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Data Centers configured to take a “nap”!

The modern work culture now allows its employees to take a “power nap” in between stressed out work shifts. Servers now have an equal demand! Researchers from the University of Michigan have declared a new mechanism by which power-hungry computer data centers can save up to 75% energy by putting these servers to sleep, when not in use.

Thomas Wenisch spearheaded this research, who also happens to be assistant professor in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His team performed an analysis on the power consumption and data center workloads. They used mathematical modeling techniques to optimize their findings. Their proposed technology would include “PowerNap” that conserves energy by eliminates almost all power used by servers that are idle and RAILS (Redundant Array for Inexpensive Load Sharing).

Most of the energy wasted by these servers is because of the enormous amounts of energy they draw while they are configured to meet peak processing requirements on demand. This is much higher compared to the normal demand. However, such servers when remain idle cause considerable energy losses together with loss in power delivery. In addition to this, their cooling mechanisms too, increase power consumption two-three fold.

The researchers made a quite interesting observation that typically, industrial data centers are utilized 20-30% on the average. This means, almost one fifths of their time is spent doing nothing. What is more surprising is the fact that they still consume at least 60% of the power while the are idle! Aw! Now that’s got to burn a hole in your pocket!

Just like ordinary laptops, Wenisch and his team has come up with this idea of applying the same underlying technology to hefty data centers. Techniques such as voltage scaling and dynamic frequency comparatively, do not help to conserve power by larger factors and are hence, not as efficient. However, the “sleep and wake up” process has to be fast enough so that there isn’t any considerable delay in between servicing requests and placing unique demands on them. These servers typically exhibit recurrent and concise bursts of activity so this posed a challenge for the team.

Wenisch has made a point in a podcast that the carbon footprint of Czech Republic is as high as tat of all the world’s data centers! Therefore, he claims that “PowerNap” is all set to bring about the necessary savings in power consumption. However, in order to continuously co ordinate the sleeping and waking, “PowerNap” would require a new operating system designed for its specific purpose.

Ready for a Nap there Mr. Server?…oops…for you, we now have “PowerNap”!

Comparing Umbraco and DotNetNuke

So if you are going for an open source Content Management System (CMS), which should you choose: DotNetNuke (DNN) or Umbraco.

Both have the advantage of being open source programs, which means they are constantly updated and improved. There are many plugins and applications created by a core of invested users, increasing functionality and removing bugs with regularity.

Still, there are plenty of differences, as anyone who has used both systems will note.

Here are some things to consider about Umbraco:

  • It can be edited in Microsoft Word, making for easy editing for most users.
  • There are OSS or commercial install options
  • A high-quality, highly functional CMS
  • Install gives you a blank page – no template, not much of anything else – This means plenty of freedom and flexibility – freedom to succeed or freedom to fail. Success of a site is entirely up to a developer, meaning you must have a highly qualified and creative developer who also knows legal compliance and standards compliance.
  • Umbraco has high requirements for hosting, so it is difficult to find a “shared” hosting environment that will support it
  • Still working on good ecommerce solutions
  • Version 4 has better support for Safari and Firefox
  • There are good plugins available, and a management system built into Umbraco

By contrast, here are some items to consider about DotNetNuke:

Has a proprietary feel, despite being open source

  • Dot NET developers like it, those who are not dot NET developers have trouble with it
  • Based on Microsoft’s ASP.NET, which is the most popular web technology currently
  • Cheap to use and reduces total development costs – no ongoing licensing fees
  • Full access to source code so it can be altered to fit individual organizations
  • Can manage text, image, documents, links, events, news, banner ads and threaded info
  • Supports multiple websites
  • Installs easily
  • Can manage site hosting, content, security, web design and membership in one program
  • Multi-language ability
  • Fully extensible and scalable
  • User friendly interface and intuitve site wizards, help icons and interface for those familiar with Dot NET
  • DNN has a large user base (125,000 registered users) and a core programming team dedicated to the system, so it is a large community. There are also an increasing number of third party developers of plug-ins, etc. for DNN

Which open-source hosting program is right for you? It depends on your abilities, wants and business model. Either way you go, using an open source CMS might be the way for you to save money and still have a strong, attractive site.

Social Networking-The journey from toys to tools

“Follow me on Twitter!”

“I’ll add you on Facebook!”

“Hey, we are Orkut friends!”

“I’ll subscribe to your RSS feed right away!”

You will agree, these are some of the most touted phrases that we use when we “network”. However, this is not the way the journey had begun. The transformation from toys to tools was a revolution that brought out a whole new “Social Economy” in “Social Networks”.

Emotions have been replaced by emoticons, expressions have given way to smileys and the English Language has seen drastic reforms in the present era. Yes, we are using a super condensed and more “expressive” way of communication, thanks to social networking.

Facebook, Orkut, Twitter and many others took birth in the World Wide Web and primarily made their presence felt as networking toys. Little did we realize then, about the enormous networking capabilities they had. Soon, along with inviting our near ones to hang out at a party, we were “inviting” them to our online profiles on these websites. There were friends, friends of friends; can I say an online “big bang”?

Yes, the concept might be surreal, but the sheer fascination and excitement to be a part of this revolution paved way for the dynamics of theses toys to mutate into tools. It would be quite difficult to point out the exact period when this transformation took place, but you knew it was there when you were networking more online rather than calling up or e-mailing the same people. Your business cards and identities changed during this era and now included information of your online profiles or networks.

“Human networks” is the word of the hour. We have been consistent in synthesizing our conversations through these digitally woven, close environments, with a wide array of inbound and outbound hyperlinks dominating our online presence. We are scheduling meetings, hanging out, having conversations, sharing interests, making a social statement in a world of our own. All these worlds come together in the digital universe. The good news is, we are getting addicted to it every day and striving to reach its epitome.

“To err is human…” What is human? Is it an online Avatar or the one who sits behind it and controls its actions? Are our online counterparts facing an identity crisis?

The principles associated with this new social economy have brought about the tools in toys and I am now a part of it. The trick of the trade is to propel your identity towards the proper direction and your intended audience.

Welcome to the world of social networking once again…have you noticed the change?

DotNet Nuke CMS – Open Source Solutions for Small Business

DotNetNuke is an open source CMS (Content Management System) developed by a ARES and constantly modified, improved and updated by a community of interested supporters and developers.

The DotNetNuke system is particularly focused on small businesses and organizations that operate on a tight budget (for example, many non-profit organizations), giving them many of the features of a large CMS on an open source platform.

DotNetNuke benefits from community sites that host developers. End users can join these communities and benefit from the combined experience of hundred or thousands of other developers who are also using DotNetNuke for the same kinds of projects daily.

Developers are able to share ideas and solutions and propose and tweak the program constantly so everyone benefits with improved projects and results.

Some advantages of DotNetNuke include:
•    Flexible and adaptable framework that can accommodate websites, extranets, and intranets
•    Intuitive and user-friendly design that allows users with little technical knowledge manage a web site
•    Site wizards, help buttons, and a user interface that is constantly updated for ease of use
•    CMS support from a dedicated core development group
•    Straightforward, simple installation for quick deployment
•    Many language options, making DotNetNuke viable for users in many different countries
•    No-cost, open source – users can do whatever they like with the program under a BSD agreement. Users can use the program for commercial or non profit purposes, with no requirements other than directing credit to the DotNetNuke community
•    Lowers the cost of managing multiple websites
•    The opportunity to create and upsell premium content for clients – site templates, content management modules and many database options, for example
•    Utilizes all the latest technologies, including modules, module packaging, ASP.NET 2.0, Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 Express, and Visual Web Developer

There are over 150,000 registered users  of DotNetNuke, and a number of active producers of plugins, modules and templates for the program, making it a growing and dynamic content management system.

There’s some great site consistency when using DotNetNuke (DNN) and easy site navigation. The pages turnaround quickly, a number of people can work on a site at once, and there is great growth potential with DNN.

DotNetNuke is another highly versatile and functional open source solution for Content Management, particularly for small businesses and non profits.

Umbraco 4 – Open Source Content Management for ASP.NET

Microsoft’s ASP.NET has been described as not only the next step in ASP (Active Server Pages), but rather the next generation of web development, period. The ASP system now works with a universally understood CLR (Common Language Runtime), executing code so that different languages can interact with one another seamlessly, making Web application development simple and straightforward.

Now, there is a new open source content management system that utilizes the power and simplicity of ASP.NET.

Umbraco has developed a Content Management System (CMS) that works on Microsoft’s ASP.NET.

Advantages to Umbraco are:
• Supports any of the current browsers – no more error messages when a client using a browser other than Explorer visits you site
• Designers can create xhtml that works and is easy to access, while still leaving their own markup intact
• It supports all .NET based controls without any alteration or modification
• Gives designers a free hand when it comes to layout and placement, and allows the latest web standards – there are no constraints on utilizing the Umbraco framework
• Everyone can help fix bugs, work on content, whatever — simultaneously
• “Brilliant” master pages
• It integrates existing technology instead of introducing new proprietary programs – ie: uses HTML instead of some new markup, and uses xslts

Other companies are creating other solutions utilizing the Umbraco platform, including an ecommerce solution. As Umbraco continues to develop, doubtless more solutions will be created for the platform.

Many users around the world appreciate the open source solution’s speed and ease of use. Users say it is easy and intuitive to pick up, and can expand to meet growing needs. Others appreciate its flexibility and speed.

However, there are still some problems with the user interface, and some users complain that there are still bugs in the code. This may be expected with an open source program, and its likely that these will continue to be improved. Several users decry the lack of documentation, as well.

Still, since Microsoft is still king of content, it makes sense to have a CMS that is Windows based. Umbraco integrates .NET technology easily and at a price that can’t be beat. It is constantly updated and improved for a constantly improving – or at least changing—CMS that is responsive to the needs of the users.

We Need Reviews on our Firefox Add-on

Here is the link to our Add-on (Current Site IP):

We need you to add a review to our Add-on so that it will be published.

Short description how users can post reviews:

  1. Users must register on Mozilla Add-ons.
  2. After successful registration you can see extensions which are in sandbox. They are labeled “experimental”.
  3. Visit extension page and fill review to textarea titled “What do you think?”. After that click on button “Save”.
  4. Reviews are moderated. It takes some time before your review will publish.

One tip: On AMO are accepted only good reviews. Short texts like “good work”, “nice add-on” etc. will be deleted. Reviews are primary for end users and they would be informative.