Scott Bils – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:18:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Dell EMC Services Podcasts Scott Bils – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services clean episodic Scott Bils – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services casey.may@emc.com casey.may@emc.com (Scott Bils – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services) Dell EMC Services Podcasts Scott Bils – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services /wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg https://infocus.dellemc.com 5 Keys to Getting Your Big Data Transformation Back on Track https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/big-data-transformation-5-keys/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/big-data-transformation-5-keys/#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 09:00:06 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=31256 We’re almost a month into the Major League Baseball season, and every year there’s at least one fan base that gets caught in the following trap. Despite modest expectations, their team gets off to a fast start. Career .250 hitters look like Ted Williams. Historically light hitting outfielders are suddenly on pace to hit 70 […]

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We’re almost a month into the Major League Baseball season, and every year there’s at least one fan base that gets caught in the following trap.

Despite modest expectations, their team gets off to a fast start. Career .250 hitters look like Ted Williams. Historically light hitting outfielders are suddenly on pace to hit 70 home runs.  Pitchers that once appeared to serve up mere batting practice are suddenly unhittable.

And then reality and regression to the mean sets in. Despite the hopes for a miraculous off-season transformation, the team turns out to be what it is. They sink in the standings and corresponding disappointment sets in.

Many Big Data initiatives we have seen with our global enterprise customers have fallen into similar doldrums. They gained quick traction and visibility with a high impact business use case, but now that efforts are focused on scaling, operationalizing, and demonstrating ongoing success, efforts are stalling. ‘Regression to the mean’ is occurring in the enterprise sense – the common barriers we’ve all seen due to organizational complexity, cultural resistance to change etc. have brought initiatives back to reality.

Based on the initial excitement and promise of Big Data, many of our customers have developed an overall framework for how technology, data people and process need to come together to support the global enterprise. While versions certainly differ, these visions typically look something like this:

Capture

These frameworks typically have four major components and associated capabilities required for success:

  • Deliver Business Value – the first is an understanding of specifically where and how advanced analytics can drive business value and competitive advantage across a variety of use cases and users, including IoT and intelligent applications, data scientists and analysts, as well as regular business users.
  • Enable Big Data as a Service – to drive the use case ‘pipeline’, data consumers must have self-serve access to the right data and tools. This means rapid service provisioning using a self-serve operating model with appropriate user access controls, similar to what enterprises have enabled with IaaS cloud.
  • Provide Effective Workspaces – in addition to access to tools and data through self-serve catalogs, organizations also must provide shared workspaces for access to work with target data sets. These environments need to optimize compute resources whether they are deployed internally, in the public cloud or in a hybrid model.
  • Optimize Data Capture and Storage – finally organizations must have an optimized environment for data ingestion and storage that is optimized for both performance and cost.

So given this relatively clear vision for analytics success, why are so many Big Data initiatives stalling, and what can be done to back on the path to success despite the early excitement? Here’s our quick take based on clients we’ve worked with:

  • No perceived ROI / Business Value – while the first low hanging fruit use cases were easy, most organizations lack the data science talent to know what problems can be solved with advanced analytics and how. Without this understanding, developing a value-based pipeline is difficult, making it difficult to link Big Data to business value and ROI, let alone assess the overall value of data to the enterprise.

Recommendation: Develop an explicit plan and roadmap for building data science skills and capability, as well as a framework and approach for building a use case pipeline.

  • Provision time for new services and environments – given the demand for speed and agility, users cannot wait for months to have tools or environments to be made available, whether it be Data Scientists or Business Analysts. This is about more than just providing self-serve catalogs and provisioning, it’s about making sure an overall operating model, including processes and roles, are in place to support it. Far too often this component is overlooked.

Recommendation: Explicitly design a new operating model, including governance, for enabling and delivering Big Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS).

  • Data lineage and metadata not fully documented – as the saying goes, ‘garbage in, garbage out. Business users need to have confidence in the integrity of the data supporting analytics around their target use cases. Where did the data come from?  Who has had access to it? Can it be trusted? These are all questions that organizations need to answer to give users trust and confidence in the insights being generated.

Recommendation:  Design and embed a formal data governance framework in the overall operating model for BDaaS.

  • EDW performance – just as many vendors and enterprises ‘cloudwashed[1]
    traditional virtualized environments to give the impression of progress, legacy technologies like enterprise data warehouses (EDWs) are still underneath many Big Data initiatives today. Legacy EDW and ETL models were not designed to keep pace with the massive data volume growth, diversity of data sources (including unstructured, sensor/device, video, and soon blockchain data sources), and the hyper-accelerated “fail fast / learn faster” data science process. Consequently, this is creating significant operational challenges that are proving to be quite expensive.

Recommendation: Aggressively Identify opportunities to replace or augment costly EDW and ETL capabilities with Hadoop-based alternatives.

  • Performance and Operational Issues – while standing up a ‘quick and dirty’ environment with Hadoop or Greenplum to support an initial use case or proof-of-concept (POC), many organizations have continued to attempt to extend that environment, rather than go back and re-architect and design their long term platform. Not surprisingly this reliance on 1.0 deployments is creating performance and operational challenges for many

Recommendation: Conduct a health check on your current Big Data compute and storage platform, and ensure architecture and implementation will support anticipate use case volume.  

This brief overview isn’t meant to minimize the magnitude of some of these challenges – in many cases a lot of un-learning, re-thinking and re-designing will be required to rebuild the ‘early season’ excitement and momentum enterprises initially saw with Big Data. But the first step needs to be identifying and recognizing the problems.

Dell EMC Services is uniquely positioned to help our clients address the key challenges they face as they drive their Big Data and IoT transformations. We globally provide end-to-end capabilities from use case identification to Data Lake architecture and design and Big Data platform implementation.  In addition to Solution Engineering, our Big Data transformation consulting services provides deep capabilities in areas such as Data Science and advanced analytics, use case identification, operating model, Big Data strategy and governance. Please contact us for more information.

[1] Cloudwash/cloud wash: the purposeful and sometimes deceptive attempt by a vendor to rebrand an old product or service by associating the buzzword “cloud” with it. http://searchcloudstorage.techtarget.com/definition/cloud-washing

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Defining the Elusive Serverless App https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/defining-elusive-serverless-app/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/defining-elusive-serverless-app/#comments Tue, 13 Dec 2016 10:00:32 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29741 Application Transformation continues to evolve and offer greater options. The newest source of disruption in software development and cloud native architecture is a concept called ‘Serverless’. In this model developers simply upload their code (or “Function”) to a Serverless cloud environment where it’s automatically run when necessary – things like servers, configurations, availability, provisioning, capacity, […]

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Application Transformation continues to evolve and offer greater options. The newest source of disruption in software development and cloud native architecture is a concept called ‘Serverless’. In this model developers simply upload their code (or “Function”) to a Serverless cloud environment where it’s automatically run when necessary – things like servers, configurations, availability, provisioning, capacity, scaling are all handled by the platform.

Some other key characteristics of Serverless applications include:

  • Event driven – Serverless apps are architected to only run when invoked by an external event or trigger. Common examples of activation triggers include database updates, API gateway calls, user requests, or scheduled events.
  • Ephemeral – because they are invoked by triggers, Serverless applications don’t need to be ‘always on’ awaiting a request. Serverless apps are only brought up and down as needed.
  • Hosted – Serverless apps typically rely on 3rd party hosted platforms and environments, leading many to also use the acronym ‘Function-as-a-Service’ (FaaS) to describe Serverless apps.
  • Consumption based – as Serverless apps are ephemeral, pricing is often on a pure ‘pay-as-you-go’ consumption basis. Customers are only charged for the time the function is actually executing.

Of course the name ‘Serverless’ is pretty misleading – the application has to run on a server somewhere. While the model doesn’t eliminate the need for servers it does eliminate the need for developers to care about servers, operating systems and the runtime environment, which are effectively now outsourced to the service provider. The name Serverless refers to the fact that the model almost full abstraction between the developer and how software is actually deployed and run.

But when hearing the Serverless story a question instantly comes to mind – isn’t that what PaaS was supposed to do?

Conceptually yes, but in most cases PaaS platforms still require you to identify scaling parameters and thresholds for a given application. In a Serverless environment scaling is instead handled automatically by the service provider for each individual request.

In addition by design Serverless platforms bring the entire application up and down for each individual request (sometimes in the matter of milliseconds), something that PaaS runtime environments were definitely not designed to do.

Due to these facts, Serverless architectures are particularly well suited for use cases and applications that are:

  • Simple – Serverless tends to be a good fit for small, single purpose functions (think microservices) that are designed for a specific, well-defined task.
  • Unpredictable – services with highly variable, unpredictable, or ‘spiky’ demand patterns are compelling candidates due both to the auto scaling features as well as the consumption-based pricing model for Serverless.

As you can imagine Serverless provides an ideal platform for low-cost experimentation, not just with the actual application but also to better understand the economics of the function as well. Serverless provides a direct and easy way to understand the cost of an application on a per transaction or customer basis. Linking this to delivered value opens up a new way of building, analyzing and potentially monetizing services.

In addition to services for mobile apps, websites and IoT other interesting early use cases that have emerged for Serverless include:

  • Image processing – one common early use case is around image processing, including object and facial recognition as well as image analysis. In these scenarios the upload of a new image by a user or another application is used to either trigger image modification or algorithmic analysis based on the nature of the app.
  • Data analytics and ETL – another common use case involves invoking Serverless apps to run an ETL or processing action whenever a data set is updated. This includes use cases involving filtering and transforming data, which makes it particularly useful for log analysis where Serverless apps can be used to enhance and reformat raw log data for further analysis or reporting.

So what’s the catch?

Given their relatively recent introduction, Serverless applications also currently come with some significant limitations that are particularly relevant for the enterprise. These include:

  • Performance limitations – current service provider performance and implementation limitations around concurrency, latency and execution duration narrow the applicable uses for Serverless apps. For example with Amazon Lambda Serverless applications are automatically terminated if they run longer than five minutes. Another example is in-memory data caches which are emptied as each function is taken down, effectively eliminating it as a viable option for Serverless apps.
  • Service maturity – Serverless is still an emergent architecture and 3rd party platforms are still relatively immature. Those looking for expecting enterprise-class monitoring, logging, (debugging) or error handling for example should probably look elsewhere.
  • Vendor Lock-In – every technology choice involves lock-in at some level (even open source). Given the dependency of Serverless applications on triggers generated by other components, switching environments won’t be as easy as just porting your code to a new provider. It may necessarily involve migrating other components such as data stores, API gateways and message queues and other Serverless apps. Given these facts lock-in may be even more of an issue for customers than IaaS or PaaS.

Like Cloud Native and microservices, Serverless architectures in the near term are going to be a far better fit in the enterprise for greenfield development rather than legacy modernization. For some use cases it will be appropriate, for others not – as with innovation with any emerging or new paradigm the key is experiment with Serverless in targeted scenarios where it makes sense. Over time the boundaries between Serverless and PaaS are likely to blur just as they are currently with Containers, broadening the applicability of the model. In the meantime a focus on exploration and experimentation appears to be the best course of action in the enterprise.

Interested in learning more about how to drive Application Transformation using Serverless, Cloud Native and other disruptive software development architectures? Contact us to learn more about how Dell EMC Services can help.

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Turning the Tables: Cloud-First Data Center Transformation https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/turning-tables-cloud-first-data-center-transformation/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/turning-tables-cloud-first-data-center-transformation/#respond Tue, 06 Dec 2016 10:00:21 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29581 ‘Cloud-first’ and ‘cloud-only’ policies don’t just apply to new applications. Increasingly our clients that are driving data center modernization, migration or consolidation efforts are also applying Cloud-First principles to those efforts. So what is a cloud-first data center transformation? Rather starting with a bottom-up assessment of data center infrastructure, the departure point for a Cloud-First […]

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‘Cloud-first’ and ‘cloud-only’ policies don’t just apply to new applications. Increasingly our clients that are driving data center modernization, migration or consolidation efforts are also applying Cloud-First principles to those efforts.

So what is a cloud-first data center transformation?

Rather starting with a bottom-up assessment of data center infrastructure, the departure point for a Cloud-First data center transformation effort is instead a top-down assessment of the legacy application portfolio. The goal? Identify which apps make sense to migrate to the public cloud, and then develop a data center strategy based on those apps that remain. In some cases this involves taking a step even further back to identify which applications should be consolidated or retired from the portfolio. Regardless of the starting point, we’re seeing an increasing number of CIOs interested in shaping their data center using an application or cloud-centric perspective.

Dell EMC Services is working with a large medical technology company on a broad data center transformation program that provides a great example of what we’re talking about. To capture synergies from a recent major acquisition, our client is seeking to rationalize and consolidate more than 20 combined data centers. Instead of taking a ‘status quo’ mindset and just migrating apps to like infrastructure, our client wants to leverage the public cloud wherever possible as they develop their consolidation strategy. Their overall goal? Get out of the ‘data center business’ where possible.

In conjunction with the first phase of the IT transformation effort we’re helping our client with a data center consolidation effort initially focused on four major components across nearly 2,000 applications:

  • Application Profiling – first we’re helping the client develop a robust application inventory across both organizations, including application dependency maps and blueprints.
  • Application Rationalizationnext, we’re helping our client identify what the right investment strategy is going forward for their applications based on their business and IT objectives. This includes identifying app archival and retirement candidates for unused or redundant applications, as well ‘the keepers’; applications that are candidates for public cloud migration or even Cloud Native modernization.
  • Cloud Suitability Assessment – once that step is complete we’re then assessing the ‘keepers’ for suitability with public cloud environments, which for this client includes both Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure
  • Cloud Placement Analysis, Migration Bundling Analysis and Scheduling – the last step is to finalize the specific placement, target state design and architecture for the application based on is characteristics as well it’s broader app ecosystem. Move groups and scheduling will occur at this point as well.

So what happened with what’s left?

That becomes the starting point for our client’s data center consolidation efforts. The remaining applications that aren’t migrated, archived or retired become the basis for the design and build of the new, consolidated on-premises data centers.

The graphic below provides an overview of the transformation path that our client is taking. Their initial efforts are focused on identifying and migrating public cloud migration candidates out of existing data centers, while also identifying candidates for retirement, archival and decommissioning. The remaining apps are providing the foundation for identifying and sizing the right post-integration data center footprint. Note a future phase will also help them identify candidates for broader Cloud Native modernization.

Framework tweet

Our efforts to date have already enabled the client to begin activities to close two unnecessary data centers and also provided the insight needed to begin design of a more streamlined data center footprint as well as supporting migration and modernization factories (which will discuss in more detail in future posts).

Interested in learning more about how leading enterprises are driving Cloud-First data center transformation? Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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Public, Private, or Hybrid Cloud – Where Should Your Apps Live? https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/public-private-hybrid-cloud-apps-live/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/public-private-hybrid-cloud-apps-live/#respond Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:50:48 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29010 Recent projections that the majority of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2018 may be optimistic, but there’s no doubt we’re at a cloud adoption tipping point. At Dell EMC we’re seeing three drivers of wide scale application migration to public and private cloud environments in the enterprise: ‘Cloud first’ and ‘cloud only’ […]

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Recent projections that the majority of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2018 may be optimistic, but there’s no doubt we’re at a cloud adoption tipping point. At Dell EMC we’re seeing three drivers of wide scale application migration to public and private cloud environments in the enterprise:

  • ‘Cloud first’ and ‘cloud only’ policies. With most new apps going to the cloud, cloud first policies are causing CIOs to also assess what existing apps they can move out of the data center.  A Dell EMC client in the fast food restaurant industry is starting with the question “why not.”  Rather than prove a legacy workload is suitable for public cloud they are starting with the assumption that it is.
  • Post-merger integration. In conjunction with a recent acquisition a client in the medical technology space is seeking to rationalize and assess cloud migration opportunities for nearly 2,000 applications across 20 data centers.  Before determining the go forward data center strategy, the client wants to know what workloads can be migrated out to the cloud.
  • IT cost reduction. Dell EMC is currently helping a leading industrial products company identify opportunities to reduce cost through migrating applications in two data centers and 6,000 servers to the cloud.

While developing a cloud migration strategy is manageable for small portfolios, for large global enterprises with hundreds or thousands of applications it’s a different story. Cloud migration analysis at scale requires enterprises to ensure standards, rules and policies are consistently applied across the portfolio, while doing so in a timeframe that’s responsive to business stakeholders and their needs.

Join us at Dell EMC World as we delve into strategies and best practices for assessing cloud suitability and placement at scale. “Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud – Where Should Your Apps Live” is on Thursday, October 20 from 8:00 to 9:00 am We’ll help you answer key questions like:

  • What’s the right investment strategy for our applications?
  • What applications should we consider modernizing for cloud native architectures and platforms?
  • What’s the right cloud delivery model for our applications?
  • What are the key considerations for cloud suitability? What are the key business, technical, operational and security considerations?
  • We have multiple public cloud service providers and private cloud environments. How do we determine optimal placement of our applications?
  • How can we automate the analysis of our portfolio? Can we can determine a robust cloud migration strategy in a matter of weeks, not years?

Dell EMC Services brings a unique set of skills, experience and tools to help even the largest enterprise migrate their application portfolios to the cloud. Join this session and learn how we can help.

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Assessing App Portfolios for Cloud Native Readiness https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/assessing-app-portfolios-cloud-native-readiness/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/assessing-app-portfolios-cloud-native-readiness/#respond Thu, 01 Sep 2016 11:30:48 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=28712 Nearly all of our clients who experiment with a Cloud Native approach for application development quickly become believers.  The magnitude of change involved with DevOps, continuous delivery and PaaS platforms, however, drive most clients to start by dipping a toe in the water with one or two initial applications. Once clients are comfortable with going […]

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Nearly all of our clients who experiment with a Cloud Native approach for application development quickly become believers.  The magnitude of change involved with DevOps, continuous delivery and PaaS platforms, however, drive most clients to start by dipping a toe in the water with one or two initial applications.

Once clients are comfortable with going Cloud Native, a natural next question is around the legacy portfolio.  Which applications would benefit from transformation to a true Cloud Native model?  What path will be required to get them there?  How much code will we have to rewrite?  And what’s the business case for doing it?

There are multiple options to consider.  For some applications the Cloud Native modernization business case just won’t be there and a ‘strangler application’ pattern will be the best answer.  In the strangler approach, the legacy app is isolated and exposed to new Cloud Native applications via API or service interface, providing ongoing access to business functionality.  The application is slowly retired, or ‘strangled’ as new services are incrementally developed to replace the original app.

For other applications a ‘lift and shift’ model can be used – for example Java applications that use standard libraries can easily be moved to Pivotal Cloud Foundry.  For some the only option will be refactoring or rewriting the application for Cloud Native.  Michael Cote of Pivotal has a great post that describes the various options and tradeoffs in more detail.

Clients looking to operationalize and scale the Cloud Native model need to understand the different options and patterns and how they apply across their portfolios.  In a recent post we discussed that the first step for enterprises driving portfolio transformation at scale is to profile the applications and first determine which are high potential modernization candidates (vs. migrate, retire or retain).  With our Application Profiling services EMC brings a unique set of skills, experience and tools that even help even our largest enterprise clients rapidly identify the appropriate investment path for applications in their portfolio.

Once clients have identified ideal modernization candidates, they need to go deeper into the application to assess Cloud Native readiness.  To help our clients extend their analysis to include Cloud Native assessment we’ve recently added a new capability to our Application Profiling services.  Our new Cloud Native Assessment service scans application code and within minutes provides an analysis of that application Cloud Native ‘readiness’ based on criteria aligned with the 12 Factor Model.

Why is this valuable to our clients?

  • Pattern Identification – our service doesn’t just assess overall alignment with the 12 Factor model, it also automatically identifies specific remediation points (e.g. detection of middleware dependencies or environment configuration variables). Our service helps rapidly identify common remediation actions that may be required across some or all Cloud Native modernization candidates in the portfolio.
  • Prioritization – by identifying Cloud Native gaps and remediation requirements we can then help our clients identify specific potential modernization archetypes or patterns, develop associated business cases for prioritization for these different paths, and develop prioritized roadmaps for Cloud Native portfolio transformation.
  • Speed – assessing Cloud Native readiness for a handful of apps is easy – just go talk to the owner. But that doesn’t work when rapid assessment of hundreds of applications is required using a consistent tool and approach.  This is particularly true when documentation is scarce and tribal knowledge is suspect.  Our service can help clients assess their portfolios for Cloud Native readiness in a matter of days or weeks, not months.

By extending our Application Profiling services to assess Cloud Native readiness, EMC Global Services can help clients identify the optimal cloud modernization strategy for their portfolio across the wide variety of options that exist. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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Embrace Choice When Thinking Cloud Native Transformation https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/embrace-choice-thinking-cloud-native-transformation/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/embrace-choice-thinking-cloud-native-transformation/#respond Tue, 12 Jul 2016 12:00:04 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=28302 One of the biggest struggles our client executives face when driving application transformation is around the balance between experimentation and control. Infrastructure leaders in particular have difficulty balancing the desire to provide developers the speed the business demands, while at the same time driving adoption of standard enterprise platforms. This challenge is particularly acute for […]

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One of the biggest struggles our client executives face when driving application transformation is around the balance between experimentation and control. Infrastructure leaders in particular have difficulty balancing the desire to provide developers the speed the business demands, while at the same time driving adoption of standard enterprise platforms.

This challenge is particularly acute for global enterprises with organizationally and geographically distributed software development teams. As these teams often sit with the business it’s natural that their loyalty is more closely tied to their internal customers rather than IT. As their business customers are providing constant pressure for speed and agility, app dev teams haven’t had the luxury of waiting for Corporate IT.

Application teams with a well-honed sense of survival have deployed Cloud Native application platforms on their own to enable continuous delivery, DevOps and microservices models. Open source tools and cloud platforms have provided applications teams with a variety of options including:

  • Container services such as Docker
  • Unstructured, ‘roll your own’ PaaS environments built using a tools-based approach with Kubernetes, Mesos, and/or other open source components.
  • Structured PaaS platforms like Pivotal Cloud Foundry that native provide services like infrastructure services, logging and monitoring.

Cloud Computing Technology Concept

Many of the clients we work with have a variety of models in use across their organizations, including combinations of the models above. In fact just last week we met with a client whose CTO was able to identify five different Cloud Native application development platforms in use globally.

While the outcomes and impact from these ‘pockets of innovation’ across the enterprise are often impressive, we’re frequently asked the following questions by client IT executives:

  • Do we need to drive a standard Cloud Native application platform across the enterprise? Or should we continue to allow software teams to experiment?
  • If we standardize which Cloud Native platforms should we choose? Do we need a standard DevOps process and approach?
  • How do we drive adoption of a standard Cloud Native platform without alienating teams who’ve invested in building their own models?

The biggest challenge of all, is that these aren’t really the right questions to be asking!

Given that the Cloud Native application platform space is still emerging, it’s helpful to consider Simon Wardley’s ‘Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners’ model for how business activities typically evolve. The theory is based on the premise that over time activities evolve from innovative, custom models to productized, industrialized services. This requires different types of internal roles depending on the maturity of the activity:

  • Pioneers are initially required who create the new and novel based on available components and services.
  • Settlers eventually become involved who identify common patterns in how the services developed by Pioneers are being used across the organization.
  • Town Planners figure out how to standardize and commoditize high volume activities and services once consistent, repeatable patterns have been identified.

And so we have the basic issue with the questions our CIO posed above – for most enterprises it’s premature to think about Town Planner issues when the Pioneers and Settlers are still doing their work. In this case the Pioneers are the various software development teams trying different platforms, tools and models to enable a true Cloud Native model. Trying to determine how to standardize and scale a chosen platform across the enterprise is just premature for most organizations today.

So back to our original questions. The right question to contemplate really is the following:

“Given the maturity of cloud native tools and services, what’s a CIO faced with multiple, disparate Cloud Native application platforms to do?  Based on our experience here’s our advice:

Develop a point-of-viewfirst, understand the choices involved with Cloud Native application platforms as well as your desired objectives and business outcomes.  What are you trying to achieve and why?  What’s your North Star?

For example many unstructured PaaS approaches are perfectly fine if you’re a web-scale IT shop that needs to competitively differentiate on tools and platforms. But most enterprise face a singular challenge – deploy reliable code as quickly as possible to support the business.

Rather than spending time effectively becoming a custom tool chain SI, many enterprises will likely be better off exploring a structured (or opinionated) platform like Pivotal CF that standardizes and automates key platform services. While developers may lose some flexibility in a structured model, it’s important to understand true value of that flexibility and it’s underlying cost.

Regardless of the approach it’s critical to identify an explicit set of goals and objectives for Cloud Native development that will provide guiderails for choices going forward.

Provide carrots, not stickssoftware development teams are more than willing to experiment with new tools and platforms.  That’s what has created the various ‘pockets of innovation’ to begin with. So if you have a desired Cloud Native platform you’d like them to encourage them to use, create an environment to let them try it.  Quickly stand up a test lab or pilot environment using for example EMC’s Native Hybrid Cloud (which can be stood up in just two days), provide some coaching and let them experience the benefits on their own.  Provide a compelling vision to developers that drives interest, excitement and actual usage. Let them try it and see the benefits over what they’ve build and deployed on their own. Calling their baby ugly and mandating adoption will just lead to more use of shadow resources. And if the vision isn’t compelling enough to drive bottom-up adoption, well then you have a different problem.

Avoid the big bang avoid the enterprise IT tendency to drive top-down mandates or policies around DevOps or Cloud Native platforms. In the era of cloud and developer empowerment bottom-up, viral adoption will always trump corporate mandates and policies. Top-down and policy driven mandate will alienate teams whose platform wasn’t ‘chosen’, and in some cases dis-incent experimentation.

Rather than stifle innovation with premature choices, better to let standards emerge based on success patterns and business impact. While there certainly should be an overall vision and guiding principles guiding choices around Cloud Native platforms, getting too prescriptive too early can create significant cultural and organizational risks.

As models and platforms mature over time, preferred Cloud Native models will certainly emerge based on experience. But better to let those choices naturally emerge from front-line success and experience.  The key is to preserve the experimentation and empowerment of software development teams while also channeling and aligning these efforts with the Cloud Native vision and objectives.

For more information on application transformation services using cloud native tools please contact scott.bils@emc.com

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Driving Quick Transformation Wins with Application Retirement https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/driving-quick-transformation-wins-application-retirement/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/driving-quick-transformation-wins-application-retirement/#respond Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:05:35 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=27782 Enabling the business to more effectively respond to industry disruption has undoubtedly been the biggest driver of application transformation over the past several years. But as we recently noted, cost reduction is growing in importance as a motivation for transformation, particularly for organizations with large, global application portfolios. In some cases the goals is pure […]

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Enabling the business to more effectively respond to industry disruption has undoubtedly been the biggest driver of application transformation over the past several years. But as we recently noted, cost reduction is growing in importance as a motivation for transformation, particularly for organizations with large, global application portfolios. In some cases the goals is pure cost take-out, in others the savings are being used to drive portfolio modernization initiatives.

When taking a look at cost reduction opportunities it’s important to consider two different factors – magnitude and timing. Given the ways portfolios have (or haven’t) been governed and managed in most enterprises, cost reduction opportunities are often abundant.

Which leads us to the ugly truth about many of the typical areas of cost reduction in the application portfolio.

Timing

Application rationalization, re-platforming and modernization each can offer compelling ROIs and cost savings opportunities. But it frequently takes at least 12-18 months for the benefits to start to materially impact IT budgets at the bottom line.

Take application rationalization as an example. While most enterprises have several redundant applications providing the same functionality, picking a ‘winner’ requires detailed functional mapping and analysis that can take months. Internal politics can extend this even further, and then the actual consolidation and decommissioning effort adds even more time. For IT departments trying to reduce costs for 2016 or even 2017 this just isn’t fast enough.

We’re finding that application archival is actually the most powerful short-term cost reduction opportunity for CIOs looking to rapidly take cost out of the portfolio. Why?

Many applications are kept alive in enterprise environments for only one reason – the business needs to access data in these legacy systems. Functionality may have already been replaced in newer 2rd or 3rd platform versions of the application, but users still need read-only access to historical data. In many regulated industries like health care, financial services and energy archival of this data is a requirement.

That’s where application archival offers an interesting solution. By archiving and providing read-only access to the data associated with target applications, organizations can still decommission servers and infrastructure associated with the application while also reducing operational spend and avoiding ongoing license and maintenance fees. The challenge? Enable users to continue to view the legacy data in a way that reflects the business context and logic while ensuring data compliance remains in tact.

For a client in the healthcare industry EMC Global Services recently was able to identify over $30 million in cost savings opportunities through archival and retirement of only 100 applications. Our client was able to start capturing benefits from the program in less than 6 months, and achieved payback on the full program in less than a year.

EMC Global Services offers you the ability to quickly archive and view both structured and unstructured data through use of our InfoArchive solution. Our approach enables users to continue to have read-only access to legacy data using a browser-based viewer that reflects the business logic and structures of the data. Users get continued access to data, while IT gets to shut down the application.

Application archival and retirement offers CIOs, like you, a powerful lever to drive quick win cost reductions, which often helps fund broader innovation and transformation initiatives. Contact us to learn more about how EMC’s Application Archiving and Retirement services on the InfoArchive platform can help you achieve your cost reduction goals for 2016 and beyond.

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Take a New Look at Transforming Your Legacy Application Portfolio https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/transform-your-legacy-application-portfolio/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/transform-your-legacy-application-portfolio/#comments Tue, 19 Apr 2016 12:00:55 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=27024 New threats presented by digital disruption as well as ongoing cost reduction pressures are causing many organizations to take a new look at their legacy application portfolio. Determining how to address technical debt and transform legacy applications requires Applications teams to address several big questions including: Which applications should we rewrite for cloud native or […]

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New threats presented by digital disruption as well as ongoing cost reduction pressures are causing many organizations to take a new look at their legacy application portfolio. Determining how to address technical debt and transform legacy applications requires Applications teams to address several big questions including:

  • Which applications should we rewrite for cloud native or microservice architectures?
  • What opportunities are presented by containers as well as structured and unstructured PaaS platforms?
  • Which applications should we replatform or migrate to cloud infrastructure models?

Getting to the right answer isn’t easy. Legacy portfolios are highly complex and interdependent, and often are based on a variety of platforms. In many cases ‘tribal knowledge’ about many key applications has been lost due to employee attrition and ineffective IT management processes. And the issues facing global enterprises seeking to transform large portfolios at scale are even more daunting.

Despite these challenges, there are several key steps that organizations can take to ensure their portfolio transformation program is high impact and drives rapid business value.  Successful large-scale portfolio transformation programs we’ve seen tend to have similar approaches that focus on:

  • Identifying sources of business value from modernization
  • Designing an agile approach to transformation to drive short term impact
  • Leveraging tools and automation to create an evergreen process

EMC Global Services brings a unique set of skills, experience and tools to help even the largest enterprise transform and modernize their application portfolios. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you at EMC World and exploring how we can help.

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Cloud Considerations for Application Modernization https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/cloud-considerations-for-application-modernization/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/cloud-considerations-for-application-modernization/#respond Tue, 19 Apr 2016 12:00:34 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=27061 Over the last several years we’ve all witnessed the disruptive nature of software. Startups have emerged that have transformed traditional markets – Tesla, Uber, AirBNB. We’ve also seen existing enterprises, such as GE and Ford take advantage of development and operational processes to speed innovation and drastically reduce time to value. However, many traditional application […]

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Over the last several years we’ve all witnessed the disruptive nature of software. Startups have emerged that have transformed traditional markets – Tesla, Uber, AirBNB. We’ve also seen existing enterprises, such as GE and Ford take advantage of development and operational processes to speed innovation and drastically reduce time to value. However, many traditional application architectures and processes impede agility and impact innovation.

Historically, IT has offered a stack of technologies, including infrastructure, middleware and operating systems. These capabilities are usually sized, procured and planned far in advance of an application development initiative. Software development is complicated and has been based on slow, waterfall approaches to developing and maintaining monolithic applications. The downside to this approach is a time-to-market which can be unacceptable in today’s world, and fragile applications that aren’t resilient or easily scalable.

Determining how to address technical debt and modernize their application portfolio requires Applications teams to address several big questions including:

  • Which applications should we rewrite for cloud native or microservice architectures?
  • Which applications should we replatform or migrate to cloud infrastructure models?
  • What additional tools and processes can we adopt to serve our business needs more effectively?

Successful application modernization requires a combination of modern application architectures and a new approach to developing and maintaining these applications. Successful application modernization programs we’ve seen tend to have similar approaches that focus on:

  • Identifying sources of business value from modernization
  • Designing an agile approach to transformation to drive short term impact
  • Determining the appropriate modern application architecture
  • Leveraging tools and automation to support these efforts

Join our session at EMC World on May 4 from 12:00 to 1:00p Titled “Cloud Considerations For Application Modernization” to discuss strategies and best practices for modernizing your application portfolio.

EMC Global Services brings a unique set of skills, experience and tools to help even the largest enterprise transform and modernize their application portfolios. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you at EMC World and exploring how we can help.

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Five Keys for Transforming Global Application Portfolios at Scale https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/five-keys-transforming-global-application-portfolios-scale/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott-bils/five-keys-transforming-global-application-portfolios-scale/#comments Thu, 24 Mar 2016 12:00:37 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=26733 A conversation topic that is coming up more frequently with our client CIOs is around how to transform global application portfolios that number in the thousands. This is particularly true with our global clients in the Financial Services sector, where in some cases the application portfolios can exceed five or even ten thousand. In these […]

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A conversation topic that is coming up more frequently with our client CIOs is around how to transform global application portfolios that number in the thousands. This is particularly true with our global clients in the Financial Services sector, where in some cases the application portfolios can exceed five or even ten thousand. In these conversations we typically hear several common themes:

  • ‘We need a strategy’ – we need to understand and prioritize the opportunities to transform our portfolio. It’s about more than just cloud native modernization and migration, we also need to understand where and how we can take cost out of the portfolio through rationalization and retirement.
  • ‘We need it fast’ – we need to show the business some quick wins and business impact whether through modernization, migration or retirement. At the same time, we need to quickly show them a roadmap for how we’re going to help them with the rest of their portfolio.
  • ‘We don’t know where to start’ – the portfolio is so large and the issues so complex that we don’t know where to begin. The variety of platforms, stakeholders, incentives and priorities we need to align creates a nearly impossible challenge.

The application portfolios aren’t new, and the concept of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) has been around for quite some time. So why now? What’s created the burning platform around transforming and modernizing the application portfolio?

  • Digital disruption – start-ups leveraging continuous innovation models are starting to draw blood. Financial services provides a great example, where fintech startups numbering in the hundreds are attacking virtually every incumbent market from consumer banking to insurance and starting to have real market impact. Blockchain technologies go a step further, with their potential to fundamentally restructure major financial services markets and institutions. Everyone knew it was a question of when not if, but even the largest enterprises are finally starting to feel the impact from digital disruption and continuous innovation.
  • Risk perceptions – highly publicized commitments to the public cloud from GE and Capital One are giving cover to enterprises that may have been more reluctant. With leading blue chip Fortune 500 CIOS telling their IT peers that ‘the water’s fine’, more conservative shops are willing to start to wade in. This is particularly true for those fearing that disruptors may be leaving them in the dust. The biggest career risk for CIOs around cloud adoption was once being too early – now the risk is being too late.
  • Platforms and infrastructure – application transformation is tightly linked and dependent upon both operating model and infrastructure transformation. In addition to public cloud, infrastructure teams are more confident around their strategy and vision for private / hybrid clouds. With a clearer roadmap around future cloud platforms, focus is shifting back to the application portfolio to understand where and how opportunities will be captured.
  • Stagnating growth and profitability – many industries (particularly energy and financial services) also face renewed profitability pressure as global economic growth continues to stagnate. While not as draconian as what was seen during the Great Recession, many CIOs are now again facing aggressive cost reduction targets.

Having recently worked with several global enterprises on the topic, here are some key lessons we’ve learned so far on large portfolio transformation:

  • Understand Sources of Value – this first step is to understand where and how portfolio transformation can drive business impact. IT executives seeking to increase agility and reduce portfolio costs can pull several different levers, depending on what they want to achieve and how quickly. For those seeking to reduce cost application rationalization, replatforming or retirement are often the ways to go. Those seeking to reduce cycle times need to learn how to enable ITaaS models and modernization using microservices and DevOps. Knowing the timing of potential impacts is just as important as understanding the levers themselves as results can vary widely. For example retiring unused applications, archiving their data and decommissioning related infrastructure can drive cost reduction far more quickly that modernizing legacy applications.
  • Develop Opportunity Hypotheses –the next step is to do some thinking about how the sources of value apply to your portfolio. Get a whiteboard and make some educated guesses about where modernization, migration or retirement make have the most impact. They key here is to make some 80/20 guesses and where to start rather than waiting to boil the ocean by waiting to analyze the full portfolio to decimal level precision. Understanding the business processes and KPIs associated with a given application is often a good starting point. Market-facing applications that enable online sales, marketing or support need to evolve quickly and are often great candidates for Cloud Native modernization. Applications from a company acquired ten years ago that are only being kept alive to maintain access to data are good candidates for retirement and archival. Understanding the business context for different segments of the portfolio is invaluable in getting started.
  • Take an Agile Approach – once you have some hypotheses around where value might be, start by developing a ‘pilot’ portfolio transformation approach for a single line of business, geography or function that may have 100 or so applications. Application profiling and analysis should be focused around hypothesized sources of value, and around identifying and prioritizing opportunities for short-term impact, whether through cloud migration, modernization or retirement. Quickly assessing a targeted set of apps to determine transformation strategy, TCO impact and roadmap will accomplish three things:
    • Enable quick wins
    • Demonstrate business impact
    • Build credibility with business stakeholders.

After starting with an initial pilot, additional ‘sprints’ focused on additional BUs can be defined across the broader enterprise. Collectively these sprints will help shape an overall modernization, migration and retirement backlog that drives near-term impact, while also providing a broader roadmap for portfolio transformation.

  • Selectively Use Tools to ‘Deep Dive’– often times you’ll need to dive deeper to understand transformation opportunities in given Application Profiling sprint for a specific BU. In these cases, tools can be used to help provide additional depth and detail required for both planning and execution. Two common examples are:
    • Dependency mapping – to decompose a legacy monolithic application or develop a cloud migration strategy a clear understanding of app dependencies is required. This includes understanding the relationships of applications and enabling IT services (for example identity management). To gain a better understanding of application, service and infrastructure dependencies the use of blueprinting or dependency mapping tools is often helpful.
    • Code analysis – often times automated binary or source code analysis can be helpful in determining optimal modernization or transformation strategy. For example tools now exist that can analyze binary code for target applications to assess alignment with the 12 factor or Cloud Native models. This can be particularly helpful in identifying PaaS modernization or migration options.
  • Develop an Automated Approach – as you work through your first target LOB portfolio work hard to define a repeatable, scalable standard approach that can easily be extended across the portfolio. For large portfolios this will require tools and analytics platforms that enable automation, both for broad portfolio assessment as well as deep dive analysis. It also will required automated collection of metadata about applications and the portfolio from CMDBs, systems management tools and other sources – for portfolios numbering in the thousands manual interviews with applications SMEs won’t scale in time. Just as continuous delivery tool chains provide the automation and standardization that accelerate the impact of DevOps, Application Profiling and analytical tools (such as EMC’s Adaptivity platform) can help accelerate portfolio transformation.

One particularly effective model we’ve seen is for IT to develop an Application Profiling ‘service’ to BUs that helps them rapidly identify a roadmap, business case and backlog for modernization, migration and retirement for their portfolios. These can even be designed using a Dojo model, where coaches help BU stakeholders develop the internal skills and capabilities to both recognize transformation opportunities and develop roadmaps for execution.

EMC Global Services brings a unique set of skills, experience and tools to help even the largest enterprise transform and modernize their application portfolios. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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