Welcome to The Long View—where we peruse the news of the week and strip it to the essentials. Let’s work out what really matters.
This week: Working from home is de rigueur, JEDI redux, and more about Nvidia/Arm.
Survey Says: Devs Stay Out of Office
First up this week: GitHub’s annual survey of developers has some fascinating data on the workplace (ahem) “new normal.” The pandemic has radically changed devs’ expectations of where they can do their jobs.
Analysis: WFH is SOP
As with other roles, Dev people want to continue to work from home. But does this pose a threat to your DevOps culture? Make sure you can do Ops with equal flexibility.
Paul Krill: Dev productivity is back to pre-pandemic levels
GitHub’s “2021 State of the Octoverse” research … sees signs that work rhythm is returning to pre-pandemic levels. GitHub also found that 46 percent of developers who worked co-located with teammates now expect to work fully remotely or in a hybrid environment.
Zeroing in on the WFH angle, it’s Richard Speed:
Respondents who were in the office either full or part-time dropped from 42 percent before the pandemic to a mere 10.7 percent now. … That’s a lot of empty desks.
Fans of the ctrl-c, ctrl-v combo will be delighted to note that GitHub found that when code reuse was made “frictionless” at work, developer’s performance increased by up to 87 percent. … It’s all splendid stuff.
But beware of statistical fallacies, thinks Henrik Ingo—@h_ingo:
#WorkFromHome may have been more common than anyone realized. [But] is the population of GitHub users/respondents somehow skewed toward pioneers/early adopters? … This might be a case of correlation is not causation.
Defense Dept. Orders New Clouds
The DoD issued its latest cloud contract opportunity notice, with the snappy title of “Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability” (JWCC). Reading between the lines of the notice, it all sounds very DevOps-cum-Agile.
The Pentagon has backed away from its previous insistence on a single supplier, and now wants at least two cloud providers.
Analysis: JEDI redux, because AWS wants a do-over
JWCC is the follow-on from the aborted JEDI procurement. Amazon Web Services was “disappointed” to have been passed over in favor of Microsoft. Now it appears the DoD wants them to share.
What can you learn from such a multi-vendor DevOps strategy?
Jordan Novet: Pentagon asks Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle for bids
Amazon and Microsoft were the finalists for a single Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure. … Microsoft won it in 2019, Amazon filed a protest and the Pentagon canceled the contract in July.
The new effort [is] known as Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability. … JWCC differs from JEDI because it allows the Pentagon to rely on multiple cloud providers.
The U.S. General Services Administration … said only two U.S. cloud infrastructure providers, Amazon and Microsoft, appear able to comply with all of the Pentagon’s requirements. … The value of the new contracts is not known, but the Defense Department estimates it could run into the multiple billions of dollars.
In summary, heed this Anonymous Coward:
Competing suppliers will try harder than one non-competing supplier. The DoD has had a lot of problems with One-Ring-to-rule-them-all systems like the F-35. … JEDI would have been the same.
Smaller steps with upgrades while testing/using offers better returns. Done right they can get a better deal by making the companies compete against each other in making sure the products are actually useful.
But look carefully at the DoD contract opportunity, says bustinbrains:
They’ll all get contracts. Then DoD will simply use the one that they actually like the best. No one can complain because it’s open-ended with no guarantees.
Arm/Nvidia Deal on FTC’s Radar
Last week, we talked about Nvidia’s goal to acquire Arm Ltd from SoftBank, and the regulatory challenges it poses—notably in the UK, home of the chip architect. After we went to press, the other shoe dropped.
Analysis: Just Give Up Already
As we said last week, Nvidia can’t be allowed to do this. Not only are ARM chips found in 99% of smartphones, but they’re an increasing fixture in the datacenter—especially places that value “performance per Watt.”
Richard Waters: What’s next for the tumultuous takeover of Arm?
Nvidia’s acquisition of UK chip design company Arm from SoftBank has provoked serious opposition on both sides of the Atlantic. … The US Federal Trade Commission had its own worries. China, meanwhile, is waiting in the wings.
The deal has shone a spotlight on the unique position Arm plays in the chip industry. [Nvidia] offered a guarantee that it won’t block any other companies from licensing Arm’s designs. The offer has fallen on deaf ears, with both the EU and UK ruling it inadequate. … Post-Brexit politics have also come into play.
At what point might Nvidia and SoftBank call it a day? … A stock market listing [is] the most likely alternative, with the UK a favoured venue.
How’s it viewed from the inside? Here’s a hint from fivemack:
I was at ARM when Softbank bought them; it came as a surprise to everybody, because we were absolutely confident that we were unbuyable because anyone interested in us would want to use differential licensing as a weapon against their competitors, and we … were confident that regulators wouldn’t accept that.
Lots of people went home with a year’s pay check in free money. And not a few people … went home with a decade’s pay check in free money.
More and more DevOps workloads are running on ARM silicon. Here’s Biophoton:
The low power expertise of ARM has to be an advantage in the data centre (DC) market. … Plus Linux is available on ARM so architectural lock-in of Intel could be eroded in the DC market.