ArchiTECHt Daily: The world is working against Oracle

News of corporate layoffs is never good, but in the case of Oracle and its hardware business, it was
ArchiTECHt Daily: The world is working against Oracle
By ARCHITECHT • Issue #2
News of corporate layoffs is never good, but in the case of Oracle and its hardware business, it was pretty clear that something had to give. The San Jose Mercury News reported on Friday that about 450 employees were being laid off, although other sources have pegged the number at as high as 1,800. Regardless the exact number, the reality is that life is about to get a lot harder for hardware companies and Johnny-come-latelies to the cloud.
The hardware story is self-explanatory, a demise fueled by a surge in workloads and applications moving to the cloud. Large enough companies will always buy servers and other gear,  but a combination of open source (software and hardware), microservices and containers will suck most of the remaining profits out of the market for sellers.
However, I suspect Oracle and companies of its ilk are not out of the woods yet, even if they double down on the cloud like Oracle has. While they play catch-up in building out basic cloud infrastructure and services, the providers who already dominate the cloud are beginning to make their plays up the stack and at the edge. Up the stack, cloud providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft are rolling out everything from “serverless” computing frameworks to APIs for artificial intelligence. At the edge, they’re building out even more capacity and helping developers move computing and data processing onto devices, connecting back to their clouds for the more intensive work. 
They’re doing all of this because they’ve already established themselves as the default places to run modern web and mobile applications (hence the term “cloud-native”), and now they’re targeting the next wave of application development that will be fueled by the Internet of Things. 
Getting into the cloud game now is like getting into the server business while VMware was hitting its stride. Yeah, there’s some money to be made from stragglers, but you’d have to come with something truly amazing to remain relevant once that pool dries up.

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Speaking of computing at the edge … I wrote about a recent study that highlights the potential performance benefits of edge computing (or fog computing, as the researchers call it), as well as the complicated nature of regulating traffic and money flows on heterogeneous networks. It could be a tough road for smaller players, but platform companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google are already working to own their users’ workloads from device to data center.
Around the web: Artificial intelligence
The company, Meta, was created to help scientists keep up with the thousands of papers that are published each day. Its use of AI techniques, including deep learning, to analyze scientific literature sounds a lot like what IBM promised with Watson. Hopefully, Zuck’s foundation can deliver the type of medical revolution IBM has yet to deliver.
An Nvidia exec thinks AI will take over software development to the point where developers will spend a lot of time curating data to train models and writing scripts to interact with them. That seems a bit far out at the moment, but machine learning can already be useful at optimizing code or identifying issues.
This study makes a really good point about voice-controlled AI assistants, which is that people often stop using them very quickly or don’t realize all they can do. That’s certainly true with my Amazon Echo:  I use it every day, but can’t keep up with each new skill without some sort of visual element.
Do you hate the fact that poker used to be aired nearly 24-7 on sports TV, or that you knew at least two people who thought they could quit their jobs and become professional poker players? Then root for Libratus in this contest. On a side note, a computer mastering Texas Hold ‘Em would actually be a really big deal given the amount of imperfect information involved.
This is worth reading as an attempt to discern how, or if, Washington, D.C., under Donald Trump will deal with rapidly advancing AI technologies. I tackled this same question recently, but came down on the other side. To quote Carl Sagan: “when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues.”
Around the web: Cloud and infrastructure
Let’s assume this suit, like so many others, is straight B.S. The good news is that Rackspace will not roll over and, in fact, has proven a thorn in the side of patent trolls. Like here, and here.
This article focuses on Microsoft, which has stated it might reconsider its expansion plans should governments start applying large tariffs to server imports, but it seems safe to assume other cloud providers are thinking about this, too. Who really loses if a data center is built in one country instead of another? (Speaking of which, AWS is building a new one in Virginia.)
Running a scheduler on top of a scheduler isn’t an entirely new concept, but you have to pay attention when it’s Kubernetes. This could become a common use case as more companies start doing private cloud by delivering containers as a service.
Linkerd is now the fifth project housed under the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which was created as a home for Kubernetes. Linkerd aims to manage communications among any number of different services that comprise a microservices environment.
Around the web: Enterprise software
Atlassian a $50B company?
So predicts Vik Singh from Infer. Seems a bit optimistic, but Atlassian is rather ubiquitous among software development teams. And if those AI software-developing systems actually become a thing …
If you haven’t heard about Tricentis, consider yourself put on notice. In a way, the company operates in the same space as Atlassian and is a product of the continuous delivery era. Companies like Facebook swear by automated software testing, which lets them move fast without actually breaking much.
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