Welcome!

DevOps Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Sebastian Kruk, Sandi Mappic, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

Target Market, Product Fit and other Sensible Things to Do

I find it interesting to see how we as a (sub) industry get into cycles of things that we think matter, or want to talk about. We are all influenced by each other and blog posts trigger new blog posts and a lively discussion ensues. What is interesting is that sometimes these come in from completely different directions.

The past few weeks there have been several discussions, blogs and other references that go back to the basics of product development, creating value and how we (that collective “we” again) love to put ideas and technologies on pedestals, gaze at them in amazement and perhaps even spend billions buying our own hype. At Plexxi we have regular self reflection periods where we examine what we have, what we have coming and how we believe that creates attractive, complete and valuable solutions. And this week there were several new articles, as well as some good oldies that attempt to point out those basics that matter more than just about anything else.

Cloudborat wrote this post with his distillation of solution fundamentals into 7 steps. There is no point arguing about how many steps something takes, but its hard to disagree with the most basics of the steps in the list:

  • talk to your target market
  • ask them if this problem is worth solving
  • listen to your customer

Everyone in our industry has real problems to solve. There are no perfect solutions, no perfect products, and things move fast enough that new problems show up each and every day that need to be solved. Finding the one problem your customer needs to have solved and is willing to change its buying behavior for is key. Customers will love new technology, will love the potential of what new technology can solve, but rarely spend real money on it unless it truly solves a problem very high on their pain list.

In a very widely referenced blog post, Marc Andreessen makes the point that the only thing that matters is product/market fit, being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market. He wrote this as part of a multipart blog that articulates his guide to startups. No matter how awesome the product, how advanced the technology, if there is no market for the product you will fail. The product fit to the market trumps all other ingredients to a successful solution or company. It’s one of those things that sounds so obvious, but obviously is not.

The team that created “Slack” sent an internal memo that provided the company’s view on what they were and what they were not, what matters and what does not. It defines what the company stands for and offers a  great quote: “the best real, direct measure of ‘innovation’ is change in human behavior”. Effective products and solutions change the way we do things (for the better in most cases). Their use, the way they solve a problem transforms how we do things in our personal or professional life. There are easy examples like twitter and Facebook, and for us network folks, server virtualization and overlay networks fall into this category.

But when you look at networking as a whole, I struggle to find that innovation that has changed the way we have approached networking, changed the way we designed, built and operated networks. On his blog last week, Tom Nolle articulated several points from his surveys targeted at SDN (in whatever definition) has not passed the test of value, even if there was a clear definition of SDN. His most important point is his last point and relates back to points from the articles above: “… we just use SDN to produce the same Level 2/3 services we had before it ever came along”.

Whether you call it SDN or something different, there is a reason why we talk about devops as much as we do. While not everyone may recognize the work they do on a network on a daily basis as devops, those proprietary script machines and handy little tools could be so much more powerful when truly integrated with the network solution. What if VLAN configuration is not a task that needs to be applied to switches and ports, but could be articulated as a single network wide policy? What if an ethernet fabric just plain worked extremely well when you connect all the cables and created a few of these network wide policies? That would be transformational. That would change the way we (network folks) behave.

There is a reason why we break the normal L2 and L3 forwarding paradigms beyond just who controls the information. We don’t want to do the same in a different way. We want to allow for easy creation of network services and manage these services in a way that is trivial. We want to transform how ethernet fabrics are made. Not just for the sake of it, but to enable network services that are really hard to accomplish today that allow a true change in how we design, deploy and manage fabrics.

 

[Today's almost fun fact:  All of the clocks in the movie "Pulp Fiction" are stuck on 4:20. Almost true, in the "Bonnie Station" in the last scenes the clock is not set to 4:20.]

The post Target Market, Product Fit and other Sensible Things to Do appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Marten Terpstra

Marten Terpstra is a Product Management Director at Plexxi Inc. Marten has extensive knowledge of the architecture, design, deployment and management of enterprise and carrier networks.

Cloud Expo Latest Stories
14th International Cloud Expo, held on June 10–12, 2014 at the Javits Center in New York City, featured three content-packed days with a rich array of sessions about the business and technical value of cloud computing, Internet of Things, Big Data, and DevOps led by exceptional speakers from every sector of the IT ecosystem. The Cloud Expo series is the fastest-growing Enterprise IT event in the past 10 years, devoted to every aspect of delivering massively scalable enterprise IT as a service.
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore’s Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, to discuss how infrastructure teams should be aware of the capitalization and depreciation model of these expenses to fully understand when and where automation is critical.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Hinkle, Senior Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix Systems Inc., will provide overview of the open source software that can be used to deploy and manage a cloud computing environment. He will include information on storage, networking(e.g., OpenDaylight) and compute virtualization (Xen, KVM, LXC) and the orchestration(Apache CloudStack, OpenStack) of the three to build their own cloud services. Speaker Bio: Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Source Solutions, at Citrix Systems Inc. He joined Citrix as a result of their July 2011 acquisition of Cloud.com where he was their Vice President of Community. He is currently responsible for Citrix open source efforts around the open source cloud computing platform, Apache CloudStack and the Xen Hypervisor. Previously he was the VP of Community at Zenoss Inc., a producer of the open source application, server, and network management software, where he grew the Zenoss Core project to over 10...
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise) cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. NuoDB is involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO at NuoDB, Inc., will discuss the experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based applications and content within their business models are reaping huge benefits by directly leveraging cloud-based mapping and analysis capabilities within their existing enterprise investments. The ArcGIS mapping platform includes cloud-based content management and information resources to more widely, efficiently, and affordably deliver real-time actionable information and analysis capabilities to your organization.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
The cloud is everywhere and growing, and with it SaaS has become an accepted means for software delivery. SaaS is more than just a technology, it is a thriving business model estimated to be worth around $53 billion dollars by 2015, according to IDC. The question is – how do you build and scale a profitable SaaS business model? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jason Cumberland, Vice President, SaaS Solutions at Dimension Data, will give the audience an understanding of common mistakes businesses make when transitioning to SaaS; how to avoid them; and how to build a profitable and scalable SaaS business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia, the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between personal and professional social, mobile and cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the cloud.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Enterprises require the performance, agility and on-demand access of the public cloud, and the management, security and compatibility of the private cloud. The solution? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist(global role) for VMware, will explore how to unlock the power of the hybrid cloud and the steps to get there. He'll discuss the challenges that conventional approaches to both public and private cloud computing, and outline the tough decisions that must be made to accelerate the journey to the hybrid cloud. As part of the transition, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model will enable enterprise IT to build services beyond their data center while owning what gets moved, when to move it, and for how long. IT can then move forward on what matters most to the organization that it supports – availability, agility and efficiency.
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.