Thursday, October 23, 2008

Andy Bechtolsheim Leaves Sun

Aiming at the 10 Gb ethernet market, Andy Bechtolsheim is moving on to become chairman of a new company, Arista Networks, which he also co-founded. That leaves only Scott McNealy as one of the original founders now remaining at Sun.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Scalability Workshop (Melbourne, Australia)

Just a reminder about the 2-day workshop being run by NICTA---National Institute for Information and Communications Technology Australia.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Every Cloud ...

Guerrilla Graduate Paul P., pointed out recently that Wall Street's losses may be IT's gain. This is consistent with an earlier Slashdot piece, which stated that the data center technology owned by bankrupt Wall St. banks provides a significant chunk of the asset valuation assessed by buyers.

Perceiving Patterns in Performance Data

All meaning has a pattern, but not all patterns have a meaning. New research indicates that if a person is not in control of given situation, they are more likely to see patterns where none exist, see illusions and believe in conspiracy theories. In the context of computer performance analysis, the same conclusion might apply when you are looking at data collected from a system that you don't understand.

Put differently, the less you know about the system, the more inclined you are to see patterns that aren't there or that aren't meaningful. This is also one of the potential pitfalls of relying on sophisticated data-visualization tools. The more sophisticated the tools, the more likely you are to be seduced into believing that any observed patterns are meaningful. As I've said elsewhere ...

The research experiments used very grainy pictures, some of which had embedded images and others which did not.

Friday, October 10, 2008

All Aboard the Pain Train: The Valley View

Eric Eldon, at, obtained a copy of the recent presentation given by Sequoia Capital, entitled "RIP Good Times" and presents their VC perspective on how the current economic crunch came about, how it will impact the high-tech sector, and what can be done in response. It ain't pretty but Sequoia should know since they are a major Si Valley VC company that has provided financial backing for local emblems like Apple, Cisco, Oracle, and Yahoo.

Naturally, they commence by pointing fingers at Wall St. (hint, hint, hint) and the lack of regulatory oversight (although, I think Sequoia is probably more concerned about potential new regulations). Paraphrasing some of their points that are relevant to the IT sector:

  • In terms of the standard econo-metrics, this crisis appears to be unique and therefore recovery may take much longer.
  • If you want to see the future, look at Japan's recent economic history.
  • Manage cash expenditures and focus on quality. [That last one's a doozy. QUALITY ... What's that!?--ed.]
  • Advertising markets are cracking. Retail and e-commerce are deteriorating. Mobile is not immune.
  • IT spending is now being scrutinized more than at any time since the 2003-2007 period. [??? But 2007 was only last year.--ed.]
  • These concerns have triggered a sudden and unexpected drop in business activity.

Although these comments are based on US market data, we do live in a global village . Here is the Sequoia presentation.