumable. Either we need to package it in a soup-to-nuts offering, or we must establish some common ground for how various components interoperate. Development and Ops teams have the opportunity to argue about more productive topics, such as whether the pitchless intentional walks makes baseball less of a time commitment or whether it sullies the ritual of the game.The obvious reason for us to drive interoperability by bringing storage to cloud native is that it helps the user community. After all, with a known technology in hand, we make it easier for technical people to do their work, in much the same way that NFS provided an opportunity for servers to communicate with storage. But here the container provider is the server, and the storage provider is the same storage we’ve been talking about.The importance of ensuring interoperability among components isn’t something I advocate on behalf of {code}; it’s a historical imperative. Everyone has to play here; we need to speak a common language in both human terms and technology protocols. We need to create a common interface between container runtimes and storage providers. And we need to help make these tools more consumable to the end user.The end goal for storage and applications is to offer simplicity and cross-vendor compatibility where storage consumption is common and functions are a pluggable component in Cloud Native environments. We feel that this is the first step in that direction.last_img read more

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Graduate Life at Dell: An Invitation to Amsterdam

first_imgMy name is Diana, and I am an Inside Sales Representative in Bucharest who would like to share with you one of the best experiences I´ve had at Dell EMC so far.As of last year, I am part of a program called EMEA sales graduate program, which offers the chance to work in the sales field. It is a great opportunity for me to connect with people all over EMEA because I have gotten the chance to travel to different events of the company.My first international experience with Dell EMC was in Amsterdam. We had an induction there for two weeks, with graduates from different countries all around the EMEA region. Sounds really great, right? Then let’s discover together how it was.Cross your comfort zone and grow using the right IT solutionsThe first day when we arrived at the Dell office in Amsterdam we met the team and we played a speed-dating game in order to find out things about the others, and to connect with everyone. In the following days we had a lot of trainings about Dell as an organization, our culture, advantages of Dell EMC and we learned negotiation skills. After that we were split into teams to learn selling skills through different study cases and games.The trainings were really intense and in order to maintain a balance between work and fun, the core team organized a canal tour for the whole group in Amsterdam. That night was really special because we had the chance to talk a lot to each other and get to know each other better on a personal level. We also got to admire the outstanding views of the city and create a united team. So, from my point of view the canal tour was a very good idea for a team building activity.After those great days of trainings, conferences and speeches, we had the possibility to spend the weekend to have fun and discover the beautiful Amsterdam. For those who will visit the city in the future I strongly recommend you to go to the Van Gogh Museum, the Swing Over the Edge and of course to explore the beautiful city on foot.“…an essential fact that I have learned at this training was that you have to cross your comfort zone to create the best version of yourself.ShareDuring the second week, we began trainings about selling skills and possible solutions for our clients. Since we had gotten to know each other the week before, the vibe was really good and the energy level really high. It was also very interesting to find out how important the technology is in our life and how much a business can grow using the correct IT solutions. Also an essential fact that I have learned at this training was that you have to cross your comfort zone to create the best version of yourself. Our trainer helped us understand that courage and trust in ourselves is really important in our career.In addition to this, I want to say that I really enjoyed a study case where we had a role play seller-client-observer, where each of us had to present a solution for a client and to tell them why what we sell is the best. If you are interested in sales, the EMEA Sales Graduate program is the perfect program for you. I have learned how to identify the needs of our customers and how to find the best solutions. So, I think it’s a great opportunity to start a career in Dell EMC.In the final days we had great speakers talking about the pillars that we have in our company, the ERG’s (employee resources groups) that you can be part of and make a difference to the society. Also, I created a 30/60/90 day plan where I established the necessary steps for my role and the development of my career.Together we go big and win bigAmsterdam was a powerful experience, were we had a lot to learn but also a lot of fun together, we formed a strong and united team. We were all very different but we complemented each other as a team, were we all have big dreams, life stories and visions that connect us.I am really happy to be part of this programme, because it gives me the possibility to begin a career in sales, in an international environment and also to expand my knowledge in this field. Our time in Amsterdam was one of the best of my life, I met extraordinary people, I formed friendships and I can’t wait for the next event to see all of them again.If you are at the begining of your career and you are passionate about sales, technology, IT and digital transformation I can’t repeat myself enough: because then The EMEA Sales Graduate program is the perfect opportunity for you. I strongly recommend you this experience, Dell EMC is a company that offers unique chances for fresh graduates and from my point of view it is an invitation to go big and win big, together.last_img read more

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Server Infrastructure Security: Just How Valuable is It?

first_imgServer security. It’s kind of a big deal.But we don’t have to tell you that. As an IT leader, you understand the critical role that server infrastructure security plays in a company’s IT transformation. It’s a top priority that runs across all IT initiatives.Today’s IT departments juggle multiple things at once, often struggling to keep up with changing security demands. They must ensure that their systems are up-to-date and able to perform in this ever-evolving environment. Not an easy task, considering most are working with limited resources (fewer staff, outdated hardware and budgetary confinements).Dell EMC commissioned a study to dig deeper and gain a better understanding of the value of secure server infrastructure.  In the study, IDC surveyed over 300 IT users from medium companies to large enterprises. The results shed even more light on the critical importance of security at the hardware/firmware level. Specifically, it analyzed:Who is responsible for server infrastructure security?Do most organizations have a recovery plan in place?How important is security when evaluating server infrastructure?How much value is placed on the IT vendor partnership?Infrastructure Security – Who is Responsible? Almost half of the companies surveyed use a dedicated team responsible for providing server infrastructure security. Smaller companies typically rely on server administrators to identify security issues, while larger organizations rely more on the dedicated security team.  It’s also common for companies to lean on their IT vendors for help in monitoring and recovery.Recovery PlanNearly 90% of firms have a documented recovery plan (side note: if you’re in the 10% who don’t, what are you waiting for?). But even then, some of the plans are incomplete or don’t incorporate all aspects of recovery. Historically, the focus has been on application and networking server security, but the rise of sophisticated low-level hardware-centric attacks, often a result of vulnerabilities in the OS, is changing that.  Almost half of the businesses surveyed experienced a hardware/firmware attack or a breach in the past.Importance of Choosing the Right Server InfrastructureGiven the importance of protecting data, it’s no wonder that security “takes the top spot when it comes to evaluating the purchase of server infrastructure and the features/functions.”[i]  Respondents ranked hardware security highest in importance – even higher than total cost of operations. When it came to priorities for selecting servers, the security of firmware and patches took the number one spot.[i]Source: An IDC White Paper, Sponsored by Dell EMC; Nadkarni, Ashish; The Value of a Secure Server Infrastructure.Here’s Chris Marsh, VP of technology from Golden Frog on the crucial role that secure hardware plays in their business and why they chose PowerEdge servers.IT Vendors, A Partnership Built on TrustCompanies place a high value on their relationships with IT vendors, especially when it comes to security. Vendors must build security into every design step, including hardware and firmware. IT departments trust them to proactively identify and patch firmware bugs, and if needed, restore to a known good state.When it comes to security, it’s crucial that vendors stand behind their products. They should also play an active role in monitoring the server for breaches. While that doesn’t take the monitoring role away from the company’s IT department, it adds an extra layer of protection and therefore a greater level of security.If a security issue does arise, the vendor needs to be right there working with the organization to get them back to a known good state, researching the problem and taking steps to ensure that sure it doesn’t happen again.Vendors can also assist with preventative maintenance, again complimenting what the IT department is doing. Repeatedly, companies stress the importance of developing that high level of trust with their IT vendors. These relationships are key.Security plays a critical role in an organization’s IT transformation. Most IT departments realize this, and place a high importance on making sure they have a recovery plan in place, choosing the proper server infrastructure, and maintaining a close relationship with their IT vendors.To read the full analysis and compare how your server security measures up to those surveyed, download the complete IDC white paper, The Value of a Secure Server Infrastructure. [1]Source: An IDC White Paper, Sponsored by Dell EMC; Nadkarni, Ashish; The Value of a Secure Server Infrastructure.last_img read more

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Benchmarking Machine Learning Performance at Dell Technologies

first_imgWhen it comes to training and inference workloads for machine learning models, performance is king. Faster system performance equates to faster time to results. But how do you objectively measure system ML training and inference performance? In a word, look to MLPerf.MLPerf is a machine learning benchmark suite from the open source community that sets a new industry standard for benchmarking the performance of ML hardware, software and services. Launched in 2018 to standardize ML benchmarks, MLPerf includes suites for benchmarking both training and inference performance. The training benchmark suite measures how fast systems can train models to a target quality metric. Each training benchmark measures the time required to train a model on the specified dataset to achieve the specified quality target. Details of the datasets, benchmark quality targets and implementation models are displayed in the table below.At Dell Technologies, we use MLPerf to measure the performance of our servers and storage systems running machine learning and deep learning workloads, particularly those in image classification, object detection, translation, natural language processing (NLP) and reinforcement learning.  Like many others in the industry, we leverage how MLPerf provides an objective way to measure and compare the performance of systems, including processors and accelerators.To that end, we recently submitted benchmarks for the third version of the MLPerf training benchmark (v0.7), which attracted submissions from several new hardware vendors, resulting in results on a diverse set of hardware platforms. We participated in the closed division, which is intended to compare hardware platforms or software frameworks “apples-to-apples.” It requires the use of the same model and optimizer as the reference implementation.The chart shows the increased participation in the MLPerf benchmarking competition since its start in 2018. The total number of submissions in the closed division doubled (2X) compared to the previous submission round (v0.6) and the number of submitters also increased by 3X compared to the first round (v0.5).Out of the 130 submissions in the closed division, NVIDIA published the highest number of results, followed by Google and Dell — the Top 3 submitters.Dell submitted results in 4 benchmarks, using two different ML frameworks (MXNet & PyTorch) and on two different Dell EMC server platforms. Dell was the only vendor to publish on PCIe GPUs, which is the widely used in many Enterprise organizations.For this exercise, the engineers from the Dell EMC AI Innovation Labs, worked with NVIDIA to benchmark and optimize the performance of the Dell EMC DSS 8440 server with PCIe-based NVIDIA Tesla V100S GPUs and the Dell EMC PowerEdge C4140 server with NVIDIA Tesla V100 SXM2 GPUs and NVLink.Among other outcomes, we showed that the DSS8440 server achieved particularly good results with the Resnet50 v1.5 and Mask R-CNN benchmarks, and we demonstrated that the PowerEdge C4140 server scales efficiently from one node to four nodes to train the models on 16 V100 GPUs.The training times for Resnet50 v1.5 and Mask R-CNN are shown in the following figures. For the full story, see the MLPerf Training v0.7 results news release and the MLPerf Training v0.7 results spreadsheet.last_img read more

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Police tighten Congress security in era of rising threats

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — The House’s chief law enforcement officer says he’s tightening security for traveling lawmakers. The moves come as Congress reassesses safety at a time when threats against members were surging even before Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol this month. Timothy P. Blodgett is the acting House sergeant at arms. And he says Capitol Police officers will be stationed at Washington-area airports and the city’s Union Station train depot on busy travel days. Blodgett says he’s set up an online portal so lawmakers can notify the agency about travel plans. He also wants them to coordinate trips with local police and airport officials and report suspicious activity.last_img

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Bill to disclose Noem’s travel security costs faces backlash

first_imgPIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota lawmaker pushing a bill to require Gov. Kristi Noem to disclose taxpayer-funds used for her travel security on the campaign trail has faced a pressure campaign to kill the proposal. Rep. Taffy Howards says she faced text message attacks and fellow Republicans rescinding support after hearing from the governor’s office. Noem’s administration has refused to disclose to media outlets how much it costs to send Highway Patrol troopers with the governor as she has traveled the country campaigning for Donald Trump and fundraising for her campaign. Howard argues it would not compromise safety to know how much is spent on travel security.last_img

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