Category Archives: Cloud/SOA

SOA is not differentiating, Cloud Computing is

By Mark Skilton, Capgemini

Warning: I confess at the start of this blog that I chose a deliberately evocative title to try to get your attention and guess I did if are reading this now. Having written a couple of blogs to date with what I believed were finely honed words on current lessons learnt and futures of technology had created little reaction, so I thought I’d try the more direct approach and head directly towards a pressing matter of architectural and strategic concern.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is now commonplace across all software development lifecycles and has entered the standard language of information technology design. We hear “service oriented” and “service enabled” as standard phrases handed out as common terms of reference. The point is that the processes and practices of SOA are industrial and are not differentiating, as everyone is doing these either from a design standpoint or as a business systems service approach. They enable standardization and abstraction of services in the design and build stages to align with key business and technology strategy goals, and enable technology to be developed or utilized that meets specific technical or business service requirements.

SOA practices are prerequisites to good design practice. SOA is a foundation of Service Management ITIL processes and is to be found in diverse software engineering methods from Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) to rapid Model Driven Architecture design techniques that build compose web-enabled services. SOA is seen as a key method along the journey to industrialization supporting consolidation and rationalization, as well as lean engineering techniques to optimize business and systems landscape. SOA provides good development practice in defining user requirements that provide what the user wants, and in translating these into understanding how best to build agile, decoupled and flexible architectural solutions.

My point is that these methods are now mainstream, and merely putting SOA into your proposal or as a stated capability is no longer going to be a “deal clincher” or a key “business differentiator”. The counterview I hear practitioners in SOA will say is that SOA is not just the standardized service practices but is also how the services can be identified that are differentiating. But that’s the rub. If SOA treats every requirement or design as a service problem, where is the difference?

A possible answer is in how SOA will be used. In the future and today it will be a business differentiator in the way the SOA method is used. But not all SOA methods are equal, and what will be necessary to highlight SOA method differentiation for business benefit?

Enter Cloud Computing, its origins in utility computing and the ubiquitous web services and Internet. The definitions of what is Cloud Computing, much like the early days of Service Orientation, is still evolving in understanding where the boundary and types of services it encompasses. But the big disruptive step change has been the new business model the Cloud Computing mode has introduced.

Cloud Computing has introduced automatic provisioning, self-service, automatic load balancing and scaling of resources in technology. Building on virtualization principles, it has extended into on-demand metering and billing consumption models, large-scale computing resource data centers, and large-scale distributed businesses on the web using the power of the Internet to reach and run new business models. I can hear industry observers say this is just a consequence of the timely convergence of pervasive technology network standards, the rapid falling costs per compute and storage costs and the massive “hockey stick” movement of bandwidth, smart devices and wide-scale adoption of web-based services.

But this is a step change movement from a simple realization that it’s just “another technology phase”.

Put another way: It has brought the back office computing resources and the on-demand Software as a Service Models into a dynamic new business model that changes the way business and IT work. It has “merged” physical and logical services into a new marketplace on-demand model that hitherto was “good practice“ to design as separate consumer and provider services. All that’s changed.

But does SOA fully realize these aspects of a Cloud Computing Architecture? Answer these three simple questions:

  • Does the logical service contracts define how multi-tenant environments need to work to support many concurrent services users?
  • Does SOA enable automating balancing and scaling to be considered if the initial set of declarative conditions in the service contract don’t “fit” the new operating conditions that need scaling up or down?
  • Does SOA recognize the wider marketplace and ecosystem dynamics that may result in evolving consumer/producer patterns that are dynamic and not static, driving new sourcing behaviors and usage patterns that may involve using services through a portal with no contract?

For sure, ecosystem principles are axiomatic in that they will drive standards for containers, protocols and semantics which SOA standards are perfect to adopt as boundary conditions for service contracts in a Service Portfolio. But my illustrations here are to broaden the debate as to how to engage SOA as a differentiator when it meets a “new kid on the block” like Cloud, which is rapidly morphing into new models “as we speak” extending into social networks, mobile services and location aware integration.

My real intention is to raise awareness and interest in the subjects and the activities that The Open Group is engaged in to address such topics. I sincerely hope you can follow these up as further reading and investigation with The Open Group; and of course, do feel free to comment and contact me J

Cloud Computing and SOA are key topics of discussion at The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13, which is underway. 

Mark Skilton, Director, Capgemini, is the Co-Chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. He has been involved in advising clients and developing of strategic portfolio services in Cloud Computing and business transformation. His recent contributions include the publication of Return on Investment models on Cloud Computing widely syndicated that achieved 50,000 hits on CIO.com and in the British Computer Society 2010 Annual Review. His current activities include development of a new Cloud Computing Model standards and best practices on the subject of Cloud Computing impact on Outsourcing and Off-shoring models and contributed to the second edition of the Handbook of Global Outsourcing and Off-shoring published through his involvement with Warwick Business School UK Specialist Masters Degree Program in Information Systems Management.

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The Cloud “Through a Glass, Darkly”

Results of The Open Group “State of the Industry” Cloud Survey

By Dr. Chris Harding, The Open Group

Cloud Computing has been a major topic of interest and excitement in the world of Information Technology for a couple of years now. This is time enough for enterprises to understand its impact, or so you would think. So how exactly are they planning to make use of this phenomenon?

Obtaining a clear view of a current cloud such as Cloud Computing is notoriously difficult. It is like trying to see the world outside clearly through the dirty, distorted windows that were commonplace in England in the 17th century, when the simile “as through a glass, darkly” became established. But the “State of the Industry” Cloud survey, released today by The Open Group, sheds light on the topic, and provides some interesting insights.

The Open Group is a vendor- and technology-neutral consortium of IT customers and vendors, with a strong focus on Enterprise Architecture. The State of the Industry survey captures the views of its customer side, which is well representative of the global IT user community. It gives us a good understanding of how user enterprises currently perceive the Cloud.

Cloud certainly has the users’ attention. Only 8% of survey respondents said that Cloud was not currently on their IT roadmap. But substantial take-up is only just starting. Nearly half of those for whom Cloud is on the roadmap have not yet begun to use it, and half of the rest have only started recently.

The respondents have a clear idea of how they will use the Cloud. The majority expect to have some element of private Cloud, with 29% saying that private Cloud would best meet their organisations’ business requirements, and 45% saying that hybrid Cloud would do so, as opposed to 17% for public Cloud. Only 9% were unsure.

They also have a clear view of the advantages and drawbacks. Cost, agility, and resource optimisation came out as the three main reasons for using Cloud Computing, with business continuity also a significant factor. Security, integration issues, and governance were the three biggest concerns, with ability to cope with change, vendor lock-in, cost to deploy, and regulatory compliance also being significant worries.

Return on Investment (ROI) is probably the most commonly used measure of success of a technical change, and The Open Group has produced a landmark White Paper “Building Return on Investment from Cloud Computing”. The survey respondents felt on balance (by 55% to 45%) that Cloud ROI should be easy to evaluate and justify. Cost, quality of delivered result, utilisation, speed of operation, and scale of operation were felt to be the most useful Cloud ROI metrics. But only 35% had mechanisms in place to measure Cloud ROI as opposed to 45% that did not, with the other 20% being unsure.

The question on the impact of Cloud produced the most striking of the survey’s results. While 82% said that they expected their Cloud initiatives to have significant impact on one or more business processes, only 28% said that they were prepared for these changes.

Cloud Computing is primarily a technical phenomenon, but it has the ability to transform business. Its lower cost and increased agility and speed of operation can dramatically improve profitability of existing business processes. More than this, and perhaps more importantly, it enables new ways of collaborative working and can support new processes. It is therefore not surprising that people do not yet feel fully prepared — but it is interesting that the survey should bring this point out quite so clearly.

The ability to transform business is the most exciting feature of the Cloud phenomenon. But users currently see it “through a glass darkly,” and perhaps with a measure of faith and hope. There is a lesson in this for industry consortia such as The Open Group. More needs to be done to develop understanding of the business impact of Cloud Computing, and we should focus on this, as well as on the technical possibilities.

To obtain a copy of the survey, download it here, or media may email us a request at opengrouppr@opengroup.org.

Cloud Computing is a major topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, London, which is currently underway.

Dr. Chris Harding is Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group. He has been with The Open Group for more than ten years, and is currently responsible for managing and supporting its work on interoperability, including SOA and interoperability aspects of Cloud Computing. Before joining The Open Group, he was a consultant, and a designer and development manager of communications software. With a PhD in mathematical logic, he welcomes the current upsurge of interest in semantic technology, and the opportunity to apply logical theory to practical use. He has presented at The Open Group and other conferences on a range of topics, and contributes articles to online journals. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE, and AOGEA, and is a certified TOGAF® practitioner. Chris is based in the U.K.

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Cloud impact on platforms and applications – a perspective on architecture

By Shripadraj Mujumdar, Cognizant Technology Solutions

Context

Today’s large businesses are heavily characterized by globalization and interconnectedness. Therefore, the key effective trends of importance can be summarized as- Business process improvement and consolidations, supply chains. Reducing enterprise costs and managing change initiatives, increasing the use of analytics. Improving enterprise workforce effectiveness, enable innovation and Targeting customers and markets more effectively. In a nutshell, organizations are looking for shorter lines of communication, deeper relationships between stakeholders, and more shared knowledge and data of the company and business, up and down the ranks and across linked partners.

Similarly, with ever-increasing definitions of the enterprise, boundaries to support above key focus areas in an organization’s set of technologies which are playing a pivotal role can be identified as virtualization and Cloud, Service Oriented Architecture, Web 2.0, mobile technologies, unified communications, business intelligence and document management and storage. The game changer here is specifically “The Cloud,” which provides the necessary model to commoditize the platforms, Infrastructure and applications.

Software application architectures have traversed the path of separation of functions, objects and  layers till separation of concerns in terms of services. The new applications are more open, collaborative, and social, and the main factor for facilitation has been maturity and adoption of standards for interoperability and compliance on feature sets. With Cloud power playing its role, this core definition of software and applications is set to undergo yet another paradigm shift, impacting the direction on how Enterprise IT systems are architected, leveraged and governed.

Impact of Cloud on platforms and architecture

In most of the literature, more often than less, the advantages listed for Cloud Computing put more emphasis on its infrastructure aspect and its economic benefit. The economic change that may come to computing services is in terms of changes in patterns and factors of production and consumption, besides aggregation of supply and demand. Moreover, the ability to make over the counter choice and substitution is also an important factor that will impact overall economics of computing in times to come. The real power of the Cloud model will be realized in terms of how platforms, applications and services will get proliferated on pay-per-use or more creative models. For applications which follow new generation of styles, here are possible considerations for impact that may happen in the architecture definition and process. In the future, off-the-shelf patterns will emerge to internalize many such considerations and we may hopefully even see support available at a platform/framework level.

  • Business Architecture: The base-level business processes would be set to benefit more from Cloud-based IT service choices in an open model, thus impacting overall business architecture at the enterprise level, driven by the need and ability to explore opportunities for optimization, enhancement and scaling
  • Enterprise Assets Reorganization- Based on the speed of adoption, there would be a trend to consolidate the enterprise assets, and replace and reassemble some of them using Cloud-based trusted services, platforms and infrastructure, thus eliminating redundancy. There will be a boost to such service-based outsourcing to leverage cost advantages and minimize in-house maintenance. The data architecture, again, will have a consolidation phase and should be planned to leverage Cloud-based data services – Data as Service — and segregate data within enterprise boundaries and across a public Cloud, creating data virtualization. Moreover, as more Cloud security standards and specifications evolve, potentially there will be shifts in data organization. The possibility of easy access to big data will drive enterprise-level data models to further levels
  • Solution and Application Architecture- The most important impact that is happening due to Cloud is on ability of solutions and applications to pop their head out of the traditional box and utilize on massive computing power and scale. Some of the features described below may apply based on the actual application scenario. However, for large-scale, multi-client, multi-scenario applications, all would make sense in the longer term
    • Service Orientation- The Cloud-based applications architecture provides a real home to service orientation of applications. With Cloud-based architectures, there would be out-of-the-box support, service end point abstractions, available for SAAS choice available, hence the new applications’ need to expose service interfaces beyond regular access channels to support virtualized service mash-ups. The applications which operate in hybrid mode may well be thought about as assembled from Cloud and non-Cloud parts of services and data
    • Multi-tenancy- Similar to the Cloud environment, this facilitates sharing of computing infrastructure across multiple consumers, Cloud applications, running on top of it need to support multiple tenants to avail economies of scale. There can be flexibility to adopt for specific tenancy models based on consumer preferences, accordingly isolation levels can be worked out
    • New Integration Scenarios- While applications and business platforms move to Cloud, their interlinkages will invariably have to shift in a similar way. It gives rise to possible new scenarios in which Cloud-based integration can be performed utilizing possible advantage points to find optimal ways
    • Cost of Operation/Consumption- The effect of commoditization will directly create a requirement at applications and related level to support similar model. Thus multiple models may have to be supported with blended price structure, similar to support levels we have in regular service provisioning
    • Interoperability- The applications and its services need to follow interoperability models considering wide scenario of usage. As of today, the Cloud platforms by themselves don’t set a great example of portability and interoperation. However, the services hosted on such platforms have more scale of access scenarios and need to follow well-established standards to facilitate mash-up scenarios
    • Dynamic & Flexible Definition- Considering pay-per-use model and service orientation, applications will need to support the selection of features and services to be used, and pricing model around those services, in order to be competitive and optimal. This is also in terms of transferring the benefit of granular pricing model at Cloud-level to end consumers
    • Extensibility- Many sorts of software today also have some extension features which hook up online for doing certain tasks. Going forward, the application extensibility will not be limited to local scenarios, but to be able to choose background services and features for consumption and addition of features dynamically. This will allow the creation of very powerful applications. However, from an architecture standpoint, provisioning for such extension points have to be well thought of
    • Elasticity- Configuration & Self Service- In order to support scalability and load variance, the dynamic elasticity on Cloud needs to be utilized in an optimal way. Applications may have to provision for a self-service model for configuration of load modeling and accordingly provision the Cloud resources. Similarly, a self-service model may have to be extended to encompass feature selection scenarios, and pricing will then depend on such selection
    • Parallelism– The batch process framework and scenarios in today’s applications may get redefined going forward, due to massive parallelization capabilities which can come out of Cloud-based infrastructure. This in essence will also have an impact on certain business processes when latency is removed. For generic frameworks and applications supporting a wide range of consumption patterns, this may have to be configurable
    • Context Awareness- The applications may have to be context-aware in order to be more usable. While the applications move to few centralized locations from a deployment perspective, the consumptions will increase due to high levels of commoditization and access, and a common base will have to cater to variety of contexts
    • Service Discovery and Catalogs- With multiple capabilities expected out of services and parameters, and pricing models they would support, discovery and metadata of services will undergo extensions with reference to description of services. The frameworks which support service discovery and facilitate consumption will undergo a change to support the same in the future
    • Monitoring, Operations- The monitoring and operational support on Cloud components in an application would be more complex and limited by facilities exposed by such components. Thus, based on specific need and Cloud infrastructure, the frameworks and architectural elements need to be considered for support
    • Metrics, SLAs- The Metrics and SLA as used in on-premise software may have change in their definitions. Those will be aggregated functions of on-premise and Cloud services/components collectively. Thus, beyond functional aspect of catalogs in Cloud services, the other aspects of operational specifications may also need to be noted and can become important aspect while choosing amongst similar components

In conclusion, The Cloud, which used to be one of the abstractions in traditional architecture diagrams, is now set to swallow other neighboring elements. When Cloud reaches its fully adopted level, it will influence application architectures by driving them to be more componentized and service-oriented to support agility, commoditization and choice. Consolidating on these points, my presentation on the “Reverse Impact of Cloud” on May 11, at The Open Group Conference, London, 2011 will cover some of the factors which are important considerations for being Cloud-ready, architectures and present scenarios which depict application integration possibilities with Cloud.

Shripadraj Mujumdar will be presenting on the “Reverse Impact of Cloud on Platforms and Architecture” at The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13. Join us for best practices and case studies on Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, Security and more, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Shripadraj R Mujumdar [Prasanna], Senior Architect at Cognizant Technology Solutions, India, is part of Cognizant’s Global Technology Office and carries with him an extensive experience of 16 years of consulting and architecting strategic technology initiatives in corporate and customer programs. He has been instrumental in the inception of new service offerings through COEs, competency & delivery excellence, and in leadership capacity to create high performance technology/domain-focused teams. Shripadraj has done substantial work in India and abroad for several top-notch global customers in order to provide technology solutions and consulting — solving their critical business issues. Apart from his work interest , he actively participates in the blogosphere and is avid reader of science and philosophy. He holds a degree in engineering and has undergone the corporate education program on business leadership.

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The Open Group Conference, London: An open environment for challenging times

By Allen Brown, CEO, The Open Group

In little over a week, The Open Group will convene in London to debate some of today’s key IT issues such as Cloud Computing and Enterprise Architecture.

Our members span a range of companies and organisations, including Capgemini, HP, IBM, Oracle, Kingdee and SAP, and hail from around the globe. It’s not easy trying to get such a range of individuals to reach some sort of consensus; our conferences are vital in developing open standards and certifications. Our rich and varied membership certainly makes for interesting and lively debates. During the London Conference, May 9-13, we’ll hear plenty of opinions on a variety of topics including enterprise architecture (EA), business transformation, cyber-security, Cloud Computing, SOA and skills-based certifications.

We’ve got an excellent group of speakers attending the conference including Peter Edwards, Associate Director, IT & Communications Consulting, Arup, who’ll describe his experiences of being an Enterprise Architect in the land of Architects and Civil Engineers. His speech will discuss his position at Arup and some aspects of his role as Chief Enterprise Architect for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA)​. He’ll discuss examples from recent work on major airports, sports facilities, “smart cities” and efficient data centres, explaining how these all rely heavily and increasingly on complex, integrated systems and how the concepts, tools and techniques of enterprise architecture are helpful in planning and integrating such systems, and in helping to bridge the communication gap between the different types of stakeholders.

Other presenters will address the role of technical experts to investigate organised crime, Cloud vendor selection (how to pick the right combination of better, faster and cheaper), architecting Cloud Computing, securing the global supply chain and much more.

As the IT media is dominated by stories on Cloud and cyber-security, it will be refreshing to debate these in an open environment and discuss the many challenges we all face in navigating an increasingly complex IT world. I’d love to hear your views on the type of questions you’d like answered and any particular issues you feel passionate about.

The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13 is almost here! Join us for best practices and case studies on Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, Security and more, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Allen BrownAllen Brown is the President and CEO of The Open GroupFor more than ten years, he has been responsible for driving the organization’s strategic plan and day-to-day operations; he was also instrumental in the creation of The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects (AOGEA). Allen is based in the U.K.

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Creation of a strategy for the consumption and management of Cloud Services in the TOGAF® Preliminary Phase

By Serge Thorn, Architecting the Enterprise

In an article on my blog, Cloud Computing requires Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF 9 can show the way I described the need to define a strategy as an additional step in the TOGAF 9 Preliminary Phase. This article describes in more detail what could be the content of such a document, specifically, what are the governance activities related to the Consumption and Management of Cloud Services.

Before deciding to switch over to Cloud Computing, companies should first fully understand the concepts and implications of an internal IT investment or buying this as a service. There are different approaches, which may have to be considered from an enterprise level when Cloud Computing is considered: Public Cloud vs. Private Clouds vs. Hybrid Clouds. Despite the fact that many people already know what the differences are, below are some summaries of the various models:

  • A public Cloud is one in which the consumer of Cloud services and the provider of Cloud services exist in separate enterprises. The ownership of the assets used to deliver Cloud services remains with the provider
  • A private Cloud is one in which both the consumer of Cloud services and the provider of those services exist within the same enterprise. The ownership of the Cloud assets resides within the same enterprise providing and consuming Cloud services. It is really a description of a highly virtualized, on-premise data center that is behaving as if it were that of a public Cloud provider
  • A hybrid Cloud combines multiple elements of public and private Cloud, including any combination of providers and consumers

Once the major Business stakeholders understand the concepts, some initial decisions may have to be made and included in that document. The same may also apply to the various Cloud Computing categorisations such as diagrammed below:

The categories the enterprise may be interested in related to existing problems can already be included as a section in the document.

Quality Management

There is need of a system for evaluating performance, whether in the delivery of Cloud services or the quality of products provided to consumers, or customers. This may include:

  • A test planning and a test asset management from business requirements to defects
  • A Project governance and release decisions based on some standards such as Prince 2/PMI and ITIL
  • A Data quality control (all data uploaded to a Cloud Computing service provider must ensure it fits the requirements of the provider). This should be detailed and provided by the provider
  • Detailed and documented Business Processes as defined in ISO 9001:
    • Systematically defining the activities necessary to obtain a desired result
    • Establishing clear responsibility and accountability for managing key activities
    • Analyzing and measuring of the capability of key activities
    • Identifying the interfaces of key activities within and between the functions of the organization
    • Focusing on the factors such as resources, methods, and materials that will improve key activities of the organization
    • Evaluating risks, consequences and impacts of activities on customers, suppliers and other interested parties

Security Management

This would address and document specific topics such as:

  • Eliminating the need to constantly reconfigure static security infrastructure for a dynamic computing environment
  • Define how services are able to securely connect and reliably communicate with internal IT services and other public services
  • Penetration security checks
  • How a Security Management/System Management/Network Management teams monitor that security and the availability

Semantic Management

The amount of unstructured electronic information in an enterprise environment is growing rapidly. Business people have to collaboratively realise the reconciliation of their heterogeneous metadata and consequently the application of the derived business semantic patterns to establish alignment between the underlying data structures. The way this will be handled may also be included.

IT Service Management (ITIL)

IT Service Management or IT Operations teams will have to address many new challenges due to the Cloud. This will need to be addressed for some specific processes such as:

  • Incident Management
    • The Cloud provider must ensure that all outages or exceptions to normal operations are resolved as quickly as possible while capturing all of the details for the actions that were taken and are communicated to the customer.
  • Change Management
    • Strict change management practices must be adhered to and all changes implemented during approved maintenance windows must be tracked, monitored, and validated.
  • Configuration Management (Service Asset and…)
    • Companies who have a CMDB must provide this to the Cloud providers with detailed descriptions of the relationships between configuration items (CI)
    • CI relationships empowers change and incident managers need to determine that a modification to one service may impact several other related services and the components of those services
    • This provides more visibility into the Cloud environment, allowing consumers and providers to make more informed decisions not only when preparing for a change but also when diagnosing incidents and problems
  • Problem Management
    • The Cloud provider needs to identify the root cause analysis in case of problems

  • Service Level Management
    • Service Level Agreements (or Underpinning contracts) must be transparent and accessible to the end users.  The business representatives should be negotiating these agreements. They will need to effectively negotiate commercial, technical, and legal terms. It will be important to establish these concrete, measurable Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Without these, and  an effective means for verifying compliance, the damage from poor service levels will only be exacerbated
  • Vendor Management
    • Relationship between a vendor and their customers changes
    • Contractual arrangements
  • Capacity Management  and Availability Management
    • Reporting on performance

Other activities must be documented such as:

Monitoring

  • Monitoring will be a very important activity and should be described in the Strategy document. The assets and infrastructure that make up the Cloud service is not within the enterprise. They are owned by the Cloud providers, which will most likely have a focus on maximizing their revenue, not necessarily optimizing the performance and availability of the enterprise’s services. Establishing sound monitoring practices for the Cloud services from the outset will bring significant benefits in the long term. Outsourcing delivery of service does not necessarily imply that we can outsource the monitoring of that service. Besides, today very few Cloud providers are offering any form of service level monitoring to their customers. Quite often, they are providing the Cloud service but not proving that they are providing that service.
  • The resource usage and consumption must be monitored and managed in order to support strategic decision making
  • Whenever possible, the Cloud providers should furnish the relevant tools for management and reporting and take away the onerous tasks of patch management, version upgrades, high availability, disaster recovery and the like. This obviously will impact IT Service Continuity for the enterprise.
  • Service Measurement, Service Reporting and Service Improvement processes must be considered

Consumption and costs

  • Service usage (when and how) to determine the intrinsic value that the service is providing to the Business, and IT can also use this information to compute the Return On Investment for their Cloud Computing initiatives and related services. This would be related to the process IT Financial Management.

Risk Management

The TOGAF 9 risk management method should be considered to address the various risks associated such as:

  • Ownership, Cost, Scope, Provider relationship, Complexity, Contractual, Client acceptance, etc
  • Other risks should also be considered such as : Usability, Security (obviously…) and Interoperability

Asset Management and License Management

When various Cloud approaches are considered (services on-premise via the Cloud), hardware and software license management should be defined to ensure companies can meet their governance and contractual requirements

Transactions

Ensuring the safety of confidential data is a mission critical aspect of the business. Cloud Computing gives them concerns over the lack of control that they will have over company data, and does not enable them to monitor the processes used to organize the information.

Being able to manage the transactions in the Cloud is vital and Business transaction safety should be considered (recording, tracking, alerts, electronic signatures, etc…).

There may be other aspects, which should be integrated in this Strategy document that may vary according to the level of maturity of the enterprise or existing best practices in use.

When considering Cloud Computing, the Preliminary phase will include in the definition of the Architecture Governance Framework most of the touch points with other processes as described above. At completion, touch-points and impacts should be clearly understood and agreed by all relevant stakeholders.

This article has previously appeared in Serge Thorn’s personal blog.

Cloud will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13. Join us for best practices, case studies and the future of information security, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Serge Thorn is CIO of Architecting the Enterprise.  He has worked in the IT Industry for over 25 years, in a variety of roles, which include; Development and Systems Design, Project Management, Business Analysis, IT Operations, IT Management, IT Strategy, Research and Innovation, IT Governance, Architecture and Service Management (ITIL). He has more than 20 years of experience in Banking and Finance and 5 years of experience in the Pharmaceuticals industry. Among various roles, he has been responsible for the Architecture team in an international bank, where he gained wide experience in the deployment and management of information systems in Private Banking, Wealth Management, and also in IT architecture domains such as the Internet, dealing rooms, inter-banking networks, and Middle and Back-office. He then took charge of IT Research and Innovation (a function which consisted of motivating, encouraging creativity, and innovation in the IT Units), with a mission to help to deploy a TOGAF based Enterprise Architecture, taking into account the company IT Governance Framework. He also chaired the Enterprise Architecture Governance worldwide program, integrating the IT Innovation initiative in order to identify new business capabilities that were creating and sustaining competitive advantage for his organization. Serge has been a regular speaker at various conferences, including those by The Open Group. His topics have included, “IT Service Management and Enterprise Architecture”, “IT Governance”, “SOA and Service Management”, and “Innovation”. Serge has also written several articles and whitepapers for different magazines (Pharma Asia, Open Source Magazine). He is the Chairman of the itSMF (IT Service Management forum) Swiss chapter and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

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The Cloud, multiple Platforms within Platforms

By Mark Skilton, Capgemini

I recently attended The Open Group India Conference in March. This was the first time that The Open Group India had launched such an event, and they had the ambitious target of visiting three cities in the week. The event itself was a platform for discussion of Indian perspectives on all aspects of Architect Best Practices, and in particular, the India market on Enterprise Architecture and Cloud Computing. It drew a significant cross section of public and private industry sector professionals at all the venues, with keen debate and presentations demonstrating industry-leading thought leadership and case study.

The highly successful event raised important questions and discussion on significant topics of the moment in architecture and the Indian perspective. One that stands out in Cloud Computing was the development of Cloud Architectures and the role of Cloud as a platform for services.

Significant Cloud Computing commentary from the Cloud panel sessions included:

  • The role Indian government IT services strategy development could play in applying Cloud Computing, Grid and SOA concepts to the public sector services to the federated and regional citizenship
  • How the Indian market could exploit the SMB and youth demographic that see the Cloud as a rapid resource delivery platform, and huge potential for services in the Cloud to local and international markets
  • The evolution of Cloud services, notably in Big Data and content as a service and in applications software development in the Cloud using PaaS. Both need further focus on master data semantics and interoperability standards to help versioning, persistence of data and support of multiple Cloud virtual environments to drive the potential reality going forward

The debate of Cloud Architectures and Platforms ran throughout the three-city Conference, with notable observations and lessons learnt, including:

  • Support of multiple locations by “location-aware Clouds” was an interesting aspect when developing shared platforms that need to recognize the delivery and localization of “last mile logistics” and end-user experience of the service. One-size-fits-all needed some abstraction of end point use in enabling adoption flexibility and relevancy
  • Cloud Architectures had to be “platforms” that “evolved” like the ecosystem that made up its internal and external components and services. This was a fact as many Clouds and integration adaptor strategies using open source and proprietary technologies where driving ahead with different standards and speeds of development. Understanding the solution options needed to “design for change” was a matter of urgency in architectural design practice for Cloud
  • Mobile Cloud, including the Internet of things (IoT) and the spread of mobile channel services everywhere, drew considerable interest as a strong potential second wave of the Cloud as it enters the next stage of added-value services, virtual communities and multi-Cloud service marketplaces

The underlying theme seemed to be the emergence of service platforms and services enabled by the Cloud and its pervasiveness into social media and social networks underpinned by Cloud infrastructure and data centers. Platforms enabling other platforms in a distributed regional, wireless, global bandwidth enabled world.

I remembered that, at the same time as the Indian event, there was a shining example of technological inspiration right above our heads orbiting 200 miles around the Earth: the STS133 mission and final space flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery. This in itself was an inspiring magnificent achievement. The shuttle had flown more missions than any other — 39 in the 25-year flight history — but that was not the whole picture. Discovery was the platform that launched another platform, the Hubble Space Telescope, into the heavens. And look what discoveries came of that: the first pictures of the now-famous Eagle Nebula stellar nurseries, new insights into the distribution of galaxies and the universal constant, and the list goes on. One platform borne upon another; how much further will our children see tomorrow?

Cloud Computing will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13. Join us for best practices, case studies and the future of information security, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Mark Skilton, Director, Capgemini, is the Co-Chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. He has been involved in advising clients and developing of strategic portfolio services in Cloud Computing and business transformation. His recent contributions include the publication of Return on Investment models on Cloud Computing widely syndicated that achieved 50,000 hits on CIO.com and in the British Computer Society 2010 Annual Review. His current activities include development of a new Cloud Computing Model standards and best practices on the subject of Cloud Computing impact on Outsourcing and Off-shoring models and contributed to the second edition of the Handbook of Global Outsourcing and Off-shoring published through his involvement with Warwick Business School UK Specialist Masters Degree Program in Information Systems Management.

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Enterprise IT’s Inflection Point!

By Balasubramanian Somasundram, Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd.

Of late, the online media is flooded with plenty of articles/opinions on the future of Enterprise IT and CIO roles in next decades! It’s interesting to read many different perspectives on the possibilities.

But the biggest question is – Why now? Why do we see such futuristic, inspirational, transformational viewpoints doing the rounds these days? I strongly believe that Enterprise IT is at its inflection point due to two main mega trends happening in the industry.

One is the introduction of Cloud Computing, and another is IT getting pervasive and embedded in almost all products and services that touch the end consumer. The irony is, these trends pose the biggest threats and biggest opportunities! I am going to talk about the opportunities here.

As mentioned in the CIO.com article, “The Cloud CIO: A Tale of Two IT Futures,” one of the potential approaches for leveraging these trends could be to push Enterprise IT’s non-core portfolio to Cloud Computing and divest those saved efforts in partnering with business to build new products and services. Here is an interesting perspective published in InformationWeek where Chris Murphy takes a stand that IT must create products, not just cut costs.

I also believe the fundamental capability that would enable the Enterprise IT to accomplish this transition is IT’s Enterprise Architecture competencies. Enterprise IT organizations that have their strengths in architecture competencies — such as Technology Architecture, Business Architecture, Solution Architecture and Infrastructure Architecture — are bound to succeed in the mega trends of Cloud Computing and business partnering!

Adoption of emerging technologies and combining them with suitable business scenarios to deliver a compelling business solution calls for a strong Solution Architecture practice. The Solution Architecture is the System/Technical Architecture that realizes the Business Architecture scenarios.  Similarly, identification of non-core areas in the business/IT portfolio and transitioning to Cloud Computing requires a systemic view of the Enterprise and it should address the critical concerns such as data governance, security and infrastructure architecture.

In addition, IT’s traditional strengths such as project management, cost efficiency, security, licensing and software maintenance would be a big boon for software-intensive product businesses. These competencies in combination with Enterprise Architecture would be the stepping stone for the next biggest leap of Enterprise IT!

Balasubramanian Somasundaram is an Enterprise Architect with Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd, Bangalore, a division of Honeywell Inc, USA. Bala has been with Honeywell Technology Solutions for the past five years and contributed in several technology roles. His current responsibilities include Architecture/Technology Planning and Governance, Solution Architecture Definition for business-critical programs, and Technical oversight/Review for programs delivered from Honeywell IT India center. With more than 12 years of experience in the IT services industry, Bala has worked with variety of technologies with a focus on IT architecture practice.  His current interests include Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications. He periodically writes about emerging technology trends that impact the Enterprise IT space on his blog. Bala holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from MKU University, India.

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Looking back at Day One in Chennai: The Open Group India Conference

By Raghuraman Krishnamurthy, Cognizant Technology Solutions

The Open Group India Conference in Chennai Monday was well-attended with a lot of interesting topics covering EA and Cloud. The choice of topics and the order of presentation ensured continued interest throughout the day; distinguished speakers across the industry shared their views. The morning session featured speakers covering topics like Global Architecture Trends, EA as a Platform for Connected Governments, Federated Cloud Computing, Information Security, and How Cloud is Transforming Business. There were two tracks post-lunch: one for Cloud and one for EA.

There were two panel discussions. I attended the panel discussion about ‘Should CIOs Manage the Enterprise Architecture Initiative?’. The panelists debated about the pros and cons. One sentiment that emerged was that much depends on the type of organization, the maturity level of the organization and the personality of the CIO. The lively debate touched topics such as permeation of IT across the divisions of enterprise: how IT is no longer an enabler but the critical component for conducting business itself. Thought-provoking discussions ensued on how the role of CIO is continuously changing from managing IT to contributing to business strategy. The moderator threw out an interesting dimension that no longer is the CIO the Chief Information Officer, but increasingly Chief Innovation Officer. This resonated well with the audience and the panelists.

I am glad that my talk on ‘Reorienting EA‘ found a great deal of resonance in some of the earlier presentations. The need to cultivate Symphonic thinking and the ability to see connections was one of the main points of the presentation. The focus was on the pharmaceutical sector and how the flat world trends are influencing the EA. I am enriched by this experience on two counts: By sharing my thoughts with the distinguished audience I have gained deeper appreciation of my topic; and by listening to the great presentations.

The Open Group India Conference is underway this week; it will next travel to Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Raghuraman Krishnamurthy works as a Principal Architect at Cognizant Technology Solutions and is based in India. He can be reached at Raghuraman.krishnamurthy2@cognizant.com.

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Transforming your business operating model for outsourcing and off-shoring with strategic Cloud Computing

By Mark Skilton, Capgemini

Strategic planning has traditionally been a game of numbers and decision scenarios. The make-versus-buy-versus-alliance-versus-acquisition process has remained the tool of the trade in building options to improve capital efficiencies or revenue contribution and gross operating profit. Many non-core and some core services may be moved to a buy-in model or to a shared service that reduces operating costs. Alliances have been forged with outsourcing and out-tasking of IT and business services to further improve the conditions of business performance. These are well-established practices, but how does Cloud Computing change this strategy?

A consideration that is now growing in many markets is how outsourcing and off-shoring has been affected by the emergence of Cloud Computing as a kind of alternative option to hosting services.

Traditional hosting of services involves on-premise and off-premise choices of key network, storage, computer software applications and business services. Typically this includes the movement of technical and staff resources to an off-premise model managed by a third party. This may further include a shift from on-shore to off-shore locations of these services, which is driven by the desire for operational cost improvements, as well as access to managed resources and skills.

Cloud Computing is also a shift to a kind of outsourced model and off-shore model which may be either located on-premise or off-premise, and may offer a private, community or a public Cloud service. But how does this actually alter the balance of strategic choice in a business and its chosen markets? Cloud Computing is a business operating model shift, as well as a technology transition.

Cloud changes the competitive dynamics of a market because it changes the competitive barriers to entry and choice. Some examples of key business driver shifts brought about by Cloud Computing can include:

Cloud impact on GOP Operating Profit

  • Lowers cost of asset ownership reductions – asset investment can be shifted from a “one” to “many” model
  • Lowers barriers to provisioning — self-service provisioning enabling a new kind of on-demand purchasing
  • Lowers collaborative barriers, enabling convenience to exchange ideas, brokering and business transactions

Cloud impact on revenue contribution

  • Increases speed of change to transform business activities because you can take new products and services to market faster or can expand into new markets faster
  • Increases revenue share through new products and services provisioning, and rapid market entry, to sell commodity or custom products and services

Cloud impact on risk and cost of ownership overhead

  • Increases access controls and certification security risks
  • Increases the compliance and audit costs and risks from movement of services on- and off-shore to specified or unspecified locations
  • Increases cost of knowledge acquisition and learning to manage Cloud
  • Creates changes in lock-in and impediments to portability and interoperability, as a commitment to Cloud platforms may come with associated conditions of service and limits on accessibility to move and change providers

Cloud Computing is a very direct challenge to current outsourcing and off-shoring models in a number of fundamental ways, which are huge opportunities and areas that need to be managed and their risk assessed in the strategic planning process.

  • Self-service changes the “window” to request management of services. In outsourcing, these may be facilitation through portals, service desk and service account communication; but in Cloud, self-service means that direct contact and ownership can be done remotely. It may also mean that different consumers and buyers of Cloud services may not necessarily contact the IT provider directly.
  • On-demand collaboration services changes the way sourcing and selection of services are achieved. Online catalogues of predefined services and options to seek out other Cloud services and solutions alter the scope and range of sourcing solutions. These are no longer just constrained to the particular outsourcing or multi-sourcing situation. Contractual conditions and alternative sourcing and innovation strategies are introduced due to the influence of Cloud Computing models.
  • Cloud Service management changes the way ITSM help desk and service monitoring work with Cloud Computing. The role of the service desk changes as it is no longer only considering the requests, issues and problem resolutions; it also needs to be aware of the catalogues and availability management of the Cloud environment to answer service level requests and changes. It moves from a request service to a demand-and-supply management service.

Self –service enables business and IT users to select the Cloud-hosted services needed to expand or change as their business needs change, rather than go through a provisioning cycle with local or central IT.

On-demand collaboration service model improves the quality of support as Cloud-hosted services are defined through a catalogue and an account management process, enabling business and IT users to get better visibility and control of usage and requests. Conversely, it enables variations and maverick buying to be monitored to encourage the development of further common IT service reuse and specific development of new capabilities based on actual usage demand patterns. Hitherto, commercial contracts locked customers and vendors into longer-term contractual solutions, limiting options for change. Cloud Computing catalogues and services aim to create a looser coupling between buyers, consumers and users of IT services.

Cloud service management changes the concept of request-and-response service into a marketplace driven perspective of services.

The shifting onshore/off-shore model

Cloud Computing changes the concept of outsourcing and off-shoring as a physical exchange of services into one of virtual services whose location becomes a “one to many” paradigm, which may be a combination of internal and external marketplaces.  To illustrate this point, consider the following scenario:

Current information technology hardware and software assets and staff skills may be typically consolidated into a business unit or regional data centers which are connected by a corporate network.

A small, central, corporate IT function may coordinate policy and strategy, which is largely distributed down to the many operating companies and individual IT functions to meet local market and business service requirements. Currently, controlling the data center access for the business units and selected partners for security and certification is essential to controlling data center service operations and compliance regulations.

The usage and development of the business applications and infrastructure are focused onshore by business unit, region and individual business operating company. Large-scale corporate systems such as ERP, CRM and SCM and secure certified systems are developed in each data center and may be replicated across other regional data centers. Significant investment in virtualization has typically already been completed or is in progress, and is used to addressed the operational efficiencies of the data centers while the external business market environment forces continue to change rapidly with marketing product launches and demand changes within each market and region seasonal competitive pressures.

Moving to Cloud Computing can potentially redefine the need for each region and business unit to develop certain types of IT service onshore. Common services hosted in a secure Cloud data center provide the possibility to move to an off-shore shared model for many business units. Individual market and business unit agility is still essential for competitive response, but this can be supported by targeting Cloud Computing services for specific business activity needs. The off-shore move also enables service management and capabilities to be invested in shared regions to further improve the operating model organizational efficiency.

Mark Skilton, Director, Capgemini, is the Co-Chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. He has been involved in advising clients and developing of strategic portfolio services in Cloud Computing and business transformation. His recent contributions include the publication of Return on Investment models on Cloud Computing widely syndicated that achieved 50,000 hits on CIO.com and in the British Computer Society 2010 Annual Review. His current activities include development of a new Cloud Computing Model standards and best practices on the subject of Cloud Computing impact on Outsourcing and Off-shoring models and contributed to the second edition of the Handbook of Global Outsourcing and Off-shoring published through his involvement with Warwick Business School UK Specialist Masters Degree Program in Information Systems Management.

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Cloud security and risk management

by Varad G. Varadarajan, Cognizant Technology Solutions

Are you ready to move to the Cloud?

Risk management and cost control are two key issues facing CIOs and CTOs today. Both these issues come into play in Cloud Computing, and present an interesting dilemma for IT leaders at large corporations.

The elastic nature of the Cloud, the conversion of Capex to Opex and the managed security infrastructure provided by the Cloud service provider make it very attractive for hosting applications. However, there are a number of security and privacy issues that companies need to grapple with before moving to the Cloud.

For example, multi-tenancy and virtualization are great technologies for lowering the cost of hosting applications, and the service providers that would like to use them. However, these technologies also pose grave security risks because companies operate in a shared infrastructure that offers very little isolation. They greatly increase the target attack surface, which is a hacker’s dream come true.

Using multiple service providers on the Cloud is great for providing redundancy, connecting providers in a supply chain or handling spikes in services via Cloud bursts. However, managing identities across multiple providers is a challenge.  Making sure data does not accidentally cross trust boundaries is another difficult problem.

Likewise, there are many challenges in the areas of:

  • Choosing the right service / delivery model (and its security implications)
  • Key management and distribution
  • Governance and Compliance of the service provider
  • Vendor lock-in
  • Data privacy (e.g. regulations governing the offshore-ability of data)
  • Residual risks

In my presentation at The Open Group India Conference next week, I will discuss these and many other interesting challenges facing CIOs regarding Cloud adoption. I will present a five step approach that enterprises can use to select assets, assess risks, map them to service providers and manage the risks through contract negotiation, SLAs and regular monitoring.

Cloud Computing will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group India Conference in Chennai (March 7), Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Varad is a senior IT professional with 22 years of experience in Technology Management, Practice Development, Business Consulting, Architecture, Software Development and Entrepreneurship. He has led consulting assignments in IT Transformation, Architecture, and IT Strategy/Blueprinting at global companies across a broad range of industries and domains. He holds an MBA (Stern School of Business, New York), M.S Computer Science (G.W.U/Stanford California) and B.Tech (IIT India).

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PODCAST: Cloud Computing panel forecasts transition phase for Enterprise Architecture

By Dana Gardner, Interabor Solutions

Listen to this recorded podcast here: BriefingsDirect-Open Group Cloud Panel Forecasts Transition Phase for Enterprise IT

The following is the transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on newly emerging Cloud models and their impact on business and government, from The Open Group Conference, San Diego 2011.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

We now present a sponsored podcast discussion coming to you live from The Open Group 2011 Conference in San Diego. We’re here the week of February 7, and we have assembled a distinguished panel to examine the expectation of new types of cloud models and perhaps cloud specialization requirements emerging quite soon.

By now, we’re all familiar with the taxonomy around public cloud, private cloud, software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and my favorite, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), but we thought we would do you all an additional service and examine, firstly, where these general types of cloud models are actually gaining use and allegiance, and we’ll look at vertical industries and types of companies that are leaping ahead with cloud, as we now define it. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Then, second, we’re going to look at why one-size-fits-all cloud services may not fit so well in a highly fragmented, customized, heterogeneous, and specialized IT world.

How much of cloud services that come with a true price benefit, and that’s usually at scale and cheap, will be able to replace what is actually on the ground in many complex and unique enterprise IT organizations?

What’s more, we’ll look at the need for cloud specialization, based on geographic and regional requirements, as well as based on the size of these user organizations, which of course can vary from 5 to 50,000 seats. Can a few types of cloud work for all of them?

Please join me now in welcoming our panel. Here to help us better understand the quest for “fit for purpose” cloud balance and to predict, at least for some time, the considerable mismatch between enterprise cloud wants and cloud provider offerings we’re here with Penelope Gordon, the cofounder of 1Plug Corporation, based in San Francisco. Welcome, Penelope.

Penelope Gordon: Thank you.

Gardner: We’re also here with Mark Skilton. He is the Director of Portfolio and Solutions in the Global Infrastructure Services with Capgemini in London. Thank you for coming, Mark.

Mark Skilton: Thank you.

Gardner: Ed Harrington joins us. He is the Principal Consultant in Virginia for the UK-based Architecting the Enterprise organization. Thank you, Ed.

Ed Harrington: Thank you.

Gardner: Tom Plunkett is joining us. He is a Senior Solution Consultant with Oracle in Huntsville, Alabama.

Tom Plunkett: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And lastly, we’re here with TJ Virdi. He is Computing Architect in the CAS IT System Architecture Group at Boeing based in Seattle. Welcome.

TJ Virdi: Thank you.

Gardner: Let me go first to you, Mark Skilton. One size fits all has rarely worked in IT. If it has, it has been limited in its scope and, most often, leads to an additional level of engagement to make it work with what’s already there. Why should cloud be any different?

Three areas

Skilton: Well, Dana, from personal experience, there are probably three areas of adaptation of cloud into businesses. For sure, there are horizontal common services to which, what you call, the homogeneous cloud solution could be applied common to a number of business units or operations across a market.

But, we’re starting to increasingly see the need for customization to meet vertical competitive needs of a company or the decisions within that large company. So, differentiation and business models are still there, they are still in platform cloud as they were in the pre-cloud era.

But, the key thing is that we’re seeing a different kind of potential that a business can do now with cloud — a more elastic, explosive expansion and contraction of a business model. We’re seeing fundamentally the operating model of the business growing, and the industry can change using cloud technology.

So, there are two things going on in the business and the technologies are changing because of the cloud.

Gardner: Well, for us to understand where it fits best, and perhaps not so good, is to look at where it’s already working. Ed, you talked about the federal government. They seem to be going like gangbusters in the cloud. Why so?

Harrington: Perceived cost savings, primarily. The (US) federal government has done some analysis. In particular, the General Services Administration (GSA), has done some considerable analysis on what they think they can save by going to, in their case, a public cloud model for email and collaboration services. They’ve issued a $6.7 million contract to Unisys as the systems integrator, with Google being the cloud services supplier.

So, the debate over the benefits of cloud, versus the risks associated with cloud, is still going on quite heatedly.

Gardner: How about some other verticals? Where is this working? We’ve seen in some pharma, health-care, and research environments, which have a lot of elasticity, it makes sense, given that they have very variable loads. Any other suggestions on where this works, Tom?

Plunkett: You mentioned variable workloads. Another place where we are seeing a lot of customers approach cloud is when they are starting a new project. Because then, they don’t have to migrate from the existing infrastructure. Instead everything is brand new. That’s the other place where we see a lot of customers looking at cloud, your greenfields.

Gardner: TJ, any verticals that you are aware of? What are you seeing that’s working now?

Virdi: It’s not probably related with any vertical market, but I think what we are really looking for speed to put new products into the market or evolve the products that we already have and how to optimize business operations, as well as reduce the cost. These may be parallel to any vertical industries, where all these things are probably going to be working as a cloud solution.

Gardner: We’ve heard the application of “core and context” to applications, but maybe there is an application of core and context to cloud computing, whereby there’s not so much core and lot more context. Is that what you’re saying so far?

Unstructured data

Virdi: In a sense, you would have to measure not only the structured documents or structured data, but unstructured data as well. How to measure and create a new product or solutions is the really cool things you would be looking for in the cloud. And, it has proved pretty easy to put a new solution into the market. So, speed is also the big thing in there.

Gardner: Penelope, use cases or verticals where this is working so far?

Gordon: One example in talking about core and context is when you look in retail. You can have two retailers like a Walmart or a Costco, where they’re competing in the same general space, but are differentiating in different areas.

Walmart is really differentiating on the supply chain, and so it’s not a good candidate for public cloud computing solutions. We did discuss it that might possibly be a candidate for private cloud computing.

But that’s really where they’re going to invest in the differentiating, as opposed to a Costco, where it makes more sense for them to invest in their relationship with their customers and their relationship with their employees. They’re going to put more emphasis on those business processes, and they might be more inclined to outsource some of the aspects of their supply chain.

A specific example within retail is pricing optimization. A lot of grocery stores need to do pricing optimization checks once a quarter, or perhaps once a year in some of their areas. It doesn’t makes sense for smaller grocery store chains to have that kind of IT capability in house. So, that’s a really great candidate, when you are looking at a particular vertical business process to outsource to a cloud provider who has specific industry domain expertise.

Gardner: So for small and medium businesses (SMBs) that would be more core for them than others.

Gordon: Right. That’s an example, though, where you’re talking about what I would say is a particular vertical business process. Then, you’re talking about a monetization strategy and then part of the provider, where they are looking more at a niche strategy, rather than a commodity, where they are doing a horizontal infrastructure platform.

Gardner: Ed, you had a thought?

Harrington: Yeah, and it’s along the SMB dimension. We’re seeing a lot of cloud uptake in the small businesses. I work for a 50-person company. We have one “sort of” IT person and we do virtually everything in the cloud. We’ve got people in Australia and Canada, here in the States, headquartered in the UK, and we use cloud services for virtually everything across that. I’m associated with a number of other small companies and we are seeing big uptake of cloud services.

Gardner: Allow me to be a little bit of a skeptic, because I’m seeing these reports from analyst firms on the tens of billions of dollars in potential cloud market share and double-digit growth rates for the next several years. Is this going to come from just peripheral application context activities, mostly SMBs? What about the core in the enterprises? Does anybody have an example of where cloud is being used in either of those?

Skilton: In the telecom sector, which is very IT intensive, I’m seeing the emergence of their core business of delivering service to a large end user or multiple end user channels, using what I call cloud brokering.

Front-end cloud

So, if where you’re going with your question is that, certainly in the telecom sector we’re seeing the emergence of front end cloud, customer relationship management (CRM) type systems and also sort of back-end content delivery engines using cloud.

The fundamental shift away from the service orientated architecture (SOA) era is that we’re seeing more business driven self-service, more deployment of services as a business model, which is a big difference of the shift of the cloud. Particularly in telco, we’re seeing almost an explosion in that particular sector.

Gordon: A lot of companies don’t even necessarily realize that they’re using cloud services, particularly when you talk about SaaS. There are a number of SaaS solutions that are becoming more and more ubiquitous. If you look at large enterprise company recruiting sites, often you will see Taleo down at the bottom. Taleo is a SaaS. So, that’s a cloud solution, but it’s just not thought necessarily of in that context.

Gardner: Right. Tom?

Plunkett: Another place we’re seeing a lot of growth with regards to private clouds is actually on the defense side. The Defense Department is looking at private clouds, but they also have to deal with this core and context issue. We’re in San Diego today. The requirements for a shipboard system are very different from the land-based systems.

Ships have to deal with narrow bandwidth and going disconnected. They also have to deal with coalition partners or perhaps they are providing humanitarian assistance and they are dealing even with organizations we wouldn’t normally consider military. So, they have to deal with lots of information, assurance issues, and have completely different governance concerns that we normally think about for public clouds.

Gardner: However, in the last year or two, the assumption has been that this is something that’s going to impact every enterprise, and everybody should get ready. Yet, I’m hearing mostly this creeping in through packaged applications on a on-demand basis, SMBs, greenfield organizations, perhaps where high elasticity is a requirement.

What would be necessary for these cloud providers to be able to bring more of the core applications the large enterprises are looking for? What’s the new set of requirements? As I pointed out, we have had a general category of SaaS and development, elasticity, a handful of infrastructure services. What’s the next set of requirements that’s going to make it palatable for these core activities and these large enterprises to start doing this? Let me start with you, Penelope.

Gordon: It’s an interesting question and it was something that we were discussing in a session yesterday afternoon. Here is a gentleman from a large telecommunications company, and from his perspective, trust was a big issue. To him, part of it was just an immaturity of the market, specifically talking about what the new style of cloud is and that branding. Some of the aspects of cloud have been around for quite some time.

Look at Linux adoption as an analogy. A lot of companies started adopting Linux, but it was for peripheral applications and peripheral services, some web services that weren’t business critical. It didn’t really get into the core enterprise until much later.

We’re seeing some of that with cloud. It’s just a much bigger issue with cloud, especially as you start looking at providers wanting to moving up the food chain and providing greater value. This means that they have to have more industry knowledge and that they have to have more specialization. It becomes more difficult for large enterprises to trust a vendor to have that kind of knowledge.

No governance

Another aspect of what came up in the afternoon is that, at this point, while we talk about public cloud specifically, it’s not the same as saying it’s a public utility. We talk about “public utility,” but there is no governance, at this point, to say, “Here is certification that these companies have been tested to meet certain delivery standards.” Until that exists, it’s going to be difficult for some enterprises to get over that trust issue.

Gardner: Assuming that the trust and security issues are worked out over time, that experience leads to action, it leads to trust, it leads to adoption, and we have already seen that with SaaS applications. We’ve certainly seen it with the federal government, as Ed pointed out earlier.

Let’s just put that aside as one of the requirements that’s already on the drawing board and that we probably can put a checkmark next to at some point. What’s next? What about customization? What about heterogeneity? What about some of these other issues that are typical in IT, Mark Skilton?

Skilton: One of the under-played areas is PaaS. We hear about lock-in of technology caused by the use of the cloud, either putting too much data in or doing customization of parameters and you lose the elastic features of that cloud.

As to your question about what do vendors or providers need to do more to help the customer use the cloud, the two things we’re seeing are: one, more of an appliance strategy, where they can buy modular capabilities, so the licensing issue, solutioning issue, is more contained. The client can look at it more in a modular appliance sort of way. Think of it as cloud in a box.

The second thing is that we need to be seeing is much more offering transition services, transformation services, to accelerate the use of the cloud in a safe way, and I think that’s something that we need to really push hard to do. There’s a great quote from a client, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey to the cloud that I need to see.”

Gardner: You mentioned PaaS. We haven’t seen too much yet with a full mature offering of the full continuum of PaaS to IaaS. That’s one where new application development activities and new integration activities would be built of, for, and by the cloud and coordinated between the dev and the ops, with the ops being any number of cloud models — on-premises, off-premises, co-lo, multi-tenancy, and so forth.

So what about that? Is that another requirement that there is continuity between the past and the infrastructure and deployment, Tom?

Plunkett: We’re getting there. PaaS is going to be a real requirement going forward, simply because that’s going to provide us the flexibility to reach some of those core applications that we were talking about before. The further you get away from the context, the more you’re focusing on what the business is really focused in on, and that’s going to be the core, which is going to require effective PaaS.

Gardner: TJ.

More regulatory

Virdi: I want to second that, but at the same time, we’re looking for more regulatory and other kind of licensing and configuration issues as well. Those also make it a little better to use the cloud. You don’t really have to buy, or you can go for the demand. You need to make your licenses a little bit better in such a way that you can just put the product or business solutions into the market, test the water, and then you can go further on that.

Gardner: Penelope, where do you see any benefit of having a coordinated or integrated platform and development test and deploy functions? Is that going to bring this to a more core usage in large enterprises?

Gordon: It depends. I see a lot more of the buying of cloud moving out to the non-IT line of business executives. If that accelerates, there is going to be less and less focus. Companies are really separating now what is differentiating and what is core to my business from the rest of it.

There’s going to be less emphasis on, “Let’s do our scale development on a platform level” and more, “Let’s really seek out those vendors that are going to enable us to effectively integrate, so we don’t have to do double entry of data between different solutions. Let’s look out for the solutions that allow us to apply the governance and that effectively let us tailor our experience with these solutions in a way that doesn’t impinge upon the provider’s ability to deliver in a cost effective fashion.”

That’s going to become much more important. So, a lot of the development onus is going to be on the providers, rather than on the actual buyers.

Gardner: Now, this is interesting. On one hand, we have non-IT people, business people, specifying, acquiring, and using cloud services. On the other hand we’re perhaps going to see more PaaS, the new application development, be it custom or more of a SaaS type of offering that’s brought in with a certain level of adjustment and integration. But, these are going off without necessarily any coordination. At some point, they are going to even come together. It’s inevitable, another “integrationness” perhaps.

Mark Skilton, is that what you see, that we have not just one cloud approach but multiple approaches and then some need to rationalize?

Skilton: There are two key points. There’s a missing architecture practice that needs to be there, which is a workers analysis, so that you design applications to fit specific infrastructure containers, and you’ve got a bridge between the the application service and the infrastructure service. There needs to be a piece of work by enterprise architects that starts to bring that together as a deliberate design for applications to be able to operate in the cloud, and the PaaS platform is a perfect environment.

The second thing is that there’s a lack of policy management in terms of technical governance, and because of the lack of understanding, there needs to be more of a matching exercise going on. The key thing is that that needs to evolve.

Part of the work we’re doing in The Open Group with the Cloud Computing Work Group is to develop new standards and methodologies that bridge those gaps between infrastructure, PaaS, platform development, and SaaS.

Gardner: We already have the Trusted Technology Forum. Maybe soon we’ll see an open trusted cloud technology forum.

Skilton: I hope so.

Gardner: Ed Harrington, you mentioned earlier that the role of the enterprise architect is going to benefit from cloud. Do you see what we just described in terms of dual tracks, multiple inception points, heterogeneity, perhaps overlap and redundancy? Is that where the enterprise architect flourishes?

Shadow IT

Harrington: I think we talked about line management IT getting involved in acquiring cloud services. If you think we’ve got this thing called “shadow IT” today, wait a few years. We’re going to have a huge problem with shadow IT.

From the architect’s perspective, there’s lot to be involved with and a lot to play with, as I said in my talk. There’s an awful lot of analysis to be done — what is the value that the cloud solution being proposed is going to be supplying to the organization in business terms, versus the risk associated with it? Enterprise architects deal with change, and that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about change, and change will inherently involve risk.

Gardner: TJ.

Virdi: All these business decisions are going to be coming upstream, and business executives need to be more aware about how cloud could be utilized as a delivery model. The enterprise architects and someone with a technical background needs to educate or drive them to make the right decisions and choose the proper solutions.

It has an impact how you want to use the cloud, as well as how you get out of it too, in case you want to move to different cloud vendors or providers. All those things come into play upstream rather than downstream.

Gardner: We all seem to be resigned to this world of, “Well, here we go again. We’re going to sit back and wait for all these different cloud things to happen. Then, we’ll come in, like the sheriff on the white horse, and try to rationalize.” Why not try to rationalize now before we get to that point? What could be done from an architecture standpoint to head off mass confusion around cloud? Let me start at one end and go down the other. Tom?

Plunkett: One word: governance. We talked about the importance of governance increasing as the IT industry went into SOA. Well, cloud is going to make it even more important. Governance throughout the lifecycle, not just at the end, not just at deployment, but from the very beginning.

Gardner: TJ.

Virdi: In addition to governance, you probably have to figure out how you want to plan to adapt to the cloud also. You don’t want to start as a Big Bang theory. You want to start in incremental steps, small steps, test out what you really want to do. If that works, then go do the other things after that.

Gardner: Penelope, how about following the money? Doesn’t where the money flows in and out of organizations tend to have a powerful impact on motivating people or getting them moving towards governance or not?

Gordon: I agree, and towards that end, it’s enterprise architects. Enterprise architects need to break out of the idea of focusing on how to address the boundary between IT and the business and talk to the business in business terms.

One way of doing that that I have seen as effective is to look at it from the standpoint of portfolio management. Where you were familiar with financial portfolio management, now you are looking at a service portfolio, as well as looking at your overall business and all of your business processes as a portfolio. How can you optimize at a macro level for your portfolio of all the investment decisions you’re making, and how the various processes and services are enabled? Then, it comes down to, as you said, a money issue.

Gardner: Perhaps one way to head off what we seem to think is an inevitable cloud chaos situation is to invoke more shared services, get people to consume services and think about how to pay for them along the way, regardless of where they come from and regardless of who specified them. So back to SOA, back to ITIL, back to the blocking and tackling that’s just good enterprise architecture. Anything to add to that, Mark?

Not more of the same

Skilton: I think it’s a mistake to just describe this as more of the same. ITIL, in my view, needs to change to take into account self-service dynamics. ITIL is kind of a provider service management process. It’s thing that you do to people. Cloud changes that direction to the other way, and I think that’s something that needs to be done.

Also, fundamentally the data center and network strategies need to be in place to adopt cloud. From my experience, the data center transformation or refurbishment strategies or next generation networks tend to be done as a separate exercise from the applications area. So a strong, strong recommendation from me would be to drive a clear cloud route map to your data center.

Gardner: So, perhaps a regulating effect on the self-selection of cloud services would be that the network isn’t designed for it and it’s not going to help.

Skilton: Exactly.

Gardner: That’s one way to govern your cloud. Ed Harrington, any other further thoughts on working towards a cloud future without the pitfalls?

Harrington: Again, the governance, certification of some sort. I’m not in favor of regulation, but I am in favor of some sort of third party certification of services that consumers can rely upon safely. But, I will go back to what I said earlier. It’s a combination of governance, treating the cloud services as services per se, and enterprise architecture.

Gardner: What about the notion that was brought up earlier about private clouds being an important on-ramp to this? If I were a public cloud provider, I would do my market research on what’s going on in the private clouds, because I think they are going to be incubators to what might then become hybrid and ultimately a full-fledged third-party public cloud providing assets and services.

What can we learn from looking at what’s going on with private cloud now, seemingly a lot of trying to reduce cost and energy consumption, but what does that tell us about what we should expect in the next few years? Again, let’s start with you, Tom.

Plunkett: What we’re seeing with private cloud is that it’s actually impacting governance, because one of the things that you look at with private cloud is chargeback between different internal customers. This is forcing these organizations to deal with complex money, business issues that they don’t really like to do.

Nowadays, it’s mostly vertical applications, where you’ve got one owner who is paying for everything. Now, we’re actually going back to, as we were talking about earlier, dealing with some of the tricky issues of SOA.

Gardner: TJ, private cloud as an incubator. What we should expect?

Securing your data

Virdi: Configuration and change management — how in the private cloud we are adapting to it and supporting different customer segments is really the key. This could be utilized in the public cloud too, as well as how you are really securing your information and data or your business knowledge. How you want to secure that is key, and that’s why the private cloud is there. If we can adapt to or mimic the same kind of controls in the public cloud, maybe we’ll have more adoptions in the public cloud too.

Gardner: Penelope, any thoughts on that, the private to public transition?

Gordon: I also look at it in a little different way. For example, in the U.S., you have the National Security Agency (NSA). For a lot of what you would think of as their non-differentiating processes, for example payroll, they can’t use ADP. They can’t use that SaaS for payroll, because they can’t allow the identities of their employees to become publicly known.

Anything that involves their employee data and all the rest of the information within the agency has to be kept within a private cloud. But, they’re actively looking at private cloud solutions for some of the other benefits of cloud.

In one sense, I look at it and say that private cloud adoption to me tells a provider that this is an area that’s not a candidate for a public-cloud solution. But, private clouds could also be another channel for public cloud providers to be able to better monetize what they’re doing, rather than just focusing on public cloud solutions.

Gardner: So, then, you’re saying this is a two-way street. Just as we could foresee someone architecting a good private cloud and then looking to take that out to someone else’s infrastructure, you’re saying there is a lot of public services that for regulatory or other reasons might then need to come back in and be privatized or kept within the walls. Interesting.

Mark Skilton, any thoughts on this public-private tension and/or benefit?

Skilton: I asked an IT service director the question about what was it like running a cloud service for the account. This is a guy who had previously been running hosting and management and with many years experience.

The surprising thing was that he was quite shocked that the disciplines that he previously had for escalating errors and doing planned maintenance, monitoring, billing and charging back to the customer fundamentally were changing, because it had to be done more in real time. You have to fix before it fails. You can’t just wait for it to fail. You have to have a much more disciplined approach to running a private cloud.

The lessons that we’re learning in running private clouds for our clients is the need to have a much more of a running-IT-as-a-business ethos and approach. We find that if customers try to do it themselves, either they may find that difficult, because they are used to buying that as a service, or they have to change their enterprise architecture and support service disciplines to operate the cloud.

Gardner: Perhaps yet another way to offset potential for cloud chaos in the future is to develop the core competencies within the private-cloud environment and do it sooner rather than later? This is where you can cut your teeth or get your chops, some number of metaphors come to mind, but this is something that sounds like a priority. Would you agree with that Ed, coming up with a private-cloud capability is important?

Harrington: It’s important, and it’s probably going to dominate for the foreseeable future, especially in areas that organizations view as core. They view them as core, because they believe they provide some sort of competitive advantage or, as Penelope was saying, security reasons. ADP’s a good idea. ADP could go into NSA and set up a private cloud using ADP and NSA. I think is a really good thing.

Trust a big issue

But, I also think that trust is still a big issue and it’s going to come down to trust. It’s going to take a lot of work to have anything that is perceived by a major organization as core and providing differentiation to move to other than a private cloud.

Gardner: TJ.

Virdi: Private clouds actually allow you to make more business modular. Your capability is going to be a little bit more modular and interoperability testing could happen in the private cloud. Then you can actually use those same kind of modular functions, utilize the public cloud, and work with other commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vendors that really package this as new holistic solutions.

Gardner: Does anyone consider the impact of mergers and acquisitions on this? We’re seeing the economy pick up, at least in some markets, and we’re certainly seeing globalization, a very powerful trend with us still. We can probably assume, if you’re a big company, that you’re going to get bigger through some sort of merger and acquisition activity. Does a cloud strategy ameliorate the pain and suffering of integration in these business mergers, Tom?

Plunkett: Well, not to speak on behalf of Oracle, but we’ve gone through a few mergers and acquisitions recently, and I do believe that having a cloud environment internally helps quite a bit. Specifically, TJ made the earlier point about modularity. Well, when we’re looking at modules, they’re easier to integrate. It’s easier to recompose services, and all the benefits of SOA really.

Gardner: TJ, mergers and acquisitions in cloud.

Virdi: It really helps. At the same time, we were talking about legal and regulatory compliance stuff. EU and Japan require you to put the personally identifiable information (PII) in their geographical areas. Cloud could provide a way to manage those things without having the hosting where you have your own business.

Gardner: Penelope, any thoughts, or maybe even on a slightly different subject, of being able to grow rapidly vis-à-vis cloud experience and expertise and having architects that understand it?

Gordon: Some of this comes back to some of the discussions we were having about the extra discipline that comes into play, if you are going to effectively consume and provide cloud services, if you do become much more rigorous about your change management, your configuration management, and if you then apply that out to a larger process level.

So, if you define certain capabilities within the business in a much more modular fashion, then, when you go through that growth and add on people, you have documented procedures and processes. It’s much easier to bring someone in and say, “You’re going to be a product manager, and that job role is fungible across the business.”

That kind of thinking, the cloud constructs applied up at a business architecture level, enables a kind of business expansion that we are looking at.

Gardner: Mark Skilton, thoughts about being able to manage growth, mergers and acquisitions, even general business agility vis-à-vis more cloud capabilities.

Skilton: Right now, I’m involved in merging in a cloud company that we bought last year in May, and I would say yes and no. The no point is that I’m trying to bundle this service that we acquired in each product and with which we could add competitive advantage to the services that we are offering. I’ve had a problem with trying to bundle that into our existing portfolio. I’ve got to work out how they will fit and deploy in our own cloud. So, that’s still a complexity problem.

Faster launch

But, the upside is that I can bundle that service that we acquired, because we wanted to get that additional capability, and rewrite design techniques for cloud computing. We can then launch that bundle of new service faster into the market.

It’s kind of a mixed blessing with cloud. With our own cloud services, we acquire these new companies, but we still have the same IT integration problem to then exploit that capability we’ve acquired.

Gardner: That might be a perfect example of where cloud is or isn’t. When you run into the issue of complexity and integration, it doesn’t compute, so to speak.

Skilton: It’s not plug and play yet, unfortunately.

Gardner: Ed, what do you think about this growth opportunity, mergers and acquisitions, a good thing or bad thing?

Harrington: It’s a challenge. I think, as Mark presented it, it’s got two sides. It depends a lot on how close the organizations are, how close their service portfolios are, to what degree has each of the organizations adapted the cloud, and is that going to cause conflict as well. So I think there is potential.

Skilton: Each organization in the commercial sector can have different standards, and then you still have that interoperability problem that we have to translate to make it benefit, the post merger integration issue.

Gardner: We’ve been discussing the practical requirements of various cloud computing models, looking at core and context issues where cloud models would work, where they wouldn’t. And, we have been thinking about how we might want to head off the potential mixed bag of cloud models in our organizations and what we can do now to make the path better, but perhaps also make our organizations more agile, service oriented, and able to absorb things like rapid growth and mergers.

I’d like to thank you all for joining and certainly want to thank our guests. This is a sponsored podcast discussion coming to you from The Open Group’s 2011 Conference in San Diego. We’re here the week of February 7, 2011. A big thank you now to Penelope Gordon, cofounder of 1Plug Corporation. Thanks.

Gordon: Thank you.

Gardner: Mark Skilton, Director of Portfolio and Solutions in the Global Infrastructure Services with Capgemini. Thank you, Mark.

Skilton: Thank you very much.

Gardner: Ed Harrington, Principal Consultant in Virginia for the UK-based Architecting the Enterprise.

Harrington: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: Tom Plunkett, Senior Solution Consultant with Oracle. Thank you.

Plunkett: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: TJ Virdi, the Computing Architect in the CAS IT System Architecture group at Boeing.

Virdi: Thank you.

Gardner: I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. You’ve been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast. Thanks for joining, and come back next time.

Copyright The Open Group and Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

Dana Gardner is the Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, which identifies and interprets the trends in Services-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and enterprise software infrastructure markets. Interarbor Solutions creates in-depth Web content and distributes it via BriefingsDirectblogs, podcasts and video-podcasts to support conversational education about SOA, software infrastructure, Enterprise 2.0, and application development and deployment strategies.

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Cloud Computing & Enterprise Architecture

By Balasubramanian Somasundram, Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd.

What is the impact on Enterprise Architecture with the introduction of Cloud Computing and SaaS?

One word – ‘Serious’.

Here is my perspective.

On the first look, it may seem like Enterprise Architecture is irrelevant in a company if your complete IT is running on Cloud Computing, SaaS and outsourcing/offshoring. I was of the same opinion last year. However, it is not the case. In fact, the complexity is going to get multiplied.

We have moved from monolithic systems to client-server to tiered architectures. With SOA comes the truly distributed architecture. And with Cloud Computing and SaaS, we are moving to “Globally Decentralized/Distributed Architecture”.

With global distribution, we will be able to compose business processes out of services from SalesForce.com, Services running on Azure/Amazon and host the resulting composite in another cloud platform. Does that sound too cool and flexible! Of course. But it is also exponentially complex to manage in the long run!

Some of the challenges: What are the failure modes in these global composites? Can we optimize the attributes of those composites? How do we trace/troubleshoot, version control these composites? What are the foreseeable security threats in these global platforms?

Integration between these huge Clouds/SaaS platforms? – Welcome to the world of software-intensive, Massive System of Systems! :-)

If the first-generation EA guided us in dealing with System of Systems within an Enterprise, the next generation EA should help us in addressing ‘Massive System of Systems’.

With this new complexity, not only Enterprise Architecture gets necessary, but becomes absolutely critical in the IT ecosystem.

Enterprise Architecture and Cloud Computing will be topics of discussion at The Open Group India Conference in Chennai (March 7), Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud Computing and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Balasubramanian Somasundaram is an Enterprise Architect with Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd, Bangalore, a division of Honeywell Inc, USA. Bala has been with Honeywell Technology Solutions for the past five years and contributed in several technology roles. His current responsibilities include Architecture/Technology Planning and Governance, Solution Architecture Definition for business-critical programs, and Technical oversight/Review for programs delivered from Honeywell IT India center. With more than 12 years of experience in the IT services industry, Bala has worked with variety of technologies with a focus on IT architecture practice.  His current interests include Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications. He periodically writes about emerging technology trends that impact the Enterprise IT space on his blog. Bala holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from MKU University, India.

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Cloud Conference — and Unconference

By Dr. Chris Harding, The Open Group

The Wednesday of The Open Group Conference in San Diego included a formal Cloud Computing conference stream. This was followed in the evening by an unstructured CloudCamp, which made an interesting contrast.

The Cloud Conference Stream

The Cloud conference stream featured presentations on Architecting for Cloud and Cloud Security, and included a panel discussion on the considerations that must be made when choosing a Cloud solution.

In the first session of the morning, we had two presentations on Architecting for Cloud. Both considered TOGAF® as the architectural context. The first, from Stuart Boardman of Getronics, explored the conceptual difference that Cloud makes to enterprise architecture, and the challenge of communicating an architecture vision and discussing the issues with stakeholders in the subsequent TOGAF® phases. The second, from Serge Thorn of Architecting the Enterprise, looked at the considerations in each TOGAF® phase, but in a more specific way. The two presentations showed different approaches to similar subject matter, which proved a very stimulating combination.

This session was followed by a presentation from Steve Else of EA Principals in which he shared several use cases related to Cloud Computing. Using these, he discussed solution architecture considerations, and put forward the lessons learned and some recommendations for more successful planning, decision-making, and execution.

We then had the first of the day’s security-related presentations. It was given by Omkhar Arasaratnam of IBM and Stuart Boardman of Getronics. It summarized the purpose and scope of the Security for the Cloud and SOA project that is being conducted in The Open Group as a joint project of The Open Group’s Cloud Computing Work Group, the SOA Work Group, and Security Forum. Omkhar and Stuart described the usage scenarios that the project team is studying to guide its thinking, the concepts that it is developing, and the conclusions that it has reached so far.

The first session of the afternoon was started by Ed Harrington, of Architecting the Enterprise, who gave an interesting presentation on current U.S. Federal Government thinking on enterprise architecture, showing clearly the importance of Cloud Computing to U.S. Government plans. The U.S. is a leader in the use of IT for government and administration, so we can expect that its conclusions – that Cloud Computing is already making its way into the government computing fabric, and that enterprise architecture, instantiated as SOA and properly governed, will provide the greatest possibility of success in its implementation – will have a global impact.

We then had a panel session, moderated by Dana Gardner with his usual insight and aplomb, that explored the considerations that must be made when choosing a Cloud solution — custom or shrink-wrapped — and whether different forms of Cloud Computing are appropriate to different industry sectors. The panelists represented different players in the Cloud solutions market – customers, providers, and consultants – so that the topic was covered in depth and from a variety of viewpoints. They were Penelope Gordon of 1Plug Corporation, Mark Skilton of Capgemini, Ed Harrington of Architecting the Enterprise, Tom Plunkett of Oracle, and TJ Virdi of the Boeing Company.

In the final session of the conference stream, we returned to the topic of Cloud Security. Paul Simmonds, a member of the Board of the Jericho Forum®, gave an excellent presentation on de-risking the Cloud through effective risk management, in which he explained the approach that the Jericho Forum has developed. The session was then concluded by Andres Kohn of Proofpoint, who addressed the question of whether data can be more secure in the Cloud, considering public, private and hybrid Cloud environment.

CloudCamp

The CloudCamp was hosted by The Open Group but run as a separate event, facilitated by CloudCamp organizer Dave Nielsen. There were around 150-200 participants, including conference delegates and other people from the San Diego area who happened to be interested in the Cloud.

Dave started by going through his definition of Cloud Computing. Perhaps he should have known better – starting a discussion on terminology and definitions can be a dangerous thing to do with an Open Group audience. He quickly got into a good-natured argument from which he eventually emerged a little bloodied, metaphorically speaking, but unbowed.

We then had eight “lightning talks”. These were five-minute presentations covering a wide range of topics, including how to get started with Cloud (Margaret Dawson, Hubspan), supplier/consumer relationship (Brian Loesgen, Microsoft), Cloud-based geographical mapping (Ming-Hsiang Tsou, San Diego University), a patterns-based approach to Cloud (Ken Klingensmith, IBM), efficient large-scale data processing (AlexRasmussen, San Diego University), using desktop spare capacity as a Cloud resource (Michael Krumpe, Intelligent Technology Integration), cost-effective large-scale data processing in the Cloud (Patrick Salami, Temboo), and Cloud-based voice and data communication (Chris Matthieu, Tropo).

The participants then split into groups to discuss topics proposed by volunteers. There were eight topics altogether. Some of these were simply explanations of particular products or services offered by the volunteers’ companies. Others related to areas of general interest such as data security and access control, life-changing Cloud applications, and success stories relating to “big data”.

I joined the groups discussing Cloud software development on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. These sessions had excellent information content which would be valuable to anyone wishing to get started in – or already engaged in – software development on these platforms. They also brought out two points of general interest. The first is that the dividing line between IaaS and PaaS can be very thin. AWS and Azure are in theory on opposite sides of this divide; in practice they provide the developer with broadly similar capabilities. The second point is that in practice your preferred programming language and software environment is likely to be the determining factor in your choice of Cloud development platform.

Overall, the CloudCamp was a great opportunity for people to absorb the language and attitudes of the Cloud community, to discuss ideas, and to pick up specific technical knowledge. It gave an extra dimension to the conference, and we hope that this can be repeated at future events by The Open Group.

Cloud and SOA are a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, San Diego, which is currently underway.

Dr. Chris Harding is Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group. He has been with The Open Group for more than ten years, and is currently responsible for managing and supporting its work on interoperability, including SOA and interoperability aspects of Cloud Computing. Before joining The Open Group, he was a consultant, and a designer and development manager of communications software. With a PhD in mathematical logic, he welcomes the current upsurge of interest in semantic technology, and the opportunity to apply logical theory to practical use. He has presented at Open Group and other conferences on a range of topics, and contributes articles to on-line journals. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE, and the AOGEA, and is a certified TOGAF® practitioner.

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An SOA Unconference

By Dr. Chris Harding, The Open Group

Monday at The Open Group Conference in San Diego was a big day for Interoperability, with an Interoperability panel session, SOA and Cloud conference streams, meetings of SOA and UDEF project teams, and a joint meeting with the IEEE on next-generation UDEF. The Tuesday was quieter, with just one major interoperability-related session: the SOACamp. The pace picks up again today, with a full day of Cloud meetings, followed by a Thursday packed with members meetings on SOA, Cloud, and Semantic Interoperability.

Unconferences

The SOACamp was an unstructured meeting, based on the CloudCamp Model, for SOA practitioners and people interested in SOA to ask questions and share experiences.

CloudCamp is an unconference where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. The CloudCamp organization is responsible for these events. They are frequent and worldwide; 19 events have been held or arranged so far for the first half of 2011 in countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand, Nigeria, Spain, Turkey, and the USA. The Open Group has hosted CloudCamps at several of its Conferences, and is hosting one at its current conference in San Diego today.

What is an unconference? It is an event that follows an unscripted format in which topics are proposed and presented by volunteers, with the agenda being made up on the fly to address whatever the attendees most want to discuss. This format works very well for Cloud, and we thought we would give it a try for SOA.

The SOA Hot Topics

So what were the SOA hot topics? Volunteers gave 5-minute “lightning talks” on five issues, which were then considered as the potential agenda items for discussion:

  • Does SOA Apply to Cloud service models?
  • Vendor-neutral framework for registry/repository access to encourage object re-use
  • Fine-grained policy-based authorization for exposing data in the Cloud
  • Relation of SOA to Cloud Architecture
  • Are all Cloud architectures SOA architectures?

The greatest interest was in the last two of these, and they were taken together as a single agenda item for the whole meeting: SOA and Cloud Architecture. The third topic, fine-grained policy-based authorization for exposing data in the Cloud, was considered to be more Cloud-related than SOA-related, and it was agreed to keep it back for the CloudCamp the following day. The other two topics, SOA and Cloud service models and vendor-neutral framework for registry/repository access were considered by separate subgroups meeting in parallel.

The discussions were lively and raised several interesting points.

SOA and Cloud Architecture

Cloud is a consumption and delivery model for SOA, but Cloud and SOA services are different. All Cloud services are SOA services, but not all SOA services are Cloud services, because Cloud services have additional requirements for Quality of Service (QoS) and delivery consumption.

Cloud requires a different approach to QoS. Awareness of the run-time environment and elasticity is crucial for Cloud applications.

Cloud architectures are service-oriented, but they need additional architectural building blocks, particularly for QoS. They may be particularly likely to use a REST-ful approach, but this is still service-oriented.

A final important point is that, within a service-oriented architecture, the Cloud is transparent to the consumer. The service consumer ultimately should not care whether a service is on the Cloud.

Vendor-Neutral Framework for Registry/Repository Access

The concept of vendor-neutral access to SOA registries and repositories is good, but it requires standard data models and protocols to be effective.

The Open Group SOA ontology has proved a good basis for a modeling framework.

Common methods for vendor-neutral access could help services in the Cloud connect to multiple registries and repositories.

Does SOA Apply to Cloud service Models?

The central idea here is that the cloud service models – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) – could be defined as services in the SOA sense, with each of them exposing capabilities through defined interfaces.

This would require standards in three key areas: metrics/QoS, brokering/subletting, and service prioritization.

Is The Open Group an appropriate forum for setting and defining Cloud customer and provider standards? It has a standards development capability. The key determining factor is the availability of member volunteers with the relevant expertise.

Are Unconferences Good for Discussing SOA?

Cloud is an emerging topic while SOA is a mature one, and this affected the nature of the discussions. The unconference format is great for enabling people to share experience in new topic areas. The participants really wanted to explore new developments rather than compare notes on SOA practice, and the result of this was that the discussion mostly focused on the relation of SOA to the Cloud. This wasn’t what we expected – but resulted in some good discussions, exposing interesting ideas.

So is the unconference format a good one for SOA discussions? Yes it is – if you don’t need to produce a particular result. Just go with the flow, and let it take you and SOA to interesting new places.

Cloud and SOA are a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, San Diego, which is currently underway.

Dr. Chris Harding is Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group. He has been with The Open Group for more than ten years, and is currently responsible for managing and supporting its work on interoperability, including SOA and interoperability aspects of Cloud Computing. Before joining The Open Group, he was a consultant, and a designer and development manager of communications software. With a PhD in mathematical logic, he welcomes the current upsurge of interest in semantic technology, and the opportunity to apply logical theory to practical use. He has presented at Open Group and other conferences on a range of topics, and contributes articles to on-line journals. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE, and the AOGEA, and is a certified TOGAF practitioner.

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The golden thread of interoperability

By Dr. Chris Harding, The Open Group

There are so many things going on at every Conference by The Open Group that it is impossible to keep track of all of them, and this week’s Conference in San Diego, California, is no exception. The main themes are Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture, SOA and Cloud Computing. Additional topics range from Real-Time and Embedded Systems to Quantum Lifecycle Management. But there are a number of common threads running through all of those themes, relating to value delivered to IT customers through open systems. One of those threads is Interoperability.

Interoperability Panel Session

The interoperability thread showed strongly in several sessions on the opening day of the conference, Monday Feb. 7, starting with a panel session on Interoperability Challenges for 2011 that I was fortunate to have been invited to moderate.

The panelists were Arnold van Overeem of Capgemini, chair of the Architecture Forum’s Interoperability project, Ron Schuldt, the founder of UDEF-IT and chair of the Semantic Interoperability Work Group’s UDEF project, TJ Virdi of Boeing, co-chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group, and Bob Weisman of Build-the-Vision, chair of The Open Group Architecture Forum’s Information Architecture project. The audience was drawn from many companies, both members and non-members of The Open Group, and made a strong contribution to the debate.

What is interoperability? The panel described several essential characteristics:

  • Systems with different owners and governance models work together;
  • They exchange and understand data automatically;
  • They form an information-sharing environment in which business information is available in the right context, to the right person, and at the right time; and
  • This environment enables processes, as well as information, to be shared.

Interoperability is not just about the IT systems. It is also about the ecosystem of user organizations, and their cultural and legislative context.

Semantics is an important component of interoperability. It is estimated that 65% of data warehouse projects fail because of their inability to cope with a huge number of data elements, differently defined.

There is a constant battle for interoperability. Systems that lock customers in by refusing to interoperate with those of other vendors can deliver strong commercial profit. This strategy is locally optimal but globally disastrous; it gives benefits to both vendors and customers in the short term, but leads in the longer term to small markets and siloed systems.  The front line is shifting constantly. There are occasional resounding victories – as with the introduction of the Internet – but the normal state is trench warfare with small and painful gains and losses.

Blame for lack of interoperability is often put on the vendors, but this is not really fair. Vendors must work within what is commercially possible. Customer organizations can help the growth of interoperability by applying pressure and insisting on support for standards. This is in their interests; integration required by lack of interoperability is currently estimated to account for over 25% of IT spend.

SOA has proved a positive force for interoperability. By embracing SOA, a customer organization can define its data model and service interfaces, and tender for competing solutions that conform to its interfaces and meet its requirements. Services can be shared processing units forming part of the ecosystem environment.

The latest IT phenomenon is Cloud Computing. This is in some ways reinforcing SOA as an interoperability enabler. Shared services can be available on the Cloud, and the ease of provisioning services in a Cloud environment speeds up the competitive tendering process.

But there is one significant area in which Cloud computing gives cause for concern: lack of interoperability between virtualization products. Virtualization is a core enabling technology for Cloud Computing, and virtualization products form the basis for most private Cloud solutions. These products are generally vendor-specific and without interoperable interfaces, so that it is difficult for a customer organization to combine different virtualization products in a private Cloud, and easy for it to become locked in to a single vendor.

There is a need for an overall interoperability framework within which standards can be positioned, to help customers express their interoperability requirements effectively. This framework should address cultural and legal aspects, and architectural maturity, as well as purely technical aspects. Semantics will be a crucial element.

Such a framework could assist the development of interoperable ecosystems, involving multiple organizations. But it will also help the development of architectures for interoperability within individual organizations – and this is perhaps of more immediate concern.

The Open Group can play an important role in the development of this framework, and in establishing it with customers and vendors.

SOA/TOGAF Practical Guide

SOA is an interoperability enabler, but establishing SOA within an enterprise is not easy to do. There are many stakeholders involved, with particular concerns to be addressed. This presents a significant task for enterprise architects.

TOGAF® has long been established as a pragmatic framework that helps enterprise architects deliver better solutions. The Open Group is developing a practical guide to using TOGAF® for SOA, as a joint project of its SOA Work Group and The Open Group Architecture Forum.

This work is now nearing completion. Ed Harrington of Architecting-the-Enterprise had overcome the considerable difficulty of assembling and adding to the material created by the project to form a solid draft. This was discussed in detail by a small group, with some participants joining by teleconference. As well as Ed, this group included Mats Gejnevall of Capgemini and Steve Bennett of Oracle, and it was led by project co-chairs Dave Hornford of Integritas and Awel Dico of the Bank of Montreal.

The discussion resolved all the issues, enabling the preparation of a draft for review by The Open Group, and we can expect to see this valuable guide published at the conclusion of the review process.

UDEF Deployment Workshop

The importance of semantics for interoperability was an important theme of the interoperability panel discussion. The Open Group is working on a specific standard that is potentially a key enabler for semantic interoperability: the Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF).

It had been decided at the previous conference, in Amsterdam, that the next stage of UDEF development should be a deployment workshop. This was discussed by a small group, under the leadership of UDEF project chair Ron Schuldt, again with some participation by teleconference.

The group included Arnold van Overeem of Capgemini, Jayson Durham of the US Navy, and Brand Niemann of the Semantic Community. Jayson is a key player in the Enterprise Lexicon Services (ELS) initiative, which aims to provide critical information interoperability capabilities through common lexicon and vocabulary services. Brand is a major enthusiast for semantic interoperability with connections to many US semantic initiatives, and currently to the Air Force OneSource project in particular, which is evolving a data analysis tool used internally by the USAF Global Cyberspace Integration Center (GCIC) Vocabulary Services Team, and made available to general data management community.  The participation of Jayson and Brand provided an important connection between the UDEF and other semantic projects.

As a result of the discussions, Ron will draft an interoperability scenario that can be the basis of a practical workshop session at the next conference, which is in London.

Complex Cloud Environments

Cloud Computing is the latest hot technology, and its adoption is having some interesting interoperability implications, as came out clearly in the Interoperability panel session. In many cases, an enterprise will use, not a single Cloud, but multiple services in multiple Clouds. These services must interoperate to deliver value to the enterprise. The Complex Cloud Environments conference stream included two very interesting presentations on this.

The first, by Mark Skilton and Vladimir Baranek of Capgemini, explained how new notations for Cloud can help explain and create better understanding and adoption of new Cloud-enabled services and the impact of social and business networks. As Cloud environments become increasingly complex, the need to explain them clearly grows. Consumers and vendors of Cloud services must be able to communicate. Stakeholders in consumer organizations must be able to discuss their concerns about the Cloud environment. The work presented by Mark and Vladimir grew from discussions in a CloudCamp that was held at a previous Conference by The Open Group. We hope that it can now be developed by The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group to become a powerful and sophisticated language to address this communication need.

The second presentation, from Soobaek Jang of IBM, addressed the issue of managing and coordinating across a large number of instances in a Cloud Computing environment. He explained an architecture for “Multi-Node Management Services” that acts as a framework for auto-scaling in a SaaS lifecycle, putting structure around self-service activity, and providing a simple and powerful web service orientation that allows providers to manage and orchestrate deployments in logical groups.

SOA Conference Stream

The principal presentation in this stream picked up on one of the key points from the Interoperability panel session in a very interesting way. It showed how a formal ontology can be a practical basis for common operation of SOA repositories. Semantic interoperability is at the cutting edge of interoperability, and is more often the subject of talk than of action. The presentation included a demonstration, and it was great to see the ideas put to real use.

The presentation was given jointly by Heather Kreger, SOA Work Group Co-chair, and Vince Brunssen, Co-chair of SOA Repository Artifact Model and Protocol (S-RAMP) at OASIS. Both presenters are from IBM. S-Ramp is an emerging standard from OASIS that enables interoperability between tools and repositories for SOA. It uses the formal SOA Ontology that was developed by The Open Group, with extensions to enable a common service model as well as an interoperability protocol.

This presentation illustrated how S-RAMP and the SOA Ontology work in concert with The Open Group SOA Governance Framework to enable governance across vendors. It contained a demonstration that included defining new service models with the S-RAMP extensions in one SOA repository and communicating with another repository to augment its service model.

To conclude the session, I gave a brief presentation on SOA in the Cloud – the Next Challenge for Enterprise Architects. This discussed how the SOA architectural style is widely accepted as the style for enterprise architecture, and how Cloud Computing is a technical possibility that can be used in enterprise architecture. Architectures using Cloud computing should be service-oriented, but this poses some key questions for the architect. Architecture governance must change in the context of Cloud-based ecosystems. It may take some effort to keep to the principles of the SOA style – but it will be important to do this. And the organization of the infrastructure – which may migrate from the enterprise to the Cloud – will present an interesting challenge.

Enabling Semantic Interoperability Through Next Generation UDEF

The day was rounded off by an evening meeting, held jointly with the local chapter of the IEEE, on semantic interoperability. The meeting featured a presentation by Ron Schuldt, UDEF Project Chair, on the history, current state, and future goals of the UDEF.

The importance of semantics as a component of interoperability was clear in the morning’s panel discussion. In this evening session, Ron explained how the UDEF can enable semantic interoperability, and described the plans of the UDEF Project Team to expand the framework to meet the evolving needs of enterprises today and in the future.

This meeting was arranged through the good offices of Jayson Durham, and it was great that local IEEE members could join conference participants for an excellent session.

Cloud is a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, San Diego, which is currently underway.

Dr Chris Harding is Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group. He has been with The Open Group for more than ten years, and is currently responsible for managing and supporting its work on interoperability, including SOA and interoperability aspects of Cloud Computing. Before joining The Open Group, he was a consultant, and a designer and development manager of communications software. With a PhD in mathematical logic, he welcomes the current upsurge of interest in semantic technology, and the opportunity to apply logical theory to practical use. He has presented at Open Group and other conferences on a range of topics, and contributes articles to on-line journals. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE, and the AOGEA, and is a certified TOGAF practitioner.

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Seeing above the Clouds

By Mark Skilton, Capgemini

Genie out of the bottle

I recently looked back at some significant papers that had influenced my thinking on Cloud Computing as part of a review on current strategic trends. In February 2009, a paper published at the University of California, Berkeley, “Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing”, stands out, as the first of many papers to drive out the issues around the promise of Cloud computing and technology barriers to achieving secure elastic service. The key issue unfolding at that time was the transfer of risk that resulted from moving to a Cloud environment and the obstacles to security, performance and licensing that would need to evolve. But the genie was out of the bottle, as early successful adopters could see cost savings and rapid one-to-many monetization benefits of on-demand services.

Worlds reloaded – Welcome to the era of multiplicity

A second key moment I can recall was the realization that the exchange of services was no longer a simple request and response. For sure, social networks had demonstrated huge communities of collaboration and online “personas” changing individual and business network interactions. But something else had happened less obvious but more profound. This change was made most evident in the proliferation of mobile computing that greatly expanded the original on-premise move to off-premise services. A key paper by Intel Research titled “CloneCloud” published around that same time period exemplified this shift. Services could be cloned and moved into the Cloud demonstrating the possible new realities in redefining the real potential of how work gets done using Cloud Computing. The key point was that storage or processing transactions, media streaming or complex calculations no longer had to be executed within a physical device. It could be provided as a service from remote source, a virtual Cloud service. But more significant was the term “multiplicity” in this concept. We see this everyday as we download apps, stream video and transact orders. The fact was that you could do not only a few, but multiple tasks simultaneously and pick and choose the services and results.

New thinking, new language

This signaled a big shift away from the old style of thinking about business services that had us conditioned to think of service oriented requests in static, tiered, rigid ways. Those business processes and services missed this new bigger picture. Just take a look at the phenomenon called  hyperlocal services that offer location specific on-demand information or how crowd sourcing can dramatically transform purchasing choices and collaboration incentives. Traditional ways of measuring, modeling and running business operations are underutilizing this potential and undervaluing what can be possible in these new collaborative networks. The new multiplicity based world of Cloud-enabled networks means you can augment yourself and your company’s assets in ways that change the shape of your industry.  What is needed is a new language to describe how this shift feels and works, and how advances in your business portfolio can be realized with these modern ideas, examining current methods and standards of strategy visualization, metrics and design to evolve a new expression of this potential.

Future perfect?

Some two years have passed and what has been achieved?  Certainly we have seen the huge proliferation of services into a Cloud hosting environment. Large strategic movements in private data centers seek to develop private Cloud services, by bringing together social media and social networking through Cloud technologies. But what’s needed now is a new connection between the potential of these technologies and the vision of the Internet, the growth of social graph associations and wider communities and ecosystems are emerging in the movement’s wake.

With every new significant disruptive change, there is also the need for a new language to help describe this new world. Open standards and industry forums will help drive this. The old language focuses on the previous potential and so a new way to visualize, define and use the new realities can help the big shift towards the potential above the Cloud.

This post was simultaneously published on the BriefingsDirect blog by Dana Gardner.

Mark Skilton, Director, Capgemini and is the Co-Chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. He has been involved in advising clients and developing of strategic portfolio services in Cloud Computing and business transformation. His recent contributions include the publication of Return on Investment models on Cloud Computing widely syndicated that achieved 50,000 hits on CIO.com and in the British Computer Society 2010 Annual Review. His current activities include development of a new Cloud Computing Model standards and best practices on the subject of cloud computing impact on Outsourcing and Offshoring models and  contributed to the second edition of the Handbook of Global Outsourcing and Offshoring published through his involvement with Warwick Business School UK Specialist Masters Degree Program in Information Systems Management.

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New Survey by The Open Group Aims to Understand True Business Impact of Cloud Computing

By David Lounsbury, The Open Group

Everyone in the IT industry knows by now that Cloud Computing is exploding. Gartner said Cloud Computing was its number-one area of inquiry in 2010, and interest in the popular computing movement culminated last summer according to its 2010 Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing.

Regardless of whatever it says in the press, Cloud is now a real option for delivery of IT services to business. Organizations of all sizes need to determine how they can generate real business benefit from using Cloud. Industry discussion about its benefits still tends to be more focused on the Cloud’s IT advantages (e.g. IT capacity and utilization) versus the business impact (e.g. competitive differentiation, profit margin, etc.). The Open Group’s Cloud Work Group has created a series of whitepapers to help clarify the business impacts of using cloud; and as a next step, The Open Group launched a public survey today at The Open Group Conference, San Diego that will examine the measurable business drivers and ROI to be gained from the Cloud. We encourage you to spend a few minutes completing the online survey here.

We’re specifically looking for input from end-user organizations about their business requirements, outcomes and initial experience measuring ROI around their Cloud projects. The survey both builds on the work already done by the Cloud Work Group, and the results of the survey will help guide its future development on the financial and business impact of Cloud Computing.

The survey will be open until Monday, March 7, after which time we’ll publish the findings. Please help us spread the word by sharing the survey link [http://svy.mk/ogcloud] with others in your network who are either direct buyers of Cloud services or have influence over their organization’s Cloud-related investments.

Cloud is a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, San Diego, which is currently underway.

Dave LounsburyDave Lounsbury is The Open Group‘s Chief Technology Officer, previously VP of Collaboration Services.  Dave holds three U.S. patents and is based in the U.S.

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8 Ways to strengthen your business case for using Cloud

By Pamela Isom, IBM

With the rapid emergence of new technologies such as the Cloud, it is important for business executives and stakeholders to focus on the real business challenges and the needs of the enterprise. By examining some of the key business problems that are prompting companies to use the Cloud, it is possible to build a stronger business case for adopting this technology.

I’ve explored many different use-cases for Cloud Computing from several industries and found common drivers throughout. The use-cases demonstrated business value through optimising resources, lowering costs, and providing solutions on-demand when and where customers, partners and employees need it. The following are key business benefits of the Cloud that organizations require to optimise their business performance.

1. The ability to consolidate information across disparate systems with complete transparency to the user. When information is stored in the cloud, the user does not need to know where the information is stored, whether in one cloud server location or more.

2. The ability to modernize business systems at a low-cost and fast speed of deployment. With Cloud Computing, business leaders engage with service providers to “rent” versus “buy” these new innovative services and solutions. This significantly reduces the cost of entry for new solutions and allows businesses to innovate quickly.

3. The ability to move to a remote desktop services model using the Cloud. With this model, users access applications when and where needed, then release the application license back to the Cloud so that other users in the company can share a common pool of licenses.

4. The need to support high storage capacity requirements, which can ebb and flow in size requirement throughout any given month or year. By leveraging storage capacity via the Cloud, businesses use and pay for only the storage capacity they need, when they need it, on demand.

5. Rapid deployment emerges as a consistent business value theme. With Cloud services, new solutions are accessed via the Cloud by end users, lowering time and cost to deploy solutions across many physical locations. Also, with this central control of IT, business value is driven by the ability to centrally manage user access for security purposes, perform IT maintenance, and address any IT problems.

6. The ability to provide IT using self-service capabilities. In the new Cloud model, development employees can self-provision a very specific hardware and software environment for their testing purposes without requiring additional assistance from hardware and software support personnel.

7. The need to support mobile services. Many solutions in enterprises are “going mobile”, whether supporting mobile employees or services to customers via mobile devices. With mobility services accessed and delivered via the Cloud, support for mobile users is transparent and available on-demand at lower costs to the enterprise.

8. The need to support internal and external collaboration for employees and partners. To minimise cost while driving collaboration, many of the use-cases examined take advantage of collaboration via the cloud to share documents and support meetings online to reduce travel costs.

The ability to drive innovation while at the same time lower costs is a true business benefit to any enterprise, and will certainly strengthen any business case for using Cloud.

Republished with permission from Business Computing World, originally published Feb. 2, 2011

Cloud will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, San Diego, Feb. 7-11. Join us for best practices, case studies and the future of information security, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Pamela K. Isom is a Senior Certified, Executive IT Architect with IBM Global Business Services. Pamela joined IBM in June 2000 and currently leads efforts that drive Smarter Planet efficiencies (such as the adoption of Cloud and green computing) throughout client enterprises using, and often times enhancing, its Enterprise Architecture (EA). Pamela is a trusted advisor to clients and she is a hands-on Cloud adoption strategist and implementer. Pamela is a Distinguished Chief/Lead IT Architect with The Open Group where she leads the Cloud Business Use Case Work Group.

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Cloud spending: What do you think?

A recent article estimated that 65% or more of new enterprise IT spending will be cloud-based by 2015. Tell us what you think.

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The Newest from SOA: The SOA Ontology Technical Standard

By Heather Kreger, IBM

The Open Group just announced the availability of The Open Group SOA Ontology Technical Standard.

Ontology?? Sounds very ‘semantic Web,’ doesn’t it? Just smacks of reasoning engines. What on earth do architects using SOA want with reasoning engines?

Actually, Ontologies are misunderstood — an Ontology is simply the definition of a set of concepts and the relationships between them for a particular domain — in this case, the domain is SOA.

They don’t HAVE to be used for reasoning… or semantic Web. And they are more than a simple glossary which defines terms, because they also define relationships between them — something important for SOA, we thought. It’s also important to note that they are more formal than Reference Models, usually by providing representations in OWL (just in case you want to use popular tools for Ontology and reasoners).

What would an architect do with THIS ontology?Image credit: jscreationzs

It can be used simply to read and understand the key concepts of SOA, and more importantly, a set of definitions and UNDERSTANDING of key concepts that you can agree to use with others in your company and between organizations. Making sure you are ‘speaking the same language’ is essential for any architect to be able to communicate effectively with IT, business, and marketing professionals within the enterprise as well as with vendors and suppliers outside the enterprise. This common language can help ensure that you can ask the right questions and interpret the answers you get unambiguously.

It can be used as a basis for the models for the SOA solution as well. In fact, this is happening in the SOA repository standard under development in OASIS, S-RAMP, where they have used the SOA Ontology as the foundational business model for registry/repository integration.

The Ontology can also be augmented with additional related domain-specific ontologies; for example, on Governance or Business Process Management… or even in a vertical industry like retail where ARTS is developing service models. In fact, we, the SOA Ontology project, tried to define the minimum, absolutely core concepts needed for SOA and allow other domain experts to define additional details for Policy, Process, Service Contract, etc.

This Ontology was developed to be consistent with existing and developing SOA standards including OMG’s SOA/ML and BPMN and those in The Open Group SOA Workgroup: SOA Governance Framework, OSIMM, and the SOA Reference Architecture. It seems it would have been good to have developed this standard before now, but the good news is that it is grounded in extensive real-world experience developing, deploying and communicating about SOA solutions over the past five years. The Ontology reflects the lessons learned about what terms NOT to use to avoid confusion, and how to best distinguish among some common and often overused concepts like service composition, process, service contracts, and policy and their roles in SOA.

Have a look at the new SOA Ontology and see if it can help you in your communications for SOA. It’s available to you free at this link: http://www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog/c104.htm

Additional Links:

Heather KregerHeather Kreger is IBM’s lead architect for Smarter Planet, Policy, and SOA Standards in the IBM Software Group, with 15 years of standards experience. She has led the development of standards for Cloud, SOA, Web services, Management and Java in numerous standards organizations, including W3C, OASIS, DMTF, and Open Group. Heather is currently co-chair for The Open Group’s SOA Work Group and liaison for the Open Group SOA and Cloud Work Groups to ISO/IEC JTC1 SC7 SOA SG and INCITS DAPS38 (US TAG to ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC38). Heather is also the author of numerous articles and specifications, as well as the book Java and JMX, Building Manageable Systems, and most recently was co-editor of Navigating the SOA Open Standards Landscape Around Architecture.

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