Through the Looking Glass: A Journey with Liquidware Labs, VMware, Dell and Google

I come from a small town, but I have always tried to think big thoughts. I think we should all challenge ourselves to think things we used to dream impossible — it’s where the innovation and the magic come from.

We started Liquidware Labs with a vision of eventually touching every one of the 700 million Windows desktops in the enterprise in some way, shape or form with our solutions:

· Stratusphere FIT for Assessment
· ProfileUnity for User Environment Management
· FlexApp to compliment Application Delivery Strategy
· Flex-IO for IOPS and Disk Latency Optimization
· Stratusphere UX for User Experience Validation

Our aim was to create a best-of-breed, cost effective and scalable portfolio. We are very proud of the work we have done. And 5 million desktops later, we think we are off to a damn good start… with much more to come!

So, you can imagine my surprise and enthusiasm when VMware reached out and asked us to participate in the work they were doing with Google and Dell. We have been great partners with VMware and Dell for half a decade—working side-by-side on some of the largest and most demanding desktop projects on the planet. But Google? This was indeed a brave new world. After learning our part, it became clear this was going to be an exciting journey. To say the world has and will change is an understatement; one to end all understatements!

Look Before You Leap
I want to start with a proposition that most things in life are best done with what I call “informed decisions using deliberate data.” I see a pot boiling on the stove. I know not to reach in. I hear my dog scratching at the door. I know to let him in (or he will get into the garbage cans). I get an email from a Prince in Khazatziterkistan urging me to claim my lost inheritance. I know to hit delete.

However, in the world of technology we get enchanted — mesmerized almost — when we hear about something new. We feel compelled to try to apply this technology to a problem. If I was, in fact, a wise man, I should be doing just about anything else. But if I were a wise man, I would identify the problem I want to solve, then apply the technology to solve it. Only then asking myself, using which technology? When? In what amount? For whom?

So I bring our new friends at Google into the story, by and through a Google Maps analogy. For the record, I love Google Maps. The ability to get turn-by-turn directions, estimated time of arrival, traffic, food, gas details, re-routing when I forget to listen… this is all just short of magic in my book. However, that one question Google always asks, “Where do you want to Start?” That one question is so vitally important to the solution’s ability to provide you with turn-by-turn directions, that we overlook it sometimes. I almost always choose “Current Location.”

Think of this in the context of your IT problem solving. You know you have a problem. You know there exist a ton of solutions that MIGHT fix it, or bring you closer to resolution. You know there are super smart people in your organization, including your partners and vendors that can help. And yet, I would submit to you that NONE of them will get you to your final destination, help you with your turn-by-turn project plan, help re-route you when you run into “traffic,” without knowing where you are beginning your journey—your Current Location.

So, this brings us back to the idea of informed decisions using deliberate data. You have to know your Current Location or in this case, the Current State of your end users. The good news is that this is why VMware, Dell and Google tapped us on the shoulder (well, one of many reasons). Liquidware Labs, with a small deployment of software, can define your current location. That is, we can define your current location from a provisioned and consumed (used) technology perspective.

Imagine knowing what is on every laptop, under every cubicle, installed on every hard drive and… what is used across your data center and network in electron-microscopic detail. How powerful would it be to know what your users have today? What are they actually using today? Where are they? This will prepare you in immeasurable ways to begin to define your journey, and help you with those turn-by-turn directions.

Stratusphere FIT has touched millions and millions of Windows desktops, providing those turn-by-turn details to put them on the right path and help IT thought leaders, project managers, solution providers and manufacturers by providing full visibility and the deliberate data necessary to define the Current Location. With this information, not only can we make informed decisions, we can avoid making bad ones. While our work with Google is just beginning, the implications to the enterprise will compel us all to think big.

Use this notion of informed decisions using deliberate data, and I am sure you will find it to be just shy of magic in your next project.

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