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Chris Evans

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Top Stories by Chris Evans

Probability says that with an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters given an infinite amount of time, at some stage the monkeys will produce the entire works of Shakespeare. According to this BBC News article, a programmer in the US has tried to do just that, using AWS (Amazon Web Services).  He’s created virtual monkeys that run on AWS instances, typing out fragments of the great Bard’s collected works. It sounds like a great thing to do, however maths is against him. With 26 letters, doubled for upper and lower case, plus maybe a dozen punctuation symbols and the space, each letter multiplies the possible combinations at least 60-fold. I have no idea how many letters are in Shakespeare’s entire works, but it’s too many to make this task practical. Whilst this is a good storyline, it demonstrates the power of splitting and distributing computing tasks, somethi... (more)

Is the Performance of All Cloud Servers the Same?

One of the benefits of delivering Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) through the cloud is an abstraction from the underlying hardware delivering the service.  There’s no requirement to understand what technology is being used to deliver, for example, cloud servers.  The specification of a cloud-based server is based on a few simple metrics, CPU, memory and disk space. CPU or processor power is described by most vendors in terms of cores, which translate to some abstract definition of physical computing power.  Only Amazon Web Services (AWS) reference physical CPU architecture, w... (more)

Is Google Drive Too Late to the Party?

Like many people, the other week I downloaded and installed Google Drive.  This is the long-awaited competitor to services like Dropbox and Microsoft’s SkyDrive, offering free online storage with the ability to upgrade to higher capacity at a cost.  Dropbox and the various other lookalikes have been around for some time, so is Google coming to this market too late and is the party already over? Cloud Storage The concept of Cloud Storage is pretty simple.  Services like Dropbox allow you to share a local folder on your PC or Mac and have that data replicated into “the cloud”.  Fr... (more)

Storage in Cloud Is Not the Center of the Universe

In a previous post, I touched on the need to have APIs for managing storage in cloud environments.  In this post, I’ll talk about how the way in which storage is deployed in cloud environments has to change. For the last 10 years, the advent of Storage Area Networks (SANs) has created a storage-centric view of the world with storage at the centre and the “planets” – networking and servers – wrapped around it like some pre-Copernican view of the universe.  Over time, SANs have evolved to be ever bigger, with some organisations deploying huge fibre channel fabrics.  As we’ve seen ... (more)

Amazon Delivers Cloud Archive Storage with Glacier

At the end of August 2012, Amazon Web Services released their latest service offering – a long-term archive service called Glacier.  As a complement to their existing active data access service S3, Glacier provides long term storage for “cold” data – information that has to be retained for a long time but doesn’t require frequent access. What Exactly is Glacier? Many organisations need to retain data in archive format for extended periods of time.  This is for regulatory or compliance purposes or may simply be part of their normal business process.  Good examples are medical, h... (more)