It's been just over a week since the end of the 2018 edition of AWS Re:Invent in Las Vegas. Barely enough to recover from various viruses and bugs accumulated from rubbing shoulders with 50,000 other attendees. To Amazon's credit, they managed the complicated logistics of this huge event very professionally. We also discovered they have a thriving cupcake business :)
From my prospective, this trade show was an opportunity to meet with a variety of our alliance partners, including AWS themselves. It also gave me a chance to attend many sessions and learn about state of the art use cases presented by various AWS customers (Airbnb, Sony, Expedia...). This led me to reflect on this fascinating question: how can you keep growing at a fast pace when you're already a giant - without falling under your own weight?
Given the size of the AWS business ($26b revenue in Q3 2018 alone, with 46% growth rate), Andy Jassy must be quite a magician to come up with ways to keep the pace of growth at this stage. Amazon retail started the AWS idea, back in 2006, based on unused infrastructure capacity. It has since provided AWS a playground for introducing or refining their new products. including the latest Machine Learning predictive and forecast services. Thankfully since these early days, AWS customer base has grown into the thousands. These contributors and builders are providing constant feedback to fuel the growth engine of new features.
The accelerated pace of technology has also kept the AWS on its edge. to remain the undisputed leader in the cloud space, AWS takes no chance and introduces new services often shortly after or at the top of the hype curve of a given trend. Blockchain is a good example among others. Staying at the top spot is a lot harder than reaching it.
Andy Jassy announced dozens of new services on top of the existing 90 services already in place, during his keynote address. These services cover every corner of IT. Among others:
-Hybrid cloud: in sort of a reversal course of action, and after dismissing hybrid cloud as a "passing trend", AWS announced AWS Outpost, to provide racks of hardware to customers in their own data center. This goes beyond the AWS-VMware partnership that extended vCenter in the AWS public cloud.
-Networking: AWS transit gateway : this service is closer to the nuts and bolts of creating a production grade distributed application in the cloud. Instead of painfully creating peer to peer connections between each network domain, transit gateways provide a hub that centrally manages network interconnections, making it easier for builders to interconnect VPCs, VPNs, and external connections.
- Databases: Not the sexiest of services, databases are still at the core of any workload deployed in AWS. In an on-going rebuke to Oracle, Andy Jassy re-emphasize this is all about choices. Beyond SQL and NoSQL, he announced several new specialized flavors of databases, such as a graph database (Netptune). These types of databases are optimized to compute highly interconnected datasets.
-Machine Learning/AI: major services such as SageMaker were introduced last year in the context of fierce competition among all cloud providers to gain the upper ground in this red hot field, and this year was no exception to this continuing trend. All the sessions offered during the event in the AI track had a waiting list. Leveraging from their experience with Amazon retail (including the success of Alexa), AWS again showed their leadership and made announcements covering all layers of the AI technology stack. That included services aimed at non-data scientist experts such as a forecasting service and personalizing service (preferences). Recognizing the need for talent in this field, Amazon also launched their own ML University. Anyone can sign up for free...as long as you use AWS for all your practice exercises. :)
Considering the breadth of these rich services, how can AWS afford to keep innovating?
Turns out there are 2 business-driven tenants that Amazon always keeps at the core of its principles:
By remaining solid on these core principles, AWS can keep investing in new cutting edge services while remaining very profitable. The coming year looks exciting as well for all Cloud Service Providers. Amazon has set the bar pretty high, and the runner ups (Microsoft, Google Cloud, Oracle and IBM) will want to continue chipping away at its market share, which in turn will also fuel more creativity and innovation. That would not change if Amazon decided to spin-off AWS as an independent company, although for now that topic will be best left to speculators, or even another blog.
Cricket-crazy Indians certainly are very familiar with the word Hat-trick. I was quite surprised early on that it wasn’t a popular terminology in the United States, even though it is equally applicable in any general scenario.
Winning awards is always a feel-good thing. When these come about consistently and in large setting environments, it is even better.
This year, Quali performed a hat-trick, or three-peat as our press release seems to suggest, winning the finalist award for the third year in a row. This award by industry media giant TechTarget has a multiple judging tier and has several categories. This year, we were given this for the category of Cloud Native App Development and DevOps, which is certainly the direction where the industry is going.
New Release 9.0 is generally available!
While such awards are welcome, what was even more gratifying was the quality of conversations at VMworld this year. Heading into VMworld, we made a couple of strategic announcements, as the version 9.0 of Quali CloudShell became generally available.
These included the ability to save-and-restore sandbox environments, giving customers the ability to save environments and come back to it at a later stage, giving them the ability to manage resources far more efficiently, thereby saving costs and increasing productivity. The second was around the ability to add flexible cloud provider deployment templates, recognizing that we’re increasingly in a multi-cloud world and there may be several clouds other than just the well-known public and private clouds. These announcements were received quite well and resulted in some interesting conversations.
Tech Field Day participation at VMworld Extra
We also got to participate in the Tech Field Day sessions and give analysts a peek into who Quali is and what we do. We went beyond PowerPoint here showing live demos. It was eye-opening for some of the attending analysts and certainly resulted in some interesting discussions towards the end. For those exploring automation and orchestration of their Dev/Test, DevOps, Demo, or Cyber Range environments, I encourage taking a look at the set of these three videos:
The aggregated set of these videos and Quali’s participation are also captured on this page by Tech Field Day.
Webinar on Cloud Security
We also got to participate in a webinar on Cloud Security with a couple of panelists from SaltStack, HGST, and Trace3. Quali’s Director of Technical Marketing, Dos Dosanjh, did the honors here.
Quali Booth on the Show Floor
VMware as a company is going through a significant transformation as it embraces a world of hybrid and multi-cloud. This is clearly reflected in its products and consequently bringing diverse attendees into the VMWorld event. Traffic to the Quali booth was no different, and there was considerable interest in the wares we were peddling, i.e. how to (in the VMware audience context) set up the fastest, most heterogeneous environments for IT, on demand, and as-a-service. Our theme, not surprisingly, was around environments-as-a-service.
Generally, Quali’s ability to orchestrated physical environments, in addition to virtual ones, was highly differentiated, as were its rich modeling capabilities and its ability to support a variety of private, public and hybrid clouds.
In fact, Quali was being used in a couple of other vendor booths on the show floor as well, included at Tintri, to demo their storage solutions.
Dos Dosanjh gave a brief overview and demo. The traffic in the booth was quite good and the conversations were great. We couldn’t match Team Rubrik’s basketball firepower on the show floor, or Team Cohesity’s Snoop Dogg party off the show floor, but we’d like to think we were a close second, in large part due to conversation-starting Dos’s hat.
Till next time.
Earlier this year, Quali launched a new program, "CloudShell Champion", to acknowledge some of our most prominent advocates and contributors who are actively promoting automation within their companies.
After a rigorous selection process, our first cohort of nominees brought us 2 winners in 2 different categories that I will introduce in this article:
Transformer category: Someone who has grown the user base for CloudShell within their organization or done an exceptional job of training and onboarding teams.
Q1 winner: Daniel De La Rosa, Broadcom
Daniel is the manager of an infrastructure lab team within the Brocade Storage Network division of Broadcom. The goal of their team is to enable the broader organization to develop, sell and support their fiber channel product line by providing them access to lab resources. To accomplish this goal in the most efficient way the team has adopted CloudShell as part of their automation tool strategy.Daniel has been tirelessly promoting the solution over the last few years to the target end users of the platform (support team, sales team, and engineering team) by setting up various workshops, one on one meetings and documentation -- he calls it "over-communicating". His mission is to increase the adoption coverage to the engineering team. To show the effectiveness of this strategy, he is using the decrease in cost for new lab equipment ordered as a key metric.
In his spare time, Daniel enjoys running, including participating in some of the local bay area many races, Bay to Breakers and Warf to Warf among others.
Rocket Scientist category: Someone who is recognized for their technical wizardry and contributed helpful Shells or Plugins to the Quali repository.
Q1 winner: Matt Branche, Broadcom
Matt is the CloudShell guru and automation engineer in the Brocade Storage Network division of Broadcom. He is the hands-on automation go-to guy in Daniel's team, leading the charge for building automation on top of CloudShell. Matt is really excited about the capabilities of 2nd gen Shells (python is his favorite language) to build custom integrations with the Brocade OS and extend the capabilities of the platform with integrations like SalesForce and Jira. This will enable his team to significantly improve the user experience of the sales team and the support team and increase adoption of the platform. Matt is also looking forward to more contribution to the Quali Community.
When he's not in the middle of developing new Shells, Matt enjoys tinkering with his home network and riding his motorcycle.
Have a champion in mind? Registrations are still opened for Q2 awards. You can nominate yourself or on behalf of someone else.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been to many CLUS. It’s anticipation, excitement and dread all balled together the few weeks before while preparing for the show. Remembering last year in Vegas, or the year before that in Las Vegas, or the year before that in San Diego, or the year before that in San Francisco, or the year before that in …you get it. In the weeks up to the event, an excited and reluctant, tugging anticipation.Knowing, on the horizon - too may conversations, too many hours standing, too many drinks, and too much food - the kind of intense week requiring stamina and a weekend afterward for recovery. Lucky, yes! - The topics are good, conversation is easy and it’s always great to have Cisco DevNet to share. What a great program to be a part of. and makes for easy conversation on the exhibitor show floor when describing Quali’s unique Sandboxing technology and how DevNet uses it.
This year in Orlando was no different, it was a great show and when over, I was ready to be home. Lots of great laughs and fun times with new and old friends, exciting technology, fun parties, and a wee bit of a hangover. As much as it was the same, it was different. After attending for so many years, this time I was a little more reflective, of how much CLUS has grown, changed, evolved, and matured. Which also brought back great memories of all the good years I’ve had as a technologist being associated with Cisco.From being recruited out of college to my first high tech job at Cisco in Menlo Park - 1992, the same year as JC, and through astronomical growth and many technologies and acquisitions - all the way to this past event, #CLUS18. Cisco has lead technology change and innovation at blistering speed, bringing prosperity and growth as well as adopting new technologies for the world to use.Every day giving us, the everyday people, a chance to make a difference.The true magic of CiscoLIVE - the people.Look at the Social Impact initiatives and the Global Problem Solvers initiatives that Cisco promotes.Free access to technology learning and developer experiences through LIVE hands-on Sandboxes through Cisco DevNET’s 500,000 members - all of these are examples of people in action.
On a personal note - I have to tell you, the catalyst for all the reflecting started after seeing many friends I’ve known for years at #CLUS18. In particular, 3 friends of whom we all used to work together at Cisco, but hadn’t seen each other in 13+ years. The kids are now grown, the times have changed a lot. But the introductions were as close, warm and familiar as if we had seen each other two weeks before. Talking family, tech, and toasting to the years. Quality experiences and quality friendships fostered at CiscoLIVE live on and on.Martin, Andy, Pablo - great seeing you.
Reflecting back on this event, here's another contribution from Brian Mehlman, Director of Enterprise Business Development at Quali:
It has been many years since I have attended Cisco Live, and after being at the show this year, I am very happy that Quali allowed me to go to this event. It was one of the best events I have been to in a very long time. The many vendors that attended had really solid exhibits and engineers doing demo’s/explaining the value of their technology. Stopping by the Cisco DevNet area was also a highlight. It was very impressive – tons of developers testing out the easy to use an online portal to spin up specific Development environments in minutes. I am glad Quali had a booth and represented how we help many of our customers including Cisco Labs and the DevNet Automate the delivery of the environments by allowing them to build sandboxes through our CloudShell Software’s API. Many people were very excited about our new technology and automation for their companies future needs as they are moving resources to the cloud.
Quali was sponsoring the MPLS/NFV/SDN congress last week in Paris with its partner Ixia. As I was interacting with the conference attendees, it seems fairly clear that orchestration and automation will be key to enable the wider adoption of NFV and SDN technologies. It was also a great opportunity to remind folks we just won the 2017 Layer 123 NFV Network Transformation award (Best New Orchestration Solution category)
There were two main types of profiles participating in the Congress: the traditional telco service providers, mostly from Nothern Europe, APAC, and the Middle East, and some large companies in the utility and financial sector, big enough to have their own internal network transformation initiatives.
Since I also attended the conference last year, this gave me a chance to compare the types of questions or comments from the attendees stopping by our booth. In particular, I was interested to hear their thoughts about automation and the plans to put in place new network technologies such as NFV and SDN.
The net result: the audience was more educated on the positioning and values of these technologies than in the previous edition, notably the tight linkages between NFV and SDN. While some vendor choices have been made for some, implements and deployment them at scale in production remains in the very early stages.
What's in the way? Legacy infrastructure, manual processes, and a lack of automation culture are all hampering efforts to move the network infrastructure to the next generation.
NFV Orchestration is a complex topic that tends to confuse people since it operates at multiple levels. One of the reasons behind this confusion: up until recently, most organizations in the service provider industry have had partial exposure to this type of automation (mostly at the OSS/BSS level).
Rather than one piece, NFV orchestration breaks down into several components so it would be fair to talk about "pieces". The ETSI MANO (Open Source NFV Management and Orchestration) framework has made a reasonable attempt to standardize and formalize this architecture in layers, as shown in the diagram below.
At the top level, NFV orchestrator interacts with service chaining frameworks (OSS/BSS) that provides a workflow that includes procurement and billing. a good example of a leading commercial solution is Amdocs. At the lowest level, the VIM orchestrator provides deployment on the virtual infrastructure of individual NFVs represented as virtual machines, as well as their configuration with SDN controllers. traditional cloud vendors usually play in that space: open source solutions such as Openstack and commercial products like VMware .
In between is where there is an additional layer called VNF Managers necessary to piece together the various NFV functions and deploy them into one coherent end to end architecture. This is true for both production and pre-production. This is where the CloudShell solution fits and provides the means to quickly validate NFV and SDN architectures in pre-production.
One of the fundamental obstacles that I heard over and over during the conference was the inability to move away from legacy networks. An orchestration platform like CloudShell offers the means to do so by providing a unified view of both legacy and NFV architecture and validate the performance and security prior to production using a self-service approach.
Using a simple visual drag and drop interface, an architect can quickly model complex infrastructure environment and even include test tools such as Ixia IxLoad or BreakingPoint. These blueprint models are then published to a self-service catalog that the tester can select and deploy with a single click. Built in out of the box orchestration deploys and configures the components, including NFVs and others on the target virtual or physical infrastructure.
If for some reason you were not able to attend the conference (yes the local railways and airlines were both on strike that week), make sure you check our short video on the topic and schedule a quick technical demo to learn more.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word: “Israel”?
This is a question I’ve been asking people I meet when I visit places outside of Israel and although the answers are varied, in a way they all come from the same connotation: The Middle East, desert, camels, and war.
Hello, my name is Revital. I’m an Israeli living and working in Silicon Valley. Even here in the Valley: Heterogeneous, multicultural, highly educated population, the responses are similar.
Soooo, I invite you to come visit the Start-Up Nation Fair, on Feb 20th at Stanford University to meet the real Israel, the part that doesn't show up in the news: Israel in Jeans!
In this fair, numerous Israeli Start-up companies will present their products and ideas on the Expo floor and there will be a panel of innovators discussing their experiences and answering questions from the audience. These companies also have some open positions for interns. The entrance is free and open to the public.
In the meantime, I have gathered for you some fun facts about Israel and Israelis:
It is the second year for Quali to participate in the Start-up nation fair. I’ll be at the booth, come say hello and hear all about CloudShell: A sandbox automation platform that provides self-service access to on-demand application and IT infrastructure environments across private, public, and hybrid-cloud.
Get a glance on the event and what you can expect to see:
Looking forward to seeing you!
Ready to "Dive into DevOps"? Quali will be in San Francisco next week November 13-15 at the DevOps Enterprise Summit . We will showcase our latest DevOps integrations with Atlassian's Jira, Jenkins, CA Blazemeter, Microsoft VSTS, AWS codepipeline and many others.
Since I've covered details on our Jira, Jenkins and Blazemeter integrations in previous blogs, I wanted to introduce the two new kids on the block:
If you're going to be around, make sure you visit us at booth #15, to learn how you can accelerate your application release and scale your DevOps automation with CloudShell Dynamic Environments. You'll also have a chance to win one of these handy $100 Amazon gift cards (right before Christmas as it turns out) and bring home tons of colorful giveaways.
I am also looking forward to meet many of our technology partners who will also be attending the event such as JFrog, CA, and Atlassian.
Who said trade shows have to be boring? That was certainly not the case at the 2017 Jenkins World conference held in San Francisco last week and organized by CloudBees. Quali's booth was in a groovy mood and so was the crowd around us (not mentioning the excellent wine served for happy hours and the 70's band playing on the stage right next to us).
The colorful layout of the booth certainly didn't deter from very interesting conversations with show attendees around how to make DevOps real and solving real business challenges their companies are facing.
This was the third Jenkins conference we were sponsoring this summer (after Paris and Tel Aviv) and we could see many familiar faces from other DevOps leaders such as Atlassian, Jfrog and CA Blazemeter that have partnered with us to build end to end integrations to provide comprehensive CI/CD solutions for application release automation.
This really felt like a true community that collaborate together effectively to benefit a wide range of software developers, release manager and devOps engineers and empower them with choices to meet their business needs.
To illustrate these integrations, we showed a number of short demos around some the main use cases that we support (Feel free to browse these videos at your own pace):
As you would expect at a tech conference, there was the typical schwag, such as our popular TShirts (although we can't just claim the fame of the legendary Splunk outfit). In case you did not get your preferred size at the show, we apologize for that and invite you to sign up for a 14 day free trial of newly released CloudShell VE.
Wrapping up the "Summer of Love" 50th anniversary, Quali will be at the 3 day JenkinsWorld conference this week from 8/29-8/31 in San Francisco. If you are planning to be in the area, make sure to stop by and visit us at booth #606!
We will also have lots of giveaways (cool Tshirts and schwag) as well as a drawing for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card!
Can't make it but still want to give it a try? Sign up for CloudShell VE Trial.
I wanted to share my insights from DevOpsCon 2017, which took place in mid-June in Berlin. It was an excellent conference, with a lot of energy in the air. There were many people attending this year - the place was packed. I understood from one of the organizers that attendance doubled compared to last year, and the trend seems set to continue.
Most attendees came from German companies, but there was a fair participation from Nordic countries and eastern Europe. From the interactions I had with people, I noticed that while some were members of dedicated DevOps teams in their organization, the majority of participants still handle DevOps tasks as part of their other Development content.
We had several enterprises come up to share their DevOps journeys. What struck out strongly was the fact that almost all of them were expressing the complexity of setting up environments for DevOps, causing them delays. This was particularly acute in Enterprises with on-premise deployments and where they owned their data centers and had built up application stacks over the years. The dependency between infrastructure automation and application agility was on display there. Quali’s ability to quickly standardize environments via blueprints, model and deploy was fully resonating with this audience.
Our CMO Shashi Kiran also delivered a session on the top barriers Enterprises face on their path to deploying DevOps and he set the tone for best practices within the organization as well as a prescriptive approach to smoothening out those barriers. A houseful audience appreciated these tips based on a global survey conducted by Quali
After two days, I left the conference highly energized and with a big smile. I had a lot of fun, I learned a lot, and can’t wait to be here next year again.
This week our team is having a vibrant presence at Cisco Live in Las Vegas. Do visit them in booth #416 – they have some cool demos around cloud sandboxes and its applicability to deliver on-demand, self-service environments for a variety of different use-cases. Don’t miss out some of the cool swags that are only available at the Quali booth as well as our 2017 Cloud and DevOps survey.