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November 15, 2011

"LINQ to HPC" dropped from MS Big Data stack?

Since last month, we started aggressively doing various pilots using LINQ to HPC in Big Data space. Recently Microsoft released SP3 for Windows Server 2008 R2. We had difficulties trying to get to the installable for the same from Microsoft connect site, as it was not available where it was intended to be.

Somehow through Microsoft forums, we could establish the download bits can be obtained from here

While going through the fine print from this blog, we came to know that though "LINQ to HPC" is part of SP3 as a preview, it will not be available in future as RTM (release to manufacture) which means it will not be released for production purpose.

In essence, it is dropped from Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC stack.This has been news to us, especially when we have invested good amount of time understanding how it works, and started seeing the simplicity with which it can solve the unstructured data related problems.At the same time, there is no clear positioning/statement from Microsoft on this and came as an embedded news as part of the above blog.

Microsoft has emphasized that it will provide Apache Hadoop distribution for Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft Windows Azure and expects the preview version to be made available by end of this calendar year.

I sincerely hope there are not many customers who embraced LINQ to HPC in early stages. If there are, this will be a throw away effort for them like ours. However, this move from Microsoft creates a big question mark/dent on the approach of adopting/prescribing technologies that are especially in early beta for writing production ready customer applications.

What is your opinion? Are there more Cons than Pros for customers while selecting technologies that are in beta and non-production ready?

November 14, 2011

Silverlight 5

I had talked about Silverlight 5 earlier here and here. Though Silverlight is still used to build RIA apps for the web and is the platform of choice for Phone 7/7.5 development, Microsoft has not been very forthcoming on its future.

According to Mary-Jo Microsoft is about to release Silverlight 5. This is good, but it is also clear that Silverlight no longer retains the status of platform for cross device compatibility. That has been taken over by HTML 5.

Will there another version of Silverlight? Looking at the platform architecture for Windows 8, we see that front end for Metro apps is to be built in XAML (or HTML 5) and this no longer qualifies as WPF or Silverlight. The Blend skills we learnt will continue to be supported, but it is now only XAML and backend (C# or VB.NET etc.). It will probably mean XAML based apps for thick client or thin client and that's about it.

Silverlight does make an appearance on this platform architecture as the .NET SL block on the bottom right, but that seemingly is only for backward compatibility. So while Silverlight still exists, it probably is reaching the end of life in its current form. It will continue to live as XAML front end, but will not be known as Silverlight as such.

What is your take on it?  

November 10, 2011

Introduction - Big Data

According to Gartner, "By 2015, companies that have adopted big data and extreme information management will begin to outperform unprepared competitors by 20% in every available financial metric". Check this

Analyzing Big Data is becoming important to identify trends and lot of companies have started doing it to get the edge over competitors, scenarios that fit for such analysis are,

• Political campaign wanting to be get a real time feedback of various actions based on   Tweets and Facebook comments
• Phone companies wanting to trend their billing data
• Credit card companies trying to stop fraud before sales happens
• Web log analysis to identify trends

So what is Big Data?
Some people visualize Big Data as the data with the magnitude of Terabytes, Petabytes. With various views around; it makes sense to establish a common ground and demystify Big Data a bit.

Data that businesses have to deal with today is no more from mere business applications as structured data but every activity in the ecosystem from partners, competitors, vendors, suppliers, investors, regulation agencies, and customer is generating data. In today's business environment, social channels such as Tweeter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have become key influencers.

The advent of these un-imaginary data sources is leading to un-imaginary data volumes. This large and un-imaginary data set is termed as "Big Data".
To define in simple terms, Big Data is typically large volume of un-structured (or semi structured) and structured data that gets created from various organized and unorganized applications, activities and channels such as emails, tweeter, web logs, Facebook, etc.

Also this ultra-fast expansion and influence from un-structured data sources beyond traditional line of businesses in the enterprise boundary is mandating more inclusive and rapid analysis (analysis and response in near real time).
The traditional data warehouse and BI approaches were found inadequate to meet the necessary latency of making business decisions within the budgeted costs while dealing with such data volume.

As more and more companies are devising unique strategies for dealing with Big Data leading to warming up of the Big Data market. Apache Hadoop Map Reduce based open source solutions has been at the forefront of providing the solutions in the Big Data space. Microsoft is also positioning itself strongly as a choice of platform for the Big Data solutions. Check a  MS Vs Hadoop poll on this.

In the next blog, we will see predominantly the technologies that Microsoft is throwing at enterprises to solve the Big Data problem.

November 4, 2011

Microsoft Kinect

Microsoft Kinect has been a revolutionary product. Just about an year has passed and apart from the original usage of controller free gaming environment, Kinect has come a very long way and people are trying all sort of experiments with it. Read an interesting summary on 365 days of Kinect here.

We are doing our share of experiments with Kinect. Hope to be able to write about them soon here.

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