Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 3 @ Gartner Symposium

I spent the third day attending sessions about Wireless IT capabilities; a discussion between 2 Gartner analysts and Paul Maritiz, CEO of VMWare; and session called CIO Power Politics.

Gartner Sessions on Wireless
The wireless sessions were quite good and they validated some of things I would like to see implemented in the agency I work for. They also highlighted the explicit dependencies associated with setting up an enterprise wireless capability. Gartner also didn't emphasize any variables associated with security when developing a mobile strategy. Frankly I think the IT community is struggling on how to balance with innovation, operations, and security. This was evident on how Gartner is skimming over the security components of mobile technologies. I therefore think that IT departments in general will eventually abstract themselves from system/infrastructure security and interface with the security components using IT risk management. IT system security will exist but it will morph into a security science discipline where software and hardware will be developed and embedded into systems (ala McAfee and Symantec). These components will be combined at the IT DNA level (firmware, network stack, etc, etc) and will be implicitly be everywhere in the cloud stacks and device (mobile, desktop) OS stacks. IT department won't have the resources dedicated to look at explicity system security.

Paul Maritz
This leads me to the next point. According to Paul Maritiz, CEO of VMWare, labelled clouds as software mainframes. The Gartner analysts tried to see if VMWare is going out of the virtualizations and going in application and information tier. Paul answered "No". They want to support application development by producing nooks and hooks into the VMWare stack. He was asked about VMWare's acquistion of DIgital Fuel. Paul answered that Digital Fuel was acquired to provide VMWare's customers tools and methods to monitor their VMWare products. Paul kept emphasising that automation is the key and not management. My favorit quote of the Gartner Symposium was said by Paul Maritz. The quote is, "You cannot put management lipstick on a chicken." During the whole session, Paul reminded me of Pavaoritti, the great opera singer. After listening to the session, I am of the opinion that VMWare is betting that Paul Maritiz will hit the right notes in leading VMWare to succeed in the Opera of Cloud and Virtual computing.

CIO Power Politics
I attended this session with a colleague of mine. Session was an assessment on what it takes to be a successful CIO. I could go into the details but it comes down to common sense. Key tentants are: know your organization; know the mission and vision of your organization; understand your strengths and weaknesses; and work hard. Hard work doesn't mean slaving as a code monkey or developing shell scripts. It means take ownership, be passionate about it and user your common sense. This will inspire your team and create a positive synergy. The other thing that caught my eye is Gartner's mission. What is it? Is Gartner providing information regarding trends and analysis or sessions on what it takes to succeed as a CIO.

In closing I was caught by Mr. Maritz' s analogy of the cloud as software mainframes. In 1970s and 1980s, we had hardware mainframes. In 2010s, we have software mainframes. I believe by 2020, we will have information mainframes. What are information mainframes? They are data and information sets available on the internet and these sets will be avaiable for a cost. Applications of these information mainframes could be for visual analytics, information sharing. These information mainframes will replace architectures like SOA which will never succeed in an enterprise scale. Information mainframes will allow companies to run federate queries, data discovery and data management. To get there, technologies and methodologies need to be developed to increase data quality, semantic harmonization, data security. We are not there yet. Social networks like Facebook, and Linkedin are people information mainframes however we are not there yet for enterprise business information.

Monday, October 17, 2011

2 days @Gartner Symposium

This is my second year at the Gartner Symposium IT/XPo in Orlando, Florida.  After the first two days of the symposium, I believe the mantra of the symposium is the three new pillars of technology which are the glued together by information.  The pillars are:
  1. Cloud Computing
  2. Mobile Computing
  3. Social Computing
At first you think this is just bunch of hype.  What can a bunch of research analysts know about cloud, mobile, or anything else in IT.  Are these Gartner analysts creating trends from pure ignorance?   The answer is,"No"  Companies like Amazon, Google and Apple are creating technologies which are extremely disruptive and are causing problems in a positive way.  Today Gartner mentioned Google and Apple as the innovators.  I believe Amazon should be in that group. Amazon built the EC2  before IBM can spell cloud.
Amazon's model tends rely on developing services which are off-shoots out of its book business.  The Amazon cloud was a game changer and now Amazon's Silk which is a cloud browser will change the way things are done on the mobile space.

I attended couple of mobile sessions today and coule of social media sessions today.  Did I learn anything from these sessions?  The answer is Yes.  Social media has a defined lifespan.  Mobile computing is going to take over and the concept of cloud brokers was introduced.

I personally believe that cloud will reduce costs in the long run and increase throughput. I also believe that mobile will allow users to be more immersed in the internet and social computing is not a IT phenomenon but rather a social one.

The thing that caught my ear was the case study they did about the financial organization and how they built visual tools.  They updated their processes to be more "agile" so that the customer is engaged more in the development process.  I am therefore waiting for Agile computing.  This is the next big thing.  Once these technologies are stablize and drive costs down, businesses will be looking for more agility from their IT since the users will be changing their needs based on their social network.