Thursday Jul 24, 2008

It's the business model hombre...

You don't have to look too hard to see examples of businesses that have been impacted as a result of a change in the business model that they served.  One example that is still clear in my mind is the music industry.  There are many empty record store buildings as a result of how the internet has shifted the business model of distribution, sharing and mindset.  The music industry shift continues to this day, but some artists have gotten in front of the change rather than try to resist.  What is the one thing that drives most change?  I'll give you a hint.  It is the most powerful army in the world.  As I learned in business school, military war is plain awful, economic battle is simply brutal.  The perfect storm is when you have a declining economy and a changing business model that implies commodity.  Looking back at change it is easy to understand what happened to the slide rule, floppy disk drives, cathode ray tubes, drive-ins, the home delivery milkman and the home delivery iceman.

There was a lot of discussion about the Amazon S3 outage last Friday.  Some  folks were quick to jump on the cloud computing is dead wagon.  Their probable cause was left to this new storage/compute paradigm is crazy, see what will happen if you buy into this new  IT economy.  Storage has to be expensive.  Come on, it's the only thing expensive left... man.  Of course only start ups and daring enterprises would use such a service.  Well I disagree.  Having been personally involved in outages with previous companies and relying on 27 years of industry experience, it is true that major outages also occur with proprietary server/storage solutions of yesterday. In fact some pretty severe outages and no vendor is excluded.  Cloud computing is not going to go away.  It is only going to get stronger.  Economics will drive it.  New services economically attractive to businesses, individuals, students, etc. will continue to grow it.

As my Dad use to say: "Lead, don't follow."


Friday Mar 14, 2008

Protected Wild Life and Data in Johannesburg

I've just returned from beautiful Johannesburg, South Africa and Tech Days.  It was a very busy week of interacting with developers and many customers.  Africa is another continent going through rapid change.  The growth opportunities are tremendous and South Africa is another example of the new global economy.  The people and climate are great.  The Pilanesburg National Park is spectacular and beautiful.  At Tech Days in Johannesburg we demonstrated an enterprise open sourced operating system in action on a whitebox.  Matt Ahrens, Jim Hughes, Wyllis Ingersol and Renier Sevenster all got together and installed OpenSolaris Developer Preview 2 on the whitebox.  A RAID-Z stripe was created across 8 80GB disk drives that were connected via USB ports.  A MD5 checksum was run on a file that was layed out across all of the 8 drives.  Then Jim took a sledge hammer to 2 disk drives without any data loss.  The data still remained preserved and accessible.   Try doing that with another operating system on a laptop or PC!  In fact view the video below and leave the demolition of hardware for another day.  Checkout for yourself the capability of opensolaris.  Download the Developer Preview 2 here.  If you need a MD5 checksum tool get it here.  If you need a CD burner tool get it here.  Then install your live CD  on your laptop or PC and compare it to what you are running today.  No need to partition or wipe out your hard drive as the system runs off of the CD (Live CD).  I heard strongly in South Africa that open source is a requirement for customers.  Even better if your open source solution is built from a proven enterprise operating system.

 
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The blog of Bob Porras - Vice President, Data, Availability, Scalability & HPC for Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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