Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gartner Data Center Conference

It's been a couple weeks since I last posted, but between the holidays and 2009 planning I haven't had time to do much else. 

But, I am back on the saddle again!  No, we haven't finished our 2009 plan yet, but I won't mention that again, for at least a while.  The new news is that I am headed out to Vegas again...ugh...  Its the Annual Gartner Data Center Conference at the MGM Grand.  I am looking forward to this conference a lot.  This is a great show to learn about the issues facing CIOs and IT executives RIGHT NOW.  Of course, there is a lot of forward looking stuff as well, Cloud and VDI, but with the economy in such a state of flux and 2008 budgets frozen, I am interested to see what the mood is and where the dollars will be flowing in 2009.

PERFMAN will be there, of course.  Come check us out in the exhibitor hall and keep a look out for Cameron Haight's sessions.  Word on the street is that we get a positive nod from Gartner!

I will be Twittering from the show so feel free to follow along.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Recession Alert: Survival and Innovation in IT

In 2000 the downturn in the economy was directly related to IT.  The internet bubble burst, the Y2K non-event was over and all of a sudden the well dried up.    Here we are, 8 years later and right back where we started.  But, this time it is the mortgage and credit crisis that is to blame and not IT.

But, we all feel the pain.  I have been doing a lot of planning for 2009 and watching the numbers.  (I have also been doing a lot of crying...LOL)  So far, Gartner and Forrester have both revised their IT spending forecast only once.  Both Gartner and Forrester predict a modest 2.9% growth in IT spending in 2009, down from 5.9% predicted earlier.

Essentially, that means IT spending will be flat (and I bet it drops a little.)  Of course, individual results may vary and I am sure that you have been told to clamp it down already, especially if you are in financial services or retail.  Retail is going to take this one hard.

But, what can an IT department do in times like this?  Is it merely protect and survive?  Try to save as many heads as possible and whether the storm?  I don't think so.  I think there is room to innovate and innovation leads to growth.

Here are a few things you can do to squeeze pennies out of IT and find ways to innovate:

  1. Better manage what you have.  How much free capacity do you currently have?  What servers can be pushed a little harder?  In a world where the norm is still one app, one server, there is a ton of wasted capacity in your data center.  Find that capacity and put it to good use.  You can save hundreds of thousands of dollars by just consolidating.  And, contrary to conventional wisdom, you can find apps that will play well together on a physical machine.
  2. Simplify--> Virtualize.  You knwo those servers that have to be replaced?  Well, instead of buying 10 new servers, buy 5 and create a VMware cluster.  Move all those apps into the virtualized environment.  You can do a lot with virtualization technology today and can save millions.  If you are not looking into virtualized across the organization, you are setting yourself up to fail.
  3. Measure what you have.  This ties nicely with all of the above.  Metrics are more important than ever.  What are the SLAs you need to maintain?  Are they reasonable?  Does the accounts payable group really need .25 second response time?  Sure, the website does, especially if it is core to your business, but some departments may be just as productive with a little less performance.  And, who is paying for what?  If you can accurately figure out what department is using what resources, then you can pass the costs back.  You can also identify areas where particular departments are way out of line and start to trim them back.
  4. Use Open Source Software.  Seriously, folks.  If you are not first evaluating an open source alternative then you are wasting company dollars.  Open Source software is robust and enterprise-class in just about every area.  Just look at the stack:  OS, DB, Middleware, and even apps.  Why pay $47,000 a CPU for Oracle, when you can do it for $5000 on EnterpriseDB.  Its time to throw the IT bigotry out the window.  I know your developer swears by Websphere and your DBA won't work with any other DB besides Oracle.  Tough shit.  Open source opens doors to allow you to build applications you can't afford to build with proprietary software.  Its the path to innovation.

Ok, that's enough for now.  What else am I missing?  I am sure there are a ton of things.  But, that's a good start.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Virtual Strategy Magazine Podcast

Virtual Strategy Magazine just published a podcast with Jerry Valentine from Grange Insurance and me.  Its worth a listen.

Jerry talks about what went into the decision to choose PERFMAN and what some of the challenges are in moving to a virtualized environment.

Grange Insurance Delpoys PERFMAN for Virtualization Lifecycle Management

The $1 billion insurance provider uses PERFMAN to monitor and manage both their physical and virtual environments.  You can read more here

So, what is important about this release and why should you care?  Well, a number of things.

  1. It demonstrates that PERFMAN is used in very large data centers.
  2. It shows the usage of PERFMAN to manage both the physical and virtual infrastructure, as well as the transition from physical to virtual.
  3. It reiterates the PERFMAN claim of ease-of-use and deployment. 

The second bullet brings up an interesting topic.  Who can do this well?  Well, the answer is not necessarily easy, but in a future blog post, I will attempt to define the different players and their strengths in this lifecycle.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gartner is paying attention to social media. Are you?

I just realized how much of my time is spent on Twitter, blogs, YouTube, etc.  It is amazing to see how the marketing of technology is maturing and adapting to the new media.

And, now is a perfect time for you to get involved.  More on that later. 

One could argue, and I have, that Gartner is nowhere near the bleeding edge of technology.  In fact, a common, albeit misinformed perception of Gartner, is that they can predict the past with 80% accuracy.  But, the reality is that most of their clients are very large multi-national organizations that fall into the late majority category, to steal a page from Geoffrey Moore's "Crossing the Chasm".

So, to see Gartner with a very active Twitter account and to see an entire channel from Gartner on YouTube can only mean one thing.  Social media is crossing the chasm and its not just for consumer products.

Ignore this trend at your own risk.  In fact, I heard through the grapevine that one open source company was having a hard time getting activity in their "community" and their forums were dead.  But, their software is used by thousands of companies.  How is that possible?  Well, it turns out that the dialogue was all on Twitter. 

And, with the lovely state of the economy, budgets are being slashed all over the place.  Many companies are cutting back on their marketing spend.  (Many are moving money into digital advertising like Google Adwords because the results are measurable).  Social media is FREE.  It only costs time and energy.  But, being a regular contributor to the world of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc can pay huge dividends.

However, it must be a full-time job to be done correctly.  You need to have a strategic plan on how to attack the social media space.  Without, you are just noise.

Here are some links to my pages:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Michael Cote from RedMonk debriefs on PERFMAN

We recently briefed Michael Cote (Ko-Tay) from RedMonk on the PERFMAN product suite and his latest podcast talks favorably about our solution, especially as it relates to virtualization lifecycle management and managing capacity in a virtualized environment.

The podcast is a weekly de-brief and PERFMAN is discussed starting at 8:05 in the mp3.  Take a listen. (Link to MP3)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A short update

I have not blogged a lot lately, my apologies.  I have been wrapped up in a number of work and personal things that have taken my attention away from this.  Not to fear, the personal things are all good things.  Lots of little family trips enjoying the wram October weather and my nights are filled with the Fightin' Phils ! ! !   Go Phillies!  Off to the World Series for the first time since my senior year in college.

In addition, I am working on a new personal site that will consolidate this blog and my reef blog, along with important news and personal photos related to this blog and my personal life.  One of the challenges is moving ALL of these posts over.  Its a manual process, but well worth it.

The new site will be ready in a couple of weeks, I hope.  It is based on the open source CMS, Joomla.  I am a big fan of Joomla and will be moving PERFMAN's corporate site to Joomla as well.  The personal site is really just a test for the corporate site.

Well, I am down in Baltimore for PERFMAN's quarterly Sales Operations Review. 

Of course, you can always follow me on Twitter. (look at the top right of the page to see the feed).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Google's share price still not right...


I twittered yesterday about the sudden drop of Google's share price imagefrom 400.00 to 329.  Nasdaq announced a routing problem and restored the price to 405.00, but take a look at what Yahoo has it listed as...  I hope people don't think that's legit!  Or, maybe I should short sell it!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's About time, UIS!

Unisys reported this morning that Joe McGrath will be stepping down as CEO at the end of the year.  Why wait that long?  Unisys could learn a little from professional sports.  If the coach isn't getting it done, get a new one!

So, good ole Joe took over in January of 2005, but he really started running the show in January, 2004 when Larry Weinbach made him COO, the first time Unisys has ever had a COO. 

So, let's take a look at the stock since Joe assumed control...


Interesting, huh?  The stock has been on a steady decline since Joe became heir apparent to Larry.

From 15 to 3....

I know a bunch of people still at Unisys and I wanted that company to succeed in the worst way.   Now, maybe they can start over.

Congratulations, Unisys!  Now, if you would just look a little closer, I can name about 50 other senior folks who have spent the last 5 years coasting...

Monday, September 15, 2008

PERFMAN 7.2 Enables Virtualization Lifecycle Management

Don't have time to tell you all about it right now, but we did announce our Virtualization Planning Tool this morning!  The VPT enables you to analyze years of data on the physical servers, plan for how to consolidate them into virtual servers, and model their performance.  I am selling it short, but I have to run to another meeting.  You should read the PR here.

This completes our life cycle offering because we have been doing the monitoring and management since 2004.

How low long has your management vendor been doing VMware monitoring, modeling and management???

Oh, and can they look inside the guest OS for root-cause analysis?  Can you provide the single pane of glass view of multiple Virtual Centers?

We have customers managing over 6000 guests across multiple Virtual Centers with our product suite.  Check us out at Booth 853 at VMworld!!!