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/.

 

Nutanix’s acquisition of Frame

Well, this news lit up my Twitter feed late last night/early this morning. From a technology perspective, I think this is a good move by Nutanix – it will, however, be interesting to see how the Street reacts when it wakes up in a few hours. While the news hit my attention, what grabbed it more was the commentary by a certain exec at VMware.

A few years, after an acquisition that VMware made, an individual that came over in that acquisition started to use Twitter as a platform to convey his rather inflammatory opinion about the competition. I was always surprised that VMware allowed this level of derogatory remarks to other industry players – and indeed people too – but he was just branded a bit of a renegade and maverick. He wasn’t super high up in the food chain and has, subsequently, left but I was always mystified as to how a publicly listed company allowed employees to express such venomous views. He is now a CEO of a small start up and he has certainly ‘toned down’ his tweets!

Certain employees of Nutanix are well known for being bolshy and posting controversial social media messages, but I’ve never witnessed its leader, Dheeraj Pandey being anything other than business like and to the point. Therefore, I was impressed by his composure on Twitter earlier in response to Sanjay Poonen’s tweets…… Why do executives of publicly listed companies lower themselves to ‘tit for tatting’ spat tweets? Why? It’s just not necessary, it’s not professional and it’s not acceptable in my view.

I always advise to take the high ground, don’t stoop to others’ levels of unprofessionalism – don’t be a keyboard warrior, if you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t put it out on social media. This really is social media 101 and to those that infringe it, you make me cringe every time I read your tweets, so please, please grow up and stop throwing stones in the playground!

 

 

Tech volunteering – why do it?

I was at a horse show this weekend where they had this sign up on the wall of the secretary’s office:

“Volunteers are not paid. Not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.”

 This got me thinking about the aspects of volunteering I’m involved in our industry and the reasons behind why any of us volunteer.

Personally, I am involved in VMUG and WhatMatrix. As a VMUG member I am no longer a leader, but still volunteer my time in some ‘behind the scenes’ aspects, such as speaking, helping local groups secure sponsors and being on the committee for the new board selection process.

I’m also a community board member of WhatMatrix. If you’ve not heard of – or used – WhatMatrix, you don’t know what you’re missing! WhatMatrix is the independent technology comparison and analysis site. The site is the first crowdsourced-powered IT comparison community and all involved are volunteers, from the board to the category owners and contributors.

There are other communities, such as Spiceworks, “a professional network for the Information Technology industry”. Many people contribute to the Spiceworks community, while as an organization Spiceworks’ revenues are in excess of $91M. So even when an organization is making money, volunteers are still willing to contribute – for nothing.

I remember at London VMUG the chair presenting a slide for VMUG Advantage and declaring he wasn’t a sales person for VMUG or VMware, but that the deal you get from VMUG Advantage is well worth the investment. Sometimes there is a fine line between being a volunteer versus being seen as a mouthpiece for the technology you’re involved with. As long as your involvement is for the benefit of the community then you’re going to get a buzz from being involved. There is the aspect of ‘paying it forward’ by being involved and, of course, it raises one’s own visibility. I think we all want to be involved for the betterment of technology use versus being a particular vendor fanboi.

So, if you were considering being a volunteer in tech, I’d encourage it. The rewards are different for being a volunteer in a charity aspect, but the tech community is a great one and one that needs continued volunteers to – perhaps – keep the vendors honest too!

Being a community volunteer can yield a higher profile, but the biggest benefit for me has been observing my involvement being seen as a contributing factor to others’ career progression and success. Recently a tweet was posted about my VMUG involvement to encourage a VMUG member to apply for vExpert status:

For me, this epitomises the “priceless” part of the original quote in this post 🙂

 

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.