Posted by: Greg Ness | October 24, 2014

2015 – A Cloud Odyssey

This is the third in a series of cloud predictions for 2015, starting with When the Walls Come Down, which predicted that workload migration (into the cloud) costs would drop by more than 50% in 2015; then continuing with The Cloud Startup Ecosystem Explosion, which predicted the impact that cloud market share gains in 2015 would have on the evolution of a more robust and powerful cloud ecosystem. That ecosystem would ignite a revolution in IT best practices, akin to the rise of the personal computer and network, inside the hallowed halls of IT.

If you thought the enterprise web was amazing, get ready for the enterprise cloud movement.

The enterprise cloud takes me to the subject of this 3rd  “predictions for 2015″ blog, namely the rise of “white box” cultures that shift the buying paradigm from hardware to software and services. It’s all about agility and efficiency.

  • Growth will slow to a crawl for the specialty hardware-bound, and will escalate for the emerging white box ecosystem players. Enter the game changing rise of increasingly powerful, multifunctional, rack-able, scalable white boxes designed for on premise, cloud-scale IT.
  • White box will be the necessary and appropriate response of premise-bound IT to the increased agility and efficiency offered by the cloud providers.
The Sun is Starting to Set on the Cloud Slackers

The Sun is Starting to Set on the Cloud Slackers

Hardware becomes commodity, and software and services becomes strategic.

2015 will be a wakeup call for all tech vendors still living in the hardware-centric world. It won’t be the end of specialty hardware, but simply the beginning of the end. In a few years IT pros will look back upon specialty infrastructure hardware as today they look back at rotary phones and punch cards. At some point even virtualization platforms will start to feel like traps instead of productivity pivots.  It will get underway next year, in 2015.

That will likely mean some very adventurous years for the cloud slackers, starting with the vendors who sell to them. Hence the title: 2015 – A Cloud Odyssey.

Recommended Reading

Our Cloud DR Story – InformationWeek on emerging best practices in the cloud

Wheels Up – 30 day free cloud bundle supported by automated workload migration

Cloud DR on AWS: Best Practices 24 page guide with key terms, glossary, checklist

Golden Age or Golden Fleece – 2012 prediction of hard times for networking hardware players

Posted by: Greg Ness | October 23, 2014

The Cloud in 2015: Startup Ecosystem Explosion

This is a follow-up blog that is part of a series of 2015 cloud predictions. The first one, entitled When the Walls Come Down, had the following as the central thesis: In 2015 the perceived costs of cloud migration for existing production apps will drop by more than 50%; it will trigger a massive (and fast) market share battle unleashed by unprecedented automation.

CloudVelox Offices are Here

Enterprises Will Reach for the Clouds in 2015 – Like Never Before

That takes me to prediction number two:

  • The development of a new generation of software and service-centric startups will leverage software and robust API integration to offer next generation IT capabilities well beyond the walls of traditional IT, including:
  • enhanced cloud disaster recovery, security and compliance, over and above the capabilities of most firms;
  • new PaaS offerings, including specialized big data platforms for underserviced verticals, including genetic research and specialty ecommerce;
  • more sophisticated internet of things (IoT) management and security capabilities; and
  • bold new IT operating models that will increase agility while reducing costs.

Today, there are already 3-4 “sub-50 person startups” being heralded by cloud execs as strategic to the new (enterprise) cloud age. Expect that list to grow to 15-20 by the end of 2015. Even the tragically hip cloud management space will come of age in 2015, enabled by accelerating deployments.

Additional Reading

Who Will win the Cloud War: My Tea Garden Talks interview at VMWORLD 2014

Wheels Up: 30 day free cloud bundle supported by automated migration

The Trend-setting City of Asheville, NC: Amazon AWS City on a Cloud (best practices) Grand Prize Winner

AWS Webinar on Advanced Disaster Recovery Practices: Amazon DR Architect Abdul Sait with Asheville CIO Jonathan Feldman

Posted by: Greg Ness | October 22, 2014

2015 and the Cloud: When the Walls Come Down

Cloud Migration Automation

The CloudVelox cloud migration gears

Before we see a rush of 2015 predictions let me offer up an unspoken 900 pound gorilla:

  • In 2015 the perceived costs of cloud migration for existing production apps will drop by more than 50%; it will trigger a massive (and fast) market share battle unleashed by unprecedented automation

Why this will happen:

  • A new generation of cloud integrators will establish leadership with automated cloud migration software, augmented by their specialized services;
  • The entry of Azure and the rise of OpenStack will force cloud providers to reduce onboarding costs as a matter of necessity;
  • Cloud providers and integrators who continue to rely exclusively on manual scripts, image conversion tools and hourly-billed projects will quickly become out of favor; and
  • Cloud DR will emerge as a game-changing use case for traditional apps running pilot light DR operating models on disruptive cloud providers.

Key Assumptions:

  • Cloud migration represents a material expense for most existing apps looking to be deployed in the cloud and it will become even more obvious as cloud adoption intensifies;
  • Cloud providers and leading integrators will go to market with solutions and messages directly targeting those who have either experimented with early migration tools (and failed or gave up) or have been convinced by “body shops” that the old way is the best way.

In 2015, the silos of traditional IT will no longer be protected by erroneous assumptions tied to cloud security, management and compliance. New truths will emerge, including the notion that cloud security is really a code word for career insecurity. The walls separating best practices in the cloud from traditional IT will start to come down… in 2015.

Additional Reading

Our Cloud DR Story: InformationWeek

Wheels Up: 30 day free cloud bundle supported by automated migration

Cloud DR on AWS: Best Practices guide

Posted by: Greg Ness | September 8, 2014

Who will Win IaaS War: VMworld Video Interview

It was great catching up with Brian at VMworld, even if it was in the Tea Garden.  We go back a ways.  This 6 minute video clip discusses who will win the cloud wars and how CloudVelox differentiates from a dozen or so early cloud migration and DR tools.

 Tea Garden Talk on Cloud DR

Posted by: Greg Ness | September 4, 2014

Cloud DR on AWS – Pocket Guide Now Available by Download

Guide Now Available – Cloud DR on AWS: Best Practices

We just finished our first pocket guide on Cloud DR, entitled Cloud DR on AWS: Best Practices.  If you are tracking Cloud DR and the various drivers, key terms, etc. you might want to check it out.  You can get it here without having to register. You can also view the Cloud DR Infographic for a brief overview.

Next week I’ll be at Disaster Recovery Journal Fall World in San Diego.  Feel free to stop by the CloudVelox booth.

Posted by: Greg Ness | August 5, 2014

City on a Cloud Win Puts Traditional DR on Notice

The City of Asheville’s City on a Cloud Best Practices win spells trouble for traditional DR.  Deep trouble.  It marks the first time that Cloud DR has been independently and irrefutably acknowledged for both cost reduction and increased agility.  It was more than an acknowledgement that Cloud DR could work.  Asheville won a Grand Prize in a global best practices competition.

Their use of AWS as a secondary data center for DR was validation that cloud DR was a powerful enough use case to stand out against stiff international competition across a multitude of cities, according to a panel of independent judges:

Scott Case of Startup America; St. Paul, Minn., Mayor Christopher Coleman, president of the National League of Cities; Bob Sofman, co-executive director of Code for America; and thought leaders from The Aspen Institute, White House Office of Social Innovation, and Civic Participation, plus others.

You can read more about it here: A Cloud Disaster Recovery Story (InformationWeek).


A multi-billion industry of third part data centers and DR facility and management providers should take notice.  Before Asheville leveraging the public cloud for disaster recovery was seen as being  similar to traditional DR, yet more complex to set up.  That has changed. Asheville CIO Jonathan Feldman summarized the payoff well (InformationWeek):

Ultimately, we probably will still move our current alternative datacenter to another location to back up things like VoIP and public safety radio. But I can tell you this: That new datacenter will cost far less, and it will be far smaller, than the one we initially planned to build. And we won’t waste money buying duplicate gear either. Another important outcome is that, because of the cost reduction (about a tenth of the cost for capital, according to our infrastructure manager), we have moved to also protect systems that are “important, but not urgent,” systems that were too expensive to protect in the past.


You can also listen to Jonathan discuss Cloud DR “do’s and don’ts” and “lessons learned” here at: Advanced Strategies for Leveraging AWS for Disaster Recovery (YouTube).

Or you can download the webinar slides for easy reference.

I’ve been working on The Sword of Agrippa novel and hope to have it completed by the end of the year.

The first section (a Prologue and four chapters) is now available at the following link to pdf.

THE SWORD OF AGRIPPA First Four Chapters Kickstarter Edition

First Section On Sale Now

*So now you know: I don’t play golf.  My weekend warrior hobby is a mix of tennis and writing.

Posted by: Greg Ness | June 26, 2014

AWS and the Perils of “BoxThink”

Catching Up from the Airport

The next five years ought to be challenging for infrastructure appliance vendors, especially those who see their future “in the box.” We just wrapped up at the AWS Public Sector Summit, held in Washington, DC.  An ecosystem of about 3000 attended the 3 day event.

Forgive my typos... I'm at the airport

Forgive my typos… I’m at the airport

Massively disruptive software companies are springing up throughout the AWS ecosystem. It reminded me of the early VMware days, as a robust partner ecosystem appeared out of nowhere.

Amazon AWS is transforming the competitive landscape and ushering in a new era of innovation; the Seattle-based juggernaut is allowing software startups to have strategic impacts in very short periods of time. Business impacts.  Operating impacts. Culture impacts.

The AWS infrastructure is elastic, almost boundless versus the tired, fractured, stovepipe IT that evolved out of the collision between the mainframe and PC era. It is a dream come true for a new generation of software startups.

Amazon is making traditional IT look like a land of a thousand stovepipes; a highly complex and overly-politicized swamp of certifications, ASICs and shell games.

I referred to the ultimate levelling of the playing field back in my 2012 Golden Fleece blog, inspired as a response to a glowing Motley Fool article lauding Cisco’s 2012 prospects:

It is likely that we will see a new set of seasoned, well-funded and well-staffed startups with bigger threat potentials than before.

It is also likely that we will see an entirely new generation of IT infrastructure companies with more product/solution/service breadth than ever before, enabled by the power of software and perhaps a newer, more nimble combination of operating models.

#     #     #

I enjoyed dinner last night with senior AWS execs in the public sector team and we talked about the massive disruptions today being unleashed by 30 person startups leveraging AWS IaaS.  The City of Asheville, NC was one of the grand prize winners of the global City on a Cloud competition.  The small, dedicated team led by Jonathan Feldman is using AWS (and CloudVelox) to improve DR protection beyond anything available from traditional DR vendors, especially those stuck in dying feudalistic mindsets.

Incredible BBQ

Incredible BBQ in Asheville, NC

You can read the epitaph of traditional device-bound DR here, from the Asheville award page:

Moving disaster recovery from traditional, expensive, premises-based, manual fail over to an automated, pay-as-you-go, cloud-based fail over.

You can also read more from the Asheville CloudVelox Cloud DR case study.


#     #     #

At Structure last week I heard much the same thing from a variety of analysts and experts.  If you are wondering if a hardware appliance vendor is already impacted, listen for the following on the earnings calls: “our larger orders are starting to take longer to close.”

In at least some cases I think it is likely that senior executives are already starting to prefer software and services over the ownership, maintenance and upgrading of increasingly complex and costly hardware-bound racks.  Perhaps they’ve even conducted some pilots and watched IT teams become faster, more strategic and/or collaborative.  Or perhaps they are simply tired of paying a premium for complexity. Either way, BoxThink is becoming obsolete.

#    #    #

Ancient History


Also: a special thanks to the backers of my Kickstarter campaign: The Sword of Agrippa, which was fully-funded as of last week.  Thank you team Agrippa!  I now have an editor for my (close to) 200 page manuscript developed over many years as a form of “mental golf”… that has finally taken shape.

Posted by: Greg Ness | June 11, 2014

How the Hybrid Cloud War will be Won

When Amazon AWS announced its hybrid cloud console it set the stage for an all-out hybrid cloud war between a handful of companies, including VMware and Microsoft.

The first losers in the hybrid cloud war will be perhaps a third of all service providers; those who are too small, too manual and too locked into the dying hardware-centric status quo to compete with the titans on an increasingly automated playing field.

The second set of losers will be the third party hosting companies who refuse to automate and continue to focus on traditional enterprise IT services, versus catering to the successful cloud players.  They will fight hard to hold onto customers as they amortize truly sunk investments in traditional IT hardware and manual labor. Their hybrid clouds are neither hybrid nor cloud.

Perhaps everyone knew this was coming. After all, as the IT power center moved from hardware to software and services the physical borders between applications, networks, servers and even endpoints started to dissolve.

It was only a matter of time when all enterprise tech companies would compete (from their bases of strength) for larger shares of the overall IT market.  That $1T+ enterprise IT “market of all markets” will become increasingly accessible to more players thanks to the emergence of hybrid cloud and hybrid cloud automation.  That vision came into sharper focus with Amazon’s announcement, and VMware’s very quick response.

The hybrid cloud war will not be won on price but on agility; because agility enables new operating models, including Cloud DR and web-scale IT.  And agility will require hybrid cloud automation.  The hybrid cloud players who automate will onboard customers faster and offer powerful new operating models. The hybrid cloud war will be won with automation.

I am looking forward to another great panel on cloud computing this week at Future in Review.  If you are attending FiRe2014 you are invited to our Wednesday afternoon session on Cloud Evolution:

“Cloud Evolution: New Operating Models for Business Transformation”: With Dave Campbell, CTO, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft; Mathew Lodge, VP Cloud Services, VMware; David Nelson, Chief Strategist, Cloud Computing, Boeing; and Michael Liebow, Global Managing Director, Accenture Cloud Platform; hosted by Greg Ness, VP, WorldWide Marketing, CloudVelocity, and SNS Ambassador for Cloud Computing.

"The Best Technology Conference in the World" The Economist

“The Best Technology Conference in the World” The Economist

Fire 2014 Agenda includes Vint Cerf, Michael Dell, Neal Stephenson, Mark Hurd and Chris Lewicki, CEO of Planetary Resources.  See why The Economist calls Future in Review “The best technology conference in the world.”

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