How Amazon Ruined My Christmas: A Lesson In Downtime

Here's how Amazon ruined* my Christmas: after devouring a lovely rib roast with a porcini-spinach stuffing (recipe here in case your stomach is now growling), we all curled up on the couch with hot cocoa, turned on Netflix streaming to watch classic Christmas movies (and past Doctor Who Christmas Specials)... only to get an error message. That's right, in case you missed it, Netflix was down on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in North America for many users due to issues with Amazon's Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) service in the US East region. It's interesting to note, that this is at least the third time issues with the ELB service has caused problems for Netflix, with each time, the company making improvements to prevent this from happening again.

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The Top 10 IT Service Management Challenges For 2013 — But What Did You Achieve In 2012?

This time last year I wrote a blog entitled Top 10 IT Service Management Challenges For 2012: More Emphasis On The “Service” And The “Management,” which has racked up a healthy 10,000+ reads since. It spoke of three high-level challenges:

  1. Increased business scrutiny: the need for IT cost transparency and business-value demonstration.
  2. Increased business (and customer) expectations: around IT agility, availability, “personal hardware,” and support and customer service.
  3. Increased business and IT complexity: particularly cloud, mobility, and compliance.
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Glenn’s Analyst Relations Champ For 2012 Is …

 

I will postpone the name of my 2012 winner for a bit. I first want to thank the great AR professionals with whom I have the pleasure of working! For those outside the technology vendor world, analyst relations is a function vendors use as the liaison between their people and analysts like me. We influence the market and therefore they know they need us to understand their offerings so we can accurately advise our clients.

Not all AR people are good, so the great ones always stand out. Some view the analysts merely as extensions of their marketing initiatives and see their job revolving around trying to “brainwash” the analysts. This is a narrow-minded view of the relationship that never works with self-respecting, intelligent analysts. Take note, vendors: we analysts hate that approach!

Great AR professionals engage us in a more intimate two-way dialog. We need more than just the occasional briefing. We need access to executives and developers. We need to know the roadmap and where executives see the company going. My favorite part of the relationship is to be integral to strategic directions, participating in the development rather than just being informed after the fact. The great ones make this process seamless and enjoyable. We all like to pick on vendors, but we need to engage them as partners. The reason we like to pick on them is because poor AR and other stereotypical behaviors fuel distrust and sometimes downright hostility. Bad vendors give the good ones a bad rap.

I am fortunate to work with some fantastic AR professionals! They make my life easier and I appreciate that! They all share some important attributes:

  • They are genuinely warm people. They may be aggressive inside their organizations and possibly even disliked for their ambitious approach, but to us, they clearly want to help us. That benefits their employers more than most people know.
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If The End Of The World Is Coming, Are You Prepared?

The world may or may not be ending on December 21, 2012. I'm not an expert on the ancient Maya (although I've climbed many Mayan pyramids and have long been fascinated by their history, see proof below), but I've heard a rumor that this week marks the end of the Long Count calendar, meaning a new era begins on Friday, December 21, 2012, bringing a new civilization. Also, potentially a planet called Niburu might crash into the earth (although NASA has confirmed they have seen no evidence of this).

So, what's your plan? Will it be a space ark? A time machine (i.e., a TARDIS)? Wormhole (a la Fringe)? Should you consider sending your data to Mars? How do you even prepare for the unknown, the black swan events that are highly improbably, but highly disruptive?

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Microsoft Takes Bold New Steps To Go Big in China

China has always been a problem for Microsoft. With much higher software piracy rates and a less mature enterprise sector than other major international markets, Microsoft has had a hard time reaching its potential in China. However, Microsoft has made a series of announcements in the past three months that will finally give China a place among the company’s top international markets:

  • Making China one of the first countries where Windows 8 and the Surface tablet were commercially available (late October).
  • Officially launching Office 365 and Windows Azure cloud services in China through partnership with 21ViaNet, an Internet data center player in China.
  • Forming a partnership with HTC, Nokia, and all three Chinese mobile operators to make the Windows Phone 8 available (December).
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EMC And VMware Carve Out Pivotal: Good News For I&O Pros And The Virtualization Market

So what does VMware and EMC’s announcement of the new Pivotal Initiative mean for I&O leaders? Put simply, it means the leading virtualization vendor is staying focused on the data center — and that’s good news. As many wise men have said, the best strategy comes from knowing what NOT to do. In this case, that means NOT shifting focus too fast and too far afield to the cloud.

I think this is a great move, and makes all kinds of sense to protect VMware’s relationship with its core buyer, maintain focus on the datacenter, and lay the foundation for the vendor’s software-defined data center strategy. This move helps to end the cloud-washing that’s confused customers for years: There’s a lot of work left to do to virtualize the entire data center stack, from compute to storage and network and apps, and the easy apps, by now, have mostly been virtualized. The remaining workloads enterprises seek to virtualize are much harder: They don’t naturally benefit from consolidation savings, they are highly performance sensitive, and they are much more complex.

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How Gremlins And Vanilla Ice Can Help Us Deliver Better IT Services

After the success of his previous blogs (including The ABC Of ICT — The Top 10 People Issues), Paul Wilkinson of GamingWorks returns with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at IT, IT service management (ITSM), IT service delivery, and this “IT end user thing” some people call a “customer.”

I hope that it makes you smile but, more importantly, I hope that it makes you act. I’ll leave it to Paul . . .

“IT’s not about the IT?” Really?

I’m always surprised — no, amazed — in fact staggered. That’s it, literally staggered, at how poor “we in IT” are at being customer and service focused. Ever since I passed my ITIL v1 exam I have been aware that ITIL (the ITSM best practice framework) has always, always, been about customers and service. David Wheeldon taught me this when I was a “technogeek” who thought that end users were something dangerous and contagious.

I used to think that we should outsource the business, as they got in the way of IT and were simply annoying. David taught me that end users were human after all, just like us, and it was our job to provide services and value to them. I wasn’t convinced initially, but I was willing to be open to the idea.

That was more than 20 years ago, and while we have had ITIL in all its variants for more than 25 years, we still score badly on the customer-focused side of things.

Why does IT struggle with the concept of customers?

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