Machine Learning with Open Source Infrastructure

As machine learning becomes more interesting to technology companies, it is hardly surprising that a company like Red Hat is going to approach the challenges of this aspect of artificial intelligence with an open source methodology in mind.

The immediate benefits to open source machine learning tools are plain as day to anyone familiar with how open source works: lower cost, more flexibility, no vendor lock-in… you know, the usual.

But dig a little deeper and it quickly becomes apparent that open source means more for cutting-edge software than just a faster way to get cheaper software. 

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Exploring Unsupervised Deep Learning

The concept of artificial intelligence, which seemed so much like science fiction a few decades ago, has made real, practical inroads in producing results that organizations can find useful. What’s making those results happen, though, isn’t esoteric pie-in-the-sky theory: it’s creating statistical models that have been trained to make decisions. And trained a lot.

Artificial intelligence itself is a term that, for now, has had less of a focus than the more results-oriented machine learning, where a computer system is given input and output data and then is directed to infer the mathematical rules that govern the transformation of that data.

“It’s like pointing a program to look at the solar system and then have it figure out the laws of motion that govern a planetary system,” explained Sanjay Arora.

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Rook Changes the Kubernetes Storage Landscape

It’s no secret that if you want to run containerized applications in a distributed way, then Kubernetes is the platform for you. Kubernetes’ role as an orchestration platform for containers has taken center stage to become a main player for automating deployment, scaling, and management of applications within containers. Red Hat’s own OpenShift Container Platform is a Kubernetes distribution that uses Kubernetes optimized for enterprises.

Storage has been one of the areas of potential optimization. Many containers, by their very nature, are usually small enough to be easily distributed and managed. Containers hold applications, but the data those applications use needs to be held somewhere else, for a number of reasons. Of particular interest in this post, we want to avoid the containers themselves becoming too large and unwieldy to be effectively managed.

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Consumption is Fractal: Open Source Sustainability

One of the more obscure terms one might hear bandied about in the free and open source software ecosystem is the so-called “bus factor.” The somewhat-informal term refers to the state of a given project based on its sustainability.

Specifically, bus factor is shorthand for the question: what would happen to your open source project if one of your community members were hit by a bus? Would the project survive? Or is so much workflow and institutional knowledge wrapped up in that one person that your project would be damaged, possibly to the point of no recovery?

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Merging Research and Software with Open Source

(There’s a great  new conference in the U.S., DevConf.US, returning in 2019 to Boston University (15 to 17 Aug). This highly-technical conference is interested in drawing a diverse group of speakers and attendees, with a specific emphasis on people who are new to speaking and tech conferences in general. Only in its second year, DevConf.US builds on the successful decade-spanning run of DevConf.CZ in Brno, CZ.

This is a session from DevConf.US 2018. The call for proposals to present at DevConf.US 2019 is now open.)

Software development has found a niche in almost every aspect of our transactional lives, be it retail, finance, and even academia. This last sector is a particularly strong growth area in the past few years, as more and more coders are looking at universities and colleges as a direct career path.

This isn’t just software for supporting faculty, staff, and student operations (though that’s important too). According to Dr. Andrei Laptets, Associate Professor at Boston University, it also includes software for any scientist and researcher who needs to manage and analyze a wide variety of data-driven projects.

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Transforming IT Operations: A Roadmap

Digital transformation is more than just a fancy buzzword. With 85 percent of Global 2000 CEOs believing in digital innovation as a driver of business success, it is estimated that nearly $2.1 trillion will be invested in digital transformation technologies in 2019.

According to Mary Johnston Turner, Director, Management Software BU Evangelism,  the drivers to digital transformation are going to play a significant role in driving IT decision-making for the near-term future. Turner outlined the significant driving factors in her 2018 Summit breakout session “Transforming IT Ops: The future of IT automation & management.”

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Modularity: Establishing Balance Between Devs and Ops

It’s no secret that to do their jobs well, developers often need to use as many tools as they can get their hands on to build the best application they can. For them, the right tools for the right job may consist of this version of component X and that version of component Y. But for another tool, entirely different versions of the same components might be needed.

For coders, this is usually just a matter of grabbing the different version of software they need off the internet, installing it, and using it to their heart’s content. No problem, right? Perhaps not for the developer, but from a systems administrator’s point of view, such installations can create systems that are very difficult to manage, particularly on the server side, where having software in packages that are supported and auditable is very much the preferred option.

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Seeing the Trees in the Forest: Anomaly Detection with Prometheus

Red Hat’s work within the field of artificial intelligence is primarily taking three directions right now. First, our engineers see the inclusion of AI features as a workload requirement for our platforms, as well as AI being applicable to Red Hat’s existing core business in order to increase open source development and production efficiency. In short, Red Hat thinks AI can be good for our customers and good for us, too.

Second, Red Hat is collaborating with the Mass Open Cloud project to establish the one thing that all AI tools need the most: data. Our team members are working on the Open Data Hub, a cloud platform that lets data scientists spend less time on dealing with infrastructure administration and more time building and running their data models.

The third aspect of Red Hat’s work in AI right now is at the application level. More to the point, how can developers plug in AI tools to applications so that data from those applications can be gathered for storage and later modeling?

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The Future of Storage in Container Space: Part 4

The challenges of maintaining persistent storage in environments that are anything but persistent should not be taken lightly. My recent conversation with Ceph founder Sage Weil certainly made that clear. Thus far, the conversation with Sage has highlighted key areas of focus for the Red Hat Storage team as they look to the horizon, including how storage plans are affected by:

  • Hardware trends (examined in Part 1)
  • Software platforms (reviewed in Part 2)
  • Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud (discussed in Part 3)

In the last segment of our interview, Sage focused on technology that’s very much on the horizon: the emerging workloads. Specifically, how will storage work in a world where artificial intelligence and machine learning begins to shape software, hardware, and networking architecture?

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The Future of Storage in Container Space: Part 3

It was not that long ago when organizations had in-house servers humming along running applications and storing data. Today, the opportunity afforded by containers means that applications can now live on a cloud platform (either public or private), or one of several available cloud platforms.

But while applications and microservices housed in stateless containers are easy to move from place to place (indeed, that’s a big part of the appeal of containers), the data the applications are accessing are stateful and very, very difficult to relocate while still maintaining consistency, latency, and throughput. This is one of the challenges faced by the Red Hat Storage team, and  addressed by Sage Weil in his recent presentation at Red Hat Summit: maintaining data availability with acceptable latency when working with applications in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.

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