IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi is the leader of KwaZulu-Natal’s House of Traditional Leaders. (Image: Angeljes blog, Belgium) The recently formed National Freedom Party (NFP), a breakaway from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), hopes to draw in South Africans who’ve grown weary of racial battles among other political groups in the country. The party was officially launched at the Durban City Hall in KwaZulu-Natal on 25 January 2011.Recently dismissed IFP national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi was elected by her supporters to be the leader of the NFP.Msibi had in the past been eyed as the next leader of the IFP, although its long-running president Mangosuthu Buthelezi has said that he will not be stepping down anytime soon.“I never thought that in my wildest dreams that I would ever stand in front of you and make this pronouncement about leaving the IFP, the party I have dedicated my entire life to serve,” Msibi said at the NFP launch.The NFP has already been registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and intends contesting the upcoming local government elections.“The NFP is a home to all South Africans, irrespective of their race, colour or creed. It is a home for the majority of our people who found themselves caught up in the racial battles of many parties in South Africa,” Msibi added.The party believes it will gain significant support from Zululand District Municipality’s Ulundi and Nongoma regions in the polls later this year.“We will win in Zululand because we have worked very hard there. In May, after local government elections, I will be the mayor of Zululand,” Msibi said.Breakaway a long time comingA rift within the IFP has existed since 2009 with members’ loyalties divided between Msibi and Buthelezi.Msibi’s faction has been in a tug-of-war with Buthelezi supporters and recently went to court to prevent an inquiry against her. If this intervention had been successful, it could have prevented her expulsion from the party.Msibi lost her fight in early January 2011 after the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed her application to order the IFP to hold an elective conference, and to prevent it from subjecting her to a disciplinary inquiry.After the court dismissal, IFP secretary-general Musa Zondi said: “We have been vindicated. We have never had any doubt that the court would dismiss the applications brought against us … since the grounds for these applications carried no substance.“Our immediate goal today is to start recovering the lost ground ahead of the 2011 local government elections and contest these elections as one organisation with one leader,” added Zondi.But Msibi was already hinting at a split: “We will never regain the relationship we once had with the leadership of the IFP. We have to accept the court’s decision and move forward as the party has shown that they no longer want me and my supporters in their fold.“The president (Mangosuthu Buthelezi) made it clear that there will never be reconciliation between us and therefore if one door closes, other doors open. We will be there in the local government elections and we are capable of doing anything,” she added.Although Msibi lost her place within the IFP, she praised Buthelezi as her mentor: “He groomed me and I have no qualms with him, but now we need to let bygones be bygones.”Long-time rulerMangosuthu Buthelezi founded the IFP in 1975 and has been its president ever since. He is a former member of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League, which he joined while studying at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape.The IFP and ANC had been bitter rivals since the 1980s, but after the first democratic elections in 1994 the relationship eased somewhat and the two parties formed a coalition in KwaZulu-Natal – the IFP’s stronghold.The IFP has 18 seats in the National Assembly and largely draws its support from isiZulu-speaking South Africans. The IFP strongly supports traditional leadership structures.Buthelezi plays an advisory role in the government as the head of KwaZulu-Natal’s House of Traditional Leaders.
richard macmanus Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… I first began writing regularly about the Internet of Things about a year ago. Now it’s bubbling up in the mainstream press and we’re also beginning to see web apps that are attempting to reach, if not quite a mainstream audience yet, then certainly the iPhone and Android-toting geek community. We’ve moved beyond the cutesy Internet-connected bunny rabbits and we’re now onto barcodes to stick on everyday objects.A new web service called tales of thingsjust launched, which aims to attach stories to objects. It follows on from a similar service that got a good amount of press at SXSW this year, StickyBits. Both services want to get people to ‘tag’ real world objects, by sticking barcodes onto them and adding information about the object onto the Web (often via mobile phone). The idea is that this will make the objects ‘social.’ However, I think this is doomed to fail and here’s why… Tales of things asks on its homepage: “Wouldn’t it be great to link any object directly to a ‘video memory’ or an article of text describing its history or background? Tales of Things allows just that with a quick and easy way to link any media to any object via small printable tags known as QR codes.”Both Tales of Things and StickyBits are going to struggle to get mainstream adoption. And it’s not because people just won’t stick barcodes onto objects – although that is a short-term pain point that both of these companies will likely fail to overcome. No, they won’t get mainstream adoption simply because the Internet of Things isn’t going to be just another social network platform. What’s unique about the Internet of Things is that it adds a huge amount of new data to the Web and allows real-world objects to become part of the cloud network. For example, sensors on a busy road communicate with your car to tell you of impending heavy traffic. Or when you walk into a shop, the store messages your phone to tell you that an item you’ve been looking for is in stock and on special. I met StickyBits founder Seth Goldstein at SXSW and he told me that his company aims to create a “social object network.” Trouble is, I just don’t think that Internet-connected everyday objects have much social value. Say I tag a book that I bought and attach the following ‘memory’ to it: “I read this book in the summer of 2010, it was a great read. I’d give it a 4/5.” Even if I wrote a much more in-depth review, what value does that have on a single object? If I uploaded that review to Amazon.com, then it’s put into context and gets aggregated with other reviews to form ratings and other ‘wisdom of the crowd’ intelligence. But on the object itself – my copy of the book – the review has limited value. If a friend of mine happened to scan my book with their phone, they’d see my review…and then probably head straight to Amazon.com to see what other people thought. Or perhaps check out what their own social network thought, via an app like Glue (a social network based on the media you consume – see our most recent review).Objects aren’t social, they never were and they never will be. The real value of Internet-connected objects is that they can become part of the network, which means they can connect to one another and they add more data to the giant computer we call The Cloud. But social networks aren’t going to form around single objects, other than perhaps public ones – like the Eiffel Tower, for example. But then you are just talking about a location, which the likes of FourSquare and BrightKite can take care of. The Internet of Things is about utility, not social networking. Neither Tales of Things nor StickyBits offers much in the way of utility, that we can’t already get from sites like Amazon.com or existing social networks. Let me know if you agree, or not! Tags:#Internet of Things#Op-Ed#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
Dear Abby,I need some advice. I have been dating my girl friend, let’s call her Betty for over 30 years now. Just when I thought we were progressing in our relationship along came Sam. Sam is young, hip and fun. He is always available, and Sam never says no when Betty calls. Now she barely even speaks to me. The only time I hear from her is when something is wrong, or I have made some mistake. What can I do to win her back? Love lorn in the MidwestThis could be written by most CIOs today. For decades, we have been discussing business and IT alignment and trying to get a seat at the table. We’ve established controls and processes. Projects seem to move slower and slower, while the pace of change in business moves faster and faster. Then along comes SaaS and it’s cousins, IaaS, DaaS, RaaS and threatens to destroy what little progress we have made. In my previous post, Are You Sassy?, we explored some of the impacts on the CIO SaaS brings. One of the most significant impacts SaaS and other “aaS”s have on the CIO and IT is the relationship we have with the other divisions and departments of our business. Today, just about anyone with a credit card can bring a new app into the enterprise. Talk about shadow IT! What do we do about it? How do we stop it? Can we control it? How do we get in front of the bus load of vendors that want to sell directly to the enterprise and bypass IT? Its enough to make your head spin! Just yesterday I was stopped in the hall by one of the guys on my team who asked “Hey, do you know what software Brian in HR just bought?” My answer was, “no, but I hope it is SaaS, requires no integration, and requires no data reporting or analysis.” You and I both know, the first answer may be true, the second and third may appear to be true, but at some point either now or in the future someone is going to want to interface with the “application Brian purchased” either to load data or extract data. I relate that story to show there is no “easy button” when it comes to solving the SaaS dilemma. It is hard work. You may even have to work on Saturday and Sunday (ok, very obscure humor, anyone get the reference?). However, the solution is the same solution we have been talking about for decades: relationship! I have written about my views on vendor management (3 Keys to a Long Lasting Relationship, and Take your Vendors for a Ride) so I won’t repeat those points here, suffice it to say, you need a strong relationship with your vendors (current and future) to head off the end-around. Instead, I would like to focus on the business relationship. The age of the CIO that sits in her office behind multiple layers of security and controls access to all of the company’s computing environment is long gone (actually it NEVER should have existed, but then we wouldn’t have had to read all those articles about business and IT alignment). Today’s CIO must be actively involved with running the business. As CIOs we must be engaged from the C-suite to the front lines, getting to know people, their jobs, and their challenges.A number of years ago, my job took me to Paris, France quite frequently. Before my travels, I had heard all those stories about the “rude French”, from the waiters and waitresses, to co-workers, to the average person on the street. What I learned couldn’t be further from the truth. I discovered cultural differences that lead to miscommunication were the main culprits (and honestly I saw more “rude Americans” on my travels than “rude French”). I did two things during my travels to help bridge the cultural divide. The first, I hired a tutor and learned French. I never was very eloquent in my French, but I learned very quickly, that if I approached someone in a restaurant or on the street, or even in the office and initiated the conversation in French they would immediately smile (maybe even laugh at my butchering of their language), switch to English, and continue the conversation with a whole new respect….just for trying. The other thing I did was to bring my French staff together with my American staff to understand our differences. I started by reading statements and having them guess who said them. “We work harder than they do”, “They don’t know what I do”, “They are always on break”, “They don’t respect me” and more. By the time I was done, they were all laughing because they realized those comments were from BOTH sides of the ocean. What does this have to do with your relationship with others in your business? First, language is important. Quit using “no” and replace it with “what, why, and how”. Remove acronyms from your vocabulary and quit trying to teach everyone about technology and how it works. They don’t care…nor should they. When I have discussions with our CEO, if we are talking about technology (it usually means his cell phone or iPad aren’t working) we are talking about the wrong things. If one of our teachers is “bending the rules” it doesn’t mean they are evil and trying to circumvent policy, it probably means the “rule” is in the way of their students. Use the language of the business. The other lesson? Put yourself in their shoes. Understand what the challenges and issues are and don’t talk about technology. Maybe even volunteer to do their job. I learned more in four hours working at one of our donation centers than I learned in a year sitting in meetings.Will this stop all the shadow IT? Will it prevent Brian from buying another application. No, but what it will do is bring it to your attention sooner so you can ask the appropriate questions with an understanding of the challenges and the issues. And maybe next time, Brian will talk with you about his challenge before he swipes in his credit card. This is a continuation of a series of posts that are looking at the confluence of changes impacting the CIO and IT leadership. Next up “It’s about the data stupid”. Jeffrey Ton is the SVP of Corporate Connectivity and Chief Information Officer for Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, providing vision and leadership in the continued development and implementation of the enterprise-wide information technology and marketing portfolios, including applications, information & data management, infrastructure, security and telecommunications.Find him on LinkedIn.Follow him on Twitter (@jtongici)Add him to your circles on Google+Check out his previous posts and discussions
Today, I’d like to take a peek at what’s around the corner, so to speak, and put the spotlight on a new and exciting area of development. We’ve spent some time in this blog series exploring Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) and its role in the journey to the hybrid cloud. We’ve looked at what’s possible now and how organisations early to the game have started to use technologies like orchestration layers and telemetry to increase agility whilst driving time, cost and labour out of their data centres. But where’s it all going next?One innovation that we’re just on the cusp of is server disaggregation and composable resources (catchy, huh?). As with much of the innovation I’ve spoken about during this blog series, this is about ensuring the datacentre infrastructure is architected to best serve the needs of the software applications that run upon it. Consider the Facebooks*, Googles* and Twitters* of the world – hyper-scale cloud service providers (CSPs), running hyper-scale workloads. In the traditional Enterprise, software architecture is often based on virtualisation – allocating one virtual machine (VM) to one application instance as demand requires. But, what happens when this software/hardware model simply isn’t practical?This is the ‘hyper-scale’ challenge faced by many CSPs. When operating at hyper-scale, response times are achieved by distributing workloads over many thousands of server nodes concurrently, hence a software architecture designed to run on a ‘compute grid’ is used to meet scale and flexibility demands. An example of this is the Map Reduce algorithm, used to process terabytes of data across thousands of nodes.However, along with this comes the requirement to add capacity at breath-taking pace whilst simultaneously achieving previously unheard of levels of density to maximise on space usage. Building new datacentres, or ‘pouring concrete’, is not cheap and can adversely affect service economics for a CSP.Mix-and-Match Cloud ComponentsSo, what’s the ‘The Big Idea’ with server disaggregation and composable resources?Consider this: What if you could split all the servers in a rack into their component parts, then mix and match them on-demand in whatever configuration you need in order for your application to run at its best?Let me illustrate this concept with a couple of examples. Firstly, consider a cloud service provider with users uploading in excess of 50 million photographs a day. Can you imagine the scale on which infrastructure has to be provisioned to keep up? In addition, hardly any of these pictures will be accessed after initial viewing! In this instance, the CSP could dynamically aggregate, say, lower power Intel® Atom™ processors with cheap, high capacity hard drives to create economically appropriate cold storage for infrequently accessed media.Alternatively, a CSP may be offering a cloud-based analytics service. In this case, the workload could require aggregation of high performance CPUs coupled with high bandwidth I/O and solid state storage – all dynamically assembled, from disaggregated components, on-demand.The Infinite Jigsaw PuzzleThis approach, the dynamic assembly of composable resources, is what Intel terms Rack Scale Architecture (RSA).RSA defines a set of composable infrastructure resources contained in separate, customisable ‘drawers’. There are separate drawers for different resources – compute, memory, storage – like a giant electronic pick-and-mix counter. A top-of-rack switch then uses silicon photonics to dynamically connect the components together to create a physical server on demand. Groups of racks – known as pods – can be managed and allocated on the fly using our old friend the orchestration layer. When application requirements change, the components can be disbanded and recombined into infrastructure configuration as needed – like having a set of jigsaw puzzle pieces that can be put together in infinite ways to create a different picture each time.Aside from the fun of all the creative possibilities, there are a lot of benefits to this type of approach:Using silicon photonics, which transmits information by laser rather than by physical cable, means expensive cabling can be reduced by as much as three times1.Server density can be increased by 1.5x and power provisioning reduced by up to six times1.Network uplink can be increased by 2.5x and network downlink by as much as 25 times1.All this means you can make optimal use of your resources and achieve granular control with high-level management. If you want to have a drawer of Intel Atom processors and another of Intel Xeon processors to give you compute flexibility, you can. Want the option of using disk or SSD storage? No problem. And want to be able to manage it all at the pod level with time left over to focus on the more innovative stuff with your data centre team? You got it.Some of these disaggregated rack projects are already underway. You may, for instance have heard of Project Scorpio initiatives in China, and Facebook’s Open Compute Project.All this is a great example of how the software-defined infrastructure can help drive time, cost and labour out of the data centre whilst increasing business agility, and will continue to do so as the technology evolves. Next time, we’ll be looking into how the network fits into SDI, but for now do let me know what you think of the composable resource approach. What would it mean for your data centre, and your business?1 Improvement based on standard rack with 40 DP servers, 48 port ToR switch, 1GE downlink/server and 4 x10GE uplinks, Cables: 40 downlink and 4 uplink vs . rack with 42 DP servers, SiPh patch panel, 25Gb/s downlink, 100Gb/s uplink, , Cables: 14 optical downlink, and 1 optical uplink. Actual improvement will vary depending on configuration and actual implementation.Tests document performance of components on a particular test, in specific systems. Differences in hardware, software, or configuration will affect actual performance. Consult other sources of information to evaluate performance as you consider your purchase. For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit http://www.intel.com/performanceOpens in a new window.