Business

Droplet Computing makes a big splash at Cloud Field Day 3

droplet.png

Every so often there is a company that catches your eye. Not because of their flashy marketing, but because they are solving a really interesting problem with a clever approach. That happened at Tech Field Day’s Cloud Field Day 3, where Droplet Computingofficially came out of stealth and held the public launch of the company.

LIBERATION OF APPLICATIONS

Droplet Computing’s core value proposition is the containerization of applications in an effort to modernize infrastructure. Essentially, Droplet Computing provides the ability to take an application and create a container around the application. This creates an abstraction layer between the application and the underlying system operating system (OS). Droplet Computing does note that there are components of the original OS that are needed inside the container to support the application, but that they are not the full OS. Once the application is containerized, it can move to other platforms; newer OS, different platform, moved to a mobile device, etc.

The underlying technology uses a combination of Wine& WebAssemblyto containerize the application.

There are many applications still in use across the globe that are not able to be upgraded for a myriad of reasons. Unfortunately, this limits the ability of the operator to move forward in modernizing their entire infrastructure while these older applications are still in use.

The solution is not limited to just older applications. Other applications could use the same technology to provide mobility between different system types, OS and the like. However, there are a number of competing products that provide similar functions for current applications.

Several of the use-cases that the Droplet Computing team mentioned included custom applications associated with CNC machines, MRI devices and the like. One thought was, think of all the WindowsXP based applications and older custom machines that are still in use today.

REDUCING THE CYBERSECURITY FOOTPRINT

There is one clever side-effect to encapsulating the application and providing the ability to upgrade the underlying hardware and OS without having to upgrade the application. It reduces the cybersecurity footprint and risk for that system. Does it eliminate the risk completely? No. But by leveraging modern hardware and OS, it does make a dent into reducing the potential risk.

IN SUMMARY

Droplet Computing is not the silver bullet that will magically modernize your entire environment, but it does give a level of abstraction to those older applications still widely used. This allows enterprises to bring legacy applications forward through modernization.

At the same time, it addresses a core issue that all enterprises are seeking: reduce your cybersecurity footprint. In today’s world where the risks from cyber-attacks are increasing, anything that reduces the footprint is a welcome approach.

Droplet Computing’s product is currently in ‘pre-GA’ and slated to move to GA by mid-May.

Business · CIO · Cloud · Mobile · Social

My top most used business tools and applications when traveling

img_5228

What better way to kick off 2017 than to talk about the tools I find to be most useful? I wrote a post back in 2012 that outlined many of the tools I used back then. As many of you know, I travel a lot. Just about every week I am on a plane going somewhere in the world. Compared to many of my fellow corporate executives, it ranks in the excessive category for a CIO.

Considering the amount of travel, I am often asked what tools I find to be most useful. First, it is important to understand that I work under a minimalist perspective. That means, I try to travel with the least amount that I can. The lighter the load, the happier the experience.

LUGGAGE

First rule of travel: Carry-on, do not check luggage unless you absolutely must. There are many reasons for this. If you travel a lot, you need to invest in good-quality luggage. While I have a full collection of Tumi luggage, which I swear by, there are two pieces that I use most frequently:

Tumi Alpha 2: International Expandable 2 Wheeled Carry-On

Tumi Alpha 2: Compact Laptop Brief Pack

These two pieces offer the most flexibility when traveling both domestically and internationally and fit my technology needs very well.

HARDWARE

Ok, on to the technology part of the post. There are two fundamental components that I have used for years now; an iPhone and an iPad. With rare exceptions, these are the only two devices I travel with. Here are the details of what I am currently using:

iPhone 6s Plus: The iPhone offers the ability to make calls while traveling internationally. It also syncs with the iPad. The 6s Plus is the first time I am using the larger screen. In hindsight, the smaller screen size is probably a better choice for me. While the larger size is nice from a real estate perspective, the size is excessive for most things. In addition, it is almost impossible to do anything on the phone with only one hand.

iPad Pro 9.7”: This is an upgrade from the iPad Air, iPad 3 and original iPad I used previously. The iPad platform offers the ability to do a myriad of things using a single device (see software below). The physical size is both compact and not obtrusive when sitting on a desk or table in a meeting. I use the version with Wi-Fi & Cellular. I find that most Wi-Fi networks at hotels, airports, train stations, conventions are simply unreliable. Not to mention the security of those networks. Cellular access allows bypassing many of the issues and LTE is plenty fast.

Apple Pencil: This is a new, and welcome addition to the list. The Apple Pencil finally provides the ability to take detailed handwritten notes and drawing without the relatively crude capabilities that stylus’ offered.

Logitech Create Keyboard: The new Logitech Create keyboard for the iPad Pro not only offers a nice, protective keyboard plus case, but also integrates with the Pro’s Smart Connector and has a spot to hold the Apple Pencil. A good keyboard is a must if you write while on the road. By using the Pro’s Smart Connector, there is no need to use Bluetooth, or charge the keyboard. The keyboard itself is both backlit and has large keys suitable for larger hands. One side note, if you are flying economy, the keyboard and iPad combination is usable, unlike many laptops.

Bose SoundTrue Headphones: These are some of the most comfortable headphones you will find! The do not rely on putting pressure on the ear canal…which can lead to headaches and ear aches. While not noise-cancelling, they are the next best thing. I can wear these all day without ear fatigue.

Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise-Cancelling Headphones: These are a must for long-haul flights. I typically do not travel with them unless traveling across the country or internationally. If you have not experienced noise-cancelling headphones, I find that they dramatically reduce fatigue from long flights. One side note, I have found that the Airbus A380 is the quietest commercial airplane flying today…even more so than the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The A380 is so quiet that you almost do not need noise-cancelling headphones.

Tumi 4-Port USB Travel Adapter: It offers (2) 2A USB ports and (2) 1A USB ports plus includes the different international plug adapters in a nice small package. The Tumi adapter is fused and a perfect addition to eliminate all the different bricks and adapters.

Mophie Powerstation XL: Battery packs are pretty much a necessity these days. However, I find that both the iPhone and iPad offer full-day coverage. The exception is when I travel to conferences and/ or am on the phone and/or iPad non-stop all-day. Or if I am going from breakfast meetings to evening events non-stop. Unlike finding a power outlet which then ties you to that spot while charging, the Mophie provides on-the-go charging.

Apple Airport Express: Traveling Internationally brings on a new set of issues. There are still hotels that offer Wi-Fi in the lobby, but wired connections in the room. This creates a problem when only traveling with an iPad. To combat the issue, I throw this small, self-contained, router in the suitcase when traveling internationally. Note that this is becoming less of an issue. As a side note, when traveling with the family, I use this router to connect all our devices without having to connect each device directly to the hotel Wi-Fi. Each of the phones and tablets are already configured to use the secure Wi-Fi setup on the router. Plus, it gets around many hotels that limit the number of devices connected in a room.

Apple Lightning Adapters: When presenting, you never know which interface you will need. Thankfully, both the iPhone and iPad use the same Lightning adapters. I travel with both VGA and HDMI adapters. I can then choose whether I present off the iPhone or iPad. Note that when presenting, it will quickly drain the battery…so plan accordingly.

SOFTWARE

Now on to the applications…

Microsoft Office for iOS: The first versions of the Microsoft Office apps for iOS were incredibly limited in functionality. However, the more current versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are both feature-rich and integrate well with Box.

Box: Box provides an enterprise-grade solution that syncs well with both desktop and mobile devices. The iOS app allows me to choose which files and/or folders I wish to sync for off-line use. This is great for working on documents while on an airplane. The application also allows me to share file/ folder access with others to collaborate.

iThoughts: When creating a presentation, or brainstorming an idea, iThoughts provides a great mind-mapping tool.

Notability: Notability is one of the best note-taking tools I have used. The combination of Notability with the Apple Pencil has practically replaced the need for paper & pencil. When meeting with folks and needing to draw, it makes for a great whiteboard solution. I can take notes, draw pictures and quickly send copies via a myriad of ways including email and text.

Twitter/ Tweetbot: If you are on Twitter, one of these two apps is a necessity. I find that Tweetbot offers several features not available in the native application. However, they are getting closer with each release.

LinkedIn: Connecting via LinkedIn is key to engaging with others. The app, while not perfect, is a good companion while on the road.

WordPress: If you post to blogs based on WordPress, the app is a must. For my post workflow, I still write and edit posts in Word and then cut/ past into WordPress. This provides a backup and place to search across posts locally.

Skype: Skype makes it much easier to work with parties in different countries. Skype provides the ability to call and video-conference across geographies.

Slack: There are a myriad of different communication tools on the market today. Different teams use different tools. However, I find that several of the groups I work with prefer to use Slack.

Kayak: Kayak recently discontinued their Pro product by centralizing everything into their base app. I use Kayak as a single point to manage all travel (air, hotel, car, etc). You simply forward the email with your travel information and Kayak parses the details into ‘trips’. I then sync this information into my calendar to see everything in one place.

United: As a United Million Mile Flyer, and based from SFO or LAX, United provides some of the best flight choices to the locations I travel most. The app allows me to change flights, change seats, book flights and get status updates on-the-go.

Miscellaneous iOS Apps: In addition to the third-party apps listed above, I also use the native iOS apps including Mail, Safari, Calendar, Notes, Reminders, Music, Messages, Photos, Maps, Contacts, etc. One thing I value with the iOS platform is the ability to sync data and settings across devices.

Miscellaneous Apps: There are several other apps that I use, but they are less for business and more for personal uses. The iPad platform gives me the ability to work, play, read news, watch movies, read books all on one device. Again, less is more.

 

Hopefully that provides a glimpse of what I found to be most useful when traveling. I welcome your suggestions and recommendations too!

CIO

Understanding the Communications Conundrum: What is the goal?

img_5078

For years now, different communications solutions have come and gone. Just about every major enterprise player has had a solution at one time or another. Looking back, we started with relatively primitive solutions to communicate between coworkers. Then came email. Email became, and remains, the de-facto standard to communicate between individuals and teams.

Since the dawn of email some 20 years ago, other solutions have attempted to augment and/or replace email. Collaboration became the goal of many tools beyond just simple communication.

THE VALUE AND DOWNFALL OF TOOLS

First there were simple chat tools that allowed individuals to chat with other individuals and groups. Over time, their sophistication increased. From individual 3rd party solutions to integrated solutions that supported chat within an app, we have seen a myriad of different solutions come and go. In the end, the true value of these solutions was not fully achieved.

Many talk about how more recent tools will replace email. One of the most recent darlings is Slack. Slack is a tool that allows group to create communication channels in which to collaborate. While Slack is a cool product, it doesn’t really address many of the communications issues. In essence, much of how Slack is used can be done in email. Yet, it becomes one more place to check, beep to interrupt you, tool to manage, etc. Extrapolate that to the number of tools in use at each corporate enterprise today and one quickly sees the challenge.

NEXT UP: MICROSOFT TEAMS

On November 2, 2016, Microsoft announced Microsoft Teams, a chat-based workspace in Office 365. On the surface, Teams appears to be yet another tool and means for corporate users to collaborate. However, Teams brings something new to the collaboration space. Instead of a 3rd party tool that integrates (or doesn’t) with existing productivity tools, Teams is core to the Microsoft productivity toolset using Office 365. Core integration with productivity tools is key. Note: Teams is only in private preview today and we will have to see how this plays out.

UNDERSTANDING THE COMMUNICATION CONUNDRUM

So, will products like Slack, Teams or other solutions ultimately change the collaboration space? The first thing is to understand how communications take place. Different individuals and teams communicate differently. When mapping that against solutions, here are some considerations:

  1. Email Replacement: Are we really looking to replace email? If so, that changes the needs considerably. If not, then a solution must provide demonstrative value beyond just the surface offering.
  2. Value Proposition: It is important to understand the problem being solved for. Is this the next bright-shiny-object or a solid solution that produces clear value?
  3. Integration: Integration and back-of-office functions are a fundamental issue for collaboration tools. They need to seamlessly integrate into the existing productivity solutions in use. Each of these hurdles is yet another reason not to use a given tool.
  4. Ease of Use: Ease of use falls right in line with integration. If a solution is not intuitive nor valuable to users, it will quickly be abandoned. Integration and ease of use are key.
  5. Workflow: How well does the solution fit into existing business workflows? Ideally, it molds nicely without creating significant upheaval.
  6. Business Centric: Is the solution focused on solving a business problem or creating a ‘cool’ new tool? The former has more potential than the latter. Unfortunately, the latter often leads to distractions that take away from the core issue.

Before jumping into another solution, it is important to consider these aspects. We don’t need another tool. We are already jumping from one tool to another which leads to lost productivity while teams learn how to use the next tool.

Focus on problem being solved for and the solutions will start to present themselves. Reducing the friction to use solutions is a huge opportunity for another of the providers.

Business · CIO · Cloud · Data

Is HPE headed toward extinction?

The first question might be, why does a CIO care if any one vendor comes or goes? It matters if you are invested in that company’s products or services. The vast majority of enterprises have invested in a number of enterprise companies…including HP Enterprise (HPE). Many are asking where HPE is headed and how long customers can rely on that relationship and investment?

In order to answer that question, one has to break down the problem a bit. In the beginning, we had one Hewlett Packard.

hp-split-one-hp

 

HP SPLITS IN TWO

On October 6, 2014, HP (NYSE: HPQ) announced that it would split into two new publicly traded Fortune 50 companies. The two companies would split down the lines of consumer products and enterprise solutions. The former being called HP Inc. and the latter being called HP Enterprise. A year later, on November 1, 2015, the split officially took effect.

My take is that the split is a good thing for both HP/ HPE and customers. It allows each of the two companies to focus on their respective strengths and markets. The consumer market is much different from the enterprise market.

hp-splits-in-two

HPE CONTINUES TO REDUCE PORTFOLIO

Since the split in 2015, HPE has been busy reducing the size of their portfolio. There were four core pieces to HPE’s business: Cloud, Services, Software and Infrastructure.

One of the first things to go was HPE’s Helion Cloud business. The mystery here is that cloud is one of the largest opportunities for any of the legacy IT vendors, including HPE. As customers make the move from traditional corporate data center infrastructure to cloud-based solutions, existing providers need to consider this loss of revenue. Cloud presents one of the largest opportunities for customers and HPE could have leveraged their large based of existing customers. So, why would HPE move away from building up this business as part of its future strategy?

Unfortunately, While HPE’s foray with a cloud offering had the opportunity to carry HPE into the future, they struggled to find their footing with customers. In the end, the twists and turns for HPE offering a cloud offering were futile and they shuttered the Helion offering.

There is still a component of HPE’s cloud business that is hanging on called Cloud System. However, it is part of infrastructure and requires a Technical Services engagement as part of the purchase. In sum, this is a rather small part of HPE’s business and the requirement

The second step was spinning off HPE’s Services business to CSC May 2016. While HPE & CSC called the transaction a merger, it was widely seen in the industry as a spinout from HPE to CSC. The move aligned HPE’s Services business with an existing large services vendor.

The third step was spinning off HPE’s Software business to Micro Focus in September 2016. Again, the transaction was billed as a “merger”, however, it is also seen as a spinout from HPE to Micro Focus. The interesting thing about this transaction was that it included one of the gems in HPE’s business. It included their big data and analytics business.

hp-split

Taking away HPE’s Cloud, Services and Software businesses, the only thing that is left is their core infrastructure business. Aside from their continued innovation in servers and storage, their Synergy platform potentially provided HPE a longer term future in the infrastructure business.

Enterprise customers are moving away from owning traditional corporate data center assets in droves. This includes traditional server and storage infrastructure. Out with the old and in with the new. HPE’s Synergy platform potentially provides HPE an interesting bridge for those enterprise customers looking to leverage infrastructure investments as they leverage new architectures and development routines on their way to cloud.

I say potentially because HPE’s infrastructure business is hindered by a number of factors. First, enterprises are moving away from traditional infrastructure toward cloud. And future state solutions including cloud and big data are now gone from the HPE portfolio. In addition, HPE continues to struggle with the traditional way of thinking. And this traditional thinking is not going to resonate with customers looking to change things up demonstrably. There is still potential for HPE’s infrastructure business, but only if they make significant shifts in thinking, strategy and leadership. That being said, the window of opportunity for HPE infrastructure is limited.

IS THE LONG TERM STRATEGY FOR HPE EXTINCTION?

Here’s the kicker: By closing down their Cloud business and selling their big data and analytics business, HPE essentially removed their long term future. On the surface that would be suspect until you think about the end-game.

Looking at the path HPE has taken over the past two years and what is left, there is a glaring conclusion that HPE’s strategy all along was focused on breaking up the company and selling off the assets. Many of us suspected this was the case right out of the gate. With the activities just in the past six short months, it is clear that HPE’s destiny is extinction.

The irony in all of this? Once the end-state for HPE infrastructure is determined, there will be only one “HP” left: HP Inc.

CIO

Is the concept of enterprise lock in a red herring?

img_4800
There is quite a bit of discussion about the concept of lock-in by pundits, providers and consumers. While I take the perspective of looking at lock-in within the enterprise IT space, the same issues apply broadly to a number of industries, products and consumers.

So, is lock-in really a concern for the enterprise? Or just noise that distracts from the real issues? To answer those questions, we need to look at the problem from a few different angles.

PROVIDERS LOVE THE CONCEPT OF LOCK IN 

Lock-in is something that just about any provider loves to consider, talk about and use as ammunition against their competitors. From the provider perspective, lock-in creates sticky customer relationships due to switching costs. By creating a tighter relationship with the customer, they are more apt to stay rather than start the process of untangling the web of connections with any specific provider. A good example that many people tout is the lock-in related to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. Once you install the system and integrate all of the connections, it is incredibly hard and costly to consider switching. Hence the very high switching costs. ERP is not alone. Most enterprise solutions today suffer from these same issues.

For the provider, lock-in provides some flexibility to get away with flaws and system issues. Providers know that customers will not switch to an alternative solution until the pain threshold reaches a certain point. Again, this is where the switching costs come into play. Keep in mind that switching costs are just hard costs. However, costs come in many different forms…read on.

DOES THE CLOUD CHANGE LOCK IN?

In a word, no. Cloud does change the delivery method in which enterprises consume services from providers. However, many of the core issues that result in switching costs are still present in cloud-based solutions. Yes, lock-in is still present in cloud-based solutions. There are a few variables that may change the pictures for specific customers. But on the whole for most customers, cloud does not improve or worsen the lock-in situation.

LOOKING AT THE ENTERPRISE PERSPECTIVE

On the surface, enterprise IT leaders hate the concept of lock-in. Lock-in creates a restrictive situation that works counter to the flexibility that many IT leaders strive for. But the reality is that lock-in exists everywhere. Just about every enterprise solution today has some form of lock-in. From the most basic file sharing solution to email to enterprise software solutions, lock-in exists in many forms.

To take this a step further, one need to understand the enterprise perspective from a few facets. Many pundits focus on the technology itself. Yes, that is one facet to consider, but not the only one. Enterprise IT leaders must consider integration and user interactions as well. A good example of this is email. One may believe moving from one email solution to another is relative trivial. In an enterprise, that is simply not the case. Switching from Microsoft Exchange running in your corporate data center to Google Apps (for example) running in the cloud presents a number of challenges. Sure, there is work to migrate user mailboxes and change application integration points from one system to another. There are also challenges around resource allocation in terms of license agreement, organizational responsibilities and data center resource allocation. However, one issue that is often misunderstood, misrepresented or simply ignored is the user interaction component. Training users to switch to a new way of doing things is not a trivial matter. At some point the costs will need to be weighed against the risks. While the upside may seem palatable, the downside may quickly change that perspective when weighing all of the facets.

SO IS LOCK IN A RED HERRING?

While many tout that lock-in is something that enterprises can avoid, the reality is those statements are often only looking at a single facet. One of the more challenging factors to considering lock-in within enterprises today is data. As the size of data grows exponentially, the term Data Gravity comes into play. Not to mention that the sheer time, cost and risk to simply moving the data becomes challenging. Even with faster and cheaper bandwidth options, it is still faster to move large quantities of data via FedEx than over the wire. And therefore the switching costs related to data are only going to grow regardless of the application or service consuming the data.

Change is hard. Change at scale is incredibly complicated and there are many factors for an enterprise IT leader to consider. And here is where switching costs come into play for enterprises. The reality is that lock-in is a reality in our world and bound to only get more complicated as time goes on.

Replacing one solution with another to avoid lock-in is a red herring. The only real way to reduce the switching costs is to break down the problem into smaller components. That may be easier said than done and simply not possible with many enterprise solutions today.

Business · CIO · Cloud · Data

HPE clarifies their new role in the enterprise

IMG_3755

Last week, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) held their annual US-based Discover conference in Las Vegas. HPE has seen quite a bit of change in the past year with the split of HP into HPE & HP Inc. They shut down their Helion Public Cloud offering and announced the divestiture of their Enterprise Services (ES) business to merge with CSC into a $26B business. With all of the changes and 10,000 people in attendance, HPE sought to clarify their strategy and position in the enterprise market.

WHAT IS IN AND WHAT IS OUT?

Many of the questions attendees were asking circled around the direction HPE was taking considering all of the changes just in the past year alone. Two of the core changes (shutting down Helion Public Cloud and splitting off their ES business) have raised many eyebrows wondering if HPE might be cutting off their future potential.

While HPE telegraphs that their strategy is to support customers with their ‘digital transformation’ journey, the statement might be a bit overreaching. That is not to say that HPE is not capable of providing value to enterprises. It is to say that there are specific aspects that they do provide value and yet a few significant gaps. We are talking about a traditional hardware-focused company shifting more and more toward software. Not a trivial task.

There are four pillars that support the core HPE offering for enterprises. Those include Infrastructure, Analytics, Cloud and Software.

INFRASTRUCTURE AT THE CORE

HPE’s strength continues to rest on their ability to innovate in the infrastructure space. I wrote about their Moonshot and CloudSystem offerings three years ago here. Last year, HPE introduced their Synergy technology that supports composability. Synergy, and the composable concept, is one of the best opportunities to address the evolving enterprise’s changing demands. I delve a bit deeper into the HPE composable opportunity here.

Yet, one thing is becoming painfully clear within the industry. The level of complexity for infrastructure is growing exponentially. For any provider to survive, there needs to be a demonstrable shift toward leveraging software that manages the increasingly complex infrastructure. HPE is heading in that direction with their OneView platform.

Not to be outdone in supporting the ever-changing software platform space, HPE also announced that servers will come ready to support Docker containers. This is another example of where HPE is trying to bridge the gap between traditional infrastructure and newer application architectures including cloud.

CLOUD GOES PRIVATE

Speaking of cloud, there is quite a bit of confusion where cloud fits in the HPE portfolio of solutions. After a number of conversations with members of the HPE team, their solutions are focused on one aspect of cloud: Private Cloud. This makes sense considering HPE’s challenges to reach escape velocity with their Helion Public Cloud offering and core infrastructure background. Keep in mind that HPE’s private cloud solutions are heavily based on OpenStack. This will present a challenge for those considering a move from their legacy VMware footprint. But does open the door to new application architectures that are specifically looking for an OpenStack-based Private Cloud. However, there is already competition in this space from companies like IBM (BlueBox) and Microsoft (AzureStack). And unlike HPE, both IBM & Microsoft have established Public Cloud offerings that complement their Private Cloud solutions (BlueBox & Azure respectively).

One aspect in many of the discussions was how HPE’s Technical Services (TS) are heavily involved in HPE Cloud deployments. At first, this may present a red flag for many enterprises concerned with the level of consulting services required to deploy a solution. However, when considering that the underpinnings are OpenStack-based, it makes more sense. OpenStack, unlike traditional commercial software offerings, still requires a significant amount of support to get it up and running. This could present a challenge to broad appeal of HPE’s cloud solutions except for those few that understand, and can justify, the value proposition.

It does seem that HPE’s cloud business is still in a state of flux and finding the best path to take. With the jettison of Helion Public Cloud and HPE’s support of composability, there is a great opportunity to appeal to the masses and leverage their partnership with Microsoft to support Azure & AzureStack on a Synergy composable stack. Yet, the current focus appears to still focus on OpenStack based solutions. Note: HPE CloudSystem does support Synergy via the OneView APIs.

SOFTWARE

At the conference, HPE highlighted their security solutions with a few statistics. According to HPE, they “secure nine of the top 10 software companies, all 10 telcos and all major branches of the US Department of Defense (DoD).” While those are interesting statistics, one should delve a bit further to determine how extensive this applies.

Security sits alongside the software group’s Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), Operations and BigData software solutions. As time goes on, I would hope to see HPE mature the significance of their software business to meet the changing demands from enterprises.

THE GROWTH OF ANALYTICS

Increasingly, enterprise organizations are growing their dependence on data. A couple of years back, HP (prior to the HPE/ HP Inc split) purchased Autonomy and Vertica. HPE continues to mature their combined Haven solution beyond addressing BigData into the realm of Machine Learning. That that end, HPE now is offering Haven On-Demand (http://www.HavenOnDemand.com) for free. Interestingly, the solution leverages HPE’s partnership with Microsoft and is running on Microsoft’s Azure platform.

IN SUMMARY

HPE is bringing into focus those aspects they believe they can do well. The core business is still focused on infrastructure, but also supporting software (mostly for IT focused functions), cloud (OpenStack focused) and data analytics. After the dust settles on the splits and shifts, the largest opportunities for HPE appear to come from infrastructure (and related software), and data analytics. The other aspects of the business, while valuable, support a smaller pool of prospective customers.

Ultimately, time will tell how this strategy plays out. I still believe there is an untapped potential from HPE’s Synergy composable platform that will appeal to the masses of enterprises, but is often missed. Their data analytics strategy appears to be gaining steam and moving forward. These two offerings are significant, but only provide for specific aspects in an enterprises digital transformation.

CIO · Cloud · Data · IoT

2016 is the year of data and relevance

IMG_2099

Over the past few years, I have outlined my thoughts for the upcoming year. You can read those from past years here:

Cloud Predictions for 2013 (12/14/12)

CIO Predictions for 2014 (12/20/13)

5 things a CIO wishes for this holiday season (12/26/14)

In 2016, data and relevance will play the leading role across the industry. Data and relevance are not necessarily new, but are providing something new to each of the hot technology areas.

THE YEAR OF DATA AND RELEVANCE

Two core trends came to light during the latter half of 2015; data and relevance. While innovation and experimentation are hallmark components to growth, data and relevance lead to one clear message for 2016: Focus. And it is this very focus that will provide opportunity to buyers and providers alike.

In the past couple of years, we saw new solutions and methods to collect data. In 2016, organizations will hone their craft in how data is collected and used. This is easier said than done as there are still technological and cultural boundaries to overcome. However, 2016 brings a renewed focus on the importance of data from all aspects.

Over the same past few years, a myriad of novel and clever solutions overwhelmed us. 2016 brings forth a drive to focus on those most relevant to our needs; both today and in the future. As part of this focus, look for continued consolation.

2016 SIDENOTES

There are two areas that I suspect will influence activity among buyers and providers alike in 2016. One of those is the economic impact of changes in economies, industries and geopolitical areas. The second has more to do with the specific matchups, consolidations, mergers, acquisitions and folds that take place. The early half of 2016 should be interesting as many were already teed up in the latter half of 2015.

The hot areas for 2016 continue to be Cloud, Data, IoT, Software, Infrastructure and Security.

  • Cloud: Look for enterprises to continue their adoption of cloud as they 1) get out of the data center business and 2) provide leverage to do things not otherwise possible.
  • Data: As mentioned above, the drive for greater data consumption will continue. Look for enterprises to start to understand the relevance of data as it pertains to their business (today and in the future).
  • IoT: Enterprises across a wide range of industries are looking to capitalize on the Internet of Things movement. The value and interest in IoT will only continue to grow through 2016 as enterprises find novel ways to leverage IoT to grow their business.
  • Software: The world of enterprise software continues to evolve. Enterprises continue to move away from large, monolithic applications to applications more directly focused on their industry or area of need. This presents a great opportunity for incumbent enterprise players as much as new entrants.
  • Infrastructure: The infrastructure world is being turned on its head and for good reason. Look for changes in the paradigm of how infrastructure is leveraged. The need for infrastructure is not going away…but how it is consumed is completely changing.
  • Security: While a perennial subject, look for security to weave a path through each of the areas above as organizations begin to focus on how to best leverage (and protect) their assets. For many, their core asset is data.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! HERE’S TO A PROSPEROUS 2016!!!

We all have quite a bit to look forward to in 2016! Change is in the wind and it will continue to provide us with opportunity. Here’s to it bringing great tidings in 2016!