Buying a Cell Phone is Worse Than Buying a Car!

These days it seems that all I ever talk about is Cloud computing and Cell Phone operating systems.  As a contract-free AT&T customer, I should relish in my freedom to choose a new carrier or smartphone, yet instead I revel in cell phone indecision.

While Apple makes a wonderful and polished operating system (iOS), their ecosystem is both closed and proprietary.  After all, these are the same guys that won’t let me change a simple battery!  Another problem with the iPhone 4S is that the form factor.  It just isn’t very pleasing, especially when compared to its alternatives.  How about all those cracked screens out there?  Of course, iTunes is awesome and iCloud has some exciting possibilities.

Meanwhile, Android has come a long way in a short time.  It’s not nearly as polished as Apple’s iOS, but has many innovative features and is open source (kind of).  However, Android is experiencing tremendous fragmentation and is at the mercy of the Cell phone makers themselves.  While Samsung makes great phones, they have been slow to upgrade to the latest Android versions.  Also, what will they do now that Google is purchasing Motorola?  Speaking of Motorola, they seem like a safe bet since Google is purchasing them, but their less than stellar earnings results don’t instill confidence in a purchaser.

Finally, Windows Phone 7 Mango is lurking around.  It’s a blend of Apple’s polish with Android’s innovation, but has suffered from lackluster hardware and non-existent applications.  However, with Nokia’s recent announcement of 2 new Windows Phone 7 phones, there is some excitement that this may change.  What Microsoft needs to do is focus on the development community.  I’m not just talking about porting over existing applications, as they need some originals too. Of course, Microsoft has a really nice integration with iTunes, Office, and a slick SkyDrive offering.

Some would say I need to add Verizon vs. AT&T vs. T-Mobile vs. Sprint to this discussion, but I’m not really dissatisfied with AT&T.  In fact, the ability to use both data and voice is something I wouldn’t want to live without.  For now, I’ll leave this for a later discussion.

So, do you buy a new Samsung Galaxy S II, Nexus II, or Motorola Droid Razr or wait for the iPhone5, Nokia 800, or whatever else is yet to be announced?  Of course, in technology you can keep waiting and waiting and waiting because what you buy today is obsolete tomorrow.  Any thoughts?

Vblocks: The Icing on Cisco UCS’s Cake

While Cisco, EMC, and VMware are excellent communicators, when it comes to Acadia they have missed the mark.  Acadia is the triumvirate’s joint venture that is headed by Michael Capellas of Compaq/HP fame.  Acadia’s tag line is Your Bridge To The Private Cloud and they are the guardians of the mythical Vblock Infrastructure Packages.

Acadia leverages the Vblock reference architecture that has been published by Cisco, EMC, and VMware.  The concept is to transform your datacenter into a giant grid with defined units that provide a set of services, with service levels, to a set of customers.  Vblocks allow for the rapid deployment of pre-integrated and validated solutions.  Currently there are over 300 Enterprise applications that are explicitly supported with over 20 supported operating systems.

Furthermore, the Vblocks have been organized into ‘levels’ that define the size and scope of their deployment.  Vblock 0 is an entry-level configuration designed for small datacenters, Vblock 1 is a mid-sized configuration, and Vblock 2 is a high-end configuration.  What comprises a Vblock and why should I care?

A Vblock is comprised of the following components:

  • Compute – Cisco UCS
  • Network – Cisco Nexus & MDS
  • Storage – EMC CLARiion
  • Hypervisor – VMware vSphere
  • Management – Various (VMware, Cisco, EMC, and 3rd Party ISVs)
  • Applications and Operating Systems

Why you should care is because Vblocks have the potential to fundamentally change how you deploy, test/validate, provide DR, guarantee SLAs, and purchase applications running within your datacenter.  It’s a tall order with an incredibly ambitious agenda, but the rewards are huge.  No longer will organizations have to test/validate configurations or define upgrade and back-up procedures for deployed applications as this has been completed ahead of time courtesy of Acadia and Vblocks.

While Cloud is becoming the most overused term next to CMDB, in this case it’s at least in the ballpark.  For the Cisco UCS architecture, coupled with the EMC’s V-Max, utilizing VMware’s Hypervisor is an awesome platform to provide public, private, or hybrid-cloud applications.  Furthermore, Acadia looks to take advantage of enhancements in Cisco UCS and VMware’s newly announced vDirector product.

The open question remains Acadia’s ability to execute and Cisco, EMC, and VMware’s ability to play nice together.  In the end, Vblocks are the icing on Cisco UCS’s Cake and provide more fire to Cisco’s feud with HP.