Leadership can be a tough gig. During my twenty years in IT, I’ve seen many, many examples of really good leadership and a few examples of poor. In this article, I will share with you three leadership lessons that I’ve learned from various people over the years.
Our friends at Forbes.com have put together a fantastic new infographic leveraging data from Wikibon’s Big Data Vendor Revenue and Market Forecast, 2012 – 2017 report. It provides a compelling view of the Big Data universe and illustrates the real revenue vendors are deriving from Big Data. They range from the mega-planets (if you’ll go with me on this analogy) IBM, HP and EMC to the smaller but powerful emerging planets like Hortonworks, 10gen and DataStax.
Ok, not the greatest analogy but still a great infographic:
EMC World 2010 was the first enterprise show of SiliconANGLE’s theCUBE. Over the last 3 years, theCUBE has interviewed more than 1,000 guests at dozens of shows; EMC World is one of the most popular programs every year. EMC has expanded far beyond storage to become a “federation” of companies in the EMC family: EMC, VMware and the newly launched Pivotal. The live broadcast schedule for theCUBE at EMC World will be a full 3 days, Monday May 6 – Wednesday May 8, 10am – 5pm Pacific. Guests include many CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, thought leaders and end-users from a broad spectrum of topics. Coverage this year will include spotlights focusing on the disruptive and growth opportunities for EMC and its ecosystem. For those attending EMC World in person – our broadcast location is part of EMC SQUARE, conveniently located outside of the solutions pavilion.
Then-CEO Sam Palmisano launched IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative five years ago during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. IBM would focus its energies, Palmisano said, on helping governments and companies understand and analyze the voluminous data streaming off connected devices and industrial equipment to improve operational efficiencies and deliver better services to citizens and customers.
Since then, IBM has largely had the Industrial Internet, as the concept of has come to be called, to itself. The company’s Smarter Planet division has played a key role in making IBM the biggest Big Data company on the planet and was a lone bright spot in IBM’s otherwise disappointing Q1 2013 results.
Recently, IBM announced a $1 billion initiative intended to improve the overall flash storage market and integrate flash storage in the company’s line of enterprise technology equipment, including servers, storage, and other products. The company feels that flash-based storage is an a tipping point in the marketplace and is poised to become much more widely used, thanks to the incredible performance gains offered by the technology. Further, as is the case with any technology, as it approaches a critical mass point, the overall costs of the technology begin to drop and this is certainly happening with flash storage. There are also other significant cost benefits to flash-based storage, such as reduced power consumption. At scale, such power savings can be real and significant.
I’d like to explore the topic of how system and storage architectures are changing and the impact this will have on application delivery and organizational productivity.
Allow me to put forth the following premise:
Today’s enterprise IT infrastructure limits application value.
What does that mean? To answer this, let’s first explore the notion of value. The value IT brings to an organization flows directly from the application to the business and is measured in terms of the productivity of the organization. Infrastructure in-and-of itself delivers no direct value; however the applications, which run on infrastructure directly affect business value. Value comes in many forms but at the highest level it’s about increasing revenue and/or cutting costs; and ultimately delivering bottom line profits.
The first iteration of HP’s new line of low-power servers, known as Moonshot, begins shipping this week. HP plans to release numerous cartridges for the chassis over the next several quarters, each optimized for specific workloads. The first cartridge for the HP Moonshot 1500 chassis utilizes Intel’s Atom chip and is aimed at web hosting; HP promises future versions of the server optimized for Big Data.
Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s new way to bring Facebook to mobile. Entitled Facebook Home, this project involves bringing to the Android operating system a user-centric experience as opposed to the current app-based experience. Facebook chose Android for this project due to the platform’s openness. I will admit that it’s a bit ironic that the three companies actually either making money from or poised to make money from Android are Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook.
Whether it’s considered a blessing or a curse, CIOs today have a multitude of options at their disposal when it comes to running workloads. In general, there are four options:
- On-premises – physical server.
- On-premises – virtual machine.
- Off-premises – hosted.
- Off-premises – cloud.
Over the past decade, the issue of whether to run on-premises workloads on physical hardware vs. virtual infrastructure has become pretty easy for organizations to assess, with the majority of new workloads being run inside virtual machines. That said, there are still a good number of applications deployed on physical hardware.
Enterprise IT departments are faced with the burden of keeping costs down while meeting the increasing requirements of the business. Administrators become experts on coping with the complexities of configurations rather than supporting new initiatives. Hyperscale data centers can manage many orders of magnitude more infrastructure with the same staff; Facebook manages 20,000 servers per technician. One path towards simplifying operations by moving to an IT as a Service model is to use converged infrastructure. Wikibon has predicted a steep growth in the adoption of converged infrastructure (see the market forecast); recent data shows that the spectrum of solutions is already selling over $1B in 2Q12. The move from deploying IT silos to convergence requires adjustments in staffing, tools and business processes and often must fight against organizational inertia.