Tag Archives: open

AWS and Microsoft announce Gluon, making deep learning accessible to all developers – News Center

New open source deep learning interface allows developers to more easily and quickly build machine learning models without compromising training performance. Jointly developed reference specification makes it possible for Gluon to work with any deep learning engine; support for Apache MXNet available today and support for Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit coming soon.

SEATTLE and REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 12, 2017 — On Thursday, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced a new deep learning library, called Gluon, that allows developers of all skill levels to prototype, build, train and deploy sophisticated machine learning models for the cloud, devices at the edge and mobile apps. The Gluon interface currently works with Apache MXNet and will support Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK) in an upcoming release. With the Gluon interface, developers can build machine learning models using a simple Python API and a range of prebuilt, optimized neural network components. This makes it easier for developers of all skill levels to build neural networks using simple, concise code, without sacrificing performance. AWS and Microsoft published Gluon’s reference specification so other deep learning engines can be integrated with the interface. To get started with the Gluon interface, visit https://github.com/gluon-api/gluon-api/.

Developers build neural networks using three components: training data, a model and an algorithm. The algorithm trains the model to understand patterns in the data. Because the volume of data is large and the models and algorithms are complex, training a model often takes days or even weeks. Deep learning engines like Apache MXNet, Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit and TensorFlow have emerged to help optimize and speed the training process. However, these engines require developers to define the models and algorithms up front using lengthy, complex code that is difficult to change. Other deep learning tools make model-building easier, but this simplicity can come at the cost of slower training performance.

The Gluon interface gives developers the best of both worlds — a concise, easy-to-understand programming interface that enables developers to quickly prototype and experiment with neural network models, and a training method that has minimal impact on the speed of the underlying engine. Developers can use the Gluon interface to create neural networks on the fly, and to change their size and shape dynamically. In addition, because the Gluon interface brings together the training algorithm and the neural network model, developers can perform model training one step at a time. This means it is much easier to debug, update and reuse neural networks.

“The potential of machine learning can only be realized if it is accessible to all developers. Today’s reality is that building and training machine learning models require a great deal of heavy lifting and specialized expertise,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, VP of Amazon AI. “We created the Gluon interface so building neural networks and training models can be as easy as building an app. We look forward to our collaboration with Microsoft on continuing to evolve the Gluon interface for developers interested in making machine learning easier to use.”

“We believe it is important for the industry to work together and pool resources to build technology that benefits the broader community,” said Eric Boyd, corporate vice president of Microsoft AI and Research. “This is why Microsoft has collaborated with AWS to create the Gluon interface and enable an open AI ecosystem where developers have freedom of choice. Machine learning has the ability to transform the way we work, interact and communicate. To make this happen we need to put the right tools in the right hands, and the Gluon interface is a step in this direction.”

“FINRA is using deep learning tools to process the vast amount of data we collect in our data lake,” said Saman Michael Far, senior vice president and CTO, FINRA. “We are excited about the new Gluon interface, which makes it easier to leverage the capabilities of Apache MXNet, an open source framework that aligns with FINRA’s strategy of embracing open source and cloud for machine learning on big data.”

“I rarely see software engineering abstraction principles and numerical machine learning playing well together — and something that may look good in a tutorial could be hundreds of lines of code,” said Andrew Moore, dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. “I really appreciate how the Gluon interface is able to keep the code complexity at the same level as the concept; it’s a welcome addition to the machine learning community.”

“The Gluon interface solves the age old problem of having to choose between ease of use and performance, and I know it will resonate with my students,” said Nikolaos Vasiloglou, adjunct professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Georgia Institute of Technology. “The Gluon interface dramatically accelerates the pace at which students can pick up, apply and innovate on new applications of machine learning. The documentation is great, and I’m looking forward to teaching it as part of my computer science course and in seminars that focus on teaching cutting-edge machine learning concepts across different cities in the U.S.”

“We think the Gluon interface will be an important addition to our machine learning toolkit because it makes it easy to prototype machine learning models,” said Takero Ibuki, senior research engineer at DOCOMO Innovations. “The efficiency and flexibility this interface provides will enable our teams to be more agile and experiment in ways that would have required a prohibitive time investment in the past.”

The Gluon interface is open source and available today in Apache MXNet 0.11, with support for CNTK in an upcoming release. Developers can learn how to get started using Gluon with MXNet by viewing tutorials for both beginners and experts available by visiting https://mxnet.incubator.apache.org/gluon/.

About Amazon Web Services

For 11 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 90 fully featured services for compute, storage, networking, database, analytics, application services, deployment, management, developer, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), security, hybrid and enterprise applications, from 44 Availability Zones (AZs) across 16 geographic regions in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and the UK. AWS services are trusted by millions of active customers around the world — including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies — to power their infrastructure, make them more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit https://aws.amazon.com.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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MEF releases Sonata and Presto APIs, partners with ONAP

MEF published the Sonata and Presto APIs and said it would work together with the Open Network Automation Platform to determine how automation and orchestration can be managed in software-based environments using MEF APIs as a foundation. The groups made the announcements this week at the SDN NFV World Congress in The Hague, Netherlands.

“MEF and ONAP both see a future where we have services delivered by service providers that span multiple operators, operator domains and technology domains — such as 5G, optical, packet WAN and so on,” said Daniel Bar-Lev, MEF’s director for the office of the CTO.

To operate efficiently, providers need these services to be automated and orchestrated, he added. By aligning their approaches — ONAP from the implementation side and MEF from the conceptual definition side — he said the organizations can provide end-to-end service consistency and avoid market fragmentation.

Keeping silos to a minimum

“But we need to be aware that with so many organizations, players, projects and acronyms, we don’t simply get rid of old silos and create new silos,” Bar-Lev said. “Because if everybody’s doing things their own way, then all we do is create new islands of implementation that will need to be joined up.”

MEF, formerly known as the Metro Ethernet Forum, represents service providers worldwide. ONAP, a Linux Foundation project, focuses on projects designed to help service providers employ automation, virtual functions and other technologies within their operations.

Combined, the two groups have more than 250 members — a number that forms a good portion of the market, according to Bar-Lev. Part of the collaboration includes an agreement between MEF and ONAP  on a defined set of northbound APIs — such as MEF’s previously published LSO Legato APIs — that will be used for any ONAP instantiation, he said.

“When we’ve achieved that, it means whoever uses ONAP can then also take advantage of all the east-west APIs we’re defining, because ONAP doesn’t deal with east-west — it really focuses on a single operational domain,” he said.

The two groups will focus on APIs for now, moving to federated information models and security and policy objectives in the future, Bar-Lev said.

MEF releases LSO Sonata and Presto APIs and SDKs

Earlier this week, MEF released two of its open APIs within its Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Reference Architecture and Framework. The Sonata and Presto APIs and their corresponding software development kits (SDKs) are now available for use among MEF service-provider members and other associated MEF programs.

The LSO Sonata API will be used to reduce the time it takes for a service provider to check or order connectivity from an operator. Today, that process is often performed manually, and it can take months. Sonata automates how these requests are handled, thereby significantly reducing the time frame, Bar-Lev said.

The LSO Presto API resides within the service provider domain and enables more standardized orchestration for SDN and programmable network environments.

Some larger operators have already implemented machine-to-machine automation, Bar-Lev said, but there is no consensus describing how the required APIs should look. This means those operators need to “reinvent the wheel” for each new part of the process, he added.

MEF service-provider members, including AT&T, Orange and Colt Technology Services, worked with MEF and its LSO framework over a six-month period to determine the best ways to take advantage of the new APIs.

“They reached the consensus and created SDK material that is useful for service-provider IT departments throughout the world to take as starting points to see how they would adapt their back-end system to take advantage of these APIs,” Bar-Lev said.

The LSO Presto API resides within the service provider domain and enables more standardized orchestration for SDN and programmable network environments.

“It takes an abstracted, horizontal layered approach, which means when you orchestrate, it doesn’t matter which technology domain you have or which vendor you have,” he said. “Instead of developing multiple APIs per vendor, per technology domain — which isn’t scalable — you’re able to use these well-defined APIs,” Bar-Lev said.

MEF members have already used the Presto API in implementations with OpenDaylight and Open Network Operating System, he added.

Microsoft and Facebook Call for Open AI Ecosystem Gaining Broader Industry Momentum – Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit

Last month we introduced the Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX) format with Facebook to increase interoperability and reduce friction for developing and deploying AI. Since then we’ve talked with many companies that share our goals and recognize the benefits of the ONNX open ecosystem. Today Facebook and Microsoft are excited to share the following companies are announcing their support for the ONNX format:

We are also adopting the ONNX format widely at Microsoft. Today we are releasing preview support for ONNX in Cognitive Toolkit, our open source, deep learning toolkit. Cognitive Toolkit users can get started by following the instructions on GitHub to install the preview version. We encourage users to try it out and send us feedback.

We are also announcing that Project Brainwave, our FPGA-based deep learning platform for accelerating real-time AI, will support the ONNX format. By supporting it, Project Brainwave will help customers accelerate models from a variety of frameworks. The ONNX format also enables Project Brainwave innovation by letting us focus on acceleration optimizations instead of duplicative code for converting models.

It’s exciting times for AI. Just two weeks ago we announced major innovations to the Microsoft AI platform, including new and updated services and tools such as Azure Machine Learning and Visual Studio Code Tools for AI. We believe saving time with a productive AI platform while increasing interoperability will make it easier for developers to innovate and deploy AI on their terms. We are excited about the companies announcing support for the ONNX ecosystem today and invite others in the community to join the effort. You can visit http://onnx.ai to learn more.

Introducing Education Resources, a source of Open Educational Resources within Office 365 |

Today we are launching the pilot between Open Up Resources and Microsoft Education. Open Up Resources is a nonprofit working to develop the highest quality full-course OER curricula, Common Core aligned, and provided for free to promote instructional equity. This curriculum was developed by Illustrative Mathematics, and currently covers 6th – 8th Grade Math. Any teacher can now easily sign up to use the Open Up Resources curriculum. With today’s announcement, Microsoft Education is offering this curriculum through OneNote , Forms and custom dashboards. This solution is free and can be used by teachers and students on any platform and device. 

The Office 365 Education solution takes the Open Up Resources curriculum and assessments and puts together a free solution that pulls together content, assessments and analytics.

  • Content: Organize all your class materials, including Open Up Resources, into one digital notebook with OneNote Class Notebooks. Then, create more compelling, interactive content that you can easily collaborate on with students and colleagues.  
  • Assessments: Quickly create basic surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, registrations and more with Microsoft Forms. Teachers can view results as they are submitted, and data can be easily exported to Excel for grading or be viewed in dashboards.
  • Dashboards: Monitor and analyze a broad range of live data from content engagement through easy-to-use dashboards, interactive reports, and compelling data visualizations with custom Dashboards provided by Microsoft Education.

To see how these three pieces tie together, we’ve put together a short video

Using the custom OneNote Class Notebook to access and deliver the Open Up Resources curriculum:

  • Teachers can distribute the Illustrative Mathematics course materials on any device via OneNote.
  • Students can write, draw, collaborate and save their work automatically in a personal digital notebook.
  • Real-time collaboration can occur around the materials: teacher-to-class, teacher-to-student, and student-to-student.
  • OneNote Class Notebooks integrate seamlessly with common LMS and SIS platforms.

          Open Up Resources content delivered in OneNote Class Notebooks

Last spring, both Buncombe County and Evergreen school districts engaged in a private pilot using the Open Up Resources materials in a OneNote Class Notebook. Here is what Stephanie Brucker, District Tech Coordinator from Buncombe County had to say:

 “The integration of the Open Up Mathematics resources into OneNote has allowed teachers in our district to truly integrate our one-to-one devices and mathematics in a powerful way to advance student learning. Utilizing OneNote and Illustrative Math together in the classroom has opened up a gateway to each student’s thoughts and ideas throughout the units. The collaboration of materials between OneNote and Open Up has actually increased the practice of mathematical discourse simultaneously with our digital initiative.”

Open Up Resources assessments have been integrated with Microsoft Forms. When a Class Notebook is created, the Forms are all automatically pre-installed into the Educators Forms library in Office 365 Education, ready to be distributed as assessments. Through assessments, delivered in Forms, benefits include:

  • Easy digital assessments
  • One-click assignment and efficient scoring
  • Support for differentiation through rapid, formative assessment insight.

Sample Open Up Resources assessments delivered in Microsoft Forms

For the pilot program, Microsoft Education has created custom dashboards that are tied to the Open Up Resources Class Notebooks and Forms data. =These dashboards will allow teachers to gain insights into the assessment data and trends.

  

Example analytics dashboard, pulling from the OneNote Class Notebook and Microsoft Forms assessment data

To help teachers and schools get up and running, we have put together Getting Started materials on the Microsoft Support site which includes instructions and support information.. 

If you or your district would like to participate in a pilot,

  • Go to the Open Up Resources site and sign up
  • Log in to the site
  • Request materials and check the box for “piloting Microsoft OneNote (see example below)

 “

We are excited for school districts to start piloting this new solution across Content (OneNote), Assessments (Forms) and Analytics.  Both OneNote and Forms are part of Office 365 for Education, which is free for teachers and students with a valid school email address.  

Twitter

Microsoft Education @MicrosoftEDU

Microsoft OneNote for Education @OneNoteEDU

Open Up Resources @OpenUpResources

Illustrative Mathematics @IllustrateMath

Oracle HCM Cloud AI, UX, analytics unveiled at Open World 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — Against the backdrop of the Oracle Open World 2017 conference, the software giant unveiled upgrades to its Oracle HCM Cloud system, adding artificial intelligence, analytics and user experience capabilities.

The announcement came as Oracle extended its concerted push into the cloud by further automating with new algorithms the Oracle HCM Cloud software-as-a-service suites.

The moves around artificial intelligence (AI) dovetail with a general progression in HR technology toward tools that make core HCM and specialized HR software, such as recruiting, more intuitive and more capable of applying advanced analytics to HR data storehouses.

The AI and user experience functionalities are part of a new release of Oracle HCM Cloud: Oracle Cloud Applications Release 13. Also included are new recruiting, workforce health and safety management and governance, risk and compliance modules.

“The latest additions to Oracle HCM Cloud incorporate simple but powerful features that enable organizations to leverage the latest innovations to anticipate and plan for the future,” Chris Leone, senior vice president, Oracle Applications Development, said in a release. “By combining innovations in artificial intelligence and user experience with major enhancements to core HR modules, we are able to help HR leaders drive digital transformation and positive business outcomes.”

HR tech analyst Holger Mueller, of Constellation Research, said the Oracle news was “more than Oracle has released in years.”

Mueller noted that Oracle added native recruiting to further integrate its HCM suite and that the company is trying to make its talent management technology work better.

“And AI is always key these days, though it’s less than I’d like to see yet,” Mueller said.

Noting additions such as for volunteering, Mueller said, “It’s good to see innovation across the portfolio.”

He also said it will be interesting to see how users of Oracle’s Taleo talent management system will react to the company’s new moves in that area.

Keeping up with innovations

Meanwhile, HR tech analyst Brian Sommer said that with the Oracle HCM Cloud play, Oracle appears to be trying to keep pace with innovations around AI and chatbots in HR recruiting software.

Now they’ve added this chatbot capability … for job candidates trying to navigate all the available positions. It’s kind of nice, but it just maintains competitive parity.
Brian Sommerfounder, TechVentive Inc.

Sommer also noted that Oracle has previously included AI components in career development and learning modules.

“So, now they’ve added this chatbot capability … for job candidates trying to navigate all the available positions,” said Sommer, founder of the tech consulting firm TechVentive Inc. “It’s kind of nice, but it just maintains competitive parity.”

Sommer said the new Oracle HCM Cloud algorithmic capabilities for HR hiring managers to help screen candidates could be a significant move, but it was unclear if Oracle had corrected for existing biases in employment data sets.

“I hope they’re going to open up the black box around the algorithms to make it incredibly transparent and make it tailorable for customers to adjust as the algorithms and the recruiting operation get more savvy,” he said.

As for the UX capabilities, Sommer said all major HR tech vendors need to revamp and upgrade user interfaces and usability to stay competitive, and Oracle appears to have met those aims with this release of Oracle HCM Cloud.

HCM part of broader outlook

As Oracle unveiled the Oracle HCM Cloud updates, Mark Hurd, the company’s CEO, said in a keynote that Oracle is responding to a rapidly changing global economy with technology accelerating and countries’ gross domestic products stagnant, but consumer spending and expectations high.

The Oracle HCM Cloud announcement came during the height of the run-up to the HR Technology conference, the biggest U.S. HR tech show, which starts Oct. 10 in Las Vegas.

Two major native HR tech vendors in the HT tech space, Ceridian and Workday, are holding their annual user conferences in the same time frame. These Oracle competitors and others traditionally also release what they consider significant product upgrades or sometimes new products at the events.

The Workday Rising 2017 conference is Oct. 9-12, overlapping with the HR Technology show. Ceridian’s Insights customer forum is Oct. 2-6.

Smaller but still influential HR tech vendors such as SmashFly and Entelo are also competing vigorously in the recruiting arena against Oracle and other HCM suite vendors, Sommer said. Some of Oracle’s moves are more of a reaction to them than to the bigger vendors, he added.

Oracle said the new release of Oracle HCM Cloud also includes new applications for:

  • recruiting, with stronger sourcing and wider recruiting capabilities;
  • workforce health and safety, management; and
  • governance, risk and compliance.

The company also said additions to existing modules include:

  • software to help employees who want to volunteer;
  • knowledge management tools to improve the Oracle HR Help Desk Cloud; and
  • a continuous employee feedback function.

Wanted – cheapish fanless(or at least quiet)laptop

Hi all,

Not totally sure what I am looking for so open to ideas, basically something I can code on my lap with, must be fanless with a decent spec, minimum requirements are:

8gb ram min (big json files in node.js)
backlit keyboard
ideally a 1080 screen

Location: Bovey Tracey, UK

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
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Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Open to offers – Lots of parts – i7 860, 8gb ddr3, Gigabyte 7970, XFX 5850, OCZ 600W, + more

EDIT: I’m open to offers

Hi there, I have quite a few items for sale. All the parts are in good working condition, I look after my stuff. Most items will have the original box and all / most additional stuff inside. There is no warranty for left for the items. Photos for all items are included. Please bear in mind that the parts are all used (apart from a few items), and although I have cleaned them as well as I could, there could be still some dust left.

I would like to sell as many parts together as possible, so at the moment I want to see if there any bulk offers.

Delivery is not included in prices. I need to see how big and heavy parcel will be to try to price it. Delivery costs are to be confirmed.

During working hours I might be slow to reply, please bear that in mind. Also dispatching can take a day or two as I need to organise boxes to ship items in.

I’m after a quick and painless sale, please no new members. I would rather deal with regulars here.

Reasonable offers welcome.

Let’s start with the bulk picture.

Items for sale:
2. Asus P7P55D Motherboard – £80
3. OCZ DDR3 PC3 10666 1333Mhz Platinum Series RAM (4 x 2GB) – £80

9. Cooler Master HAF 922 PC Case – £50
10. LG DVD-RW 22x SATA – £15
11. Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Sound Card – £30
13. Sumvision Modem – £10
16. Logitech Mouse M115 – £10
17. Logitech Ultra-flat Keyboard – £10
18. Cold Cathode PC Interior Light – £10

ITEMS SOLD:
4. Gigabyte HD7970 3GB OC Graphics CardSOLD
6. Thermalright Venomous X CPU Cooler HeatsinkSOLD
7. Akasa Apache Black 120mm FAN (2 items) x 2SOLD
8. OCZ 600W MOD Xstream PRO PSUSOLD
14. HAMA WLAN PCI CardSOLD
5. XFX Radeon HD5850 XXX Edition 1GB Graphics CardSOLD
15. Tech Air Laptop BackpackSOLD

1. Intel i7 860 2.8Ghz Quad Core CPUSOLD
12. ASUS Sica Gaming Mouse White – SOLD


Pictures to follow

1. Intel i7 860 2.8Ghz Quad Core CPU – SOLD
In retail box, original Intel cooler included. Fully working. Great little chip.

2. Asus P7P55D Motherboard – £80
Fully working. In retail box with all the accessories.

more to follow in the next posts

Price and currency: 650
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: West Lothian
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Wanted – cheapish fanless laptop

Hi all,

Not totally sure what I am looking for so open to ideas, basically something I can code on my lap with, must be fanless with a decent spec, minimum requirements are:

8gb ram min (big json files in node.js)
backlit keyboard
ideally a 1080 screen

Location: Bovey Tracey, UK

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Windows DevOps shops quickly gain on Linux counterparts

Almost overnight, Windows DevOps has gained ground on the open source world.

Windows shops have a well-earned reputation for conservatism, and a deeply entrenched set of legacy enterprise applications that often hinder automated application development. However, Microsoft products have recently focused on Windows DevOps support. There’s still work to do to underpin Windows container orchestration, but IT pros in Windows DevOps shops are determined to break free of stodgy stereotypes.

Those stereotypes are based in reality. Microsoft shops have been reluctant to deploy early versions of products, and some service providers and consultants that work with Windows-focused enterprises still encounter that history as they contend with DevOps.

In the last three years, Microsoft has lagged behind its open source counterparts in offering DevOps products, particularly for continuous deployment and application release automation, critics said. That lag, plus being locked in to Microsoft tools, is what holds back Windows DevOps.

“Microsoft is making some inroads,” said Brandon Cipes, managing director of DevOps at cPrime, an Agile consulting firm in Foster City, Calif. “They’re finally starting to open up compatibility with other things, but they’re years and years behind the ecosystem that’s developed in open source.”

Third-party tools bridge Windows DevOps gaps

Windows DevOps shops have cobbled together automation pipelines with inefficient multi-hop handoffs between Microsoft apps and third-party tools, Cipes said. For many companies, switching over to a Linux-based stack is easier said than done.

“People get on Microsoft and they never leave,” he said. “We have clients that do a lot of Linux, but everyone has at least one department or one corner of the office that’s still on Microsoft and they will openly comment that they’ll never completely remove themselves from it.”

Tools from vendors such as TeamCity, Octopus Deploy, Electric Cloud and CA’s Automic have helped early adopters. One such firm, Urban Science, a data analysis company that specializes in the automotive industry, uses Electric Cloud’s ElectricFlow continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) tool to automate software delivery in a heavily Windows-based environment.

“Having the orchestration of ElectricFlow allows us to keep one perspective in mind when we’re creating a workflow,” said Marc Priolo, configuration manager at Urban Science, based in Detroit.

Developers and testers have seen what we’ve done in production and they want the same kind of automation.
Aloisio Rochaoperations specialist, NetEnt

ElectricFlow manages DevOps on Windows for about 80% of the company’s IT environment — “we try to use that as one tool to rule them all,” Priolo said. The other 20% of the work mostly involves handoffs from other tools such as Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server (TFS) to ElectricFlow — and here organizational inertia has held back Urban Science, he said.

“The other 20% would mean that our developers would have to change the way they interact with TFS, and it’s just not been a priority for us to change that,” Priolo said.

Occasionally, cPrime’s Windows clients are left with islands of automation when they must integrate third-party DevOps tools with older versions of Microsoft software, Cipes said.

“If you can’t integrate one little bit of automation, it gets you just such a short bit of the way,” he said. “A lot of people are trying to figure out how to deal with getting past that.”

Windows DevOps shops have succeeded in automating infrastructure with tools such as ElectricFlow. NetEnt, an online gaming systems service provider in Sweden, has rolled out ElectricFlow to manage deployments to its production infrastructure even before it automates the rest of the process.

“We’ve tied in all components that are needed to create servers, deploying and upgrading our applications, to give us some more deployment speed and free us up to find other bottlenecks,” said Aloisio Rocha, operations specialist at NetEnt. “We are looking to shift that left now, since the developers and testers have seen what we’ve done in production and they want the same kind of automation.”

Next, NetEnt will use ElectricFlow’s API integration with VMware virtual machines to automate the creation of and updates to SQL Server databases. Such structured apps are a common DevOps challenge regardless of operating system.

“What we’re using right now is PowerShell scripts, so we have a middle hand from ElectricFlow to VMware’s API,” Rocha said. “We would like to skip those PowerShell scripts and write directly to VMware’s API.”

Microsoft products recast the Windows DevOps equation

For other Windows DevOps shops that struggle with islands of automation, the good news is that the most recent versions of Microsoft software are tightly integrated with third-party tools through REST APIs, and also offer more native features.

This year, Windows DevOps products, such as TFS, have improved support for continuous application deployments to production, and some enterprise IT shops have put them to use.

TFS 2015, for example, fell short in that it didn’t have a release pipeline until update 3, but TFS 2017 changed that, said Anthony Terra III, manager of software architecture and development for a law firm in the Philadelphia area.

“We have a full release pipeline now, and we can set it up so that business analysts are the ones that dictate when things get pushed to production,” Terra said. “We do hands-off deployments, and run three or four production deployments a day if we want to, without any issue.”

DevOps shops in the Azure Cloud also have new options in the latest versions of Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), a SaaS version of TFS that a majority of VSTS users deploy multiple times a day, said Sam Guckenheimer, product owner for VSTS at Microsoft.

“There has been a lot of work in the most recent releases of Windows to make it leaner for server apps so that you could have a small footprint on your VM for Windows, and containerization is another step in that process,” he said.

Microsoft has added features to VSTS in the last six to 12 months to make it the best tool for CI/CD in Azure’s PaaS and IaaS platforms, Guckenheimer said. It has also shored up a workflow that uses Git for code review, testing and quality assurance, and added support for DevOps techniques such as kanban in VSTS. Further updates will facilitate coordination across teams and higher-level views of development teams’ status and assets.

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for TechTarget’s Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

For Sale – Open to offers – Lots of parts – i7 860, 8gb ddr3, Gigabyte 7970, XFX 5850, OCZ 600W, + more

EDIT: I’m open to offers

Hi there, I have quite a few items for sale. All the parts are in good working condition, I look after my stuff. Most items will have the original box and all / most additional stuff inside. There is no warranty for left for the items. Photos for all items are included. Please bear in mind that the parts are all used (apart from a few items), and although I have cleaned them as well as I could, there could be still some dust left.

I would like to sell as many parts together as possible, so at the moment I want to see if there any bulk offers.

Delivery is not included in prices. I need to see how big and heavy parcel will be to try to price it. Delivery costs are to be confirmed.

During working hours I might be slow to reply, please bear that in mind. Also dispatching can take a day or two as I need to organise boxes to ship items in.

I’m after a quick and painless sale, please no new members. I would rather deal with regulars here.

Reasonable offers welcome.

Let’s start with the bulk picture.

Items for sale:
2. Asus P7P55D Motherboard – £80
3. OCZ DDR3 PC3 10666 1333Mhz Platinum Series RAM (4 x 2GB) – £80

9. Cooler Master HAF 922 PC Case – £50
10. LG DVD-RW 22x SATA – £15
11. Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Sound Card – £30
13. Sumvision Modem – £10
16. Logitech Mouse M115 – £10
17. Logitech Ultra-flat Keyboard – £10
18. Cold Cathode PC Interior Light – £10

ITEMS SOLD:
4. Gigabyte HD7970 3GB OC Graphics CardSOLD
6. Thermalright Venomous X CPU Cooler HeatsinkSOLD
7. Akasa Apache Black 120mm FAN (2 items) x 2SOLD
8. OCZ 600W MOD Xstream PRO PSUSOLD
14. HAMA WLAN PCI CardSOLD
5. XFX Radeon HD5850 XXX Edition 1GB Graphics CardSOLD
15. Tech Air Laptop BackpackSOLD

1. Intel i7 860 2.8Ghz Quad Core CPUSOLD
12. ASUS Sica Gaming Mouse White – SOLD


Pictures to follow

1. Intel i7 860 2.8Ghz Quad Core CPU – SOLD
In retail box, original Intel cooler included. Fully working. Great little chip.

2. Asus P7P55D Motherboard – £80
Fully working. In retail box with all the accessories.

more to follow in the next posts

Price and currency: 650
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: West Lothian
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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