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Yet Another (ex-)VC Blog

Cloud computing, startups, and venture capital

Posts Tagged ‘twitter

Spiceworks Is Becoming The Facebook For IT Managers; Raises $16 Million Series C

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Image representing Spiceworks as depicted in C...
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The compelling part of Spicework’s software is that it includes a social network for IT pros that they use to help each other out that includes a crowdsourcing troubleshooting platform. Its product roadmap is visible to all members, who can vote on which features they want to see next. The application features a network map that visually shows every computer and network device on a company’s IT network, along with their relationships and bandwidth consumption.

via Spiceworks Is Becoming The Facebook For IT Managers; Raises $16 Million Series C.

It’s good to see Spiceworks raising a new round of capital.  I have been following them since my VC days, and now looking at them as a great example of how to succeed with a ‘low touch’ enterprise software model.

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Written by John Gannon

January 11, 2010 at 3:56 pm

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Making system administration social

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Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

How can we make system administration more social (in the social networking sense)? And, more importantly, does anyone want to make it more social?

I’ve been thinking about this recently because I’m using Twitter and participating in the community of VMware and cloud enthusiasts who are gathered there. There are loads of technical tips and tricks being shared on a daily basis and members of the community are supporting other members who have specific technical challenges. It is quite clearly valuable in building community among VMware users, the company and its users, as well as a practical way to get tips, tricks, and solutions to problems very quickly and in a ‘crowdsourced’ manner.

One way to make system administration more social would be to bake social networking features into the system administrators toolkit. Some examples of ‘social’ system administration products:

Web browser plugin: Similar to what Zemanta does to recognize that you’re working on a blog post, one could build a plugin that sees you’re logging into the web interface of a management application (e.g. Rightscale) and create an overlay that provides relevant Twitter content and interaction capabilities.

Plugins to extensible management systems: For example, VMware’s VCenter allows for 3rd party plugins. As far as I know, there is no technical reason why a plugin couldn’t be written to ntegrate with the Twitter API and/or specific RSS feeds.

Open source monitoring with social extensions: Use an open source monitoring platform as a base, but make it highly social via a set of extensions, with hooks to Twitter, recommended blogs, etc.

Similar to a product like StockTwits, I’d imagine you’d also want to feed this highly curated, specific Twitter stream to a destination site which could hopefully drive additional user acquisition through SEO.

If you’re an IT manager or a system administrator, do you want your toolkit to be more social? Is anyone doing something like this today? Do sysadmins even want this, or are they content with a social networking experience that is disconnected from their day-to-day toolkit. Very curious to hear your thoughts.

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Written by John Gannon

December 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Using Metrics to Vanquish the Fail Whale (Twitter)

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Office Fail Whale
Image by CC Chapman via Flickr

“You really want to instrument everything you have,” Adams told an audience of 700 operations professionals. “The best thing you can do is have more information about your system. We’ve built a process around using these metrics to make decisions. We use science. The way we find the weakest point in our infrastructure is by collecting metrics and making graphs out of them.”

via Using Metrics to Vanquish the Fail Whale « Data Center Knowledge.

This makes high volume datacenter ops sound fairly straightforward.  As long as you have volumes of data, and a well-thought out process, you can make informed decisions.  I certainly practiced this methodology when I was involved in datacenter operations, but not so sure this is practical as computing environments become harder to debug through multiple layers of abstraction and virtualization.

Thoughts?

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Written by John Gannon

June 23, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Planning for unplanned downtime

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Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
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Via D7: The Twitter guys speak | Beyond Binary – CNET News:

7:37 p.m. PT: They open it up for questions. Venture capitalist Roger McNamee offers a couple of comments. “Don’t ever do another planned maintenance in the middle of the day on a week day.”

I remember the day Roger McNamee is talking about, when Twitter posted on the homepage that there would be some ‘planned downtime’ in the middle of the day.

In datacenter operations language, ‘Planned downtime’ in the middle of the day is really  unplanned downtime.

I’m not privy to what went on that day at Twitter, but my guess as an ex-datacenter guy is that there was some production issue affecting some number of users which a) would have got worse over time or b) was not yet an issue, but would have become an issue had they not taken down the site at that time.

From a PR perspective and from a tech perspective (assuming my assumption from the previous paragraph was correct), Twitter did the right thing.  I can certainly appreciate a high growth site like Twitter having some growing pains (having been through that myself at multiple high traffic internet properties) and this was probably the best way to handle it.

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Written by John Gannon

May 27, 2009 at 10:09 am

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VC Deals twitter feed

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If you visit the blog fairly regularly, you may notice that I removed the M&A Funding Pipe feed in the right column and replaced it with the @vcdeals twitter feed.

@vcdeals tweets any financing or M&A announcements that get posted to a variety of blogs and then provides a bit.ly link where you can get the full article.

If you are a twitter user and follow the venture-backed startup market, follow @vcdeals and let me know what you think.

Special thanks to the Twitterfeed folks who made it really easy for me to get this going.

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Written by John Gannon

May 1, 2009 at 10:18 am

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