Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

Architecting Beyond Cloud Computing’s Horseless Carriage

Consider how Cloud Computing’s unique characteristics will change how you do architecture

Today is a wonderful time for anyone interested in Cloud Computing to be working with the US government. On the one hand, the government considers Cloud to be strategically important, and they already have a track record as an early adopter of Cloud Computing on a grand scale. On the other hand, the government is also in the unique position of being able to drive standards for the approach—and in fact, they are even responsible for establishing the most widely adopted definition of Cloud Computing.

The federal agency who has taken this leadership position is the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the US Department of Commerce. NIST’s formal definition of Cloud Computing is already well known—“a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” Concise as that definition is, it only marks the beginning of the work NIST is doing to formalize and standardize the full breadth of Cloud Computing approaches, both within the government as well as for the world at large.

I learned about the breadth of NIST’s work on Cloud last week, when I had the pleasure of attending the NIST Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop. They are leading a cross-industry effort to “provide thought leadership and guidance around the cloud computing paradigm to catalyze its use within industry and government. NIST aims to shorten the adoption cycle, which will enable near-term cost savings and increased ability to quickly create and deploy enterprise applications. NIST aims to foster Cloud Computing systems and practices that support interoperability, portability, and security requirements that are appropriate and achievable for important usage scenarios.” To this end, they have followed up their formal definition with a Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, which consists of three volumes: requirements to further US government adoption, information for Cloud adopters, and technical considerations for government Cloud Computing deployment decisions. They have also published a Cloud Computing reference architecture and standards roadmap.

To be sure, NIST has generated a daunting quantity of information here—but ignore these documents at your peril. If you work for a US government agency, then you likely have a mandate to move toward Cloud Computing, and NIST spells out many of the details. But even if you have nothing to do with the government, it’s important to remember that NIST is also a standards body in its own right, as well as a coordinating agency for other standards bodies. No other group or agency anywhere else in the world has achieved the same leadership position with respect to today’s nascent Cloud standards efforts.

One of the main reasons NIST is able to maintain this position is because they have an inclusive approach. Want to contribute? You’re welcome to. Have an issue with something in one of the documents? Then let them know. After all, one of the reasons they’ve generated so much content is because they have so many contributors, not just from the government, but from people around the world.

Even ZapThink isn’t above joining the fray. We’ve reviewed NIST’s documents in the context of ZapThink’s eye for agile enterprise architecture, and we’ve identified a missing link. Of course, looking at something and trying to identify what’s missing is always difficult, especially when so many contributors have already pored over the material so carefully. The trick is to break out of “horseless carriage” patterns of thinking: instead of considering the Cloud to be little more than an outsourced, virtualized data center, put on your architect’s hat and consider how Cloud Computing’s unique characteristics will change how you do architecture.

NIST’s Cloud Deployment Scenarios
I found this missing link when I reviewed the Cloud deployment scenarios in the NIST Standards Roadmap document. Here is their diagram illustrating the eight generic deployment scenarios that they identified (source: NIST)

They sort the various deployment scenarios into three categories:

Single Cloud

  • Scenario 1: Deployment on a single Cloud
  • Scenario 2: Manage resources on a single Cloud
  • Scenario 3: Interface enterprise systems to a single Cloud
  • Scenario 4: Enterprise systems migrated or replaced on a single Cloud

Multiple Clouds (serially, one at a time)

  • Scenario 5: Migration between Clouds
  • Scenario 6: Interface across multiple Clouds
  • Scenario 7: Work with a selected Clouds

Multiple Clouds (simultaneously, more than one at a time)

  • Scenario 8: Operate across multiple Clouds

From ZapThink’s perspective, the most interesting of these are scenarios 1, 3, and 4, because they consider the relationships between enterprise systems and the Cloud. ZapThink has written about these relationships before, most recently in The Keys to Enterprise Public Cloud, but also back in mid-2010, when we discussed Cloud Architecture’s Missing Link.

The missing link we pointed out in that ZapFlash was the ability to compose Cloud-based Services with on-premise Services as part of an enterprise SOA effort. It could be argued, however, that composing Cloud-based Services falls under Scenario 3, since Services are a type of interface. But there’s more to this story—and to understand how the NIST folks missed it, it’s important to follow their line of reasoning.

NIST’s Blind Spot
NIST has divided their Cloud standards efforts into three categories: interoperability, portability, and security. Interoperability standards are the most straightforward, especially for anyone who has worked with Web Services, which of course are little more than standards-based interfaces intended to promote interoperability and loose coupling.

Portability standards are more complicated, because NIST considers both application portability and data portability. In the Cloud context, application portability centers on the ability to move virtual machine (VM) instances from one Cloud to another. Data portability, however, is more difficult, because applications process different kinds of data, and those data flow throughout an entire system. For one organization, data portability might mean moving a single database from one Cloud to another, but for a different organization, the requirement might be for the portability of an entire SaaS application, along with all of its distributed data.

NIST’s focus on interoperability and portability (and security, of course, which is an entire conversation in its own right) makes perfect sense in light of their focus on standards, since the standardization of these three capabilities will go a long way in furthering NIST’s core mission. So it’s no wonder that their three Cloud deployment scenarios that involve enterprise systems consist of deploying or migrating to a Cloud (facilitated by portability standards), or interfacing with a Cloud (facilitated by interoperability standards).

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that NIST missed another deployment scenario: building applications that leverage both on-premise and Cloud-based capabilities, where those applications rely upon more than interoperability, portability, and the ubiquitous security.

Building applications that are compositions of Cloud-based and on-premise Services is a simple example, but doesn’t go far enough, because even this scenario falls into the “horseless carriage” trap of considering the Cloud to be nothing more than a virtualized data center. Factor elasticity into the equation, however, and we must consider new approaches to architecting such applications that go beyond considerations of interoperability and portability.

Building the Cloud’s Inherent Elasticity into Hybrid Applications
More than any other characteristic, elasticity distinguishes true Clouds from simple virtualized data centers. If your app requires more resources, the Cloud will provision those resources automatically, and then release them when you’re done with them—until you need them again. Furthermore, those elastic resources may be among any of the different types of Cloud resources (networks, servers, storage, applications and Services, as per the NIST definition), or any combination thereof.

As a result, when you architect your app, you don’t know how many of each of these resources you will be using at any point in time, since the number can change with no warning. You must take this change into account when architecting your data, your middleware, your execution environments, your application logic, and your presentation tier—in other words, your entire distributed application.

Cloud providers do their best to hide the underlying complexity inherent in delivering elastic infrastructure. But when you’re building a hybrid app—that is, one that includes Cloud-based as well as on-premise capabilities—your architects must have deeper knowledge of the underlying capabilities of the Cloud environment than Cloud providers are typically comfortable revealing. In other words, even once Cloud interoperability and portability standards mature, architects will still require additional information about the underlying capabilities of their Cloud environments that such standards won’t cover.

The ZapThink Take
This ZapFlash may leave you wanting more  namely, how precisely do you architect with the Cloud in mind? Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room for the answer to that question in this ZapFlash, but fear not, we’ll be laying out more details in the weeks and months to come.

Can’t wait? Then come to our Licensed ZapThink Architect SOA & Cloud course in San Diego January 16-19. We’ll dive deep into architecting with the Cloud, as we enjoy warm breezes off the Pacific from our lush venue by Seaforth Marina on Quivira Basin. Or better yet, take advantage of ZapThink’s new Cloud Competency Center by dropping us a line at [email protected]. We’re here to help!

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TAZMO technology and development capabilities in the semiconductor and LCD-related manufacturing fields are among the best worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.tazmo.co.jp/en/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...