Tag Archives: everyone

Enterprise Cloud: Why Size Matters

One of the biggest issues in speaking of technology trends is the natural impulse to apply a “one size fits all” approach.

People talk about technology the way they talk about the weather–it’s something that affects everyone the same way. Raining? That’s too bad about the ball game. Nice for your flower garden though.

Unfortunately, when it comes to technology, it doesn’t affect everyone the same way. At the risk of losing 90% of my readers in one go, I’m going to dust off one of the great evil words in the technology industry–Enterprise. As I’ve said before, the word “Enterprise” in the phrase “Enterprise Software” has come to mean software that sucks. In fact, if you Google “Enterprise Software” (with the quotes) the number two link is “Why Enterprise Software Sucks“.

So why dust off this word? I suppose I enjoy collecting antiques.

It’s after all a perfectly good word, and can be repurposed as a pot holder or maybe a tea cozy. What I’d like to have is a word that signifies the following:

An organization that has grown in size to the point where the old tricks don’t work anymore.

Funny Pictures

* Its organization has shattered into factions
* It’s technology has separated into silos
* Its market has fragmented into niches

The big challenge is how does one maintain the advantages of size and scale but still retain agility?

I think it’s possible:
Bull headstand

So how does fragmentation affect the use of cloud?

Well in terms of complex demand, cloud principles are very exciting.

swiss army

If your market is fragmented, you will be happy to offer a platform of reusable services that can be customized by channel partners or even by end users into thousands of possible use cases. Think iPhone App Store. So for complex demand, the cloud is a good thing.

The challenge for the Enterprise and cloud is the concept of “Complex Supply”. Since both the technology in the Enterprise is already siloed, adding cloud just adds another silo. Legacy Mainframe apps, Web Application Servers, Enterprise Applications, you name it, Cloud just adds yet another technology silo to maintain, integrate, secure and govern. Since large organizations are fragmented into smaller organizations, this problem is compounded when one organization creates a dependency on cloud services without a systematic enabling architecture.

Size matters. People try to apply architectural patterns and software solutions as if they were one-size-fits all.

ass is too small

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SOA Arrogance is Dead

I spoke at the Burton Group Catalyst conference in the SOA Track immediately after Anne and made the following point..

First and foremost, the most stupid and ignorant reading of “SOA is DEAD” is that the perspective of SOA is no longer needed in the Enterprise. This point of view is stupid, particularly when SOA is so important for mash-ups, Cloud Computing, SaaS, PaaS, BSM, IT Governance, Portfolio management and most modern IT practices.

The problem of Enterprise IT Complexity (and Entropy) *DOES* need to be solved. SOA is one of many key architectural perspectives that can make this happen.

Everything is a service (SOA) is an incredibly powerful view.

But within appropriate bounds, everything can also be appropriately viewed as a Process, an Event, an Object, a database table, or other abstraction.

The idea that an enterprise architect could become so focused on “one architecture to rule them all” is as preposterous as “one vendor to rule them all”.


Like the unfortunate cat in this photo, the Enterprise Architect’s head “GROED TOO FASS”… SOA simply cannot be applied to all things. Conceptually it works. You can walk around and talk about how everything in the universe is a service. It’s actually a fun exercise. But to try to implement Enterprise IT that way, by occluding and dominating everyone else’s world view is simply ineffective.

We all know that the “tipping point” has been reached with IT, and that just about everyone is dissatisfied with it. SOA is an essential ingredient in the fix, but instead of insisting on an “Atkins” diet that consists only of meat (services), why not have a healthy and balanced diet that includes vegetables (processes), whole grains (objects), healthy oils and fats (events) and some sugars like fruit (database tables). While it may be unfair to compare SOA to a fad diet, the concept of a healthy enterprise never goes out of style.

Everyone’s point of view is needed, and although IT ends up looking very “simple” if you try to take a simplified view of IT and force it upon everyone. Unfortunately, such a simple monolithic view, even if it is as powerful as SOA will fail.

Enterprise Architects are smart people. We should all be able to incorporate and understand the validity of multiple viewpoints at the same time. The service oriented viewpoint is the key perspective with which IT can reorganize itself, but it should not be force fit over business people who think in processes or developers who think in objects or data gurus who think in tables.

We have gone from integration of systems, which is the rather mundane task of getting machines to interoperate, to the sophisticated task of integrating world views, and even more importantly, intentions. The Enterprise is made up of many world views and many different intentions. These need to be reconciled, but to run roughshod over the perspectives and intentions of others is simply not an adoption best practice.

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