Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Derek Weeks, Mehdi Daoudi, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

You Are the Network | @CloudExpo #BigData #IoT #IIoT #M2M #API #DX #AI

To fully grasp our connectivity, we must look at the speed of life today

First there was the Stone Age. Then we learned how to manipulate and smelt metals, which led to an Agrarian age. From there, machines helped bring about the Industrial age, then the Space Age. So where are we now?

Shall We Call It the Network Age?
Metcalfe's Law holds that the value of a connected network, telecommunications in the parlance of his day, is proportional to the square of the number of connected users. Or stated more simply, the utility of a connected ‘thing' increases as more and more ‘things' are connected. The telephone acts as an easy example. One phone by itself is a paperweight, but one million connected to the same network is immeasurably powerful.

We live in a day of increasing connectivity. Think back to just a few years before the ubiquitousness of the Internet. How did we look up information? A phonebook for a phone number? An encyclopedia for random information? How did we we find more targeted information? How well did a movie perform on its opening weekend? Who won the academy award for best actress in 1980? What was the high temperature in Nagasaki yesterday? These questions required real research. Today, they require only a smart phone, tablet or any web-connected device. Even a smart watch will provide you with answers in milliseconds.

In short, the very nature of a thing changes with connectivity. A telephone isn't just a phone, it's a voice portal to millions of others. This applies to us as well. As people, we are changed as a result of our ready access to a near limitless supply of information, facts, anecdotes and dumb cat jokes. It's not just the availability of this information, it's how we live our lives knowing we have this access. Who hasn't been at a dinner, heard a song, and opened up Shazam to identify the music playing? Or googled a movie to remind us of the lead actor whose name we forgot?

I remember years ago, in the late '80s, working with a customer and arguing for the utility of networking their office PCs. At the time, each person had their own printer and files were moved from desk to desk via floppy. I failed in making my case and, I'll note, they were out of business a few short years later. I am not implying causality, but a company today that doesn't see the changes in the world around them will likely see a similar fate in their future.

No one of us can pretend to live, work, or play in isolation any longer. Whether we are a fisherman in southern China or an executive on Wall Street, we are connected to each other by virtue of our connections to technology. It is the age we live in. We cannot change that.

By extension, the isolationist aims of some politicians simply fail to recognize our world today. Nations have tried to shut down some Internet sites or censor access entirely. Most fail, while others have been overthrown. Remember the Arab Spring? In addition, this connectivity has brought about a profound change in many third world countries. To stop jobs from moving overseas one would have to shut down the Internet to prevent companies from using overseas labor, or cut satellite feeds, and transoceanic cables.

What we see with increasing regularity happening in many of these lands that embrace open access to information is an increase in education levels, standards of living, and a slow normalizing of costs. This connectivity has fundamentally shifted the balance of power in the world.

We can no more become isolationist than we can revert to a stone age society. Not one of us would stand for it.

Speed
To fully grasp our connectivity, we must look at the speed of life today. How long did it take someone to research an article, paper, or book 50 years ago? How long did it take to travel to Europe 100 years ago and at what cost? How much did a long distance call cost only a generation ago? Today, I can have a video call with someone anywhere on the globe instantly, and at an effective cost of zero. How has this changed us?

Speed has a profound effect on our lives - from expectations of traffic when traveling or commuting, to responsiveness of websites when shopping. Speed is an extension of convenience. Would you rather go to a mall to purchase a book today, or order one online from Amazon? Better yet, log on with your Kindle and have it instantly. One result of this shift, of course, is that retail bookstores, and ultimately as Amazon expanded its offerings, retailers in general, began to close their doors, and lately in increasing numbers.

Similarly, in years past, we chose where to live based on access to quality schools and jobs. Today, a growing number of people work remotely, while still more take advantage of online schooling. Speed has changed the retail landscape, where we choose to live and, by extension, changed our world.

At the same time, we always demand more speed. We are hardwired to be more efficient. To do more, in less time, with less effort. Build a bigger, wider, highway and more traffic will find it. Increase the speed of a network, more people will use it. Unsure about this? Try driving through traffic in LA or Toronto.

Power
These changes have negative consequences as well as positive ones. Napoleon realized the value of the third dimension when mounting his armies. He recognized that air superiority could win the day, and so he introduced artillery and other airborne weapons not yet seen by his rivals. Similarly, the United States leveraged the air to save the day in World War I. In the 20th century, nations battled nations, and the winner, while both carrying superior intelligence, numbers and power, was able to realize and take advantage of a world not yet recognized by their enemies.

Today, the nature of power has shifted, and world leaders face an ugly future if they fail to see it. So too must business leaders recognize this paradigm shift in the world and, by extension, in their customers. Amazon killed far larger retailers with their business model. Apple's iTunes fundamentally changed the music industry, while Netflix forced the shuttering of Blockbuster stores and helped change how we consume media. The common theme is seeing a different future brought about by connection. The power is in the network, and those leaders who understand and leverage this, will rule the future.

Sadly, the ugly side of this is that many terrorist networks have figured out how to leverage networks and connectivity before many of our traditional world leaders. Just as military strength ruled the day in the previous century, network power and understanding it will rule tomorrow's world.

Value
At the same time, we must also recognize we are the sum of our connections. As the network grows, so grows our value. The tide is rising and so to do all the ships. Each additional point or connection to us, no matter how remote or small, increases the overall value of us and our collective networks.

Conclusion
As we look to the future, we must understand this is more than another ‘paradigm shift' in our society. This amounts to a redistribution of power in ways heretofore unknown in human experience.

In days gone by, power was concentrated among the few. Military leaders, the clergy, and wealthy merchants controlled most of the world's power up until the 17th century. The Industrial Age saw power slowly redistributing as capitalism took hold, and led to the rise of the middle class.

Today, however, networks both concentrate power among those who control networks, while also distributing it to users. More power has been placed in the hands of ‘everyman' than ever before. Think about the supercomputer most of us carry in our pockets and purses everywhere we go.

Networks are also made up of many complicated pieces. Routers, servers and switches make up the technical backbone. These are complicated items, but predictable and understandable. Together, they make up a complex system. Complex things, on the other hand, are randomized and unpredictable. A car is complicated, but predictable (at least to some extent). Traffic, however, is complex. Both have complicated pieces, but complex things are more unpredictable, like the weather, ocean currents, or storms.

In addition, complex systems lead to the creation of things previously unfathomable. Think about Linked in, Facebook or Snapchat as contemporary examples. Without their network of users, they are single web pages. They are nothing. Similarly, Uber, Airbnb, and other examples have led to the creation of new systems previously unimaginable. These networks have also arisen with remarkable speed, and created immense riches for their founders.

Sadly, terrorist groups have also formed upon these network backbones. ISIS emerged from this complexity. This process of creation of the unimaginable is only just accelerating.

At their core, networks contain enormous power. To control such a system is arguably to control anyone connected to it, or at least to dramatically influence those users, or connections. Think about when we search for information. When we do a Google search, do we trust the results implicitly, or second guess them?

Today's networks are increasingly led by a young, technically savvy group of technorati with limited experience with our world history, its politics or philosophy. Yet our world is led by a group of leaders with no experience with these new networks. Think about this market contrast between those running technology companies and those running countries. We cannot go back, we can only look forward.

To quote Joshua Cooper Ramo, author of The Seventh Sense, who does a wonderful job of summarizing this new world order: "One thing is clear. If we are going to play a role in shaping our world. We don't have much time."

And remember, you are the network.

More Stories By Chuck Fried

Chuck Fried is the President and CEO of TxMQ, a consulting company which works with mid market up through global 2000 companies to help them understand these new realities. He is also a father of 10, grandfather of one, husband of 31 years, and a wildly mediocre triathlete. He can be reached at [email protected]
Blog - Twitter - LinkedIn

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
We have Continuous Integration and we have Continuous Deployment, but what’s continuous across all of what we do is people. Even when tasks are automated, someone wrote the automation. So, Jayne Groll evangelizes about Continuous Everyone. Jayne is the CEO of the DevOps Institute and the author of Agile Service Management Guide. She talked about Continuous Everyone at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. She describes it as "about people, culture, and collaboration mapped into your value streams....
In our first installment of this blog series, we went over the different types of applications migrated to the cloud and the benefits IT organizations hope to achieve by moving applications to the cloud. Unfortunately, IT can’t just press a button or even whip up a few lines of code to move applications to the cloud. Like any strategic move by IT, a cloud migration requires advanced planning.
Did you know that you can develop for mainframes in Java? Or that the testing and deployment can be automated across mobile to mainframe? In his session and demo at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Dana Boudreau, a Senior Director at CA Technologies, will discuss how increasingly teams are developing with agile methodologies, using modern development environments, and automating testing and deployments, mobile to mainframe.
“Why didn’t testing catch this” must become “How did this make it to testing?” Traditional quality teams are the crutch and excuse keeping organizations from making the necessary investment in people, process, and technology to accelerate test automation. Just like societies that did not build waterways because the labor to keep carrying the water was so cheap, we have created disincentives to automate. In her session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Anne Hungate, President of Daring System...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost ...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International 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 ...
Docker is on a roll. In the last few years, this container management service has become immensely popular in development, especially given the great fit with agile-based projects and continuous delivery. In this article, I want to take a brief look at how you can use Docker to accelerate and streamline the software development lifecycle (SDLC) process.
Cloud adoption is often driven by a desire to increase efficiency, boost agility and save money. All too often, however, the reality involves unpredictable cost spikes and lack of oversight due to resource limitations. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Joe Kinsella, CTO and Founder of CloudHealth Technologies, tackled the question: “How do you build a fully optimized cloud?” He will examine: Why TCO is critical to achieving cloud success – and why attendees should be thinking holistically ab...
DevOps is good for organizations. According to the soon to be released State of DevOps Report high-performing IT organizations are 2X more likely to exceed profitability, market share, and productivity goals. But how do they do it? How do they use DevOps to drive value and differentiate their companies? We recently sat down with Nicole Forsgren, CEO and Chief Scientist at DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) and lead investigator for the State of DevOps Report, to discuss the role of measure...
If you are part of the cloud development community, you certainly know about “serverless computing”, almost a misnomer. Because it implies there are no servers which is untrue. However the servers are hidden from the developers. This model eliminates operational complexity and increases developer productivity. We came from monolithic computing to client-server to services to microservices to serverless model. In other words, our systems have slowly “dissolved” from monolithic to function-by-func...
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single-threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Dave Martin, Product owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how ...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Many organizations are now looking to DevOps maturity models to gauge their DevOps adoption and compare their maturity to their peers. However, as enterprise organizations rush to adopt DevOps, moving past experimentation to embrace it at scale, they are in danger of falling into the trap that they have fallen into time and time again. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: badly.
IT organizations are moving to the cloud in hopes to approve efficiency, increase agility and save money. Migrating workloads might seem like a simple task, but what many businesses don’t realize is that application migration criteria differs across organizations, making it difficult for architects to arrive at an accurate TCO number. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Joe Kinsella, CTO of CloudHealth Technologies, will offer a systematic approach to understanding the TCO of a cloud application...
API Security has finally entered our security zeitgeist. OWASP Top 10 2017 - RC1 recognized API Security as a first class citizen by adding it as number 10, or A-10 on its list of web application vulnerabilities. We believe this is just the start. The attack surface area offered by API is orders or magnitude larger than any other attack surface area. Consider the fact the APIs expose cloud services, internal databases, application and even legacy mainframes over the internet. What could go wrong...
With Cloud Foundry you can easily deploy and use apps utilizing websocket technology, but not everybody realizes that scaling them out is not that trivial. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Roman Swoszowski, CTO and VP, Cloud Foundry Services, at Grape Up, will show you an example of how to deal with this issue. He will demonstrate a cloud-native Spring Boot app running in Cloud Foundry and communicating with clients over websocket protocol that can be easily scaled horizontally and coordinate...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Carter, CEO of Approyo, discussed the basic set up and solution for an SAP solution in the cloud and what it means to the viability of your company. Chris Carter is CEO of Approyo. He works with business around the globe, to assist them in their journey to the usage of Big Data in the forms of Hadoop (Cloudera and Hortonwork's) and SAP HANA. At Approyo, we support firms who are looking for knowledge to grow through current business process, where even 1%...
The goal of Continuous Testing is to shift testing left to find defects earlier and release software faster. This can be achieved by integrating a set of open source functional and performance testing tools in the early stages of your software delivery lifecycle. There is one process that binds all application delivery stages together into one well-orchestrated machine: Continuous Testing. Continuous Testing is the conveyer belt between the Software Factory and production stages. Artifacts are m...
From manual human effort the world is slowly paving its way to a new space where most process are getting replaced with tools and systems to improve efficiency and bring down operational costs. Automation is the next big thing and low code platforms are fueling it in a significant way. The Automation era is here. We are in the fast pace of replacing manual human efforts with machines and processes. In the world of Information Technology too, we are linking disparate systems, softwares and tool...