|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.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
Oct. 1, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 865
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Oct. 1, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,188
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.
Oct. 1, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 5,539
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Oct. 1, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,272
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Oct. 1, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,339
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Oct. 1, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 647
Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of companies worldwide-from publishers and broadcasters, to enterprises, marketing agencies and household-name brands. Building on its established design leadership, Adobe enables customers not o...
Oct. 1, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 643
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Oct. 1, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,110
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
Oct. 1, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,813
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Oct. 1, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 319
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
Oct. 1, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,336
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Oct. 1, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 888
24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to connect your brand strategy with the right consumer. 24Notion ranked #12 on Corporate Social Responsibility - Book of List.
Oct. 1, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 641
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Oct. 1, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,734
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
Oct. 1, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 729
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Oct. 1, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 535
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
Oct. 1, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,217
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Oct. 1, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,333
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridharabalan, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, Inc., will focus on key challenges in building an Internet of Things solution infrastructure. He will shed light on efficient ways of defining interactions within IoT solutions, leading to cost and time reduction. He will also introduce ways to handle data and how one can develop IoT solutions that are lean, flexible and configurable, thus making IoT infrastructure agile and scalable.
Oct. 1, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,690
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Oct. 1, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,452