5 Tech Observations to Start Your Day 121014

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. I'm heading into New York City the rest of this week for some timely chatter. But before I catch my train, here are five technology news nuggets, insights, chatter, rumors, gossip and more to start your day for Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014.

Actually, today's update involves seven items.

7. Turning the Tables: Cisco Systems has made an art form out of using blogs to "politely" slam rivals, enter new markets or change course (like dumping the HP relationship in 2010). Now, Arista Networks is stealing a page from Cisco's playbook. In a public blog, Arista Networks Board Member Dan Scheinman slams Cisco's lawsuit against Arista -- claiming it's "an attempt by a legacy vendor that is falling behind in the marketplace to use the legal system to try and slow a competitor who is innovating and winning." Ironically, Sheinman was general counsel at CIsco in the 1990s when it was an upstart that "was being attacked much in the same way as Arista today."

I'm certainly not choosing sides. Cisco claims Arista violated the networking giant's patents and copyrights. Arista claims otherwise. I'll simply sit back and enjoy the bombs being launched from one company's blog to the other, and vice versa. 

6. On Second Thought, I'll Walk: Just about every major city is seemingly suing or blocking Uber -- from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Frankfurt to all of India. I consider app driven car hailing services a logical successor to the antiquated taxi systems in most cities. But I certainly can't defend  Uber's alleged ethical and business missteps -- especially when it comes to Uber's alleged attitudes toward privacy and women.

5. So What's Next?: I got a call yesterday from an old friend who has moved from the MSP market to the hosted VoIP market to the... well, he's looking for the next move. I keep pointing to next-generation monitoring systems that also have Big Data capabilities. Two updated examples: ThousandEyes -- which views the Internet like one big network to help you optimize performance -- just raised $20 million in Series B funding

Meanwhile, New Relic --  which puts a new spin on application performance management -- has raised its IPO target to $110 million, up from the previous $100 million target. Also, HashiCorp. has raised $10 million to fund software that "automates the way data center applications are developed, deployed and managed. I wonder how it compares to Docker... especially since HashiCorp is based on five open source offerings. Roll all those mentions together, and "what's next" is far more automation out in the cloud... based on Big Data and network analysis tools.

4. Memo to Social Media Freelancers: CloudPeeps, a marketplace for "community and social media professionals," has secured angel seed funding from Renata Cooper. A beta version of the site has 200 freelancers and 50 customers. I just signed up to see what it's all about. Looks a bit like a new spin on eLance -- designed specifically for social media and online community pros.

3. Hadoop as a Service? $30M Says Yes: You likely know about all the fast-growth Hadoop companies like Cloudera, HortonWorks and MapR. But you should also keep an eye on Altiscale, which just raised $30 million in Series B funding to offer Hadoop as a Service. The big question: How is Altiscale's cloud service different than any third party activating Hadoop in a third-party cloud? We'll be watching for answers.

2. Jumping the Shark: CenturyLink has acquired DataGardens, which provides disaster recovery as a service. So let's see. The cloud storage market has gone from cloud backup to disaster recovery over the past two years or so. Smaller players, particularly I.T. entrepreneurs, better be thinking about "what's next" as giants like CenturyLink move in. Steve Ferman certainly has gotten the message -- acquiring and building Cloud Nation on Amazon's cloud. He described the strategy in this podcast.

1. Feeling Good? Time to Worry: Small Business Optimism has reached its highest level since 2007. Wonderful. Awesome. Woot! Woot! But wait. Last time Small Business Optimism was this high, didn't Wall Street, The Economy and Detroit all collapse within 12 to 18 months? Sorry to rain on the parade. But I never let my emotions get too high or too low when it comes to economic reports. Instead, just stay focused on your market and your customers.

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