Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

Got great computing ideas? Need IT infrastructure cost reduction? Well, try PaaS!   Leave a comment

Here’s some questions to ponder:

How much are you spending on IT infrastructure?
How do you currently develop applications?
How do you improve what you have?
What platforms do you have for those great ideas?

Well, PaaS – Platform as a Service – might be right for you.

With PaaS you don’t need to worry about the servers, the network, the storage and all of the trouble associated with these three. The provider takes care of that for you.

With PaaS you get a suite of tools and an application hosting environment.

So, how does this apply to you? Well, if you are in a standard IT shop – it may be that a lot of the infrastructure support costs could be done away with by reframing your cloud computing model search away from looking at the whole IT stack (applications, data & technology) to just the application and data layers.

That 70-80% of your IT budget which is spent on just keeping the lights going, could well drop significantly if you choose the right cloud computing model.

And what of your application developing, testing and deployment environment? Is it just on that Office PC or do you have to “fight” for resources on the virtual server farm. By considering PaaS a bit more robustness may be achieved for your work.

For more, see Dellium Advisory, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on LinkedIn

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Cloud Computing for your organisation? Well, try IaaS   Leave a comment

IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service.

Here’s some questions:
1. Do you have your own datacenter, or are you sharing a facility?
2. What is the age of the infrastructure? That is, the servers and the network switches?
3. How extensive is virtualisation? 100% of your servers? 50% of your servers?
4. And what is in the pipeline for application upgrades and/or replacements or even new applications over the next year or two?

Recently I performed a simple calculation. Given the life of a SAN is say 5 years, it was cheaper to transfer all of its workload to an IaaS provider. That pricing comparison didn’t include the environment (airconditioning, power, etc) and didn’t factor in the reductions in IaaS rates.

Moving to an IaaS provider could be viewed as moving to a remote datacenter?

Think it through. Think through the cost implications, the security implications & what it would mean for your users?

Is this a trend just like server virtualisation was several years ago? Where at first we try virtualising just a few non-critical servers to “test the waters”, and then push through and virtualize the rest.

Perhaps, IaaS makes sense for your situation.

For more, see Dellium Advisory.

The Commoditisation of the Cloud?   Leave a comment

What are they thinking? And is this what the cloud has come to?

With the recent announcement that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is going to add IaaS as a tradeable commodity just as it has space on its exchange for trading other commodities like bananas, oil and copper raises an interesting question.

Is the market for cloud services so mature that there really is little to distinguish between the providers?

And what is IaaS?

To put it into perspective, there are three levels to cloud the computing structure:
1. IaaS: Infastructure as a Service. The virtual machines, the networking and the storage
2. PaaS: Platform as a Service. The database servers, the web servers, etc
3. SaaS: Software as a Service. The applications that we use

And what CME is saying is that the bottom layer is a commodity. That there is no real difference between the offerings from Amazon, Google & Microsoft. That computing power is tradable in the same way that energy is. That price becomes the key determinant of between the market players at this layer & that differentiation at the PaaS & SaaS layers will be the increasing focus of the game in the time ahead.

For more see Dellium Advisory

Posted April 22, 2014 by terop in Architecture, Cloud Computing, ICT Strategy, Innovation

Is IT Aligned to your business?   Leave a comment

Here are some questions to ask about IT in your organization:
1. Are the enterprise, or business unit, reports you get, any reports at all, always accurate & timely?
2. How much effort does it take to produce these reports?
3. How centralized is IT? Is there much duplication of effort & systems?
4. From a customer & user perspective, how difficult is IT to use?
5. What contribution is IT making to the overall organizational strategy?

If IT is not efficient, effective & contributing positively – there’s a possibility that the IT strategy is not aligned to the overall organisational strategy.

That can, and should be, resolved.

For more, see Dellium Advisory.

Where is IT headed?   Leave a comment

Think about it.

A steady flow of new, and derived, apps for smartphones. The push from the majors to move to our IT to the cloud. The pervasiveness of social technology in all the we do or are likely to do. Our fondness for computing on the go (tablets, smartphones). The delivery of Big Data’s promise.

Is there an underlying meme, a driver, a way of looking at all of this for it to all make sense.

Well, I believe there is.

One is through the lens of Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Need” theory. The theory that says once our basic needs (physiological & safety) then we advance to the needs of belonging & esteem. With those catered for, we progress onto the last – self-actualization (creativity, problem solving, etc).

Viewed this way, computing makes sense. We have our basic needs met, we have found our sense of belonging & esteem. And now its onto creativity & problem solving. Thus the rise of social computing platforms. Thus the rise of enablers like computing on the go.

The second lens is Ken Wilbur’s “Integral Theory”. Like Maslow’s hierarchy, Integral Theory is about going through levels. Each level has a colour: Beige for archaic (dawning self-awareness), red for tribal (ego-centric), blue for traditional (order, values), orange for modern (rationality, democracy) and green for post-modern (equality, world-centric).

And, like Maslow, Wilbur sees people progress through the layers.

Thus we can see computing from the personal usage & commercial usage go through these layers. We can see how technology is both an enabler of these levels & an artifact of the level it finds itself in.

So, where is IT headed? Toward more self-actualization, toward more post-modern. People & businesses getting more creative & solving problems in new ways. People & business seeing greater symbiosis as the natural order of things.

There is no going back to how it was.

Posted March 11, 2014 by terop in Architecture, Cloud Computing, Innovation, Technologies

Why “Cloud Computing” now?   Leave a comment

Think about the classes of resources in any computing environment. There’s storage, processing, the network and working memory.

Think back over the last couple of decades or so with respect to what has happened to the price of each of these resources, the impact of the price of that resource, and the factors that have driven the prices down.

Remember when working memory chips (RAM) were expensive? As software vendors started taking the stance “what if memory was, relatively speaking, free?” programs came packed with desirable features that required more memory than was economically available. Thus, it can be argued, that one of the drivers to lower memory costs was the demand for more memory.

And what about that CPU? Again, as software vendors wrote multi-threaded applications for the mass computing market, the need for greater processing grunt became apparent. The developers were writing software with the paradigm “what if processing power was free?”

And then to storage. Storage is cheap now. Think about the availability of terabyte consumer portable hard drives, think about that solid state drive in your laptop. How easy is it to store photos, movies, songs. How much storage is in that data centre at work today compared with even 5 years ago! We are operating under the paradigm of “storage is free”

And so to the network. What if data communications were free? What if bandwidth was free? What would we see? Rather than seeing PC-centric multimedia applications, we would see consumer grade audio and video services hosted by third parties (ie. Youtube, Spotify, etc). We would see simple chat services (ie. Microsoft Messenger) evolve into rich communication platforms (ie. Facebook). And we would see a shift in enterprise computing from the traditional data centre to one “hosted in the cloud”.

The time is ripe for cloud-based enterprise computing.

Posted December 18, 2013 by terop in Architecture, Cloud Computing, ICT Strategy, Innovation

IT Strategy Development – what is the stance of your organisation’s strategic positioning?   Leave a comment

The development of appropriate IT architecture is crucial to any organisation. In order to maintain your competitiveness, the way you structure your IT systems is important.

Now, whilst the area of strategic need being analysed is the determination of the most suitable IT architecture, the key driver here is in determining the strategic positioning of your business. According to Michael Porter, a major international figure with respect to business strategy, striving for sustainable competitive advantage is through, broadly, one of two generic positioning strategies: cost leadership or product differentiation.

It is through the understanding of your positioning strategy that appropriate investments, including IT investments, can be made.

You also need to take into account of the focus of the resultant ICT investment. If its in the operational side of the business, you should aim for efficiency. If it’s in the area of your organisation’s expertise, then you should aim to support the positioning strategy.

Posted December 13, 2013 by terop in Architecture, ICT Strategy