Two very different estimates of cloud email usage and forecasts

A while back I posted a quick quote from recent Gartner prognosticating about cloud email. The up-shot was that right now, it’s just about 8% for all types of companies, globally (except India and China for some reason). Someone from SpiceWorks left a comment that arecent survey of theirs indicated something much different, at least across the more SMB focused demographics they asked (out of 539 respondents, 46% were in companies of 10-99 employees, 23% were from companies of 100-249). Gartner, no doubt, covers a broader market, perhaps even weighted to larger companies (I don’t have access to the report, so I can’t look up the demographics).

For your entertainment, here are the two charts:

Email Moving to Cloud Estimates

Email Moving to Cloud Estimates

(The SpiceWorks 2014 estimate is a bit of fuzz-work on my part based on people’s claims to migrate in six months. If that bothers you, just assume it’s flat and the fun still stands.)

Building a Great Team (Dell buys Enstratius)

With the Enstratius acquisition, Dell is getting a group of people with deep influence in the community. Founder George Reese is an O’Reilly author and a cloud pioneer. He is supported by James Urquhart, Bernard Golden and John Willis, all recognized as influencers in the cloud community.
Alex Williams, TechCruch

This is the part I’m most excited about. I’ve worked with and known the team at Enstratius for many years, esp. John Willis who you may recall from the salad days of The IT Management & Cloud Podcast. The talent at Enstratius up and down the org is phenomenal and I can’t wait to start working with them in continuing to build Dell’s cloud portfolio. I’ve had a great time being part of the industry heavy-weights at Dell, and it’ll be a privilege to be part of the combined team.

In a coincidental note, check out Barton’s interview with John Willis on culture and DevOps, from last week’s DevOpsDays Austin.

Project Fast PaaS and Dell Cloud Labs

A couple of developers in our Dublin cloud labs started working on Cloud Foundry and set it up to run on our Dell cloud. You can check out more info and sign up for a invite to it.

Moving Beyond The PaaS Paradox

In my strategy role I’ve been looking at PaaS for awhile now. In doing that, I keep hitting upon what I call “The PaaS Paradox.” If you take any given analysts forecasts for PaaS, the overall market looks “bad” compared to IaaS and SaaS: $2.9B by 2016 by a recent Gartner estimate – or about 3% of the ~$110B public cloud market in 2016 (I subtracted out that annoying “advertising” segment that Gartner tracks).

And then you have some real gorillas already moving in there: Microsoft, Salesforce, Google, IBM, Oracle, and so on. While several billion may seem amazing to individuals, in the IT industry, it’s not much…esp. if you’re competing with those guys. (As another data point along the PaaS road: EngineYard helpfully reports its revenue from time-to-time, $28M back in July, 2011.)

And yet, everyone is always going on about how PaaS is mega important. Each year it’s going to be “the year of PaaS,” and analyst survey data always indicates high interest in PaaS.

My theory has been that when most people, esp. all those gleeful survey respondents, think of PaaS they’re not thinking of “pure PaaS” (or 1st and even 2nd generation PaaS). Instead, they just are thinking “doing software development with cloud technologies and practices.” Once you re-calibrate your whiz-bang charts to include all of software development, “PaaS” seems a lot more attractive.

I ran this by Jeffery Hammond and James Staten in a conversation the other day and they framed it in another, interesting way: people want the ability to run, and target different frameworks in a cloud context. Heroku is the classic of example of this. While Heroku is a PaaS, it’s more about being able to run rails (and plenty of other languages and frameworks now). This flexiblity fixes that unsettling feeling that 1st generation PaaS had: you were using, essentially, a propriety framework that was limiting your choice.

Or, as Stephen puts it: PaaS is the new middleware.

With that framing, you can escape the PaaS Paradox, and PaaS is a lot more interesting. So far, Cloud Foundry has seemed one of the better architectural fits for this “PaaS as middleware” think.” As we move “Project Fast” through (the new) Dell Cloud Labs, I’ll be eager to see how that architecture plays out and even more excited to see how the Dell community reacts to and participates in the project. As with Project Sputnik, a huge part of what we’re doing is engaging with developers, which sounds like a pretty good way to spend time to me.

Also: check out some demo videos of Project Fast PaaS.

Down on the Guadalupe River

Despite an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion, Mr. Weston, 48, lives modestly with his wife and three children in a 2,300-square-foot double-wide trailer on the banks of the Guadalupe River just outside of San Antonio. In addition to being a successful dot-com and real estate investor, he descends from British nobility on his mother’s side and Canadian grocery magnates on his father’s side, whose holdings include Twinings tea, Karo syrup, Fleishmann’s yeast, Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges.

via Rackspace Revitalizes a Defunct Mall Into an Unorthodox Tech Campus 

Things analysts forecasts won’t tell you

“These old technologies are holding us back. They’re anchors on where we want to go,” he said. “We find the things that have outlived their useful purpose. Our competitors are afraid to remove them. We try to find better solutions – our customers have given us a lot of trust. In general, it’s a good idea to remove these rotating medias from our computers and other devices. They have inherent issues — they’re mechanical and sometimes break, they use power and are large. We can create products that are smaller, lighter and consume less power.”

Ain’t no 5 year bar graph that says that

Integration is gonna be a problem for cloud

Enterprise software integration is hard and risky. Once you’ve invested in integrating your enterprise applications with one another (and/or with your partners’ applications), that integration becomes the #1 reason why you don’t want to change your applications. Or even upgrade them. That’s because the integration is an extension of the application being integrated. You can’t change the app and keep the integration. SOA didn’t change that.

Integration is lockin

Some Kind of Hybrid Cloud

Our customers are asking for two interrelated items: federation to public clouds and a choice of public cloud APIs. It’s been very consistent. Customers are all deploying some kind of hybrid solution. Some times they start in public and want to move some workloads back to private, like Zynga. Some times they start in private and want to move some workloads back to public. Regardless, it’s clear they want to run mixed mode for the forseeable future: some capacity in private and some in public. The challenge, then is for them have private clouds that are compatible with public clouds

Randy Bias on adding Google Cloud compatibility to OpenStack

Enterprise vs. Consumer Bid’ness

Workday was founded seven years ago by two guys with the best imaginable pedigrees, deep pockets, and networks to call on to get stuff done quickly. Duffield and Bhusri raised a reported $250 million to get the company humming and grew steadily to reach $134 million in annual sales as of last January. That’s impressive, but by contrast consumer-focused file-sharing site Dropbox was founded two years after Workday and in that shorter stretch also raised $250 million and reached $240 million in sales.

Workday’s IPO

Don’t fear “closed” systems

After my Ignite talk at DevOpsDays last week, Barton George did a “so, what did you just talk about?” video, above. It’s a pretty good summary of the point I as trying to make in the talk: we’re well into an “integrated” phase of the IT industry.

And check out all the other interviews Barton did at Velocity and DevOpsDays last week.

Dell Software

I’ve been working with the team standing up the Dell Software Group since I joined Dell in August, in the role of a corporate strategy guy. Back in March, we launched the group, which is very exciting. People often ask me what areas Dell will focus on in software. In today’s financial analyst meeting presentation, you can find this slide:

Dell's software focus areas

So there you go: security, systems management, business intelligence, and applications. When I was still at RedMonk, I started to see the assemblage of a software group at last year’s industry analyst conference, so it’s been fun to see – and help! – the sausage getting made.