FPGAs and Cyclical Fashion Trends

I saw a headline in the Wall Street Journal speculating that the several year trend towards men wearing beards was coming to an end.  Like all shifts in fashion, nobody can say for sure what causes a trend to turn, but I hypothesize it might have been this photo.

In the world of computing, the rise of the cloud has left little oxygen in the press for anything other than the storyline that Amazon, Microsoft and Google (the tech fashionistas) have decided cheap servers running Linux are the answer to every computing problem. When one unit of compute isn’t enough, you write your software to split the workload two ways, or four, or eight, or a thousand. If you find that hard, too bad, hire smarter people like Google and Amazon.

Horizontal scale on cheap CPUs became a religion, and anything that didn’t look like AWS EC2 was like telling the girlfriend who bought you a flannel shirt for your birthday, “sorry, I don’t want to grow a beard”.… Read the rest

Microsoft hitches to the AMQP wagon

This past week Microsoft announced that they have joined the AMQP working group, throwing support behind the grass-roots AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) movement popular with application developers in financial services, telecom and cloud computing.

Microsoft sells a long-standing proprietary messaging product called MSMQ and has been a driving force behind the WS-ReliableMessaging standard accepted by OASIS in 2007.

So why support AMQP now? Microsoft says in the press release that this is in response to customer demand (probably true) and a display of their commitment to openness, interoperability and customer choice (politicians aren’t the only ones that know how to spin).

The truth is Microsoft is not a significant player in the messaging space which has long been dominated by IBM, Tibco and JMS products (from Sun and others). Messaging is a highly heterogeneous problem, and MSMQ adoption has been Windows only. Most of the WS-standards stalled out about two years ago.… Read the rest