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Virtual Application Appliances

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Yep, I play Pokémon Go.  I take joy walking around the neighborhood and in strange towns catching a Pinsir, Ponyta, or Growlithe or two (though I have to put up with those pesky Ekans, Paras and Spearows).  You see, I play Pokémon Go for …er, um,… research purposes.  I can’t help but to imagine how organizations can leverage “augmented reality[1],” the secret sauce behind Pokémon Go, to deliver analytic insights and recommendations to key business constituents in a way that is more direct and actionable (not to mention measurable). In previous blogs (see “Analytics, Meet the User Experience” and “Store Manager Actionable Dashboard”), I discussed how critical it was to the success of your big data initiatives that you identify and understand upfront how to deliver the analytic insights and recommendations in a manner that is actionable (and measurable).   Virtual an... (more)

The Top 150 Players in Cloud Computing

Cloud Expo Early Bird Savings A robust ecosystem of solutions providers is emerging around cloud computing. Here, SYS-CON's Cloud Computing Journal expands its list of most active players in the fast-emerging Cloud Ecosystem, from the 'mere' 100 we identified back in January of this year, to half as many again - testimony, if any further were needed, to the fierce and continuing growth of the "Elastic IT" paradigm throughout the world of enterprise computing. Editorial note: The words in quotation marks used to describe the various services and solutions in this round-up are in every case taken from the Web sites cited. As ever we encourage software engineers, developers, IT operations managers, and new/growing companies in every case to "suck it and see" by downloading or otherwise sampling the offering in question for themselves. (Omissions to this Top 150 list sh... (more)

The Encrypted Elephant in the Cloud Room

Anyone who’s been around cryptography for a while understands that secure key management is a critical foundation for any security strategy involving encryption. Back in the day it was SSL, and an entire industry of solutions grew up specifically aimed at protecting the key to the kingdom – the master key. Tamper-resistant hardware devices are still required for some US Federal security standards under the FIPS banner, with specific security protections at the network and software levels providing additional assurance that the ever important key remains safe. In many cases it’s advised that the master key is not even kept on the same premises as the systems that use it. It must be locked up, safely, offsite; transported via a secure briefcase, handcuffed to a security officer and guarded by dire wolves. With very, very big teeth. No, I am not exaggerating. At least ... (more)

Five Advantages of Virtual Storage Appliances (VSAs)

With hypervisors a ubiquitous component of nearly every IT deployment, virtual appliances present a compelling alternative to traditional physical appliances by offering a simpler and faster software deployment model. In recent years, many data storage vendors have jumped on the “virtual bandwagon,” offering virtual storage appliances, often referred to as VSAs, and bucking the trend of an industry largely dominated by traditional hardware boxes. While virtual storage appliances may seem disruptive to the accepted model of an integrated storage array, their attractiveness is largely based on the separation of the high-value I/O software stack from the commodity hardware that underlies them. This software/hardware decoupling enables new levels of deployment flexibility for end-users. For those considering deploying new storage infrastructure, VSAs offer a number of ... (more)

Who is VMware in 2013? – A Company in Transition

It's that time of year again. Time for the industry's most influential infrastructure gathering, VMworld. And, as has become an annual occurrence, I jot down some pre-show thoughts about the event (2012, 2011). Who is VMware in 2013? While Pat Gelsinger was introduced at the 2012 VMworld as the new CEO, replacing Paul Maritz, the themes and strategy were still very much inline with Maritz's prior plans. Since then Gelsinger has narrowed the focus of the company, shed many products and begun putting his leadership team in place. So I'll be very interested to see how VMware gets presented this year. Gelsinger has not yet named a new CTO or CMO, so this year's event should very much be a representation of how he wants to present the company to the world. VMware is definitely a company in transition. Server virtualization is a mature market. The role of the desktop is bei... (more)

Cloud Computing + POC = ‘Obvious’ ISV Revenue Growth

I've always found that the obvious things in life are easy to understand once you see them. I've got a good one for you. Question: If an ISV can bring install time close to zero, their proof of concept (POC) efforts will: Take less time Become predictable and repeatable Go more smoothly in the eyes of the potential customer Provide more time for actually working with the customer and proving the concept Look impressive compared to competitors who need to send SEs on site for hours and days of sweating through glitch-filled installation and configurations Increase the likelihood of a win Use less of the most skilled and valuable ISV asset - the knowledgeable SE who is also good in front of living, breathing, revenue-generating potential customers Lower the cost of sales Generate incremental revenue All of the above The obvious thing here is ISVs should reduce POC insta... (more)

Who Invented Virtualization?

VAA on Ulitzer We've all been there.  Minding our own business in a local establishment, when a discussion's heat rises to the level of a sporting bet.  Sides are chosen, money plunked down, combatants await the reveal.  Other than adult beverages, the thing these bets seem to have in common is that the winning fact generally runs against commonly held assumptions. Here's a winner for you: Q:  What company "invented" virtualization technology? A:  The long defunct Burroughs Corporation first brought mainframe virtualization to market in the 1960s.  But it was not until the then laggard IBM brought it to their 360 line in the 1970s that the concept was legitimized. I'm willing to make this little bet with you:  Most people of a certain age are more than willing to bet folding green that IBM ‘invented' virtualization.  Gen-any-letters will bet VMware with confidence.... (more)

AppZero Arms ISVs to Face the Dark Side of Freedom

Hypothetical question:  If a big ISV were to fall in love with AppZero technology but turn out to be a VMware sibling, do I have a.) a great opportunity, b.) a giant time sink, or c.) a competitive trap on my hands? I love talking with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) about how Virtual Application Appliance (VAA) is the way to go for delivering applications to their users.  It's true.  It's fun.  It's revolutionary. Last week my CTO and I were in a room with 5 engineers who were describing the challenge of supporting close to 10,000 customers on a software application that does replication for mirroring, backup, business continuity, and other such mission critical functions.  Their comments went pretty much like this: "Every day we have an install that doesn't seem to work" "We had Microsoft and InstallShield on a call with a customer last week" "Files are sometim... (more)

Identity Theft Roundup

I’m on a ID fraud kick lately and there are quite a few stories of late about identity theft.  Here are just a few: House Approves Red Flags Exemptions – In January 2008, the Red Flag Rule went into existence which said that organizations (mainly banks and financial institutions) that extend credit to have a written Identity Theft Prevention Program designed to detect identity fraud on a day to day basis.  This new bill would except certain businesses like physicians and hospitals from having to abide by the rule.  Sen. Dodd (D-Conn) said that the bill, ‘makes clear that lawyers, doctors, dentists, orthodontists, pharmacists, veterinarians, accountants, nurse practitioners, social workers, other types of healthcare providers and other service providers will no longer be classified as ‘creditors’ for the purposes of the Red Flags Rule just because they do not receiv... (more)

Cloud Market Crosses the Chasm: Wins, Sign Posts, and Deals

Nothing says fun like a hurricane party, a bottle of "Jack," and a little game theory debate as lights begin to flicker across New England. And speaking of "Jack," what can possibly explain the handlers at HP letting Leo Apotheker get off the reservation long enough to proclaim the obvious market shift brought on by the iPad? Note to Leo: Never tell the world your business problems right before you put up the "for sale" sign. Never. Note to Larry: Please put Leo, the board and shareholders out of their misery.  Can you imagine? Ahhhhh.  I feel better.  Now .... turning to the chasm-crossing cloud market ...  I am fascinated by how the maturing of this market changes the competitive landscape as players reposition where they'll compete and investors ask, "Where is the smart money?" So, with a nod to Geoffrey Moore's iconic taxonomy, here's my cut at a bare-bones ou... (more)

Migrating to the Cloud: Managed Providers Quest for Uniformity

One of my favorite jobs was working in corporate development and looking at companies to acquire back at Progress Software. We had a couple hundred million in the bank, low single digit organic growth, margins expanding from 20% by 2 or 3% per year, and had gotten addicted to buying top line revenue to "juice" our top line. Corporate development got to go shopping for acquisitions, meeting with tons of small to medium sized companies to find the next one that met our model and fit our strategy. We called the activity around this shopping "kissing frogs" and "turning over rocks."  When we found a live one, I would: a.  vet them b.  buy them,  and c.  run like hell - far away from the integration team. Why run?  Because no matter how diligently one does due diligence, there is always a difference between the "story" (business-as-promised) and the "install" (business... (more)