The Future of the Internet, with John Roese, the Global CTO of Products and Operations at Dell Technologies
John roos is the global chief technology officer of Products Nixon operations at Dell technologies and. He's helping guide the company on its journey as one of the largest and most influential in the tech world from hyper connectivity to five G. to computing impugning the edge. John says that Dell Technologies has had a hand in it all and each of those innovations will eventually change the internet and the world as a whole he explains all all of that and more on this episode. It visionaries is created by the team at Michigan Dot Org and brought to you by the salesforce customer three sixty platform the number one cloud platform for digital transformation of every experience build connected experience empower every the employees and deliver continuous innovation with a customer. At the center of everything you do learn more at salesforce dot com slash platform welcome to another episode of it. Visionaries I mean phase on chief continents are here mission dot Org and we have on the other line John. What's going on too much as usual? Busy as usual. Indeed will you have been traveling all over the world talking about amazing things amazing technologies and today Rachi and talk a little bit about yourself. So how did you get started in technology Yeah I I I have Let's call a bit on the technical side since birth. I think you know I was one of those people that had every computer pre x eighty six. You can imagine I still have to UK pros in my basement which are sepia machines for the real geeks out there but the bottom line. Is You know when I went to university kind of flipped. A coin between the law and engineering literally flipped a coin and sometimes I joked that I lost and it landed on engine off I went in. I started at a company called cable tron systems in the Late nineteen eighties early. Nineteen nineties was growing at turned out to be kind of fifty percent of the lear. One layer two networking world and progress there all the way to the CTO PTO And then just continued on that journey. I don't took a cable tron into a different phase with terrorists and then Left there after he took private went over and became the CTO broadcom's the semiconductor. Spanish then went from there over to Canada to be the CTO and head of our for Nortel in Canada oh just telecom optical unified communications. Then what night moved on from. There went over to run advanced technology. For the largest Chinese Technology Company in the world one the news quite a bit alcohol Wa and then the one that was minding my own business in California working for wow way and EMC called me up and said Hey. We're looking to do a big shuffle and we need a new. CTO Are you interested. That sounds fun. I remember telling Joe Tucci that the reason I'm interested as I predicted nece at eight years ago that we would end up right right in the middle of a hurricane company was likely to be in the middle of the action. Turns out ride was if I was right at that time and then about four years ago we announced a combination of Delon. EMC and we put the two companies. Together I lead the technology integration. The two and Now here we are as technologies the largest infrastructure structure. It provider in the world. Some journey. Yeah you know when people think of Del obviously with such strong consumer brand And you know laptops all over the world Hardware all over the world. This Dell Technologies is really the center for Innovation and Has All of these amazing things going on. I'm curious like what's the scope of your role as global. CTO adult technologies. What what are you all working on the year excited about? Yeah sometimes joke that my job is to make sure technologies doesn't drive off a cliff because we missed technology inflection. You know a lot of roles I'm the chairman of the cloud foundry foundation responsible for the overarching technology activity in terms of the especially the longer term advanced technology work But but but but at the bottom line it's liberal the CTO and a very large company like this is is making sure that our strategies activities are insights. All the way to Michael are are aware of what's coming next. This is a this thing about technology industry you have to keep moving. Standing still is a bad thing effect. It's a death sentence in most is for most companies We understand that but when you're in motion Moving without let's call it a radar to understand what's coming at you and and to be able to assess and understand how to navigate. The technology or system is incredibly dangerous spots of examples. Where people you know got enamored with technology bet on it and it turned turned out to be the wrong one? And if you're a small company I guess you can recover Or maybe you can't but with a company of our scale we have to do that across a massive set of technologies back today. My my my remit is really helping us develop strategies to navigate everything from edge to five G. TO A. I the the the next generation of cloud environments to the data ecosystem. There's just a huge surface area of emerging technology challenges coming at US and my job using a combination of open innovation traditional research. Collaboration and Industry Coordination with our businesses is to make sure that we had in the right direction as we navigate. All of these interesting interesting L.. Let's call it inflections. That are coming at us. Yeah you know one of those one of those inflections That you've you've talked about and I would love to hear you You know explain more to our audience is the future of the Internet a A loaded loaded question for sure but But you've talked about this in the past. I'm curious like what do you believe is the future of the Internet. Yeah Yeah you know it depends on the time frame it funny enough. I was a I was at the fiftieth anniversary of the Internet. Event event at at Mit about a two months ago and Me and Bob Metcalfe the creator of Ethernet a long time ago were on closing panel and they they asked us to predict the Internet fifty years from now which by the way anybody trying to predict anything. Fifty years out is at best guessing. But that being said you know we had a good a discussion about what we think is gonNA happen. You know. There's there's a number of things that are going to occur because of the internet which is broad connective everything. The first obviously is that that connective is going to grow in. It's going to become much more of a intelligence system right now we kind of interact with the network. We tell it what what to do. And it works on our behalf to some degree but it doesn't understand us what's happening is the networks and the communication systems and even the cloud infrastructures are starting to become Aware of what we're trying to do. They are taking over work that we historically would have to do. And they're working on our behalf whether that's with smart assistance like Alexis in series and Google Voice. He's just the world or whether it's a I in her business process that that is intrinsic to the Internet intelligence being pushed into the net into the cloud beyond that and we know that the result of this hyperactivity is going to allow us to do things in very different ways that will change the way we experience life. Our user experiences grants which is a great example we gave at that event was imagined collaborative. A is working together and the example. We were talking about was imagine sitting in a classroom. You know a bunch of students. uh-huh observing a a professor and taking notes and it sounds like a very benign thing. But in the hyper connected world this future of the Internet imagine if in the room with you was this is maybe everybody had their own personally. I and those things were actually gathering information that you didn't gather they were looking over your shoulder if you will taking notes for you doc. But more importantly they were working together and when all was said and done in that lecture was over the actual notes. The information you had wasn't just information. Use the collective wisdom Adam analyzed and digested into something very consumable in real time because the is in the system because all of the activity was there between the people in that room there's this concept of collaborative technology that we talk about but large doesn't exist but the Internet and it's connected state and the moving of compute into it gives us the ability to do those kinds of things connected. Cars are not just connected to us. They're connected to each other. That is a function of the future of the Internet when that happens. You get an N.. Squared Weird advantage in a one twenty one hundred instead of one plus one equals two and so for us. That's the most exciting thing now. Huge challenges run a create a lot of data. We're GONNA process more days than we ever seen. We're going to have more bandwith where ever gonNA ever experienced or contemplated and we have to scale this thing to basically build infrastructure to make this happen but assuming we do that. It's GONNA be pretty exciting. What's going to happen in terms of this collaborative experience between people and machines that will characterize this hyper connected Internet of the future and how does five? AG play into that if five G. Super Important for for a couple of reasons the three things that are coming in five G. the most people don't understand what one of them they do too they don't the first is yes. We're going to have more bandwith in five G.. It's going to be faster than forgery. Because of the frequency spectrum that operates in because of their radio technology involved alternate and so we'll have faster pipes which is good means. We can put more things into a mobile environment and process more data. The two things that people aren't aware of that's coming with five. The first is fine jewelry. The I will call cloud friendly wireless network today when we deal with cellular. Just see it as a pipe. It doesn't actually participate anticipate in our applications. It's just just bandwith in five G. because of a thing called network slicing and programmable interfaces you as a user an it he professional as cio when you contemplate the pulling your application in the past at best you could do is get some connectivity over four G. Five G. World you'll be able to specify the behavior collectively you'll be able to decide that that particular application needs real time it's incredibly important and instead of just hoping it gets it from the cellular environment your cloud I would. Experience will actually instruct the five G. Experience to set up and dedicate bandwith create a network sliced. Push things all the way out to the mobile device so that entire end to end system will be participating and then lastly five G. will be the first place where we actually see the manifestation of a kind of global edge this idea of compute out in the real world. In real time. Now it will happen in many other places but it won't be a global kind of footprint or national footprint before it happens in five G. The thing that makes that important right now if. You're an innovator if even if you're a CIO and you have a problem to solve the problem requires real time time being the time between an event and the action you have to take is. Let's say five or ten milliseconds incredibly fast way faster than you could accomplishment moving back to a public it cloud or in your data center If you talk about the real world if you want to deal with that today you quite frankly either have to just hope the device itself as autonomous and nothing can do this or no. You can't do it when we have edges being built especially five G. Edges and they start to look like clouds. Now you'll be able to push applications and workloads into a a consumable as a service cloud a new kind of cloud and edge cloud that will allow you to get access to effectively infinite capacity out in those real time comment on that all sounds very academic. But there's already examples of the disruptions coming. Google has a project called Stadia. Stadium is going to disrupt in their opinion. And I think that's probably true the gaming industry because what they're doing is they're basically thinning out the device saying you can get a full blown game experience on a chromebook because you don't the processing on the chromebook because we're gonNA move the processing literally one hop into the network to the edge in real time and by doing that you suddenly have a really interesting disruption occurring because if you look at the global footprint of gaming consoles on average they probably around one percent utilization to have ninety nine percent of the hardware capacity just sitting their idle most the time hypothesis. Well if you move all of that compute cast in aggregate but still keep it in that kind of fifty millisecond real time boundary now all that hard work and run. And I dunno let's say ninety five percent utilization which means that you effectively we'll be able to reduce the cost of gaming if you're successful with this by upwards of ninety five hi percent on the hardware and power consumption side that's a very powerful disruption. There's still a lot of work to be done but the first of many that are going to happen because edge connective capacity in the computer world is present so that you know very exciting for us and You Know Five G. is the first place where those things happen. Not The only place but it's incredibly incredibly important to watch because it will characterize a faster more intelligent and more real time internet that's forming that we're going to run our businesses on. So do you feel like. We're in a Transitional phase now do you feel like like in for it. Do you feel like we're at the CUSP. Before something something bigger we already into it. Yeah Yeah we're already into it actually about two years ago. There's a lot of transitions that go on in our industry but the look at the macro going on right now about seven years ago most enterprise CIO's most business people in the IT. World and many of the technologists started to have this belief that we were heading towards an era era of centralization. We were going to basically take all the it all over the world things in our factories in hospitals and small sites and sales offices. And we were GONNA shove it all into something. The thing in the center in this case maybe division was a single mega cloud that you know one public cloud somewhere else that somebody would run for you in the world would be simple and we'd we lived in that world to be perfectly honest. People believe that was the destination for probably about the last seven years but about two years ago when terms like Iot started materialize and the first edge discussions happened and people started to use the word smart in front of things like factories and hospitals and cities. They realized that you can't do it that way. In fact centralization wouldn't work because the speed of light still applies laws of physics apply. You need real time processing behavior. Creating more data than any any data center in the world could support and so two years ago. We transitioned into the phase. We're in now which is a a a a belief that will actually have decentralized apologies inning. We will push that apology into the real world into the factories into the cities into the hospitals will still be using public clouds. Private data centers SASS providers and even the Five G. infrastructure will be part of this but it will be very distributed but it's behavior will be orchestrated as a multi cloud now these are all buzzwords but they characterize changed a two years ago. The word multi cloud didn't exist distributed was a bad word centralized was what it was all about public clouds. Centralization were the thought process that most people. We're believing. Today I enlarged two years into this shift. Most customers have realized that they will be building multiple cloud environment they needed to make it work like a system and the topology it runs on will not be in one centralized data center. It will be distributed across core edge and a public cloud environment That's a big shift because it changes your strategy. Five years ago you might as head. I'm just going all in with this. Particular cloud provider. I'M GONNA turn my private environment into a private cloud. Run everything everything they are today. That just simply isn't how things are going to play out and it requires you to build different relationships. Invest in the management orchestration layer and the user experience across a multi cloud end incorporate. New Technologies like five g. into your thinking so it's a big shift for people problem is we. Don't have a big announcement in industry that says the transition has begun in fact those people to that transition and are now just starting to realize that things are different today than they were two years ago. But if you take a step back you can see about two years ago. We transitioned out of the centralized single cloud to rule them all phase to the decentralized distributed multi cloud world that. We're probably going to live in for probably the next decade. So is this like the answer to cloud is more clouds E it's more clouds behaving like a system that that second piece is the most most important thing people need to understand today. And what we what we've learned you know is most people are well underway on their digital journey. They're they're they're deploying pointing a either creating modern code. They're building new experiences and as they did that started to accumulate cresent in multiple clouds more clouds surge clouds different public clouds private cloud environments. What's interesting is they started to realize that they went down that journey that digital transformation requires this level of innovation and the cloud environments public-private edge? Give us the capability to do that. But if we end up with a collection of random clouds as our infrastructure and no way way to coordinate across it and to make it into a system the exponential increasing hey office and effort that materializes is just overwhelming and so the thing that people are really struggling with right now. It's definitely what technologies just focused on is. We don't need to create more clouds. There's plenty of them. What we need to do is create unification -cation technology we need to create environments in which those clouds can actually talk to each other with consistent software defined networking? They can communicate and share applications with things like Kuban Eddie's knees across public private clouds they even need to have visibility and an oak management orchestration capability that allows you to to see the telemetry and understand understand the health of the multi cloud not just individual clouds or the economic cost of applications in the multi cloud. That's new as probably only a year here but that seems to be where we're shifting our effort to accept that you will use different clouds because they're just pulls a capability and you're going to need lots of capability but if you do it if if you stop there and don't have a strategy to pull them together and make them operate as a system as you have more problems to solve. You'll have more diverse infrastructure and that diversity will conventionally overwhelm you without a unification strategy which is really what things like our Delta colleges cloud strategy in our work in Kuban Eddie's SDN environments are all about you're responsible about five years ago as as Dell. EMC started moving to open stack. Can you kind of just talk through that that kind of process that journey yea open sources and interesting five years ago You know we says. EMC obviously we had the MC and VM. Ware was part of our portfolio along with a lot of other pieces. And and then this this initiative popped up called open stack open stack. Was You know an open source initiative kind of build a cloud stack now. The reality is open stack outside of the telecom sector a few large enterprises largely kind of faded away. But there's lessons learned about how you participate. In fact I when I when I came into the company there was very much a open source is bad. Add because we you know it's free and somebody told me that the best way to think about it is You know the way they think about free. Software in the traditional world is not ought to think of it as free beer but to think of it as free speech and what we mean by that is there is an economic model underneath open source software. It's designed to be monetize taste. It's just the modernisation different. It's not designed to D- monetize the world what it's really designed to do is try to open communities so that you can apply intellect from a lot of different replaces to solve these big problems and so back. Five years ago I was the guy that said look open. Stack is competitive and but their customers that are gonNA use it but more importantly we see that there's is potentially API's and functions. That are going to happen. There that will be interesting to us and might standardize certain layers and so so I actually had to work through our legal department worked through the ticket of game and convince everybody that we should participate especially in the storage World Cup the largest storage provider in the world and so we began contributing to cinder and swift left Manila storage initiatives inside of open stack we contributed IPR. We had never done that before we allowed people to use our consistency grew by bureau and other capabilities And and all that did was suddenly allowed our customers to stop thinking. There's this binary choice you have to make closed source proprietary commercial software software or open source in fact and what's happened is after that as we progressed we've seen more of this blurring in the sources of innovation around software in our ecosystem have really now become two sources. There is internal commercially developed technology. That comes from a vendor like us that provides a proprietary closed system and those are very good very important but in many cases we either build it with or surrounded with or incorporate into it open source initiatives that fundamentally allow us us to address a broader industry a great example is our our VX rail product which is the the. It's Eric hyper converged. Easy Way to consume infrastructure infrastructure in kind of blocked blocksize building blocks. I guess interestingly enough today when you buy X. Rail you get it with the hardware and the software very primarily. VM ware to basically make it be a unit of infrastructure. But on top of that there are options that add things like cloud foundry cloud foundry is open one source initiative or Kuban Hetty is an open source initiative that allow you to now not just have a closed proprietary system but maybe a stable platform but a collection of open source tools that allow you to participate in broader ecosystems and get access to things like open container management or open platforms for your cloud native applications and so the lesson learned is if we stayed in the old world which was open sources is diametrically opposed to a commercial offer business. We would be in a much different place than we are today. Instead by embracing it and starting with open stack and bring things Open Stack API's into VM. Ware and then progressing into cloud foundry and then progressing into Cooper Canetti's of which now we're one of the largest contributors to that project and are rolling out across our entire portfolio. We actually are ending up with multiple sources of innovation coming together in a platform and the net result is the customer gets a much or capable system that happens to come from different innovation models and different methodologies but our job obvious to put it all together and opening your eyes to this is important. I think the public clouds are going through that exercise right now. Most of the industry has now matured to this point open source and closed source are not diametrically opposed they are just two sources of innovation to build infrastructure and to be perfectly honest good companies know how to use them both to me a little a little bit about your role with cloud foundry because I think that this is something that some of our listeners might be familiar with my not be but it's an absolutely phenomenal phenomenal organization. Yeah cloud foundry is a clever is a project that was created in Vietnam are actually as part of before pivotal existed and then we essentially really when we create a pivotal as business when out of EMC and VM. Ware We open sourced the project. And what what cloud foundry is is the largest open source platform as a service now. Interestingly enough when people hear platform as service they get confused about what what are we talking about. Because inside side of that platform there's container management and there's there's a service mashes and there's all these underlying infrastructure components but then on the top level. There's Bill Bill Patch language for development tools. This idea that you know. It's really easy for software developer to build a really complex application and put it into production and so A- as we started the cloud foundry journey there was no such thing as a platform available so it was the first one to materialize and it it covered the infrastructure side also covered the developer for experience. Some you know some people use a devops. devops is two words. It's development operations cloud foundry. Did both it did the development It made development woman easy of the applications and operating those applications across a multi cloud world possible is the only thing that could do that for cloud native applications. Anyway we brought it out in the open source got a credit of foundation. I've been the chair of that foundation since we created it And people like IBM and HP AND CISCO AND SAP and Oh you know go. Through Swisscom and Home Depot. There's huge numbers of companies that joined that foundation and interestingly enough today probably close I half of the introduction. Composite Cloud native applications in the world are running on cloud foundry. IBM Blue Max. Shoes ever new name for it now but it's just everywhere the funny thing is as it's matured. What's happened is we no longer have to do everything? Inside of cloud foundry so couple of actually less than a year ago. We made it announcement that said. Hey the devops world are now starting to separate a little bit so cloud foundries mission. Going forward is to continue to be the development environment environment that people use to build these positive cloud native applications in collections of applications is micro services with their. API's all working as a system to deliver some liberal something like a mobile experience or the interface insure cable systems or some of the largest cable operators or or the platform to manage logistics for the US Air Force A it is all based on cloud foundry implementation but we recognize just underneath there while we used to do all the container management ourselves and other industry ecosystem. Because just called Kuban Eddie's materialized and so he announced his a well why don't we just incorporate Kuban Eddie's into this system and separate devops a little bit further and now that's a little detail most people don't need to know but what it shows is that as we progress. Forward cloud foundry is a great example that the most important thing we needed to build was a path where a developer upper could go into production quickly and in fact cod foundries still to this day provides the easiest you create a set of applications. You get y'all development tools. The built Environment Abe Guy Management. But when you actually want to invoke that application it's literally a command called cf Kush and the applications psyche and it gets pushed into production. You don't even think think about how that happened. And if you want to scale it you need more instances of it it's command like cf scale number on the application. It's that number is ten thousand. He infrastructure just goes goes off and builds ten thousand instances. It makes sure they're running it. Make sure if they failed their recovered. It is predictable. All of this capability which many people think is the future of the industry has been available and things like cloud foundry for now going on four or five years but it's a great example of that in certain areas specifically very the advanced cloud native development. There's a lot of tools and technology that most of the industry most customers haven't used yet and those technologies are moving and progressing and advancing dancing and my advice to people is as you're thinking about your software journey you need to become very educated about a broader ecosystem. That's available to you. So yeah when we when we talk due to a lot of you know technology leaders and CEOS it kind of feels like there's there's that kind of never ending journey That ongoing The escalator to the sky of digital transformation. How do you look at like maybe putting things in Chung Surin pieces Or in places so that you can kind of hit certain milestones that you need to be at like what are you talking about the people. Yeah Yeah I mean the first thing is to recognize that you're on a journey you know most people think you're you're looking for an event vent and digital transformation isn't like a point in time it's a long term journey that might go on well beyond your existence whatever role you're in so you have to look at what what's possible possible and try to figure out incremental steps in the right direction you know having a North Star is important you know and I think everybody understands going to be a you know a automotive company these days your the North Stars you better be on a path towards upon vehicles might take twenty years to get there but that's where you're Goin' interested enough that when you look at the technology you have to kind of decide we're we're the best focus areas we'll give you an example a is a fantastic one right now Most people think they look at and they think it's going to create. I don't know the Terminator Herminator or something you can do that. You can really create things that are science fiction and the reality of it. Maybe it will be able to do that at some point in your future But but when people ask me what they should do I actually tell them. The biggest application machine intelligence is improving various business processes. You have where you have to make predictable decisions by using machines to better make those decisions of places where it matters and so if you look at your business process and you find a place where if you make a good decision. There's a net positive. Make a bad decision. There's a net negative might be predicting or supply chain might be predicting demand might be in the in the case of a storage system. Managing your cash inside of the system anywhere. There's a process where decisions czar made if you could improve those decisions using machine intelligence and have a material impact it's probably worth doing. And it turns out that in many cases the actual aspirational goal of those projects is to improve that decision by maybe five percent. Now that doesn't sound very exciting except imagine if you improve the inventory management of your supply chain by five percent or imagine if in the case of our technology systems inside a power MACs a very high end enterprise storage system. You can improve shits by five percent and that doesn't sound like a lot accept cash. It has eighty times higher performance than a cache miss so improving by five percent materially changes the performance of that system without having hardware to it improving inventory management by two percent on a company like del. That has You know the largest supply chain in the technology world could be billions of dollars improving improving power consumption of a massive data centers by better light management and power management by five percent might result in one hundred million dollars in cost savings. And so we actually try talk people down and when they're on from the big aspirational goals. It's great to have them as a North Star but the way you get there is one step at a time when you look at a new technology ask ask how it might make forward progress in a way. That's material and achievable using the technology. We have today because otherwise you get overwhelmed by saying. I can't build the Terminator Ermanno today. Because I don't have all the parts to do nothing. And if you do nothing all the people who start this incremental steps of improving their processes improving their business yet ahead of you and so the the journey is a journey. There's a destination that you ought to be clear about and come up with an answer about where your long term going to end up but then the progress through that journey is really really about small bites at the apple incremental improvement to the technology and actually getting results and in fact in the IM L. says every business process you have can be improved so the ones that are most important and try to make better decisions using machine intelligence it will improve your business full stop and if you do that a number of times you eventually changed economics of your company. And its competitiveness and you'll be well on your way on that journey towards the destination of becoming a digital business in your domain. But but it's really about her of separating being the aspirational long-term goal from the tactics to get there and the tactics around technology tend to be understand well understand what's achievable today and go. What do it because those are steps to get you to bigger outcomes? That will happen later. John will it has been absolutely awesome to have you on the show. Thanks so much for joining us. Any final thoughts so fundamentally automatically in our industry keeps changing any it professional CIO IT director. Technologist who wants to stand still probably is going to find themselves uncomfortable situation choice but but but moving is good because frankly it results in in progress and so my advice to people is you know I pay attention to do. All of the technology landscape. Ask questions when you see something like five G.. Don't just you know right off ask. Is this relevant to me. Ask Her suppliers. Ask Your partners to help you understand understand. The technology but realize many technologies aren't going to matter in the near term they might be disruptive in the long term. Ai Is a great example with our near term implications long term implications in the more you as a CIO understand those technologies and how they fit in your world and what the destination is in this case maybe to build a multi cloud system as opposed to collection of random clouds. You can start to develop that strategy to to get to that point and then to do that. The journey is a series of incremental steps. Where you exploit the technology to make progress progress in improving the efficiency and effectiveness organization? You know the reason I say that is. That's in fact what technologies was built to do. We are here. You're to be the essential infrastructure company of our industry and we do that by basically helping customers on that journey and so Closing thought is looking. Okay we're all on the same journey. We built a company. Ninety two billion dollar company to help you on a journey to be part of that journey But at the end of the day the only way that we are collectively successful is if every one of our customers every business in the world becomes a better more efficient more effective more automated and provides a better our customer outcome and the the biggest tool that we have today to do that is the exploitation of technology and data and the way to do that is invested in technology and paying attention to the space. which is the dialogue? We want to be having with our customers and the area that we're focusing our innovation awesome. Thanks John Everyone should check them out and give them a follow on twitter to follow on twitter order and will link that up in the show notes. Appreciate having you on. Thanks very much take care. It visionaries is created by the team at admission dot Org and brought to you by the salesforce customer three sixty platform the number one cloud platform for digital transformation of every experience build connected experience in power every employee and deliver continuous innovation with the customer. At the center of everything you do learn more at salesforce dot com slash platform uh-huh.