Category Archives: Analyst Life
Upcoming Gartner conferences
I will be at three Gartner conferences during the remainder of this year.
I will be at Symposium ITxpo Orlando. My main session here will be The Great Debate: Shared-Hardware vs. Shared-Everything Multitenancy, or Amazon’s Apples vs. Force.com’s Oranges. (Or for those of you who heard Larry Ellison’s OpenWorld keynote, Oracle ExaLogic vs. Salesforce.com…) The debate will be moderated by my colleague Ray Valdes, I’ll be taking the shared-hardware side while my colleague Eric Knipp takes the shared-everything side. I’m also likely to be running some end-user roundtables, but mostly, I’ll be available to take questions in 1-on-1 sessions.
If you go to Symposium, I highly encourage you to attend a session by one of my colleagues, Neil MacDonald. It’s called Why Cloud-Based Computing Will Be More Secure Than What You Have Today, and it’s what we call a “maverick pitch”, which means that it’s follows an idea that’s not a common consensus opinion at Gartner. But it’s also the foundation of some really, really interesting work that we’re doing on the future of the cloud, and it follows an incredibly important tenet that we’re talking about a lot: that control is not a substitute for trust, and the historical model that enterprises have had of equating the two is fundamentally broken.
I will be at the Application Architecture, Development, and Integration Summit (ala, our Web and Cloud conference) in November. I’m giving two presentations there. The first will be Controlling the Cloud: How to Leverage Cloud Computing Without Losing Control of Your IT Processes. The second is Infrastructure as a Service: Providing Data Center Services in the Cloud. I’ll also be running an end-user roundtable on building private clouds, and be available to take 1-on-1 questions.
Finally, I will be at the Data Center Conference in December. I’m giving two presentations there. The first will be Is Amazon, Not VMware, the Future of Your Data Center? The second is Getting Real With Cloud Infrastructure Services. I’ll also be in one of our “town hall” meetings on cloud, running an end-user roundtable on cloud IaaS, and be available to take 1-on-1 questions.
I will be at VMworld Europe this week.
I am speaking on Wednesday, October 13th, at 10:30 am, giving a short tutorial on outsourcing cloud infrastructure as a service. This is an NTT Communications-sponsored session. I also expect to be available to answer questions at NTT’s booth during that day.
During the rest of the conference I’m available for one-on-one meetings, regardless of whether or not you’re a Gartner client. Please send me email if you’d like to meet.
(In case you’re wondering how vendor-neutrality works when I do a vendor-sponsored day like this: NTT has no control over my presentation content whatsoever, nor anything that I say in general. It’s a risk for the vendor, in that they don’t know what I’m going to say exactly, and that what I have to say might not be entirely consonant with their strategy. But it’s part of Gartner’s policy when we speak at an external event like this, which means that you, as an attendee, don’t have to wonder about whether I’d have said something else under different circumstances.)
More colo coverage
My colleague Alex Winogradoff (alex dot winogradoff at gartner dot com) has begun to pick up an increasing percentage of the colocation inquiry that myself and Ted Chamberlin have previously taken. Ted and I are both hugely busy (if you don’t know him, Ted is my co-author on the Magic Quadrant, and is our primary guy covering the purchase of network services), and Alex has been assigned to learn the data center market, which remains a hot topic among our clients.
Alex is interested in talking with a broad range of colocation and turnkey data center leasing vendors, since these are highly localized markets where we routinely see a mix of global, national, regional, and local players in any given deal that a buyer asks us to look at. Whether or not you’re a client, you can contact Alex and ask to brief him; I highly encourage you to do so if you are a vendor in this space serving typical Gartner clients (mid-sized business, enterprise, government, and technology vendors, primarily).
Alex has spent his career focused on carriers and other network operators. Since he’s relatively new to the data center market, this is a great opportunity to educate him about what you offer, and influence his thinking on the space, as he begins to shape his research agenda.
And for you industry-watchers: Retail colocation remains a relatively weak market this year, but wholesale colocation and data center leasing are certainly growing significantly, both in volume of deals and the degree to which they’re playing a major part in data center sourcing decisions.
Meeting up at VMworld
I’m going to be at VMworld next week. If you’re a Gartner client, and you’d like to meet up with me while I’m there, please contact your account executive to arrange it. If you’re not a Gartner client, please email me and I’ll see what I can arrange. (My days are mostly spoken for, but breakfast and post-5 pm are largely free.)
Does this describe your IT project plan?
I have found at a partial solution to my communication proliferation problem. The tool I’m employing, at least for the moment, is Digsby, a free client that combines cross-platform instant messaging with access to social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. This has replaced my usual IM client (Trillian, which I like a lot), but since I exchange very few IMs, that’s not an issue. However, the aggregated volume of communication still feels like it’s too much. I need robust filtering capabilities, and I have the feeling that I may need to write my own client (or hack an open-source client) in order to get that.
I’ve recently read Pete Blackshaw’s Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000, which is a well-written, methodical introduction to consumer-generated media (CGM, also known as UGC, user-generated content). I’d recommend the book to anyone who hasn’t read a book on the topic; if you’re social-media savvy, chances are you won’t learn much (if anything) new, but the anecdotes are entertaining and useful, and the structured approach provides good framework language.
Thus, trust, credibility, and authenticity in corporate engagement are very much on my mind, at a time when there’s a new (resurfaced) controversy regarding local-review site Yelp, which is being accused of manipulating user reviews to gain advertising revenues. Naturally, Yelp denies any extortion of local businesses.
As an analyst, I belong to an industry which is constantly being questioned about the credibility and authenticity of its commentary — the age-old question of whether it’s a “pay to play” business where vendor clients receive ratings and recommendations that are more favorable than those that non-clients get. I still find myself having to stress to clients and non-clients alike that Gartner opinion cannot be bought. It’s one of the genuinely great aspects of working here — the organizational commitment to integrity. This is not to say that there aren’t conflicts — a vendor client has more avenues with which to express their unhappiness with an analyst’s opinion, and attempt to influence it in a more positive direction. But in the end, we pride ourselves on serving our IT buyer clients with honest advice — which means that vendor dollars can’t be allowed to influence analyst opinion.
I imagine that for any organization which provides reviews and recommendations as part of its business, and which accepts money from the entities being rated, has problems with rogue salespeople who attempt to imply, or even outright state, that paying for services means more favorable positioning. So the question is, what’s the organization’s attitude, from the CEO down, towards these things? Is it a wink-wink nudge-nudge thing where the organization only pays lip service to neutrality, is it a don’t-ask don’t-tell thing where the organization is willing to turn a blind eye as long as it doesn’t cause obvious problems, or is the organization really dedicated to ensuring that dollars don’t alter anything?
Which of these categories does Yelp fall into? I’m a pretty engaged consumer — I read reviews on Yelp, and I write them from time to time. I’ve got a keen interest in knowing.
A client recently asked me what my Clifton Strengths are. I couldn’t remember at the time, but I’ve dug out old 1.0 results from back in 2006…
- Ideation. People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
- Strategic. People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
- Input. People strong in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
- Learner. People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
- Intellection. People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.
Back in 2005, my colleague Monica Basso and I wrote a research note titled, “Wide Array of Communications Overwhelms Users“. In it, we pointed out that the proliferation of communication mechanisms and the complex intermixing of personal and business communications would become increasingly unmanageable.
Until a few months ago, Gartner had a policy that disallowed analysts from participating in most forms of social media. So, up until recently, I’ve had relatively clean distinctions in my communications — a personal instant messaging account, del.icio.us, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, used strictly to communicate with friends. LinkedIn was the face of my business profile.
Now that my employer is actually encouraging use of social media, I’m finding myself facing a problem of converging business and personal identities. I am happy to build big social networks, but categorization and compartmentalization are a big problem. For instance, how do I deal with the fact that my vendor contacts see my high school acquaintances scribbling random things on my Facebook Wall? Should my blog followers who want to see my interesting technology links also have to endure my MMORPG links on del.icio.us? What do I tweet to my various accounts? (On Twitter, I have a business identity, a private friends-only identity, and a public personal identity, but ironically, I find Twitter almost impossibly distracting to deal with, so I tweet and read tweets very seldomly.) How much do I really want to federate of myself on FriendFeed?
I feel like social networking, whether targeted at personal or business use, really needs strong tagging and categorizations. Here are the people who happened to work at the same company as me, that I’ve spoken to a few times; here are my immediate co-workers; here are the people I’ve worked closely with and think are awesome. Here are business contacts at other companies that I want to stay in touch with but don’t have a personal relationship with. Here are vague past acquaintances, current friends, and my inner circle of close buddies. And I desperately want tools on all social networking sites that let me limit the flow of me-related content: public, all connections, just these specific groups.
But more broadly, we are still missing really elegant ways to manage the incredible flow of communication and information that’s coming our way. There’s a commercial opportunity there that’s still not been taken.
I’ve recently discovered TripIt through LinkedIn, which has an app to link in TripIt travel plans.
I’ve got to say, it’s pretty awesome. Forward your confirmation emails to it, and it will automatically build them into travel plans. I normally get PDFs via American Express. But my trips are a multi-email jumbled mess of multiple cities, one-way airline tickets, hotel reservations, and whatnot. With every trip, I generally spend a tedious, hair-pulling amount of time gathering up all the scattered emails and manually creating a document that has all the information. Then I have to go track down things like driving directions, time to destinations, and weather so I know what to pack.
No more. TripIt is smart. It can take all those zillion confirmation emails and consolidate them into one unified trip plan, complete with weather, driving directions, and links to online check-in and flight status. It produces a full schedule of your day, although it has the key problem that it doesn’t know that you need to be at the airport at least an hour in advance of your flight.
Plus, TripIt has a social-networking element, similar to Dopplr, so you can privately share your trip information with others. (This helps my spouse, who has to ask questions like, “What city are you in now?”)
This is what useful applications should be — automating away tedium.