Saturday, December 26, 2009

The SOA Manifesto

The SOA manifesto was published in October 2009.
It is a short document including SOA Value Proposition, principles and guidelines.
The idea is similar to the idea of the successful Agile Manifesto from 2001, which become a reference for Agile developers.
Agile Manifesto's success is based on two factors:
It is a short and simple document and it was created by Agile thought leaders.
The SOA manifesto was created by SOA thought leaders including employees of: IBM, Oracle and Microsoft and other vendors.
You can read and sign the manifesto in this URL .
You can also watch the YouTube video.
Thomas Eri, one of the manifest creators, wrote an annotated version.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

SOA in 2009

Seasonal Greetings to all of you.
It is time to summarize 2009. As far is SOA is concerned, the most important developments in 2009 are:

1.  "SOA is dead Long Live Services" a post in Anne Thomas Mannes's blog.


Anne Thomas Mannes is a Burton Group Vice President and Research Director majored in SOA.
This post his blog post is important because it brought forward the mistakes in many SOA implementations and the misuse of the three letters S O A.
It also catalyzed many responses of leading expert disagreeing with her opinions. 
Most of the experts participated in ebizQ SOA forum agreed with me that "SOA is Dead" was important. You can read all the answers submitted to the question:  What Developments in SOA Are You Most Thankful For This Year?

2.    SOA is becomes the dominant paradigm
SOA is real. The term Services is used very often. Most surveys show that at least 50% of the organizations are already implementing SOA.
Most of the other enterprises are planning to start a SOA initiative in the next year.
Do not forget that SOA is a long journey. Only few organizations are close to completing the journey (e.g., British Telecom) and those are Early Adopters, who started implementing SOA many years ago.

3.    Cloud Computing is extending SOA beyond the enterprise boundaries to the Virtual Enterprise.
Cloud Computing is extending Infrastructure Services, by IaaS usage, but mostly  Application Services or Business Services by SaaS usage.   For more details read another post SaaS is going Mainstream.

4.    BPM
BPM is maturing and evolving. The Best Practice is convergence of SOA and BPM, i.e. tightly coupled SOA and BPM initiatives and combined Excellence Center for both of them

5.    Event Driven Architecture (EDA)
From 2003 my SOA presentations emphasized EDA's role as an architecture completing SOA.  I was not the only one. For example, Gartner's analysts preceded me and Oracle's experts talked about SOA 2.0. SOA 2.0 is actually SOA completed by Events driven architecture.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

ERP Past and Future

Do you think that ERP matters?
If the answer is yes, you could learn something from its past and present in order to forecast its future.
I recently came across a site trying to build a "wiki" timeline that covers the history of manufacturing & ERP software.
The timeline includes key events that have shaped the ERP software industry over the last 50 years. It's a quick way to understand the context of current enterprise software events.
The term ERP's definition in this context is a broad definition including applications such as CRM

The following chart and title are an example of one of the key events.

 1990
Gartner Coins "Enterprise Resource Planning"




If you would like to read or contribute, you can visit that site.
I shared with the site's creators some of my opinions about ERP & SOA and ERP & SaaS.
If you read previous posts such as  Future Applications: SaaS or Traditional? , you are aware of my opinion.

Friday, December 4, 2009

IGT Cloud Computing Summit – part1


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Created by Sam Johnston using OminGroup's OmniGraffle and Inkscape (includes Computer.svg by Sasa Stefanovic)


I participated on December, 2nd in the first day of IGT2009 The World Summit of Cloud Computing. The interesting event is organized by The Israeli Grid Association which organized a similar event in 2008. The event's agenda includes presentations by global vendors (Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, eBay, Netapp, Sun Microsystems), local companies (e.g., Matrix) Analyst (Bitcurrent) an enterprise (Intel), local and international Guru (Yossi Vardi). In addition an Executives Panel and workshops took place.
This post does not summarize the presentations, which will be available in IGT's Web site. It is my take.

Enterprise Services vs. Social Computing
Most presenters talked about Enterprise Cloud Services.
Yossi Vardi's message was: people are the Killing Application of Cloud Computing. He presented examples of new creative collaborative patterns.

 

Cloud Computing Past, Present and Future


Comparing 2008 and 2009 conference agendas reveals the changes in Cloud Computing. 2008 agenda included many theoretical and visionary presentations, as well as some down to earth presentations (e.g. Amazon's presentation). This year agenda included concrete marketing messages from IBM and Microsoft including locations of future Cloud Computing services Data Centers and products descriptions and announcements (including availability dates).
Most of the panelists in the Executives Panel supported the opinion that in 10 years Cloud Computing will be the architecture of choice of most enterprises.
My opinion is different. I do think that Cloud Computing will be Mainstream; however, it will take more time until it will be implemented for Core Business Services for most organizations. My opinion is that in 10 years we will see enterprises with mixed environments: Internal Data Centers and External Cloud Services For more details see previous posts titled: SaaS is going Mainstream and Future Applications: SaaS or Traditional?
The following section may support my opinion.

The Case of Intel

In my opinion, Intel's Gregory Touretskey's presentation was the most interesting presentation. He described a failed Proof of Concept (POC) of External Cloud Computing executed by Intel. Intel's POC executed together with Cloud Computing services provider, checked the scenario of using External Cloud for Intel's Design processes (60% of Intel's workload).  Intel is a lot larger than typical high-end enterprise; therefore its conclusions may not apply to most enterprises. However, some insights are applicable to other enterprises.

The reason for executing a POC is lack of ability to add significant computing capacity in short time. This could happen in case of Capacity Planning error or in case of unplanned significant workload. Usage of External Cloud Computing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) services could be the answer to this problem.
My take: This issue is not Intel specific. A need for immediate Capacity, which could not be provided by increasing Data Center capacity, due to long time required for supply processes, could be handled by Cloud Computing services provider. Planning and testing should be done prior to the emergency situation. It could be part of BCP and DRP testing.

The main reasons that the POC failed are:
  • Software Licensing  
Software Licenses limited software usage to specific locations or distance from locations. The IaaS provider's Data Center could be outside the specified location or distance.
My take:  This problem is not Intel specific. Software licensing models should be adapted to Cloud Computing. However, Software vendors profits may decline, therefore expect for a long period until new Licensing models will be available.
  •     Security
The Cloud is less secure due to Multi-Tenancy. Even if appropriate security measures will be taken in order to protect the software and hardware, People (Cloud Computing Provider's employees), could breach them.
My Take: I do agree that people are the weakest Security link. I elaborate on this issue in a post titled: The Chain is as strong as the weakest link in the chain. However, this concern is applicable only for sensitive data like Intel's design data.
  •     Performance  
The reasons for not good enough performance were old generations processors (Intel upgrades its servers processors more frequently then the IaaS providers) and Virtual Machine overhead due to a larger number of Virtual Operating Systems Instances per Physical server in the IaaS Provider's environment in comparison to Intel.
My Take:  Intel is a very large enterprise which manufactures Processors. Therefore it probably upgrades processors more frequently than many other enterprises. The number of Virtual Operating System instances per Server is irrelevant for the IaaS Consumer as long as the Cloud Computing provider provides the service level defined in an Service level Agreement (SLA).
  •    Capacity
The IaaS Provider could not provide the required capacity in a single Data Center. Usage of a remote Data Center implies Network Latency Time which negatively effects performance.
My Take:  This issue could be is specific to Intel or other Very Large Enterprises. Smaller enterprises capacity could be allocated in a single IaaS provider Data Center but be aware of this effect, when signing your contract with your IaaS services provider. 
  •     No Return of Investment (ROI)
My Take: reducing costs is a major reason for consuming Cloud Computing services. I do think that this reason for unsuccessful POC is specific. In the 2008 conference Intel presented its Internal Cloud. I suspect that no ROI for External Cloud in Intel's case is related to efficient resources usage including implementation of Internal Clouds. As far as Intel is concerned, my opinion is supported by Processor usage of 80% and 90% presented by Gregory Touretskey.
These numbers are highly above the average usage numbers in enterprises (Industry average of 15% usage was presented by IBM in the same conference). The conclusion may be generalized to other users of Internal Clouds (whatever definition of that ambiguous concept is used. See Zapthink's Zapflash Private Clouds a Valuable Concept or  Buzzword Bingo ):  
expect significantly less dramatic savings for enterprises which moved from Internal Clouds to External Clouds.

The Case of Microsoft
Microsoft is not IBM. Providing Cloud Computing services does not change significantly IBM's Business model, because IBM is already providing services (Hosting, IGS, and Outsourcing).
Microsoft is a software only vendor. Building Data Centers for providing Azure Cloud Computing Services is a significant business model change.
I can recall only one change in Microsoft's history, which is as dramatic as this model change: In 1995: Microsoft replaced the MSN centric vision by Web model.
In 2009 as well as in 1995 Microsoft is entering the new market after its competitors. A major risk of the new Cloud Computing model is in cannibalizing traditional software sales revenues.
It is too early for analyzing the consequences of that model shift. Expect for coexistence of traditional software selling model with emerging Cloud Computing model.


The Case of Netapp
The presentation of John Rollason, Product Solutions and alliances Marketing Manager EMA, was a down to earth presentation. He defined four types of Cloud Computing implementation types: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and STaaS.
The ST in the last acronym is Storage. No wonder that Storage vendor like Netapp defines the fourth unique type in addition to the three well known types of Cloud Computing.
He described IaaS as replacing of Hardware Resources Silos for different applications by shared virtual pool of hardware resources.
In my opinion it is a result of the replacement of Silo applications (named also as stovepipes or monolithic applications) by SOA services. In a new world of services hardware is no longer owned by an application and services share the same hardware.
According to John Rollason changing the infrastructure architecture to a shared Cloud model requires changing of Storage, Servers and Communication equipment simultaneously. Therefore cooperation between Storage, Servers, Network and Virtualization vendors is crucial.
Netapp partnered with Cisco and VMware.
 I doubt if that partnership is the right partnership for Netapp and if that partnership is a long term strategic partnership.
EMC, VMware (owned by EMC) partnership is tighter partnership including the product development phase. EMC and VMware also partnered with Cisco as a Servers and Network provider.
Netapp could continue its partnership with Cisco, but probably will create a strategic partnership with another Virtualization vendor, who is not a Storage vendor (e.g. Citrix).

Among Netapp IaaS Case Studies he mentioned: British Telecom (BT) and T-Mobile.
Is it a coincidence that I mentioned the same companies in my SOA presentations as examples of successful SOA implementation (BT) and successful Web Services implementation (T-Mobile)?
I think that it is not. SOA together with Web 2.0 are the basis for Cloud Computing.
Once your Enterprise architecture is SOA based you can expand the Services deployment to the Virtual Enterprise including Clouds.

Monday, November 23, 2009

SOA and Corporate Culture change

One of the most difficult tasks of a major paradigm shift or architectural change or major technological change is Organizational Culture change (Corporate Culture change).
Without a cultural change SOA's Value Proposition could be turned to nothing, because SOA's benefits such as Service Reuse will not take place. 
In a recent ebizQ webinar Gartner's VP Distinguished Analyst Yefim Natis, talked about SOA Proponents’ Myths. 100% Service Reuse is one of these myths. The reality is that successful Service Reuse ratio is about 30%.
It is obvious that Service Reuse is easy to say and is hard to use.
The expectations of near to 100 percent usage of Objects in Objects Oriented also failed. However, there are significant measured benefits even to small percentage of Object Reuse and more significant benefits for small percentage of Service Reuse.
Why is Service Reuse limited?
The main reasons are Technical and Cultural.
As far as Technical reasons are concerned, sometimes it could be difficult and cost a lot to generalize a Service across systems. Expanding the components included in the service in order to support reuse, could require a lot of coding and increase complexity. Due to this technical limitation large enterprises architecture could include two levels of Service Bus: Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) or Big Bus and ESB like departmental or Line of Business Bus or Small Bus. The Services in the Second level Bus are reused only internally i.e. by different applications in the same department or Line of Business. 
The Cultural issue limiting Service Reuse is related to creating a Reuse Culture in the organization. Absence of Reuse Culture obviously limits the frequency of Service Reuse. The transformation from a traditional organizational culture could be difficult due to resistance to change and other factors.

Resistance

Expect resistance to any cultural change. The reasons for opposing cultural changes required for implementing SOA varied:
1.Conservatives - Some people are conservative and therefore oppose any change.
2. Potential Losers – People who fear that they could not adapt to the new culture and lose their status.  The people included in this group are usually experienced and knowledgeable as far as the current corporate culture is concerned. For example, very productive programmers could lose their rewards in a new culture that rewards Reuse instead of development.
3. If it is not broken do not fix it – People who think that the current culture is good enough. However, in many cases they may be wrong because current business dynamics requires Agility or in other words used more often by Business C level managers (CEO, CFO, etc.) ability to respond quickly.

Changing Corporate Culture

Changing Corporate Culture is not simple. The methods of changing the culture could be specific to each organization.
A nice illustration of a unique way of changing Corporate Culture was posted by Peter Bregman in his blog in Harvard Business School site. The example has nothing to do with SOA, but it illustrated the creativity needed for identifying the key for change.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Do You Think Google Wave, or Some Other Application, Will Ever Make Email Obsolete?



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I am not a fan of current e-mail offerings. It is full of Spam, Viruses, Worms and Phishing and the messages capacity is permanently growing.

Some of the limitations should and could overcome by technical improvements by e-mail vendors and by different approaches by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). For example, ISPs can eliminate messages including Viruses, Worms or Phising with no additional charge.

Other limitations are inherent. For example, Spam filtering by Anti-Spam is done by usage of statistical indicators and will never be 100% accurate. In an article I wrote few years ago, I pointed at the similarity between Signal Detection theory and Spam filtering: both are based on statistics (usually on Bayesian algorithms) and assign different weights to different error types.

Despite of my opinion on e-mail technology when I was asked for my opinion on the question appearing in this post's title, my opinion is that Google Wave will not make e-mail obsolete.


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My Opinion
Google Wave is very creative and could have some advantages over e-mail. However, I do not think this application or other similar application will make e-mail obsolete, same as e-mail did not make mail obsolete or Instant Messaging did not make e-mail obsolete. For certain tasks, mainly collaborative mailing, it may replace e-mail, but for one to one communication traditional e-mail will be used despite its limitations. 

e-mail vs. Google Wave is similar to Word Processor vs. Wikis. Wikis did not replace Word Processor but are better fit for collaborative documents. Although, I do not think Google Wave will replace e-mail it may improve it significantly. The future e-mail may include some of Google Wave ideas, such as single copy of messages.

Other experts' opinions
Read other ebizQ experts' opinions in this link.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Future applications: SaaS or traditional?


After hearing a podcast of Dana Gardner's interesting interviewing Aneel Bhusri Workday CEO,
I tried to figure out what went wrong in the transition from traditional applications suites composed of large components to Service Oriented based application suites.

In 2003 I had to present Giga Information Group's view in a local ERP conference in Haifa.
A presentation by Giga's Analyst (and afterwards Forrester Research Analyst) Byron Miller titled: "ERP Technology Is Going Mainstream" was used for that purpose.
The presentation depicts three possible future ERP states:
Suite State – proprietary vendors suits.
Industry or Vendor Ecosystems – more evolved standard based suits.
New B-O-B World – standards based Best of Breed state. Use of ERP components from different suits is possible because of the standardization.


New B-O-B World is the most desired state; however according to Giga's prediction the most probable future state is Suite State.

I am not sure if SAP's and Oracle's initiatives to transform their ERP suites to Service Oriented suites are attempts to move to Industry or Vendor Ecosystems state or to New B-O-B World (I suspect that their goal is to build a Service Oriented Ecosystems and not a New B-O-B World), but so far the initiatives are far from being successful.

One of the best ways to save money during the recession period is to delay ERP upgrades. Delaying ERP upgrades could save millions of dollars. In a Case Study presented in Gartner Group's Architecture Webinar, an organization saved 2M$, by delaying an ERP upgrade for 3 years.
The reasons to postpone an ERP upgrade during Recession are obvious: It is not strategic and it is expansive.


Compare these upgrades with Web 2.0 or SaaS applications upgrade with no user responsibility, resources and efforts. Aneel Bhusri talked about a version upgrade of Workday Hr application about once in 3 or 4 months. Google as well as other Web 2.0 vendors do not even have versions for their SaaS applications at all (see my post Web 2.o for Dummies: Part 4: What is Web 2.0?).



I do think that ERP and other Core Applications vendors have no choice: In order to be Agile, Future applications should be Service based applications, but how would these applications be transformed to services.? The hard way is by decomposing current Component based ERP systems to services by Fusion project, partially Java rewrite of ABAP applications and similar initiatives. The easy way is to start fresh Service based single ERP or CRM application such as SalesForce.com, Workday or Netsuite and extends it gradually.

The other side of the coin is the functional gap between current ERP and the SaaS based solutions, but this gap could be closed in the long run.

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