Linux Containers Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Was Trump University the Catalyst for Cloud Computing?

How great marketing created a technology nightmare

In 2005, I was working at Hewlett Packard in the storage group. We were three years past the Compaq-HP merger in Houston. My product line consisted of an entry-level SAN storage product and some accompanying data protection software. One of the many product management duties was customer interface. I always enjoyed trade shows, telephone calls and face-to-face customer briefings.

Customer briefings at HP were mostly great. The briefing center is a beautiful facility on the HP campus. Because customers (up to a dozen in a group) would travel to our Houston site, the briefing teams would coordinate a day long or two days of presentations and/or lab tours. Each briefing was tailored to the customer's desire. Typical presentations were focused on ProLiants, Laptops and Handhelds, Factory tours, HP Software, and Storage. Some briefings were very positive because customers were genuinely interested in our strategies, technology directions, and sometimes even features. Some briefings were a bit mixed. Every few briefings, I would have to do a ‘timefiller' presentation (this would be a customer group that was ProLiant-centric or destop/laptop focused and no HP storage focus. A ‘timefiller' was a storage presentation used to fill up an hour of time on the schedule. The expectation was low all the way around). When the briefing coordinator asked for a ‘high level storage strategy' pitch, it became the code word for ‘timefiller.' Those types of briefings were still good because I could highlight several storage and ProLiant differentiators that might spur some interactive dialogue. Just maybe the customer would associate storage with ‘HP.' Maybe get HP on the vendor short list when a storage buying opportunity came up.

Well on this particular day in 2005, I got the briefing request email. It was a day before the arrival of the customer. The request was for a ‘high-level' storage briefing right after lunch. I wasn't terribly excited to re-arrange my schedule for a ‘high level storage pitch' but I did so because it was still better than the other tasks on my schedule and I enjoyed talking to customers.

I don't even remember the customer's name but they traveled with a man who was their channel partner. This partner purchased through HP distribution and then sold the HP gear to the customer. After this uneventful storage briefing, this channel partner meets me at the coffee area without his customers and told me that he had another customer with an issue.

"I have a problem with a customer - NBC Universal to be exact. Are you familiar with the TV Show, The Apprentice?" I said, "I was".

(For folks that don't know or remember - Celebrity Apprentice is the current format but years ago ‘normal' people were the talent competing on Trump's show). He went on to explain that his company had a contract with NBC to host their web servers. I was waiting for the ‘storage question' but he asked me about hosting. His specific problem was this -

"We have many dozens of servers supporting the web site for The Apprentice. We know that during the show we get (approximately) 100,000 hits per second about an hour before the show airs and about 6 hours after the show (if you factor in viewings in different US time zones). As you know, we really can't control Mr. Trump because well, he's Mr. Trump. He is going to say and do what he wants to promote the show. Now he has an idea to take The Apprentice to a new level by announcing Trump University on the show. The idea is that people could enroll in Trump University and learn from Donald Trump and his staff".

(To this point, I was thinking this was great. I don't see the problem. Sounds like world class marketing.)

Because Trump University would essentially let everyone play Apprentice in real-life and potentially unlock the promise of big-time success, the web site would be overrun with hits when Trump announced the University. This partner estimated multiple millions of hits per second - his dozens of servers might need to be hundreds or a thousand. The workload could be 10X to 100X the current workload (emphasis on could be) The contract with NBC was awarded based upon the fact that NBC wouldn't go down and if they did, there was a hefty penalty to pay. The other issue is that Trump was supposed to announce Trump University during sweeps week but he was as unpredictable as the hits to the web site. He might do it any week so there was risk on timing and when they needed to be ready for the increased web traffic.

(A few years prior, this exact downtime scenario surfaced as a result of a Victoria's Secret Super Bowl halftime lingerie fashion show hosted on Victoria's Secret web site. At halftime, the site was overrun with traffic and that marketing project totally backfired. Viewers were treated to choppy video with long delays essentially making the site unwatchable. Technically, the site did not go down but it did have bottlenecks - according to IBM Global Services)

That partner looked at me and I had no answer. It was the first time I couldn't even suggest an alternative. The only way to be sure was to over-invest in servers, just in case, and then keep them or relinquish them afterwards. That was his current solution. Admittedly, I wasn't much help.

Now fast forward a few years and this thing ‘cloud' starts getting tossed around. Microsoft says it's one thing, IBM says it's another, Amazon says it's something else. But one thing was clear - the implementation and elasticity of a cloud was the solution to this partner's problem. Trump could announce his University, web hits would skyrocket, and the cloud would increase the infrastructure to match the workload. The infrastructure would not topple. He would never get penalized because the cloud would apply the appropriate resources. Any unpredictable workload could be accommodated with the cloud. After six hours (assuming the Trump University furor died down), the cloud could release those resources and pair down the infrastructure as needed. Because the cost of the cloud infrastructure is typically hourly CPU use, the costs would be commensurate with the usage. His old problem of allocating hundreds or a thousand servers would have been a logistical nightmare and as a capital expense (or even a rental expense) would have eliminated most if not all of his profit on the contract.

As a simple calculation, a cloud solution might cost (6 hours duration x $1 per CPU hour x 500 servers) something close to $3,000 total for the night versus a capital investment of ($2,000 per server X 500 servers) $1,000,000 (excluding logistics, labor, power, networking, etc). The cloud solution could also continue to scale if the workload projection of 500 servers was way off - either too low or even too high. The physical servers could not.

The design of the cloud was to tackle this exact problem - unpredictable workloads and short term, resource intensive workloads. This highlights the tremendous flexibility of the cloud - to match dynamic usage and costs. In theory, Mr. Trump could announce his candidacy for US President on his web site and as long as that web site was hosted in a cloud environment with automated resources being applied to match the workload, it would not crash even if a billion people were interested and came to his web site.

In the end, the partner who challenged me with their hosting problem at NBC was a company called Rackspace, a small hosting company that grew into a cloud computing giant that now solves these exact IT challenges. Years later, my ‘timefiller' presentation and this question by a partner had me in the crosshairs of a technology revolution. I believe that Donald Trump and his Trump University problem was one of the catalysts for cloud computing.

More Stories By Rich Bruklis

A 20 year veteran of the storage industry, Rich has been a business leader in product marketing. He has seen the industry change from backup on 5.25" floppies to 10,000 cartridge tape libraries with every tape "standard" in between. Rich has supported 5.25" 30MB hard drives and launched disk arrays with hundreds of drives. Most recently, Rich has focused on business continuity and disaster recovery.

While the hardware industry continues to experience BBFC (Bigger, Better, Faster, Cheaper), there is a cloud on the horizon that is about to disrupt that trend. Cloud Computing will fundamentally change the IT world much like the network changed client-server computing.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.