Paul Lewis

Digital Transformation needs Pioneers, Colonists and Settlers

Blog Post created by Paul Lewis Employee on Aug 24, 2017



I’ve recently wondered about Pioneers, Colonists and Settlers.


It may seem pedantic, at least it might between settlers and colonists, but there is a certainly a distinct difference between those two crowds and Pioneers.   While settlers find unoccupied land, and set up shop (or a homestead), colonists build upon that land and create a colony, an extension of some other nation, assuming some sort of expanded ownership to the umbrella country.  Pioneers of course are explorers, leading into uncharted territory with the arguably unlimited risk of mind and body.  Safety being a key concern, the pioneers are likely to find ferocious animals, dreaded weather, and lots and lots of rocks.  Big, heavy rocks.  The kind of rocks that create nightmares for the petraphobic trait common is most explorers.


Undoubtedly, they display some distinct qualifying differences:


  • Settlers prefer scouted territory, and qualified land to both build and farm. Somewhere close to amenities like running clean water, and bees for honey.  They plan for themselves.  They plan to survive long perilous of potential snow and drought.  They are in for the long haul.


  • Colonists are looking to create but then to quickly expand their settlement.  To create a life like the one they represent.  They tend to focus on the community, create not just for themselves but other public services.  Post Office, Barber Shop, and of course expensive and high quality jewelry design.


  • Pioneers are looking for the new, the better, “more perfect” area to live and breath.  They are not happy settling and staying put.  They wonder if they can find more green, more soil, more culture, and more space.


Fortunately, all three groups are necessary for a growing society.  And its quite likely that your personal instincts might assign you to a certain role, based on comfort or necessity, but I wonder what factors might make you jump from Settler to Pioneer?  Or if that’s even necessary.


One (and its me) might extend this allegory to our world in IT.


Its also true that settlers, colonists and pioneers are required for IT growth and IT change over time.  By IT growth, of course I mean the introduction of new technology means, tools, and talent to move the needle on the organizational Digital Transformation program.  You know, the business innovation strategy to tackle operational and logistical efficiency de-focusing on what someone else can do better and focusing entirely on your own competitive differentiator, introducing new customer experiences to match the selling behavior with the buying behavior, and introducing new competitive business models enticing new client segments to your products and services.




Sure, we (IT) could stay the same, and watch the organization decline organically at a consistent and predictive curve, or we could evolve and keep our jobs.  My bet: you are going for the former.


Our Digital Transformation Journey, just like our pioneering journey, would need to introduce new applications and new infrastructure in a variety of deployment models to solve for those business innovations.  It seems to me that we have the same types of groups that share the same qualities as the same three groups in the Wild West of the past:


  • Settlers prefer scouted territory, deployment methods like private cloud, well understood using the same tooling and systems as traditional data centre designs, however with automation and analytics.  This deployment is meant to build the base applications set requiring hardened practices.  The physical systems are close to the operators.  The private clouds are built to last for the long haul
    • Infrastructure decisions are likely scale up, converged deployments. Out of the box automation, but with predictable scaling


  • Colonists are looking to expand their settlement.  They understand and lay groundwork within the private cloud, but also extend workloads into hybrid opportunities.  They know that they must expand into “communities of interest” and “community” hybrid clouds, sharing vertical specific best practices, and legislative governance.  Oddly enough, they also require expensive and high quality jewelry design.
    • Infrastructure decisions are likely software defined (hyper converged or rack scale), highly virtualized with automation and management extend beyond private cloud, into public and all forms of hybrid offerings


  • Pioneers are looking for the new, the better, “more perfect”.  They intentionally and purposefully deploy all applications into the Public Cloud. Pioneers are looking for unlimited capacity, to avoid the negative impact of managing in the physical world. They are looking for monthly agreements, allowing the explore better savings and more efficient offerings over time.  Replaceability becomes more important that Stability.  They are not happy settling and staying put.
    • Infrastructure decisions are per unit, per month. Consume as you go.  Scale down as necessary.


Fortunately, all three groups are necessary for a transformational journey, a  growing IT society you might say.  And it’s the reasonableness of the economics and the complexity of the architecture of the applications that likely decide which group or deployment method that is chosen, for the moment.  As we know economics and architecture changes over time, and hence re-evaluated for suitability constantly.




The obvious observation is that these decisions necessitate DIVERSITY and SIMPLICITY.

Diversity in technology of the applications purchased or built means a diversity of both the application deployment (where it goes) and infrastructure chosen (what it goes on).  Gone will be the days of standardization.  Simplicity means the necessity of a single method and tool for managing applications and infrastructure regardless of where its deployed and what infrastructure its running on.


Fortunately, we are on top of that for you.


Since I mentioned infrastructure that is “scale out, software defined (hyper converged or rack scale), highly virtualized with automation and management that crosses private, public and all forms of hybrid deployments", at VMWorld 2017, we are announcing the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) RS series, a fully integrated, software-defined data center (SDDC) rack-scale platform, powered by VMware Cloud Foundation™ and has enhanced its hyperconverged system Unified Compute Platform (UCP) HC all-flash and hybrid systems enabled non-volatile memory (NVMe) and the new sixth-generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors:  We understand and can help you solve your need for DIVERSITY (of Pioneering, Colonizing and Settling) and SIMPLICITY (of managing across that coterie).




Why?  Because we know you have Pioneers, Colonists and Settlers.  And we have the hammers, nails, tractors, water treatment plants, and solar panels to help you build that community.


I'll see you there.  With my rock collection.  Well, the small and harmless ones.  I keep the scary ones in the basement.




Closing card of rejected blog statements (note: does not mean I cant use these lines at some point in the near blog future):

  • Ladies and gentleman, and those in Coach
  • “Alright I tried”, the title of my autobiography
  • When all is said and done, would you rather be the alligator or the antelope