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Venture Capital Jobs Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘amazon

HUGE week complete – accepted new job and ran Half Marathon

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Hopefully this post makes up for the recent deficiency of original content on johngannonblog.com!

I recently accepted a Business Development Manager position with Amazon Web Services (in New York City). My initial focus will be on encouraging adoption of and identifying growth markets for Compute services, which include services like EC2, Elastic MapReduce (Hadoop), and HPC. I’m looking forward to working with all shapes and sizes of customers, and being a resource for the NY Tech community as it related to AWS. So please don’t be shy, and please reach out if you want to talk some cloud! :)

The other #winning aspect of the week was that my wife Holly and I completed the NYC Half Marathon! This was my first road race, period, and I was very happy to make it over the finish line in about 2 hours and 42 minutes. I had a few physical setbacks during my training which I was able to overcome, which made it all the sweeter to race and finish. Thanks to various generous donors, my run also raised about $1400 for Team for Kids, an organization that helps promote healthy living for kids in NYC and South Africa.

Thanks for everyone’s support on both fronts (job hunting and half marathon)!

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Written by John Gannon

March 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

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Vertical integration as a cloud competitive weapon

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The Maxim gun and its successor the Vickers (s...
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When will the cloud providers begin acquiring product companies in order to keep the technology out of the hands of their competition?

Is that a strategy worth pursuing?

Many clouds are using open source technology to power their solutions, but I assume many of them have reliance on commercial products as well.  Could one cloud get an upper hand over the others by bringing a leading edge commercial product in house, integrating it tightly into one’s own cloud, and then end-of-lifeing the commercial version?

If you believe that the winners of the cloud game will be won by those firms with the greatest ability to control and continually shrink OPEX then maybe it is worth for big cloud players to bid against the typical acquirers of typical infrastructure technology (MSFT, Symantec, etc) in order to keep that technology out of the hands of the other clouds.

Are there any commercial products that are so clearly differentiated and powerful that they’d be worth a cloud provider paying up to acquire?

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Written by John Gannon

June 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Cloud as a component

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Robin Harris just made a post about cloud storage as a service that was both insightful and right in line with some of my thinking about cloud infrastructure.

A car wash, haircut or a Google search is a service. You show up in your car, with your hair or a browser and a complete transaction occurs. A job completes.


The number of similar cloud services on the market suggests the wrong question is being answered. While there is a market for raw cloud storage – as Amazon’s S3 has shown – the real opportunity is incorporating it as a component – in a solution to a business problem.

I’m a big fan of companies who are leveraging cloud technology and economics to develop business-focused solutions that solve specific problems.

Although its certainly interesting for IT shops to be able to leverage a cloud infrastructure to scale servers on demand or access a theoretically infinite pool of storage, its more interesting and valuable to tie these cloud components together to solve business challenges like disaster recovery (for example).  Cloud components are ultimately going to become a commodity so I think if you’re planning to play in this space, play higher in the stack and use the components to build a solution that will get business stakeholders (versus IT stakeholders) excited to open their wallets.

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Written by John Gannon

December 26, 2008 at 8:26 pm

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Understanding cloud computing costs in the enterprise

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Amazon has gone live with Windows support in the EC2 cloud while at the same time announcing a private beta for some new scaling and load balancing features.  These features will certainly be useful for the smaller customers of EC2, but my guess is that those features were driven by a desire to make the Amazon cloud more “enterprise friendly”.  And speaking of enterprise friendly…

In an earlier post I discussed some areas that Amazon and the other cloud providers will need to address before they’ll see mass enterprise adoption.  One area I did not discuss, but that is also important, is cloud financial management (cloud “chargeback”).

Chargeback methodologies and technologies are used to help medium-to-large enterprise IT departments meter usage of key IT resources (storage, network, compute) and then allocate usage back to individual business units, applications, etc.

Although cloud computing provides financial benefits like reduction of CAPEX and the ability to pay-as-you-go, organizations will still need a reasonable amount of granularity in the reporting of cloud usage and the ability to map that usage into a financial chargeback model that makes sense.  Knowing which applications and departments are driving IT expenses is critical now, and will continue to be critical as cloud computing goes mainstream in the enterprise.  Therefore, any cloud chargeback solution should integrate with the chargeback framework that the company uses to manage their physical assets.

I can also see forecasting of cloud computing demand within enterprises becoming more important as greater usage variability  drives expense variability.  Avoiding CAPEX is a great thing, but if you’re unable to predict OPEX, you’re going to have other problems.  Traditionally, capacity planning and demand forecasting has been a dark art (at least in the distributed systems world), but I think the industry as a whole needs to think about new ways to address the problem in a hybrid cloud/non-clouded world.

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Written by John Gannon

October 24, 2008 at 7:19 pm

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Web 2.0 and Interop thoughts

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I spent the last couple of days between the Web 2.0 Expo and the Interop conference here in NYC. Here are some of my thoughts and observations:

– There were very few storage vendors present. There is a lot of exciting stuff happening in the storage space (e.g. FCoE, cloud storage) and so I was a little disappointed not to see a better showing. Plenty of security companies though…

– Many companies exhibiting at Web 2.0 Expo were providing solutions for enterprises versus cool consumer-facing stuff. This dovetailed nicely with Tim O’ Reilly‘s thoughts on ‘web meets world’ and the need to build things that are solving real problems.  The big money is in the enterprise and its good to see that the web companies are starting to move in that direction.

– Clay Shirky’s talk really opened my eyes to the impact of living in a more connected world, and specifically the need for smarter filters for all of the lifestream information that is getting produced on the web everyday.  Gotta think there will be some investment opportunities there…

– UnConferencing is great!  I really love the idea of spontaneously creating sessions democratically as a mini-conference within the conference.  I was in a session about startups and innovation which also meandered into a discussion of VC financing (good or bad, bootstrap or not, etc) so it was nice to be able to contribute. Now I will need to check out a BarCamp or two…

– Amazon Web Services has arrived in a big way. I attended a session they hosted offsite during the conference which really cemented my belief that what they are doing is (buzzword alert) game-changing. I can now see very few reasons why any non-enterprise customer wouldn’t consider it as a serious hosting option. The growth they are having is tremendous and to my knowledge they are the only game in town when it comes to affordable, truly (infinitely) scalable hosting. They just announced a CDN solution as well.

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Written by John Gannon

September 18, 2008 at 10:29 pm

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Cloudbursting and so much more

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The fine folks at Amazon recently posted to their Web Services blog about the idea of ‘cloudbursting’.  I thought it was an interesting post and touches on one use case for Amazon Web Services – as an overflow system to scale up your processing power on demand, even though you typically run your own datacenter or host servers in a colocation facility.

The post also discusses the concept of a hybrid model of computing, where some computing is done in-house, and some in the cloud.  As they said in the post, when they talk to folks about the idea of cloud computing, people tend to settle for a ‘middle of the road’ solution:

A typical audience contains a nice mix of wild-eyed enthusiasts and more conservative skeptics. The enthusiasts are ready to jump in to cloud computing with both feet, and start to make plans to move corporate assets and processes to the cloud as soon as possible. The conservative folks can appreciate the benefits of cloud computing, but would prefer to take a more careful and measured approach. When the enthusiasts and the skeptics are part of the same organization, they argue back and forth and often come up with an interesting hybrid approach.

The details vary, but a pattern is starting to emerge. The conservative side advocates keeping core business processes inside of the firewall. The enthusiasts want to run on the cloud. They argue back and forth for a while, and eventually settle on a really nice hybrid solution. In a nutshell, they plan to run the steady state business processing on existing systems, and then use the cloud for periodic or overflow processing.

I would propose there is another powerful use case for the hybrid model – the outsourcing of specific IT processes into the cloud.

This has been done in the business software world through SaaS, and now because of cloud computing solutions, it can be done in the world of IT infrastructure.   For example, there are some companies that are starting to do interesting stuff in this hybrid model beyond simply providing overflow computational capacity.

  • Simply Continuous is addressing the painful problem of business continuity by allowing customers to replicate their Wintel-based datacenters into their fully managed cloud.
  • Similarly, Skytap allows customers to create virtual software testing environments and pay by the drink instead of buying hardware and software to support those testing efforts.
  • 3tera recently announced a partnership with Nirvanix where Nirvanix’s storage cloud would be integrated with 3tera’s cloud computing management software.

Would love to hear about other examples that are out there.

Written by John Gannon

September 1, 2008 at 2:49 pm

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This is the most excited about a hard drive I’ve been in years

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The Amazon Web Services team just announced that they are now offering persistent raw disk-like storage to EC2 customers. Up until now, permanently storing files in Amazon’s cloud required you to use their S3 service (accessible via HTTP). Now, EC2 customers can access their data through a standard UNIX/Linux filesystem and be sure it will be there throughout the life of that instance.

Why is this important?

IT departments can begin managing (some) Amazon cloud configurations using legacy systems management tools and techniques.

A major hurdle to bringing in any new technology to an IT department is: “How will I manage and support this technology?” For cloud computing, the answer to date has been to roll your own management tools, or, work with one of the emerging vendors in the cloud computing management space. I would argue that those answers are a non-starter for most IT shops because they probably don’t have enough pain to warrant bringing in yet another management tool and the requisite investment in training, etc.  And rolling your own has its own set of issues, especially if your staff doesn’t have the coding and integration skills required.

If I can now manage system and application software in the cloud the way I do in my datacenter, or at least very close to it, the cloud becomes a true option for extending the datacenter beyond the company’s 4 walls.

Written by John Gannon

August 22, 2008 at 10:45 pm

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