Upcoming talk on Dell’s New Cloud Strategy

I’ll have a little cameo on a webinar tomorrow, speaking broadly to Dell’s cloud strategy. It’d a good chance to see what we’re up to now-a-days and how we think about it. This will be one of the first, public overviews of our cloud approach since we announced we were no longer building and running our own public cloud.

And, it’s got a snappy title: Is Cloud Meeting Your Expectations? Today’s Results….Tomorrow’s Promises, and the agenda:

According to IDC, cloud revenue is growing at more than 25 percent a year, and will reach $55.5 billion by 2014. I think we can agree that cloud is here to stay, but is your organization seeing the results they expected? This session will show customer success in adopting cloud; time/cost savings, and improvements to the quality of life. There will also be a discussion on up-and-coming cloud trends and how Dell is addressing these and simplifying the process with Dell best practices, cloud enabled hardware, software and services.

Join this session to:

  • Discover how organizations like yours are successfully adopting cloud and seeing real business results
  • Understand future trends that can affect your organization, and hear how Dell is addressing these with the right solutions: hardware, software and services
  • Learn 3 key steps in making cloud adoption work best for your organization

If you sign-up and attend, you’ll get to see my buddy Roy in action as well.

You’d probably also like this one with Barton George and John Willis: How IT and Developers Can Join Forces to Innovate in the Cloud.

Spiceworks Segmentation Stats

three years ago 65-70 percent of Spiceworks users were from companies that had fewer than 100 employees. In the last 24 months, however, that has completely turned on its head, and now 75 percent of usage comes from companies with 100 employees or more. Specifically the two fastest growing segments are companies with 500-1,000 employees and companies with 1,000 employees and above. As of last month there were 13,000 installations with more than 1,000 devices, implying that 60-65 percent of enterprises in the world use Spiceworks for something. 

via Spiceworks CEO sets sights on the enterprise – Interview – Techworld.com.

Video for #InnoIT – Enabling Innovation in IT – Dell World Social Think Tank

The video for the think tank I mentioned last week is up. They say they’ll slice it into smaller chunks as well, but if you’re interested in a discussion of sorting out how “The IT Department” can do more than keep the lights on, here’s 60+ minutes on it!

What is enStratus? – DellWorld 2012


John Willisand I met up at Dell World this year, it was awesome to see him in town. After several bone-headed recording attempts, I finally figured out how to hit record. We talked mostly about what enStratus does, cloud management:

…or download it directly here or subscribe to the DrunkAndRetired feed!

I’d prefer my toilet to not fail fast – #InnoIT Think Tank

Dell World Social Think Tank - Enabling Innovation in IT.

Earlier this week at Dell World I sat in on an afternoon Think Tank moderated by TechCrunch’s Alex Williams. Essentially, we discussed the challenging role of IT now-a-days. Per usual, there was much discussion of getting IT to be more innovative and the “threat” that new IT delivery methods like cloud and consumer technologies bring to the status quo. Because technology can do so much, so much faster now-a-days the IT department has a huge challenge and a contradictory mission: IT has to keep the lights on, be stable, and at the same time innovate their brains out.

Dell World Social Think Tank - Enabling Innovation in IT.

Being a professional observer of the IT industry and its history I’ve often found that those two things require different processes, different people, and different technologies. The mind set of keeping things stable a reliable (the five nines crowd) doesn’t fit with coming up with new stuff. Practices like Agile and the rapid delivery cycles in DevOps can help, but at some point, the two paths of ensuring stability and profiting from disruption are divergent enough that you can’t perfectly co-mingle them…and yet, that’s what we expect from the IT department.

I’ve been reading Taleb’s latest book, Antifragile and I’m really liking the premise of it: you want to build systems that benefit from failure and disruption. There might be something of a middle-ground in that nuance, and it’s certainly a way of thinking that cloud has benefited from. We’ll see how quickly we can get IT – and corporate! – culture to start embracing failure as education and helpful instead of something to be avoided even to the point of doing nothing instead of trying.

Project RIPTide – the second Dell incubation project

Among my other doings at Dell, I helped put together and now run the internal incubation program. The idea of the program is to provide a sort of internal angel investment fund and program for employees who want to develop ideas. Project Sputnik is the first project we’ve done, and the second one, RIPTide is now emerging into public.

The idea behind Project RIPTide (headed up Shree Dandekar) is to pull together a business intelligence platform for the mainstream. There’s a tremendous amount of now affordable horse-power (in hardware and software) available to customers of any size now but the last mile of hooking it up all together is a tough one. Shree’s idea was to take advantage of Dell Boomi, some beefy hardware, and BI tools to help smaller companies get better analytics over their business.

When we were in the concept phase of this project, I was cooking up all sorts of fanciful use cases like helping food-truck owners analyze Twitter in real-time to find where people are longing for a taco…so they can drive the truck over there to sell some grub.

It’s been exciting to watch Shree put this project together and even find an initial customer, Team Express. There’s more to go with the project and we’d love to get your input if you’re interested in this kind of thing. Check out Shree’s overview from earlier this week.

Sputnik Cloud Launcher – Doing More DevOps

One of the tools in Project Sputnik is the “cloud launcher.” The idea for this tool is to help instrument a DevOps life-cycle: the tool models out a simulated cloud on your desktop during development, and then deploys it to “real” clouds once you’re ready. We demonstrated one version of the cloud launcher at Dell World this week that uses juju.

In the meantime, OpsCode’s Matt Ray has been working on another approach (which he describes in the above video) that uses Chef under the covers. See the code checked into the Sputnik repo as well. I’m looking at these two versions as proofs of concept, or even “spikes” to explore how to best implement the idea. We’re eager to get feedback and engagement from the community to figure out which approach (or a third!) is most helpful.