|By Jason Bloomberg||
|April 27, 2013 02:00 PM EDT||
In my role as a globetrotting Cloud consultant, I continue to be amazed at how many executives, both in IT and in the lines of business, still favor Private Clouds over Public. These managers are perfectly happy to pour money into newfangled data centers (sorry, “Private Clouds”), even though Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its brethren are reinventing the entire world of IT. Their reason? Sometimes they believe Private Clouds will save them money over the Public Cloud option. No such luck: Private Clouds are dreadfully expensive to build, staff, and manage, while Public Cloud services continue to fall in price. Others point to security as the problem. No again. OK, maybe Private Clouds will give us sufficient elasticity? Probably not. Go through all the arguments, however, and they’re still dead set on building that Private Cloud. What gives? The true reason for this stubbornness, of course, is the battle over control.
Thinking Like a Control Freak
IT executives in particular have always been control freaks. Our IT environments have been filled with fragile, flaky gear for so long that we figure the only way to run the IT shop is to control everything, grudgingly doling out bits of functionality and information to business users, but only when they ask nicely.
But this old mainframe reality has been fading for years now. The move to client/server to n-tier to the Internet and now to the Cloud are all exercises in increasingly distributed computing, with special emphasis on the distributed. As in distributed control.
The technology powers that be in the enterprise have been fighting this trend kicking and screaming, of course. But they’ve been fighting a losing battle. We saw the tide turn in the first-generation SOA days of the 2000s, when the IT establishment invested tried to implement SOA by buying ESBs, centralized pieces of middleware that purported to run the organization. But too many enterprises ended up with multiple ESBs and other pieces of middleware, since of course every manager in every department silo needs their own, because they all crave control. So the doomed SOA effort became a futile exercise in middleware-for-your-middleware, as the desired agility benefit sank beneath waves of rats-nest complexity.
What’s really going on here? Why do executives crave control so badly? Two reasons: risk mitigation and differentiation. If that piece of technology is outside your control, then perhaps bad things will happen: security breaches, regulatory compliance violations, or performance issues, to name the scariest. The problem is, maintaining control doesn’t necessary reduce such risks. But if you’re responsible for managing the risks, then the natural reaction is to crave control.
Managers also believe that whatever it is they’re doing in their silo is special and different in some way. So there’s no way they can leverage that shared piece of middleware or shared SOA-based Services or multitenant Cloud. If they did, they wouldn’t be special any more. Having a differentiated offering is essential to any viable market strategy, after all. So clearly my technology has to be different from your technology!
Chaos vs. Control
The Cloud, as you might expect, shakes up both these considerations, because the Cloud separates responsibility from control in ways that we’ve never seen before. Every manager knows that these two priorities often go hand in hand, and under normal circumstances, we prefer them to go together, because the last thing we want is responsibility without control: the recipe for becoming the scapegoat, after all. With the Cloud, however, we can maintain control while delegating responsibility to the Cloud Service Provider (CSP). The CSP is responsible for ensuring the operational environment is working properly, including the automated management and user-driven provisioning and configuration that differentiate Cloud Computing from virtualized hosting. However, the CSP has delegated control over each customer environment to that customer.
By turning around this control vs. responsibility equation, we’ve placed the CSP into the scapegoat position. As long as we have an iron-clad Service-Level Agreement with our CSP, we can trust them to take responsibility for our operational environments, and if anything goes wrong, we can hold them responsible. But the control over those environments remains with us, the customer. Once enterprise executives realize this new world order, they will run as fast as they can away from building Private Clouds. After all, if you can maintain control while delegating responsibility, why would you ever want responsibility? Responsibility gets people fired, after all.
Shifting responsibility to the CSP also helps to resolve the regulatory compliance roadblock that so many executives point to as the reason to select Private over Public Cloud. A combination of a properly responsible CSP combined with a sufficiently detailed SLA can go a long way toward indemnifying organizations against compliance breach risks. Remember, regulations rarely if ever specify how you must comply, only that you must. It’s up to you (and your lawyers) to decide on the how. As long as you’re diligent, conscientious, and follow established best practice, you’ve mitigated the bulk of your noncompliance risk. The CSPs are chomping at the bit to take this responsibility, so the smart risk mitigation strategy is shifting toward the Public Cloud.
The Price of Differentiation
The second threat to centralized control of IT is the business driver toward differentiation. Whatever our department or business is doing is special and different, and thus our infrastructure as well as our application environment must be unique as well. This principle is always true up to a point, which is why executives love to cling to it like a floating log in a vast sea of change. But just where that point falls continues to shift, and has shifted further than many people realize.
No enterprise would dream of calling a computer chip company and asking them to fabricate a custom processor for general business needs. What about a server? Unlikely, but perhaps. What about your core business applications, like finance, human resources, or customer relationship management (CRM)? Somewhat more likely. How about applications that provide capabilities that differentiate you in the marketplace? OK, now we’re talking.
In other words, virtually no enterprise has any rational motivation to specify custom infrastructure. Today’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) will do, especially considering how many configuration choices are available today: processor speed, operating system (as long as you want Windows or a flavor of Linux), memory, storage, and network are all user configurable and provisionable. Furthermore, there’s no reason to customize your dev, test, or deployment environments, so might as well use a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering.
But what about the applications? For non-strategic apps like CRM, might as well use Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) like Salesforce. No executives in their right mind would say that their customer relationship needs are so unique that they should code their own CRM system. So, what about those strategic apps, the ones that offer our differentiated capabilities or information to our customers? If an existing SaaS app won’t do, well, that’s what PaaS and IaaS are for: building and hosting our custom apps for us, respectively.
Still not convinced? Consider the competitive risk: the risk of spending too much money on unnecessary capabilities. While your competition is leveraging the Cloud, focusing their efforts on their true strategic differentiation in the market and saving buckets of dough everywhere else, you’re busy pouring cash into building yet another widget that might as well be the same widget you can get much more cheaply in the Cloud. If doing something unique and different doesn’t help the bottom line, then you’re simply wasting money. The asteroid is almost here. Which would you rather be, a dinosaur or a mammal?
The ZapThink Take
Outsourcing commodity capabilities to the low-cost provider while focusing your strategic value-add on customized offerings is an oft-repeated pattern in the world of business, but it hasn’t really taken hold in the world of IT until the rise of Cloud Computing. The reason it’s taken so long for the techies is because we’ve never been able to separate control and responsibility in the past as well as we can today. Before the Cloud, if we wanted to outsource one, then the other went along for the ride. Any enterprise that outsourced their entire IT operation went down this road. Sure, your technology becomes somebody else’s responsibility, but you end up giving up control as well.
Perhaps the greatest challenge with maintaining such control with the Cloud is that it raises the stakes on governance, leading to what we call next-generation governance in our ZapThink 2020 Poster as well as my new book, The Agile Architecture Revolution. The Cloud’s automated self-service represents powerful tools in the hands of people across our organization. Without a proactive, automated approach to governance, we risk running off the rails. Such issues are endemic in today’s technology environments: from Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) challenges to SOA governance to rogue Clouds, we must learn how to maintain control while maintaining the agility benefit such powerful technology dangles in front of us. But until we learn to delegate responsibility for the underlying technology to Public Cloud Providers, we’ll never be able to maintain control cost-effectively while maintaining our competitiveness.
Image source: Diego David Garcia
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Nov. 25, 2015 12:30 AM EST Reads: 407
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Nov. 25, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 150
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Nov. 24, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 258
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 24, 2015 08:00 PM EST Reads: 338
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Nov. 24, 2015 07:30 PM EST Reads: 342
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Nov. 24, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 368
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 24, 2015 04:30 PM EST Reads: 286
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 24, 2015 03:30 PM EST Reads: 459
There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.
Nov. 24, 2015 03:30 PM EST Reads: 507
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 24, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 287
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 24, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 416
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 24, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 338
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 24, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 409
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Nov. 24, 2015 01:30 PM EST Reads: 488
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 24, 2015 01:30 PM EST
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Nov. 24, 2015 01:30 PM EST Reads: 481
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. Because they can be accessed via the Internet, these devices create a tremendous opportunity to inte...
Nov. 24, 2015 01:15 PM EST Reads: 479
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Nov. 24, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 492
SYS-CON Events announced today that Kintone has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business application (BYOA) platform, and workflow automation system.
Nov. 24, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 566
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Nov. 24, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 335