Cloud 'destroys time' and fracking is great innovation
CEO thought bubbles from Dell, Gelsinger, Maritz, Georgens, and Tucci
VMworld 2012 Dell supremo Michael Dell, EMC CEO Joe Tucci, NetApp opposite number Tom Georgens, soon-to-be VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger and his prececessor Paul Maritz have held court on a CEO-only panel at VMworld, largely reciting the same old stuff about how important it is for CIOs to simplify IT so that sysadmins can be unshackled from management duties and freed to innovate.
There were a few nuggets of insight beyond that schtick, after the five CIOs rose above Wired Editor Chris Anderson's opening gambit that it's impossible to hire anyone under 30 if you don't give them a Mac and let them spend half the working day on Facebook.
NetApp's Georgens articulated that with greater insight, noting a generational shift by recalling that the first computer he used was in the workplace. Almost nobody's first experience of technology happens that way today, he said, and young folk arrive in the workplace familiar with and desirous of using devices that have survived a nasty test in the market. In the context of the panel's repeated mentions of how CIOs must now manage devices they don't own on networks they cannot control the subtext was “Good luck matching that level of user experience R&D in your IT department.”
Maritz stole the show with a quip that on current trends, VMware's market capitalisation will exceed Facebook's.
Gelsinger offered the opinion that the Cloud has “destroyed time” by reducing the time needed to deploy servers. Cloud has also reduced the cost and IT and made it less dependent on geography by making servers' physical locations irrelevant. That combination, he thinks, adds up to easier access to innovation.
He also declared we're entering a golden age of application development, as after having focussed on the PC alone for years developers are now compelled to think more creatively.
Outgoing VMware CEO Paul Maritz declared that kind of development is necessary because we've entered the “multi-device era”. Backing away from the term “post-PC era”, which he coyly admitted he'd boosted for competitive reasons, he said there are some things he can't imagine doing on a device without a large screen. Making phones, tablets and PCs with lovely big 24-inch monitors work together is, he feels, now the main game.
EMC CEO Joe Tucci was quiet, but did cause a few sharp intakes of breath when the example he used to illustrate the necessity of IT to fuel innovation was the fracking process used to extract natural gas. Tucci did note environmentalists' concerns about the technique, but also said a decade ago the USA felt it would soon run out of gas, but has no such worries today with a century or more's resources identified of late.
Michael Dell was his usual stolid self, offering the insight that he sees global collaboration on open source projects as a significant new mode of work, and one which has transformed the IT industries.
Maritz stole the show with a quip that on current trends, Vmware's market capitalisation will exceed Facebook's.
With a grin he said that's because “VMware serves a useful social purpose,” leaving the other CEOs to note that they think Facebook is a wonderful company and they're grateful for its custom.
With the way its stock price is heading, Maritz may just have the last laugh. ®
the Cloud destroys time
Yup, right before destroying your data.
Seriously, I love how out-of-touch these high-level management types can appear to be. Listen to their spiel and you think the cloud is all fluffy and comfy, without delays or implementation issues of any kind. They are akin to Greek gods in Olympus, gliding miles above the issues and only seeing what they want to see.
Meanwhile, on the ground, the grunts deal with the nitty-gritty of reality, such as service response times, availability levels, bandwidth and backup, and that is before sorting out which applications and data can be put "in the cloud" and which can't, for whatever corporate reason.
And then we get to the nightmare of daily usage, when the inevitable failure occurs and the only thing the IT department can do is repeatedly dial a phone number that doesn't answer, despite all the service-level agreements and contractual obligations, until it does answer - only to hear that their data and apps have crashed and been restored to a status that was useful 3 months ago. Oh, and maybe they'll manage to get back to the current state, but God only knows if and when.
But yeah, viewed from space, Earth seems to be a pristine planet too - you don't see the oil spills, the rampant deforestation, or the clouds of pollution. From space, Earth is beautiful.
Earth to cloud, Earth to cloud, get down from your fluffy place and come meet the daily grind for a change.
"Physical location is irrelevant" - yeah, right
Gelsinger offered the opinion that the Cloud has “destroyed time” by reducing the time needed to deploy servers. Cloud has also reduced the cost and IT and made it less dependent on geography by making servers' physical locations irrelevant".
Let me guess, he's an American? From the last few audits I've seen, more and more people drink the US Coolaid that it's perfectly OK to subject their corporate data to the vagaries and legal creativity of the US government via the Patriot Act and other in principle uncontrolled abuse of intercept capabilities.
The problem is that it is very likely to land any non-US company with a Data Protection compliance failure if they have any client data, and they'll be handing off IP to economic espionage if they hold any exciting information like, say, Airbus plans. If you use cloud services you better start looking at those fluffy edges because without a crypto filesystem they leak. Badly. But a crypto file system creatives massive overheads (as does the networking involved).
Oh, and as for Cloud services "freeing" staff - it still needs machines, software, data centres, the works. Sticking another label on it so management and politicians can appear knowledgeable doesn't change the fundamentals, for most companies it mostly changes the packaging.. On the plus side, it keeps them from taking their aura near anything valuable..
No, just working... at work.