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AWS Broke the Internet Again or, Better, a Typo | @CloudExpo #AI #ML #DL
An AI-defined infrastructure can help to avoid service disruptions

Amazon Web Services (AWS) broke the Internet again or better "a typo". On February 28, 2017, an Amazon S3 service disruption in AWS' oldest region US-EAST-1 shuts down several major websites and services like Slack, Trello, Quora, Business Insider, Coursera and Time Inc. Other users were reporting that they were also unable to control devices which were connected via the Internet of Things since IFTTT was also down. Those kinds of disruptions are becoming more and more business critical for today's digital economy. To prevent these situations, cloud users should always consider the shared responsibility model in the public cloud. However, there are also ways where Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help. This article describes that an AI-defined Infrastructure respectively an AI-powered IT management system can help to avoid service disruptions of public cloud providers.

Amazon S3 Service Disruption - What has happened
After every service disruption AWS writes a summary of what was going on during an incident. This is what happened on the morning of February 28.

"The Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) team was debugging an issue causing the S3 billing system to progress more slowly than expected. At 9:37AM PST, an authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process. Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended. The servers that were inadvertently removed supported two other S3 subsystems.  One of these subsystems, the index subsystem, manages the metadata and location information of all S3 objects in the region. This subsystem is necessary to serve all GET, LIST, PUT, and DELETE requests. The second subsystem, the placement subsystem, manages allocation of new storage and requires the index subsystem to be functioning properly to correctly operate. The placement subsystem is used during PUT requests to allocate storage for new objects. Removing a significant portion of the capacity caused each of these systems to require a full restart. While these subsystems were being restarted, S3 was unable to service requests. Other AWS services in the US-EAST-1 Region that rely on S3 for storage, including the S3 console, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) new instance launches, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes (when data was needed from a S3 snapshot), and AWS Lambda were also impacted while the S3 APIs were unavailable."

Read more under "Summary of the Amazon S3 Service Disruption in the Northern Virginia (US-EAST-1) Region".

Bottom line, a typo crashed the AWS powered Internet! AWS outages already have a long history and the more AWS customers running their web infrastructure on the cloud giant, the more issues end customers will experience in the future. According to SimilarTech only Amazon S3 is already used by 152,123 websites and 124,577 unique domains.

However, following the philosophy of "Everything fails all the time (Werner Vogels, CTO Amazon.com)" means if you are using AWS you must "Design for Failure".  Something cloud role model and video on demand provider Netflix is doing in perfection. In doing so, Netflix has developed its Simian Army an open source toolset everyone can use to run a cloud infrastructure on AWS high-available.

Netflix "simply" uses the two levels of redundancy AWS offers. Multiple regions and multiple availability zones (AZ). Multiple regions are the masterclass of using AWS, very complex and sophisticated since you must build and manage entire separated infrastructure environments within AWS' worldwide distributed cloud infrastructure. Multiple AZs are the preferred and "easiest" way for high availability (HA) on AWS. In this case, the infrastructure is built within more than one data center (AZ). In doing so, a single region HA architecture is deployed in at least two or more AZs - a load balancer in front of it is controlling the data traffic.

However, even if "typos" shouldn't happen the recent accident shows, that human error is still the biggest issue running IT systems. In addition, you can blame AWS only to a certain extend since the public cloud is about shared responsibility.

Shared Responsibility in the Public Cloud
An important public cloud detail is the self-service. Depending on its DNA the providers are only taking responsibility for specific areas. The customer is responsible for the rest. In the public cloud, it is about sharing responsibilities - this model is called Shared Responsibility. The provider and its customers divide the field of duties among themselves. In doing so, the customer's self-responsibility plays a major role. In the context of IaaS utilization, the provider is responsible for the operations and security of the physical environment. He is taking care of:

  • Set up and maintenance of the entire data center infrastructure.
  • Deployment of compute power, storage, network and managed services (like databases) and other micro services.
  • Provisioning the virtualization layer customers are using to demand virtual resources at any time.
  • Deployment of services and tools customers can use to manage their areas of responsibility.

The customer is responsible for the operations and security of the logical environment. This includes:

  • Set up of the virtual infrastructure.
  • Installation of operating systems.
  • Configuration of networks and firewall settings.
  • Operations of own applications and self-developed (micro) services.

Thus, the customer is responsible for the operations and security of his own infrastructure environment and the systems, applications, services, as well as stored data on top of it. However, providers like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure provide comprehensive tools and services customers can use e.g. to encrypt their data as well as ensure identity and access controls. In addition, enablement services (micro services) exist that customers can adopt to develop own applications more quickly and easily.

In doing so, the customer is all alone in its area of responsibility and thus must take self-responsibility. However, this part of the shared responsibility can be done by an AI-defined IT management system respectively an AI-defined Infrastructure.

An AI-defined Infrastructure can help to avoid Service Disruptions
An AI-defined Infrastructure can help to avoid service disruptions in the public cloud. However, the basis of this kind of infrastructure is a General AI that combines three major human abilities that enable enterprises to tackle IT and business process challenges.

  • Understanding: By creating a semantic data map the General AI understands the world of the company in which its IT and business exists.
  • Learning: By creating Knowledge Items the General AI learns best practices and reasoning from experts. Knowledge is taught in atomic pieces of information (Knowledge Items) that represent separate steps of a process.
  • Solving: With machine reasoning problems are solved in ambiguous and changing environments. The General AI dynamically reacts to the ever-changing context, selecting the best course of action. Based on machine learning the results are optimized through experiments.

To put this into the context of an AWS service disruption:

  • Understanding: The General AI creates a semantic map of the AWS environment as part of the world in which the company exists.
  • Learning: IT experts create Knowledge Items while they are configuring and working with AWS from what the General AI learns best practices. Thus, the experts teach the General AI contextual knowledge that includes what, when, where and why something needs to be done - for example when a specific AWS service is not responding.
  • Solving: The General AI dynamically reacts to incidents based on the learned knowledge. Thus, the AI (probably) knows what to do at this very moment - even if no high availability setup was considered from the beginning.

Frankly speaking, everything described above is no magic. Like every new born organism an AI-defined Infrastructure needs to be trained but afterwards can work autonomously as well as can detect anomalies as well as service disruptions in the public cloud and solve them. Therefore, you need the knowledge of experts who have a deep understanding of AWS and how the cloud works in general. These experts need to teach the General AI with their contextual knowledge that includes not only what, when and where but also why. They have to teach the AI with atomic pieces (Knowledge Items, KI) that can be indexed and prioritized by the AI. Context and indexing enable this KIs to be combined to form many solutions.

KIs created by various IT experts create pooled expertise that is further optimized by machine selection of best knowledge combinations for problem resolution. This type of collaborative learning improves process time task by task. However, the number of possible permutations grows exponentially with added knowledge. Connected to a knowledge core, the General AI continuously optimizes performance by eliminating unnecessary steps and even changing routes based on other contextual learning. And the bigger the semantic graph and knowledge core gets, the better and more dynamically the infrastructure can act in terms of service disruptions.

On a final note, do not underestimate the "power of we"! Our research at Arago revealed that with an overlap of 33 percent in basic knowledge, this knowledge can and is used outside a specific organizational environment, i.e. across different client environments. The reuse of knowledge within a client is up to 80 percent. Thus, exchanging basic knowledge within a community becomes imperative from an efficiency perspective and improve the abilities of the General AI.

About Rene Buest
Rene Buest is Director of Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Arago. Prior to that he was Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. At this time he was considered a top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he was one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as Silicon.de and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore he is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of CloudUser.de and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

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COLLISON
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CARTER
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Transparent Cloud Computing

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GE

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GE

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Databricks

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Pivotal Software



Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
General Manager of Window Azure
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


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@CloudExpo Blogs
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and optimization to employee training and insights, all ultimately create the best customer experience b...
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for the time needed to run automated tests. In this framework, success depends on two things: automated i...
MongoDB, an open-source document store and most popular NoSQL database on the market today, offers a variety of advanced features to administer security over your MongoDB deployments. In this tutorial post, we’re going to show you how to set up role-based access control (RBAC) to manage user access across your MongoDB systems for reIndex, mongodump and mongorestore. If you're the administrator of your MongoDB databases, you've likely received requests to provide an individual user with the capabilities to perform a certain action(s). MongoDB's security features are fairly mature now, and allo...
So data warehousing may not be cool anymore, you say? It’s yesterday’s technology (or 1990’s technology if you’re as old as me) that served yesterday’s business needs. And while it’s true that recent big data and data science technologies, architectures and methodologies seems to have rendered data warehousing to the back burner, it is entirely false that there is not a critical role for the data warehouse and Business Intelligence in digitally transformed organizations.
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relatively simple silo monitoring.
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the best services for meeting organizations’ current and future needs.
Quick quiz! What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the following phrases? Artificial grass Artificial sweeteners Artificial flavors Artificial plants
Java 9 ships with some minor—yet awesome—new language features that make developing easier and cleaner. In this post, we’ll take a look at three of these new features. You probably remember interface methods, which were introduced in Java 8. These are required so that Java itself, as well as framework vendors, can add new methods to interfaces without breaking pre-existing implementations. As these methods can become rather complex, Java now enables you to declare interface methods as private. This allows for extracting common code from interface methods while hiding the code from external us...
How much does it cost to make an app is almost as popular a question as it is confusing. No one tries to learn the exact costs of, say, making a movie: people realize that there’s an overwhelming amount of variables involved on which they depend. But almost every day a new inquiry is posted on a tech forum, Quora, or Reddit as to how much it’d take to build a mobile business app.
Digital experience monitoring plays a vital role in the ecommerce economy. The industry is booming with millions of websites selling everything imaginable. Online stores are expected to be super fast and easy to navigate; users are quick to assess website performance and if said perceived performance is below expectations, they will quickly move on to competitor’s website.
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was realistic.

Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, software-defined networking, Hyperconverged Infrastructure, the cloud. These are all technological advancements intended to improve how IT systems and operations work, to give the business better agility and reduced costs, and ultimately to give end-users a new and better experience.  Quite often, however, IT’s creators and consumers alike lose sight of the […]

The post Consider the Human Side of IT appeared first on Dec. 10, 2017 11:00 AM EST  Reads: 1,305

Today’s hyper-connectivity of both people and things has led to an enormous jump in network traffic. Global IP traffic will increase nearly threefold over the next five years. It’s not going to lessen, nor is it going to get slower. These factors create a need for high-speed networks to ensure service level and capacity. 100G network links are deployed by telecom networks and data centers, serving hundreds of thousands of users, so that these providers can keep pace with customer demand. This then creates the need to test and troubleshoot on the networks at 100G link speed.
These days, no matter what task you’re trying to accomplish within your online properties, chances are there’s at least one cloud solution that provides it. However, with so much of our personal and business data living now online, there’s perhaps no functionality more important than cloud security. With cyber attacks more prevalent than ever, it’s imperative that organizations – regardless of their size and scope – protect both themselves and their clients from nefarious individuals who prey on unsecured networks and data.
Organizations around the world are struggling to cope with the current data explosion. A vital characteristic of this data is that it is unstructured and represents things like email, images, and videos. Storage of this form of data is typically in an object format which differs significantly from the database norm. Databases housed data grows very slowly because most of it is structured. Object storage formats are now being used to optimize access to large amounts of non-transactional files across a growing number of vertical markets.
The rule of thumb for network security today is that there is no perimeter anymore. An outsider can easily become an insider once perimeter security is breached. Every day, attackers find new ways to breach enterprise perimeter security through ransomware, malware or phishing through social engineering. This is not to suggest that all is lost. Rather, organizations can defeat cybercriminals, in part, by better managing what has already been put in place. As an example of what can go wrong if that doesn’t happen, consider the following story.
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
One problem that all developers and companies struggle with is trying to decide if they should "build it" or "buy it". Software developers love to build things. That is what we do! Their natural reaction tends to lean towards building things. We are also always up for a new challenge. There are very good reasons for building or buying software. There are also good reasons to use open source projects, which is a third option.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to operationalize the intelligence and how to implement a strategy to scale efforts. She pulled from her ex...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.