Archive for the ‘IDG Insider’ Category

If you looked at TensorFlow as a deep learning framework last year and decided that it was too hard or too immature to use, it might be time to give it another look.

Since I reviewed TensorFlow r0.10 in October 2016, Google’s open source framework for deep learning has become more mature, implemented more algorithms and deployment options, and become easier to program. TensorFlow is now up to version r1.4.1 (stable version and web documentation), r1.5 (release candidate), and pre-release … Read the rest

Cloud services are moving from the initial “we’re doing it because everyone else is” state to a more cautious, planned migration, one where IT departments have done a careful assessment of their needs and determined what to move to the cloud and what will stay on-premises.

Getting there takes some hard lessons. A study by IDG Research found that as much as 40 percent of workloads moved off the cloud and back to an on-premises setting. That’s because companies had … Read the rest

Until very recently, when you shopped for a database you had to choose: Scalability or consistency? SQL databases such as MySQL guarantee strong consistency, but don’t scale well horizontally. (Manual sharding for scalability is no one’s idea of fun.) NoSQL databases such as MongoDB scale beautifully, but offer only eventual consistency. (“Wait long enough, and you can read the right answer”—which isn’t any way to do financial transactions.)

Google Cloud Spanner, a fully managed relational database service running on … Read the rest

If you are leading or participating in an agile development process and have selected an agile model like the scrum methodology, you have a fundamental process to help align product owners with customer needs and teams on delivering results. You have the team’s responsibilities outlined, a meeting structure defined and scheduled, and an agile collaboration tool to manage the backlog.

All this structure, process, and collaboration helps teams of any kind execute. In fact, agile practices are applied to … Read the rest

Jenkins is one of the earliest and still one of the most-used continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD) servers. It has lots of competition these days, but still has a robust community and a wide range of plugins (1,400 when I last checked). Even if you wind up using a different automation server, it is worth understanding how to use Jenkins: The underlying concepts of CICD don’t change much from one implementation to another, even though the vendors do tend … Read the rest

If you’ve been a scrum master for some time, you have learned some of the practices that make teams successful:

  • You know how to help teams commit and deliver results at the end of sprints.
  • You handle blocks so that they aren’t impediments to the team completing more difficult user stories.
  • You know how to run the fundamental meetings including commitment, standups, demos, and retrospectives.

You also have developed some strategies to work with product owners:

  • You help them groom
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What is a database? Once upon a time, it was simple. The database was a modern Bob Cratchit putting data in tables made up of very straight columns filled with one row per entry. Long, endless rectangles of information stretching on into the future.

The relational database has been the bedrock of modern computing. The vast majority of websites are just a bunch of CSS lipstick painted on top of SQL. Everything that makes us special is just another row … Read the rest

Most any application needs some form of persistence—a way to store the data outside of the application for safekeeping. The most basic way is to write data to the file system, but that can quickly become a slow and unwieldy way to solve the problem. A full-blown database provides a powerful way to index and retrieve data, but may also be overkill. Sometimes all you need is a quick way to take a freeform piece of information, associate it with … Read the rest

Big data and analytics initiatives can be game-changing, giving you insights to help blow past the competition, generate new revenue sources, and better serve customers.

Big data and analytics initiatives can also be colossal failures, resulting in lots of wasted money and time—not to mention the loss of talented technology professionals who become fed up at frustrating management blunders.

How can you avoid big data failures? Some of the best practices are the obvious ones from a basic business management … Read the rest

A long time ago, developers wrote assembly code that ran fast and light. On good days, they had enough money in their budget to hire someone to toggle all those switches on the front of the machine to input their code. On bad days, they flipped the switches themselves. Life was simple: The software loaded data from memory, did some arithmetic, and sent it back. That was all.

Today, developers must work with teams spread across multiple continents where people … Read the rest