It is time for another to fly the coop

As many of you know,  my good friend Jane Rimmer has occasionally guest blogged on Planetvm.net.

Well she has decided that it is time to leave home and set up her own house for blogging.  you can now find her at www.rimmergram.com.

We at PlanetVM.Net wish her all the best in her new home, and you will be sadly missed here.

Rimmergram Blog #10:- Exciting Technology times

As ever, the market in which we’re all focused continues to grow and then converge.  The recent acquisitions by VMware of DynamicOps and Nicira are two key examples.  I’m very lucky to have worked, and be working, with some of the game changing technologies in cloud and virtualization.  Some of my past clients’ companies have been gobbled up by bigger players and some of the others continue to stay ahead of the game by product innovation and good sales and marketing .

Currently, I’m excited to be working with 2 emerging startups that have really unique capabilities and IP that i very compelling, not only to an honorary-geek like me but also to customers and partners alike.

One is focused in cloud and virtualization management and the other is focused on cloud and VDI.  One of the things I love about my role is working with vendors that have totally complementary solutions – clearly as a “me, myself and I” business I can’t have competing solutions in my portfolio J

I’ll start with VMTurbo.  They have seen big success with their Intelligent Workload Management solution, VMTurbo Operations Manager.  In particular, Kendrick Coleman includes VMTurbo Community Edition in his Top 10 Free Utilities for VMware.  The people behind VMTurbo are the ex-SMARTs guys (EMC acquired SMARTS in 2004) and, for me, the real smarts is in their Economic Scheduling Engine.  The way this works is a market-based approach to IT, by and is based on modeling the virtualized IT stack as a service supply chain, where components consume services of other components.  So, for example, excessive demand over supply results in rising prices of that resource. Applications competing over the resource may shift their workloads to alternate resources thus lowering their costs. Using economic solution techniques VMTurbo re-distributes the demand, or increases the supply, as appropriate – really cool stuff.   In summary, VMTurbo automates the decision-making process, prevents, versus predicts, problems, assures application performance at the lowest TCO and simplifies control across any hypervisor or cloud architecture.

As Rachel Chalmers of 451 Research recently wrote, “VMTurbo is firing on all cylinders.”

The other is Nutanix. These guys are really extraordinary, both in terms of product innovation and people – dynamic is an understatement for them!  Like VMTurbo, the founders have already created previous successful companies.  Nutanix counts the people that created the Google File System (GFS) and co-authored distributed database patents among its founders.  Their fundamental offering is ‘SAN-free’ datacenters, but the scale and impact of what they provide is multi-faceted. Nutanix is unique in design approach by taking the storage and compute (server) layers from the traditional datacenter architecture model and converging into a single appliance based on commodity x86 hardware that scales out linearly to thousands of nodes. The benefits delivered combine all the desirable elements of a high-end SAN (shared storage, high capacity, enterprise storage features) with the value of local storage complete with integrated flash technology connected directly to the processors. Nutanix’s definition of “converged” is quite different and is inspired by the approach of Google, Facebook, Yahoo etc. who continue to build enormous datacenter capacity based on commodity x86 servers connected with standard 10Gb Ethernet.

John Abbott of 451 Research recently commented, “The Nutanix Complete Cluster sidesteps many of the costs and complexities of networked storage by taking a new look at the problem.”

Both companies are exhibiting at VMworld San Francisco and Barcelona, so I hope you’ll find the time to stop by and find out more if you’re attending either, or both, events.

 

2011 – Rimmergram’s virtualized year in review

The year started with me moving from a Sony Vaio to a MacBook Pro and getting some amazing help from my twitterati, specifically @dawoo, as finding basic functions – like the hash key – seemed to allude me. I am now totally loved up with my MBP, iPad and iPhone 4S, I can’t ever contemplate moving back to Windows, albeit as part of the benefits of being a vExpert, I do run VMware Fusion Smile. One thing I can categorically state, though, is that Microsoft Office is as shocking on the Mac as it is on Windows for crashing or closing for no reason Sad smile

In February, I attended the IDC Desktop Virtualization event in London and it was clear the interest in desktop transformation in general was heightened, specifically regarding where to start, whether looking at desktop or application virtualization or just moving to Windows 7. This was preceded by the London VMUG having a roundtable discussion on VDI, which also indicated high levels of interest, but no real evidence of large, or successful, implementations. So 2010 was meant to be the year of VDI, so was 2011, but I do believe 2012 will be the year of the ‘blended’ workspace, where virtualization will play a part but will not be the panacea many thought, or were led to believe, it would be.

May saw BriForum return to the UK, with over 300 delegates attending, again demonstrating the keen appetite for knowledge on desktop virtualization and associated solutions. The day after BriForum, we held our new format for the London VMUG. The new registration format via MyVMUG organization, the extended day, multiple tracks and sponsorship were well received by our members and, as always, lots of positive tweets and blogs were posted.

A relatively new topic, the consumerization of IT, was the focus of another London IDC event in London, which I again attended with Centrix Software. The other sponsors (including Citrix and Samsung) all focused on the BYOD (bring your own device) aspect of consumerization. However, it is so much more than that; what about applications user-sourced from the cloud, off-prem storage such as dropbox – how does IT embrace consumerization, but retain control? It was a very thought provoking event for the many enterprise IT managers in attendance, clearly a topic for the forthcoming year too.

June also saw the UKs VMware Forums, I attended Wembley and bumped into many of the London VMUG members, it was an excellent event for both attendees and sponsors alike.

August was all about attending VMworld Las Vegas. The highlight for me was meeting many of the vExperts from the other side of the pond that I interact with over Twitter; such as Shane Williford, Aaron Delp and Damian Karlson to name but a few. I feel very honored to be part of this awesome community! Lots of great sessions, keynotes and labs were all other highlights, as well as the solutions exchange, where I spent most of mine time, working Sad smile. The VMworld party was great and it was nice to meet the better halves of Mike Laverick and Tom Howarth later at the pool party!!

To finish off my virtualized year, the highlight has to be the first ever UK National VMUG that I and my fellow London VMUG committee members, along with the MyVMUG organization, organized in Solihull on November 3rd. We had over 350 attendees, and over 20 sponsors, with multiple presentation tracks and community involvement with a mock-VCDX panel and PowerCLI workshops all taking place simultaneously. Hearing about individual’s experiences during the day and knowing that for many, this was their first ever VMUG, made all the hard work and voluntary effort all worthwhile Smile. A great review of the event was posted by one of our members and regular contributors to London VMUG, Jonathan Medd, read it here.

I am now looking forward to an exciting 2012 – desktop transformation is going to be even bigger next year, as is consumerization of IT but I’m also going to be involved in a Cloud Foundry initiative that will launch in the new year, so watch this space!

In the meantime, wishing everyone all the best for the festive season and a very Happy New Year and looking forward to seeing many of you in January at our 26th London VMUG!

Jane Rimmer is owner of hiviz-marketing , strategic marketing consultancy servicing the IT industry and a 2011 vExpert.

Am I a Big Twit? or a Guide to the Twitterverse 101

Recently, I’ve come across a number of people that are just starting to “get into” Twitter. Having been tweeting for nearly 3 years, I think I’ve grasped the main concept and have witnessed both good and bad use of this social media vehicle. So I thought I’d note down some general guidance for those “neweeters” out there that would like to start tweeting.

Twitter is described as a micro-blogging site, allowing you to update your status in 140 characters. However, I see many different uses of Twitter, it is a great way to keep in touch of industry trends/happenings, a great source of information – just ask a question on Twitter and I guarantee you’ll get an informed response within seconds if you have a large enough following – through to companies using it as a support forum.

This blog, however, is designed to give input and advice to the first time user community.

Getting started

1. Choose a name (handle) that either bears a resemblance to your real name or is indicative of your interests. My handle, @Rimmergram, is a combination of my name and my love of communicating. It has also been said, in the past, to receive a ‘Rimmergram’ was not something that was a pleasant read, as it meant you had done something pretty bad to receive one! In my ‘Twitterverse’ a Rimmergram is, hopefully, a pleasant read 🙂

If asked for your twitter handle, it is always preceded by the @ symbol, this is how people connect with you on Twitter and links to your Twitter profile.

2. Having chosen and created your handle, you then need to create your profile. Like Twitter, your profile is restricted to 140 characters. So be precise and succinct. Do not, however, go the other way and NOT include a profile. People will not necessarily follow you if they don’t know anything about you.

3. Next step is to include an avatar. People either use a picture of themselves, a cartoon representation of themselves or something completely off the wall! My preference is to use a photo that looks like you, this way, when you do get to meet your followers, they can at least recognize you 🙂

4. Once you’re set up, then you need to start following people in your sphere of interest. I find the best way is to look at the list of tweeps other people are following and start following them.

5. Accessing Twitter. You can either do this via twitter.com or use an application. I use Tweetdeck as I track different accounts and hashtags (in fact I have 14 columns!) on my laptop and iPad and on my iPhone I like the Echofon app.

Etiquette

For me, etiquette is common sense and, as with email, do not type something that you wouldn’t say to someone in person. There is also different etiquette, in my opinion, depending upon your twitterverse and area of interest. There seems to be certain etiquette in tweeting with celebrities, but personally, I don’t follow any! But there are certain things I’ve witnessed on Twitter that I personally don’t agree with this. Below I highlight just a few, there are various sites that highlight twettiquette, I quite like this one, but below are just a couple of suggestions from yours truly:

Do not use Twitter to get into a slanging match

Do not use Twitter for a conversation, use the DM function or email

Do not reply to a tweet that was sent days ago

Know with whom you are tweeting – they could be a customer of yours!

I strongly advise against sending Dweets, see glossary below!

Do use Twitter as an information medium, both sharing and receiving

Do turn Twitter off if you are concentrating on completing a task, it’s highly intrusive and addictive.

Useful glossary

Direct Message (aka DM) – you can DM people on Twitter only if they are following you.

Follower – someone that subscribes to your tweets. You don’t necessarily have to follow them back (unlike Facebook where all relationships have to be reciprocal, you can have a one-way relationship on Twitter)

Dweet – a tweet sent when drunk

Hashtags # – used to highlight a particular topic that can then be searched on and tracked to see if it is trending. A popular hashtag is #FF or #FollowFriday. This is used to highlight tweeps you feel are worthy of following

OH – stands for overheard, tweets that are not associated with an identifiable person

PRT – please retweet – although if a tweet is good enough it will be retweeted on it’s own merits, only in special cases should you request your tweet to be retweeted

Re-Twee (RT)t – essentially a ‘forward’ of your tweet to the retweeter’s followers

Tweeple, twerson, tweeps – all terms for people using Twitter

Tweetup – a face-to-face meeting of tweeps

Twitterati – the A-listers of Twitter

Twitterverse – the Twitter Universe, it’s big and growing at an exponential rate.

Twitosphere – the world of Twitter

Summary

Success on Twitter, for me, is defined by having one of my tweets retweeted (RT’d) by someone I hugely admire and respect on Twitter – it means they’re interested in something I’ve tweeted enough to forward to their followers.

For those diehard tweeters like me you can find out your “twuration” by visiting www.twuration.com. Here I learnt I’ve been tweeting since 4th December 2008 and, on average, I tweet 6.6 times a day – is this verging on addiction I ask myself?!

Finally, if you do tweet something you’d rather not have, you can delete a tweet, but remember, if you’ve include a hashtag or @someone, then they might well have seen it before you delete it and can then, in turn, retweet it!

Jane Rimmer is owner of hiviz-marketing , strategic marketing consultancy servicing the IT industry and a 2011 vExpert.

Rimmer’s Round Up of VMworld Las Vegas 2011

VMware is definitely more than just a regular virtualization company and continues along the bleeding edge of innovation.  As Paul Maritz explains in this interview, VMware is growing into an IT Solutions company, focused on 3 key areas:

  • More efficient, automated infrastructure,
  • Renewal of applications – develop new apps to service the Facebook generation and
  • Renewal of end-user computing.

It was the end-user computing ‘angle’ of VMworld that was of most interest to me.  I was entranced Steve Herrod’s Tuesday keynote, always delivered from a business aspect as well as technical, despite him being the CTO.  With around half of the keynote being focused on end-user computing and applications, it demonstrated VMware’s thrust into this arena.

Vittorio Viarengo’s contribution to the keynote was fabulous – both in terms of content but also from an entertainment perspective.  As many have already blogged about, Appblast is really exciting, as is Horizon Mobile and Project Octopus.  It will be interesting, however,  to observe how VMware will deliver all of this cohesively, over time, to truly move beyond the PC-era.

I spoke with many attendees and as always the Hands on Labs (HoL) really were the highlight for many and, as a London VMUG steering committee member, I am really excited to learn that the HoLs will be available for all, not just VMworld attendees, in 2012, learn more here.

A personal highlight for me as a newly “inaugurated” 2011 vExpert, was meeting lots of my fellow vExperts at a program meeting hosted by John Troyer.  I can honestly say I have never encountered such a community surrounding a technology/company.  The opportunity to also meet many of the folks I follow on Twitter was another highlight of VMworld for me.

I spent most of my days working in the Solutions Exchange with one of my clients, Centrix Software. The Solutions Exchange had around 250 exhibitors promoting their wares, ranging from the big and mighty vendors down to new, innovative companies, such as Centrix, in the Innovators Pavilion.  As I blogged prior to VMworld, many companies that have previously participated in this innovator pavilion have subsequently been acquired.

It is unlikely I will be at VMworld Copenhagen this year.  I still feel it’s a mistake to hold the European event so close to the US one, but unfortunately this year there is a major event in the UK, IPExpo being held at exactly the same time as VMworld Copenhagen and it looks like I will be there instead.

If you’re attending Copenhagen, I can guarantee you will experience the same community spirit and “awesome sauce” of a superbly staged event by VMware for its customers – enjoy!

 

 

It’s all about the Software!

I read an extremely interesting and thought provoking article this week by Marc Andreessen, about software eating the world. And it got me thinking, as many of us start to prepare for our attendance at VMworld, it really is all about software these days. Just looking at the number of sponsors – over 250 of them – very, very few are hardware companies. Even those that are perceived as hardware companies, also have software divisions, EMC is a classic example.

Glancing through the list of sponsors in the Solutions Exchange, it would appear over three quarters are what I would deem ‘pure’ software vendors, i.e. not including all the service providers, cloud/hosting companies, etc. I highly recommend VMworld attendees to spend time in the Solutions Exchange, particularly the new innovators in booth 171 – not just because I will be there working with one of my clients! – because you might just find a gem of a solution to the challenges that you face in your daily IT life. It is great that VMworld provides a platform for new innovation to be highlighted and many of the companies that have been acquired over the past couple of years have participated in this section of the Solutions Exchange.

Bizarrely, Marc’s article talks about tech stock being undervalued by the markets. You will find my comments here, I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts. At the time of writing this post, Marc’s article had received 416 comments, so clearly an interesting topic!

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing many of you at VMworld!!

Jane Rimmer is owner of hiviz-marketing , strategic marketing consultancy servicing the IT industry and a 2011 vExpert.

Sales people – think of us Bloggers

I’ve always respected the value that technology bloggers bring to their readers/followers and have embraced them in my marketing strategies for vendors that I have and do work with.  However, it has recently struck me how few sales people know about the key bloggers in their sphere, and how few engage in Social Media (SoMe) activities, such as Twitter. Whilst it’s very common for the technical community not only to engage in SoMe but also know the key bloggers, it is still an under-utilised “tool” in the world of sales.  This got me thinking, who is responsible for providing the intel on bloggers to sales?

Well, the obvious answer is, of course, marketing.  And we need to educate sales folks to understand the value and importance of bloggers.  I wonder how many times a sales person has spoken to a prospective, or indeed current, customer without knowing they are a blogger and perhaps provided some snippet of information that could be broadcast globally without their knowing it?!

I conducted a small, totally unscientific, statistically invalid sample research to validate my thoughts, and with one exception, none of the sales folks were aware of any of their customer’s or partner’s that wrote a blog.  While they’d heard of the likes of Brian Madden and Doug Brown, they were not aware of people (either customers or partners) they had previously met writing a blog. The stats speak for themselves:

  1. 25% are aware of vinternals for example,
  2. 0% are aware of virtualisedreality however,
  3. 75% are on twitter

As stated, this was a very small sample but I do believe it generally represents a vendor’s sales force’s limited knowledge of bloggers. And in my experience generalisations are generally true!

What is the morale of the tale? As with any engagement, always know who you are talking to, as a sales person you should do your research before engaging with customers – there is a wealth of knowledge out there; Google, LinkedIn, etc.  There are a number of vendors that embrace bloggers extremely well – I won’t mention them, because they know who they are! –in my experience it is the exception not the rule.

I recommend marketing should provide sales a monthly, or even fortnightly, overview of key blogs that contain mentions and content of their respective solutions.  This way, sales can peruse coverage and become au fait with influential bloggers that may well be their customer – or hopefully might be in the future.

Vendors are generally great at maintaining their own blog and I am sure their sales people read these, or perhaps blogs that are written by their colleagues.  For any vendor reading this blog, I wholeheartedly encourage you to not only have a very clear understanding of the key influential bloggers in your respective market, but also to ensure you embrace them and treat them as important, if not more so, than some of your key press and analyst contacts.

Jane Rimmer is owner of hiviz-marketing , a strategic marketing consultancy servicing the IT industry.

Rimmergram #4 – Customer SoMe Etiquette

I have been amazed at some interactions on Twitter recently between vendors and their customers. Not so much vendors, per se, but their representatives.  The dialogues I witnessed were, I believe, just passionate rather than malicious, but it is important to accept customer input, comments, feedback – even if you do think they are moaning, bitching or just being plain rude.

As we all know and recognise Twitter is a massive public forum and it really provides immense value to us all in terms of knowledge transfer, insight and edification.  When imparting information, intelligence or just thoughts, you should always bear in mind that others may not share your point of view, or indeed may have diametrically opposed thoughts.  But if the person you are interacting with is a customer don’t be inflammatory in public – either DM them or get their contacts out of your CRM system and call them.  No matter how well you know a customer, or how many beers you’ve ever drunk with them, if you don’t agree with them, don’t state it publicly for the whole world to see and never retaliate by accusing them of moaning!

We are all guilty of responding to email too quickly and our reply being read in the wrong context, but that email had a limited audience.  So it is always worth re-reading a Tweet before responding just in case its tone could be misconstrued. While you might know you are right and the customer is wrong, they are the customer, you are merely their supplier. But as your company’s representative you have to portray professionalism at all times and that is a skill, whereas passion is an emotion – and emotion is a dangerous thing at times.



Rimmergram Blog #3 –Marketing 101

Well Tom asked me to provide you, his readers, some basics surrounding my black art – Marketing!  This post, therefore, is intended for readers that would like to understand how marketing can help their business, have a fundamental belief that it can, but yet don’t have a clue where to start.

Whilst marketing as a science is deployed in organisations in very different ways – depending upon budgets, size of company, company objectives etc. – there are some basic rules that apply across the spectrum.  I will share some of them with you in the hope that even if you’re an SMB with absolutely no budget assigned to marketing, there are ways that the “black art” can assist you. Continue reading “Rimmergram Blog #3 –Marketing 101”