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!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Advanced Pictures from VMworld 2008

Yes, VMworld has not officially started, but I was setting up PERFMAN's booth so I thought I would snap some pictures from "behind the scenes".  Not sure I like the "theme" of the show so far.  The monstrous cartoon-like head shots are a little disturbing...  Maybe they will grow on me. 

And, stay tuned for some really cool news from PERFMAN tomorrow.  What?  You haven't heard of PERFMAN?  Join the club.  But, tomorrow, that changes.  Come check us out at Booth 853!

VMworld 2008 

PERFMAN Booth Set-up at VMworld

PERFMAN Booth set-up at VMworld

PERFMAN booth at VMworld

VMworld 2008

VMworld 2008 044

VMworld 2008 046

VMworld 2008 045

VMworld 2008 047 

VMworld 2008 052

VMworld 2008 053

VMworld 2008 055

VMworld 2008 056

VMworld 2008 057

VMworld 2008 061

VMworld 2008 063

VMworld 2008 064

I think its the eyes that freak me out... LOL

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Come Visit PERFMAN at VMworld (Booth 853)

I hope you will take a moment to stop by our booth for a demo of our tvproduct suite and to enter for a chance to win a Panasonic 42" 1080p Plasma TV!!!

In addition, we have some exciting news to tell you about! Looking forward to seeing you at the show!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Replace the Human Race

Here is a great article about computers replacing refs in sports.  I never knew about the Hawk-Eye in tennis.  Fascinating stuff...

Now get back to work.

VMworld is coming...

VMworld starts next week and it promises to be an exciting time for all involved (14,000 attendees and 200+ sponsors).  For me, however, there is an even greater level of anticipation.   This is the first show that I have had my hands on from start to finish at PERFMAN.  Of course, the show was booked prior to my arrival, but everything else, from messaging and booth design through the PR and finally, the give away was all led by me.

This is not bragging as there are many things that could have been done better, faster, differently.  But, it is momentous in the fact that this is the first effort from start to finish that was shepherded by the new team.  And, we are very excited about the new messaging, the PR, the product, the team, etc.

It should be a very exciting time for us.  After all, this is not only a major trade show for PERFMAN, but in many ways this is a "coming out" party.  Strange to say that for a 20 year-old company, but there has been "virtually" (pun intended) no marketing here for many years. 

Just the process of putting a foundation together took much longer than I expected.  Of course, I did not expect to have to start completely from scratch!

And when I say scratch, I mean it.  Yes, there are a few white papers and the customer list is long and impressive no matter the size of the company, but the basics were not in place.

Some of the things accomplished in preparation for this launch include:

  • New messaging and supporting documents
  • New PR team hired (Prequent Rocks!)
  • New lead flow processes defined and implemented
  • New lead tracking software implemented
  • New web site deployed with tracking capabilities
  • New corporate identity and supporting style guide
  • New collateral to support the sales process
  • New lead generation activities started
  • New customer newsletter implemented
  • New sales team hired and trained
  • New sales engineering team hired and trained
  • New advertising campaign in place
  • Introduction and briefing with a dozen analysts
  • New corporate apparel

And, yet there is so much more to do...

If I don't get a chance to blog again before the show, I will see you there.  Come up and say hi!

PERFMAN will be in Booth 853!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome - First Take

At heart, I am a technology geek (and a reef aquariums geek).  So, I just had to try the new Google browser, Chrome.

I have had it installed for about 24 hours on both my work laptop and my home PC.  And, though that certainly is not enough time to put it through its paces fully, I have to give it 2 thumbs up and a "so what..."

Others are not so complementary.

Here is what I can tell you so far.  I like the default homepage.  It organizes the recent pages very nicely and shows the recent bookmarks. 


It imports all of my data from Firefox very well.  Nothing was lost.

It does seem to handle Javascript much better.  I do not see the slowdowns like I use to on Firefox when I had a lot of tabs open.

It works with every page I far.  And I have tested it with Google Adwords, LoopFuse, Joomla-based sites, Forums, Blogs, Flash intros, etc.

And now for the "so what".  So far, nothing in this browser has presented anything to me that makes me say, "this is my browser".  I am coming to realize that, at least for today, a browser is just like a window.  Yeah, some are double-paned, some have decorative components, some insulate better than others. 

But, at the end of the day, a window is something you look through, not something you look at.  And this window is just like the rest.

Oooh, you know what?  I just made that up but I really like it.  I think I officially deem that statement Copyright ME.  :)  Feel free to use it, but give me credit if you do.  LOL

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Philadelphia Zoning Board REJECTS Unisys Billboards on Two Liberty Place

It is a good day for Philadelphia residents.  The Zoning board voted unanimously to reject 2 16-foot Unisys logos on Two Liberty Place.

Why Unisys thought they were entitled to that to begin with is beyond me.  After all, they were only getting 2 floors of the 58-story building (Wikipedia entry).  A Unisys (NYSE: UIS) spokesperson said that they would go back and re-evaluate their decision to move into the building. 

If I had to guess, there was probably a collective sigh of relief from Unisys management and board members.  Rumor is that there were very few people who wanted to relocate their office to Philly.  And, why would they?  There are plenty of reasons to stay away, from the traffic (ever taken the Schuylkill Expressway?) to the City Wage Tax.

Of course, Unisys is going to have to go somewhere.  They sold their current campus years ago in a cost-cutting measure and their lease will not be renewed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Microsoft bows under Virtualization Pressure

One can argue that as Microsoft goes, so does the industry.  But, more and more, Microsoft is under pressure to bow to the industry.  Chinks in the armor started to appear with the dawn of the web.  Netscape took the immediate lead.  But, Microsoft countered, as they typically do, and won with IE. 

The typo modus operandi for Microsoft, IMHO, is this.  A new technology emerges and Microsoft is late to market with an inferior product.  They finally wake up and try to build a better mouse trap.  typically, they fail.  So they do the next best thing.  They buy one of the major players.

However, this MO is not working for them lately.  You saw this with open source, specifically Linux.  Microsoft is not able to defeat Linux, so they bought one of the leaders.  Ok, so they didn't buy Novell, but they are certainly beholden to Microsoft now.  And, let's not forget their attempt to kill Linux by throwing millions into SCO.  You will notice, however, that they have recently taken a softer stance on open source and are trying to be better IT citizens.

It is happening again in the world of search engines.  Google is kicking their proverbial ass.  So, they tried to make a superior product (MSN) and are failing.  Next step?  Buy the major competitor to Google:  Yahoo!.  But, that didn't happen.  So, we will see what happens next.

Let's move on to the meat of this post:  Virtualization.  Microsoft was late to the space.  VMware has 87% of the market and continues to innovate.  Meanwhile, Xen (Citrix) is the open source player who could also threaten.  Microsoft tried for a long time to squash it and their licensing and support models gave no room for VMware to be a part of a Microsoft-run data center.  So, first they innovate.  Virtual Server was a lame attempt.  Now, however, this Hyper-V product was a second shot and it may well be the first time in a long time that their product is actually BETTER than the competition.  Time will tell.

But,the news is that Microsoft realizes that Virtualization is here to stay.  To that end, they announced major changes to their licensing and support policies for 41 applications.  Here are the details:

    • OLD:  No support for VMs.  If you have a problem, you must be able to duplicate it on a physical server.
    • NEW:  MS will now support 41 applications (SQL Server, Exchange, IIS, etc) in a VM.  VMware is currently not in the program.  But, that will change shortly.\, I imagine.
    • OLD:  The old policy stated that software was linked to a physical server and could only be moved once every 90 days, a definite challenge in the virtualization world.
    • NEW:  This policy is gone.  Applications can be moved dynamically.

Good news for everyone! 

Monday, July 28, 2008

I am hiring at PERFMAN

I am now ready to start building my marketing team and I am looking for two capable professionals in the Philly area.   You can find the details on LinkedIn:

Marketing Communications Manager

Product Marketing Manager

If you think you have what it takes, let me know.  I am especially looking for folks who have had experience in the enterprise software space and knowledge/experience in the IT operations and virtualization space.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Unisys in fight over building signage

There are times when marketing can go too far.  Unisys has done just that.  But, I wonder if they have an ulterior motive.

Earlier this year, Unisys announced that they were moving their corporate headquarters from Blue Bell, PA to downtown Philly.  Why?  Its a long story that is directly tied to their revenue or lack thereof.  They have had such horrible financial results over the course of many years.  Because of that they sold the campus they currently call home and leased it back from the new owners.  They have continued to shrink from what was once a $20 billion dollar company to around $5 billion and the space is just too big for them.  The thought, I assume, was get out of Blue Bell (because their lease is expiring,) and move downtown to get themselves back in the mix.

They chose one of the new Liberty buildings and they will occupy a couple of floors.  But, they want to put 2 16-foot high lighted signs on the sides of the building.  Are you kidding me?  If they had half of the building, maybe.  But, they only have 2 floors. 

So, the whole thing is now before the zoning board and there is a battle brewing.  Rumor has it that no one wants to go to the new Philly office because of the city wage tax, the additional commute, the cost of traveling downtown, etc.  They are literally struggling to find 150 people to move there.

Maybe they are using this sign issue as a way to get out the move.  Maybe they are hoping that they lose the battle and can get out of the deal.

As an ex-employee of Unisys, I can not believe that Joe McGrath still has a job (or many of the executives for that matter).  What was once a great company is no more.  Take a look at their Income Statement.  Yahoo! has the income statements for the prior three years and each year they have lost millions of dollars.  Yet, McGrath continues to get raises and bonuses while good people are laid off.  And the ones that are still there are being treated so poorly it is unethical.

MMI wants to split the company up.  Its unfortunate that it has gotten to that point, but it is the only option left.  But, first, fire the management team. 

I saw the writing on the wall and got out in 2006.  The company is out-of-business, dead-in-the-water, finished.  They just don't know it yet.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Management Summit

Day Two at the Gartner Summit and all systems are go.  The show is much smaller than last year, from what I can tell.  But, the crowd is generally enthusiastic and those that we talked to are very interested in PERFMAN. 

This was the first step in a rebirth for PERFMAN.  To coincide with the show, we re-launched our website with new branding and messaging.  It is hard to imagine a software company being in business for over 20 years with hundreds of customers such as :  Nestle, Lockheed Martin, JB Hunt, Conseco, the IRS and NOT having any recognition in the marketplace.  Well, I was wrong, Gartner knows who we are and our log was on the slide deck!

And that transitions to my next topic.  The show itself was decent for a guy like me who is new to the space.  If you are trying to learn a new market, a Gartner show is fabulous.  But, if you are already up to your neck in the space, then you typically have to wade through the presentations to get your nuggets.  Gartner Summit events in my experience (this one and the Open Source Summit) are very motherhood and apple pie.  They spend most of their time in the ether and rarely dive down below 50,000 feet.

Forrester, on the other hand, will get specific and tactical.  And, personally, I think that leads to better successes for the participants.

Anyway, the show is almost over and then its back home to build the marketing machine.  Take a look at the new site and give me your thoughts.  Its not the final product, but its a start.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Personal Internet Use at Work

A new study on "cyberslacking" was posted in the June issue of CyberPsycology and Behavior Journal (who knew there was such a thing) says that not all personal internet use at work is detrimental and that companies should not have a black and white policy against it. 

I couldn't agree more.  In today's world, the lines between work and personal are just too blurred.  Take me for example.  Currently, I am commuting  almost an hour and a half each way to work.  That means I don't get home until seven and last night 8:30pm.  So, in order to make up for that, I need to get a few things done at the office.  If not, the alternative is that I leave early.  And, how many people don't go home and get online to do personal things and end up doing something work related.  Every night I end up checking website stats, proofing some copy on the new site, reading an article about a competitor or the industry.

Putting in place a policy that states no personal internet use is actually detrimental to the company itself.  Most of us are salaried employees, meaning we get paid no matter how many hours we work.  So, do you think most slack off and put in less hours?  Not a chance.  Most of us put in 50 or more hours in the office and more at home.  So what that I check the bank account for my wife or read an article about Tiger Woods.  That 10 minutes is a sanity break to allow my mind to relax a bit before I dig into the next big project.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Web 2.0 Tool for Competitive Analysis

In my quest to understand the market and do some competitive analysis, I found 2 great new tools that make competitive analysis a breeze.  Both are from the same company.

The first is call Competitious and is their first effort at a web 2.0 competitive analysis.  The second is their GA product call RivalMap.  I started using Competitious and then found RivalMap via their blog after 8 hours of importing data.  Luckily RivalMap has a simple conversion tool. 

RivalMap allows you to add your competitors, their products, etc.  You can also add RSS feeds, a wiki for each and you can build a complex competitive feature comparison.  Finally, it also enables uploading of files and SWOT analysis.  There are multiple versions, based on number of users and file space, but the basic version is free.  The most expensive version is $199/month for 25 users and 30GB of storage.  Above that is an "Enterprise" version.  Not too bad if you ask me.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Next Chapter...PERFMAN

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I was preparing to depart EnterpriseDB and I outlined the reasons in this blog post.  Word has gotten out and my departure was mentioned along with the new CEO at EnterpriseDB by Matt Aslett and The 451 Group yesterday.

Well, without further ado, I wanted to announce where I have landed...  The company is called PERFMAN.   But, don't go looking for the site yet.  Let me provide you with a bit of an explanation first.

PERFMAN is what I like to call a 20 year-old startup.  Why?  Well, PERFMAN has been in business since 1987.  They have hundreds of customers who are very happy with their product and they have had 100% implementation success.  They are also profitable.  But, they have no sales and marketing organization.  Their business is word of mouth and a couple of trade shows.  So, what makes them a start-up?   The difference is that now the company is focusing on growth and the pieces are being assembled to enable that growth.

What does PERFMAN do?  PERFMAN is a pioneer in the performance and capacity management space.  Their product suite works across multiple platforms form mainframes (z/OS) to Unix (AIX, HP-UX, Solaris) to Windows and Linux and even manages VMware!  It is very robust and powerful.  

So, I have joined the team as the VP of Marketing and will be helping to reshape and expand their presence in the market.  My first job...a new corporate presence and new product positioning.

Go ahead and look at it now (  It will look dramatically different in a few weeks.

I am very excited about this opportunity and will be posting a lot more about this space as I blog.  But, for those of you who rely on me for open source and database banter, especially my unrelenting attacks on Oracle and MySQL, have no fear.  I have no intention of stopping that. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New CEO at EnterpriseDB

As I am sure most of you have heard by now, EnterpriseDB announced their new CEO today. Ed Boyajian, formerly of Red Hat fame, will be taking over the reigns at EnterpriseDB on June 9. You can read the whole story here.

This is great news for EnterpriseDB. Though I was not directly involved in the selection process, I did get a chance to work with Ed briefly before I left the company and I have to say that he is just what the doctor ordered. Andy has done a phenomenal job growing the company from an idea to 300 customers and millions of dollars in sales. Ed will now come in to take the baton from Andy to drive this company to take its rightful place as the leading open source database company.

Andy will be staying on, of course. He will continue to focus his efforts on strategic business development, a role he has had from the beginning.

Congratulations to EnterpriseDB and the team!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

ANTs in my pants

You know, I really don't know what to make of these guys.  I mean, we all know they are rowboat adrift in the sea.  But, have you ever seen a more scatterbrained company in your life?  I  wrote about them on September 19, 2007 because I got a kick out of their "no news" press releases.  I have never seen more thinly veiled attempts to make themselves bigger than they are.  But, up until now, they were merely ants.  After all, they are a publicly traded company but their revenue numbers have been pathetic.  In 2005, they did almost a half million dollars in revenue.  That's right, I said a half million, or $467,000 to be exact.  In 2006, it got worse at $288,000 in revenue and last year they did $360,000. 

Yet, they continue to drone on about their "consortium" which, from the outside simply looks like a beta program.  Its no consortium.   They made a big deal out of a Cadbury Schweppes deal and I thought they were getting somewhere, but that amounted to a single, small app that was nothing. 

And, they continue to mention a major deal with IBM that COULD be worth millions over time.  You can read about it in every SEC filing.  But, it has never materialized.  And, the last time I checked, IBM's money and backing went to... US!

They announced a major Oracle partnership, but Oracle never acknowledges their existence.  I think they simply signed up for the partner program at oracle and paid the $1500.  End of story.  (for details on these releases, check out my previous post about ANTs)

But, they continue to get more private funding... and this quarter has seen some real action...finally.  Sybase is paying them $1.4 million to do whatever they want with the entire product line from ANTs.  Not a bad deal really for Sybase, though, had they waited another 12 months, I think they could have gotten for free in the fire sale.  This means that Sybase can do whatever they want with the product, including reselling it without paying another dime to ANTs.  Sounds desperate if you ask me.

Then, this month they announced that they were acquiring Inventa Technologies.  a professional services company.  And of course, in order to do that, they needed MORE financing.  Throwing good money after bad, if you ask me.  At some point, you just have to say enough already and recognize its time to move on.

But, it gets better.  Today ANTs announced that they have sold 1/2 of their product suite (along with a few bodies) to Four J's Software.  Why would Four J's want it?  Because it is the underlying technology of their Genero db product.

So, I haven't taken the time to figure out the total numbers yet, but it seems that ANTs has paid millions for Inventa and yet have basically sold everything to everyone else.  Yes, they still have the compatibility product.  But, so does Sybase.  And I don't suspect that anyone else is going to come knocking on their door...other than the shareholders... ;)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Leaving EnterpriseDB

This is a bittersweet announcement for sure.  But, after more than 2 years, I am going to be leaving EnterpriseDB.  It's bittersweet because the company is firing on all cylinders and I think they are in a great position with the new messaging and Postgres Plus product family.  I think the open source database market is still in its infancy and 2008/2009 will be when the floodgates open.  And, while MySQL currently has more money and more downloads, they play in a different market.  I think both will be hugely successful.  Finally, I would like to think that marketing was firing on all cylinders and making great strides towards becoming the lynch pin for the company.  In short, my work at EnterpriseDB was just not done.

But, this move is purely for personal reasons for me.  As many of you know, I live over 100 miles from the office. I typically spend 2-3 nights in a hotel up in Edison and this causes me to be away from my family every week for extended periods.  And, with three kids, not only am I missing out on all the laughter and tears, but my wife is forced to basically run the house like a single mom.  Its not fair to her or the kids and its time for me to step up and be a better daddy and better husband.

I can tell you that I am going to miss all the great people I work with and consider to be friends.  I won't mention them by name because there are so many! 

Next Friday will be my last day at EnterpriseDB, but this blog isn't going anywhere.  I will continue my abuse of Oracle and others when necessary and keep in close contact with EnterpriseDB.  This blog will evolve over time and may stray into new areas as I pursue other technologies and markets, but it will always be about marketing technology.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A new survey on Open Source Databases and an update on Sun

There is a new survey over on Survey Monkey on Open Source Database usage.  If you use a database, whether open source or not, you should make your voice heard.

Survey on Open Source Databases

In other news, rumor has it that Sun has consolidated their entire database business under Marten Mickos, former CEO of MySQL.  That means that Marten is now responsible for JavaDB and PostgreSQL, along with MySQL for Sun Microsystems.

This is actually very interesting.  The head of MySQL running their PostgreSQL business.  Read nothing into this people.  Marten will do an excellent job with ALL of the databases.  Though his heart may remain with MySQL, the size of his wallet will depend on making all three databases successful.  And, Marten is a fan of all open source databases and open source in general. 

I think this was a smart move for Sun and will be good for Sun's  PostgreSQL business.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Under the covers of MySQL

Those of you who follow my blog know that I am not exactly an unbiased observer.  In fact Curt Monash states: 

Derek Rodner’s blog is worth checking out. His 2007 Year in Review post deserves a look - even though it’s about as unbiased and spin-free as Bill O’Reilly’s TV show, in that combines multiple shots each at Oracle and MySQL with some plugs for EnterpriseDB.

So, when MySQL themselves decides to show their dirty laundry, who am I to object.  In fact, I think it is great that they are starting to act a little more open.  For an open source company, they tend to be more closed source than Microsoft sometimes.

So, here is a nice presentation about the "issues" with MySQL.  In addition to having no "real" community, there are fundamental flaws in the database that go all the way back to its inception.

MySQL was architected to be a very fast read-only database.  And, it is.  But, you can't have it both ways.  Remember, a few years back Zack was even quoted saying something about no need for transactions.  I can't find the exact quote, but it was attuned to Bill Gates claiming that he saw no need for a pc with more than 64k of RAM. 

So, here MySQL sits, trying to become a real database and their architecture and years of development took them in a totally different direction.  It is very hard to undo the past.  And, now with the overhead of Sun, it is hard to see a scenario where MySQL can become a leading DBMS vendor.

I think that the Sun may indeed be setting for MySQL.  Every day, more and more people come out of the woodwork running real applications inside major organizations on Postgres!

Being a niche player is fine.  It helps you make a name for yourself.  But, be careful or else you will be stuck in that niche forever.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Looks like the technology business might get a little more interesting today.  Rumor has it that Microsoft will initiate a hostile takeover of Yahoo today.  I love these days...

So, what do you think about a Microhoo?  I actually think the potential is there for it to be interesting.  But, the problem is that Microsoft will add too much overhead to the Yahoo technology and the company, making it a lot slower and Google will be accelerated further into the stratosphere as the dominant technology company. 

This is not as interesting as the KKR LBO of RJR/Nabisco in the 80s or the almost-crushing-at-the-time, but now-so-comical SCO lawsuit.  but, it should make for an interesting couple of weeks.


Where to begin....  Oh, Oracle, of course!

Larry Ellison tops the list of highest paid CEOs in the world.  Guess how much he made last year by charging ridiculously high prices for the Oracle database? 

$192.9 million dollars

Yep, that's right.  Larry made 192 million dollars last year.  We all know his net worth is estimated at $25 Billion.  And, though you have admire what he has accomplished, you really do start to hate the guy.  His cheesy "I look like a 1970s porn star" beard and his "I need to compensate" yacht paint a nice little picture. 

Two years ago, I was at Oracle OpenWorld.  You remember, the year he paraded penguins around the stage and announced Unbreakable Linux.  Well, for those who may not remember, or for those that missed it, the Oracle/BMW America's Cup boat was in the lobby!  Yes, the monster boat was in the lobby.  I just couldn't help thinking to myself:  How can people accept that?  mn_dayinthelife032_ckh

And, of course, you know about Larry's Japanese style estate in Woodside, CA.  This estate cost over $200 million after multiple change orders and construction delays. 

Larry had the audacity to claim a $3 million tax break claiming this flamboyant estate was overvalued because there was no market for 16th Century Japanese architecture.  Ummm, Larry, you built the damn thing.

Think about all of this when your Oracle Sales Rep comes knocking on your door this month to "audit" your licenses.  Larry needs a new boat.

Of course, I am just jealous ;) 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On Stage and Off Stage

The garbage that comes out of marketing organizations never ceases to amaze me. Not all organizations, but many.

And I am not talking about the content. Content is much harder to nail. Is it the right message for the right audience? Is the content rich enough to get their attention, but not too rich that the audience has no need to contact you?

What I am talking about is the plain and simple stuff. They say the devil is in the details. And spell checking and proofreading is, I thought, the most basic of tasks.

Andy Astor, CEO at EnterpriseDB, uses the terms 'on stage" and "off stage". This is similar to the sayings "inside the box" and "outside the box". But, Andy's terms are more accurate.

After all, you can never really think outside of the box. You are ALWAYS inside a box. This is not a revelation. Others have said this and I am just reiterating it. (I would tell you where I heard this, but I can't remember.) Follow me...

A box has four walls. When you are told to think outside the box, you are being told to be creative, but you must still be "in the box". Why? Well, you have customers who expect something from you. Regardless of what it is, whether it is a certain quality of service, a pricing model, whatever. There are existing expectations. That is Side 1. Side 2 is the market as a whole. Now, you can argue that you can remove this barrier or alter its parameters, but the market as a whole perceives you in a certain light. They also have placed expectations on you. Side 3 is your inside team. You only have so many people with so much talent. You must work within those confines or change the team. And changing the team puts up against the fourth side of your box: time. Time and money combine for the fourth wall. Every company has limited time and money. You have to learn to work inside this box.

So, being "on stage" is more accurate. It is Andy's mantra. Whenever you do anything that will be seen outside of the company, that is "on stage". Whether it is sending an email or conducting a webcast, or simply giving your elevator pitch to an acquaintance, you are "on stage".

But, in the last three weeks, I have seen (and honestly, been a part of) so many "on stage" screw-ups that it gives me pause. Are we moving too fast? Is there no attention to detail? Or, are we becoming so dependent on spell checkers that we don't read the words to make sure they are accurate.

Some are just dumb. Today, I received an email from, of all places, a marketing services company. The subject line of the email read "Invite - Arpil 30". Come on people. That is the subject line for crying out loud!

Last week, I received a post card in the mail from a financial services company that was inviting me to a free gourmet meal at a local restaurant for listening to their pitch on IRAs and retirement planning. On the back of the postcard were all the details and fine print of the free meal at the Brickside Grille (a very good restaurant with a great raw bar) located in Eagle, PA. But, on the front the advertisement read: FREE Gourmet Dinner at the Backside Grille. Now, seriously. Do you think I want to eat dinner at the Ass Grille?

My advice is proof read and spell check, people.

You are "on stage".

Have a grate day.


Friday, April 18, 2008

A week in Recap

I have so many things to write about, but not the time, so I am combining my past week into a single post.  Hopefully, everyone finds something beneficial in here.

Southwest Airlines

First of all, my flight to Austin was indeed canceled on Thursday.  Luckily, I was smart enough to have a backup plan.  I booked a flight to Austin via Southwest Airlines late Wednesday night.  This was my first flight on Southwest.  I always avoided it because I heard people bash it so much.  The reality for was totally different.  Their new seating assignment process is very cool.  I was the 6th one on the plane and got my exit row aisle seat.  Even my buddy who got on much later in the process got his coveted window seat.  The flight bounced through Nashville on its way to Austin.  I have to tell you, they load a plane faster than USAirways.  Way faster.  And the luggage comes out quickly as well.  All in all, I have to say that I am now a fan of Southwest Airlines and will make that my new first choice for flying.

Austin Allergies

This was my first trip to Austin and it did not completely disappoint.  However, it seems to me that all this town does is drink and listen to live music.  I got to tour the capital building and see some of the sites while I was there.  Unfortunately, work called, so I spent most of Friday working and missed out on seeing my buddy's house and his rental properties.

I also learned that just about everyone who goes to Austin gets allergies because of the cedar there.  They call it the Austin allergy or the cedar sickness.  Cute, huh?  But, what a pain in the ass.  I was loaded up on Sudafed or allergy medicine the whole weekend and went through a box of tissues. 

On to Denver

By Sunday morning, I was back on the clock full-time, flying to Denver Convention Center Denver for Collaborate 2008.  The weather on Monday and Tuesday was fantastic.  It was 80 degrees both days.  I was shocked.  But, reality crept back in Wednesday and by lunch time it was snowing again.  The Denver air cleared my allergies from Austin but left me so dry that I felt like a walking lizard.  Even the blue bear wanted to come inside.

Collaborate 2008

This was the third year that EnterpriseDB went to Collaborate and the The EnterpriseDB Team at Collaborate08 first time we did it right.  There were 7500 people at this show and we had a 20x20 booth.  Granted, the booth was in the back, but we nailed it.  The magician got their attention and we wowed with a laundry list of customers, awards , demos and free books (autographed by Lewis Cunningham).

All in all, we brought home over 400 leads and gave away 200 books.  These books are great viral marketing tools.  Every book will go back to an office and sit on a desk or bookshelf.  Every time someone sees it, they will ask about us or, better yet, grab the book and read it.

We will not miss this show again!

MySQL Goes Closed Source... Thanks for nuthin, Sun

Wow, I get on a plane to come home yesterday and I land in Chicago (layover) and my cell phone goes ballistic.  Sun just closed MySQL's source code.  I couldn't believe it, either.  So, I had to dig a little deeper.

First, this was, I believe, the plan for MySQL all along, so don't blame Sun.  This started when MySQL split between a Community Version and an Enterprise Edition.  That was over a year ago in my book.  Second, MySQL is NOT closed source. 

What MySQL is doing is becoming a lot more like EnterpriseDB, actually.  Its the hybrid model that actually allows open source businesses to make money.  Though you can succeed with a product that is completely open source, you are limited to support and services dollars only and only from those who need it.  The potential revenue in that model is modest and does not favor long term success or fast innovation.  But, by keeping some of the product closed source, like MySQL's online backup module, or EnterpriseDB's Oracle Compatibility, you create a way to generate revenue from the software itself.  This allows the company to grow faster, to add more to the product more quickly, etc.  And, eventually, this stuff will more than likely make to open source sooner or later. 

Of course, what I find funny about this whole thing is the module itself.  MySQL says that Online backups are so cool and important that it is closed source and available for enterprises only.  It just goes to show you how immature and lightweight MySQL really is.  Online backup is a staple of any REAL database and has been a part of Postgres for years.

I can just see MySQL's next "hot" (and obviously closed-source) module now: data integrity.  LOL

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

American Airlines

As I posted earlier today, I am doing a lot of flying starting at 6am tomorrow.  My first flight starts at 6am tomorrow and goes from Philly to Dallas to Austin.

And guess what?  I am flying American Airlines (MD80). 


We'll see what happens, but right now, I can not get through on the phone to AA and my travel agent says that they are showing the flight on-time.  But, she also said that AA does not know how long it will take to inspect all the planes or how long flights will be affected.

Collaborate 2008

Tomorrow is the beginning of a very busy 8 days for me.  I am off at 6am tomorrow to Austin Texas.  One of my best friends (all the way from 6th grade) is getting married and I am in the wedding. 

Then, on Sunday, I fly to Denver for Collaborate.  Collaborate is the largest independent Oracle Users Conference with over 75000 attendees.  The show floor is huge, much bigger than LinuxWorld (but nowhere near the size of Oracle OpenWorld).  Collaborate combines the IOUG, OAUG, and Quest user groups into one massive show.

Jonah Harris, Senior Architect for EnterpriseDB, will be giving two talks:

As for EnterpriseDB as a whole, we will have a 20x20 booth at the show and Lewis Cunningham, Oracle ACE and EnterpriseDB Senior Architect, will be on-hand to answer questions and sign his book, "EnterpriseDB:  The Definitive Reference".  We will be giving the book away for free, so get there early.

In addition, we have a little entertainment scheduled for you as well.  Scott Tokar will be on-hand to do some very exciting tricks for you.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, April 4, 2008

2 Years and Counting...

I am happy to announce that I have now been with EnterpriseDB for 2 years (and a day)!

So far, it has been an amazing ride.  And, I have to say, I am just as excited today as I was two years ago (if not more).  The opportunity is huge.  The market has been validated.  The company is firing on all cylinders.

Now, its all about innovation and execution. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

EnterpriseDB Makes Tender Offer to Oracle

Instead of providing color commentary on our press releases (as I usually do), I thought I would let this one speak for itself.

April 1, 2008 (Edison, NJ) - Following the successful launch of Postgres Plus and the recent influx of cash from IBM(IBM), EnterpriseDB today announced that it had made a tender offer to purchase Oracle Corporation (ORCL).  

Currently trading just below $20.00, EnterpriseDB offered $.30 per share.  When asked to comment on the ridiculously low number, Derek M. Rodner, EnterpriseDB's Director of Marketing responded, "We had to account for many factors when preparing this offer.  It was a complicated process.  Once you account for the future value of money and the expected value of Oracle's database business in 5 years, the numbers came out to be staggeringly low." 

Larry Ellison was not available for comment, however an inside source at Oracle claims that the database business is the only part of the business that makes money today and the profit margins exceed what he called "morally ethical".

Though Oracle does not see their database business declining significantly over the next 5 years, analysts tend to be mixed.  Some see open source databases disrupting the proprietary market, taking significant market share from Oracle and forcing Oracle to dramatically lower their prices.

EnterpriseDB's offer expires at midnight tonight and it is unclear whether Oracle will accept or not. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

OSBC Coming to a Close

Well, OSBC is coming to a close.  The exhibit hall is closed and all packed up and the final sessions are underway.  What a great networking event.  Don't expect to get leads at this show, but if you want to hobnob with the "players" in open source, you have to be at this show.  Speaking of which, this is a picture from the Open Source Database Panel held yesterday.  OSBC 007

From left to right in the picture:  Moderator Matt Aslett, Analyst for the 451 Group, Zack Urlocker, from MySQL, Andy Astor, CEO of EnterpriseDB, Ken Jacobs from Oracle and Roger Burkhardt from Ingres. 

The panel was okay in my opinion.  Zack did an excellent job as always and Andy held his own, as well.  I thought Ken tried to be an open source guy, but the veil was thin and he was in an awkward position.  Oracle did not belong on that panel at all.  Roger was a walking sales pitch and his act got old quickly.  All in all, it was entertaining.  But, 50 minutes was too short and the whole thing was a little too marketing, even for me.OSBC 004a

We had a nice looking booth (if I do say so myself) and I am including  a picture of that as well.  I had a lot of conversations with other marketing executives from open source companies and the discussions were the same over and over.  Lead generation and lead nurturing were always hot topics.  How to turn free usage into paying customers.  After all, this was the Open Source Business Conference.  We are in business to make money. 

That is all for now.  I have a lot more to talk about, but don't have the time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Postgres Rocks

Yep, there I've said it.  In case you have been hiding under a rock and thought MySQL was the open source database of choice, now you know.  This blog post officially puts you on notice that Postgres is taking over.

Today, EnterpriseDB announced the release of the Postgres Plus family.  But, that's not all we announced.  Here are three bullets on what we announced at OSBC this morning:

I will have a lot more to say about all three of these MAJOR events over the course of the next few days.  But, I wanted to get the main news out there.  I am at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco this week for the announcements.  If you are at OSBC, stop by and say hello!

While the World Slept...

Ever have one of those defining moments when you realized that you were a part of something special?  Well, it's 1:46am here in San Francisco and I am sitting in my hotel room testing our new website.  And at the same time, there are a dozen folks in the office in Edison, NJ doing the same thing.  They are working through the night and all of them worked ALL WEEKEND to make this happen.  Are they all marketing folks?  Of course not.  This is not their job.  They do other things like, sales, sales engineering, development.  The co-founders are involved testing too.  And, its not just here.  All around the world, every office is involved in testing the site that just went live.

No, this is not their job.  But, this is OUR company and everyone here jumps in to help the other.  We all have the same goal and we are all rowing in the same direction.  It really is something to see. 

Take a look around your office today.  Would it be the same in your company?  I can't say that it would have been this way in any other company I worked for.

When you spend forty, sixty, eighty hours a week working, you need the reassurance that this is more than just a job or a career.  If you don't, I encourage you to find your own EnterpriseDB.

Where the hell have you been, Derek?

Well, I have not blogged since March 1.  Why?  Check back in just a few hours.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

What's your start page?

What do you use as your start page when you fire up a browser?  I think there are four answers:

  1. Default.  Whatever the browser came with.  Are you like my wife?  She still uses IE and never bothered to change the start page.  She uses MSN.  Yes, she is a lemming when it comes to PCs (as I expect most are.)
  2. Blank Page.  You use the net to research something and be done.  You don't care about the news, sports updates or anything else.  Give me a black slate and I will choose what to look at.  (I suspect there are only a few of these folks out there.)
  3. Corporate Intranet.  You work for one of those companies that sets the page for you.  Unisys was like this.  The corporate-standard start page for the corporate-standard Microsoft browser was the Unisys intranet.  Now, it was better than most intranets, but I don't care to be so internally focused.  Fortunately, they do let you change it.  Anyone who can change the page but haven't?  Please refer to number 1 above.
  4. My Page.  If you are like me, you have set your home page to a start page that collects and digests all the information you need in one spot.  MyYahoo! is a prime example and has been my staple start page for almost 8 years.  I think a lot of people fit in this category.

But, I am changing...  Over the last 8 months I have been playing with Netvibes and I really like it.  For some reason, I still keep MyYahoo! as my start page, but I use Netvibes much more regularly.   It is a wonderful too for both work and play.  I have multiple tabbed pages.  One is for news (local, national, international).  I also have weather on there.  The next page is all about analysts.  If I am a subscriber and they have an RSS feed, its on there.  Next, a stock tab.  This is less about my portfolio and more about the stocks that I am tracking that are related to work.  I also have a tab of blogs.  This includes industry blogs and individual blogs from folks that matter in the world of open source or Postgres.  This page also has a blog search module that searches nine different blog aggregators or search engines.  This is the most valuable tool on the whole page.  The last work related tab is all about Oracle.  This is a great tab and was actually created by someone else and made public to all as a "Universe" in Netvibes.  What a cool concept.

I encourage you to check it out.  And, if you have a suggestion for another web 2.0 start page, let me know!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Postgres: More active than MySQL

MarkMail, a mailing list archive service, found that Postgres gets far more traffic in its mailing lists than MySQL.  Since, January 2000, MySQL has 340,000 messages with about 3000 new messages per month.  Meanwhile, Postgres has 583,000 messages in that same period and 7,000 new messages each month!  You can read all of the details and see the charts here:

Friday, February 15, 2008

JBoss World coming to a close

Well, JBoss World is coming to a close here in sunny Orlando.  What a fantastic show for us.  After all, why wouldn't it be?  These is a user conference, not a exhibition like LinuxWorld.  So, all of the people here already use JBoss in some form and already fully understand the benefits of open source.  There is no education needed on that front. 


And they are primarily architects and developers, so, while they may not make the database purchasing decision, they definitely influence it.

An interesting aside, Mark Fleury was here.   I was wondering if he would show up and we got a chance to talk for a little while.  I know there was some bad blood when he left Red Hat after the acquisition, but this is still his baby after all.  I can't imagine what it must be like to watch a company that you built from the ground up continue on without you...  I think Mark is feeling it too.  Its like raising your own child and then giving him/her up for adoption when they turn 5 or 6.

Anyway, it was good to see Mark.  I miss his in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is attitude.  If you want to get a flavor for what Mark is really about, read his blog.  He shares it with his wife Nathalie and it is a fun and educational read.  Maison Fleury

Saturday, February 9, 2008

JBoss World

Just wanted to post a quick update since it has been awhile. (So much for those New Year's Resolutions.)

We had a very successful and productive sales kickoff this week and 2008 is shaping up to be a fantastic year!

And, I wanted to update you all to let you know that I will be at JBoss World this week in Orlando. EnterpriseDB is sponsoring the event and has a small booth. (If you are going, come over and say hi!) and check out the killer booth graphic we have for this show. It should turn some heads and raise some eyebrows!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Is your head in the Clouds?

Cloud computing is all the buzz these days.  Amazon, who'd a thunk it, is leading the charge with their Elastic Compute Cloud(EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3).

So, what is all the buzz about?  Cloud computing is the next generation of the ASP or hosted model.  It is not unlike a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model either. 

Essentially, you can load up your application to someone else's server and pay them for storage and bandwidth and utilization.  Sounds kinda like a web host, eh?  That's a good analogy.

Today, EnterpriseDB announced that we will be offering EnterpriseDB Advanced Server Cloud Edition.  Though it is currently a BETA program, the potential is huge.  Load up Advanced Server in the cloud and scale out/up as necessary without having to worry about maintaining the infrastructure and, even better, pay for usage only in small increments of time.  Instead of having to purchase a large server that is mostly overkill, but sufficient for the peaks in your business, you can run it all on the cloud without a worry.

Sounds like the future is just around the corner!!! 

Monday, January 28, 2008

IT Innovation in a Recession

With all the talk of a recession going around these days, I can't help but think about the post Y2K days when the bottom fell out of the tech market.  At the time, I ran a fairly successful ERP consulting practice.  My clients included:  Colgate Palmolive, Avery Dennison, Johnson and Johnson, Guidant, Arrow International, etc.

Business was booming through the first part of 2000.  It was a windfall of cash for my company and luckily, I squirreled some of it away for a rainy day.  I just knew it wouldn't last.  Why?  Well, the Y2K scare was over.  All of the software updates were done.  And, to make matters worse, all of the hardware purchases were complete.  Many of the applications that had issues were written in COBOL and, yikes, FORTRAN.  These machines were old and outdated and entire application suites had to be rewritten and upgraded to new operating systems and hardware.  So, the software was fixed and new hardware was purchased (at considerable expense to major companies.)

At this point, IT budgets froze.  They had spent their money and wanted to wait for some of it to pay off.  Then, the bubble burst on the dot coms and IT budgets got cut.

I remember having multiple 6-figure deals just going on hold until further notice.  They finally started picking up again in late 2002, but the damage to the tech industry was pervasive.

Now, here we are in 2008 and a recession is looming.  (I am not buying it, for the record.)  IT budgets are in jeopardy again.  When IT budgets get cut, innovation ceases and preservation is the name of the game.

But, that doesn't have to be the case anymore.  Evaluate your current IT budget.  Look at the planned expenditures, especially the largest software components.  Are they open source or proprietary?  If they are proprietary they are most likely capital expenditures and more likely to get cut.  If there was ever a case for open source, a recession makes that case even more clear.

Open Source software components are "good enough" if not better than proprietary solutions in almost every case.  Yes, your CTO knows and trusts X company (in our case, Oracle).  But, your gonna cut that whole project anyway because (Oracle) is too expensive in a recession.  Teach him about Postgres and EnterpriseDB Advanced Server.  Let him know how SugarCRM, Alfresco, Jasper, JBoss, etc.  Make them understand that they have been running and depending on the LAMP stack for years and that Firefox is actually open source.

If they don't trust you, get OpenLogic in there or SpikeSource or Optaros.  The cost of the open source software, plus the piece of mind of a third party like I mentioned above, will still be dwarfed in comparison to the cost of the proprietary solution you are replacing.

You CAN innovate in a recession and it might just be the competitive advantage you need....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bill Gates at CES 2008, WSYP, Microsoft Marketing

I know this is a little old now, but in case you haven't seen it, Bill Gates gave his final keynote at CES a couple weeks ago.  For those you who have attended before, you know that his keynotes have been hit or miss.   The highlights included the launch of the XBox while the low-lights included a few BSOD (Blue Screens of Death) and who could forget Microsoft BOB.

This year, though, he may have sealed his legacy, not as a technology pioneer, but as a comedian.  This video is hilarious.  (Not hysterical.  Ask Paul Corson from QAD.  He was an English major and that was one of his pet peeves.)

The video looks forward to his last day at Microsoft and what it will be like.  It includes cameos by a whole bunch of folks including:  Brian Williams, Matthew McConaughey, Hillary Clinton, Jay-Z, and others.  Enjoy!


And while you are at it, check out these two videos that need to be resurrected and passed around.  This first one shows you just how marketing can eff up a product!!!


And this one shows you that Microsoft really does have a sense of humor...  The Microsoft WSYP Program (We Share Your Pain)

For those of you wondering what is up, I learned how to embed video!!!   And I have been thinking a lot about viral marketing.  These are all great examples of viral marketing!!!  More on that in the future.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Postgres is not for sale

Rather than try to summarize Greg Sabino Mullane's excellent blog post from yesterday, I am going to give you a link to the original post and copy the post right here.  Greg really nails it on the head.  He provides his commentary on the MySQL deal itself further down in the post, which I did not copy.  Check it out.

In light of the recent MySQL sellout, I'd like to once again answer the question that pops up occasionally: "Who will purchase Postgres?" Sure, it brings a smile to those of us immersed in the open source world, but it bears a serious answer: Postgres cannot be bought. While from a distance, MySQL and PostgreSQL look the same ("open-source databases"), they are very different beasts, both in technical and non-technical ways. In a nutshell, the difference can be expressed as:

MySQL is an open-source PRODUCT.

Postgres is an open-source PROJECT.

Only two letters of difference between 'product' and 'project', but a very important distinction. MySQL is run by a for-profit corporation (MySQL AB), which owns the code, employs practically all the developers, dictates what direction the software goes in, and has the right to change (indeed, has changed) the licensing terms for use of the software (and documentation).

By contrast, Postgres is not owned by any one company, is controlled by the community, has no licensing issues, and has its main developers spread across a wide spectrum of companies, both public and private. Can a software product succeed using such a system? Well, the other letters in the original LAMP (Linux, Apache, and Perl) have similar models, and they seem to be doing just fine. Like Postgres, there is no way to "buy" any of those projects either.

Of course, EnterpriseDB is a company.  And, we have an excellent database built on the Postgres foundation.  And, I may get in trouble for this, but I am willing to entertain all offers for EnterpriseDB starting at $5 billion US.

As noted at the bottom of the blog:  The comments expressed by me in this blog are my own and may not represent the opinions of EnterpriseDB.

Some wrap-up on the MySQL deal

Now that the dust has settled on the MySQL deal a little, I thought I would add a bit of my perspective.

First off, what is Sun going to do with MySQL now that they have it?  Do you think the $40,000 all-you-can-drink pricing will go away?  You better believe it. (Note to MySQL users, expect a price increase.) With that top-line price, MySQL had capped their own market.  Assume for a second that every Fortune 2500 company bought the enterprise-wide license.  That would mean 2500 companies to support and the annual revenue would have been $100,000,000.  That is not a lot of money when you consider that the database market is $15 billion and Oracle owns $8 billion and Sun paid $1 billion for MySQL. 

I don't think you spend $1 billion to make $100 million.  But, that has been Sun's way. 

Sun does not have a very good track record with acquisitions.  Here is a laundry list.  How many of those have been successful?  So, will Sun be able to make this happen?  I doubt it. 

And, what are they going to do about the storage engine nightmare that MySQL has found themselves in? 

  • MyISAM is read-only. 
  • InnoDB is owned by Oracle.
  • SolidDB was just purchased by IBM.
  • Falcon is still in alpha and YEARS away from being mature.

Even with an influx of cash and developers, the Falcon storage engine will need time to mature.  Cash and code can't change that.

Maybe these are the reasons that Marten went looking for a suitor.  The business model does not support a long term IPO success and the underlying technology is not owned by MySQL.  Compound that with the fact that for the millions and millions of downloads that MySQL flaunts, their ratio to paying customers is a number far lower than .1%.  And yes, the decimal place is in the right spot.  If it isn't, it probably should be .01%,  1 one-hundredth of a percent.

Seems to me that Marten made a great deal and Jonathon had his blinders on.  What could Sun have done if they invested half of that money in Postgres?  Not to worry though, EnterpriseDB is here to save the day...  ;)

Friday, January 18, 2008

PostgreSQL beats Oracle and MySQL for Best Database of the Year Award just published their 2008 Product of the Year awards and the audience voted.  For Best Database Tool or Add-in, the nominees were:  Hibernate, JavaDB, MySQL, Oracle Database 10g, and PostgreSQL.devpoy_08sm

Here is the quote from

And the winner is PostgreSQL. This one surprised us and taught us something about our audience base. We need to do a better job of covering this topic! touts this product as "The world's most advanced open source database" and after seeing the votes, they may just be correct.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Congrats to MySQL

I know I spend a lot of time on my blog talking smack about Oracle and MySQL.  And, honestly Oracle deserves the smackdown far more than MySQL does.  I have met Marten a few times at shows and I have to say from my limited interactions, he is a really nice guy. 

And so, I would like to congratulate all the folks at MySQL for a job well done.  Let's be honest.  The goal of being in business is to make money.  And, the folks at MySQL have worked hard for a long time. 

Enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What makes MySQL so popular?

In a previous post, I discussed the claims of both MySQL (The world's most popular open source database) and PostgreSQL (The world's most advanced open source database).  I said I would dig deeper into WHY MySQL is so popular. 

The answer is quite simple, really.  It is pervasive.  But, to fully understand how they got this way and where they are pervasive, we need to go back more than a few years.

MySQL is roughly 10 years old.  That means it was started in the late 90s.  This was right about the time that everyone and their brother decided that they could have a website.  For a brief history of the web, check out the Hobbs Internet Timeline.  As you can see, the birth of MySQL ties nicely into the explosion of the internet.  For example, 1998, the 2 millionth domain name is registered.  By 2000, there are over 1 billion index-able pages.

So, back to my story.  The web is exploding.  Thousands of static websites are popping up every day.  And, small web hosting companies are starting to take hold.  The competition among the regional web hosts leads them to expand their offerings and, at the same time, websites are struggling to differentiate themselves.  While he majority of sites are still static content, many require a small backend database.  MySQL is the ONLY FREE database around.  MySQL becomes the default install in many of these webhosting companies.  As tools for building sites become more popular (content management systems, forums, etc.) MySQL is the only viable choice.  (Actually, Postgres is a viable alternative, but not as well known at this point because there is no company pushing it.)

And, in reality, the rest is history.  MySQL has solidified itself as the de facto standard for the web/edge tier in read-only applications.  The LAMP stack is set.

Jump forward to today, however, and the waters become a little muddy.  Many websites do more than hold static data or perform simple operations.  The web is now a tool for doing real business. 

MySQL, who for many years scoffed at the idea of transactions, is struggling to add features to compete.  The big three players (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2) have added low end free versions and PostgreSQL and EnterpriseDB are gaining in popularity every day. 

MySQL is now finding itself in a not-so-enviable position.  They have spent so many years defining themselves in the web/edge space as the best read-only database, that they may have done too good of a job and they may be stuck there forever.

And many questions remain. 

  • Will MySQL ever be able to develop the features necessary to play with the big boys? 
  • Will they be able to overcome the conventional wisdom that they are not an enterprise-class database?

Time will tell... 

Just look at some of their showcase customers.  Sabre (Travelocity) is a great case study for MySQL But, even there, they are stuck in the read-only space.  Sabre uses MySQL on their Travelocity site whenever you search for a hotel or flight.  But, as soon as you decide to purchase, you are immediately switched over to Oracle to handle the transaction.

And I don't want to hear about Google.  They don't count.  Google employs more DBAs, developers and architects than just about anyone else in the world.  They can make any database do anything they want it to.

MySQL - The World's Most Popular Database for read-only, lightweight websites.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Why you need lead scoring

In the world of B2B marketing, just about everything happens "on the Net" these days.  More and more trade magazines are going all digital and the number of e-alerts and e-newsletters I receive on a daily basis is now over 100.  Getting someone to click on your ad or email and come to your site is most definitely more art than science.

But, once a prospect gets to your site, how do you know whether they are really interested without having inside sales call every single one of them?  You need to have a serious focus on lead scoring.

What is lead scoring you ask?  It is ability to rank the quality of a lead based on a concise and quantitative set of variables. 

Notice that I said "quantitative".  The world of open source marketing is, in many ways, not unlike consumer marketing.  Because of the low entry fees, the goal of open source marketers is to get as many leads as possible just like a consumer website.  But, the comparison ends there, because converting a lead to a sale in consumer marketing is relatively easily.  For open source companies there is a fair bit of education that must often be done to counteract the current conventional wisdom (read FUD) or lack of education.  The sales process then looks more like a traditional enterprise sale.

For the tried and true enterprise sales folks, the goal is less about quantity and more on quality because an enterprise sale can take 6-9 months or more.  So, quality is very important.  Open source straddles the fence.  Quantity is key in lead generation and quality is important to convert the lead.

That is where lead scoring comes into play.  Assume you get 10000 leads per week.  You don't have the ability to triage all 10000 leads on a qualitative basis, so you must develop a process to measure each lead based on the information at hand and do it automatically.

How do you measure this?  First, you need to make sure you have the right tools to do it.  Good marketing software, like Eloqua or Manticore, can help.  You also need a great CRM package to hold the information and deliver it in an organized and timely fashion to the right salesperson.

Next, you need to come up with the "what", meaning what are you going to measure?

I recommend establishing a point system.  Leads get points based on both fixed and variable data.

Fixed data includes their company name, their email address and their title.  For example, leads from Fortune 500 companies might get 5 points while independent consultants get 1 point.  Likewise, a corporate email address gets 5 points while an email address from Hotmail gets 1 point.  Why?  Because someone who is just browsing typically doesn't want to hear from you and therefor uses a "spam" address while someone who has an active project wants to keep you top of mind and make sure they know what's up, so they use their work address.

Variable data is more important than the fixed data and often more difficult to track without the right tools. 

Variable data includes: 

  • Number of page views
  • Length of visit
  • Product download
  • Participation in online forums*

*Do they participate in your forums?  If so, that moves them right to the head of the line because it implies that they are using your product and might be getting ready to purchase.

Determine the significance of each "action" and assign points for each of them and mix it with the value of the fixed data.  Then assign a threshold, so when a lead reaches a certain number of points, they are flagged and passed to the right person within the organization to follow-up.

It takes a lot of tweaking over time and you may never get it right.  But, this allows you to apply yet another bit of science to what is, in many ways, art.

Of course, there are exceptions for all of these.  After all, that independent consultant I mentioned earlier may be on a major project with Proctor & Gamble.  And I am not saying ignore the lesser leads all together.  I am just advocating that you rank them so the "hot" leads get the attention they deserve WHEN they deserve to get it.  And, if you are really good at collecting the variable data and passing it to sales, the salesperson already knows WHAT the prospect's problem is and what he/she needs.