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May Dinner Meeting Recap E-mail
Written by George Orlin   

The Serverless Movement for Dummies

A peek at recent Google search trends will tell you that "Serverless Computing" is on the rise in the minds of technologists across industries. This increasingly prevalent computing strategy is emerging as a key player in the overall enterprise architecture for countless large organizations, including Capital One, Coca-Cola, Netflix, Nordstrom, and many more.

So what really is Serverless Computing, and how can it help our businesses?

Rupak Ganguly
, Solutions Architect at Docker, recently explored the subject at our most recent AITP Atlanta dinner in a fascinating talk that dove deep into the core issues of the topic.

Presentation


The Evolution of Computing


Evolution

  1. Data Centers: In years past, enterprise computing occurred almost exclusively within private, climate-controlled data centers consisting of hundreds or thousands of individual servers. In this world, deployments were complex, risky, and arduous. Infrastructure investment required massive capital contribution and the ROI only become clear after long payback periods.
  2. Cloud: With the emergence of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and other "cloud computing" providers, enterprises were presented with a new, more affordable computing option. This "cloud" option allowed licensing of server space within a managed data center, spreading the infrastructure investment over many months. Additionally, cloud introduced easier server-scaling, allowing performance to maintain consistent even as request volume increased. Finally, service-oriented architecture arose as a new architecture methodology that decoupled software components, making deployments significantly easier.
  3. PaaS: With platform-as-a-service, you stopped having to manage infrastructure altogether. The engineering teams now only focused on producing single-responsibility "microservices", exposed by standard sets of open APIs, allowed easy orchestration of previously complex, monolithic backend business processes. These microservices resided on auto-scaling servers, of any desirable size, in the cloud
  4. FaaS: Finally, we have arrived at serverless computing. In this world, individual functions (think of them as "micro-microservices") would each perform a small portion of a single-responsibility job. These functions are initiated by server events instead of user input. Finally, these functions require zero thought about infrastructure needs since each function (when utilizing an offering such as AWS Lambda) spins up its own computing infrastructure automatically, runs itself, then shuts the infrastructure down.

With that all said, it's clear that serverless computing isn't entirely serverless, but it does keep you from worrying about servers.

Definition of "serverless": Though servers exist, the developer does not have to think about them


When Serverless Makes Sense

A serverless architecture pattern can add significant value while reducing costs in the right use cases. So what are the right use cases?With that all said, it's clear that serverless computing isn't entirely serverless, but it does keep you from worrying about servers.


 
Use Cases

In these cases, serverless computing can simplify the processing of these jobs while keeping infrastructure management and costs very low. However, there are some challenges with serverless including higher latency, high prices at very high volumes, and challenges around service discovery. With that said, serverless may not always be the right choice for all scenarios.

So how does this help businesses innovate more quickly and spend less getting to meaningful results?


The answer to that question becomes clear when looking at the typical "cost of solution" model:

Solution Costs

Serverless dramatically reduces the effort associated with supporting a solution, from a much leaner DevOps needs to a much lower (in most cases) compute needs. When considering the model above, both the factors on the right side of the equation are reduced, which reduced the total cost of the solution to the business. Additionally, the opportunity for the business to iterate faster & test ideas faster than the competition becomes a real option.
Interested in learning more about serverless computing? Reach out to Rupak Ganguly for an expert opinion on best practices, and much more.

About AITP Atlanta

Does emerging technology fascinate and inspire you? Are you looking to learn more about high-tech including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity?

Then we have some great news… AITP Atlanta is shaping up to be the premier forum of discovery and innovative thinking for local technologists in 2019. We’d like to invite you to join a tight network of professionals, just like you, on the journey to the cutting-edge of the possible across the technology industry.

AITP Cityscape

Association of IT Professionals (AITP) is the leading association for technology professionals, students and educators. Join us to build your professional network, strengthen your technical knowledge and soft skills, develop a personal career path, and keep current on technology and business trends. Be part of the community that continues to push technology forward and join thousands of other tech professionals as an AITP member.

See you at our next dinner event!

 

 
February Dinner Meeting Recap E-mail
Written by George Orlin   

Artificial Intelligence: Driving Exponential Innovation

Have you ever thought to yourself: "What would it be like for someone from the 1700's if they were dropped into 2019?"

AI Dashboard


Tim Urban, American futurist and creator of the inquisitive and cheeky blog Wait But Why, asked himself the same question. His answer? They would simply die, overwhelmed with the enormous amount of progress. This concept would become known as DPU, or "Die Progress Units": the amount of innovation and progress that needs to occur before a previously unexposed audience simply dies upon being exposed to the innovation.

Artificial Intelligence: The driving force towards the next DPU

 

AI Attendees


In our most AITP dinner, Alex Vayner, Data Science & Artificial Intelligence Leader at Capgemini, explored what we could expect from the next "DPU" that would likely occur in the dramatically short time between now and 2030, primarily due to the explosion of progress in artificial intelligence and cognitive automation. Alex described a near future where AI would augment and enhance human capabilities, from driving vehicles to making better business decisions. Many were left asking the question, "what really is the magic behind AI that could bring these ideas to fruition?"

Alex's explanation was that AI is a collection of mathmatic and statistical algorithms aimed at answering specific questions, from understanding natural spoken language to identifying an emotion in an Instagram image.

AI Instagram

 

Additionally, the reason that AI is becoming more prevalent in recent years, is due to a perfect alignment of several factors that have set the scene to turn mathematical theory from the 50's into a reality in 2019. These factors include:

AI Factors

Over the next 50 years, we will likely experience incredible progress in the realm of AI. Imagine machine generated New York Times bestsellers appearing in 25 years, robotic surgeons in 35 years, and computer-automated math research in 45 years. Our ability to innovate is exponentially increasing with the power of cognitive computing.

Sounds great, so how does this all work?

Under the hood of AI

Today, for AI to deliver the right answer to our questions, it will need carefully curated algorithms and an enormous amount of training data. These algorithms are first represented in code using high-level programming languages such as Python, Scala, and R. The algorithms are then deployed onto powerful compute hardware such as GPUs and refined using very large sets of annotated training data. As the GPUs power through millions and billions of records of this training data, the machine "learns", and the confidence level of the algorithms is continuous measured until the algorithms are able to consistently annotate unannotated data correctly.

This process is typically facilitated by a data science team, referred to by Alex as a "POD". The POD consists of four different experts, with specific responsibilities necessary to produce a meaningful AI solution. A typical "POD" might look like this:

AI Pod

Some of the titles in this "POD" are probably familiar to you. In fact, countless economic sources state that they are amongst the most desirable and in-demand jobs in 2019.

About AITP Atlanta

Does emerging technology fascinate and inspire you? Are you looking to learn more about high-tech including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity?

Then we have some great news… AITP Atlanta is shaping up to be the premier forum of discovery and innovative thinking for local technologists in 2019. We’d like to invite you to join a tight network of professionals, just like you, on the journey to the cutting-edge of the possible across the technology industry.

AITP Cityscape

Association of IT Professionals (AITP) is the leading association for technology professionals, students and educators. Join us to build your professional network, strengthen your technical knowledge and soft skills, develop a personal career path, and keep current on technology and business trends. Be part of the community that continues to push technology forward and join thousands of other tech professionals as an AITP member.

 

 
April Dinner Meeting Recap E-mail
Written by George Orlin   

 You Millennial Consumer: What the REALLY want from your brand

"Brick and Mortar is dead."

We've been hearing that, or something like that, a whole lot recently.

With the meteoric rise of on-demand, technology-driven conveniences all across the world, such as same-day delivery of products from Amazon and delivery of almost any food options from UberEats, many analysts are coming to the conclusion that traditional store-based experiences will disappear altogether. These analysts point to the fact that many modern consumers, especially Millennials, increasingly prefer off-premise purchasing.

However, during our latest AITP Dinner, Laura Davis-Taylor, Co-Founder at the Retail Experience Collective HighStreet, challenged this conclusion. Laura pointed to emerging retail research that concluded that most Millennials actually desire traditional tactile experiences in combination with the newer digital experiences.

Laura Davis-Taylor


Okay... So why are traditional stores dying?

The Failed Brand Promise

Brand Promise


According to WorkFront, "A brand promise is a value or experience a company's customers can expect to receive every single time they interact with that company. The more a company can deliver on that promise, the stronger the brand value in the mind of customers and employees."

This statement is exponentially true for Millennials. This generation of consumer is empowered by digital technology and has every ability to easily select other businesses to purchase from if they have a poor experience. As a result, they hold brands accountable to live up to their brand promises.
 
Teller


More often than not, the failure of the brand promise occurs in the physical "brick and mortar" stores. It may be a lack of inventory, a rude cashier, or exceptionally long lines. Regardless of the exact cause, the problem is a common issue: the consumer did not get the experience that they expected when they arrived. Many of these frustrating issues are avoiding in digital channels, so these consumers either go digital (if they don't have other choices) or they go elsewhere (if they do have other choices).

Keeping your Brand Promise


Want to be a wildly successful brand in a world of Millennials?

Keep your promises. And modern technology can help with that... from digital marketing signage to advanced supply chain management to suggestive selling from a POS. There are countless new tools emerging across industries to make it a little bit easier for brands to deliver better guest experiences.

If these new consumers like your value proposition, and you consistently deliver on it every single time, across every single channel, you will effortlessly glide ahead of your competition as they slowly die at the fault of their own unwillingness to listen to their consumers and evolve.

Interesting in learning more? Then don't miss our next AITP dinner and Register Today.

About AITP Atlanta

Does emerging technology fascinate and inspire you? Are you looking to learn more about high-tech including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity?

Then we have some great news… AITP Atlanta is shaping up to be the premier forum of discovery and innovative thinking for local technologists in 2019. We’d like to invite you to join a tight network of professionals, just like you, on the journey to the cutting-edge of the possible across the technology industry.

AITP Cityscape

Association of IT Professionals (AITP) is the leading association for technology professionals, students and educators. Join us to build your professional network, strengthen your technical knowledge and soft skills, develop a personal career path, and keep current on technology and business trends. Be part of the community that continues to push technology forward and join thousands of other tech professionals as an AITP member.

See you at our next dinner event!

 

 
March Dinner Meeting Recap E-mail
Written by George Orlin   

Artificial Intelligence: Driving Exponential Innovation

While countless organizations and companies invest in increasingly advance cyber-security measures, the human user has remained the weakest link in the entire structure.

March Speaker


While countless organizations and companies invest in increasingly advance cyber-security measures, the In our latest AITP Atlanta dinner meeting, Gregory Evans, an often-televised cyber-security thought leader, addressed the challenges associated with establishing true protection against data theft and malicious hacking when the penetration often occurs at the user level. Ultimately, effective protection against cyber-attacks and "hacking" requires cyber-awareness at the user level; to become "cyber-aware", means that you need to start thinking like a hacker.

Hacking 101


In an effort to help the group to start to think like a hacker, Gregory addressed the typical five-stage process of hacking:
uman user has remained the weakest link in the entire structure.

 

Hacking


Reconnaissance: This is the primary phase where the Hacker tries to collect as much information as possible about the target. It includes Identifying the Target, finding out the target's IP Address Range, Network, DNS records, etc.

Scanning: It involves taking the information discovered during reconnaissance and using it to examine the network. Tools that a hacker may employ during the scanning phase can include dialers, port scanners, network mappers, sweepers, and vulnerability scanners. Hackers are seeking any information that can help them perpetrate attack such as computer names, IP addresses, and user accounts.

Penetration: Vulnerabilities discovered during the reconnaissance and scanning phase are now exploited to gain access. The method of connection the hacker uses for an exploit can be a local area network (LAN, either wired or wireless), local access to a PC, the Internet, or offline. Examples include stack based buffer overflows, denial of service (DoS), and session hijacking.

Advance: Once a hacker has gained access, they want to keep that access for future exploitation and attacks. Sometimes, hackers harden the system from other hackers or security personnel by securing their exclusive access with backdoors, rootkits, and Trojans. Once the hacker owns the system, they can use it as a base to launch additional attacks. In this case, the owned system is sometimes referred to as a zombie system.

Covering Tracks: Once hackers have been able to gain and maintain access, they cover their tracks to avoid detection by security personnel, to continue to use the owned system, to remove evidence of hacking, or to avoid legal action. Hackers try to remove all traces of the attack, such as log files or intrusion detection system (IDS) alarms. Examples of activities during this phase of the attack include steganography, the use of tunneling protocols, and altering log files.

In summary, a number of cybersecurity technologies and measures can be implemented to hedge against the risk of a hacking incident as described above. However, cyber-awareness remains one of the most effective measures to protect against damaging breaches.

Rubrik: Enterprise Backup Recovery 

Rubrik
How can organizations restores their environments and enterprise data after a breach?


Rubrik, our latest meeting event sponsor, has developed a self-learning system built to index massive amounts of data while globally executing tasks in a fault-tolerant and efficient manner.

This allows the fastest recoveries from On-Prem to Cloud. All powered by Rubrik's Smart Engine.





About AITP Atlanta

Does emerging technology fascinate and inspire you? Are you looking to learn more about high-tech including artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity?

Then we have some great news… AITP Atlanta is shaping up to be the premier forum of discovery and innovative thinking for local technologists in 2019. We’d like to invite you to join a tight network of professionals, just like you, on the journey to the cutting-edge of the possible across the technology industry.

AITP Cityscape

Association of IT Professionals (AITP) is the leading association for technology professionals, students and educators. Join us to build your professional network, strengthen your technical knowledge and soft skills, develop a personal career path, and keep current on technology and business trends. Be part of the community that continues to push technology forward and join thousands of other tech professionals as an AITP member.

See you at our next dinner event!

 

 
January 2019 Dinner Review E-mail
Written by Programs   

What is the deal with Robotic Process Automation?

 

RPA

In our most recent AITP meeting, Mary Elizabeth Hooper, Director IT - Innovation, Robotics (RPA), Customer View, Adoption and Service Measurement/Reporting at Synovus helped demystify RPA.

In a nutshell, RPA is like a macro. Many of us have used or built macros in our careers; oftentimes through tools like Microsoft Excel. Similar to the Macros of years past, core RPA technology is not thinking, is not learning, it is only “doing”. Core RPA tools follow a set of rules to perform a sequence of automated actions with the goal of acting like a human. There are certain forms of RPA that are more advanced, automatically enhancing rules engines based off of “learning” from the continuous executions of actions and observations of outcomes. A good example are many chatbots; chatbots, while appearing fascinatingly intelligent, are often simply guided by a set of rules initially programmed by a human or adjusted by an algorithm.

At a certain point, when the technology begins to “reason”, navigating the “gray-area” in between rules, it transcends from being an RPA solution to a Cognitive Automation solution. These solutions support many advanced capabilities including natural language processing. Google Home, Alexa, and Watson are all examples of Cognitive Automation solutions.

While this makes sense, what is the value to a business? Mary shared her perspective garnered from her experience at Synovus:

Large businesses, especially those that grow through mergers and acquisitions, are constantly faced with the challenge of wrangling their data. Oftentimes, key financial and company data lives in different forms in different systems; many of these systems are legacy without effective mechanisms (like APIs) to access that data. In this state, business analyst resources have to invest significant time to manually query, access, and re-key data to create the necessary aggregate reports for the business. To combat this manual requirement, the IT teams for these large businesses are often asked to undertake the difficult task of integrating these systems through a complex programming effort. So how does RPA help?

RPA allows those manual business analyst tasks to be automated through a series of steps and rules. Query a database? Copy a record? Enter it into a spreadsheet? All automated into the RPA equivalent of a macro. The end result is an automated workaround for having to deal with legacy systems, saving the time and expense of having human resources perform those tasks manually.

In a perfect world, where system effectively “talk” using standard open APIs, the need for basic RPA would fade. However, we are a long way away from that utopian view. As long as businesses are continuing to rely on disparate, siloed systems of record, RPA will continue to be a valuable tool for navigating the chaos.
RPA

 

 

 
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