The Ides of Cloud

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Beware the ides of March.

It has a magical appeal, coming from Oracle to Julius Caesar warning him that bad things would happen to him on the 15th of March. It brings to mind an interesting statement “Beware the Ides of Cloud Computing.”

The ills/risks/dangers here aren’t just one day with Brutus, a knife and some bystanders who won’t help. The risks are every day. The reality of the ides right now? No Oracle warning of that in fact there is something to be wary of. (not that Oracle the company wouldn’t warn us, just that in the best sense of what an Oracle does, Oracle the Company can’t do Soothsaying is outside of the realm for software development companies today).

What are the risks?

  • The security drum is pretty well beaten and may in fact not really be as big of a cloud risk as we’ve been led to believe.
  • The cost of migration is significant and the reality of that migration? You probably should have rewritten your application rather than simply porting what you have into the cloud.
  • Virtualization is not cloud computing. That huge risk let’s people assume that by virtualizing their solution they are ready for the cloud – see bullet two, it ain’t the same baby.
  • Bandwidth is everywhere and nowhere. You can’t assume that just because you get four bars today in your local starbucks that you are going to get the same amount tomorrow. The number of people using the solution are growing. The amount of bandwidth is not growing as fast. There will be a great burp (I know but I had to sneak that in) that will impact that bandwidth as well (making people realize its not going to be always on and always available).

There are many more risks these Ides of Cloud. But now my fingers are tired from typing so I will stop here.

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The insecurity of cloud computing

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When you consider the hype around cloud computing you find that it is more hype than anything right now. Like Dr. Miracles wonder elixir most of cloud computing can’t do the things you need and or want it to do consistently.

Partly of course this is the reality of squeezed IT budgets and cloud computing in the short run offers additional cost savings. But cost savings is a window. Once you open it it quickly closes.

The reality of cloud computing in the near term is security. In fact the more clouds I look at, the more I realize security may be the today and the tomorrow of cloud computing. Secure solutions that are based on APT, but also on years of experience both in managing secure solutions but also in building and providing solutions that are based wholly on a secure implementation.

Reality in the security space is there are as many wholes in some vendors offerings as there are answers. Microsoft offers a number of solutions that trumpet their “days to vulnerability closed” but the reality is there remains a high number of vulnerabilities. IBM has many solutions that have significant security issues. Redhat and other Linux vendors have long lags often between vulnerability opened and closed.

Cloud security can’t be about the response. It has to have an offensive capability working to close the gaps.

In the past I’ve talked about new models and patterns for developers to consider building towards. I suspect someone should spend some time (probably me later) on what the security options would be using cloud computing.

  • Security through obscurity
  • In transit or on-the-fly security
  • others?

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Visual Ops

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What are you reading now?

Many years ago when I was a second grade teacher I used to ask that question daily of 20 people. What are you reading now today is a little more interesting a question.

For the past few days I’ve been reading a book called Visual Ops (I ordered the new book Visual Ops focused on Private Cloud in hardback and Visual Ops the original in the series on my kindle fire.)

It takes an agile view of operations and how to implement them in a smaller footprint.

I find the concepts interesting and its easier to ride then some of the Cyber Security books I am slugging through.

 

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Returning to the Syncverse, yes, it is still there…

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In my book “The Syncverse” many pieces of which originally appeared in my blog and podcasts, I talk about the concept of one solution that would allow for people to have hold and store the things that were important to them. It would have to leverage a USN and GUID system as per the various standards (with in the case USN represent the Universal Synchronization number for any specific solution based on a Globally Unique Identification or GUID of a specific data set).

There are many solutions that have come into being since I wrote my book that get close to the concept but still lack a number of critical components.

  1. Universal Access
  2. Security
  3. Ease of use/access
  4. one drive to rule them all and in the cloud bind them

I would like to talk about the last one today. I’ve beaten the other topics more in the past than I have the concept of one drive to rule them all. I’ve been playing with cloud drives for the past month or so.

During that time I have found some interesting things.

  • Gladinet is a great tool if you intend to embrace cloud storage solutions
  • backup solutions to the cloud are slow and most are expensive. I strongly recommend Carbonite for lower cost and reasonable speed.
  • Bandwidth remains an issue – yesterday while uploading 20 gigs to a cloud drive and running my cloud backup solution, the rest of the PC’s in the house had virtually no access to the Internet. I don’t have the most expensive Comcast Xfinity solution, but I don’t have the cheapest either.
  • Automated synchronization requires an application (see Gladinet above). There aren’t as many sync programs on the Macintosh.

The cloud concept is one that will in the end change the way we use and leverage computers. What cloud doesn’t provide us is the path to the Syncverse concept. That I suspect will have to come from cobbling a number of solutions together in the short run.

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Creating an Architectural Board to maintain the concept of the profession of Software Architecture.

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So my friend replied to yesterdays blog agreeing with my now expanded scope of the reasons why there isn’t anything new in Software Architecture. He didn’t like the word immaturity, but who does.

He had an additional point that I was moved by. It actually got me thinking that his point might in fact be the number one reason there is nothing new in Software Architecture. I asked him if I could share the idea. He said yes so here it is.

Everyone has their own Architectural Theory.

When he first proposed that (we actually spoke on the phone this time rather than 24 emails) concept I was shocked. I have a lot of friends who have created their own architectural frameworks and ideas.

They borrow bits from many other theories and create their own. They often attribute the source so that is good. But the reality is they are making the waters murky rather than helping. His concept that strikes me is the creation of a body whose job it is to create and accept architectural concepts. It would reduce the number of theories out there by increasing the complexity of having an approved theory. Today all you have to do is say “look this is my theory of architecture and it’s the best one.”

It goes to my thinking about the Internet (the great Internet board) that I posted awhile ago. The concept that there has to be more than simply saying look at me for something to be published (this blog of course, a great example as it is simply a look at me).

Professions have boards and bodies whose job it is to maintain the profession. Not the people as any one person is well not critical. The profession as a whole entity is the important thing (which goes against the concepts of socialism but is the reality of a profession).

So,

I present this to the architecture board as a pundit/critic’s view of the architecture profession.

What say you board?

.doc

Sometimes when you listen you can actually find out that you were “partially” wrong.

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Yesterday I got an email from an old friend asking me about my blog “There is nothing new in software architecture.” he disagrees with me about the certification problem, but he felt the same way saying “yeah, haven’t seen anything new in more than 5 years.”

But then he asked me to consider if it wasn’t just certification (which we argued about in a 27 email thread but that is a different day and another blog) what else is wrong with software architecture.

I resisted at first having focused on the certification issue from both sides for more than 10 years. But after our last email I agreed to think about it, and if anything came of the thinking to blog it.

Problem 1: Immaturity

(Sung to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”). With the advent of UML structured architectural documentation came into being. From the Zachman framework we aligned documents produced with the phase of a project. From there people discovered gold and the gold rush began, Every major software vendor created their own iteration of ITIL, UML and each one was uniquely positioned by the vendor as the best and the brightest. So confusing that I’ve noticed the opposite affect on documentation lately as more and more projects adopt agile methodologies, they drop project documentation. Which by the way isn’t part of agile it is part of the immaturity of software architecture.

Problem 2: Ego

There is often a reality behind why things don’t mature. One of the biggest drivers is ego. I am calling this the Cult of Architecture for lack of a better term. In the cult the folks flock to the latest and greatest (certifications count here pal) because well that is what it takes to build the ego. The ego becomes larger than the person. I know of so many places that suffer this problem “I have a new idea” the person says, everyone in the room then waits for person X to comment on the new idea before they do.

OK Pal, I thought about it, there are many more reasons and certification is a contributor not a driver. I think it is a huge contributor to the problem but I will concede your point that in fact it is not the only driver.

.A chagrined Doc

Nothing new, lots of in-fighting and 23 people trying to get through the door at the same time…

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I am beginning to realize that it impacts me more than I want to admit, this feeling that there is nothing new in software architecture.

Partially because I spent so many years chasing the dream of a profession. I still see a profession in the future, but until the various groups can all just “get along” I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

In the fullest sense of disclosure I am a member of IASA. I have been for a number of years and so I do support IASA’s point of view in relation to the overall concept of a profession for architects.

What concerns me is that there are a number of organizations now that continue to spring up. I have been using the comparison to the presidential race going on in the US right now. What would happen if every week a new candidate joined the race. It may in fact happen that someone will wait until the entire race is over and jump in at the last minute. They (probably Sarah Palin if anyone) won’t suffer the slings and arrows of the race up until then. That is the problem with the many organizations being created now around software architecture.

  • There are too many variables
  • There are too many certifications
  • There are too many people touting their particular certification is the only certification of value
  • There are too many people touting that their organization is the only one seeing the future of software architecture.

I got back over and over again to other professions. You don’t have competing certification boards they are quickly killed. You don’t have numbers of professional organizations professing that they are the one to join. You usually have one focused core group and several smaller specialty groups.

If you had asked me 5 years ago about a timeline for having a profession I would have said we would have one by now. I was so focused on building that profession that I didn’t read the tea leaves.

If you asked me now I would say it is still 10 to even 20 years away. which is why it makes me sad that there is nothing “New” in software architecture.

 

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