Monthly Archives: October 2014

Big Data Overload Yields Start-ups With Innovative Analytic Tools and Services

By | October 20, 2014

The problem with big data is that there’s so much of it. No, that’s not a Yogi-ism, but an accurate description of the paradox facing many organizations today. Generating  and storing data is easier than ever. We’ve entered an era in which it is straightforward to collect a myriad of data, from the most mundane (think server logs or retail register receipts) to the most profound (like one’s genome or daily online meanderings and preferences), cheaper to store it indefinitely and easier than ever to aggregate from multiple sources. Assuming about a tenth of the data is accessed in any given month, storing a terabyte on S3 runs about $400 per year. Google Cloud is about the same.

Source: author

Source: author

As I write in this column, the bounty of data perversely makes it harder to refine into useful information: more costly to process, complex to analyze, harder to comprehend and thus less than effective at improving decisions. The situation will only get worse as the variety of technology trends summed up by today’s hottest buzzword, the Internet of Things (IoT), mean our data supply, both as individuals and businesses will be shifting into overdrive as data collection and connectedness is added to all manner of objects, whether home thermostats, industrial equipment, or even livestock. Never hear of the quantified cow? Your local dairy farmer has and is may already be outfitting them with the bovine equivalent of a Fitbit to increase milk production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

The column goes on to highlight several innovative start-ups like BitYota, Interana, Medio, Quid and others that address the problem of too much data by exploiting the cloud and cloud-like distributed software design to deliver so-called data analytics as a service. The business benefits are many. First, by exploiting cloud infrastructure (often AWS) and adopting a SaaS business model, these services eliminate big, up front infrastructure build outs and CapEx expenses, replacing them with usage-based, pay-as-you-grow pricing. Second, by encapsulating data analysis expertise in easily deployed and used software, it allows unlocking the value of big data without hiring a staff of PhD data scientists and DB admins.

Quid Screenshot Source: Quid

Quid Screenshot
Source: Quid

The exploitation of big data for previously unknowable business insights and improved decision-making is still nascent, but a new generation of data analytic services democratizes access allowing any organization to tap resources previously only available to the largest few. I will be closely watching this technology and emerging software market to see the innovative ways business leaders use these and other services that will surely  follow.

Enterprise Server OS Update: Windows Domination at Risk

By | October 16, 2014

Server operating systems seem positively boring in an era of cloud infrastructure, omni-virtualization, mobilized business and big data, but they are a necessary component of enterprise applications that still influences many IT decisions. However, we’re undeniably in the midst of technology transitions that will have profound implications for the server OS landscape over the next product cycle, many of which present new challenges to the dominance of Windows Server in enterprise data centers. As part of an annual survey of server OS usage and trends for InformationWeek, my advice to IT organizations and enterprise developers is to seriously consider the available options. Is is time to reconsider the status quo.

Source: Superb Internet http://www.superb.net/blog/2013/01/09/windows-hosting-versus-linux-hosting/

Source: Superb Internet
http://www.superb.net/blog/2013/01/09/windows-hosting-versus-linux-hosting/

 

Source: W3Techs

Source: W3Techs

Linux is winning the fight for next-gen cloud-scale data centers, like those running massive consumer web apps or software-as-a-service businesses. But a survey conducted as part of the InformationWeek Report (full details available here) found that Windows Server still reigns in enterprise data centers, with some version of Windows running on 75% of respondents’ servers; a share projected to slip only a few points, to 72%, by 2017. It’s natural since the reality of managing a data center means administrative and automation features and support for legacy business applications are top of mind, and that last point in particular plays to Windows Server strengths.

Source: Docker

Source: Docker

Yet change is afoot as developers gain influence over OS choice. For them, deploying a feature-rich but resource-heavy OS like Windows Server as the back end for a vertical mobile app or internal SaaS-like application could prove unpopular and unwise. They are more likely to embrace a native cloud stack like OpenStack, CloudStack or vCloud, using whatever hypervisor is handy and a Linux host OS or Docker app container.

As I conclude in the report, instead of reflexively upgrading to the latest Windows server release, organizations should take an application-centric view of infrastructure provisioning, which I contend will increasingly lead to using alternative technologies like self-service cloud stacks, app containers and distributed big data systems. These decisions should drive the choice of hardware, OS and bare metal hypervisor, not legacy systems from the client-server era.

Source: IW Reports

Source: IW Reports

EMC Defederation? Its SDDC Engineers Haven’t Gotten the Memo

By | October 9, 2014
Source: author

Source: author

Ever since rumors surfaced of a possible HP merger, and particularly since the latter’s own breakup announcement, EMC has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. As I write in this column, breaking up EMC’s federated structure actually seem more likely now that HP is splitting. Worse yet for EMC’s status quo, activist investors are calling for it to break itself apart by divesting VMware and Pivotal, meaning this low-key company better known to CIOs and IT staffers than hedge fund managers now finds itself in Wall Street’s crosshairs as the next target for financial engineering.

However the company’s engineers, marketers and channel partners haven’t gotten the memo and are still operating under the company’s Federation, which I detailed in an earlier column, motto: Better Together. Case in point, today the company announced the first of its Federation Solutions by productizing the company’s software-defined data center (SDDC) vision into a bundled offering of software, hardware and product support.

Source: VMware

Source: VMware

 

Source: VMware

Source: VMware

In this column, I outline details of its new SDDC software and support solution, but caution that while this represents a needed step towards realizing the collective EMC/VMware vision, it’s unlikely to quell demands from hedge fund activists. Sadly for CEO Joe Tucci, his final months as CEO will not be peaceful as he will have a difficult time holding the structure together in an environment where even tech titans like Cisco, Microsoft and Oracle face demands for radical restructuring.

Bootstrapping Government’s ‘Cloud First’ Strategy with FedRAMP

By | October 9, 2014

Cloud computing infiltrated the enterprise via public infrastructure and software services like AWS and Salesforce, but as I wrote in another report, “Hybrid clouds are the future of enterprise computing.” Sure, IT faces many hurdles when implementing a flexible architecture supporting both public and private cloud services, but there’s plenty of data to back up the assertion:

Source: cio.gov

Source: cio.gov

  • Of the 47% of respondents to the InformationWeek Hybrid Cloud Survey using, piloting or developing private clouds, the majority are building hybrid public/private systems.
  • Influential IT vendors like VMware, with vCloud Air, and Hewlett-Packard, which recently acquired Eucalyptus to improve integration between its OpenStack private cloud offering and Amazon Web Services, are making big investments in hybrid technology.
  • Industry analysts like Gartner and IDC predict that hybrid clouds will soon be deployed in the majority of enterprises, running a growing share of enterprise workloads.
FedRAMP-concept

Conceptual diagram: FedRAMP connects agencies with cloud providers Source: cio.gov

Yet the federal government — yes the same bloated bureaucracy that gives you the IRS and TSA — is arguably ahead of most commercial organizations even though most of the survey data, analyst research, and market buzz is focused on enterprises. In this report, I argue that government agencies face the same demands — for more capacity, more applications for mobile devices and remote users, and faster service deployments — all while living with stagnant budgets. My take is that agencies should be just as aggressive as their commercial counterparts in moving to cloud. Granted, government IT pros face some unique regulatory hurdles, procurement requirements, and IT processes. But these shouldn’t impede adoption thanks to initiatives, such as Cloud First, the cloud.cio.gov site, and FedRAMP, that are designed to simplify cloud use by government agencies.

Source: InformationWeek Reports

Source: InformationWeek Reports

The full report is full of survey-backed analysis, an overview of various government cloud resources and recommendations for agency CIOs. Who knows, maybe enterprise IT execs can even learn a few tricks from Uncle Sam?