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Category: Platforms

Google I/O 2012

Shiny Toys

Since it was Google I/O, every attendee received some shiny toys: a Nexus phone and Nexus 7 tablet, a Nexus Q streaming media player, and a Chromebox (the ChromeOS version of a Mac Mini).

The Nexus Q doesn't really have any impact on IT, and it's an odd system: it costs over 3 times as much as other streaming appliances, like Roku and Apple TV, but at this time, can only stream movies, TV and music from Google Play - no Netflix, Amazon Video or Pandora (i.e. all the services most people already use), and obviously no iTunes.

Unlike the Q, phone and tablet are actually useful. Not only do they both run the latest version of Android (4.1 aka JellyBean - preinstalled on the tablet, and upgraded over the air on the phone a day after I/O) - they run "pure" Android - no manufacturer or carrier software is installed on the device. The Nexus phone is unlocked, and can be used on any GSM carrier (although the pay-as-you-go plans available in the US aren't that great, and because I have a discounted AT&T contract through Stanford, I'd need to sign up for 2 year plan on the phone). Both devices were easy to setup with Stanford Email and Calendar (not surprising since I've already migrated to Google), and Google Drive on Android has support for multiple accounts (unlike the iOS client).

One of the big announcements was that Chrome is now the standard browser in Android 4.1, and that Chrome was being released for iOS too (the iPhone and iPad version were released later on the first day of I/O). All the mobile versions of Chrome support Chrome Sync, which allows you to sync bookmarks, open tabs, auto-fill information (and optionally passwords) to one of your Google Accounts. Obviously this has privacy issues, but being able to browse the list of open tabs in Chrome on your laptop from your phone or tablet is very convenient.

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Architecting with AWS Training

I recently took the Architecting with Amazon Web Services training class. The class is taught by AWS Solutions Architects, rather than by dedicated training staff, so the instructors have real, practical experience with helping customers use AWS; the SAs use that experience, and feedback from each class, to continually improve the class.

The class covered most of the services available via AWS, although it was pretty light on Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon's new Java and PHP Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering. Each day was made up of a mix of presentations covering the various services, group paper / whiteboard architecture exercises and discussions, and hands on exercises with various AWS components and tools.

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Burton Analyst Discussion on Hypervisor Security and Compliance Standards

I scheduled a one hour Analyst discussion with Trent Henry of Burton Group on the subject of trends in Hypervisor Security;  with respect to getting the apprprate balance of risk mitigation (i.e. threat vs. investment in threat response using technology and practice).

Specifically, my query to setup the discussion was:

"The costs associated with deploying and maintaining completely separate physical visualization infrastructures, for applications which access sensitive data, is making it extremely difficult to make a server virtualization service financially viable.  We are revisiting the risk assessment vs. systems design and administration criteria, to consider whether good (enough) security could be reasonably provided with less onerous and costly controls."