Tuesday, December 21, 2010

HP's Kevin Bury on how cloud and SaaS help pave the way to increased IT efficiency in 2011, and beyond

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Learn more. Sponsor: HP.

Barcelona -- Welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast from the HP Software Universe 2010 Conference in Barcelona, an interview with Kevin Bury, Vice President and General Manager, and Neil Ashizawa, Manager of Products, both with HP Software as a Service.

We were at Software Universe in early December to explore some major enterprise software and solutions, trends and innovations, making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

This discussion, with two executives from HP, focuses on the software as a service (SaaS) market and how it and cloud computing are reshaping the future of IT.

Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, moderated the discussion just after the roll-out of HP’s big application lifecycle management (ALM) news, the release of ALM 11. [See more on HP's new ALM 11 offerings.]

Here are some excerpts on the future of SaaS discussion:
Bury: We are seeing a lot of interest in the market today for SaaS and cloud. I think it’s an extension of what we've seen over the last decade, of companies looking at ways that they can drive the most efficiency from their IT budgets. And as they are faced especially in these trying economics times of trying to do as much as they can, they're looking for ways to optimize on their investment.

When you look at what they are doing with SaaS, it gives them the ability to outsource applications, take advantage of the cloud, take advantage of web technologies to be able to deliver those software solutions to their customers or constituents inside of the business, and do it in a way where they can drive speed to value very, very quickly.

They can take advantage of getting more bang for their buck, because they don’t have to have their people focused on those initiatives internally and they're able to do it in a financial model that gives them tremendous value, because they can treat it as an operating expense as opposed to a capital expense. So, as we look to the interest of our customers, we're seeing a lot more interest in, "HP, help us understand what is available as a service."

Various components then include SaaS, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), certainly platform as a service (PaaS), with the ultimate goal of moving more and more into the cloud. SaaS is a stepping stone to get there, and today about half of all of the cloud types of solutions start with SaaS.

Where is this thing going? When is it going to end? Is it going to end? I don’t believe it is. I think it’s an ongoing continuum. It’s really an evolution of what services their constituents are trying to consume, and the business is responding by looking for different alternatives to provide those solutions.

For example, if you look at where SaaS got started, it got started because business departments were frustrated, because IT wasn’t responsive enough. They went off and they made decisions to start consuming application service provider (ASP) source solutions, and they implemented them very, very quickly. At first, IT was unaware of this.

Now, as IT has become more aware of this, they recognize that their business users are expecting more. So, they're saying, "Okay, we need to not only embrace it, but we need to bring it in-house, figure out how we can work with them to ensure that we are still driving standardization, and we're still addressing all of the compliance and security issues."

Corporate data is absolutely the most valuable asset that most companies have, and so they have seen now that they have to embrace it. But, as they look down the road, it moves from just SaaS into now looking at a hybrid model, where they're going to embrace IaaS and Platform as a Service, which really formed the foundation of what the cloud is and what we can see of it today. But, it will continue to evolve, mature, and offer new things that we don’t even know about yet.

Somewhere in between

Ashizawa: About a year, year-and-a-half ago, people were still trying to get their minds wrapped around this idea of cloud. We're at a stage now where a lot of organizations are actually adopting the cloud as a sourcing strategy or they are building other strategies to adopt it. We're probably past early adopter and more into mainstream. I anticipate it will continue to grow and gain momentum.

Now, IT is becoming much more involved. I would say that they are actually becoming more of a broker. Before, when it came to providing services to drive business, they were more focused on build. Now, with this cloud they're acting in a role as a broker, as Kevin said, so that they can build the business benefits of the cloud.

One of the key differentiators, as it’s evolved, in the way I see it, is really in the economic principles behind cloud versus managed service and ASP. With cloud, as Kevin mentioned earlier, you basically leverage your operation expense budgets and reduce that capitalization that typically you would still need to do in a historic ASP or managed service.

Cloud brings to the table a very compelling economic business model that is very important to large organizations.

Cloud brings to the table a very compelling economic business model that is very important to large organizations.

But if they are going to adopt the SaaS solution, that they vet out the integration possibilities -- to get out in front that. Also, integration doesn’t just stop at the technical level. There are also the business aspects of integration as well. You need to also make sure that the service levels are going to be what your business users' desire and that you can enforce, and also integration from the support model.

If the user needs help, what’s the escalation? What’s the communication point? Who is the person who is actually going to help them, given the fact that now there is a cloud vendor in the mix, as well as the cloud consumer.

Bury: Organizations can become overwhelmed by the promise and the hype of cloud and what it can offer. My recommendation is usually to start with something small. I go out and spend a lot of time talking to our customers and prospective customers. There are a couple of very common bits of feedback that I hear that CXOs are looking at, when they view where to start with a cloud or as a service type of initiative.

The first of these is, is it core to my business? If a business process is absolutely core to what they are doing, it’s probably not a great place to start. However, if it’s not core, if it’s something that is ancillary or complimentary to that, it’s something that may make some sense to look at outsourcing, or moving to the cloud.

The second is if it’s mission-critical or not. If it’s mission-critical and it’s core, that’s something you want to have your scarce resource, your very highly valued IT resources working on, because that’s what ultimately drives the business value of IT. Going back to what Neil said earlier, IT is becoming a broker. They only have so much bandwidth that they can deliver to those solutions and offerings to their customers. So, if it’s not core and it’s not critical, those are good candidates.

We recommend starting small. Certainly, IT needs to be very involved with that. Then, as you get more-and-more comfortable and you’re seeing more value, you can continue to expand. In addition, we see projects that make a lot of sense, things like testing as a service, where the IT organizations can leverage technology that’s available through their partners, but deliver via a cloud or a SaaS solution, as opposed to bringing it in-house.

Key opportunity for HP

We see SaaS as one of the key drivers, one of the strategic initiatives for HP to embrace. As I talk with my peers on the leadership team, we recognize SaaS as one of only two consumption model customers have for obtaining software from HP. In the traditional license play, they can consume the license and pay maintenance or, if they want to treat as an operating expense, it will be via the SaaS model.

As we look to what we need to do, we're investing very heavily in making all of our applications SaaS ready, so that customers can stand them up in their own data center and our data center or via a hybrid, where we may involve either a combination of those or even include a third-party.

For example, they may have a managed service provider that is providing some of the testing services. To your point earlier about the integration, HP, because of our breadth and our depth of our applications, can provide the ability to integrate that three-way type of solution whereas other companies don’t have that type of depth to be able to pull that off.

As SaaS now becomes much more mainstream and much more mature, big customers are now looking to companies like HP, because of the fact that we have the size, the depth, and the breadth of the solutions.

Looking for a relationship

hey're looking for that relationship that is going to transcend this solution and is going to be part of the overall relationship between HP and their organization over the long haul. So, size definitely matters when it comes to cloud and SaaS.

The thing that’s important to note here is that this is an evolution or a maturation. It’s interesting, having been in this phase for so long, to see what customers are now looking at. And it’s something where, as I start to look out to the future and speculate about where they want to go next, I'm seeing a lot of indications toward a model where customers will want to consume this idea of everything as a service. We’ve even seen recently customers say, "You're already doing this for us," whatever that as-a-service solution might be.

"Can you also take some of our people, put them back into that, and then just charge us that monthly or annual fee?" Neil and I spent a lot of time contemplating this idea of business process as a service. That’s what we're speculating could be a next generation of SaaS or cloud. It’s the idea of customers who wanted to consume business processes as service, which is just another step toward consuming everything as a service.

How will companies in the future really be able to deliver on the promise of what is and what we are recognizing as the Instant-On type of enterprise? It’s the ability to take in data very, very quickly and then be able to analyze it, make assessments on it, make decisions and to be, in the term you use, very agile in the way that they are reacting to these inputs.

Developing patterns

I mentioned earlier this movement toward those applications or those areas of the business that are not core and critical that they are looking to move outside of their data center. So that’s certainly something, when we look at things like complementing what IT does around things like testing as a service. Security as a service is a big area that we are seeing growth in. Project portfolio management (PPM), helping those IT organizations manage their business, the day-to-day business, are some of the areas that we are seeing a lot of growth.

In the traditional license play, they can consume the license and pay maintenance or, if they want to treat as an operating expense, it will be via the SaaS model.

In the past, companies generally have been very siloed. Information would come in and they didn’t have the access nor the visibility into it from another division or another department. When you look at what the instant-on enterprise is going to, it’s the ability to consume information very, very quickly, analyze it, then make decisions, and make directional changes to what’s going on inside of their environment.

As-a-service and cloud are very much enablers of that, because it gives you the ability to take advantage of technology as an enabler, as opposed to the past when they were just to serve one solution or one business process in the past. Now, they're able to have that stratify the entire organization. So, they have the insight and the agility to make real-time types of decisions.

Moving a difficult business process from in house to out of house, right into the cloud, doesn’t mean that the problem goes away or that the challenges go away.

The key is to get engaged early, learn as much as you can about the cloud and about as a service, and then look to companies like HP that have the experience in doing this. We’ve been doing it for more than 10 years. We’ve got a lot of success stories that we can point to on how we can help companies take advantage of the cloud and also what to avoid when you move into the cloud.

The single-most important thing is not to go into it with expectations, any preconceived expectations that it’s going to be nirvana, or that it’s going to be easy. Moving a difficult business process from in house to out of house, right into the cloud, doesn’t mean that the problem goes away or that the challenges go away from it. You still need to approach it with discipline, rigor, and formal types of processes and methodologies, which is what IT is really good at.

Ashizawa: You really want to look for trust. If you are going to be outsourcing business processes to a vendor, you really want to have that trust. What we're seeing is that there is a strong linkage between your compliance levels that you have in your organizations and the trust that your cloud vendor can also provide you a solution that can help you maintain your compliance and standards.

So, at the end of the day, you really want to just make sure that you go into this with a trusted vendor that has a proven experience, that can really make sure that they understand your need and your requirements, and they have a SaaS solution that can really fit your organization.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Case study: Automated client management from HP helps Vodafone standardize in 30 countries

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Learn more. Sponsor: HP.

Barcelona -- Welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast series coming to you from the HP Software Universe 2010 Conference in Barcelona.

We were here earlier this month to explore some major enterprise software and solutions, trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers. [See more on HP's new ALM 11 offerings.]

This customer case-study from the conference focuses on Vodafone and how they worked toward improved PC client management and automation of client management. I interviewed two executives from their IT organization, Michael Janssen, the Manager of Deployment Automation with Vodafone , and Michael Schroeder, also Manager of Deployment Automation, both based at Vodafone group in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Here are some excerpts:
Janssen: Vodafone had independent countries operating their [IT] environments by themselves. So, we had 30 countries worldwide with all the solutions in place. That meant 30 times software deployment, 30 times application packaging, 30 times Active Directory, and so on.

Vodafone decided in 2006 to go for a global IT project and centralization in terms of PC client automation. It came down to us to evaluate the current solutions in place in all these countries and then come up with a solution which would be the best solution for the new global environment. That was our main problem.

Standardization and reducing cost

If you're starting a centralization process, then it’s all about standardization and reducing cost. That meant reducing cost by reducing effort of the solutions and make as much as possible automated and self-service. That was the main reason we started this exercise.

Schroeder: The most important thing was that administration should be very easy. It shouldn’t be too complex in the end and it should fit every need in every country. At that time, we had a whole zoo of hardware and software products. We had about 8,000 different software applications in place at that time. We tried to reduce that as much as we could.

The most important thing was that administration should be very easy. It shouldn’t be too complex in the end and it should fit every need in every country.

The overall number of clients in Vodafone is 65,000, and at the moment, we've finished the transition for 52,000 clients. Nearly 80 percent is done after four years. Of course, there is a long wait with the smaller countries, and we need to migrate 15 other countries that are still in the loop.

In the past, in each of these 30 countries, we had one to four people working within the client automation environments. Today, we have five people left doing that globally. You can imagine 30 times a minimum of two persons. That was 60 people working for client deployment, and that's now reduced to five for the global solution.

Always pros and cons

There are always pros and cons with standardization and with centralization. The consensus takes a little bit longer, because there are no strict processes to bring new applications. But, the main advantage is that much of the applications are already there for any country. We test it once and can deploy to many, instead of doing this 30 times, like we did that in the past, and we avoid any double spend of money.

Then, of course, with the global environment, the main advantage is that now we are all connected, which was not possible in the past, because all the networks were independent and all the applications were independent. There was no unified messaging or anything like that. This is the major benefit of the global environment.

Security is one big thing we're now dealing with. For example, if we are talking about client automation, we're talking about patch management as well. We're able to bring out patches -- for example, security patches from Microsoft -- within two days, if it’s a real hot-fix, or even within 24 hours, if it’s a major issue.

Countries that used HP Client Automation had much higher success rate, 90 percent or higher, in deploying application and patches, than the others.

Janssen: First, there was the evolution phase, where we studied all the countries. What were the products that they used in the past? Then we decided what was the best way forward. For us, that was a major split between countries that already used the HP Client Automation solution and the other countries that used other deployment suites.

That was also one of the major criteria for the final decision. Countries that used HP Client Automation had much higher success rate, 90 percent or higher, in deploying application and patches, than the others, where they were on average at 70 percent. So, this was the first big decision point.

The second was countries using HP Client Automation had less operational staff than the others. It was mainly one to two full-time employees fewer than in countries that operated with other tools.

Policy-based technology

Schroeder: If we're talking about the Client Automation Suite from HP, we're talking about policy-based or a desired state technology. That is one of the criteria. Everything is done every day. For example, if you're trying to deploy applications to clients, this is done every day. It's controlled every day, managed every day, and without any admin or user interaction. That’s a great point for us.

Janssen: What I can recommend is that there are two main issues that you need to overcome. First, you only can deploy what you receive from the business. We already were experienced in the Vodafone-Germany organization, where we did the same exercise five years ago. You need to have a strict software standardization process in place. There is one main rule for that.

Also, in the global environment, that means that if there is a business application, then the business needs to have an application owner for that. Otherwise, the application does not exist in the whole company.

We gave that function or that responsibility back to the business, and now they're all responsible and they finally approve before application goes live.

The application owner is responsible for the whole application lifecycle, including describing the application installation documents, doing the final testing and approval after packaging, his responsibility is to look after security issues of the application, look after upgrades or version or release changes, and so on.

It's not not the packaging team, the client team, or the central IT team that is responsible for all the applications and their functionality. We gave that function or that responsibility back to the business, and now they're all responsible and they finally approve before application goes live.

Schroeder: We have in place self-service, which is a web application. You can go to a store and choose different applications to install on your machine, depending on your needs. You can choose an application, just click a box, and the application request goes to your line manager who has to approve the license costs, if there are any. Then, the policy will go back to your machine and the installation of this specific application goes straight to your machine. The user experience with it is very good.

Janssen: The self-service web shop is not only for software. We use that also for other user needs, like access rights, permissions on some projects, mobile device management and so on. This is a global web shop solution, but very effective. It avoids any help desk calls for new applications, paperwork to approve licenses, and so on. It’s very efficient and, of course, one of our main parts of this new global solution.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

WAN governance and network unification make or break successful cloud and hybrid computing implementations

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Learn more. Sponsor: Ipanema Technologies.

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The latest BriefingsDirect podcast discussion focuses on the rapidly escalating complexity and consequent need for network management innovation in the age of hybrid computing.

And that's because the emphasis nowadays is on "networks," not "network." Long gone are the days when a common and controlled local area network (LAN) served as the workhorse for critical applications and data delivery.

With the increased interest in cloud, software as a service (SaaS), and mobile computing, applications are jockeying across multiple networks, both in terms of how services are assembled, as well in how users in different environments access and respond to these critical applications.

Indeed, cloud computing forces a collapse in the gaps between the former silos of private, public, and personal networking domains. Since the network management and governance tasks have changed and continue to evolve rapidly, so too must the ways in which solutions and technologies address the tangled networks environment we all now live and work in.

Automated network unification and pervasive wide area networking (WAN) governance are proving essential to ensure quality, scale, and manage security across all forms of today's applications use. Join us as we explore the new and future path to WAN governance and to better understand how Ipanema Technologies is working to help its customers make clear headway, so that the next few years bring about a hybrid cloud computing opportunity and not a hastening downward complexity spiral.

We're here now to discuss the new reality of networks and applications delivery performance with Peter Schmidt, Chief Technology Officer, North America, for Ipanema Technologies, and David White, Vice President of Global Business Development at Ipanema. The panel is moderated by BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:
Schmidt: As soon as you start using multiple networks, you're in the cloud, because now you're making use of resources that are outside the control of your own IT organization and your service provider. Whether people think about it or not, just by adding a second network, they're taking their first steps into the cloud.

Anybody who carries a smartphone is experiencing the personal, private, public boundary of operations themselves. But what seems natural to somebody carrying an iPhone or Blackberry is a tremendous challenge to the traditional models of IT.

Even as little as three years ago, the focus was on how to get the most performance for your applications out of your single MPLS network. I am talking enterprises where all of their applications are hosted on their property. They’ve got a single MPLS network from one service provider and they're still struggling to deliver reliable application performance across the infrastructure.

Now, we throw in multiple places to host applications. You have SaaS, Salesforce, and Google Docs. You have platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). People’s critical applications can be hosted in numerous locations, many of which are beyond their control. Then, as I mentioned, these are being accessed via multiple networks, and you have the legacy MPLS plus the Internet.

There are increasing numbers or diversity of models of those networks, whether the Internet connection gets to a service provider POP and then via MPLS to their own data center, or what is the impact of content delivery networks? So we've got a situation where enterprises who are struggling to master the complexity with one data center and one network are now using multiple data centers and multiple networks. Something is going to have to give.

White: This is also all focused once again on the branch office. We’ve had server consolidation where we try to remove any type of issues for the branch and remove intelligence from the branch. As cloud computing has come in, we are now putting more stress on the branch.

We're not necessarily putting intelligence out there, but we're having 2, 3, 4, 5, or more networks, all coming into the branch at the same time, and that traffic has to be managed. It’s something a lot of people haven’t thought about.

When you look at the announcements that have been coming out and the hype on cloud in the industry, it's all focused on the data center. That’s because most of the vendors say, "That’s where the big bucks are being made. We are going to make money out of the data center."

Ipanema, on the other hand, is focused on application acceleration, and in order to do that, you have to take care of what goes on in the branch and manage it.

At a high level, the first thing you have do is provide some type of WAN governance, simply meaning that we are going to make sure that you have taken care of the management of your business. Because that’s what WAN governance means -- providing the type of control over your business to allow it to continue to be productive, as you're making changes to your WAN.

Simply put, you first of all have to find out what's going on in the network.

Simply put, you first of all have to find out what's going on in the network. You have to understand what's happening on those 4, 5, or 6 different flows that are all going in from different sources to your branch. You have to be able to control those flows and manage them, so that you don't have your edge device or edge router getting congested.

You have to be able to guarantee performance and, very importantly, you also have to then unify, balance, and optimize the performance over those multiple network points that are coming into your branch.

If you're doing it the right way, at least what we would say is the right way, it needs to be dynamic, automatic and, in Ipanema terminology, autonomic, meaning that not only does it happen automatically, but the network learns and manages itself. It doesn’t require extra human intervention.

Schmidt: The way the enterprise is going to get its arms around this increasingly complex environment is not through throwing people at it. Throwing people at network management has never worked and, now that the environment is more complex, it's going to work even less.

The whole point of cloud is that you're going to use virtualization and automation to bring up instances of servers quickly and automatically, and that's where this order of magnitude improvement potential comes from. But, if you don't want the multiple networks to be the bottleneck, then you have to apply automation in that domain as well. That's what we've done. We've made it possible for the network to run itself to meet the businesses’ objectives.

The effect that has in a branch office with multiple network connections is really to hide all the complexity that that multiplicity brings, because the system is managing them all in a unified way. That's what we're getting at when we're talking about network unification. The details that bedeviled traditional management just kind of disappear.

WAN governance is what the CIO wants to buy. CIOs don’t want to buy a WAN, and they certainly don't want to buy WAN optimization controllers. What they want to buy is reliable application performance across their infrastructure with the best possible performance and lowest possible cost. My high-level definition of WAN governance is that it's the technology and techniques that allow the CIO to buy that.

iPhone app

e're about to release our first iPhone app to provide an interface into our central management system, and it's terrific. It's exactly the kind of thing the CIO would want to have in their hand. That just shows the value of pushing IT to be democratized and put into the hands of all of the people tied to the enterprise.

The Ipanema system is designed to provide the full control by giving the enterprise IT organization not just visibility in reporting on every user's access to their IT infrastructure, but also to automatically control all of that traffic in accordance with various policies.

Get a free white paper on WAN Governance for Cloud Computing.

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We don't see any other way around it. You're not going to do this manually. You've got to build smarter systems. We happen to think that we are a huge piece of that puzzle in terms of how we control things at the network level.

White: And we look at this WAN governance as really a piece of ISO standard for IT governance, which is an official ISO standard. There is a section in there on WAN governance. In a way, it talks about what you have to do to manage your wide area.

Ipanema strongly believes the WAN governance is really a standard that should be put on the books, but isn't yet. If you're really going to have governance over your IT, since the network is a strategic asset to promote enterprise customers, you need to have governance over the wide area as well.

Schmidt: Ipanema has pioneered a unique approach that stems from the idea that all that matters is that end users are able to get good performance from their applications, because that’s when they are most productive. When application performance slows down, end users start surfing the web. So, ensuring the performance of the application is critical. That’s what the enterprise needs to reorient itself toward.

The fundamental input into our system is a list of applications and their performance. The system itself is intelligent enough to monitor and dynamically control all of the traffic to achieve those objectives on behalf of the business. So, it’s imposing the business’s will on the network.

White: It starts with our three founders who got together and took a look at what the needs were from an application perspective. Their goal was to find a way to ensure that, as users, we all had the performance we needed and that enterprises could deliver performance from an application perspective to their users.

That’s what they started out with. Then they took a look at how you would deliver that service and recognized the best way to provide for the delivery of the right type of consistent application performance is to do it over the wide area and to look what happens over the WAN.

They were very visionary in recognizing that application performance over the wide area is going to be the single most critical piece of the puzzle, when it comes to taking a look at how we as users of enterprise deliver service and do it in conjunction with major service providers and network providers, because they are the ones that deliver the wide area connections.

When they started out, they were told that they were wrong and weren't looking at it the right way. When you see what’s happened to the network and how it’s evolved, particularly now that we are moving into the cloud generation, they were focused exactly in the right area. Although we have a lot of new features, the basic architecture has been there for years and it’s been proven in major service provider networks and is installed on a global basis.

The basic architecture has been there for years and it’s been proven in major service provider networks and is installed on a global basis.

Schmidt: There are a couple of things that are the secret sauce, but the easiest one to explain probably is the fact that our appliances actually cooperate with each other, and this is unique. Our appliances know about not just the traffic that’s impinging on their network interfaces, but they actually know about the flows that are active everywhere on the network.

It’s actually not that that simple. They really only need to know about the flows that might conflict with the flows that they are managing. But conceptually, every device on the network knows about all the other flows it needs to know about. They are constantly communicating with each other -- what flows are active and what performance those flows are getting from the infrastructure, which includes the whole WAN, but also the data center and the service. So what does that enable?

Global perspective

Sharing this information means that all of the decisions made by an individual device are made from a global perspective. They're no longer making a local optimization decision. They each run the same algorithm and can come to the same result. And that result is a globally optimum traffic mix on the network.

When I say globally optimum, that’s a valid technical term as opposed to a marketing term, because the information has been collected globally from the entire system. In terms of optimum, what I mean is the best possible performance from the most applications using the given network infrastructure and its status at that point in time.

White: The point I'd like to make is that it's absolutely impossible to measure it in a cloud environment as an enterprise network manager, because you only see a piece of the network. Unless you’ve done something different, which is what we provide, than the way you are going to look at your network, if you are looking at it the way you’ve done for the last 10 or 20 years, there is no way that you can see everything.

The closing point here is that the first step is visibility into the network, and the next step is providing the control. You need to do that in the cloud environment, and that's what Ipanema does.

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Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Learn more. Sponsor: Ipanema Technologies.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Open Group bridges SOA definitions gap with release of new technical standard SOA Ontology

In an effort to bridge the communication gap between business and IT over service oriented architecture (SOA), The Open Group today released a new ontology that helps better define the concepts, terms, and semantics involved in SOA.

The SOA Ontology Technical Standard bridges different architecture, engineering, business and marketing domains, providing common terminology and concept mapping that business and technical people can use to discuss problems and opportunities.

It will also serve as a foundation for further work in domain specific areas by supplying a consistent framework that can be reused as SOA projects evolve. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

“The release of the SOA Ontology will significantly benefit the industry considering the increased use of SOA within organizations, especially due to the rise of cloud adoption,” said Dr. Chris Harding, the Open Group’s SOA Work Group forum director. “It’s critical for business and technical executives across disciplines and organizations to have a lingua franca for SOA to ensure the success of their deployments. As with all of the concepts and models developed through the SOA work group, we anticipate the ontology to be a living document that will be updated as the industry evolves and SOA concepts are further refined.”

Foundational model

In fact, the SOA Ontology Technical Standard has already been used as the foundational business model for the SOA Repository Artifact Model and Protocol (S-RAMP), a proposed standard for repositories and their use in SOA environments to publish, search for, and retrieve a wide variety of technical documents.

SOA discussion between IT professionals and business people, and among IT professionals themselves, often bog down because of a lack of clarity in the terms and concepts used. The ontology is designed to focus the discussions by providing a common framework where everyone is clear on the terms of the discussion.

The release of the SOA Ontology will significantly benefit the industry considering the increased use of SOA within organizations, especially due to the rise of cloud adoption.

The confusion started early, according to Claus Jensen, IBM’s Senior Technical Staff Member & Chief Architect for SOA-BPM-EA Technical Strategy. "In most cases, the business side is confused, because nobody gave them a definition," he said. "Over time, people brought in slightly different definitions and conflicting messages. Taking out the uncertainty is never a bad thing."

The SOA Ontology is designed for use by:
  • Business people, to give them a deeper understanding of SOA concepts and how they are used in the enterprise and its environment
  • Architects, as metadata for architectural artifacts
  • Architecture methodologists, as a component of SOA meta-models
  • System and software designers, for guidance in terminology and structure
The SOA Ontology is also intended for use in conjunction with other industry standards and can also be used by computing systems to create modeling tools, automate standard terms and relationships, clarify working assumptions, and enable interoperability.

The SOA Ontology Technical Standard is available for free and may be downloaded from the Open Group website.

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Jonathan Priestley recaps the news and events at HP's Software Universe 2010 in Barcelona

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

Barcelona -- Welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast from the HP Software Universe 2010 Conference in Barcelona, an interview with Jonathan Priestley, Director of Marketing for HP Software and Solutions, Europe, Middle-East, and Africa (EMEA).

We were at the conference last week to explore some major enterprise software and solutions, trends and innovations, making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, moderated the recap discussion coming on the heels of the roll-out of HP’s application lifecycle management (ALM) news, the release of ALM 11. [See more on HP's new ALM 11 offerings.]

Here are some excerpts:
Priestley: HP ALM 11 is the culmination of two years worth of engineering time. This is a massive innovation for the marketplace and for us.

For the first time, you have something that goes not just across the traditional software lifecycle, as we know it -- develop, test, deploy, and manage -- but across the entire lifecycle of an application.

This includes one of those things that we don’t like to talk about in IT, which is retirement, when we actually get rid of something, because we are not real good at that in this industry. Of course, it is a key part as we go forward. One of the fundamental reasons organizations can’t reduce their data or application load is because they never get to the point of being able to retire anything.

One of the key benefits of ALM is that we’ve unified a complete view, a single view, of that whole process.

One of the key benefits of ALM is that we’ve unified a complete view, a single view, of that whole process. Now, the people who are responsible for each of those siloed areas -- the business analysts, developers, testers, and operational people -- who have to support and maintain the applications can actually see, from one place, how each of those areas hand off to each other to ensure that they can manage it effectively.

And, of course, the final piece is how I make sure I’ve got security engineered into the application before I deploy it. That whole piece fits together under ALM.

So we have a really good story that ties together the history of our organically built technology, as well as the acquisitions that we’ve made. We’ve constructed this around those areas that we see our customers working with in their IT organizations today, as they deliver the solutions that drive their businesses. We see that breaking out into these areas.

Supporting services

Build -- how you actually put the applications that support the services out there. Operate -- how you supply the infrastructure that supports those applications. Secure -- how you make sure that you’ve got the right kind of security in place. Store -- how you make sure that this enormous information explosion we're all dealing with today is capable and managed. Finally, analyze -- how you take the business data that you're collecting in real-time and get decision-making data and information out of it.

Let me tell you about main stage events, because we had some really good presenters on main stage this year. We began with Anton Knolmar.

He started out with a traditional flamenco dance, and you really had to be there to see that, in all his glory, as he came out with a rose between his teeth. It was a super start to the event and very appropriate here in Barcelona.

We moved on to Robin Purohit, the Vice President and General Manager of the R&D organization within software, to take us through the new strategy and vision for HP software. This was a really big one for us, because it’s the first time that the whole strategy and vision has had a public airing. It was exciting to see customers’ reaction to that.

We followed Robin with Jonathan Rende, Vice President and General Manager of our Application Solutions. This was really the news point for our main stage, the launch of Application Lifecycle Management 11 (ALM 11). This is probably the biggest news point we’ve had in the last six months or so. And we saved it especially for the show.

We were furthermore celebrating our 10-year anniversary of Software Universe by showing just how the HP software solutions can help with ALM, of course -- that was our focus for the show -- but also how to use the solutions in a cloud environment, which is also a big message we're trying to get across today.

We were celebrating our ten-year anniversary by showing just how the HP software solutions can help with ALM, but also how to use the solutions in a cloud environment.

Ulrich Pfeiffer, our CTO in EMEA, who sets up the whole main stage event, pulled together pre-sales people from across the region. You could hear all the different accents and nationalities working together, and it was the perfect example of what our customer organizations face in working with multi nationalities across the geography.

If we go back to the strategy and vision, we talked about that in terms of the areas in which we see the IT people within an organization working. But, if you take that up a level and think about the challenges that these large enterprising business and government are facing, we see that breaking down into five core areas, something we call Converged Infrastructure. This is all of the elements of the infrastructure working together.

Working together

Enterprise security -- not just thinking about the individual components, but looking at it from across the entire delivery mechanism.

Application transformation -- something that all our customers are telling us they are facing today, and obviously, that’s one of the key areas where ALM fits in.

Information optimization -- another key, when we talk about the information explosion and the challenges with that. This ensures that you can manage not just data, but the information you want to get out of that hybrid delivery.

It addresses probably the hottest topic in the industry, if I want to put my enterprise resources on premise, running locally, versus putting it somewhere in a cloud, which I am running privately, or putting it in a public cloud. Our expectation is that all large enterprises will be facing those kinds of sourcing decisions and we call that "hybrid delivery."

We also put a lot of effort into a new executive program, and I am calling it a program, versus a track, this year because instead of thinking as a single standalone event, we're thinking of it as a program that runs across the entire year. The launch point has been here at Software Universe.

We started out by taking an agenda from what our CIOs have told us are the key things that they are looking to try and get some help with.

The first is innovation, how they actually put innovation into their own organizations and how can they remove the barriers to that innovation. This is a key one, because it’s very difficult for them to figure out how to put innovation into their own organizations, but particularly how to remove the barriers to innovation. We’ve done a lot of work around showing them how to go through a discovery exercise to look for those opportunities.

The second thing is that the CIOs themselves are always measuring themselves against their peer groups, and that’s something else we’ve helped them with today. We're bringing in some expertise from outside to look at what are the skill-sets that make the perfect CIO, because we see that role changing.

We talked a bit about hybrid delivery and sourcing options. The actual skill-set roles of a CIO could very well change, and that’s one of the things we’ve tried to explore with them today.

CIO annual report

nd as we go across the rest of the year, we'll be looking at something like an annual report. Every company or business today delivers an annual report on how they perform. CIOs are looking for the same kind of the thing themselves. How do they produce an annual report that shows how IT is performing and what kind of service it’s delivering back to the business? That’s something we will be taking that journey with them through the whole year.

So we're really excited about that program, and we’ve had some great feedback from the CIOs, that this is really hitting the hot spots for them, particularly on innovation and how they plan themselves going forward.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

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Energy-efficient Ethernet switch modules from HP help cut power use and TCO

HP today announced the availability of new energy-efficient Ethernet switches, designed to help companies deal with the data explosion, while, at the same time, cutting power needs and reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) by some 51 percent.

The company says that it's E-Series zl modules are the first devices that conform to the IEEE Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) standard 802.3az. The switches reduce power consumption by automatically entering sleep mode when no traffic is being transmitted. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Many companies today are caught between competing pressures brought by data and power. Faced with moving ever increasing data faster and faster, they find the power to do that, as well as deal with the associated cooling, expensive and increasingly unavailable.

Sleep mode

The modules, which fit into existing switches, address this by going into sleep mode, as will EEE-connected devices in the absence of traffic. Because most network traffic comes in bursts, these devices are good candidates for energy efficiency.

The modules also address another concern, which is latency in the network. According to Jay Mellman, Director of Network Product and Solutions Marketing, the modules function with an instant-on capability and will wake up immediately upon detecting traffic, eliminating latency.

In a study conducted by the Tolly Group, power and cooling savings from the energy-efficient modules ranged from 17 to 26 percent, when compared to traditional switches. The lower operating costs, combined with lower acquisition costs resulted in a decrease of up to 51 percent in TCO.

HP assisted in developing the EEE standard and the company plans to incorporate it across multiple devices. including servers, laptops, and wireless devices.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Salesforce revs up the cloud data tier era with Database.com

San Francisco -- Salesforce.com at its Dreamforce conference here today debuted a database in the cloud service, Database.com, that combines attractive heterogeneous features for a virtual data tier for developers of all commercial, technical and open source persuasions.

Salesforce.com is upping the ante on cloud storage services by going far beyond the plain vanilla elastic, pay-as-you-go variety of database and storage services that have come to the market in the past few years, with Amazon Web Services as a leading offering. [Disclosure: Salesforce.com helped defray the majority of travel costs for me to attend Dreamforce this week.]

Database.com offers as a service a cross-language, cross-platform, elastic pricing data tier that should be smelling sweet to developers and -- potentially -- enterprise architects. Salesforce, taking a page from traditional database suppliers like Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and SAP/Sybase, recognizes that owning the data tier -- regardless of where it is -- means owning a long-term keystone to IT.

If the new data tier in the cloud service is popular, it could disrupt not only the traditional relational database market, but also the development/PaaS market, the Infrastructure as a Service market, and the middleware/integration markets.

Even more fascinating is the prospect of Database.com becoming a new data services resource darling of open source developers, just as they are losing patience and interest in MySQL, now under the stewardship of Oracle since it bought Sun Microsystems. This is a core constituency that is in flux and is being courted assiduously by Amazon, VMWare, Google and others.

IBM, Microsoft and Oracle will need to respond to Database.com -- as will Google, Amazon and VMware -- first for open source, mobile and start-up developers and later -- to an yet uncertain degree -- enterprise developers, systems integrators and more conservative ISVs.

So, be sure, the race is on generally to try and provide the best cloud data and increasingly integrated PaaS services at the best cost that proves its mettle in terms of performance, security, reliability and ease of use. If recent cloud interest and adoption are any indication, this could be killer cloud capability that becomes a killer IT capability.

Database.com already raises the stakes for cloud storage providers and wannabes: the value-add to the plain vanilla storage service has to now entice developers with meeting or exceeding Salesforce.com. By catering to a wide swath of tools, frameworks, IT platforms and mobile device platforms, Salesforce.com is heading off the traditional vendors at trying to (not too fast) usher their installed bases to that own vendors brand of hybrid and cloud offerings. Think a lock-in on the ground segue to a lock-in in the sky slick trick.

Both Amazon and Salesforce.com have proven that developers are not timid about changing how they attain value and resources. This may well prove true of how to access and procure data tier services, too, which makes the vendors slick cloud segue trick all the more tricky. Instead of going to the DBA for data services, all stripes of developers could just as easily (maybe more easily) fire up a value-added Database.com instance and support their apps fast and furious.

The stakes are high on attracting the developers, of course, because the more data that Salesforce attracts with Database.com, the more integration and analytics they can offer -- which then attracts even more data and applications -- and developer allegiance -- and so on and so on. It's a value-add assemblage activity that Salesforce has already shown aptness with Force.com.

What remains to be seen is if this all vaults Salesforce.com beyond it roots as a CRM business applications SaaS provider and emerging PaaS ecosystem supporter for good. If owning the cloud data tier proves as instrumental to business success (as evidenced by Oracle's consistence in generating envious profit margins) as the on-premises, distributed computing DB business -- well, Salesorce.com is looking at a massive business opportunity. And, like the Internet in general, it can easily become an early winner takes all affair.

It's now a race for scale and value, that cloud-based data accumulation can become super sticky, with the lock-in coming from inescapably attractive benefits, not technical or license lock-in. Can you say insanely good data services? Sure you can. But more easily said than done. Safesforce has to execute well and long on its audacious new offering.

But what if? Like a rolling mountainside snowball gathering mass, velocity and power, Database.com could quickly become more than formidable because of the new nature of data in the cloud. Because the more data from more applications amid and among more symbiotic and collaborative ecosystems, the more insights, analytics and instant marketing prowess the hive managers (and hopefully users) gain.

In the end, Database.com could become a pervasive business intelligence services engine, something that's far more valuable than a cheap and easy data tier in the sky for hire.