Posts tagged ‘virtualization’

Problems with multi-tenancy

Yes,the often touted multi-tenant architectures for SaaS comes with it’s own set of baggage and might not be the best solution for every SaaS ISV. Here’s why.

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Continue Reading June 2, 2008 at 8:46 pm Leave a comment

The 3 Horsemen for ISVs

For startup ISVs, these 3 emerging technologies can make all the difference.

Continue Reading May 20, 2008 at 2:10 am 1 comment

Web 3.0 and The Virtual Generation – Marketing Take Note!

Web 3.0? What’s that now? We’re still dealing with Web 2.0 and now I’m already talking about Web 3.0?! Well, if you’ve been reading my earlier posts, in essence, I’ve already talked about Web 3.0 – the Semantic Web. So I won’t go into the details of that in this post. My focus for this post is where I think Web 3.0 is heading and what one of the trends in that space will be and what it means for marketing agencies in the future.

As the concepts around Web 3.0 become more and more of a reality, one of the trends is going to be the semantic user experience. What I mean by this is how we can explore the notion of adding artificial intelligence and context around the user experience to make it a much more compelling and customized activity for each user. Any marketing person worth their salt knows that in this day and age, you should be devising your marketing around creating an exceptional user experience. The semantic web will take this to a new level. As we gain more context around data that a user wants to work with and parlay that into the user experience, we need to remember that context will be king. Mobility, audio, video and presence will the new desktop. Users will move from becoming consumers to prosumers – they will be the ones controlling the content – creating it, adding to it, enriching it, sharing it with their peers.

So what does the virtual generation (or Gen V as Gartner calls it) mean? It means a new generation that is tech savvy and carries out most of their networking and interactions via the digital medium. A generation that is immersed in virtual worlds and their identity in this world is their virtual avatar. Marketing folks will need to shift their thinking from collecting demographics information to collecting information that these avatars leave behind because the avatars will grow personalities and the user’s likes and dislikes will be reflected in their avatars. What does this mean for product companies? Think about how to allow Gen V to explore your product in virtual worlds. The semantic web will lead to augmented reality – th ability to mix real world and computer based data to arrive at decisions. That will become more of a reality once cloud computing and associated technologies such as virtualization become more and more mainstream, resulting in optimal use of bandwidth, machine computing power, expanded reasoning and dynamic visualization to create a semantically rich user application to serve the next generation – Generation V.

January 30, 2008 at 1:11 pm 1 comment

IT Focus for 2008

I thought I’d start off the new year with a post on my thoughts for where the IT focus will be for 2008. There are articles that discuss IT trends for 2008 such as Web 2.0, green IT, etc. However, I do not think that these areas are going to be a focus for most corporations in 2008. They will definitely be a focus for some, but for the majority of companies, I think that these topics are going to be on their radar and they might start experimenting with it, but nothing more than that.

So having said that, here are the topics that I think will be high on the agenda of most CIOs:

  • Integration: Yes, it’s still an issue given aging systems, legacy applications, emerging platforms, M&A activity, need for integrating external partners and need for business agility. With all the talk around SOA and integration, it’s easy to forget how many companies yet have not adopted SOA and are still struggling with integrating their heterogeneous systems. Whether it is via adopting SOA or homegrown means, integration will continue to be a focus for 2008 for most CIOs.
  • Cost Containment: Ask most CIOs what is one of their top 3 initiatives and most will reply cost containment. The need to manage the cost of IT is high on their agenda and should continue to be so this year as well. The trick is to figure out how to use technology to achieve this business goal. SOA for business agility? Virtualization for hardware and software consolidation? SaaS for increased business channels? Open Source to reduce licensing costs? Better customer service using BI? Reduce energy costs? Manage vendor better via standardization? Pursue an outsourcing strategy? All of these will keep the CIO up at night.
  • Process Automation: Current processes are manual, cumbersome and error prone at many companies. The need to automate these and hence cut costs, save time and improve customer service (both internal and external customers) will continue to drive focus in business process automation. In an effort to align business and IT, CIOs not only need to figure out how to automate their processes, but also how to translate the process automation from concept (business folks explaining what needs to be done) to the implementation (how IT folks will get it done).
  • Business Intelligence/Data Mining: In order to improve customer service, you need to know your customer. What better way to do so than to pursue a BI/DM strategy to clean up your data, structure it for on-demad reporting and surface that via a myriad of fancy dashboards? BI/DM will continue to be popular this year.
  • Virtualization: I think that CIOs realize the full value of virtualization already. It is a matter of putting it into practice. A lot of companies already have a virtualization strategy and those that do not will start looking into it this year. Data center virtualization, OS virtualization, application and JVM virtualization, along with sophisticated monitoring and management tools (the most important piece of a virtualization solution) will continue to grow.
  • SaaS: Software as a Service will build on the SOA foundation to provide increase revenue channels for many companies. Despite its complexities (getting used to a different business model, proper infrastructure, licensing models, security, etc), many companies should pursue SaaS this year.
  • Open Source: Statistics say that one in three small and medium sized business are adopting open source as their platform of choice. With the obvious cost savings, increased developer pool, more control over patches and deployment and faster time to market as a result of increased ramp up in infrastructure (think open source ESB, portal, CRM, etc), many companies will need an open source strategy to become more innovative in 2008.
  • M-Commerce: Especially in banking and retail, I expect this to be a major focus this year, given the immense popularity of cell phones, increased band width and customer openness to doing business on the web. Security will still be a concern, but I expect a lot of focus on building out mobile software and infrastructure this year. Add to this the popularity of Mobile 2.0 and Web 2.0 mashups, along with an insatiable appetite of the Gen Y population to get things done while on the move and you can see why reaching customers via mobile phones will be a top focus area for many companies.
  • Security: With the focus around SOA, SaaS, M-Commerce, increased integration between lines of business, exposing data as a service and other key initiatives, security should remain a focus as it is deeply ingrained in each of these areas for the initiatives to be successful.

What!?? No Web 2.0?? No social networks?? Don’t get me wrong. Web 2.0, green IT, etc are all cool and trendy, and they definitely will appeal to a section of companies out there. Web 2.0 will definitely find applicability in the BI space, as well as in areas of marketing, consumer based applications, building brands and areas where people buy products because they trust their friends and social networks, but I do not think that these are going to be the main agenda items for most CIOs who are focused on the enterprise. Web 2.0 is a trend as are social networks and I think that in the coming years, they will become a focus for many, but for now, I feel that they will remain a trend in 2008.

If you feel differently, or feel that I’ve missed out on some key topics, then I’d love to hear your opinions.

January 2, 2008 at 5:30 pm 1 comment

We need “5 nines”

In the course of architecting systems for different verticals (health care, automotive, financial services, etc), my discussions with the customer eventually gets to availability and the customer’s expectations of how much downtime is permissible. The demand from the customer usually always starts off with “100% uptime”. That’s before they realize the cost of absolutely no downtime and that’s about when they start exploring the possibility of “the nines” (99.999 or 5 nines, or in some cases 99.9999 or 6 nines). The truth is that no system can hardly ever be up all the time every time. The cost is too prohibitive and the liability for the vendor is too high. What is usually negotiated is the hours of the day that 100% uptime is needed. This is usually very doable as long as those time frames are clearly defined. Consider a brokerage that does all it’s business between 9:30AM and 4PM. During those hours, it absolutely needs 100% uptime, otherwise the loss to the business is huge. This is a defined time frame that can be achieved with proper practices in place.

Most system vendors will market their “5 nines” or “6 nines” of availability. However, I try and make my customers aware of other important factors that they need to take into account when signing contracts. All downtime is not created equal. The consequence of downtime is very important. If my customers are driven away as a result of the downtime vs. the downtime just causing a minor inconvenience, those are two very different scenarios. Is the downtime spread out over days or does it all happen at once?

So what exactly is downtime? Definitions vary – some say that it’s when component in the chain is not functioning, others says they are experiencing downtime when the network is slow. In my mind, you are experiencing downtime when the system prevents you from getting your work done on time. What causes downtime? It could be different things:

  • human error
  • natural disasters
  • network issues
  • hardware issues
  • software issues
  • viruses
  • etc

So when people talk of 5 nines or 6 nines, what exactly does that mean. If you do the math, you’ll realize that achieving 6 nines (99.9999) means having 0.6 seconds of downtime a week (or 31.5 seconds a year!). This is very hard to achieve and quite often an unrealistic goal. To achieve a high degree of reliability and availability means looking at each link in your chain and strengthening the weak links and improving the strong links, because, at the end of the day, it takes just one weak link to bring down your system. So if you think about it, what are the links in your chain that need attention? The answer is everything from start to finish:

  • hardware
  • software
  • networks
  • file servers
  • printers
  • databases
  • applications – crashes, hangs, bugs
  • web servers
  • application servers
  • security
  • backups

As you can see, designing a system with an eye towards minimum downtime is not an easy task. A lot of practices come into play – clustering, load balancing, RAID disks, SANs, NAS, virtualization, redundant networks,  virus protection, proper documentation, application design geared towards monitoring and self healing, server farms and much more. In subsequent posts, we’ll explore some of these in greater detail.

December 29, 2007 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

New to Patni

I recently joined Patni Computers as Sr. Director of Solutions. One of the main reasons I took the job was because the position offers me an exciting blend of technology and business – not only do I get to shape the technology strategy by creating and marketing the service offerings around key emerging technologies such as SaaS, Open Source, Web 2.0, Virtualization, etc, I also get the chance to be involved with running the ISV business unit – creating off-shore teams, participating in the procurement, training and mentoring efforts, identifying key customers to go after to grow revenues, working cohesively with sales and pre-sales to formulate strategies and help with sales cycles, initiate marketing efforts such public speaking, publishing articles and much more. In addition, I get to work in new verticals such as ISVs, medical devices and health care, consumer electronics and others which will be a nice addition to my background in financial services, retail and automotive.

Coming from a hard core technology consulting background, this will be a welcome change and I look forward to taking on a more business focused, yet highly technical role. I will use this blog to share my thoughts with you on both technology and business related issues. Each topic that I write about will start off at a high level introduction and in subsequent topics, I’ll drill down to the details, best practices, etc.

To learn more about my background, please click here.

December 29, 2007 at 1:35 am Leave a comment



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