Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Victoria Livschitz

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Apache

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

That Other Single Point of Failure

Unless you’re in publishing or high-tech, it is likely that our entire organization is a single point of failure

When you’re a kid at the beach, you spend a lot of time and effort building a sand castle. It’s cool, a lot of fun, and doomed to destruction. When high tide, or random kids, or hot sun come along, the castle is going to fall apart. It doesn’t matter, kids build them every year by the thousands, probably by the millions across the globe. Each is special and unique, each took time and effort, and each will fall apart.

The thing is, they’re all over the globe, and seasons are different all over the globe, so it is conceivable that there is a sand castle built or being built every minute of every day. Not easily provable, but doesn’t need to be for this discussion. when it is night and middle of winter in the northern reaches of North America, it is summer and daytime in Australia. The opportunity for continuation of sand castles is amazing.

Unless you’re in publishing or high-tech, it is likely that our entire organization is a single point of failure. Distributed applications make sense so that you can minimize risk and maximize uptime, right? The cloud is often  billed as more resistant to downtime precisely because it is distributed.

And your organization? Is it distributed? Really, spread out so that it can’t be impacted by something like Sandy?

There are a good number of organizations that are nearly 100% off-line right now because there is no power in the Northeast. That was not a possibility, it was an inevitability. Power outages happen, and they sometimes happen on a grand scale (remember the cascading midwest/northeast/Canada outage a couple years back – that was not natural disaster, it was design and operator error). And yet, even companies with a presence in the cloud clustered their employees in one geographic area. There is a tendency amongst some to want face-to-face meetings, assuming those are more productive, which leads to desiring everyone be on-site. With increasing globalization, and meetings held around the world - long before I became a remote worker, I held meetings with staff in Africa, Russia, and California, all on the same (very long) day, and all from my home in Green Bay – one would think this tendency would be minimized, but it does not seem to be.

The result is predictable. I once worked as a Strategic Architect for a life insurance company. They had a complete replica of the datacenter in a different geographic region, on the grounds that a disaster so horrible as to take out the datacenter would be exactly the scenario in which that backup would be needed. But guess where the staff was? Yeah,  at the primary. The systems would have been running fine, but the IT knowledge, business knowledge, and claims adjustment would all have been in the middle of a disaster.

Don’t make that mistake. Today, most organizations with multiple datacenters have DR plans that cover shifting all the load away from one of them should there be a problem, but those organizations with a single datacenter don’t have that leisure, and neither of them necessarily have a plan for continuation of actual work. Consider your options, consider how you will get actual business up to speed as quickly as possible. Losing their jobs because the business was not viable for weeks is not a great plan for helping people recover from disaster.

Even with the cloud, there is critical corporate knowledge out there that makes your organization tick. It needs to be geographically distributed. It matter not what systems are in the cloud if all of the personnel to make them work are in the middle of a blackout zone.

In short, think sand castles. If you have multiple datacenters, make certain your IT and business knowledge is split between them well enough to continue operations in a bad scenario. If you don’t have multiple locations, consider remote workers. Some people are just not cut out for telecommuting (I hate that phrase, since telecomm has little to do with the daily work, but it’s what we have), others do fine at it. Find some fine ones that have, or can be trained to have, the knowledge required to keep the organizations’ doors open. It could save the company a lot of money, and people a lot of angst. And your customers will be pleased too.

The key is putting the right people and the right skills out there. Spread them across datacenters or geographies, so you’re distributed as well as your apps. And while you’re at it, broadening the pool of available talent means you can get some hires you might never have gotten if relocation was required.

And all of that is a good thing.

Like sand castles.

Meanwhile, keep America’s northern east coast in your thoughts, that’s a lot of people in a little space without the amenities they’re accustomed to.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is Founder of Ingrained Technology, LLC, specializing in Development, Devops, and Cloud Strategy. Previously, he was a Technical Marketing Manager at F5 Networks. As an industry veteran, MacVittie has extensive programming experience along with project management, IT management, and systems/network administration expertise.

Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was a Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing, where he conducted product research and evaluated storage and server systems, as well as development and outsourcing solutions. He has authored numerous articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@CloudExpo Stories
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"We help companies that are using a lot of Software as a Service. We help companies manage and gain visibility into what people are using inside the company and decide to secure them or use standards to lock down or to embrace the adoption of SaaS inside the company," explained Scott Kriz, Co-founder and CEO of Bitium, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
Some developers believe that monitoring is a function of the operations team. Some operations teams firmly believe that monitoring the systems they maintain is sufficient to run the business successfully. Most of them are wrong. The complexity of today's applications have gone far and beyond the capabilities of "traditional" system-level monitoring tools and approaches and requires much broader knowledge of business and applications as a whole. The goal of DevOps is to connect all aspects of app...
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device exp...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...