The Secret to IaaS Success? Don’t Beat Amazon Web Services

I suspect the prevalent “slow follower” mentality within the public IaaS companies that are chasing AWS will continue. So too will the confusion about their inability to catch up with AWS, let alone pass them by. At the end of the day, this is about inventing new ways to provide better and more resilient computing infrastructure to the Global 2000. Trying to beat AWS won’t get you there; you need to take the path of innovation and creativity

The Secret to IaaS Success? Don’t Beat Amazon Web Services

Forrester: Middle-Aged Developers Driving Cloud Computing – ReadWrite

In other words, as with open source, these developers can’t be bothered with corporate bureaucracy. In an earlier Forrester survey, developers said the primary benefit of the cloud is that it’s the "Fastest way for me to get my project done and deployed." This calls to mind Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady’s assertion that "Convenience trumps just about everything" when it comes to cloud adoption.

Forrester: Middle-Aged Developers Driving Cloud Computing – ReadWrite

Cloud vendors name the price to go private

For many punters, the economic benefits of a pay-as-you-go rented virtual machine start to disappear at around $10,000 of predictable monthly spend, and at this point it really does make sense for them to investigate other support options or even start owning their own hardware.

Cloud vendors name the price to go private

Pivotal puts PaaS in the spotlight

{{{So specific!}}} Paul Maritz, the former long-time Microsoft executive and VMware CEO who now heads Pivotal, says there’s a lack of an application development platform with built-in capabilities to manage and analyze large quantities of data geared toward the enterprise. Pivotal is a “new platform for a new era,” he says.

Pivotal puts PaaS in the spotlight

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!

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.

Sputnik launches as the Dell XPS 13 Laptop

Today is an exciting day for me: Dell is launching a product that I’ve helped put together and create along with a team of people across the company and, of course, the leader of the project, Barton George. We’ve been calling it Project Sputnik, and it’s got a real name now, “XPS 13 developer edition.” I’ll of course probably always refer to it as Sputnik. I help run the internal incubation program we have at Dell, and this was the first project we accepted and the one that I’ve been “managing.” What that means is that I work with Barton and team to make sure they’re getting what they need and help make the sausage. (People often ask me how I’m liking Dell and what I tell them is that if you like sausage as much as I do, it’s a wonderful place to see it being made and make some yourself.)

The point of Sputnik is to put together a laptop for developers. The XPS 13 developers edition is just the start of a wider effort to start working with developers that Barton, myself, and others are pulling together. We’ve specifically oriented Sputnik to not just be a single product (or “SKU” as we in the sausage factory often say), but the start of an actual ecosystem around Dell and developers.
To that end, the two Sputnik tools – the profile tool that automates setting up developer environments and the cloud launcher tool that helps facilitate DevOps work-flows – are open source projects that aren’t tied to the specific box. We want to develop out these projects as general purpose developer tools no matter what you’re using. That said, with Sputnik, Dell has a good end-to-end story around software developers: from fingers on the keyboard for coding to deploying to production (running on Dell clouds or servers), you could run your application life-cycle on Dell all through-out the cycle.
That’s the bigger picture we’re shooting at with Sputnik: launching a full fledged developer-centric program. In truth, I’m not sure exactly what’s next, and it’d be silly for us to plan out that far. We’re relying on developers to come and tell us how we can help and, if they’re as passionate as the early Sputnik community members, help us build it out.
For Dell, working with developers matters in a huge way. In my day job, I’m help ensure that Dell is pursue wise strategies in cloud. By my estimates, about 30-40% of cloud consumption is driven be developers, and I think that’s conservative. In short, if you want to be successful in cloud, you need developers on your side, like, right now. You’d of course expect that from a RedMonk, but it’s incredibly true in cloud. Developers are the king-makers, and we’re just making sure they’re happy.

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

More on Cloud

I was a last minute substitute for a live podcast on cloud yesterday, officially titled “Hyperscale IT: Datacenter Lessons From Web Leaders.” The discussion was on the topic of what “the rest of us” could learn from how hyper-scale IT operates, that is, people running on large public clouds.

The questions and discussion reminded of talks I’ve done in the past on the topic, esp. the one on DevOps I gave at Devoxx and the really short one on hybrid cloud.

It was a fun time, including chatting with people afterwards.