Project Sputnik Turns Five!

November 29, 2017

It was five years ago today, on November 29, 2012, that the first Project Sputnik system was launched.  Who would have thought we would have made it this far.

The reason why Project Sputnik is not only still around but keeps growing is because of the developer community.

In fact, without the input and support of the community, Project Sputnik would have been an interesting idea that disappeared after six months.

So how did we get here?

In the beginning

The project began back in early 2012 when I pitched the idea of creating a Linux-based developer laptop.  My audience was three guys in Dell who had put together an innovation fund and were asking employees to bring them their ideas.

When I made my pitch I stressed that in order to be successful, equally as important as what we created, was how we created it.  Development of the system needed to be in the open, and based on input directly from the developer community.  The committee asked me a few questions and told me they’d get back to me.

Ready, set, go

A month later I heard back from the committee.  They had given me the thumbs up, a little pot of money and six months to see if the idea of a developer laptop would fly.  From there I recruited some top and passionate talent and we had ourselves a team.

We started by cobbling together an initial install image that people could test.  In parallel we also sanity checked the idea with a local developers and a couple of web companies.  Since nobody threw up on the idea, on May 7, 2012 we went public.

The power of the community

In the blog post that introduced Project Sputnik we explained that project was “a six month effort to explore the possibility of creating an open source laptop targeted directly at developers.”  We pointed people at our rough install image and asked them to head to the Storm Session we had created and submit feedback, comments and ideas.

The amount of interest and input our initial post generated far exceeded anything we expected.  From there interest kept growing.  The tipping point however, came in response to our beta program.  We asked interested individuals to submit an online form.  We expected a few hundred responses, we got over 6,000.  Senior management was convinced and from there it was the march to launch.

 

Lift off and beyond

On November 29, 2012, a little over 6 months after the initial blog post, the first XPS 13 developer edition became available.  This first system, which came preloaded with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and 1 year pro support, was available only as one configuration.  We chose to go with the highest end config we offered:  3rd gen Intel core i7 (Ivy Bridge), 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and a screen resolution of 1366×768.

Less than two months later the second generation XPS 13 developer edition was launched.  From there the line has continued to grow and grow (see timeline below).  We will soon be introducing the 7th generation XPS 13 developer edition and over this past year we have rolled out four Ubuntu-based Precision mobile workstations as well as the new Precision All in One.

Thank you

On behalf of myself and the whole Sputnik team we would like to thank the developer community for making project Sputnik possible.  Over the last five years you have let us know what you’ve liked and where we could do better.  It’s because of this amazing support that we are still here today.

Thank you!

Project timeline

2012

2013

  • 2nd gen developer edition in US and Europe — February 18, 2013
  • 3rd gen developer edition in US along with instructions on getting Ubuntu up and running on a Precision 3800 mobile workstation — November 15, 2013
  • 3rd gen developer edition in US and Europe — December 20, 2013 

2015

  • Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation joins Project Sputnik  — January 27, 2015
  • 4th gen Dell XPS 13 developer edition in US and Europe — April 9, 2015

2016

  • 5th gen XPS 13 Developer Edition in US, Ubuntu-based Workstations (5510, 3510, 7510, 7720) available worldwide — March 3, 2016
  • 5th gen XPS 13 developer edition in Europe — March 31, 2016
  • 6th gen XPS 13 Developer Edition in Europe and US — October 04, 2016

2017

2018

  • 7th gen XPS 13 developer edition to become available

 

Extra-credit reading

  • Original input from the community with regards to what they wanted in a developer laptop – Dell Idea Storm
  • Dell, Developers & Desktop Linux: the story of Dell’s project Sputnik – Video interview
  • How Dell’s Project Sputnik came to life – CIO.com
  • Project Sputnik News & Reviews, 2012 – 2017

 

Pau for now…

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EdgeX – Open Source IoT effort hosted by the Linux Foundation

November 27, 2017

Last month at the Cloud Foundry Summit Europe, not only did I attend various sessions, but I got to deliver one myself.  The talk, entitled “EdgeX Foundry – Open Interop Platform for the IoT Edge,” gives a high level overview of the EdgeX Foundry which is an open source effort hosted by the Linux Foundation.  The presentation talks about the IoT roadblocks the Foundry addresses and how they plan to tackle them.

Here is a recording of the talk.  Directly below the video I have put an EdgeX Foundry cheat sheet and further down I have included my slides.

Enjoy!

 

EdgeX Foundry — The basics

Vision: Create a common interoperability framework that enables an ecosystem of plug-and-play, “EdgeX certified” components.

  • A vendor-neutral, open source project hosted by The Linux Foundation — launched in April 2017
  • 125,000 lines of code, 50+ members at launch
  • The result of customer and industry feedback

Goals

  • Build and promote EdgeX as unifying the IoT edge via a common open platform.
  • Enable plug-and-play components to allow solutions providers to create ecosystem of interoperable components around EdgeX platform architecture.
  • Certify components to ensure interoperability and compatibility.
  • Provide tools to quickly create EdgeX-based IoT edge solutions that can easily adapt to changing business needs.
  • Collaborate with relevant open source projects, standards groups, and industry alliances to ensure consistency and interoperability across the IoT.

 

Dell goes big on IoT

Coincidentally the same week as the summit Dell announced our new IoT division and how we plan to spend $1 billion over the next three years.  My talk doesn’t mention the announcement but I have put a few related articles below.

 

Extra-credit reading

Dell’s new IoT division

Pau for now…

 


Harnessing Kubernetes – Cloud Foundry Container Runtime

November 13, 2017

A few weeks ago I attended Cloud Foundry summit Europe 2017 held in Basel, Switzerland.  One of the more interesting topics that came up was the “Cloud Foundry Container Runtime,” an effort formerly known as “Kubo.”

Kubo, which comes from “Kubernetes on Bosh,” was created jointly by Pivotal and Google in order to provide a simple way to deploy and operate production-ready Kubernetes clusters on premise and in the cloud.  Back in June, the Kubo code was donated to the Linux Foundation as an open source project.

To learn more about Cloud Foundry Container Runtime (nee Kubo) and the larger context it fits within I sat down with Ian Andrews, Vice President of Products at Pivotal.  Armed with only a pen and paper Ian provides an overview of the container runtime and explains how it differs from the Cloud Foundry application runtime, as well as which workloads are most appropriate for each.

Ian ends by walking us through the recently announced, Pivotal Container Service (PKS) that VMware and Pivotal worked on together with help from the Google cloud team (PKS is based on the Cloud Foundry container runtime with extra goodies thrown in).

Time markers

  • 00:00 –07:25      Intro/background: How Kubo came about and how it and Cloud Foundry (CF) elastic runtime were renamed “Cloud Foundry container runtime” and “Cloud Foundry application run time”
  • 07:25 – 24:00      Sketches out the CF architecture.  From there he goes through each of the two components that sit on top of BOSH:   CF container runtime and CF application run time.  He then compares the two runtimes
  • 24:00 – 28:55      Goes through Pivotal’s implementation of the above: Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Pivotal Container Service.

Extra-credit reading

  • Take Kubernetes, and bish bash BOSH, you’ve got Container Runtime – The Register
  • Cloud Foundry Morphs Kubo into Container Runtime – sdxcentral
  • VMware teams up with Pivotal, Google Cloud on new container service – ZDNet
  • Google, VMware and Pivotal team for on-premises Kubernetes – The Register
  • Choosing the Right Tool for Your App Modernization Project – VMware | Blogs

Pau for now…


Open Source Summit videos – Sputnik, Bitnami, ARM and OpenShift

October 24, 2017

Last month I attend Open Source Summit (OSS) North America which was held in Los Angeles from September 11- 14.

This year the Linux Foundation brought four conferences under the umbrella name,  “The Open Source Summit” (OSS).  The four conferences were LinuxCon, ContainerCon, CloudOpen plus the new “Open Community Conference.”

Interviewing and being Interviewed

While at the conference, besides giving away an Ubuntu-based XPS 13 developer edition aka “project Sputnik,” I found myself on both sides of the camera.  I was interviewed by Swapnil Bhartiya around the history of Project Sputnik and I in turn interviewed representatives of ARM, Red Hat’s OpenShift, and Bitnami’s Kubernetes effort.

Enjoy!

Project Sputnik

Here I am holding forth with regards to the origins and ideas behind Project Sputnik, our line of Linux-based developer systems.

 

Bitnami and Kubeless

  • Sebastian Goasguen’s Kubernetes-focused company SkipBox was recently acquired by Bitnami – the name comes from “(Skip)per” like Kubernetes and Tool(box) — which helps onboard people to Kubernetes.
  • Bitnami acquired SkipBox as a way to get into the Kubernetes space.  SkipBox’s key offering was “Kubeless,” a Kubernetes-native serverless framework which helps people move from Physical machines/VMs/cloud to containers and then to Kubernetes.

 

ARM’s development platform

  • Julio Suarez of ARM walks us through their demo at the Open Source summit.  The team was demoing their server enterprise development platform “Mali.”  Unlike Raspberry Pi, Mali is pretty beefy with 10GB Ethernet ports, SATA, PCI etc.
  • The platforms are clustered into a group of three using Docker Swarm (could also use Kubernetes, Marathon Mesos).  The swarm is running an ecommerce website, ported to ARM from x86.  The website is composed of 14 microservices.

 

Red Hat’s OpenShift

  • Harish Pillay talks about Red Hat’s Container as a Service offering, OpenShift.  While OpenShift began life with its own version of containers, they have pivoted to employ industry standard containers and Kubernetes.
  • Different pieces and technology can be swapped in and out as long as they are written to standards.

Conference reflections

Given the continued growth in the number of Linux Foundation projects and the number of sub events, the attendance of little over 1,900, albeit from 37 different countries, seemed a bit light.  Additionally the show floor seemed sparse compared to past.

I’m guessing that high level Open Source events don’t have the allure they once did, particularly since open source is a given in most environments today.  In turn, people are seeking out more targeted events around specific technologies eg DockerCon, KubeCon.  All that said it was a valuable conference thanks to the always interesting hallway track.

Dell EMC’s presence

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention my employer’s presence at the summit.

Dell EMC was represented by the rebranded “{code}” team who now represents the open source efforts across Dell Technologies.  While {code}’s press release introduced their new name and remit, the news they led with concerned REX-Ray:

REX-Ray, an established open source container orchestration engine that enables persistence for cloud-native workloads, now includes plugins for 15 storage integrations, with the addition of NFS, local block services and VFS, immediately making those storage platforms CSI-compatible.

Extra-credit reading

  • Open Source guides:  At the event the Linux foundation introduced a set of succinct Open Source guides targeted at enterprises to help
    • guide their use of and contribution to open source software and communities
    • explain the value of open source to management
    • formalize and organize their existing open source efforts
  • Videos: The keynote sessions were recorded and are available to watch.
  • Event Photos: To view a selection of photos from the events visit the Linux Foundation’s website.

Pau for now…

 


Video Interviews from Cloud Foundry Summit

August 10, 2017

Back in June I attended the Cloud Foundry Summit in Santa Clara, CA and grabbed a bunch of interviews.  As an example, here is a quick summary of the summit as seen through the eyes of Tech evangelist and commentator Ben Kepes:

Ben Kepes

  • Ben  talks about the great vibe and community as well as how Cloud Foundry and “serverless” computing do or do not fit together.
  • He also gives his thoughts about what over the next year, Cloud Foundry needs to do and watch out for.
  • Ben ends by talking about what he thinks is the most exciting technology/development out there today (spoiler alert, its developer tools).

Some context

Before we get to the rest of the videos here are some quick notes:

There was a bunch of announcements at the event, two of the biggest being Microsoft joining the Cloud Foundry Foundation and the announcement of the Foundation’s inclusion of the Kubo project which is designed to help manage containers using Kubernetes by applying Cloud Foundry’s BOSH.

On the Dell EMC  side we gave a bunch of talks and had a booth where we showed of the work that our “Dojo” is doing in writing and contributing code to the Cloud Foundry foundation.  We also featured our Native Hybrid Cloud offering, which is a turnkey developer platform based on Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

Interviews from the front 

Below are the rest of the videos I captured at Cloud Foundry Summit.  Featured are representatives of Google, Datadog, GE Predix, the Cloud Foundry foundation, anynines and Dell EMC.

Enjoy!

Datadog: 

  • Ray Colletti of Datadog talks about what they do, where they’ve been and where they’re going.  (Datadog is infrastructure monitoring platform that plays well with everyone from Cloud Foundry to AWS to Azure to Google Cloud and more).
  • Ray discusses how Datadog has adapted to the changes in the industry over the last four years, the announcement of Datadog’s official Cloud Foundry integration and general integrations with other ecosystem players.
  • He ends by discussing their focus on alerts over the next year.

 

Native Hybrid Cloud: 

  • Drew Dimmick of Dell EMC’s Native Hybrid Cloud team talks about what this Pivotal Cloud Foundry-based offering is made of and what it allows organizations to do.
  • Drew talks about Dell EMC’s value-add on top of Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the Developer Workbench. The Workbench is made up of the Access tool as well as Fractal.
  • He also explains the different focuses of Native Hybrid Cloud and Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.

 

Kubo: 

  • Chip Childers, CTO of the Cloud Foundry Foundation talks about Kubo which just joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation.
  • Kubo is a packaging of Kubernetes that can be deployed by Cloud Foundry’s “BOSH” onto any cloud infrastructure.
  • Chip also discusses Microsoft joining the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

 

anynines: 

  • Talking to Julian Fischer, founder and CEO of anynines which is based in Germany. AnyNines’ main focus is building data services around Cloud Foundry.
  • Julian see’s the Cloud Foundry runtime as one of its key assets but became aware of its need for production grade data services. As a result they have chosen to focus on these services.
  • Key segments they focus on are insurance and manufacturing which are currently undergoing digital transformation.

 

Google Cloud Platform

  • Colleen Bryant of Google talks about her team which handles Open source integration with google cloud platform as well as her specific focus on the GCP service broker for Cloud Foundry.
  • She explains how Cloud Foundry, GCE (Google’s VM offering) and GCP all work together as well as what the heck’s a “tile.”

 

GE Predix

  • Talking with Ryan Bohm, a Developer evangelist within GE digital, focusing on their Predix Platform.
  • Ryan talks about their Cloud Foundry-based platform and its focus on the Industrial Internet of Things and specifically the analysis of big data.
  • She explains their efforts to build their developer program and the dev certification program they launched recently.

 

Extra-credit reading

Cloud Foundry Summit-related news

Video playlists from other events

Pau for now…


Ubuntu-based All-in-One joins the brawn brothers

April 18, 2017

Today we are happy to announce, that the Dell Precision 5720, a 27” All-in-One workstation class machine is available for purchase.  The system can be ordered preloaded with either Ubuntu 16.04, RHEL 7.3 or Windows 10.

What were they thinking

When the team designed the 5720, they focused on the front of screen experience with the 27” 4K UHD display, support for multiple displays out, and an integrated high-end sound bar that delivers best in class audio in an AIO, no need for added speakers.

Also supported are the latest generation Intel CPUs, including an option for Xeon CPUs, as well as the latest AMD Radeon Pro professional graphics.

The Precision line roll out

The availability of the 5270 marks the last of the Ubuntu-based Precision mobile workstations announced back in January.  In January, the Precision 5520, the world’s thinnest and lightest 15” mobile workstation and Precision 3520, an affordable and fully customizable 15” mobile workstation were available for purchase.  Under the heading, “coming soon,” were the 7720 the 7520 and, new to the lineup, the 5720 All-in-One.

Two weeks ago the world’s most powerful 15″ and 17″ laptops, the Precision 7520, and the Precision 7720 became available.  These two brawny brothers debuted in two flavors, Ubuntu and Windows (drivers are also available for RHEL 7.3).

A look at the Precision line thanks to LAS

The week before last, Chris Fisher and Noah Chelliah of the Linux Action Show made their way from the Pacific Northwest to Dell.  Besides recording LAS on site, Chris and Noah conducted a bunch of interviews.  The episode above is the first of two.  In this episode you not only get to learn about Dell’s Linux-powered coffee machine but you get an overview of the Precision line of systems.

The Dell segment starts at 35:36 and the overview of the Precision line, starting with the new 5720 All-in-One, begins at 37:20.  When you get to the part about the 7720, which starts at around $1,699, you’ll learn what you get if you decide to drop $10K and max it out.

[If you’re interested, here’s second LAS — Dell’s Secret Sauce | Linux Action Show 465]

How to get the Ubuntu or RHEL flavors

To get the preloaded Ubuntu or RHEL versions of the 5720, simply head to the landing page. Once there, click on the green “Customize & Buy” button on the right.  This will take you to the “Select Components” page where under “Operating System” you can choose either Ubuntu 16.04, RHEL 7.3 or Windows and away you go!

Extra-credit reading

  • Order here: The Dell Precision 5720, 27” All-in-One workstation class machine
  • Dell’s Secret Sauce | Linux Action Show 465
  • Dell Precision 5520 is a beauty and a beast, This the best laptop for Linux power users — CIO
  • Dell Launches World’s Most Powerful 15″ and 17″ Laptops Powered by Ubuntu Linux – Softpedia
  • Dell lancia cinque nuovi sistemi Linux — Techninja
  • Five new systems join Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition that come with Ubuntu pre-installed — Linux Magazine
  • Dell doubles down on high-end Ubuntu Linux laptops – ZDnet
  • Why Dell’s gamble on Linux laptops has paid off –  TechRadar
  • Dell lanza nuevo Precision con Ubuntu y no será el único – SYSGURU
  • PODCAST: Jan-17-2017, Dell Linux Hardware w/Barton George – The Lunduke Hour
  • PODCAST: Project Sputnik Interview | LINUX Unplugged 179
  • Welcome the new Ubuntu-based Precision line-up – Ubuntu insights
  • Dell’s new Precision mobile workstation PCs available with Ubuntu or Windows – Liliputing
  • Dell lanza nuevo Precision con Ubuntu y no será el único – muylinux

Pau for now…


Welcome the new Ubuntu-based Precision line-up — Mobile Workstations plus a new All-in-One

January 9, 2017

Update: Precision 7520 and 7720 available as of March 28;  Dell Precision 5720, a 27” All-in-One available as of April 18.

Today I am excited to announce the next generation of our Ubuntu-based Precision mobile workstation line.  Not only have we rev’d the current line-up but we have also added the Precision 5720 All-in-One.  This follows the introduction back in October of the 6th generation XPS 13 developer edition.

23536-sb-workstation-precision-27-5720-260x150

Dell Precision 5720 All-in-One

Available today

All of the systems above, which will be available worldwide, come preloaded with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, feature 7th generation Intel® Core™ and Intel® Xeon™ processors and support Thunderbolt 3 (scroll down for more detailed specs).

How did we get here

Four and a half years ago a scrappy skunk works project by the name of “Project Sputnik” was kicked off at Dell to gauge interest in a developer-focused laptop.  The project received an amazing amount of interest and support from the community and as result, nine months later this project became an official product — the ultra-mobile XPS 13 developer edition.

jared-in-canoe

Jared hacks in a hammock

While the XPS 13 was a big hit the team soon started getting a steady stream of requests to add a bigger, beefier system.  This caught the attention of team member Jared Dominguez (on twitter) who decided to work on his own time to get Ubuntu running on the Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation.  Jared documented his work and then posted the instructions publicly.

Jared’s efforts got so much interest from the community that a little over a year later it debuted as an official product.   A little over a year after that, one Ubuntu-based Precision workstation became four and today we are announcing the next generation of this line-up along with the new Precision 5720 All-in-One.

A double-click on the specs

Dell™ Precision 3520, mobile workstation – Available now!

Affordable, fully customizable 15” mobile workstation

Key features

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • 7th generation Intel® Core™ and Intel® Xeon™ processors
  • 15.6” HD (1366×768), FHD (1920×1080) and FHD touch
  • Up to 32GB of memory and 2TB of storage
  • ECC memory, Thunderbolt 3 and NVIDIA graphics
  • Availability: worldwide

 

Dell Precision 5520, mobile workstation  – Available now!

World’s thinnest and lightest 15” mobile workstation

Dell Precision 5520

Dell Precision 5520

Key features

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • 7th generation Intel® Core™ and Intel® Xeon™ processors
  • 15.6” UltraSharp™ FHD (1920×1080) or UltraSharp™ UHD (3840×2160)
  • Up to 32GB of memory and 2TB of storage
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • NVIDIA Quadro graphics
  • Availability: worldwide

 

Dell Precision 7520, mobile workstation – Available now!

World’s most powerful 15” mobile workstation

Key features

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • 7th generation Intel® Core™ and Intel® Xeon™ processors
  • 15.6” FHD (1920×1080), UltraSharp™ FHD (1920×1080) both Touch and Non-Touch, UltraSharp™ UHD (3840×2160)
  • Up to 64GB of memory and 3TB of storage
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • NVIDIA Quadro® and Radeon Pro™ graphics options
  • Availability: worldwide

 

Dell Precision 7720, mobile workstation – Available now!

World’s most powerful mobile workstation

Key features

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • 7th generation Intel® Core™ and Intel® Xeon™ processors
  • 17.3” HD+ (1600×900), UltraSharp™ FHD (1920×1080) or UltraSharp™ UHD (3840×2160)
  • Up to 64GB of memory and 4TB of storage
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • NVIDIA Quadro® and Radeon Pro™ graphics options
  • Availability: worldwide

 

Dell Precision 5720, All-in-One – Available now!

27” All-in-One workstation class machine

Key features

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • 7th generation Intel® Core™ and Intel® Xeon™ processors
  • 27” UltraSharp™ UHD (3840×2160) both touch and non-touch
  • Up to 64GB of memory and Up to (1) M.2 PCIe SSD and up to (2) 2.5” SATA
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Radeon Pro™ graphics
  • Availability: worldwide

 

How do I order a 5520, 7520, 7720 or 3520 today

In the case of the US, you can get to the Ubuntu-based version of  the Dell™ Precision 5520 Dell™ or Precision 3520, mobile workstation by going to their respective landing pages: Precision 5520, Precision 7520Precision 7720Precision 3520. Once there, click on the green “Customize & Buy” button on the right.  This will take you to the “Select Components” page where under “Operating System” you choose Ubuntu 16.04 and away you go!

With regards to availability for the rest of the line-up, watch this space!

Extra credit reading

  • New Precision 5520 – Buy now
  • New Precision 3520 – Buy now
  • New Precision 7520 – Buy now
  • New Precision 7720 – Buy now
  • New Precision 5720 All-in-One – Buy now
  • Ubuntu-based Developer and Engineering systems line-up – Dell.com

Project milestones

  • The New XPS 13 Developer Edition Lands in Europe, United States and Canada — October 04, 2016
  • Live in Europe: Next gen XPS 13 developer edition — March 31, 2016
  • XPS 13 Developer Edition launches in US, Ubuntu-based Workstations available worldwide — March 3, 2016
  • 4th gen Dell XPS 13 developer edition available! — April 9, 2015
  • Welcome the Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation, developer edition — January 27, 2015
  • Sputnik 3 online in Europe just in time for Holidays — December 20, 2013 
  • Introducing Sputnik 3 and its unofficial big brother — November 15, 2013
  • Sputnik 2 is here: Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition goes 1080p and lands in Europe — February 18, 2013
  • Sputnik has landed! Introducing the Dell XPS 13 Laptop, Developer Edition — November 29, 2012
  • Project Sputnik to go from Pilot to Product — July 18, 2012
  • Introducing Project Sputnik: Developer laptop — May 7, 2012

Pau for now…


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