Tag Archives: conferences

How to Fail with Web Services

I’ve been asked to deliver a keynote presentation at the 8th European Conference on Web Services (ECOWS) 2010, to be held in Aiya Napa, Cyprus this Dec 1-3. My topic is an exploration of the the anti-patterns that often appear in Web services projects.

Here’s the abstract in full:

How to Fail with Web Services

Enterprise computing has finally woken up to the value of Web services. This technology has become a basic foundation of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), which despite recent controversy is still very much the architectural approach favored by sectors as diverse as corporate IT, health care, and the military. But despite strong vision, excellent technology, and very good intentions, commercial success with SOA remains rare. Successful SOA starts with success in an actual implementation; for most organizations, this means a small proof-of-concept or a modest suite of Web services applications. This is an important first step, but it is here where most groups stumble. When SOA initiatives fail on their first real implementation, it disillusions participants, erodes the confidence of stakeholders, and even the best-designed architecture will be perceived as just another failed IT initiative. For over six years, Layer 7 has been building real Web services-based architectures for government clients and some of the world’s largest corporations. In this time, we have seen repeated patterns of bad practice, pitfalls, misinterpretations, and gaps in technology. This talk is about what happens when web Services moves out of the lab and into general use. By understanding this, we are better able to meet tomorrow’s challenges, when Web services move into the cloud.


Talk at Upcoming Gartner AADI 2010 in LA: Bridging the Enterprise and the Cloud

I’ll be speaking this Tuesday, Nov 16 at the Gartner Application Architecture, Development and Integration Summit in Los Angeles. My talk is during lunch, so if you’re at the conference and hungry, you should definitely come by and see the show. I’ll be exploring the issues architects face when integrating cloud services—including not just SaaS, but also PaaS and IaaS—with on-premise data and applications. I’ll also cover the challenges the enterprise faces when leveraging existing identity and access management systems in the cloud. I’ll even talk about the thinking behind Daryl Plummer’s Cloudstreams idea, which I wrote about last week.

Come by, say hello, and learn not just about the issues with cloud integration, but real solutions that will allow the enterprise to safely and securely integrate this resource into their IT strategy.


BI is Dead. Long Live BI. The Future of Business Intelligence in the Cloud

I’ll be delivering a keynote presentation in Sydney Australia on Oct 18 at the Mastering Business Intelligence with SAP conference. I’ll also be doing a roadshow around the country with our local partner First Point Global, who really understand the business of IAM. The Australian market is very forward-looking these days, and I’ve been impressed with the vision behind the projects we’ve been involved in. If you’re in Australia, come by the conference or send me an email if you would like to meet.

Here’s the abstract in full:

BI is Dead. Long Live BI. The Future of Business Intelligence in the Cloud

Will cloud computing really change IT? Despite all of the attention that cloud computing commands, this deceptively simple question has been largely overlooked. The promise of shifting capex dollars to lower opex is certainly compelling and the overnight success of some of the large Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors, such as Salesforce.com is undeniably impressive. But once the hype dies down, what will be the real impact of cloud computing to mission-critical applications such as BI?

Cloud will transform BI, much as it is currently transforming CRM. Cloud isn’t only about a cheaper new delivery model; when done right, cloud also radically changes how applications are composed and where data can reside. These changes are driven both by necessity-acknowledging the realities of latency, privacy and compliance – but also by opportunity and the rapidly evolving best practices that show us how to build applications better and deliver these faster. BI must change to be successful in the cloud and cloud is an irresistible forcing function that will make this change inevitable. If your career is centered around BI, you need to be ready for this revolution.

Fight Night at Interop

As CTO of Layer 7 Technologies, I attend a lot of conferences. There was a time when this was all exciting and new, but I find now I’m rarely surprised by anything on the show floor. By mid-spring, I’ve collected samples of all the swag that’s new for the season, and digested all of the latest product offerings. My kids have enough flashing balls and foam thumb rockets to open a daycare.

Xirrus, a maker of high performance wifi equipment, broke the cycle of conference ennui spectacularly this year at Interop Las Vegas. They hosted boxing matches in a ring set up in the middle of the show floor. Vegas may be the home of glitz, gambling, and excess, but it’s also an important center for boxing, and the city is full of fighters. Xirrus pulled in two clubs and squared off their fighters in 3 round matches, hosting several fights a day for the duration of the show.

The fights were so engaging that I found myself setting the alarm on my phone so I could drift back in time for the next bout. Years ago I was a member of the boxing club at the University of British Columbia, and these sessions really reminded me how much I loved the sport.

Xirrus hosted a great event. It really demonstrated how doing something just a little out of the ordinary can make your company stand out. This was definitely the highlight of Interop for me—and I’ll admit that it was even better than my own session at the Enterprise Cloud Summit!

Melee at the Mandalay 2010

Azure Broke My Booth

“Get outta the way—it’s coming through.”

I love the New York accent. I think it is at its most characteristic when roared by an irritated teamster, struggling with a near-undeliverable load that was late even before the scheduled pick-up time.  In this instance, the package is a self-contained Microsoft Azure Compute Center, on its way to its temporary home in the middle of the show floor during April’s Cloud Computing Expo in the Javitts Center. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but by this time it was the 11th hour of vendor setup, and just about everyone on the show floor was done, leaving very little room for heavy plant to deliver a package the size of a modest RV.

The coming of Azure.

Small vendors in the tech industry have few options when juggernaut like Microsoft moves into their space. Maneuverability is always the best defense. A similar strategy is to be recommended when Azure, well, drives down the main hallway of the show floor. Not surprising, it left in its wake a volatile combination of consternation, amusement, disorganization—and a healthy determination to still win on the new business front opened up in the cloud.

The wake of Azure.

Everyone says that cloud is disruptive, but this was a little too literal for my taste.

Once delivered, an army of Microsoft staff swarmed over the box and quickly packed it with a dense array of Dell servers connected by a thick tangle of red patch cables. When all was said and done, it was hard not to be impressed with this rapid marshalling of technological firepower.

Azure data center.

Techs who work in the cloud.

Microsoft designed the Azure data center to be modular, self-contained and very green. The trick the company has employed here is to make use of outside air-cooling running through the unit to avoid expensive conventional air conditioning systems, which can typically account for half of the power consumption in a traditional data center.

The Azure center has three rooms. The air flows passes through each one, cooling the racks of equipment that separate the second and third rooms. If ambient air temperature rises too much to make this effective, normal HVAC takes up the slack; but the overall power consumption is considerably reduced.

Air intake zone.

Middle zone, showing server racks.

I’m not sure that it was a wise choice to light the middle zone in blue.

Each data center is weather hardened because Microsoft intends it to be deployed out-of-doors, and ideally in a location offering a naturally cool climate. Each unit is small enough so that it can be easily deployed in farms that integrate vast numbers of commodity servers. This is as close to cloud-in-a-box as you are ever likely to see.