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  • Closing the Windows on Microsoft

    Closing the Windows on Microso...

    It has been a long time in coming, and certainly should have happened well before now. We've been dual-booting our mobile machines with Ubuntu for many years, but never stopped mouse-clicking in Windows long enough to fully embrace our Linux command line. I don't know why, really, I kept these darned Windows operating systems around. Finally though, we have closed our Windows on Microsoft's Operating Systems. Goodbye, you expensive, bloated, insecure, unstable hassle; a bad habit, finally broken.

    Linux on the Laptop

    Closing the Windows on Microsoft Operating Systems

    Undertaking this whole process has me realizing that the change in thought and the perception of that switch are what is really the most difficult; the process of changing operating systems can be filled with false starts and frustrations. Even the decision to switch has its pros and cons. But I'm not going to take opportunity here to bash out Windows directly; I'll leave Microsoft to its own devices in succeeding at that (besides, I'm saving all my current online angst against the pangs of using LinkedIn). This will not be a piece on indicting proprietary software or a pro v. con positioning for everyone to argue over, either.  Our switch exclusively to Linux is simply about our own specific needs and utility.    


    Necessity is still mothering invention; with the open sourced, highly virtualized and cloud-based work that we do, Windows just does not fit our organization anymore.  Certainly not in our virtual labs.  Not in our desktop workstations, anymore.  And now, not on our mobile laptops, either.  Windows arose to its current status in the days

    From a philosophical point, Linux should have been our operating system all along: Open Source; Network-centric; Secure; Stable; Vendor Lock-out. Perfect for Cloud.  Linux has a rather sophisticated design that is built upon the principles that have evolved over decades of UNIX development. That design is modular, network-centric. Security, modularity and stability have been intrinsic design features from the beginning. Thousands of applications are available; Linux and most Linux-compatible applications are available as free software. It simply dominates the working realms of Open Source and Cloud; our work here and commitment to OpenStack private and public cloud building alone has us pimping Linux all day, every day, anyway.  But let's be specific:


    Open collaboration and GNU.  If this needs expounding, you should be referencing other articles.  Since its inception 20 years ago, the Linux operating system has become the most widely used software in the world.  This ability to innovate with Linux has helped create companies like Google, who have taken that ability and converted it into big business (who says Linux isn't ready for the Enterprise?!). Linux is free, as in FREEDOM.


    Although some distributions of Linux charge modest amounts for enhanced packages or subscriptions that include support options and early availability of upgrades, Linux is essentially free of licensing fees. The majority of these free distributions can simply be downloaded from the Internet. Virtually all of them come with hundreds of applications that are installed during the Linux installation process.  While a basic setup of Windows, MSOffice, Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat will set cost you close to $2,000, the typical Linux distribution gives you this functionality and much more, for $0.00. In addition, you get advanced networking capabilities and far greater system stability and security.


    Linux has evolved with robust ways to keep up with multiple, simultaneous processes and the resources devoted to them, separate; this is the foundation for its exceptional stability.  Linux has become highly evolved for enterprise-level adoption on workstations and laptops.  Multiple vendors now build and ship Linux specific machines (in our case, our chosen Alienware product line and its parent company, Dell, both offer Ubuntu and Red Hat Enterprise Linux machines).


    No operating system is 100 percent secure and Linux is no exception. But, Linux offers excellent security for its users (while Windows is intrinsically, notoriously insecure).  It was originally designed to run on large, relatively powerful (for the day) multiuser systems that were networked; both of these attributes demanded attention to security from the ground up.  From regular kernel updates to an almost daily list of security patches, Linux code maintainers keep Linux systems very secure. 


    The skills and mechanisms for working on Linux translate and transfer directly in a hand-to-hand manner with our open source, virtualized and cloud-based work.  Everything we do, we now do it in Linux.


    Back in the day, UNIX operating systems were the 18-wheeler trucks of the computing world. They ran on big machines that most people had little contact with. Personal computers were different because they were the mini-bikes of the computing world. Things have changed; the rapid advance of computing power now puts computing power like those early truck-like computers onto every desktop. Today's powerful personal computers are fully capable of taking advantage of the power of UNIX-like systems.

    Applications are the Key

    An operating system is a platform for running applications. The key to the usefulness of Linux as a desktop operating system is the availability of thousands of desktop applications that run on Linux. Basically, nearly everything you can do in other desktop operating systems, you can also do in Linux.

    Enterprise-level Linux

    For us, the choice was easy and obvious: Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Workstations and Laptops.  This being a natural extension of our OpenStack, data center-driven, virtualization lab-focused work, Red Hat is an absolute no-brainer for enterprise linux.  With Red Hat's new found dedication to CentOS, microblog mobile closing-windows-microsoft rhelinux-logowe've aligned a bevy of machines running that as primary OS as well.  Needing an entirely separate post to divvy out the details, our laptops and desktops are now all running RHEL or CentOS, with VirtualBox VMs with those old Windows OS's thrown on for... historical reference? It will be fun to see if and when we ever have to crank up a Window's VM, but for the here and now it's - 


    Rebooting after every patch, service pack, or driver change makes Windows an unstable and unreliable choice for those who need nonstop support for their critical applications and services.  This choice is ultimately as much about how we are driving our OS's here at ConsultED as the above explains, but moving away from Windows for any reason sure feels like the freedom of starting over!  We will have some related posts forthcoming, but you can find information regarding switching from Windows to Linux through the Linux Foundation or any of its platinum members.

    Linux continues its entry into the world's largest data centers, onto hundreds of thousands of individual desktops, and it represents a near 100 percent domination of the cloud services industry.  When it comes to innovation, increasing your efficiency, saving money, and providing non-stop services to your business and its customers, how many reasons do you need?

    This information is not an advertisement on ConsultED's part but merely alerts our Members to a potentially useful technology, website, company or idea.


    If you’d like to give Linux a try, there are several distributions that are free to download and use without the need for any commercial support contract:

     CentOS – Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based free distribution.  Red Hat is really embracing CentOS now with development; we plan on keeping up with that by running it on quite a few machines.

     Ubuntu – Free, enterprise Linux distribution (Commercial support available). The easiest Linux distribution for Windows users to migrate to, in our opinion.

     Fedora – The Fedora Project is the free, community-supported version of Red Hat Linux.

     OpenSUSE – The free, community-supported version of Novell’s SUSE Linux.

     Debian – The parent distribution for many Linux distributions including Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

     If You Found the Above Worth Reading? You May Also Find Interesting:

    The Linux Foundation

    Linux.com | The Source for Linux Information

    Linux the dot Org

    Linux Journal - The Original Magazine of the Linux Community

    The GNU Operating System

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  • BUILDING IT: ConsultED Co-Develops Open Source Virtualization Lab

    BUILDING IT: ConsultED Co-Deve...


    Öppet Labb Developed as Dedicated Open Source Virtualization Lab

    Testing can be troublesome.  With current IT requirements for Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Test Execution, making the necessary test configurations available in test labs at the scheduled as well as unscheduled times from a CI server has made it even more challenging to optimize test lab usage. Coupled with increasing necessity for dedicated resources towards our commitment to Open Source and cloud-based virtualization architectures, ConsultED and its clients needed something unique, evolving and mobile.

    To faciliate ongoing research, development and testing we have architected ÖPPET LABBan Open Source, cloud-based automated test execution platform. While a virtualized testing lab in and of itself isn't anything new, Öppet Labb ("Open Lab") is being designed differently to address open source specific, cloud-native applications and services that are driving infrastructure modernization.

    ÖPPET LABB: A Dedicated Open Source & Cloud Architecture Testing Laboratory

    Built for High Availability and Resiliency to perform faster than other cloud environments and at a lower cost, Öppet Labb is simply a dedicated extension of the DIGITALABS model towards service virtualization and of ConsultED's commitment towards "Building IT" - infrastructure modernization for the changing nature of IT.  Lab automation is a key ingredient, providing a path to continuous deployment: an ability to adequately test products to ensure quality, simultaneously meeting fast

    John Wooten, ConsultED's Founder and prime motivator for the new lab, explains:

    "Clients suffer from increasingly complex ecosystems of interdependent and tightly coupled applications. The more chaotic the ecosystem, the more difficult it got to test new and updated applications. Further, companies with accelerated growth or within mergers and acquistions are forcing IT to integrate new systems.  For believable tests, they (tests) must be independent, well thought out and repeatable."

    Automated, Repeatable Virtualized Environments for Testing

    The convergence of market requirements and ConsultED's own research and development needs around our growing open source efforts, both of which need to achieve massive scalability while also capable of mobilization has presented a daunting task.  Wooten loved the opportunity to develop something difficult to achieve.

    "Daunting is what we do.  Yet, it needn't necessarily be all rocket science, either.  Fnding out what is normal to each environment is critical - of course part of what is normal will be latency of network, storage, etc. So this implies our test labs should mimic production labs exactly as hardware makes a difference, where your data moves around the environment makes a difference. The key is repeatability so if we can repeat our process and recreate our environment (which includes hardware and how the data moves around that environment) we can provide beneficial and believable results."





    ÖPPET LABB provides several advantages:

    automated, re-usable virtualization environments;

    built for extremely High Availability and Resiliency;

    affords Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Test Execution;

    Service Simulation modeling for beneficial, believable results;

    an Open Community of Programmers & Developers. 


    ÖPPET LABB is currently developing two independent teams and virtualized architectures:

    åpen LAB: a dedicated Open Source testing laboratory.

    qhib LAB: a dedicated Cloud Virtualization & OpenStack testing laboratory.

    What comes before all the hardware and technology, however, is a "hive-mind" approach from an Open Community.  Öppet Labb will uniquely design and develop from an entirely global, cross-industry open community of Programmers and Developers; from within from DIGITALABS' own analysts as well as an external consortium of global experts and advisors. Going beyond the Technology, it is just as much about the people that know the technology, and know what to do with them.

    While the usual suspects of OpenStack, OpenShift, Docker, HadoopMongoDB, SaltStack, the Open Compute Project and other Open Source technologies predominate conceptually, there intends no exclusion on proprietary elements as well. Summarizes Wooten: "There is no secret to this sauce; it's meant to be open, and it's always being cooked. Eventually, we see this being a very real turn-key solution for the market to enable continuous innovation, development and delivery of service."



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  • Happy Knew Year! The Unpredictability of Technology (and Top Reasons Not To)

    Happy Knew Year! The Unpredict...

    Top This: No Top List, Best Of or Predictions For Anything in 2014

    Ah yes, here they are; it's just that time of year. Come late December and early January (for those of us still operating on the old Gregorian, before it all goes to Unix Time?), don't you just love and anticipate the throngs, the total inundation, the incessant mutterings of those "Top 10" of this, "Top 15" of that, the "Top Predictions For" and insertion of upcoming calendar year? Yeah, me neither. While most of these lists and predictions are simply going to rehash and recycle one another ("Redundancy of the Bad Kind"), shouldn't any reasonable, head-in-the-game Technologist already be fully aware of the "Top 12 Technology Trends" well in advance of the last two weeks of December, or their implications in the first of January? It seems to me that while these may well be news and noteworthy in and of themselves, they certainly should be at least stale and known to everyone but an Arrakis Sandworm in reading them. All of these calculated, SEO stocking-stuffing, title-grabbing allure under the mistletoe of white noise posts annually forces me into a much needed digital detox. Simply put, these year-ender "Top List" and "Best Of" and "Predictions For" are all about things we should already know, to be highly likely, to actually happen. Now that, certainly, is predictable.

    Not Gonna Do It! Wouldn't Be Prudent!

    As it is nearly impossible to predict the growth of human knowledge (you know, that little thing that drives human history) within the self-perpetuation of Moore's Law and the exponential growth rate of technology and technologies that beget technologies, it would prove more beneficial for less random reach and more intelligent reaction.  So, to close out our own fantab Year here at ConsultED and roll seamlessly into 2014, I'm not going to provide any list of Top things in technology that should already be well understood, nor am I going to make technology predictions into a void of predictable unpredictability.  Not gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent.

    We cannot predict, by rational or scientific methods, the future growth of our knowledge - Karl Popper

    Instead, let's all predict nothing and work diligently and competently towards innovating for a better future: for Ourselves, for our Communities, for our Economies and Governments.

    It's "Knew" Year, Not "New" Year

    As Data Becomes Us, concentrate on knowledge and innovation, stimulate flexibility and adaptability.  Make change, especially rapid change, a part of your accepted knowns.  Predict then that your predictions will likely change, early and often, throughout the entire year.  I know; those still stuck in the mire and mindset of behind-the-firewall software and development cycles just can't quite grasp the predictability of the unpredictable, that uncertainty is the new reality.  For those, then, how best then to "future-proof" your technology decisions, predicting adequately to satiate present and future business needs?  Technology itself - mobile (including wearables), big data, location-based technologies, sensors and social networks - will help us move away from predictions towards calculated, swift but competent reactions, and I'm not speaking of reactionary in the pre-Internet of Things sense.  How these technologies converge, all depends on how they are applied in the context of human factors -- everything will be tailored to us.  In the end, it’s a blessing we can’t predict the future of technology - because it means we’ll keep trying. If we don’t know if something will succeed or fail, we’ll keep innovating. We’ll heed the words of Alan Kay:

    The best way to predict the future is to invent it.  Forecasting the future of technology is for dreamers who hope to innovate better tools -- and for the mainstream people who hope to benefit from the new and improved.  In your Knew Year? Be Active. Be Engaging. Be Looking. Be Learning. Be Calculatingly CautiousBe In the Know.  Be Highly Adaptive.  Instead of reaching and rationalizing predictions on commoditized knowns, be able to say you "knew it all along".


    Since I know most just cannot make it through a reading at this time of year without any references to technology Top Lists, Best Ofs or Predictions For, here are some related articles I hope suffice as alternatives:

    10 Infamous Technology Predictions That Were Wrong

    The Future That Never Was: 12 Funny Gadget Predictions

    Predicting the Tech Future is a Difficult Thing To Do

     There.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) stuffing of Titles and Keywords, check.  Top list of whatever, done.  Predictions, included.

    Oh, and YES - HAPPY KNEW YEAR!

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  • Open Sesame - A Web Magazine for All Things Open

    Open Sesame - A Web Magazine f...

    Open Source. Open Data. Open Compute. Open Cloud. OpenStack. Open Standards. Open Innovation.

    If it's Open, we are Open to it!

    ConsultED has dedicated a new online magazine for our readers on all things Open: open source technologies, open data, open computing, open cloud, open standards, open government. The ConsultED business model is built on and around open source, just as we deliver similarly related open technology advantages to our global clients; open-source is standard operating procedure as the lifeblood of our internet-based consultancy. 


    As open-source innovation is running rampant as the most efficient way to solve massive technology problems, we've dedicated "Open Sesame" as as online, mobile magazine catering to the open-mindedness of all things open source. 


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  • Love Your Help Desk: ConsultED Achieves Zendesk Ambassador Status

    Love Your Help Desk: ConsultED...

    ConsultED Announces Zendesk Ambassador Status

    Adding to our Strategic Technology Alliances as official Zendesk Ambassadory, ConsultED furthers its "Best-In-Technology-Solutions" (BITS) commitment towards agile Cloud (SaaS) for a New World of Work

    Zendesk provides ConsultED and our clients an integrated, on-demand helpdesk - customer support portal solution based on the latest Web 2.0 technologies and design philosophies. 

    ConsultED adds Zendesk to an empowering portfolio of solutions offerings and technology assets that include business intelligence, cloud computing (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), electronic discovery, secure & compliant information management, mobile applications & devices, social networks & media, systems implementation and integration, and more.


    Zendesk Customer Support Software Ambassador


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  • Happy Fourth of July!

    Happy Fourth of July!



    To all of our Colleagues, Partners, Friends and Family in the United States,


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  • April Foolish - Web Upgrades

    April Foolish - Web Upgrades

    We've decided to go extra foolish and perform some necessary web upgrades and ratchet up security measures; if you come upon us this week and we are down, it isn't just a silly April Fool's Day joke! In short order, we will have our upgrades executed and tested and be back online for your continued enjoyment of our domains and subdomains.

    Otherwise, Happy April Fools Day!

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