All things Storageous in Storage!


Removing your head from the sand…..

Take the time to learn from others around you

Take the time to learn from others around you

I often think that the IT world buries itself in its own little world and the analogy goes “If I cannot see them they cannot see me” (Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy quote). But there is so much more to be seen and discovered that relates to IT. We are seeing this more and more now, no longer is IT just responsible for the delivery of email and a service desk which we can moan at when things are not working, but IT is now responsible for innovation within the business and being extremely smart on efficiencies, cost and all the while completing this with the same number of staff and an ever decreasing budget. The “innovation” side comes from the now industry standard words of big data and big data analytics.

Now in my humble view IT departments have not yet fully understood these new aspects they are to bring to the table and this goes back to my analogy of burying our heads in the sand, maybe if we ignore it, it will go away? The harsh reality is it will not, smarter ways of generating revenue for the business and understanding customers through analytics is now becoming mandatory for businesses to compete with each other.

I sound like I am beating up on IT here, but I am guilty of this myself and I think we all are to some degree.

So I hear you ask what is the golden answer? Well I may have just stumbled across a path to that answer, last year I attended something called the “Yorkshire Mafia” in the UK. This was an event driven purely from LinkedIn with no real marketing campaign other than LinkedIn and there were over 2000 attendees.

The real golden nugget here is that it was not all IT companies attending it was businesses of all natures from large corporates to entrepreneurs. But more importantly the key notes were a great way to understand how other businesses are using IT, social media and the likes to the best effect. This involved key notes from Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter.

This is a huge networking event which allows businesses from all verticals to meet and see what others are doing. Now isn’t that refreshing?! There is even a Billionaire panel where 6 CEO’s of very successful businesses sit on a panel and can be asked questions by the audience, now personally this was fascinating for me as when do you get this opportunity to ask these people what you want? I may be the exception here but I do not meet the CEO of many companies and this was a unique insight!

So the headline is, if you want to take your head out of the sand and see what other businesses are doing within all industries and how it relates to you, attend this conference I guarantee you will see or hear something you can use or find useful. And the best bit, how much does this cost?! Nothing its free! From a personal note, based on the success of this last year you can see from the sponsors such as Barclays that they have attracted this year that this type of event is growing in size and importance.

Register below and actually go to a conference which is different from your normal industry events, let me know what you think and maybe see you there! Also you will be surprised to see all the IT vendors now rushing to attend these events as they realise the potential of these networking events.

The Yorkshire Mafia



The Secret Cloud…

Secret Cloud

Secret Cloud

To start this blog I thought a quote from Henry Ford would work quite well “A Business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about its profits, that they will be embarrassingly large!”.

From my previous post I blogged about the fist fight in the enterprise public cloud, in which there are many players including, Amazon, ATOS and more recently VMware. The list goes on, but they are all fighting about one space in particular and this is aquiring the enterprise applications that vendors and suppliers have safe guarded for years.

Amazon are making more and more in roads in to this space and I could not resist to blog about the CIA cloud. Thats right the CIA cloud, it has been reported that the CIA are in talks with Amazon around a private cloud solution. This was first reported by “Federal Computer Weekly”, now you have to think about this in context. This is the US governments first real move in to cloud computing after acknowledging the benefits of cost saving, flexibility and able to keep up with the latest trends in computing such as big data and analytics. So if the leader in cloud computing at the moment can build a highly secure, highly performant stable environment for the CIA applications, what is stopping the rest of the enterprise world merging to a similar approach?

One of the clouds biggest questions is “Is my data safe?” surely if the CIA are looking at this they deem the cloud model to be safe. Now lets not get carried away here its not like Amazon will place the CIA on a shared infrastructure with every other man and his VM! They are apparently building a private cloud for the CIA.

This is falling inline with their recent communications that they are beefing up their VPC (Virtual private cloud) capabilities, such as giving you more storage per relational database up fro 1TB to 3TB and up to 30,000 IOPS. Their whole game plan here is to attract the IT old school who will not move enterprise applications to the cloud. It certainly sounds appealing to me!

So if you put two and two together and think if Amazon are embarking on a large scale secure cloud with the CIA they will surely apply the lessons learnt there and be even more formidable in the market place.

Naturally no one will comment on this from the CIA or Amazon but I am sure this will have got tongues wagging in the industry. To go back to my quote at the start of this blog, Amazon seems ever more focussed on the service it is delivering and if they do get this contract it is reported that this is worth $600 over ten years. Just think if they can then coax the enterprise application crowd over to their services also, I think the quote rings true, they will be embarrassed by profits!

So in jest this blog never happened! “Gentlemen, congratulations. You’re everything we’ve come to expect from years of government training. Now please step this way, as we provide you with our final test: an eye exam…” FLASH (quote men in black).


Standing on the Shoulders of Giants…

Have VMware realised that Amazon are standing on their Shoulders?

Have VMware realised that Amazon are standing on their Shoulders?

“One who develops future intellectual pursuits by understanding and building on the research and works created by notable thinkers of the past” I thought this an appropriate opening to the topic of discussion here today. I will explain this metaphor at the end of my ramblings, but in the most basic form Amazon are the ones standing on the giant VMware shoulders at the moment…

My thoughts and reading this month have been mainly of VMware’s talk of taking down the giants that are Amazon, VMware was as bold to say “Amazon will kill us all”. This sparked my attention and intrigue in to investigate this a little further.

This all stems from the brand that Amazon have in the industry, in previous posts I have blogged about how Amazon are ahead of the curve and anticipated this era of cloud computing. True VMware may have enabled this at a hypervisor layer but Amazon are the true victors here. In my opinion I think Amazon crept up on everyone in their blind spot, maybe the big corporations were a little too relaxed in what they were doing and just did not see this coming. You could argue that VMware were riding so much of a growth wave that they didn’t think this could effect them. It is the typical market pattern that the big innovators grow fast and then become stagnant. Constantly innovating is tough and I think that VMware have been right to spin off the platform as a service business as it brings more focus to the company.

Okay so on to the point of Amazon killing us all! This is referring to the shift in focus to Amazon. Every customer I go to has some form of services running in AWS whether that has been approved or not is a different story. And as I have stated before the reason people do this is choice, conventional IT is restrictive and does not give even half the speed people want especially if they have a credit card handy.

Just lately though in my experience Companies are starting to look over their shoulder’s at Amazon and wonder, how much data do I have there? Is it safe? does my data live on a shared platform with other companies data? Can I have my data back when I want? In this world at the moment intellectual property is king and the risk of companies employees sending out data to the cloud is one that will keep some awake at night.

So what are VMware bringing to the table? They are looking to announce in the 2nd half of this year a public cloud offering to compete head to head with Amazon. They are looking to extend their vCloud Director technology from existing customers in to the cloud enabling the mobility of production workloads. And here we get to the real fight that is happening, traditional IT vendors are now fighting to keep production applications on their infrastructure, AWS has predominantly been for test and development applications, but the nosies made by Amazon at its AWS re invent show last year are that they now have these production applications clearly in their sites!

So no wonder the gloves are now coming off with the big guns, as their comfort zone is at stake.

Do I think VMware can pull this off? One official at VMware was quoted as saying “surely we can beat a company who sells books”. That is a harsh statement, if you follow Formula One and are aware of Red Bull, the big manufacturer teams once said “They are a drinks manufacturer” but look at them now, they are triple world champions. For me VMware has to make a public cloud service which I want to buy in to and enable its channel to effectively sell these services. Certainly they are making the right noises and in my view focussing their direction which they seem to have lost a little bit. Bringing on someone like Pat Gelsinger is a real message to the industry that they mean business, look what he has done at EMC for the last 3 years.

In my verdict the jury is still out and VMware have to prove they have what it takes, so to sign off how I started, Amazon in my view are currently standing on the giant VMware’s shoulders as they understood what VMware had created and how to make a service from it. VMware are left looking up at what their intellect has created and it now seems the red mist has descended and they are focussing on this space also.