Go back a handful of years and Microsoft was seen as a big, bad, monolithic vendor that was very much resting on its laurels. The change of CEO marked a turning point for Microsoft, however, and under Satya Nadella the company has shown itself to be innovative, nimble, and a pragmatic operator. This is perhaps best seen in Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform, which most commentators see as the most credible public cloud after Amazon Web Services (although, it has to be said, Azure is a distant second to the AWS powerhouse). The company has also done great work with its office productivity applications – Office 365 is now seen as a truly credible cloud office productivity and collaboration offering.
A few weeks ago when the news came out that Safe harbor provisions would no longer be a safe haven for U.S. vendors doing business in Europe, there was plenty of concern about what it would mean for the largest U.S. cloud vendors — Salesforce, Microsoft, Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS) all have massive business in Europe and relied on the Safe Harbor provisions to keep customers feeling secure.
It didn’t take long to see some reactions from the vendor side and just this week Microsoft announced a plan to offer many of its cloud services, including Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online, served directly from data centers in Germany. But that in itself isn’t particularly innovative, and may not actually resolve the issues around jurisdiction. So Microsoft is moving beyond simply having in-country data centers and are delivering services in Germany via a third party.
Your users are complaining: some system is down or slow. You need to determine if the problem is under your control or if the fault lies with a third party, such as your ISP or a SaaS provider. The time it takes to figure that out is your MTTI: “Mean Time to Innocence.”
At the recent O’Reilly Velocity show in New York City, my colleague, Phil Stanhope, talked about this topic. He pointed out a few important reasons why determining MTTI is so much more complex now than it was 10+ years ago. The Internet is increasingly complex and routinely experiences outages, instabilities, and attacks. While cloud providers, CDNs, and acceleration services may claim to be “always up,” that doesn’t mean that they’re “always reachable.” In fact, they are almost certainly experiencing a constant rate of low-level failure that is largely outside IT’s control and is still affecting users. Therefore, getting to MTTI is harder than ever.
In recent years business lines have been increasingly going the shadow IT route to achieve their critical objectives, showing there’s a real disconnect with IT as to how to leverage cloud computing.
The problem lies with cloud vendors who ignore the issue of the business vision. They see low IT costs and accelerated application delivery as business growth drivers while businesses are more concerned with market responsiveness achieved through agile and collaborative environments that bring together the business and IT.
The business is right: organizational silos, hierarchical barriers, unclear business priorities and people issues like power struggles, resistance to change, defiance of policies and politics are all impediments that only make it more difficult to achieve flexibility, fast problem solving and decision making.
We can thank a guy named Todd Harper, who managed to successfully capture foot-cam videos of 3D Robotics’ chief Chris Anderson giving the keynote speech at the InterDrone show earlier this month and put them on YouTube (Parts One and Two).
InterDrone is a conference and drone expo. 3D Robotics, or 3DR as it’s sometimes called, is major drone maker, with some of its funding from Qualcomm.
I’ve written about Qualcomm’s recent drone chip development in “Intel, Qualcomm getting into drones.”
The application-centric cloud development model becomes a devops approach to managing applications. Traditional cultural differences between developers and operations are very pronounced in the current information technology environments, but devops brings forth a blended approach to moving applications and a much quicker and more agile approach to the application-centric cloud.
Devops also makes both sides responsible for the success of the application. It’s not only true for an application cloud, but also for the third platform that IDC calls the new environment, or the bifurcated platform, as Gartner calls it. The reason for the new model is that one cannot wait for the cycle times that were created by the old model to facilitate the service level agreements that most companies need to be competitive.