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…


Talking SwiftStack with Founder and CEO Joe Arnold

November 11, 2013

At Venture Beat’s CloudBeat I moderated two panels, the first was with PayPal and Puppet Labs and the second was with Disney, CloudStack and SwiftStack.

After the Disney panel I grabbed some time with SwiftStack’s CEO and Founder Joe Arnold.  SwiftStack is based on the OpenStack storage project, Swift, and helps operations teams implement and manage an easy-to-use, multi-tenant and highly scalable private cloud storage platform.

Take a listen to what Joe has to say:

Some of the ground Joe covers

  • [0:20]  What is SwiftStack?
  • [0:56]  Where did Joe get the idea for SwiftStack
  • [2:15]  What additional pieces does Swift Stack add to OpenStack’s Swift project?
  • [3:26]  What is coming down the pipe? (Spoiler alert, it has to do with Erasure coding and Storage policy)

Extra-credit reading

  • Full Support for Global Clusters Now Available in OpenStack Object Storage – Syscon media
  • OpenStack Object Storage (“Swift”) – Wiki

Pau for now…


Talking APIs with ProgrammableWeb Founder: John Musser

September 16, 2013

Last week I was out in San Francisco for VentureBeat’s CloudBeat conference.  One of the panels I sat in on was “API’s the Key that Unlocks the Cloud.”  After it ended I grabbed some time with panelist  John Musser, founder of the web’s API directory ProgrammableWeb.  John shared his views on APIs past, present and future.

Take a listen.

Some of the ground John covers:

  • What is ProgrammableWeb and how did John get into the world of APIs
  • How would John describe the modern API and how is different from integration technology of the past?
  • What makes a good API and how do you make sure it flourishes? (Time to first “Hello world”)
  • Who are doing the best jobs with APIs (spoiler alert: Twilio and Stripe)
  • What does the future of APIs hold?
  • What’s John’s new gig, “API Science” about?

But wait, there’s more…

Stay tuned for the next week or so as I roll out the rest of the interviews I conducted at CloudBeat.  On deck are Linkedin’s use of Dell Boomi and Salesforce, Luke Kanies — Puppet CEO,  Joe Arnold – CEO of SwiftStack and Anand Iyengar – Founder of CloudVelocity.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


OSCON: The Project Sputnik story & giveaway

July 29, 2013

Last week, Dell was out in force in Portland, Oregon, representing at OSCON.   We had a booth and gave a few talks.

The talk that Cote and I delivered covered the story behind the Project Sputnik: Connecting the client to the cloud  – The Sputnik Story :

Give it away, give it away, give it away now

In addition to talking about Project Sputnik, we gave away three of the XPS 13 developer edition systems.  Here is the crowd waiting for us to draw the winner at the Dell booth:

The Sputnik drawing at the Dell booth.

The Sputnik drawing at the Dell booth.

And here is the lucky winner, Katrina Prosise, a comp sci student in Portland.

Barton George (Dell), the lucky winner, Joseph George (Dell)

L->R: Barton George (Dell), Katrina Prosise (the lucky winner), Joseph George (Dell)

Stay tuned to this blog over the next week or so as I will be sharing a bunch of the video interviews I conducted while at OSCON.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now..


Cloud Computing: A high-level how-to

January 8, 2012

Here is the last in a series of three short videos around cloud computing put together by Dell and Intel.  As I mentioned in the last two entries, these videos are part of larger series around key topics like IT reinvention, the consumerization of IT, social media etc.

This last video features myself, Dell’s former CIO Robin Johnson, VP of Dell’s Enterprise Solutions and Strategy, Praveen Asthana and Donna Troy, VP and GM of Solutions Marketing and Sales at Dell.

Some of the ground we cover

  • How we define cloud computing
  • How quickly can you evolve to cloud?
  • How do you balance your current environment with cloud
  • Starting your cloud building from a basis of virtualization

Extra credit reading

Pau for now…


The Value of Cloud Computing

January 5, 2012

Before the holidays I posted the first of three videos that Dell and Intel put together around cloud computing.  These videos are part of a larger series around key topics like IT reinvention, the consumerization of IT, social media etc.

This second video features myself, Dell’s VP of Platform marketing Sally Stevens and John Pereira, Intel’s director of data center and hosting.

Some of the ground we cover

  • Cloud as a component of a larger portfolio of compute models
  • Small companies and the power of the cloud (Animoto case study)
  • How much of IT spend goes towards maintenance and how can we lower this
  • Hardware abstraction and the value it brings

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


What is the Cloud?

December 20, 2011

Earlier this year Dell and Intel did a series of videos around key topics like cloud computing, IT reinvention, the consumerization of IT, social media etc.  Within these there was a mini-series that dealt with cloud computing that I participated in.

Here is the first one that features Dell’s CIO Robin Johnson, John Pereira, Intel’s director of data center and hosting, Forrest Norrod who is the VP and GM of Dell’s server platform group and myself.

Some of the topics we hit on:

  • How cloud relates to grid compute
  • How start-ups and smaller companies leverage the cloud and how that may change as they grow
  • The benefit of velocity and near instantaneous deployment that cloud brings
  • The federal government’s “Cloud First” initiative and how that will promote adoption
  • We’ve only just begun

Pau for now…


Where Dell plays in the Cloud and how we got there

November 3, 2011

One of the interviews I did at Dell World was a video with IT in Canada.   I did the video with Paul Cooper, Dell’s country manager for Canada.

In the first half of the video I talk about how Dell got into the cloud and where we play in the space.  In the second half Paul talks about the roll the telcos will play in the delivery of cloud services in Canada as well as issues around privacy and data sovereignty.

Check it out.

From the article itself, here’s a great summary of our cloud participation and shows how we have built, bought and partnered along the way:

Dell’s excursion into cloud began with organic development of server and data centre capability in specialized systems to meet the needs of large cloud providers (Facebook, Microsoft Azure and Bing), progressed through modification of these systems for marketing to the “next 1,000”, and shifted to partnership with software makers such as Joyent to develop complete cloud solutions, and with companies such as VMware for the creation of a full service public cloud offering.

Supporting acquisitions along the way include companies with specific capabilities such as SecureWorks, which was purchased to address web security concerns that continue to dog broader cloud adoption, and BOOMI, a specialist in cloud integration, which enables Dell to better service customers who adopt a hybrid cloud approach to sourcing compute resources.

Extra-Credit reading


OSCON: ex-NASA cloud lead on his OpenStack startup, Piston

July 31, 2011

Last week  at OSCON in Portland, I dragged Josh McKenty away from the OpenStack one-year anniversary (that’s what Josh is referring to at the very end of the interview) to do a quick video.  Josh, who headed up NASA’s Nebula tech team and has been very involved with OpenStack from the very beginning has recently announced Piston, a startup that will productize OpenStack for enterprises.

Here is what the always entertaining Josh had to say:

Some of the ground Josh covers:

  • What, in a nutshell, will Piston be offering?
  • Josh’s work at NASA and how got involved in OpenStack
  • Timing around Piston’s general release and GA
  • The roles he plays on the OpenStack boards
  • What their offering will have right out of the shoot and their focus on big data going forward

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


My Cloud Expo preso: Taking the Revolutionary Approach

June 14, 2011

Last week Dell was out in force at the Cloud Computing Expo in New York as the event’s diamond sponsor.  Besides the Keynote that President of Dell services Steve Schuckenbrock delivered, Dell also gave, or participated in 11 other talks.

I also gave one the talks and mine focused on the revolutionary approach to the cloud and talked about how this approach was setting a new bar for IT efficiency.

Here’s the deck:

(If the embedded deck doesn’t appear above, you can go to it directly on slideshare).

Talking with Press and Analysts
At the event I also met with press and analysts.  One of the things I find helpful in explaining Dell’s strategy and approach to the cloud is to sketch it out for someone real time.  I guess analysts Chris Gaun and Tony Iams of  Ideas International  found it helpful since they both tweeted a picture of it :).

Besides analysts I also met with several individuals from the press.  Mark Bilger, CTO of Dell services and I met with Michael Vizard of IT Business Edge and it resulted in the following article Cloud Computing Starts to Get a Little Foggy.

Additionally, to support the event and Dell’s cloud efforts going forward, Dell launched the Dell in the Clouds site.  It’s pretty cool, you may just want to check it out.

Extra-credit reading (all my posts from Cloud Expo):

Pau for now…


Cloud Expo: Boomi case study — Enterprise Community Housing

June 6, 2011

Earlier today at Cloud Computing Expo here in New York, Boomi CTO Rick Nucci conducted a session entitled “Cloud Integration: Best practices for IT Executives.”  Rick did a great job sketching out the issues to consider and what to take into account with regards to integration.  The most compelling part of the talk, however came from Pradip Sitaram, CIO of Enterprise Business Partners and Boomi customer.  Enterprise is a not-for-profit that builds affordable housing across the U.S.

After Pradip got off stage I sat down with him and got him to give a condensed version of his talk:

Some of the ground Pradip covers:

  • Enterprise homes house over 1 million people and every 55 minutes somebody moves into an enterprise home.
  • Dealing with the financial and occupancy reports that come from over 1600 properties, on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.  How Boomi provided a solution to dealing with and managing these reports that was a fraction of the quote from the other vendor, and could be implemented in weeks instead of months.
  • Their longer term issue of dealing with over 70 databases that are out dated and need to be modernized.  The answer is to go to the cloud and Boomi will act as their strategic integration platform making sure that all the pieces old and new work together.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Cloud Expo: Talking to Rick Nucci, Boomi CTO

June 6, 2011

Today, day one of the Cloud Computing Expo kicked off here at the Javits center in New York city.  The event began with a keynote delivered by Steve Schuckenbrock, president of Dell Services.  Dell is the Diamond sponsor at the event and Steve talked about finding the real business value in cloud computing and the business of “Yes, now“.

Another of today’s speaker was the founder and CTO of Boomi, Rick Nucci.  Boomi provides a SaaS-based cloud integration offering and was acquired by Dell about six months ago.  After Rick finished his session I grabbed some time with him to learn more Boomi.

Some of the ground Rick covers:

  • What Boomi is and how it got started in the integration space back in 2000.
  • [01:05] How Boomi’s integration offering evolved from a traditional middleware approach to cloud-based.
  • [02:51] How being acquired by Dell has changed how Boomi run’s its business and serves its customers.

Pau for now…


Intel Conversations in the Cloud: Dell’s “cloudy” thoughts

May 11, 2011

As a part of Intel’s Cloud Builder program, of which Dell is a member, Intel is hosting a podcast series appropriately entitled, Intel Conversations in the Cloud.  The first vendor they featured in the series was Dell and, back in March, I had the honor of representing us.

The episode is The Evolutionary approach to the cloud and is hosted by Allyson Klein, who manages the Server Technology and Software Strategy team in Intel’s Data Center Group.  (You can also listen to it here)

Here are some of the things Allyson and I chat about:

  • 0:35  My cloudy role at Dell
  • 0:48  The Revolutionary approach:  How Dell started out in the cloud four years ago at hyperscale
  • 1:42  Taking this hyperscale experience to the “next 1000″
  • 2:25  The Evolutionary approach:  the path to the cloud that the vast majority of enterprises will take today
  • 3:15  What drives the majority of business to the evolutionary approach to the cloud
  • 5:35  Five years from now, how will we be talking about the cloud

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Savtira streams media and apps from the cloud with beefy PowerEdge C combo

April 18, 2011

Savtira Corporation, who provides outsourced Cloud Commerce solutions, has chosen Dell DCS’s PowerEdge C line of servers and solutions to deliver streamed media and apps from the cloud.  Dell’s gear will help power the Savtira Cloud Commerce platform and Entertainment Distribution Network (EDN).

With a little help from PowerEdge C, businesses will now be able to use EDN to stream all digital media (business apps, games, music, movies audio/ebooks) from the cloud to any device.  One of the particularly cool features is, since the state and configuration are cloud-based, consumers can switch between devices and pick up exactly where they pushed pause on the last device.

Talk about supercharging

To power Savtira’s EDN data center, the company picked PowerEdge C410xs packed with NVidia Tesla M2070 GPUs and driven by PowerEdge C6145s.  If you think GPUs are just for rendering first-person shooters, think again.  GPUs can also cost-effectively supercharge your compute-intensive solution by offloading a lot of the processing from the main CPUs.  According to NVidia, for 1/10 the cost and with only 1/20 of the power consumption, GPUs deliver the same performance as CPUs.

To  help you get an idea of the muscle behind this solution, the PowerEdge C410x PCIe expansion chassis holds up to 16 of the Tesla M2070s GPUs, each of which exceeds over 400 cores.  Two fully populated C410xs are in turn powered by one PowerEdge C6145 for a combined total of 33 Teraflops in just 7U.

Talk about a lot of power in a little space :)

Extra-credit reading

  • PowerEdge C6145 — Dell DCS unveils its 4th HPC offering in 12 months, and its a beefy one
  • PowerEdge C410x — Say hello to my little friend — packing up to 16 GPGPUs
  • NVIDIA: from gaming graphics to High Performance Computing

Pau for now…


Dell, Equinix and Rackspace launch Free OpenStack Demo environment

March 30, 2011

OpenStack, the open source cloud platform based on code donated by NASA and Rackspace, has gained considerable traction since it was launched eight months ago.  The community has rapidly grown and there have been several releases.  Now its time to get potential customers trying it out and kicking the tires.

With the idea of removing friction to adoption and make the testing out of the platform as easy as possible, Dell, Equinix and Rackspace are announcing today the availability of a free OpenStack cloud demonstration and test environment.

The idea of the demo environment is to allow organizations to easily evaluate OpenStack and assess application performance on the platform in a low risk environment for free.  The next step after a successful demo would be a proof of concept.

Movin workloads around the country

This demo environment is initially available in three U.S. data centers and in Q2 of this year this offering will also be available in Equinix data centers in Europe and Asia.  The initial data centers are:

  • Equinix Silicon Valley
  • Equinix Asburn, VA
  • Rackspace Chicago

By having geographically dispersed facilities customers are able to test out the moving of applications and workloads between them.

The various parts

The OpenStack demo environment is made up of the following components

Widening the circle

The name of the game here is making the trying out of OpenStack as easy as possible.  There are a lot of community members and open source aficionados who are already testing out OpenStack.  The idea with OpenStack cloud demonstration environment is to provide a set up where a greater number of organizations feel comfortable evaluating the platform for themselves.

Try it, you just might like it :)

Extra-credit reading

Updated reading

Pau for now…


Dells Data Center Solutions group turns Four!

March 28, 2011

Dell’s Data Center Solutions group (DCS) is no longer a toddler.  Over the weekend we turned four!

Four years ago on March 27, 2007 Dell announced the formation of the Data Center Solutions group, a special crack team designed to service the needs of hyperscale customers.  On that day eWeek announced the event in their article Dell Takes On Data Centers with New Services Unit and within the first week Forrest Norrod, founding DCS GM and currently the GM of Dell’s server platform division, spelled out to the world our goals and mission (in re-watching the video its amazing to see how true to that mission we have been):

The DCS Story

If you’re not familiar with the DCS story, here is how it all began.  Four years ago Dell’s Data Center Solutions team was formed to directly address a new segment that begin developing in the marketplace, the “hyperscale” segment.  This segment was characterized by customers who were deploying 1,000s if not 10,000s of servers at a time.

These customers saw their data center as their factory and technology as a competitive weapon.  Along with the huge scale they were deploying at, they had a unique architecture and approach specifically, resiliency and availability were built into the software rather than the hardware.  As a result they were looking for system designs that focused less on redundancy and availability and more on TCO, density and energy efficiency.  DCS was formed to address these needs.

Working directly with a small group of customers

From the very beginning DCS took the Dell direct customer model and drove it even closer to the customer.  DCS architects and engineers sit down with the customer and before talking about system specs they learn about the customer’s environment, what problem they are looking to solve and what type of application(s) they will be running.  From there the DCS team designs and creates a system to match the customer’s needs.

In addition to major internet players, DCS’s customers include financial services organizations, national government agencies, institutional universities, laboratory environments and energy producers.  Given the extreme high-touch nature of this segment, the DCS group handles only 20-30 customers worldwide but these customers such as Facebook, Lawrence Livermore National Labs and Microsoft Azure are buying at such volumes that the system numbers are ginormous.

Expanding to the “next 1000”

Ironically because it was so high-touch, Dell’s scale out business didn’t scale beyond our group of 20-30 custom customers.   This meant considerable pent up demand from organizations one tier below.   After thinking about it for a while we came up with a different model to address their needs.  Leveraging the knowledge and experience we had gained working with the largest hyperscale players, a year ago we launched a portfolio of specialized products and solutions to address “the next 1000.”

The foundation for this portfolio is a line of specialized PowerEdge C systems derived from the custom systems we have been designing for the “biggest of the big.”  Along with these systems we have launched a set of complete solutions that we have put together with the help of a set of key partners:

  • Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications: A turnkey platform-as-a-service offering targeted at IT service providers, hosting companies and telcos.  This private cloud offering combines Dell’s specialized cloud servers with fully integrated software from Joyent.
  • Dell Cloud Solution for Data Analytics: A combination of Dell’s PowerEdge C servers with Aster Data’s nCluster, a massively parallel processing database with an integrated analytics engine.
  • Dell | Canonical Enterprise Cloud, Standard Edition: A “cloud-in-a-box” that allows the setting up of an affordable Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas)-style private clouds in computer labs or data centers.
  • OpenStack: We are working with Rackspace to deliver an OpenStack solution later this year.  OpenStack is the open source cloud platform built on top of code donated by Rackspace and NASA and is now being further developed by the community.

These first four years have been a wild ride.  Here’s hoping the next four will be just as crazy!

Extra-credit reading

Articles

DCS Whitepapers

Case studies


Live from World Hosting Days – AMD’s John Freuhe talks about the AMD based PowerEdge C systems

March 23, 2011

This week, outside of Frankfurt, WorldHostingDays is taking place.  A whole delegation of folks from the Data Center Solutions group is there to support the announcement of our new microserver line.   A lot of our key partners are there as well.  One such partner is AMD.

Earlier today, AMD director of product marketing John Fruehe held a session entitled “Core Scalability in a cloud environment.”  Above is a three minute section where John talks about the three AMD-based systems that are part of the PowerEdge C line:

  • The PowerEdge C5125 microserver which we announced yesterday
  • The PowerEdge C6105 optimized for performance per watt per dollar.
  • The PowerEdge C6145 our HPC monster machine

Take a listen as John walks you through the products and their use cases.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


And on the other end of the spectrum — Microservers

February 16, 2011

Monday I wrote about the announcement of our mega-beefy, 96-core PowerEdge C6145 server, specifically geared to customers solving big problems involving huge and complex data sets in mapping, visualization, simulations and rendering.

At the other end of the spectrum however are customers, such as those offering low-end dedicated hosting solutions, who are looking for systems with only enough processing and storage to serve up straight-forward, focused applications such as those for serving up webpages, streaming video etc.  These “right-sized” systems are referred to as “micro” or “light weight” servers.

Take a listen to Data Center Solutions marketing director Drew Schulke below as he explains the origin of the microserver and walks you through our second generation offering in this space.

Some of the area Drew covers:

  • How did Dell get into the microserver market 2-3 years ago
  • How the progression of Moore’s law caused processing power to out strip the needs of many applications.
  • A walk through of our second generation microserver which packs 12 single socket servers into one 3Uenclosure.

We will continue to be making noise in this space.  Be sure to tune in next time as our topic will be a mini “case study” on Dell’s first generation microserver deployed at a large hoster in France.

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Architecture Overview: The Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications

February 10, 2011

Last November, Dell announced the Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications.   This turnkey offering is composed of Dell systems and Joyent Software along with a reference architecture all supported by Dell services.  This solution enables a private Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment to support the development and testing of languages such as PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby and Java.

This solution is designed for hosters and telcos who are looking to provide public PaaS offerings.  An example of this is Uniserve, a Canadian Internet services provider.  Uniserve has adopted the Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications to offer on-demand access to a high-performance Internet application and consumer delivery platform, for customers to develop iPhone apps to commercial storefronts, to hosting and delivering Software-as-a-Service.

Check out the short video above where Dell Data Center Solutions architect Brian Harris  provides a high level overview of the Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications architecture.

Some of the areas Brian covers:

  • Purpose build hardware
  • Smart OSs
  • Smart machines
  • Self-service portal
  • Dell Support

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


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