Thursday, June 16, 2011

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. wrote my Dad a note when I got a broken leg in 6th grade. My Dad "feared" for me when I took a job at Digital Equipment rather than IBM a couple of years out of college. I competed head-head with IBM's Tony Shaloop (sp?) at the duPont Experimental Station in the mid 80's. I had my respectful differences of opinion with IBM open source guru Bob Sutor in the mid 2000's. The listened to best guy I ever worked with, Al Smith, as he raved over the past 3 years after his company (Princeton Softech) was acquired by IBM. I have the 3 shares of IBM stock framed on the wall next to my home office desk that my Dad gave me with the words "Break in case of emergency" written on the back.

I think Tom Jr.'s words are relevant today as each of us make our daily choices. It is all about core values. Doing the right THINK.

And, yes, I was proud when Watson kicked Ken Jennings and Brad Rutters butts...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

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-configuration.
Centralized management.
Services extend across the entire lifecycle of development thru application deployment.
For Partners:
This is a whole new level of Partnership.
Gives ISV's and Open Source Projects a clear path to the Cloud.
Lower cost of integration and support.
Open new revenue sources.

Best of all, this program is real and working today. Check it out at http://cloudbees.com/platform-ecosystem.cb.

CloudBees has become the smart choice for Java shops moving to the Cloud.

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 trying to figure out the pricing for running this in production. CloudBees has made our pricing public, and we think it is very competitive to the alternative of having to own your own hardware, operating system, virtualization, webservers, application servers, database servers, repositories, Jenkins, etc. Not to mention installing, configuring and maintaining that stack. And of course only paying for what you use. Oh, and the nice benefit of having "instant on".

Of course we have to play a bit of a guessing game as to where our two major competitors will end up later this year or early next year when they finally go GA. My guess is they will be significantly above us given they have an installed base to protect. Just look at the VMWare stack diagram above. CloudFoundry is just a little green box at about 1 o'clock, and when coming from VMWare will likely be packaged with other things like vSphere, vCloud, vFabric (Spring) and management tools. If you buy those today they cost $2-5K per CPU depending on configuration. My guess is that VMWare can not say goodbye to $2B in revenue by giving those components away or by devaluing them by bundling them in CloudFoundry.

I heard from a mutual partner that Paul Maritz says they want to commoditize the PaaS to keep the value in their other components.

You can also get a sense for where they stand with the recent vFabric 5 (Spring) announcement in this article - "Our approach ensures that the best place to run any of your applications is on vSphere, and secondarily, vSphere is the very best place to run your Spring applications" says SpingSource's David McJannet. My educated guess is they will take a similar stance with Cloud Foundry.

While at Red Hat summit we heard rumblings from the RHEL sales force that hints at the kind of internal battles and real revenue continuation program they must have to protect their installed base of RHEL and JBoss.

What this all adds up to is that CloudBees will have a competitive advantage since we are unencumbered by running on specific stacks and do not have revenue streams to protect there. This means we will be able to charge prices to customers that will continue to save them money from their existing stacks. This will become more clear as we make announcements over the course of this year where we run on alternate stacks - giving customers a lot of flexibility and freedom of choice in where and how they take advantage of the Cloud. It should be fun...