Emerging PaaS model puts cloud app dev into the fast lane

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchCloudComputing.

As they grapple with application backlogs and a shortage of seasoned, business-savvy developers, enterprises will increasingly look to drag-and-drop programming options.

Mike Matchett
Small World Big Data

Any complex organization wants to move faster, increase efficiency and lower its costs. That’s never been easy. There are too many moving parts — spread across layers of heterogeneous, hybrid IT — and too much inadequate expertise to accomplish everything.

I’ve never heard anyone say they ran out of applications to build before they ran out of good application developers to build them.

It’s no wonder that the get-to-the-cloud message, with its push-button, pay-someone-else-to-manage-it vision has finally penetrated almost every organization. With the cloud-first mantra these days, the CIO might as well be thought of as the cloud information officer. However, in today’s highly internetworked, hybrid world, IaaS is no longer the big cloud opportunity.

Where IT can help the business gain real competitive advantage is now up the stack with some form of PaaS model, such as high-productivity application PaaS. To be competitive, companies want to build and deploy new applications quickly. PaaS promises to enable developers to build better apps and deploy them faster without IT infrastructure friction, thereby unleashing pent-up productivity.

Switching to PaaS, however, can be hard, much like the move to Agile development methods. Using PaaS assumes you have a bevy of highly experienced and web-savvy developers willing to work on relatively plebeian business processes — and PaaS alone won’t solve all your problems.

Backlogged application development
Great business-savvy application developers are rare. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone say they ran out of applications to build before they ran out of good application developers to build them. And it’s not just developers. An organization’s application backlog problem could get worse for a number of reasons:

  • App dev bottleneck. How many people really grasp top-notch, web-scale coding practices and know the business? Among them, how many know about scalable databases, machine learning algorithms and also have the patience to provide internal customer support?
  • Data swampiness. Some of today’s most valuable data is big, bulky, barely structured, increasingly real-time and growing. Put it all in a data lake and maybe you can make some use of it, but only if you can sort out what’s relevant, what’s compliant and what’s true. Even harder, most new apps will want to naturally span and combine both structured and unstructured data sources.
  • Creativity cost. It takes a good idea and dedicated resources to make a great new business app work well. And it requires a culture that approves of investing in projects that might not always produce results. The biggest returns come from taking the biggest risks, which usually means more money on the line.
  • Ticking time. Ask everyone within your organization for application ideas, and you’ll be sure to compile a huge backlog. Many of those applications are impractical for the simple reason that, by the time developers finish, the app’s window of competitive value will have disappeared. Who needs another outdated application? It’s hard enough to maintain the ones already in use.

PaaS adoption can be a very good thing, helping enable and accelerate development on a number of fronts. But for many of the above reasons, the PaaS model itself won’t help everyone take advantage of all the potential new application opportunities…(read the complete as-published article there)

Cloud, IoT to drive enterprise IT trends in 2017

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchCloudComputing.

Cloud computing has evolved quite a bit in the last few years, but it still has far to go. Technologies such as big data, containers and IoT will have a big part to play in the future.

Mike Matchett

Yes, it’s a brand new year and time to make some Next Big Thing predictions for the year to come. This year, our outline of what’s on the immediate horizon is already well known: hybrid cloud adoption, big data applications and containers. Looking a little further out at enterprise IT trends, we might see the first practical persistent storage-class memory begin to disrupt 30 years of traditionally structured data center infrastructure. And expect a hot smoking internet of things mess of requirements to land in the lap of IT folks everywhere.

All of these topics are, of course, highly interrelated. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to find that many organizations will have to bite the bullet on all five at the same time to handle a new internet of things (IoT) data processing application. But let’s take a quick look at each:

Cloud adoption. I am as guilty as the next pundit in predicting when cloud adoption will finally be considered a “traditional” deployment model. But this time I really mean it! VMware is demonstrating cross-cloud products. Microsoft is making real hay rolling traditional businesses, large and small, into software as a service, likeOffice365, and infrastructure as a service, like Azure. And all our favorite storage vendors are realizing that building in a cloud tier won’t shrink on-premises storage needs given the growth in data and hybrid technologies that balance and marry the best benefits of both cloud and on-premises processing.

Big data. Hadoop is a decade old now. With newer generation platforms like Apache Spark making it easier to deploy and consume big data interactively for SQL-friendly business analysis, real-time operations, machine learning and even graph-based applications, it’s time for us all to get on board this train. As I’ve said, all data can grow up into big data someday. One of the top enterprise IT trends we’ve noticed is less concern about what big data is and more focus on getting maximum value out of all that data. In fact, I predict that data access — or data paucity — will become a new corporate key performance indicator in the future.

Containers. Having predicted the fast rise of containers last year, I claim some victory here against naysayers. Containers have won even if they aren’t in production everywhere yet. Yes, there are some major issues yet to be resolved for the regular, not quite DevOps, IT organization. Many apps will never transition to containers — just like how we will have mainframe applications and VM-based appliances hanging around for decades — but open the hood of every modern application, appliance, cloud or software-defined infrastructure, and you’ll likely find containers. In fact, most of the newest enterprise IT trends covered above – especially cloud and big data — are internally powered by container-based development and deployment.

Containers have won even if they aren’t in production everywhere yet.

…(read the complete as-published article there)