Social Media Marketing Get Creepy!

It’s Halloween, a time when we revel in ghosts, ghouls, and all things creepy. In the social media marketing world, it’s also a time for tricks and treats. The “trick” is scanning a person’s social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn looking for treats in the form of business opportunities. Social media marketing companies continue to add features that look through an individual’s social network, ingest and analyze the posts therein, and look for information that signals a potential need for whatever the company sells.

Sorry, but this is plain creepy, stalker behavior. It’s one thing to scan the posts of a company’s Facebook page. People who post there know that’s why the page is there—to sell them something through social engagement. It’s why companies hand out coupons on their Facebook page. Scanning individual employee accounts is a different matter entirely. When we connect to someone on Facebook or LinkedIn, the expectation of privacy is different. It is assumed that the posts I allow you to see are personal and not meant to be individually mined. With Twitter you know that you are broadcasting publically yet, I would bet most people would find it unsettling to post something and have an offer from a follower shoot back at them.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility

RSA Buys SilverTail Systems: Great fit, tremendous upside

I recently scheduled a breakfast meeting in November with an industry buddy who is an executive at RSA. When I first reached out to him late this past summer, I really wanted to arrange this meeting to suggest that RSA take a look at SilverTail Systems, a web fraud detection and security software provider I know quite well.

Topics: Cybersecurity

The Big Data Platform Metamorphosis

Many key big data suppliers have moved beyond the piece-part larval form, shed their respective skins to varying degrees, and are in the process of blooming into big data platform butterflies. Which vendor(s) will emerge as the stunning Blue Morpho of big data butterflies remains to be seen. The elements of what a big data platform consists of, while still somewhat hazy and varied based on what an organization thinks it wants to accomplish with big data, seem more sharply defined than six months ago. Suffice it to say that a transmutative race down a path of platform evolution is well under way, driven by the recognition that most enterprises will not invest in too many big data piece-parts. Consider some of the offerings and announcements, many of which have appeared around or during the past crazy data conference week:

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Snapshots vs. Backups - a great debate, no longer

It wasn’t that many years ago that “snapshotting vs. backup” had the same kind of fervor in IT debates that some American political discussions have today, or religion, or any other media-infused divisive issue. Sidenote: my favorite of these incite-ful battlegrounds is still to enter a filled room and shout “Tape is Dead” (which it isn’t, but the ensuing conversations are worth the fisticuffs).

Imagine a dialog between two ardent IT experts, each trying to convince an application owner to use their data protection capability:

Topics: Data Protection

Dealing with Activity Stream TMI

Topics: Enterprise Mobility

Security Analytics Tools Need to Understand Normal Behavior across IT

When I look toward the future of security analytics, there are a few predictions I can make with absolute certainty. In the very near future, security analytics tools will:

Topics: Cybersecurity

The Big Data Week That Already Is: Platforms and There's An App for That

This is the week! Between the Teradata Partner Conference, Strata/Hadoop World, and IBM Information on Demand, with some little analyst-firm hosted event down in Orlando, the marketing and communications teams of big data vendors must feel like they are spinning out of control. The flood of press releases announcing the next big thing in big data have already begun, but two key themes already seem to be emerging:

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

E-discovery and Predictive Coding: FUD Fight!

The blogosphere has manufactured a lot of controversy this year arguing over predictive coding. Whether it’s transparent enough. Whether it’s defensible. Whether lawyers can use it. Whether we’ll even need lawyers anymore once we start.

Maybe it's not so surprising given that it’s an election year. But in IT we call this FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt). Because predictive coding is already being used. Vendors have been selling it in products and services for years. Service providers use it. Law firms use it. Legal staffing firms are using it. General counsel use it directly for internal investigations, among other things. Yes, there have been some thorny cases this year in the press, but I’d say these are more the growing pains of mainstream adoption than the cautionary tales of the bleeding edge martyrs.

Research - Used For Good and Evil - The 5 Hour Energy Amazing Findings!

Anyone paying attention to the absurdity of the US presidential candidates' claims has seen exactly what I'm talking about. Research can be manipulated to say anything about anything.

The StorSimple & Microsoft Forecast – Sunshine & Clouds

So today, one of the new breed of cloud vendors got snapped up by an industry behemoth. Sunny times no doubt for StorSimple and its investors…and Microsoft’s relatively early purchase of this Cloud-integrated Storage player saved StorSimple from the pain of that awkward ‘growing up’ phase – the one that follows proving your concept, product and value, in which you have to get big traction. Microsoft can take care of that.

The news today was exceedingly plain (the fun stuff about $$ being undisclosed as one would expect), and the press release was barely a page. I found that refreshing and positive; in this business anything that takes too long to explain – and this is just as true of products as of acquisitions - is probably not very good in the first place. Here we have a pretty simple proposition:

  • For StorSimple: the integration of on-premise and cloud storage is quickly becoming established as an attractive way for businesses to ‘get the best of both worlds,' in terms of using management control to balance the need to store massive amounts of new data with the need to constrain budgets. For the company itself, this sort of quick exit is clean and, invariably, offers a decent return.
  • For Microsoft: with its focus on ‘CloudOS’ (described in today’s blog by Michael Park, the CVP of its Server and Tools Division as Microsoft’s “vision to deliver a consistent, intelligent and automated platform of compute, network and storage across a company’s datacenter, a service provider’s datacenter and the Windows Azure public cloud.”) this looks like a logical step for the owner of Azure.Oh, yeah, and it just happens to be the owner of Exchange and SQL and bunches of other data-heavy apps. Virtualization (a la HyperV etc) gets consolidation done, but this addition offers a safe next step to integrate, and make real, a hybrid cloud.
  • For existing StorSimple users? While the company has done a great job of early adoption, let’s be clear: there are not tens of thousands of users. Moreover as Ursheet Parikh, StorSimple’s co-founder and CEO, stated in today’s press release, “Most StorSimple customers are mainstream IT organizations that have chosen Windows Azure as their primary cloud.” In other words there aren’t, in the big scheme of things, too many organizations that will be affected by any ‘push to Azure’ once the deal is finalized. In any case I can’t imagine the long-term value to Microsoft of removing the StorSimple capability for cloud choice: it will a) retain account control in any case and b) simply aim to make Azure ‘better together’ (a common theme across the industry these days) and more financially attractive.
  • For other Cloud-integrated Storage providers: while all start-ups rightly argue about unique differentiation, there are natural groupings and companies such as Nasuni, Panzura, TwinStrata and others will no doubt notice an increase in their incoming phone calls over the coming days and weeks: they became instantly more interesting and valuable somewhere between last night’s hot cocoa and today’s morning coffee!
Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Cloud Services & Orchestration

Microsoft buys StorSimple - I Know Why

First, I have spoken to no one about this at either company, thus it is very conceivable that I am wrong - but I doubt it.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Cloud Services & Orchestration

Come One, Come All! To the Greatest Show on Earth!

There used to be a clear distinction between IT infrastructure components and an obvious division of labor – the application, server, network, and storage teams operated mostly independently. End-users and business managers were content to follow IT’s instructions, being told what applications were available and then figuring out how to leverage them.

In recent years, however, much has changed. Application virtualization, management automation, increasing “consumerization,” and the concept of service-oriented IT have conspired to dramatically increase user expectations and demands. At the same time, IT is now viewed more as a strategic asset, an arrow in the quiver that the business can use to hit customer and employee satisfaction targets. Instead of waiting to be told by IT what capabilities are available, constituents approach IT to request services, applications, and results.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure ESG Validation Services

Seriously Smart, Wicked Fast Data Storage

The real-time performance and efficiency of Dot Hill's seriously smart Automatic Tiered Storage was highlighted during recent testing by ESG Lab. As you can see below, the fine grain 4MB efficiency kicked in within minutes. Multi-user database nearly tripled on a hybrid storage configuration with a mix of traditional hard drives and a relatively small amount of solid state disk.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure ESG Validation Services

Defense Secretary Warns of Cyber Pearl Harbor

Yesterday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave a dire warning of cybersecurity threats at the Intrepid museum in New York. Panetta said that the U.S. could face a “cyber Pearl Harbor” and described how a cyber attack could, “derail passenger trains, or even more dangerous, derail passenger trains loaded with lethal chemicals. They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.”

Hmm, when have I heard a similar description? Oh yeah, it was 1998 when Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre cautioned the U.S. Congress about Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) by warning of a potential “cyber Pearl Harbor.” Hamre stated that a devastating cyber attack “… is not going to be against Navy ships sitting in a Navy shipyard. It is going to be against commercial infrastructure.”

Topics: Cybersecurity

Ballad to Big Blue: 40 Years as Number One

Despite my affinity for canines, you will not be clicking on an audio file to listen to me warble affection for a dog named “Blue.” Peter, Paul and Mary had a hit of sorts back in the early 1960s, called “Old Blue,” which began, “I had a dog and his name was Blue, betcha five dollars he’s a good un too.” Surprisingly, perhaps, this ditty was covered by luminaries like Willie Nelson and the Byrds. But my ballad to Blue does not spring from the 1960s, but the 1970s. The Blue, of course, is IBM, more specifically Big Blue. More preamble for the Big Blue ballad:

Two Score in IT: This October I entered my 40th year in the computer industry. My first job was entering data into IBM timesharing mainframes for Stone & Webster in downtown Boston, next to a nut roasting factory. Every evening I went home smelling like a roasted peanut, cashew, Brazil nut, or pecan, depending on what was being roasted that day. I am certain this caused some confusion for some unfortunate Green Line MBTA riders jammed next to me during the 5 o’clock rush hour. After it was discovered I actually was comfortable with JCL, yes old IBMers, “Job Control Language,” S&W eventually taught me something about “structured systems analysis and design” of the Yourdon and DeMarco heritage, and how to write BAL—IBM/370 Basic Assembly Language.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

What is The Social Enterprise

It’s easy to think of the Social Enterprise as the use of social media and networking technology in business. That’s true, but only a part of a larger landscape. The Social Enterprise is nothing less than a retooling of the way business operates. Software collaboration solutions, socially enabled enterprise applications, social media channels, monitoring, and analysis are only the technology expression of a much broader movement in how organizations operate.

The Social Enterprise is not a top-down, hierarchical organization where managers dole out tasks to workers. Instead, it is a collection of self-directed individuals who work in small, ad-hoc teams to create an outcome. Each team and each situation introduces a new set of variables which affect work product. The resulting organization is a dynamic and responsive one, capable of pivoting more deftly in the face of sudden changes in the environment.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility

Tech Sex Sells? Understanding Marketing v. Advertising v. PR v. Branding

Since most companies in tech get this stuff all wrong, I thought I'd share something I received from a pal who is the CMO of the ill-fated NHL's New Jersey Devils.

Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking

Time To Kill Clustered Raid Controllers

You have 1,000 servers, running 5,000 virtual machines, connected via 2,000 ethernet cables (or even Fibre Channel) to piles of switches, and out of the back end you spit out two lousy little connections to a Raid Controller. Double it for redundancy. Those RAID controllers then fan out to connect to a zillion disk drives.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

Oracle Changes the Changing Database Game

I am preparing a market landscape report about the many, comfortably over 20, not-only-SQL commercial database options available in the market. By not-only-SQL I mean databases that do not fit neatly into the classic RDBMS category; classic RDBMS includes product lines such as Oracle Database (11g and predecessors), IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase SQL Server (SAP), mySQL (Oracle), etc.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI Cloud Services & Orchestration

Software-defined Networking News at Interop NY

HP made a big splash this week at Interop NY by announcing 9 new OpenFlow enabled Switches, 3 new sofrware-defined networking (SDN) services, 3 named customer SDN solutions, 2 HP SDN applications and a Virtual Application Network (VAN) SDN OpenFlow Controller. Too bad it wasn’t closer to the holidays, I could have put that to the “12 days” music and done a music video blog.

Earlier this year, HP demonstrated its commitment to an OpenFlow approach by enabling 16 switches with OpenFlow capability. Keep in mind this commitment didn’t start earlier this year, it started several years ago by designing these capabilities into the ASICs so that now OpenFlow can be enabled through a free software upgrade. The announcement this week of 9 more switches brings the total to 25 OpenFlow enabled switches. HP claims that because of this, they have about 15 million OpenFlow capable ports in the market today.

Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking

Transperfect Shores Up Digital Reef in More E-discovery M&A

E-discovery software vendor Digital Reef was acquired by Transperfect today for an undisclosed amount. DR has been in the e-discovery market for years with what customers we’ve spoken to have called a very good tool for Early Case Assessment (ECA), processing, and classification; yet it is still a product that has ultimately failed to gain wider exposure and direct sales through several rounds of executive changes. This is in spite of SaaS, on-prem, and service provider options, as well as a wide range of analytics and its own data center.

Enter Transperfect – a privately-owned and well-regarded service provider reporting $350m revenues, known for legal translation among a host of other legal services, including e-discovery. New Yorkers may also know them from their many ads in taxis, telephone booths, and elsewhere up and down Manhattan.

Oracle OpenWorld: Cloudy with a Chance of Social

Here in San Francisco, where Oracle OpenWorld has been going on all week, there is unseasonably warm weather. Maybe it’s global warming or the effect of 50,000 extra people descending on the city. In any event, it’s been hot and sunny outside. Inside the convention halls, however, it’s been quite cloudy. Everywhere you go it’s all about cloud computing. That’s not surprising given Oracle’s movement of all of its Fusion applications to a SaaS environment. These applications include CRM, ERP, HCM, and pretty much any other three letter acronym application you can think of. It’s a huge movement of big enterprise applications and incredible validation of the cloud model.

Not only will all of the Oracle enterprise applications be available in the cloud but so will the platform it’s based on. As Larry Ellison pointed out, Oracle builds its applications on its own Fusion middleware stack. It’s encouraging when a vendor eats its own cooking. It provides a feeling of confidence in that infrastructure and a sense that their developers understand the problems of their customers’ developers. For many IT developers, having an Oracle database and J2EE VM in the cloud means that they can now move their internal applications into the cloud. This gives those developers an important choice when deploying their own applications.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility Cloud Services & Orchestration

Checking out vSphere Data Protection VDP 5.1

A few weeks ago, at VMworld 2012 US, VMware announced vSphere Data Protection – a virtual appliance backup solution for vSphere 5.1 that is based on EMC Avamar technology.

Read more about VDP on my blog : vmworld-2012-announces-vsphere-data-protection-vdp/index.html">VMworld 2012 announces vSphere Data Protection (VDP)

And coming off of VMworld, I’ve received lots of kind feedback on my video and brief over what-it-pros-should-look-for-in-virtualization-protection/index.html">What IT Pros should look for in Virtualization Protection (thank you for the kind words).

Topics: IT Infrastructure Data Protection

The Two Paths of Real-Time and Offline Social Collaboration

In the ESG Market Landscape Report: Social Collaboration Solutions, I discussed an emerging trend – the convergence of real-time and offline, asynchronous social collaboration. To me, this seems like a natural merging. When we as humans work together, we don’t follow one modality. In real life, we exchange written messages, make phone calls, send emails, and have meetings together. The separation of and spontaneous face-to-face interactions from the offline collaboration is artificial, driven more by product evolution than people considerations.

As more organizations adopt the Social Enterprise, the separation of asynchronous and real-time will actually get in the way of creating a truly interactive and collaborative environment. When someone sees something in an activity stream that makes them want to meet immediately collaborate with a colleague, having to launch another product to do so will feel like a hindrance to taking that action. Similarly, having to go outside to another tool to prepare for and follow up from a scheduled meeting will also seem unnatural to the normal flow of business.

Topics: Enterprise Mobility

Oracle: IaaS, Private Cloud, 12c, and Exadata X3

Larry Ellison’s keynote proved to be packed with announcements to open Oracle Open World 2012. They included:

  1. Oracle will become an IaaS provider for customers looking for this consumption model. Larry made it a point to say that they already are a SaaS and a PaaS provider and it made sense for them to offer customers an IaaS option that runs on Oracle hardware.
  2. Customers can also get the same IaaS consumption model on-prem with its Oracle Private Cloud offering. This is an Oracle managed on-prem solution for companies that want the value, but want it in their data center. Oracle owns the upgrade, maintenance, etc.
  3. Oracle unveiled 12c multi-tenant database. I’m no expert here, but the premise is the same set of tools and process without having to manage and maintain multiple database instances. Ask ESG guru Evan Quinn if you want to learn more.
  4. Exadata X3 was announced as a “mine is bigger than your solution.” Yes, Ellison stomped on EMC and SAP here--making giant comparison claims in performance and more importantly price.

Jumping into IaaS makes a ton of sense for Oracle since the majority of what they do comes at the application level and the databases customers run require a tried and proven platform. I suppose it is possible to run Oracle applications and databases in an Amazon cloud, but is anyone going to do that in a true production capacity? I also like how they can bring IaaS on prem with the Oracle Private Cloud. It demonstrates IT willingness to get serious about cloud and truly change the consumption model.

Topics: IT Infrastructure Networking Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI Cloud Services & Orchestration