App Think Tank: The skills and people IT needs most

April 22, 2014

Yesterday I featured the first of three videos that tackle the topic — the skills CIOs and IT need for success.  Today’s video features Ranga Jayaraman, Associate Dean and CIO of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford.

Ranga responds to the question, how would you set up your IT environment today if you had the luxury of starting completely afresh.  With regards to the people and skills he would assemble, Ranga talks about the importance of IT people who understand the business and can act quickly.  He also discusses the difference between developers in an IT shop and those in a product shop and how open source and reusable frameworks have served to make the IT developer much more powerful.  Take a listen.

Ranga’s right

I would say whether your starting from a greenfield environment or improving on your current set up that Ranga is right, you need IT people who understand the business and not just the technology.   Its no longer ok to simply be a tech expert, its about what’s most important for the customer and business and being able to move and adapt quickly.  These messages will continue to crop up as we go through the rest of videos.

These videos were taken from a think tank Dell Services held back in January in Silicon Valley which featured a panel representative of old school and new school companies, big and small.

Still to come

Later this week, I will have the last video on this initial topic, What the CIO of the future must do.  Next weeks’ series will focus on the topic Applications and software strategy and the week after that I will conclude with Cloud and Infrastructure thoughts.

The Think Tank, Sessions one and two

  • Think Tank Session 1- Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’
  • Think tank Session 2- Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

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…


“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: 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…


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…


Whitepaper: Learning from Web Companies to drive Innovation

December 4, 2013

Web-WhitepapercoverToday I finally get to debut a white paper that Michael Cote, now of the 451 Research, and I started quite a while back:

Learning from Web companies to drive Innovation – Embracing DevOps, Scale and Open Source Software

The basic theme of the paper is that Web companies set the agenda for the IT industry and enterprises can benefit by understanding and following their practices

The paper’s key themes:

  • Web companies are characterized by Open Source software and a three-tiered architecture:
    • A scale out infrastructure
    • A data tier that utilizes big data
    • An application tier supported by a proliferation of development languages
  • Developers are kingmakers and must be supported and allowed to innovate
  • DevOps is a key trend that brings developers and operations together to reduce friction and increase velocity

If this looks at all interesting, please check it out.  It should be a quick read and hopefully we’ve written it in away that is accessible to a wide audience.

Extra-credit viewing

Pau for now…


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