Google Cloud SQL provides easier MySQL for all

Google Cloud SQL aims to provide easier MySQL for all

With the general availability of Google Cloud Platform’s latest database offerings — the second generation of Cloud SQL, Cloud Bigtable, and Cloud Datastore — Google is setting up a cloud database strategy founded on a basic truth of software: Don’t get in the customer’s way.

For an example, look no further than the new iteration of Cloud SQL, a hosted version of MySQL for Google Cloud Platform. MySQL is broadly used by cloud applications, and Google is trying to keep it fuss-free — no small feat for any piece of software, let alone a database notorious in its needs for tweaks to work well.

Most of the automation around MySQL in Cloud SQL involves items that should be automated anyway, such as updates, automatic scaling to meet demand, autofailover between zones, and backup/roll-back functionality. This automation all comes via a recent version of MySQL, 5.7, not via an earlier version that’s been heavily customized by Google to support these features.

The other new offerings, Cloud Datastore and Cloud Bigtable, are fully managed incarnations of NoSQL and HBase/Hadoop systems. These systems have fewer users than MySQL, but are likely used to store gobs more data than with MySQL. One of MySQL 5.7’s new features, support for JSON data, provides NoSQL-like functionality for existing MySQL users. But users who are truly serious about NoSQL are likely to do that work on a platform designed to support it from the ground up.

The most obvious competition for Cloud SQL is Amazon’s Aurora service. When reviewed by InfoWorld’s Martin Heller in October 2015, it supported a recent version of MySQL (5.6) and had many of the same self-healing and self-maintaining features as Cloud SQL. Where Google has a potential edge is in the overall simplicity of its platform — a source of pride in other areas, such as a far less sprawling and complex selection of virtual machine types.

Another competitor is Snowflake, the cloud data warehousing solution designed to require little user configuration or maintenance. Snowflake’s main drawback is that it’s a custom-build database, even if it is designed to be highly compatible with SQL conventions. Cloud SQL, by contrast, is simply MySQL, a familiar product with well-understood behaviors.

 

 

 

[Source:- IW]

SQL Server 2016 heads for release, but Linux version is still under wraps

Linux version of SQL Server 2016 still under wraps

SQL Server 2016, Microsoft’s newest database software, is set to become available on June 1 along with a no-cost, developers-only version.

With its new features and revised product editions, Microsoft is determined to expand SQL Server appeal to the largest possible number of customers running in a range of environments. But there’s still no word on the promised SQL Server for Linux, a version of the popular database that Microsoft is hoping will open SQL Server to an entirely new audience.

A broader SQL Server market awaits

Much of what’s new in SQL Server 2016 is aimed at roughly two classes of users: those doing their data collection and storage in the cloud (or moving to the cloud) and those doing analytics work that benefits from being performed in-memory. Features like Stretch Database will appeal to the former, as SQL Server tables can be expanded incrementally into Microsoft Azure — a more appealing option than a disruptive all-or-nothing migration.

Big data features include expanded capabilities for the Hekaton in-memory functions introduced in SQL Server 2014, plus in-memory columnstore functions for real-time analytics. And SQL Server’s close integration with the R language tools that Microsoft recently acquired opens up the database to a range of new applications from a thriving software ecosystem.

The forthcoming Linux version of SQL Server, though, is how Microsoft really plans to expand to an untapped market. And not just Linux users, but a specific kind of Linux user: those who use Oracle on Linux but are tired of Oracle’s unpredictable licensing. Oracle has been trying to change its tune, but there’s a lot to be said for being able to run SQL Server without also needing to run Windows.

Which versions and when?

Two big questions still remain about SQL Server for Linux. The first is when will it see the light of day; Microsoft hasn’t provided a timeframe yet. (A Microsoft spokesperson could provide no new comment.)

The second is what its pricing and SKUs will look like; will the feature set match what’s available on Windows or will it be a stripped-down version? Microsoft has versions of SQL Server to match most any workload or budget, from the free-to-use Express edition to the full-blown Enterprise variety.

With SQL Server 2014 — and now with 2016 as well — the company introduced a free-to-use developer version of the Enterprise SKU intended solely for dev and testing work. It’s unclear whether SQL Server on Linux will also include a developer version or only include editions specifically for commercial use.

Whatever happens with SQL Server on Linux, Microsoft’s already making aggressive efforts to woo Oracle users into its camp. The company has a limited-time Oracle-to-SQL-Server migration offer, where Microsoft Software Assurance customers can swap Oracle licenses for SQL Server licenses at no cost. It’ll be intriguing if a similar offer pops up again after Microsoft releases SQL Server for Linux.

 

 
[Source:- Infoworld]

Go 1.8 goes for efficiency and convenience

Go 1.8 goes for efficiency and convenience

Go 1.8, the next version of Google’s open source language, is moving toward general availability, with a release candidate featuring improvements in compilation and HTTP. The final Version 1.8 is due in February.

According to draft notes, the release candidate features updates to the compiler back end for more efficient code. The back end, initially developed for Go 1.7 for 64-bit x86 systems, is based on static single assignment (SSA) form to generate more efficient code and to serve as a platform for optimizations like bounds check elimination. It now works on all architectures.

“The new back end reduces the CPU time required by our benchmark programs by 20 to 30 percent on 32-bit ARM systems,” the release notes say. “For 64-bit x86 systems, which already used the SSA back end in Go 1.7, the gains are a more modest 0 to 10 percent. Other architectures will likely see improvements closer to the 32-bit ARM numbers.”

Version 1.8 also introduces a new compiler front end as a foundation for future performance enhancements, and it features shorter garbage collection pauses by eliminating “stop the world” stack rescanning.

The release notes also cite HTTP2 Push support, in which the net/http package can send HTTP/2 server pushes from a handler, which responds to an HTTP request. Additionally, HTTP server shutdown can be enabled in a “graceful” fashion via a Server.Shutdown method and abruptly using a Server.Close method.

Version 1.8 adds support for the Mips 32-bit architecture on Linux and offers more context support for packages like Server.Shutdown, database/sql, and .net.resolver. Go’s sort package adds a convenience function, Slice, to sort a slice given a less function. “In many cases this means that writing a new sorter type is not necessary.” Runtime and tools in Go 1.8 support profiling of contended mutexes, which provide a mutual exclusion lock.

Most of the upgrade’s changes are in the implementation of the toolchain, runtime, and libraries. “There are two minor changes to the language specification,” the release notes state. “As always, the release maintains the Go 1 promise of compatibility. We expect almost all Go programs to continue to compile and run as before.” Language changes include conversion of a value from one type to another, with Go tags now ignored. Also, the language specification now only requires that implementations support up to 16-bit exponents in floating-point constants.

 

 

[Source:- JW]

The Nintendo Switch will need its smartphone app for online matchmaking

The Nintendo Switch companion app is fast turning into a pretty essential part of the Switch.

As well as the previously announced news that you’ll need to use the app in order to enable voice-chat on the console, in a recent interview Nintendo of America’s President Reggie Fils-Aime suggested that the app would be used for a lot more besides voice chat.

In fact, the app’s functionality actually goes as far as enabling matchmaking and allowing you to create lobbies, suggesting that your online options are going to be pretty slim without your smartphone.

Smart (phone) justifications

Fils-Aime justified the decision to rely on the app for voice chat by saying that most people will have a headset that connects to their phone on them at all times.

As such using the phone for voice chat makes sense, as it means you don’t have to carry around an extra Switch-specific headset.

But while these justifications make a certain amount of sense for using the console while on the go, the same can’t be said for docked play, where people are used to having a dedicated headset and a console that can handle everything without needing accessories.

Fils-Aime’s use of the word ‘hotspot’ also suggests that Nintendo expects people to tether their console to their phone to get online while on the go, which might prove challenging for anyone with a limited amount of data.

It’s beginning to feel as though in its quest to make a hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch is fast becoming a device that has limitations in both form-factors.

We’ve contacted Nintendo to ask for clarification on what exactly the mobile app will enable, and what form of online play will be possible without the app.

 

[Source:- Techrader]

 

 

Now we know what Microsoft’s upcoming ‘Game Mode’ for Windows 10 will do

Windows 10 Game Mode

A few weeks ago, sharp-eyed users spotted something new in a Windows 10 Insider Preview build — reference to a new “Game Mode.” Discussions on what the feature might do, or how it could improve performance, have made the rounds since. But a new investigation suggests the new feature won’t make much difference for the vast majority of Windows 10 gamers.

PCGamesN has details on the latest Insider Preview build (15007) and what it exposes in the OS. While Game Mode can’t be enabled yet, you can read the description of what it’s going to do. Basically, it performs some low-level services tailoring to make the system work smarter when you’re actively using Microsoft’s GameDVR function.

This is more-or-less as expected, and fairly worthless in any case. Both Nvidia and AMD have shipped software solutions with their own, low-level DVR capture capability, with a minimum impact on their own hardware. Microsoft’s decision to bake in its own solution is probably a boon to Intel gamers or to people who aren’t aware of Radeon ReLive or Nvidia ShadowPlay, but it’s not much benefit to anyone else. If you want to get back the performance improvement of Game Mode before Microsoft ships the feature, you can disable the DVR altogether using these instructions.

As for the amount of performance you’ll get back by making these changes, it’s unlikely you’d ever notice. Heck, it’s not even likely that you’d notice if you benchmarked the game. Barring an unusual situation, DVR recording and other background Windows services are meant to run in the background, where they’re unlikely to consume resources or cause issues. Part of the reason why this simply doesn’t matter on modern hardware is because Windows’ hardware specifications have only changed slightly since the introduction of Windows Vista in 2006. (The idea of running Vista on hardware from 1995 would’ve been beyond hilarious, but you can run Windows 10 on equipment sold 11 years ago, if you have to). Microsoft hasn’t done much moving of the goalposts, and later versions of Windows are generally viewed as improvements to Vista, as far as running on low-end hardware.

Don’t get us wrong — if Microsoft is enabling this feature because it has data suggesting that its DVR software doesn’t play nice with specific titles, that’s a fine thing. But we’d prefer the company just say that, as opposed to pushing the idea of a Game Mode that’s going to make most titles run faster. If you’re trying to play modern games on a computer that was cutting-edge in 2008 and hasn’t been upgraded since, DVR support is the least of your worries. If that doesn’t describe you, then these optimizations aren’t likely to matter.

What we would like to see, if Microsoft is taking notes, is a Game Mode that prevented Windows Update from rebooting the computer while resource-intensive applications or games are running. If you’ve ever had a Windows 10 system suddenly decide it’s time for a reboot in the middle of a game or benchmark run (and I’ve seen multiple testbeds pull this trick with zero warning), you know how infuriating it can be. Fix that problem, and you’ve got a Game Mode worth deploying.

[Source:- Extremetech]

Minecraft Pocket Edition will no longer receive updates for Windows mobile devices

We received a tip earlier today that Minecraft Pocket Edition will no longer be supported on Windows mobile devices.

Since receiving the tip, we have confirmed with sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans that Minecraft Pocket Edition will no longer receive updates for Windows Phone 8.1 or 10 Mobile, but it will still be available in the store.

This will come as a considerable blow for Windows mobile fans of the game, but the amount of users spending time in Minecraft PE for Windows 8.1 and 10 Mobile is reportedly very low, making the development hours needed to keep it up to date is simply no longer economically viable.

At this point, I’d say it’s pretty clear that the future of Windows on mobile devices lies with full Windows 10 on ARM, recently announced for future handsets powered by the Snapdragon 835 processor. Microsoft demonstrated World of Tank Blitz running on a Snapdragon 820 with full Windows 10, which implies that the newer 835 would make short work of Minecraft for Windows 10, which already supports touch. I suspect this is where the bulk of Minecraft development will be spent moving forward.

You can still download and play Minecraft Pocket Edition on Windows Phone devices, at least for the time being, using the link below.

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

 

China puts up Stop sign for Pokemon Go

China will not allow its mammoth mobile online population to play Pokemon Go or other augmented-reality games until it completes a review of potential security risks, a Chinese digital publishing group said.

The roadblock was put up amid concerns that such games contain “rather big social risks” including potential threats to consumer and traffic safety, and the security of “geographic information”, the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association (CADPA) said this week.

The industry group said in a statement that it was informed of the move by China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).

It said SAPPRFT was conducting a security review of such games in the meantime.

“Before then, SAPPRFT will not accept requests to approve such games and has advised domestic game developers to be cautious when considering developing, introducing or operating such games,” the publishing association said.

Pokemon Go engages mobile users in a virtual chase for cartoon creatures appearing in their vicinity, as seen through their phone camera, but relies for many of its functions on Google Maps, which is blocked in China.

Beijing keeps tight control over surveying, mapping and geographic information.

China is a huge potential market for gamers, with 1.3 billion mobile users by the end of 2015.

Some Chinese companies are already getting into the act, with tech giants Alibaba and Tencent recently introducing augmented-reality games with a theme linked to the Chinese lunar new year holidays beginning in late January.

It was not immediately clear how the digital-publishing association’s announcement would effect those games.

[Source:- Phys.org]

Apache Beam unifies batch and streaming for big data

Apache Beam unifies batch and streaming for big data

Apache Beam, a unified programming model for both batch and streaming data, has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a top-level Apache project.

Aside from becoming another full-fledged widget in the ever-expanding Apache tool belt of big-data processing software, Beam addresses ease of use and dev-friendly abstraction, rather than simply offering raw speed or a wider array of included processing algorithms.

Beam us up!

Beam provides a single programming model for creating batch and stream processing jobs (the name is a hybrid of “batch” and “stream”), and it offers a layer of abstraction for dispatching to various engines used to run the jobs. The project originated at Google, where it’s currently a service called GCD (Google Cloud Dataflow). Beam uses the same API as GCD, and it can use GCD as an execution engine, along with Apache Spark, Apache Flink (a stream processing engine with a highly memory-efficient design), and now Apache Apex (another stream engine for working closely with Hadoop deployments).

The Beam model involves five components: the pipeline (the pathway for data through the program); the “PCollections,” or data streams themselves; the transforms, for processing data; the sources and sinks, where data is fetched and eventually sent; and the “runners,” or components that allow the whole thing to be executed on an engine.

Apache says it separated concerns in this fashion so that Beam can “easily and intuitively express data processing pipelines for everything from simple batch-based data ingestion to complex event-time-based stream processing.” This is in line with reworking tools like Apache Spark to support stream and batch processing within the same product and with similar programming models. In theory, it’s one fewer concept for prospective developers to wrap their head around, but that presumes Beam is used in lieu of Spark or other frameworks, when it’s more likely it’ll be used — at first — to augment them.

Hands off

One possible drawback to Beam’s approach is that while the layers of abstraction in the product make operations easier, they also put the developer at a distance from the underlying layers. A good case in point: Beam’s current level of integration with Apache Spark; the Spark runner doesn’t yet use Spark’s more recent DataFrames system, and thus may not take advantage of the optimizations those can provide. But this isn’t a conceptual flaw, it’s an issue with the implementation, which can be addressed in time.

The big payoff of using Beam, as noted by Ian Pointer in his discussion of Beam in early 2016, is that it makes migrations between processing systems less of a headache. Likewise, Apache says Beam “cleanly [separates] the user’s processing logic from details of the underlying engine.”

Separation of concern and ease of migration will be good to have if the ongoing rivalries, and competitions between the various big data processing engines continues. Granted, Apache Spark has emerged as one of the undisputed champs of the field and become a de facto standard choice. But there’s always room for improvement or an entirely new streaming or processing paradigm. Beam is less about offering a specific alternative than about providing developers and data-wranglers with more breadth of choice between them.

 

 

[Source:- Javaworld]

All you need to know about YubiKey for Windows Hello and Windows 10b

Image result for All you need to know about YubiKey for Windows Hello and Windows 10

The first companion device for Windows Hello is now out. Here is how to use YubiKey with WIndows Hello and what it can — and cannot — do.

Microsoft’s bio-authentication system Windows Hello is one of the most demanded features users want with new PCs. Currently, the most popular are fingerprint readers, facial recognition using IR cameras, or iris scanners (for phones).

Another new Windows Hello method is just starting to come to market: companion devices. In theory, wearables like smartwatches or your phone could be a yet another way to validate your authenticity. YubiKey’s new app for Windows 10 fits into this category. Today, I’ll review it and show you how it works.

YubiKey – What it is

YubiKeys by Yubico are small USB devices that you carry around with you to add two-factor authentication (aka ‘2FA’) to various apps and services. For instance, if you use LastPass to store all your passwords you need one master password to unlock them all. That’s a huge security vulnerability because if someone managed to get that password, they would get all the rest too in your safe. By using a YubiKey, the attacker would physically need your USB YubiKey in addition to your password to unlock your virtual safe.

Sure, 2FA is an extra step. Besides typing in your password, you need to insert the YubiKey, wait a second, and press on the touch-to-sign metal area on the key. It’s super easy to use, but still a little more work. Nonetheless, when it comes to security that type of protection is wanted — and needed — by many.

Other services that work with YubiKey included Google, Dashlane, KeePass, Dropbox, Evernote, WordPress, GitHub, and other things like disk encryption.

There are three main types of YubiKeys on sale right now:

  • YubiKey 4 (USB)
  • YubiKey 4 Nano (USB)
  • YubiKey NEO (USB and NFC)

They range in price from $40 for the regular USB versions to $50 for the USB and NFC variant. With NFC users can also use the YubiKey NEO for Android mobile phones and presumably any other system with NFC.

At CES 2017 Yubico announced YubiKey 4C, which is a USB Type-C device to keep up with modern PCs and computers. That version goes on sale in February 2017 for $50 as well.

YubiKey for Windows Hello

Recently, Yubico released a new app called YubiKey for Windows Hello in the Windows Store. The free app lets you link your YubiKey to your PC (not Microsoft Account) as a companion security device.

While not bio-authentication e.g. fingerprint or face recognition adding a YubiKey to your PC lets you unlock and log into the computer just by inserting the physical device into the PC.

So, why bother? Most PCs today including laptops and desktops do not have a built-in Windows Hello system. By using YubiKey, you can cheaply add this to your PC while also using it with your other apps and services listed above.

Once inserted into the PC the system is unlocked all the time. Removing the key lets it lock again. A YubiKey is small enough to be carried around on a key chain making it easy to use with your home PC or laptop.

Setting up

Setting up YubiKey is very easy once you have the physical device in your possession.

  1. Download and run YubiKey for Windows Hello from the Store
  2. Select Register
  3. After inserting the YubiKey into a USB Port select Continue
  4. Optionally name the YubiKey (good if you have multiple keys) and choose Continue
  5. Follow the prompts to authenticate your key with Windows Hello
  6. When done choose Finish
  7. That’s it. The whole process takes about 30 seconds.

    Setting up on Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise

    For those with a Windows 10 Home license, the above steps are all that is required to get YubiKey working with Windows Hello. If, however, you have Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise editions, you will need to edit the Local Security Policy to allow companion devices.

    If you are unsure which version of Windows 10 you have only go to Settings > System > About and under Edition it should read as Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, or Windows 10 for Enterprise.

    If you are on Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can modify the system to allow companion devices for Windows Hello. Here is how according to Yubico:

    1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor. To do this, press [Windows key + R], and then type gpedit.msc.
    2. In the Local Group Policy Editor, from the top level Local Computer Policy, navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Secondary Authentication Factor.
    3. In the right pane, click the link to Edit policy setting. (You can also double-click the setting to Allow companion device for secondary authentication.) The default state is Not configured.

[Source:- Windowscentral]

Microsoft: SQL Server for Linux is the real deal

Microsoft: SQL Server for Linux is the real deal

Those who wondered what it would be like to run Microsoft SQL Server on Linux now have an answer. Microsoft has released the first public preview of the long-promised product.

Microsoft also wants to make clear this isn’t a “SQL Server Lite” for those satisfied with a reduced feature set. Microsoft has a four-point plan to make this happen.

First is through broad support for all major enterprise-grade Linux editions: Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu Linux, and soon Suse Linux Enterprise Server. “Support” means behaving like other Linux applications on the distributions, not requiring a Microsoft-only methodology for installing or running the app. An introductory video depicts SQL Server installed on RHEL through the system’s yum package manager, and a white paper describes launching SQL Server’s services via systemd.

Second, Microsoft promises the full set of SQL Server 2016’s features for Linux users—not only support for the T-SQL command set, but high-end items like in-memory OLTP, always-on encryption, and row-level security. It will be a first-class citizen on Linux, as SQL Server has been on Windows itself.

Third is Linux support for the tooling around SQL Server—not SQL Server Management Studio alone, but also the Migration Assistant for relocating workloads to Linux systems and the sqlps PowerShell module. This last item is in line with a possibility introduced when PowerShell was initially open-sourced: Once ported to Linux, it would become part of the support structure for other big-name Microsoft applications as they, too, showed up on the OS. That’s now happening.

By bringing SQL Server to Linux, Microsoft can compete more directly with Oracle, which has long provided its product on Linux. Oracle may be blunting the effects of the strategy by shifting customers toward a cloud-based service model, but any gains are likely to be hard-won.

The other, immediate benefit is to provide Microsoft customers with more places to run SQL Server. Enterprises have historically run mixes of Linux and Windows systems, and SQL Server on Linux will let them shave the costs of running some infrastructure.

Most of all, Microsoft is striving to prove a Microsoft shop can lose little, and preferably nothing, by making a switch—and a new shop eyeing SQL Server has fewer reasons to opt for a competing database that’s Linux-first.

 

 

 

[Source:- Infoworld]