Skip to content

IT Management Podcast #001 – barcampESM, Monitoring, The Cloud, 2008 Predictions, and more

In this first episode of what I’m planning on being a weekly or semi-weekly podcast, John Willis and I launch the IT Management Podcast. Podcast feed available as well.

As you know, dear readers, I have an unshakable interest in IT Management. It’s always been a pleasure talking with John in the past (RedMonk Radio #42, #44, video 1, and video 2), so I thought we’d cook up a sort of commentary/news round-up show as Ryan and I have done with RIA Weekly.

If you’ve got things to contribute, topic or guest suggestions, or would like to be on yourself, feel free to drop me a line.

So, enjoy the show. Here are some detailed notes if you’d rather skim:


We open up by taking about barcampESM, an even John has been working on with whurley and Mark Hinkle for sometime. The final dates are the night of Jan 18th and then the day of 19th at J Black’s in Austin, on 6th Street. John tells us about a panel discussion he’s planning on monitoring; it looks like we got Chip Holden to be the BMC panelist.


Speaking of monitoring, I ask John where he sees monitoring’s value in the IT management landscape. As both of us relate, it seems like most people de-value the place of monitoring in favor of the higher level IT management tasks. By “de-value” we mean, of course, spend less time and money. The perception is that monitoring is “done” and that it’s largely a commodity. While this may be true, it could also be the case folks have cut too close to the bone.

John points out, of course, that now that we have plenty of higher level IT management functionality, the underlying data becomes even more important. As the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.”

“The Cloud”

With the renewed interest in The Cloud from all the discussion of The Big Switch (no little amount from here, dear readers), we spend quite a bit of time talking about what Cloud Computing means for IT Management. As John says, “Cloud computing…what are we supposed to do? You know, what is ESM supposed to do?”

John talks about his attempts to get Google to tell him about their IT Management technology and practices are as sort of an answer to his question of the role of the IT department when everything’s behind a URL.

We don’t have any definitive answers, but we have plenty of speculation and possibilities to throw out.

While it’d be great to see people like Google and Amazon tell the world more of how they do Cloud IT Management, we both agree that, really, that knowledge is a large part of Cloud Provider’s trade-secrets: the “closed” part of their otherwise “open” systems.

Drupal & Acquia

Since I know that John is a nut for Drupal, I lurch out a bit from talking about IT Management o discuss Drupal and the new open source startup, Acquia with him, written up earlier this week.

While Drupal is a bit difficult to get up and running compared to things like WordPress, John says that it’s proven incredibly powerful for him. Indeed, he’s been looking towards using Drupal as an IT Management knowledge base.

I ask John if there’s a good chance for doing Drupal management, and he points out that like FiveRuns, if there’s a community of users putting stuff into production, then, sure, there’s room – maybe even a good market – in tooling the management for Drupal.


Related to FiveRuns, I point out a recent announcement from FiveRuns partnering with Atlantic Dominion Solutions (not a UK hosting company, that was another announcement) to help manage rails installs in Amazon EC2. That’s the first time I’ve heard of someone doing management of EC2 instances – though, I’d assume there’s others.

Nagios Checkin

I ask John if he’s heard anything about how going commercial has gone for Ethan Galstad of Nagios. John just points out the partnership with GroundWork, but says he hasn’t heard anything else.

A New Website for the Open Management Consortium

Next we discuss the happenings over at the OMC website, namely a new site with forums and blogs. As I note later in the episode, things seemed to have died down a bit on the OMC mailing list, but there’s been a noticeable spike in activity with the new site launch.

Does ITIL Mater?

Spring-boarding off some recent activity in the new OMC around the topic, I ask John to tell us about the continued discussion around his does ITIL matter? discussion in the Tivoli mailing list and elsewhere.

As with most “schools of thought” that include certifications, John says he’s found that people who are certified tend to be ITIL supporters, where-as newly exposed people tend to be skeptical of it.

Trying to figure out how much ITIL is actually out there, I ask John if he’s ever walked into a client’s shop and thought, “ahhh, ITIL!” finding a place that’s gotten themselves all ITIL’ed up. Very quickly he says, “no.” But, he’s seen success with CMDBs and change management. This tends to match with what I hear and see: help desks and CMDBs are what’s out there for the most part.

We talk about the long schedule that IT Management standards and practices tend to go on. Unlike web standards where the standards lag behind the in-use reality, IT Management standards tend to be way ahead of their actual implementation.

Spiceworks 2.0

Moving away from the “E” in “ESM,” I talk about the recent release of Spiceworks 2.0. Of note is their user base number of 200,000 and the “product pages” they’ve included. Product pages center around devices, software, and other “IT Assets.” Spiceworks attaches reviews, user comments, and trouble-shooting to these product pages, building up a tasty looking database of IT data.


John points out a recently Motley Fool piece on Microsoft buying Yahoo! (re-viving that old story), which makes me recall a recent post from Ryan Shopp outlining a scenario of Cisco buying BMC. As I point out, the “who’ll buy BMC” parlor game is a favorite one among IT Management folks.


We round out the show with predictions for 2008:

John’s Dance Partners

John has been thinking about combinations of people in 2008, like:

  • Oracle, EMC, Dell
  • HP, Citrix, SAP
  • Amazon, RedHat, BMC

As John says, all it takes is one nutty combination like above to kick-start a whole chain of them. Kind of like we saw a BI acquisition spree last year.

Who knows if this whole “Cloud” thing will pay off or if it’ll just be blue skies in ’08.

He ends saying “Google…everybody,” which raises my favorite, perennial topic of “when is Google going to really go nuts for Enterprise stuff.” Put another way, John asks, “who’s gonna own the cloud for the enterprise.” Who’s JP Morgan Chase going to go to? John says IBM is the best well positioned at the moment, but we both agree that you (someone like Google or Amazon) can acquire Enterprise feel goods.

The Little 4

I lay out a prediction that some of The Little 4 will either slow down or get acquired by an existing vendor. While I’m not saying that they’re in a bad spot, several of them have been around long enough that they’re entering the debutant time of their lives.

More, big tech companies like to innovate by acquiring, and the open source IT Management companies have to look pretty attractive for innovation, but more importantly for a leaner, quicker (see Zenoss’ recent switch to 30 days cycles) way to deliver monitoring and management.

We spend quite a bit more time talking about acquisition dynamics in the space and John’s feel that some folks at large folks still don’t “get” paying for “free” software.

Disclaimer: IBM, BMC, Spiceworks, Zenoss, GroundWork, FiveRuns, and SAP are client.

Categories: Conferences, Enterprise Software, IT Management Podcast, Open Source, Systems Management.

Comment Feed

7 Responses

  1. Michael, thank you for the mention of ADS Mantis. We are very excited about it. 24×7 monitoring and management of EC2 Rails deploys is something that we found was missing. We hope that the service will help to increase adoption of the great services from Amazon. If you have any questions about it please let me know. Thanks again.

  2. Robert: no problem, it was interesting enough to call for comment 😉 I'd love to keep informed on how it goes for you guys, so feel free to contact us with any updates 😉

  3. Great job, guys. There are so many podcasts that are just rehashes of cnet/zdnet news items or facebook/google/iphone lovefests… this really is a breath of fresh air. It's about time people in our own field had a podcast about the real ins and outs of our space.

    Hopefully you'll keep this up. I look forward to meeting both of you at the BarCampESM this weekend.

    (side note: the "show notes" format of this blog post is great and will come in handy once you have a considerable archive)

  4. Damon: great, I'm glad you liked it so much. Those were some mighty kind words there 😉

Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] By John | January 13, 2008 Coté and I plan on doing weekly or semi-weekly podcasts on IT Management.  We did out first installment Thursday and it was a blast.  For a summary of the podcast see “IT Management Podcast #001 – barcampESM, Monitoring, The Cloud, 2008 Predictions, and more&#8… […]

  2. […] out episode 01 of the IT Management Podcast for more details on it if you’re […]

  3. […] quickly, we first review the 2008 whacky predictions (from our first show, how cute!), all of which were, indeed, whacky save one, which was a sort of timid […]