Is the cloud failing or are you?

The cloud is not failing. That’s the good news. Now for the bad.

Many people complain about the mess their cloud usage has become and how cloud sales people did not tell them to read the small print. As a business, whether for profit or a non profit you need people in charge with a reasonably amount of intelligence and a drive to push the organization forward, not just themselves.  You can not take the easy way out, pocket your pay check and let the “details and annoying technicalities” to your employees. Basically you’re saying “screw you” to them so don’t be surprised when that works both ways. If your cloud projects are failing is due to the same reason your other IT projects were failing. You’re doing it wrong.

In a world of political correctness, this is going to sound harsh. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that you as a business, a manager, a “leader” are failing. You are failing and you’re incapable of dealing with that fact. Because it hurts your sensitivities. Well you are hurting your employees, your customers, your future.

Way to many cloud (private/hybrid/public) projects are done as “self service” or minimal effort projects. There is no design. There is no expertise, experience, knowledge, context or a deeper understanding of the systems, their interactions, capabilities and needs. In this commodity world it just has to work. Nothing just works. Deal with it. If you don’t put value on the above that’s how things end up.

Cloud project in many environments look way too much like a classic house where they bolted on new fashioned extensions without a clue about how to do what they were doing. By doing so they ruined the roof, the wiring, the isolation, the functionality and livability. It’s leaking, it’s rotting the house and fungi rule the realm.

You did not get what you paid for but you get exactly what you value: nothing.

It’s not that you don’t spend ridiculous amounts of money. You outsourced all your in house capabilities and expertise and on top of that you’re are paying 3 to 5 times too much for services and “consultants” that have been on your payroll for decade. You don’t even even have the capabilities in house to realize the above anymore. If you do they probably have gone into hiding. You buy over priced shit on a daily basis and are told it’s great and what the industries best practices dictate.

The fallacy that IT, which is the cloud and nothing but the cloud for many today, is nothing but a commodity that has to work out of the box at the cheapest possible price is making you fail. But how could that be?  After all it’s just computers in the cloud so you don’t even have to hook up the power and a cable any more. No? These almost absurd simplifications that are in play here are totally pushing aside knowledge, experience, skills, a continuous educational effort. The end result, excellent service to your business and / or customers, dies a thousand small deaths in collateral damage.

You’re deploying cloud solutions without planning, coordination, design, governance, responsibilities, skills and what not. You’ve lost control over your (cloud)  IT. You’ve lost control over the data, the access, the backups, disaster recovery, the accounts of the service subscription, everything. These are the essential parts of a functional, maintainable, cost effective and supportable IT environment. This will bite you hard, deep and will perhaps bleed you to death.

This is not the cloud failure. It’s you. If you go about “old school” on premises IT the same way the failures are there as well. So you hate the solutions you pay way too much for, you hate the lousy service and the lack results. You get shafted every day.

The easy fix you come up with is just more of the same. More consulting, more work and responsibility avoiding, more meetings, task forces, more multi year over sized super projects that are doomed to fail because there a more than enough people to take your money form idiots.

How is this possible? Because I way too many places criticism has been banned and died. Meanwhile in that political correct always peaceful and quiet environment real damage is done to people as talent, motivation, money and value is destroyed along with a better future. No one in those places has any skin in the game as you risk more by doing your job than by watching the place go to hell. Good luck!

To any one else: there are real experts out there that can really help you. All you have to do is value results, your business and your clients.

Meet Dick – Contest Winner

We’re 2015, time to meet Dick – contest winner of bad technology choices.Way too many purchasing decisions still seem to be made solely on check box ticking. That and a Gartner Magic Quadrant that is. Despite truckloads of management, strategy consultants, coaches, management self improvement books for clueless managers & a ton of professional coaches for whatever function you can think in the corporate world of over the past decades. It did not help. What do you expect from that crowd.


Never mind that in most SME’s the choice of technology is best made looking at their specific needs and for a period or 3 to 7 years ( the interval depends on how that business operates). That means current technology with an eye on vNext. Do that to the best of your ability and you’ll have served your business or customers very well.

But the ever lasting check box ticking game during the sales process is still strong. This is the easiest and laziest way of making decisions. When you don’t care about the outcome, why not. After all the harder you work the less you get paid I guess. Add to that the benefit of great CYA. This means we won’t see an end to this practice soon. After all:

  • All check boxes were green, it was the best possible decision.
  • The industry press stated (by regurgitating the original article or report) that the solution we bought is poised to success in this segment over the next 10 years.
  • Other buy it so it must be good

Dick, listen to me. We focus on the success of our own company in the next decade. If some tech company X goes down or doesn’t make it to the fortune 500 its tech just gets replaced and we’re done with it. Heck if they don’t deliver we’ll sew them (or cheaper, they just don’t’ get paid) and replace the solution sooner. That long green check box list will than be evidence in court to prove the deliberate ill intended of your “guidance”. Stupidity is rarely an excuse.

So, seeing this happen, on whatever side of the table, doesn’t to anything to reduce my generally poor impression of the intellectual prowess of the human species. Let’s face it, this practice has the intellectual maturity and relevance of a bunch of a dick-measuring contest. So every now and then when discussions tend to turn that way I’m tempted to suggest everyone whips them out and throws them on the table to be measured with a yard stick.


We can then declare who’s won the Mr. Dick contest and be done with it. Anything to get  the discussion back to what really matters like what suits the real needs the best. You’ll have enough money draining drama around technology projects to avoid anyway, don’t add to it. Check Box ticking solution selection is nothing but sad, lazy stupidity. The only thing that is measured and weighed is the professionalism of the ones engaging in it. Guess what, it has been found lacking. Measuring is important, but knowing what to measure is key.

Don’t tell me “It depends”! But it does!

Ah yes, the consultant’s answer. If you’ve been in working long enough you will have had it happen to you that opening an answer with “It depends” gets you an angry look, eyes being rolled in frustration and a short tempered “don’t give me that consultant crap” sneer. The injustice. First of all I’m not to blame for people hiring lousy “consultants” that hide their lack of skills behind that phrase. Sure you might have been conditioned into thinking it’s code for “I have no clue but I’ll bill you by the hour anyway” but that’s not my problem. Secondly I’m most probably not consulting for those people. There’s no point being a consigliere if they don’t want to listen, let alone if they won’t spend the time needed to explain their needs so I can listen. Most probably they can’t distinguish between valuable advice and expensive advice anyway. People who can’t see the difference are not observing very well as the distinction is crystal clear.

I’m always a bit disappointed when it happens. You’ll have to grow up an live with the fact that a lot of things are a bit more complex. If you don’t have the time to explain yourself or the intention to listen to someone you have asked to provide the best possible answer you have two options:

1. Do whatever you want to do (you have already decided)

2. Ask me to decide for you. In the absence of a clear cut answer I’ll just flip a coin for you and call it. As least that’s cheap and efficient.

When I tell you “it depends” I will gather as much information from you as I can.  I will also explain my answers and go into (great) detail as to the why, where, what and when of this. This can take some time and it can/will require effort due to complexities. It’s not code for “I don’t know” of “go away”. In my experience people who hate the “It depends” answer are the ones who don’t really want it. They quit at that opening sentence. Do engage and you might get the best possible advise from it in regards to your particular situation. With that in hand you can investigate further and work to the best possible solution for your needs in your environment.

Got it? Good.

Predictions for 2015? You asked, we deliver but only if you have sense of humor!

I got quite a few requests to share some mind musing on trends and deliver some predictions for 2015.  You’d think Warren Buffet would make more sense as the person to ask but what do I know.


Luckily Andreas offered me his second hand palantir for sale …


So now, together with my splendid sense of humor we have what we need for a blog post so here we go:

The big 4 resources & cloud


Ever more (and bit faster) at a steady but slow pace but with latency dips as a bummer. As long as the other resources don’t push it forward this will continue. And this is starting to happen. They need to kick into action with more capacity and way higher speeds, lower latencies and less power consumption or they’ll become the bottle neck in a few years time. So that’s a an easy roadmap for the industry, so make it happen and don’t bother me with those pesky technical details (sorry, management training kicked in).


TCP/IP & Ethernet … the old breed … well they’re going strong and brave. 10Gbps, 40Gbps, 100Gbps … Look, generally speaking, if you renew you data center networking today (as you think public cloud can’t handle it all yet) and 10Gbps is not a major or even the default player I don’t know what to tell you anymore. Love what Mellanox has done so far. Some issues with the quality of other vendors worry me some times.

FC … it will be around. Just a even less dominant. FCoE? I see very little of it in the wild. iSCSI yes, even lossless iSCSI (DCB). NFS is doing well, SMB3 keeps growing (and people will make some mistakes learning the technology). Infiniband? Well the low cost is a major benefit still and if they could have 300 or 500Gbps in place before Ethernet get’s there … it will be around in the future.

Oh and iWarp wise Chelsio needs competitors that rock and drive down prices or I’ll keep doing RoCE where ever I can, even if it’s harder (DCB configs remain a learning curve).

IPv6 will keep growing  … but not as fast at it should unless something really weird happens in enterprises.


Intel will remain dominant for some years but the landscape is changing.  Bar some innovative attempts under way the fight for the PC/Server CPU is not raging anymore. Intent is nice for the prosecution or defense at a trial, not for success in the market place. 2015 is not going to be major shift in compute but it’s an interesting space to watch.


Prices will drop more and more and that will mean the SAN in combination with flash will fight on a bit longer. Some hyper converged solutions need better and easier manageability to prove them selves worthy. Also I’d love to see flash only storage, for IOPS/latency but also for power/cooling. Give me 6TB SSD for archival & backups, & fast 1TB disks for that can handle huge amounts of read/write for speed. When they get to a price point where this becomes feasible I’ll be the first in line. Basically breaking the price barrier is key here and it matters a whole more to me that the SAN/Web Scale/Hyper Converged discussion. If the new players can start addressing their weakness (i.e. stop bashing SANs for their weaknesses but learn from their strengths) they’ll move faster to a better market position. Data protection, replication, centralized ease of management etc. It took the classical SAN storage world 15 years to get to good general solutions (not great ones) and I think the web scale (I don’t like that name), hyper converged  will need some time to get their act together in those areas. They tend to focus a lot on their strengths but they have some very annoying operational weak spots in my humble opinion. I hate data silos. I want data to be able to move & flow to where I want it. Mobility is key. Either storage delivers this or the hypervisor will.

The good news is storage vendors are under pressure to deliver ever more value / $ and that’s a good thing for us customers.

Software Defined Anything

Work in progress. It’s a journey. Most software defined pundits will have to deal with the fact that reliable and predictable hardware is not to be taken for granted when you dive into layering offloads on top or with each other and into ever more layers of abstraction and functionality. Humble pie: hardware vendors delivering quality seem to do more that just wield a soldering iron Smile


  • Public Cloud => for the win!
  • Hybrid cloud => depends on you definitions & business but it’s strong and can be very useful when done well for the right reasons.
  • Private Cloud => think very carefully if you have the scale, need and if it makes sense and really delivers value.

The Vendors

IBM will slowly but surely dump all hardware(bar some golden chicken varieties) and focus on expensive services, business consulting, overpriced refurbished job site pick up “consultant” pimping & the newer markets of the IoT. I get that, no use in trying to win the previous war.

HP will cost cut itself into oblivion a bit more in 2015. Only interesting piece of kit they have right now is moonshot and, forgive me, I don’t think it will be that hard for anyone to make a similar solution that’s better. Look at what CISCO UCS did to the server business. I do wonder in what manner the split my give us a surprise or will it be a non event?

Dell needs more visibility. I hope that while they are off many people’s radar screens they’re hard at work to surprise us in the next years. If they can remain profitable they might just become the gold standard of OEM hardware as the others have left or failed & the low end is picked up by the budget players. They do need to watch those.

Oracle? Oracle has been dead to me a decade ago. Unless you have their RDBMS & 3rd party solutions on top that are over priced & underwhelm (SAP,  …) in place and your stuck throwing money at them. You should have learned a lesson from IBM mainframe customers but you didn’t.

Google. Profitable as can be I guess. I love their search mojo but I do not trust any of their offerings. I only use it for low value and throw away use cases. They’re not trustworthy enough for me.

Apple. Overpriced, under delivering hardware. A tax on stupid people with a magnificent glossy wrapper. But they have a truckload of cash and they might wake up and pull the IoT thingy with IBM off in the enterprise.

Amazon. Top notch cloud shop and that’s the problem. Can they sustain the war of attrition with Microsoft or Google? I’m afraid they won’t be able to.

On the whole 2015 will be another step in ever less vendors taking ever more pieces of the cake. Bad for competition, innovation & the customer in the end. The IT world is looking more and more like the energy market. Nobody but the money men like ‘m, but we can’t live without them. Just like telcos.

“They barely make a profit” you say? If so they’re either incompetent or they are so in love with hoarding ever more money that they confuse that with their main business, supplying a commodity service. So let’s hope the cloud doesn’t end up there, but I’m not betting on it.

Just like with telcos the barrier to entry is too big for meaning full competition, bar some superb initiatives like

B4RN Logo Logo

Even a large telco cannot compete in cloud offerings on a serious level. Look at this gem to proof this.


Microsoft. Well there in an ever lasting fight for survival today and for their future as all companies are. Nadella is wicked smart and seems to have a positive effect and a clue. Let’s hope that continues. With some smarter licensing and some honey they could grab more of the competitors market and make up for it in volumes, but if they don’t have to they won’t, after all they’re in business to make money.

Businesses & Organizations

What will most organizations do in 2015? Some will thrive, a lot will be stagnant and try to maintain status quo or at least keep up appearances. Some will dig deeper and deeper down the hole they’re already in.

The good

Switched on companies figured out long ago it not of matter of what to use. It’s where and why. You can use everything available on the marketed form commodity to custom designed as long as you use it where it makes a difference. Use what you need for the job at hand. Not all jobs and situations require the same tools or methods. That’s why the arsenal of known (commodity) and secret (innovative) tools is so diverse & big. The “secret” sauce is having a clue. Those are the business where you can work, have fun, learn and grow.

The bad

A lot don’t have a clue. So lacking the secret sauce they buy what’s on the shelf labeled “great & proven track record”. Meaning they’ll cut costs more than anything else. This one is very popular. It’s easy and measurable. Especially if you don’t look at the holistic result and are very careful to only measure what constitutes savings and smooth talk runaway costs as a more mature, complete & professional solution where under deliverance is a “growing pain’.

The ugly

We’ll see people copy game books from the last wars & hope to build for the future while destroying it. Inertia will do it’s corrosive work, destroying capital, time & motivation driving them into a downward spiral of ever more costs for ever less return as the usual suspects blame culture & disengaged employees.

Some will even manage to show up with a dreadnought in a modern conflict  because literature states that outgunning the opponents battle ships is key in winning battles. Never mind it’s an air battle, as long as it ITIL compliant, there’s a service catalog & CMDB. It all reminds me of children playing “war”. Whilst I realize that keeping you inner child alive is important, this is not what they mean by that.

Final note

I think this blog post just graduated me as a IT journalist of some kid Winking smile