Cloud Leaders Must Acknowledge Importance of Agility via OSS Initiatives

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

• Leading into JavaOne, keep an eye on prominent microservices community project MicroProfile including vendor participants.

• Another important cloud initiative receives strong support this month via Microsoft and AWS.

As we head into the crush of fall conferences among application platform and cloud vendors, I’m watching for themes that will further the modernization of application development. Since I have concerns about the ongoing complexities around emerging microservices architectures, community projects focused on improving the development process via open source software initiatives will be especially important in coming months.

This week a prominent community project focused on microservices, MicroProfile, announced key feature enhancements aimed at accelerating the adoption of microservices within the Java EE community. While there are multiple efforts around standardizing Java EE technology, not the least of which is JCP, MicroProfile’s latest enhancement will include a common configuration API that can be applied to multiple deployments, basically externalizing a configuration from an app to support a rapidly changing DevOps environment including continuous delivery. Going forward, other areas the group is considering includes integration with Health Check, Health Metrics, and Fault Tolerance. Read more of this post

Microsoft Slams AWS via Container Offering and Kubernetes Backing

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Microsoft Azure’s recent noteworthy announcements include joining CNCF and previewing an easy-to-deploy container service.
  • Microsoft’s moves not only highlight efforts to make Azure more usable for customers and developers, but also seek to position AWS as an inflexible walled garden.

Microsoft had a banner week in the hotly contested cloud wars. Amid claims as the top revenue earner against AWS, Salesforce and others (with an annual ‘intelligent cloud’ revenue run rate of $18.9 billion), Microsoft rolled out an aggressive strategy to provide the easiest on-ramp into the cloud via a new container service. Read more of this post

In David Ulevitch, Cisco Has Found Its (Alternative) Rock Star Security Leader

E. Parizo

Summary Bullets:

• David Ulevitch, a seemingly unusual choice to lead Cisco’s security business, will foster ‘positive’ disruption.

• He’s the perfect choice to usher the business toward a cloud-centric future, in spite of looming challenges.

For many years, the top job in Cisco’s security business group has essentially been a revolving door. Leaders have come and gone quickly, generally in one to two year stints, with varying levels of success. It’s been a double-edged sword; ineffective leaders and misguided strategies haven’t lasted long (see: Jayshree Ullal and “Anti-X”), but innovative leaders and winning strategies often haven’t stuck (Chris Young, widely credited for the group’s turnaround, is now CEO of rival vendor McAfee). Read more of this post

I Can’t Hear Myself Think! – The Cost of Lost Productivity in Open Offices

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • A 2014 study by Steelcase and Ipsos found that workers lost as much as 86 minutes per day due to noise distractions.
  • Companies should carefully consider sound masking and headsets with active noise cancellation (ANC) to maximize productivity for the various environments and work styles of their employees.

In open office environments today, many workers try to screen out distractions by immersing themselves in music underneath their personal headphones in an attempt to concentrate. Office acoustics definitely influence an organization’s efficiency; a 2014 study by Steelcase and Ipsos found that workers lost as much as 86 minutes per day due to noise distractions. Unfortunately, many companies adopt open office environments, as many as 70% of U.S. offices according to the International Facilities Management Association. That equates to days of lost productivity. Why then do we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars designing offices and equipping employees with the latest and greatest productivity tools only to ignore the working environment our employees have to endure? Read more of this post

Enterprises Cannot Have Automation Commitment Issues and Be Successful

M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

• Blending intent-based networking with traditional network management paradigms, while a necessary transitional requirement, is fraught with peril.
• Committing fully to intent-based networking will drive all subsequent workflow and product changes and will result in overall better IT.

I recently wrote about the nascent developments around intent-based networking (IBN), specifically, that a system can automate the provisioning of a network based on a very high-level state of what the result should look like. It’s a laudable goal and, I think, still a few years and a few iterations away from reality, but getting there – even any widespread adoption of automation and orchestration – starts with your company’s unwavering commitment to IBN and automation. Read more of this post

Does Ingenu’s CEO Search Portend Problems for Proprietary IoT LPWANs?

K. Weldon

K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• LPWAN provider Ingenu announced that CEO John Horn was leaving the company and that it has a new strategic direction with an emphasis on partnering with leading ecosystem vendors to offer turnkey solutions

• This may portend difficulty for all the proprietary LPWAN vendors, who face imminent, highly significant competition from Tier 1 mobile operators launching LTE-M and NB-IoT networks

The sudden departure of Ingenu CEO John Horn, who was also the former head of T-Mobile USA’s IoT division, may be a signal of things to come. The flurry of network launches and service expansions from proprietary LPWAN providers Ingenu, SigFox, and the LoRA Alliance over the last two to three years have given way to more recent and frequent news about LTE-M and NB-IoT build-outs and service trials from mobile operators. 2017 has already seen the majority of global mobile operators promising or delivering on their network promises with national LPWAN networks ready to take on customers. All of these networks have a common message, to lower the price of IoT deployments for lower bandwidth use cases such as non-real-time sensor data collection, while extending device battery life – an ideal combination for long-term deployments where devices may be out in the field without much action or human intervention. A surprisingly large percent of IoT deployments today are in this usage category (often estimated at 60-80%). These are the kinds of applications that used to take advantage of lower cost 2G networks, but the LPWAN providers expect huge growth in the number of connections on their networks over the next five to ten years. Read more of this post

How Design Thinking Can Save Digital Transformation and the Tour de France

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Technology companies like IBM and SAP are turning to the 50-year-old design and ideation methodology, ‘design thinking,’ in order to innovate more rapidly and better respond to customer needs.
  • Why is a process rooted in sticky notes and whiteboard doodles suddenly relevant for both technology providers and enterprise buyers? The reason is simple: with it, software developers can find and then answer the right questions.

A few weeks ago, a colleague passed me a link to an interesting live data dashboard for the Tour de France. Built by Dimension Data, this interactive, live view into the yearly bicycle jaunt about the French countryside was for me both fascinating and frustrating. As an IoT problem in action, the live tracking and comparative bar charts for various cycling groups (breakaway pack vs. Peloton, for example) provided an absorbing array of data points to ponder. Yet, I found myself looking for and failing to find answers to my own questions, like where are the current outliers and how does today’s stage compare with those in the past? Nitpicking, I know. But as an enthusiast of both data and cycling, I would have jumped at the chance to work with the team designing this app. Read more of this post

Intent-Based Networking: Nascent but Hurdles Remain

M. Fratto

• Intent-based networking (IBN) promises to optimize network operations by shifting IT from a configuration focus to an outcome focus.

• The promise may be a stretch today but IBN is evolving as a technology and a practice and improvements will come from early adopters.

IBN faces significant technical and operational challenges in gaining market acceptance within enterprise IT. The challenges start with defining and understanding what IBN is, but then quickly progresses to include things such as organizational and technical implementation.
Read more of this post

Managing Hybrid Cloud Complexity: A Battleground and Differentiator

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • For enterprises of all sizes, the need to manage complex hybrid and multi-cloud environments is fueling demand for integrated management solutions.
  • Solution vendors will respond by continuing to expand their portfolio capabilities, the range of cloud platforms supported and the choice of consumption and delivery models.

It is now widely accepted that the future of enterprise cloud will be hybrid, as enterprises of all sizes look for ways of harnessing the benefits of both private and public clouds. Indeed, the perceived opportunity to deliver hybrid cloud solutions to enterprises is encouraging both public cloud service providers and private cloud infrastructure vendors to evolve their existing solutions and introduce new ones – with the latter often involving the formation of new strategic partnerships. Read more of this post

Salesforce DX Democratizes Coding via Heroku Tools and Einstein AI-Powered CRM Apps

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • The Trailhead training program continues to play a big part infiltrating AI into app development.
  • Salesforce DX represents a leveraging of Heroku tools to a broader audience of developers to achieve continuous integration.

At its recent TrailheaDX conference, Salesforce provided further insight into its efforts to train more developers on its high-value services, including AI-powered CRM apps, and increase the competitive threat it poses to software platform rivals Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon. Read more of this post