I got back yesterday from a couple of days at the HP Analyst Summit in SF. Its been a really tough week personally- an eye injury made the trip far less fun that it might have been. Given my vision is blurry, I will try and keep this post short and too the point.
Firstly, its time to dust off my trusted “blimey, the CEO is pimping Ruby” meme. In his opening keynote new HP CEO Leo Apotheker said that HP planned to build both a public cloud, and also, specifically, a Platform as a Service offering.
"We want to be a PaaS company"- we’ll have a complete suite for developers."
“Customers asking HP for public cloud support. Customers asking for more sophisticated billling support”
Game on Amazon AWS.
But back to Leo: he also made an extremely aggressive anti-Oracle statement, which any modern web developer would absolutely recognise:
"traditional relational databases are becoming less and less relevant to the future stack".
The call to NoSQL is a wakeup call because unlike IBM, Oracle and Microsoft, HP doesn’t have a relational database franchise to protect. Sure it sells a boatload of servers to run relational databases, but its not locked in from a customer information perspective. HP and VMware are in a similar situation here, and its worth reading my post about VMware in the post-relational era for more context.
What might the era of Oracle database offload look like? Something like this probably- see my case study from The Guardian Newspaper. Oracle is great for transactional workloads- we all know that – but it should not be the default choice for all data storage. Oracle is overly heavyweight, and demands design time data model decision-making which makes very little sense in an age of linked data, used and reused in new contexts. Its also just too expensive to be used as a straightforward a bucket of bits; MySQL is more appropriate for that role – but developers are moving on when it comes to graph and document databases. Check out my client Neo4J, for example, as a modern, made for purpose, graph store. But the web is churning out a host of interesting new stores- Cassandra is a speedy key value store database built and open sourced by web companies. Though I am sure HP will be aggressively pushing its own Vertica database for column-oriented apps, one of the first acquisitions of the Leo era, there are surely more acquisitions to come. It seems highly likely it will make a play for Hadoop master packager, our client Cloudera.
Anyway I seem to be getting off topic. Suffice to say HP is now having the kind of conversation that RedMonk is interested in. Less silence, more interesting.
But of course HP’s posture to developers needs to change dramatically, it needs to lean in, rather than back (there is nothing puts off developers faster than disinterest) and there are hints that this is happening. Posture comes from the CEO down, and Apotheker definitely understands the value of rich ecosystems like the SAP Developer Network. HP is going to invest heavily here, which will be good for the company. And yes- to be self-serving just for a second, it could well be good for RedMonk. HP now looks like a potential major client, in a way it really didn’t just a few months ago.
And I haven’t even mentioned Palm and webOS yet. Without developers Palm will be a total waste of shareholder money. But the webOS SDK is something developers like, and it makes porting reasonably easy for mobile apps built with some web technology.
Another thing developers like is performance. I met one of my friends from Facebook on the plane over and he dismissed Palm with a curt: “performance sucks”. Evidently he hasn’t seen the Touchpad- dear lord that thing was screaming in the demos.
I didn’t spent that long on webOS at the event, frankly, mostly because we’re already hooked up with its developer relations folks, and I already know the platform and potential plays pretty well. Talking of posture: I recently introduced one of my contacts to the team – a French entrepreneur/engineer in the XMPP messaging space – and practically bit my hand off in terms of setting up a meeting with him in Sunnyvale.
Man this post is getting long. Other things to mention – ALM 11 looks pretty solid. Rational is going to need to up its game, because HP is in good shape there. One way HP moved forward really quickly is by signing a deal with another RedMonk client TaskTop Technologies- which is making ALM less painful by using pointer based approaches to integrate with existing tools, rather than taking the traditional ALM vendor approach of forcing all development metadata into a single repository. CEO Mik Kersten is a disciple of flow, and he hates anything that gets in the developers way. It was funny talking to Jonathan Rende, of the old “BTO” school, the guy in charge of ALM – he was totally straightforward. He traditional sold to ops, and didn’t really care about developers that much, but things had changed. As per his keynote:
"i see a collision happening between agile and ITIL." Jonathan Rende
HP is responding to the world of devops, agile and The Developer Landgrab. Developers are of course the new kingmakers.
I am going to sign off here – without writing up some of the interesting tools I saw at the event like HP Sprinter or IT-Hive (putting a face on operations) – but perhaps what struck me most clearly after the event? Leo Apotheker got the sole CEO job at SAP just as the global economy went to hell, and he paid the price. Today however, the economy is heating up, and HP has some great assets to get behind. Apotheker seems to have taken on the biggest job in tech at just the right time.
Now he just needs to get busy on sustainability, but that’s definitely a different post.
HP is not a subscription client, but paid T&E. Apache is a client – Cassandra is a project there. IBM is a client, Microsoft is too. We do some work with SAP.