My Journey from Enterprise IT to the Cloud

Month: December 2017

Five Things that Blew My Mind at SpringOne Platform 2017

Richard Watson from Gartner led a customer panel in the final round of keynotes at SpringOne. In it, he asked the company leaders what blew their minds during the conference. Of course, it got me thinking about what blew my mind at SpringOne Platform this year. Here’s what I came up with, in no particular order.

1. A High Quality Event

I’ve been to a fair amount of conferences in my career, and this one was truly top notch. Conferences are often draining and it can be hard to keep up the excitement throughout the week. This event felt elevated from the moment I checked in at Moscone Center. You had to be there to feel it I guess, but all these things contributed to the greatness:

  • Signage and graphics looked amazing and were well themed. Complete with ASCII art and 8-bit renditions of the keynote speakers.
  • The main stage room was incredible, and the keynote speaker lineup was tremendous. It was a nice mix of tech talks, customer stories, and philosophy. Everyone seemed to engage for the full two hours. That’s quite a feat.
  • The breakout sessions were right-sized, on point, and on schedule. And they were well attended! During sessions, the hallways were empty, with only a few stragglers at some booths or on laptops.
  • It had a fun vibe! Lots of discussion and socializing. Plenty of power strips everywhere. Coffee, drinks and food available at regular intervals. There were even old school arcade games!

2. Open Source is Thriving in the Enterprise!

When I saw links to GitHub repos in the Comcast and Intuit sessions, it was another mind blowing moment. It’s been a long road, but we’re finally there. Open source is in the enterprise for real. And I’m not talking about using open source software, though that’s impressive too. I mean that enterprises are contributing code back to the open source community.

Comcast has a lot of stuff out there, including a BOSH release for telegraf. Intuit showed off a validator and inspector for Spring Cloud Config. Other companies using PCF like Home Depot and Mastercard seem to have thriving public GitHub repos as well. What a time to be alive.

3. Windows and .NET at a Spring Conference!?

The announcement of PCF 2.0 highlighted some key Windows-related features. First, native Windows Server 2016 containers for .NET workloads. In one demo, Richard Seroter showed off ssh-ing directly into a Windows container. Typing dir into an ssh window may feel weird, but what a relief for .NET developers.

Speaking of feeling weird, how about displaying hardware at a software conference? That’s right, PCF 2.0 will have beta support for Azure Stack. The Microsoft booth had a working Dell EMC server cabinet to showcase it. Mind blown.

4. A Who’s Who of Cloud Native Celebrities

There were plenty of cloud famous folks to be found in both the keynotes and breakout sessions. I’m not ashamed to admit I had my fair share of geek out moments during the week. I’ve followed a lot of these tech personalities on Twitter for a long time, even before I joined Pivotal. So getting to see or meet a lot of them in person for the first time was super cool. It’s like bringing my Twitter feed to life.

People like James Watters, Andrew Clay Schafer, Onsi, Coté. Or legends of the Spring community like Juergen Hoeller, Phil Webb, Kenny Bastani and Josh Long. There was an entire panel of brilliant women — Cornelia Davis, Meagan Kjelland, Therese Stowell, Erin Schnabel, and Mathangi Venkatesan — talking about distributed systems. Other giants of the tech community outside of Pivotal even made appearances — Chip Childers from the Cloud Foundry Foundation, Erich Gamma of Microsoft, and Google’s Eric Brewer.

I know that’s a lot of name dropping. But it really was an incredible showing of very smart and talented professionals. The best part about all of this is how lucky I feel to be able to call so many of these people colleagues now. That realization is what blew my mind the most.

 5. Thoughtful Analyst Community

Finally, I have to drop a few more names so I can share the amazing interactions I had with the analyst community. RedMonk’s James Governor gave a thought-provoking keynote. Richard Watson of Gartner led the aforementioned customer panel. And Dave Bartoletti from Forrester gave a great session on cloud native ops superpowers.

But it was the personal interactions I had with these analysts this week that had the most impact for me. It’s one of the great privileges I have in my role at Pivotal now. I get to have insightful, relevant conversations with these folks. Doing it in person is always an even more superior experience. The questions they had about platforms and the product landscape alone blew my mind. I appreciated their thoughts and observations this week. I look forward to more mind-blowing 😲 action next year in Washington, D.C.


My First SpringOne Platform

After two full days at my very first SpringOne Platform, my head is spinning. At times I’ve felt excited, lucky, proud, impressed, and overwhelmed — sometimes all at the same time. So what’s the best thing to do when I’m feeling all the feelings? Write about it!

I’ve been having lots of thoughts that I can’t shake in two key areas so I want to share about them.

PCF 2.0: It’s a Cloud!

During the keynote on Tuesday, among a slew of announcements, Onsi Fakhouri unveiled PCF 2.0. I’m not going to get into the details here, but you can (and should!) read all about it and watch Onsi’s incredible presentation if you haven’t already.

A few months ago, I caught a glimpse of what was coming with PCF 2.0. When I saw a rough sketch of the “four pillars” on a whiteboard, I thought “Hey! That’s a cloud!” It sounds silly to me now. Of course it’s a cloud! It’s right there in the name. Pivotal Cloud Foundry. And PCF 2.0 is its natural evolution.

To be clear, I’m not interested in having a “what is the cloud?” discussion. (I already get that with my family when they ask me what it is that I do.) Still, it’s fair to say that the cloud encompasses many things these days. Public clouds now offer such a breadth of products and services that it’s hard for some customers to keep up. At the same time, customers have more and more types of workloads and want more and more choices.

All the public clouds have an app service, a container service, and a functions (serverless) service. Some have more than one of each! They all also offer many data persistence and messaging services. So the concept of Pivotal Cloud Foundry offering these same products makes total sense. PCF is staying just opinionated enough. Like Richard Seroter commented in his summary of Day 1, customers will have choices, but not too many. The reality is that customers are running in on-premise data centers. They need workloads to run in hybrid or multi-cloud environments. IaaS isn’t enough to constitute a “private cloud” anymore. But PCF 2.0 sure is. (And it’s not even limited to that. It runs on public clouds too, remember!)

Everyone at SpringOne Platform seems pretty pumped about the announcements. But I’ve heard of other folks wondering why Pivotal introduced PKS when they already have PAS. Some may wonder why anyone would still use PAS once they have PKS. And of course, there are many who don’t yet understand what role serverless has to play and why PFS is even a thing. It’s simple. They are all choices. Did anyone ask Amazon why they didn’t kill their app service once they launched a container service? As Onsi said in his talk, the conversation is not an “OR” conversation. It’s an “AND” conversation. PCF will be able to handle all customer workloads.

During Wednesday morning’s keynote, I felt a little like a kid eating ice cream for the first time. It was riveting watching Kim Bannerman and Meaghan Kjelland do a PKS demo and seeing Mark Fisher show off riff. There is such an exciting future for PCF and I’m stoked I get to go along for the ride.

Did Somebody Say “Digital Transformation”?

SpringOne Platform is full of developers and technology enthusiasts. There are plenty of tech talks and deep dives into code and platform architecture. I love that stuff and I attended a few sessions like that. Mostly though, I opted to attend the more customer-driven sessions. I haven’t yet gotten to talk to enough customers in my time here, so I wanted to see the success stories up close.

See, I worked in IT at a large enterprise for 11 years. I saw how things run in an organization like that. I’ve been gone for more than 3 years, but I still know people there. Not very much has changed. They can get VMs provisioned a little faster now, but that’s about it. So while I work for a company whose mission is to “transform how the world builds software,” my experience in enterprise IT is so tainted, it has still been hard to fathom that it’s actually possible.

But believe me, it is. Digital transformation is real, and it’s spectacular. It’s true that “digital transformation” as a term may be over used. It’s probably the phrase I heard the most during all the sessions (aside from maybe “we’re hiring”). The thing is though, buzzword or not, companies are actually doing it. And Pivotal is making it possible.

I listened to industry giants from many sectors — telco, banking, insurance, government, automotive — all tell amazing stories. It was inspiring. Refreshing even. It was beautiful. I found myself feeling sorry for my younger self, stuck in the past and trapped in a cloud-foreign world. It may sound hyperbolic, but I’m not kidding when I say there were moments of shock and awe. It’s like meeting Big Foot. You’ve heard the rumors, you know the legend, but it’s not real until you see it.

Of course, these companies’ journeys aren’t over. Far from it. They know that. They all said it. But they know the path now. They have the confidence they need to move forward. Or at least to move. Pivotal showed them the way and continues to partner with them on their journey. Like Onsi said, it’s all about learning.