Eric Knipp

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Eric Knipp
Managing Vice President
3 years at Gartner
15 years IT industry

Eric Knipp is a Managing Vice President in Gartner Research, where he focuses on Web and cloud application development methodologies and trends. Mr. Knipp is based in Dallas, Texas. Read Full Bio

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Road Trippin’

by Eric Knipp  |  April 25, 2009  |  2 Comments

At approximately the same bat-time last (Thursday) night I returned from a road trip to the Bay Area where I enjoyed a total of nine visits with Gartner clients, with seven of those being in the company of relatively new tech startups. What a rush. When I started at Gartner, I had high hopes for participating in the community of technology start-up companies; that hope has been realized.

Unfortunately, one of my clients told me that he/she was happy I’d not yet been “Gartnerized“. I responded to the challenge with the inner voice granted me by my prior existence as a software developer – “What, you mean I’m not completely cynical yet?  Don’t tell me any lies, and I shall never be..”

Let’s face it - I’m new around here.

I was asked by one of the account executives kind enough to facilitate my client visits – “Are you the youngest Gartner analyst?”  Jeez, I sure as hell hope not.  I’m 34 for crying out loud! {as an aside – I used to think technology was mostly a “young man’s game” but now I think it might mostly “a Gen X’ers game” — I am very interested in hearing alternative perspectives}

I’m beginning to wrap multiple issues in this post, so let me address that question and return to the prior function invocation – Gartner analysts tend to be so good that they don’t get replaced real often. Bottom line: I am really lucky to be a really tiny slice of Gartner: The Next Generation. As a charter member of the crew, I’m pleased to tell you that I am ready to believe any reasonable claim, provided it can be substantiated with evidence and argument to support it (i.e., prefer not lying to lying when possible). Lie to me, and I will become cynical; cynicism is {apparently} not highly valued by clients within the analyst community.

Here’s the rub: the technology companies I met with are not filled with liars. To the contrary, these brokers of innovation are filled with the movers and shakers of our digital world. Part of me would be lying if I claimed that I didn’t feel slightly giddy meeting Ruby and Spring committers. For a wannabe rock star coder like myself, this job is a dream. I meet the guys who really have the mad skills, and I get to talk about it. This is where innovation happens.

Time to get back to the future. My enterprise clients don’t really care about abstract coolness that a l33t hack in the latest release of jQuery may represent. They care about what facilitates more efficient development/maintenance of powerful business tranformation; and how can I blame them, as I prefer a cheaper phone/electric/cable/grocery/etc.. bill to the alternative as much as the next guy.  Which leads me to ..

Platform-as-a-Service is a Cloudy topic that came up frequently on my visit to the Bay, and it also came up frequently at the CloudSlam 2009 “virtual conference” that I attended during my open time this week. The conference, like any other, was filled with meaningful sessions and boring time-wasters (although quite a decent value at around $50 for the week). The best session I attended was hosted by David Bernstein of Cisco who talked about the “Intercloud”. Essentially, the narrative he wove is a story about interoperability among Cloud service providers. I encourage you to see David talk; although I didn’t enjoy his presentation in the flesh, his slide deck was magnificent, and the story compelling. Imagine, if you will, a future, where Clouds interoperate, happily. With open standards, and freedoms, granted to those, who offer service level, guarantees ..

Short version: we’re not there yet, but the open Cloud is approaching.

In the meantime .. I would benefit greatly – as would my research – from your stories about Cloud application interoperability. It is impractical, in my opinion, for any firm to flip a switch and go from on-premises to Cloud technology all at once; therefore, we should expect hybrid models for some time. Google offers us secure data connector to facilitate this hybridization, while numerous service companies like Appirio and CloudIron try to solve the problem for multiple vendors. Tell me what works for you, and what failed (horrible train wrecks to the front of the line, please) — I care, and I want you to be successful.

Help me out.

Until next time ..

Eric

2 Comments »

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ray Valdes   April 25, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Hey Eric, it’s great to see you here!

    Regarding cloud interoperability, I think there is a genuine need but at the same time it is a difficult problem, given the diversity of models and APIs. It’s like baking a pie that must taste the same whether the cook is using apples or oranges. I think we’ll see this first in well defined small problem domains, like S3-style storage.

  • 2 Thomas Otter   April 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Eric
    WE youngsters need to stick together.
    Great to see you blogging