Picking a Winner for the Best Cloud

Stop me if you've heard this one: five major cloud service providers walk into a bar. They make a bet that the one with the best enterprise cloud will get free drinks for life. The bartender tells them he already knows who will win. They are astonished as none of them has yet had a chance to boast about their server specs, cost per gigabyte, network quality, security features, uptime record, support teams, number of data centers, or any other common claim or metric. How can he possibly have predicted the outcome?

Topics: cloud Data Management Big Data Analytics

Expectations for Dell EMC World 2017: Is it One Company or Two?

Dell EMC World 2017, or DEW -- which I honestly hope does not catch on as the acronym/nickname -- is just around the corner. To prepare, I wanted to pull together a short summary of my expectations for the event.

With this event taking place only a few months after the 2016 event in Austin, it is difficult to have high expectations in terms of new technology or a new product introduction. But honestly, I have reached the point with Dell EMC that I expect new technologies to be there when the market needs them. If there isn’t a ton to announce this year due to the short time between this event and the last Dell EMC World, I expect there will be a larger announcement next year. That being said, Dell EMC could certainly surprise me. The combined firm has a wealth of smart engineering talent, so if any company could produce a few new offerings that quickly, it would be Dell EMC.

Topics: Storage cloud data storage dell-emc Dell EMC World

The Three-legged IT Stool (Video)

There’s no doubting that IT remains an immensely complicated thing to do well – from the advanced hardware engineering to the sophisticated software algorithms, and from the demanding operational complexities to the driving business necessity to do more with less…..delivering successful IT – and hence successful IT outcomes – remains a practical challenge that can be a major point of business advantage and differentiation for those organizations that get it right.

However, just knowing it is undeniably complex to actually produce and deliver does not mean that we have to treat its overall conceptual design with the same reverence for the eventual details. Sometimes a little bit of simplification – even intentional over-simplification – can be good; it allows us to look at things with a clarity that the actual physical manifestation can at times make impossible.

Topics: Storage cloud on-premises

Cloud Computing: Predictions for 2017 (Video) - Part 3!

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to work with very smart people, providing me with the opportunity to learn something new or look at things from new angles, every single day! Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting the anchor leg in the 2017 cloud computing predictions video roundtable, in which I asked cloud and networking analyst Dan Conde and systems management analyst Edwin Yuen about their thoughts on cloud trends in 2017 as they apply to converged and hyperconverged systems.

Topics: cloud public cloud private cloud Converged Infrastructure cloud networking Converged hyperconverged Systems Management

2017 Enterprise Storage Predictions (Video)

With 2016 behind us, I recently had some time to sit down and record my thoughts on the storage industry for 2017. While I do not wish to spoil the predictions in the video too much, there are a few key points that I would like to make to set the stage.

  1. Public cloud services are fundamentally transforming the storage industry, to a point where the industry could look very different in five years.
  2. In response, on-premises storage solutions have seen insane levels of innovation over the past couple of years, in technologies such as all-flash, hyperconverged infrastructure, and software-defined storage.
  3.  However, the multi-billion dollar question is, “Is it enough?”
Topics: Storage cloud SDS All flash hyperconverged 2017 predictions

…and they wonder why IT partners aren’t seeing blue skies in the cloud


Our vendor clients tell us they have a problem: How do I get my partners to sell more of my cloud solutions? Recent announcements by the big cloud providers may point to some reasons why.

#1: On day one of the recent re:Invent conference, Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS) sent a warning shot to the room full of IT partners: 

"The reality is we are going to direct business to our partners who are committed and who really understand the platform because our customers want partners who understand the details of our platform," he said. "I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't have other partners, that you should dump your other partnerships, but I am saying that I think a strategy of hedging is the wrong one for this time.”

Translation: Nice to see you, but you better get on the AWS train or risk being marginalized!

Topics: channel cloud channel partner

Time to Stop Buying IT Hardware for Your Data Center

I recently attended AWS re:Invent, and while I have seen some pretty impressive business use cases that have bent their strategies toward the cloud, I walked away truly wondering why businesses would ever purchase a piece of IT infrastructure again. Let’s face it, managing IT infrastructure has been one of the most difficult and specialized jobs of IT, and most IT organizations do an amazing job at managing complex architectures, but why continue to do so?

Topics: cloud Enterprise Mobility

Red Hat - commoditizing or democratizing?


One phrase that I heard often from Red Hat was how they commoditized some layer of the infrastructure, such as commoditizing GNU/Linux. 

I understand what they are trying to say, and this is in reference to operating systems that are not based on open source, such as Windows or various flavors of UNIX, which were the only game in town. But with the rise of open source, Red Hat made these systems supported and available for enterprises.

However, the phrase “commoditizing” bothers me. In a strict sense, it means that it’s fungible, or capable of being substituted for one another.  For example, pure gold is fungible. I mostly don’t care if it’s an ounce of gold mined from one mine or another. There are common parts to GNU/Linux distributions, namely the Linux kernel, but that does not make the entire distribution a commodity. There are many items layered on top.

Topics: cloud Red Hat Cloud Platforms & Services

VMware Cloud on AWS – What makes it different? What's the goal?


VMware announced a VMware Cloud on AWS solution (still as a Technology Preview). I want to examine what this means, as some aspects are similar to what’s already available, and the implications of the new parts.

The ability to run VMware Cloud off-premises isn’t new, and VMware itself has a vCloud Air offering, and a vCloud Air Network provided by its partners.  We also saw a preview of VMware Cross-Cloud architecture at VMworld that offers services across multiple clouds.

Therefore, let’s look at key areas of an VMware Cloud on AWS offering and dissect them one by one to see where alternatives exist and where there may be unique benefits in the long term.

Topics: cloud Amazon AWS VMware Cloud Cloud Platforms & Services

Cloud computing is elastic, but people are not – can Rackspace help?

We all know that cloud computing is elastic. If you need more resources, it’s easy to add capacity. It’s not infinite capacity, but it is easy to add capacity on demand compared to the traditional way of procuring, racking, and stacking servers, storage, and networking equipment.

However, computer hardware alone does not a solution make. There is a need for operating system software, application software, and most importantly, some people who get actually do the hard work to make this work.  

Some parts may be automated, such as operating system installation and provisioning software, but there are tasks that simply cannot be automated. This actually puts one in a quandary – if you need to scale capacity elastically during times of heavy demand, how do you scale the people? It’s not like surge pricing in Uber where people will magically come out of the woodwork due to increased demand. Even if there are extra staff available in the IT department, they may not have relevant skills or certifications.

Topics: cloud managed services Cloud Platforms & Services