a reckoning for tech by the humans that work with it

Gather round the campfire and have a smoothie – TR Dispatch v2n15

The TechReckoning Dispatch. Vol. 2, No. 15. Nov 2, 2015. In this issue: Come say something on the new website! New Podcast! EMC-Dell, Peak AWeSome, Failure is always an option, Internet of Flärdfull Things. Just hit reply: Headlines from the future.

Let’s Do This Thing

Come on over and join us at the new website at techreckoning.com! I’m really excited to share this with you. If you like what this newsletter does to your brain, think of it like that, except on the web. Each day or two we’ll publish a post about a topic of technologist interest with some commentary and links. Come by, drop some knowledge in the discussion, give back. I like to think of the whole operation like an adult organutan, harvesting palm shoots and durian, chewing them thoroughly, and then spitting the bolus of pulp back out into the mouths of little orangutan babies. I hope you enjoy it.

We’re trying to fix three related problems:

  1. Too much noise. We need more curation and sorting the signal from the noise.
  2. Too many vendor silos and not enough places without an agenda.
  3. No place to have real discussions between ourselves. Twitter ain’t it, forums aren’t happening, and while Facebook is eating the world, it’s hard to mix baby pictures with enterprise architecture.

Starting up a new social site in the Age of Facebook is a bit nuts, but I hope that’s part of its charm. I’m on a dozen private FB groups, mailing lists, and Slack chats that do have amazing discussions among technologists — but the public discussion is missing.

What I love about a community website is that it becomes much more about a place for us all to help each other get smarter and to get to know each other better. The newsletter has always felt a little more like I’m up on stage pontificating and telling jokes. The newsletter will continue, but will change up a bit by including some things that have been already published on the site along with some other sticks and twigs that we’ve found on the web but haven’t yet premasticated.

I’m also launching a new podcast that will go along with this new newsletter. The first episode is Episode Zero (because I can) and I’m joined by my friend, advisor, and favorite analyst, Stu Miniman. We talk about Dell+EMC, AWS, and why analysts always live on the East Coast. Each week I’ll invite a different smarty-pants to connect and we’ll shoot the shit on the news and whatever else comes up. Check it out: #0: EMC and the East Coast Analyst Mafia with Stu Miniman​ (iTunes feed to come)

Also featured on the new site are a list of interesting enterprise technology podcasts and some Hashtags To Watch Out For. I’ve got more planned for the site and for our community, but the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley, so for now come warm your hands by our little campfire and enjoy the fruit smoothies and s’mores I’ve prepared for you.

I don’t quite know how it will all work together, but I’m sure we’ll figure something out over time.

This Is The Call To Action Right Here

Folks often ask me how they can support me and TechReckoning. Well, now’s the time.

  1. Go check out the site and please share your thoughts on one of the discussions
  2. You have a unique perspective!  I invite you to pull together some links, add some commentary on a topic and send it to us at editors@techreckoning.com
  3. If you’re interested in being an editor and helping out with the site, hit me up.

Hit the highlights

If you don’t have time to go to the site, here are some of the things we linked to:

About That EMC-Dell Deal links to 7700 epic words on the Dell-EMC deal from Silicon Valley alpha VCs a16z. This is how the money guys think of it – one of the counterintuitive things is that the debt is not that bad, all things considering:  Making Sense of Dell + EMC + VMware  by Jamie McGurk et al.

Also important to note here is that in the last 12 months, EMC has spent $4.6B on dividends and stock buybacks, and VMware spent an additional $700M on stock buybacks … all of which will go away after this transaction. Let that soak in for a moment: Dell will spend less on the annual financing cost (interest expense and principal payments) of the $49.5 billion in debt used to purchase EMC, than EMC did on equity dividends and share buybacks in the last 12 months.

Peak AWeSome talks about AWS re:Invent and links to this great post by Joe Beda on Operations Lock-in vs. Development Lock-in. It was a lot easier to switch to AWS than it is to rewrite everything as a cloud-native app, and it will likewise be harder to move once you’re built on a cloud application platform.

Think about it this way – a user has a large system built on open software packages running on on-prem hardware.  Switching to a VM/IaaS offering is a relatively cheap project as it can be an operations focused project with little to no developer involvement. As IaaS offerings evolved to be more and more similar to real hardware (persistent network block stores, familiar networking) this trend really accelerated.

Failure is always an option is just an excuse to link to the cool interactive reports from IEEE Spectrum on Lessons from a Decade of IT Failures. Click and learn!

Likewise, the Internet of Flärdfull Things is an excuse to link to An Ikea Catalog From The Near Future and the @InternetofShit Twitter account.

I’m going to go have lunch with Stu Miniman right now and then post something new today – I think on the death of the generic enterprise cloud (RIP Helion), with flowers and best wishes for the newly formed HPE. Feel free to send some good stuff over.

Always Read The Comments

Last time, we asked about VMworld and conferences. Just two replies:

@adumbrow on VMworld:

The thing that caught me was the focus on devops and cloud native applications.  When a conference that has been traditionally all about infrastructure starts focusing on developers and the like, it is probably time to sit up and take notice.  We all need to keep learning so we can ensure we don’t become obsolete, this should be a wake up call for anyone in IT.

@vcdx001 on USENiX conferences:

The USENIX Association, which I’ve been a member of since 1988 and which I’m currently Vice President, mixes academia and industry in conference types and in attendees.

The upcoming Large Installation System Administration conference in D.C. has been going for decades and continues to foster great technical presentations and tutorials without heavy vendor focus. Next year I will be co-chair for the event in Boston. I did a write up in one issue of the vmware engineering magazine.

They also run Hot Cloud, a conference that runs parallel to Hot Storage, where research and practice come together and attendees learn about latest developments in research and industry.

There are two other conferences of value.

The first of these will hold its third and fourth sessions with sponsorship by Google. This is SREcon and focuses on site reliability engineering, a newer industry term for those focused not just on IT but also development of solutions for sure reliability.

The second is a brand new conference titled Enigma, that like the USENIX Security Symposium (3rd largest in the world), is focused on security and emerging threats.

Just Hit Reply

This week your homework is on the site, but if you want to, Invent one headline that you’d like to see on the TechReckoning site (or any tech news site) in the coming year. Real, funny, or parallel universe. As always, just hit reply or send it to me.

The TechReckoning Dispatch. ArchiveSubscribeEmail me. Orangutan photo by zonfoto. Thanks so much! Happy Halloween! Delayed because of a sticky N key and f’ing autocorrect. “That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble / Has cost thee monie a weary nibble! / Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble, / But house or hald, / To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble, / An’ cranreuch could! // But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane, / In proving foresight may be vain: / The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men / Gang aft agley, / An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, / For promis’d joy! // Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me! / The present only toucheth thee: / But Och! I backward cast my e’e, / On prospects drear! / An’ forward tho’ I canna see, / I guess an’ fear!”