Click here to close now.

Welcome!

@CloudExpo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Wayne Lam, Tom Lounibos

Related Topics: @CloudExpo Blog, @MicroservicesE Blog

@CloudExpo Blog: Blog Post

The PaaS Supply Chain

What kind of supply chain approach will win in PaaS?

In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I usually get to catch up on my sadly neglected reading list. First up on my reading list this year: Clockspeed : Winning Industry Control in the Age of Temporary Advantage by Thomas Fine.

I am sure many of you have either read Clockspeed yourself or heard it mentioned in various circles. I am fast approaching the end, and while the book itself is not new (originally published in 1999), it seems, based on my own impressions and several other notable reviews, that the lessons of this piece are timeless.

I'm not going to do much justice to the book in just a couple of sentences, but for those of you not familiar with this work, here is a bit of background. The main premise put forward by Fine is that any competitive advantage a business holds is temporary. How temporary depends on the clockspeed of the particular industry in which the business competes, and as you might imagine these speeds vary widely across industries. In light of all advantage being temporary, Fine contends that a company's supply chain is the single most important competency it holds.

Fine provides ample reasoning behind his theory that a company's supply chain is their golden nugget. More interestingly, Fine backs his beliefs with concrete case study data from business history. For me, the most interesting case study is that of the IBM personal computer -- I am an IBMer after all. Fine recounts the events that lead up to IBM competing in the personal computer market, and then focuses on IBM's decisions regarding how to compete in that market.

Specifically, he notes IBM's seemingly conscious decision to take a modularized approach to delivering the PC. The supply chain included parts built within IBM, but importantly, not every part came from within IBM. Most notably, IBM chose to go with processors from Intel and operating systems from Microsoft. In choosing this horizontally integrated approach to building the PC, IBM opened the door for a larger number of competitors to enter the market. These competitors came in, built IBM compatible PCs, and eventually eroded IBM's dominance in this market. Why? Fine argues that consumers evolved to care more about what was on the inside of the PC (specifically the Microsoft operating system and Intel processors), and less about who built the box to house these components.

While this is an interesting bit of history, I believe we are coming upon a point of time when this may repeat itself all over again. This time the subject of interest will not be the PC, but instead, PaaS solutions. Last week, I talked about different approaches for delivering PaaS solutions. Looking back at those different models in the context of supply chain management, I suppose I could characterize them as being vertical (depth in deployment/management capabilities), horizontal (breadth in deployment/management capabilities), and hybrid (depth & breadth in deployment/management capabilities).

The question is which of these approaches will be the first winner in the PaaS market? As I said last week, in a perfect world, the hybrid approach would win out, but I believe we are far off from anyone being able to deliver something viable in this mold.  So, will it be horizontally or vertically composed PaaS solutions that become the first dominators?

The story above may seem to argue against the horizontal approach, but the fact is, this is just one anecdote from a book packed with them. Fine is careful to point out that supply chains with a vertical orientation are appropriate in some cases, while in other cases the horizontal approach wins out. Even then, the orientation chosen by the industry is not a decision made once and never revisited. Fine explains that a vertically oriented industry is under constant pressure to reorganize horizontally, while the inverse holds true for horizontally oriented industries.

That said, the PaaS industry has some interesting decisions to make. No one in the industry wants to risk becoming simply ‘the box' that manages the crucial components, nor would they want to deliver a solution lacking critical capability because no one company can develop all capabilities in-house. While the answers here are not easy, the current state of the market seems to be leaning heavily towards a vertical orientation.

Most of the PaaS solutions we see now concentrate on providing operational depth for application platforms at the expense of providing breadth. In my opinion, this seems like the right approach for this largely nascent market. In trying to gain traction and attract a community of users, PaaS solutions need to provide clear and ‘instant' value for those users. It is hard to do this if you cannot narrow in on a specific subset of use cases.

As PaaS works into the mainstream over the coming years, the supply chain approach taken by these solutions providers will be interesting to watch. Will vertical orientation continue to dominate the early PaaS years? Who will be the first leader to shift towards horizontal orientation, and what will the ramifications be? All of these are interesting questions and ones that only time will tell.

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
In the midst of the widespread popularity and adoption of cloud computing, it seems like everything is being offered “as a Service” these days: Infrastructure? Check. Platform? You bet. Software? Absolutely. Toaster? It’s only a matter of time. With service providers positioning vastly differing offerings under a generic “cloud” umbrella, it’s all too easy to get confused about what’s actually being offered. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hazard, Director of Digital Content for SoftL...
Agile, which started in the development organization, has gradually expanded into other areas downstream - namely IT and Operations. Teams – then teams of teams – have streamlined processes, improved feedback loops and driven a much faster pace into IT departments which have had profound effects on the entire organization. In his session at DevOps Summit, Anders Wallgren, Chief Technology Officer of Electric Cloud, will discuss how DevOps and Continuous Delivery have emerged to help connect dev...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies drivi...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world...
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at th...
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of...
Malicious agents are moving faster than the speed of business. Even more worrisome, most companies are relying on legacy approaches to security that are no longer capable of meeting current threats. In the modern cloud, threat diversity is rapidly expanding, necessitating more sophisticated security protocols than those used in the past or in desktop environments. Yet companies are falling for cloud security myths that were truths at one time but have evolved out of existence.
The time is ripe for high speed resilient software defined storage solutions with unlimited scalability. ISS has been working with the leading open source projects and developed a commercial high performance solution that is able to grow forever without performance limitations. In his session at Cloud Expo, Alex Gorbachev, President of Intelligent Systems Services Inc., shared foundation principles of Ceph architecture, as well as the design to deliver this storage to traditional SAN storage co...
"We provide a web application framework for building really sophisticated web applications that run on a browser without any installation need so we get used for biotech, defense, and banking applications," noted Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit (http://DevOpsSummit.SYS-CON.com), held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of pro...
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
SYS-CON Events announced today that JFrog, maker of Artifactory, the popular Binary Repository Manager, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based in California, Israel and France, founded by longtime field-experts, JFrog, creator of Artifactory and Bintray, has provided the market with the first Binary Repository solution and a software distribution social platform.
"We got started as search consultants. On the services side of the business we have help organizations save time and save money when they hit issues that everyone more or less hits when their data grows," noted Otis Gospodnetić, Founder of Sematext, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
One of the hottest areas in cloud right now is DRaaS and related offerings. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Dale Levesque, Disaster Recovery Product Manager with Windstream's Cloud and Data Center Marketing team, will discuss the benefits of the cloud model, which far outweigh the traditional approach, and how enterprises need to ensure that their needs are properly being met.
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect t...
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
Public Cloud IaaS started its life in the developer and startup communities and has grown rapidly to a $20B+ industry, but it still pales in comparison to how much is spent worldwide on IT: $3.6 trillion. In fact, there are 8.6 million data centers worldwide, the reality is many small and medium sized business have server closets and colocation footprints filled with servers and storage gear. While on-premise environment virtualization may have peaked at 75%, the Public Cloud has lagged in adop...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust...
Even as cloud and managed services grow increasingly central to business strategy and performance, challenges remain. The biggest sticking point for companies seeking to capitalize on the cloud is data security. Keeping data safe is an issue in any computing environment, and it has been a focus since the earliest days of the cloud revolution. Understandably so: a lot can go wrong when you allow valuable information to live outside the firewall. Recent revelations about government snooping, along...