Thursday, December 19, 2013


Industry Analysts, IaaS and Operating Systems...

Once again, I will point out missing aspects in industry analyst conversations around cloud computing...

The conversation around cloud computing tends to classify technologies according to whether it is viewed as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) representing them in an almost stack-like notation that never seems to address fundamental architecture concerns of any particular layer.

Should we be asking ourselves, does cloud computing deserve a different type of operating system? Many applications whether written in Java, .NET or even Ruby on Rails runs in some type of virtual machine container that has its own mechanisms for traditional operating system functions such as memory management. So, why are we duplicating functionality across stack components? Would cloud not be more efficient if we eliminated this type of redundancy?

Consider other aspects of how we deploy applications to the cloud and how this differs from traditional enterprise computing. In cloud, we often deploy a specific part of our application whether it is an application, database, web server and so on in its own virtual machine (VM). In this scenario, we don't need an operating system to provide either process isolation nor complex security schemes to provide one account/user from another.

The operating systems we run on cloud environments still are centered around the notion that infrastructure people twiddle configuration files vs the cloud paradigm of providing APIs for dynamic configuration change programmatically.

Since industry analysts love to show disrespect to open source as well as treat Microsoft as the whipping boy, why can't they beat up on operating system vendors to create a cloud operating system that is separate and distinct but otherwise fully interoperable from an application perspective that lightens the stack....

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013


When it comes to Industry Analysts, Trust but Verify...

Many industry analysts and whitepaper writers participate in ‘pay for play’ deals with the packaged software vendors, whereby a vendor pays a pretty substantial amount for the analyst firm to come over and review the package, check some references, express a point of view, etc.  They then resell this paid-for information as many times as they can, as well as incentivising the listed vendors to buy self-promoting reprints.

Many industry analyst firms will also assist enterprises in devising RFP templates to help you "evaluate" enterprise software. If you ever get the opportunity to see one first hand, they tend to contain an exhaustive list of features with some level of weighting attached but otherwise are still very high-level in nature. Most industry analyst firm criteria tends to miss the capture of process nuances especially ones that are unique to your enterprise...

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Do CIOs understand the reality of outsourcing?

There are more than a few fingers pointed towards the levels of competency of people in India (or lack of) but no one ever seems to discuss the onshore challenges which in my humble opinion are actually more important issues to address. Ask yourself for a minute, when you signed up for outsourcing did you acknowledge the fact that project management becomes a series of late night and early morning status calls, followed by issues logs and status reports? Nothing much gets done for an abundance of reporting?

Do you think outsourcing can be truly successful when the onsite staff spends 90% of their time managing offshore resources and not supplying technical competency...

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Open Source Policy Administration System Project Plans?

We all know the horror stories behind unsuccessful policy administration system replacement projects. Google ‘Policy Administration implementations success rates’ and the results more than tell the real story.  After you scroll down the self-serving ‘studies’ and gushing customer write-ups supplied by consulting companies and vendors, real-world insights runs thinner than cheap wine.

It is easy to find industry analysts waxing poetically about their unique insights that are otherwise not very insightful. Some examples are:

- Pick the right vendor (I would love to hear from a CIO who goes out of their way to pick the wrong one)

- IT needs to better align with the business (I also believe that the cafeteria staff need to align with the security guards overseeing the parking lot)

- Make sure you have a thoughtful project plan and transparent communication (ever see an industry analyst actually share what they think a good project plan looks like)

So, instead of sitting back with our rinse and repeat broken approaches, I would like to propose the creation of an open source policy administration system replacement project plan. I am looking for vendors of administration systems to share their implementation plans such that we can create a unified reusable resource for all to benefit from.

If you would like to contribute, please drop me a note...

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