|By Joe Winchester||
|April 25, 2006 11:00 AM EDT||
When someone in a corporate boardroom decides what their IT strategy is going to be, it isn't based on what language or software architecture they will use, but on how a system can provide value to their business. Very few organizations buy their hardware and OS first, and then tool up to write a bespoke solution that meets their business needs. In my first job I worked for a software house that built specialized insurance applications. Companies put out tenders for business that we responded to, and whether our products or a competitors' were chosen was based on the value proposition in the boardroom. The hardware, platform, and application server were dragged into the sale because they were required by the solution, but the app was always the endpoint that drove the purchase. As a software house we provided different configurations of the app that ran on different platforms and middleware. This was done for several reasons: to ensure we didn't have a dependency on a vendor lower down the stack and get maximum leverage by playing them off each other and also because some companies would standardize on a particular platform due to existing applications or an IT infrastructure that needed to be adhered to.
What has occurred over time is that companies have a myriad of applications sold to them by different vendors, perhaps one for HR, another for supply chain, some customer relationship management, accounting apps, and so forth. The stack of middleware, operating systems, and hardware that runs beneath the apps is often a mixed bag whose entropy increases as corporations merge or acquire one another. The IT check that gets written each year gets shared across everyone involved in the pie and the total cost of ownership grows as everyone takes their slice. The mismatch of heterogeneous applications and corporate data makes the overall business picture chaotic and sometimes anarchic.
One solution to the problem of heterogeneous and disparate systems is to migrate and consolidate on a single architecture. The problem with this pangaea is that it's very costly and difficult to achieve and adds very little core value to the business. Whenever I attend an event where customers and IT companies mix together, I'm always puzzled by the dichotomy: on the one hand the latest technology and software releases are being peddled by the vendors, while the IT departments are often several releases behind and are perfectly happy to remain on the existing infrastructure. What usually forces them to migrate is when a particular feature is only available in a newer release; in reality they'd be happy to just get the value the feature gave them in their existing version. A bad migration experience that cost someone a few weekends might be at the root of their reluctance to move, coupled with the adage "don't fix what ain't broke." A bank I talked to recently admitted to having three 40-year old Dec PDP 11 machines that they need to move to a new data center, but are reluctant to touch because they haven't powered down since 1995. They're not alone in being a highly successful business that, given the choice, would rather allow the status quo of systems to remain. They're happy to add value by growing the communication and sharing each application's individual value. In a nutshell I think this is basically what service-oriented architecture is all about - by recognizing this need and providing an architecture where, instead of having a big central application onto which everyone migrates to, the end-points publish their functionality and communicate directly with each other.
There was a time when Java tended to position itself as being the answer to the given problem, whatever the question was. Conference presentation foils peddled architectures with a J2EE application server in the middle, while other systems took part by using JCA and JMS. This Java-centric view, however, doesn't necessarily work well in all scenarios such as where a back-end database becomes bottlenecked by unoptimized fine-grained SQL calls thrown at it by the app server's EJBs. When I first heard about Web services, the explanation given was that they were "HTML pages for non carbon-based life forms." The simplicity of usage and large-grained transaction-based nature of the Web could now be enjoyed by programs talking to each other at a functional level. To enjoy this freedom, the existing enterprise applications need only publish their services at a sensible level of abstraction, and no longer have to learn Java protocol to play with the middleware. Java will play in this space, as there is still the need for application middleware to handle the routing, scaling, and management of the service calls. What it means for J2EE is that it will no longer be at the center of a Copernican middleware universe, as data will now flow in all directions and the real value comes from adding new applications, not at the top of the stack, but in the middle to glue, mediate, broker, and analyze. Java must reposition itself to play in this heterogeneous topology, not by asking to run everywhere and have others understand its model of programming, but instead to consume existing technologies and treat them as first class peers. Java can no longer view its being ported to each and every legacy platform as an end-game strategy of engulfing and extinguishing the existing apps. Instead, perhaps JVM architecture needs be extended to natively support other languages so disparate programs can run side-by-side in the same physical application space. Rather than the app server attempting to tackle difficult tasks such as batch or DRDA, perhaps Java needs to be able to speak more tongues, with the end game being to embrace the existing languages, APIs, and protocols already in place.
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 26, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 129
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Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 26, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 278
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 26, 2015 09:45 AM EST Reads: 358
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 26, 2015 09:30 AM EST Reads: 367
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 471
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 26, 2015 08:45 AM EST Reads: 261
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 26, 2015 06:45 AM EST Reads: 393
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 26, 2015 06:15 AM EST Reads: 299
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Nov. 26, 2015 03:45 AM EST Reads: 691
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 26, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 305
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Nov. 26, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 191
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Nov. 26, 2015 01:30 AM EST Reads: 436
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Nov. 26, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 527
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Nov. 26, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 287
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 26, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 488
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Nov. 25, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 397
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 25, 2015 09:00 PM EST Reads: 369
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Nov. 25, 2015 08:30 PM EST Reads: 370
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 25, 2015 05:00 PM EST Reads: 304