Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Dalibor Siroky, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, John Katrick, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Tail Wagging the Dog | @CloudExpo #CloudFoundry #AI #IaaS #PaaS #DevOps

'It’s time for the CEO, COO, CIO to start to take joint responsibility for application platform decisions'

Here’s a novel, but controversial statement, “it’s time for the CEO, COO, CIO to start to take joint responsibility for application platform decisions.” For too many years now technical meritocracy has led the decision-making for the business with regard to platform selection. This includes, but is not limited to, servers, operating systems, virtualization, cloud and application platforms. In many of these cases the decision has not worked in favor of the business with regard to agility and costs.

I see it now with clients. Senior technical leadership recommending approaches that are questionable with regard to longevity, maintainability, sustainability and growth of the business. While its true that we do not have crystal balls and cannot tell what might happen, it seems there is a leaning away from what has been termed “opinionated” platforms. These are platform that come with some restrictions with regard to implementation, but do so in favor of speed and simplicity. These decisions are increasing the amount of technical debt the organization is accruing and will one day require the business to pay to undo.

Of note, and to be fair, not all these decisions are based on engineering bias. Some of these decisions relate directly back to business concerns of vendor lock-in. This concern over vendor lock-in, however, is being liberally applied to emerging platforms that are rooted in open sourced development and strong support for programming interfaces; things missing from the products of decades ago that locked in your data and offered no means to easily migrate or exit from use of the platform. This concern is mitigated even with today’s opinionated approaches. While a wholesale shift to a new platform may require some rework, the cost and effort does not warrant the choice to select a more complex, do-it-yourself platform.

While at EMC, one of my responsibilities was to help sales and our customers understand the value proposition of developing internal cloud capabilities using VCE’s Vblock technology. One of the key value propositions, and one that I still agree with now, was that it removed the need for data center engineers to spend time developing infrastructure out of discrete components. Vblock is in the family of converged architectures, which means that it has contained within it, network, compute, memory and storage pre-integrated. Vblock was designed to be updated remotely and the updates were fully-tested against against the known components prior to being pushed out. Hence, there was a very high success rate for the update and no outages due to conflicts between the various components due to changes.

The net result of moving to Vblock was less time spent on engineering solutions to work together when using discrete components, fewer outages due to conflicts when one component is updated, and a lower total cost to operate.

Today, businesses can select from Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions that offer the same value proposition as the Vblock. By selecting certain IaaS or PaaS approaches business can save hundreds of hours and significantly simplify their computing environments in areas related to selection, configuration, and troubleshooting of internally integrated discrete components. This is the right choice for the business.

In cases where senior business-oriented executives have been party to selection we have seen them select the pre-engineered, opinionated approach due to the demonstrated ability to provide simplified operations, speed in time-to-market, and flexibility in deployment platforms. Examples of this include GE and Ford, which both selected Pivotal Cloud Foundry as a basis for delivering next-generation systems upon which their business will rely. A key reason for these decisions is that the platform takes an opinionated approach. The following is an excerpt of a blog that defines the differences well:

The Cloud Foundry community often proudly proclaims a key part of its current success and future lies in the fact that it is an opinionated platform. But what is an “opinionated” platform? The existential questions of how to deploy to the platform and run apps on the platform are answered in a specific, if not rigid, way. To boost productivity along a prescribed path, fewer options are exposed to developers and operators.

Less opinionated platforms optimize flexibility in the guts of the system, offering more freedom for “do-it-yourself” implementations that feature custom components. More opinionated platforms provide structure and abstraction—“the platform does it for you.” Users are then free to focus on writing apps on top of said platform. And free to rapidly iterate on their apps, and reducing time-to-value for new features.

Cloud Foundry is one such highly opinionated platform. Those opinions are formed and codified with the belief that platform decisions should help customers deliver new, high-quality software to production as fast as possible.

Now, some will say that being opinionated is an aspect of vendor lock-in. However, Pivotal is just one implementation of now three on the market. IBM and SUSE are other vendors that offer Cloud Foundry implementations based on the open source code base and are part of an organization responsible for ensuring openness of the platform. Moreover, Cloud Foundry can be acquired as-a-Service or implemented on self-managed infrastructure.

Back to my opening salvo. Software is eating the world and technology is touching every aspect of your business. Now, more than ever, it’s critical for C-level executives to fully understand the nature of platform decisions and to make sure that the decisions made are best for the longevity of the business and support the speed and agility they need to deploy new business capabilities and not progress the engineering prowess of its workers.

More Stories By JP Morgenthal

JP Morgenthal is a veteran IT solutions executive and Distinguished Engineer with CSC. He has been delivering IT services to business leaders for the past 30 years and is a recognized thought-leader in applying emerging technology for business growth and innovation. JP's strengths center around transformation and modernization leveraging next generation platforms and technologies. He has held technical executive roles in multiple businesses including: CTO, Chief Architect and Founder/CEO. Areas of expertise for JP include strategy, architecture, application development, infrastructure and operations, cloud computing, DevOps, and integration. JP is a published author with four trade publications with his most recent being “Cloud Computing: Assessing the Risks”. JP holds both a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Hofstra University.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...