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Citrix Synergy 2011: Day 2 – Simon Sez!

May 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello (again) from San Francisco – for the last time this week!  

I’ll be heading back to Austin tomorrow, but it was great being here in California for a few days, and being a part of what was happening at Citrix Synergy 2011.

Day 2 started a bit slow, but Simon Crosby certainly got us back on track. 

Simon Crosby on stage at Citrix Synergy

Simon Crosby on stage at Citrix Synergy

Here are the highlights:

  • DJ Solomon was running music before the session and at the after party – I gotta say I was impressed.  I’m not a big club beat guy, but this was good tunage. 
     
  • Citrix Partner Awards:  Gluster – Best Partner Solution for Accelerating Cloud and Best in Show!  App-DNA wins best partner solution for desktop transformation, and Abiquo wins best partner solution for virtual datacenters.
      
  • After the Citrix Partner Solution Awards, Simon Crosby took the stage – I’d been looking forward to this – Simon never fails to provide surprise and insight.
          
  • It should be obvious, but a lot of people still don’t get this – virtualiztion is not the same thing as cloud.  Does virtualization have a place in cloud?  Yes.  Can you evolve from a highly virtualized environment to a cloud?  Yes.  But there is a purer way taken advantage of all the inherent characteristics of cloud (elasticity, mutli-tenancy, etc) by designing and building cloud from the ground up – something that platforms like OpenStack offers.  (Check out the whitepaper at www.Dell.com/OpenStack to learn more about that design methodology.)
      
  • OpenStack will help drive what we need in the cloud – getting key vendors together to figure out and build the cloud out right. – Simon Crosby
       
  • To delight (users) and to protect (enterprises) – that is the mission of IT – Simon Crosby
        
  • Interesting analogy from Simon: private cloud vs private cloud similar to driving your own car vs flying in a commercial plane – we drive our own cars, have control, etc – commercial airlines focus on building in process so that air travel is safe and reliable.  Interesting fact – the FAA was created by the airlines to help ease people’s fear of flying by implementing standards and a governing body.
      
  • Enterprises are seeking economics, elasticity, and pay-as-you-go from the cloud. – Simon Crosby
      
  • Our consumer choices are increasingly impacting our workplace – Simon Crosby
       
  • Roughly 100% of users violate their company’s security policy to get their job done – apps, public cloud access, etc.  It’s important that we as an industry recognize that and leverage it for progress.
       
  • Tarkan Maner, CEO of Wyse – wow, quite a captivating speaker.  Was quite comfortable making a number of claims about thin clients and the future of computing, a number of  which I’m not in agreement with (there is now no need for thick clients, etc), but overall, I enjoyed his address.  Some key takeaways include cloud recommendations: start working toward hybrid cloud, build based on policies, develop to open standards, ensure the right and evolved IT skills are in place, and put users before infrastructure.
       
  • Also learned a new phrase – “FInT this.” = Facebook, Linked In, Twitter.  Do any of you actually say this?
       
  • Train at Citrix Synergy!
    Train at Citrix Synergy!

    Zynga CTO Allan Leinwand also presented today speaking about their zCloud – they went from concept to production in 6 months, and can provision 1000 servers within 24 hours now.  They are all about “scale fast or fail fast.”  Nice to see that we as a group are starting to understand this notion.  Nice quote to the crowd during his discussion: “Some of you might be playing our games right now.”
      

  • Also got a chance to interact with friends in the press as well as users who wanted to know more about OpenStack and Dell’s role in Project Olympus and its Early Access Program.  You can also drop me an email at OpenStack@Dell.com if you want to learn more.
      
  • And to top it all off – Train in concert at the Synergy afterparty!

The twitterati was in full swing as well – check out #CitrixSynergy.

Citrix fans – it’s been fun – see you next year! 

Until next time,

JOSEPH
@jbgeorge

Citrix Synergy 2011: Day 1

May 26, 2011 Leave a comment
Welcome to Citrix Synergy 2011!
Welcome to Citrix Synergy 2011!

.

Hello from San Fran!

Boy, what a day at Day 1 of the Citrix Synergy event.  I’m kicking back at the Serrano Hotel after a long day of meeting, greeting, networking, and learning at they event.  Made a lot of new friends today, and got to touch base with a lot of old acquaintences. 

I had a lot of high hopes for the conference this week.  And the keynote got it off to a rocking start.

I was particularly interested in the OpenStack announcement, but there was a ton of great announcements and demos today.  Also had some great meetings with the press today since Dell was a part of the announcements. 

Here are some of the highlights I found interesting…

  • First off, the OpenStack news – Citrix announced “Project Olympus” which would include a Citrix distribution of OpenStack and a cloud-optimized version of XenServer.   There’s an early access program that customers can engage in to work with Citrix, Dell, and Rackspace to get things kicked off there.  Check out more at my blog on it here.
      
  • Google did a pretty cool thing by doing a demo with the Citrix crew on stage, and then proceeded to give away about 100 Chromebooks to keynote attendees.  Unfortunately, I was not one of them. 
      
  • Citrix CEO Mark Templeton did a great job of pitching a nice connected story of BYO-ThreePC – Personal Cloud, Private Cloud, and Public Cloud.
      
  • Citrix showcased a couple of new new NetScaler products – Cloud Gateway to helps in orchestrating web and windows apps, and Cloud Bridge to connect cloud data, directory, web, and apps between public and private clouds.
     
  • Great demos on the new and improved Citrix Receiver.  Lots of nice UI updates, drag and drop, etc.  And features are translated into the administration side of things as well.  It was also cool to see Android apps running in Windows via Citrix Receiver.  Things are becoming seamless….
      

Some great quotes:

Live from Citrix Synergy 2011...

Live from Citrix Synergy 2011...

  • Citrix’s mantra = “Whatever, whenever, wherever” – I like it.  (Also heard a lot of “any, any, any”.)
  • “Don’t encrypt the laptop – encrypts the data.”
  • Consumerization is a major force and will force changes in IT
      

 OK, well that’s all I’ve got in me for tonight – there was a ton more – feel free to comment about items you found interesting. 

I’ll be back tomorrow with another update.

Until next time,

JOSEPH
@jbgeorge

Thoughts from 2010 Gartner Data Center Conference (Part 1)

December 11, 2010 1 comment

This week, I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 Gartner Data Center conference – got to see a lot of old friends, meet new friends, and learn a lot about what Gartner sees coming down the road. 

This year's Gartner Data Center Conference was held at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, NV

It was also a chance to talk to a number of folks about what’s happening at their own data centers, what they’re looking to solve, and what they’d like to see start happening in the industry.

Here are some key nuggets I walked away with – I’ll post again tomorrow with the rest:

  • When it comes to implementing cloud, we cannot allow “20th century industrial models to sap 21st century innovation.” 
  • There’s still not a good answer for failure remediation in the cloud – credit due to downtime is just not good enough.
  • Expect the community cloud concept to continue to draw interest.  (Community clouds are clouds that service specific areas like banking or healthcare, where compliance, etc would be a requirement for its customers.)
  • The next big business opportunity could be cloud brokers as the new systems integrators
  • Great quote from Phil Dawson regarding due diligence before virtualizating anything – “Don’t virtualize rubbish – otherwise you have virtual rubbish.”
  • We often forget that virtualization is more than just servers and storage – there are apps, desktops, etc
  • Client virtualization / VDI is still top of a number of minds, though many are still at the investigative stage.  There are still lingering questions about user adoption, bandwidth / network constraints, and ROI.  (Though I am a big believer.)
  • When we build staffs, we should strive for them to be “T-shaped” – technically deep in few areas, but linkages to the broader business.
  • It’s important to run IT as a business – remember that it is providing something of value that its customer is willing to pay for
  • Some good discussion on IT chargeback and allocation, which many are not doing today, but forsee implementing in the future.  Four required characteristics of IT chargeback: simplicity, fairness, predictability, and control.

Also got a walkthrough of the IBM containerized data center, as well as SGI’s container – both very cool.  (No pun intended.)  I’ve now had the pleasure to see the modular / container data centers from  HP, Dell, IBM, and SGI first hand.

Some interesting stats and statistical predictions from Gartner:

  • 2/3 of the live audience was polled said they will be pursuing a private cloud strategy by 2014
  • What’s the top concern regarding cloud computing?  Security and privacy are still at the top.
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world.  Twitter – the 7th. (Wow.)
  • There has been more video uploaded to YouTube in the last 2 months than if ABC, NBC, and CBS had been airing content 24/7/365 continuously since 1948.  (WOW.)
  • Data centers can consume 40x – 100x  more energy than the offices they support.
  • An 8,000 square foot datacenter could cost $1.6M per year for just power.
  • Data centers will be significantly smaller in the next 5 – 10 years
  • Data expected to grow 800% over the next 5 years, and 80% of it will likely be unstructured.
  • Today’s labor force will have 10 – 14 jobs by age 38

As you can tell, just a lot of good discussion on cloud, data centers, power, and overall IT.

OK, don’t want to overload more than I have – will back tomorrow night.

(UPDATE: Click here for Part 2.)

Until next time.

JBGeorge
@jbgeorge

Why QWERTY?

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment

    

It amazes me how incredibly computer savvy both of my kids are now. 

Maybe that shouldn’t surprise a dad with two kids less than five years old.  It’s just that one moment they’re searching for dinosaurs on Google, then the next moment, they’re fighting each other for the last jelly bean

Anyway, today my oldest asked me why the computer keyboard was all out of order.  Why doWhy QWERTY?es it go Q-W-E-R-T-Y-… when it should go A-B-C-D-E-…  I explained that there are certain letters that are used more often than others when you write / type words, and that this design was used by a lot of people over many years, and is the best and fastest way to type.

And then she asked, “Are you sure it’s the best?”

( Kids.  Always with the backtalk.)

So we started out on the path to figure it out.  We googled QWERTY, and a number of interesting texts came up discussing the matter.  After a few minutes of reading, some healthy discussion, and a couple of shots of chocolate milk, here’s what we came up with.

The QWERTY model was actually developed quite a long time ago, in the late 1800s, and evolved over a number of attempts at an effficient keyboard, including one that started “A-B-C-D-E-…”  The key here is that a few of the pioneers in this space happened to be tied into a company that put out one of the earliest “writing machines”, which embedded the QWERTY format into its model, and marketed the hell out of it.  Next thing you know, its everywhere.

(We’ve seen that movie before.)

We also learned about a science known as “letter pair frequency” – for example the frequency of the consecutive letters “th” in the English language is 1.52%, while the frequency of the consecutive letters “ur” is 0.02%.  This is a key part of defining how the letters were to be arranged.  A lot of pretty smart people spent a lot of time figuring that out.  God bless ’em.

Fair question...

Fair question...

So, it’s clear that QWERTY is a pretty good system, based on actual science.  But our question here was “Is QWERTY the best?”

Turns out there are a number of issues with the QWERTY model – a lot of the most frequent letter combinations require the same finger to type it, one hand ends up typing more than the other in a lot of cases, etc, etc, etc.

One of the most famous contrarians to QWERTY was a gentleman by the name of Dvorak, inventor of the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, seen below.  It was apprently developed with a focus on letter pair frequencies and hand physiology.  In fact, some Dvorak-ites claim less of a chance of carpal tunnel with this keyboard.

The Dvorak Keyboard (Source: www.dvorak-keyboard.com)

The Dvorak Keyboard (Source: http://www.dvorak-keyboard.com)

 

Some interesting facts we uncovered about the Dvorak keyboard:

  • The home keys are made up of the vowels and the most used consanants.
  • You can type ~400 of English’s most common words with just the Dvorak “home keys” (vs ~100 on QWERTY).
  • In general, ~70% of typing occurs on the Dvorak home keys (vs ~30% on QWERTY)
  • Dvorak attempts to make stroking motion go from the outside of keyboard toward the middle, based on the assumption that its easier to tap your fingers from pinky to pointer vs the other way around
  • Some operating systems offer you the option to configure your keyboard in the Dvorak model

Interesting stuff, no?

At this point, knowing that our research was far from thorough, we figured that no matter how interesting or scientifically superior that Dvorak model may prove to be, QWERTY has engrained itself so deeply into our culture at this point that it’s difficult to see the mainstream world changing. 

On computers, that is.

It will be interesting to see how / if this becomes more of a discussion topic now that we’re heading toward smaller mobile devices, tablets, etc.  Also with advances like smart typing (aka autocorrect) and the “SWYPE” techinque for mobile keyboards, perhaps the opportunity to better fine tune the keyboard will present itself.

So is QWERTY the best?  Probably not. 

Will the world likely adapt a better model in light of newer input devices? 

Well, maybe it’s time we thought about it. 

It is also at this point that I realize my kid is long gone, and is now watching Disney channel upstairs.  Oh, well.

At least she’s watching Little Einsteins.  🙂

(“Princess, can you help Daddy reset the computer keyboard back to QWERTY?”)

Until next time.

Joseph B George
@jbgeorge / www.jbgeorge.net

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