Sunday, November 24, 2019

But Can You Do Better Than This

If you've been reading this blog, you know that I worry about cloud availability.

However, most of the time the big cloud providers have more availability and redundancy capability than almost any enterprise can provide.

For an example, Microsoft recently had an outage of its Multifactor Authentication (MFA) for Azure and Office 365 users in North America,

There's a report on it here. And here's Microsoft's Root Cause Analysis.

Go read the Next Steps. Here's #1:
  1. Fine-grained fault domain isolation work has been accelerated. This work builds on the previous fault domain isolation work which limited this incident to North American tenants. This includes:
  • Additional physical partitioning within each Azure region.
  • Logical partitioning between authentication types.
  • Improved partitioning between service tiers.
Do you think your enterprise could add "Additional physical partitioning," "Logical partitioning between authentication types," and "Improved partitioning between service tiers?"

If you could, you must be in the Fortune 100. And that's just the first bullet of actions.

These outages from the cloud providers get a lot of publicity but unless you're a mega-scale enterprise any of them are way more capable than you'll ever hope to be.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Cloud is Full

Recently ZDNet's  All About Microsoft reported that Microsoft Azure customers had reported hitting virtual machine limits in U.S. East regions.
This is scary.

There were a small number of comments (7) that related that they had had the same experience. Here is a typical comment.
Happened to me. I tried to deploy a new SQL database in eastus2 2 weeks ago only to be greeted by an error. Opened a tickets and was basically told there was nothing they could do. Escalated the issue with our TAM which also could not get approval for 1 database to deploy. I was asking for the smallest database they offer (s0) and was told we couldn't have it. No communication before, no warning emails, no blog posts, nothing in the service dashboards, even our account team didn't know anything about it. Completely blindsided me and delayed development on an app for a week while i could move resources to another region. Unacceptable and definitely does not live up to promises made!
There's a reddit thread on this here.
We've faced this issue in North Europe, East US and West US 2. This has just started happening over the last couple of weeks and what's even more frustrating is, we already have sufficient quota allocated to us, but, our users haven't been able to deploy their machines even when within this quota.
This issue hasn't blown up so either it has been resolved or customers were able to work around it as GetNrDone did.

Regardless this is another consideration for using anyone's cloud services. I'd even suggest trying to putting a clause in your contract that guaranteed x% of available capacity on the vendor's part. I'd bet that none of the vendors would accept that but that would at least make the vendor play their cards.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Cloud Management Skills

Recently McAfee published a report on cloud adoption and risk. The Register did a review of the McAfee study.

The Register concluded:
The ongoing rash of data leaks caused by misconfigured clouds is the result of companies having virtually no visibility into how their cloud instances are configured, and very little ability to audit and manage them.
That's really scary. But it supports my concerns that moving workload to the cloud doesn't eliminate work/effort, i.e. manpower, but rather changes the skills required.

An organization should thoroughly understand the skills change that moving to the cloud brings.

These changes may be addressed with training but may require changing personnel to acquire the appropriate skills. These changes and the change management time and effort should be incorporated in the project timeline and budget for cloud implementation.

McAfee observed:
It’s possible the speed of cloud adoption is putting some practitioners behind.
The number 1 cause of cloud security issues noted by McAfee was "Lack of staff with the skills to secure cloud infrastructure."

That entire list is a good reference when considering moving workload to the cloud.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Nebo Professional Note-Taking

I had promised more about my new iPad so here it is.

One of my primary objectives for any tablet is to be able to take handwritten notes on it. I even tried that on my Asus Transformer Mini. I used MyScript's Nebo on it but it's a Windows tablet and you know how that is.

So the new iPad supports the Apple pencil technology. Of course I wouldn't buy an Apple pencil. That'd be too easy and expensive.

I ended up with a Adonit Note stylus for half the price of the Apple pencil..

Then I needed a handwriting app. My search kept coming back to MyScript's Nebo. While I wasn't wild about the $10 price I knew from my own experience that it would work well.

And it does.

The following slide show walks through a couple of the help screens. Then you can see my handwriting and the real-time conversion to text. Then I exported it to OneDrive in .docx format.

It all works really well. There are a lot of formatting tricks that you can do but I just want to capture the text.