Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cloud computing aligns with enterprise architecture to make each more useful, say experts

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Read a full transcript
of the discussion.

A panel of experts was assembled earlier this month at The Open Group's Enterprise Cloud Computing Conference in San Diego to examine how cloud computing aligns with enterprise architecture.

The discussion raised the question: What will real enterprises need to do to gain savings and productivity in the coming years to exploit cloud computing resources and methods. In essence, this becomes a discussion about real-world cloud computing.

To gain deeper insights into how IT architects can bring cloud computing benefits to their businesses, I queried panelists Lauren States, vice president in IBM's Software Group; Russ Daniels, vice president and CTO Cloud Services Strategy at Hewlett-Packard, and David Linthicum, founder of Blue Mountain Labs.

Here are some excerpts:
Linthicum: You need to assess your existing architecture. Cloud computing is not going to be a mechanism to fix architecture. It’s a mechanism as a solution pattern for architecture. So, you need to do a self-assessment as to what's working, and what's not working within your own enterprise, before you start tossing things outside of the firewall onto the platform in the cloud.

Once you do that, you need to have a good data-level understanding, process-level understanding, and a service-level understanding of the domain. Then, try to figure out exactly which processes, services, information are good candidates for cloud computing.

... Not everything is applicable for cloud computing. In fact, 50 percent of the applications that I look at are not good candidates for cloud. You need to consider that in the context of the hype.

States: ... The other aspect that's really important is the organizational governance and culture part of it, which is true for anything. It's particularly true for us in IT, because sometimes we see the promise of the technology, but we forget about people.

In clients I've been working with, there have been discussions around, "How does this affect operations? Can we change processes? What about the work flows? Will people accept the changes in their jobs? Will the organization be able to absorb the technology? "

Enterprise architecture is robust enough to combine not only the technology but the business processes, the best practices, and methodologies required to make this further journey to take advantage of what technology has to offer.

Daniels: It's very easy to start with technology and then try to view the technology itself as a solution. It's probably not the best place to start. It's a whole lot more useful if you start with the business concerns. What are you trying to accomplish for the business? Then, select from the various models the best way to meet those kinds of needs.

When you think about the concept of, "I want to be able to get the economies of the cloud -- there is this new model that allows me to deliver compute capacity at much lower cost," we think that it's important to understand where those economics really come from and what underlies them. It's not simply that you can pay for infrastructure on demand, but it has a lot to do with the way the software workload itself is designed.

There's a huge economic value ... if the software can take advantage of horizontal scaling -- if you can add compute capacity easily in a commodity environment to be able to meet demand, and then remove the capacity and use it for another purpose when the demand subsides.

... There's a particular class of services, needs for the business, that when you try to address them in the traditional application-centric models, many of those projects are too expensive to start or they tend to be so complex that they fail. Those are the ones where [cloud computing] is particularly worthwhile to consider, "Could I do these more effectively, with a higher value to the business and with better results, if I were to shift to a cloud-based approach, rather than a traditional IT delivery model?"

It's really a question of whether there are things that the business needs that, every time we try to do them in the traditional way, they fail, under deliver, were too slow, or don't satisfy the real business needs. Those are the ones where it's worthwhile taking a look and saying, "What if we were to use cloud to do them?"

Linthicum: Lots of my clients are building what I call rogue clouds. In other words, without any kind of sponsorship from the IT department, they're going out there to Google App Engine. They're building these huge Python applications and deploying them as a mechanism to solve some kind of a tactical business need that they have.

Well, they didn't factor in maintenance, and right now, they're going back to the IT group asking for forgiveness and trying to incorporate that application into the infrastructure. Of course, they don't do Python in IT. They have security issues around all kinds of things, and the application ends up going away. All that effort was for naught.

You need to work with your corporate infrastructure and you need to work under the domain of corporate governance. You need to understand the common policy and the common strategy that the corporation has and adhere to it. That's how you move to cloud computing.

States: The ROI that we've done so far for one of our internal clouds, which is our technology adoption program, providing compute resources and services to our technical community so that they can innovate, has actually had unbelievable ROI -- 83 percent reduction in cost and less than 90-day payback.

We're now calibrating this with other clients who are typically starting with their application test and development workloads, which are good environments because there is a lot of efficiency to be had there. They can experiment with elasticity of capacity, and it's not production, so it doesn't carry the same risk.

Daniels: Our view is that the real benefits, the real significant cost savings that can be gained. If you simply apply virtualization and automation technologies, you can get a significant reduction of cost. Again, self-service delivery can have a huge internal impact. But, a much larger savings can be done, if you can restructure the software itself so that it can be delivered and amortized across a much larger user base.

There is a class of workloads where you can see orders-of-magnitudes decreases in cost, but it requires competencies, and first requires the ownership of the intellectual property. If you depend upon some third-party for the capability, then you can't get those benefits until that third-party goes through the work to realize it for you.

Very simply, the cloud represents new design opportunities, and the reason that enterprise architecture is so fundamental to the success of enterprises is the role that design plays in the success of the enterprise.

The cloud adds a new expressiveness, but imagining that the technology just makes it all better is silly. You really have to think about, what are the problems you're trying to solve, where a design approach exploiting the cloud generates real benefits.
Read a full transcript of the discussion.

Listen to the podcast. Download the podcast. Find it on iTunes and Learn more. Sponsor: The Open Group.

View more podcasts and resources from The Open Group's recent conferences and TOGAF 9 launch:

The Open Group's CEO Allen Brown interview

Live panel discussion on enterprise architecture trends

Deep dive into TOGAF 9 use benefits

Reporting on the TOGAF 9 launch

Panel discussion on security trends and needs

Access the conference proceedings

General TOGAF 9 information

Introduction to TOGAF 9 whitepaper

Whitepaper on migrating from TOGAF 8.1.1 to version 9

TOGAF 9 certification information

TOGAF 9 Commercial Licensing program information

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

LogLogic delivers integrated suite for securely managing enterprise-wide log data

Companies faced with a tsunami of regulations and compliance requirements could soon find themselves drowning in a sea of log data from their IT systems. LogLogic, the log management provider, today threw these companies a lifeline with a suite of products that form an integrated solution for dealing with audits, compliance, and threats.

The San Jose, Calif. company announced the current and upcoming availability of LogLogic Compliance Manager, LogLogic Security Event Manager, and LogLogic Database Security Manager. [Disclosure: LogLogic is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

A typical data center nowadays generates more than a terabyte of log data per day, according to LogLogic. With requirements to archive this data for seven years, a printed version could stretch to the moon and back 10 times. LogLogic's new offerings are designed to aid companies in collecting, storing, and analyzing this growing trove of systems operational data.

Compliance Manager helps automate compliance-approval workflows and review tracking, translating "compliance speak" into more plain language. It also maps compliance reports to specific regulatory control objectives, helps automate the business process associated with compliance review and provides a dashboard overview with an at-a-glance scorecard of an organization's current position.

Security Event Manager, powered by LogLogic partner Exaprotect, performs complex event correlation, threat detection, and security incident management workflow, either across a department or the entire enterprise.

LogLogic's partner Exaprotect, Mountain View, Calif., is a provider of enterprise security management for organizations with large-scale, heterogeneous infrastructures.

The LogLogic combined solution analyzes thousands of events in near real time from security devices, operating systems, databases, and applications and can uncover and prioritize mission-critical security events.

Database Security Manager monitors privileged-user activities and protected data stored within database systems. With granular, policy-based detection, integrated prevention, and real-time virtual patch capabilities, security analysts can independently monitor privileged users and enforce segregation of duties without impacting database performance.

Because of the integrated nature of the products, information can be shared across the log management system. For example, database security events can be send to Compliance Manager for review or to the Security Event Manager for prioritization and escalation.

What intrigues me about log data management is the increased role it will play in governance of services, workflow and business processes -- both inside and outside of an organization's boundaries. Precious few resources exist to correlate the behavior of business services with underlying systems.

By making certain log data available to more players in a distributed business process, the easier it is to detect and provide root cause analysis of faults. The governance benefit can work in a two-way street basis, too. As SLAs and other higher-order governance capabilities point to a need for infrastructure adjustments, the logs data trail offer insight and verification.

In short, managed log data is an essential ingrediant to any services lifecycle management and governance capability. The lifecycle approach becomes more critical as cloud computing, virtualization, SOA, and CEP grow more common and imortant.

Lastly, thanks to such technologies as MapReduce, the ability to scour huge quantities of systems log data fast and furious with "BI for IT" depth benefits -- at a managed cost -- becomes attainable. I expect to see more of these "BI for IT" benefits to be applied to more problems of complexity and governance over the coming years. The cost-benefit analysis is a no-brainer.

Security Event Manager is available immediately. Compliance manager is available to early adopters immediately and will be generally available in March. Database Security Manager will be available in the second quarter of this year.

More information on the new products is available LogLogic's screen casts at