• PatHelland's WebLog

    Normalization Is for Sissies

    • 5 Comments
    So, Microsoft has a number of internal technical community gatherings. One of these is around the folks who are especially interested in storage. Now, while I haven't worked on storage for a while, I love these topics and like to hang out with folks working...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Changes in My Life

    • 26 Comments
    To all my dear friends, As most of you know, last year was very difficult for me with first my mother passing away in May, and then my wife of 29 years, Michelle, passing away in September. Since Michelle died, I have gone through a myriad of changes...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    SOA and Newton's Universe

    • 5 Comments
    Bill de hOra and my old friend (from our Amazon days) Mike Dierken commented on my use of SOA versus "distributed systems". There was also an interest in my perspective on the CAP Conjecture . Let me spew forth some thoughts... It may be a bit unusual...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Memories, Guesses, and Apologies

    • 5 Comments
    Well, here I am blogging on the bus with my newly installed Windows Live Writer!!! This blog is a text version of a five minute "Gong Show" presentation I did at CIDR (Conference on Innovative Database Research) on Jan 8,2007. All computing can be considered...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    A Difficult Year and a Difficult Blog Entry to Write...

    • 16 Comments
    To all of my friends, It has been a very difficult year for me at home and I have been postponing and procrastinating writing this blog entry. Yet, I have had a hard time conceiving of adding to my blog until this is written. First of all, my mother passed...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Why I hate the phrase "Long Running Transactions"...

    • 9 Comments
    I always talk about "Long Running Work" and steadfastly avoid "Long Running Transactions"... My preference is to use the word "transaction" to mean an atomic operation that occurs at a single service within a second or so. I mean the ACID ( A tomic C...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Accountants Don't Use Erasers

    • 4 Comments
    Many kinds of computing are "append-only". By that, I mean that observations about the world are recorded in perpetuity. Derived results from those observations may be calculated on demand (or kept as a running tally) but you can't rewrite history. I...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Durability Is in the Eye of the Beholder

    • 3 Comments
    So, I occasionally ponder the D in ACID transactions and wonder what it REALLY means. Observation #1: Committed Subject To... When I was working at Tandem in the 1980s, we had a complex (and fascinating) multiprocessor system with dual-ported disk drives...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Link to "Life Beyond Distributed Transactions: an Apostate's Opinion

    • 4 Comments
    My friend Harry Pierson points out that I am blogging-challenged and didn't include the links to my paper and talk. This talk and paper were given at CIDR (Conference on Innovative Database Research) on Jan 8th, 2007. Thanks, Harry! - Pat
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    More Discussion of SOA is like the Night Sky...

    • 31 Comments
    I received some thoughtful commentary from someone named John and I thought I would share his comments and some of my responses with you all. I’m still trying to get used to Blogging and don’t know how to give better attribution to John than...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Announcing www.PatHelland.com and a bit about TechEd in Amsterdam

    • 5 Comments
    Howdy, Everyone! I am just back from an 8 day trip to Amsterdam where I gave 6 sessions (and helped with one more). It was an exhausting trip with little sleep and I am happy to say I actually saw a bit of the beautiful city of Amsterdam on Saturday...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    SOA is like the Night Sky...

    • 13 Comments
    I frequently find that people have a different perspective of computing than I do. When I think about it, I am struck by the independence and separation that different systems (i.e. independent services) have from each other. In many ways, this reminds...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Thoughts about Multi-Master Replication of Tree-Structured Data

    • 1 Comments
    I've been enthusiastic about ideas around independent updates to trees of data (e.g. XML or XAML documents) for almost five years now. I'd like to share some of my thoughts... Yeah, I spend a lot of time thinking about weird stuff. Sorry it's such a long...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Leaving Microsoft and Moving to San Francisco

    • 0 Comments
    Hello, Friends! Lots has happened since I last blogged. For almost two years, I've worked on Cosmos, some of the plumbing for Bing. It stores hundreds of petabytes of data on tens of thousands of computers. Large scale batch processing using Dryad...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Upcoming talks at TechEd EMEA in Amsterdam...

    • 7 Comments
    Sorry about the long delay in blogging... I was supposed to present at TechEd SanDiego a few weeks ago but my mother passed away on May 19th... We will all miss her, especially my 84 year old father who is quite lonely now... I wanted to tell everyone...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    At the Microsoft Global Briefing in Atlanta...

    • 4 Comments
    Again, always busy... I had only 5 days at home and then I was off again, this time to Atlanta for the Microsoft Global Briefing where all the Microsofties from the field gather once a year. Since this event is in Atlanta and my Aunt Peggy lives...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Wow! Lots of commentary (mostly on the Night Sky post).

    • 2 Comments
    I have had an amazing amount of commentary to get back to people on... At first, I was traveling and then busy with family stuff... then I looked and there were a lot of good (and some very long) discussions that had arisen. I am only part way through...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Metropolis Article on MSDN...

    • 9 Comments
    Sorry for the long quiet... family medical stuff... lots of travel... lots of excuses... I'll try to do better... Looks like I got an MSDN front page for an article I wrote that was published in Journal a few weeks ago. I got asked to post the following...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    It's All in a Name: What's a Service?

    • 20 Comments
    I am concerned about how to interpret a “service” and a “system” as differentiated from an application or a hardware node (or Windows “box”). There seems to be no small amount of confusion about the crisp definition...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    I’m glad to be back!

    • 12 Comments
    Wow! It’s been over two years since I’ve blogged or had much of a public presence and I am VERY glad to return. There is SO much to tell all of you. First of all, I returned to Microsoft on March 5 th after being gone for two years (to the day…...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Controllers and Doers

    • 1 Comments
    First of all, I've put off writing this for a while since I wanted a term for "controllers" that does not feel pejorative. I really mean this characteristic in a healthy and natural fashion! So, it's my belief that the people working in IT fall into...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Link to the Video of the "Irresistible Forces Meet the Movable Objects"

    • 4 Comments
    A while back, the fine folks at TechEd EMEA sent me a link to the video of me presenting last November... I screwed up and didn't blog this. The powerpoints are at Blog of the Powerpoint of Irresistible Forces and the PDF version of the powerpoints are...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Hanging in There for the Holidays...

    • 7 Comments
    Just an update on how things are going personally… It’s been more than 3-1/2 months since my wife, Michelle, passed away and things are settling into a new normal. It is very hard to be without her but I am very, very grateful for the wonderful family...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Every Noun Can Be Verbed...

    • 2 Comments
    As I watch the REST versus non-REST discussion, it occurs to me that there are a number of aspects to the debate. While I am not attempting to address all of these aspects, I think that part of the discussion revolves around DATA versus BEHAVIOR. When...
  • PatHelland's WebLog

    Confidence in the Cloud

    • 3 Comments
    So, one morning a few weeks or so ago, my colleague, Ruwen Hess , stuck his head in my door and commented on an Article on Gmail and User Confidence he had just read. He also pointed out a very interesting Article on the S3 failure from July 20th (which...
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