|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.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Nov. 25, 2014 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,604
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Nov. 25, 2014 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,633
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Nov. 25, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,675
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Nov. 25, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,597
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Nov. 25, 2014 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,581
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Nov. 24, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 2,019
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 24, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,736
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,106
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 24, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,960
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.
Nov. 23, 2014 07:30 PM EST Reads: 2,139
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 23, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 2,075
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...
Nov. 23, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 2,135
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,838
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...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 2,102
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,855
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,793
"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.
Nov. 21, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,725
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
Nov. 20, 2014 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,727
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
Nov. 20, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,612
The 3rd International @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 it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. 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 - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
Nov. 20, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 2,153