Showing posts from 2011

Bickel Business Review 2011

I like to spend a bit of time looking back at the year each December.  I'm happy to report that all of my various business adventures have moved forward since last year.  My family is also happy that I did not take on any new projects this year!

Overall, it was a year where strategies that were put in place in 2010 started to reap benefits and all of the companies "grew up" a bit.  None of them are fully grown by any means, but there is a sense of maturity in each.
The other big trend was just a total focus on the Cloud as a delivery and a business model.  My view is that tech companies are founded on the technology, and developing for the Cloud changes things drastically.  New versions go up each day.  There is no need to support old releases.  This changes the development, QA, and support processes a great deal.  It has the effect of faster cycle times, a requirement for new automation, and if done right, significantly lower costs.
CloudBees - 2010 was about building the …

Why VMware Loves and Hates the Cloud

Paul Maritz is trying to figure out how to overcome the innovators dilemma at VMware.  The spectacular success of vSphere and virtualization has taken the company from $700 Million in revenue in 2006 to $3.7 Billion in 2011.  The company now carries a valuation of $40 Billion.

The innovators dilemma phrase, coined by Clayton Christiansen, of course refers to how a company can shift economics, culture, talent, customer contracts, etc. to jump on a new offering.  This is a difficult trick, not often done.  In this case the VMware sales force needs to bring in $4.5 Billion next year, and lowering prices is not the way to get that done as VMware recently proved with their new pricing schemes.  Plus, customers paying large maintenance contracts demand existing technology to get better, not be usurped.

Today VMware is an arms supplier to the Cloud.  This works out well for selling to big companies who think running vSphere and vCloud and vFabric is the same as the cloud.  However, VMware&#…

Web Developer Intern/Co-Op for RunSignUp

RunSignUp provides cloud services to the running community – such as race registration, running club management, coaching services, and running logs.
We are looking for an intern or co-op computer science student with an interest in doing web development.  The ideal candidate will have experience building websites with HTML, CSS, PHP and MySQL.  Web design with tools like Photoshop is also a plus.
You will be working with a small, but highly talented team with deep experience.  This provides a learning opportunity to work with cutting edge web technology like Amazon EC2, social integration with Facebook and Twitter, Mobile app development, Ajax, REST services, etc.
You would work at our office in Philadelphia (20 N 3rd St.) as well as remote (your home/dorm room).
Compensation is dependent on experience, but starts at $20 per hour.  Send me your resume - bob dot bickel at comcast dot net.

CloudBees Open Source Choice

CloudBees is made up of Open Source veterans.  Sacha Labourey was the CTO of JBoss, Kohsuke Kawaguchi is the Founder of Jenkins and Hudson, Michael Neale, Adrian Brock, Ryan Campbell, Paul Sandoz, Harpreet Singh Vivek Pandey, and many others have spent most of their careers developing open source software.  On the business side, David Skok and I are two well known advocates for the open source business model.

It begs the question, why is CloudBees not open source?

The fundamental reason is that our goal is to create a new type of software – that is really consumed as a service.  We feel strongly that open source brought a whole new cost efficiency to using software in the enterprise.  JBoss and Jenkins greatly reduce the cost as compared to previous enterprise software models.  The new Cloud era ushers in new levels of cost savings and increased flexibility.

In short it required a different model, one that is more hybrid in nature.  Still using and contributing to open source proje…

How Steve Jobs Impacted me

While many people are saddened by the loss of Steve Jobs, it goes just a bit deeper for me

In 1992 I was at a small consulting company that resold software, Bluestone Consulting.  Mel Baiada was the owner and founder, and was famous for dropping lots of articles on my desk that were interesting.  One day he dropped a video tape of Steve Jobs demoing Next.  It was an over-reaching workstation/operating system/development environment.  But it had the by now familiar Steve Jobs elegant simplicity.

The part that fascinated me was a demo of him dragging and dropping a database object like last_name onto a graphical object like a text field for the last name.  Of course Jobs made the demo cool by dragging and dropping graphical objects like a person's picture onto the screen.  Then pushing a button and magically it was an application.  Users of the application could type in a last name and do a search of the database and poof – that person's information would be there, including th…

Montana and the Cloud

As we were sitting up near Logan Pass in Glacier National Park this past week, my wife asked me what I was thinking about. I replied that the shape of the mountain range reminded me of one of the central themes of Cloud Computing - you pay for only what you use.

I enthralled her with the story of how unused capacity should be free like the sky, and how the workload needed to be stable and ready to handle the peaks and valleys of real use.

OK, maybe enthralled is not the right term...

Book Review - Why the West Rules, For Now - Part 1

Mike Olson recommended this book a while back on Facebook. It is a dense book, and so full of information (all of history from the beginning of Homo habilis thru today) that I am having trouble keeping up. A passage last night convinced me that I had gotten a couple of big concepts out of it, and figured I would write them down before I forgot them...
The book is written by Ian Morris, who teaches classics, history, and archaeology at Stanford University. It takes an archaeological and social look at the history of mankind and how we developed. Four items stood out to me as learnings from history that could be applied to today.
1. Climate change has been happening for a long time
and has very dramatic consequences. "In two or three centuries around 17,000 BCE the sea level rose 40 feet as the glaciers that had blanketed North America, Europe and Asia melted." Weather determined where humans could go (people migrated all the way from Africa thru Asia and Alaska to settle the…

PaaS and ADHD


IBM is Cool

Tonight I read about Oracle's lawsuit against Google and then HP's suit against Oracle. I got depressed and did a couple of sarcastic Tweets.
Then I opened up the NYTimes and read IBM's essay celebrating their 100 years. While it takes a couple of cheap shots at founder-driven companies (Apple, Oracle and Facebook envy), it is a very aspirational piece.
My favorite quote is: "I believe that if an organization is to meet the challenges of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself, except its beliefs." - Thomas Watson, Jr.
I admit, I am a sucker for IBM. My Dad worked there from the mid 1960's until his retirement. I had a summer job in the Glendale Labs where I wrote 11 lines of code that went into all of the company's 300 and 600 lpm band printers in the late 70's. I attended a day long class in the history and culture of IBM, learning the importance of THINK, of respect, and the value of technology. Tom Watson, Jr. wro…

CloudBees Thinks Big - an Ecosystem

CloudBees took another important step forward in fulfilling our vision as the Java PaaS innovation leader with the announcement of the CloudBees Partner Ecosystem. CloudBees knows that we can not develop everything ourselves – and that customers want choice and flexibility. Here are the first partners, with more coming soon: JFrog Artifactory - Binary Repository - think Super Maven!SonarSource - the leading open source Static Code Analysis.Sauce Labs / Selenium - the leading open source based cross-browser testing service.Cloudant - Clustered, cloud-based CoachDB (noSQL) service.New Relic - the leading Cloud Monitoring service. The Cloud offers new ways of partnering and bringing solutions to customers, and CloudBees is enabling that in an open, flexible, easy-to-use offering.
For Java Developers and IT shops: •Extends the low cost of doing business on the Cloud. •Enabling extended services is as simple as clicking a button. •Integration is already done in the Cloud – no messy self-c…

PaaS - How will it be priced?

CloudBees is in an interesting position being so far ahead of the rest of the competitors in the Java PaaS space. We have a GA offering that is basically competing with Beta versions from VMWare (Cloud Foundry) and Red Hat (OpenShift). So we have to price our full offering ahead of our competitors.
We all have free versions. Given the market is early, this might be the most important thing today given that a lot of people want to experiment and learn and understand how the Cloud can play in their development and deployment cycles. It is likely we will all keep free versions. For example, CloudBees offers up to 300 free minutes of Jenkins build time per month on the dev side (lots more for Open Source Projects) and up to 5 apps on the RUN@cloud side. Of course those 5 free apps are not scalable, or have high availability or have SSL or have custom URL's. But certainly very useful for learning, testing and even small apps that are non-critical.
The interesting part comes when t…