Skip to content

New Kingmakers and the Enterprise: On Purchasing, Technical Competence, Webification, $500k developer salaries, Developers Loving Marketers, and IoT

I was at SAP TechEd, recently, and we recorded this show about how Enterprise IT is changing. We discuss how the Web is changing the enterprise, from a cultural and technical perspective. The renaissance of technical competence, and the need to bring developers closer to the user. Marketing and Internet of Things are two fantastic opportunities for developers to make a difference to the companies they work for. Oh yeah I also talk to Raspberry Pi.

It’s nearly 20 minutes long, but well worth watching, in my opinion, if you want to understand RedMonk’s current take on the world.

Categories: Uncategorized.

One chart that tells you everything you need to know about GitHub going mainstream

github pwn

Yesterday my colleague Donnie posted this chart, to immediate effect. Hundreds of retweets later, with developers rubbing and nuzzling into the data like cats to catnip, and I still wasn’t sure what the data meant.

Donnie had originally noted that it represented falling market share by Ruby, which is seemingly obvious from the graph. And yet…

And this is where I need to be careful, because Donnie has a PhD in biophysics, while I am merely data curious. I am sure the post he will write will clear everything up

But in the meantime the graph as far as I can really shows just what a mainstream phenomenon GitHub has become. While just a couple of years ago GitHub was still heavily skewed towards the Rails community, which had grokked the value of the social coding platform, today Ruby is just one of the languages significantly represented there.

Rails developers were the new Kingmakers that helped propel GitHub to dominance, but now others have joined the party.

The free wheeling Post Open Source Software (POSS) folks churning out Javascript libraries are still growing their share of the total platform, but everything else is seemingly stabilising.

One reason Java is now so well represented is that the open source foundations – first Eclipse and then the Apache Software Foundation – are now onboard.

The movement of entire communities to GitHub is best represented by the Perl graph. At first glance the chart screams “Perl is cratering.” But in fact what are seeing is 21000 Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) projects being ported to GitHub in late 2009.

That said, according to this data composed by Adam Bard, we may indeed be seeing some softening of Perl on Github.

When I look at the chart above I see GitHub emerging as a mature platform, used by a broad range of developers, communities and technologies. GitHub is no longer just about Web Development, but rather all mainstream development.

Git is hard to use and grok, but GitHub made it social and consumable by a broad range of constituencies. Which is why its going to hit 5m developers by year end, according to Donnie.

In summary the chart above is beautiful but dangerous. As far as I can see it shows us that Github is now not about outliers. The Social Coding model is now mainstream. Forking isn’t scary anymore.

Categories: Uncategorized.

RedMonk IoT conference: Things and Identities

In case you missed it I am running an IoT conference in London on December 3rd. Wrote a post over at ThingMonk blog today, talking to a world where even doorways are on the Social Graph.

“Things, like people, have identities. Even some lego sets now have unique identifiers on every piece. One of the most interesting aspects of the current disruption in identity management, driven by cloud and SaaS adoption, is the question of identity management at vast scale – when we get beyond authenticating people, and into authenticating devices.

What happens when your toothbrush has a unique identifier?”

We’ll be examining these questions at ThingMonk. You should book a ticket here, or email me if you’d like to become a sponsor.

Categories: Uncategorized.

The way stones settled in bonfires


The way stones settled in bonfires, the way nuts cracked in the hearth, the shape of kale stalks pulled from the ground, the people or sounds one encountered at the midnight hour at a crossroads or stile–all were windows to the future. Some of these rites foretold forthcoming deaths, a predictable message in view of the holiday’s long association with the dying, and one that in Ireland persisted in the aftermath of the potato famine of the mid-nineteenth century. But where killer epidemics declined in potency and the demographic fortunes of young people began to improve, at least after infancy, the spells and omens of Halloween increasingly focused upon future marriage prospects: who, when, whether one would marry; whether one’s partner would be handsome or faithful or chaste at marriage.”

Poetic Thoughts on Samhain by Nicholas Rogers. A window on the future? At RedMonk every day is Halloween.

photo credit – Pendragon Bonfire and Firework Display – 2nd Nov 2013.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Opinionated Infrastructure: Further Thoughts on Why The Future of Business is Reactive

I have been thinking a lot lately about the changing relationship between businesses and the infrastructures that support them – under the term Reactive Business.

“We need to be reactive because you can’t predict the future and they will need new technical architectures to support the change, which look a lot more like Web computing. Agile, bursty, lean – that’s the future of business.”

I don’t mean businesses shouldn’t have a long term plan. Of course they should, but they also need to be more agile, more responsive to change, and more customer focused. Infrastructure is there to support customer requirements rather than other way around.

Anyway – the subtext here is my sponsor for this video series, IBM PureSystems, is building integrated hardware and software that will enable its clients to become more responsive to change. Traditionally IBM and its customers were a lot more comfortable with the status quo, but today software is eating the world and the future of business is reactive.

Oh yeah – ignore the date on the video above. Our next IBM PureChat is on December 4th. The show is a Google Hangout where we talk live about issues of the day in cloud. Below is a recent episode about Cloud Standards.

Categories: Uncategorized.

SAP Consigns Everything Pre-HANA to history. In-memory First Development

sikka teched2013 raftery

This week at SAP TechEd we got the clearest statements yet that the software giant is embarking on another fundamental architectural revolution. The core message – from now on everything the company builds will be designed to take advantage of in-memory computing, based on the company’s HANA architecture.

I like to describe the history of tech as a repeating pattern: implement, re-implement, rinse and repeat. Every few years a tech wave comes along that requires a fundamental rethinking of application and systems architectures. There is nothing new in IT other than implementation details.

SAP represents this trajectory canonically, in terms of the transition from mainframe to client/server, from SAP R/2 to SAP R/3.

Tech revolutions can be viewed through various lenses – as series of transitions in user interface models, for example – but invariably these revolutions are underpinned by improvements in storage and memory technology- consider the transition from punch cards to tape and tape to disk, and now to disk to solid state storage.

And so it is that SAP embarks on the next big transition, to a world where everything is based on in-memory computing. SAP isn’t waiting for the transition from disk to solid state first. It is doing the Wayne Gretsky thing.

With a storage revolution where do you begin but a database?

SAP HANA began life as a project by SAP co-founder and major shareholder Hasso Plattner to build an in-memory text processing engine. The results were impressive enough in performance terms that Plattner decided to take the next step- moving on to the creation of a columnar database running in memory. The results were this time impressive enough that Hasso wanted to get back in the game of of building enterprise software at scale.

Timing is of course everything. With the market declaring SAP was no longer an innovator, with customers angry at changes to licensing terms which looked as if SAP has decided to sweat existing assets and customers with maintenance charges, rather than innovating, with new market entrants such as dominating in the cloud, SAP needed major surgery.

And so Plattner nudged his way back into active management, pushing SAP back its roots as an engineering company of the German School. The guy tasked with leading the charge was SAP CTO Vishal Sikka.

Revolutions of course, are painful and there will be collateral damage.

SAP’s Business ByDesign play to create a suite for the mid-market from the ground up is now looking like collateral damage. This news story makes brutal reading – claiming SAP spent 3bn Euros on ByDesign for a return of fewer than 500 customers. I have written before about HANA and the High Cost of Low Volume.

ByDesign is just too slow for the new era of high performance. Like I say, timing is everything. ByDesign now looks like SAP’s last stand of the last client/server era. While nominally a Software as a Service app, it was designed to run on x86 servers from 2005, with attendant memory and storage.

In terms of integration of components, with solid separation of concerns, and significantly reduced redundancy versus the broader R/3 era suite ByDesign was to some extent a technical triumph. It was however implemented for the past, not the future, and as such its going to be implemented again… on HANA.

But then again, so is everything in the SAP portfolio.

As Sikka said in his confident keynote:

“We are steering into this disruption… Every technology is coming to HANA. We can achieve a dramatic simplification. Get rid of the redundancy. the artifacts of inefficiency, getting rid of all this complexity.”

Sikka used a lovely metaphor to explain his thinking – the Tesla.

When you look at one, and start comparing it with a normal car the difference is stark. The Tesla is not like a Toyota Prius, a half way house on the way to the electric, digital future. It is the future.

“When you have a look around there is nothing there. Where is the Engine? The paradigm of HANA is like this. all the moving parts are gone, replaced by solid state, non-moving things.”

I think I made pretty solid use of the same metaphor in this video. You should watch it. Although the point I am making is that hybrid has a role to play.

In this case its that looks more like the Prius than the Tesla. SAP is going to rewrite everything for the new storage and database era. on the other hand, the erstwhile innovator, recently signed up to a nine year deal to keep running on Oracle database.

There will be collateral damage in a variety of its ecosystems as SAP doubles down on a new architecture, but now it looks more like a technical leader again, rather than a company trying to keep up with industry changes.

Categories: SAP.

Opinionated Infrastructure: Convenience Beats Cost, User Experience Drives Margin, On A Train

What the Heathrow Express Can Tell us about Tech, Commodity and Convenience. In this video I talk to convenience, cost and margin. Commodity doesn’t always win, or provide the best user experience. The question to ask is not what will be cheapest, but what will be best for the users’ needs?

IBM PureSystems sponsors this Opinionated Infrastructure video series. We also record regular Google Hangouts with a range of experts on issues du jour.

Categories: IBM.

Teaching The World to Code, One Woman at a Time


When I first came across Makers Academy, a local Shoreditch startup, I was impressed. The idea behind the company is straightforward- an intensive 12 week course, turning someone with no application development skills into someone that can build web apps. What also piqued my interest was that Makers Academy also acts as a recruitment consultant, finding jobs for the people they train at companies looking to hire development staff.

The course isn’t cheap, at £8,000. But then, the benefits are really significant. An entry level programmer building Ruby on Rails apps can potentially make £35k £25-£30k per annum. The return on investment, then, seems pretty clear, which begs the question= why aren’t central and municipal governments taking advantage of similar approaches? But this post isn’t really about politics, so let’s park that for now.

Shortly after meeting the firm, self-proclaimed Maestro Ruben Kostucki pinged me to see if I wanted to help with an initiative to help women learn to code. The idea was to look for sponsorship so that we could pay for women to go through the course, and hopefully become beacons, so that others could be inspired to follow suit.

Our longer term audacious goal is a fully sponsored woman only cohort for the Makers Academy, but for this initial experiment, we’re extremely happy to report that IBM is stepping up to sponsorship, so one woman can take the course for free. RedMonk, Shoreditch Works and MozFest are all supporters.

A competition to choose the winner will happen during Mozilla Festival (entrants must attend) between the 25th and 27th of October in London. If you’re interested in participating, find more information here.

While on the subject of tech education for women, another organisation I am keen to promote is Tech Mums. Recently founded by Dr Sue Black, the livewire who led the campaign to save Bletchley Park, Tech Mums wants to help women lose their fear of digital technology, again with a structured course designed to tackle issues such as online safety. And yes the last session is coding in Python with Arduinos, which apparently is emerging as the most popular part of the course. Tech Mums is currently fund-raising with an indie go go campaign, so please make a contribution. I am particularly keen to support Sue and Tech Mums because they’re starting in Tower Hamlets, the poorest borough in England, yet adjoining the thriving Shoreditch startup cluster.

As Sue says:

We need to give more women the chance to see what opportunities there are in tech. To give them the confidence and understanding that enables them to create a better life for themselves and heir families. This is not only good for them, but also in the long run good for the economy. The more people in the UK that are tech savvy, the better chance we have as a nation of taking part in the digital revolution. Due to our inventiveness and creativity in the UK we led during the industrial revolution, are we leading now? Let’s wake up and take this great opportunity to create a Britain that is leading again. A digital Britain we can all be proud of.

I am not trying to change the world at scale, but rather just to do my bit to turn the dial. Makers Academy and TechMums are great vehicles to make a change.

“Educate a woman and you educate a nation”

– TechMums.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Opinonated Infrastructure: The Cloud and IBM’s Billion Dollar Linux Baby

IBM’s first wave Linux investments were great for establishing market penetration for on premise enterprise application deployment, but as the cloud, and a culture focused on building rather than buying packaged apps takes over, Ubuntu is putting pressure on Red Hat and SuSE as the deployment environment of choice. IBM needs to invest to ensure developer-friendly distros run on its POWER microprocessor architecture.

On prem is no longer the lock it was. IBM needs to succeed in the cloud in order to realise its Big Data ambitions, and obviously it needs to succeed in the cloud for existential reasons.

Stephen summarised many of the challenges facing first generation Linux businesses in this great post Roll Your Own Hardware and The Disruption of the Enterprise Server Market

Of course IBM isn’t the only one investing in cloud. As I argue in the video below, with BONUS UNICORNS and SITAR MUSIC, these days all tech investments are cloud investments, even the ones that don’t look like it at first glance.

IBM PureSystems sponsors this Opinionated Infrastructure video series. We also record regular Google Hangouts with a range of experts on issues du jour. You should check out the show this Wednesday – we’re talking about the role of standards (and distros!) in the cloud. You should watch the show on YouTube Live! this Wednesday, October 16th at 12pm EDT (5 pm UK time). We have Luke Kanies, founder of PuppetLabs on the show, and Angel Diaz, IBM’s man on the west coast, driving IBM efforts around technologies such as OpenStack and CloudFoundry.

Categories: Uncategorized.

ThingMonk: It lives

thinkmonk quick and yes dirty

Another conference inspired by a tweet. Who am I to argue with clients telling me to run a conference in one of the most interesting spaces in tech.

ThingMonk is a new conference from the RedMonk stable, on December 3rd, 2013 at Shoreditch Works Village Hall, a popup event space at one of London’s premier addresses, Hoxton Square. I want to to bridge Web Startup Internet of Things communities with their peers in the Industrial Internet/Machine to Machine space.

Confirmed speakers include Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, founder of Goodnight Lamp, Matt Webb, founder of BERG, Ian Skerrett, Marketing Director of the Eclipse Foundation and Nick O’Leary, emerging tech specialist at IBM and creator of the NodeRED integration tool, and Rick Bullotta, CTO ThingWorx.

Inauguration is this year’s theme. We’ll examine how different communities can learn from each other to create great products and user experience. Expect attendees from energy and automotive companies, web firms and major tech vendors. 2014 is looking to be the year when I0T kicks into high gear, after years of not quite firing. Cloud, Big Data and the Open API revolution are all driving the Internet of Things – in areas such as Operational Maintenance.

ThinkMonk celebrates both hacker culture and industrial design, web and mobile. We’ll look at the “boring” side of logistics, as well as epic stuff like nodecopters. From agile to big data to machine to machine comms, continuous deployment to Big Data developers are currently building the future we’ve dubbed the Internet of Things. The alpha geeks are already making the future, and ThingMonk wants to pull that future into the present.

Tickets are on sale here.

Please contact jgovernor at redmonk dot com for information about Sponsor Packages.

Categories: Uncategorized.