The Old Axiom "No One Gets Fired For Buying [X]" Should Be Laid To Rest

Andre Kindness

I just hung up the phone and can’t stop shaking my head. This was the second call this week from an organization looking for a workaround to deal with the shortcomings of a networking component. Taking inquiries and trying to help clients solve challenges is a common element of my job. This can be tough when it isn’t an engineering issue but a religious one — like this one. In particular, this organization’s relationship with its vendor has become toxic to the business.

The company is trying to digitalize the edge so it can respond to a mobile mindset. These I&O professionals need to deploy a ruggedized networking device that can be set up, tested, and replaced without a networking professional. Why? The company can’t afford to have someone on staff dispersed throughout all locations, at night, to check the networking equipment, a function that’s less than 1% of the service that the company needs to accomplish daily. That would be like a manufacturer having a person to test pumps, another to check compressors, and another to pressurize hydraulic lines.

Read more

Tech Vendors Must Evolve Or Crumble: The Report You Must Read

Glenn O'Donnell

Which companies do you feel are the dominant players in the technology industry? Are they the names that have dominated for years, like Cisco, the newly merged Dell (plus EMC), the recently split HP, Inc. and HPE, IBM, Microsoft, or Oracle? Is it one of the newer cloud titans like AWS, Google, IBM, or Microsoft? Will cloud demolish the tech industry as we know it? Don't get lured into the hyperbole in the market, but do inform yourself about the realities. As with all things in business, follow the money to find the truth. That's what we do every day to seek answers to the big questions in Business Technology.

"Evolve or Crumble" is one of the most important things you will read this year!

The technology vendor landscape is in the midst of great change ... again! The powerhouses of technology are under assault by new and transforming players. My colleagues Sophia Vargas and Richard Fichera recently published a report that should be mandatory reading by everyone in the technology world! You may not agree with their points, but they painstakingly vetted the data and premise with fellow thought leaders within and outside of Forrester. The evidence is compelling. The Evolve Or Crumble: Prepare For The Fate Of The Hardware Incumbents report will make you think and prepare you to make what may be difficult, but necessary decisions about your own future!

Read more

Customer-Obsessed Businesses Driving Infrastructure Transformation

Robert Stroud

Customers today are hyper-connected and their connectivity is rewriting the rules of business. Access to mobility, social networks, wearable devices, connected cars and hotels managed by robots are rapidly changing the behaviors of how customers engage and purchase. Think how you watch a film, shop or order a taxi.

The disruptive power in the hands of newly tech-savvy customers is forcing every business to evolve into a digital business or perish.

Infrastructure is at the center of the Digital Transformation

The digital transformation requires that organizations evolve their underlying technology infrastructure investments to fuel a business technology (BT) agenda, with technology designed to win, serve, and retain customers. Infrastructure – whether it is managed internally or hidden behind some cloud service – is a big part of the digital in digital business. I&O leaders can no longer simply focus on the same old approach to infrastructure. Internal business operations, or systems of record will remain important, but the emphasis must shift more to systems powering the newer digital customer experience

We are all aware that software is at the center of transitioning every successful business today. This software focus fueled a rapid expansion of cloud services and many argue that there is no longer a necessity to own hardware. This has turned the infrastructure world upside down. Hardware speeds and feeds no longer dominate infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals' criteria. In some use cases, qualities like the fastest packet-processing chip or largest disk capacity are critical, but they matter less to many of the systems of engagement in the BT agenda. As you design your BT services, be aware of which solution is right for optimizing the customer experience.

Read more

Linux vs Unix Hot Patching – Have We Reached The Tipping Point?

Richard Fichera

The Background – Linux as a Fast Follower and the Need for Hot Patching

No doubt about it, Linux has made impressive strides in the last 15 years, gaining many features previously associated with high-end proprietary Unix as it made the transition from small system plaything to core enterprise processing resource and the engine of the extended web as we know it. Along the way it gained reliable and highly scalable schedulers, a multiplicity of efficient and scalable file systems, advanced RAS features, its own embedded virtualization and efficient thread support.

As Linux grew, so did supporting hardware, particularly the capabilities of the ubiquitous x86 CPU upon which the vast majority of Linux runs today. But the debate has always been about how close Linux could get to "the real OS", the core proprietary Unix variants that for two decades defined the limits of non-mainframe scalability and reliability. But "the times they are a changing", and the new narrative may be "when will Unix catch up to Linux on critical RAS features like hot patching".

Hot patching, the ability to apply updates to the OS kernel while it is running, is a long sought-after but elusive feature of a production OS. Long sought after because both developers and operations teams recognize that bringing down an OS instance that is doing critical high-volume work is at best disruptive and worst a logistical nightmare, and elusive because it is incredibly difficult. There have been several failed attempts, and several implementations that "almost worked" but were so fraught with exceptions that they were not really useful in production.[i]

Read more

Google Invites Us To "Daydream" In Virtual Reality

JP Gownder

At Google I/O today, the company announced a new mobile-centric VR offering called Daydream. The nicely-named Daydream VR builds off of a mobile device platform, much as the Samsung Gear VR add-on device does for Samsung S7 smartphones. Daydream combines three elements:

  • Android N smartphones optimized for VR. As Samsung has shown with its successful Gear VR efforts, it takes a high-end smartphone with deep pixel density and great graphics performance to effectively drive VR experiences. Google announced that a variety of handset vendors -- including Samsung, LG, HTC, Huawei, and others -- will release smartphones that meet the new Daydream standard. Additionally, Android N will include a number of VR-specific performance optimization features.
  • Reference design for headset and controller. Google also announced a reference design for both a headset and a controller (see photo). Importantly, the controller is aware of where it is in 3D space, allowing users to interact more richly with their controller than, say, an unseen controller.
  • Applications and Google Play distribution. Google will move some of its own offerings to Daydream. They've rebuilt Youtube to be more VR-aware, allowing a variety of new video content to be streamed throught Daydream. Google StreetView will come to VR, offering people a more powerful way to explore real-world environments. 
     
Read more

Velocity Mandates DevOps And Continuous Deployment

Robert Stroud

Today’s customers, products, business operations, and competitors are fundamentally digital. Succeeding in this new era mandates everyone constantly reinvent their businesses as fundamentally digital. You have two choices,

·      become a digital predator; or

·      become digital prey.

To compete in this new digital market norm, software applications and products must contain new sources of customer value while at the same time adopting new operational agility. I&O pros need to change from the previous methods of releasing large software products and services at sporadic intervals to continuous deployment. All must adopt key automation technologies to make continuous deployment a reality.

At Forrester, my colleagues and I (including the great Amy DeMartine) developed our recent TechRadar™: Continuous Deployment, Q2 2016 which look at the the top use cases, business value, and outlook of the 12 top technologies engaged in in continuous deployment.

Our key findings include:

Continuous deployment is critical to unlock velocity

In this new era of digital business, I&O pros must automate across the entire software delivery life cycle, creating the ability to continuously deploy while assuring service quality.

No Silver Bullet

Read more

Don't Wait; Rethink Your ITIL Journey Now!

Robert Stroud

Over the past 25 years, many organizations have modelled their support – and in some cases their delivery organization – after the ITIL frameworks and processes. For many, ITIL has been helpful in establishing the rigor and governance that they needed to bring their infrastructure under control in an era where quality and consistency of service was critical and technology was sometimes fragile.

Today, we are 5 years into “The age of the customer” – an era where customer obsession is driving technology and which demands a culture of speed and collaboration to differentiate and deliver extraordinary customer experience to drive business growth. In this era, the rise of mobility and the race to deliver differentiated business processes is critical to success. Your development teams are driving velocity and elasticity with increased quality and availability, leveraging DevOps practices and often driving change directly to production.

This transition has led some organizations to experience friction between the competing priorities, velocity and control, especially for those who continue to execute on the traditional model of ITIL.

ITIL is starting to show signs of age. That does not mean it is on the verge of demise. ITIL must adapt. To understand the relevance of ITIL and IT Service Management practices in this era of Modern Service Delivery, Eveline Oehrlich and Elinor Klavens and I have embarked on a review of ITIL and the use of IT Service Management practices supporting todays BT agenda.

Our key findings include:

ITIL must pivot to support digital transformation

Read more

Big Iron Lives — Huawei Shows Off KunLun 32S x86 Server

Richard Fichera

I was recently at an event that Huawei hosted in Latin America for its telecom carrier community, in which Huawei was showing off an impressive range of carrier-related technology, including distributed data center management, advanced analytics and a heavy emphasis on compute and storage in addition to their traditionally strong core carrier technology. Interestingly they chose this venue for the Latin America unveling of the KunLun server, an impressive bit of engineering which clearly shows that innovation in big-iron x86 servers is not dead. There is some confusion about whether the March announcement at CeBIT constituted the official unveiling of the actual machine, but they had a real system on the floor at this event and claimed it was the first public showing of the actual system.

The Kunlun server, named after a mountian range in Quinghai Province, places Huawei squarely up against the highest end servers from HPE, IBM, Oracle, NEC and Fujitsu, with a list of very advanced RAS features, including memory migration, hot memory and CPU swap, predictive failure diagnostics and a host of others, some enabled by the underlying Xeon E7 technology and others added by Huawei through their custom node controller architecture ( essentially a standard feature of all large x86 servers). Partitionable into smaller logical servers, the Kunlun can serve as a core transaction processor for extreme workloads or as a collection of tightly coupled electrically and logically isolated servers.

So why unveil this high-end engine at a telecom carrier show? My read is that since the carriers will be at the center of much of the IoT action, and that the data streams they process will need an ever expanding inventory of processing capacity, so this is a pretty good venue, Plus it reinforces the emerging primacy of analytics, especially in-memory analytics, which it can address extremely well with its current 24TB (32G DIMMs) of DRAM.

Read more

Microsoft Fights Back In Education

JP Gownder

Today, Microsoft's Terry Myerson announced the new strategy for Windows in the classroom. Windows 10 -- which is now Windows-as-a-service, with periodic updates delivered from the cloud -- will see a big feature update this summer with the Windows Anniversary Update, announced a few weeks ago at the BUILD developer conference. Now we're learning about the education-specific features that will take on Chromebooks.

It's no secret that Google's Chromebooks have taken the education market by storm; they now constitute more than half of shipments of new devices sold to U.S. schools. Some schools are even re-imaging old Windows PCs into Chromebooks. As a result, both Apple and Microsoft have seen their positions in the educational market slide south over the past four years.

Why does this matter? Well, for the obvious device sales implications, of course. But it's part of a longer-term customer relationship issue, too: If young people grow up not knowing Windows, will they ever care about the platform? Tomorrow's Windows customers could be shaped in today's classroom... or tomorrow's Chromebook customers could be.

For schools, Windows Anniversary Update will address key issues in education:

Read more

Oculus’ Botched Launch Harms The VR Ecosystem

JP Gownder

April 12, 2016: The day Oculus updated its Rift shipment timeframe for customers. As has been widely reported, Oculus customers face widespread months-long delays in the deliveries of their virtual reality headset purchases. To add a personal anecdote, I ordered within the first 5 minutes of the pre-launch window (once the web site started working, which it didn’t at first), and my Rift shipment has been delayed from March 30th to “between May 9 and 19th,” assuming Oculus actually succeeds in meeting its new dates.

While my personal Rift delay is merely an annoyance, the botched launch has real repercussions for the VR ecosystem. Oculus’ delay:

  • Hurts developers of games and apps. The diversity and depth of the VR developer ecosystem is impressive. While many developers focus on games – logically enough, since that’s a key early adopter demographic – others offer applications ranging from clinical treatments for PTSD to collaboration in virtual spaces. The common denominator? None of these developers are making money if there are no headsets available. And while many apps can be ported to other platforms, Oculus has been the centerpiece of many developers’ high-end VR efforts.
  • Hurts media startups and innovations. Media, too, sees a potential loss. While some media companies go the route of the New York Times and focus on Google Cardboard phone-based VR, others are counting on developing truly immersive experiences that simulate presence. Studio Jaunt VR has an Oculus app that, again, won’t be addressable until customers receive their Rifts.
Read more