|By JP Morgenthal||
|January 14, 2014 04:15 PM EST||
To lower IT operational costs and/or to become more agile, the business must simplify the processes to deliver and manage infrastructure and the applications running on that infrastructure. Focusing on one without the other is simply applying yet another band-aid to an already hampered environment. Delivering IT as a service requires transformative efforts across all of IT and a re-evaluation of the metrics currently used to judge success. Achieving these goals demands a new platform and approach to delivering data and applications to users.
I was recently reviewing a reference architecture for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and was confounded by the sheer complexity still required to deliver what amounts to a starting point for the higher level task of deploying software. Perhaps I set the bar too high, but if I were a CIO, any new infrastructure investment I made today would need to be part of a self-aware automatically elastic resource pool. That is, when I plug in the new hardware (e.g., server, storage, network) I’m asked a couple of basic questions about allocation and voila the hardware is automatically incorporated into one or more resource pools. Moreover, there's software that sits on top of that pool that allocates it out to users on a metered basis. Any further time spent on operational configuration, engineering and deployment is simply wasted effort.
This vision of elastic and automated configuration is not a pipe-dream otherwise it would be too costly for a business like Amazon to deliver its service at the price point that it does. If Amazon required the amount of human involvement in managing the infrastructure that most IT organizations currently require the cost of delivering their EC2 and S3 services would not be sustainable let alone continue to shrink.
As CIO of Company A, it then occurs to me, I have two choices: a) change the way I operate to look more like Amazon, or b) let Amazon do what they do best and subscribe to their services. The former is a daunting task for sure. Transforming IT to deliver as a service has an impact deep into the DNA of the business itself. There’s a whole lot of risk and no guarantee of success. Moreover, the key metric to demonstrate success is elusive at best as it needs to be a combination of productivity, costs and agility weighted against a number that is very difficult to compute based on the current architecture. Hence, how can I demonstrate to executive management and the Board that their investment in transformation was money well spent? The latter is interesting, but I need to overcome internal perceptions surrounding lack of security and the issues related to CapEx versus OpEx spending. Either way, or maybe I choose a combination of both in a hybrid architecture, all I have to show at the end of the day is a better way to allocate infrastructure for purposes of deploying and managing applications; at which point we encounter a whole new set of complexities.
One of the biggest hurdles surrounding application management is the diversity and lack of integration of the application stacks. Consider a basic financial application workload that is used companywide. There’s a database, which must be able to handle hundreds of transactions a minute. There’s the application itself which is comprised of some core executable modules and a bunch of business rules that are defined within the application. The core executables probably run in some form of middleware that enables it to scale, which is a separate layer that must be individually deployed and managed. Of course, this is the bare minimum to make the application work. There also needs to be some security layers made up of anywhere from five to ten applications and tools for managing disaster recovery, high-availability and extracting data for external reporting. All these layers must be integrated to work seamlessly. Moreover, this is just one of many applications an enterprise operates.
Now, imagine that entire integrated application stack just described is a complete package (workload) that must now be made to work with a given hardware infrastructure, usually chosen by a separate team that has little to no experience with the application architecture or worse selected by procurement off an approved vendor list. Moreover, it requires a combination of skills from both application and operations teams to figure out how best to scale the application over time as demand rises. As George Takei, of Star Trek fame likes to say, “oh myyy”! In short, there’s just too many moving parts requiring too much human intervention and too much engineering and configuration relative to the value received. It’s no wonder business is seriously considering alternative means of acquiring IT services, such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). For this reason over the next few years IT must and will start to seriously consider Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
Most times I recommend evolution over revolution as it is usually more palatable by the business. However, continuing to deliver IT in this manner is unsustainable and is not delivering the agility and speed require by the business. PaaS changes the way we think about building applications and leveraging PaaS capabilities will require applications to be rewritten or migrated. These applications will not directly implement a unique instance of application infrastructure, but will leverage services that are designed to meet stated service levels. In turn, this simplifies the deployment and operation of that application as well as opens the architecture up to leverage services with better economics over time. It will remove the requirement for an infrastructure and operations team to figure out how to optimize a selected set of hardware to meet the goals of a single application and let them focus instead on how to deliver services.
Moreover, PaaS delivers a shared common platform, which is where PaaS becomes such a critical component to tying together ITaaS, IaaS and DevOps into a singular goal of design, build, test, run and terminate. IaaS is merely a commodity layer that offers high value compute services and can support the selected PaaS. DevOps provides the framework and structure for configuration of the application support services, such as networking, security, authorization, backup, etc.
In the end, instead of multiple disjointed teams each focused on their own specializations, there will be a single team focused on the goal of delivering IT services to the business. This is all driven by the focus and perspective fostered through a move toward PaaS.
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, a Developer Advocate with IBM Cloud Data Services, discussed...
Jun. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 745
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Jun. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 684
Digital Initiatives create new ways of conducting business, which drive the need for increasingly advanced security and regulatory compliance challenges with exponentially more damaging consequences. In the BMC and Forbes Insights Survey in 2016, 97% of executives said they expect a rise in data breach attempts in the next 12 months. Sixty percent said operations and security teams have only a general understanding of each other’s requirements, resulting in a “SecOps gap” leaving organizations u...
Jun. 26, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 977
SaaS companies can greatly expand revenue potential by pushing beyond their own borders. The challenge is how to do this without degrading service quality. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director at Anexia, discussed how IaaS providers with a global presence and both virtual and dedicated infrastructure can help companies expand their service footprint with low “go-to-market” costs.
Jun. 26, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 776
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Jun. 25, 2016 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 986
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, discussed how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He also discussed how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors ...
Jun. 25, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 758
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 & ...
Jun. 25, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,545
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Jun. 25, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,022
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jun. 25, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 980
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Jun. 25, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 883
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Jun. 25, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,227
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.
Jun. 25, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 578
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Jun. 25, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,175
"SpeedyCloud's specialty lies in providing cloud services - we provide IaaS for Internet and enterprises companies," explained Hao Yu, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jun. 25, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 729
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...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,193
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,289
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 498
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,243
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 830
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Jun. 25, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,251