Tag: virtualization

Speeding Up IT?

In the February 28th 2011 edition of Information Weekly, Chris Murphy wrote an article called “IT Is Too Darn Slow.” Chris’ article can be summarized best by “isn’t about the speeds and feeds of technical performance, of gighertz this and gigabit that.” Chris goes on further to suggest that cloud computing, virtualization, and agile approaches are allowing CIO, CEO, and the rest of the board of the directors too demand quicker results.

I really agreed with the premise of the article although I haven’t really spent a lot of time working with virtualization. Virtualization allows us to consolidate multiple servers onto one server by allowing multiple operating systems to run on the same hardware. I really believe that being able to spin up new servers would allow development and changes to happen much more quickly.(At the very least virutalization can help all organizations save money on machines, power consumption, and air conditioning!)

Cloud computing is essentially taking distributed virtual machines (or raw hardware even) and allowing an application to make use of all the hardware and expanding as necessary. As Chris discusses in the article this allows a company to quickly add more infrastructure to meet demand which could allow for almost limitless usage.

Agile software development is based on the concept of spliting up programming tasks into very small and quick tasks and allowing the user to quickly begin to use the application and make changes as the process continues. The idea is that the user/ company can get software that meets their needs and is quickly adaptable as needs of course change.

Over all, I really felt that Chris has written a great article although I’m not sure that HP and some of the others he has discussed will be able to meet their goals of having nearly all projects under 90 days.

One point, I felt could have been stressed more in the article is that when you make software quickly and release that software when it is “good enough” is that it may end up being costly to change it later because of some mistake or incorrect assumption. We always need to invest some time in testing, and sometimes all that testing can’t be automated.

What do you think?

Book Review: Operating System Concepts

Operating System Concepts, 7th Edition is written by Abraham Silberschatz, Peter Baer Galvin, Greg Gagne isn’t a book about how to use a computer or how to use a particular operating system. Operating System Concepts is a book about the basic low level and some high level concepts of how the different operating systems actually work, some of the major problems faced, and some of the different solutions used by operating system programmers. The intended audience is senior undergraduate students. Readers of the edition I used are expected to understand C programming and have a very good understanding of techniques, hardware, and different technologies. Conveniently, I was required to read the book for COMP314 at Athabasca University.

The book isn’t always an easy read, often it felt dry and sometimes very slow moving, and I can admit there were many times I had to read and reread sections because I didn’t quite understand the concept being discussed. I’ve found a few errors in some of the diagrams, sample pseudo code, and a have of the example programs. Many of the practice problems are very good although I did find it very frustrating that the solutions are not in the back of the book and must be given by the professor/teacher edition of the book.

Overall, using just this book and some course notes from Athabasca I felt that I really learned a lot about the underlying operating systems that I use day to day and can appreciate even more why sometimes things aren’t always as smooth as I liked. I was a little disappointed that virtual machines and virtualization weren’t covered more in the book.