Big Software is the next, er, big thing

Canonical on OpenStack dev

You’ve heard of hyperscale, but now “Big Software” is the new big thing over at Canonical, and the open source outfit is keen to promote anything that fits with its vision of how massive, hyperscale infrastructure is going to be built and managed in future.

Big Software is what the open source outfit sees as its mission to solve these days. It refers to the way that cloud and modern IT infrastructure is developing, with applications increasingly composed of many software components spread across a large number of machines in the data center, handling massive data sets.

Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth outlined this vision at the OpenStack Summit in Austin earlier this year, saying that “the architectural conversation in OpenStack is really about how to spread the 15, 20 or 30 pieces of software that make up a modern OpenStack deployment across tens, hundreds or thousands of diverse physical servers.”

The problem lies in how to keep control over such a sprawling infrastructure estate, and it’s behind the development of many of Canonical’s tools such as Juju, metal-as-a-service (Maas), and its Autopilot OpenStack deployment tool.

With Canonical’s roots in the open source world, it is natural for the firm to see that solutions will come from the open source development community, and one solution the firm is touting comes from another open source outfit, Elastic.

Elastic has developed a suite of tools for collecting data from any source and searching, analyzing, and visualizing it in real time. This makes it the ideal platform for monitoring a Big Software deployment, according to Canonical.

“Gathering service metrics for complex big software stacks can be a chore, especially when you need to warehouse, visualize, and share the metrics. It’s not just about measuring machine performance, but application performance as well. You usually need to warehouse months of history of these metrics so you can spot trends,” said software engineer Charles Butler, writing on Canonical’s blog.

Butler goes into detail on how the Elastic Stack – comprised of tools named Elasticsearch, Kibana, Logstash, and Beats – can be configured and deployed to solve this particular problem. Head over to the blog if this kind of thing floats your boat.

So is Big Software a real thing? It seems like a broad, nebulous term rather like cloud computing, and appears to encompass big data, microservices, massive scale-out infrastructure, and even cloud itself. Nevertheless, Canonical sees addressing the complexities of Big Software as a big opportunity and its main mission – and it’s sticking to it. ®

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Now that's wafer thin: Some manufacturers had less than five days of chip supplies, says Uncle Sam

    Components fabbed using 40nm-plus process nodes hit hard

    Hardware manufacturers hit hardest by the global semiconductor shortage had less than five days of chips in their inventories last year – and should expect supply chain issues to continue throughout 2022 – the US Department of Commerce said this week.

    Demand for semiconductors skyrocketed during the pandemic as folks purchased more PCs, laptops, and tablets to work or learn from home, and cloud giants scaled up their backend systems to cope. Supply, however, couldn't keep up. The median inventory of semiconductor buyers in 2019 was 40 days of supply. By 2021 that figure was down to less than five days for certain key US sectors, the department said in a report, while demand was up 17 per cent.

    Production was initially slowed at factories around the world due to shelter-at-home orders as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Some facilities had to temporarily shut down after they were hit with natural disasters, such as fires and snowstorms. But between Q2 2020 and the end of 2021 fabs were operating at over 90 per cent capacity and still couldn't meet global demand.

    Continue reading
  • Baidu's AI predictions for 2022: Autonomous driving! Quantum computing! Space! Human-machine symbiosis!

    Did a computer program tell them to write this?

    Baidu Research's AI-centric "Top 10 Tech Trends in 2022" report has outlined the Middle Kingdom megacorp's predictions for technology over the coming year.

    Baidu CTO Haifeng Wang describes AI as a "key driving force of innovation and development," thanks to rapidly evolving core technologies, cross-domain connectivity, and expanding applications.

    It's no surprise that the list focuses on AI given Baidu's business domain. The Beijing-based company's search engine captures over 70 per cent of the Chinese market while also developing other products, particularly AI research and cloud computing. The research arm takes a deeper look at its associated technologies. Think Google but Chinese.

    Continue reading
  • Nvidia reportedly prepares for un-Arm'd fight with rivals: $40bn takeover may be abandoned

    Softbank, meanwhile, remains 'hopeful' it can offload Brit chip designer

    Nvidia is quietly preparing to give up on the purchase of Arm, according to Bloomberg, after repeatedly butting heads with competition regulators amid a wave of opposition from the tech industry.

    A report by the newswire states Nvidia privately told its partners it does not expect the Arm transaction to close. The report also claims Arm's current owner SoftBank is pressing ahead with an IPO of Arm.

    The $40bn bid Nvidia lodged for Arm in September 2020 has proved controversial: Arm licences its chip designs to multiple clients and some felt that buying the company will give Nvidia the power to stifle competition.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022