The consensus around the water fountain is in, the sensible folk are achieving and those that play catch up are spending way more corporate investment on keeping up with the achievers and go-getters in Cloud and virtualisation. That sums it up in a nutshell but to simply write an article with less than thirty eight words isn't going to suffice so let's explore where the Cloud market is making active differentiation in the evolving dynamic world of corporate and enterprise computing.
Blessed are the geeks for they will inherit the datacentre
There are very few differences in the manner that eighty percent of global enterprises tackle enterprise computing challenges. No matter whether exponents of purely "Cathedral" type platforms and toolsets or the "Bazaar" model of entrepreneurial achievement utilising open standards and challenging established paradigms of development and provisioning by reasoned utilisation and embracing of community ethics and freedoms. I hope I've got that right or my ex VA Linux colleague Eric Raymond is going to be less than happy. I use the word geek in the heading above with due reverence, without levity as a badge of achievement.
Whilst you could argue that venture capital and the influx of guidance in the form of management at many of the investment companies are the lifeblood of the evolution of new start companies developing and pushing technologies and products across Cloud. You could also observe that the vast majority of these organisations are building and ramping up harnessing and embracing open source libraries, binaries and technologies in order to get to revenue and to develop products that are relevant.
So what changed ?
The difference between now and the dot.com boom/bust era is that we grew up. Open source grew up too.
The difference is that in 1999/2000 a lot of the advisors who were often positioned or parachuted into new start companies using less "mature" developmental environments and an emerging internet were old school, 1980s/90s boardroom types, often expensive, entirely out of touch with working with dynamic energised folk who were capable at embracing tech but lacked maturity in corporate circles. Management came with money. I was there, I worked at Linuxcare from early days until I parachuted to safety to join the then ebullient VA Linux Systems. It was painful, it was replicated across hundreds of companies globally who all managed to burn huge amounts of funding rounds without generating products or significant revenue. A lot of the blame needs to be levied at the investors who handcuffed companies with legacy management who didn't understand the gulf between founder management and couldn't levy influence or control.
In the Cloud arena we have more startup companies producing better product with better guidance from more savvy investor folk, if any of you have ever bumped into the electrically charged spark that is Satish Dharmaraj for example, my former boss at Zimbra (now with a well known VC team) will understand the mental picture I paint entirely. Satish I pick out purely as an example, he isn't remotely alone in being a trail blazer, at Red Hat you can't throw a pebble without hitting a key manager or thought leader whose role it is to identify talent and opportunity and then nurture it. We even invest in technology regularly outside of Red Hat.
More importantly nowadays, most of these advisors attaching to first and second round funding have emerged from the Open Source community and are helping shape the direction that many Cloud startups are now able to follow. Thats a good thing. Lower burn rates, better code, better practices and revenue centric companies using Open Source as a base. For those basing companies on revenue (the small percentage) it's even more impressive.
However they ALL have one thing in common, they're all aiming to be relevant.
Make relevance your personal mantra for 2013, especially in Cloud
The number of times in recent months I've sat down with people in technology circles and talked open hybrid cloud, talked to them about how this gospel I preach weekly from my podcast pulpit of how at Red Hat we are working to demonstrate how we're innovating by providing key RELEVANT capabilities. If you're a listener to my podcast broadcasts I weekly try to provide you with balanced thought around cloud and virtualisation but with a passion that comes from a need to "do this right". To stay relevant with the needs of my listeners.
Arming, influencing, determining datacentre future behaviour and enterprise adoption of cloud across physical bare metal platforms, virtual, private cloud and public cloud with the Red Hat stack. Marshalling and creating the frameworks for growth that are significantly different from proprietary platforms such as VMWare and Microsoft and with more relevance (see it crops up again) to the problems that enterprise companies need to solve. Built openly, built with focus around application development and portability underwritten by the glue that is Red Hat's continued core open source belief as part of the fabric of cloud today. ISVs and startup companies who are aiming to be relevant and to drive product adoption and therefore revenue growth (either based on revenue or with the help of investors) are all looking to Cloud.
So next time you are stood, board marker in hand in front of your team drawing out your tiers of your architecture or brain blasting APIs and platform decisions with those in your circle who you rely on just consider. Is the technology and the platform and direction I am taking relevant ? Relevant now, relevant tomorrow, flexible and rugged enough to grow with your organisation, flexible enough to change securely, relevant enough to get you to the finish line, relevant enough to drive revenue and growth to match your ambition.
Unless you're doing this harnessing open technology, truly open source components and stacks you need to pay attention, you aren't going to be relevant, and neither is your Cloud.
If you want to know how this all glues together reach out to me and I'll point you at some folk who will change and empower your needs in Cloud. If you've been on Red Hat tour or been to Red Hat Summit (the next kicks off in Boston at The Hynes Convention Center in a few weeks time) then you'll be aware of the common sense relevance of what we mean by Open.
Red Hat - this is what we do, be open, be relevant and be part of the future of Cloud. Ignore me at your peril.