Thoughts on enterprise IT

Dustin Amrhein

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Latest Blogs from Dustin Amrhein
Just about everything I do in my job points back to a construct that is a foundational part of the modern enterprise IT organization: the application server. Now, when you say ‘application server’, thoughts immediately wander to Java. More specifically, folks tend to think about server...
One of the first things I learned when I started talking with clients about their plans for platform-based clouds is that there is no such thing as a ‘simple application environment.’ Even for the most basic, CRUD-style applications, you can count on there being numerous different comp...
"It is what is on the inside that counts." How many times have we all been told that? Personally, I can't even remember. However, just because it is perhaps overused and undoubtedly cliché, does not make it any less true. In fact, I rank it right up there with the golden rule as mantra...
There is no shortage of information concerning the ‘right' way to do cloud. Don't believe me? Just google ‘adopting cloud computing' or ‘implementing cloud computing' and prepare to be bombarded with advice. Don't get me wrong. I am not attempting to impugn this kind of material or oth...
“What are the use cases you want to pursue with your enterprise cloud project?” The question seems innocuous enough, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that it is anything but. If you asked five people from different teams within the same company to each give you three use c...
What is an application? Well, like many things the answer varies widely based on who you ask. Consider the case of an online ticket booking application. If you ask the users of the application what the application is, then it’s a web page or a series of web pages. If you ask the applic...
When it comes to IBM Workload Deployer, I have no illusions regarding the veracity of our competitors. They are out there, and they are constantly on the attack. Their dubious claims aside, I know this because I still get asked quite frequently to explain the benefits of IBM Workload D...
APIs for cloud are important. Based on the number of writings, conference sessions, and Twitter blasts endorsing the cloud API movement, I think this is something on which we can all agree. However, I sometimes get the feeling that we just accept the fact that the API movement is impor...
I hate sitting on secrets. I always have. I understand that sometimes it's in the best interest of everyone (and your job) to keep tight lips, but that does not make it any more fun. Inevitably, the run-up to our annual IMPACT conferences means everyone in the lab is doing their fair s...
In a recent post, I wrote about the importance of well-designed, well-constructed virtual images. To be clear, I am not promoting elegant virtual image design for the sake of art. Rather, if we can improve the state of the art in virtual image design and construction, there is a chance...
Yesterday, I read the latest post on James Urquhart’s Wisdom of Clouds blog. As I often do, I found myself nodding my head as I read James’ latest thoughts on cloud. In this particular post, James provided some thoughts on the types of applications for which we would see growing cloud-...
I cannot help but chuckle when I hear someone say, write, or tweet that because of cloud computing operating systems are fast becoming a commodity. The only thing I can say is that they apparently do not talk to the same users that I do. I can accurately use the word ‘entrenched’ to de...
Conversations concerning PaaS trended upwards this week on the heels of the AWS Elastic Beanstalk (Beta) announcement. If you missed it, Elastic Beanstalk represents the first foray into PaaS by the historically IaaS-centric cloud provider. The new service provides an application-centr...
When at all possible, I like getting my information straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth. There is no better source of information, and I can avoid the intention and unintentional biases interjected by intermediaries. When it comes to my day job, the source of truth for me is tho...
Over a year ago, I posed a simple question in a post: ‘Should developers care about cloud computing?’ In the post, I went on to assert that developers should indeed care about what was at that point a little more of an emerging trend. Not that this was ever a controversial issue, but i...
When I go out and chat with different users about cloud computing, we usually end up discussing characteristics and associated benefits of the approach. As one may expect, rapid provisioning and increased asset utilization typically dominate the discussion. Users can draw a more or les...
In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a...
You know how we can tell PaaS is hot right now? We see vendors suffering from the same ‘me too’ syndrome that we see with its parent, cloud computing. That is, it seems some players are all too willing to throw around the term PaaS in order to spunk up a press release or product announ...
From a conceptual standpoint, consumability through abstraction is arguably one of the most important benefits of cloud computing. The cloud offers up some collection of raw resources (i.e. servers, networks, storage, and applications) as a set of pre-configured, pre-integrated, and re...
Ask someone to associate IBM and cloud computing, and that person will probably come back with something about solutions to help build private clouds. I know because I ask… all the time. On the surface, this is a fair association. After all, it is true that IBM offers quite a few diffe...
Over the last two weeks, I have fully immersed myself in the world of cloud. Thanks to conference keynotes, breakout sessions, customer briefings, and ad hoc discussions, I have not had much time to not think or talk about cloud. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, I do have to ...
For me, this week has been one of those weeks that I think all technologists enjoy. You know what I’m talking about. The week has been one of those rare periods of time when you get to put day-to-day work on the backburner (or at least delay it until you get back to your hotel at night...
For about two years now, I have had the opportunity to be out in the field and talk to those in the IT trenches that create, deploy, and operate middleware application infrastructure. More to the point, I have been working with them on ways that they can leverage elements of virtualiza...
While it is nice to consider the potential benefits of cloud computing for a particular organization, it is even better to see concrete results from a cloud implementation. I recently got the chance to do just that when I worked with one of our IBM test organizations to document their ...
One of the really cool things about getting out and talking with users about different cloud computing approaches is that, in many cases, you get to pose radically different ways of doing things within an organization. In some discussions, you can practically see the wheels turning beh...
Yesterday, I joined some colleagues on a webcast where we had a chance to talk to some of our users about the technical concepts behind WebSphere solutions for building, consuming, and integrating clouds. We discussed ways to enable autonomic, policy-driven runtimes, construct elastic,...
Maybe it is a misunderstanding, misperception or a myth, but it seems quite a few people make an incorrect assumption about standardization and customization when it comes to services delivered in the cloud. Specifically, the message I hear often from both providers and consumers seems...
While many enterprises are expanding their use of off-premise, cloud-based applications and application platforms, it seems some gloss over an important point. These same companies have, and will continue to develop, on-premise applications in both cloud and traditional environments. C...
Maybe I’m just a geek, but to me, in our ever growing, massively scaled enterprise computing landscape, there are few technologies that peak my interest like memory-based data grids. It is nothing short of amazing to see an increasing number of enterprises use these solutions in a myri...
Recently, I read an interview with fellow IBMer, Bruce Otte, in which he laid out IBM’s Roadmap to ‘Smart Clouds’ by highlighting five key areas. I’m not going to enumerate those here, if you are interested you can check out the interview, but there is one thing that especially caught ...
If you are a technology vendor, chances are that your users want to know what you are doing in the cloud. IBM is certainly no different. I get user queries all the time asking about the IBM cloud strategy or IBM cloud solutions. Specifically, perhaps owing to my role, I get many questi...
This much is clear, advanced virtualization techniques are here. Some time ago, we moved beyond base operating system virtualization, towards virtualization approaches that render more functionally complete systems. From single virtual images that contain entire software stacks (i.e. L...
One objective look at the current PaaS market provides all the evidence you need to conclude that we are in but the infancy of development for this technology. I want to be clear here, there are some really cool (and more importantly value-providing) offerings out there, but there is a...
Generally, I believe standards are a good thing for both technology consumers and providers. For consumers, they act as a focusing lens for the kinds of capabilities they should be looking for from a particular implementation (regardless of the technology we are talking about). From a ...
As the ideas and concepts behind PaaS platforms continue to evolve, it is becoming quite clear that they those platforms will consist of many facets. These systems will consist of application runtime services (both shared and dedicated), application modeling capabilities, and runtime m...
The Open Virtualization Format Specification is not exactly new. The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) published the first version in February of 2009 and version 1.1 in January of this year. However, just because the specification has been around for a while does not prevent a ...
It seems rather straightforward that as cloud computing adoption increases and the state of the art evolves, we will see a natural move by consumers toward cloud services that provide a higher level of abstraction. Discounting cloud-based software services (which I believe constitute t...
If you are someone who works in the cloud computing and advanced virtualization sector day in and day out, you may have a perspective that makes it easy to forget that this movement is still very much in its infancy. Personally, from time-to-time, I find it easy to forget how early the...
Many enterprises out there are at a point in time when they are making a very important decision regarding their enterprise applications: To move or not to move. Of course, I’m talking about the decision of moving applications to a cloud computing environment or continuing to deploy in...
In my mind, the cloud computing ‘sell’ is pretty straight forward. Fundamentally, cloud computing is a proposition of improving the time to value ratio for end users. Cloud solutions enable users address their needs faster (and in some cases cheaper) than traditional approaches to the ...