Darth Vader SWCSA

February 19, 2010

I have intercepted a message from Darth Vader.  It appears to be a message to Marc Farley, the founder of the Steering Wheel Camera Society of America (SWCSA) and StorageRap blogger.
I knew that Chad Sakac had hired a bunch of powerful bloggers to his vArmy, but it seems that the power of the force is joining the power of virtualization.

The Web as a Platform for Innovation

February 8, 2010

The discussion of the impact of the Web in the last 20 years and predictions of what it might look like in 2030 has continued with many bloggers.  I am tracking the conversation in a wiki document in the new Innovation & Research community on the EMC Community Network.  Andrea Meyer wrote a great post on the topic and introduced me to Jim Todhunter of Invention Machine, who agreed to have a discussion on the impact of the Web on Innovation.

JIM TODHUNTER | CTO of Invention Machine

Invention Machine is a innovation software company. Its technology, Invention Machine Goldfire, helps companies deliver the right products the first time and makes innovation a repeatable, sustainable process. Jim discusses building the high performance innovation organization on his blog.

Stuart Miniman: Looking at things through the lens of innovation, how has the Web changed business and innovation in the last 20 years?

Jim Todhunter: It has had a huge impact, especially in these times where we are still struggling to get out of this global financial crisis.  The importance of innovation as a mechanism to build value for companies is becoming greater and greater.  The web has become vital infrastructure for innovation by creating an environment of pervasive information.  As an example, a client of ours, a plumbing company needed to take lead out of pipes.  Through the Web, they found a solution from another country, which solved their problem and led to a partnering opportunity.

SM: I love examples of how the barriers of geography and industry are broken down to allow information and ideas to be shared everywhere.

JT: This leads to the second area where the Web has a huge impact on business and innovation.  This is the notion of connectedness; business to business, business to consumer and consumer to consumer.  We can see a lot of this in the expansion of social media platforms.  This is helping customers in the notion of open innovation where businesses can bring external constituents into the process of innovation.  The Web has become an infrastructure platform for global innovation where the long tail of information that  consumers build can be leveraged.  For example, a customer of Invention Machine, Leggett & Platt, has created a 70/30 plan where 30% of their innovation is created from sources outside of the company [see Leggett & Platt podcast].

SM: I saw a great episode of Frontline which discussed the changing impact of the Web.  Over the decades, people have considered that technology has been a force of removing people from communicating.  We are now at a point where technology can be leveraged to pull people together and allow us to be interconnected.

JT: Absolutely, the volumes of information that are being created as people are pulled together is immense.  People need to not only generate information, but use tools to be able to process the information.

SM: We’ve seen many changes in the last 20 years, what do we think the Web will look like in 2030?

JT: I think that the current trends of bringing consumers more directly into the environment will continue.  The Web will fade into the background and become just another service, like phone service, which we use without considering how it works.  The consumer experience will take the lead role.  Task based applications will allow people to do things without having to think about how they are done.

SM: Will this help innovation or will technology become so pervasive that people won’t have any knowledge and will be so consumed that they won’t be able to think of innovations?

JT: I think that the needs of consumer will be put first and the technology will serve the consumer.  In business, the Web has become a disruptive platform for redefining the way that different classes of companies do business.  This has not only had a positive impact on businesses, but on consumers.

Listen to the full 6 1/2 minute interview with Jim Todhunter here (click the play button below) or on Cinchcast.


What are your predictions for the future of the Web?  If you are new to this site and interested in continuing the discussion of innovation, please consider subscribing to this blog.

Stuart Miniman


FCoE: Facts and Questions

February 3, 2010

Today, I had the pleasure of participating on Wikibon’s FCoE: Fact vs. Fiction call.  In case you weren’t sure of the power of social media – even for a niche discussion of FCoE, a bunch of bloggers promoting the event had the call beyond the 200 line capacity of the system.  If you weren’t able to be part of the call, the audio is now available (click the play button below).

A number of posts are being created on the Wikibon site to summarize the actions that should be taken based on the discussion.  It’s a collaborative effort, I did the vendor actions post:

On February 2nd’s FCoE Fact vs. Fiction call call, we discussed that one of the key benefits of FCoE is that there is a robust vendor ecosystem including server, operating system, network and storage vendors. The creation of the technology includes new standards in both storage (T11) and networking (IEEE and IETF). There was some concern from practitioners that FCoE could be plagued with some of the interoperability challenges that have historically been found in the FC market.

As vendors are looking to move customers along the adoption curve of FCoE, they would do well to consider both the historical challenges of the industry as well as the long term goal of flexibility that customers are pursuing.

Action Item: Vendors that are serious about FCoE will do more than just give lip service to the development of solutions. They should actively engage in the creation of standards that will allow for vendor interoperability. They will also create robust documentation including reference architectures.

Footnotes: See EMC’s FCoE Techbook (http://www.emc.com/collateral/hardware/technical-documentation/h6290-fibre-channel-over-ethernet-techbook.pdf) and Emulex’s Convergenomics: The Converged Network Solutions Guide (http://www.emulex.com/solutions/convergenomics/convergenomics-guide.html)

Disclaimer: I work for EMC and Emulex was involved in organizing the Peer Incite Review Call on FCoE.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions on FCoE or topics that you think would be good for a blog post or video.

Stuart Miniman