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First Steps to Creating a Cloud Computing Strategy for 2013

Cloud computing strategy 2013 will be one of the most pivotal years for cloud computing because trust in these technologies is on the line.

Expectations are high regarding these technologies’ ability to deliver business value while reducing operating costs.  Enterprises’ experiences have at times met these high expectations, yet too often are getting mixed results.  Managing cloud expectations at the C-level is quickly emerging as one of the most valuable skills in 2013. The best CIOs at this are business strategists who regularly review with their line-of-business counterparts what is and isn’t working.  These CIOs who are excelling as strategists also are creating and continually evaluating their cloud computing plans for 2013.  They are focusing on plans that capitalize the best of what cloud computing has to offer, while minimizing risks.

CIOs excelling as strategists are also using cloud computing planning to punch through the hype and make cloud technologies real from a customer, supplier and internal efficiency standpoint.  Lessons learned from these cloud computing planning efforts in enterprises are provided below:

  • Cloud computing needs to mature more to take on all enterprise applications, so plan for a hybrid IT architecture that provides both agility and security.  This is a common concern among CIOs in the manufacturing and financial services industries especially.  As much as the speed of deployment, customization and subscription-based models attract enterprises to the cloud, the difficult problems of security, legacy system integration, and licensing slow its adoption.  There is not enough trust in the cloud yet to move the entire IT infrastructure there in the majority of manufacturing companies I’ve spoken with.
  • Reorganizing IT to deliver greater business agility and support of key business initiatives will be a high priority in 2013.  The gauntlet has been thrown at the feet of many CIOs this year: become more strategic and help the business grow now.  Cloud is part of this, yet not its primary catalyst, the need to increase sales is.  IT organizations will increasingly reflect a more service-driven, not technology-based approach to delivering information and intelligence to the enterprise as a result.
  • Recruiting, training and retaining cloud architects, developers, engineers, support and service professionals will be a challenge even for the largest enterprises.  There isn’t enough talent to go around for all the projects going on and planned right now.  State Farm Insurance has 1,000 software engineers working on their mobility applications for claims processing and quoting for example.  And they are hiring more.  Certifications in cloud technologies are going to be worth at least a 30 to 50% increase in salary in specific positions. This is very good news for engineers who want to differentiate themselves and get ahead in their careers, both financially and from a management standpoint.
  • Measuring the contributions of operating expense (OPEX) reductions is going to become commonplace in 2013.  From the cloud computing plans I’ve seen, OPEX is being tracked with greater accuracy than in any other year and will be a strong focus in the future.  The capital expense (CAPEX) savings are clear, yet OPEX savings in many cases aren’t. Cloud computing’s greatest wins in the enterprise continue to be in non-mission critical areas of the business.  This is changing as cloud-based ERP systems gain adoption within businesses who are constrained by monolithic ERP systems from decades ago.  Plex Systems is a leader in this area and one to watch if you are interested in this area of enterprise software.  SaaS is dominating in the area of lower application costs and high user counts, which is the Public Computing Sweet Spot in the following graphic:

Figure 1 Cloud Computing Planning Guide

Source: 2013 Cloud Computing Planning Guide: Rising Expectations Published: 1 November 2012 Analysts: Drue Reeves, Kyle Hilgendorf

  • Start building a SaaS application review framework including Service Level Agreement (SLA) benchmarks to drive greater transparency by vendors.  Gartner forecasts that the SaaS-based cloud market will grow from $12.1B in 2013 to$21.3B in 2015, with the primary growth factors being ease of customization and speed of deployment. CIOs and their staffs have SaaS frameworks already in place, often with specific levels of performance defined including security and multitenancy audits.  SLAs are going to be a challenge however as many vendors are inflexible and will not negotiate them. At a minimum make sure cloud service providers and cloud management platforms (CMP) have certifications for ISO 27001 and Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16, as this shows the provider is making investments in availability, security and performance levels.
  • Create a Cloud Decision Framework to keep technology evaluations and investments aligned with business strategies.  Business and application assessments and the vendor selection process need to take into account application requirements, role of external cloud resources, and how the RFI will be structured. These process areas will vary by type of company – yet concentrating in application requirements goes a long way to reducing confusion and forcing trade-offs in the middle of a review cycle.  The following is an example of a Cloud Decision Framework:

Figure 2 Sample Cloud Decision Framework

Source: 2013 Cloud Computing Planning Guide: Rising Expectations Published: 1 November 2012 Analysts: Drue Reeves, Kyle Hilgendorf

  • Mitigating risk and liability through intensive due diligence needs to become any cloud-based companies’ core strength.  Regardless of how the HP-Autonomy litigation is resolved it is a powerful cautionary tale of the need for due diligence.  And let’s face it: there are way too many SaaS companies chasing too few dollars in the niche areas of enterprise software today.  A shakeout is on the way, the market just can’t sustain so many vendors.  To reduce risk and liability, ask to see the financial statements (especially if the vendor is private), get references and visit them, meet with engineering to determine how real the product roadmap is, and require an SLA.  Anyone selling software on SaaS will also have revenue recognition issues too, be sure to thoroughly understand how they are accounting for sales.
  • Design in security management at the cloud platform level, including auditing and access control by role in the organization.  One manufacturing company I’ve been working with has defined security at this level and has been able to quickly evaluate SaaS-based manufacturing, pricing and services systems by their security integration compatibility.  This has saved thousands of dollars in security-based customizations to meet the manufactures’ corporate standards.

Bottom line: 2013 is the make-or-break year for cloud in the enterprise, and getting started on a plan will help your organization quickly cut through the hype and see which providers can deliver value.

How Google is Driving Mobile Video Market Growth

Google’s top advertising customers are pushing for convergence of mobile and video quickly, which is turning into a strong catalyst of growth of the global mobile video market.  With their largest advertising customers wanting greater flexibility in bringing video to mobile devices, Google will make significant strides this year to make that happen.

During their latest earnings call, Google execs said that Android, Chrome and YouTube are the highest priority areas of their business. I’ve been following the last year of earnings calls closely, and it’s clear that Google’s largest advertising customers are pushing the company to bring video to mobile at a level of performance and usability not accomplished yet.  The Q2, 2012 earnings call transcript makes this point clear which can be accessed here Google’s Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript.

 Mobile and Video: Transforming Convergence Into Cash

Over the last year, Google executives have mentioned the growth of YouTube and its quick evolution from a content management system to a profitable advertising platform.   During the Q1, 2012 earnings call held on April 12, 2012 the following points were made:

  • Google reported they had over 800 million monthly users uploading over an hour of video per second
  • U.K. mobile operator O2 used YouTube as the foundation of a brand launch that year with support for 100 new original channels completed and launched
  • Global product launch plans from GM, Toyota and Unilever and several other large advertising accounts are also underway

During the Q2, 2012 earnings call, Nikesh Arora, Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer started his comments regarding the YouTube business with the statement “I think in 2007 it was when newspapers frequently said YouTube is groping for an effective business model. I think we can declare we found our model.” Immediately after making this statement, Mr. Arora mentioned that yearly account signups have doubled year-over-year and users are uploading over 72 hours of video every minute.  He also mentioned that  “thousands of partners are making six figures and we’re proud to work with major record labels in Hollywood studios on this platform.”

The call continued with the points made of Danish advertisers shifting their television advertising dollars to YouTube and other Google branding solutions.  Additional companies mentioned on the call using YouTube-based advertising include Denon, Shire, and Intel.  Clearly these companies have major product introductions coming up and see mobile video as perfect for reaching more potential customers than ever before.

Google’s Challenge: Keep Content Quality and User Experience Constantly Improving

If Google is going to attain the full revenue potential of YouTube as an advertising platform, they’ll need to focus on the following factors:

  • Create Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) and easy-to-use programming tools for quickly creating mobile-optimized sites.  As Gartner studies have shown, video on telephones is most often used as a time-filler, with a median length of 2 minutes, 46 seconds.
  • YouTube will need to support more optimized mobile-based video browsers that can support contextual search.  This will be a core requirement for the enterprise, specifically in the areas of mobile customer care, mobile commerce and mobile health.
  • More extensive analytics in YouTube than are available today, specifically tying into to major marketing strategies including product introductions.  It is becoming common knowledge that videos improve viewer engagement and prospects attribute a more positive shopping experience when they are used.  Luxury brands are investing heavily in this technology including BMW, Burberry, Channel, Louis Vuitton and many others.
  • A Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT smartphone users study completed in April, 2011 shows that 77% of smartphone users said that their most visited site was a mobile search engine.

Mobile Video: The Market YouTube Built

The size of the worldwide mobile video market was comprised of 429 million mobile video users in 2011, projected to grow exponentially to 2.4 billion users by 2016.  Smartphones and tablet sales will contribute 440 million new mobile video users during the forecast period.  These market estimates are from the recently published Gartner report, Market Trends: Worldwide, the State of Mobile Video, 2012.

Additional take-aways from this report include the following:

  • Allot Communication’s reports that mobile streaming grew 93% in the first half of 2011; Allot also reports that the usage of YouTube’s mobile channel grew by 152% and YouTube generated 22% of all mobile video traffic in the first half of 2011.  YouTube reports getting 400 million video views a month globally.
  • Gartner reports from a survey completed in the 4th quarter of 2010 that 32% of mobile enterprise users watch short videos from YouTube and other sites optimized for video streaming.
  • The fastest growth for mobile video will be in Latin America as smartphone adoption continues to accelerate, replacing traditional cell phones in these markets.  Asia/Pacific will have the highest number of mobile video users at 541 million by 2016.  Both of these markets will benefit from low-cost smartphones being produced by contract manufacturers who are becoming the dominant production strategy of brand leaders globally. The following graphic shows the Mobile Video User Forecast by Region, Worldwide, 2008 – 2016.

  • By 2016, close to 60% of professionally developed mobile video content will be delivered via mobile-optimized websites that also have enhanced contextual search functionality included in the content management systems.
  • Mobile customer care, mobile commerce and mobile health will be the three primary industry drivers in the near-term of mobile video market, emerging as growth catalysts of this emerging market.
  • Cisco’s Visual Networking Index study reports that last year, mobile video accounted for 56% of all mobile data traffic.
  • 3G/4G connections are emerging as a powerful catalyst of mobile video growth.  Gartner is forecasting that the worldwide share of mobile video connections on 3G/4G will increase from 18% in 2011 to 43% in 2015.  In more established markets incouding North America and Western Europe, the percentage of 3G/4G connections is expected to be as high as 80% and 96% respectively.
  • Gartner projects that 70% of mobile video users will use only Wi-Fi to view mobile video, with the remainder of the market relying on a mix of cellular and Wi-Fi networks to gain access and also upload content.   The following figure shows the Mobile Video User Forecast by Network Type, Worldwide, 2008 – 2016.

Source: Market Trends: Worldwide, the State of Mobile Video, 2012. Gartner Group. Published: 10 February 2012 ID:G00223693 Author: Shalini Verma.   Link: http://www.gartner.com/id=1920315

Gartner Releases Their Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2012

Enterprises are beginning to change their buying behaviors based on the deployment speed, economics and customization that cloud-based technologies provide.  Gartner cautions however that enterprises are far from abandoning their on-premise models and applications entirely for the cloud.

Based on an analysis of the Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2012, the best results are being attained by enterprises that focus on a very specific strategy and look to cloud-based technologies to accelerate their performance.  Leading with a strategic framework of goals and objectives increases the probability of cloud-based platform success. Those enterprises that look to cloud platforms only for cost reduction miss out on their full potential.

The Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2012 is shown below:

Cloudwashing and Inflated Enterprise Expectations

While the hype surrounding cloud computing may have peaked, cloudwashing continues to cause confusion and inflated expectations with enterprise buyers.  This just slows down sales cycles, when more straightforward selling could lead to more pilots, sales and a potentially larger market. Cloud vendors who have the expertise gained from delivering cloud platforms on time, under budget, with customer references showing results are starting to overtake those that using cloudwashing as part of their selling strategies.

Additional take-aways from the Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing include the following:

  • Cloud Email is expected to have a 10% adoption rate in enterprises by 2014, down from the 20% Gartner had forecasted in previous Hype Cycles.  This represents modest growth as the adoption rate of this category had been between 5 and 6% in 2011.
  • Big Data will deliver transformational benefits to enterprises within 2 to 5 years, and by 2015 will enable enterprises adopting this technology to outperform competitors by 20% in every available financial metric.  Gartner defines Big Data as including large volumes processed in streams, in addition to batch.  Integral to Big Data is an extensible services framework that can deploy processing to the data or bring data to the process workflow itself. Gartner also includes more than one asset type of data in their definition, including structured and unstructured content.  The Priority Matrix for Cloud Computing, 2012 is shown below:

  • Master Data Management (MDM) Solutions in the Cloud and Hybrid IT are included in this hype cycle for the first time in 2012.  Gartner reports that MDM Solutions in the Cloud is getting additional interest from Enterprise buyers as part of a continual upward trend of interest in MDM overall.  Dominant vendors in this emerging area include Cognizant, Data Scout, IBM, Informatica, Oracle and Orchestra Networks, are among those with MDM-in-the-cloud solutions.
  • PaaS continues to be one of the most misunderstood aspects of cloud platforms.  The widening gap between enterprise expectations and experiences is most prevalent in this market.  Gartner claims this is attributable to the relatively narrow middleware functions delivered and the consolidation fo vendors and service providers in this market.
  • By 2014 the Personal Cloud will have replaced the personal computer as the center of user’s digital lives.
  • Private Cloud Computing is among the highest interest areas across all cloud computing according to Gartner, with 75% of respondents in Gartner polls saying they plan to pursue a strategy in this area by 2014.  Pilot and production deployments are in process across many different enterprises today, with one of the major goals being the evaluation of virtualization-driven value and benefits.
  • SaaS is rapidly gaining adoption in enterprises, leading Gartner to forecast more than 50% of enterprises will have some form of SaaS-based application strategy by 2015.  Factors driving this adoption are the high priority enterprises are putting on customer relationships, gaining greater insights through analytics, overcoming IT- and capital budget-based limitations, and aligning IT more efficiently to strategic goals.
  • More than 50% of all virtualization workloads are based on the x86 architecture. This is expected to increase to 75% by 2015.  Gartner reports this is a disruptive innovation which is changing the relationship between IT and enterprise where service levels and usage can be tracked.

Bottom line: Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing  shows that when cloud-based platforms are aligned with well-defined strategic initiatives and line-of-business objectives, they deliver valuable contributions to an enterprise.  It also shows how Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) are the catalysts of long-term market growth.  The following slide from the presentation  High-Tech Tuesday Webinar: Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast, 2Q12 Update: Cloud Is the Silver Lining (free for download) also makes this point.

The Marketing of Cloud Multitenancy: How Early Adopters Are Killing The Hype

It’s impressive how quickly the teams evaluating CRM cloud-based applications are learning how to deflate the hype surrounding multitenancy.

One gets the impression that hype-hunting has now become a sport in these teams.  In engineering-centric companies it’s a badge of honor to find out just how multitenant a cloud-based application or platform is.  Multitenancy isn’t the only area they are looking at, but given the massive amount of hype surrounding this issue on the part of vendors, it generates more attention because evaluation teams are skeptical.

Teams evaluating CRM applications aren’t satisfied with an easily customized and used graphical interface or series of workflows, they are getting more interested in the architecture itself .  In some cases they’ve been burned by claims of an application being SaaS-based when in fact the architecture is a glorified series of Citrix-like sessions running in the background or worse.  I have seen a healthy amount of skepticism in the evaluations going on right now and recently completed of SaaS applications and entire cloud platforms.  Gartner’s inquiry calls from corporate accounts must be accelerating as their clients look for guidance on how to sort out the multitenancy hype.

CRM, Multitenancy and the Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing

Gartner’s search analytics show that cloud computing and related terms had 29,998 searches in the last twelve months with cloud computing alone generating 10,062 searches.  SaaS and related terms had a search volume of 19,000.  These terms are among the most popular across all Gartner search terms for the last twelve months.  In comparison, CRM had over 42,000 searches in the same period.

It’s in this area of CRM applications where multitenancy has gone into hype overdrive. Looking for differentiators, some CRM vendors are claiming not just multitenancy – but their specific brand of it.  This confuses their prospects, which immediately energizes evaluation teams to do a more thorough job than they have ever done before.  By claiming their own type of multitenancy, CRM vendors are ironically not just slowing down their own sales cycles, they are making the entire industry slow down.  No wonder Gartner places multitenancy along the Peak of Inflated Expectations in the latest Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing which is shown below.

Making Sense of Elasticity and Multitenancy

It’s paradoxical that enterprise software vendors, especially those selling SaaS-based CRM applications,  are attempting to turn multitenancy into a differentiator.  What is needed is a greater focus on usability, flexibility in aligning workflows to specific needs, and better enterprise integration technologies.  Sell the value not the product features.

Given the confusion differentiating on multitenancy is creating and the calls Gartner is getting on this issue, they published Gartner Reference Model for Elasticity and Multitenancy.  It includes what Gartner believes a cloud services provider must implement in terms of a multitenant service in addition to what SaaS-based applications need to provide.  Here are their checklists for each area:

Multitenancy Service Requirements for Cloud Services Providers

  • Isolation of tenant data
  • Isolation of the tenant workspace (memory)
  • Isolation of tenant execution characteristics (performance and availability)
  • Tenant-aware security, monitoring, management, reporting and self-service administration
  • Isolation of tenant customizations and extensions to business logic
  • Continuous, tenant-aware version control
  • Tenant-aware error tracking and recovery
  • Tracking and recording of resources use per tenant
  • The ability to allocate resources to tenants dynamically, as needed and based on policy Horizontal scalability to support real-time addition/removal of tenant resources, tenants or users without interruptions to the running environment

Multitenancy in Cloud Application Services (Software as a Service) Applications

  • Be available 24/7, because of the potential global user base
  • Adopt new versions without disrupting the continuous operations of tenants, and preserve user customizations
  • Scale up or down on demand
  • Allow individual rollback and restore for each tenant
  • Not allow a “noisy neighbor” tenant to affect the performance of other tenants, or increase their costs
  • Be accessible from various locations, devices and software architectures to meet potentially global demand
  • Offer tenant-aware self-service

Gartner also released their Reference Architecture for Multitenancy, which is shown below.  One of the key assumptions of this model is that multitenancy is a mode of operation where multiple, independent and secured instances of applications run in a shared environment.  The model includes the seven different models of multitenancy Gartner has seen in their research.  These seven models, listed across the top of the model beginning with Shared Nothing and progressing to Custom Multitenancy are across the top of the model.

The majority of enterprises I’ve worked with are looking to the Shared Hardware approach in an attempt to create backward compatibility to their legacy applications via Virtual Machines. Another area of interest is the Shared Container approach which relies on a separate logical or physical instance of a DBMS, and often isolates its own business logic.  This is ideal for distributed order management systems and SaaS-based ERP systems for example.  Yet the legacy application support in this type of multitenancy can get expensive fast.

Shared Everything Multitenancy is ideal for quickly on-ramping and off-ramping applications, tenants and individual system users and is what nearly all enterprise vendors claim to do.  In reality only a handful do this well.  This approach to multitenancy is based on the Shared Container approach including support for shared DBMS sessions.  Salesforce.com’s Force.com platform, VMWare WaveMaker and Zoho Creator are all examples of companies who have successfully delivered Shared Everything multitenancy.

With so much to gain by positioning an application or solution suite in the 6th and 7th models, vendors are rushing to define their own versions of Shared Everything and Custom Multitenancy.  The land grab is on in this area of the multitenancy market right now.  IBM, Microsoft and Oracle are all expected to endorse and eventually have many of their cloud-based applications in the Shared Everything model.  Each of these companies and many others will have a multi-model based approach to selling multitenancy as well.

Gartner Reference Model for Elasticity and Multitenancy

Source:  Gartner Reference Model for Elasticity and Multitenancy

Bottom line: Enterprise software vendors can accelerate evaluation cycles and sell more by differentiating on the user experience and value delivered instead of trying to create fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) by creating their own definition of multitenancy.

Rethinking Cloud ROI from a Customer’s Perspective

Seeing the proliferation of cloud ROI, TCO and cost calculators brings to mind my economics professors who strove with a passion to reduce complex consumer decisions into simple, very powerful formulas.  Like these calculators pervading the market, my economics professors showed a passion for accuracy, precision and measured perfection.

The only trouble is that people, companies and markets defy and will deliberately not conform to an equation, cause-and-effect strategy or series of artificial incentives to get them to change.  If there is one single, loudly reverberating fact in this economy, it is that marketing and selling strategies based on economic theory alone are failing.  The business benefits of cloud computing need to be more integrated into these ROI and TCO calculators to make them relevant.  They need to reflect more of the customers’ needs to be useful.

It’s Time To Bring The Customer and Their Strategies Into The Equation

Of the many white papers, e-books and websites all claiming to translate cloud computing server usage and capacity planning metrics into business benefits, the Open Groups’ white paper published in 2010 delivers useful insights.  The research and analysis was produced by Cloud Business Artifacts (CBA) project of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group.  You can find the entire document here.

The following table is from the section on building ROI for Cloud Computing using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Metrics.  While this table is a start, what’s  missing  are more metrics related to the Web customer experience.  There needs to be more measures of whether customer experiences were successful or not by application, and if and how SaaS-based applications contributed to customers’ expectations being exceeded or not.

One of the biggest benefits all ROI and TCO calculators attempt to quantify is speed of cost reduction and time reduction, but what about speed of strategy execution? For many of these online tools, prospects using them would have no idea how their investment will accelerate their goals.  All they see are costs related to the technology.  Not much if any analysis is provided how the technology relates to their strategies being attained more quickly, completely and profitably.

And what about enabling channels to sell more effectively?  Launching products on time, synchronized across online and offline channels and having consistency of messaging, pricing, services – in short the entire user experience– is rarely if ever mentioned.  Ironically the greater the focus on ROI and TCO calculators, the greater the lack of focus on creating a truly exceptional customer experience while attaining complex selling strategies.

It’s time for the industry’s vendors to wake up and realize that they are selling for the most part to nonconformists not robots.  ROI and TCO calculators that don’t reflect what customers really want to accomplish and stay centered on technology alone are missing huge opportunities to sell on value.

Bottom line: The comfort that comes from attempting to take the chaos of a market and crystalize it into an equation is an illusion – the real test of a vendor’s value is being able to navigate customers to their goals using technology when necessary, not as a crutch.

Cloud ROI and TCO Calculators

Amazon Web Services Economics Center  http://aws.amazon.com/economics/

Amazon Web Services Simple Monthly Calculator http://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/calc5.html

Astadia Cloud Computing ROI Calculator http://www.astadia.com/products-and-services/IT-cloud-transformation/roi/

Azure ROI Calculator (written in Silverlight)  http://azureroi.cloudapp.net/

Commentary: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en/windowsazure/thread/c4155f48-d51f-4c14-b79c-3f8248ac9646

Azure TCO calculator http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/offers/

Cloud Business Review – Cloud Migration ROI Calculatohttp://www.cloudbusinessreview.com/cloud-migration-roi-calculator.html

EMC ROI Analyst (requires opt-inhttps://roianalyst.alinean.com/emc/Welcome.do

GetApp Cloud Computing Calculator http://www.getapp.com/cloud-computing-roi-calculator

Google Cloud Calculator http://www.gonegoogle.com/#/company-name

Rackspace Load Balancer Calculator http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/cloud_hosting_products/loadbalancers/pricing/

Salesforce.com Force.com Business Case Calculator (ROI) http://www.salesforce.com/platform/tco/calculator.jsp?d=70130000000EfON&internal=true

Stelligent ROI Calculator http://stelligent-roi.appspot.com/

VMWare ThinApp Calculator http://roitco.vmware.com/ThinApp/

Sources:

Open Group Publishes Guidelines on Cloud Computing ROI http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com/node/1376952

Private cloud discredited, part 1 http://www.zdnet.com/blog/saas/private-cloud-discredited-part-1/1204?tag=mantle_skin;content

Cloud City and VMware: May the Virtualization Force Be With You

VMware’s CTO and Senior Vice President of R&D Steve Herrod hosts a series of video interviews with the talented members of his company’s development and engineering teams, in addition to creating videos to explain complex virtualization and systems management concepts.  The series is titled Office of the CTO and is worth subscribing to on YouTube.

This week’s video features a fictional account of Cloud City, a well-known location in the Star Wars movies, as a new VMware customer. The Chief Private Cloud Architect, Chewbacca shares how VMware freed up Cloud City IT from a static and rigid infrastructure, too many trouble tickets, and lots of wasted storage.  It also has a walking tour of the VMware campus, which looks like a great place to work too.

Bottom line: It’s great to see a company so rich with technology expertise take an unpretentious approach to explaining how they deliver value to their customers, making us laugh at the same time.

Image attribution: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Cloud_City
Note: VMware isn’t a client and didn’t pay for this to be written.

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