SXSW: Talking with AllDigital

March 11, 2014

Im currently downtown at SXSW after having had lunch with a customer, AllDigital.  AllDigital delivers digital content from the cloud to multiple endpoints for corporations and entertainment properties.   They are here at SXSW to support some of their customers and prospect for new ones.

Before Tim Napoleon, AllDigital’s Chief of strategy, took off for his next meeting I grabbed a couple of minutes of his time.  He explained what they do and why they made the trek from LA to Austin.  My take away, both mobile and video are big deals and we are only going to see more.

The two projects that Tim mentions

Pau for now…


24 Hours of Pizza-fueled Innovation

March 7, 2014

RevoltTV

Postponed:  Over the weekend, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to postpone our first hackathon.  Stay tuned for more details.

Im very psyched to announce Dell’s first Hackathon which will be happening next week right here in Austin.

The Dell Center for Entrepreneurs and Dell Software Information Management Solutions are teaming up with music and entertainment television network, Revolt TV  for this 24 hour code-battle.

The event, which will take place at the #DellVenue, kicks off on Monday, March 10th and ends 24 grueling hours later at noon next day.

The Challenge

The task at hand is for the developers to create an app against the Revolt API that is based around Music, Videos, and/or Artists and their data.  Revolt has put together their wish list of apps and functionality they’d love to see created, but sky’s the limit (within 24 hours ;)

Applications that can be used

  • Windows Phone 8
  • Xbox
  • Android
  • Node.js
  • .NET

Databases that can be used

  • MS SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • MongoDB
  • Redis

The competition is limited to 50 developers who can form teams of up to five people.  At noon on March 11th the teams will present their work to a panel of judges and 3 team-finalists will be chosen.  All panelists will receive a badge to the Fader Fort for the preview party that night, with the winning team announced at the event.

The Reward

The top finalists will receive products and swag from Revolt and Dell.

  • The grand prize winning team receives $2,500 and the chance to work with Revolts’ team to integrate their app.
  • XPS13Im also particularly proud to say that each member of the winning team will receive the Ubuntu-based XPS13 developer edition aka Project Sputnik.  But wait, there’s more…all developer finalists get a free 1 year license of Dell Software’s Toad Data Point.  :)

Want in?

If this sounds like something you like to take part in, we are taking the first 50 devs who sign up here.  Who knows, you could be one of Dell’s first ever Hackathon champions.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


App Think Tank: The Web Of C-Level Relationships

February 6, 2014

Here is the last in a series of videos from the Dell Services Think Tank.

During the event’s first session I posed the question –  given the chance, how would you set up it for the CIO, CMO, business and developers to work together?

NGINX tech evangelist, Sarah Novotny jumped right in, having had a chance to do just this previously at a start up.  The model which she proposed, which many of the room liked, was one where IT would act as a consultancy to the business and provide an ecosystem of services.

Take a listen:

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


App Think Tank: The persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era

February 5, 2014

The third short video from the Dell Services Think Tank features the always enlightening and entertaining Jimmy Pike.  Jimmy, who is a Senior Fellow at Dell and was once called the Willy Wonka of servers, was one of the 10 panelists at the Think Tank where we discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world.

In this clip Jimmy talks about what he terms the “persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era” and what this means for applications going forward.

One more video still to come

  •  The web of C level relationships

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


App Think Tank: IT is facing competition for the first time ever

February 4, 2014

Here is the second video snippet from the Think Tank that Dell Services held the week before last.  At the event we assembled 10 panelists representing both old school and new school organizations and discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world.

The short clip below features Barry Libenson, CIO of Safeway, Luke Kanies, CEO of Puppet Labs and Jay Ferro, CIO of the American Cancer Society.  The three men talk about the pressure IT is under these days as consumerization drives up expectations and shadow IT has crept in.

Videos still to come

  •  The persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era
  •  The web of C level relationships

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


App Think Tank: What do customers expect

February 4, 2014

The week before last, Dell Services held a think tank in Silicon Valley with 10 panelists representing both old school and new school organizations.   The group discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world as well as how to leverage both the “Four horsemen of IT du jour”: Cloud, Mobile, Social and Big Data, and the “three enablers”: Open Source, DevOps and APIs.

The idea of the Think Tank was not to look at technology for technology sake but from the view point of how it could meet customer and business needs.

Given the above, we started with question, “What do customers expect in an application today?”  In the short clip below, Luke Kanies, CEO of Puppet Labs, Barry Libenson, CIO of Safeway and Jay Ferro, CIO of the American Cancer Society give their thoughts.

Videos still to come

  •  IT is facing competition for the first time ever
  •  The persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era
  •  The web of C level relationships

Extra-Credit reading

Pau for now…


App Think Tank – Some take aways

February 3, 2014

The week before last Dell Services held a think tank out in Silicon Valley at the venture firm, NEA.  We had 10 panelists representing both old school and new school organizations:  Intel, Safeway, American Cancer Society, Puppet Labs, NGINX, Stormpath, Stanford Business School, 451 Research and TechCrunch (see complete list of participants below).  I had the honor of moderating the panel.

The group discussed the challenges of the new app-centric world as well as how to leverage both the “Four horsemen of IT du jour”: Cloud, Mobile, Social and Big Data, and the “three enablers”: Open Source, DevOps and APIs.

You can see more pictures from the event as well as watch the entire think tank, which ran a bit under three and half hours, here.  Additionally, over the next few days I will be posting blogs around four short video snippets from the event.

  • Video 1:  What do customers expect
  • Video 2:  IT is facing competition for the first time ever
  • Video 3:  The persistently, ubiquitously connected to the network era
  • Video 4:  The web of C level relationships

Some Take-aways

I was really impressed how well the participants gelled as a group, with just the right amount of tension :).  Below are a few of the interesting tidbits I took away (I was surprised how much of the conversation came back to culture)  You can also check out SDNCentral’s summary of the event .

Q: What are the customer expectations of services today?

  • They are personalized and immediate (friction is a killer)
  • They are agile and rapidly improve
  • Available from any device, anywhere and are always on

Q: What big bets are you making?

  • “Open Source all the way” — Barry Libenson, CIO,  Safeway
  • Mobile first, platform agnostic – Jay Ferro - CIO American Cancer Society
  • Hire learners, not vertical experts, we want entrepreneurial problem solvers – Ranga Jayaraman - CIO,  Stanford Business School
  • Everything must be services – Das Kamhout – IT Principal Engineer, Intel
  • Set up a learning culture, that is tolerant of failure – Luke Kanies, Puppet CEO
  • Clean APIs and modularity – Alex Salazar –  CEO, Stormpath

Q: If your son or daughter wanted to be a CIO, what advice would you give them?

  • Be really choosey about the company you work for
  • Learn to entertain opposing ideas and paths
  • Agility, flexibility, adaptability
  • Learn to let go
  • Learn to be a hacker
  • Learn mindfulness

Watch the whole event here.

Participants

  • Barry Libenson-SVP and CIO,  Safeway
  • Jay Ferro – CIO, American Cancer Society
  • Ranga Jayaraman- Associate Dean & CIO,  Stanford GSB
  • Luke Kanies – Founder & CEO, Puppet Labs
  • Alex Salazar – Co-Founder & CEO, Stormpath
  • Alex Williams – Blogger & Journalist, TechCrunch
  • Michael Cote – Research Director, Infrastructure Software at 451 Research
  • Sarah Novotny- Tech Evangelist, NGINX
  • Das Kamhout – IT Principal Engineer, Intel
  • Jimmy Pike – Sr. Fellow and Chief Architect, Dell

Extra-credit reading

  • IT can’t thrive unless CIO’s can change the culture – SDNcentral
  • New Age of Apps” Think Tank to be streamed live –  Barton’s blog

Pau for now…


Sputnik 3 — Great Reviews from the Blog-o-sphere

January 29, 2014

At the end of last year we launched the third generation of the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition, aka Sputnik 3, which features the 4th generation Intel processors.  This Ubuntu-based laptop is the third in a line of developer focused systems which began life as the internal skunk works effort, “Project Sputnik.”  Thanks to strong community input and support the project became a product a little over a year ago.

Over this past month there have been three great reviews that have come out that I wanted to share.

1) Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition review (Haswell, late 2013 model)

This first review, from J’s blog, is quite detailed and comprehensive.   It has great photos and got nice traction on Hacker News.  Here is the opening paragraph

The XPS 13 Developer Edition, aka “Project Sputnik”, is a laptop with a FullHD 13-inch screen, backlit keyboard, SSD, 4th gen intel CPU and comes pre-installed with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

What makes this machine so interesting is not so much that Ubuntu comes pre-installed on it (it would be easy for anybody to install it him/herself, after all), but rather that Dell put some extra-work in making sure everything works right out of the box and supports running Ubuntu on it. WiFi, keyboard backlight, screen brightness control, sleepmode, etc. are guaranteed to work. [read more]

2) Guide to Leaving Your Mac Laptop

Carin Meier not only reviewed the XPS 13 developer edition but walks folks who may be interested in leaving their Macs behind how she set up her programs that she uses on a daily basis.  This blog too has great pics.  Carin’s blog starts,

I felt like I was in a controlling relationship headed downhill. After two custom laptops returned for defective hardware, I wanted to leave. But leaving didn’t seem so easy after living in the walled garden of Apple all those years.

This blog post is about how to leave your Mac and return to OSS.

There are quite a few nice alternatives to the Mac Air out there. I decided to go with the new Sputnik 3. Some of my reasons:

  • Powerful – New Haswell processor
  • 13.3 inch touch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Ships with Ubuntu 12.04 (64 bit)
  • Nice design (yes looks are important) [Read more]

3) Got me a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

The third review, by David Pollack, is actually a twofer in that he posted a follow on entry,  Still Liking the XPS 13 Developer Edition, two weeks after the first.  David’s posts are succinct and well laid out and I love his concluding paragraph :-)

Just buy one

If you’re doing development like Clojure and Java, then the XPS 13 Developer Edition is a better choice than the MacBook Pro. It’s less expensive and just as impressive hardware-wise. And I like Linux a lot more than OS X. [Read more]

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Consumerization: setting the bar for IT

January 28, 2014

Mark Stouse of BMC has asked various people in the industry to answer seven short questions for his series Marking Predictions for 14.  The questions are around Cloud Computing, Big Data and Consumerization.

To give you a taste of what I was thinking about, here is my response to the second question and why I think Consumerization is a big deal:

Cloud Computing, Big Data or Consumerization: which trend do you feel is having the most impact on IT today and why?

Consumerization, because it sets the bar for how technology should look and be designed.  Workers want technology in the workplace that is as easy to use and intuitive as the consumer applications and tech products they use at home.  Consumerization has set a high bar for IT but one that I believe will ultimately benefit all involved through greater adoption, satisfaction and productivity.

You can see my complete responses on Mark’s blog and learn, among other things, why I think Tony Stark is like big data.

Pau for now…


“New Age of Apps” Think Tank to be streamed Live

January 21, 2014

On Thursday, January 23 Dell services will be hosting a think tank in Silicon Valley at the venture capital firm NEA.  While hosted in the Bay Area, the event will be streamed live for viewing around the world.

The title of the Think Tank is “The new age of apps and delivery gaps” and we have put together a group of 10 panelist that we feel represents a cross-section of technology and IT today:

  • Barry Libenson-SVP and CIO,  Safeway
  • Jay Ferro – CIO, American Cancer Society
  • Ranga Jayaraman- Associate Dean & CIO,  Stanford GSB
  • Luke Kanies – Founder & CEO, Puppet Labs
  • Alex Salazar – Co-Founder & CEO, Stormpath
  • Alex Williams – Blogger & Journalist, TechCrunch
  • Michael Cote – Research Director, Infrastructure Software at 451 Research
  • Sarah Novotny- Tech Evangelist, NGINX
  • Das Kamhout – IT Principal Engineer, Intel
  • Jimmy Pike – Sr. Fellow and Chief Architect, Dell

I will be acting as the moderator of the panel.

Join in

The event will begin at 9AM Pacific Time, and last for three and a half hours. The event will be divided into two main sessions and we’ll discuss such topics as the influence of application developers, the changing role of the CIO and why firms need to build API strategies  (see the session outlines below for more details)  You can follow and contribute questions and comments via Twitter at #TheAppGap.   Hope you can make it!

Session Outlines

Session 1- Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’    

The rise of cloud applications force companies to reevaluate their business architectures.  Leveraging new platforms, organizations can operate more efficiently, better engage with customers, and introduce innovative products and services faster than ever before.  In this session we’ll discuss and debate how to effectively leverage the best of today’s advanced (digital) technologies and capitalize on the opportunity for a ‘greenfield’ approach.

*Questions

  1. What would you do different to be ready for the digital age?  Entrepreneurs starting a company today, what are the architecture and design choices you’d recommend?
  2. What plans would you put in place to leverage cloud, big data, mobile and social media?  What would your API strategy be?
  3. How would you plan for growth over a 3-5 year horizon?

Session 2: Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

While CIOs are under pressure to reduce costs and improve efficiency, enterprise developers have become the new ‘kingmakers’ leading product development and customer applications.  Our experts will share experiences in managing these complex stakeholder relationships, brainstorm the way out from technical debt and examine the possibilities within existing applications.

*Questions:

  1. How do organizations evolve legacy existing environments to take advantage of emerging trends – what are the breakthrough processes and technologies?
  2. What does the CIO needs to do to re-connect with business leaders and organizational strategies? What roles do CIOs, CTOs, business and developers play?
  3. How do established companies take advantage of the changes that are happening today?   i.e. private/public cloud strategies, apps modernization, leveraging new architectures, API strategies.

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC — When DevOps goes wrong

January 9, 2014

One the most enlightening and entertaining presentations on Day one of DevOps Days NYC, was given by ScriptRock cofounder, Mike Baukes.

In his presentation, which is embedded below, Mike talks about a devops project he was on in Australia.  He and his team were brought in to a large trading firm to implement continuous delivery and integration, they got the code right but made a few critical mistakes.

Listen to Mike as he tells his cautionary tale.

Some of the ground Mike covers

  • Their charter and goal on the project
  • The team they created and the alienation it resulted in
  • What went wrong
  • How would he do it if he could it over again

Extra-credit reading

  • ScriptRock GuardRail, First Take: Cloud-based server monitoring and diagnostics – ZDNet

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC — Jonathan Reams of MongoDB

January 8, 2014

As I continue in my series of videos from DevOps days NYC a few months ago, here is an interview with Jonathan Reams of MongoDB.

Johnathan is systems engineer on Mongo’s DevOps team and is helping to make MongoDB, the NoSQL non-relational database, more appealing to operations.

Some of the ground Jonathan covers:

  • Mongo’s huMONGOus recent round of funding
  • As a NoSQL database, how is Mongo different from traditional relational databases
  • How does MongoDB compare to other non-relational databases like Couchbase or Basho’s Riak
  • Seeking to widen appeal beyond developers to operations
  • Whats next for Mongo for both developers and ops

Extra-credit reading

  • Military Supply Data Search Tool Uses MongoDB – InformationWeek
  • MongoDB grabs $150M in funding, now top NYC startup at $1.2B valuation – VentureBeat

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC – Mark Burgess of CFEngine

January 7, 2014

In my last entry, I featured an interview with SaltStack, the newbie in the infrastructure automation and configuration management space.  Today’s interview is with the man who started it all back in the 90′s, Mark Burgess, Founder and CTO of CFEngine.

Some of the ground Mark covers

  • How it all began a couple of decades ago at the University of Oslo
  • As scale has increased over the last twenty years, how has CFEngine kept pace
  • Inducted in JP Morgan’s Hall of Technology and how JP Morgan uses CFEngine
  • How does CFEngine differ from the other configuration management tools?  (hint: think model-based frameworks)
  • What does the next year hold for CFEngine

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC: Mike Ainsworth of SaltStack

January 7, 2014

Infrastructure automation and configuration management have become a hot topic as organizations, particularly those in the web and cloud space have continued to scale out. The first player, that helped define the space, was CFengine.  Heavy weights in this space now include Puppet and Chef, and at Dell we lead, Project Crowbar, an open source effort in this area.

The new kid on the block, based in Salt Lake city, is SaltStack.   Although relatively new, they count LinkedIn as one of their users.   At DevOps Days NYC back in October I grabbed some time with Salt solutions engineer, Mike Ainsworth.  Here is what Mike had to say:

Some of the ground Mike covers

  • What does SaltStack do
  • When did they get their start and how has their momentum been
  • How they differ from the other players in the space
  • How Linkedin is using SaltStack
  • The technical details re what they are focusing on going forward

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Barton’s Blog — 2013 in review

January 6, 2014

A bit gratuitous, but  here is the 2013 annual report for my blog prepared by the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys.

Here’s an excerpt:

These are the posts that got the most views in 2013.

  1.  Sputnik 2 is here: Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition goes 1080p and lands in Europe 217 COMMENTS February 2013
  2. Introducing Sputnik 3 and its unofficial big brother  92 COMMENTS  November 2013
  3.  Game on! Ubuntu comes to Alienware 13 COMMENTS April 2013
  4. Available online in Europe, the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition 106 COMMENTS  March 2013
  5.  Introducing Project Sputnik: Developer laptop 335 COMMENTS  May 2012

Click here to see the complete report.

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC: Mark Imbriaco of GitHub

January 6, 2014

Here is the first in a series of interviews I conducted in October at DevOps Days NYC.  My first interview is with Mark Imbriaco, ops dude extraordinaire at GitHub who previously ran ops for 37signals, Heroku, and LivingSocial.

GitHub, if you’re not familiar with it is a code hoster that boasts around 5 million users and close to 10 million individual repositories.  Through the magic of its “pull request” feature it has vastly increased participation in open source projects and accelerated innovation.  Listen to Mark and learn more.

Some of the ground Mark covers:

  • How did GitHub rise to prominence and eclipse SourceForge as the developer repository of choice
  • Success Metrics
  • GitHubs architecture
  • What are GitHubs challenges as it moves forward
  • How the “pull request,” the killer app of GitHub, work

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Cloud Beat: Talking to Founder of CloudVelocity

January 6, 2014

With the New year I’m finally getting to a backlog of cool interviews I did last quarter.   The first is the last of the interviews I conducted at Venture Beat’s CloudBeat back in September with the CTO and Founder of CloudVelocity, Anand Iyengar.  CloudVelocity provides automated cloud migration and disaster recovery software.  Take a listen to what Anand has to say.

Some of the ground Anand covers:

  • What is CloudVelocity?
  • What areas does it focus on?  (Hint: test/dev, migration, disaster recovery)
  • How Anand and the other founders came up with the idea for CloudVelocity
  • What’s on the agenda as they move forward

Extra-credit reading

  • CloudVelocity: Launch apps to cloud with no change to code – Network World

Pau for now….


Sputnik 3 online in Europe just in time for Holidays

December 20, 2013

Last month in the States we announced the availability of Sputnik 3, the XPS 13 XPS13-DEDeveloper Edition featuring the 4th generation Intel processors. This laptop, which is touch-enabled, is replacing the existing XPS 13 Developer Edition.

We had hoped to make the offering available online across Europe a couple of weeks about but a few online glitches kept us from making it so.

Various countries have been coming online recently and today I would like to announce that the XPS 13 developer edition is available (see below for the specs) in the following countries/languages:

Sputnik 3  (XPS 13 Developer Edition) Product specs :

  • Processor: 4th generation Intel i7
  • Display: 13.3″ Full High Definition touch display (1080p)
  • System memory: 8GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD graphics 4440 (HD 5000 in the case of the enterprise version)
  • Hard drive: 256GB SSD drive
  • Standard Service: 1 year Dell ProSupport and onsite service after remote diagnostics
  • Operating system: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
  • Community projects: Cloud launcher and Profile tool (for more info see the update from last week)

Thanks for your patience and happy holidays!

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Insight into the technology behind Goldman Sachs

December 17, 2013

Last week I attended the Gartner Data Center conference in Las Vegas.  I went to talk to customers, do booth duty (I talked about the app-centric world and how IT can best respond to it) and check out a few sessions.

The best session I attended was a power-point-free discussion with Don Duet, Co-head of Goldman Sach’s Technology division.  Below are a few of the things that Don talked about and comments he made which I thought were particularly interesting.  It’s not just web companies that are pushing the technology envelope.

Goldman’s Technology

  • Goldman Sachs’ has 36,000 employees, 6,000 of which are developers (10,000 people in tech overall).  They have 30 PB’s of data.  They support their employees with half a million cores.
  • Goldman builds their infrastructure around their applications
  • Goldman’s four Big Bets
    • Commodity computing
    • Software defined everything
    • Drive everything in infrastructure from an application perspective
    • Open Source and Open Standards
  • Don and team do an exercise where they talk about how they would architect Goldman if they were starting fresh today (“Goldman 2.0″)
  • “It’s harder and harder to tell where the business stops and IT begins”
  • “Most of our infrastructure should be able, over time, to migrate to the public cloud (once security gets better)”

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


IDC predicts fierce battle for developers in 2014

December 16, 2013

A couple of weeks ago IDC put out their predictions for 2014, saying “2014 Will Be a Year of Escalation, Consolidation, and Innovation as the Transition to IT’s “3rd Platform” Accelerates.”

The part that really caught my eye was the the second half of the following sentence:

“In 2014, we’ll see every major player make big investments to scale up cloud, mobile, and big data capabilities, and fiercely battle for the hearts and minds of the developers who will create the solutions driving the next two decades of IT spending.” —  Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC

We have entered the app-centric world and companies that don’t seek to understand or serve developers will, at best,  find themselves at a severe disadvantage.

Pau for now…


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