Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Agile Computing, CMS, SDN Journal

Java IoT: Blog Feed Post

So You Think You're Enterprise Class?

It's not what you make, it's how you act.

We’ve all known the person that believed they knew everything there was to know about topic X. In IT this person is so commonplace that I have wondered if there isn’t an advanced cloning device that spits them out on a daily basis. While this self confidence (or bravado, whichever) in the right individual, at the right time, has done some amazing things in world history and specifically in the history of computer science, most of the time it is merely annoying. When any attempt is made to explain even what the individual doesn’t know, they tend to walk away thinking you’re too dumb to understand. That passes annoying and enters dangerous. Not dangerous in the sense that someone is going to get hurt, but dangerous in the sense that this person with incomplete knowledge and overweening arrogance is working on your IT systems. Without the complete picture.

In my experience, the in-your-face “I know everything” person rarely does… Though I knew a really annoying UDB guy who really did know everything. He could do just about anything with UDB, if you could convince him it was important. He saved my project timelines more than once, because I sat through his “you’re an idiot” tirades to get him to do what needed doing. And everything he did was right when he was done. But he is the exception. I have far more anecdotes of people who had a chip on their shoulder and it wasn’t warranted. Including being lunged at in an interview I was conducting when the interviewee got a question wrong and I tried to explain why to him. I didn’t hire that guy ;-).

In IT – in business in general - it really isn’t acceptable to be this person. And yet they seem to exist at every level.

For the last few nights I have been working to get an open source library working in my environment. Normally there is nothing to this process when Java is the language – that is one of its strengths, but there were several sticky problems with this one, starting with corrupt jar files, and ending with incoherent documentation. In the end, I decided that there were other ways to tackle this problem and I had wasted enough time on the library at hand. Part of my decision absolutely was the mentality of the developers on the project. One person had posted to them “I must use Eclipse, because that is the standard for my team, and X isn’t working”. Guess what several of the developers answered? “Don’t use Eclipse, it’s stupid” (paraphrased because they’re amalgamated). NOT. HELPFUL. This poor guy was left on his own because their new “environment of the week” was all they cared about, and the vast bulk of Java developers still using Eclipse were “stupid”.

You see the same types of answers – even from commercial products – about which browser you’re using. Even today.

It’s a decade into the 21st century, browser wars hurt your organization/project, do not let your people tell enterprise customers to change toolsets, support them or don’t.

Most enterprises want a few things from products they use. Provide them, and whether open source or commercial product, they’ll use your tool when it solves their problem.

  1. Stability. The product needs to be stable, and if it isn’t, complaints need to be handled with tact. Nearly every IT product suffers stability problems at some point in its lifetime, so the tact part is very important. Tell them to do things your way, or imply that they’re stupid, and they will replace you. Maybe not today, but they will.
  2. Enough users to warrant taking a risk on your product (assuming your product is new to them). You can’t make up for users with bravado. Attract them with quality and a helping hand, or you won’t be enterprise class.
  3. Quality documentation. It no longer matters if your documentation is a big-old printed bundle, a PDF, or even a website. Most larger organizations use a mix of all three, in fact. What matters is that it exists and is usable. This is where a ton of open source projects lose out to commercial competitors. And another problem that has been around forever, and yet most don’t get. For commercial products, this is most often a problem when documentation is translated. Seriously, spend the extra money when moving it to a new language, and get the best translation you can.
  4. Support. If the people supporting your project are the dev team, you have a problem. The dev team (be they open source or commercial) believes they made a great product. That belief colors their responses. This is worse in open source, because they don’t have to worry about their jobs, so they make loud statements like the above “don’t use Eclipse” one. But no matter how small you are, or if you’re all volunteer, you must have either great documentation or a support team that is capable of listening and driving solutions. I would argue in the case of APIs or libraries, you need both, simply because people are going to put them to uses you never envisioned.
  5. Longevity. Most (but certainly not all) products adopted into enterprises have been around for a while, and have good prospects of being around well into the future. Companies have failed because they couldn’t convince customers their stuff was going to be supported for years, and one need only look at the content management OSS world to see what splitting teams and branching source trees can do to pretty good open source products. This one is harder to fulfill than the ones above, but conveniently, the previous longevity is less important than the prospective longevity. So if a lot of people are talking about how cool the product/project is, this one can be met as easily as the others.
  6. References. In recent years, this requirement has become so simple that it is almost overlooked… A prospective user can go online and find out what others are doing with a product, how they like it, etc. Good relations with those using the product works. All of the above build these, not just with early adopters, but with a growing base. Several really cool technologies/products have done a smashing job of winning early adopters, then failed when the general market tried to hop on board, and the above didn’t exist in consumable format. Soon the early adopters are drowned out by disappointed general users, who don’t have the time to invest that early adopters must have.

Now, I get the fact that many open source projects don’t care if they’re enterprise class, but a lot want users, and are making projects most useful in the enterprise. And these points have been known forever. I didn’t invent them, they’re what enterprises have looked for in the bulk of their projects for a very long time.

So one is forced to wonder, why are both commercial and open source products still failing on these points so often?

It’s easier to see how/why in open source. No matter how much I’d like to argue it, as a geek who also writes, the type of person who is qualified and motivated to work on an open source project is often not the best choice for talking to users and helping them understand… And yet they are the ones doing it. For developer oriented projects it gets worse, because the early adopters are often not patient with people who don’t “figure it out”, amplifying the issue. Linux is the poster child of oss projects that survived this stage of life. So many people were out there acting like you were an idiot if you couldn’t figure out X or Y or Z, and had no concern at all that their attitude turned more people away from Linux than the initial learning curve did. For every Linux though, there are thousands of abandoned projects. Recruit someone on your project who is technically competent, but can write. Get them involved, have them do the documentation. Please. For your sake and all your potential users’ sake. Better, get them to gather ideas/plans for the future and turn them into something digestible. And get them out on places like StackOverflow to answer questions. Essentially, bring in an evangelist.

In commercial products (including the OSS/commercial hybrids) it is a little more complex. Companies have to care about income streams and how to be successful. Money and resources must be funneled toward that end, and that sometimes means product X or Y or Z doesn’t have the above, because there just isn’t time or money to invest in them. I guess my recommendation to enterprises in that case would be to look for another supplier. It’s tough to walk away from a great solution because it doesn’t have some of the above points, but if the “great solution” breaks and there isn’t decent support for it, well, then it’s not such a great solution. The same is true of the other items in the list. Lacking them is a sign the product you’re considering is not ready for enterprise level use.

Just my thoughts on the topic. In the end, it’s your enterprise network/dev environment/apps, you absolutely should do what’s right for your environment. And yeah, I have once or twice chosen projects/products in the enterprise that were missing one or more of these items, either because the options were limited, or they were so good at what they did that I figured they’d catch up with the other stuff long before they burned out.

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
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).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search an...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
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 e...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...