|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.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Sep. 1, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 463
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.
Aug. 31, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 373
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Aug. 31, 2015 07:00 PM EDT
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Aug. 31, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 246
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Aug. 31, 2015 03:15 PM EDT
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 144
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 464
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 422
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Aug. 31, 2015 12:00 PM EDT
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 31, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 898
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Aug. 31, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 234
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Aug. 31, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 165
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Aug. 31, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 667
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Aug. 31, 2015 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 309
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so they don't have to be replaced and are instantly converted to become smart, connected devices.
Aug. 31, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 127
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Aug. 31, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 431
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Aug. 28, 2015 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 223
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Aug. 26, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 198
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 560
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 490