The Boss has it right…

Amy and I were in London last week and she couldn’t stop reading the Bruce Springsteen autobiography “Born to Run”. She came across this passage which she sent to me with the note “this reminds me of how you feel about your work.” She nailed it.

“There is love and respect at the center of everything we do together. It’s not just business, it’s personal.  When you came to work with me, I had to be assured you’d bring your heart.  Heart sealed the deal.  That’s why the E Street Band plays steamroller strong and undiminished, forty years in, night after night…”  

Every time I see my friend Steve Papa he loves to give me a hard time “are you still cleaning up the world’s data?”😉  The answer is always “yes” – and although at Tamr we live in the weeds of our customer’s “dirty data”, I love what we do – it’s more than a business for me – it’s personal.  When we are able to help our customers produce transformational analytics that are only possible because we’ve helped them create clean, unified data from across their company – it makes me incredibly proud of my work.  This is especially true when those analytics help them save hundreds of millions of dollars.  I suspect it’s a similar feeling (with a lot more 000’s) that Larry Page and Sergey Brin have when they watch the search logs and Google and see tens of millions of people finding information using tools they’ve built.

I can see the same pride from the people @ Tamr when they deliver for our customers.  I love “playing” with all the folks at Tamr and am psyched to be able to do what I love every day with people for who “bring their heart” to their work.  It’s not just business,  it’s personal for us.

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Right cost & tech curve for storage…

Whenever Amazon reduces the price of S3 (as they did last week)- I’m reminded of how important it is to be on the right “cost curve” for storage.  There is still a bias in large enterprises toward on-premise storage that is provided by the likes of Dell/EMC.  This bias is beginning to change – but there are still people who believe that the exorbitant cost of on-premise storage systems such as Isilon is justified relative to the cost of services such as S3.  Now to be clear – there are times when specialized systems/storage are required (respect to my friends/colleagues in HPC) – however – for MOST large enterprise applications/systems – storage services such as S3 will do just fine.

In short – storage as a service is the right path – both in terms of tech AND in terms of cost.  Companies such as ClearSky Data are making it easy to get on the right curve.  (I have no vested interest in Clear-Sky – just a fan of their product/approach)

My favorite guideline for this is very simple : “when was the last time that EMC cut their prices by 30%?”

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Harry Weller – Great Investor & Even Better Person.

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Harry Weller.  Harry was my friend and trusted colleague.  We worked together on many companies including Vertica and Tamr where NEA was a lead investor.

Any time I was faced with an important decision (personal or professional) – I could always count on objective and thoughtful advice from my good friend Harry.

One of the biggest decisions that a serial entrepreneur makes when raising money is : from whom will I raise funds?

A key principle for me was always : only take venture funding from people (specifically people) who you trust to make outrageous amounts of money in the best case scenarios.  Harry was the kind of person for whom I was psyched to make money – no matter how outrageous the returns.  I always felt great about Harry and I making money together because I knew that he would turn right around and invest those returns in the next generation of great, mission driven entrepreneurs and startups.  The entrepreneurial community has lost one of it’s best members and I have lost a great friend – I will miss you brother.

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Privacy in Connected Health : Great post by Joe Kvedar

Joe does a great job of summarizing key issues here concerning privacy in connected health.

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Using a “host factory” to deliver secure hybrid and multi-cloud instances…and then…secure container management

For those of us that track AWS – last week was pretty welcome update that includes a bunch of great new features – announcement here.

One of the key challenges that I see over and over again for large enterprise tech is trying  to get the best of AWS without complete lock-in to Amazon (multi-cloud) while  at the same time supporting their mix of on-prem and cloud systems infrastructure (hybrid).  Hybrid AND multi-Cloud is hard – but possible imho if you select a small number of key elements of your architecture that are independent of AWS (or any PaaS cloud provider for that matter).

One of the most important elements to protect as independent is your core authentication/authorization/secrets infrastructure – but where do you start – it’s such a complicated, tangled mess.

Try this….it can be very useful to provide a service that is essentially a “host factory” to assign dynamic identity to VMs.  The host factory provides a single, independent identity for the VM so that services such as secrets management, ssh, service authorization, PKI, etc can all be delivered independently of the physical location of the vm and/or the cloud provider.

For example – in AWS, your instances authenticate to the “host factory” using it’s AWS IAM role. IAM roles are the bridge between AWS instances and their “host factory” identity. This host factory identity can be used to deliver all of the services mentioned above regardless of the provider – on-prem or any cloud service provider.  This essentially provides a “line in the sand” where your intimacy with any given cloud provider is going to stop and where your control of your own machines identities starts.

Now that AWS has brought IAM roles to containers. The same bridge from ec2 instances to your “host factory” identity can be used to manage container identities.

So whether your app is VM based or containerized, it registers in the same way with the “host factory” and uses all the same core features (except ssh of course; which is not really a for containers😉

IMHO – this approach is possible to implement quickly if you use a great system like Conjur.

There was a similar dynamic a few years back with networking identity and access management – along came a great product – Illumio – which has been adopted broadly to solve this problem.  Conjur is doing for the app layer – what Illumio delivered for network layer.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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OpenVPN on ChromeOS – just say no

For anyone who is trying to make OpenVPN on ChromeOS work – just stop.

If you’ve got ChromeOS device – it’s likely you have an Android device – best to just use OpenVPN on Android rather than the unnatural act of getting ChromeOS OpenVPN support to work.

Worth a blog post – I dunno – but it would have saved me more than a few hours this weekend🙂

Maybe the forthcoming Android support on ChromeOS will get us a freebie.

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Nathan Hunt Palmer : May 21, 1936 – July 21, 2016

To those who knew and loved Pop, it is no surprise that he died with as much selflessness and dignity with which he lived. Our loving and loyal husband, father, grandfather, and brother died July 21 st at 2 pm at the age of 80 with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife; Suzy (Elsa) Palmer, his children; Andrew Hunt (Amy) Palmer and Anne Palmer (Dan)Wilson, his 8 grandchildren; Gerry (Heather), Morgan, Jonah, Annie, Sofia, Josephine, Elijah, and Abraham, and his sister Quimby (Mark) Mahoney. He was preceded in death by his mother Blanche Hunt Palmer, his father; Percival Bowditch Palmer III, and his brother Bradley (Judy) Palmer.

Nate grew up in Hinsdale, Illinois with an amazing community that surrounded he and his siblings with joy and love. He graduated from Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and went on graduate from Dartmouth College. Deerfield and Dartmouth were both places that made Nate beam with pride. He cherished the education and the relationships he established while there. He was often seen wearing “Dartmouth Green”.

IMG_20160409_172535307A retired United States Air Force Captain, Nate spent some of his service time in South Korea on an island known as Paengnyong-Do. We often heard stories and life lessons from the time he spent in Korea and his time serving his country helped shape his life’s principle of “contentment”. After his service he started his career in sales beginning with Sunbeam and eventually running the family business, Illinois FWD Truck and Equipment Company.

After his first encounter with cancer in 1999, Nate retired and decided to spend the rest of his life making family and community his priority. Nate was happiest when helping others. He often volunteered at the local elementary school, or drove friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers to cancer treatment appointments. He adored attending his grandchildren’s sporting events and other activities. One of his favorite pastimes was driving his 1930 Model A in local parades and hanging out with his Whidbey Island Model A Club buddies.

Nate influenced all of us in big and small ways. He is known for teaching us all how to have a “firm handshake while looking people directly in the eye”. He exuded class and felt most comfortable in his sport coat and tie. He loved kites, remote control planes and boats, corn on the cob, reading, sailing, black coffee, raisin toast, the Chicago Bears, Jamaica, old cars, jets, and apple pie. He was proud to be an American, a Palmer, a brother, a husband, a father, and a grandfather.

In a small entry for a Deerfield reunion Nate described himself as being “inside proud” and remembered headmaster Boyden’s words “Be worthy of your heritage”, which he said made him try harder. Nathan Hunt Palmer has left an incredible legacy of humility and hard work. He will be missed every day.

There will be no services, however, if you would like to honor Nate, make sure your next handshake is firm and always remember to look people right in the eye.

A few of Nate’s favorite organizations:

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