|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.
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 @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 3, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 892
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Jul. 3, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 743
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 3, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,273
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
Jul. 3, 2015 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,068
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 3, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,105
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 3, 2015 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,236
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
Jul. 3, 2015 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 961
The basic integration architecture, as defined by ESBs, hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Most cloud integration providers still rely on an ESB architecture and their proprietary connectors. As a result, enterprise integration projects suffer from constraints of availability and reliability of these connectors that are not re-usable across other integration vendors. However, the rapid adoption of APIs and almost ubiquitous availability of APIs amongst most SaaS and Cloud applications are rapidly redefining traditional integration approaches and their reliance on proprietary connectors. ...
Jul. 2, 2015 03:18 PM EDT Reads: 726
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context wi...
Jul. 2, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,097
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 2, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,332
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC 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. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
Jun. 29, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,756
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jun. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,226
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jun. 29, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,579
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jun. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,292
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Jun. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,305
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Jun. 26, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,297
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jun. 26, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,170
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jun. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,087
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jun. 25, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,226
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, and the “Third Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place June 7-9, 2016, at Javits Center in New York City. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Jun. 22, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,898