This Field Notes series chronicles my experiences with a major transformation project I’ve been involved in for the past eighteen months. I have worked on almost every aspect of this project, from application rationalization to portfolio management to reconstructing business processes and aligning and synchronizing IT with the business.
Transformation & Agility
Transformation & Agility concerns the utilization of the technical agility derived from the benefits delivered by virtualization and cloud computing, coupled with Agile Development practices that improve business agility, performance, and results. This includes the agility derived from: (Read More)
- The implementation of Agile and DevOps methodologies
- The application and system architectures
- The implementation of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS clouds
- Monitoring of the environment, coupled with processes for resolving problems quickly
- Having continuous availability through the use of high-availability and disaster recovery products and procedures
Transformation covers the journey from A to Z and all points between: how you get there and the roads you will travel; how decisions made on day zero or one, or even day three, will affect later decisions; and what technical, operational, and organizational pitfalls can be associated with an implementation. We examine what tool sets are required for Agile Cloud Development, and it delves into other aspects of Agile Development that integrate with cloud computing, SaaS, and PaaS environments, including DevOps, Scrum, XP, and Kanban.
When we were first introduced to Docker containers, we were told that they should be ephemeral and stateless. It turns out that there are lot of great uses for Docker containers that are either stateful or long-lived. The stateful part is leading to a bunch of startups that have storage products to deliver persistent storage to these stateful containers. Even our old friends at VMware are in on this game. Their Photon platform is going to include VSAN to provide persistent storage for containers.
Companies are still facing an era of unprecedented and continuous change. In fact, perhaps the most striking feature of today’s business environment is its dynamic nature. While change is often unexpected and disruptive, companies that adapt quickly can gain a competitive advantage. I’ve said this many times in the past, and it still rings true today. It’s been awhile since my last post, and just when I thought it was safe, they pull you back in again. If you don’t recall, I’ve been heavily engaged in a massive IT transformation project for a very large multinational corporation for the past year and a half. This corporation has multiple business areas with multiple business units under those areas. This creates an environment where the very idea, or mention, of change is extremely scary for a lot of the executives I’m dealing with. I’m finding out quickly that the concept of portfolio management is not a widely grasped concept and is relatively new to many.
As we hear more about VMware, AWS, and IBM, a new story emerges. VMware is talking about cross-cloud management. VMware is also talking about cloud-native applications. VMware is also talking about how you go from the data center to the cloud. VMware is talking about how to transform into a hybrid cloud. It appears there is an interesting thread throughout this. We have read about the winners and losers in VMware’s new approach, but what most are missing is that there are no real losers. There are just winners. It depends on your mindset. The Achilles’ heel of IT is not hybrid cloud, but scale. How do we scale up our applications fast enough to handle the new IT? The approach VMware is taking is a major pivot for it. Let us look at some fundamentals.
The news is out: you can now have the dominant enterprise hypervisor in the dominant public cloud. This is a pretty major shift for both vendors, and it will take a while to get enough details of the business and technical sides. Right now, we know that AWS will offer physical ESXi servers in its data centers. The ESXi servers will be patched and maintained by VMware, but the workloads will be managed by customers. What I haven’t seen yet is how much control customers get. We also don’t yet know how the network integrates with Amazon’s VPC networking. Another huge issue is what this means for VMware’s pre-existing cloud service provider partners.
What is the future of big data? This is the question on my mind and perhaps those of others. We know it is being used heavily by industry, business, and government. One thing I want to know is how do we make big data even faster? Eventually, even with Moore’s Law, we will hit a roadblock. Granted, for many, we are a far cry from hitting any limits. However, for some, some queries still take months to answer. For security groups, months is too slow. So, where do we turn? How do we get faster?