WhatMatrix publishes new SDS/HCI Landscape Report

Am super impressed by the new report that the team at WhatMatrix has produced. Most other analyst houses include a number of different factors when creating their reports over and above just pure technology. They take into account revenue, futures and, usually, create their reports with input from vendors. WhatMatrix approach their analysis with the focus on pure technology that is current.

The new SDS/HCI report, authored by category consultant Herman Rutten, now provides a number of use case scenarios that analyzes vendors’ solutions for overall suitability. This approach enables consumers of the report and comparison matrix to select what elements best fit their business and IT needs. While there are overall leaders, in many cases they are not number one in a particular, or multiple, specific use cases.

As a community board member I’ve been involved in launching this new report. As we are all volunteers at WhatMatrix, it is hugely rewarding to see the final report published. Herman Rutten has spent unimaginable time and effort in researching and creating this report and I know many organizations will reap the reward of his efforts. All you have to do to download the report, free of charge, is to go to https://www.whatmatrix.com/portal/download-landscape-reports/

The summary of this 42-page report, for me, is this Landscape Matrix:

You can read the press release here where we summarize that new entrants to the matrix, Datrium and Pivot3 are challenging the leaders!

Interestingly, we’ve already been asked why a couple of vendors are not included in the report. As mentioned previously, we’re all volunteers and the category consultants have full-time jobs and create these comparisons and reports in their spare time. This is a community-curated initiative and gives back to the wider community. As such, all the vendors mentioned in the report have engaged with Herman to onboard their solutions into the comparison matrix in some shape or form. Some vendors haven’t yet understood the value and benefit to their business of engaging with WhatMatrix, when they do the category consultants will endeavor to include them at the appropriate juncture.

Would be great to hear your feedback on the report as to how you think it will (or can) benefit your company.

SDS/HCI Terminology/Definition Debate

Yesterday was an interesting learning day for me due to a tweet I responded to from one of the WhatMatrix category consultants that sparked a Twitter debate about what really constitutes hyper converged infrastructure (HCI).

Herman Rutten, category consultant for SDS/HCI at WhatMatrix tweeted that he is working on a new Landscape Report on this sector, 18 months after the release of the first one. One of the latest vendors to be included in the comparison on WhatMatrix is Datrium. This inclusion invoked reaction from some vendor representatives that they are not HCI.

This blog is not going to deny or confirm if they are – there are better-informed people than I to have that debate with. But what I do want to state is that WhatMatrix’s comparison is entitled SDS/HCI – thus encompassing all aspects in my opinion.

WhatMatrix has been comparing the HCI vendors since October 2015 and has consistently included solutions that adhere to the following three criteria:

Rule #1: The software is designed to run on commodity server hardware and makes use of the available resources therein.

Rule #2: The solution aggregates physical storage capacity from separate systems into a single shared storage pool.

Rule #3: The solution offers a broad set of storage functionality (services) comparable to traditional hardware defined shared storage systems.

Now, whether you agree with that definition or not is the basis of the Twitter debate but ultimately all solutions are reviewed with this in mind, so at least providing a consistent approach.

I do think marketing (e.g. messaging) has confused and blurred the definition for sure, but as a summary to the whole discussion Herman tweeted the following and, yes, that is what it’s all about – choice for the customer!

The new report is scheduled for publication end of September, keep an eye out for it if you want an independent, vendor agnostic viewpoint of this burgeoning market https://www.whatmatrix.com/portal/announcing-upcoming-sds-hci-landscape-report-sep-2018/.

 

Cloud Field Day 3

So, I mentioned in a previous post that I have been working with a new client preparing to come out of stealth. Well, today at 4pm BST/8am PDT they officially unveiled at Stephen Foskett’s Cloud Field Day, welcome to Droplet Computing.

Droplet Computing was co-founded by two EUC pros, Stephen Horne and Peter von Oven, and their raison d’etre is to redefine application delivery by removing the barriers to an extraordinary user experience, no matter what their applications or preferred choice of device. Their patent-pending application container solution – Droplet Computing Universal – decouples applications from the operating system and enables applications to run on any device, on- or offline.

Until you’ve listened to, and totally understood, what Droplet Computing does, you’ll probably think it’s just another virtualization or app packaging solution. To be clear, it is not application virtualization, it is not application layering, it is not VDI or app publishing, nor is it a type 2 client hypervisor. It is a container that runs in the browser, simple yet awesomely powerful!

When they first engaged me, a big part of the plan was around launching the company. Seed funding had been secured, customer, partner and channel engagements were all under way, but how to best ‘unveil’ the company? As a UK company, with UK seed funding, we could have held a little “soiree” in London but having witnessed a few successful companies come out of stealth at Tech Field Days, I felt we’d be in very good company by announcing at the impending Cloud Field Day. Although Droplet Computing isn’t a ‘pure’ cloud solution, cloud certainly plays a part in their strategy, as such the TFD team was happy to have Droplet Computing participate.

While I know the Tech Field Day team quite well, I’d never actually signed up with them to participate. I can only say that anyone wanting to work with a highly professional team, with a unique event concept, you MUST consider participating in a Tech Field Day to raise awareness for your company! Plus, it’s really not that expensive.

When I signed Droplet Computing up to be a ‘secret company’, the delegate list had not been finalized, but as it started to build, I was very excited to see some excellent names had been signed up, including some esteemed London VMUG colleagues; namely Michelle Laverick, Chris Porter and Chris Evans.

During the past couple of months I’ve been working behind the scenes with the team to get everything prepared for 8am PST today, 5th April. To be part of launching a brand new company that already has a customer case study from the YMCA and an Ovum “On the Radar”, report is just testament to the validity of Droplet Computing’s impending market success. The opportunity is immense for this company. One partner I spoke with who, was involved in bringing Citrix to the UK market, said he’s not been this excited about a new technology since he first saw Citrix at Comdex!

In one beautifully simple graphic, this sums up what Droplet Computing does:

If you want to know more, take a look at their redesigned website www.dropletcomputing.com. For the first two hours after launch, the home page will be the CFD Live Stream. The videos from Cloud Field Day 3 will be posted soon and will also be available on the Droplet Computing website. Also, please follow them on Twitter @dropletcom.

Acquiring Technology vs Squandering Dollars

 

It continues to amaze me how companies acquire technology and then either do not a lot with it or, in many cases, just kill it. This blog from 31st Oct by Citrix caught my eye https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2017/10/31/the-future-of-octoblu-and-citrix-workspace-iot/ and I started to think about the multitude of tech that has been acquired during my tenure in this industry, the list is truly endless. For this post, I thought I would focus on some of the acquisitions that have occurred on my “watch”.

  1. The one that makes me most sad is Vizioncore vRanger. In its heyday, it was the leading 3rd party VMware back up solution – it was the dominant player in the mid 2000’s prior to Veeam’s dominance. I was proud to be a consultant to Vizioncore and the team from early 2006 to mid 2009. Quest acquired it (and the company) in 2008 and that was the start of a its downward path. New versions that were developed had significant issues and there was much market trashing going on in 2010 IIRC. Quest still sells vRanger, and has ported it to HyperV, but its decline is vSad to me and I don’t hear of it being used by customers or being mentioned anymore in the circles that I move in.
  2. During my tenure at Citrix, many companies and technology were acquired. The acquisition of Insignia took place in early 1998. Some of the tech was integrated into WinFrame, but the key assets were the developers in my opinion, plus the opportunity to rapidly build out our UK presence. We went from a serviced office in Bracknell to Insignia’s offices just outside High Wycombe. So that acquisition was actually fruitful! Others were not so successful! There was video technology from an Israeli company, there was the Sequoia acquisition that was going to make us a leader in portal technology – NFuse was the product outcome and I attended a launch of it at the Nasdaq in New York with a number of European journalists – and, of course, there was the eye-wateringly expensive XenSource acquisition (I’d left by then!) A list is available on Wikipedia of all 49 acquisitions/mergers – I’d wager that the majority of them have disappeared into oblivion!

  1. VMware too has made many acquisitions, some are now bearing fruit (NSX via Nicira) but some have either fallen by the wayside or have been sold back out – Shavlik and Zimbra to name but two. I’m a bit perplexed as to why the CloudVolumes acquisition in August 2014 doesn’t appear on VMware’s own list – have I missed something?
  2. Whilst the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle in 2010 wasn’t on my “watch” having been a Sun employee back in the good ol’ days, it is one that matters to me. A good friend was pretty senior in Sun at the time of the acquisition and what followed was the epitome of how not to integrate people. I won’t disclose details but it was a nightmare for them and resulted in a nervous breakdown, it was that bad 🙁 But it would appear Oracle has now shutdown SPARC and Solaris according to this article by ZDNet in September. So, despite spending over $7bn, Oracle let the sun set on a great set of products in my humble opinion.

Of course, many mergers and acquisitions are successful but I still wonder about the many unsuccessful ones – how on earth do companies’ executives get away with spending so much money only to discard the technology in time? Answers on a postcard please!

 

Disclaimer: I’ve not personally used any of these products in production either now or in the past (apart from a SPARC workstation back in the day!), this post is just my view of the situation, so please feel free to correct any misconceptions I may have 🙂

 

Fragility of life

 

Wow, just realized I’ve not posted since August 🙁 Time certainly has flown by these past few months. The reason for my absence is not a good one; I’ve been helping a very close friend through grueling chemo treatment and very sadly she lost her valiant battle on September 21st.

I was given the honor to deliver the eulogy at her service on October 25th. It was the hardest speech I’ve ever had to give; yet it was the first and only time I’ve spoken in public and not felt a little trepidation beforehand – quite bizarrely. These moments in one’s life bring home the fragility of life itself and makes one grateful for every single second. Sometimes the daily grind of work makes you forget about the important things in life – health, happiness, family, friends, etc. – so we must all take time out once in a while. Take a deep breath and just relax, remembering all the good things that life can bring and try to forget the sadness and harsh reality of it at times………..

To say I’ve been a little down is quite an understatement, so to read this blog post last night from the “Snark as a Service” man himself, Mr Trevor Pott has buoyed me so much!

For him to have taken the time out of his busy day to write this post – despite it being filed under pointless posts and idle ponderings! – not only made me feel very chuffed but also underscores the necessity to say good things at times. I think we’re all too quick to be ‘keyboard warriors’ these days on social media and a little kindness can go a long, long way.

So, on the scariest day of the year, I wish you all good health and happiness – and may all your tricks be treats!!