Coté Memo #043: EMC + (HP XOR Dell) == what? “Fabrics” returning, and the joys of bicycle jousting

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Hello again, welcome to #043. Today we have 51 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

  • Mirantis wants to part ways with Red Hat and it’s easy to see why - Mirantis has several “strategic” relationships and investments (vendors that invested in them, partner with them, etc.). As they expand, you know, it can get weird.
  • Why Rackspace will fly solo: the market is evolving - nice 451 commentary from Scott Ottaway and Carl Brooks: “The selection of an internal candidate for CEO also indicates that Rackspace will focus on its strategic direction of targeting customers that value managed services tightly wrapped into public and private cloud services. It will also focus on offering cloud services across multiple platforms beyond OpenStack, including VMware and Microsoft, and emerging services like bare-metal servers and devops.”
  • Dell World speaker schedule without star keynote; panel to open show - one doesn’t want to read too much into DellWorld line-ups at all. But, hey, less big stars, which I think is fine. I usually skip the big interviews because they have nothing to do with the company, whatsoever. -More converged cloud theory - “They prefer buying a whole lot of stuff from one vendor, and we were open to the acquisition because it is in the interests of the customers that we are serving. We had a lot of customers asking us to do managed clouds, others were asking us for hardware recommendations. These were signals to us that it would not be a bad idea to have an end-to-end solution ready.”
  • Summary of Cloud & Data Center Automation Content at Engage - I’ll be at BMC’s conference this year. Oddly enough, the first time ever. Why odd? I worked there as a programmer for 5 years, covered them for about 6 years at RedMonk (OK, I went to an analyst conference they had which was very nice). It’ll be fun! If you’ll be there, let’s get together. I know the Swan and Dolphin and the boardwalk area like the back of my hand (thanks, IBM!).
  • Mesos Founding Father/Twitter Fail Whale Slayer Hindman Joins Mesosphere - eventually, these dudes or CoreOS will be a big deal. Perhaps both of them, but probably not unless they merge which wouldn’t really make sense, I don’t think.
  • Mobile security pain overwhelms the enterprise - damn mobile phones. The thing you have to remember is that each computer is kind of different: different enough to require new management stacks. You can’t use mainframe tools to manage Unix, can’t use Unix tools to manage x86/Windows/Web, etc. New devices mean new management tools, including security. Stay safe out there!
  • Article: Q&A on Kanban in Action - I should check this out. I have a theory that if I can apply Kanban to my white-collar work, things will go better. I can never really figure out Trello for “make that presentation” or “write that report.” Worse, my co-workers and folks on my team could give a crap about Kanban. The Office toolchain is just fine for them, thank you very much…which is fine.
  • The need for internal digital evangelism - I make this point all the time: if you want to change how things are done, you need to show-up, a lot. Sorry.
  • "Fabrics" are probably coming back - “We are seeing more and more customers looking at multitenancy requirements, and the word of the day is microsegmentation – how do you segment the infrastructure from end to end so you can run your risk analytics next to your Hadoop infrastructure?” Remember when everything was a “fabric.” We had “vFabric,” Microsoft talked in terms of fabrics, etc. I always thought it was a hella-cheesy, but I get the sense we might see the metaphor com eup again.
  • Linux? Bah! Red Hat has its eye on the CLOUD – and it wants to own it - nice letter from the Red Hat corporate strategy party.
  • Does Alibaba offer a ‘golden opportunity’ for U.S. small businesses? - I think what you (people who care about infrastructure-y stuff in the enterprise world) want to pay attention to here is how the hyper-scale Chinese web companies are positioned to be just like Amazon, down to AWS. As I understand it, AWS isn’t massive in RoR (“rest of world,” outside of Gringo-land on both sides of the pond), so there’s gap to fill. Everyone likes cloud, but lots of folks don’t like Yankees.
  • Heroku Rolls Out Metrics to Help Users Optimize Performance - they’re doing their own systems management. Fun!
  • BMC Software Sues ServiceNow for Patent Infringement - hey, it’s the thing Big 4 vendors do. “You kids (who used to be on our lawn and who, really, we bought the lawn from…hrm)…get off my lawn!”
  • Chinese Tourists Find a Movable Feast Best Left Behind - a large European city filled with dog poop and rude people! Sacrebleu! (See you in Paris for the OpenStack Summit!)
  • Puppet Labs hands strings to admins with updated DevOps tools - PuppetConf just wrapped and there’s some new features.

Rumors of EMC merging with HP XOR Dell

As I mentioned in Twitter, I think this would be a bonkers idea. Cats and dogs. Those companies all dislike each other. They’re so big it’s difficult to know how they’d properly integrate together. It looks like the rumors have blown over.

However, having worked in M&A for a few years, you can’t dismiss things like this too much. You have to remember how long acquisition projects are too: they rarely just pop-up over the weekend and have been churning around for 6, 12, even more months. At this scale, it’s also important to look at divestitures or “carve outs,” companies selling just part of themselves.

The bigger question would be: why? What advantage would a merger between EMC + (HP XOR Dell) get you? You could fire a bunch of shared staff (HR, finance, etc.), consolidate some campuses. Maybe get some benefits from account sharing. On the account sharing front, Dell’s “mid-market focus” would be a better match, on-paper, with EMC’s “enterprise focus.” Technology wise, it’s not like these things would suddenly work well together. You’d have duplicate storage portfolios that’d you have to consolidate - good luck with that!

Also, Dell and EMC don’t really like each other. I have no idea about HP.

So, it’s hard to see what the value would be. Why would two of those entites together perform (make more revenue, more profit) better than if they were seperate? That’s what you need to ask. Acquisitions are risky and rarely work out well, so you’re taking on a risk. The payoffs have to be both simple and big. Anything else is probably gonna fizzle.

(You have no idea how hard it’s been to not type “synergy” as this is the one context - M&A where “synergy” an appropriate word and not some B.S.)

Like I said, though, you should never dismiss M&A rumors too easily if they’re reported by credible reporters. Crazy stuff happens and there’s all sorts of cloak and daggers that goes around.

I’ll take the big iPhone, not the giant one

After much equivocating on either side, I decided on the iPhone 6, with 128 gigs of course. I tried out both in the store and the Plus seemed just fine. It seems too fragile though and I know I’ll like the size of the iPhone 6. I’m moving from a iPhone 4s, so it’ll be big enough.

And, really, after two years, I can just get a big one if I want. It seems wise to pass on a first gen big phone. We’ll see what happens.

Lucky for me, my credit card company “detected” fraud, so I’ll probably have to re-submit the order all over. Huzzah! (How ironic, given the point of Apple Pay: I don’t think taking out cards is inconvenient, it’s the fraud crap that’s annoying.)

Fun & IRL

  • Jousting on Bicycles - the reason I like “old” stuff like this is because it has that illusion of a time when we have relaxing figured out. If someone has enough time and mental capacity to come up with and execute such a nutty scheme, it seems like they’re living a relaxing life. Meanwhile, in contrast, it seems like contemporary life is a never-ending series of death-mark projects that are waiting to explode. Where’s my 5pm commuter train back to the suburbs?

  • I’ll be traveling a lot over the next few months and I’m sure I’ll miss some days here and there. Apologies ahead of time.

Next to the food court - speaking of ambiguous instructions

Please note that using a GPS system will not give you the correct location of the Global Entry Office. Unfamiliar with the Orlando International Airport follow these instructions. As you approach Orlando International Airport stay in the lane for “Terminal B”, parking is available in the “B” parking garage. Once in the terminal take the elevator or escalator to the departure level (where the ticket counters are located) this would be the 3rd level, proceed to the Center Food Court “B” side. When you see a large sign that says Lost and Found; stop. The CBP Global Entry, Enrollment Center, is located directly across from Lost and Found. There will be a door with a placard next to it that says Terminal Operations. The door is unlocked, walk through and proceed directly to the first door on your right. If you should park in Terminal Top Parking take the elevator to the third level (on the “B” side) and exit to your right, you will be facing a large sign that says Lost and Found. Directly across from Lost and Found is our CBP Global Entry, Enrollment Office (EC). The front door is unlocked please proceed directly to the EC office which will be on your right . Regular Orlando International clients When you come to the airport go to the Lost and Found office, located near the food court on the B-side, 3rd level. The CBP Global Entry Enrollment Center is located directly across from Lost and Found. There will be a door with a placard next to it that says Terminal Operations. The door is unlocked, walk through and proceed directly to the first door on your right.

From the instructions for getting to the Global Entry interview office in Orlando. Ironically, it’s next to the lost and found. That said, that’s some rich detail and I suspect I’ll find it right away.

I also like the part where they say “just walk through that door, it’s unlocked.” It’s actually comforting, like the instructions a neighbor would give you for going into their back door to get some chairs you need to borrow for a birthday party.

“ If you would like to copy and paste text into this document, please paste as text-only or paste into Notepad first to clear styles. ”
In a template for some 451 documents. It’s 2014, and this is pretty much where all the white-collar workers are. That whole “plain text and markdown” rebellion you see among tech-separatists is a weird reaction, but almost an isolationist response to the weirdness of Word.
“ Anything that can be learned by a normal American adult on a trip to a foreign country (of less than one year’s duration) can be learned more quickly, cheaply, and easily by visiting the San Diego Public Library. ”
Simon’s Travel Theorem, As read in the preface to The Halo Effect. A bit more here too, including the vital “I’m not trying to be a dick” defense.

Coté Memo #042: “Is this helping at all?” and other Linkatary

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Hello again, welcome to #042. Today we have 51 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. Keepin’ it smooth and level for the weekend! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

  • Rackspace To Go It Alone, Focus On Managed Cloud - hey, at this point, Rackspace is fascinating to me. How will the sort it out? As TPM pointed out, the seem to have gotten their very own Magic Quadrant. I’m not actually one of those people who thinks Gartner operates like that, but it is awfully convenient - maybe because it’s a proper way to divide up the market. As we discussed in yesterday’s SDT, I have a big open question for cloud: is it the case that people want (a.) a converged cloud (a box they just plugin, not futzing with software and such), and, (b.) “managed cloud” as the “public cloud” version of that: Cisco MetaCloud, BlueBox, Rackspace, and every other “not gonna compete head-to-head with Amazon” vendor out there who feels the need to do public cloud (equation: IT - Amazon = what?). I don’t think “the market” is big enough to know yet, to have enough requirements to drive it. The vendors have to place bets and drive thought-leaderships. Good luck storming the castle!
  • Red Hat to Wall Street: I came here to chew FeedHenry and kick some ass. And I’m all out of FeedHenry - it seems like Red Hat has been doing well of late. I’m starting to think of “Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)” as the new LAMP/J2EE-cum-JSP stack. We’ve changed the UI layer (from web to mobile) and you just need new a completely new stack of middle-ware because leaky abstractions. Think about it: if 70-80%+ of user were on mobile instead of web/desktop, you would just call MBaaS “middleware,” and the other stuff (web/LAMP/etc.) “legacy.” Private equity is on the prowl for the green screen - it’d be nifty if they started buying up old web stack companies.
  • What the winners in the application economy are doing differently - CA is doing well re-calibrating their marketing around DevOps (with some dusting of security-cum-API management). Here, they did a study that’s reminiscent of the 2014 Puppet DevOps study to try to show a connection between DevOps and “high performing business.” Looks like good raw materials for the field and keynotes at conferences that have the word “Expo” or “Congress” in them. (That’s a compliment.)
  • The more people fly, the more they prefer the aisle seat - I’m at 20,000 feet right now, brother. I’m totally that guy on this. Aisle all the time, baby: I gots to pee!
  • Life after Larry may be coming, but it’s not here yet for Oracle - it seems our 10 second analysis yesterday was a bit off. The 24 analysis hours cycle on Larry Ellison “stepping down” has been that not much is changing. OK; we’ll see.
  • Ping Identity Secures $35M Funding for Product Innovation, Global Expansion - “Series G.” The funding and corporate strategy history of Ping would be fascinating to explore. They’ve been around a long, long time (since 2002!) and seemingly keep just missing the brass rings of time. They’ve got to have rebuffed numerous acquisition offers, spent late nights trying to IPO, and done all sorts of other corporate financing gymnastics. Good luck to them this cycle! (If they get to Series O, can we call it “Series OG”?)

Fun & IRL

"Just call me ‘Captain.’ Mr. Dragon’s my father."

Coté Memo #041: Check all the things with BatCISO, SAP now owns TripIt

Title: Coté Memo #041: Check all the things with BatCISO, SAP now owns TripIt

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Hello again, welcome to #041. Today we have 51 subscribers, so we’re +2. Jim-dandy! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Quick Hits

Just in...

What’s a full stack developer?

Earlier this on the Under Development podcast week Bill and I discussed full stack developers in the context of working in a large company. There was also a fun discussion of the odd idea that “a good manager makes themselves unneeded” and what that phrase actually means.

We solve all of OpenStack’s problems

(Podcast here if you don’t like video - who does?!)

I think our Software Defined Talk podcasts keeps getting better. In this week’s recording (video only up at the moment), you can see Brandon move aggressively into the “let me tell you what I really think” zone, which is awesome.

The audio quality of Google oHangouts has been crapping out, so we’ll be figuring out other options.

Don’t forget to just subscribe to the podcast feed to get episodes downloaded automatically.

Fun & IRL

El-P and Killer Mike

I noticed there’s a new Run the Jewels album coming out, which made me go back and check if they’d added the first album in Spotify. They have!

I love that El-P sound.

“ For electronic recipients of Computergram International the last story is a little difficult. The nearest this electronic sub editor can get is to ask you to imagine the Old Spice advert, except that rather than a muscular antipodean on a surf board, you should imagine a muscular antipodean on an 80286 upgrade board. For those who cannot allow their imagination to extend this far, refer to the hardcopy C.I. or the Hypertec Pty press release (enough said). ”

Coté Memo #040: Market cycles in infrastructure software, still more OpenStack action

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Hello again, welcome to #040. Today we have 49 subscribers, so we’re +3. What happened?! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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  • There was diverse feedback to my research agenda question from yesterday. One person suggested focusing on points of friction that customers are facing, another of you on re-framing DevOps to be “all that stuff needed to become a coding business” (my rephrasing), and yet another in a more commercial sense: what will people pay for? All good input that’s given me plenty to think about.

  • One of the key things to fall out of the various conversations is being more straight forward with the “what I really think” content. Oddly enough, in the analyst world, this is not as easy as you may think. One theory being kicked around in the inbox is to “give away” the facts and to charge for opinion. That is, put “what I really think” behind a paywall. As I said in the thread on the topic, I almost do the opposite nowadays. It’s something to think more on in the endless analyst business model noodling I do. You got opinions? As an example, listen to the last 20 minutes (sort of accidentally recorded) of the most recent Exponent podcast. I think it’s some of the best, most valuable work that podcast has done. I didn’t think of big Apple event at all like they do…and now I do! (There’s also good cultural commentary on Asian luxury buying habits.)

  • I’m sure you’re thinking, “hey, Coté. I know you try to release and UnderDevelopment.io podcast every two weeks. What up?” Well, we have a recording in the can. It just needs some editing. SORRY! (I’ll be recording Software Defined Talk this week remotely. We’ll see how that goes!)

Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Systems Management Cycles: best of breed vs. full suite

On the plane today I started working on a piece considering the question, “should we make a platform out of all our point products?” In that context, I ended up typing up one of my core cycle theories for how the systems management market works. The below is just a first draft, pardon errors and stupidity.

The “infrastructure software” layer in the IT stack is that sinewy and sometimes well marbled layer between the hardware and the application layer: operating systems, cloud platforms, systems and cloud management tools, and all the other software required to keep the applications (or “services” if you were indoctrinated properly in the mid-2000s) running and healthy. These are the concerns of the “sysadmin”: managing the servers at the operating system level, ensuring the network is properly functioning, deploying and configuring the applications (custom written or packaged), managing requests for modifying the software, and then monitoring the performance of all of it so that end-users have the best (or, at least, agreed on) level of performance possible.

This diverse range of responsibilities and the vast array of vendors out available to satisfy each need creates an panoply of tools that a sysadmin can use to do their work. As with most IT, there’s an ongoing cycle of “does everything suite” vs. “best-of-breed” products in the industry. Currently, for example, as the new technologies needed to run and manage cloud penetrate into the enterprise (based on our studies, we reckon that most companies are well through virtualization and now onto cloud), it feels like we’re in a best-of-breed phase of the cycle: no single suite of tools can manage everything perfectly or match the all of the diverse use cases in the market.

In this initial phase of a technology market (as we are in with cloud) startups who seek to move faster and take on more risk than incumbents find holes in the suite approaches and prosper because they offer better performance, often at lower costs.

We’ve seen this happen in systems management, for example, with Splunk going against Big 4 log management tools and APM vendors such as New Relic and AppDynamics out-innovating the slower moving incumbents early in this phase of APM.

A similar cycle occurred with virtualization management with many vendors offering better ways to manage VMware clusters than VMware itself. Several years ago, virtualization market seemed to cluster back up into suite approaches with VMware and others buying up point tools. Atlassian in the developer tools space used disruptive approaches to go-to-market to peddle genuinely innovative developer tools to make trouble for the incumbent application life-cycle vendors.

Successful, best of breed, nimble tools often become the stable but innovation-listing incumbents for a new batch of startups.

As another ask, I’m trying to track down and “fact check” the idea that the Tivoli Framework was very problematic. People always talk about it, but I don’t know if I have any good write-ups on hand. Anyone have some pointers or first hand experience?

Rewrite brought to you by CA

Traveling

As you may know, I’m interested in CA’s marketing and brand transformation. Like Compuware, they seem to have simplified their face, as it were, a lot. While in JFK for a layover, I noticed CA had a lot of ads up. Above is one of the more interesting ones. It’s very "digital enterprise"/”coding business”/"bi-modal IT"/"third platform" (pick you favorite analyst/pundit phrase). Good for them.

I like the "we’re gonna spend the next 10 years rewriting all the software" hyperbole I start most of my talks with. But of course I’d like it.

Fun & IRL

If pictures of CA advertising in JFK aren’t “fun” for you, I don’t know why you subscribe to this thing!

(No, please don’t leave.)

Coté Memo #039: research agenda crafting, what Docker will spend $40m on, RAX no longer for sale

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Hello again, welcome to #039. Today we have 46 subscribers, so we’re +1. Dandy! I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: memo@cote.io. (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at Cote.io and @cote.

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Quick Hits

This [cash injection] puts us in a great position to invest aggressively in the future of distributed applications. We’ll be able to significantly expand and build the Docker platform and our ecosystem of developers, contributors, and partners, while developing a broader set of solutions for enterprise users. … Look for significant advances in orchestration, clustering, scheduling, storage, and networking. You’ll also see continued advances in the overall Docker platform–both Docker Hub and Docker Engine.

And a fun diagram:

The Docker roadmap

What cloud vendor d'ya like?

Research Agenda Decisions

I have three options (OK, four) of what I should focus on in my analyst work in front of me and I’d be curious to hear your input:

  1. DevOps - we’ve done plenty of coverage here and there, but if you recall back in #028, we could do with a more rigorous and deep research agenda here.
  2. Software Development - when I was hired, this was an area that needed filling and I certainly would like to. As with DevOps, all of us fill it in well but we might could do with more focus on it.
  3. Plain of systems management, virtualization, etc. - while folks on my team cover APM, cloud platforms, and other areas, we don’t have a dedicated focus (again, with that rigor and depth I outlined for DevOps).
  4. Continue to be a be broad and cover all of the above, but with the more shallow depth that comes from broad coverage.

As I mentioned, at the team level we cover all the three items above. The question is what I should spend “all of my time doing.” In each of the three real options above, I could easily talk with only companies and end-users in those areas, spend “all my time” focused on researching and writing just one of them. My question to you, dear readers, is what you would (a.) find most valuable, and, (b.) what you think would be the best (criteria: commercially valuable, interesting, fun people to talk with, etc.) area for me to focus on (separate from of your needs).

I’ve equivocated many times solid answers for all four of the above, so outside feedback would be helpful.

Travel

Travel is starting up again, oh boy. I’m off to Boston later this week, Chicago next week, then HCTS (you can still get $200 off, see above!) in Las Vegas, BMC’s conference in Orlando, Paris for the OpenStack Summit, CA World in Las Vegas, and Toronto for a TechTarget speaking engagement. So far, beyond that, things look clear.

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work.

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