Sunday, June 29, 2008

Baby Class and a Cesarean Section

Well, tonight was certainly a different one at our pregnancy class.  We got to role play a Cesarean Section taking place.  It was certainly entertaining and educational at the same time.  I highly encourage taking these classes before your first child as there is so much that I did not know to expect.  Carleen, our teacher, has been great taking us through all of the paces.  I would highly recommend looking for a class that she is teaching.  Here are some comical pictures from tonight I thought I would share.  Laura took these as I was assisting with the "delivery".

Monday, June 23, 2008

How is the Health of Amazon Web Services

I have been spending a large amount of my time lately consulting and talking about cloud computing and specifically Amazon Web Services. This is mainly because of our infrastructure sitting completely in the cloud. One of the questions that always comes up is "How do you know everything is going ok?". Let me start with saying that it does not matter if you house your application in the cloud, in a co-location facility, in the closet or on the desk next to you... it is important that if you are supporting a production application that you know what is going on with its health. This will allow you to make informed decisions with any action you need to take BEFORE (hopefully) your customers are impacted. We have several tools that we have been using on DigitalChalk to help in the monitoring of our applications. One of our core components for monitoring is Hyperic. We have customized the Hyperic tools to allow us to monitor all of our servers soup to nuts. We have spent alot of time configuring Hyperic solutions on our EC2 instances to help us have some visibility into the AWS platform and our application. The good news is that Hyperic has just released CloudStatus into beta.

For quick updates on how AWS is performing, we have been using the RSS feeds from Amazon at . With CloudStatus, we really have a better view of the historical data of the services. I am looking forward to another tool in the toolbelt and I hope it will really help to improve our monitoring capabilities and streamline our diagnosis. I am really interested to see if Hyperic will come out with a dashboard that will specifically target a single AWS account's health. That would be really nice because we have seen before that even when AWS is having trouble in some areas, others are fine.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Google Health

Most anyone that has talked for any length of time knows that I am quite the advocate of cloud computing. Storing files, sharing documents, allocating computing power, running websites, retrieving email, communicating with friends... I do all of this "in the cloud" right now using either our own software or Software as a Service. However, I wanted to know what you think about another type of application that has been released by Google now: Google Health.

If you choose, you can post your medical information with Google. Why?... Well, they believe that
you own your medical records and should have easy access to them. The way we see it, it's your information; why shouldn't you control it?
The question for me is how will the doctors, pharmacists, hospitals and other health care providers view this. Will they truly take your records that you post onto Google Health and share information back with you there? I hope that this does take off and that adoption is fast and furious, but I have my doubts. Hospitals and medical offices complain over and over again as it is just in the move to electronic medical records from their paper ones. I think that this might taint their view of yet another step in the process. However, the solution might be other service providers that would interface the record systems with Google Health. Another issue is security... I know how I feel about my records being out there in the cloud, but I am wondering how the general public feels.

Here is what Google says about their security:

We believe that your health information belongs to you, and you should decide how much you share and whom you share it with. We will never sell your data. We store your information securely and privately. Check out our privacy policy to learn more.

You are in control — you choose what you want to share and what you want to keep private.

I encourage you to go and check it out and let me know what you think! I know that there are not many providers right now that integrate, but when they come on board, will you? I have my account and am waiting for the providers in Western North Carolina to get on board. Check out About Google Health and tell me what your plans are in the comments and take the poll to the right.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gartner’s top 10 disruptive technologies 2008-2012

2008-2012? Isn't that seem like an odd span of time? With 5 years so close, why choose 4? I guess it doesn't really matter, it just struck me as odd. Technology does change quickly, I understand... but... ok ok, I will stop.

At the end of May, Gartner released their top 10 disruptive technologies for the next couple of years. This list is as follows:
  • Multicore and hybrid processors
  • Virtualisation and fabric computing
  • Social networks and social software
  • Cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms
  • Web mashups
  • User Interface
  • Ubiquitous computing
  • Contextual computing
  • Augmented reality
  • Semantics
Some of the usual buzz words of course have hit the list that have been flying around for the past couple of years. As expected, cloud computing was in there. I did notice though that a term that I haven't seen a lot of press about did appear near the top: Fabric Computing. I am surprised that this did not just get pulled under the umbrella of Cloud Computing. Maybe it is because I use Amazon Web Services, and the line is really blurry between getting to pick and choose your various components and the platform as a whole. Granted it isn't as granular as what a true fabric might offer, but with Amazon's announcement this weekend of new High-CPU Instances on their EC2 platform, we are moving rapidly that way. I guess that I really like the fact that I can define my platform and pick and choose at the level that Amazon is offering. I look forward to the persistent storage coming soon! So many different definitions of the cloud are out there? Anyone else think that Fabric Computing and Cloud Computing are at least close cousins? Should they be called out separately?