Posts tagged Tool

Big Data May Be Hot, But The Server-Management Tool Puppet Is Hotter

Everyone may be talking about Big Data, but in reality, its actual adoption may be grossly overstated. Big Data certainly appears to be in demand according to jobs data, though other sources suggest that enterprises are still feeling their way.

The one thing that isn’t a factor of faith-based computing, however, is Puppet, an open-source tool for automating server configuration. It’s one of several such frameworks underpinning the “DevOps” phenomenon, in which developers assume more responsibility for managing IT infrastructure in order to push out and oversee their applications more effectively.

See also: DevOps Booms In The Enterprise

As Dice data suggests, Puppet adoption is booming, giving organizations an easy way to manage IT infrastructure at scale. That’s true whether the task they’re tackling is called “Big Data” or something dull like “running lots of servers.”

Puppet Pulls The Strings

Dice, focused on technology professionals, is a reasonable barometer for tracking the rise and fall of technologies. Rather than gauging popularity through Google searches or other soft factors, Dice tracks the roughly 80,000 jobs posted daily on Dice.com and then identifies the 10 top job-skills “big movers” on a year-over-year basis according to how frequently they’re mentioned in job postings. 

According the latest Dice report, Puppet is pulling the strings. Take a look at this Dice chart of the “fastest growing tech skills”:

Source: Dice.com

Two things stand out for me in these numbers: 

  1. As hot as Big Data and related technologies are, the old-school market of IT management remains really hot. Perhaps that’s because …
  2. Puppet makes Big Data real. Underlying all that data are servers, and servers need to be managed. Puppet makes it easy to manage IT infrastructure at scale, and already sits at the heart of Hadoop-related management tooling like Bigtop.

Whether companies overtly identify themselves as “Big Data” operations or not, they’re starting to realize that “they must automate or go extinct,” DevOps pro Sean Carolan told me on Twitter. “Shell scripts won’t cut it in the era of continuous [software] delivery.” Though Puppet has significant competition in Chef, Ansible and Salt, it’s currently the market leader.

See also: The Truth About DevOps: “IT Isn’t Dead; It’s Not Even Dying”

I asked Puppet Labs CEO (and Puppet founder) Luke Kanies for his interpretation of the data, and he offered this:

The space Puppet is in—automation—is so different from most of those other spaces, it’s hard to compare. Companies have been doing databases for decades, so NoSQL’s adoption path is both helped by and stymied by that long history. They’re basically in a replacement business, whether they want to be or not.

With Puppet, we’re filling a gap for people. Most people who adopt Puppet are moving from doing things by hand or writing custom scripts to using industry-standard automation that has a broad community and a great ecosystem. They don’t have to stop using something to start using automation, and they don’t obsolete existing skills, so it’s culturally easier. And they’re getting swamped right now, so they know they have to solve this—it fills a fundamental need, rather than being a better way of doing something you’ve always done.

Kanies suggests some key reasons for thinking Puppet might be “hotter.” But is it really bigger than Big Data?

Stacking Puppet Against Big Data

One way to view Puppet’s outsized growth is to recognize that such growth is relative to more established markets, as consultant Kris Buytaert noted on Twitter: “[T]he [configuration management] market is in its infancy and growing fast with plenty of room left.” So the fact that Puppet tops Dice’s list may merely indicate that it’s growing from a smaller base.

Also, Dice’s data doesn’t necessarily jibe with jobs data from Indeed. 

Indeed tracks jobs across over 1,000 job sites, including Dice. So it has a much larger data set to work from in analyzing job trends. According to Indeed, Big Data and Hadoop are much bigger than Puppet in terms of absolute job postings:

Source: Indeed.com

And even in terms of relative growth—exactly what Dice purports to measure—Indeed shows Hadoop and NoSQL leading the way:

Source: Indeed.com

Even this doesn’t tell the full story, however. Hadoop, for instance, isn’t a single thing. It’s an ecosystem of technologies that includes everything from Hive (which facilitates querying and managing large datasets residing in distributed storage) to Hbase (a key-value data store) to Pig (a platform for analyzing large data sets) to a range of ever evolving, expanding technologies. 

The same is true of “NoSQL.” The differences between NoSQL databases are more pronounced than their similarities. A document database is very different from a key-value data store. Posting a generic “NoSQL” database job essentially means the enterprise doesn’t really know what they need. The same is true for anyone requesting “Big Data” expertise.

Which might actually be the point.

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

Enterprises working with Big Data aren’t exactly sure what they need to be successful. As I’ve written before, Gartner’s data on this seems pretty clear: everyone knows they need to be doing something with Big Data, but how to do it or what to do remain mysteries. 

Not surprisingly, then, actual Big Data adoption lags media hype about it, as 451 Research analyst Michael Coté details in this chart of Big-Data-associated storage use:

Source: 451 Research

Even if companies are still exploring Big Data territory, they increasingly see the need to manage their infrastructure more efficiently than in the past. Puppet is the “how” of serious infrastructure management—or, rather, a significant “how.”

I think it’s fairly easy to rationalize the apparent discrepancies between the Dice and Indeed data simply by acknowledging that nearly all of the job postings related to Big Data are somewhat noisy and aspirational in nature. Organizations know that they need to do something meaningful with Big Data and are trying to hire for this without always knowing precisely what they need.

When they’re looking for Puppet expertise, however, they know exactly what they need: something to help the configure and manage an army of servers. Those servers ultimately mean “Big Data,” but whatever their trendy name, they need managing. 

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Which Site Audit Tool is Best For You? Here’s Three to Consider by @pawelgra77

No one in the industry would deny the importance of performing regular site audits. Your site, clients’ sites, your uncle’s side business’ site, they all have to be optimized and error free, or else…   But who wants to conduct those audits by hand? Ideally, you want a piece of software to do it for you and email you regularly with a list of issues you should take care of. In search for a solution myself, I decided to compare three site audit tools. But my criteria stretched beyond that. Site audit tools plentiful. But given the amount of different tasks I […]

The post Which Site Audit Tool is Best For You? Here’s Three to Consider by @pawelgra77 appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Optmyzr Launches Google Shopping Campaigns Setup Tool

There are many benefits of the new Shopping Campaigns structure that Google ushered in on September 1st, however, the setup process can be cumbersome and iterative, particularly if you have the same type of campaign structure across multiple campaigns. To help advertisers set up their Shopping…



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Bing Ads Preview And Ad Diagnostics Tool: Now For Product And Mobile Ads

The Ad Preview and Diagnostics Tool in Bing Ads now allows advertisers to preview how their ads will look on mobile devices and find out why their product ads aren’t running. A new Product Ads tab in the tool includes a “reason for not showing” column with specific causes such as…



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YouTube Keyword Tool Goes Missing

Google replaced YouTube’s keyword tool with Display Planner’s AdWords video keyword suggestions on September 1, requiring users to access an AdWords account.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

YouTube Keyword Tool Sunsets: Replaced By AdWords Display Planner Tool

The YouTube keyword tool has been shuttered for good. The company announced it would sunset on September 1st in favor of the Display Planner’s AdWords for video keyword suggestions. Users must have an AdWords account to access the Display Planner. Google began alerting users that the tool…



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The Google Webmaster Tool significance in SEO – Business 2 Community

The Google Webmaster Tool significance in SEO
Business 2 Community
SEO pros view the Webmaster Tool of Google as the most valuable analytic tools that a webmaster should never dispense in using. The tool comes loaded with very useful SEO analytic tools that almost all search engine optimization companies in Atlanta

and more »

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Instagram Becomes A Serious Business Tool With A Suite Of Useful New Features by @mattsouthern

Instagram says inspiring and empowering brands to create beautiful imagery that engages its 200 million members is something the company is always striving for. It’s no surprise that the one thing Instagram hears over and over again from businesses is that they want more insight into how people engage with and respond to their photos and videos. Instagram has announced that businesses will finally be getting what they asked for. We’re excited to announce that over the coming weeks and months, we’ll begin rolling out a new suite of tools to help brands better understand the performance of their paid […]

The post Instagram Becomes A Serious Business Tool With A Suite Of Useful New Features by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Why Facebook’s New Cross-Device Tracking Tool Is a Game-Changer for Advertisers

Advertisers who want to understand the role of different devices leading to conversions are able to do it with Facebook’s new cross-device reporting tool.

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Just How Creepy Can Targeted Ads Get? New Tool Promises To Tell You

Ever find yourself scrolling through a website and seeing an advertisement that’s a little too well-targeted? You know, as if the advertiser knew you recently twisted your ankle and need to buy some sturdier shoes? 

Columbia University researchers are working on XRay, a tool to help innocent Internet users make sense of those ads that stalk us, sometimes in ways that are worse than creepy.

Climbing In Your Inbox, Snatching Your Searches Up

As most people know by now, your personal data is the price you pay for “free” services such as Facebook and Google. When it comes to targeted ads, Google bots scan Gmail accounts looking for keywords to then serve up tailored marketing. Facebook does the same thing with “likes,” status updates and other info. 

How that information is analyzed to create personalized Internet advertising is the mystery the Columbia University researchers want to help solve with XRay, the Web transparency tool they’re currently working on.

XRay, still in development, “detects targeting through input/output correlation.” An Internet user’s “inputs”—email, searches, etc.—are compared to “outputs,” or ads that user is shown. As you can probably guess, most of the ads were largely predictable. If “shoes” shows up in an email you’ve sent, you’ll likely see an advertisement for a shoe sale at a department store.

Targeting, however, doesn’t stop at shoes. In developing XRay, researchers also found invasive ads targeting sensitive topics in user emails, including depression and pregnancy. What’s more, targeting based off such health-related keywords is potentially dangerous. For instance, one test showed that inputs containing the word “depression” would deliver ads for questionable quackery such as shamanic healing.

XRay also demonstrated the danger for consumers when companies misuse such keyword targeting:

Imagine an insurance company wanting to learn about pre-existing conditions of its customers before signing them up. The company could create two ad campaigns, one targeting cancer and the other youth, and assign different URLs to each campaign. It could then offer higher premium quotes to users coming in from the cancer-related ads to discourage them from signing up while offering lower premium quotes to people coming in from the youth-related ads.

XRay is still a prototype. Researchers tested it with Gmail to predict ads based off of email correspondence, and YouTube and Amazon video and purchasing suggestions based on previously viewed items. When widely available, XRay is expected to work across multiple platforms. In initial testing, XRay accurately predicted the types of ads that will be displayed in the future with 80 to 90% accuracy.

XRay’s code will be open source, and eventually this tool will be available to everyone with an Internet connection. Such insight could help the average Internet user better understand how companies use their data. It might also help privacy watchdogs call out malicious advertisers who abuse keyword targeting.

The team will release its research paper this week at USENIX Security 2014, a top security conference in San Diego, Calif. XRay is supported by the National Science Foundation, DARPA, Google and Microsoft. 

Lead image by Asja Boroš

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