Tag Archives: Chris Harding

Are You Ready for the Convergence of New, Disruptive Technologies?

By Chris Harding, The Open Group

The convergence of technical phenomena such as cloud, mobile and social computing, big data analysis, and the Internet of things that is being addressed by The Open Group’s Open Platform 3.0 Forum™ will transform the way that you use information technology. Are you ready? Take our survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/convergent_tech

What the Technology Can Do

Mobile and social computing are leading the way. Recently, the launch of new iPhone models and the announcement of the Twitter stock flotation were headline news, reflecting the importance that these technologies now have for business. For example, banks use mobile text messaging to alert customers to security issues. Retailers use social media to understand their markets and communicate with potential customers.

Other technologies are close behind. In Formula One motor racing, sensors monitor vehicle operation and feed real-time information to the support teams, leading to improved design, greater safety, and lower costs. This approach could soon become routine for cars on the public roads too.

Many exciting new applications are being discussed. Stores could use sensors to capture customer behavior while browsing the goods on display, and give them targeted information and advice via their mobile devices. Medical professionals could monitor hospital patients and receive alerts of significant changes. Researchers could use shared cloud services and big data analysis to detect patterns in this information, and develop treatments, including for complex or uncommon conditions that are hard to understand using traditional methods. The potential is massive, and we are only just beginning to see it.

What the Analysts Say

Market analysts agree on the importance of the new technologies.

Gartner uses the term “Nexus of Forces” to describe the convergence and mutual reinforcement of social, mobility, cloud and information patterns that drive new business scenarios, and says that, although these forces are innovative and disruptive on their own, together they are revolutionizing business and society, disrupting old business models and creating new leaders.

IDC predicts that a combination of social cloud, mobile, and big data technologies will drive around 90% of all the growth in the IT market through 2020, and uses the term “third platform” to describe this combination.

The Open Group will identify the standards that will make Gartner’s Nexus of Forces and IDC’s Third Platform commercial realities. This will be the definition of Open Platform 3.0.

Disrupting Enterprise Use of IT

The new technologies are bringing new opportunities, but their use raises problems. In particular, end users find that working through IT departments in the traditional way is not satisfactory. The delays are too great for rapid, innovative development. They want to use the new technologies directly – “hands on”.

Increasingly, business departments are buying technology directly, by-passing their IT departments. Traditionally, the bulk of an enterprise’s IT budget was spent by the IT department and went on maintenance. A significant proportion is now spent by the business departments, on new technology.

Business and IT are not different worlds any more. Business analysts are increasingly using technical tools, and even doing application development, using exposed APIs. For example, marketing folk do search engine optimization, use business information tools, and analyze traffic on Twitter. Such operations require less IT skill than formerly because the new systems are easy to use. Also, users are becoming more IT-savvy. This is a revolution in business use of IT, comparable to the use of spreadsheets in the 1980s.

Also, business departments are hiring traditional application developers, who would once have only been found in IT departments.

Are You Ready?

These disruptive new technologies are changing, not just the IT architecture, but also the business architecture of the enterprises that use them. This is a sea change that affects us all.

The introduction of the PC had a dramatic impact on the way enterprises used IT, taking much of the technology out of the computer room and into the office. The new revolution is taking it out of the office and into the pocket. Cell phones and tablets give you windows into the world, not just your personal collection of applications and information. Through those windows you can see your friends, your best route home, what your customers like, how well your production processes are working, or whatever else you need to conduct your life and business.

This will change the way you work. You must learn how to tailor and combine the information and services available to you, to meet your personal objectives. If your role is to provide or help to provide IT services, you must learn how to support users working in this new way.

To negotiate this change successfully, and take advantage of it, each of us must understand what is happening, and how ready we are to deal with it.

The Open Group is conducting a survey of people’s reactions to the convergence of Cloud and other new technologies. Take the survey, to input your state of readiness, and get early sight of the results, to see how you compare with everyone else.

To take the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/convergent_tech

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, and the Platform 3.0 Forum. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE and the AEA, and is a certified TOGAF® practitioner.

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Filed under Cloud, Future Technologies, Open Platform 3.0, Platform 3.0

Why is Cloud Adoption Taking so Long?

By Chris Harding, The Open Group

At the end of last year, Gartner predicted that cloud computing would become an integral part of IT in 2013 (http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?doc_cd=230929). This looks a pretty safe bet. The real question is, why is it taking so long?

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a simple concept. IT resources are made available, within an environment that enables them to be used, via a communications network, as a service. It is used within enterprises to enable IT departments to meet users’ needs more effectively, and by external providers to deliver better IT services to their enterprise customers.

There are established vendors of products to fit both of these scenarios. The potential business benefits are well documented. There are examples of real businesses gaining those benefits, such as Netflix as a public cloud user (see http://www.zdnet.com/the-biggest-cloud-app-of-all-netflix-7000014298/ ), and Unilever and Lufthansa as implementers of private cloud (see http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240114043/Unilever-and-Lufthansa-Systems-deploy-Azure-Private-cloud ).

Slow Pace of Adoption

Yet we are still talking of cloud computing becoming an integral part of IT. In the 2012 Open Group Cloud ROI survey, less than half of the respondents’ organizations were using cloud computing, although most of the rest were investigating its use. (See http://www.opengroup.org/sites/default/files/contentimages/Documents/cloud_roi_formal_report_12_19_12-1.pdf ). Clearly, cloud computing is not being used for enterprise IT as a matter of routine.

Cloud computing is now at least seven years old. Amazon’s “Elastic Compute Cloud” was launched in August 2006, and there are services that we now regard as cloud computing, though they may not have been called that, dating from before then. Other IT revolutions – personal computers, for example – have reached the point of being an integral part of IT in half the time. Why has it taken Cloud so long?

The Reasons

One reason is that using Cloud requires a high level of trust. You can lock your PC in your office, but you cannot physically secure your cloud resources. You must trust the cloud service provider. Such trust takes time to earn.

Another reason is that, although it is a simple concept, cloud computing is described in a rather complex way. The widely-accepted NIST definition (see http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-145/SP800-145.pdf ) has three service models and four deployment models, giving a total of twelve distinct delivery combinations. Each combination has different business drivers, and the three service models are based on very different technical capabilities. Real products, of course, often do not exactly correspond to the definition, and their vendors describe them in product-specific terms. This complexity often leads to misunderstanding and confusion.

A third reason is that you cannot “mix and match” cloud services from different providers. The market is consolidating, with a few key players emerging as dominant at the infrastructure and platform levels. Each of them has its own proprietary interfaces. There are no real vendor-neutral standards. A recent Information Week article on Netflix (http://www.informationweek.co.uk/cloud-computing/platform/how-netflix-is-ruining-cloud-computing/240151650 ) describes some of the consequences. Customers are beginning to talk of “vendor lock-in” in a way that we haven’t seen since the days of mainframes.

The Portability and Interoperability Guide

The Open Group Cloud Computing Portability and Interoperability Guide addresses this last problem, by providing recommendations to customers on how best to achieve portability and interoperability when working with current cloud products and services. It also makes recommendations to suppliers and standards bodies on how standards and best practice should evolve to enable greater portability and interoperability in the future.

The Guide tackles the complexity of its subject by defining a simple Distributed Computing Reference Model. This model shows how cloud services fit into the mix of products and services used by enterprises in distributed computing solutions today. It identifies the major components of cloud-enabled solutions, and describes their portability and interoperability interfaces.

Platform 3.0

Cloud is not the only new game in town. Enterprises are looking at mobile computing, social computing, big data, sensors, and controls as new technologies that can transform their businesses. Some of these – mobile and social computing, for example – have caught on faster than Cloud.

Portability and interoperability are major concerns for these technologies too. There is a need for a standard platform to enable enterprises to use all of the new technologies, individually and in combination, and “mix and match” different products. This is the vision of the Platform 3.0 Forum, recently formed by The Open Group. The distributed computing reference model is an important input to this work.

The State of the Cloud

It is now at least becoming routine to consider cloud computing when architecting a new IT solution. The chances of it being selected however appear to be less than fifty-fifty, in spite of its benefits. The reasons include those mentioned above: lack of trust, complexity, and potential lock-in.

The Guide removes some of the confusion caused by the complexity, and helps enterprises assess their exposure to lock-in, and take what measures they can to prevent it.

The growth of cloud computing is starting to be constrained by lack of standards to enable an open market with free competition. The Guide contains recommendations to help the industry and standards bodies produce the standards that are needed.

Let’s all hope that the standards do appear soon. Cloud is, quite simply, a good idea. It is an important technology paradigm that has the potential to transform businesses, to make commerce and industry more productive, and to benefit society as a whole, just as personal computing did. Its adoption really should not be taking this long.

The Open Group Cloud Computing Portability and Interoperability Guide is available from The Open Group bookstore at https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/G135

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, and the Platform 3.0 Forum. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE and the AEA, and is a certified TOGAF® practitioner.

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Filed under Platform 3.0

2013 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 1

By The Open Group

A big thank you to all of our members and staff who have made 2012 another great year for The Open Group. There were many notable achievements this year, including the release of ArchiMate 2.0, the launch of the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) Technical Standard and the publication of the SOA Reference Architecture (SOA RA) and the Service-Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure Framework (SOCCI).

As we wrap up 2012, we couldn’t help but look towards what is to come in 2013 for The Open Group and the industries we‘re a part of. Without further ado, here they are:

Big Data
By Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technical Officer

Big Data is on top of everyone’s mind these days. Consumerization, mobile smart devices, and expanding retail and sensor networks are generating massive amounts of data on behavior, environment, location, buying patterns – etc. – producing what is being called “Big Data”. In addition, as the use of personal devices and social networks continue to gain popularity so does the expectation to have access to such data and the computational power to use it anytime, anywhere. Organizations will turn to IT to restructure its services so it meets the growing expectation of control and access to data.

Organizations must embrace Big Data to drive their decision-making and to provide the optimal service mix services to customers. Big Data is becoming so big that the big challenge is how to use it to make timely decisions. IT naturally focuses on collecting data so Big Data itself is not an issue.. To allow humans to keep on top of this flood of data, industry will need to move away from programming computers for storing and processing data to teaching computers how to assess large amounts of uncorrelated data and draw inferences from this data on their own. We also need to start thinking about the skills that people need in the IT world to not only handle Big Data, but to make it actionable. Do we need “Data Architects” and if so, what would their role be?

In 2013, we will see the beginning of the Intellectual Computing era. IT will play an essential role in this new era and will need to help enterprises look at uncorrelated data to find the answer.

Security

By Jim Hietala, Vice President of Security

As 2012 comes to a close, some of the big developments in security over the past year include:

  • Continuation of hacktivism attacks.
  • Increase of significant and persistent threats targeting government and large enterprises. The notable U.S. National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace started to make progress in the second half of the year in terms of industry and government movement to address fundamental security issues.
  • Security breaches were discovered by third parties, where the organizations affected had no idea that they were breached. Data from the 2012 Verizon report suggests that 92 percent of companies breached were notified by a third party.
  • Acknowledgement from senior U.S. cybersecurity professionals that organizations fall into two groups: those that know they’ve been penetrated, and those that have been penetrated, but don’t yet know it.

In 2013, we’ll no doubt see more of the same on the attack front, plus increased focus on mobile attack vectors. We’ll also see more focus on detective security controls, reflecting greater awareness of the threat and on the reality that many large organizations have already been penetrated, and therefore responding appropriately requires far more attention on detection and incident response.

We’ll also likely see the U.S. move forward with cybersecurity guidance from the executive branch, in the form of a Presidential directive. New national cybersecurity legislation seemed to come close to happening in 2012, and when it failed to become a reality, there were many indications that the administration would make something happen by executive order.

Enterprise Architecture

By Leonard Fehskens, Vice President of Skills and Capabilities

Preparatory to my looking back at 2012 and forward to 2013, I reviewed what I wrote last year about 2011 and 2012.

Probably the most significant thing from my perspective is that so little has changed. In fact, I think in many respects the confusion about what Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Business Architecture are about has gotten worse.

The stress within the EA community as both the demands being placed on it and the diversity of opinion within it increase continues to grow.  This year, I saw a lot more concern about the value proposition for EA, but not a lot of (read “almost no”) convergence on what that value proposition is.

Last year I wrote “As I expected at this time last year, the conventional wisdom about Enterprise Architecture continues to spin its wheels.”  No need to change a word of that. What little progress at the leading edge was made in 2011 seems to have had no effect in 2012. I think this is largely a consequence of the dust thrown in the eyes of the community by the ascendance of the concept of “Business Architecture,” which is still struggling to define itself.  Business Architecture seems to me to have supplanted last year’s infatuation with “enterprise transformation” as the means of compensating for the EA community’s entrenched IT-centric perspective.

I think this trend and the quest for a value proposition are symptomatic of the same thing — the urgent need for Enterprise Architecture to make its case to its stakeholder community, especially to the people who are paying the bills. Something I saw in 2011 that became almost epidemic in 2012 is conflation — the inclusion under the Enterprise Architecture umbrella of nearly anything with the slightest taste of “business” to it. This has had the unfortunate effect of further obscuring the unique contribution of Enterprise Architecture, which is to bring architectural thinking to bear on the design of human enterprise.

So, while I’m not quite mired in the slough of despond, I am discouraged by the community’s inability to advance the state of the art. In a private communication to some colleagues I wrote, “the conventional wisdom on EA is at about the same state of maturity as 14th century cosmology. It is obvious to even the most casual observer that the earth is both flat and the center of the universe. We debate what happens when you fall off the edge of the Earth, and is the flat earth carried on the back of a turtle or an elephant?  Does the walking of the turtle or elephant rotate the crystalline sphere of the heavens, or does the rotation of the sphere require the turtlephant to walk to keep the earth level?  These are obviously the questions we need to answer.”

Cloud

By Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability

2012 has seen the establishment of Cloud Computing as a mainstream resource for enterprise architects and the emergence of Big Data as the latest hot topic, likely to be mainstream for the future. Meanwhile, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) has kept its position as an architectural style of choice for delivering distributed solutions, and the move to ever more powerful mobile devices continues. These trends have been reflected in the activities of our Cloud Computing Work Group and in the continuing support by members of our SOA work.

The use of Cloud, Mobile Computing, and Big Data to deliver on-line systems that are available anywhere at any time is setting a new norm for customer expectations. In 2013, we will see the development of Enterprise Architecture practice to ensure the consistent delivery of these systems by IT professionals, and to support the evolution of creative new computing solutions.

IT systems are there to enable the business to operate more effectively. Customers expect constant on-line access through mobile and other devices. Business organizations work better when they focus on their core capabilities, and let external service providers take care of the rest. On-line data is a huge resource, so far largely untapped. Distributed, Cloud-enabled systems, using Big Data, and architected on service-oriented principles, are the best enablers of effective business operations. There will be a convergence of SOA, Mobility, Cloud Computing, and Big Data as they are seen from the overall perspective of the enterprise architect.

Within The Open Group, the SOA and Cloud Work Groups will continue their individual work, and will collaborate with other forums and work groups, and with outside organizations, to foster the convergence of IT disciplines for distributed computing.

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Filed under Business Architecture, Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture

SOA Provides Needed Support for Enterprise Architecture in Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Says Open Group Panel

By Dana Gardner, BriefingsDirect

There’s been a resurgent role for service-oriented architecture (SOA) as a practical and relevant ingredient for effective design and use of Cloud, mobile, and big data technologies.

To find out why, The Open Group recently gathered an international panel of experts to explore the concept of “architecture is destiny,” especially when it comes to hybrid services delivery and management. The panel shows how SOA is proving instrumental in allowing the needed advancements over highly distributed services and data, when it comes to scale, heterogeneity support, and governance.

The panel consists of Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability at The Open Group, based in the UK; Nikhil Kumar, President of Applied Technology Solutions and Co-Chair of the SOA Reference Architecture Projects within The Open Group, and he’s based in Michigan, and Mats Gejnevall, Enterprise Architect at Capgemini and Co-Chair of The Open Group SOA Work Group, and he’s based in Sweden. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

The full podcast can be found here.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Why this resurgence in the interest around SOA?

Harding: My role in The Open Group is to support the work of our members on SOA, Cloud computing, and other topics. We formed the SOA Work Group back in 2005, when SOA was a real emerging hot topic, and we set up a number of activities and projects. They’re all completed.

I was thinking that the SOA Work Group would wind down, move into maintenance mode, and meet once every few months or so, but we still get a fair attendance at our regular web meetings.

In fact, we’ve started two new projects and we’re about to start a third one. So, it’s very clear that there is still an interest, and indeed a renewed interest, in SOA from the IT community within The Open Group.

Larger trends

Gardner: Nikhil, do you believe that this has to do with some of the larger trends we’re seeing in the field, like Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS)? What’s driving this renewal?

Kumar: What I see driving it is three things. One is the advent of the Cloud and mobile, which requires a lot of cross-platform delivery of consistent services. The second is emerging technologies, mobile, big data, and the need to be able to look at data across multiple contexts.

The third thing that’s driving it is legacy modernization. A lot of organizations are now a lot more comfortable with SOA concepts. I see it in a number of our customers. I’ve just been running a large Enterprise Architecture initiative in a Fortune 500 customer.

At each stage, and at almost every point in that, they’re now comfortable. They feel that SOA can provide the ability to rationalize multiple platforms. They’re restructuring organizational structures, delivery organizations, as well as targeting their goals around a service-based platform capability.

So legacy modernization is a back-to-the-future kind of thing that has come back and is getting adoption. The way it’s being implemented is using RESTful services, as well as SOAP services, which is different from traditional SOA, say from the last version, which was mostly SOAP-driven.

Gardner: Mats, do you think that what’s happened is that the marketplace and the requirements have changed and that’s made SOA more relevant? Or has SOA changed to better fit the market? Or perhaps some combination?

Gejnevall: I think that the Cloud is really a service delivery platform. Companies discover that to be able to use the Cloud services, the SaaS things, they need to look at SOA as their internal development way of doing things as well. They understand they need to do the architecture internally, and if they’re going to use lots of external Cloud services, you might as well use SOA to do that.

Also, if you look at the Cloud suppliers, they also need to do their architecture in some way and SOA probably is a good vehicle for them. They can use that paradigm and also deliver what the customer wants in a well-designed SOA environment.

Gardner: Let’s drill down on the requirements around the Cloud and some of the key components of SOA. We’re certainly seeing, as you mentioned, the need for cross support for legacy, Cloud types of services, and using a variety of protocol, transports, and integration types. We already heard about REST for lightweight approaches and, of course, there will still be the need for object brokering and some of the more traditional enterprise integration approaches.

This really does sound like the job for an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). So let’s go around the panel and look at this notion of an ESB. Some people, a few years back, didn’t think it was necessary or a requirement for SOA, but it certainly sounds like it’s the right type of functionality for the job.

Loosely coupled

Harding: I believe so, but maybe we ought to consider that in the Cloud context, you’re not just talking about within a single enterprise. You’re talking about a much more loosely coupled, distributed environment, and the ESB concept needs to take account of that in the Cloud context.

Gardner: Nikhil, any thoughts about how to manage this integration requirement around the modern SOA environment and whether ESBs are more or less relevant as a result?

Kumar: In the context of a Cloud we really see SOA and the concept of service contracts coming to the fore. In that scenario, ESBs play a role as a broker within the enterprise. When we talk about the interaction across Cloud-service providers and Cloud consumers, what we’re seeing is that the service provider has his own concept of an ESB within its own internal context.

If you want your Cloud services to be really reusable, the concept of the ESB then becomes more for the routing and the mediation of those services, once they’re provided to the consumer. There’s a kind of separation of concerns between the concept of a traditional ESB and a Cloud ESB, if you want to call it that.

The Cloud context involves more of the need to be able to support, enforce, and apply governance concepts and audit concepts, the capabilities to ensure that the interaction meets quality of service guarantees. That’s a little different from the concept that drove traditional ESBs.

That’s why you’re seeing API management platforms like Layer 7Mashery, or Apigee and other kind of product lines. They’re also coming into the picture, driven by the need to be able to support the way Cloud providers are provisioning their services. As Chris put it, you’re looking beyond the enterprise. Who owns it? That’s where the role of the ESB is different from the traditional concept.

Most Cloud platforms have cost factors associated with locality. If you have truly global enterprises and services, you need to factor in the ability to deal with safe harbor issues and you need to factor in variations and law in terms of security governance.

The platforms that are evolving are starting to provide this out of the box. The service consumer or a service provider needs to be able to support those. That’s going to become the role of their ESB in the future, to be able to consume a service, to be able to assert this quality-of-service guarantee, and manage constraints or data-in-flight and data-at-rest.

Gardner: Mats, are there other aspects of the concept of ESB that are now relevant to the Cloud?

Entire stack

Gejnevall: One of the reasons SOA didn’t really take off in many organizations three, four, or five years ago was the need to buy the entire stack of SOA products that all the consultancies were asking companies to buy, wanting them to buy an ESB, governance tools, business process management tools, and a lot of sort of quite large investments to just get your foot into the door of doing SOA.

These days you can buy that kind of stuff. You can buy the entire stack in the Cloud and start playing with it. I did some searches on it today and I found a company that you can play with the entire stack, including business tools and everything like that, for zero dollars. Then you can grow and use more and more of it in your business, but you can start to see if this is something for you.

In the past, the suppliers or the consultants told you that you could do it. You couldn’t really try it out yourself. You needed both the software and the hardware in place. The money to get started is much lower today. That’s another reason people might be thinking about it these days.

Gardner: It sounds as if there’s a new type of on-ramp to SOA values, and the componentry that supports SOA is now being delivered as a service. On top of that, you’re also able to consume it in a pay-as-you-go manner.

Harding: That’s a very good point, but there are two contradictory trends we are seeing here. One is the kind of trend that Mats is describing, where the technology you need to handle a complex stack is becoming readily available in the Cloud.

And the other is the trend that Nikhil mentioned: to go for a simpler style, which a lot of people term REST, for accessing services. It will be interesting to see how those two tendencies play out against each other.

Kumar: I’d like to make a comment on that. The approach for the on-ramp is really one of the key differentiators of the Cloud, because you have the agility and the lack of capital investment (CAPEX) required to test things out.

But as we are evolving with Cloud platforms, I’m also seeing with a lot of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) vendor scenarios that they’re trying the ESB in the stack itself. They’re providing it in their Cloud fabric. A couple of large players have already done that.

For example, Azure provides that in the forward-looking vision. I am sure IBM and Oracle have already started down that path. A lot of the players are going to provide it as a core capability.

Pre-integrated environment

Gejnevall: Another interesting thing is that they could get a whole environment that’s pre-integrated. Usually, when you buy these things from a vendor, a lot of times they don’t fit together that well. Now, there’s an effort to make them work together.

But some people put these open-source tools together. Some people have done that and put them out on the Cloud, which gives them a pretty cheap platform for themselves. Then, they can sell it at a reasonable price, because of the integration of all these things.

Gardner: The Cloud model may be evolving toward an all-inclusive offering. But SOA, by its definition, advances interoperability, to plug and play across existing, current, and future sets of service possibilities. Are we talking about SOA being an important element of keeping Clouds dynamic and flexible — even open?

Kumar: We can think about the OSI 7 Layer Model. We’re evolving in terms of complexity, right? So from an interoperability perspective, we may talk SOAP or REST, for example, but the interaction with AWS, SalesforceSmartCloud, or Azure would involve using APIs that each of these platforms provide for interaction.

Lock-in

So you could have an AMI, which is an image on the Amazon Web Services environment, for example, and that could support a lab stack or an open source stack. How you interact with it, how you monitor it, how you cluster it, all of those aspects now start factoring in specific APIs, and so that’s the lock-in.

From an architect’s perspective, I look at it as we need to support proper separation of concerns, and that’s part of [The Open Group] SOA Reference Architecture. That’s what we tried to do, to be able to support implementation architectures that support that separation of concerns.

There’s another factor that we need to understand from the context of the Cloud, especially for mid-to-large sized organizations, and that is that the Cloud service providers, especially the large ones — Amazon, Microsoft, IBM — encapsulate infrastructure.

If you were to go to Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM and use their IaaS networking capabilities, you’d have one of the largest WAN networks in the world, and you wouldn’t have to pay a dime to establish that infrastructure. Not in terms of the cost of the infrastructure, not in terms of the capabilities required, nothing. So that’s an advantage that the Cloud is bringing, which I think is going to be very compelling.

The other thing is that, from an SOA context, you’re now able to look at it and say, “Well, I’m dealing with the Cloud, and what all these providers are doing is make it seamless, whether you’re dealing with the Cloud or on-premise.” That’s an important concept.

Now, each of these providers and different aspects of their stacks are at significantly different levels of maturity. Many of these providers may find that their stacks do not interoperate with themselves either, within their own stacks, just because they’re using different run times, different implementations, etc. That’s another factor to take in.

From an SOA perspective, the Cloud has become very compelling, because I’m dealing, let’s say, with a Salesforce.com and I want to use that same service within the enterprise, let’s say, an insurance capability for Microsoft Dynamics or for SugarCRM. If that capability is exposed to one source of truth in the enterprise, you’ve now reduced the complexity and have the ability to adopt different Cloud platforms.

What we are going to start seeing is that the Cloud is going to shift from being just one à-la-carte solution for everybody. It’s going to become something similar to what we used to deal with in the enterprise context. You had multiple applications, which you service-enabled to reduce complexity and provide one service-based capability, instead of an application-centered approach.

You’re now going to move the context to the Cloud, to your multiple Cloud solutions, and maybe many implementations in a nontrivial environment for the same business capability, but they are now exposed to services in the enterprise SOA. You could have Salesforce. You could have Amazon. You could have an IBM implementation. And you could pick and choose the source of truth and share it.

So a lot of the core SOA concepts will still apply and are still applying.

Another on-ramp

Gardner: Perhaps yet another on-ramp to the use of SOA is the app store, which allows for discovery, socialization of services, but at the same time provides overnance and control?

Kumar: We’re seeing that with a lot of our customers, typically the vendors who support PaaS solution associate app store models along with their platform as a mechanism to gain market share.

The issue that you run into with that is, it’s okay if it’s on your cellphone or on your iPad, your tablet PC, or whatever, but once you start having managed apps, for example Salesforce, or if you have applications which are being deployed on an Azure or on a SmartCloud context, you have high risk scenario. You don’t know how well architected that application is. It’s just like going and buying an enterprise application.

When you deploy it in the Cloud, you really need to understand the Cloud PaaS platform for that particular platform to understand the implications in terms of dependencies and cross-dependencies across apps that you have installed. They have real practical implications in terms of maintainability and performance. We’ve seen that with at least two platforms in the last six months.

Governance becomes extremely important. Because of the low CAPEX implications to the business, the business is very comfortable with going and buying these applications and saying, “We can install X, Y, or Z and it will cost us two months and a few million dollars and we are all set.” Or maybe it’s a few hundred thousand dollars.

They don’t realize the implications in terms of interoperability, performance, and standard architectural quality attributes that can occur. There is a governance aspect from the context of the Cloud provisioning of these applications.

There is another aspect to it, which is governance in terms of the run-time, more classic SOA governance, to measure, assert, and to view the cost of these applications in terms of performance to your infrastructural resources, to your security constraints. Also, are there scenarios where the application itself has a dependency on a daisy chain, multiple external applications, to trace the data?

In terms of the context of app stores, they’re almost like SaaS with a particular platform in mind. They provide the buyer with certain commitments from the platform manager or the platform provider, such as security. When you buy an app from Apple, there is at least a reputational expectation of security from the vendor.

What you do not always know is if that security is really being provided. There’s a risk there for organizations who are exposing mission-critical data to that.

The second thing is there is still very much a place for the classic SOA registries and repositories in the Cloud. Only the place is for a different purpose. Those registries and repositories are used either by service providers or by consumers to maintain the list of services they’re using internally.

Different paradigms

There are two different paradigms. The app store is a place where I can go and I know that the gas I am going to get is 85 percent ethanol, versus I also have to maintain some basic set of goods at home to make that I have my dinner on time. These are different kind of roles and different kind of purposes they’re serving.

Above all, I think the thing that’s going to become more and more important in the context of the Cloud is that the functionality will be provided by the Cloud platform or the app you buy, but the governance will be a major IT responsibility, right from the time of picking the app, to the time of delivering it, to the time of monitoring it.

Gardner: How is The Open Group allowing architects to better exercise SOA principles, as they’re grappling with some of these issues around governance, hybrid services delivery and management, and the use and demand in their organizations to start consuming more Cloud services?

Harding: The architect’s primary concern, of course, has to be to meet the needs of the client and to do so in a way that is most effective and that is cost-effective. Cloud gives the architect a usability to go out and get different components much more easily than hitherto.

There is a problem, of course, with integrating them and putting them together. SOA can provide part of the solution to that problem, in that it gives a principle of loosely coupled services. If you didn’t have that when you were trying to integrate different functionality from different places, you would be in a real mess.

What The Open Group contributes is a set of artifacts that enable the architect to think through how to meet the client’s needs in the best way when working with SOA and Cloud.

For example, the SOA Reference Architecture helps the architect understand what components might be brought into the solution. We have the SOA TOGAF Practical Guide, which helps the architect understand how to use TOGAF® in the SOA context.

We’re working further on artifacts in the Cloud space, the Cloud Computing Reference Architecture, a notational language for enabling people to describe Cloud ecosystems on recommendations for Cloud interoperability and portability. We’re also working on recommendations for Cloud governance to complement the recommendations for SOA governance, the SOA Governance Framework Standards that we have already produced, and a number of other artifacts.

The Open Group’s real role is to support the architect and help the architect to better meet the needs of the architect client.

From the very early days, SOA was seen as bringing a closer connection between the business and technology. A lot of those promises that were made about SOA seven or eight years ago are only now becoming possible to fulfill, and that business front is what that project is looking at.

We’re also producing an update to the SOA Reference Architectures. We have input the SOA Reference Architecture for consideration by the ISO Group that is looking at an International Standard Reference Architecture for SOA and also to the IEEE Group that is looking at an IEEE Standard Reference Architecture.

We hope that both of those groups will want to work along the principles of our SOA Reference Architecture and we intend to produce a new version that incorporates the kind of ideas that they want to bring into the picture.

We’re also thinking of setting up an SOA project to look specifically at assistance to architects building SOA into enterprise solutions.

So those are three new initiatives that should result in new Open Group standards and guides to complement, as I have described already, the SOA Reference Architecture, the SOA Governance Framework, the Practical Guides to using TOGAF for SOA.

We also have the Service Integration Maturity Model that we need to assess the SOA maturity. We have a standard on service orientation applied to Cloud infrastructure, and we have a formal SOA Ontology.

Those are the things The Open Group has in place at present to assist the architect, and we are and will be working on three new things: version 2 of the Reference Architecture for SOA, SOA for business technology, and I believe shortly we’ll start on assistance to architects in developing SOA solutions.

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 BriefingsDirect™ blogs, 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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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Service Oriented Architecture

Adapting to an eBook World

By Chris Harding, The Open Group

Have you ever wanted to read something to prepare for a meeting while traveling, but  been frustrated by the difficulty of managing paper or a bulky PC? Travelers who read for pleasure have found eBooks a very convenient way to meet their needs. This format is now becoming available for select Open Group standards and guides, so that you can read them more easily when “on the road.”

The eBook format allows the device to lay out the text, rather than trying to fit pre-formatted pages to devices of all shapes and size (It is based on HTML). This makes reading an eBook a much easier and more pleasant experience than trying to read a static format such as PDF on a device where the page doesn’t fit.

There are portable electronic devices designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital books – the Amazon Kindle is the best known – but eBooks can also be read on tablets, mobile phones (on which the quality can be surprisingly good) and, of course, on laptops, using free-to-download software apps. The eBook readers are, essentially, small-sized special-purpose tablets with superb text display quality and – a big advantage on a long flight – batteries that can go weeks rather than hours without re-charging. As the quality and battery life of tablets continues to improve, they are starting to overtake specialized reader devices, which have one major disadvantage: a lack of standardization.

There are a number of different eBook formats, the most prominent being EPUB, an open standard created by the International Digital Publishing Forum, KF8, the proprietary format used by Amazon Kindle, and Mobipocket, a format that the Kindle will also handle (There is an excellent Wikipedia article on eBook formats, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats). You can read any of the most popular formats on a tablet (or PC, Mac, iPhone or Android device) using a software app, but you are likely to find that a specialized reader device is limited in the formats that it can handle.

Many of the Open Group SOA Standards and Guides are now freely available in the EPUB and Mobipocket formats from The Open Group bookstore. See http://soa-standards.opengroup.org/post/eBook-Versions-of-SOA-Standards-and-Guides-5884765 for the current list. We are hoping to make all our new SOA standards and guides available in this way, and also some Open Group publications on Cloud Computing. EPUB versions of TOGAF® Version 9.1, the TOGAF 9.1 Pocket Guide and the TOGAF 9 study guides are available for purchase from The Open Group’s official publisher, Van Haren. The SOA and the TOGAF EPUBS can be obtained from The Open Group bookstore at http://www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog .

Thirty years ago, I used to attend meetings of the CCITT (now the ITU-T) in Geneva. The trolleys that were pushed around the UN building, piled high with working documents for distribution to delegates, were an impressive sight, but the sheer weight of paper that had to be carried to and from the meetings was a real problem. Laptops with Internet access have removed the need to carry documents. Now, eBooks are making it easy to read them while traveling!

We have started to make eBook versions of our standards and guides available and are still exploring the possibilities. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what will or won’t work, and what will work best.  Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments section below.

Andrew Josey, director of standards at The Open Group, contributed to the technical aspects of this blog post. 

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. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE and the AEA, and is a certified TOGAF practitioner.

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Filed under Cloud/SOA, TOGAF®

New Open Group Survey Aims to Understand Cloud Computing ROI and Business Drivers

By Chris Harding, The Open Group

What are the real business benefits from using the Cloud that enterprises see today?

To help answer this question, The Open Group has launched its second annual study to gather information about the evolving business requirements for Cloud Computing and examine the measurable business drivers and ROI to be gained.

We are specifically looking for input from end-user organizations about their business requirements, concerns with implementing Cloud initiatives, and tools for measuring Cloud ROI. We would greatly appreciate your insight and encourage you to spend a few minutes completing the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TheOpenGroup_2012CloudROI

The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group exists to create a common understanding among buyers and suppliers of how enterprises of all sizes and scales of operation can include Cloud Computing technology in a safe and secure way in their architectures to realize its significant cost, scalability and agility benefits. It includes some of the industry’s leading Cloud providers and end-user organizations, collaborating on standard models and frameworks aimed at eliminating vendor lock-in for enterprises looking to benefit from Cloud products and services. It has created a series of whitepapers, guides and standards to help business approach and implement Cloud Computing initiatives, which are available from download from The Open Group bookstore. The Open Group book, Cloud Computing for Business, gives managers reliable and independent guidance that will help to support decisions and actions.

The results of the survey will contribute to our future work and will be publicly available for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

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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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA

San Francisco Conference Observations: Enterprise Transformation, Enterprise Architecture, SOA and a Splash of Cloud Computing

By Chris Harding, The Open Group 

This week I have been at The Open Group conference in San Francisco. The theme was Enterprise Transformation which, in simple terms means changing how your business works to take advantage of the latest developments in IT.

Evidence of these developments is all around. I took a break and went for coffee and a sandwich, to a little cafe down on Pine and Leavenworth that seemed to be run by and for the Millennium generation. True to type, my server pulled out a cellphone with a device attached through which I swiped my credit card; an app read my screen-scrawled signature and the transaction was complete.

Then dinner. We spoke to the hotel concierge, she tapped a few keys on her terminal and, hey presto, we had a window table at a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf. No lengthy phone negotiations with the Maitre d’. We were just connected with the resource that we needed, quickly and efficiently.

The power of ubiquitous technology to transform the enterprise was the theme of the inspirational plenary presentation given by Andy Mulholland, Global CTO at Capgemini. Mobility, the Cloud, and big data are the three powerful technical forces that must be harnessed by the architect to move the business to smarter operation and new markets.

Jeanne Ross of the MIT Sloan School of Management shared her recipe for architecting business success, with examples drawn from several major companies. Indomitable and inimitable, she always challenges her audience to think through the issues. This time we responded with, “Don’t small companies need architecture too?” Of course they do, was the answer, but the architecture of a big corporation is very different from that of a corner cafe.

Corporations don’t come much bigger than Nissan. Celso Guiotoko, Corporate VP and CIO at the Nissan Motor Company, told us how Nissan are using enterprise architecture for business transformation. Highlights included the concept of information capitalization, the rationalization of the application portfolio through SOA and reusable services, and the delivery of technology resource through a private cloud platform.

The set of stimulating plenary presentations on the first day of the conference was completed by Lauren States, VP and CTO Cloud Computing and Growth Initiatives at IBM. Everyone now expects business results from technical change, and there is huge pressure on the people involved to deliver results that meet these expectations. IT enablement is one part of the answer, but it must be matched by business process excellence and values-based culture for real productivity and growth.

My role in The Open Group is to support our work on Cloud Computing and SOA, and these activities took all my attention after the initial plenary. If you had, thought five years ago, that no technical trend could possibly generate more interest and excitement than SOA, Cloud Computing would now be proving you wrong.

But interest in SOA continues, and we had a SOA stream including presentations of forward thinking on how to use SOA to deliver agility, and on SOA governance, as well as presentations describing and explaining the use of key Open Group SOA standards and guides: the Service Integration Maturity Model (OSIMM), the SOA Reference Architecture, and the Guide to using TOGAF for SOA.

We then moved into the Cloud, with a presentation by Mike Walker of Microsoft on why Enterprise Architecture must lead Cloud strategy and planning. The “why” was followed by the “how”: Zapthink’s Jason Bloomberg described Representational State Transfer (REST), which many now see as a key foundational principle for Cloud architecture. But perhaps it is not the only principle; a later presentation suggested a three-tier approach with the client tier, including mobile devices, accessing RESTful information resources through a middle tier of agents that compose resources and carry out transactions (ACT).

In the evening we had a CloudCamp, hosted by The Open Group and conducted as a separate event by the CloudCamp organization. The original CloudCamp concept was of an “unconference” where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. Its founder, Dave Nielsen, is now planning to set up a demo center where those adopters can experiment with setting up private clouds. This transition from idea to experiment reflects the changing status of mainstream cloud adoption.

The public conference streams were followed by a meeting of the Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. This is currently pursuing nine separate projects to develop standards and guidance for architects using cloud computing. The meeting in San Francisco focused on one of these – the Cloud Computing Reference Architecture. It compared submissions from five companies, also taking into account ongoing work at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with the aim of creating a base from which to create an Open Group reference architecture for Cloud Computing. This gave a productive finish to a busy week of information gathering and discussion.

Ralph Hitz of Visana, a health insurance company based in Switzerland, made an interesting comment on our reference architecture discussion. He remarked that we were not seeking to change or evolve the NIST service and deployment models. This may seem boring, but it is true, and it is right. Cloud Computing is now where the automobile was in 1920. We are pretty much agreed that it will have four wheels and be powered by gasoline. The business and economic impact is yet to come.

So now I’m on my way to the airport for the flight home. I checked in online, and my boarding pass is on my cellphone. Big companies, as well as small ones, now routinely use mobile technology, and my airline has a frequent-flyer app. It’s just a shame that they can’t manage a decent cup of coffee.

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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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Service Oriented Architecture, Standards

Cloud Interoperability and Portability Project Findings to be Showcased in San Francisco

By Mark Skilton, Capgemini

Over the past year, The Open Group has been conducting a project to assess the current state of interoperability and portability in Cloud Computing. The findings from this work will be presented at The Open Group San Francisco Conference on Wednesday, February 1 by Mark Skilton (Capgemini) Kapil Bakshi (Cisco) and Chris Harding (The Open Group) – co-chairs and members of the project team.

The work has surveyed the current range of international standards development impacting interoperability. The project then developed a set of proposed architectural reference models targeting data, application, platform, infrastructure and environment portability and interoperability for Cloud ecosystems and connectivity to non-Cloud environments.

The Open Group plans to showcase the current findings and proposed areas of development within The Open Group using the organization’s own international architecture standards models and is also exploring the possibility of promoting work in this area  with other leading standards bodies as well.

If you’re interested in learning more about this project and if you’re at the San Francisco Conference, please come to the session, “The Benefits, Challenges and Survey of Cloud Computing Interoperability and Portability” on Wednesday, February 1 at 4:00 p.m.

Mark Skilton is Global Director for Capgemini, Strategy CTO Group, Global Infrastructure Services. His role includes strategy development, competitive technology planning including Cloud Computing and on-demand services, global delivery readiness and creation of Centers of Excellence. He is currently author of the Capgemini University Cloud Computing Course and is responsible for Group Interoperability strategy.

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Filed under Cloud, Semantic Interoperability, Standards