This has been a year of new beginnings for me here at Pivotal. That said, the important things stay the same: everyone is curious, change is urgent, and it’s all around us.It’s a new era for IT architects, IT operations teams, and the application teams they support. The lines between infrastructure and apps are blurring, with infrastructure coming up to devs, new programmable infrastructure models becoming real, new application models changing the way people innovate, and hybrid cloud models at every level of the stack becoming the operating model.It’s an important time to broaden horizons and cross-pollinate. IT operators need to know more about what’s happening in the application domain than ever before. Not just because there’s cool stuff happening there, but because delivery speed has never mattered more. And it only happens if everyone’s on board and focused on it.Spring is the most popular modern Java frameworks in the world—and the basis for many of the amazing new applications being created today, several of them running on Pivotal Cloud Foundry. There’s one place to go to learn everything about Spring and modern software: SpringOne Platform.SpringOne Platform is the “Dell Technology World” or the “VMworld” for the Pivotal ecosystem—a massive annual event. It’s a great opportunity for people who traditionally live in the infrastructure domain to learn about what is happening, and what they can do to help accelerate the businesses they support. To give you a flavor for the event, you can find one of my favorite sessions from 2017, from our very own Onsi Fakhouri. SpringOne Platform is a great chance to talk, to listen, and to learn. How have the most regulated, conservative, “tech debt-loaded” companies changed their destinies? How have the infrastructure teams partnered, supported, and in some cases led the change? Come. Listen. Ask. Challenge.It’s a unique opportunity to open your mind, uplevel your skills, and engage in the transformation that is occurring in the world—and in your business—in new ways!I hope to see you there!P.S. Bring your whole team and use the code S1P200_CSakac when you register to save $200 off your SpringOne Platform passes.
*Photos courtesy of Chakr InnovationWe estimate that our use of the process will help clean the equivalent amount of air breathed annually by about 110,000 people.We see many other applications for this ink, and will continue to seek ways to substitute more sustainable solutions in pursuit of our goal of achieving 100% sustainable packaging by 2020.It’s these types of innovations that Dell loves to support and help scale. We’re all about supporting companies offering solutions that can assist with different environmental and social issues that impact our society. If you have an innovative product that helps us meet our 2020 Legacy of Good goals we invite you to share with us @dell4good #legacyofgood or [email protected] If you’ve travelled to places like India and China recently, you know that air quality is a serious concern. Growing up in Delhi, I’ve personally witnessed the rapid decline in air quality over the years. In November 2017, Delhi’s air quality was so bad that it was similar to smoking 50 cigarettes per day.So when Chakr Innovation came to Dell’s internal Innovation Olympics last year to pitch us on a business solution that addresses this very issue, we were all ears.*Source Wikimedia.orgChakr Innovation is an India based start-up with a purpose very similar to Dell’s- enable human progress. The company was founded by three young engineers who believed that our quality of life depended on the quality of air we breathe. The team developed a technology that captures the soot from diesel generators and turns it into a carbon black used to make ink. Dell now uses the ink on 1.5 million Dell boxes that ship out of India each year.Overall, Dell ships approximately 8.4 units per second. At that volume, it is imperative to design our packaging and shipping processes around efficiency and waste minimization. This invites the opportunity for innovation – highlighting the value of innovators like Chakr so we can help Dell and our customers reduce their waste through creative design, innovative material choices and better logistics.Here’s how Chakr’s process works…Diesel generators are retrofitted with the Chakr Shield to capture particulate matter from the exhaust.Carbon black is extracted from the soot.The carbon black is then mixed to create the ink that Dell then prints with.
The modern data center never stops. Your infrastructure needs to deliver around the clock, but your staff has limits.If you have followed the IT industry for any length of time, you are familiar with our love of obfuscation. Every discovery must be protected with a code name. Once it’s released to the public, the product name is inevitably shortened to a 3 or 4 letter acronym. So, you will understand my feigned curiosity when the term Redfish entered the IT lexicon in 2014.Is this a product? Is it a consortium? And most important, what’s the real name? So, as I listened to the product engineer talk about Redfish as a game changer for edge computing, I was only mildly interested.Fast forward, four years later, and my feigned interest has evolved into excited promotion. While, edge computing is still a significant use case for Redfish, the impact of the standard goes well beyond our ability to manage at the edge of the network. The Redfish standard is unique in that it enables management of discrete and distributed components of the IT infrastructure; across technology implementations and vendors. The level of cooperation required to develop and implement the Redfish standard is almost unprecedented in the IT industry.What is a standard?The Redfish standard is a set of specifications designed by the Redfish Forum, one of the many forums supported by the DMTF (formerly known as the Distributed Management Task Force). Corporate members of the Redfish Forum — including Dell EMC* – work to deliver on the objectives of the Redfish Forum charter.Create and publish an open industry-standard specification and schema that meets the expectations of Cloud and Web-based IT professionals for scalable platform hardware management utilizing existing tool chains as well as being usable by personnel with minimal experience. Excerpt: Redfish Forum CharterThe standards, outlined in the Redfish specification documentation enable more efficient and secure methods to monitor, manage and control IT systems over a secure connection. Basically, the Redfish standard is designed to enhance operation of the data center today and build a foundation for the data center of tomorrow.The most innovative standards are useless without adoption The Redfish standard has broad support across the IT industry. Vendors who support Redfish agree to exchange information about their systems using the specifications of the standard. This cooperation between systems and vendors helps expand control beyond like systems and enables centralized, end-to-end management of multi-vendor infrastructures.Previous standards like the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI), were designed for server centric environments. But, Redfish was designed for the modern data center. The modern data center is virtual. It adopts innovative technologies and enhancements without interruption. The modern data center is web-connected and cloud-enabled. Security is a priority, across technologies and devices. The modern data center is prepared for the future.Web-connected and cloud-enabledIn most industries, interactions are no longer face-to-face but enabled by our almost constant connection to the internet. With a smart phone at our side, we can order a pizza just as easily as we can check our corporate email. IT departments continue to adapt to help organizations take advantage of the hyper-connected consumer.Just 20 years ago, creating multiple connections to secure and public systems from a single device was impossible for all but the largest organizations, with the most skilled staff. However, the introduction of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol-Secure (HTTPS) and the Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture made secure interaction possible between different devices, systems and organizations.The REST architecture, is well known to most developers and met a key objective of the Redfish charter – it was usable by personnel without specialized skills. REST is also commonly used to interact with cloud systems and applications, making it an ideal choice for cloud management.Together, REST, HTTPS and Redfish are not synonymous. REST is an architectural style. HTTPS is a method for transmitting data. And Redfish is a specification for IT management. When implemented into an application, these tools and methods are called the Redfish RESTful API.Always onThe modern data center never stops. Your infrastructure needs to deliver around the clock, but your staff has limits. They are often pulled in multiple directions. They are monitoring systems to ensure performance and maintain security. They are retiring old systems and replacing them with new, more powerful ones. And they are doing all of this at scale.The Redfish standard enables the always on data center, without taxing your staff. Management can be performed across systems, subsystems and devices. Administrators can request health and status information, so they can monitor the infrastructure. They can also issue commands. For example, a server could report down level firmware (like for BIOS or a PowerSupply) and a command can be executed to update the firmware.Management functions can be initiated directly on the system or through a secure remote connection. Commands can be entered individually, or processes can be automated using scripts that help make IT administrators more efficient. For example, configuring a typical server can take up to 200 steps when each step is performed individually. Through scripting, all these steps can be documented in a machine-readable format that can be deployed in one step.Your data center can’t stop. Redfish, helps keep it running.The value is clearThe technology industry has a history of creating exponential value out of simple ideas. The Redfish standard is no exception.The term Redfish is now forever part of the lexicon of IT history. Those of us steeped in the details, would define the Redfish standard as a RESTful interface over HTTPS in JSON format based on OData v4. However, the technical details are only interesting if they can deliver genuine business value. The Redfish standard helps you manage the modern data center by enhancing manageability through automation, and interface consistency across products, generations, and vendors, while reducing operational complexity. More robust managability and less complexity means you have the resources to deliver the most comprehensive offerings to your customers, constituents and partners, wherever they are, and without interruption.A more technical overview of the Redfish standard is presented in the Direct2Dell blog: Fish On! Dell EMC Nets Enhanced and Expanded Redfish Support for PowerEdgeDetails on the Dell EMC implementation of the Redfish standard can be found in the following whitepaper: Introducing the Dell EMC PowerEdge Redfish APIComplete details on the Redfish standard can be found on the DMTF website.*Dell EMC is a founding member of the Redfish form and currently chairs the executive board of the DMTF.
An explainer on the game-changing security feature inside every new PowerEdge server.As part of the PowerEdge server team, we use the words Root of Trust frequently. It’s such an important concept rooted in the foundational security and protection of each PowerEdge server. And, it is a key component in our Cyber Resilient Architecture. But, do you understand what it means and how it works? I didn’t. So, I sought out experts here at Dell and researched it online. Here’s what I learned and how I would explain it to my friends who aren’t engineers.What is Root of Trust?Root of Trust is a concept that starts a chain of trust needed to ensure computers boot with legitimate code. If the first piece of code executed has been verified as legitimate, those credentials are trusted by the execution of each subsequent piece of code. If you are saying “Huh?” then let me describe the process using a physical-world scenario. Stay with me – it will be much easier to understand in a paragraph or two.When you travel by plane in the United States, the first layer of security is the TSA checkpoint. Think of this as your Root of Trust. Once you get past TSA, the gate agent just needs your boarding pass because they trust that you have already been checked, scanned, and verified by TSA. And because you got onto the plane, the pilot and the flight attendants trust that the gate agent validated that you are supposed to be on the flight. This eliminates the need for the gate agent, pilots, or anyone else to check you out again. You are trusted because the TSA validated that you are trustworthy. They scanned your belongings to ensure that you aren’t carrying anything harmful. Then, the gate agent validated that you have a ticket. At the airport, there is a physical chain of trust.Almost an identical process happens when a computer boots (or powers up). Before the first bit of code is run (BIOS), the code is checked by the virtual equivalent of the TSA (the chip) to ensure that it’s legitimate. The checks happen similarly to the TSA agent checking your passport to ensure you are who you say you are, and your credentials haven’t been forged or tampered with. Once the BIOS is validated, its code is run. Then, when it’s time for the OS code to run, it trusts the BIOS. Thus, a chain of trust.How we ensure Root of Trust is trustworthyIf an attacker could replace the server’s BIOS with a corrupted version of the BIOS, they would have vast access, control, and visibility into almost everything happening on the server. This scenario would pose a massive threat. This type of compromise would be difficult to detect as the OS would trust that the system checked the BIOS. So, it’s important that the authenticity of the BIOS is fully verified before it is executed. The server has the responsibility to check the credentials of the BIOS to ensure it’s legitimate. How does this happen?Let’s go back to the airport and continue the analogy. A hijacker may try to impersonate a legitimate person by using their passport. Or, the more sophisticated attackers may try to use a fake passport. The TSA has backend systems in place that help prevent this from happening. Plus, the TSA agents are well-trained and can spot tampering, fakes, and misuse of all types of identification.On a server, the chip (silicon) acts to validate that the BIOS is legitimate by checking its passport (encrypted signature). This encrypted signature (a Dell EMC encryption key) is burned into silicon during the manufacturing process and cannot be changed – it’s immutable. This is the only way to make Root of Trust truly immutable – do it in hardware. We burn read-only encryption keys into PowerEdge servers at the factory. These keys cannot be changed or erased. When the server powers on, the hardware chip verifies the BIOS code is legitimate (from Dell EMC) using the immutable key burned into silicon in the factory.Serious protection that’s built-in, not bolted onOur servers are designed so that unauthorized BIOS and firmware code is not run. So, if the code is somehow replaced with malware, the server won’t run it. A failure to verify that the BIOS is legitimate results in a shutdown of the server and user notification in the log. The BIOS recovery process can then be initiated by the user. All new PowerEdge servers use an immutable, silicon-based Root of Trust to attest to the integrity of the code running. If the Root of Trust is validated successfully, the rest of the BIOS modules are validated by using a chain of trust procedure until control is handed off to the OS or hypervisor.The Value of a Secure Server Infrastructure is a researched-based paper from IDC that expands on the topic of hardware security. And when you are ready for a more technical explanation of security, this white paper on the Cyber Resilient Security in PowerEdge servers is the perfect reference.To learn more about PowerEdge servers, visit dellemc.com/servers, or join the conversation on Twitter @DellEMCservers.
10/1/2019 – ChicagoDonald E. Stevens Convention CenterClick here 11/20/2109 – TorontoToronto Convention CenterClick here 10/8/2019 – DallasIrvine Convention CenterClick here The Dell Technologies Forum is a free, one-day event experience where you will be joined by Dell Technologies visionaries to discuss industry trends impacting businesses today.At a Forum, you will:Learn more about emerging technologies in keynotes and our Solutions ExpoEngage in focused discussion with experts at targeted breakout sessionsLearn how socially responsible practices can positively impact your organization’s successGet hands-on product experiences to learn about the innovative solutions Dell Technologies offersNew this year we will have more 3rd party speakers, more experiential activations, and new partners. Also, this year we will host The Woman in Tech Session in all US cities, and we’ll dig deeper into the topic of The Unconscious Bias: Using Technology to Solve Bias.Check out the highlights from last year’s Forums below.Join us to network and learn how Dell Technologies can help you deliver on the new requirements of today, while paving the way for your digital future.See you there! In today’s digital world, data is playing a pivotal role in driving business break-throughs and identifying new business opportunities. Businesses must rethink how they manage, protect, and secure their data, and they must do it at a pace and scale that meets business demands, while also staying ahead of industry trends. Now more than ever, customers are looking for one solution provider to partner with on their digital transformation journey.Dell Technologies is uniquely positioned to be that partner because we are the only solution provider with solutions from the edge, to the core, to the cloud. That’s why I invite you to join us at an upcoming Dell Technologies Forum, where we’ll explore how innovation delivers on the new requirements of today. This is your opportunity to experience the power of seven technology leaders committed to your digital transformation: Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, SecureWorks, Virtustream and VMware, and to learn more about the strength of our portfolio.Below is a list of the cities we will be visiting. Click the links below to learn more and to register.9/24/2019 – New YorkHilton MidtownClick here
We know the world is facing challenges today that are complicated, multilayered and can sometimes seem insurmountable. However, in the face of this, I remain optimistic about our future. I believe in the transformative power of passionate people, who when equipped with technology can create real change and material outcomes for society.I witness this every day. Whether formal or informal, I see the efforts of thousands of Dell Technologies team members, customers and partners across the globe having incredible impact. Some of our most impactful programs – solar-learning labs, Digital Lifecare, closed loop recycling – have started as ideas from individuals at Dell with the passion and talents to transform our world.Today we launched Dell Technologies’ 2030 Progress Made Real Plan. The long-term goals outlined within are grounded in the belief that technology and data combined with human spirit are, and will always be, positive forces in the world.The 2030 goals include:Recycle an equivalent product for every product a customer buysLead the circular economy with more than half of all product content being made from recycled or renewable materialUse 100% recycled or renewable material in all packagingAdvance the health, education and economic opportunity of 1 billion peopleDigitally transform 1,000 nonprofit organizationsEncourage 75% of team members to participate in charitable giving and volunteerism in communitiesEducate 95% of all team members on an annual basis about unconscious bias, harassment, micro-aggressions and privilegeDeliver future-ready skills development for workers in their supply chainThe full set of goals are comprehensive, aligned to our core business priorities and supported at the very top. They are bold, but practical, and rooted in real action happening today.They center around four focus areas: advancing sustainability, cultivating inclusion, transforming lives, and upholding ethics and data privacy. And they drive measurable impact for all stakeholders – employees, customers, and communities we serve.They also build on a strong foundation. In June, we announced early completion of many of our 2020 goals. For example, through our well-established global recycling network, we reached a 2020 goal of recycling 2 billion pounds of used electronics. Through strong partnerships with the Government of India and our customer Tata Trusts, we deployed a cloud-based analytics solution to deliver preventive healthcare to remote villages, reaching 11 million people who would otherwise not have these services.Over the last decade, thanks to the Dell match, which matches each team member’s donations up to $10k annually, team members gave $244 million to serve their communities.We know the future will bring new challenges. It will require new collaborations and innovations, including many that we can’t predict today. We’re still uncovering how we’ll achieve some of our goals – but we know the significant change we’ll make starts with our deep commitment.It starts with a focus on fostering an environment where inclusion and service are valued and encouraged. Great ideas come from anywhere, so we will continue to find ways for our team members to voice their opinions and provide their input on our social impact agenda.And it’s grounded in our commitment to remain optimistic in the face of challenges. Optimism is the single greatest force in achieving social impact. It’s that core belief that there is always more we can do. And optimism sustains our belief that we will influence the outcome. Technology will solve problems. People will solve problems. Regardless how challenging they are, there are innovations and commitments we can make to solve them.
Common ground for storageI discovered the goodness of API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) when I was working on a project with an IT industry colleague named Les. An API is what we used then to extend a wide area network testing platform across many different interfaces and protocols. Fast forward 20 years and API’s are virtually everywhere.Les is also a close friend and riding buddy – we get along great on two wheels. I ride a Harley and he rides a Honda: two very different bikes. Our common ground is two wheels. It reminds me of the way API brings a common interface to persistent storage.I have been specializing on microservices, containers and orchestration on Dell Technologies infrastructure. If you have embraced cloud native, you know that there are reasons for continuing to operate your apps within your own data center. Some things that affect your reasons for private cloud, public cloud, or a multi-cloud are performance, latency, data gravity, etc. Let’s explore the relationship between microservices, containers, orchestration and persistent storage a little deeper.In the world of microservices, many apps packaged in containers are ephemeral – temporary, stateless, but there is also often a need for keeping persistent data and bringing this data to containers. There have been numerous plug-ins, work-arounds, or proprietary solutions that have been embraced to make this happen. The Cloud Native Compute Foundation community, (CNCF.IO,) brings together the world’s top developers, end users, and vendors and is part of the nonprofit Linux Foundation. The CNCF collaboration has agreed upon a framework, an anticipated industry standard, called CSI (Container Storage Interface) which enables storage vendors to provide access to persistent storage across container orchestration systems such as Kubernetes.A fundamental reason for the CSI framework is to allow the adoption and development of new or different storage systems, features and functions – independent of proprietary code base. The use of Kubernetes storage API objects allows users to consume storage volumes with their container using documented API objects. These CSI drivers are developed and maintained by third parties such as Dell Technologies. These drivers can now be expanded with features across any number of storage systems independent of any development within the Kubernetes code. Dell Technologies as an infrastructure provider has embraced Kubernetes as a partner that enhances a rich portfolio of storage platforms.Common ground for automated networkingAPI’s are great, and now we can use them to automate. A common automation tool for the IT professional and practitioner has become Ansible. This brings to mind the electronics theory I learned in the USAF basic electronics course. They represented ground as negative and electrons flowed from negative to positive poles. Well, I later heard that the US Navy uses positive ground in their electron hole flow theory? Similarly, for automotive electronics I discovered that Ford and International Harvester Company (IH) started with a positive ground theory, yet Chevy chose to use negative ground? Both get the job done.Ansible playbooks, roles and now collections can be used to automate the configuration and ongoing management of our Dell EMC PowerSwitch Data Center networking solutions. Let’s get the job done another way… gone are the days when a network admin/engineer dropped into a CLI to configure ports on a switch. With the advent of API and now automation tools, this can be fully automated providing a very fast, “at the speed of business” way to maintain your network infrastructure. These Dell Technologies’ networking Ansible roles have provided a common and unified syntax for all the underlying Dell Networking Operating Systems DNOS6, DNOS9 and the Linux-based open networking OS10. Ansible collections is a newer concept, a distribution format for Ansible content that can include playbooks, roles, modules and plug-ins.As a member of our Dell Technologies’ ARC (AI, Research, Cloud) Solutions team, workload solutions are my specific focus. Please visit this site for more information about the plethora of workloads solutions and networking solutions. If you have questions, our technical specialty team can assist. If you’d like to contact me, please feel free to reach out via my LinkedIn page.Additional resources:Dell EMC Isilon Enhancements Embrace Cloud, Support Kubernetes and Reduce Storage FootprintAnsible collection for our Dell EMC PowerSwitch platformsDecision makers’ guide on Kubernetes deployment in your data center, in partnership with Canonical, an on-demand webinarDell EMC Ansible Documentation , Dell EMC Networking Ansible Roles and OS10 Ansible collection
WASHINGTON (AP) — Doug Emhoff has made his first solo outing as America’s first second gentleman. The spouse of Vice President Kamala Harris chose to highlight the issue of food insecurity. He met Thursday with representatives of a nonprofit organization that has the dual mission of working to decrease food insecurity and increase economic opportunity. Emhoff says he wants to use his groundbreaking role as the first male spouse of a vice president to elevate the issue.
DALLAS (AP) — A Texas lawyer says he found a tracking device on his pickup truck during an escalating court battle with a businessman at the center of an FBI investigation into Attorney General Ken Paxton. In a court filing Monday, Steve Lemmon offered no evidence of how the tracker came to be on his truck and acknowledged not knowing who put it there. But he says “the surveillance clearly appears to be tied to” his case with Nate Paul. Paul’s lawyer called the allegation shocking and says he has no reason to believe Paul was involved. Paxton’s defenses attorney, Philip Hilder, declined to comment.