Archives for September 2014

HP goes to the cloud casino and plays green

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HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus is raising eyebrows and drawing head scratches around the industry.  This morning I read another opinion on the deal after Greg Knieriemen  posted this tweet: “Good read by : “What HP Gains In Eucalyptus Cloud Deal” – ” I went there, read it and commented and then decided to post about it here, taking a little more time to think about it and adding a few links.

Most industry observers know that HP needs to find traction in the enterprise cloud business or risk becoming irrelevant. Although HP pioneered the converged infrastructure concept, they failed to capitalize on it and missed the hyper-convered platform opportunity when Nutanix and Simplivity came from seemingly nowhere.  Large online companies that once were customers now build their own platforms and make their designs available for anybody else to use. HP’s attempt to penetrate the smartphone  industry was a complete disaster and they have very little opportunities left in mobile.

Jon Rubenstein with TouchPad

HP’s Jon Rubenstein with TouchPad

So, they have no choice but to bet big on enterprise cloud and are doing the only thing they can by acquiring technology and people. But if you look at how the big 3 in cloud (Amazon, Google and Microsoft) are investing in this space, HP is already too far behind.  Amazon attempts to buy market share with every service and both Microsoft and Google have ways to print money that nobody else can touch.  For everybody, including HP, the ship of public cloud opportunities has already sailed. That said, HP can compete in the private cloud business if it can deliver open-source offerings that corporate DevOps customers want. They will have no trouble beating out Amazon, Microsoft and Google for that business because Amazon and Google are surprisingly lost with private cloud and Microsoft’s private cloud offerings are not well-aligned with corporate DevOps directions.

Shannon_Elizabeth_pokerBut the big 3 aren’t really the obstacle for private cloud. Pivotal (part of the EMC Federation) and Red Hat both have a big head start on HP in open-source enterprise solutions and posess the talent and know-how to make them – as well as the access to enterprise customers. Pivotal may be the most lethal here through alignment with EMC’s and VMware’s sales organizations. HP will have to execute very well and must continue to catch up by acquiring companies, which means they will have to outbid Pivotal and Red Hat to get them. What it can’t acquire, it will have to develop, and it’s not clear that they will be able to identify the missing pieces quickly enough to stay in the race. Still as they acquihire talent, they may be able to build a team that can compete. Their margin for error is razor thin. Getting employees from different backgrounds to quickly agree on anything will be an ardent exercise in cat-herding – something smart gamblers would bet against. Nonetheless, HP has a chance, a slim chance and it is going to have to play the game a long time, because everybody else is in it to win it. In the end, HP’s own efforts may be less relevant than those of its competitors, who will need to screw up to make room for HP at the table.casinoroyale all in

Why we reject IT-recommended file sync and sharing tools

water blastingI saw an article in  Information Management Online about research done by London-based Ovum  titled: Widespread Dissatisfaction with File Sync, Sharing Tools

The results of Ovum’s research, conducted with over 5000 corporate employees, indicates that only 9% of them using commercial file sharing technology that is authorized by their IT departments, like it.

This would be pretty damning, if true – but I have no reason to believe otherwise. The article claims over 19 vendors were named in the survey including Box, Citrix, Dropbox, Egnyte, EMC, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and WatchDox.  Part of the problem, of course, is that file sync technologies are integrated with corporate workflows and there are probably lots of reasons why people dislike those. When the goal of a technology is some form of bureaucratic processing, there just isn’t going to be a big fan base.

When there is discord, there are bad experiences, such as frustration underlying it. One thing I’d hope to find out from this research is what angers everybody so much about these technologies. I suspect a lot of it has to do with the amount of time it takes to find shared files. As the file store gets bigger and more fragmented, the different ways people name and categorize things becomes an obstacle and group cognition slows to a crawl.

While it tends to be most dreadful in large organizations, small ones are not immune. I have experienced the same frustration looking for a file in Google Docs working with a team of 5 as I have using SharePoint at Microsoft with many thousands of people. In other words, I don’t think the tool is the problem. It’s us. We need to find better ways to collaborate at work.

Changing this situation requires overcoming human fallibilities. If we aren’t good at finding files, then our crutch could be better search tools. That’s what the whole business of enterprise search is all about. It’s also what file analytics is about, although the dynamics are different.  Both allow co-workers to find each other’s files, but in the case of file analytics, the search tool is geared to managing files that are identified by the search process.

So even though file sync and share mostly suck, we are stuck using them.  Remedies for that may come from much better searching tools . That or we could just blob out into information entropy.