EMC World 2016

Emcworld2016EMC World 2016 is upon us again and final preparations are underway. The theme of this year's conference is Modernize and reflects the major challenge for enterprise IT. Modernize, Automate, and Transform their operations to enables business transformation to compete in the digital economy. EMC World starts officially on Monday May 2.

This year the EMC CTO team has been heavily involved in the content planning for EMC World. This year we have eight great breakout session's focused on modern management & operations, storage architectures, IOT, and cloud native application infrastructure solutions:


In addition to the breakout sessions our global CTO, John Roese will be hosting a round table meeting on Tuesday (5/3) with 25 CIO/CTO's to discuss EMC's technology vision.


On Wednesday (5/4) John will be hosting a meet-up with the EMC Elect, CTO Ambassadors, and Cisco Champions.


John is hosting an interesting Guru Session on Wednesday (5/4) at 3pm with famous strategy consultant and author, Geoffrey Moore. Geoffrey is the best-selling author of Crossing the Chasm and Escape Velocity. John and Geoffrey will be discussing the enterprise IT challenges transforming to compete in the digital economy.


This year all the daily keynote sessions will be webcast from the emc.com website. I am looking forward to all the great content and recapping the highlights with blog posts all next week.

Cloud Is Not A Place

ITImparativesEnterprise IT organizations are being challenged to transform to enable their business to
compete in the digital economy. IT is being challenged to reduce the cost of operating their traditional application portfolio, enable new mobile, web, social, and analytics applications, while not compromising their data security and compliance requirements. These competing imperatives are forcing enterprise IT to embrace modern cloud infrastructure to help meet these needs. The challenge many are struggling with is finding a public cloud service that can meet all their MultiCloudneeds: traditional client-server application, along with development of new applications with much more agile, flexible, and less expensive infrastructure. In addition, many are expanding their use of software as a service (SAAS) for not only CRM, and payroll services but for HR, collaboration, and office productivity. The question is how do you find one cloud provider to meet all these workload needs? I believe this is the wrong question. Cloud is not a place but an operating model. Enterprise IT will need to manage a portfolio of cloud services optimized for multiple groups of applications with diverse workload requirements.

At a high level, determining the IT Cloud Services needed for your application workloads is 2x2cloudbased on two dimensions:

  • Application architecture: traditional client-server, modern mobile, web, and social
  • Application locality: can it run off-premises or must it run on-premises

This creates four categories of cloud services. The lower left quadrant is optimized to service traditional client server application like SAP/R3, and Oracle ERP applications. The lower right CloudExamplesquadrant is a new type of off-premises cloud service provider that provides application expertise in addition to the price advantages of public cloud. EMC Virtustream, and Oracle cloud are examples of these cloud service providers. The upper left cloud services are optimized for modern mobile, web, social application architectures that you want to run on-premises. The upper right quadrant is general-purpose public cloud providers and software as service providers. Each of these cloud types is architected to minimize the cost to run the target workloads while providing just the services the application needs. For example, a Oracle database application requires a highly resilient storage infrastructure. If your table space storage suddenly becomes unavailable it is going be a really bad day. For a Hadoop based application if a data node suddenly becomes unavailable existing and new requests are re-routed to other copies of the data with minimal user impact. You need to make sure your application workloads are mapped to the appropriate cloud service.

There has never been a single IT infrastructure architecture to service all application workloads. The best IT organizations are able to offer a portfolio of infrastructure services with differentiated services, flexibility, performance, and costs characteristics. I have described a model that has enabled many of my customers to start thinking about their cloud service needs. As this model of cloud portfolio services is created new IT services and organization roles and skills are created. In future blog posts I will discuss the new cloud inter-working services, organizational roles and skill sets needed.

EMC CTO Ambassadors

When I joined the EMC Office of the CTO in 2014 after many years as a field engineer and an EMC customer many people were interested in our opinion on the future of IT technology. As an EMC field engineer I worked with many customers designing technology solutions that would need to support their core business for the next 10 years with currently available products. We often discussed how the solution could be designed to accommodate new technologies that we knew were on the near term horizon. The challenge was:

  • How do we know the new technologies we should be considering?
  • What was the informed opinion on when the new technologies would be commercially viable?

When I joined the EMC CTO office we had no formal process for sharing our knowledge, and points of view with our field engineers, let alone our customers. Doing a bit of research I found this was not unique to the enterprise IT product industry. As I thought about this problem and the value our customers would receive I proposed we create a team of technologists that we would share the EMC Office of the CTO research project results, and our educated points of view on the future of IT technology. To my delight I found the support of one of EMC's leading technologists, Steve Todd. He encouraged me to present a plan to EMC's CTO, John Roese. With John's support I began recruiting CTO Ambassador's that would learn about our research learnings, and John's points of view on IT trends. Working with Steve we created the first messages for the CTO Ambassador's and we launched the program by the end of 2014 leveraging the EMC Executive Briefing program to engage with our customers.

We quickly realized there was tons of great feedback and idea's shared during these CTO Ambassador vision meetings so we quickly added a CTO Ambassador to each meeting to create meeting feedback reports. On a quarterly basis the team reviewed the meeting feedback reports and we discovered trends that we used as input to future messages, and projects. The meeting feedback has been invaluable to improving our focus on the topic's most important to our customers and the industry.

Recently I was able to capture EMC Global CTO, John Roese's feedback on the CTO Ambassador program.


In addition to scaling the number of CTO Ambassador's to 90+ volunteer participants globally in 2015 we wanted to provide a single publicly accessible portal to share more details about our research projects, and points of view. We recently launched our Innovation @EMC portal, newsletter, and CTOAmbassador Twitter handle. I will be talking about this soon.

I am excited that the EMC CTO Ambassador program has been successful in exposing the most important work being led by the CTO Office through our local technologists across the globe. The CTO Ambassadors have hosted over 200 customer meetings since it started. In the beginning it was challenging to convince some of our leading EMC technology thought leaders the value of supporting the program and working with us to share their work and point of view but with the great customer feedback and idea's we have collected for them it is getting easier. For the EMC employee's that have volunteered their time many are seen as EMC, and industry thought leaders. Many are now recognized as principle engineers and have been nominated by their peers and received EMC R&R rewards. If you are coming to an the EMC Executive Briefing be sure to ask to meet with our CTO Ambassadors to learn more about EMC's technology vision. We would love to hear your feedback.

2016 Thought Leadership

We have many people in our industry that provide thought leadership. I have been fortunate to work with several colleagues at EMC that are excellent at thought leadership including Joe Tucci, and Chad Sakac, and several others in different specialties.

I believe the people best at inspiring thought leadership force you to think and engage in the dialogue about a topic. Through this dialogue the point of view becomes sharper. I like the simple thought leadership definition Joel Kurtzman introduced in 1994:

"Thought leadership is about furthering a discussion that leads to action."

I strive to demonstrate thought leadership and find fulfillment when I am engaged in this process with groups of really smart and collaborative people. In addition to my role at EMC I find participating in local user groups which are easy to find through services like Meetup is a CClogogreat way to engage in Elect2016dialogue and sharpen your point of view. Participation takes commitment --commitment to attend meetings, and participate in dialogues. Showing up to meetings is not enough for you or the group to get the maximum benefit. This past week I was selected as a 2016 Cisco Champion and EMC Elect program. This is my second consecutive year being selected by these communities to be a member. I am very much honored to be nominated and selected for these groups. I have found these groups to generate a lot of thought leadership on difficult challenges like cloud security, IoT, software defined infrastructure, and continually updating your knowledge and skills. I am looking forward to participating in these communities to drive thought leadership in this time of great change in IT.

I have also found that it is important not only participate but you need to server as a leader, handling the operational overhead needed for meetings, and governing the interaction of the group. This past year I lead several meeting Cisco Champion community weekly calls and was fortunate enough to be featured on the EMC Elect podcast with Mark Brown. In addition, I started and co-leading my local emerging technology user group and lead the EMC CTO Ambassadors program. The EMC CTO Ambassadors leadership is unique in the global participation of over 80 technologists and the maniacal focus we have at capturing meeting feedback. I will have more details on this program in a future post.

These communities that I participate and in some cases lead are great sounding boards to sharpen my point of view and are inspiration sources for thinking about important topics and points of view that other bring forward. During this time of such disruptive change in IT I think participating and leading technology communities is one of the best ways to learn new technologies, methodologies, and issues facing our industry. Get involved, get engaged in 2016.

State of the Industrial Internet - Part II

In my last post from Web Summit I discussed the advances in technology that is enabling the Industrial Internet and the financial benefits. The Industrial Internet will provide quality of life benefits for society as well. The Industrial Internet is enabling services to be delivered faster, and with less waste and pollution. The Industrial Internet is capable of impacting our lives in multiple dimensions including financial and environmental.

One of the concerns is will the Industrial Internet displace people. Dr. Salvo believes that the Industrial Internet will enable the expansion of opportunity for people. The Industrial Internet will allow devices to replace and eliminate many of the tasks done by humans today, but it will create new opportunities that were not possible previously. For example when was the last time you didn’t use a digital mapping application to decide how to get to a new address? Even for familiar addresses many people use an application like Waze to make sure they take the fastest route when considering current traffic, and construction detours. The more users and vehicles using the system the better the service which reduces travel time, and wasted fuel.

We then discussed the differences in how the Industrial Internet is being developed compared to previous major technology developments such as cloud. The Industrial Internet is integrated across so many industries and IICIndustryMemberstechnologies it will not be developed by one company but by a combination of private, public, and universities working together. These groups need to be able to openly collaborate together in a transparent manner which has led to the formation of several consortium's. The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) is one example. It was founded a little of one year ago and has grown to over 200 public, private, and universities in 28 countries.  

TBComponentsEMC’s Said Tabet highlighted one of the most successful projects sponsored by the IIC is the test bed program. EMC has teamed with Vodafone, and the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) to sponsor one of these in Ireland. The test bed is a set of infrastructure services (cloud if you like) that is open to developers to prototype Industrial Internet services. The test bed provides a developer with a set of easily accessible building block components needed to get started with a prototype. More information in the Infinite Test Bed service including getting access is available here.

The Industrial Internet is here and the benefits are accelerating beyond just financial but to society as well through reduced pollution, and speed of service delivery. The Industry Internet is enabling new opportunities that we are now just starting to imagine. The Industrial Internet opportunity is so big and evolving so quickly it is requiring more collaboration between private, public, and universities. It has never been easier to participate through consortium's such as the IIC. How are you engaging in the development of the Industrial Internet?

State of the Industrial Internet - Part 1

This week I had the opportunity to host a panel on the state of the Industrial Internet at Web Summit. My two panelists were Said Tabet from EMC and Joe Salvo from GE. They are both heavily involved in the development of the IoT industry through their work on standards bodies, industry consortiums, and their roles at EMC and GE respectively. I will document the key points of our discussion in the next two posts.

The Internet of Things (IoT) was one of the top subjects at Web Summit this year. The commercial application of IoT in particular it will bring massive cost reductions from many small efficiency improvements in jet engine, and power generation efficiency improvements that will add up to trillions of dollars of cost reduction and quality of life improvements.

We started out the discussion with Dr. Salvo explaining the difference between IoT and the Industrial Internet. Essentially IoT originated from RFID and is primarily the network connection of single purpose sensors. The Industrial Internet is focused on the connection of intelligent devices where there is local intelligence on the device. The connectivity allows the individual device to leverage the intelligence of the rest of the devices to be smarter. For example an aircraft engine is now capturing data, analyzing it, and making near real time adjustments to maximize its performance. When the engine is connected to the Industrial Internet it is able to take advantage of entire community of engines to improve it’s efficiency and proactively plan adjustments based on things like weather condition data available via the Industrial Internet. 

Several recent technology advances are enabling the exploding growth of the Industrial Internet. The easy availability of ubiquitous compute through cloud computing. This has fueled the explosion in the collection, and processing of data across the globe and the rapid expansion in new software development. New analytics technologies (i.e. Spark, Splunk!) have emerged that are optimized to analyze streams of data in near real time as well as analyze massive stores of data to make better predictive decisions. Finally the cost reduction in sensors for a few pennies has allowed a massive number to be deployed with each device. For example, each GE Wind Turbine deployed today has several thousand sensors embedded. The more sensors deployed mean more data, and the more intelligent the device. The more intelligent the device the more efficient it will operate, enabling many small operating cost savings that will add up to millions of dollars a year.

The Industrial Internet has arrived. The cost savings, and quality of life benefits are being realized today. Consumers are being conditioned to expect functionality that can only be delivered by making devices smarter and more self aware to optimize themselves and able to participate in the Industrial Internet to contribute and leverage the collective knowledge of the larger community. In my next post I will review the societal impacts of the Industrial Internet.

EMC @Web Summit?!

I think we can all agree are living in the Digital Economy era. GE's latest set of commercials "What's the matter with Owen?", is a great example of a company, GE that is successfully transitioning to a digital business. This year one of my goals was to have our CTO team lead our participation in new types of industry events with digital agendas. Events like Mobile World Congress, CloudFoundry Summit, and coming up Web Summit are all new events we are participating in for the first time this year. Bloomberg has called Web Summit "the Davos for Geeks". It has 21 themed summits occurring simultaneously and will have 30,000 attendee's.

This year both EMC's Information Infrastructure and Pivotal businesses are participating in Web Summit. This year we will be hosting a developer hackathon that we have organized more like a meet-up. I am partnering with EMC {code} and Docker. Our event will be held on November 4 from 1-5pm at the Web Summit event location. During the event we will be working with the Docker container management, networking, and storage integration—to support modern DevOps practices. You'll walk away knowing the basics of Docker Swarm, Compose, Networking and about EMC {code}'s REX-Ray project, delivering data persistence to containers. In addition to presentation of the material by EMC's Kendrick Coleman, Clint Kitson, and Docker's Tom Barlow we will have hands on labs to sharpen your skills and allow you to experiment. Space is limited. Registration is open here.

In addition I will be speaking on the Machine Summit stage with my colleague Said Tabet, and GE's Joe Salvo about their experience with IoT implementations. We are in the very early days of IoT deployments. The use cases and technology are immature and evolving quickly. We will be discussing the use cases that are successful, and the current state of the technology needed for successful IoT deployments. Our presentation will be held on November 4th at 10:35am on the Machine Summit stage.

I will be participating in the Enterprise-X Summit leading a discussion on the challenges of Innovation in large companies. New Pivotal CEO, Rob Mee will be presenting at the Enterprise-X Summit as well.

This conference agenda is great way to learn how companies are succeeding in the new digital economy. It gives EMC a great opportunity to collaborate with the industry and understand the challenges, and opportunities the new digital economy. Let me know if you are attending Web Summit.

What Has Been Going On?

It has been a while since my last blog post. The last few months were really busy and I never stopped thinking about blogging and have a lot of idea's to share over the next few weeks. Since my last post I have had a great family summer vacation on Cape Cod. The air temperatures were warm (95 F) and the ocean water temperatures were cold (58 F). In addition I had the opportunity to do a lot of mountain hiking in the Adirondacks of upstate NY. In between I walked away from totaling my car after hydro planning across the Massachusetts turnpike. After not injuring myself in that accident I did manage to hurt my ankle and am now just working it back to full strength. I have been told by friends that it has not impacted my running speed, ball striking, or jumping ability. Professionally I have been working a number of interesting projects.

VMworld 2015

This year at VMworld we again expanded the EMC OCTO program. The highlights for me were the customer lunch and EMC Elect meet-up hosted by EMC Global CTO, John Roese. We changed the format to a panel discussion with John and three of our subject matter experts on storage integration with VMware, Converged Infrastructure, and our data valuation research project. We expanded size of the room and hosted 35 customers and had a great discussion. The EMC Elect meet-up was a great success as well. EMC Elect leader Mark Brown recorded the session as a podcast and made it available here. In addition to the planned topics we had a great discussion that has led to the development of cloud taxonomy and application workload placement. More is coming on that topic on this blog and other EMC communication channels shortly.

Innovation @EMC

As part of the EMC CTO Ambassador program we have collecting customer feedback about innovation and perceptions of EMC. We learned two important things:

  • Industry is not aware of our innovation investments
  • Industry is not aware of the great innovators working at EMC

We decided we needed a public facing communication channel focused on sharing EMC's Innovation activities. We soft launched our Innovation @EMC a few weeks ago and have seen a great deal of traffic although we have not promoted the site yet. This site will heavily leverage video recordings rather than text. Feedback through our EMC CTO Ambassador led meetings is people prefer short video recordings. The content can be more descriptive combining visuals as well as audio from subject matter experts. It is also easier consumed through different devices. I am excited to see the impact we can have with this new site and would love to hear your feedback. I am continuing to expand the EMC CTO Ambassador. The program is growing the number of meetings we are hosting globally and as a result the feedback data we are collecting and analyzing.

Web Summit 2015

I am excited to announce EMC is participating in this year's Web Summit. I will be presenting at the Enterprise-X Summit and Machine Summit stage with my EMC colleague, Said Tabet and GE's Joe Salvo. In addition I am hosting a really cool hackathon with my colleague Clint Kitson and Docker. The registration just went live here. I will be publishing much more on my blog this week about this event.

As you can see I have a bunch of really cool things to talk about on my blog in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more posts on these projects, and more in the coming days.

Big Data Maturation

This past week I attended CiscoLive! 2015, as EMC’s Big Data “expert”. It was validated during this conference that every business, in every industry is collecting data from new sources, and leveraging next generation analytics to improve their customer’s experience, deliver new products and services, and deliver those much more efficiently. Improving technology is enabling the accelerating use of Big Data solutions. We are able to deploy and embedded more cost effective data collection sensors in even the most traditional commodity devices such as light bulbs. Cisco demonstrated the availability of impressive higher capacity, more reliable wireless networks this week. I previously discussed the new EMC storage technology that enable the ingestion and analysis of data much faster and cost effectively here.

Although the technology needed for Big Data is getting better it needs to get significantly easier to use and deploy to keep pace with businesses demands. Two main industry challenges were very evident this week:

  • Analytics’ tools are difficult to use
  • Data fabrics are hard to implement

The lack of resources that could build the data models and algorithms to make the data available actionable was referenced in many of the conversations I had with both product teams and users. Many are focused on increasing the training and education capacity needed to develop analysts to be able to use the new analytics tools available today. I think we need to also greatly improve the tools to be easier to use.  Compare the complexity of the tools analysts are using for Big Data projects to traditional query languages like SQL, and analytics tools such as:

Big Data analysts need to be experienced with programming languages such as Java, Python, and R. Data access is a polyglot combination of often disparate low level API’s and formats requiring transformation of the data before it can be processed. Some of the complexity of the new tools is a result of needing new capabilities that will mature and simplify over time. Next generation analytics tools such as Splunk and Tableau are promising but I think we need to be less accepting of the poor usability of many Big Data analytics tools.  Analysts and Data Scientists need to be able to focus more on designing data models and algorithms, and less on building unique solutions requiring a lot of application programming.


The second challenge for the industry is to greatly simplify the Big Data infrastructure deployment. Today it can take several months for an organization to install and configure the IT infrastructure, data fabric, and analytics tools. Look above at all the Big Data tools and products that have to deployed to create a Big Data Lake. Today there is still not a consensus IT infrastructure model. For example, some fundamental attributes are still being debated including:

  • Storage - external array vs. commodity direct attached server storage
  • Compute – bare metal vs. hypervisor 

I think a standard architecture will emerge soon. It will follow the same path as other new technology paradigms of the past such server virtualization. In the mid 2000’s timeframe it was challenging, and time consuming to deploy VMware virtualization due to some of the same challenges. Eventually the industry decided on a common architecture that all the storage, server, and network optimized around. As that happened adaption accelerated rapidly.

At the data fabric layer Hadoop has become widely accepted and it is based on an Apache open source standard there are multiple commercial distributions (Hortonworks, Cloudera, MapR, PivotalHD) it is not easy to deploy the same workload across all of these distributions. Foundations such as the Open Data Platform (ODP) have been formed by the industry to facilitate collaboration to address this issue. The growth in the number of participants in the ODP initiative demonstrates the industry recognizes this problem.

The early results to date using Big Data to improve customer experience, create new products and services, and delivering them more efficiently has been promising. Our ability for us to address the complexity of the tools and infrastructure will determine how fast the benefits of Big Data solutions will be realized. 

The New IT - We either disrupt ourselves, or we will get disrupted.

This week I attended CiscoLive! 2015. John Chambers delivered the opening keynote and he asserted that businesses either disrupt themselves, or their competitors will disrupt them. He sited examples of companies like Uber  that have disrupted mature industries and obsoleted successful businesses. Not only has a company like Uber disrupted their industry but they also have grown the market by 5x more rides. By improving the customer experience many more people are leveraging car services rather than driving themselves. John sited several examples of transformations that were happening at Cisco including his succession as CEO by Chuck Robbins.

The “disrupt or be disrupted” theme continued throughout his presentation and the entire conference. John cited a recent survey that found 87% of CEO’s believe it is imperative they become a digital based business, but only 7% actually have a digital plan today. John believes that only 30% of digital transitions will be successful. This is obviously a great opportunity for IT to lead the development and execution of your company’s digital transition.

I believe leading a company’s digital transformation will require a new type of IT. Certainly IT will need to be much more knowledgeable about their business and market. For example, how many of today’s IT organization know?

  • What products and services will customers pay us to deliver?
  • What are our costs to deliver those products and services?
  • What do we need to build? What should we buy to deliver our products and services?

I think this is one of the reasons so many of today’s successful CIO’s such as Cisco’s Rebecca Jacoby, and Intel’s Diane Bryant are running major parts of their companies business. I believe many of our future IT leadership will come from lines of business. Many IT leaders will grow their careers with by taking on line of business responsibilities.

NewitstackCertainly new technology will also be required. New applications will be consumed via
mobile devices, and we will be leveraging and collecting data from new sources to improve customer experience and outcomes. New software development languages and frameworks such as: Node.js and Rails will allows these applications to be developed faster. Application deployment will be highly automated further accelerating the delivery of services to our customers. Today, there are about 15,000 new applications created weekly. The pace of change enabled by digitization is accelerating and the disruption by a competitor will be swift. 

IT organizations in digital businesses will not be measured only by the reliability, and cost efficiency of their services to the business but will need to create, and drive the implementation of new digitally delivered business processes, product, and services. This is very exciting time for an IT professionals. Digitization will create new job opportunities, and roles that will have a direct impact on the success of your company.