Data Centers and the [Forced] March to an IaaS Utility

Simon Wardley has once again made me think seriously using his “Mapping” methodology as I try and think thru the disruptions in the traditional Enterprise and “Outsourced” Enterprise Data Center(DC) space (whilst managing my own confirmation bias).  We have long used the analogies of electricity and as the “cost of compute trends to the cost of power”, it probably makes some sense to talk about this!Wardley Capability Progression

Most of us know about power generation, power distribution, line loss, co/lo-generation and have even seen “backup generators.” BTW, I believe these to be good analogies as we discuss the evolvement of corporate, CoLo and provider/partner Data Centers.

One critical element in understanding competition in the “production” space is to understand the demand equation.  In power, a huge number of factors govern demand (and also supply) in order to approximate price (Michaillat and Oren, 2007).PowerPriceCompetition

Notice that the price (P) rationalizes a hybrid landscape of generators as well as a calculation that helps to resolve load [uncertainty] over time.  These generators could include long cycle and short cycle (nuclear vs. gas turbine) that help to characterize the responsiveness to demand from low elasticity to “just in time”, and we know that loads will also share the characteristics of permanent, predictable times and unpredictable peaks/valleys.

From a pure math perspective in power-plants there are a couple of key dimensions including capital/fuel/maintenance/loss which are important parts of the calculus, but perhaps most interesting to me is LOSS.  Many people know that power distribution is exceedingly expensive… namely, resistance in the transmission wires/process (~6.1% of net generation), as well as the capital costs associated with the poles, holes, copper, transformers, etc…   I think that there are real analogies to utilities like “compute”.

We, as an IT industry, rarely talk about “loss” associated with distance, and yet these costs are just as real.  Whether we talk about the variable networking costs for ingress/egress traffic (including HA/DR) which might be substantially avoidable by locating closer to the places where information is produced/concerned, or even the costs associated with latency in the form of lost opportunity?.  The traders have been doing this for years, as have outsourcers like CSC.  The real value begins to emerge as colocation begins to create markets like “Big Data Malls” of which a number of us have been discussing online.

Simon Wardley maps emergence of utility markets.

Simon Wardley maps emergence of utility markets.

If we really believe that major industries move to service utilities, as evidenced by the increasing commoditization of computing [checkout  the most recent price wars - apples-to-apples]… Although the move toward analytic services may, as yet, be premature [though I am certain that many of you will tell me of the great analytic services like google analytics and others]

Everything said, data centers are, by their very nature, things that we just want to “take for granted” and this points to a service utility treatment.  These utilities need agreed standards, and in our case PaaS/IaaS via the NIST, to enable reduced friction across the landscape.

James Hamilton on DataCenterWhat OCP has done for infrastructure and OpenDaylight is doing for Networks all in the name of concentrating demand (and therefore focusing supply) needs a parallel in the Data Center. Data Centers, though a useful subproject in OCP, don’t get talked about in an “industrialized” way, but there are a huge number of examples that are very convergent in their thinking [I would be remiss not to mention Amazon’s James Hamilton‘s who has helped me shape some of my thinking

For Data Centers, I contend that the decision calculus include key factors including:

  • stability of capital utilization (and ability to capitalize on multi-tenancy to maximize)
  • peak demands and periodicity of utilization
  • workload friction,
  • network intensities (dimensions of information ingress/egress – volumes, variety, velocities)
  • cost of power, people, capital
  • location of available public / CoLo – IaaS Utilties
  • and, unfortunately, regulation, policy and politics

So lastly,

  1. Is there a need for a common DC pattern? absolutely!
  2. Do you need your own DataCenter? Maybe – depends on the individual economics.
  3. Would you build a corporate datacenter today? depends on multi-tenancy and vectors of information exploitation!

Comments very welcome!

Finding Value in OpenSource

It seems a perpetual journey for me to help my employers understand the value associated with full participation with the global Open Source community.  Sure, everyone leeches the value, but what happens when you move from GET to GET, POST, PATCH within that ecosystem. Open Innovation, Open SourceAs CSC looks at a number of the forces that are re-shaping IT, it is important for CSC to be an active participant and a transformational partner for our customers. There are many technical, policy and more importantly cultural barriers to full community participation that need to be overcome. Whether we want to talk about the shift from IP/Patent centric defensive strategies, the legal ramifications associated with contract compliance and confidentiality, to the changes in skills and the retention of now publicly recognizable employees. There are many books written on this, but CSC is getting there! First comes the forced education that Open Source participation isn’t necessarily FREE (as in speech or beer). Not to mention the “soft” training around HOW to participate in these communities and the meritocracy that is/needs to be ever present alongside the discussions around the global nature, the timeliness and attention required.  Finally, the obligatory training around licenses, copyright, and compliance that ensure that we are good community citizens. The good news, CSC is ready.  Today we announce both the launching of CSC’s Open Source Community program, alongside the training materials and the first projects into the community via our github (http://csc.github.io).  You will notice that we’re embracing “Free as in Beer” with the APL2.0 as our default license so that other collaborators can fully leverage their participation in our projects! Of the first projects, one that is exceedingly meaningful to me is Hanlon, some may remember a contribution that a few amazing guys (Nick Weaver and Tom McSweeney made while at EMC).  Today we’re taking Razor to the next level, alongside some key partners that I will allow to announce themselves.  Hanlon serves to take over where we left off with Razor: restructuring and reorganizing the codebase, and changing the way that the API (RESTful of course) and CLI are implemented (via Grape, JRuby, etc…) to simplify and improve portability.  Much more to come via Tom McSweeney’s blog. We have a substantial backlog of projects for whom open sourcing is the best way to advance the state of the art, and underwrite, with transparency our new approach to open application development and systems integration.  Stay tuned as we begin to empty the queue over the next couple of weeks!

SDN for the Global Enterprise

NetBondheadIconFor many in the enterprise, their relationship with their WAN carriers has been an opaque, long lead time, inflexible experience, looking at the WAN as a big, dumb pipe.  With the advent of NetBond, AT&T has taken a bold step in putting the enterprise “user” in control of their own, private channel between two points on the MPLS cloud.  In effect, turning what is often a set of static MPLS configurations, into a fully dynamic and user controlled extension of their software defined “control plane”.

The CSC / AT&T partnership continues to look for new ways to enable the global enterprise with capabilities to reduce costs/complexity, to increase capability while maintaining security and to enhance agility.  In effect, NetBond does all three of these, and CSC recognizes that there is a key value proposition for the global enterprise.

  • As enterprises emerge their “outside in” strategies, they will naturally connect to a multitude of Cloud and XaaS providers.  AT&T is announcing a steady stream of NetBond participants beyond CSC BizCloud (both private and virtual-private): Microsoft Azure as well as now SalesForce.com.  The ability to exploit a single MPLS endpoint, and establish dynamic “direct connection” virtual private channels via software control will enable provisioning or configuration in minutes not months.
  • The provisioning of a NetBond channel controls membership and offers elastic (up/down) bandwidth allocation in the control of the customer.  CSC is making NetBond control an integral part of ServiceMesh, so that applications can define their WAN scalability needs and define elements such as “high water marks” or “clock time rules” to orchestrate scalability within the NetBond channel.  Further as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) emerges into the WAN we will see additional features emerge into the service chain to enable everything from DDoS (today) to IDS/IDP, path engineering and even WAN accelerators to emerge as on demand network services.

These e2e SDN services become exceedingly important in the aaS/Hybrid Cloud world.  Here are just a few use-cases that we’ve thought about:

  1. priority/capacity driven migration to a public cloud provider (align capital with highest priority workloads)
  2. capacity driven migration from a public cloud provider (maximize internal cloud utilization/minimize spend)
  3. hybrid applications with data channels back into the enterprise for regulatory guarantee (even things like o365)
  4. enterprise service integration with aaS vendors for lumpy data movement (batch enrollment, report generation and download)…
  5. DR site re-sync window shortening & BCDR in general
  6. The one I really long for is slow drain (background) data transfer at very cheap rates in other words “fill in work” serviced out of a deep queue/volume for things like CDN distribution (content or analytic cubes/rules) or bulk ingress from IoT.

CSC and AT&T are partnered to emerge the end-to-end Software Defined Network, Service->Core, Core->WAN, WAN->Core, Core->Service to help customers improve agility, reduce cost and complexity, while improving security and audit-ability within their operations.  We are really excited to see the eco-system expanding.

Some notes from a friend, Steve Caniano on NetBond

CSC and Amazon Team Up to Deliver Enterprise Clouds

CSC has been building on it’s successful BizCloud plans for the past 3 years, but this year we really put Cloud in the center of our Infrastructure portfolio.  We have moved our Cloud delivery into our Global Infrastructure business so that customers gain a consistent service experience, but also so that the CSC clouds become the “first place” that we position workloads that we develop, service and manage for customers.

As we have continually reviewed the market, we recognized that the market was at a transition point.  Our enterprise customers [many of which being large, global, regulated entities and governments] needed unique clouds that supported tremendous scale and complex environments and really needed to refactor their approaches to CMDB’s, runbooks in the face of a populist revolt.  CIO’s needed more agility and the ability to create self service whilst ensuring that regulations were met, we needed a Multi-Cloud Management Platform.  We acquired ServiceMesh late last year to offer a common language for describing and deploying workloads, but also to manage complex environments such as hybrid clouds. But, there was still a gap in our strategy and our customers were looking for more than just the governance of a multi-cloud environment, they wanted to service the very demanding needs of the new enterprise developers.

Today we are announcing another key relationship, namely that CSC and Amazon are creating a Global Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) initially based in Austin (with ServiceMesh developers.  The goal of this work will be to help enterprises adopt cloud platforms taking maximum advantage of their locations, value added services, availability mechanisms, as our cloud partners like Amazon are innovating value for developers at an astounding rate.  We will be making ServiceMesh the best platform for interacting with Amazon and other public clouds while helping the CIO stay in control of their environment.

AWSCSCpic

aws_logo_advanced_consulting_partner_darkWe are really excited to add Amazon, an incredible innovator to our partner list, and all of CSC is excited to make our customers succeed with their amazing cloud platform, which adds to other key public cloud partners like AT&T, VMware and Microsoft that help give our customers choices that align the differentiations of each with key customer requirements.

IT and SDDC, Agile Development and Release Management

For me, there have been a number of processes in typical IT that have been substantial challenges from a business risk, regulatory and latency perspective.  I constantly ask myself: Why is the hurdle between Dev and Ops so high which causes so many to “trip and fall”.  Many key DevOps projects focus necessarily on the agile developer/operational staff scrum in order to underwrite the risk of the addition of a new set of services into a production environment.  Born from web-scale companies, enterprises have long struggled with getting to the singular operating model that these new companies try and effect: the Google, eBay, Facebook, Twitter envy that we are always hearing about.  I’ve seen some companies move to “InfraOps” as a strategy to begin to hyper automate critical functions across an enterprise, but then they talk about proven <older> concepts like the CMDB and ITIL.  But most of the time they focus on organizational streamlining and alignment but maybe a lack of understanding of the common functions holds them back.

SM-DevOps-BlueprintsInterestingly, if you looked at the typical SDLC, the software development teams seem to struggle with similar things: Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery via version control and formal Release Management.  Fortunately, the team at ServiceMesh agreed to join CSC as we set out to delivery Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) benefits to our customers.  As such, we are refactoring our delivery process to substantially align infrastructure ops with app ops and to get to full scope DevOps.

Per Gene Kim, the advantages can be amazing (my interpretation) for the SDLC:

Agility (50-87% improvement*)

  • Developer Productivity: lead time reductions
  • Deployment Frequency: feature add, repeatability
  • Deployment Success: Improvement in SLA
  • MTTR: decrease in time to resolve

Efficiency (~50% improvement*)

  • Resource Reduction: fewer resources per project <holding constant feature rate>
  • Developer Productivity: % of time new vs. remediation work
CSC Agile Delivery Model

CSC Agile Delivery Model

If you say, I want that same advantage in IT operations then we need to start with some of the same lifecycle strategies… Test Driven Development, Continuous Integration, Release Management.  And if we’re good, we’ll remove the leading cause of fault = People [with hands on keyboards], improve deployment success, and maybe most valuable to large enterprises, reduce compliance/regulatory risk through the declarative model that results from fully automated provisioning/patching of the runtime environment.This shift isn’t without it’s challenges, but the benefits can be remarkable!

What if we really could drive IT via an iPod, with fully automated provisioning and automated recovery!

AgilityReleaseManagement

 

 

 

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ServiceMesh on CSC Cloud

CSCServiceMeshLogo

Many customers and partners have been asking about ServiceMesh and CSC cloud, I saw an interesting internal post and just wanted to share this more broadly.

ServiceMesh runs on 64-bit RedHat Enterprise Linux 5.8 and to connect to CSC Cloud you need [The VPN Clien] running to establish the secure connection [to the administrative API's on the CSC Cloud].

I fired up a RedHat 5.8 box on Amazon AWS. Use yumdownloader to pull the rpms we need, scp them to the ServiceMesh box and boom, install the VPN client, and Boom… working.

Then it’s just a matter of entering your CSC Cloud credentials in the Agility Platform admin tool and bingo, unmanaged instances appear. Screenshot below:

AgilityonCloudCompute

Agility on CSC Cloud Compute

Kudos to Mikio Tsunematsu and John Chamberlain who did the real work on this project!

Industrializing Application Modernization

One of the things that I have learned and is a  substantial challenge for enterprise technologists, is the exceedingly large estate of legacy applications, that lock a treasure of enterprise information and process deep inside.  The sad truth is that these legacy applications are costing more to operate than ever before because of license burden, infrastructure expenses, ever more rare skill sets, and even middleware and consultants that are needed just to add the features the business demands.  Gartner estimates the enterprise application marketplace at $120B/yr(2013) and growing at 4% CAGR.

I know that the increasing cost of application maintenance [hospice care for dying applications] is preventing businesses from investing forward in innovation and new projects/programs.  The untold story is the opportunity cost of the wealth of data that is locked deep inside those legacy applications.  After all, isn’t the job of an application to enable people to interact with data, and isn’t Information Technology (IT) all about Information?

Simon Wardley of the CSC Leading Edge Forum has been looking at new ways to help enterprises manage/map their service portfolio with a focus on

strategic differentiation and creating the value map, to help understand

the systems and information linkages and uncover new ways to plan for modernization and differentiation in light of the legacy and the emergent commodity sedimentation.

These techniques really help a CIO get a grip on where to spend their precious investment, but we still need to figure out how to modernize those legacy systems which remain critical to the business, but need to be re-platformed, re-skinned, re-factored, so that they can better meet the mobile, web, cloud, data-insight driven requirements that dominate the current application landscape.

Today, CSC and HCL are announcing that they have formed a strategic partnership in which the two partners will co-invest in people, processes and technology in order to “modernize the worlds applications”.  At first glance, this may seem like an odd pairing, but what I see are two very highly complementary geographic, vertical, customer and people companies, who, by combining their scale, can really create advantage for customers.  For I believe that there are a limited number of application patterns, and a finite number of treatments (porting tools, translation tools, and the like) for which scale helps to both uncover the common patterns, but also enables the continued advancement of Applications Modernization tooling and best practices.

A few specifics:

  1. Partnered Delivery Centers: HCL and CSC will create a world-class application modernization delivery network to enable enterprises to shift from legacy technologies to a cloud-enabled platform. The first delivery centers will be launched in Bangalore and Chennai. These delivery centers will lower the risks and costs for clients transitioning to the cloud and benefit from a shared knowledge base and  scale of skillsets.
  2. Vertical Focus: The application modernization offering will be enhanced with vertical specific initiatives starting with Banking & Financial Services through the creation of a banking center of excellence. The partnership will be standardizing the delivery of modernized applications and enable them to be brokered onto any cloud environment, using platforms such as CSC’s ServiceMeshTM .
  3. Shared Cloud Vision: HCL will leverage, as one outlet, CSC’s Gartner MQ IaaS/ Cloud as a target for workload deployment [ scale matters in cloud operations in improving operational and capital efficiency.

And I really believe that this turns the landscape to look a bit like this:

AppsModBrokerNGDC600

 

Celestial Alignment? CSC and HCL are both on the path to help enterprise take advantage of the digital/information economy by unlocking information, improved agility and reduced operating burdens. All of this enables an enterprise to execute on their growth strategies, create customer delight and do so with a new agility across their IT estate.

Take Away:  CSC is building a cloud agnostic platform for its clients as they prepare for a multi-vendor, multi-cloud world.  This collaboration with HCL will enable CSC to modernize applications at scale, orchestrate them through the policy controls of ServiceMesh, host them on either CSC’s Cloud or third-party cloud infrastructure, run them on AT&T’s scalable and secure network, and add complementary big data, cyber security and storage services!

Coverage:

HCL Tech, CSC join hands for app modernisation services The Financial Express | January 16, 2014 04:46
Lawrie invites HCL to the CSC party Tech Market View | January 15, 2014 23:58
Cloud future is about being invisible : Meshing all services together SiliconANGLE | January 15, 2014 23:18
IT Service Providers HCL, CSC Partner to Help Banks Adopt Cloud Computing American Banker | January 15, 2014 23:13
HCL Technologies announces new cloud-focused partnership with CSC Triangle Business Journal | January 15, 2014 23:08
HCL Tech ties-up with US firm CSC for app modernisation services Business Today | January 15, 2014 21:05
HCL Tech, CSC Join Hands to Tap Application Modernization Market Communications Today | January 15, 2014 19:56
HCL Tech-CSC tie-up triggers merger buzz Business Standard | January 15, 2014 11:52
CSC tie-up may help HCL Tech’s software services business Livemint.com | January 15, 2014 10:38
HCL Technologies, CSC sign cloud deal InfotechLead.com | January 15, 2014 09:09
HCL and CSC announce cloud partnership to help enterprises transition applications Bobsguide.com | January 15, 2014 08:13
HCL Tech, CSC join hands to tap application modernisation market The Hindu Business Line | January 15, 2014 08:03
Software vendors HCL, CSC form alliance to boost presence in cloud computing, application services The Economic Times | January 15, 2014 07:44

Channeling My Inner Groundhog: Predictions for 2014

More [Data, Cloud, Cyber], Faster and Secured

2013 was a big year for the cloud, mobile technology, big data and social media. What’s in store for the new year? I’ve identified six information technology trends that are poised to make a big difference in your IT operations and strategies.

Here’s what I expect to see in 2014 <crosspost to CSC.com>

Update(s):

  1. BYOT: Also, look at tefficient’s recent 1h2013 mobile data usage -> “no signs of saturation”
  2. BYOT: NYTimes “US Mobile Internet Traffic Nearly Doubles” -> 1.2GB/mo/user

Special thanks to the LEF for their insights in developing these predictions.

1. The “Outside-In” Enterprise Rises

Increasingly, innovation, information and value will all come from outside your organization’s own four walls. Until recently, these were created internally by organizations’ design, production, sales and marketing, and support teams. But the days of self-containment are over. Many of today’s top IT technologies and techniques — including cloud, everything as a service, post-PC mobility, the consumerization of IT, social media, crowdsourcing and community content — are happening outside the organization. In 2014, this trend will continue and accelerate.

For CIOs, this “outside-in” shift will require a new perspective. CIOs will need to re-architect their organizations’ internal networks, making them more like the Internet, able to fully exploit the online communities that have emerged in the outside world. And these changes will need to be done quickly. I expect this “outside-in” transformation to gain speed rapidly.

2. BYOD Shifts to BYOT

The well-documented BYOD (short for “bring your own device”) trend is just the tip of a much larger iceberg. To be sure, many employees want to use their personal mobile devices at work. But they also want to use their own apps, networks and all manner of Web applications and tools. To reflect this change, we need to shift the conversation to BYOT, short for “bring your own technology.”

Today, employees expect to have massive amounts of information at their fingertips, empowering them to make better, quicker decisions. Similarly, customers now fully expect your company’s website to offer features that include Google-quality search, the ability to mash-up information, and high-quality videos.

Are you ready? It’s my observation that most organizations are not. For them, this level of applications is still novel, even hard to imagine. The result is a large and growing gap between the expectations of customers and employees on the one hand, and the capabilities of enterprise IT on the other. It’s a gap that CIOs will be expected to close.

3. The Multi-Cloud Leads

2014 will be a big year for multiple clouds. You’ll have public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds. And you’ll have more than one of each. Some of these clouds will be built by your internal IT department, while others will be sourced from external third parties.

This new, multi-cloud landscape will deliver new efficiencies for organizations. But it will also create new challenges for CIOs: How will they effectively manage information across multiple clouds? Who will help them ? And how will they avoid losing control?

Cloud Brokering will be the key. This involves a cloud management platform that lets CIOs take control of their multiple cloud environments. I also expect to see the emergence of enterprise app marketplaces and stores. These will help IT managers deploy IT workloads into various clouds with great agility and low levels of friction.

4. Big Data Gets Fast

You’ve already heard plenty about big data. But 2014 will be the year of big data that’s also fast.

While big data offers the promise of better business decisions, I believe that promise remains largely unfulfilled so far. Mainly, that’s because the process of transforming big data into actionable information is still too slow. Today, business happens in real time. Think how quickly you respond to tweets and text messages. Yet most big data analytics are still running on batch time.

Deriving insights from our huge data pools is a good start. Next, CIOs will need to deliver big data’s insights in real time (or near real time). You will also need to provide these insights to business users in the form of new and diverse applications. By enabling employees and customers to make more informed decisions faster, big fast data will finally lead to big business successes.

5. The “Internet of Things” Arrives, Finally

Computers process information, that’s a given. But in 2014, thanks to the rapid emergence of Internet-connected sensors and things (IoT), computers will also process physical systems and devices. What’s been called the Internet of Things is already transforming automobiles, personal healthcare devices, TVs, thermostats and appliances. Now, I believe, countless other goods will be intelligently connected, too.

As a result of the exploding Internet of Things, traditional markets like manufacturing and others are beginning to adopt technology like never before. They are Internet-connecting all of their assets in ways that allow them to streamline their own operations. They are even bringing commodity devices into their landscapes to provide more value at a lower cost point and more agility to their own development processes.

6. Governments Emerge as IT Leaders

Government agencies often receive a bad rap as IT backwaters. In 2014, that’s going to change. For the first time in decades, governments will emerge as IT leaders.

Openness is the key. Government agencies are quickly moving to open systems, open innovation, open software, even entirely open IT ecosystems. All this openness is creating new, massive efficiencies. Public agencies can now interact with their citizens as never before. Citizens, in turn, can now contribute ideas, insights, even code to their governments. The level of new value is potentially huge.

Behind this change is a shift from excellent or perfect technology to IT that is “good enough.” For public sector CIOs, this shift will be massive. And for those in the private sector, this could well be the new model — one they’ll have no choice but to follow.

ServiceMesh + CSC = [Agility, Governance, Cloud, Enterprise, Transformation]

servicemeshlogo

Today CSC announced the acquisition of ServiceMesh™.

ServiceMesh is an enterprise Cloud Broker / Cloud Management Platform (CMP) recognized by many analysts as the leading independent provider.  CSC is a Gartner Magic Quadrant Enterprise IaaS provider and technology services firm, helping enterprises transform their delivery of critical business applications.  Together, CSC and ServiceMesh will offer enterprises increased agility, flexibility and the opportunity to fully leverage their multi-vendor cloud landscape.

What we continue to hear from our customers is that having a multitude of cloud providers is a fact in today’s landscape.  Whether a cloud that IT has built, and on premise BizCloud™ or services from Amazon, Microsoft, VMware and others, IT continues to struggle with a consistent model to provision, operate, monitor, manage and optimize their catalog of workloads.  Enter ServiceMesh.

1342490923platformicon

The ServiceMesh Agility Platform™ provides the ability to catalog, policy decorate, provision and manage complex applications between clouds and across them – true hybrid execution.  This solution provides enterprises with new flexibility to support full Cloud Application Lifecycle Management (CALM), providing the flexibility to develop on cheap-and-deep, the ability to test on something closer to production, and then production into an enterprise approved target.  At each step, a simple policy change supports the appropriate provisioning steps, and ensures business controls are rigorously enforced.  In effect bringing together IT operations and Application Development in the DevOps style.

Both companies believe that the synergy is high: with CSC providing the modernization, transformation and migration services and IT operational management whilst ServiceMesh allows for the cataloging of applications into a storefront, and the policy directed deployment into an open choice of cloud targets.

Both companies are on a common mission, as an advisor to IT and a facilitator to developers, to support the natural transformation that DevOps, Cloud and policy-driven cloud automation provide to the enterprise.

CSC looks forward to helping our enterprise customers on their transformational journey to the Multi-Vendor, Multi-Visor, Hybrid Cloud landscape.

 

 

 

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The Apps rEVOLUTION… drastic times call for drastic measures

Apps Revolution ReportA really cogent position piece has been developed by a number of technical leaders within CSC.  Lead by Dr.Erika Olimpiew, but also Nabil Fanaian, Henry “Hank” Liang, and a cast of over 20 others, this piece positions the new requirements around mobility, architecture, delivery, economy and other key contributors to leading developers to “storm the gates.”

Below, the prologue…

Applications are the way we put information into action, and shifts in the what, where, how and who of doing this have manifestly shifted the “apps” landscape.

We have seen the movement from general to specific application scopes. In effect, the context of the individ- ual is being brought into the presentation, transaction and securing of information, which is both coming from and flowing through an ever-extending set of channels. From appliances and vehicles to smartphones and TVs, the acceleration of network-attached devices is forcing easy-to-use, easy-to-program, easy-to-integrate strate- gies, with the Internet taking the dominant position as the network of choice.

Consumerization across this expanding set of endpoint technologies, combined with cloud computing on the Internet as the default service provider, have made tech- nologies like HTML5, JavaScript and HTTP the starting point for consumers and enterprises alike. Employees become “customers” of IT, and IT becomes an informa- tion service provider in a landscape where every con- sumer has the control to tune his or her experience to maximize productivity.

As everyone jumps to “mobile first” as a mantra, and HTTP as the connection, enterprises must shift their service delivery strategies to wrap and extend traditional appli- cations and, moreover, integrate with external services that have become ubiquitous in the landscape. From news feeds to social media, from Google to enterprise knowledge repositories, and from Salesforce to produc- tivity applications, there are Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for everything. The new disciplines of API management and promotion are becoming critical strategic discussions for businesses.

Another critical discussion is the experience. In the past, the user experience (UX) came very late in the design process, often being “designed” by program- mers or engineers. Today, we are seeing a new empha- sis on the experience; in fact, the UX is designed, mocked up and built first. The UX designer is a key member of the agile development team. Likewise,

the API developer, a somewhat new role, is working to provide a set of programmer interfaces that maxi- mize a correct and complete interface to underlying services and data. These APIs have moved from chatty sequences of messages to a single document that is transacted. These APIs must support constant change, with backward compatibility, to maximize value for the broad new ecosystem of developers.

But who is the developer? With new frameworks and tools, not to mention web technologies, it’s everyone. Do- it-yourself (DIY) apps are starting to flourish. Instead of one fat-client application with hundreds of tabs serving a broad set of jobs and roles, we are seeing function-specific apps created by business people and consumers (in addi- tion to IT). These apps use data not just from one system, but mashed up from news feeds, maps and other services to enable one to make more informed decisions. There are over 1 million apps in the Apple App Store, including over 1,500 calendar apps alone. This creates choice for con- sumers, and since employees are also consumers, there is a new expectation for IT to become more like the Internet — offering choice, openness, flexibility and speed.

This revolution in technologies and the open passing of information through communities is accelerating a new revolution in applications, explored in the Apps rEvolution report. We are all consumers. We value choice, and we expect enterprise technologies to be as good as their consumer counterparts. With the advance of Internet- connected devices, we expect to constantly create, interact with, and integrate information from everywhere. We are just beginning to see the value that the apps revolu- tion is ushering in as our enterprises continue to embrace the consumerization of IT.

Apps rEVOLUTION report

Additional Videos: