June 21 is always a bit depressing for me. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it's the first day of Summer and hence the longest day of the year. That should be a good thing, but it also marks the day when the days start getting shorter. Sure, Winter's six months away, but now I know it's coming.
I'm a glass-empty kind of guy, if you hadn't noticed.
But June 21 is going to be a happier sort of date for the folks at Opscode, because that's the day they launched the beta of their Opscode Platform, which apparently gives an online interface to the Chef configuration tool.
The big payoff from the Opscode Platform, according to their press release, is the automation:
"With the advent of cloud computing and virtualization, it is easier than ever to create new servers on demand. Very quickly, a bottleneck has developed around the configuration management layer, where files are written and packages are installed as new server infrastructure is built and maintained. Chef and the Opscode Platform allow developers and systems engineers to fully automate their infrastructures with re-usable code, and without having to build or maintain systems management tools."
Fans of Chef should give this a look-see and evaluate whether it's a good solution for them.
Meanwhile, over in the land o' Puppet, Puppet Labs just announced "that Adobe Systems is publishing code for managing Hadoop on the Puppet Forge community development site."
That news comes from Dave Rosenberg, who touts the news as yet another example that open source is obviously ready for enterprise prime time.
"Adobe is a marquee example of an enterprise company that has embraced open source for a variety of purposes," Rosenberg writes, "According to [Cosmin Lehene, computer scientist at Adobe], Adobe is glad to share its work on open-source projects to benefit community and company interests."
It's also pretty cool to see more high-profile companies specifically taking advantage of Puppet for managing their environments.
Game enthusiasts may know about May's Humble Indie Bundle, a promotion that served up five games (suitable on Windows, Linux, or Mac) for whatever price users wanted to pay. The promotion was a great success, as the total contributions amounted to nearly US$1.3 million, which split seven ways (five for the game developers, and one share each for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and charity Child's Play) comes out to just shy of US$182,000.
What wasn't widely known at the time: Google App Engine was the cloud-based tool used by the promotion site to manage the whole thing.
In a guest blog on the Google App Engine Blog, Jeffery Rosen of Wolfire Games gives an honest review of how GAE did. Summing up, Rosen gave GAE high marks for development and deployment.
And, it seems, cost: even though the Humble Indie Bundle went over GAE's free pageview limit, the massive bill from Google came out to a staggering US$71.56.
Not bad, for a US$1.3 million gross project.
Unfortunately, not all is rosy in cloud land. Broadband development, particularly in the US, is woefully behind that found in other countries.
Pam Baker has a great analysis of the scope of the problem and the Federal government's efforts to fix it:
"Broadband is commonly seen as the fourth utility, meaning it is as important to economic development as the other three: electricity, water and telephone services. As such, the federal government is unwilling to leave its development to profit-driven chance. Its efforts to drive broadband in the U.S. forward are hailed by some and vilified by others."