Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, TJ Randall, Elizabeth White, Derek Weeks, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

The PaaS Supply Chain

What kind of supply chain approach will win in PaaS?

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.

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
At its core DevOps is all about collaboration. The lines of communication must be opened and it takes some effort to ensure that they stay that way. It’s easy to pay lip service to trends and talk about implementing new methodologies, but without action, real benefits cannot be realized. Success requires planning, advocates empowered to effect change, and, of course, the right tooling. To bring about a cultural shift it’s important to share challenges. In simple terms, ensuring that everyone k...
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and microservices. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your conta...
What do dependency resolution, situational awareness, and superheroes have in common? Meet Chris Corriere, a DevOps/Software Engineer at Autotrader, speaking on creative ways to maximize usage of all of the above. Mark Miller, Community Advocate and senior storyteller at Sonatype, caught up with Chris to learn more about what his team is up to.
DevOps theory promotes a culture of continuous improvement built on collaboration, empowerment, systems thinking, and feedback loops. But how do you collaborate effectively across the traditional silos? How can you make decisions without system-wide visibility? How can you see the whole system when it is spread across teams and locations? How do you close feedback loops across teams and activities delivering complex multi-tier, cloud, container, serverless, and/or API-based services?
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his session at @DevOpsSummit 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will show how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that enables everyon...
Today every business relies on software to drive the innovation necessary for a competitive edge in the Application Economy. This is why collaboration between development and operations, or DevOps, has become IT’s number one priority. Whether you are in Dev or Ops, understanding how to implement a DevOps strategy can deliver faster development cycles, improved software quality, reduced deployment times and overall better experiences for your customers.
So you think you are a DevOps warrior, huh? Put your money (not really, it’s free) where your metrics are and prove it by taking The Ultimate DevOps Geek Quiz Challenge, sponsored by DevOps Summit. Battle through the set of tough questions created by industry thought leaders to earn your bragging rights and win some cool prizes.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. 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 Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and ...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
“Being able to take needless work out of the system is more important than being able to put more work into the system.” This is one of my favorite quotes from Gene Kim’s book, The Phoenix Project, and it plays directly into why we're announcing the DevOps Express initiative today. Tracing the Steps. For years now, I have witnessed needless work being performed across the DevOps industry. No, not within our clients DevOps and continuous delivery practices. I have seen it in the buyer’s journe...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
In many organizations governance is still practiced by phase or stage gate peer review, and Agile projects are forced to accommodate, which leads to WaterScrumFall or worse. But governance criteria and policies are often very weak anyway, out of date or non-existent. Consequently governance is frequently a matter of opinion and experience, highly dependent upon the experience of individual reviewers. As we all know, a basic principle of Agile methods is delegation of responsibility, and ideally ...
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 Arch...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...
With emerging ideas, innovation, and talents, the lines between DevOps, release engineering, and even security are rapidly blurring. I invite you to sit down for a moment with Principle Consultant, J. Paul Reed, and listen to his take on what the intersection between these once individualized fields entails, and may even foreshadow.