2017 Gartner IO & DC Wrap Up

Like other Gartner events, the Infrastructure and Operations (IO) show is all about enterprises maintaining systems.  There are plenty of hype chasing sessions, but the vibe is distinctly around working systems and practical implementations.  Think: sports coats not t-shirts.  In that way, it’s less breathless and wild-eyed than something like KubeCon (which is busy celebrating a bumper crop of 1.0 projects).  The very essence of this show is to project an aura of calm IT stewardship.

So what keeps these seasoned IT pros awake?  Lack of cross-vendor Integration.

Terry Cosgrove of Gartner said this very clearly, “most components were not designed to work together.” This was not just a comment about the industry, but within vendor suites.  In today’s acquisitive and agile market, there’s no expectation that even products from a single vendor will integrate smoothly.  Why is integration so hard?  We’re innovating so quickly that legacy APIs and new architectures don’t align well. For enterprises who cannot simply jump to the new-new thing, integrations drive considerable value.

Cosgrove went on to add that enterprises need to OWN the integrations – they can’t delegate that to vendors.

That advice resonated for me.  We’re clearly in a best-of-breed IT environment where hybrid and portability concerns dominate discussions.  This is not about vendor lock-in but innovation.  That leads us back to the need for better integrations between products, platforms and projects.  Customers need to start rejecting products without great, documented APIs; otherwise, there is no motivation for products to focus on integration over adding features.  

Sadly, it was left to the audience to infer the “use dollars to force vendors to integrate” message.

There were many other topics of interest at the show.  Here’s a very short synopsis of my favorites:

  • Edge is coming and will be a big deal.  We’re still having to explain what it is.  Check back next summit (or listen to our great podcasts to get ahead of the curve).
  • AI Ops is not really AI, it’s just smarter logging.  We’ll get there eventually, but it will take some time.
  • DevOps is still a thing and it’s still hard because of the culture change required.  We’re slowly getting to a point where “DevOps = Automated Processes” and that’s OK.  If you agree with that then you’ve missed the point of system thinking and lean.  We’re done trying to explain it to you for now.
  • No start-ups.  Sadly, disruptive innovation is antithetical to this show and that may be OK.  The audience counts on the analysts to filter this for them instead of getting raw.

In all these cases, it’s listener beware.  There’s more behind the curtain that you are allowed to see.

Deep Thinking & Tech + Great Guests – L8ist Sh9y Podcast

I love great conversations about technology – especially ones where the answer is not very neatly settled into winners and losers (which is ALL of them in IT).  I’m excited that RackN has (re)launched the L8ist Sh9y (aka Latest Shiny) podcast around this exact theme.

Please check out the deep and thoughtful discussion I just had with Mark Thiele (notes) of Apcera where we covered Mark’s thought on why public cloud will be under 20% of IT and culture issues head on.

Spoiler: we have David Linthicum coming next, SO SUBSCRIBE.

I’ve been a guest on some great podcasts (CloudcastgcOnDemandDatanautsIBM DojoHPEFoodfight) and have deep respect for critical work they do in industry.

We feel there’s still room for deep discussions specifically around automated IT Operations in cloud, data center and edge; consequently, we’re branching out to start including deep interviews in addition to our initial stable of IT Ops deep technical topics like TerraformEdge ComputingGartnerSYM review, Kubernetes and, of course, our own Digital Rebar.

Soundcloud Subscription Information

Podcast – Gartner Symposium Recap and Thoughts on IT Disruption

Rob Hirschfeld attended the Gartner Symposium last week in Orlando and provides his thoughts on the event, the attendees, and how larger company CIO’s plan for and choose technology. This is an excellent podcast for open source and leading edge technologists as it offers insight into how technology is chosen for large companies that always seem to be 5 to 7 years behind. Rob also has thoughts based on hearing from Clayton Christensen on disruption in the market and how large companies seem to always miss the real competition.

Additional L8ist Sh9y Podcasts at https://soundcloud.com/user-410091210.

Rethinking the “private cloud” as revealed by the Magic 8 Cube

The Magic 8 Cube

This is the first part of 3 posts that look into the real future for “private clouds.”

This concept is something that was initially developed with Greg Althaus, my colleague at Dell and then further refined in discussions with by our broader team.  It grew from my frustration with the widely referenced predictions by the Gartner Group of a private cloud explosion.  Their prognostication did not ring true to me because the economics of “public cloud” are so compelling that going private seems to be like fighting your way out of a black hole.

We’ll get to the gravity well (post 3 of 3) in due time.  For now, we need to look into the all knowing magic 8 cube.

Our breakthrough was seeing cloud hosting as a 3 dimensional problem.  We realized that we could cover all the practical cloud scenarios with these 8 cases.  Showing in the picture (right).

Here are the axis:

  1. X: Hosted vs. On-site – where are the servers running?  On-site means that they are running at your facility or in a co-lo cage that is basically an extended extraterritorial boundary of your company.
  2. Y: Shared vs. Dedicated – are other people mixing with your solution?  Shared means that your bytes are secretly nuzzling up to someone else’s bytes because you’re using a multi-tenant infrastructure.
  3. Z: Managed vs. Unmanaged – do you’re Ops people (if you have any) able to access the infrastructure that runs your applications?  Unmanaged means that you’re responsible for keeping the system operating.

With 3 axis, we have a 8 point cube.

  1. MSH – a PaaS offering in which every aspect of your application is managed and controlled.  GAE or Heroku.
  2. MSO – remember when people used to buy a mainframe and them lease off-hours extra cycles back to kids like Bill Gates?  That’s pretty much what this model means.
  3. MDH – a “mini-cloud” run by a cloud provider by dedicated to just one customer.  Dr. Evil thinks this costs one milllllllllion dollars.
  4. MDO – a cloud appliance.  You install the hardware but someone else does all the management for you.
  5. USH – IaaS.  I think that Amazon EC2 is providing USH.  It may be a service, but you’ve got to do a lot of Ops work to make your application successful.
  6. USO – OpenStack or other open source cloud DYI frameworks let a hosting provider create a shared, hosted model if they have the Ops chops to run it.
  7. UDH – Co Lo.
  8. UDO – The mythical “private cloud.”  Mine, mine, all mine.

In thinking this over, we realized that cloud customers were not likely to jump randomly around this cube.  If they were using MSH then they may want to consider MDH or MSO.  It seemed unlikely that they would go directly from MSH to UDO as Mr. Bittman suggests; however, the market is clearly willing to move directly from UDO to MSH.

We had a good old-fashioned mystery on our hands… the answer will have to wait until my next post.