Archive For The “Ramblings” Category

David Patterson Retires After 40 Years

David Patterson Retires After 40 Years

David Patterson has had a phenomenal impact on computer architecture and computer science over the last 40 years. He’s perhaps most notable for the industry impact of the projects he’s led over these years.  I first got to know his work back when the Berkeley Reduced Instruction Set Computer project started publishing. The RISC project…

Read more »

A Decade of Innovation

A Decade of Innovation

March 14, 2006 was the beginning of a new era in computing. That was the day that Amazon Web Services released the Simple Storage Service (S3). Technically, Simple Queuing Services was released earlier but it was the release of S3 that really lit the fire under cloud computing. I remember that day well. At the…

Read more »

Volkswagen Emissions Fiasco

Volkswagen Emissions Fiasco

I’m an avid reader of engineering disasters since one of my primary roles in my day job is to avoid them. And, away from work, we are taking a small boat around the world with only two people on board and that too needs to be done with care where an engineering or operational mistake…

Read more »

Data Center Power & Water Consumption

Data Center Power & Water Consumption

I’m Interested in data center resource consumption in general and power is a significant component of overall operating cost and also has impact on the environment so, naturally, it gets most of the focus when discussing data center resource consumption.  As with all real issues, there is always a bit of hyperbole and some outright…

Read more »

2014 ACM Turing Award

2014 ACM Turing Award

Academic researchers work on problems they believe to be interesting and then publish their results. Particularly good researchers listen carefully to industry problems to find real problems, produce relevant work and then publish the results. True giants of academia listen carefully to find real problems, produce relevant results, build real systems that actually work, and…

Read more »

Goodbye GoDaddy

Goodbye GoDaddy

Back in 2005, I maintained a blog accessible only inside of Microsoft where I worked at the time. Having the blog internal to the company allowed confidential topics to be discussed openly, but over time, I found much of what I was writing about might be useful externally. And I knew, if I wanted to…

Read more »

Why Renewable Energy (Alone) Won’t Fully Solve the Problem

Back in 2007, the audacious RE<C project was started. The goal of RE<C was simple: make renewable energy less costly than coal and let economics do the hard work of converting the worlds energy producers to go renewable. I blogged the project in Solving World Problems With Economic Incentives summarizing the project with “the core…

Read more »

Network Neutrality and the FCC Proposal to Abandon it

The internet and the availability of content broadly and uniformly to all users has driven the largest wave of innovation ever e experienced in our industry. Small startups offering a service of value have the same access to customers as the largest and best funded incumbents. All customers have access to the same array of…

Read more »

Air Traffic Control System Failure & Complex System Testing

It’s difficult to adequately test complex systems. But what’s really difficult is keeping a system adequately tested. Creating systems that do what they are designed to do is hard but, even with the complexity of these systems, many life critical systems have the engineering and production testing investment behind them to be reasonably safe when…

Read more »

The Power Failure Seen Around the World

In the data center world, there are few events taken more seriously than power failure and considerable effort is spent to make them rare. When a datacenter experiences a power failure, it’s a really big deal for all involved. But, a big deal in the infrastructure world still really isn’t a big deal on the…

Read more »

Amazon Event in Palo Alto (10/11@5pm)

The last few weeks have been busy and it has been way too long since I have blogged. I’m currently thinking through the server tax and what’s wrong with the current server hardware ecosystem but don’t have anything yet ready to go on that just yet. But, there are a few other things on the…

Read more »

Fun with Energy Consumption Data

Facebook recently released a detailed report on their energy consumption and carbon footprint: Facebook’s Carbon and Energy Impact. Facebook has always been super open with the details behind there infrastructure. For example, they invited me to tour the Prineville datacenter just prior to its opening: · Open Compute Project · Open Compute Mechanical System Design…

Read more »

Visiting the Hanjin Oslo Container Ship

Visiting the Hanjin Oslo Container Ship

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Stock Car Series kicks its season off with a bang and, unlike other sports, starts the season off with the biggest event of the year rather than closing with it. Daytona Speed Weeks is a multi-week, many race event the finale of which is the Daytona 500. The 500 starts with…

Read more »

Amazon Web Services

Most of the time I write about the challenges posed by scaling infrastructure. Today, though, I wanted mention some upcoming events that have to do with a different sort of scale. In Amazon Web Services we are tackling lots of really hairy challenges as we build out one the world’s largest cloud computing platforms. From…

Read more »

Observations on Errors, Corrections, & Trust of Dependent Systems

Every couple of weeks I get questions along the lines of “should I checksum application files, given that the disk already has error correction?” or “given that TCP/IP has error correction on every communications packet, why do I need to have application level network error detection?” Another frequent question is “non-ECC mother boards are much…

Read more »

Perspectives on the Costa Concordia Incident

Last week I wrote up Studying the Costa Concordia Grounding. Many folks sent me mail with interesting perspectives. Two were sufficiently interesting that I wanted to repeat them here. The first was from someone who was actually on the ship on that final cruise. The latter is from a professional captain with over 35 years’…

Read more »