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Complexity from Big Data and Cloud Trends Makes Architecture Tools like ArchiMate and TOGAF More Powerful, Says Expert Panel

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

Listen to the recorded podcast here: Complexity from Big Data and Cloud Trends Makes Architecture Tools like ArchiMate and TOGAF More Powerful, Says Expert Panel, or read the transcript here.

We recently assembled a panel of Enterprise Architecture (EA) experts to explain how such simultaneous and complex trends as big data, Cloud Computing, security, and overall IT transformation can be helped by the combined strengths of The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF®) and the ArchiMate® modeling language.

The panel consisted of Chris Forde, General Manager for Asia-Pacific and Vice President of Enterprise Architecture at The Open Group; Iver Band, Vice Chair of The Open Group ArchiMate Forum and Enterprise Architect at The Standard, a diversified financial services company; Mike Walker, Senior Enterprise Architecture Adviser and Strategist at HP and former Director of Enterprise Architecture at DellHenry Franken, the Chairman of The Open Group ArchiMate Forum and Managing Director at BIZZdesign, and Dave Hornford, Chairman of the Architecture Forum at The Open Group and Managing Partner at Conexiam. I served as the moderator.

This special BriefingsDirect thought leadership interview series comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference recently held in Newport Beach, California. The conference focused on “Big Data – he transformation we need to embrace today.” [Disclosure: The Open Group and HP are sponsors ofBriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Is there something about the role of the enterprise architect that is shifting?

Walker: There is less of a focus on the traditional things we come to think of EA such as standards, governance and policies, but rather into emerging areas such as the soft skills, Business Architecture, and strategy.

To this end I see a lot in the realm of working directly with the executive chain to understand the key value drivers for the company and rationalize where they want to go with their business. So we’re moving into a business-transformation role in this practice.

At the same time, we’ve got to be mindful of the disruptive external technology forces coming in as well. EA can’t just divorce from the other aspects of architecture as well. So the role that enterprise architects play becomes more and more important and elevated in the organization.

Two examples of this disruptive technology that are being focused on at the conference are Big Data and Cloud Computing. Both are providing impacts to our businesses not because of some new business idea but because technology is available to enhance or provide new capabilities to our business. The EA’s still do have to understand these new technology innovations and determine how they will apply to the business.

We need to get really good enterprise architects, it’s difficult to find good ones. There is a shortage right now especially given that a lot of focus is being put on the EA department to really deliver sound architectures.

Not standalone

Gardner: We’ve been talking a lot here about Big Data, but usually that’s not just a standalone topic. It’s Big Data and Cloud, Cloud, mobile and security.

So with these overlapping and complex relationships among multiple trends, why is EA and things like the TOGAF framework and the ArchiMate modeling language especially useful?

Band: One of the things that has been clear for a while now is that people outside of IT don’t necessarily have to go through the technology function to avail themselves of these technologies any more. Whether they ever had to is really a question as well.

One of things that EA is doing, and especially in the practice that I work in, is using approaches like the ArchiMate modeling language to effect clear communication between the business, IT, partners and other stakeholders. That’s what I do in my daily work, overseeing our major systems modernization efforts. I work with major partners, some of which are offshore.

I’m increasingly called upon to make sure that we have clear processes for making decisions and clear ways of visualizing the different choices in front of us. We can’t always unilaterally dictate the choice, but we can make the conversation clearer by using frameworks like the TOGAF standard and the ArchiMate modeling language, which I use virtually every day in my work.

Hornford: The fundamental benefit of these tools is the organization realizing its capability and strategy. I just came from a session where a fellow quoted a Harvard study, which said that around a third of executives thought their company was good at executing on its strategy. He highlighted that this means that two-thirds are not good at executing on their strategy.

If you’re not good at executing on your strategy and you’ve got Big Data, mobile, consumerization of IT and Cloud, where are you going? What’s the correct approach? How does this fit into what you were trying to accomplish as an enterprise?

An enterprise architect that is doing their job is bringing together the strategy, goals and objectives of the organization. Also, its capabilities with the techniques that are available, whether it’s offshoring, onshoring, Cloud, or Big Data, so that the organization is able to move forward to where it needs to be, as opposed to where it’s going to randomly walk to.

Forde: One of the things that has come out in several of the presentations is this kind of capability-based planning, a technique in EA to get their arms around this thing from a business-driver perspective. Just to polish what Dave said a little bit, it’s connecting all of those things. We see enterprises talking about a capability-based view of things on that basis.

Gardner: Let’s get a quick update. The TOGAF framework, where are we and what have been the highlights from this particular event?

Minor upgrade

Hornford: In the last year, we’ve published a minor upgrade for TOGAF version 9.1 which was based upon cleaning up consistency in the language in the TOGAF documentation. What we’re working on right now is a significant new release, the next release of the TOGAF standard, which is dividing the TOGAF documentation to make it more consumable, more consistent and more useful for someone.

Today, the TOGAF standard has guidance on how to do something mixed into the framework of what you should be doing. We’re peeling those apart. So with that peeled apart, we won’t have guidance that is tied to classic application architecture in a world of Cloud.

What we find when we have done work with the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) for banking architecture, Sherwood Applied Business Security Architecture (SABSA) for security architecture, and the TeleManagement Forum, is that the concepts in the TOGAF framework work across industries and across trends. We need to move the guidance into a place so that we can be far nimbler on how to tie Cloud with my current strategy, how to tie consumerization of IT with on-shoring?

Franken: The ArchiMate modeling language turned two last year, and the ArchiMate 1.0 standard is the language to model out the core of your EA. The ArchiMate 2.0 standard added two specifics to it to make it better aligned also to the process of EA.

According to the TOGAF standard, this is being able to model out the motivation, why you’re doing EA, stakeholders and the goals that drive us. The second extension to the ArchiMate standard is being able to model out its planning and migration.

So with the core EA and these two extensions, together with the TOGAF standard process working, you have a good basis on getting EA to work in your organization.

Gardner: Mike, fill us in on some of your thoughts about the role of information architecture vis-à-vis the larger business architect and enterprise architect roles.

Walker: Information architecture is an interesting topic in that it hasn’t been getting a whole lot of attention until recently.

Information architecture is an aspect of Enterprise Architecture that enables an information strategy or business solution through the definition of the company’s business information assets, their sources, structure, classification and associations that will prescribe the required application architecture and technical capabilities.

Information architecture is the bridge between the Business Architecture world and the application and technology architecture activities.

The reason I say that is because information architecture is a business-driven discipline that details the information strategy of the company. As we know, and from what we’ve heard at the conference keynotes like in the case of NASA, Big Data, and security presentations, the preservation and classification of that information is vital to understanding what your architecture should be.

Least matured

From an industry perspective, this is one of the least matured, as far as being incorporated into a formal discipline. The TOGAF standard actually has a phase dedicated to it in data architecture. Again, there are still lots of opportunities to grow and incorporate additional methods, models and tools by the enterprise information management discipline.

Enterprise information management not only it captures traditional topic areas like master data management (MDM), metadata and unstructured types of information architecture but also focusing on the information governance, and the architecture patterns and styles implemented in MDM, Big Data, etc. There is a great deal of opportunity there.

From the role of information architects, I’m seeing more and more traction in the industry as a whole. I’ve dealt with an entire group that’s focused on information architecture and building up an enterprise information management practice, so that we can take our top line business strategies and understand what architectures we need to put there.

This is a critical enabler for global companies, because oftentimes they’re restricted by regulation, typically handled at a government or regional area. This means we have to understand that we build our architecture. So it’s not about the application, but rather the data that it processes, moves, or transforms.

Gardner: Up until not too long ago, the conventional thinking was that applications generate data. Then you treat the data in some way so that it can be used, perhaps by other applications, but that the data was secondary to the application.

But there’s some shift in that thinking now more toward the idea that the data is the application and that new applications are designed to actually expand on the data’s value and deliver it out to mobile tiers perhaps. Does that follow in your thinking that the data is actually more prominent as a resource perhaps on par with applications?

Walker: You’re spot on, Dana. Before the commoditization of these technologies that resided on premises, we could get away with starting at the application layer and work our way back because we had access to the source code or hardware behind our firewalls. We could throw servers out, and we used to put the firewalls in front of the data to solve the problem with infrastructure. So we didn’t have to treat information as a first-class citizen. Times have changed, though.

Information access and processing is now democratized and it’s being pushed as the first point of presentment. A lot of times this is on a mobile device and even then it’s not the corporate’s mobile device, but your personal device. So how do you handle that data?

It’s the same way with Cloud, and I’ll give you a great example of this. I was working as an adviser for a company, and they were looking at their Cloud strategy. They had made a big bet on one of the big infrastructures and Cloud-service providers. They looked first at what the features and functions that that Cloud provider could provide, and not necessarily the information requirements. There were two major issues that they ran into, and that was essentially a showstopper. They had to pull off that infrastructure.

The first one was that in that specific Cloud provider’s terms of service around intellectual property (IP) ownership. Essentially, that company was forced to cut off their IP rights.

Big business

As you know, IP is a big business these days, and so that was a showstopper. It actually broke the core regulatory laws around being able to discover information.

So focusing on the applications to make sure it meets your functional needs is important. However, we should take a step back and look at the information first and make sure that for the people in your organization who can’t say no, their requirements are satisfied.

Gardner: Data architecture is it different from EA and Business Architecture, or is it a subset? What’s the relationship, Dave?

Hornford: Data architecture is part of an EA. I won’t use the word subset, because a subset starts to imply that it is a distinct thing that you can look at on its own. You cannot look at your Business Architecture without understanding your information architecture. When you think about Big Data, cool. We’ve got this pile of data in the corner. Where did it come from? Can we use it? Do we actually have legitimate rights, as Mike highlighted, to use this information? Are we allowed to mix it and who mixes it?

When we look at how our business is optimized, they normally optimize around work product, what the organization is delivering. That’s very easy. You can see who consumes your work product. With information, you often have no idea who consumes your information. So now we have provenance, we have source and as we move for global companies, we have the trends around consumerization, Cloud and simply tightening cycle time.

Gardner: Of course, the end game for a lot of the practitioners here is to create that feedback loop of a lifecycle approach, rapid information injection and rapid analysis that could be applied. So what are some of the ways that these disciplines and tools can help foster that complete lifecycle?

Band: The disciplines and tools can facilitate the right conversations among different stakeholders. One of the things that we’re doing at The Standard is building cadres equally balanced between people in business and IT.

We’re training them in information management, going through a particular curriculum, and having them study for an information management certification that introduces a lot of these different frameworks and standard concepts.

Creating cadres

We want to create these cadres to be able to solve tough and persistent information management problems that affect all companies in financial services, because information is a shared asset. The purpose of the frameworks is to ensure proper stewardship of that asset across disciplines and across organizations within an enterprise.

Hornford: The core is from the two standards that we have, the ArchiMate standard and the TOGAF standard. The TOGAF standard has, from its early roots, focused on the components of EA and how to build a consistent method of understanding of what I’m trying to accomplish, understanding where I am, and where I need to be to reach my goal.

When we bring in the ArchiMate standard, I have a language, a descriptor, a visual descriptor that allows me to cross all of those domains in a consistent description, so that I can do that traceability. When I pull in this lever or I have this regulatory impact, what does it hit me with, or if I have this constraint, what does it hit me with?

If I don’t do this, if I don’t use the framework of the TOGAF standard, or I don’t use the discipline of formal modeling in the ArchiMate standard, we’re going to do it anecdotally. We’re going to trip. We’re going to fall. We’re going to have a non-ending series of surprises, as Mike highlighted.

“Oh, terms of service. I am violating the regulations. Beautiful. Let’s take that to our executive and tell him right as we are about to go live that we have to stop, because we can’t get where we want to go, because we didn’t think about what it took to get there.” And that’s the core of EA in the frameworks.

Walker: To build on what Dave has just talked about and going back to your first question Dana, the value statement on TOGAF from a business perspective. The businesses value of TOGAF is that they get a repeatable and a predictable process for building out our architectures that properly manage risks and reliably produces value.

The TOGAF framework provides a methodology to ask what problems you’re trying to solve and where you are trying to go with your business opportunities or challenges. That leads to Business Architecture, which is really a rationalization in technical or architectural terms the distillation of the corporate strategy.

From there, what you want to understand is information — how does that translate, what information architecture do we need to put in place? You get into all sorts of things around risk management, etc., and then it goes on from there, until what we were talking about earlier about information architecture.

If the TOGAF standard is applied properly you can achieve the same result every time, That is what interests business stakeholders in my opinion. And the ArchiMate modeling language is great because, as we talked about, it provides very rich visualizations so that people cannot only show a picture, but tie information together. Different from other aspects of architecture, information architecture is less about the boxes and more about the lines.

Quality of the individuals

Forde: Building on what Dave was saying earlier and also what Iver was saying is that while the process and the methodology and the tools are of interest, it’s the discipline and the quality of the individuals doing the work

Iver talked about how the conversation is shifting and the practice is improving to build communications groups that have a discipline to operate around. What I am hearing is implied, but actually I know what specifically occurs, is that we end up with assets that are well described and reusable.

And there is a point at which you reach a critical mass that these assets become an accelerator for decision making. So the ability of the enterprise and the decision makers in the enterprise at the right level to respond is improved, because they have a well disciplined foundation beneath them.

A set of assets that are reasonably well-known at the right level of granularity for them to absorb the information and the conversation is being structured so that the technical people and the business people are in the right room together to talk about the problems.

This is actually a fairly sophisticated set of operations that I am discussing and doesn’t happen overnight, but is definitely one of the things that we see occurring with our members in certain cases.

Hornford: I want to build on that what Chris said. It’s actually the word “asset.” While he was talking, I was thinking about how people have talked about information as an asset. Most of us don’t know what information we have, how it’s collected, where it is, but we know we have got a valuable asset.

I’ll use an analogy. I have a factory some place in the world that makes stuff. Is that an asset? If I know that my factory is able to produce a particular set of goods and it’s hooked into my supply chain here, I’ve got an asset. Before that, I just owned a thing.

I was very encouraged listening to what Iver talked about. We’re building cadres. We’re building out this approach and I have seen this. I’m not using that word, but now I’m stealing that word. It’s how people build effective teams, which is not to take a couple of specialists and put them in an ivory tower, but it’s to provide the method and the discipline of how we converse about it, so that we can have a consistent conversation.

When I tie it with some of the tools from the Architecture Forum and the ArchiMate Forum, I’m able to consistently describe it, so that I now have an asset I can identify, consume and produce value from.

Business context

Forde: And this is very different from data modeling. We are not talking about entity relationship, junk at the technical detail, or third normal form and that kind of stuff. We’re talking about a conversation that’s occurring around the business context of what needs to go on supported by the right level of technical detail when you need to go there in order to clarify.

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Filed under ArchiMate®, Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF®

Welcome to Platform 3.0

By Dave Lounsbury, The Open Group

The space around us is forever changing.

As I write now, the planet’s molten core is in motion far beneath my feet, and way above my head, our atmosphere and the universe are in constant flux too.

Man also makes his own changes as well. Innovation in technology and business constantly create new ways to work together and create economic value.

Over the past few years, we have witnessed the birth, evolution and use of a number of such changes, each of which has the potential to fundamentally change the way we engage with one another. These include: Mobile, Social (both Social Networks and Social Enterprise), Big Data, the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing as well as devices and application architectures.

Now however, these once disparate forces are converging – united by the growing Consumerization of Technology and the resulting evolution in user behavior – to create new business models and system designs.

You can see evidence of this convergence of trends in the following key architectural shifts:

  • Exponential growth of data inside and outside organizations converging with end point usage in mobile devices, analytics, embedded technology and Cloud hosted environments
  • Speed of technology and business innovation is rapidly changing the focus from asset ownership to the usage of services, and the predication of more agile architecture models to be able to adapt to new technology change and offerings
  • New value networks resulting from the interaction and growth of the Internet of Things and multi-devices and connectivity targeting specific vertical industry sector needs
  • Performance and security implications involving cross technology platforms , cache and bandwidth strategies, existing across federated environments
  • Social behavior and market channel changes resulting in multiple ways to search and select IT and business services
  • Cross device and user-centric driven service design and mainstream use of online marketplace platforms for a growing range of services

The analyst community was the first to recognize and define this evolution in the technological landscape which we are calling Platform 3.0.

At Gartner’s Symposium conference, the keynote touched on the emergence of what it called a ‘Nexus of Forces,’ and warning that it would soon render existing Business Architectures “obsolete.”

However, for those organizations who could get it right, Gartner called the Nexus a “key differentiator of business and technology management” and recommended that “strategizing on how to take advantage of the Nexus should be a top priority for companies around the world.”[i]

Similarly, according to IDC Chief Analyst, Frank Gens, “Vendors’ ability (or inability) to compete on the 3rd Platform [Platform 3.0] right now — even at the risk of cannibalizing their own 2nd Platform franchises — will reorder leadership ranks within the IT market and, ultimately, every industry that uses IT.”[ii]

Of course, while organizations will be looking to make use of Platform 3.0 to create innovative new products and services, this will not be an easy transition for many. Significantly, there will be architectural issues and structural considerations to consider when using and combining these convergent technologies which will need to be overcome. Accomplishing this will in turn require cooperation among suppliers and users of these products and services.

That is why we’re excited to announce the formation of a new – as yet unnamed – forum, specifically designed to advance The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™ by helping enterprises to take advantage of these convergent technologies. This will be accomplished by identifying a set of new platform capabilities, and architecting and standardizing an IT platform by which enterprises can reap the business benefits of Platform 3.0. It is our intention that these capabilities will enable enterprises to:

  • Process data “in the Cloud”
  • Integrate mobile devices with enterprise computing
  • Incorporate new sources of data, including social media and sensors in the Internet of Things
  • Manage and share data that has high volume, velocity, variety and distribution
  • Turn the data into usable information through correlation, fusion, analysis and visualization

The forum will bring together a community of industry experts and thought leaders whose purpose it will be to meet these goals, initiate and manage programs to support them, and promote the results. Owing to the nature of the forum it is expected that this forum will also leverage work underway in this area by The Open Group’s existing Cloud Work Group, and would coordinate with other forums for specific overlapping or cross-cutting activities.

Looking ahead, the first deliverables will analyze the use of Cloud, Social, Mobile Computing and Big Data, and describe the business benefits that enterprises can gain from them. The forum will then proceed to describe the new IT platform in the light of this analysis.

If this area is as exciting and important to you and your organization as it is to us, please join us in the discussion. We will use this blog and other communication channels of The Open Group to let you know how you can participate, and we’d of course welcome your comments and thoughts on this idea.

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Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Professional Development

The Open Group Panel Explores How the Big Data Era Now Challenges the IT Status Quo

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

Listen to the recorded podcast here: The Open Group panel explores how the Big Data era now challenges the IT status quo, or view the on-demand video recording on this discussion here: http://new.livestream.com/opengroup/events/1838807.

We recently assembled a panel of experts to explore how Big Data changes the status quo for architecting the enterprise. The bottom line from the discussion is that large enterprises should not just wade into Big Data as an isolated function, but should anticipate the strategic effects and impacts of Big Data — as well the simultaneous complicating factors of Cloud Computing and mobile– as soon as possible.

The panel consisted of Robert Weisman, CEO and Chief Enterprise Architect at Build The Vision; Andras Szakal, Vice President and CTO of IBM’s Federal Division; Jim Hietala, Vice President for Security at The Open Group, and Chris Gerty, Deputy Program Manager at the Open Innovation Program at NASA. I served as the moderator.

And this special thought leadership interview series comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference recently held in Newport Beach, California. The conference focused on “Big Data – he transformation we need to embrace today.”

Threaded factors

An interesting thread for me throughout the conference was to factor where Big Data begins and plain old data, if you will, ends. Of course, it’s going to vary quite a bit from organization to organization.

But Gerty from NASA, part of our panel, provided a good example: It’s when you run out of gas with your old data methods, and your ability to deal with the data — and it’s not just the size of the data itself.

Therefore, Big Data means do things differently — not just to manage the velocity and the volume and the variety of the data, but to really think about data fundamentally and differently. And, we need to think about security, risk and governance. If it’s a “boundaryless organization” when it comes your data, either as a product or service or a resource, that control and management of which data should be exposed, which should be opened, and which should be very closely guarded all need to be factored, determined and implemented.

Here are some excerpts from the on-stage discussion:

Dana Gardner: You mentioned that Big Data to you is not a factor of the size, because NASA’s dealing with so much. It’s when you run out of steam, as it were, with the methodologies. Maybe you could explain more. When do you know that you’ve actually run out of steam with the methodologies?

Gerty: When we collect data, we have some sort of goal in minds of what we might get out of it. When we put the pieces from the data together, it either maybe doesn’t fit as well as you thought or you are successful and you continue to do the same thing, gathering archives of information.

Gardner: Andras, does that square with where you are in your government interactions — that data now becomes a different type of resource, and that you need to know when to do things differently?At that point, where you realize there might even something else that you want to do with the data, different than what you planned originally, that’s when we have to pivot a little bit and say, “Now I need to treat this as a living archive. It’s a ‘it may live beyond me’ type of thing.” At that point, I think you treat it as setting up the infrastructure for being used later, whether it’d be by you or someone else. That’s an important transition to make and might be what one could define as Big Data.

Szakal: The importance of data hasn’t changed. The data itself, the veracity of the data, is still important. Transactional data will always need to exist. The difference is that you have certainly the three or four Vs, depending on how you look at it, but the importance of data is in its veracity, and your ability to understand or to be able to use that data before the data’s shelf life runs out.

Gardner: Bob, we’ve seen the price points on storage go down so dramatically. We’ve seem people just decide to hold on to data that they wouldn’t have before, simply because they can and they can afford to do so. That means we need to try to extract value and use that data. From the perspective of an enterprise architect, how are things different now, vis-à-vis this much larger set of data and variety of data, when it comes to planning and executing as architects?Some data has a shelf life that’s long lived. Other data has very little shelf life, and you would use different approaches to being able to utilize that information. It’s ultimately not about the data itself, but it’s about gaining deep insight into that data. So it’s not storing data or manipulating data, but applying those analytical capabilities to data.

Weisman: One of the major issues is that normally organizations are holding two orders of magnitude more data then they need. It’s an huge overhead, both in terms of the applications architecture that has a code basis, larger than it should be, and also from the technology architecture that is supporting a horrendous number of servers and a whole bunch of technology stuff that they don’t need.

The issue for the architect is to figure out as what data is useful, institute a governance process, so that you can have data lifecycle management, have a proper disposition,  focus the organization on information data and knowledge that is basically going to provide business value to the organization, and help them innovate and have a competitive advantage.

Can’t afford it

And in terms of government, just improve service delivery, because there’s waste right now on information infrastructure, and we can’t afford it anymore.

Gardner: So it’s difficult to know what to keep and what not to keep. I’ve actually spoken to a few people lately who want to keep everything, just because they want to mine it, and they are willing to spend the money and effort to do that.

Jim Hietala, when people do get to this point of trying to decide what to keep, what not to keep, and how to architect properly for that, they also need to factor in security. It shouldn’t become later in the process. It should come early. What are some of the precepts that you think are important in applying good security practices to Big Data?

Hietala: One of the big challenges is that many of the big-data platforms weren’t built from the get-go with security in mind. So some of the controls that you’ve had available in your relational databases, for instance, you move over to the Big Data platforms and the access control authorizations and mechanisms are not there today.

Gardner: There are a lot of unknown unknowns out there, as we discovered with our tweet chat last month. Some people think that the data is just data, and you apply the same security to it. Do you think that’s the case with Big Data? Is it just another follow-through of what you always did with data in the first place?Planning the architecture, looking at bringing in third-party controls to give you the security mechanisms that you are used to in your older platforms, is something that organizations are going to have to do. It’s really an evolving and emerging thing at this point.

Hietala: I would say yes, at a conceptual level, but it’s like what we saw with virtualization. When there was a mad rush to virtualize everything, many of those traditional security controls didn’t translate directly into the virtualized world. The same thing is true with Big Data.

When you’re talking about those volumes of data, applying encryption, applying various security controls, you have to think about how those things are going to scale? That may require new solutions from new technologies and that sort of thing.

Gardner: Chris Gerty, when it comes to that governance, security, and access control, are there any lessons that you’ve learned that you are aware of in terms of the best of openness, but also with the ability to manage the spigot?

Gerty: Spigot is probably a dangerous term to use, because it implies that all data is treated the same. The sooner that you can tag the data as either sensitive or not, mostly coming from the person or team that’s developed or originated the data, the better.

Kicking the can

Once you have it on a hard drive, once you get crazy about storing everything, if you don’t know where it came from, you’re forced to put it into a secure environment. And that’s just kicking the can down the road. It’s really a disservice to people who might use the data in a useful way to address their problems.

We constantly have satellites that are made for one purpose. They send all the data down. It’s controlled either for security or for intellectual property (IP), so someone can write a paper. Then, after the project doesn’t get funded or it just comes to a nice graceful close, there is that extra step, which is almost a responsibility of the originators, to make it useful to the rest of the world.

Gardner: Let’s look at Big Data through the lens of some other major trends right now. Let’s start with Cloud. You mentioned that at NASA, you have your own private Cloud that you’re using a lot, of course, but you’re also now dabbling in commercial and public Clouds. Frankly, the price points that these Cloud providers are offering for storage and data services are pretty compelling.

So we should expect more data to go to the Cloud. Bob, from your perspective, as organizations and architects have to think about data in this hybrid Cloud on-premises off-premises, moving back and forth, what do you think enterprise architects need to start thinking about in terms of managing that, planning for the right destination of data, based on the right mix of other requirements?

Weisman: It’s a good question. As you said, the price point is compelling, but the security and privacy of the information is something else that has to be taken into account. Where is that information going to reside? You have to have very stringent service-level agreements (SLAs) and in certain cases, you might say it’s a price point that’s compelling, but the risk analysis that I have done means that I’m going to have to set up my own private Cloud.

Gardner: Andras, how do the Cloud and Big Data come together in a way that’s intriguing to you?Right now, everybody’s saying is the public Cloud is going to be the way to go. Vendors are going to have to be very sensitive to that and many are, at this point in time, addressing a lot of the needs of some of the large client basis. So it’s not one-size-fits-all and it’s more than just a price for service. Architecture can bring down the price pretty dramatically, even within an enterprise.

Szakal: Actually it’s a great question. We could take the rest of the 22 minutes talking on this one question. I helped lead the President’s Commission on Big Data that Steve Mills from IBM and — I forget the name of the executive from SAP — led. We intentionally tried to separate Cloud from Big Data architecture, primarily because we don’t believe that, in all cases, Cloud is the answer to all things Big Data. You have to define the architecture that’s appropriate for your business needs.

However, it also depends on where the data is born. Take many of the investments IBM has made into enterprise market management, for example, Coremetrics, several of these services that we now offer for helping customers understand deep insight into how their retail market or supply chain behaves.

Born in the Cloud

All of that information is born in the Cloud. But if you’re talking about actually using Cloud as infrastructure and moving around huge sums of data or constructing some of these solutions on your own, then some of the ideas that Bob conveyed are absolutely applicable.

I think it becomes prohibitive to do that and easier to stand up a hybrid environment for managing the amount of data. But I think that you have to think about whether your data is real-time data, whether it’s data that you could apply some of these new technologies like Hadoop to, Hadoop MapReduce-type solutions, or whether it’s traditional data warehousing.

Data warehouses are going to continue to exist and they’re going to continue to evolve technologically. You’re always going to use a subset of data in those data warehouses, and it’s going to be an applicable technology for many years to come.

Gardner: So suffice it to say, an enterprise architect who is well versed in both Cloud infrastructure requirements, technologies, and methods, as well as Big Data, will probably be in quite high demand. That specialization in one or the other isn’t as valuable as being able to cross-pollinate between them.

Szakal: Absolutely. It’s enabling our architects and finding deep individuals who have this unique set of skills, analytics, mathematics, and business. Those individuals are going to be the future architects of the IT world, because analytics and Big Data are going to be integrated into everything that we do and become part of the business processing.

Gardner: Well, that’s a great segue to the next topic that I am interested in, and it’s around mobility as a trend and also application development. The reason I lump them together is that I increasingly see developers being tasked with mobile first.

When you create a new app, you have to remember that this is going to run in the mobile tier and you want to make sure that the requirements, the UI, and the complexity of that app don’t go beyond the ability of the mobile app and the mobile user. This is interesting to me, because data now has a different relationship with apps.

We used to think of apps as creating data and then the data would be stored and it might be used or integrated. Now, we have applications that are simply there in order to present the data and we have the ability now to present it to those mobile devices in the mobile tier, which means it goes anywhere, everywhere all the time.

Let me start with you Jim, because it’s security and risk, but it’s also just rethinking the way we use data in a mobile tier. If we can do it safely, and that’s a big IF, how important should it be for organizations to start thinking about making this data available to all of these devices and just pour out into that mobile tier as possible?

Hietala: In terms of enabling the business, it’s very important. There are a lot of benefits that accrue from accessing your data from whatever device you happen to be on. To me, it is that question of “if,” because now there’s a whole lot of problems to be solved relative to the data floating around anywhere on Android, iOS, whatever the platform is, and the organization being able to lock down their data on those devices, forgetting about whether it’s the organization device or my device. There’s a set of issues around that that the security industry is just starting to get their arms around today.

Mobile ability

Gardner: Chris, any thoughts about this mobile ability that the data gets more valuable the more you can use it and apply it, and then the more you can apply it, the more data you generate that makes the data more valuable, and we start getting into that positive feedback loop?

Gerty: Absolutely. It’s almost an appreciation of what more people could do and get to the problem. We’re getting to the point where, if it’s available on your desktop, you’re going to find a way to make it available on your device.

That same security questions probably need to be answered anyway, but making it mobile compatible is almost an acknowledgment that there will be someone who wants to use it. So let me go that extra step to make it compatible and see what I get from them. It’s more of a cultural benefit that you get from making things compatible with mobile.

Gardner: Any thoughts about what developers should be thinking by trying to bring the fruits of Big Data through these analytics to more users rather than just the BI folks or those that are good at SQL queries? Does this change the game by actually making an application on a mobile device, simple, powerful but accessing this real time updated treasure trove of data?

Gerty: I always think of the astronaut on the moon. He’s got a big, bulky glove and he might have a heads-up display in front of him, but he really needs to know exactly a certain piece of information at the right moment, dealing with bandwidth issues, dealing with the environment, foggy helmet wherever.

It’s very analogous to what the day-to-day professional will use trying to find out that quick e-mail he needs to know or which meeting to go to — which one is more important — and it all comes down to putting your developer in the shoes of the user. So anytime you can get interaction between the two, that’s valuable.

Weisman: From an Enterprise Architecture point of view my background is mainly defense and government, but defense mobile computing has been around for decades. So you’ve always been dealing with that.

The main thing is that in many cases, if they’re coming up with information, the whole presentation layer is turning into another architecture domain with information visualization and also with your security controls, with an integrated identity management capability.

It’s like you were saying about astronaut getting it right. He doesn’t need to know everything that’s happening in the world. He needs to know about his heads-up display, the stuff that’s relevant to him.

So it’s getting the right information to person in an authorized manner, in a way that he can visualize and make sense of that information, be it straight data, analytics, or whatever. The presentation layer, ergonomics, visual communication are going to become very important in the future for that. There are also a lot of problems. Rather than doing it at the application level, you’re doing it entirely in one layer.

Governance and security

Gardner: So clearly the implications of data are cutting across how we think about security, how we think about UI, how we factor in mobility. What we now think about in terms of governance and security, we have to do differently than we did with older data models.

Jim Hietala, what about the impact on spurring people towards more virtualized desktop delivery, if you don’t want to have the date on that end device, if you want solve some of the issues about control and governance, and if you want to be able to manage just how much data gets into that UI, not too much not too little.

Do you think that some of these concerns that we’re addressing will push people to look even harder, maybe more aggressive in how they go to desktop and application virtualization, as they say, keep it on the server, deliver out just the deltas?

Hietala: That’s an interesting point. I’ve run across a startup in the last month or two that is doing is that. The whole value proposition is to virtualize the environment. You get virtual gold images. You don’t have to worry about what’s actually happening on the physical device and you know when the devices connect. The security threat goes away. So we may see more of that as a solution to that.

Gardner: Andras, do you see that that some of the implications of Big Data, far fetched as it may be, are propelling people to cultivate their servers more and virtualize their apps, their data, and their desktop right up to the end devices?

Szakal: Yeah, I do. I see IBM providing solutions for virtual desktop, but I think it was really a security question you were asking. You’re certainly going to see an additional number of virtualized desktop environments.

Ultimately, our network still is not stable enough or at a high enough bandwidth to really make that useful exercise for all but the most menial users in the enterprise. From a security point of view, there is a lot to be still solved.

And part of the challenge in the Cloud environment that we see today is the proliferation of virtual machines (VMs) and the inability to actually contain the security controls within those machines and across these machines from an enterprise perspective. So we’re going to see more solutions proliferate in this area and to try to solve some of the management issues, as well as the security issues, but we’re a long ways away from that.

Gerty: Big Data, by itself, isn’t magical. It doesn’t have the answers just by being big. If you need more, you need to pry deeper into it. That’s the example. They realized early enough that they were able to make something good.

Gardner: Jim Hietala, any thoughts about examples that illustrate where we’re going and why this is so important?

Hietala: Being a security guy, I tend to talk about scare stories, horror stories. One example from last year that struck me. One of the major retailers here in the U.S. hit the news for having predicted, through customer purchase behavior, when people were pregnant.

They could look and see, based upon buying 20 things, that if you’re buying 15 of these and your purchase behavior has changed, they can tell that. The privacy implications to that are somewhat concerning.

An example was that this retailer was sending out coupons related to somebody being pregnant. The teenage girl, who was pregnant hadn’t told her family yet. The father found it. There was alarm in the household and at the local retailer store, when the father went and confronted them.

Privacy implications

There are privacy implications from the use of Big Data. When you get powerful new technology in marketing people’s hands, things sometimes go awry. So I’d throw that out just as a cautionary tale that there is that aspect to this. When you can see across people’s buying transactions, things like that, there are privacy considerations that we’ll have to think about, and that we really need to think about as an industry and a society.

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The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group Web Jam on CIO Priorities

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

Recently, I shared my experience leading the first Web Jam within The Open Group Cloud Work Group. We are now gearing up to have another one of these sessions – this time around, the topic being CIO priorities as driven by Cloud Computing. Even though the Web Jam is an internal session held within The Open Group Cloud Work Group, we want to factor in other opinions as well – hence this blog where I share my perspective on how Cloud Computing is defining the priorities for the CIO. I am basing this perspective on the findings from a survey conducted by IDG Research as published in this white paper on IT priorities where I was one of the persons interviewed.

I would categorize the CIO priorities across five drivers: customers, business, innovation, finance and governance.

1. Customers. CIOs must listen to their customers (especially shareholders). Cloud Computing is breeding a new generation of customer-focused CIOs.  Shareholders are driving IT to the Cloud. At the same time, enterprises need to be at least as social as their customers so that they can process the brontobytes of data generated through these channels.

2. Business. CIOs must shift their attention from technical matters to business issues. This is not surprising. As I outlined in an earlier blog post, the right way to transform to Cloud Computing has always been driven by the business needs of the enterprise. When addressing technical requests, CIOs need to first determine the underlying, business-driven root cause of the request.

3. Innovation. CIOs must make innovation part of the IT blood stream. CIOs need to take steps today to innovate the planet for 2020.  For example, the Cloud facilitates the storage of brontobytes of data that can be informationalized through data analysis techniques by those who have the sexiest job of the 21st Century – Data Scientist.

4. Finance. CIOs must have the right mechanisms in place to track the ROI of Cloud Computing.  As fellow blogger from The Open Group Chris Harding states, CIOs must not fly in the Cloud by the seat of their pants.  Note that tracking the ROI is not a one-time activity. CIOs must be ready to answer the ROI question on the Cloud.

5. Governance. CIOs must ensure that there is a robust Cloud governance model across the enterprise. In the past, I’ve explained how we can build upon SOA Governance to realize Cloud governance.  As a co-chair for the Cloud Governance project within The Open Group, I have a lot of interest in this space and would like to hear your thoughts.

So, there you have it. Those are the top 5 priorities for the CIO driven by key Cloud Computing forces. How about you? Are there other CIO priorities that you can share? I would be interested to know and quite happy to engage in a discussion as well.

Once the web jam has taken place, I am planning on sharing the discussions in this blog so that we can continue our discussion.

NadhanHP Distinguished Technologist, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Twitter handle @NadhanAtHP.

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On Demand Broadcasts from Day One at The Open Group Conference in Newport Beach

By The Open Group Conference Team

Since not everyone could make the trip to The Open Group Conference in Newport Beach, we’ve put together a recap of day one’s plenary speakers. Stay tuned for more recaps coming soon!

Big Data at NASA

In his talk titled, “Big Data at NASA,” Chris Gerty, deputy program manager, Open Innovation Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), discussed how Big Data is being interpreted by the next generation of rocket scientists. Chris presented a few lessons learned from his experiences at NASA:

  1. A traditional approach is not always the best approach. A tried and proven method may not translate. Creating more programs for more data to store on bigger hard drives is not always effective. We need to address the never-ending challenges that lie ahead in the shift of society to the information age.
  2. A plan for openness. Based on a government directive, Chris’ team looked to answer questions by asking the right people. For example, NASA asked the people gathering data on a satellite to determine what data was the most important, which enabled NASA to narrow focus and solve problems. Furthermore, by realizing what can also be useful to the public and what tools have already been developed by the public, open source development can benefit the masses. Through collaboration, governments and citizens can work together to solve some of humanity’s biggest problems.
  3. Embrace the enormity of the universe. Look for Big Data where no one else is looking by putting sensors and information gathering tools. If people continue to be scared of Big Data, we will be resistant to gathering more of it. By finding Big Data where it has yet to be discovered, we can solve problems and innovate.

To view Chris’s presentation, please watch the broadcasted session here: http://new.livestream.com/opengroup/Gerty-NPB13

Bringing Order to the Chaos

David Potter, chief technical officer at Promise Innovation and Ron Schuldt, senior partner at UDEF-IT, LLC discussed how The Open Group’s evolving Quantum Lifecycle Management (QLM) standard coupled with its complementary Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF) standard help bring order to the terminology chaos that faces Big Data implementations.

The QLM standard provides a framework for the aggregation of lifecycle data from a multiplicity of sources to add value to the decision making process. Gathering mass amounts of data is useless if it cannot be analyzed. The QLM framework provides a means to interpret the information gathered for business intelligence. The UDEF allows each piece of data to be paired with an unambiguous key to provide clarity. By partnering with the UDEF, the QLM framework is able to separate itself from domain-specific semantic models. The UDEF also provides a ready-made key for international language support. As an open standard, the UDEF is data model independent and as such supports normalization across data models.

One example of successful implementation is by Compassion International. The organization needed to find a balance between information that should be kept internal (e.g., payment information) and information that should be shared with its international sponsors. In this instance, UDEF was used as a structured process for harmonizing the terms used in IT systems between funding partners.

The beauty of the QLM framework and UDEF integration is that they are flexible and can be applied to any product, domain and industry.

To view David and Ron’s presentation, please watch the broadcasted session here: http://new.livestream.com/opengroup/potter-NPB13

Big Data – Panel Discussion

Moderated by Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solution, Robert Weisman , Build The Vision, Andras Szakal, IBM, Jim Hietala, The Open Group, and Chris Gerty, NASA, discussed the implications of Big Data and what it means for business architects and enterprise architects.

Big Data is not about the size but about analyzing that data. Robert mentioned that most organizations store more data than they need or use, and from an enterprise architect’s perspective, it’s important to focus on the analysis of the data and to provide information that will ultimately aid it in some way. When it comes to security, Jim explained that newer Big Data platforms are not built with security in mind. While data is data, many security controls don’t translate to new platforms or scale with the influx of data.

Cloud Computing is Big Data-ready, and price can be compelling, but there are significant security and privacy risks. Robert brought up the argument over public and private Cloud adoption, and said, “It’s not one size fits all.” But can Cloud and Big Data come together? Andras explained that Cloud is not the almighty answer to Big Data. Every organization needs to find the Enterprise Architecture that fits its needs.

The fruits of Big Data can be useful to more than just business intelligence professionals. With the trend of mobility and application development in mind, Chris suggested that developers keep users in mind. Big Data can be used to tell us many different things, but it’s about finding out what is most important and relevant to users in a way that is digestible.

Finally, the panel discussed how Big Data bringing about big changes in almost every aspect of an organization. It is important not to generalize, but customize. Every enterprise needs its own set of architecture to fit its needs. Each organization finds importance in different facets of the data gathered, and security is different at every organization. With all that in mind, the panel agreed that focusing on the analytics is the key.

To view the panel discussion, please watch the broadcasted session here: http://new.livestream.com/opengroup/events/1838807

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First Open Group Webjam — Impact of Cloud Computing on our Resumes

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

The Open Group conducted its first ever webjam within The Cloud Work Group last month. A Webjam is an informal mechanism for the members within a particular work group with a common interest to have an interactive brainstorming debate on a topic of their choice. Consider it to be a panel discussion — except everyone on the call is part of the panel! I coordinated the first webjam for The Cloud Work Group — the topic was “What will Cloud do to your resume?”

The webjam was attended by active members of the Cloud work group including

  • Sanda Morar and Som Balakrishnan from Cognizant Technologies
  • Raj Bhoopathi and E.G.Nadhan from HP.
  • Chris Harding from The Open Group

We used this post on the ECIO Forum Blog to set the context for this webjam. Click here for recording. Below is a brief summary of the key takeaways:

  • Cloud Computing is causing significant shifts that could impact the extent to which some roles exist in the future—especially the role of the CTO and the CIO. The CIO must become a cooperative integrator across a heterogeneous mix of technologies, platforms and services that are provisioned on or off the cloud.
  • Key Cloud characteristics—such as multi-tenancy, elasticity, scalability, etc.—are likely to be called out in resumes. There is an accelerated push for Cloud Architects who are supposed to ensure that aspects of the Cloud are consistently addressed across all architectural layers.
  • DevOps is expanding the role of the developer to transcend into operations. Developers’ resumes are more likely to call this experience out in Cloud Computing environments.
  • Business users are likely to call out their experience directly procuring Cloud services.
  • Application testers are more likely to address interoperability between the services provided—including the validation of the projected service levels—which could, in turn, show up on their resumes.
  • Operations personnel are likely to call out their experience with tools that can seamlessly monitor physical and virtual resources.

The recording provides much more detail.

I really enjoyed the webjam. It provided an opportunity to share the perspectives of individuals from numerous member companies of The Open Group on a topic germane to us as IT professionals as well as to The Cloud Work Group.

Are there other roles that are impacted? Are there any other changes to the content of the resumes in the future? Please listen to the recording and let me know your thoughts.

If you are a member of the Cloud Work Group, I look forward to engaging in an interesting discussion with you on other topics in this area!

A version of this blog post was originally published on HP’s Journey through Enterprise IT Services blog.

NadhanHP Distinguished Technologist and Cloud Advisor, E.G.Nadhan has more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project, and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Journey Blog.

 

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How Should we use Cloud?

By Chris Harding, The Open Group

How should we use Cloud? This is the key question at the start of 2013.

The Open Group® conferences in recent years have thrown light on, “What is Cloud?” and, “Should we use Cloud?” It is time to move on.

Cloud as a Distributed Processing Platform

The question is an interesting one, because the answer is not necessarily, “Use Cloud resources just as you would use in-house resources.” Of course, you can use Cloud processing and storage to replace or supplement what you have in-house, and many companies are doing just that. You can also use the Cloud as a distributed computing platform, on which a single application instance can use multiple processing and storage resources, perhaps spread across many countries.

It’s a bit like contracting a company to do a job, rather than hiring a set of people. If you hire a set of people, you have to worry about who will do what when. Contract a company, and all that is taken care of. The company assembles the right people, schedules their work, finds replacements in case of sickness, and moves them on to other things when their contribution is complete.

This doesn’t only make things easier, it also enables you to tackle bigger jobs. Big Data is the latest technical phenomenon. Big Data can be processed effectively by parceling the work out to multiple computers. Cloud providers are beginning to make the tools to do this available, using distributed file systems and map-reduce. We do not yet have, “Distributed Processing as a Service” – but that will surely come.

Distributed Computing at the Conference

Big Data is the main theme of the Newport Beach conference. The plenary sessions have keynote presentations on Big Data, including the crucial aspect of security, and there is a Big Data track that explores in depth its use in Enterprise Architecture.

There are also Cloud tracks that explore the business aspects of using Cloud and the use of Cloud in Enterprise Architecture, including a session on its use for Big Data.

Service orientation is generally accepted as a sound underlying principle for systems using both Cloud and in-house resources. The Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) movement focused initially on its application within the enterprise. We are now looking to apply it to distributed systems of all kinds. This may require changes to specific technology and interfaces, but not to the fundamental SOA approach. The Distributed Services Architecture track contains presentations on the theory and practice of SOA.

Distributed Computing Work in The Open Group

Many of the conference presentations are based on work done by Open Group members in the Cloud Computing, SOA and Semantic Interoperability Work Groups, and in the Architecture, Security and Jericho Forums. The Open Group enables people to come together to develop standards and best practices for the benefit of the architecture community. We have active Work Groups and Forums working on artifacts such as a Cloud Computing Reference Architecture, a Cloud Portability and Interoperability Guide, and a Guide to the use of TOGAF® framework in Cloud Ecosystems.

The Open Group Conference in Newport Beach

Our conferences provide an opportunity for members and non-members to discuss ideas together. This happens not only in presentations and workshops, but also in informal discussions during breaks and after the conference sessions. These discussions benefit future work at The Open Group. They also benefit the participants directly, enabling them to bring to their enterprises ideas that they have sounded out with their peers. People from other companies can often bring new perspectives.

Most enterprises now know what Cloud is. Many have identified specific opportunities where they will use it. The challenge now for enterprise architects is determining how best to do this, either by replacing in-house systems, or by using the Cloud’s potential for distributed processing. This is the question for discussion at The Open Group Conference in Newport Beach. I’m looking forward to an interesting conference!

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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