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It's day two at the Analytics and Data Summit at Oracle's HQ. Dr. Frank Munz gave an excellent presentation on "Serverless Computing and Machine Learning."

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He went over the pillars of what Cloud needs:

  1. API
  2. Elasticity
  3. Pay Per Use

 

He went on to cover that all the above give you a fully programmable data center. However, when you have a situation where eg your IT Data Center or your Compute Instance in the cloud usage is cyclical, Serverless solutions are a better remedy. Case in point is Netflix. They have a lot of demand on their streaming services in the evening but not so much in the mornings.  Dr. Munz mentioned that Serverless came first to play with AWS Lambda in 2014. Lambda is a Function as a Service which allows a user to trigger functions based on events without thinking about servers, containers or language runtimes. It takes Cloud to the next level and truly automates the elasticity and true pay per invocation.

 

Although Lambda was a great start in 2014, it suffers from some inadequacies, in that it comes with a vendor lock-in because it is not standards based. There are a couple of Serverless frameworks including the Fn Project which is Open Source and Polyglot, so can use any language, Java, Python etc.

 

To give a demonstration of Serverless application, Dr. Munz bridged to Machine Learning. An example being calculating Airline delays. At present Fn is not available as a service in the cloud but you can still run it as an instance on a Server. There are potentially one to two orders  savings in cost using it. If you provide Fn your Docker Login, it can push the Docker Container to the Docker Hub. Then it can pull the Container from the Registry and run it. Examples of apps could a Recommendation Engine, or the specific demonstration he gave was colorizing a photo. Dr. Munz took a photo of the session attendees, grayscaled it  and then ran it on Open FaaS. The results were amazing and rather than go on about it, see for your self.

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Dr. Munz concluded by asking attendees to consider "hosting your prediction model on FaaS."  The Fn project gives you both Function and Containers and that a future Fn Cloud Service would provide:

  1. True Pay per Use
  2. Automated scaling
  3. Integration with other Oracle Cloud Services
  4. Standards based.

That's it!

The title "Feeding a Hungry World: Using Oracle Products to Ensure Global Food Security" was captivating. I figured it had to be worth driving from the South Bay to Redwood Shores to check out the Analytics and Data Summit. The result, it was worth it. Two gentlemen, Bertin Noutchang and Mark Pelletier Engineers with the USDA/Inuteq gave a fascinating presentation.

 

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They talked about an important event called "The Great Grain Robbery" (I knew about the Great Train Robbery but had never hear of this),  that took place in 1972 when the Soviet Union purchased 10 million tons of US grain at subsidized prices. The net result was a shortage in the U.S., so much so that a year later food prices in the U.S. had shot up by 50%. The event led the U.S. government to track global crop production and conditions affecting food security  using various mechanisms including satellite based imagery via a division of the USDA, called IPAD.

 

IPAD gets its data from three sources including Field travel, weather data (via stations and satellites) and vegetation data (also via satellites). This process generates about 2GB of data per day and they have a 2TB Oracle Instance and a10TB file System. Considering the scope of their work I was surprised that there wasn't a flood of data. Mark, explained that the map of the globe is broken down into large pixels (not like the ones we have on our phones or laptops) but humongous ones that are 1/24 of a degree square. From humidity, temperature and other things they monitor they produce lots of graphs in real time that are available via the USDA.

 

All the raster data is converted to rows and columns and stored in the database. They make use of In-Memory Columnar, and  Exadata  which gives them via hardware huge performance advantages.

The net advantage of all this technology is that it allows IPAD to estimate future crop output and to know if there will be a surplus or shortfall and that in turn will provide valuable data to the commodities markets. Food security is a serious business and it is great to see technology being used for the greater good.

The following is an interview I conducted with Jayne Groll who is the co-founder and CEO of the DevOps Institute (DOI).  Jayne carries a long list of  IT credentials including ITIL Expert™, Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Agile Service Manager, DevOps Foundation and is a Certified Process Design Engineer (CPDE)™.  Her IT management career spans over 25 years of senior IT management roles across a wide range of industries. Jayne is very active in the DevOps, ITSM and Agile communities and is the author of the Agile Service Management Guide. She is a frequent presenter at local, national and virtual events. Without further ado, here is the interview:

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1. You are the co-founder and CEO of the DevOps Institute. What led you to founding this organization and what purpose does it serve?

In 2012, I was invited to a DevOpsDays in Mountain View, California where there were many of the well know and early DevOps thought leaders and evangelists.   While the crowd was more unicorn than enterprise, there was a palpable energy that I had not seen since the early days of ITSM.  As DevOps started to cross into the enterprise space, my business partners and I recognized the need to build a community of learning around emerging DevOps practices.   We stood up the DevOps Institute in 2015 and since created a free Continuous Learning Community, that includes a DevOps job board, a members only Slack channel and additional content.  We have accredited five competency specific DevOps certifications being delivered by over 100 partners around the globe.

 

2. Any new technology comes through what Gartner call the Hype cycle. Where do you feel we are in terms of adoption as an industry of DevOps?

DevOps has definitely crossed the chasm into the enterprise early adopters who are actively trying new ways of working and optimizing CD automation.   What’s even more interesting to me is how many enterprise organizations are interested in DevOps and engaging in internal dialog about what it means to them.   Over the past year, I have seen a more of a trend away from “What is DevOps?” to “How do we do this and where do we start?”

 

3. DevOps started with bringing Development and Operations teams together into a  CICD world. How is the marriage coming along?

"Great question" (her words not mine).  While the intent is for Dev and Ops to have a single flow within the value stream, I sensed a lot of confusion over who was responsible for which aspects of the pipeline.  Is DevOps really Dev-Dev, Ops-Ops or NoOps?    And where does security fit?

The good news is that there is more clarity today around the practices, the categories of tooling, reference architectures are starting to emerge and DevSecOps is establishing a sound set of security practices inside DevOps.    Most importantly, the human aspects of the pipeline are in the spotlight with the recognition that culture is as important as automation.

 

4. Based on where we are at in terms of adoption of DevOps what do you see are the trends in the next 2-5 years?

As I said, there is more clarity around the practices, some of which have emerged from real life organizations such as Spotify and Target and some of which will come from automation and thought leadership. Enterprise IT will experiment with some of these practices and (hopefully) reap some benefits by adapting the people, process and automation aspects to their organization and requirements. Scaling may be a challenge but I believe their will be more case studies and guidance about scale. Tools will continue to evolve and site reliability engineering will join CI/CD as a core focus area. Learning will become a lifestyle and skills modernization will be essential for all IT professionals.

 

5. Do you believe DevOps adoption requires for it to be a specific role as in "DevOps engineer" or is this more about changing beliefs and cultures of existing dev and ops organizations?

At DevOps Institute, we stay away from generic roles such as DevOps Engineer, DevOps Master, DevOps Expert, etc.   They are just too ambiguous and do not address the evolving need for skills modernization.   If we pigeonhole DevOps into a role or a team or think we can just implement automation, we run the risk of unintentionally recreating our existing paradigm of silos and delays.    There is a range of skills in DevOps that have emerged as being critical -not only for the specialist roles (I-Shaped) but to the multi-dimensional digital professional (T-Shaped).   These include test engineering, continuous delivery architect, devsecops.

 

6. Here at Oracle and in the IT industry in general there is a greater awareness and push to encourage and enable Women in Technology. How do you think we can help this movement become an integral part of our culture?

There are several ways to enable more women in technology.    First, work has to be a safe place for everyone and a no-tolerance policy has to be implemented and enforced.   Next, I think everyone needs to reflect on their conscious and unconscious biases – I know some organizations have introduced mandatory Unconscious Bias training to help with this.

In my experience, most women don’t want to be treated differently than their male counterparts but they don’t want to have to act like “one of the boys” in order to fit in.  Encourage your teams to embrace all kinds of diversity – gender, ethnic, fluidity.

And finally, organizations such as Oracle can do a lot to encourage young women to enter the tech and science fields by reaching into the school systems, creating intern or externships and supporting organizations such as Girls Who Code and Women in Linux,

 

7. What should I have asked you and didn't?

(She laughs)  Why is training and certification important in DevOps?

DevOps is being built around a Collective Body of Knowledge comprised of books, case studies, videos and practices introduced in actual enterprises.   It is so broad that it cannot be captured (and should not be captured) into a single body of knowledge like other frameworks.   The good news about that is that there is ample opportunity to introduce or update a practice or tool or cultural aspect without the constraints of a publication cycle like with the ITIL library.   The frustrating news is that there is so much (sometimes conflicting) guidance around DevOps that organizations and individuals have a hard time discerning “best practice”.    That’s where organizations such as the DevOps Institute come in by researching, curating and making sense of the practices that are delivering real value.

There are a few reasons why training and skilling in DevOps is important – first, everyone needs to update their skills portfolio – whether a developer needs to be a test-driven developer or an infrastructure person needs to learn more about continuous delivery.     Learning has to become a lifestyle and knowledge shared and acquired in lots of different ways.   Training gives multiple people an opportunity to have a shared learning experience – not only on the topic but by exchanging ideas in a collective learning environment.   Certification demonstrates a level of competence that should give individuals pride and managers confidence.   Some see training and certification as commoditization but the truth is that we need structured training as professionals to grow our careers.

 

Thank you Jane.

 

Well folks, after a record breaking 2017 with Oracle Code taking place in 21 cities world-wide, we are back. Last year we connected with over 600,000 developers both in-person and online. 2018 has got off to a great start, with the first event which was held in Los Angeles on February 27. I don't have the headcount but hundreds of people showed up. There were two awesome keynotes by Siddhartha Agarwal, VP, Product Management and Strategy at Oracle and Venkat Subramaniam CEO, Agile Developer.

 

We have new demos that show Oracle Cloud and other technology from IoT Cloud Brewed Beer, Cloud Chatbot Robot NAO who does Tai Chi, to a 3D Builder Playground, IoT Workshop and Zip Labs Challenge. All the Community team was there in full force and we did DevLive interviews all day plus I did many 60 Second Developer stories.

 

If you are not from Southern California and missed Code LA, not to worry, there are 13 more cities across three continents.

Americas

Los Angeles  - February 27

New York  - March 8

Chicago - March 20

Boston  - April 17

Bogotá - April 24

Buenos Aires - May 15

 

Europe

Warsaw  - May 11

London - May 30

Berlin TBA

Paris TBA

 

Asia

Hyderabad  - April 4

Bengaluru  - April 10

Shenzhen - May 8

Singapore  - May 17

 

If you are near any of them, I encourage you to register and attend. It is free and attendees get to listen to great technical content and get awesome offers to try to out Oracle Cloud. If you want to register or get more details check it out Oracle Code 2018

 

In case you missed the LA event I had the privilege of interviewing both Siddhartha  and Venkat, here are their interviews.