It’s the content, stupid

28 06 2010

Linotype Machine

Not to point out the obvious, but with the low barrier to entry for using social media it’s pretty easy for anyone to say anything to anyone about anything these days. In contrast, my dad was trained as a printer in Ireland, and spent decades here in the U.S. working the night shift to produce the newspapers we relied upon for the news each morning. Reporters hunting down the scoop by day, editors fine-tuning the story in the evening, and my dad toiling through the wee hours setting the type. I loved waking up to the news he brought home each morning in that freshly printed paper.

These mornings I roll over and grab my iPhone off the nightstand. I click one of multiple apps to see what’s happened overnight. I check in on blogs, scan my twitter feed, make sure my facebook friends aren’t having major issues – all before I lift my head from the pillow. It’s over coffee that I turn to traditional media for more news: wsj, theregister, nytimes, … While I trust my friends to offer up their views on just about everything, I want their opinions supplemented by reporters hunting down scoops, backed by intelligent and thoughtful editors working the story.

That’s why I’m so intrigued by the Atlantic’s recent article on Google’s attempt to save traditional media. User generated content is often ad hoc, and it works best for me when supported by a system of professional journalists working the systemic stories.

The Sunday paper best exemplifies the traditional journalistic business model. All that news is paid for by the huge bundle of colorful ads that sit in the center of the folded paper. But in new media, the news doesn’t arrive in one convenient bundle that advertisers can use to push their message. And that one convenient bundle represents the traditional journalistic business model. But it’s not a question of whether we still need professional journalism, it’s a question of how to change the traditional media business model to support that profession.

Google acknowledges that they need the content produced by professionals to sustain the Google business model. And those professionals need to adapt as well to these changing times. The first thing to go will be the print, as more and more journalism goes on-line. That radically changes the cost structure of the news business. The second change is news aggregators, like Google News, directing traffic through content excerpts. And finally, the news will again be supported by ads, not in a bundle this time that falls out of your Sunday paper, but in on-line ads tailored to your interests via clickstream analytics.

So my dad no longer needs to set his linotype (good thing, cuz he retired and is now happy volunteering at a local cancer center), but we do need the journalists to feed content into our news ecosystem.


If cloud is the answer, what is the question?

2 06 2009

Cloud Question

Every year in our IT industry we enthusiastically embrace a different buzzword as the panacea of IT. Recall grid, virtualization and ILM – all laudable technologies that solve IT problems, but not fitting the definition of panacea. This year the buzzword seems to be cloud.

I’m an ardent fan of technological innovation – without it we’re missing one of the most important ways to truly change the world in which we live. And I believe cloud is game-changing technology. Being a true geek, I’m genuinely excited about the potential cloud offers in changing the IT landscape dramatically: if done right it doesn’t matter how compute, network, and storage interact inside a cloud… leaving broad room for innovation that would be considered too disruptive in today’s datacenter… paving the way for a new generation of applications that will solve problems many of us haven’t even thought of yet.

Yet cloud is no panacea. It takes hard work to solve IT problems: scale, security, compliance, data portability, privacy and so on. In addition the use of cloud requires changes to IT process and organization, with risk around every corner. But there’s reward in embracing clouds – reward in using IT to enable businesses to enter new markets more quickly, using cloud to reduce IT costs through economies of scale, and in changing those age-old financial conversations around capital and expense.

But it takes expertise, experience, and insight to figure out how to apply cloud technologies to meet the IT challenges of today and tomorrow. Which is why our Professional Services team, who have been working with customers to make their IT environments as efficient as possible, will also help customers figure out where cloud fits in their IT roadmaps. It’s a perfect match – PS experts who understand where cloud technology is going and who work every day to build efficient datacenters, helping to determine where cloud fits in customer’s IT roadmaps.

So if the question is “How do I get the most efficient IT environment to run and grow my business – both today and tomorrow?”, our PS experts can help determine where cloud fits in the answer – for both today and tomorrow.

The 5W’s of Remote Operations Management

5 05 2009

The 5W’s is an old formula that works for journalists, law enforcement and researchers in getting to the “full story”. This week I’m at Gartner’s outsourcing summit in Vegas talking with lots of people about Sun’s Remote Operations Management (ROM) service. And I’m finding the 5W’s works quite well for ROM as well, if I take them in my own order: Why? Who? Where? What? When?

Why is ROM a good option for IT right now? We all know the world today is always on, has an insatiable appetite for information, and expects service at it’s fingertips. And this means IT shops are under more pressure than ever – pressure to focus on strategic initiatives to grow business while shrinking IT costs at the same time. How do you free up IT for new projects when 70-80% of the IT budgets and the majority of IT staff are taking care of legacy infrastructure? Remote Operations Management for efficient processes and variable financing models.

Who should customers turn to for help? Certified ROM experts with expert tools. You want a vendor with years of experience, with technical and IT service management (e.g.; ITIL) certifications, with a knowledge base built from experience. You don’t want to be the first customer of an inexperienced remote management vendor.

Where does your remote operations vendor need to be? Everywhere – a ROM vendor needs to have global, local, and ubiquitous presence. So many businesses have global or multinational needs – your ROM vendor must have multiple Network Operation Centers (NOCs) in multiple locations – able to serve round the globe and round the clock. And service is a people business – you need local language support and local law compliance – so your ROM vendor must have a local presence as well. And transparency is a must – meaning you as a ROM customer must have ubiquitous access to see how your ROM vendor is doing – make sure you have portal access to see your environment from anywhere.

What should you turn over to a ROM vendor? Anyone in IT knows that the outsourcing model of the early 2000’s – where IT turned over the keys to the entire datacenter to outsourcing vendors – just didn’t work. It left IT with little control over their own destiny, with little ability to align with changing business needs. A much better strategy is selective sourcing“a strategy that treats IT as a portfolio of activities, some of which should be outsourced and others of which should be performed by internal staff. In other words, decide what’s critical to differentiate and manage it internally; decide what’s becoming commodity IT and look to selectively source it”.

When will a vendor help you with your selective sourcing? Certainly it needs to be on your terms – do you need interim management to help through a spike in your IT needs? Are you building a new application and want someone else to manage the infrastructure? Do you need someone to take over some of your legacy environment – to help increase availability and scale? A true selective sourcing vendor will take on any of these circumstances – dictated by your needs not by their demands.

Quite often the 5W’s are accompanied by 1H. Once you get the 5W’s out of the way in your analysis of remote operations management services, the How moves to front and center. So How? Just take a look at how Sun Remote Operations Management has answered these questions for other customers. And then let our ROM team lead the way.

Remote Operations Management Remote Operations Management Remote Operations Management

Feeling green today

15 04 2009

Uptime Institute

I’m not green around the gills or even green with envy. I’m feeling Eco-Green!

Today Sun was named to the Uptime Institute’s Global Green 100 list. For three great green reasons:

  • We focus on building server, storage and software products that are sustainable. Some of my favorites are the new
    Open Network Systems announced earlier this week (using the killer Intel Nehalem processor at 30% less power for compute, and integrated flash at 38% less power/GB) and of course the virtualization built right into Solaris and OpenSolaris. Cuz we all know that most servers are drastically underutilized – like maybe by 85% – meaning lots of the power they consume and heat they put off is a complete waste. I’m also a fan of virtualized desktops – although the SunRay in my office throws off so little heat I have to wear gloves to keep my hands warm.
  • We’ve consolidated our Sun datacenters into eco-friendly environments, using next-gen power and cooling systems – saving 60% in power load. It took a lot of ingenuity to build those new datacenters – ingenuity fueled by the innovative minds at Sun.
  • And we’ve built professional services expertise around that innovation. So now we’re building eco-friendly datacenters for our customers – helping them to be as green as we are.

Which means next year I expect to see our customer names on the Global Green 100 list too.

When expertise is important…

26 11 2008

When I picked up my four Thanksgiving pies at Stonybrook Farm this afternoon, the baker mentioned that he made 500 pies for the holiday. I trust his expertise much better than my own, admittedly poor, pie-making skills.

Which brings me to our announcement yesterday. Keeping data for long periods of time is important these days. Of equal importance is truly destroying data as required by internal corporate erasure or regulatory policy. That’s why we developed a new on-site service to help customers with this challenge. Our experts delivering the new Sun Data Protection Data Erasure service will work with customers to ensure their erasure policies are compliant.

Now back to Thanksgiving: tomorrow we will give thanks for our baker’s pie-making expertise while we erase those four pies.

Analyze this!

21 11 2008

SAS 20 Nov 2008 Yesterday I presented at the Sun Analyst Series (SAS) with Peter Ryan (Sun’s EVP of Global Sales and Services), Ingrid Van Den Hoogen (Sun’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing) and Dave Douglas (Senior V.P. of and now leading Cloud Computing and Developer Programs, and Sun’s Chief Sustainability Officer – I really believe he has the longest title at Sun).

It was a good day. We talked with industry analysts about Sun’s strategy for growth (software infrastructure, HPC, enterprise virtualization and consolidation, developer community growth and cloud computing), our new business groups (System Platforms, Application Platform Software, and Cloud Computing & Developer Platforms), and changes within marketing (product and technology marketing are now fully embedded directly into the product groups). Ingrid outlined the changes at Sun and how they’ll help us moving forward. Peter talked about how Sun’s innovations continue to set us apart (and ahead) of other companies. Dave gave a glimpse of cloud computing at Sun and I spoke about all the great things we do in Sun Services – oh, can I mention again that we have a great remote operations management business? As I said, it was a good day. We had a lot of good conversations. Answered a lot of good questions.

It was an even better dinner. You have to analyze the analysts a bit too – our crew at dinner was really interesting. We swapped stories all around and had a great time. The overall mode was really positive. If only the economy would agree.

The ABCs of Services

16 06 2008

Need some OPA or PDQ anyone? A bit of SBL, a nip of RTPH? About a month ago I started a new job in Services Marketing, and while it’s been great meeting new people and learning all about our services offerings at Sun, I have to admit the acronyms are overwhelming. Funny thing… when I ask what they stand for – except for our sales team who knew every last one they used – 47.3% of the time no one could remember what the acronym meant (OK, I made up that statistic, but haven’t you heard that 47.3% of all statistics are made up?).

So now I know the CSEs are working on JESH in the NOC, which follows ITIL, and the SMGFS helps our customers with these CATK services.

I realigned those acronyms, and after removing duplicate letters, here’s what I came up with: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST. Seems we’re weak near the end of the alphabet. But I think I can say, it’s no longer all geek to me.

Now, as to what’s going on in services, we launched OpenSolaris this month at CommunityOne (a fabulous event – it you didn’t get there this year, plan on it for May09. FYI, the UnBOFs were outrageously fun! Interesting henna tattoos) and we also announced enterprise support for OpenSolaris. Customers wanting to run OpenSolaris as their OS of choice now have several options for support from Sun. For support coverage, they can purchase one of two new offerings – OpenSolaris Essentials or OpenSolaris Production Subscriptions. In addition, they can receive support coverage under their existing Sun System Service Plans for Solaris, and limited coverage under their existing Solaris Subscriptions. Developers can receive support through Developer Expert Assistance.

Open doesn’t have to mean alone. Product and service: that’s the right combination.