Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Ed Featherston, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Dalibor Siroky, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

The Intersection of Legacy Processes and Cloud Computing

How cloud affects existing operational process

One of the really cool things about getting out and talking with users about different cloud computing approaches is that, in many cases, you get to pose radically different ways of doing things within an organization. In some discussions, you can practically see the wheels turning behind the eyes of the audience as they think what this new approach means to them, their teams, and their organization. This usually results in some fun (and challenging) conversations about what cloud adoption means to the existing operational process of users.

I spend much of my time talking with users about lifecycle management for middleware application environments. Anyone familiar with these environments knows there is nothing trivial about them. They are made up of many different parts (operating system, middleware software, applications, etc.), and each of those parts usually involves their own setup and configuration. Of course, not only does each part require its own set of installation and configuration steps, there is also the need to configure integration between the parts, and there are ongoing operational needs as well. To accomplish the various installation, configuration, integration, and operational activities, companies define processes that they typically assign to different teams, thus leading to the all too familiar organizational silos.

When talking to an organization about the nuances of their approach for managing application environments, I always find it interesting to see how a cloud computing approach affects their organizational silos, and thus their operational processes. While these effects are sometimes viewed in a negative light (mostly because they challenge the status quo), it is the job of the cloud provider to show value and benefits in light of any adoption hurdles.

To consider the operational effects cloud can have on application middleware environments, let's consider a common scenario: updating a deployed application in a middleware environment. Whether you realize it or not, over the years, the middleware industry has implied a process for carrying out application updates. This process means that users update applications in-place without addressing the underlying infrastructure. This methodology is really born from two historical challenges associated with middleware environments:

- It took to long to install and configure the environments

- It was too hard to consistently configure the same environment

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this process of updating deployed applications, and in some cases, it is the right approach. However, in other cases I have heard users express frustration with this approach. In some cases, users want to deploy application updates into a green field. In other words, they want to deploy their newly updated application onto a newly installed and configured set of application infrastructure.  This is especially true for development and testing environments where users want to eliminate the likelihood of infrastructure configuration drift, thereby ensuring they are testing only the new behavior of the updated application.

Based on previous techniques for managing middleware application environments, the green field application update scenario was hard to support in a viable manner. On the other hand, I show users quite often how cloud computing solutions make this scenario easy to support from a technical perspective. A cloud-based approach makes it possible for users to define and persist templates or patterns that represent their fully configured application environments. Effectively, when combining these patterns or templates with technologies like virtualization, one can provision updated applications on top of a clean infrastructure install in a matter of minutes. Further, they can rest assured knowing that they can faithfully reproduce these environments repeatedly.

Now, the real fun starts when we consider these technical benefits and the capacity of a given enterprise to absorb such approaches.  As I said earlier, often times when I discuss and show these new cloud-based approaches to old challenges, I can almost see the internal contemplation among the audience members. This contemplation is not so much an attempt to grasp any sort of complex technical detail of the cloud-approach, but instead, it is an attempt to reconcile what they see proposed versus what they do now.

Consider the application update scenario again. If I can outline an approach whereby a single user can provision an entire application infrastructure environment, including the updated application, in a matter of minutes, what does that mean to the organization? While it certainly provides a real benefit for some subset of the application update scenarios, it is almost certainly at odds with the current operational processes. Can the enterprise adopt an approach that condenses a set of actions typically requiring multiple teams to carry out multiple steps independent of each other? Ultimately, the success of cloud adoption in many of these cases hinges on cloud providers understanding a potential consumer's existing operational processes and making a best fit proposal for their new approach. It's not easy work for sure, but no one will call it boring!

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.

@CloudExpo Stories
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is b...
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, provided some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacent...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
The need for greater agility and scalability necessitated the digital transformation in the form of following equation: monolithic to microservices to serverless architecture (FaaS). To keep up with the cut-throat competition, the organisations need to update their technology stack to make software development their differentiating factor. Thus microservices architecture emerged as a potential method to provide development teams with greater flexibility and other advantages, such as the abili...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud host...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the b...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"Since we launched LinuxONE we learned a lot from our customers. More than anything what they responded to were some very unique security capabilities that we have," explained Mark Figley, Director of LinuxONE Offerings at IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.