|By Dustin Amrhein||
|December 16, 2010 09:00 AM EST||
In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I usually get to catch up on my sadly neglected reading list. First up on my reading list this year: Clockspeed : Winning Industry Control in the Age of Temporary Advantage by Thomas Fine.
I am sure many of you have either read Clockspeed yourself or heard it mentioned in various circles. I am fast approaching the end, and while the book itself is not new (originally published in 1999), it seems, based on my own impressions and several other notable reviews, that the lessons of this piece are timeless.
I'm not going to do much justice to the book in just a couple of sentences, but for those of you not familiar with this work, here is a bit of background. The main premise put forward by Fine is that any competitive advantage a business holds is temporary. How temporary depends on the clockspeed of the particular industry in which the business competes, and as you might imagine these speeds vary widely across industries. In light of all advantage being temporary, Fine contends that a company's supply chain is the single most important competency it holds.
Fine provides ample reasoning behind his theory that a company's supply chain is their golden nugget. More interestingly, Fine backs his beliefs with concrete case study data from business history. For me, the most interesting case study is that of the IBM personal computer -- I am an IBMer after all. Fine recounts the events that lead up to IBM competing in the personal computer market, and then focuses on IBM's decisions regarding how to compete in that market.
Specifically, he notes IBM's seemingly conscious decision to take a modularized approach to delivering the PC. The supply chain included parts built within IBM, but importantly, not every part came from within IBM. Most notably, IBM chose to go with processors from Intel and operating systems from Microsoft. In choosing this horizontally integrated approach to building the PC, IBM opened the door for a larger number of competitors to enter the market. These competitors came in, built IBM compatible PCs, and eventually eroded IBM's dominance in this market. Why? Fine argues that consumers evolved to care more about what was on the inside of the PC (specifically the Microsoft operating system and Intel processors), and less about who built the box to house these components.
While this is an interesting bit of history, I believe we are coming upon a point of time when this may repeat itself all over again. This time the subject of interest will not be the PC, but instead, PaaS solutions. Last week, I talked about different approaches for delivering PaaS solutions. Looking back at those different models in the context of supply chain management, I suppose I could characterize them as being vertical (depth in deployment/management capabilities), horizontal (breadth in deployment/management capabilities), and hybrid (depth & breadth in deployment/management capabilities).
The question is which of these approaches will be the first winner in the PaaS market? As I said last week, in a perfect world, the hybrid approach would win out, but I believe we are far off from anyone being able to deliver something viable in this mold. So, will it be horizontally or vertically composed PaaS solutions that become the first dominators?
The story above may seem to argue against the horizontal approach, but the fact is, this is just one anecdote from a book packed with them. Fine is careful to point out that supply chains with a vertical orientation are appropriate in some cases, while in other cases the horizontal approach wins out. Even then, the orientation chosen by the industry is not a decision made once and never revisited. Fine explains that a vertically oriented industry is under constant pressure to reorganize horizontally, while the inverse holds true for horizontally oriented industries.
That said, the PaaS industry has some interesting decisions to make. No one in the industry wants to risk becoming simply ‘the box' that manages the crucial components, nor would they want to deliver a solution lacking critical capability because no one company can develop all capabilities in-house. While the answers here are not easy, the current state of the market seems to be leaning heavily towards a vertical orientation.
Most of the PaaS solutions we see now concentrate on providing operational depth for application platforms at the expense of providing breadth. In my opinion, this seems like the right approach for this largely nascent market. In trying to gain traction and attract a community of users, PaaS solutions need to provide clear and ‘instant' value for those users. It is hard to do this if you cannot narrow in on a specific subset of use cases.
As PaaS works into the mainstream over the coming years, the supply chain approach taken by these solutions providers will be interesting to watch. Will vertical orientation continue to dominate the early PaaS years? Who will be the first leader to shift towards horizontal orientation, and what will the ramifications be? All of these are interesting questions and ones that only time will tell.
Containers are changing the security landscape for software development and deployment. As with any security solutions, security approaches that work for developers, operations personnel and security professionals is a requirement. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Kevin Gilpin, CTO and Co-Founder of Conjur, will discuss various security considerations for container-based infrastructure and related DevOps workflows.
Oct. 13, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 322
Containers are all the rage among developers and web companies, but they also represent two very substantial benefits to larger organizations. First, they have the potential to dramatically accelerate the application lifecycle from software builds and testing to deployment and upgrades. Second they represent the first truly hybrid-approach to consuming infrastructure, allowing organizations to run the same workloads on any cloud, virtual machine or physical server. Together, they represent a ver...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 199
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in high-performance, high-efficiency server, storage technology and green computing, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data ...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 181
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 144
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how busine...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 391
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes.
Oct. 13, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 316
Achim Weiss is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of ProfitBricks. In 1995, he broke off his studies to co-found the web hosting company "Schlund+Partner." The company "Schlund+Partner" later became the 1&1 web hosting product line. From 1995 to 2008, he was the technical director for several important projects: the largest web hosting platform in the world, the second largest DSL platform, a video on-demand delivery network, the largest eMail backend in Europe, and a universal billing syste...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 351
If you are new to Python, you might be confused about the different versions that are available. Although Python 3 is the latest generation of the language, many programmers still use Python 2.7, the final update to Python 2, which was released in 2010. There is currently no clear-cut answer to the question of which version of Python you should use; the decision depends on what you want to achieve. While Python 3 is clearly the future of the language, some programmers choose to remain with Py...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 323
When I describe Continuous Delivery to people I generally spend a fair amount of time impressing on them that it is not about tools and technicalities. It is not even about the relationship between developers and operations or product owners and testers. Continuous Delivery is about minimizing the gap between having an idea and getting that idea, in the form of working software, into the hands of users and seeing what they make of it. This vital feedback loop is at the core of not just good deve...
Oct. 13, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 169
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and containers together help companies achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, will review the current landscape of...
Oct. 13, 2015 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 245
As operational failure becomes more acceptable to discuss within the software industry, the necessity for holding constructive, actionable postmortems increases. But most of what we know about postmortems from "pop culture" isn't actually relevant for the software systems we work on and within. In his session at DevOps Summit, J. Paul Reed will look at postmortem pitfalls, techniques, and tools you'll be able to take back to your own environment so they will be able to lay the foundations for h...
Oct. 12, 2015 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 170
There’s no shortage of guides and blog posts available to provide you with best practices in architecting microservices. While all this information is helpful, what doesn’t seem to be available in such a great number are hands-on guidelines regarding how microservices can be scaled. Following a little research and sifting through lots of theoretical discussion, here is how load-balancing microservices is done in practice by the big players.
Oct. 12, 2015 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 158
DevOps is here to stay because it works. Most businesses using this methodology are already realizing a wide range of real, measurable benefits as a result of implementing DevOps, including the breakdown of inter-departmental silos, faster delivery of new features and more stable operating environments. To take advantage of the cloud’s improved speed and flexibility, development and operations teams need to work together more closely and productively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Prashanth...
Oct. 12, 2015 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 272
In a report titled “Forecast Analysis: Enterprise Application Software, Worldwide, 2Q15 Update,” Gartner analysts highlighted the increasing trend of application modernization among enterprises. According to a recent survey, 45% of respondents stated that modernization of installed on-premises core enterprise applications is one of the top five priorities. Gartner also predicted that by 2020, 75% of
Oct. 12, 2015 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 454
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading in...
Oct. 12, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 195
DevOps Summit, taking place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and Javits Center in New York City, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Oct. 12, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 145
Despite all the talk about public cloud services and DevOps, you would think the move to cloud for enterprises is clear and simple. But in a survey of almost 1,600 IT decision makers across the USA and Europe, the state of the cloud in enterprise today is still fraught with considerable frustration. The business case for apps in the real world cloud is hybrid, bimodal, multi-platform, and difficult. Download this report commissioned by NTT Communications to see the insightful findings – registra...
Oct. 12, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 412
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...
Oct. 12, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 324
As we increasingly rely on technology to improve the quality and efficiency of our personal and professional lives, software has become the key business differentiator. Organizations must release software faster, as well as ensure the safety, security, and reliability of their applications. The option to make trade-offs between time and quality no longer exists—software teams must deliver quality and speed. To meet these expectations, businesses have shifted from more traditional approaches of d...
Oct. 12, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 295
As the world moves towards more DevOps and microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Raghavan "Rags" Srinivas, an Architect/Developer Evangeli...
Oct. 12, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 292