Posts Tagged Business Process Modelling

AWS – Storage Lifecycle Management

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Again, while I don’t claim expertise on the “cloud computing” phenomena let alone storage, it is an area that fascinates me for delivering technology and service based innovation.   Especially considering all the data proliferation era that is often spoken about in statistical superlatives (e.g. article from Forbes).

In particular I have considerable admiration for Amazon and their AWS business aspect, and I’m not alone in this respect – as this article points out.

I recently wrote a post about the Amazon Glacier storage service.  This is a follow up post.

AWS has recently brought out announcements on AWS S3 integration with AWS Glacier  and about enhancements to their AWS Storage Gateway with Gateway Cached Volumes.

Now the concepts around Information Lifecycle Management, and Digital Asset Management and the use of Hierarchical storage management or the related Automated Tiered Storage are not new, and there is a lot of traditional technology around to deliver or cover some of those aspects.

Tiered storage is a data storage environment consisting of two or more kinds of storage delineated by differences in at least one of these four attributes: price, performance, capacity and function.

Any significant difference in one or more of the four defining attributes can be sufficient to justify a separate storage tier.

Automated Tiered Storage is the automated progression or demotion of data across different tiers (types) of storage devices and media. This movement of data is automatic to the different types of disk according to performance and capacity requirements.

Beiges Buchbinderleinen (Sold)

So where does AWS come into this?  Here’s how I see it:

AWS_SLM

same with recently updated iconography from: AWS Simple Icons

AWS_SLM2

I think with the combination of AWS Storage Gateway, AWS S3 and AWS Glacier  Amazon has pretty much got a wrap on this.  This storage service combo gives cloud based hierarchical storage management, that has a gateway entry point into the traditional enterprise data center, rule based storage policies, an api as well as market leading price point.   I think the CIO will soon find this an appealing combination, easing his/her cost concerns around storage of data and record archives necessary for compliance to various financial and legal stipulations.

Is that not an awesome combination!

Do you think they’re on to something?

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Innovation, Second Life and collaboration arena of tomorrow

Having seen posts from Alan Lepofsky, Irving Wladawsky-Berger and having learned about Croquet from OpenCroquet. Stuart also wrote an article about the impact on virtual meetings Improving virtual meetings.

My feeling is this is something at will immerge as a more prevalent technology within the enterprise in the coming years.

I think the compelling arguments behind this technology are:

  • These software technologies are still maturing.
  • The software is mainly associated with leisure and entertainment.
    • Which I think is a better sector of the market to mature in, and it means those exposed to it are the younger generations – those mainly responsible for the up take of social networking technologies so prevalent today.
    • Which will consequently influence the manner in which they will expect to meet and collaborate virtually within their professional lives.
    • My main examples of this are :
    • Sony’ Home: Home and SL - IBM Audience VII
  • Hardware on workstations/consoles are now capable of rendering such environments with relative ease, and this will continue to get better.

I am not sure how this will manifest itself directly within the enterprise environment, but for the consumer I think more generic exposure will come as businesses recognise the value in a 3-D front of house, or shop.

Retailers are already present within SL, and so are a number of businesses. I don’t think it will be long until the major online outlets also have an active business presence in the virtual worlds. rbk_sl_004 (Reebok)

Imagine the benefit of having a 3D-rendition of a house, designer kitchen, bathroom, landscaped garden to visit and walk through as you ponder the purchase, or the nuances of the design.

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Moore’s Law, multiple cores – shaping tomorrow’s architecture

Everyone is aware that CPUs are no longer a single core only capable of handling a single thread of activity. Intel and AMD both have produced multi core architectures. Intel’s latest being around the Duo Core, Quad Core and more V8! AMD are also in that arena.

While these architectures are also available to server platforms, there is a major market for these multi-core architectures on the laptops, workstation and PCs that will be the default type of machine to be found in an office or home. With such power and capacity being available locally what impact will that have of the office and enterprise architecture as well as home user and public service consumer?

  • Will it result in a further bloating of a PC’s operating system?
    • Yes, almost definitely – a consumer market will want to see a more visual rich and impressive GUI.
    • But will that be all?
  • What about the Thin client architecture – what will it’s future be?
    • If that depends on the necessity that the central processing power and provision of services that lie with a centralised server then – yes.
    • But what if the distributed clients now have the power and capacity to do the visual rendering as well as efficiently manage any requirement to complete the background computation work. Why send the data to a central core, to await it’s processing and then receive an answer?
  • Hang on what about storage, backup and general business continuity?
    • Yes that will need to be provided, but lets not bloat the hardware if we don’t need to.
  • Will that apply to all application types?
    • No not altogether, I think the main beneficiaries will the productivity and collaboration suites. Where content is generated mainly via HIDs rather other computers, where there is a need to maximise the use of technology in reducing or making up for virtual or distant relationships and allow communication, collaboration and relationship to happen as best as possible. Certainly there will be major enterprise applications like DBMS, and systems supporting ERP or CRM systems which will probably not see a big shift in their architecture styles, which are reliant on the server to provide the computational power behind the application and also attaching to the large storage needed to house the application.

Will the Role of the Server Change?

Quite possibly. The server will need to remain the central core of service provision, where the latest version of data is held, backed up and stored. However, if the clients have the capacity to do the work of the application locally then the traffic between the server and client may well be reduced to the synchronisation of the data.

Peer to Peer application architectures will certainly look to exploit the increases power and resources available in the generic workstation. This may reduce a server’s role to that of a persistently available peer, to allow for asynchronous and synchronous communication for a variety of clients that utilise the application. This may also develop to the point where all instances of the applications are full versions with complete sets of the backend and graphical data sets and also the application executables.

Impacting on our interface

This boost to local resources may also have a major impact in way we interact with operating systems. Until recently any major graphical work required a separate GPU on the motherboard, to release the CPU from this processor intensive work, which otherwise could produce major lags in the application and OS performance. But with multi-core architectures we could see the end of the dedicated GPU, was it becomes absorbed into the main system bus but on dedicated cores Why not use a core on the CPU to the do work, probably rather like the Cell processor introduced to the world via the PS3. This could release the flat 2D nature in which we current navigate through applications, into a more spatially 3D rendered environment, which I see Vista is starting to do with “aero”. Graham and Steve have been debating on the future of the file server see, here, here ,here and here; perhaps the file server won’t go away in the near future but perhaps how we access and relate to file storage will change.

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Call it a disruption, adjustment or revolution – whatever it makes sense to me

Having followed links to Michael’s’ blog from Graham’s post; I’ve read a few more of his posts.

I find his posts about “Disruptions” make sense to me
The Next Disruption
Disruption in the IT market

I also found similar opinions and statements being made at a lecture by Irving Wladawsky-Berger “Vice President of Technical Strategy and Innovation” at IBM
The Irving Wladawsky-Berger Lecture :-“Enabling a Business Process Revolution”

His blog can be found here..
Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s Blog

In his lecture and in the presentation found on the link above IWB likened the technology evolution of the web to previous more catastrophic revolutions that mankind has experienced. He gave examples of the Industrial Revolution, Steam & Railways and Oil & Automation; each led to a collapse or crash followed by a sustained period of adjustment. The most recent being the “dot.com” crash, and though Michael may see the current disruption relating to Web 2.0 etc, I think it is still part of the current period of adjustment stemming from the “dot.com” crash. This is because you can see it breaking in/seeping through at work, at home, in what we read about, what we hear about… its sphere of influence is growing and growing, but without a violent disruption or revolution.

What is clear that these disruptions may start with technology but they far reaching effects in society and business.

IWB went on further to say to remain successful and viable businesses needed to remain innovative especially during this period of adjustment; else tried and tested technological and business processes will quickly become superseded and out of date. One of the most interesting points made by IWB during the lecture was the adjustment to business process and technology leadership. Previously business models reflected a strong lead via a rigid management hierarchy, strategy and direction choices were made at the top and subsequently pushed down. However, with the community based networking available through web technologies – we now have “informed consumers, proactive citizens and self-organising communities”, challenging the way business can be conducted. For example the linux development project: Linux, where enthusiasts organised themselves to create what is now a widely used and high developed operating system and platform. Not only has this community produced something use, it has financial value too! All from a community with a very different organisational model to traditional businesses.

So we have two leviathans of Information Technology aware of the current adjustment/disruption and how are they responding? Well, I’m sure they can answer that better than myself, and there probably articles about just that out there. One thing is clear to me, they see the need to keep up and stay agile and innovative; so for starters they are acquiring assets or technologies more rapidly … see Graham’s post, recent press releases on WinInternals, Filenet etc. However, there remains are plenty of fresh new competition out there, more flexible, more targetted to challenge the establishment. Here is an interesting article on this by CNN Money The Next 25 I also liked what Steve Richards said in his article: Newsgator and the future of Microsoft, a good description of a new comer on the scene with a whole environment approach to their product.

Perhaps we’re not seeing a big step change in the technologies at our fingertips just yet, and I hope that technology has evolved sufficiently to metamorphose with less end user disruption, but certainly the face, pace and way business is being conducted is changing.

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