Welcome to Runtime! Today: We take a look back at the stories that generated the most interest from readers over our first six months, a worrying week for ransomware defenders, and the quote of the week.
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There will be some AI
This week marked six months since the official launch of Runtime, a milestone that prompted a look back through the archives to examine the stories that readers found most compelling. Generative AI technologies and companies dominated the conversation across tech this year, and while that was certainly true on Runtime a few other important topics managed to stand out among that noise.
Here are the five stories that generated the most amount of interest — a proprietary algorithm I just made up that includes page views, social media comments, and reader emails — during the first six months of Runtime.
The biggest infrastructure story of the year was the scramble for GPUs needed to train AI models, not only among end users but among cloud infrastructure providers themselves. CoreWeave executed a tremendous pivot this year, abandoning the crumbling crypto market and redesigning its data centers to handle AI workloads. In the months since this story was published, it has raised hundreds of millions in new financing and expects to have 14 cloud AI data centers up and running by the end of the year.
McKinsey kicked over quite a hornet's nest in August by suggesting that companies can effectively measure the individual productivity of their developers, a very old debate revived thanks to the cost-cutting strategies being implemented across the tech industry this year. Six tech leaders and engineering managers explained why that has never worked, and will never work, as a measure of how productive companies are when it comes to shipping software.
One time-honored way to address the productivity of software teams is to buy a fancy new tool that promises to solve all your problems, which, believe it or not, doesn't always live up to expectations. But as software development becomes more complex every month, new platform technologies, products, and services that abstract away some of that complexity are gaining steam, having taken a cue from the many previous attempts to solve this mess.
People have always had a soft spot for the ongoing drama in the world of open-source software, but the mood started to get a little melancholy this year. HashiCorp once symbolized everything that enterprise tech entrepreneurs and customers wanted to see in an open-source enterprise tech company, and its decision to embrace a less-than-open license for its core projects seemed like an acknowledgment that open-source software will look very different over the next ten years than it did over the previous 20.
This was the most popular story in our How We Built It series this year, probably because it shows how much work it takes to modernize infrastructure strategies at companies that were built around older stacks. With workloads spread across everything from mainframes to AWS, New York Life is a prime example of how companies founded in the 19th century are preparing for the 21st.
Another milestone will arrive next week: It's been almost one year since Politico Media Group decided to shut down Protocol. Runtime was founded with the goal of rebuilding a team that will take the same buyer-focused approach that Protocol Enterprise took to covering enterprise tech, the engine of the modern economy.
But we can't get there without your help. As you make your plans for 2024, please consider sponsoring Runtime and getting your message in front of the more than 20,000 enterprise tech industry leaders and decision makers that receive this newsletter each week. We also plan to roll out several new products next year, including special reports, sponsored content, and events, both virtual and live.
Thanks for your support this year! If you're interested in learning more about how you can reach our extremely smart and very good-looking readers, please contact us here.
A surge in ransomware attacks during the second half of 2023 is somehow flying under the radar amid the AI hype cycle, but the damage is really starting to pile up.
- One of the most devastating security breaches ever, the MOVEIt attack continues to claim victims with the disclosure this week that personal data was stolen from basically everyone who lives in Maine.
- The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the largest bank in that country, was forced to use a USB stick to settle trades this week after a ransomware attack.
- The Lockbit ransomware gang leaked a trove of Boeing's corporate data Friday morning after the airplane manufacturer apparently refused to pay the ransom.
- And as the week ended, the Clop ransomware gang was all over a zero-day vulnerability in SysAid, an automated help desk software package.
This is unsustainable.
Quote of the week
"Just as GitHub was founded on Git, today we are re-founded on Copilot." — GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke, speaking at GitHub Universe 2023 this week, perhaps signaling a shift in the way GitHub — and by extension, Microsoft — thinks about open-source software as a building block in the AI era.
The Runtime roundup
Kai-Fu Lee's Chinese AI startup, 01.AI, bought enough Nvidia chips in the months before the new U.S. chip export ban went into place to keep it going for 18 months, according to Bloomberg.
Energy companies would like to use cloud computing to help manage their grids but federal rules make that very difficult, according to Yahoo.
Thanks for reading — see you Tuesday!