Dreamforce always reminds me of rainbows – so much diversity in customers, partners, presenters. This year’s music evening punctuates that with Blondie and Green Day, two generations apart of new wave beats. The 4 doctors keynoting makes you think you are going to HIMSS. Salesforce Chatter and millions of tweets and Facebook and other social executives on stage make it feel like SXSW. The closing down of Howard Street reminds you of Oracle OpenWorld.
Except none of them bring the clouds down to earth like this year’s Plaza does in the vid
The numbers are eye-popping - 120,000 planned attendees from 65 countries scheduling themselves across 1,250 expert sessions, 350 partner booth visits with over 1,000 solutions (and yes even more partner parties).
That takes a lot of planning. Dreamforce dates are locked down through 2025! In 2012, the event called for 24,000 hours of security coverage from move-in to move-out.
But there should be plenty of spontaneous moments. You can bet on that in any Benioff keynote. See you there!
I heard that expression during a Oracle OpenWorld HCM session yesterday and initially reacted to it as a throwaway marketing tagline. But the simple switch Larry Ellison demoed to the turn the in-memory functionality on in his Sunday keynote and keynotes today by Thomas Kurian and John Fowler really brought that out in spades.
Thomas showcased the widest “as a service” in the industry – IaaS, PaaS and SaaS
He had an associate demo the ease of infrastructure provisioning – compute, storage, database, and tools - click graph to enlarge for clarity
He then had another associate demo the confluence of sales, service and marketing data, and partner functionality
John in his portion showed off the convergence of compute, storage and network at the hardware level
He also showed the way Oracle continues to push Moore’s Law a bit further than the industry has thought possible.
Of course, customers will need financial sophistication to combat the likely lock-in that comes from such concentration of single vendor solutions but you have to laud the sophistication and the efforts of masking all this complexity.
This an impressive story of how Revel overcame objections about the iPad's ruggedness as a POS in restaurants, how it tackled the payment security problem, how it convinced customers to not worry about the cloud with its offline features - all of which led to the “Best iPad Business App of the Year” award at the Macworld/iWorld event.
The origins of Nebula One go back to Kemp’s days at NASA, which he joined in 2006 as director of strategic business development. In 2007, he became a chief information officer, making him, at 29, the youngest senior executive in the U.S. government. In 2010, he became NASA’s chief technology officer. Kemp spent much his time at NASA developing more efficient data centers for the agency’s various computing efforts. He and a team of engineers built the early parts of what is now known as OpenStack, software that makes it possible to control an entire data center as one computer.
Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, has three Nebula Ones, which it uses for research projects such as an effort to improve parking in big cities. Researchers at PARC have been analyzing huge amounts of data to create models that show when workers, delivery vehicles, and shoppers tend to use certain parking spots. The idea is to create parking spots with modifiable, electronic signs that can turn, say, loading zones into regular parking spots over the course of a day. “You need to spin up a large simulation, get the results, present them, and then sit back for a while,” says Roger Hoover, an engineer at PARC. With the Nebula One, an engineer can shut down one simulation and then start up a new project in a few seconds. Similar things are possible on Amazon.com’s EC2 service or Microsoft’s Azure, but those services can be expensive and slow when you must send large amounts of data back and forth via the Internet. “What we do just will not work on Amazon,” says Surendra Reddy, who leads the cloud technology work at PARC.
InformationWeek has a nice profile of Netflix's massive, global use of IaaS on Amazon Web Services, instead of building its own data centers.
It allows "Netflix to try using large data center resources, fail at it
without paying a heavy penalty in unused gear because it was only rented
by the hour, then try again. The ability to execute a rapid, iterative
testing of ideas "[gives] us an ability to try things out, even more
than our own data centers would,"
"Netflix found there was no performance
advantage to using servers in Brazil, which were farther from Miami than
AWS's East Coast servers. It reverted to serving South and Central
American through its hundreds of servers in Northern Virginia because
"it made sense to serve them out of U.S. East," said Cockcroft (ex Sun and eBay)
European customers, on the other hand, could be more efficiently served
out of AWS's Dublin, Ireland, data center. AWS services in Dublin are
slightly more expensive than those in U.S. East, but reducing latencies
for customers was worth the increase, he said. Netflix launched a 1,000
virtual machine footprint in Dublin, using the same procedures and same
APIs to which it was already accustomed. "Everything just worked," he
"And while it's commonly viewed that Netflix is
dependent on AWS for vital services, Varia (of Amazon) said at the start that AWS
relies on Netflix to educate it about meeting a large, demanding
customer's needs. "Adrian and his team challenge Amazon Web Services in
every way. They help us to make AWS better," he said.
More on Cockburn's own assessment of risk of dependence on AWS in this ZDNet post
Slide below from a Cockburn presentation at AWS Re:Invent November 2012 touches on one of the AWS outages
Google plans a major recruiting effort to increase its Seattle-area
engineering staff by as much as five times. There is already fierce competition
among tech companies for talented engineers, and many of those with
skills in cloud computing work at Google’s rivals in Seattle (at Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure)
“We’re not the first in this rodeo, but we have the history of Google,”
said Brian Goldfarb, Google’s leader of cloud platform marketing, who
joined the company last year after a decade at Microsoft. “We have the
best data centers on the planet. You can’t really give engineers a
bigger, badder thing to work on.”
“Web Services division, whose server farms generate the processing power the retailer sells to heavy corporate data users on the cheap, has grown so large that the unit routinely finds itself with thousands of spare machines.
So the e-commerce giant created a supply-and-demand-driven market called Amazon EC2 Spot Instances that lets clients rent processors for as little as 10 percent of Amazon’s standard cloud-services fees. To use Spot Instances, companies bid for the rights to a certain number of servers. Winning bidders are billed by the hour, as long as the market price hasn’t risen above an upper bound they specify.
Researchers in genomics and drug design as well as online advertising increasingly use Spot to analyze terabytes of data, while companies such as Cycle Computing LLC, Princeton Consultants Inc., and Numerate Inc. have built businesses that track market prices for heavy data users.”
A CEO gushing about his own product does not impress, but some of the figures tied to Dropbox’s growth do. Each day, Dropbox customers store 1 billion files. The company more or less has to help duplicate a digital version of the Library of Congress every day. By comparison, Twitter has about 140 million people issuing 500 million or so tweets on a daily basis. “But at Dropbox, it’s not 140-character snippets,” says Houston. “It’s your tax returns and your most important stuff.”
Mei Li of NetSuite is a very generous lady. Every time I see her, she offers me dark chocolates for my wife. On a diet, is my usual excuse. Last time I saw her, she gave me a gift card and said my wife would like it even better. As these things often work out, my daughter Rita used it to buy the nice top in the photo. And when I asked where she got it, she said “Ibex”. Where? “Dad, the store you gave Mom the gift card for”.
Ibex Outdoor Clothing is a wool clothing company. Its site says “We’re a natural fiber company. A thoughtful design company. An excellence-in-product-development company. We’re a hiking-before-dawn company. A dogs-in-the-workplace company. A bike-to-work company. We’re also a community-supported-agriculture company, a cross-country-ski marathon company, a coffee-in-front-of-the-woodstove company.”
Just navigating their site makes you feel warm as the weather cools down.
It was Mei’s subtle way to introduce me to one of NetSuite’s growing commerce-as-a-service customers. Ibex uses NetSuite to manage customer interactions across smartphones, tablets, PCs and brick-and-mortar stores. The consistent customer experience across channels is a holy grail for most companies these days.
Additionally, NetSuite allows Ibex “30 to 40 percent faster order management and fulfillment, and increased visibility of inventory across 30 factories and distribution across all channels, including its flagship retail store in downtown Boston.”
For many fast growing concepts like Ibex, the pay as you grow SaaS model is ideal, and NetSuite’s wide footprint saves them infrastructure, integration, upgrade and other costs. Ibex was previously on an on-premise Sage MAS 200 and a custom-built Web storefront.
So my daughter asks – That was so easy..does NetSuite also power Tiffany? Apple?
I respond - Not yet. But they are always looking for good salespeople. Want to help them sell their software to brands you like? And, by the way, that way you can pay Mom back for the card Mei meant for her :)