Archive for July, 2011


Friday, July 29th, 2011

Congrats to CA & Nimsoft for the Watchmouse acquisition today. I’m sure this will be a welcome addition to many customers who were maybe forced to use Keynote or Gomez previously.

Thanks to Joe at the MSPmentor for remembering me in his blog post on “8 people that didn’t make the MSPmentor 250 this year”.

The party was great Joe and I will be back – just not sure what I’ll be doing yet. Anyone that is interested in the MSP market should make MSPmentor essential reading. In my experience it is a must-read place to catch up on the latest news effecting MSPs with some some occasional gossip thrown in. Although definitely no phone hacking – LOL!

Finally, my post yesterday about the future needs for a complete new generation of infrastructure mgmt products (taking into account massive amounts of data, many times the current generation), generated a number of emails to me last night. I am definitely going to follow up on this subject.

Systems/Network Mgmt products, scalability and big data

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

One of the challenges for vendors that build infrastructure management products is the scalability of those products. Many vendors develop and release products without too much concern for scalability and it can be a huge challenge. I remember way back when competing against Tivoli and the Tivoli Enterprise Console, where it was a well known limitation of TEC that it could only scale to a very small number of messages/second (so much so that IBM eventually bought Micromuse and replaced TEC with that product).

But, I can’t help thinking that even the vendors that are the absolute best in this area today, have got a whole new set of issues coming along with a much higher bar to reach.

Why do I say that?

In the past the largest users of IT in the world maybe topped out at 100,000 devices or something similar. Maybe it was an investment bank or other IT intensive business but essentially there was a natural limiter on the amount of IT devices in use – which was driven by how large the individual company could become.

But, in the future (and today) these numbers are being taken to a completely different level. Think about some of those businesses…

- Social/web based businesses are serving hundreds of millions of users all of whom are posting tweets/updates with increasing regularity

- Service providers now hosting the infrastructures of thousands of companies

- Regular organizations (pharmaceutical etc) can get access to huge numbers of devices and huge amounts of computing power on an ad-hoc basis, thus enabling them to massively scale drug testing and reduce the elapsed time to process

And of course, virtualization has enabled much of this. Can you believe that just a few years ago it would take an investment bank 3 months to procure and provision a new server?

Existing vendors need to be re-architecting/re-designing their products to be able to deal with this phenomena because it is only going to get worse.

Where are the bottlenecks in existing solutions?

A typical mgmt solution needs to collect data, transport data, analyze data, store data, display data. The bottlenecks that I have most often witnessed are in the storing of the data and the displaying thereof. This is the case because they are using traditional databases to do data storage and associated tools/reporting for the displaying thereof. But, clearly this is not going to work for these “power” users (there will become more and more power users as the world moves to hosted and cloud based infrastructures). We are going to need to use more modern methods for data storage and we are going to use more modern tools for the analysis of that data.

But, for those that do this correctly there can be a much greater customer benefit because they can perform real time analytics on a much larger set of data leading to better results and better conclusions.

I’m going to look into this area more and see what vendors I can find addressing this issue. I can almost guarantee that it will be early stage start-ups with some very smart people that are looking to solve this problem.

More later….this is a very interesting area for me as it’s going to be very disruptive.

Back in the saddle

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

After my European vacation (no it was not the Griswalds), I’m well and truly back in the swing of things. I’ve managed to play several times in the last 7 days with scores ranging from 85 to 96 – and have decided that I definitely need to get some lessons so that I can improve.

Yesterday I had 2 meetings about CEO opportunities and I was pleasantly surprised by both meetings. The first I went into thinking that maybe the company was not that exciting but left with very different thoughts. The second, I already thought that the company was exciting (and it became more so) but was concerned that maybe they wouldn’t think I was that exciting, but that didn’t seem to be the case.

As a result of these meetings I have finally decided to produce a resume. I was trying to get away with my line of “isn’t LinkedIn enough?” but clearly that’s not the case so I’ve started to put one together. Anyone good at writing resumes/CVs? If so, email me….I’ll happily pay for some assistance.

We have a family wedding this weekend (my girlfriend’s sister) which seems to be stressing people out quite a bit. Not much I can do to help, so my strategy is to keep out of the way (hence theĀ  golf).

I’m thinking of trying to play tomorrow (Friday) but don’t have a playing partner yet. If anyone is around in the Bay area and fancies a round tomorrow, let me know although many people seem to play on their own – so I may do that.

Oh, and I’m also working on a start-up idea of my own. Very early stages and I’m not committed to it yet but I think:

(a) It’s a great idea (but then again I would wouldn’t I given that it is my idea!)

(b) Not sure how technically feasible it is.

Lots going on, I’m enjoying life.

Congrats to Granicus

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Granicus board meeting yesterday. Congrats to them for an outstanding performance last quarter in tough market conditions.

Details here

Google plus

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Playing around with it, so far I am liking it (takes a bit of getting used to initially). Wondering if I can use it to replace Facebook, Twitter and this blog…maybe linkedin as well? I hope so.

If you are already using it, Feel free to friend me, follow me or whatever. If you are not yet using it, email me and I will add you.

Will be interesting to see where this ends up, but it looks promising.

More consumption based pricing

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I saw VMware’s announcements about it’s new pricing model based on consumption of pooled vRAM.

This is a great step forward and exactly the way things will go. VMware continues to show itself as an innovation leader both in technology and business/pricing models.

Customers should expect their other software vendors to follow a similar model, in fact they should demand it.

But, most vendors will hate this model. Why? Because there is no revenue to book or bill until it is utilized.

Vendors must run lengthy sales cycles to “win” the customer’s business, utilizing sales and technical resource. But, once they’ve won the business…how does the vendor pay commission and bonuses?

It needs vendors to think about their business completely differently. It is possible to solve these problems (I have personal experience of doing so) but there has to be a willingness and a desire to do so. This is one of those areas that startups should be able to adapt much faster.

Actually, in my experience, the hardest part of this type of model is actually measuring and agreeing what the consumption actually is.

Facebook and Google Plus

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

So, here’s a thing.

I believe that Facebook’s valuation will never be as high as it is today. Why do I believe that? Because for the first time in their recent history, they are being faced with real competition from Google. According to the private capital markets company SharesPost, the most recent shares in Facebook changed hands at a price that gave an implied valuation of $82.4bn.

Google on the other hand, has a market cap of $172bn. Is Facebook really worth 50% of Google?

I have not yet used Google+ but from some of the things that I have read, it answers the “privacy” question really well. I have always found Facebook to be very poor in this area. Many of my posts are not appropriate for different sections of my “friends” to read, so in the past I have unfriended certain people so they don’t get to see it all.

I feel that Facebook is OK as a product but not great. There are many many things that could and should be done with Facebook but they have had a dominant position for quite a while. The iPad and iPhone facebook applications are really pretty poor.

Of course, 750m users (or whatever the latest number is) don’t just go away overnight but, it’s amazing how fickle the consumer web users can be. I heard a 17 year old recently saying that “I don’t use Facebook any more because my dad’s on it” – i.e. it is no longer cool.

Anyhow, let’s see 1 year from now on 7/7/2012 where the valuation of these two companies stands compared to today.

Compuware pays big for dynaTrace

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

The news yesterday that Compuware paid a large multiple for dynaTrace should not come as a surprise to anyone. It was reported that they paid $256m on revenues of $26m meaning a trailing revenue multiple of 9.8x

While this may seem high (by way of comparison, it was reported that CA paid 10.8x for Nimsoft), I believe that we will more deals in infrastructure and applications mgmt being done at these levels.

We need to remember that this market is worth billions and is undergoing a seismic shift. Take a look at the success of Solarwinds, Nimsoft, Service-now and others and you will see a market that is ripe for disruption. Often the incumbent products are simply not ready for the speed of change of IT today.

A vc that I met with recently said to me “one of the reasons that we like this space is that the value multiples can get really high” and clearly this is true.

But, a word of caution to would be entrepreneurs thinking they can tap into a river of gold. For every successful company in this space, there are many, many failures. It is very disjointed, with hundreds of companies both large and small, and it takes not only great product to be successful, it also takes a great sales/marketing team and tremendous customer support and satisfaction.

Congrats to TDS

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Noticed the above today from the MSPAlliance…..Berbee were great customers of ours and I am so happy to see both Phil and Clint doing so well.

Speeding tickets

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Driving through France, I heard the “camera shutter” sound inside the car. Weird I thought….the kids in the back of the car must have taken a photo with the iPhone.

Later in the journey I heard it again, and then a third time. But, on the third time I happened to look at the built in GPS and saw an icon of a camera flashing. I also noticed that there were speed cameras by the side of the road.

So, my theory is that, when the speed camera goes off, it communicates with the car which then informs you by making the camera sound. If so, then I got at least 3 tickets yesterday which sucks. Now I know what is happening, I will be a lot more careful of course.