Podcast: Brian & Gabe discuss FUIT with Chetan Venkatesh

Chetan Venkatesh is the founder and CTO of Atlantis Computing.


We welcomed Chetan Venkatesh (@chetan_) into the BGLive Studios. Chetan is the founder and CTO of Atlantis Computing, as well as a two- (or three-?) time BriForum speaker.

We discussed some consumerization issues and how we came up with FUIT.






Brian:    – so in our last twelve minutes here, let’s kind of shift gears, and get away from talking about VDI and IOPs, and user installed apps and that kind of stuff.  Gabe, talk about the series of articles that you just started on consumerize IT.  It’s our new FUIT series. 

Gabe:    So this is – when we started the talk about having a consumerization web site it was what, maybe May, somewhere in there, and the whole time we’re like man, we’ve got to go FUIT.com because this whole consumerization thing is about saying *** you to IT, and like so we have to go get this, and then we gotta have – maybe we make it – maybe we have two sites, maybe we have one site that is like articles and blog posting stuff, and we have FUIT.com that is all about screwing the man.  How to actually say FU to IT and that kind of thing, and eventually we never really did get the go ahead to do that, and so what we decided to do is when we launched a consumerization web site, we would just have a little corner of it for the FUIT topic, and so that’s what we did.

                We kind of started this, it's just a tag in our system.  We can go to a tag landing page, and see everything that has this FUIT topic, and in there we’re gonna keep a list of all the different ways that people are circumventing IT policy.  And so my, the very first post in there is an introduction like I just said, and the second post is about how people can use email or can get around their company’s corporate email restriction policy, people who we know, but may or may not be us.

                And in those situations, the article that is up there specifically deals with a low, a very small mailbox size, a low attachment size and a very short retention period, and how all you have to do to circumvent that is to just set up a rule to direct all your email off to a Gmail account where you have tons of storage, and a 25 meg attachment, and it will retain that for as long as you want.  And so, but we’ve done it in kind of a snarky way with a fake company, and we made an enemy called the Powers, and so the Powers will be our common enemy throughout all these FUIT posts that we do ongoing.  I’m shooting for one a week.


Brian:    And yeah, it’s funny.  Where oh where did we get the ideas for having to get around an IT system?  So because the idea is – because this is the whole thing on consumerzation anyway because a lot of people – as I started talking about consumerization, and saying that users can kind of do whatever they want, the audience that I talk to mostly is IT pros and desktop admins and people like, and there’s always some percentage in the audience who’s like ,no not happening, we’re in control, and I’m just thinking man if you think it’s not happening, that’s – you just don’t know.

                Like I promise you it’s not even – and then we find also the people like in our case, this is where this whole FUIT thing comes from because they say well, you know, like at our company we have a SSL-VPN, but you have to have the right antivirus, and all this kind of stuff just to get your file shares and your file share and then you know what’s our solution?  So we just use Dropbox, and they block Dropbox so you just type a proxy in Dropbox that we run from home.  That’s –

Gabe:    And we talked about it before too where you – when you joined Tech Target, and went to a San Francisco office, nobody even knew what HTTP over RPC or whatever the Outlook – using Outlook, pure Outlook without connecting the VPN.  And nobody knew what that was, but we used it at the old company, and so you – we figured out how to set our Outlook up to connect via that, and then all of a sudden everybody – now nobody uses the VPN to connect to their email.  And so all it takes is one person to do this, and then everybody does it.  Once somebody discovers that all you have to do is drive around the security gate, then everybody is gonna drive around the security gate.

Brian:    – that’s a picture of Jim.  That’s you colleague.  Jim posted a picture of a little gate across a road and, but it was in the snow, so you could see all the tire tracks in the snow driving around the gate cause it was literally just a gate and a road, but the field next to the road had no fence.

Gabe:    Yeah, it’s similar to the one that we use in presentations.  I think we’re gonna have to switch it though cause Jim’s is way better.

Brian:    Yeah.

Chetan:   This is where I get excited about a product like Horizon because I think in many ways what it's gonna do is give the suits a friendly face, and at least satisfy some of the user population that today is saying FUIT.  If you can put an App store inside every corporation, at every enterprise, and allow a syndication process for Apps to be brought in by the IT organization.  And I think IT organizations, fundamentally just, you know it’s the typical set of human reactions.  The first human reaction always anger, the second one is denial, the third one is depression, the fourth one is acceptance, and the fifth one is let’s do something about it right.

                Every organization, every IT organization does exactly the same thing, and so when your blindsided, and the first thing to do is to get angry about it, and force it in a heavy handed way, then to get depressed about it, then deny it, etcetera.  They do the same exact things, but ultimately the constructive way to solve that is to get behind the users, otherwise your just gonna fail that job.  And so I think Horizon and that whole set of tools, Citrix Dazzle for example, I don't know what happened to that. 

Brian:    It's now built in – what the functionality of what Dazzle was is built into the Citrix receiver platform, so it’s just called receiver now. 

Chetan:                It’s fantastic because that is gonna allow that syndication process, and that provisioning process to get behind enabling users, so if you want drop box, you want some service out on the cloud, you’re gonna get it, but you’re gonna get it in a way that makes everyone comfortable.  So I don’t necessarily –

Gabe:    Yeah, I don't think people –

Chetan:                – Sorry go ahead, Gabe.

Gabe:    – sorry, I don’t think that people are out there trying to maliciously get around IT policies or business policies or whatever those restrictions are there in place.  I don't think people are – there’s not that many people that are at least actively trying to circumvent them, it’s just when they are presented with the problem they just do what it takes to get their job done.

Brian:    Yeah.

Chetan:                Absolutely.

Gabe:    Yeah, I think you’re right, I think if IT embraces it I don't think – I think that will go along way for making everybody happy.

Chetan:                Yeah.

Jack:      And I think that’s an example, even if there are a lot of people trying to circumvent what IT puts in place is not because they want to do it for the sake of doing it, it's just like if they’re given the opportunity to have something else then off they would go.  And so with this site or with this FUIT column specifically, we had the initial idea of like it’d be fun to make how to guides like, how to configure Outlook RPC over HTTP.  How to use drop box instead of corporate VPN.  How to set up a proxy to use AIM at work.

Chetan:                  They’re like the pirate bay of –

Brian:    Yeah, but then we realized if we did that man, we’re gonna get every single like 15-year-old and like 60-year-old who finds it via Google, and then it’s emailing us like oh, I don’t see it because the Outlook Service Pack 2, they moved the checkbox over here, so we decided to flip it around and write it more – which is more honest and work appropriate for us anyway to make it more for IT pros to read, which is oh, by the way, here’s how your users are doing this kind of stuff.

                And I always tell the story at these events when I was visiting a fairly large, like 100,000 plus person company, and I was talking to the CIO, and she was talking about how they have all this like great policy where they block attachments from non-secured devices, so it’s like that’s how they get around security.  And then I walk out of that room with my PR person, and the first thing she does, the PR person working at this company, and the first thing she does when I was in the room is pick up her iPhone, and say yeah, yeah, yeah, no send me the presentation.  No, no, I’m on my iPhone, send it to my Gmail.

Chetan:                  Right.

Brian:    And I want to tell the CIO, like I don't want to screw the CIO, but I want to say, so you know that – and what are you gonna do block Gmail?  I mean, come on.

                So they’re gonna – like the sender has Gmail too and if you block Gmail then they’re gonna send it from their MiFi, their 3G connection, so it’s just one of those things.  So Chetan, I don't know if you have – you’ve built yourself a nice little real company.  How do you get around your internal IT stuff, or do you get like ultimate control since you’re CCO?

Chetan:                You know it’s funny, it’s a different part of the lifecycle ,and I see my company in some ways becoming that type of a company that you always make fun of.  So we’ve standardized on a laptop model,  and if you don’t want that laptop model you buy your own, but we support that thing a lot.  We’ve been cloud friendly from day one, so almost everything that we have is out on the cloud.  And it’s not gotten as crazy and heavy handed, but I certainly see people just using whatever tool makes sense for the job.

                If Dropbox makes sense, you know people screamed about the Dropbox agreement in saying they think they own all the content or something like that, and there was a lot of palpitations about that, so we made certain accommodations.  We don’t put some of our intellectual property stuff on Dropbox for example.  If you’re writing up a patent or something like that, you don’t put that on there, you put that somewhere else, so.

Brian:    You hope they don’t put that there.  You ask them nicely not to put that there.

Chetan:                  Yeah, you can and –

Brian:    I bet you patents are in Dropbox right now.

Chetan:                – you’re just basically, ultimately relying on the good sense of people to do what’s right, and you hopefully can educate them.  We’ve got – we don’t have a full-time IT guy yet.  We don’t need to because in many ways we’re –

Brian:    Yeah, good size company for no full-time IT person.

Chetan:                – we’ve got a part-time guy, and it's just because that we sort of said use the right tool for the job, and try and educate people about what the dangers are.  That’s about the extent I think you can do.  It's like parenting man, I mean ultimately if your kids gonna go and smoke weed, he’s gonna go smoke weed.  All that you can do is educate them, and give them the best of everything, and hope that they make the right decision, so.

Brian:    If we give them the best pot –

Chetan:   Well you could tell –

Brian:    – good parents don’t let their kids smoke ditch weed.

Chetan:                – I don't know, you know it’s basically like you have to give up that illusion of control.

Brian:    Well, I tell a story.  We had a family in our neighborhood growing up where the parents allowed their high school age kids drink in their own basement, and they took away the keys, and they kind of said the same thing like hey, they’re gonna drink anyway, so I’d rather have them drinking and puking in my own basement instead of driving around running away from people which is a very controversial thing, but all those kids who are down there are still alive today.

Chetan:                Right.

Brian:    And I hate to be so crass on that, but that was it.  So in our last minute or so Chetan, I want to ask you, I want to revisit something that we talked about earlier that a couple of folks in the chat who just asked if you can quantify the 50/50 between the Xendesktop and VM View.  And so I think –

Gabe:    I think they want us to quantify that.

Brian:    – well, yeah so –

Gabe:    Since we’re independent.

Brian:    – well, I mean is it – so what your saying 50/50 View versus desktop is this – what your proofs of concept, new deployments because I think people are surprised that View has such a large market share from what you’re saying, again just what you’re seeing personally.

Chetan:  So most of our production deployments are driven by Xendesktop simply because of the presence it had before.  A lot of the POCs now are view based, so 50/50 is more reflective of some of the initiatives, some of the new POCs etcetera.  What we tend to see with larger deployments are they’re Xendesktop based because of that form architecture, etcetera allows you to do whatever.  And I think View will sort of catch up, and get there as you start to see these rollouts.  But 50/50 really is a POC perspective, not production deployment.  A lot of production is still on Xendesktop, yeah.  


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