The ELI5 version of Blockchain Technology Components (Video)

In my previous blog, I walked through why blockchain matters, highlighted the core tenets that make it disruptive, and mentioned some of the enterprise IT vendors to keep an eye on. What I left out was a deep dive on the technology. So, based on feedback, requests, and the ongoing level of confusion that can be seen across the internet, here is my Explain It Like I'm 5 (ELI5) version of what a blockchain is and how it actually works.

Topics: IBM Microsoft Blockchain hyperledger supply chain

Blockchain Progresses in the Enterprise IT Space (Video)

As blockchain continues to progress outside of cryptocurrencies and into the enterprise IT space, organizations are beginning to look for ways to leverage the benefits of blockchain. Let me stop right there. You’re probably thinking, “What benefits? It’s just Bitcoin.” While Bitcoin gets the headlines, as it should since it’s the top use case within the financial vertical and has a massive consumer-based following, blockchain is so much more than Bitcoin. It’s truly disruptive technology that will enable organizations to recognize massive efficiency gains and cost savings across all verticals, from communications & media, and transportation & logistics to business services and retail. Check out my video below where I talk about the top reasons why blockchain should matter to you.

Topics: IBM Microsoft Cybersecurity Data Management infrastructure Blockchain ethereum hyperledger

Microsoft Embraces Hybrid Cloud with Avere Acquisition

Microsoft recently announced its plans to acquire Avere Systems, and some moves almost make too much sense. The synergy between Avere’s technology and public cloud services has made the company a somewhat obvious target for some time now. While some have commented that the presumptive acquirer might have been Google, an early investor in Avere, strategically Microsoft makes a little more sense to me. Of the major public cloud providers, Microsoft appears the be the most open to embracing a hybrid cloud world. With other public cloud providers, often it seems like their perspective is that all of IT is divided into two groups; those that are 100% on the public cloud, and those that will be.

Topics: Hybrid Cloud Storage Storage Microsoft Avere NFS

Microsoft Top of Mind for Business after Attending Ignite (Video)

Attendees walked away from Microsoft Ignite and Envision with plentiful ideas and possibilities. This year's event was rich in vision, innovation and business strategy, and aligns well with where businesses remain challenged with cloud, mobility, and security initiatives. Microsoft raised its game and the volume to the enterprise customer and did an admirable job shifting Microsoft to the top of minds of IT pros and business executives.

While Microsoft has made strides in the market, the company also needs to remain humble and empathize with its customers. For example, if a customer is on the latest version of Windows 10 and has strategically positioned apps in Azure while using Microsoft identity and conditional access, then they will have set themselves up with a strong security posture, but not all businesses have achieved this desired state. The onus is then on Microsoft to transform its go-to-market partners and system integrators to help create the market traction and execution success.

Topics: Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Microsoft Ignite

Microsoft Ignite Enterprise Mobility and Security Highlights

For enterprise IT shops that may have been dismissive of Microsoft as they plan and implement their mobility strategies, Ignite proved that it is time to pay attention. Let’s face it, Microsoft has had to play catch up, but this is the first time I have seen validation of enterprise customer success, business success, and technology innovation. Here are a few highlights I’m seeing here at the event.

Topics: Microsoft Cybersecurity Enterprise Mobility Microsoft Ignite

Will WannaCry Help Drive Google Chromebooks?

Microsoft Windows is prime target for cybercriminals, and the daunting cadence of patching places businesses at great risk. Factor in the unsettling thought that critical business systems still run on Windows operating systems that have reached EOL years ago. IT pros like to point the finger at Microsoft and, while one would think that exploits like WannaCry ransomware should negatively impact Microsoft’s credibility, the vendor is not likely going to be held accountable. However, the skyrocketing valuation of cybersecurity IT vendors as a result of WannaCry also has the potential to create a similar ripple effect for Google Chromebooks.

First, let’s agree that if a business system is written and designed around the Windows operating system, it’s likely going to involve an application migration and/or re-platform. Typically, projects like these are associated with a high cost of change that halts investment. Now, let’s factor in the race to the cloud for applications, data, business intelligence, and improved security. With this technology shift, the conundrum of an application being written to run locally on a client OS is diminishing—thus creating an ideal environment for companies to consider Google Chromebooks. WannaCry has indeed generated an opportunity for Google to:

Topics: Microsoft google Enterprise Mobility chromebook wannacry

Microsoft Build: a Smarter Future Today

Microsoft Build is aimed at developers. From the presenters' dress code of jeans and tight polo shirts or T-shirts, this much is clear. The expectation is that attendees are here to learn to use a broad portfolio of Microsoft software and cloud resources to create new applications. The keynotes were a mix of genuinely inspiring, even life-changing possibilities and the lines of code that were used to make it happen.

A top-level theme was" cloud’s new edge," or rather the combination of an intelligent cloud with an intelligent edge. Since I've been writing for a while about how the battlefield for cloud isn't resource capacity per unit cost, but rather the tooling for integrated and assisted analytics, this idea wasn't a big surprise to me. See a few example blogs here and here and here

Topics: Cloud Computing Microsoft Data Management artificial intelligence Microsoft Build

Microsoft's Broad AI Strategy in 10 Tweets

This morning Microsoft hosted an analyst-oriented overview of select elements of the company's artificial intelligence strategy. Since they said it wasn't under a NDA, I'm happy to share that with you here. This really just scratches the surface (no pun intended) of their offerings around AI, machine learning, deep learning, and associated applications, enhancements, APIs, and development platforms. As noted in several blogs before, this will be the major battleground for the cloud service providers. It was high time Microsoft took the field and strutted their might. I'll have more to say on the topic after Microsoft Build next week.
Topics: Microsoft Data Management artificial intelligence

2017 Channel Acceleration Awards - Part 2

OK, we’re back… If you are just joining this series, you can check out the previous post and award winners here! If you are back for more, here we go...

Topics: Microsoft channel Digital Guardian pure storage esg channel acceleration awards

Wrap-Up on Backup from Microsoft Ignite (with Video)

As ESG often tries to do, here is a short summary video of ESG’s impressions from a major industry event – Microsoft Ignite, held in Atlanta over September 26-29, 2016 – from a backup perspective.

In the video, I suggested that Microsoft is a leader in Windows data protection. Certainly, this is not to disparage the many Microsoft partners that have built whole companies and product lines around data protection. And from a revenue perspective, their backup offerings wouldn’t register at all.  But …

Topics: Microsoft Backup Data Protection Windows Microsoft Ignite