Those of us in New England are looking forward to a few days off to shovel yet even more snow, fix our leaking roof, look despairingly at the meter of ice-encrusted snowpack in our yards, etc.
Please don't send me tweets from whatever warm spot you might be in -- we're collectively not in the best of moods right now.
As I sometimes do, I'd like to use this post to get around to a few issues that are bothering me. If you don't like random rants, this is not a post for you :-)
EMC's Breaking Records Launch -- The Redux
The competitor sniping continues. There's the usual shots at one product or another, but most are highly critical about the over-the-top nature of our launch activities as being not the usual fare in enterprise IT marketing.
From a purely clinical perspective, I was going over the stats earlier this week, and the results were truly amazing. If you're into "marketing metrics", let's just say it'd be hard to make a case for going back to being predictable and boring.
Most of the customers, prospects, partners and analysts I spoke with said they really enjoyed the show. That's great -- that's who we were targeting.
Competitors, less so. I thought the tempest-in-a-teapot around us parking some EMC-logo cars in front of our various competitors was fun to watch. As was the reaction to the power-washing stencils.
C'mon guys, lighten up a bit, yes? It's all in fun ...
Let's face it: the de-facto storage industry leader announced 41 new or refreshed products on a single day, wrapped in a massive marketing extravaganza. And that was just a portion of only the storage-related part of our portfolio.
If I was competing with EMC, I wouldn't be particularly happy either. I would, however, like to take the opportunity to thank all of our competitors for all the continued EMC coverage in your blogs, tweets, etc.
It's very much appreciated.
Big Data Has Captured Imaginations Everywhere
I really wish I could have gone to the Strata Conference this week on "Making Data Work". Right topic, right time. I am told that -- not only did the conference sell out, but there was that indescribeable magic in the air when bright minds get together with powerful ideas.
EMC's Greenplum tream (now officially the Data Computing Products Division) was there in force. Scott Yara gave an excellent keynote, and the announcement of the new Community Edition of an extended Greenplum toolset went over very well indeed.
Scott made some excellent and insightful points. One that stood out for me was the relationship between the current transformation of IT infrastructure to cloud-like models and the new interest in big data.
At its essence, cloud is nothing more than a tool for getting things done. And the new stuff inevitably will involve big data. Clouds are making it far easier to gather, process and use petabytes of information in entirely new ways.
I also like the line around "we need more startups" that are figuring out new and creative ways to create value from the big data that's now within our grasp. I'd go a bit farther, and add a need for intrapeneurship as well as entrepeneurship.
The big data bug has bitten me hard, so you'll see many more posts on this topic, I'm sure.
VCE and Vblocks Are Still Rocking
If you're an IT infrastructure vendor, the whole VCE and Vblock thing really bothers you.
On one hand, you're doing everything you can to discredit the concept, create doubt, etc. while behind the scenes your desperately trying to figure out how to come up with something similar or better.
So far, neither approach appears to be working well, based on what I am directly observing.
Instead, the idea of converged, pre-packaged infrastructure has apparently captivated so many IT professionals in so many industries, and it shows no trace of slowing down even a little bit.
From a trickle of interest in early 2010, to a river later in 2010, to a veritable torrent in Q1 2011, the rate of acceleration appears to be increasing. The partner community is now investing wholesale: we're now up to 110 certified VCE partners, and there are many more in the queue.
Scarcely a day goes by without either a big customer or partner VCE/Vblock announcement. Frankly, the team is too busy actually working with customers and partners to respond to the competitive noise that's out there.
I'd encourage you to ignore the usual blather, and find out for yourself what all the excitement is all about. If you were at Cisco Live this week, you probably saw more than a few Vblocks at the show.
Yes, it's that cool.
My Backup Post Got Some People Angry
Yesterday's post "When Is A Backup Really A Backup" seemed to have tweaked a few people. That wasn't the intention, though. If you go read through some of the comments, some of the reactions are quite strong indeed.
I can't really explain the reaction. It looked harmless enough when I was writing it. If nothing else, I suppose it's good that I'm stirring the pot a bit ...
As long as we're talking about reactions to posts, the response was much more favorable to "What CIOs Really Want To Know About Cloud". That one went whipping the web around at near-viral speed, and now the content is starting to show up (repurposed) on a variety of industry sites.
Sometimes people ask me if I get upset when people re-use my content without asking permission, etc. I got over that one a long time ago.
Putting a blog post up on the internet is essentially inviting people to use it in any way they see fit. It's nice when they give me an attribution, or link back, but if they don't for some reason, it doesn't bother me anymore.
Don't Pick Fights
Len Devanna is going through the thankless task of revising EMC's social media guidelines. We slapped something quick-and-dirty together four years ago when we started investing in all of this, and it was time for a refresh. He sent me over a copy to check out.
As I was reading through the previous boilerplate, it reminded me of what a long and interesting journey it's been. Someone sent me a link to the white paper I wrote so very long ago on EMC's approach to all of this. It was fun to re-read the historical perspective.
Part of the new guideline document speaks directly to desired conduct in public forums, and one of the sections was titled "Don't Pick Fights". That one made me stop and think.
I can remember early on that -- yes -- that's exactly what I and others would do sometimes. I don't do that anymore, at least -- not intentionally. Live and learn.
I wish others would move along as well. I still see a lot of rock-throwing going on out there. Some of it has a valid intellectual basis, but a lot of it is nothing more than schoolyard taunts and bullying.
Greg Knierieman asked me about this on a recent Infosmack podcast. I told him that I thought -- overall -- conduct was getting better, but some people apparently still hadn't gotten the memo.
Oh, Yeah, The Mozy Thing
The vocal furor that erupted from some quarters when Mozy changed their pricing plan was something to behold in itself. If you were watching the Twitter feeds when it broke, you'd think that Egypt was in turmoil or something :)
From a business perspective, I completely understand why Mozy did what they did. The sins of the few were wrecking the previous model. Something had to change.
That being said, it appears we're entering a limit of caps: on capacity, on bandwidth, etc. Cloud is about pay-for-use, remember?
Folks outside of the US have been living with this for a while; it's just now shaping up in the US market. If you were expecting a perpetual amazing deal with an all-you-can-eat plan, you'll inevitably end up disappointed.
The Mozy team have a very clear idea on who their target customers are. They're tailoring the service (and its pricing) to meet the needs of those target customers. Some people might think that Mozy doesn't meet their needs anymore. Me? The new 125GB / three machine package puts me ahead of where I used to be, so no complaining here!
That's fine -- that's how capitalism works -- everyone gets to vote with their dollars.
That's My Week -- How Was Yours?
IT organizations are back to work, and busily making progress on their 2011 initiatives. Surprisingly, many surveys are starting to show "private cloud" (or some variant) as one of the top strategic 2011 initiatives.
As a result, the pace around here at EMC has gone from "really busy" to "insanely busy".
2010 was a great year for the IT industry: vendors, customers and partners. And, so far, 2011 shows no signs of being anything less.