Report: How to define the right multi-cloud strategy for your enterprise the first time

Our library of 1700 research reports is available only to our subscribers. We occasionally release ones for our larger audience to benefit from. This is one such report. If you would like access to our entire library, please subscribe here. Subscribers will have access to our 2017 editorial calendar, archived reports and video coverage from our 2016 and 2017 events.
cloud screen
How to define the right multi-cloud strategy for your enterprise the first time by David S. Linthicum:
The days of the single cloud are gone. Driven by the breadth of technology options, potential cost savings, and the need for business agility, more than 74 percent of businesses are already moving to a multi-cloud strategy. However, enterprises making the move face critical choices, and a failure to consider common risks can diminish or even eliminate the benefits of multi-cloud.
This report will help CIOs, application architects, and IT decision-makers identify common patterns of implementation failures and successes and provide a framework for evaluating multi-cloud environments.
To read the full report click here.

Report: How to deliver a comprehensive big data analytics framework to communication service providers

Our library of 1700 research reports is available only to our subscribers. We occasionally release ones for our larger audience to benefit from. This is one such report. If you would like access to our entire library, please subscribe here. Subscribers will have access to our 2017 editorial calendar, archived reports and video coverage from our 2016 and 2017 events.
Big Data - generic
How to deliver a comprehensive big data analytics framework to communication service providers by William McKnight:
The communications service provider (CSP) industry has undergone a dramatic shift in recent years. The traditional model of competing on subscription plans is no longer an adequate business strategy. Since most internal systems were built with this model in mind, these environments, with non-enriched, non-integrated, and latent data, fit for after-the-fact reporting, are struggling to keep up with the changes.
This research report will explain how CSPs establish a framework for their analytics as well as review the business drivers for telcos and the key benefits that big data analytics provide. It will also address the impact of the business drivers and the advantages of streaming analytics, combined with the ability to harness big data to meet several CSP competitive requirements. It will conclude by summarizing this comprehensive big data analytics framework for CSPs.

To read the full report, click here.

Moving beyond digital signage in the workplace

At first, thinking about digital signage in the workplace makes perfect sense. We’re all familiar with big screens in airports, hotel foyers and sports stadiums, so, yes, how about seeing similar kit in business environments, for example in headquarter lobbies, or indeed in coffee rooms?
Yes of course, the concept can find plenty of use. Corporate visitors can be offered videos, presentations and data. Employees can more easily be briefed and can share their own content, such as the latest inter-departmental soccer results. Touch screens and kiosks also have a place, for campus navigation and training information dissemination.
The benefits are pretty straightforward — not only that content can be updated faster, or printing costs can be saved but also increased staff motivation and wellbeing, improved health and safety knowledge, higher productivity have been cited. As hardware costs come down, business cases become more evident (though of course, remember to account for the overheads of managing real-time content).
So, what’s the problem? Let’s take a look. Ultimately, such a signage-centric, “Let’s take what is working over there and deploy it over here” mindset is missing a trick. It’s worth reviewing a number of other areas where screen use is prevalent, and seeing these as input to the decision process.
First, the smart screen has come a long way. Back in the early nineties, I can remember de-boxing a whiteboard with a built in printer; since then such devices have become giant input and output panels. Pioneer in the field is education: from sharing an office with a manufacturer of interactive whiteboards for this sector, I’ve seen just how much of a difference such technologies can have on classrooms.
Most importantly, it’s not about the screen but the environment. Consider, for example, the ability to create information on a tablet computer, then share it onto a screen for somebody else to edit. Imagine being able to do this on a wall screen in the meeting room, with input from people in another office.
It should be straightforward, and both schools and home tutors are using such capabilities all the time, but they have yet to make an impact in the workplace.
Second, ‘telepresence’, the term coined by Cisco and also offered by HP to describe the immersive impact of seeing full-sized people on screens in a videoconference. Apart from (addressable through software) issues with eye movement, it’s like they are in the room.
When they were launched a few years ago, such technologies were too costly for all but head office installations. With today’s network bandwidth and with screen costs having plummeted, the ‘telepresence’ notion has a much broader appeal.
And third, we can look to transactional areas of the business for best practice in terms of screen use. ‘Starship Enterprise’ style, centralised network and equipment management hubs have plenty to offer in terms of what should be visible on the big screen, and how it should be presented relative to individualised views on smaller desktops.
Similarly, call centres and sales environments make extensive use of screens. From these parts of the organisation we can learn not only the options available, but also how to strike a balance between operational efficiency and keeping staff motivated.
Learning from these areas, the bottom line is that digital signage is only part of the opportunity offered by either passive or interactive screens. Direct information sharing, collaboration, workflow management, employee feedback, resource scheduling and booking, training, brainstorming and team building are just a few areas that a deployment can achieve.
Perhaps, yes, a quick win is to deploy some screens for the purpose of disseminating information. But,as some sectors are already discovering — such as non-obtrusive up-selling in the hospitality sector— active interaction yields new opportunities for enablement and empowerment, beyond passive information sharing.
So, it’s worth thinking outside the box, and treating screens as a viewport onto a shared data set, which can also be accessed via other devices. What starts as digital signage becomes a series of windows onto a brave new world, which drives a set of considerations, not least in terms of type, size and location, that should be considered before any deployment.

New Open Connectivity Foundation combines Open Interconnect Consortium and AllSeen Alliance

Update 21 February 2016 — I received email from Sophie Sleck of Blanc & Otis:

OCF is not unifying OIC and AllSeen, this is not a merger of two groups. The technology leaders who have been specifying software protocols for the Internet of Things announced they are now working together to form a new entity. OCF is the successor to OIC; it’s initiatives are about solidifying and trying to reduce fragmentation in the industry.

Also, Meredith Solberg of the Linux Foundation wrote to correct me:

I represent AllSeen Alliance and just wanted to reach out in response to your article with a correction that there has been no merger with AllSeen Alliance. AllSeen is not combining with OIC to form OCF and we remain a separate organization. We do, however, have some overlap with members in common. If you could please issue a correction and include a correction note to your Twitter followers, we’d greatly appreciate it! Want to remain transparent and share accurate info.

So, OCF is the successor to OIC, and we will have to wait for the cooperation between OCF and AllSeen to lead to yet another organization/consortium/foundation/whozis.

A new milestone in the maturation of the Internet of Things has been reached: two contending organizations — the Open Interconnect Consortium (backed by Intel and others), and the AllSeen Alliance (back by Qualcomm and others) are merging to form the Open Connectivity Foundation. (See correction above.)
This is a big step, and one that may help break the logjam in the market. After all, consumers are justifiably concerned about making a bet in home automation — for example — if they are unsure about how various devices may or may not interoperate.
Aaron Tilley points out that IoT has seemed to be, so far, all hat and no cattle:

In some ways, the Internet of Things still feels like empty tech jargon. It’s hard to lump all these different, disparate things together and talk about them in a meaningful way. Maybe once all these things really begin talking to each other, the term will be more appropriate. But for now, there is still a mess in the number of standards out there in the Internet of Things. People have frequently compared it to the VHS-Betamax videotape format war of the 1980s.

The VHS-Betamax format war was not solved by standardization, it was the VHS vendors making the devil’s bargain with porn companies. The OCF may be more like the creation of the SQL standard, where a number of slightly different implementations of relational database technology decided to standardize on the intersection of the various products, and that led to corporations to invest when before they had been stalling.
The consortium includes — beside Intel and Qualcomm — ARRIS, CableLabs, Cisco, Electrolux, GE Digital, Samsung, and Microsoft.
Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft announced the company’s participation in the creation of the OCF, and spelling out Microsoft’s plans:

We have helped lead the formation of the OCF because we believe deeply in its vision and the potential an open standard can deliver. Despite the opportunity and promise of IoT to connect devices in the home or in businesses, competition between various open standards and closed company protocols have slowed adoption and innovation. […]
Windows 10 devices will natively interoperate with the new OCF standard, making it easy for Windows to discover, communicate, and orchestrate multiple IoT devices in the home, in business, and beyond. The OCF standards will also be fully compatible with the 200 million Windows 10 devices that are “designed for AllSeen” today.
We are designing Windows 10 to be the ideal OS platform for Things, and the Azure IoT platform to be the best cloud companion for Things, and for both of them to interoperate with all Things.

Microsoft was late to the party on mobile, but Nadella’s leadership seems to be all about getting in early on other emerging technologies, like IoT, machine learning, and modern productivity.
Noticeably absent are the other Internet giants: Apple, Amazon, and Google. When will they get on board?

HP reportedly mulling purchase of Aruba Networks

Well, it’s been a while since Hewlett-Packard made a really big acquisition but it sounds like the IT giant is shaking off the post-Autonomy jitters: it’s weighing a purchase of Aruba Networks, according to Bloomberg.

[company]Aruba Networks[/company], Sunnyvale, Calif.,  provides Wi-Fi access gear at big indoor and outdoor venues — malls, hotels, university campuses,  conference centers etc.

The move would give [company]HP[/company], which already offers its own “converged campus networking” gear, a bigger footprint in wireless mobile, a hot market, that could grow even hotter as more businesses and consumers use Wi-Fi to take some of the pressure off overloaded cellular networks. This acquisition would be reminiscent of Cisco’s purchase of Meraki a little over two years ago for $1.2 billion.

Aruba is one of the leaders in enterprise Wi-Fi so an HP purchase would give it more ammo to go after rival [company]Cisco[/company] in the WLAN market, according to Gigaom’s Kevin Fitchard.

Aruba Networks has a market cap of about $2.42 billion and trailing-twelve month revenue of $745 million. HP had no comment on the report; Aruba Networks has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Aruba shares rose on the report — they were up 22 percent at one point Wednesday while HP shares fell about 10 percent. Since HP’s controversial $11 billion buy of Autonomy in 2011, CEO Meg Whitman has said the company will look at smaller, more targeted acquisition targets; she also noted on this week’s first quarter earnings call that HP was looking to grow its networking business..

ARUN Price Chart

ARUN Price data by YCharts

Engineers, tech firms battle patent trolls on standard setting

A big showdown is taking place at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, an important standard-setting body, about rules for patents that cover basic building blocks of tech, such as chips or Wi-Fi protocols.

The outcome of the fight is significant since the new rules for so-called “standard essential patents” will affect what consumers ultimately pay for everyday devices like phones and routers.

On Monday, executives from high-profile tech companies, including [company]Apple[/company] and [company]Microsoft[/company], put their names to a public letter that sought to safeguard an upcoming IEEE decision from “smoke and mirrors” tactics by patent assertion entities (commonly known as patent trolls).

“[A] 21-member group of chipmakers, OEMs, former regulators, and law professors have written a letter to the IEEE to express their support for the proposed clarifications, and to urge them to stand strong in face of those misleading arguments,” stated Cisco, one of the group members, in a press release announcing the letter.

To make its case for implementing new IEEE rules on how to pay for standards patents, the letter points to the recent example of a patent troll that has been brandishing a standards essential patent to demand thousands of dollars per Wi-Fi chip from hotels and small businesses.

The new rules are supposed to be up for a vote next week. If they go into effect, the group says they will result in a more streamlined process for determining reasonable payments for patent holders, while also reducing the sort of high-stakes litigation tactics that adds expense and uncertainty for everyone in tech.

The troll industry, meanwhile, is pushing back with blog posts warning that the new rules will mean the end of innovation.

All of these subjects at stake — like standards setting, RAND patents and the IEEE — amount to inside baseball, even for those familiar with the world of the patent bar.

But the outcome will likely have a direct outcome on issues like royalty stacking and patent hold-ups that hit consumers in their pocketbooks, so it’s worth paying attention — if only for the high-profile names at the bottom of the letter. These also include execs from the likes of Verizon, HP, and Samsung, as well as prominent IP and antitrust academics like Mark Lemley.

You can read the letter for yourself below:

Jan. 30 Letter to IEEE Board (Rev)

[protected-iframe id=”9a0acdb148cecd4851883aea07799ddb-14960843-34118173″ info=”” width=”100%” height=”600″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”]

Handicapping legacy IT players in the cloud

If you want a cogent — and hilarious — assessment of the state of cloud, take a look at Charles Fitzgerald’s latest blog post “A dispatch from cloud city — 2014 retrospective.”

Fitzgerald, managing director of Platformonomics, a strategy consulting firm, has an incisive take on how legacy IT powers — Cisco, [company]HP[/company] (HP Enterprise?), IBM, Microsoft and others are performing in what HP CEO Meg Whitman would probably call a “multi-year transformation.” Fitzgerald, formerly an exec at [company]Microsoft[/company] and [company]VMware[/company], assigns each legacy vendor a “delusion factor” to indicate how its stated view of its position in cloud contrasts with reality.

The whole post is worth reading, but here’s what I found most interesting

(Sorta) kind words for IBM:

Fitzgerald is not a known lover of Big Blue, so his acknowledgment that [company]IBM[/company] woke up last year and no longer attributed its current situation to “simply poor execution of ye olde business model” constitutes high praise.

He is also “amused that IBM’s leadership has expressed far more public concern about their prospects than the normally curmudgeonly IT industry analysts and pundits who evidently are telling IBM’s customers not to worry about generational transition risk.”

Given these more realistic assertions by management, IBM gets a “low” delusion factor. Overall, however, Fitzgerald doesn’t see a way for IBM to dig itself out. Even if all things go the best possible way, IBM will still be “a dramatically smaller company (in terms of revenue, workforce and stock price) due to the deflation of cloud computing,” he wrote, adding:

IBM’s fundamental problem is it is their traditional customers who are being disrupted by technology wielding upstarts and they are going to have to show customers can actually use IBM technology and ‘business consulting’ to be successful against competitors who don’t have that burden.

Totally agree.

Cisco’s world of hurt

As for network hardware kingpin [company]Cisco[/company], I’m just going to quote Fitzgerald on the company that recently bought Metacloud to boost its cloud story.

Cisco is the company with the biggest gap between reality and their own cloud blather. While they are one of the few growing server vendors, their reckoning approacheth on multiple fronts. Delusion factor: highest

I agree here, too, although I would love to see what the Metacloud folks bring to the table for Cisco. One big problem — the world really doesn’t need umpteen different OpenStack-labeled clouds, and in terms of mind share, Cisco isn’t at the top of the list.

 Google is not cloud-serious

[company]Google[/company], with Google Cloud Platform, isn’t a serious contender in Fitzgerald’s view because cloud remains a lark to the internet search kingpin. Per the blog post:

In technology terms, they are in many respects the leader, but they’re just not serious about the non-technology investments they need to make to really compete for that broad enterprise transition to the cloud (they too need to embark on an ‘enterprise journey’ as opposed to hoping those enterprises beat a path to their door).

Here, I disagree — although I get that upper Google management (meaning the two top guys) does seem more interested in futuristic endeavors like self-driving cars. But Google appears to be very serious about its cloud efforts, bringing on high-profile hires like former Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens — and nothing says enterprise like an enterprise Linux guy. It’s also offering big incentives to use GCP (as opposed to AWS). Google’s cloud also now supports the Windows server applications that are widely used by large businesses. And analysts tell me that enterprise accounts are indeed very interested in GCP.

Missing pieces

Two legacy IT giants are conspicuous by their absence in this post. I would very much like to hear Fitzgerald’s take on Oracle and VMware — although he mentions the latter in passing as a possible acquisition target for HP. I’ve reached out to him on this and will update with his thoughts.

Update: And here it is. Fitzgerald’s take is that many Oracle customers would like to move on to someone else in cloud. His language is far stronger than mine but the gist is he doesn’t see Oracle winning new converts with its cloud offerings and its existing customers aren’t so thrilled either. (To be fair, there’s countervailing evidence in a new CIO survey that shows Oracle’s cloud sales pitch may be having an impact.)

But more to the point, he said despite Oracle Co-founder and CTO Larry Ellison’s assertions to the contrary “the cloud isn’t being built with Oracle software. The question is how long before that begins to bite.”

As for VMware, where, as noted Fitzgerald spent time, the question is trickier. “They have a pervasive enterprise infrastructure footprint and an opportunity to build on that as a broad private IaaS looks increasingly far fetched. But they haven’t seized on that the way they could,” he said via email.

On both counts I also agree. Oracle customers — admittedly not CIOs but IT pros — tell me they would very much like to lessen, not increase their reliance on Oracle. The reason? Oracle’s hardball licensing and pricing policies.

And anecdotally speaking I just see little traction for vCloud Air.

AWS goes corporate

Market leader Amazon Web Services gets kudos for “incredible execution” as it pushes up the stack and emulates Microsoft’s similar “enterprise journey” 20 years ago. But Fitzgerald also sees clouds on the horizon as corporate parent [company]Amazon[/company] chases hardware “misfires” and TV programming. And all those efforts contribute to the company’s swooning share price, which, I would agree, cannot be ignored forever.

If Amazon’s stock price doesn’t recover, expect their employee retention problems to grow and discussions of spinning out AWS to get more serious. But they’re not going to yield their leadership in 2015.

Note: This story was updated at 7:19 a.m. PST January 7 to add Fitzgerald’s take on Oracle and VMware in cloud.