Sunday, November 13, 2011

The #OccupyTech Movement of 2011

If you've been following the tech headlines so far this year, you may frequently find yourself thinking that it's almost impossible to keep up with all the changes happening. Sure, it's normal for the tech industry to go through perpetual change, but the pace of the last 12-18 months seem to have shifted into Millenium Falcon level hyperdrive.

OpenStack, OpenFlow, OpenCompute, Software Defined Networks (SDN), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Hybrid Cloud, Big Data, Hadoop, NoSQL, and Network Fabric architectures in the Data Center. It's quite a list and it doesn't include new hardware economics like micro-servers, Flash/SSD storage or merchant silicon for network devices.

And not to be forgotten, there are the tablet wars, app-store wars and the smartphone revolution for the humans in this equation.

Now here's where all this change gets interesting, where you have to ask yourself this question - "How much does this effect me or my business"? Sometimes it seems like the Top 99% of tech headlines are being driven by 1% of either the vendors, start-ups or media that need to keep the discussions front and center. Welcome to the #OccupyTech movement :)

Enterprise / Mid-Market IT
  • You're looking at your budgets (and existing skill sets) and wondering how the 20-30% you have available for new things will be able to deal with all these changes.
  • In most cases, you don't have warehouse-scale data centers or the ability to source hardware directly from Asian ODM supply-chains.
  • You don't have huge budgets to retrain your staff, let alone create a hybrid set of infrastructure/operations/developer skills.
  • Some of these technologies (or implementation models) are intriguing for some of the challenges you currently have (costs, vendor delays/bugs), but you're not sure if they are applicable outside greenfield environments.
  • You've seen technology fads happen before, and some of these seem to be motivated by single-entities, so maybe you'll wait and see how they shake out over the next 6-12 months.
Service Providers
  • Getting a head-start in some of these technologies may allow you to capture huge shares of new markets.
  • Often driving some of these new movement as a mechanism to not only increase technology innovation, but reduce sourcing costs from suppliers/vendors.
  • Actively competing with technology-vendors and high-end Enterprise IT for the best programmers and architects because not only is the technology new, but building/managing it at scale is tremendously difficult.
  • Trying to figure out how to differentiate yourself with all the "open" models coming into the market. Great for costs and flexibility, but radically changing the "Uptime" pace that you'll need creative new ideas to lure customers. 
Cloud Providers (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple)
  • Patiently waiting for the "consumerization of IT" movement to work it's way through another half-generation of workers.
  • Pushing to become the single source for either your app, your service or your device, or all three.
  • Funding their massive operations through other cash-cow businesses (ads, books, PC software, mobile devices).
  • Continuing to learn about warehouse-scale operations through their consumer-facing operations.
IT Vendors
  • Attempting to translate customer demands into working products, but often trying to explain the value of new technologies ahead of customers truly understanding why they are needed.
  • Managing the business in the face of rapidly shifting economics (open-source software, commoditized hardware) and delivery models (direct/channels vs. "as a service").
  • Managing multiple partnership arrangements, often better characterized as "coopetition" because the old silos of which vendors played in which markets is rapidly blurring or being completely blown up.
  • Attempting to take on new markets with disruptive technologies, most of which have little or no market for the people with the required skills to operate them.
There is a lot changing in the tech world these days. Some days it's incredibly interesting, especially if you're looking for a geek itch to scratch. Other times it's incredibly complicated to figure out how it will all play out and if you need to learn more. Maybe your career is at stake, or maybe it's just the beginning of the next bubble. 

Think I have a clue about what it all means? Thing again. Why do you think I started recording and sharing The Cloudcast (.NET) podcast? Gotta learn about this stuff somehow...

1 comment:

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