Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Without a Strong PaaS, ITaaS, DevOps & IaaS Fall Short

Delivering IT as a service requires transformative efforts across all of IT

To lower IT operational costs and/or to become more agile, the business must simplify the processes to deliver and manage infrastructure and the applications running on that infrastructure. Focusing on one without the other is simply applying yet another band-aid to an already hampered environment. Delivering IT as a service requires transformative efforts across all of IT and a re-evaluation of the metrics currently used to judge success. Achieving these goals demands a new platform and approach to delivering data and applications to users.

I was recently reviewing a reference architecture for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and was confounded by the sheer complexity still required to deliver what amounts to a starting point for the higher level task of deploying software. Perhaps I set the bar too high, but if I were a CIO, any new infrastructure investment I made today would need to be part of a self-aware automatically elastic resource pool. That is, when I plug in the new hardware (e.g., server, storage, network) I’m asked a couple of basic questions about allocation and voila the hardware is automatically incorporated into one or more resource pools. Moreover, there's software that sits on top of that pool that allocates it out to users on a metered basis. Any further time spent on operational configuration, engineering and deployment is simply wasted effort.

This vision of elastic and automated configuration is not a pipe-dream otherwise it would be too costly for a business like Amazon to deliver its service at the price point that it does. If Amazon required the amount of human involvement in managing the infrastructure that most IT organizations currently require the cost of delivering their EC2 and S3 services would not be sustainable let alone continue to shrink.

As CIO of Company A, it then occurs to me, I have two choices: a) change the way I operate to look more like Amazon, or b) let Amazon do what they do best and subscribe to their services. The former is a daunting task for sure. Transforming IT to deliver as a service has an impact deep into the DNA of the business itself. There’s a whole lot of risk and no guarantee of success. Moreover, the key metric to demonstrate success is elusive at best as it needs to be a combination of productivity, costs and agility weighted against a number that is very difficult to compute based on the current architecture. Hence, how can I demonstrate to executive management and the Board that their investment in transformation was money well spent? The latter is interesting, but I need to overcome internal perceptions surrounding lack of security and the issues related to CapEx versus OpEx spending. Either way, or maybe I choose a combination of both in a hybrid architecture, all I have to show at the end of the day is a better way to allocate infrastructure for purposes of deploying and managing applications; at which point we encounter a whole new set of complexities.

One of the biggest hurdles surrounding application management is the diversity and lack of integration of the application stacks. Consider a basic financial application workload that is used companywide. There’s a database, which must be able to handle hundreds of transactions a minute. There’s the application itself which is comprised of some core executable modules and a bunch of business rules that are defined within the application. The core executables probably run in some form of middleware that enables it to scale, which is a separate layer that must be individually deployed and managed. Of course, this is the bare minimum to make the application work. There also needs to be some security layers made up of anywhere from five to ten applications and tools for managing disaster recovery, high-availability and extracting data for external reporting. All these layers must be integrated to work seamlessly. Moreover, this is just one of many applications an enterprise operates.

Now, imagine that entire integrated application stack just described is a complete package (workload) that must now be made to work with a given hardware infrastructure, usually chosen by a separate team that has little to no experience with the application architecture or worse selected by procurement off an approved vendor list. Moreover, it requires a combination of skills from both application and operations teams to figure out how best to scale the application over time as demand rises. As George Takei, of Star Trek fame likes to say, “oh myyy”! In short, there’s just too many moving parts requiring too much human intervention and too much engineering and configuration relative to the value received. It’s no wonder business is seriously considering alternative means of acquiring IT services, such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). For this reason over the next few years IT must and will start to seriously consider Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

Most times I recommend evolution over revolution as it is usually more palatable by the business. However, continuing to deliver IT in this manner is unsustainable and is not delivering the agility and speed require by the business. PaaS changes the way we think about building applications and leveraging PaaS capabilities will require applications to be rewritten or migrated. These applications will not directly implement a unique instance of application infrastructure, but will leverage services that are designed to meet stated service levels. In turn, this simplifies the deployment and operation of that application as well as opens the architecture up to leverage services with better economics over time. It will remove the requirement for an infrastructure and operations team to figure out how to optimize a selected set of hardware to meet the goals of a single application and let them focus instead on how to deliver services.

Moreover, PaaS delivers a shared common platform, which is where PaaS becomes such a critical component to tying together ITaaS, IaaS and DevOps into a singular goal of design, build, test, run and terminate. IaaS is merely a commodity layer that offers high value compute services and can support the selected PaaS. DevOps provides the framework and structure for configuration of the application support services, such as networking, security, authorization, backup, etc.

In the end, instead of multiple disjointed teams each focused on their own specializations, there will be a single team focused on the goal of delivering IT services to the business. This is all driven by the focus and perspective fostered through a move toward PaaS.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By JP Morgenthal

JP Morgenthal is a veteran IT solutions executive and Distinguished Engineer with CSC. He has been delivering IT services to business leaders for the past 30 years and is a recognized thought-leader in applying emerging technology for business growth and innovation. JP's strengths center around transformation and modernization leveraging next generation platforms and technologies. He has held technical executive roles in multiple businesses including: CTO, Chief Architect and Founder/CEO. Areas of expertise for JP include strategy, architecture, application development, infrastructure and operations, cloud computing, DevOps, and integration. JP is a published author with four trade publications with his most recent being “Cloud Computing: Assessing the Risks”. JP holds both a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Hofstra University.

Latest Stories
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Get deep visibility into the performance of your databases and expert advice for performance optimization and tuning. You can't get application performance without database performance. Give everyone on the team a comprehensive view of how every aspect of the system affects performance across SQL database operations, host server and OS, virtualization resources and storage I/O. Quickly find bottlenecks and troubleshoot complex problems.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for s...
"We are the public cloud providers. We are currently providing 50% of the resources they need for doing e-commerce business in China and we are hosting about 60% of mobile gaming in China," explained Yi Zheng, CPO and VP of Engineering at CDS Global Cloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
"We are a custom software development, engineering firm. We specialize in cloud applications from helping customers that have on-premise applications migrating to the cloud, to helping customers design brand new apps in the cloud. And we specialize in mobile apps," explained Peter Di Stefano, Vice President of Marketing at Impiger Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...