a reckoning for tech by the humans that work with it

All The Feels, #smh edition – TechReckoning Dispatch v3n9

The TechReckoning Dispatch, Vol. 3, No. 9. El Granada, Calif. Friday, May 13,  2016. 
New podcast – listen to John interview Zerto’s Shannon Snowden about The New Realities of IT. And then join TechReckoning at ZertoCON May 23-25 in Boston with our mini-track on DevOps and Careers. Use code TECHRECKONING15 for 15% off!
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Normally we swim in a sea of techno-optimism. In this issue of the newsletter some of the articles are from a different body of water filled with fallible humans and the systemic issues of our industry and society. None have simple solutions. Before embarking on this newsletter journey with me, I recommend topping on endorphins and oxytocin: go tell someone you love them, work up a sweat, have a popsicle. Ready? Let’s go!

All the Feels

Malory Isn’t the Only Imposter in Infosec by Ben Hughes on his blog.

Speaking of DefCon, which is sadly a bastion of the industry, it’s change from being a bunch of hackers getting together in Vegas (in the off season, so it’s cheaper, and even warmer) to something resembling a professional security conference has added to this. The “all first time speakers have to do a shot on stage” because if you’re not drunk, you’re not a real man (I say this as an occasional borderline functioning alcohol) by the Goons, highlight the maturity of the intended audience.A lot has been written and said, though not enough, about the mistreatment of women at conferences, especially DefCon. I cannot help but feel some of this must come from the sense of entitlement that having money, the ability to hack in to a bunch of stuff, and zero empathy would create.

As an industry, we should feel ashamed of this more than anything.

The Flaw In All Things by John E. Vincent on his blog.

I can’t finish a project because I keep finding things that could cause problems. I even mentioned this to our CTO and CEO at one point when we were trying to size some private deploys of our stack.I couldn’t see anything but the largest configuration because all I could see was places where there was a risk. There were corners I wasn’t willing to cut (not bad corners like risking availability but more like “use a smaller instance here”) because I could see and feel and taste the pain that would come from having to grow the environment under duress.

I’m frustrated with putting everything in Docker containers because all I see is having to take down EVERYTHING running on one node because there’s may be a critical Docker upgrade. I see Elasticsearch rebalancing because of it. I see Kafka elections. Mind you the system is designed for this to happen but why add something that makes it a regular occurance?

I’m frozen. I can’t do anything. I don’t know WHAT to do.

Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner in n+1 Magazine. This is like in Silicon Valley at the moment. Did you ever read Microserfs? It’s like that, 20 years later. HBO’s Silicon Valley is like a documentary at this point – I don’t laugh much this season and I’m not even working for a startup.

My third interview is with the technical cofounder. He enters the conference room in a crisp blue button-down, looking confidently unprepared. He tells me — apologetically — that he hasn’t done many interviews before, and as such he doesn’t have a ton of questions to ask me. Nonetheless, the office manager slated an hour for our conversation. This seems OK: I figure we will talk about the company, I will ask routine follow-up questions, and at four they will let me out for the day, like a middle school student, and the city will absorb me and my private errors. Then he tells me that his girlfriend is applying to law school and he’s been helping her prep. So instead of a conventional interview, he’s just going to have me take a section of the LSAT. I search his face to see if he’s kidding.< “If it’s cool with you, I’m just going to hang out here and check my email,” he says, sliding the test across the table and opening a laptop. He sets a timer.

OpenStack, part 2

More reactions from OpenStack Summit.

OpenStack and the Fragmenting Infrastructure Market by Stephen O’Grady on his Redmonk blog.

The real problem for OpenStack, however, is that even if users come to believe that OpenStack and container-based infrastructure are not competitive but purely complementary, discovering that fact will take time. Which means that whether container-based infrastructure is or is not technically competition for OpenStack, from a market perspective it will function as such. The reverse is true as well, of course. Container-based infrastructure players continually face questions about whether they require foundational platforms such as an OpenStack (as at Time Warner), or whether users are better off running them on top of bare metal and cutting out the middle man.

Free as in Coffee — Thoughts on the State of OpenStack by Stephen Fosketton his blog.

One popular refrain in the vendor booths at the Summit is that “no one but Mirantis is making any money here at this point”. This was refuted by a few companies who have managed to land big service provider customers for hardware and software, but the overall sense is that there’s a lot of free coffee being given out without a lot of sales coming in return. “Elephant hunting” was a familiar phrase.

OpenStack and Gartner: The Facts by Alan Waite on his Gartner Blog. There was a kerfuffle about Gartner at the OpenStack summit — didn’t they say it was a science project? Why were they giving the keynote? Was it just about money? Lots of chuckling ho-ho-ho’s were had. The best comment I saw was  Cote saying that this was a result of trying to figure out what was really being said behind a paywall (Gartner research) via tea leaves and Register articles. But here’s Alan on OpenStack:

Now as OpenStack and its ecosystem improve, the number of users who fall into these use cases expands. Gartner is seeing increased interest in hosted and managed private clouds, for instance. The OpenStack community is starting to address the complexity and skills issues.  We also see OpenStack gaining ground in smaller public and community cloud providers in geographies such as China, Middle East, and parts of Europe where the US based cloud providers are not as popular. So the ecosystem and community evolves, and so too do our positions. That’s what research analysts and media are supposed to do. What we should not do is base an opinion on someone else’s headline, and write articles without so much as reading the full source article or trying a simple Google search for sources.

Crossing the Chasm: an OpenStack Summit Recap by Ken Hui on the Rackspace Blog.

The keynotes focused on OpenStack’s place as an integration engine for the diverse set of technologies used in any enterprise. How should OpenStack integrate with new technologies such as Kubernetes and NFV along with more traditional technologies such as SAP?

The talks were often less about revolution rather than the evolution of IT and how OpenStack could be the foundational and enabling infrastructure for managing disparate technologies like bare-metal servers, virtual machines and containers.

Worth A Click

Dear Silicon Valley: Stop Saying Stupid Stuff by Matt Asay at Infoworld.

Any startup entrepreneur that comes in waving her arms, telling a CIO or a line-of-business exec that they need to move everything right now to a cloud model (whether SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS) should be laughed out of the building. It’s not that easy — partly due to simple cost calculations. As Forrester has found, the cost of a cloud service itself (10 percent of total cost) pales in comparison to the labor costs (50 percent) associated with migrating legacy apps to new-school platforms.

The cloud’s “get out of jail free” card, in other words, isn’t free, and pretending that it’s as easy as spinning up an instance on EC2 is simply not credible, like the speaker at the conference. Yes, there is a la-la land where everything runs in the cloud, but it’s way out on the horizon for most enterprises.

Voting now open for Top vBlog 2016 by Eric Siebert on his blog

The number of blogs devoted to VMware and virtualization continues to stay at an amazingly high level, this year there are more than 300 of them on the ballot. Here’s your chance to show your appreciation to the bloggers for all their hard work by picking your favorites which will determine the top blogs for 2016. Last year over 2,200 people voted from all over the world and when the votes were tallied the top 50 bloggers were revealed. Now it’s time to do it all over again as new blogs are born and old blogs fade away and bloggers move up and down the rankings.

Why nurture more lady bloggers if you ignore the ones who already blog? by Gina Minks on her blog.

Lady bloggers exist. RIGHT NOW. But y’all don’t see us. We go to the same events. We use the same hashtags. Hell a lot of times we help y’all be better bloggers by reviewing your posts and suggesting improvements. WHY DON’T Y’ALL SEE US? No sense cultivating more lady bloggers if you’ll just ignore them too.

Female vBloggers — my door is always open by Eric Siebert

I would love to have more female vBloggers on my list, so if you’re out there and your blog is related to virtualization simply use this form and I’ll get you added and hopefully next year we’ll have a much better response in that voting category.

Always Read The Comments

Vaughn Stewart on last time’s OpenStack commentary. I wasn’t trying to be dismissive. I was actually trying to make precisely the point that Vaughn makes below:

OpenStack is an open source movement – not a product. It’s champions and users are very different from those in the VMware ecosystem. They tend to be more more network citric, operate environments at mass scale and deploy technologies that have yet to reach the mainstream.

OpenStack is very telco and service provider centric, and may never truly become enterprise. It iterates semiannually, which makes it challenging for many enterprises (and small and mid-sized businesses) to adopt as most expect infrastructure technology remain in place for 3 to 5 years.

So why OpenStack? Cost and programmability. Massive IT departments are saving tens to hundreds of millions of dollars annually in just software maintenance bills. Sure OpenStack takes more talent but talent is each compared to the costs OpenStack can displace. The programmability of the platform allows these customers to innovate, to build new service offerings and capabilities comprised from a myriad of open source projects.

OpenStack isn’t for everybody, heck it isn’t for most, but don’t knock it just because it has some similarities to vSphere. 

Kong Yang:

VMUGs have become too vendor-centric just like VMworld. VMUGs are more of the same just pile higher and deeper at VMworld, which is unfair to the goodness that is still underneath the surface. There’s also the matter of the condescending elitists who make it difficult for new speakers and contributors to share, learn and grow without being mob shamed. VMUGs used to be supportive and a safe zone for IT professionals to share their experience and knowledge. 

As for OpenStack, it’s got more legs than being glorified science projects as Gartner had phrased it last year; but it’s not as Enterprise ready as what vendors were touting at OpenStack Summit. It’s probably somewhere in the middle. The barrier of entry is decreasing but maintainability and sustainability of the OpenStack ecosystem after the initial install still requires professional-service level skills because of the ability to customize everything in the environment. Plus, you need to have an idea around what you want to accomplish with the environment versus just doing it to do it. Otherwise, it’s just busy work for your organization.

Damian Karlson:

Good stuff, John. I think peer based career coaching would be awesome. I know that I could definitely use some coaching. I’m at the point in my career where I don’t know what it takes to get from where I’m at to the next bigger step. Once someone gets past X amount of money, how do they continue to move the needle upwards?

Also – I love the trippy animated gifs you put in at the end. :)

Keeping Up

If you’re in the Boston area, or if you’re interested in BCDR and Zerto, please join me at ZertoCON May 23-25. I’m moderating one panel on DevOps, presenting an hour of alternating fear and hope on Careers and Skills-building, and doing some podcasting. Use TECHRECKONING15 for 15% off. To whet your whistle, check out my podcast conversation with Zerto’s Shannon Snowden (who was VCP 12, btw) — Data protection and the new reality of IT.

New Geek Whisperers! Good stuff:

New client: the DC/OS project with Mesosphere. If you are working or playing in this area, give me a shout.

Lots of links this week. Get a head start by following what I’m looking at on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Google+,

Just Hit Reply

My hands have started hurting because I carry my iPhone with me everywhere. Our question this week: did we really live different lives before smart phones? I can’t even remember. Or just hit reply and tell me how this week’s newsletter made you feel. Email jtroyer@techreckoning.com and I’ll include your comments next week.

The TechReckoning Dispatch. A periodic newsletter from John Mark Troyer with links and opinions about enterprise technology. If I did depress you, I recommend (in order of preference): get outside and get some sunshine and exercise, watch a lighthearted TV show (no, not Game of Thrones!), or have a stiff drink. And get a good night’s sleep. That does wonders. ArchiveSubscribeEmail. “Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”