Archive for September 2014
The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market has exploded in recent years. Google stepped into the fold of IaaS providers, somewhat under the radar. The Google Cloud Platform is a group of cloud computing tools for developers to build and host web applications.
It started with services such as the Google App Engine and quickly evolved to include many other tools and services. While the Google Cloud Platform was initially met with criticism of its lack of support for some key programming languages, it has added new features and support that make it a contender in the space.
Here’s what you need to know about the Google Cloud Platform.
Google recently shifted its pricing model to include sustained-use discounts and per-minute billing. Billings starts with a 10-minute minimum and bills per minute for the following time. Sustained-use discounts begin after a particular instance is used for more than 25% of a month. Users receive a discount for each incremental minute used after they reach the 25% mark.
2. Cloud Debugger
The Cloud Debugger gives developers the option to assess and debug code in production. Developers can set a watchpoint on a line of code, and any time a server request hits that line of code, they will get all of the variables and parameters of that code. According to Google blog post, there is no overhead to run it and “when a watchpoint is hit very little noticeable performance impact is seen by your users.”
3. Cloud Trace
Cloud Trace lets you quickly figure out what is causing a performance bottleneck and fix it. The base value add is that it shows you how much time your product is spending processing certain requests. Users can also get a report that compares performances across releases.
4. Cloud Save
The Cloud Save API was announced at the 2014 Google I/O developers conference by Greg DeMichillie, the director of product management on the Google Cloud Platform. Cloud Save is a feature that lets you “save and retrieve per user information.” It also allows cloud-stored data to be synchronized across devices.
The Cloud Platform offers two hosting options: the App Engine, which is their Platform-as-a-Service and Compute Engine as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service. In the standard App Engine hosting environment, Google manages all of the components outside of your application code.
The Cloud Platform also offers managed VM environments that blend the auto-management of App Engine, with the flexibility of Compute Engine VMs.The managed VM environment also gives users the ability to add third-party frameworks and libraries to their applications.
Google Cloud Platform networking tools and services are all based on Andromeda, Google’s network virtualization stack. Having access to the full stack allows Google to create end-to-end solutions without compromising functionality based on available insertion points or existing software.
According to a Google blog post, “Andromeda is a Software Defined Networking (SDN)-based substrate for our network virtualization efforts. It is the orchestration point for provisioning, configuring, and managing virtual networks and in-network packet processing.”
Containers are especially useful in a PaaS situation because they assist in speeding deployment and scaling apps. For those looking for container management in regards to virtualization on the Cloud Platform, Google offers its open source container scheduler known as Kubernetes. Think of it as a Container-as-a-Service solution, providing management for Docker containers.
8. Big Data
The Google Cloud Platform offers a full big data solution, but there are two unique tools for big data processing and analysis on Google Cloud Platform. First, BigQuery allows users to run SQL-like queries on terabytes of data. Plus, you can load your data in bulk directly from your Google Cloud Storage.
The second tool is Google Cloud Dataflow. Also announced at I/O, Google Cloud Dataflow allows you to create, monitor, and glean insights from a data processing pipeline. It evolved from Google’s MapReduce.
Google does routine testing and regularly send patches, but it also sets all virtual machines to live migrate away from maintenance as it is being performed.
“Compute Engine automatically migrates your running instance. The migration process will impact guest performance to some degree but your instance remains online throughout the migration process. The exact guest performance impact and duration depend on many factors, but it is expected most applications and workloads will not notice,” the Google developer website said.
VMs can also be set to shut down cleanly and reopen away from the maintenance event.
10. Load balancing
In June, Google announced the Cloud Platform HTTP Load Balancing to balance the traffic of multiple compute instances across different geographic regions.
“It uses network proximity and backend capacity information to optimize the path between your users and your instances, and improves latency by connecting users to the closest Cloud Platform location. If your instances in one region are under heavy load or become unreachable, HTTP load balancing intelligently directs new requests to your available instances in a nearby region,” a Google blog post said.
Taken from TechRepublic
The iPhone 6 is here. The world is excited. But should you be? For now we’re just going to look at the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 compared to the old model.
The 2014 iPhone is here, and Apple has made some pretty big departures this year, including changing the shape of the phone.
Angular is out, the sharp-ish edges of the iPhone 5S replaced by much curvier lines. The iPhone 6 is also a fair bit slimmer than the old model at 6.8mm to the iPhone 5S’s 7.6mm.
Of course, the iPhone 6 is also a fair bit bigger than the 5S thanks to its larger screen. To help out, the power button has moved to the side from the top, making it easier to reach.
Although there are optimisations, the basic construction of the phones hasn’t changed a huge deal. Both the iPhone 5S and 6 have aluminium backs and toughened glass fronts.
They also share the same TouchID sensor.
The one big hardware extra this year is NFC, which lets you make wireless payments with an iPhone 6. iPhone 5Ss do not have NFC.
The big display news for this year is that the iPhone 6 has a much larger screen than the iPhone 5S. You get bumped up from four inches to 4.7.
In Android terms that’s still a pretty small display, but if you want more you can now upgrade to the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch display.
The display architecture has slimmed down a bit in this 2014 generation, but the core technology remains the same. Both phone have IPS LCD screens, as used in iPhones for years. We’re pretty glad this is the case – iPhone displays generally look fantastic.
To compensate for the added screen inches (well 0.7 inch), Apple has increased resolution in the iPhone 6 display. Where you get 1136 x 640 pixels in the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 6 gets you 1,334 x 750.
It’s 38 per cent more pixels, but how much sharper is it? No sharper at all, in fact. Both phones have, rounding-up, 326ppi displays.
Of course, a larger display with the same sharpness is always going to be a bit more satisfying for browsing, gaming – most things in fact.
Apple has not changed a great deal in the camera of the iPhone 6. It still has an 8-megapixel sensor, still has an f/2.2 lens and sensor pixels 1.5 microns a piece in size. This is what the iPhone 5S has.
While Apple claims the sensor is new, we don’t expect to see any radical changes in image quality beyond what is provided by processing.
However, there is a new feature – phase detection autofocus. This is used in the Galaxy S5 and many top-end dedicated cameras to provide faster focusing, and it should perform the same trick here.
Both phones have Apple’s TrueTone flash, which uses two different LED to colours to avoid washing-out people’s faces.
The front FaceTime camera seems to have been given more of an overhaul in the iPhone 6, though. It apparently lets in 81 per cent more light for better shots, and has more selfie-centric features. These include one-shot HDR and a burst mode. Selfie. Tastic.
CPU and RAM
The iPhone 6 introduces a new generation of processor called the Apple A8, taking over from the Apple A7 of the iPhone 5S.
It’s not a world-changing upgrade, but it does seem to supply the goods. Apple has changed the system architecture from 28nm to 20nm – meaning it uses absolutely tiny transistors – to make the new CPU more efficient. That should also mean it’s able to run cooler.
Apple claims the Apple A8 provides 20 per cent more CPU power and 50 per cent more GPU power. Some of that improvement is gobbled-up by the increase in resolution in real-life terms, but we should see a few nicer visual effects in a handful of games in the iPhone 6.
We’re still waiting on some more in-depth figures on the Apple A8 CPU, but it’s a solid generational upgrade.
As we expected, Apple has chosen to make the iPhone 6 slimmer rather than significantly adding to the battery life.
Even the official figures show that stamina should be roughly the same as it is in the iPhone 5S. You’ll get 11 hours of video playback in the iPhone 6, to 10 in the iPhone 5S.
By Android standards, that’s good, but not great. The best phones from Sony and LG manage numbers will into the teens in our own testing.
For the past few years iPhones have been stuck offering 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions. Only the iPad has offered a 128GB option. That all changes this year.
You can get a 128GB iPhone 6. It’ll cost a bit, naturally, but is perfect for those who want to dump a lot of music or video on their phones.
There’s no 32GB version this year, though. You have to pick between 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models.
The iPhone 6 is quite a departure in some core ways, but it’s also pretty conservative in others. Apple has not significantly improved the camera hardware, and while the screen has gotten bigger, display quality is unlikely to improve all that much. There isn’t an objective reason, at this stage, to upgrade from an iPhone 5S. Perhaps the trickier question is whether you should upgrade to the iPhone 6 Plus instead?
Source – Trusted Reviews
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