IP Expo 2012

In addition to the keynote, I attended the Oracle talk on Big Data along with a history of Hadoop by Doug Cutting. A very interesting field not least because of all the open source projects involved. To be up-to-date refer to the spanner paper by Google.

Also attended a talk by SolarFlare and gnodal. All very interesting and relevant. Too many seminars to attend and too many stands to visit. One day certainly couldn’t do it justice, and neither could two.

In browsing around, I visited some companies I had not heard of:

TINTRI are a VM optimised storage vendor who make heavy use of SSDs to delivery IOPs. AT a high level they seem to be in the same space as XIO but I have yet to look in detail at their literature. I did find out their founder was Irish and Tintri is Irish (for hot-headed I think). There seemed to be a dozen more storage vendors there but no time to visit them.

I came across a thin client vendor I didn’t know called iGEL (German company I think). The chap started to explain their solution could make use of existing hardware and sweat assets so I assumed it was a type 1 client hypervisor like XenClient but we ended up talking at cross purposes. I think he was refering to their “soft” thin client. Anyway, they make a thin client and some management software but it was not immediately clear what their differentiator was from HP, Wyse, Sun / Oracle, or any other thin client vendor.

Finally I visited a company called Apposite, who make a WAN emulator. I think it could be pretty good but the demo was completely underwhelming and unclear. Personally I would question the need for a rack mount WAN emulator supporting 15 WAN links. For developers, one would be enough, or even better, teach your developers to program for WAN in the first place and use a real WAN for development.

Overall a lively and interesting day and definitely worth a visit.

IP EXPO 2012 Dr. Mike Lynch

A very energetic exhibition this year fueled by boiled sweets and caffeine in abundance. All the exhibitors I spoke to reported a lot of interest and the air was full of pre-sales.

I started with the keynote by Dr. Mike Lynch of Autonomy fame, who is enviably a neutral industry commentator. A summary of his talk which covered the main areas of todays IT scene follows.

First of all, the rate of change is increasing while the role of the CIO is becoming more constrained. Regarding the cloud, new applications will go there and hybrid clouds will become more prevalent to allow systems to “burst” while keeping the data in house. Cloud is an alternative to traditional systems integration initiatives which are slow, expensive and high risk but cloud is only a 95% solution at best. You cannot customise a cloud service being provided as a service and there is a different model for updates, which you do not control. Be careful how you pick your cloud partner.

Regarding security – there will be scandals, but they will be caused by people. The IT security industry is obsessed by hackers but it is data loss which is the risk. Will see new security models which are based on alarms being triggered (think of bells placed in a dark room). Intelligent networks will detect information transfer. IT battles with systems like Dropbox and users who want to get around ITs restrictions (me: see FUIT).

Regulation: how do you stop a “shadow IT” being built on Amazon? One way: look at company credit card expenses! Coping with the consumerisation of IT is a big challenge for regulation. New US laws mean you have 99 days to produce all your data or execs can start going to jail! Principle of discovery.

Mobile computing is a big shift – you are “always on”. Business can continue almost 24×7.

Social media and networking are what the younger generation spend their time on. Who knows what “nom” means? “Delicious” from viral youtube hamster video. Surveyed all social media interaction of younger staff. Merits of doughnuts are discussed while in the queue!

Big Data. Over the years we have been sold many different types of database, each one “better” than the last, now it is “Big Data”. It is unstructured data which is becoming more of a factor in IT decisions (me: is it AI?).

In summary: large systems integrators will lose out. Hardware will change and be commodity. Big opportunities for new vendors especially owners of the data e.g.facebook, icloud. “Does IT matter”? More than ever. Tech is becoming cool.