5 Technology Observations: 6 May 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology observations, insights, news updates, rumors, gossip and chatter to start your day for Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 10 items.

10. Open Source's Real Value: When Pivotal announced a range of open source moves at EMC World, critics wondered if all the "free" software would undermine EMC's high-margin business. Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz's reply: Open source is not about free. It's about building communities and ecosystems. My reply?: Well said, Mr. Maritz.

9. Finding Common Ground: While some investors call for EMC to break itself up and/or take steps to unlock more value, CEO Joe Tucci offered this olive branch to his critics: "At the heart of it, investors and ourselves want the same thing: More value for our shareholders." Still, it's clear that Tucci and some investors don't see eye to eye on how to generate that value.

8. NoSQL Use Cases: You likely know that the NoSQL database market is growing fast -- roughly 35 percent annually according to the research nuggets I've seen. And just today, Google Cloud BigTable -- a NoSQL database service -- surfaced. But how and why are businesses using NoSQL databases? Glad you asked. Here are 10 NoSQL enterprise customer use cases, care of Couchbase.

7. Just Walk Away: As a Salesforce.com shareholder, I'm rather enjoying all the speculation about a potential company takeover. But here's the thing: If I ran Microsoft, IBM or another big IT company I would not get roped into M&A discussions with Salesforce.com. Why not? Let's start with Salesforce.com's lofty valuation ($46.3 billion as of this morning). Then consider the fact that Salesforce.com is built atop Oracle's software. And factor in all the Salesforce folks who would likely exit or move on following an M&A deal. But my key concern for potential suitors is this: Salesforce is far too big to be considered a "tuck in" deal, yet Salesforce profits are far too small to deliver a positive near-term earnings upside.

6. Far Smarter: Instead of mulling a Salesforce.com buyout, it's far wiser for Microsoft to be inking cloud partnerships like the new deal with NetSuite. The Microsoft-NetSuite deal connects the dots between Office 365, Azure and NetSuite's cloud-based ERP and financial offerings.

5. Big Numbers: Anybody else notice how quickly Zendesk continues to grow? Q1 revenue grew nearly 70 percent to $42.2 million. The company, which makes a cloud-based customer service platform, still isn't profitable. But I believe in the company's business model, focus and long-term direction. At some point, I'll find some more time to tell you why. 

4. The Next ISVs: Conventional wisdom says next-generation ISVs are flocking to mobile app stores from Google and Apple, or to public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or IBM. I've got a slightly different spin: Tomorrow's ISVs will actually work within corporate data centers. Yes, DevOps teams within banks, hospitals, retailers -- just about every industry -- are actually emerging as ISVs. At some point when time permits... I'll explain why.

3. This Sounds Familiar: VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger told EMC World attendees that it's "time to ruthlessly automate every layer of data center management." In a past life, I covered IT automation pretty darn closely -- but from the SMB perspective. Hmmm...

2. Speaking of IT Automation: Keep a close eye on Puppet Labs, which has announced IT automation partnerships with EMC and Dell, among others, in recent days. Director of Product Marketing Tim Zonca tells me Puppet Labs now has 300-plus employees and is marching toward cash-flow positive status. It sounds to me like Puppet could also march toward an IPO -- but doesn't need to rush in that direction. 

1. Next Podcast: New OwnBackup CEO Sam Gutmann and I are set to talk later this week. Fingers crossed, we'll capture the conversation for our next podcast. Gutmann has worked in and around the angel investor market for several years now. Earlier, he was co-founder and CEO of Intronis. So what triggered Sam's jump back into a CEO seat at a startup? And how will OwnBackup differentiate its cloud-to-cloud data protection services? We'll share some answers in the next few days...

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