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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The importance of Tablets and Smart Phones

Dell just announced the hiring of Jai Menon, former IBM CTO of its Systems and Technology Group as its new CTO of its Enterprise Group.  Dell like other PC makers are seeing the handwriting on the wall and adapting to tablets and smart phones which are rapidly replacing desktop and laptop PC's as the user interface to computer systems.

With Apple's new iPAD mini announcement along with devices from other Android based tablet providers it looks like the PC as a client driven device is rapidly diminishing.

Vendors like Dell are moving to backend server providers leveraging both Linux and Microsoft Windows based technologies, but also adding data storage via low cost advanced SAN's (Storage Area Networks).

This will have a very interesting impact on IBM who has always maintained an extremely high price point on its Intel based servers known as the xSeries.  IBM has always been able to charge more money by providing services on top of the equipment and therefore selling a high price total solution to its customers.

Companies like Dell are responding with lower cost equipment with integrated software that reduces the need for vendor provided expert consultants.

While IBM may have been a step ahead of others by selling its client oriented PC business to Lenovo and retaining its server business, but lets see if it can adapt to this new low cost easy to use set of equipment from Dell and other competitors.

With cloud on the up swing and major could providers buying literally thousands of servers as they grow, and internal companies moving to a tablet client server driven environment the demand for low cost servers is increasing rapidly.

It shall be interesting to see how this all plays out.  There is a strong message here however.  If you are not looking at tablets along with Internet based server centric solutions for your employees and systems you need to take a closer look.

Friday, October 19, 2012


First of all if you are working with "Big Data", I'd love to hear from you.

I was recently involved in a discussion where old AS/400 based folks were debating the merits of relational database and SQL.  It was a bit unbelievable since Dr Codd first published his papers on relational database architecture in 1970, 42 years ago!  In the course of discussion the issue of modern alternatives to relational database systems came up.

This brings us into the topic of "Big Data".  "Big Data" is defined by Volume, Velocity, and Variety.  We are seeing data volumes in Petabytes (1000 terabytes) and Exabytes (1000 petabytes) materializing regularly.

The concept of "Big Data" first materialized in scientific computing circles where measurements in weather, aeronautics (i.e. wind or airflow on an airframe), medicine, and other industrial or scientific applications produced massive amounts of data that needed to be captured and analyzed, often in real time.

We then began to see social media sites like Facebook Google, Amazon, and others create unbelievably huge repositories of data.  Facebook reports that it operates over 30,000 computers and captures log files of over 25 terabytes of data each day...

Today we are seeing Big Data move into commercial business enterprises.  Consider the following:

  • Marketing applications that search the Internet for hits on a product or company name and then collect and analyze the content of everything found to determine the sentiment or attitude of the public toward the product or company.
  • Consider huge international retailers who capture and monitor every sales transaction in every store (millions of transactions daily) to analyze product movement and revenue opportunities.
  • Consider a major retailer who captures everything that a user does in their e-Commerce web sites, including products they look at but do not buy, searches they perform, every single keystroke and then analyze why visitors behave the way they do...  

I would really like your help in pursuing this line of thought and exploring the use of "Big Data" by commercial business enterprises.  Send me your experience at:  Let me know if I can use your name or company name or if I should keep that info confidential.  I'd really love to hear from you.