Red Hat revenues, old vs. new and early cloud momemtum

Red Hat Summit Keynote

Brandon Butler sums up the “old” (Linux) vs “new” (middleware and cloud) revenue stream for Red Hat

The company gets about 80% of its $1.3 billion in revenues from a category that’s headlined by RHEL, and those subscriptions aren’t likely going away any time soon, says Joel Fishbein, who tracks Red Hat’s stock closely as an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.

The enterprise transition from Unix to Linux is fairly mature, with revenue from the RHEL-focused main part of the business growing 13% last year, Fishbein says. The company’s other, newer products grew at a much faster 38% growth rate, but they’re a much smaller portion of the business.

Indeed, CFO Charlie Peters went over those and other financial numbers indepth yesterday during the Red Hat Summit analyst day.

I have an overview report in the hopper that’ll likely be up next week, but here’s a few highlights in this vein:

  • The OpenStack market is very new, at least as Red Hat is seeing it. As Butler’s piece notes, sales people get comp’ed not on deal size, but transitioning to production.

  • Red Hat said it had “several dozens” of PoCs, with a handful of named customers running on production.

  • The company had just closed it’s first $1m+ OpenStack deal.

  • Even more early is the company’s PaaS offering, OpenShift in those deals, as CEO Jim Whitehurst said, “you’re literally sitting down and crafting the value proposition [and, thus, pricing] with the customer.”

I’ll, of course, post the 451 report once it’s up.

BMC BladeLogic integrating with Chef

Retro BladeLogic Poster

So we’ve built some first-generation integration between Chef and BladeLogic 8.5, which we’re demoing in our booth for the first time here at ChefConf. You can use BladeLogic to call Chef cookbooks and recipes on a push/scheduled basis, and you can reference BladeLogic compliance policies from inside your Chef cookbooks. It’s all very early and not production-ready, but we want to put this integration front and center with the people here at ChefConf and start a conversation about how they want to blend these two approaches to a stable, managed IT infrastructure.

BladeLogic plays an interesting role in the history of the Puppet/Chef/etc. automation world. As I recall, Puppet’s founder Luke Kanies worked on Blade for a short while and, you know, was interested in a better way, which eventually led to Puppet. Also, for those who like startup culture books, Blade was the chief rival of Opsware, where many of the stories in The Hard Thing About Hard Things come from.

Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.
Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.
Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.
Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.
Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.
Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.
Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.
Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.
Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.
Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.

Having worked on Dell’s cloud strategy for awhile, I’m always hyper attuned to how the company presents itself on this topic. There was a nice presentation - and demo! - at the Red Hat Summit this year, presented by Sam Greenblatt. Of note is the strong emphasis on Red Hat OpenShift for PaaS, using Docker, and Puppet in Active System Manager (the last previously announced). It’ll be fun to hear more about this, hopefully at the Dell analyst summit in late May.

Update: here’s the recording of the keynote if you’re interested in the whole enchilada.

What cloud trends mean for you - an analyst's view (Red Hat Summit 2014)

I just wrapped up my Red Hat Summit talk, which is always fun. The recording of it is above, and the presentation is embedded below.

There’s a fair amount of market-sizing data and some results from our first DevOps market study in the slides. Tell me if it’s useful for you, I’m looking to hone this general body of work in the coming the months.

Gordon Haff has a nice write-up of the session on the Red Hat Summit blog.

“ A 13-year study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology has revealed that if you take naps during the day, your life is going to be short… The report, which was performed by researchers at Cambridge University, studied the habits of over 16,000 men and women in Britain and found that those who take naps during the day are almost a third more likely to die before they turn 65. ”
A major British study indicates daytime nappers die younger. Of course, our internal clocks are incredibly complex machines. (via explore-blog)

Man, things are rough!

VMware and Citrix team-up with Google Chromebooks to run Windows apps - Press Pass

I spoke with a couple of reporters earlier this week on the partnerships between Google and VMware and Google and Citrix around supporting Windows XP on Chromebooks. VMware has $200 off Chromebook discount for business buyers, and Citrix has a discount as well. Both are deep into vying with each other around the Desktop-as-a-Service market and interested in dominating that market which is looking to be driven by a pretty simple need: providing a way to use Windows applications on non-Windows devices.

The role of Chromebooks in all of this is interesting: perhaps it’s the cheapest “non-Windows end-user device.” It hasn’t seen massive market-share, but has been growing quickly to something like 2-5%, to throw out a wild-guess driven broad range. (ABI and NPD have some recent Chromebook marketshare estimates as well.)

Amazon launched a DaaS offering recently as well, which I covered in a 451 report; VMware released their DaaS just a tad before Amazon; Citrix, of course, sells a DaaS platform to others who want to run it, and of course has its current virtual desktop empire.

Back to the press part! Both Kevin McLaughlin of CRN (his story) and Dan Kobialka of Talkin’ Cloud (his story) asked for my take on the VMware/Google partnership, and then on Citrix’s involvement. Here’s the amalgamation of my responses to them:

Last I saw somewhere in Twitter there’s something like a quarter of the market still running XP which is certainly significant. I’m not really sure how many customers would take advantage of switching over to DaaS: the time and expense to do so might be the same as just upgrading to Windows 7 depending on how grueling the process was.

When I look at VMware and Citrix (just announced) working with Chromebooks the impact is mostly about adding legitimacy to Chromebooks as a viable business tool. VMware’s partnership means that there’s one way to keep using Windows applications on Chromebooks, through Horizon via the Blast protocol. Citrix announced a similar partnership today as well. Both have a constellation of service provider partners who do Desktop-as-a-Service (VMware has it’s own DaaS as well), or enterprises could just use their own on-premise virtual desktop setups, which both vendors support as well.

I’m not sure how many Windows applications are out there, but there’s likely an uncountable amount ranging from older packaged software to custom written applications used inside the confines of corporate firewalls. Rewriting all of these applications to be pure HTML or native iOS and Android is sort of ludicrous at this point, so as things like BYOD and the spread of iOS and Android devices in the enterprise plays out, companies will need some way of accessing these Windows apps. Android and iOS have had the kind of virtual desktop support needed for awhile, and the Chromebook work that VMware and Citrix are doing here is making it so that Chromebooks can fit, technologically at least, into that corporate mix as well.

Infor ERP moving products to AWS - Press Pass

A few weeks ago, I talked with Chris Kanaracus for his story on Infor moving parts of their application portfolio to Amazon Web Services. Chris said this looked like a pretty strong endorsement for using AWS, and asked for my thoughts, which were:

Yes, this a nice vote a confidence for AWS. However, I think most SaaS companies would look at AWS as capable of being used like this. There might be questions about pricing long-term, but technologically it’s just a stack of middleware running on a bunch of servers. The larger bet by Infor is around that: do they want to align their application to Amazon’s services and cloud-based middleware? (Maybe they’re not and just using raw EC2, S3, etc…but you’d assume they’d want to use things like Red Shift and other services/middleware offered by Amazon).

What with the pricing war that Google is announcing right now (reducing cloud prices by 32% across the board for it’s Google Cloud offering, and deeper for some other services), Infor has to be thinking that the costs will be cheap. The longer-term hope is that their agility - measured by how fast they can code and releases features to their existing products, as well as modify how current features work - will increase as well. We all know in our guts that after 4-5 years, software is incredibly hard to change due to the code getting stale, supporting middleware being antiquated, and the difficulty of shifting around the underlying infrastructure. I’m not sure “cloud” will solve those problem, but hopefully it’ll make it a bit better.

(Enterprises tend to be more leery of relying on cloud and are feeding the current interest in “private cloud”, along with vendors who’d love to preserve that market. Enterprise FUD around public cloud is mostly because their needs are much different than ISVs/SaaSes: enterprises have 100’s, if not 1,000’s of applications behind their firewall that must be supported that may be technologically, culturally, or otherwise incompatible due to drivers like policies and regulations.)

HFT tech

To illustrate this point during the opening keynote, George Kledaras, CEO of FIX Flyer, which creates algorithmic trading platforms, talked about how impossible it is for people to keep up and used the day when the statements from the Federal Open Markets Committee of the US Federal Reserve Bank are put out. The entire cycle, from the nanosecond that the FMOC statement was released, including the transmission of trading instructions from Chicago, where the report came out, to the exchanges in New York, took 150 milliseconds. After that, most of the trading was done.

Well, index funds it is for us normals I guess.

Press Release Quotes

As an analyst, you often gets asked and paid to provide press release quotes (see some of mine here, though the I haven’t been good at saving all of them). Yes, press releases are still widely done and used. As someone who write-up the tech world happenings, I actually find them handy. Knowing how a vendor talks about themselves is actually important for analyst work, and the good press releases are more like media kits that line up all the relevant facts and links to other sources…and there’s all the bad stuff too, that’s still floating around.

So, as an analyst, how do I do press release quotes?

In general (meaning I don’t always do this) I try not to reference the vendor in my press release quotes. Instead, if I believe it to be the case, I try to follow a format that points out the problem the vendor is solving and then say something along the lines of “there’s clearly market desire for products that address this problem” type of thing. However, if I truly believe that the product/vendor in question is somehow awesome (and, esp. if they have a track record) I’ll reference them directly.

Put another way: I try to make most of my press release quotes into just validating the problem the vendor is working on, and, if real, that there’s market potential there.

(And, yes, if the news, vendor, etc. in particular is BS, I don’t just stand there and say “this BS is awesome!” That can be a tricky situation.)

Tips for starting a podcast

2 hours of drinking Scotch, caught in MP3

You wouldn’t know it from my low amount (though awesome) activity in the podcast area at the moment, but I used to do a lot of podcasting, soup-to-nuts. Someone asked me recently for tips on starting a podcast. Here they are:

I used to have great podcasting tips, now I just have a few:

(1.) Get a feedburner URL for it. Obviously, submit this to iTunes. This will track subscribers.

(2.) Use libsyn.com or something that tracks downloads. Then along with #1, you’re done with tracking.

(3.) Use Google Hangouts to record - you can download the MP4 and extract the MP3 and put in your feed. It works well. You get the side benefit of a live broadcast and a video recording.

(4.) If you want to be super fancy, have people record on their local machine and then sync the tracks up. I don’t like this as it’s prone to error (“oops, I forgot to click record”) and there’s audio syncing issues that are annoying.

(5.) Setup an entirely new website for the podcast, don’t intermix it with an existing property.

(6.) SoundCloud actually looks pretty useful but I’ve never used it. My co-host, Chris Dancy, on CCOS says it’s great and he usually knows what he’s talking about

(7.) Don’t go crazy with mics at first, a good headset will be just fine. I use a Plantronics 478 headset and it’s just fine. I have a Yeti mic, but getting it all setup is more hassle than it’s usually worth. All the awesome equipment in the world will be meaningless if your content is shit, or worse, boring.

(8.) Do a little bit of prep (at the very list, have 3-5 things you want to talk about to start with), and then post some show notes after the show on the podcast blog - embed them in the MP3 too!

(9.) Come up with a format to follow (go over the week’s news, pick one issue to interview someone on, your memories of childhood, etc.), but also allow for lots of loose, ad hoc talk.

This last point is key: the main thing you want is interesting content that’s entertaining and useful. How do you do that? Sticking to a format gives you the discipline to have something to say (you don’t want to open up each show with, “So, what do you want to talk bout this week?”), but you don’t want to just “read the news.”

The thing you can do in a podcast that you can’t do in text (things like 451 reports, blogs, etc.) is really express, at length, what you think and explain how you came to that conclusion; you can also discuss/argue with your co-hosts and guests. That is, you can really go deep and wide on a topic in a way that (for example, our 451 reports) don’t allow for (people want our report to be quick, not so deep they take an hour to consume). Through this, you hope to give your listeners new insights and new things to think about, at best: new perspectives and methods of thinking about the world/topic/tech. That’s what I like podcasts for, at least.

And, the final tip:

(10.) As always: break any, and all “rules” above if you know what the fuck you’re doing and don’t let me kill your vibe or harsh your style. Once you figure out what your podcasting style is, ignore all advice about what you should do different. Podcast are about personalities, not “facts.” You can subscribe to people reading the newspaper to you if you want to your ear-candy to be devoid of humanity, and just get facts. As another example, sometimes you just want to record over 2 hours of you and a friend drinking Scotch; that episode in DrunkAndRetired.com gets the most verbal comments when I come across listeners (along with other infamous episodes).

At the moment, here’s a good sampling of podcasts that I think are well executed and embody the above:

  • The Accidental Tech Podcast - a strict format but with a very open-ended second half, good host interplay, and an overall clean approach
  • The Critical Path (or any show on 5by5.tv, actually) - well crafted and great content. Notice how Horace not only tells you his conclusions, but uses the format to fully contextualize how he came to those conclusions and often will speak to general principles of analytical and strategic thinking. If you listen the whole series as if it were a bunch of lectures training you on how to think strategically, you’ll learn almost everything you need to know to do analyst work, strategy, and about half of what you need for M&A.
  • [The Political Gabfest] - (http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/gabfest.html) I just started listening to this one, it has that good balance for strict format and open ended talk.
  • Rodrick on the Line - this a is a good example of rule #10, but mixed with the end goal. There’s really no format, very little prep, but in each show (if you like this kind of, well, culture and world outlook/philosophy) you’re both entertained and get a fresh way of looking at life, from the trivial to the grandiose. And it’s funny…if you like that kind of humor.

Good luck!

(And you should subscribe to the most awesome podcast in the universe, Connected Culture and Oblique Strategies. Or, if you want one that’s just better than half the stuff out there, try DrunkAndRetired.com.)

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