|By Andi Mann||
|January 2, 2014 08:45 AM EST||
IT organizations face a growing demand for faster innovation and new applications to support emerging opportunities in social, mobile, growth markets, Big Data analytics, mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and more. This is great news because it shows that IT continues to be a key stakeholder in delivering business service innovation. However, it also means that IT must deliver new innovation despite flat budgets, while maintaining existing services that grow more complex every day.
The 'Cloud of Clouds'
This is where cloud computing can help to deliver business outcomes, especially if you look beyond just one or two cloud providers, to the almost limitless variety of interconnected and intermediated cloud services - what I call the 'cloud of clouds'. This is true especially for foundational capabilities - like compute infrastructure, data storage, content delivery, or financial management; and cloud-native services like social media, mobile interfaces, or Big Data analytics. Indeed, it makes little sense today to waste time and resources to rewrite existing code every time you need one of these foundational or cloud-native services. By leveraging the cloud of clouds, developers can instead focus on writing new and unique application code that delivers the competitive advantage the business needs.
APIs in the Cloud of Clouds
This is what a range of innovative startups and services already do. For example:
- A mashup of the data from cyclists' GPS devices with the Google Maps API has given us the explosively popular cycling tracker, Strava, a new way to track your progress, compete with friends and strangers, follow pros, and manage your own personal records.
- New York State's Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) opened up its APIs to developers in a hackathon-style contest called App Quest, enabling developers to build new mobile apps to help enhance the transit experience of MTA's 8.5 million daily riders.
- Connecting and mining the cloud newsfeeds of AP, Reuters, AFP, and many others new services around the world via their open APIs and other data feeds, allowed NewsMap to deliver one of my favorite news applications, a dynamic graphical worldwide news 'heat map.'
The key to rapid development of new applications is finding services that fill foundational needs; accessing these services efficiently and safely; and building innovative capabilities on top of them.
Identifying Opportunities in the Cloud of Clouds
Initially, you must identify cloud services that can help you speed your time to value. This means you need to know where your gaps are and where your core competencies are. Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) is a mature discipline with new relevance in the cloud of clouds. PPM solutions like CA Clarity PPM allow you to compare your available internal applications and code with best practices in the external cloud; and to detect and analyze your current cloud service usage to find the 'known good services' that are already delivering value. Using PPM tools that account for cost, risk, performance, uniqueness, criticality, compliance, quality, and more, you can quickly see, for example:
- Where you have unique and competitive core competencies internally
- Which existing internal capabilities you should lean on for new development
- What existing capabilities you should move to the cloud of clouds
- Where you should double-down on external cloud services you already use
- What additional services you should source from the cloud of clouds
A formal portfolio analysis allows you to narrow your search and find the best services in the cloud of clouds, beyond the 'usual suspects' (like Amazon Web Services, Google App/Compute Engine, Force.com, or Akamai). Look also at new cloud marketplaces like AppDirect or CloudCommons, at emerging cloud service brokers, and of course at your existing internal IT services.
You can then focus on accessing those services for commodity, mundane, or routine services, and connecting them to your unique code development to deliver competitive new applications. Key elements here include:
- Integration and interoperability: Making external compute, cloud, and applications look like internal code to your developers is often an integration challenge
- Security and compliance: Opening up to public or outsourced private cloud will introduce some repeat challenges in moving data and workloads
- Governance and management: Defining and enforcing policies for how your enterprise consumes interacts with cloud services
Accessing APIs in the Cloud of Clouds
Inevitably, access to these cloud services will be via APIs, so you will need to manage and secure API access. An integrated API security and management solution like CA Layer 7 Gateway accelerates application ROI by addressing a range of API needs - like security, performance, scalability, flexibility, and extensibility. This approach to leveraging APIs helps you to:
- Connect partners and divisions with each other and with external cloud services
- Provide secure integration to multiple platforms including mobile and back-end systems
- Enable internal and external developers to collaborate on code seamlessly
This last point is particularly important. Two-way integration extracts even more value out of your existing capabilities by exposing your existing code to external developers and systems. They can then leverage your strengths and build entirely new services around your core capabilities.
This approach to leveraging the cloud of clouds via existing APIs to deliver new competitive applications will enable multiple business goals - from reach and revenue to agility and access. You can build applications that can reach your customers wherever they are. You can accelerate the pace and quality of new disruptive innovation, improving IT efficiency through reuse and agility. You can enable new applications to fuel the fire of employee mobility, or simply deliver new applications to support new products and services that drive new revenue.
Accelerating Development with a DevOps Approach
However, merely accessing cloud services via open APIs does not ensure rapid application delivery. The final part of this approach is to speed the application development lifecycle, integrating APIs from the cloud of clouds with new approaches to the software development lifecycle (SDLC). By adopting a DevOps approach to the SLDC, you can bring the application portfolio forward to meet market challenges with collaboration and efficiency from design to deployment.
A holistic devops approach to application delivery is a topic for an entirely different post, but the following capabilities will certainly help you on your way:
- Collaborative Product Planning: Business leaders, development engineers, and system administrators working together to improve collaboration and reduce delays
- Infrastructure Abstraction and Automation: To automate change, configuration, and provisioning and save time on mundane infrastructure activities
- Service Virtualization: Virtualizing the entire environment for development, test, and QA so every developer and tester can have every resource they need, all the time
- Continuous Delivery: Automated code drop (and rollback) to enable rapid iteration that delivers new capabilities in hours, not weeks (or months) to production
- End‐to‐End Operational Monitoring: Enabling DevOps professionals to detect, diagnose, and resolve problems faster by accelerating problem tracking, identification, and fix
This all fits together into a reiterative closed-loop application delivery lifecycle. Shared portfolio gaps and application requirements feed an agile development process including accelerated test and quality assurance, released rapidly and integrated continuously into production, with real-time operations monitoring to mine performance and capacity data, feeding requirements back into portfolio analysis, ready for the next iteration of the application development.
There is no doubt that a DevOps approach to application delivery helps to deliver better code into production, faster and cheaper. For example, independent research has shown that organizations with a DevOps approach to application delivery have:
- Improved quality of our deployed applications by 22%
- Reduced time-to-market for software/services by 20%
- Reduction spend on development and operations by 18%
- And increased frequency of software/services deployments by 17%
Where can you start on this transformative journey to delivering new, competitive applications by harnessing APIs and the cloud of clouds? Some of my recommendations would include:
- Re‐evaluate your service delivery cycle to see how APIs, cloud, and DevOps can help
- Evaluate how APIs to cloud and internal services can support new innovation
- Evaluate new processes to connect business, development, and operations teams
- Evaluate new technologies to support a devops approach to application delivery
- Improve education, communications, collaboration, and cross‐skilling in both dev and ops
- Try cloud and API development in a small part of your org, a new project, or skunkworks
- Leverage cloud APIs in a critical new application that you need to deliver yesterday
Once you see how you can harness APIs to deliver competitive applications in the "cloud of clouds," you will see how this approach will help you support your business partners in their quest for more rapid innovation, delivered through new competitive applications, to support critical new business opportunities.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Dec. 19, 2014 07:00 AM EST Reads: 2,129
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Dec. 19, 2014 06:30 AM EST Reads: 2,101
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
Dec. 19, 2014 05:00 AM EST Reads: 1,925
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
Dec. 19, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,929
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:45 PM EST Reads: 924
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 11:30 AM EST Reads: 966
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Dec. 18, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 2,261
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,794
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,243
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
Dec. 18, 2014 06:00 AM EST Reads: 776
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:15 PM EST Reads: 1,293
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,357
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,325
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Dec. 17, 2014 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,236
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:45 AM EST Reads: 1,457
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Dec. 16, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,298
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Dec. 15, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,660
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 6,871
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,955
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,629