How about this HPE? Automation and Infrastructure Excellence

Last summer I went to HPE Discover in Las Vegas and wrote about the company’s organizational progress and lack of marketing acumen. Half a sun’s orbit later, they still haven’t found a good way to communicate what they are up to.  It’s not clear of these things are set in stone (and I certainly hope they aren’t) but yesterday we heard them talk about “simplifying hybrid IT”, “driving the intelligent edge” and leveraging their experience and talents.  I think most of us in the room threw up in our mouths a little bit. The first impressions were a tangle of boredom and confusion, and first impressions are the only ones that matter.

Great corporate messaging is short and memorable. It communicates a business vision or experience that means something to customers, employees, partners or other interested parties. It communicates a reason for conducting business. It implies a meaningful direction. Everybody that hears or sees the message should be able to repeat it without memorizing it. It doesn’t try to be all-encompassing. It doesn’t try to define the company’s business opportunities. It doesn’t try to be clever.  It doesn’t need to be looked up on a PowerPoint slide or Googled.

But rather than just complain, I decided to make up my own messaging for HPE – the one that I will use when I talk to anybody about what HPE is doing.

Automation and Infrastructure Excellence.

There it is. Four words that make an impression. I fully expect anybody who reads this to think “no”  for any number of reasons, but that is exactly how messaging (and naming) become so thorny. Instead, I would say, try to figure out how to use it.

What do IT customers need to manage their big, changing infrastructures? Automation. Orchestration, metrics, provisioning and modeling are all aspects of automation. Data protection and security are worthless if they are not automated. Automation is the holy grail for all things cloud-like, whether that cloud likeness is an acquisition experience or the transparency of changing the underlying technology an application runs on. Everybody in the IT business knows that this stuff is complicated and that there are no “simple” solutions, but the processes for managing it can always be improved upon with automation power tools. That is what HPE’s Synergy and OneView are all about. These are pillar, cornerstone products that should be front and center in the understanding of what HPE stands for. Hence the word “Automation” without ornamentation or constraints.

What do people running businesses want from any aspect of their business? Excellence. Not perfection, but the best effort to achieve the best result. HPE is in the infrastructure business and all that encompasses with respect to cloud integration.  Hybrid cloud technologies are not necessarily required to be excellent, but HPE certainly wants their hybrid cloud solutions to be excellent, which is why they are putting so much emphasis on automation.

What about things like The Machine – Hewlett Packard Labs’ project to create a persistent memory computing paradigm? It is an attempt to create infrastructure excellence where it is not clear what the applications will be. That’s OK. It’s important for HPE to look for new ways to create excellent infrastructures, whether they are used in datacenters, manufacturing plants, life sciences research, health care, vehicles, etcetera. And everybody wants their infrastructures to be excellent, in whatever way they define excellence.

And what about IoT and analytics, which are also key to HPE’s strategy? I’d argue that both are part of infrastructure excellence. You need an excellent infrastructure to run analytics, to acquire and process IoT information, to make the business decisions that are needed to have an excellent, digitally-wired and responsive organization. HPE will partner with many numerous analytics and IoT software companies and all of them will appreciate and help sell HPE’s excellent, automated infrastructure solutions.

10 reasons the UK should become the 51st State of America

Now that the UK has left the EU and is a free agent without a clue, it’s time for us to take a hard look at making it one of the United States. This is a deal with real synergy that would replace their current lose-lose situation with a sure-fire win-win outcome. Here are ten reasons why this deal needs to go down.

  1. Better gun selection for UK citizens

    wall of gunsThe powerful gun lobby in the US would support this deal because it means the sales of weapons and ammunition would go way up in a huge hurry. Think of it UKers, no background checks, bigger weapons than you can get now, ammo that you can stockpile for many years worth of turf defending against terrorists. What’s not to like?

  2. Pave the way for a merger of the British Premier League and the NFL

    bpl nflLet’s face it, sports matter more than anything else, except guns and this would create a lot more beer-drinking, crossover sports fans than any other imaginable scenario. Eat your hearts out La Liga. One caveat, Chelsea has to relocate to New York before the start of the 2017 season.

  3. Keep Putin’s paws off the Queen

    putin queen elizabethIf you don’t think Vladmir Putin wants the Queen, you don’t understand anything about this conquering man. He wants it all and is probably hatching a plan right now to make at least England part of Russia. If you don’t believe it, just think about this for a moment – the man in the lead for the job as British PM is named Boris.

  4. Keep Game of Thrones production on schedule

    GOT1First, lets all agree that the word schedule is pronounced with a hard “c” and not shedjule. Once we can agree that our common language is American, the next most important thing is for Game of Thrones to be delivered on time, regardless of the budget. Winter is coming and we have to get this series in the can.

  5. Skip the negotiations and feel the power

    riskIf the UK remains independent they are going to have to negotiate from a position of uncertainty with EU members that want to feed them helpings of humble pie. But, if the UK, with the largest army in Europe, joins the United States there is nothing to negotiate. Does France or any other European country want to mess with that?

  6. Forget clearing customs between LHR/JFK & LHR/LAX

    heathrow customsLet’s just do away with one of the greatest nuisances on the plant – English and American citizens having to wait in long lines at big, horrible airports. We all want to get to our vacations faster without worrying about things like having to explain the possession of medicinal marijuana to border control agents.

  7. One state instead of four countries

    whereis spain editedEngland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would all join the United States as one united state, because most people in the USA don’t actually know where these places are and it could be embarrassing whenever it came up. If the name State of England were for some reason unacceptable to UK citizens, alternative names for the new state would be Old New York, East California, Texas-2 and Disneyana.

  8. Finally decent Mexican food

    la cucarachaIts almost unbelievable that so many people travel to the UK when the food there is so bad. Admittedly, there is terrific curry in the UK, but if you are from Texas and are attending a football game in the UK, you probably won’t want curry as opposed to more familiar options, such as Mexican, Tex-Mex and Taco Bell. When the UK becomes America’s 51st state, Mexican restaurants will start popping up everywhere like Cucarachas.

  9. Jobs, jobs, jobs!

    FA_unemployment01.jpgNothing like this can ever happen without talking about all the jobs that will be created and this adding the State of England to the United States is certainly no different. Drivers training jobs, jobs retrofitting automobiles with dual steering wheels, building walls along Mexican and Irish borders, casino jobs, hotel jobs, a transatlantic oil pipeline from Scotland to Maine and jobs working in unemployment offices. If politicians can imagine it, it can produce thousands of great jobs.

  10. Reduction in the size of Government

    shrinking governmentState governments in the United States are much smaller than the federal government. MPs in the UK would become State Senators and thousands of other redundant bureaucrats would be eliminated so they could become lobbyists in the US system. There would be no need for the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, but the United States does have a vacancy currently on it’s Supreme Court that could be filled by a legal champion of law – something that could be decided by a uniquely entertaining transatlantic reality television show.

My Dear Friend Dick Shoup


A brilliant, sweet guy with many diverse interests, including bad movies

This past weekend, the family and friends of Dick Shoup gathered to honor him at the Computer History Museum in Mt. View. We will all miss him and he will be thought of often. Nancy (his wife) asked me to speak and I followed the remembrance given by Alvy Ray Smith, one of Dick’s long time friends and the founder of Pixar. Below are my words

It feels right to be here in the computer history museum honoring Dick Shoup – surrounded by all this cool, nerdy computing stuff. This storehouse of byzantine logic bearing testimony to human digital creativity – but like all history, it really only means something if you know the context, otherwise it’s just a blur of chips and code. It was more fun to come here with Dick than anybody else I know because he understood the context broadly and had great instincts to share. He was a true pioneer in the computer industry — which meant he was also a pioneer in nerdishness.

You all know what I’m talking about. Dick brought an informed nerdy and enthusiastic passion to his remarkably broad interests. It mattered to him if you referred to table tennis as ping pong – and he would try to educate you on the correct name – but he’d want to play it with you regardless. He loved playing and talking about tennis, tennis matches and tournaments and would have been anxiously waiting and cheering for Serena Williams to pull off the Grand Slam in a couple weeks at the US Open.

I would have loved to have seen his depositions and court testimony for intellectual property cases. I’m sure the attorneys he worked with appreciated his ability to make nuanced arguments about the minutiae separating revisions 7.03 and 7.04 of some video recorder firmware. I accompanied Dick on a quest to find some 25 year old recording gear in a pawnshop on the Alameda just so he could make a salient point that might win a case. I suspect it didn’t matter all that much if we found the thing or not – it was the exploration back into long past knowledge that was both the journey and the goal. The emotional satisfaction of seeing and knowing things that had passed conscious thought in a career branch 10 to 12 turns in the past. A reunion of machinery and one of its most avid users of it.

I loved watching movies with Dick because he always had some interesting observation about the CGI techniques or the story or the sheer wonderful stupidity of a concept taken to absurd levels. I will always remember sitting in Dick and Nancy’s living room – anxiously awaiting the next turn of events in Sharknado 2 and all of a sudden a flying inflatable shark appeared overhead and proceeded to dive bomb us. – leaving us in complete and utter shock and mirth. I still don’t know who was behind the attack because Alex was at the controls of the flying tiburon, but Dick had the ultimate arms and legs flailing reaction as he performed a watusi-like backstroke in a recliner (see the picture at the top of this post). Sharknado was a catalyst of sorts because Dick was one of the ultimate internet searchers and it did not take him long to find the next over-the-top inanity – Big Ass Spider, which he invited me to watch with him, but I was honestly too afraid. I did, however, take him up on his invitation to watch the far less entertaining and much more alarming Citzenfour several months ago. He wanted to share both the ridiculous and deeply unnerving with his friends.

Dick was constantly driven to see things that could inform his thirst for knowledge and understanding of the big picture we all experience together. We went to Santa Cruz to see the documentary Chasing Ice in 2012, but our plans were foiled by a drifter gunman who shot and killed two policemen near the theater and the shock of the news and the necessity of law enforcement to protect and serve gave us a decidedly different experience than the one we planned. A few months later we drove up to Stanford to see a screening of it that included a discussion with the film maker. Dick had a 6th sense about things of import and quality – and 2 years later Chasing Ice won an emmy for natural documentary. In case you didn’t know climate change was a big deal to Dick – as it is to many that are here today – and one way that we can honor his memory is to continue to build awareness and understanding of this very complicated and worrisome global transformation.

Many of us here today shared with Dick the beautiful, short-lived window of raising a pack of boys boys together and I have many memories of doing things with Dick in support of Alex, Bret, Eric, Mikoto, Danny, Yosuke, Mitsohiro, Gary, Benjamin, Nicholas, Nick, Alex Strawa, Takashi, Billy, Grant, – kids at school, kids in scouts, kids that played on the West Valley Blizzards – or was it Blizzard? These boys are now scattering to various places and futures and are well on their way to becoming men. It was extremely important to Dick that he was there to share their experiences whether they were victories or losses (and with the blizzards – there were a lot of moral victories). How else were these young men supposed to know how to behave in public if they had never seen grown men adorning pizza boxes as hats and screaming “Go Blizzard!” at the top of their lungs?

Dick was incredibly supportive – I’m sure many of you benefitted from his support as I have – and he eagerly volunteered. A few months before his death, when he was too sick to do it, he participated on a career day panel at Moreland Middle School – exposing kids to the idea of what it was like to invent things on computers. As things tend to go at Middle School events, there were last minute changes to schedules and locations and Dick had to walk all over the school grounds to get where he was going but was doggedly determined to make sure the kids could get a view of the great things he had witnessed and been a part of and to paint the picture of a meaningful and fun career. I can’t believe I tried to talk him out of it because it was pointless. And he paid a real price in pain to do it – but wasn’t about to abdicate his responsibility.

The number of jazz players and fans assembled here today is unusual for an event that isn’t a concert. As you know, Dick loved jazz – especially big band jazz. and wanted to share his love of it with anybody that showed the smallest interest. He was a very good trombonist who loved just about everything about these strange things, including jokes about trombonists, like:
Q: What’s the definition of an optimist?
A: A trombonist with a mortgage.
Q: How do you make a million dollars playing the trombone?
A: Start off with 2 million.
(By the way – at the ceremony, members of the audience piped up with the answers – members of the Daddios and fellow trombone players)

Dick played with an highly talented, little known ensemble called the Daddios with a collection of incredible players that could blow your socks off: Dick loved the arrangements and the sound of the whole band – especially guys like Ed Morrison who articulates insanely gorgeous and powerful high riffs on trumpet or Aaron Lington who can completely channel the whole history of the sax in a 2 minute solo. Dick cherished the fleeting moments of brilliance – and the jazz world misses his ability to hear and appreciate in depth and beauty. By the way, if you want to hear Dick’s playing with the Daddios, just google Dick Shoup and the title of the song – “Don’t worry ’bout me”. You might remember it because Dick didn’t want his friends to worry about him and went out of his way so we wouldn’t. I’ll say it again to help you remember – Dick Shoup Don’t worry about me.

I remember coming here to this place with Dick to see the Babbage Difference Engine with him. We just stood in amazement at the enormous, intricate contraption. It was blissful. it really was. He just wanted to share that experience with me. Like sharing his sublime Midleton Single pot whiskey or wonderful Amarula liqueur from South Africa, to sharing many wonderful and provocative movies and shows – the last one we watched together a fascinating and very slow Tim’s VerMeer – to sharing the music he loved – including pulling out deviously intricate transcriptions of trombone solos to look at while listening to great trombone players during halftime of a game during the Golden State Warriors championship run.

Yep there was one Dick Shoup and we were all very lucky to know him Thanks for the memories Dick.

Richard G. Shoup
1943 – 2015 | Obituary

Richard G. Shoup
July 30, 1943 – July 18, 2015
Resident of San Jose
Richard (Dick) Shoup, computer graphics pioneer, passed away peacefully at his San Jose home on July 18, after a long battle with lung cancer.
Born July 30, 1943, Dick was a native of western Pennsylvania. He earned a BSEE and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. His Ph.D. thesis was the first to explore programmable logic and reconfigurable hardware, now widely used in computers and consumer electronics. Dick was one of the first employees at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where he developed the SuperPaint system, one of the first to use computer animation in television and movies. He received both an Emmy and an Academy Award for this foundational work. In 1979, he left Xerox to found Aurora Systems, a video graphics and animation company. Dick later worked for Interval Research Corporation in Palo Alto and founded the Boundary Institute to further explore a lifelong interest in physics and parapsychology.
An avid musician in his spare time, Dick played jazz trombone for many years in various Big Bands throughout the Bay Area.
Dick was most proud of his family. He leaves behind a wife, Nancy, of San Jose, and four children, son Randall of Pacifica, son Eric and wife Christina of San Mateo, son Alexander of San Jose; and daughter, Celanie, of Pittsburgh, PA. He is also survived by four wonderful grandchildren and a sister, Judith Sharp of Santa Cruz.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1pm on Sunday, August 23 at the Computer History Museum, 1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to the thoracic oncology research fund of Dr. Joel Neal, Stanford Cancer Institute. Please indicate that gifts are in the memory of Richard Shoup for Joel Neal Research-GHBYM. Make checks payable to Stanford University and mail to Stanford University Development Services. P.O. Box 20466, Stanford, CA, 94309-0466, or go online to

Morph-driving in Cali and Montana

I came back from vacation in Montana where I took some steering wheel cam footage of my favorite drive between Livingston and McLeod.  This video is a small fantasy of mine – being able to change my commute to something much more interesting and wonderful.

The next big thing for me – Dub Storage at Tegile

dog high fiveMy long run of good luck just seems to keep on going.

Case in point: on June 5th I was laid off from Quaddra and within two weeks I had signed on the dotted line as an Evangelist at Tegile. Woot!  I always liked their fundamentals and I am now looking forward to engaging the Tegile and storage communities as a Tegilean,  calling out Tegile’s numerous competitive wins against our (ahem) worthy competitors.

NBA: Golden State Warriors-Championship Celebration

While I was a free man, unencumered by work, I enthusiatically watched the Golden State Warriors win their first NBA title in 40 years. The Dubs are a supremely talented team that is fun to watch – and the way they did it became the model for the sort of company I was looking to join.

The Dubs won this year because they could put the right combination of players on the floor to give them matchup advantages. steph curry crossover on chris paulWhen they needed points they could put the best shooters on the floor; when they needed defensive stops they had tough, quick players who could steal the ball, force bad shots and Draymond-Green-block-300x272get rebounds.
When they needed size they had the big men and others who could play “large ball”; when they needed speed they could outrun-and-gun any other team.  They had players that played multiple positions well. The Dubs won it all because they had all the pieces and could use them interchangeably and intelligently. That’s Dub basketball – efficient, smart and ready to step up to any challenge.

Of course, the storage industry is not the NBA and storage arrays are Dub Storage Logo not super-humans. Nonetheless, like the Dubs, Tegile’s products are incredibly versatile and have a superior combination of features – which is why I think of them as Dub Storage.

Customers use Tegile all-flash arrays (AFAs) to pump out IOs for low-latency apps and Tegile hybrid arrays for mixing high-performing flash with capacity-oriented disk. As their requirements evolve, their Tegile AFAs can be upgraded for more speed or more size by adding either all-flash or hybrid shelves. This architectural flexibility also applies to data protection with the ability to mix and match high-performance AFAs with low-cost hybrid arrays for super-efficient data replication.

Tegile’s versatility also covers all the major storage methods (aka protocols) and virtual systems. Customers that need a mix of block, 3in1file and VM-aware storage can use Tegile arrays for all three.  Like all NBA stars, Tegile arrays have special skills – inline dedupe and compression –  that gives our arrays the ability to “play large” and increase their effective capacity to many times the amount of raw capacity.

FWIW, social media played a big role in my coming to Tegile when my 3PAR crony Rob Commins caught a tweet I posted late on a Friday afternoon. There is something to be said for making some of your own luck, but when it happens in a teamwork context it takes a whole new level. It feels very good indeed to be back in the array business working with old friends from former stops.marc-farley-rob-commins-stephen-curry


HP goes to the cloud casino and plays green



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