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A hodgepodge of links

This is just a round-up of links that I’ve recently found to be interesting.

Barroso and Holzle (Google): Warehouse-Scale Computing. This is a formal lecture-paper covering the design of what these folks from Google refer to as WSCs. They write, “WSCs differ significantly from traditional data centers: they belong to a single organization, use a relatively homogenous hardware and system software platform, and share a common systems management layer. Often, much of the application, middleware, and system software is built in-house compared to the predominance of third-party software running in conventional data centers. Most importantly, WSCs run a smaller number of very large applications (or Internet services), and the common resource management infrastructure allows significant deployment flexibility.” The paper is wide-ranging but written to be readily understandable by the mildly technical layman. Highly recommended for anyone interested in cloud.

Washington Post: Metrorail Crash May Exemplify Automation Paradox. The WaPo looks back at serious failures of automated systems, and quotes a “growing consensus among experts that automated systems should be designed to enhance the accuracy and performance of human operators rather than to supplant them or make them complacent. By definition, accidents happen when unusual events come together. No matter how clever the designers of automated systems might be, they simply cannot account for every possible scenario, which is why it is so dangerous to eliminate ‘human interference’.” Definitely something to chew over in the cloud context.

Malcolm Gladwell: Priced to Sell. The author of The Tipping Point takes on Chris Anderon’s Free, and challenges the notion that information wants to be free. In turn, Seth Godin thinks Gladwell is wrong, and the book seems to be setting off some healthy debate.

Bruce Robertson: Capacity Planning Equals Budget Planning. My colleague Bruce riffs off a recent blog post of mine, and discusses how enterprise architects need to change the way they design solutions.

Martin English: Install SAP on Amazon Web Services. An interesting blog devoted to how to get SAP running on AWS. This is for people interested in hands-on instructions.

Robin Burkinshaw: Being homeless in the Sims 3. This blog tells the story, in words and images, of “Alice and Kev”, a pair of characters that the author (a game design student) created in the Sims 3. It’s a fascinating bit of user-generated content, and a very interesting take on what can be done with modern sandbox-style games.

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