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Hanging out with the Cool Oracle Kids

Tom Petrocelli, Amalgam Insights Research Fellow

When I wrote my last article on open source at Oracle, I got some feedback. Much of it was along the lines are “Have you hit your head on something hard recently?” or “You must be living in an alternate dimension.” While the obvious answer to both is “perhaps…” it has become increasingly obvious that Oracle is trying very hard to be one of the cool open source kids.  They have spent money, both in for product development and acquisition, to build up their open source portfolio. This is what I saw front and center at Oracle OpenWorld.

When many IT professionals think about Oracle, they think about their flagship enterprise database. That’s fair since Oracle is still the clear leader in industrial strength databases. They are continuing to evolve the database platform with the Autonomous Database. Oracle is also well known for their enterprise applications especially ERP and CRM. The Oracle technology and product portfolio, however, is large and extends much further than the database and enterprise application categories. The cloud has given Oracle the opportunity to extend even further into emerging technology such as serverless or blockchain. It was also an opportunity to adopt open source technology across the board.

Open source, for example, is clearly on the minds of Oracle executives. Larry Ellison himself talked briefly about open source in his keynote. That’s a tectonic shift for Oracle. It can no longer be said that it is just a few people inside the company giving lip service to it. Oracle Cloud has embraced Docker containers with the Oracle Container Engine, and Kubernetes with the Oracle Kubernetes Engine. What was remarkable was that they are deploying unforked versions of these technologies. By deploying unforked i.e. standard versions of container images and Kubernetes, Oracle is demonstrating that they are not trying to turn these technologies into proprietary Oracle software that cannot be migrated to other cloud services or platforms. Instead, they are betting that large enterprise customers will want to run containers on the Oracle Cloud platform, which emphasizes security and reliability. In addition, they also believe that customers will want more automation to make enterprise cloud infrastructure easier to manage. These are Oracle’s strengths and are well suited to enterprise customers with complex applications.

Oracle is also heavily vested in important open source projects. One such project, Fn, is a project to develop serverless technology that can be deployed on-premises and in the cloud. What is remarkable is that they began this as an open source project before commercialization. This differs from some other Oracle open source projects, such as OpenJDK, which first came out of a commercial product, the Oracle Java VM. Fn is also the basis for Oracle Functions, Oracle’s serverless offering. Even here, they are taking an open approach by using the standard, unforked Fn so that Fn functions are not locked into the Oracle Cloud platform. Again, Oracle believes that customers will eventually decide on Oracle Functions because of the reliability and security of their cloud but they aren’t forcing customers into it.

OpenJDK is arguably one of the most strategic open source projects that Oracle is involved in. It is the project that is developing the next generations of the Java language and platform. Oracle has a commercial version of the VM but it is differentiated through service and support, not additional features. The IT community has a right to be a bit leery of the true openness of OpenJDK, especially given Oracle’s history with the platform, but their approach is strictly open source. Some of the upcoming OpenJDK features currently in the pipeline are designed to make Java a more competitive language while still maintaining the concurrency and typesafe features that have made Java the language of choice for secure, performance-oriented enterprise applications. Project Amber, for example, is trying to reduce the amount of code a developer has to type by inferring more from the code itself. The reduction in the ceremonials alone will make Java a more efficient and modern language. Project Loom, on the other hand, is building out a lightweight concurrency system for those instances where Threads are too resource intensive and OS level concurrency isn’t necessary.

More than Oracle’s products and contributions to projects, it is clear that the attitudes within the company have changed. Speaking with Oracle executives about open source sounds more like talking to Google or Red Hat. They are not losing the focus on automation, reliability, and security, which is why large enterprises do business with Oracle. They are, instead, trying to make open source fit the enterprise better. This, for Oracle, is the path to success.

As someone who has been in the IT industry a long time, I know that we can be tribal and chauvinistic about companies. Sins of the past and impressions from years ago form our opinions about what companies offer. Thirty years ago, Oracle and Microsoft were the cool kids on the block and IBM was my father’s IT provider. Unfortunately, we miss out on opportunities when we divide companies into the old and the new. It’s time to consider that a company such as Oracle could change and might have embraced the open source movement.

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Todd Maddox Ph.D.’s Top Four Scientific Observations on DevLearn 2018

If you have a passion for learning then DevLearn is for you. DevLearn 2018 was quite the event. With excellent keynote addresses, breakout sessions, numerous vendors and great demos it was action-packed. I enjoyed every minute of DevLearn 2018 and I am already looking forward to 2019.

I took a few days to gather my notes and thoughts, and I have a number of observations on DevLearn 2018. I am sure that others who attended DevLearn 2018 will highlight different topics, and acknowledging that I was only able to speak in detail with a dozen or so vendors, here are my Top Four Scientific Observations.

Whether Talent, Behavioral or Data……The Impact of Science Continues to Grow

Relevant Vendors That I Spoke With: Adobe, Allego, EdCast, Inkling, iSpring, Learning Tribes, LEO Learning, MPS Interactive, Mursion, OttoLearn, Rehearsal, Schoox, STRIVR, Valamis Continue reading Todd Maddox Ph.D.’s Top Four Scientific Observations on DevLearn 2018

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Tom Petrocelli Provides Context for IBM’s Acquisition of Red Hat

Tom Petrocelli, Amalgam Insights Research Fellow

In light of yesterday’s announcement that IBM is planning to acquire Red Hat for $34 billion, we’d like to share with you some of our recent coverage and mentions of Red Hat to provide context for this gargantuan acquisition.

To learn more about the state of Enterprise Free Open Source Software and the state of DevOps, make sure you continue to follow Tom Petrocelli on this website and his Twitter account.

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Why Skillsoft’s Digital Transformation Portfolio Effectively Drives Digital Readiness: A Market Milestone

 In a recently published Market Milestone, Todd Maddox, Ph.D., Learning Scientist and Research Fellow for Amalgam Insights, evaluated Skillsoft’s industry-first Digital Transformation Portfolio from a learning science perspective—the marriage of psychology and brain science. This involves evaluating the portfolio’s content and delivery to determine whether it engages psychological processes and learning systems in the brain effectively. It does. Amalgam’s overall evaluation is that Skillsoft’s Digital Transformation Portfolio is highly effective.

The digital transformation is fundamentally altering the modern workplace and is requiring companies to modify organizational structures, create new roles and develop new skill sets. This transformation affects every aspect of skill learning from “what” we need to know, “how” we need to behave, and the “feel” or awareness that we need to be effective in ever-changing digitally-driven corporate settings. Skills associated with the “what”, “how”, and “feel” are each mediated by a distinct learning system in the brain. Thus, digital readiness requires content construction and delivery that effectively engages each of these systems. Skillsoft’s Digital Transformation Portfolio meets this challenge and is poised to continue to meet this challenge as new and exciting digital technologies transform the workplace.

For more information, read the full Market Milestone.

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From Calero World Online: From TEM to ITEM: Leveraging TEM for Non-Traditional Expenses

On October 18th, I presented a webinar at Calero World Online on the future of IT cost and subscription management. In this presentation, I challenge existing telecom and IT expense management managers to accept their destiny as pilots and architects of enterprise digital subscriptions.

Telecom expense has traditionally been the most challenging of IT costs to manage. With the emergence of software-as-a-service, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and software-defined networks, the rest of the IT world is quickly catching up.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • How the latest trends and technology are driving change to enterprise management strategies
  • How the challenges of traditional TEM and cloud expense management are similar in nature (and why TEM is a good place to start)
  • How organizations are benefiting from ITEM best practices using sample use cases

To learn more about the upcoming challenges of IT expense management, aligning technology supply to digital demand, and being the shepherd for your organization’s technology sourcing, utilization, and optimization, click here to watch this webinar on-demand.

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Allego’s Point-in-Time Video Feedback Trains People Skills in the Sales Brain

If you are in sales, you have likely heard stories similar to this on numerous occasions.

“I have been in sales for over a year now, and I just can’t seem to learn out to give an effective sales pitch. My sales manager tells me that my body language is off, and my verbal skills are unnatural and forced. I read all of the required sales training materials and I have even read other articles, books and blogs on the art of an effective pitch. My manager demonstrates how to give an effective pitch and I have watched many videos of others giving an effective pitch. I feel like I understand the material, but when I get in front of potential clients it doesn’t feel right, and they don’t react positively to me. I am at a loss and don’t know what to do…”

Continue reading Allego’s Point-in-Time Video Feedback Trains People Skills in the Sales Brain

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ICYMI: On Demand Webinar – Four Techniques to Run AI on Your Business Data

On October 17th, I presented a webinar with Incorta’s Chief Evangelist, Matthew Halliday, on the importance of BI architectures in preparing for AI. This webinar is based on a core Amalgam Insights belief that all enterprise analytics and data science activity should be based on a shared core of trusted and consistent data so that Business Intelligence, analytics, machine learning, data science, and deep learning efforts are all based on similar assumptions and can build off each other.

While AI is beginning to impact every aspect of our consumer lives, business data-driven AI seems to be lower on the priority list of most enterprises. The struggle to understand the practical value of AI starts with the lack of ability to make business data easily accessible to the data science teams. Today’s BI tools have not kept up with this need and often are the bottlenecks that stifle innovation.

In this webinar, you will learn from Hyoun Park and Matthew Halliday about:
  • key data and analytic trends leading to the need to accelerate analytic access to data.
  • guidance for challenges in implementing AI initiatives alongside BI.
  • practical and future-facing business use cases that can be supported by accelerating analytic access to large volumes of operational data.
  • techniques that accelerate AI initiatives on your business data.

Watch this webinar on-demand by clicking here.

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Now Available: Infrastructure as Code: Managing Hybrid, Multi-cloud Infrastructure at Scale

Research Fellow Tom Petrocelli recently recorded an on-demand BrightTALK webinar on Infrastructure as Code (IaC): a key trend for any company seeking to manage infrastructure at scale.

Petrocelli has previously covered this topic in additional research including

This webinar is a short introduction designed for IT professionals who are exploring Infrastructure as Code especially focusing on SysOps, managers (from mid-level to C-Suite), and system architects. As modern IT systems become more diverse and complex, managing them, especially at scale can become very difficult. Infrastructure as Code presents a new way of thinking about infrastructure management that alleviates many of these challenges.

This webinar discusses: Continue reading Now Available: Infrastructure as Code: Managing Hybrid, Multi-cloud Infrastructure at Scale

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Data Science Platforms News Roundup, September 2018

On a monthly basis, I will be rounding up key news associated with the Data Science Platforms space for Amalgam Insights. Companies covered will include: Alteryx, Anaconda, Cambridge Semantics, Cloudera, Databricks, Dataiku, DataRobot, Datawatch, DominoElastic,, IBM, Immuta, Informatica, KNIME, MathWorks, Microsoft, Oracle, Paxata, RapidMiner, SAP, SAS, Tableau, Talend, Teradata, TIBCO, Trifacta, TROVE.

Continue reading Data Science Platforms News Roundup, September 2018

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Qstream Leverages Science to Train Situational Awareness in the Sales Brain

Consider a sales managers all-too-common nightmare…

“I wake up in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat worried about my sales teams’ ability to “think on their feet” and to “read” the ever-changing sales landscape. They know the product in and out. I know I quiz them frequently. During role play they also perform well. However, to a person, when faced with an objection, time pressure, or a resistant client, they choke. It is as if they have forgotten everything that they know. I am at a loss for what to do.”

This is a problem in “situational awareness” and it is common in sales, and many other domains (e.g., healthcare). A sales professional with strong situational awareness has an almost intuitive feel for the current situation and has a very good idea of what is coming next. This individual always remains calm and can retrieve critical product information whether in a routine or non-routine situation (e.g., under time pressure). This individual knows how to act in any situation. They always put their best foot forward, and maximize the chances of a sale, regardless of the situation. Continue reading Qstream Leverages Science to Train Situational Awareness in the Sales Brain