Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The experience has been great and I want to wholeheartedly thank Jonathan, Judi, and the rest of the crew I've worked with at Illuminata, my fellow analysts at other firms, and of course our clients over the years. I learned a lot, had a ball, met many people who I count as friends, assisted companies large and small, and have no regrets about having spent the majority of the last ten years at Illuminata.
All that said, and sincerely meant, the season is changing. I echo many of Andi Mann's sentiments upon leaving Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) to join CA. We're in a period of enormous change in IT. That always seems to be the case but we're seeing some particularly fundamental shifts in the way that applications are delivered and infrastructures are operated. Vendors are re-aligning in response. There are new horsemen.
I wanted to be involved in those changes in a more hands-on way than was possible as an analyst, a job that is inherently a bit academic and outside-looking-in. (Indeed that somewhat detached perspective is one of the values that industry analysts bring to those in the trenches.) It's been a great ride but I'm looking forward to being back on the vendor side of things as I was during my earlier career at Data General. There were many things I liked about being an industry analyst, but I did miss working with development teams and being directly involved with bringing products to market.
To cut to the chase, Red Hat has offered me the position of Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager out of the Westford MA office and I have accepted. I'll be helping to develop and implement Red Hat's cloud business and marketing strategy. It's a very exciting opportunity at a great company that puts me right in the thick of the changes I mentioned above.
I'll be taking a few weeks off and will go largely off the Net during that time. However, once I plug back in, I plan to remain very involved with many of the communities in which I participate. I will remain on twitter (@ghaff). I will continue to write my personal blog (and likely other blogs as well although this is among the details that need ironing out). I expect to spend lots of time out and about. I look forward to continuing to work and talk with many of you, albeit from a different perspective and in a different role.
I’d like to close by again thanking the many clients who I have had the honor of working for and with over the years. Illuminata and I appreciated the purchase orders, sure. But you’ve also helped me learn and provided intellectual stimulation along with many good times. Illuminata remains at your service and, although I will no longer be an analyst, I look forward to our paths crossing in the future as well.
Monday, March 22, 2010
- Star Investor Vinod Khosla Responds : Greentech Media - Ooh. I got quoted by Vinod Khosla!
- Op-Ed Contributor - The Age of Concrete - NYTimes.com - "If one society worshiped God in stone, and another venerated enterprise in steel, it must say something that we have now been able to reach so high with our most common building material: concrete."
- Up next: Cloud computing management - TotalCIO - The rise of cloud management vendors. (The "first wave" was more about virtualization management vendors sticking "cloud" in their presos.)
- William Vambenepe — “Freeing SaaS from Cloud”: slides and notes from Cloud Connect keynote - Generally agree with this. In a lot of cases, you really do need to talk about SaaS differently from IaaS/PaaS.
- Hard questions about open source software | Blog | Bob Sutor
Friday, March 19, 2010
- A small and unscientific exploration of OSS license use | carlodaffara.conecta.it - I'm not sure the delta in committers is statistically significant. Interesting data to augment the Black Duck figures thought.
- Amanpour to ABC’s This Week; A Good Change, or a Waste of Talent? - Tuned In - TIME.com - I lost interest in the Sunday morning talk shows sometime around when David Brinkley retired.
- Data Center Dialog: Connecting some dots from Cloud Connect: everyone was "all in" - Good rundown on the CloudConnect event.
- Wikipedia, Notability, and Open Source Software | A chronicle of Ubuntard stupidity. - "Of course, the Association of Deletionist Imbeciles have their little size breakdown, which implies it’s difficult to find what you want when more content exists. Clearly, these people have not heard of search algorithms."
- Will Cloud Computing Make Personal Computers Obsolete? | 1-800-Recycling - Seems to overstate case. Makes clients less stateful but could argue that makes for more clients rather than fewer or less often replaced ones.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Over the Christmas holidays, my employer, Illuminata, migrated from Exchange to Gmail. The main impetus was that Exchange worked OK—until it didn’t. And then it was a major crisis to get email up and running again. We made the move to Google Apps with the aid of a local consultant and it went smoothly for the most part; the main issues weren’t directly related to moving off Exchange but with associated changes in our IT infrastructure. Here are my impressions after a couple of months.
Gmail uses a fundamentally different organizational scheme from Exchange/Outlook. It uses labels while Exchange uses hierarchical folders. Generally speaking I find labels/tags/keywords to be a better approach because many items don’t lend themselves to a strict hierarchy. However, a lot of people are used to a hierarchical system that mimics physical file folders and filing cabinets. Furthermore, some things—such as those related to client projects, business transactions, and so forth—really do work better as a formal hierarchy. You can do some things to mimic a hierarchy using labels but it can be a bit of a force fit.
Unsurprisingly, Gmail organization is also built around search and, in fact, doesn’t give you a way to sort other than by the default newest to oldest. Mostly I’m fine with this; the searching works great. However, when cleaning out my mailbox in Outlook, I found it handy to sort by name as a way to quickly delete or archive a lot of recurring emails from a single source. (Yes, I’m aware that I can use Outlook and other desktop clients with Gmail but I try to just stick with the Web interface.)
As someone who uses a fair number of different clients, I really like having a very functional Web interface wherever I am. Exchange has a decent fat client in Outlook—which I have installed on a couple of systems—but otherwise you’re stuck with a Web interface that’s mediocre, especially if you don’t use Internet Explorer. Furthermore, using Outlook meant that I needed a working VPN connection which often breaks in hoteld and at conferences for a variety of reasons.
The calendar in Google Apps works nicely, including for shared calendars. I find it a bit quicker to enter events than with Outlook though the difference isn’t that great. Again, though, the Web interface is much better than accessing Exchange through a Web interface.
One area where Google Apps is weak is contacts which is sort of messily tied to email. I’d really prefer to have a dedicated contact database of some sort. (I think part of the problem is that the import from Exchange wasn’t especially clean.)
Overall, after living with it for a couple of months, it’s not perfect but I definitely prefer it. The Web interface may be the biggest win but the ease of searching is nice too given that I’ve never been especially good at manually organizing.
(Overall, the office is more split on the move. The people who don’t like it are probably most bothered by the move from a folder hierarchy to labels which does require some mental reorganization and, as I said, isn’t as good a model for certain things.)
- The Official Netflix Blog: Friends Update - Wasn't something I used but seems counter general trends to kill social recommendation.
- Brocade’s unraveling - "The OEM channel is popular in tech because it removes the expense and exasperation of selling to end-users. You work with fellow engineers at the OEM to qualify the product and their sales people do the work. You don’t think you need much marketing – really, you do, but few realize that – and very few sales people. And the sales people you do need are the cool, savvy relationship cultivators, not the high-pressure closers. It’s almost all good. The bad is the loss of control. Other people position you, test you, support you and ultimately use you for their gain. That can work well if, like DEC early on, your widget is buried inside another product and you’re free to market to end-users."
- How Privacy Vanishes Online, a Bit at a Time - NYTimes.com - "But Jon Kleinberg, a professor of computer science at Cornell University who studies social networks, is skeptical that rules will have much impact. His advice: “When you’re doing stuff online, you should behave as if you’re doing it in public — because increasingly, it is.”"
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
- 451 CAOS Theory » On the fall and rise of the GNU GPL - I'd summarize this as "Things haven't really changed much."
- How students use Wikipedia - I find this a generally encouraging study as it indicates that (at college level anyway) Wikipedia gets used as one source of information rather than the single canonical source.
- What is LR-DIMM , LRDIMM Memory ? ( Load-Reduce DIMM)
- Decline of Food Critics: WSJ Loses a Restaurant Reviewer - TIME - "Now, thanks to all the things the ancient regime most loathes — the Food Network, Top Chef, Eater and other blogs, Tony Bourdain, Momofuku mania, Rachael Ray, celebrity-chef restaurants — America has become as turned on by food as any Ford-era gourmand. But they lack the one thing that the old guard has in spades: perspective."
- Beyond The Hurt Locker: The 10 Greatest War Movies (Ever) - Jinni Blog - Not a bad list though I'd probably put Das Boot and All Quiet on the Western Front in there somewhere (probably instead of Platoon and maybe Full Metal Jacket.
- Is Jaron Lanier just a hater, or should we be paying attention? | opensource.com - "Jaron is definitely channeling Ayn Rand when it comes to his belief in the importance of the individual creator, which explains why he dislikes Wikipedia so much. I think he makes some good points, especially regarding the dangers of anonymous authorship (leads to lack of accountability) and the need for transparency in authorship (certainly not one of Wikipedia's strengths)."
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
- In Cloud, ITIL, and SOE – Heterogeneity is the New Standard | Andi Mann – Übergeek - Agree. Cloud computing isn't just anything you apply the term to but academic purity often gets in the way of useful implementations in real life.
- Visual Guide to NoSQL Systems - Nathan Hurst's Blog - Good discussion in the comments as well.
- Airport Guide by iFly - $3.99 - 10 iPhone apps for frequent fliers - CNET Reviews - I have a somewhat different list but I may check some of these out.
- This Changes Everything - Chuck's Blog - Chuck Hollis' recap of EMC's virtual storage event.
- Amazon auctions computing power: Clouds under the hammer | The Economist - I'm wary about conflating Amazon's spot pricing with markets in computing cycles more broadly.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
- A Short Documentary on Google - What is Google Trying to do?
- Playing games in Google Earth | Google Earth Blog
- 137 Years of Future - The Long Now Blog - Popular Science has put their historical archive online.
- Sharing Hotel Info Is Critical For Business Travelers - Business Travel - Portfolio.com - Some good advice about using sites with user-created reviews.
- Video: Cloud Computing in Government… | Rational Survivability
- The history of the Mainframe computer
- tecosystems » Who’s Winning the Cloud Marketing Battle? - A simple metric yes, but at least a second order relevant one.
- FlightCaster - Flight prediction delays. Something to give a whirl.
- Second Life's virtual money can become real-life cash - washingtonpost.com - Most people I know tried and abandoned Second Life long ago. But it's still chugging along at a good clip.
Monday, March 08, 2010
- Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Nowness - "There are times when human beings are able to correct the bias of a technology. There are other times when we make the bias of an instrument our own. Everything we've seen in the development of the Net over the past 20 years, and, indeed, in the development of mass media over the past 50 years, indicates that what we’re seeing today is an example of the latter phenomenon. We are choosing nowness over ripeness."
- RSA Interview (c/o Tripwire) On the State Of Information Security In Virtualized/Cloud Environments. | Rational Survivability
- Red Hat Cloud Business Unit | Virtually Speaking | ZDNet.com - Appropriate cautions.
- Adapters: Micro 4/3 - Interesting, Micro 4/3 adapters for many types of older lenses.
- Data Center Strategies: Client Virtualization: Where Does It Fit? - "If the customer has already deployed a good application virtualization and desktop management solution (e.g. Symantec Altiris, Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, or Novell Zenworks), moving to a virtual desktop infrastructure may not save much money in the long run. Moving to a desktop virtualization solution has to be a strategic (business) decision not a tactical (IT) one."
- Press Gang § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM - Tricky questions. In this day and age, saying that a journalist only works for a "publication" doesn't work. But neither does saying anyone with a "laptop and WiFi connection" is.
- Your Favourite Technology Will Not Kill Anything | Andi Mann – Übergeek - "Even if, as Gartner predicts, by 2012, 20 percent of businesses will own no IT assets – which I find highly dubious; and even if the cloud computing market will be worth $160bn by 2011 – also somewhat dubious; then still a vast majority of organizations will continue to own their IT assets. Even allowing for some substantial private cloud deployment (much less dubious), there is no chance cloud computing will kill the on-premise, installed and owned, IT environment."
- Voice recognition gets "cloudy," but is it the "new touch"? - "As someone who has used speech recognition regularly for years on multiple platforms, this future is "within sight" in the same way that I can see the moon out my window every night. Still, that's something, and anyone who tried to use voice recognition before, say, 2005 will be shocked by its capabilities and actual usefulness today. As companies like Microsoft, Google, and Nuance deploy more voice services that live in the cloud and not on a local machine, advances in understanding should accelerate—an exciting prospect for anyone (*cough* Editor in Chief Ken Fisher *cough*) who has ever had speech recognition software turn "but the fields" into "blood to feel.""
Friday, March 05, 2010
- Elliott Associates and Novell: All About a Game of Cat and Mouse - ConsortiumInfo.org - Good read although I wonder if here, as elsewhere, the importance of SUSE Linux in the dynamics aren't being overstated (e.g. because of the rise of Ubuntu).
- Cloudonomics.com - "In a nutshell S+S is a model which embraces both traditional on premise IT and the functionality provided by the cloud – letting the user decide whether they want to use online or on-premise functionality, or a combination of the two. It’s a salient approach as, in reality, most companies will use a mix of traditional IT and cloud services. Over the next few years the wider IT industry will come to acknowledge that cloud is not an ‘all or nothing’ proposition." More complicated than just economics of course.
- Collective Conversation » ARcade » Blog Archive » Grappling with the Cloud – What the Analysts Say (and why their opinion matters) - "In a nutshell S+S is a model which embraces both traditional on premise IT and the functionality provided by the cloud – letting the user decide whether they want to use online or on-premise functionality, or a combination of the two. It’s a salient approach as, in reality, most companies will use a mix of traditional IT and cloud services. Over the next few years the wider IT industry will come to acknowledge that cloud is not an ‘all or nothing’ proposition."
- The Cloud Market: EC2 Statistics - Ubuntu presence not a surprise. Share of plain Debian (assuming that's being reported accurately) is.
- Dennis Forbes on Software and Technology - Getting Real about NoSQL and the SQL-Isn't-Scalable Lie - "[Though as Michael Stonebraker points out, SQL the query language actually has remarkably little to actually to do with the debate. It would be more clearly called NoACID]"
- Network Profile of the Day… Gary Kindall & CP/M - Prof. Boerner's Explorations
- The Argument for Dirt-Cheap E-Books | BNET Technology Blog | BNET - I don't agree with everything here but provocative discussion of ebook pricing.
- Data Center Dialog: Going rogue, cloud computing-style: what you can learn by going around IT - "But most interestingly, we also discussed the truly amazing tendency that people in even in the most conservative IT organizations have to, well, “go rogue.” In some of the most locked-down IT environments, folks try innovative stuff on their own, even when it doesn’t meet all of their strict requirements. Why? To help them get their job done in a much better or faster way."
- Cloud Security Takes A Big Leap Forward - Chuck's Blog - Some good discussion of a security architecture for virtualized environments.
- 5 things VMware must do to fend off Microsoft
- Observations on film art : Motion-capturing an Oscar - "With all the kinds of changes that I’ve pointed out, how would Academy members be supposed to judge these performances were they to be nominated in the traditional acting categories? Where is the boundary between acting and special effects? Despite actors’ and directors’ claims to the contrary, the movements and expressions caught by performance capture are changed in many obvious and not so obvious ways. A close inspection of the comparison photos reveals the details of the transformation, but in watching the film, the viewer cannot necessarily gauge what sorts of changes were made. I can well imagine that actors like Meryl Streep or Jeff Bridges would be justified if they objected to competing in the same Oscar category as what are essentially hybrid performances seamlessly combining the original acting and the digital transformation."
Monday, March 01, 2010
- The A4 and the A8: secrets of the iPad's brain - "The second, and perhaps most likely reason behind Apple's silence, is that the A4 just isn't anything to write home about—and on this second point, I actually know a thing or two. If Apple were to tell you what's in the A4, most of the focus would be on what the chip is not, rather than on what the iPad is."
- 48 best free software downloads from Microsoft | News | TechRadar UK
- Sysinternals Suite
- Oracle wields hefty muscle in Colorado's tech sector - The Denver Post
- Upgrade the Windows 7 RC to any retail version « Icrontic Tech - A couple of hacks to let you upgrade the Windows 7 RC to the Home Premium retail version.
- From the Desk of David Pogue - Photoshop and Photography - When Is It Real? - NYTimes.com - Good list.
- Should the analysts be blogging? « The IIAR Blog - A lot of good thinking here.