Yesterday a small group of Forrester analysts and research associates held a team meeting in Second Life to try to figure out whether meeting this way is a viable alternative to the usual teleconference. Teleconferences are terrible. While we're talking and listening, there's not much to look at but our computer screens (which are constantly blinking at us with new emails and IMs and reminders of all the tasks we haven't completed yet) so inevitably we end up multi-tasking. And in teams that have been around for a while people know each others' voices but not so for new teams. So when people on the call forget to introduce themselves before they say something, the first few words are lost while listeners try to figure out who's talking, and then the next few words lost while you try to recreate the first few words.
While we had some fun yesterday trying on free T-shirts, teleporting to otherworldly locations, and taking some carnival rides, the sentiment of most of the participants was that Second Life isn't really ready for prime time team meetings. If it was tough for us it will be tough for other information workers. Here's why:
Today, it was announced Ed Zander, CEO of Motorola, is stepping down from the top job, giving way to new leadership from Gregory Brown. Brown, whose pedigree includes time at Micro Muse, now part of IBM's Tivoli family of network management tools, brings enterprise networking background to the top spot at Moto. Why is this important? As the Enterprise Mobility is one of the areas in Moto showing the strongest growth (as evidenced by last quarter's $600M jump in an $8B/year business) among divisions at Moto, it will be imperative to have at the helm someone that understands the nature and fundamental importance of an enterprise networking business to a large network equipment player; Moto may find this in Brown.
What does it mean for customers? Expect to see tighter integration across multiple network infrastructure platforms from Moto. That Symbol 802.11 gear you own? Expect to see the new leadership at Motorola lead the charge toward a cohesive approach to make it play nice with Wi4 gear. This leadership change may point Motorola in the right direction to take on Ubiquitous Mobility.
My recent research has focused on the impact of server, storage, and desktop virtualization on your networking infrastructure – and I’ll write more about that in a future post. In short, it’s a boatload of unintended consequences.
In a recent conversation with Vyatta, I got thinking: what’s virtualization’s impact on the networking industry? We already see a handful of networking companies investigating the option of selling “VM” SKUs for their network appliances. These virtual appliances completely change the economics of consuming network infrastructure, although there are server performance specifications that must be considered. But imagine if the premium you pay today for all of your networking intelligence is suddenly free. That’s right… free! Think about it.
Your network is commoditizing rapidly. Routing, switching, VPN, and even firewalls are not the top criteria that determine tier one networking vendors. Manageability, supportability, reliability, and price are the factors which thin the field. As these functions mature – as do the communities that support them – we see viable open source alternatives. The interesting part comes when you can deploy open source appliances as a workload on a virtual server – providing you with the manageability and reliability of a mature virtual infrastructure player like VMWare. Add a vendor like rPath to the mix and you can even ease updating and patching.
While market drivers like compliance, eDiscovery, and risk management get a lot of press (and point to great opportunity for records management), the fact is that many organizations are not ready for full-blown RM programs. Why? Mostly due to organizational immaturity — not correctly aligning roles, responsibilities, and budget ownership (for more on this, click here). But there is also the problem of mutliple repositories containing records; organizations struggle with the question of moving records to a central repository or investigating federated RM.
Alfresco recently announced integration with Facebook. The news works well for Alfresco, which continues to demonstrate a bit more edge thinking in the world of ECM than their commercial counterparts IBM, EMC, Oracle, and Open Text. Facebook's not making a big deal out of it, which should be expected considering their exploring what it means to deliver applications to businesses at this point.
PTC recently announced its intent to acquire CoCreate Software — a $80M provider of explicit 3D modeling tools — for $250 million. CoCreate was started in HP to address 3D design requirements for high-tech electronic machinery — a legacy which endures with 83% of the company’s revenues coming from this same industry segment. PTC sees the buy as broadening its current portfolio of CAD modeling tools (e.g. Mathcad, ProEngineer, and Arbortext) and bolstering its position in the high-tech market, but is CoCreate really a complement to PTC’s products in a way that adds value to customers?
HP and IBM are tossing barbs at each other in the blade server space this week with dueling management tools that greatly simplify administration, whichever platform you choose. On Monday, HP announced the latest iteration of its Virtual Connect technology and today, IBM finally unveiled its competitive offering, Open Fabric Manager (although IBM’s won’t start shipping until Dec. 21). Both tools let administrators pre-assign network and storage configuration settings that fail-over and migrate with the server and virtual server images running on those blades. They both also, in these latest iterations, let you manage these profiles across multiple blade chassis (up to 100 chassis).
Compliance requirements of large enterprise customers are too complex to satisfy with organically grown role management software. As a result, it appears that the role management acquisition storm is starting. With BridgeStream acquired by Oracle and now Vaau by Sun, enterprise role maintenance is finally coming of age and will be part of Sun's Identity Management portfolio. Vauu's large number clients will continue to demand vendor agnostic solutions from RBACx, and although Sun has traditionally been one of the strongest players in the market of multi-OS vendors, it remains to be seen how Sun will handle the multiplatform challenge and keeping RBACx alive non-Sun operating systems. System integrators now have one less choice for picking an independent role magagement vendor. Eurekify, BHOLD, and Omada will likely now to receive acquisition offers from other large IAM suite vendors trying to complete their provisioning role management portfolio.
been some interesting news from Oracle today — they have announced that they
will support virtualization of a long list of ten or so Oracle applications on
their own flavor of the Xen hypervisor, which they dubbed Oracle VM. In
addition to applications like Oracle Database, Application Server, PeopleSoft
Enterprise, and Siebel CRM, customers can run other non-Oracle apps on Oracle
VM as well. You’ll be able to download it for free on the 14th,
though you must pay for support ($499 per year per 2-CPU system, or $999 per
year for a system with unlimited CPUs). The details of the announcement can be
had on Oracle’s web site.