November 25, 2015

Splunk engages in stupid lawyer tricks

Using legal threats as an extension of your marketing is a bad idea. At least, it’s a bad idea in the United States, where such tactics are unlikely to succeed, and are apt to backfire instead. Splunk seems to actually have had some limited success intimidating Sumo Logic. But it tried something similar against Rocana, and I was set up to potentially be collateral damage. I don’t think that’s working out very well for Splunk.

Specifically, Splunk sent a lawyer letter to Rocana, complaining about a couple of pieces of Rocana marketing collateral. Rocana responded publicly, and posted both the Splunk letter and Rocana’s lawyer response. The Rocana letter eviscerated Splunk’s lawyers on matters of law, clobbered them on the facts as well, exposed Splunk’s similar behavior in the past, and threw in a bit of snark at the end.

Now I’ll pile on too. In particular, I’ll note that, while Splunk wants to impose a duty of strict accuracy upon those it disagrees with, it has fewer compunctions about knowingly communicating falsehoods itself.

1. Splunk’s letter insinuates that Rocana might have paid me to say what I blogged about them. Those insinuations are of course false.

Splunk was my client for a lot longer, and at a higher level of annual retainer, than Rocana so far has been. Splunk never made similar claims about my posts about them. Indeed, Splunk complained that I did not write about them often or favorably enough, and on at least one occasion seemed to delay renewing my services for that reason.

2. Similarly, Splunk’s letter makes insinuations about quotes I gave Rocana. But I also gave at least one quote to Splunk when they were my client. As part of the process — and as is often needed — I had a frank and open discussion with them about my quote policies. So Splunk should know that their insinuations are incorrect.

3. Splunk’s letter actually included the sentences  Read more

October 15, 2015

Basho and Riak

Basho was on my (very short) blacklist of companies with whom I refuse to speak, because they have lied about the contents of previous conversations. But Tony Falco et al. are long gone from the company. So when Basho’s new management team reached out, I took the meeting.

For starters:

Basho’s product line has gotten a bit confusing, but as best I understand things the story is:

Technical notes on some of that include:  Read more

September 17, 2015

Rocana’s world

For starters:

Rocana portrays itself as offering next-generation IT operations monitoring software. As you might expect, this has two main use cases:

Rocana’s differentiation claims boil down to fast and accurate anomaly detection on large amounts of log data, including but not limited to:

Read more

May 26, 2015

IT-centric notes on the future of health care

It’s difficult to project the rate of IT change in health care, because:

Timing aside, it is clear that health care change will be drastic. The IT part of that starts with vastly comprehensive electronic health records, which will be accessible (in part or whole as the case may be) by patients, care givers, care payers and researchers alike. I expect elements of such records to include:

These vastly greater amounts of data cited above will allow for greatly changed analytics.
Read more

March 5, 2015

Cask and CDAP

For starters:


So far as I can tell:

Read more

February 22, 2015

Data models

7-10 years ago, I repeatedly argued the viewpoints:

Since then, however:

So it’s probably best to revisit all that in a somewhat organized way.

Read more

December 31, 2014

Notes on machine-generated data, year-end 2014

Most IT innovation these days is focused on machine-generated data (sometimes just called “machine data”), rather than human-generated. So as I find myself in the mood for another survey post, I can’t think of any better idea for a unifying theme.

1. There are many kinds of machine-generated data. Important categories include:

That’s far from a complete list, but if you think about those categories you’ll probably capture most of the issues surrounding other kinds of machine-generated data as well.

2. Technology for better information and analysis is also technology for privacy intrusion. Public awareness of privacy issues is focused in a few areas, mainly: Read more

October 5, 2014

Streaming for Hadoop

The genesis of this post is that:

Of course, we should hardly assume that what the Hadoop distro vendors favor will be the be-all and end-all of streaming. But they are likely to at least be influential players in the area.

In the parts of the problem that Cloudera emphasizes, the main tasks that need to be addressed are: Read more

September 7, 2014

An idealized log management and analysis system — from whom?

I’ve talked with many companies recently that believe they are:

At best, I think such competitive claims are overwrought. Still, it’s a genuinely important subject and opportunity, so let’s consider what a great log management and analysis system might look like.

Much of this discussion could apply to machine-generated data in general. But right now I think more players are doing product management with an explicit conception either of log management or event-series analytics, so for this post I’ll share that focus too.

A short answer might be “Splunk, but with more analytic functionality and more scalable performance, at lower cost, plus numerous coupons for free pizza.” A more constructive and bottoms-up approach might start with:  Read more

July 20, 2014

Data integration as a business opportunity

A significant fraction of IT professional services industry revenue comes from data integration. But as a software business, data integration has been more problematic. Informatica, the largest independent data integration software vendor, does $1 billion in revenue. INFA’s enterprise value (market capitalization after adjusting for cash and debt) is $3 billion, which puts it way short of other category leaders such as VMware, and even sits behind Tableau.* When I talk with data integration startups, I ask questions such as “What fraction of Informatica’s revenue are you shooting for?” and, as a follow-up, “Why would that be grounds for excitement?”

*If you believe that Splunk is a data integration company, that changes these observations only a little.

On the other hand, several successful software categories have, at particular points in their history, been focused on data integration. One of the major benefits of 1990s business intelligence was “Combines data from multiple sources on the same screen” and, in some cases, even “Joins data from multiple sources in a single view”. The last few years before application servers were commoditized, data integration was one of their chief benefits. Data warehousing and Hadoop both of course have a “collect all your data in one place” part to their stories — which I call data mustering — and Hadoop is a data transformation tool as well.

Read more

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