I hope the UK stays whole and grows

Massively interesting times this week in the UK.  At last, the SNP get their referendum to ask “Should Scotland be an independent country?”.  A minority party in government elected through a small turnout gets to make us all go through family mediation on a national scale.  If you think this is just about Scotland then you are an idiot.  Democracy is remarkable and not always what you think it is.

Yes means the UK breaks apart, what could that mean?  A No doesn’t mean the status quo.  What else does it mean?

Read the SNP whitepaper here.

My family, friends and work colleagues are spread across Britain with a fair few in Scotland thanks to the five years I spent in Edinburgh in the nineties, and I still visit Edinburgh on a regular basis.

Emotions are running high: The Yes folks can feel a tingling in their bodies because they feel (without any evidence other than optimism) that a Yes means a change for the positive in their lives.  I detect a bit of socialist and radicalism in the demonstrations.  I also know many Scots that really want to be isolate and unique no matter what the cost.

The No folks are very emotional because they sincerely don’t want to lose our partner of hundreds of years.  David Cameron is genuinely upset at the thought of us divorcing.  It’s not just about his job.  It’s about our whole nation.  I was moved by Cameron’s speech.

Haven’t Scotland and England have always bickered and argued and fought?

But we’ve also been business partners: remember why the Union started?  A messed up investment venture by Scots rich folk to Panama.  The man on the street had no voice then.  Who now runs all the Scottish banks?  I remember working for Bank of Scotland in 1995, the tercentenary, the 300 yr docs boasted of their conservative nature and long life.  Where is it now?  Lloyds in London.

We’re also friends: we’ve fought together in some horrible wars.  Back at home during the wars, our daughters, wives and mothers built industries together.  We’ve always worked together on the rigs, in the yards, and in the city: laughing, betting, fighting, and creating life long friendships.  Our Scots warriors terrified our enemies but they also gave us all comfort and security because we could depend upon them and stand shoulder to shoulder.  When we look left on 19 Sep, is there nobody there?

We’re also family: from the fact that HM Queen Elizabeth has Scots blood running through her veins from her mum and all the way to Robert the Bruce and James I, even a small inconsequential quy like me has family I love spread across the borders.  What happens to my fragile connections?

We are also sporting companions who fight each other with passion on the battlefield: I was shocked to find the passion for cricket when I lived in Scotland, and I loved the Six Nations passion when I lived for five years in Edinburgh, and the years since.

In this time of terrorism and disintegration and disharmony I find it hard to wish my Scottish friends, colleagues, family, warriors and sportsmen well if the result on Friday is to tell me and the rest of the UK that you don’t want to be with us any more.

It will be hard not to take it personally.  It’s not just Westminster you reject, but me and everyone else south of the beautiful borders.  We respect your decision but if it’s no, then we must take some rejection from that.

I hope on Friday we are still the UK and we use the energy of debate and refreshed politics to regenerate all of the UK, devolve power from London and become a great nation.

That will be harder for us all without Scotland.  Because, my friends, family and colleagues, if we are separate nations then I will be competing for real against you and you will be like Belgium to me, or as one spokesman said: Scotland will be like Spain without the sunshine.

If you still think politics is awesome, listen to this guy, he might just change your mind:

Want to Talk like TED? Watch these!

Talk Like TED CoverI’m reading the wonderful book, Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo.

She highlights some wonderful TED talks that epitomise great delivery according to her analysis and resulting nine secrets, so go and buy her book now and then lean on this page to help you find the TED talks you need to find.  Her book is inspiring, GO GET IT!

The point of highlighting these talks is NOT THEIR CONTENT but their PRESENTATION.  

It’s about how they deliver their message, not the actual message: nothing wrong with their messages, but I compiled this list as part of learning how to communicate better, and these folks are consummate communicators.

  1. Get the book.
  2. Watch the videos.
  3. Become a better communicator.

Brian Stevenson on We need to talk about injustice

In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America's unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.

In an engaging and personal talk — with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks — human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country’s black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America’s unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.

Brene Brown on how data has a soul, when you tell the story.

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

Andrew Stanton on ‘Toy Story’ telling

Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning. Contains graphic language ... (Note: this talk is not available for download.)

Filmmaker Andrew Stanton (“Toy Story,” “WALL-E”) shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning. Contains graphic language … (Note: this talk is not available for download.)

Sir Ken Robinson on how schools kill creativity

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

Seth Godin on “This is broken”

Why are so many things broken? In a hilarious talk from the 2006 Gel conference, Seth Godin gives a tour of things poorly designed, the 7 reasons why they are that way, and how to fix them.

Why are so many things broken? In a hilarious talk from the 2006 Gel conference, Seth Godin gives a tour of things poorly designed, the 7 reasons why they are that way, and how to fix them.

Malcolm Gladwell on “Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce”

"Tipping Point" author Malcolm Gladwell gets inside the food industry's pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce — and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.

“Tipping Point” author Malcolm Gladwell gets inside the food industry’s pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce — and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.

Peter Gabriel’s passion for Witness

Musician and activist Peter Gabriel shares his very personal motivation for standing up for human rights with the watchdog group WITNESS — and tells stories of citizen journalists in action.

Musician and activist Peter Gabriel shares his very personal motivation for standing up for human rights with the watchdog group WITNESS — and tells stories of citizen journalists in action.

Isabel Allende on passion (and more!)

In one of the most beloved talks from TED2007, novelist Isabel Allende talks about writing, women, passion, feminism. She tells the stories of powerful women she has known, some larger-than-life (listen for a beauty tip from Sophia Loren), and some simply living with grace, dignity and ingenuity in a world that, in too many ways, still treats women unjustly. (Recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. Duration: 18:02.)

In one of the most beloved talks from TED2007, novelist Isabel Allende talks about writing, women, passion, feminism. She tells the stories of powerful women she has known, some larger-than-life (listen for a beauty tip from Sophia Loren), and some simply living with grace, dignity and ingenuity in a world that, in too many ways, still treats women unjustly. (Recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. Duration: 18:02.)

Amanda Palmer on The Art of Asking

Don't make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan.

Don’t make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan.

Tony Robbins on Why do we do what we do?

Tony Robbins discusses the "invisible forces" that motivate everyone's actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.

Tony Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone’s actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.

Colin Powell on Kids need structure

Colin Powell

“I didn’t do well at all … straight ‘C’ everywhere,” says Powell, revealing that he felt lucky to be accepted into the City College of New York given his grades. “Then I found ROTC. I found something that I did well and something that I loved doing … From there, my whole life was dedicated to ROTC and the military.” Powell says that it was the army’s sense of order that allowed him to change his course and become one of CCNY’s most famous graduates. And it’s a phenomenon he sees repeated whenever a new class of shows up for boot camp.

Jennifer Granholm on a new clean energy proposal

Kicking off the TED2013 conference, Jennifer Granholm asks a very American question with worldwide implications: How do we make more jobs? Her big idea: Invest in new alternative energy sources. And her big challenge: Can it be done with or without our broken Congress?

Kicking off the TED2013 conference, Jennifer Granholm asks a very American question with worldwide implications: How do we make more jobs? Her big idea: Invest in new alternative energy sources. And her big challenge: Can it be done with or without our broken Congress?

Robert Ballard on the hidden world of the deep ocean

Ocean explorer Robert Ballard takes us on a mindbending trip to hidden worlds underwater, where he and other researchers are finding unexpected life, resources, even new mountains. He makes a case for serious exploration and mapping. Google Ocean, anyone?

Ocean explorer Robert Ballard takes us on a mindbending trip to hidden worlds underwater, where he and other researchers are finding unexpected life, resources, even new mountains. He makes a case for serious exploration and mapping. Google Ocean, anyone?

James Cameron…a curious boy

James Cameron's big-budget (and even bigger-grossing) films create unreal worlds all their own. In this personal talk, he reveals his childhood fascination with the fantastic — from reading science fiction to deep-sea diving — and how it ultimately drove the success of his blockbuster hits "Aliens," "The Terminator," "Titanic" and "Avatar."

James Cameron’s big-budget (and even bigger-grossing) films create unreal worlds all their own. In this personal talk, he reveals his childhood fascination with the fantastic — from reading science fiction to deep-sea diving — and how it ultimately drove the success of his blockbuster hits “Aliens,” “The Terminator,” “Titanic” and “Avatar.”

Hans Rosling on best stats ever seen

You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world."

You’ve never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called “developing world.”

Susan Cain and the power of introverts

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

Edi Rama on Taking back your city with paint

Make a city beautiful, curb corruption. Edi Rama took this deceptively simple path as mayor of Tirana, Albania, where he instilled pride in his citizens by transforming public spaces with colorful designs. With projects that put the people first, Rama decreased crime — and showed his citizens they could have faith in their leaders. (Filmed at TEDxThessaloniki.)

Make a city beautiful, curb corruption. Edi Rama took this deceptively simple path as mayor of Tirana, Albania, where he instilled pride in his citizens by transforming public spaces with colorful designs. With projects that put the people first, Rama decreased crime — and showed his citizens they could have faith in their leaders. (Filmed at TEDxThessaloniki.)

Mary Roach on 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm

"Bonk" author Mary Roach delves into obscure scientific research, some of it centuries old, to make 10 surprising claims about sexual climax, ranging from the bizarre to the hilarious. (This talk is aimed at adults. Viewer discretion advised.)

“Bonk” author Mary Roach delves into obscure scientific research, some of it centuries old, to make 10 surprising claims about sexual climax, ranging from the bizarre to the hilarious. (This talk is aimed at adults. Viewer discretion advised.)

Helen Fisher on Why we love, why we cheat

Anthropologist Helen Fisher takes on a tricky topic – love – and explains its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its social importance. She closes with a warning about the potential disaster inherent in antidepressant abuse.

Anthropologist Helen Fisher takes on a tricky topic – love – and explains its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its social importance. She closes with a warning about the potential disaster inherent in antidepressant abuse.

Dan Pink on Motiviation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

Ben Saunders on Why did I ski to the North Pole?

Arctic explorer Ben Saunders recounts his harrowing solo ski trek to the North Pole, complete with engaging anecdotes, gorgeous photos and never-before-seen video.

Arctic explorer Ben Saunders recounts his harrowing solo ski trek to the North Pole, complete with engaging anecdotes, gorgeous photos and never-before-seen video.

Bill Gates on Mosquitos, malaria and education

Bill Gates hopes to solve some of the world's biggest problems using a new kind of philanthropy. In a passionate and, yes, funny 18 minutes, he asks us to consider two big questions and how we might answer them. (And see the Q&A on the TED Blog.)

Bill Gates hopes to solve some of the world’s biggest problems using a new kind of philanthropy. In a passionate and, yes, funny 18 minutes, he asks us to consider two big questions and how we might answer them. (And see the Q&A on the TED Blog.)

Bye bye VDI? See you, EUC? Was 2013 was the LAST year of VDI?

rip-tombstone-hiIn my skim across the interwebs today, especially seeing how BASF in Germany are deploying 112,000 employees on Office 365 in the cloud, a thought struck me: has VDI had it’s day?  Some of us have been doing it for over 10 years.  TEN YEARS.  It has always been a hack to solve a number of problems caused by people trying to use Microsoft Windows and Windows-based applications in scenarios that are very un-Personal Computer.  Windows was designed to be installed locally and accesses locally.  Let’s not go into all the whys-and-wherefores of VDI, that’s old history.

Consider this piece as a tapas food for thought.  I’m not presenting deep research, but I am seeking to kick off a meme….

We have a maturing kid on the block, called Cloud, and it might just shove VDI (or End User Compute, or whatever marketing name you want) to the side.  Why?  Because it solves the original problem!  You run your apps, data, identities and everything else in a cloud (public, partner, private, or combo) and then just give a nice dumb connection to that cloud… or a rich one even… but you don’t need all the VDI expense in between.

What you need these days is a cloud back end (like BASF chose Microsoft Office 365) and then access management with things variously named as Enterprise Mobility Management.  But you don’t need all the VDI/EUC fat in your DC.  That massive VDI-optimised Vblock / FlexPod or whatever Storage device it is… Monday morning boot storms etc… gone.

Cloud and Mobility is removing the love handles of IT, and that is great news for customers!

This has huge implications for the industry that have developed solutions to solve the problems that VDI/EUC created (yes, like coding when you fix a bit of code you create more problems, well the VDI/EUC solution created further problems in identity, storage, network and more).  Any company that has VDI or EUC as a core revenue strategy might be a worry, but I’m sure they have smart enough people to have avoided the cloud iceberg that is about to sink their VDI/EUC Titanic.

It’s worth doing a little more digging on this…. see what the community thinks…

Deming’s 14 Points

Steve Chambers:

No matter what business you are in, no matter what your role is, these points apply to us all.

Originally posted on Systems Thinking, Lean and Kanban:

W. Edwards Deming’s 14 points are the basis for transformation of industry. Adoption and action on the 14 points are a signal that the management intend to stay in business. aim to protect investors and jobs. Such a system formed the basis for lessons for top management in Japan in 1950 and in subsequent years.

The 14 points apply anywhere, to small organisations as well as to large ones, to the service industry as well as to manufacturing. They equally apply to any division within a company and to it’s suppliers.

As you read through each of the 14 points below, ask yourself if they still apply today, either within your current organisation, or within organisations you have recently worked for. The answers may be surprising.

1. Constancy of purpose:

Create constancy of purpose toward continual improvement of product and service, with a plan to become competitive and to stay…

View original 2,657 more words

How the perfect storm cloud impacts five IT roles

Cloud perfect storm

 

Is cloud causing a perfect storm that will have a dramatic effect on IT jobs?

What are the symptoms, and what jobs are impacted?

If the last decade of 2000-2010 was all about virtualisation, then this decade is all about public, hybrid and private clouds.  Both trends have an impact on the IT jobs landscape, but my experience and viewpoint tells me that the clouds are going to have a dramatic effect on the IT job landscape.

Many commentators are already stating that the future for on-premise IT is uncertain, and certainly in decline.  That is going to have a direct impact on jobs.

First of all, workloads are moving to clouds meaning there is less for everyone else to do.  If I run my enterprise workloads (or whatever) on Google, and I just need a couple of software administrators to manage the SaaS apps – why do I need all those network engs, DBAs, and all the others?  In fact, if I can get the app users to admin their own apps then what happens to the traditional central IT functions?

Secondly, these “web scale” cloud operators run IT better than enterprises.  This is *without question*.  They have better availability, better security, better everything than your average IT shop.  I recently read the Kelly Review in to the Co-operative Bank debacle: go get it and start at page 54 on the IT transformation project.  The examples of bad practice are seen in many IT shops around the world.  If you ran a public cloud like this, it would fail.  Ergo, successful public clouds do not have these bad practices and they are fundamentally better places to run your workloads for most people, whether old stuff or cloud-native new stuff.

Thirdly, as traditional skills decline there is a need for new skills.  Rather than know how to operate a HP Server’s KVM, now you need to know how to operate the Azure console.  Instead of drawing up Visios for how this port connects to that port, now you need a more agile method for documenting how this application interfaces with that API.  Instead of writing word documents for manual configurations, now you put your Powershell automation scripts into GIT and have them self-document.

Clouds.  Software.  APIs.  These are the things that people need to grok.

The impact is going to be seen that enterprises need to change their IT org to reflect this new reality.  Not everyone can repeat or mirror what AWS, Microsoft, Facebook and Netflix do.  But you don’t have to, because you can use their services and they do it for you.  All you need to do is change your IT org to interface to these providers.

So you need some cloud consumers, architects who can glue the services together, with a preference for using PaaS for all new projects and using cloud-based SaaS apps like Office 365 online instead of a 9 month project to install Sharepoint and everything else on-premise.

Change is coming faster and faster so if you’re an IT guy, plying your trade installing software and glueing stuff together you better start on your journey for being a cloud administrator.  This will affect at least five major roles:

  1. Systems integrators and outsourcers – they already now focus on cloud because the old SI and SO contracts are a shrinking, low-margin business.
  2. Certifications – trainers, certification programmes of vendors.  There is less to certify on, and it is less complex.
  3. Recruiters – if there are less roles, and less variance…
  4. Vendors – we are already seeing shrinking server and network sales, and large companies like EMC are software appliance-izing all their products and consolidating under one software API.  Vendors are already not only losing deals to cloud, but they are not even being invited!
  5. Traditional administrators – the old days of documentation and manual configurations are going, and there’s less and less IT to manage, replaced by cloud interfaces.

Private cloud is mostly, today, a last gasp attempt for tradition IT folks to keep their jobs but there is a new type of private cloud coming that HAS to be deployed in the same manner as public cloud – it won’t need IT folks who want to customise it.  So even that method of avoiding change will soon be closed.

If an organisation decides all of the above is not true, not happening, or is not relevant to them (perhaps a large financial institution?) and they continue as-is, I can’t help feel that it’s a denial position and not in the best interests of their business.  The resistance to cloud is being eroded, even hedge funds are turning their face to the cloud to save millions.

Aside

The Cloud and Infrastructure Management Conundrum

The most awesome Mark Thiele recently posted a debate-provoking post about the direction that OpenStack might go in, title OpenStack – the future of Cloud & Infrastructure Management.  My contribution to the debate, as posted as a comment on Mark’s blog, is that I don’t think it will happen (but it’s not all down to OpenStack’s challenges!).

To summarise I think this is a problem that is too hard for just one solution to dominate.  There are too many competing factions, technology changes at a rapid pace, and that when you add this to OpenStack’s apparent trajectory towards a fractured ecosystem with HP, Redhat and others all tugging and pulling in their own directions… it just seems too difficult.  I could be wrong!

I’ve been living with the “Cloud and Infrastructure Management Conundrum” for a long time now, both as a vendor of cloud technology and as a cloud service provider in my role as Canopy Cloud CTO.  This is a tough problem to solve.  Some, like CSC and Dell, attempt to solve this by buying great technology in this space (ServiceMesh and Enstratius respectively).  Others are combining leading business, operations, infrastructure and application automation into a pluggable “cloud fabric” to solve the problem.  Both approaches have challenges.

I tried to draw up an image that I have in my head, the problem space is in the middle with the UX/UI/API layer – if you have a rich portfolio of infrastructure, applications and services then it is unlikely one product (like OpenStack) can fill this role.  If you have a large number of complex clients with different demands, this is also unlikely to be met by one product.  As usual, the more variety the more complex the problem.  IE – the more boxes and complexity around the middle box, then the harder it is for a simple solution to solve it.  You can probably only, as a CSP, control what is in this middle box.  You can choose to not add complexity (clients or technology) and that is a business decision.

And here’s the rub: complexity is INCREASING not decreasing.  Customers are asking more and more of the cloud (don’t just run web apps, run my SAP!), and infrastructure tech is changing at rapid pace (SDx).  Therefore, one should assume IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE ONE PRODUCT TO RULE THEM ALL.

Anyhoo, it’s just my warped opinion but thought I’d write it down anyways.  Tell me if I’m wrong! (It does happen from time to time).

Cloud Management Conundrum.001

Every cloud consumer needs their own Wolf

The Wolf from Pulp Fiction

The Wolf from Pulp Fiction

Ah.  The good old days.  Remember them?  When workloads were static.  Developers developed in waterfalls of treacle.  And IT cleaned up… eventually?  There was this archaic practice called Capacity Management.

WELL WAKE UP, KIDS, THOSE DAYS ARE GONE!

This is the era of “shared responsibility”, which means (apologies for the pejorative) “One must wipe one’s own bottom.”  If you don’t wipe your own bottom then you will get a rash.  That rash will manifest itself in the cloud as an out of control bill.  Therefore, the people who use your corporate cloud bill better know how to keep things clean by turning off things they don’t use.  The service provider is happy for you to not turn things off.

Typical humans: you give them lots of control to consume compute, storage, networks, and all that agile loveliness and how do they repay you?  By leaving the heating on all day with the windows open.

So, you need a Wolf to clean up the carcasses left by the development team or YOU WILL think the cloud is expensive when it actually isn’t.  It’s bad practice that costs money, not the cloud.  Perhaps you could think of your developers as talented and gifted teenagers that need some supervision (but please don’t get in the way of their creativity) then you know you need a Bad Ass to clean up after them,  It’s a necessary cost.  But what actually is it?

Read this great post from the Ravello Devops folks.  They instituted an automated process for implementating a policy.  ie. they said these are the rules, and The Wolf is a program that implements the rules with no exceptions.  A snippet:

The Ravello Cloud Cleaner is a job that runs once per hour and removes all instances that have been alive for more than six hours. This means that no machine can be live for more than 6 hours, unless it is intentionally tagged to prevent this using a different utility. The Cleaner also removes any orphaned volumes, meaning they have been alive for an hour or more and are not attached to any machines.

Sometimes people do this manually – ie. at the end of the day, they look at all the resources in play and decide what to turn off.  I think that’s a bad idea.  People can’t govern people, we all know that.  Computers have to govern people.  Ravello are an example of a company that has got it right.

I don’t think anyone has tried using a real wolf in the office, but I think that might also keep developers on their toes.