Tag Archives: sun-microsystems-blog

links for 2009-08-26

Incompetence a bigger IT security threat than malign insidersThe Register Human error still the most prolific problem in IT provision, not purely security, which this report focuses upon. …..

links for 2009-08-19

Cloud Computing reading recommendations from Jim Baty

Here’s a few Cloud Computing reading recommendations from Jim Baty, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect for Global Sales and Services. I’ve had these for a couple of months now but I thought I’d post them anyway as they are well worth a read.

some reading that folks are talking about

clouds from Berkeley / Patterson


data intensive supercomputing


implementation comparison of GAE & AWS


Itex and Sun thought leadership event ‘A Computing Revolution: Why Cloud Computing Changes Everything’ in Guernsey on Tuesday the 2nd of June, 2009


So whilst a number of my colleagues, friends and peers at Sun are off enjoying JavaOne, the no.1 Java event of the year, and CommunityOne West, I’m going to be in Guernsey, where I’m keynoting at the Itex / Sun Thought Leadership event “A Computing Revolution: Why Cloud Computing Changes Everything“.

During the event we’ll be looking to cover the following topics:

  • What is Cloud Computing and why does it matter?
  • Will it benefit my department or business and how will it impact the IT function?
  • What are the applications of Cloud Computing, today and in the future?
  • What will it mean for small niche jurisdictions such as Guernsey?
  • What is the role of Government in facilitating the new computing environment?

I’d just like to say ‘Many Thanks’ to everyone at Itex who helped organise this event, especially Daniel Fitton, Richard Parker and Chris Eaton, and to Paul Tarantino and Greg Roberts, of Sun UK’s Internet and Web2.0 team, who originally put me forward as guest speaker.

Details for the event are:

  • Date: Tuesday the 2nd of June, 2009
  • Time: 8:15am to 9:00am for Breakfast, 9:00am to 10:30am for the event
  • Location: Old Government House, St Peter Port, Guernsey
  • Registration: To reserve a place email events@itexoffshore.com or call 01481 710881

Itex have created a flyer for the event, which is available here (in PDF format). Event page is: http://www.itexoffshore.com/NewsAndEvents/Events/May+2009/Cloud_May09.htm

I really shouldn’t say be saying this, as JavaOne is big news in the IT Industry, especially at Sun, and has an incredibly exciting line up of speakers and agenda this year, but I’m looking forward to being in Guernsey more.

Frankly I’ve been to the States a fair amount with work and conferences but I’ve never been to Guernsey yet; I’m really looking forward to going and think I’ll have a great time too. Expect to see slides, write up and photos sometime next week.

Shock! New report says IT Management don’t care about Power Efficiency

Shockingly the latest report from Forrester Research effectively ends up telling us exactly what we all know already; that the majority of CIOs, CTOs, and other IT leadership and operations management, are not interested in power saving.

As reported recently by The Register in the article “Study finds IT heads not interested in power saving” (available here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/30/pc_power_saving/) which confirms what most of us in the IT industry know to be true, in that in the majority of cases because power consumption comes under the remit of Facilities Management in most organisations the IT department is not responsible for paying for Power Consumed (whether that be for compute, storage and network infrastructure itself, or the cooling equipment that is required to maintain that infrastructure either) and so has no reason to be concerned about the size of the companies power bills (or the effect of poor IT power efficiencies on those bills).

Also in almost all companies the Facilities Management department is much larger, and has a much larger budget, than the IT department; easily often in the magnitude of ten times that of the IT department (in some organisations the IT department is part of the Facilities department, and we most often encounter this model when the organisation in question sees IT purely as organisational ‘infrastructure’ and tends not to see IT as a means to deliver competitive advantage).

Encouraging IT management to be concerned about power efficiency is still highly problematic whilst the IT department is not accountable for managing that Cap-Ex spend, although things are getting better, albeit slowly. Day to day I see large numbers of IT departments and management thereof being set targets for power savings, however I infrequently see any genuine penalties or incentives that ensure these targets are even remotely met (in most cases I see IT departments focus being that of maintaining business critical systems, especially during processing runs, whilst still attempting to build out new functionality at the same time, how little things have really changed).

What constantly amazes me are the number of organisations planning, and determined to, build out new data centre facilities, even now during the downturn. Many of these organisations would be much more sensible to look at refreshing there existing infrastructure, reducing server footprint, getting better energy efficiency and performance, as long as the risk impact and analysis of risk is low, and possibly even reducing their data centre footprint, but that would mean shrinking peoples corporate ‘power bases’ and personal ’empires’ and so often receives a lack of genuine support.

Frankly this would become an important topic if those responsible for the facilities budget where also responsible for the IT budget, but this is rarely the case; IT usually reports to Operations (which may also contain facilities), Finance, or occasionally even the the Main Board or Marketing (including Sales), followed rather infrequently by facilities (this becomes more complex when looking at the IT departments remit, and whether they have significant influence, or control, over the application development team and the business analysts from the profit generating business units).

The most obvious answer would be to get IT and Facilities to work much more closely together, and at least be set joint targets, which are ‘SMART’ (stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-framed”). The other that I’ve heard becoming more popular recently has been to redirect Facilities budgets to IT departments for them to run technology refresh programmes, with a recent example looking at an unprecedented 10% of Facilities budget being transferred to IT, nearly doubling that IT departments budget for the year.

Personally I don’t think this will be addressed well in the short term, but I’m hopeful that using budget earmarked for Facilities for Technology Refresh, and planning facilities reductions becomes a more widely recognised and sensible approach to help drive down the amount of energy consumed by the technology at use within enterprises, because, frankly, something needs to be done to reduce enterprise consumption of power and space resources.

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The End of the World?

In the future, once we’re all ensconced in our virtual reality worlds, is this the way it will all end? On February the 28th, 2009, Tabula Rasa, an MMORPG (like World of Warcraft and RuneScape) was shut down, after failing to attract enough subscribers related to the current economic downturn.

In his article “Analysis: Tabula Rasa’s Final Moments – A Firsthand Account“, Simon Carless evocatively writes:

By the afternoon, the West Coast server Hydra was the last server standing. As more and more of its citizenry logged on for the last hurrah, and foreign players from dead servers poured in to squeeze a few more hours out of the game, it became increasingly congested, buggy, and lag-ridden. The intended scenario was indeed playing out not just in the game and the fiction but as a metagame: the active duty population swelled as humanity prepared to make its final stand.

Simon’s description reminded me a little of the recent Doctor Who episode “Utopia”, where at the end of time humanity are huddling together as heat death consumes the planets they had colonised. The ‘Futurekind’ almost like NPCs, also collecting together, prior to being finally terminated.

In a doubly ironic twist of fate, ‘Tabula Rasa’ is Latin for ‘blank slate’, or rather ‘slate wiped clean’, popularised by John Locke as a rather now out of fashion philosophical thesis that individuals are born without any built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception alone (the whole ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’ debate is more balanced now). It also resembles the off state of the server infrastructure that would have supported the game that presumably had it’s ‘memory’ wiped clean, prior to being redeployed to support other functionality.

Thanks to Mick Farren’s blog for bringing this to my attention.

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links for 2009-05-15

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‘Exploration of Cloud Computing’ at the Birmingham BCS Branch AGM this coming Monday; looking for new Committee members

Interested in Computing in Birmingham and the West Midlands? Then come along and join us at the BCS Birmingham Branch Annual General Meeting (AGM) this coming Monday, where we are looking for members to come forward to join the Branch Committee.

After the AGM itself I’ll be doing a presentation called “An Exploration of Cloud Computing” with the following synopsis:

An exploration of Cloud Computing looking at an overview of the subject of and some of the current common definitions available. Looking at the current state of the Cloud Computing market place and Cloud Vendors, what is actually being sold to people. Will also look at the different types of clouds, the differing approaches to engaging with cloud providers, the business models, impact on Business, and how Businesses can exploit the ‘Cloud’.

Answers to key Cloud Computing questions I hope to address include:

  • What’s Cloud Computing?
  • What’s different to what we’ve seen before?
  • What’s driving Cloud Computing adoption?
  • What types of Cloud are there?
  • How can I engage with them and use in my Business?
  • What’s the overview of the Cloud Computing marketplace now?
  • How is Cloud Computing likely to change?

A number of the members of the Birmingham Committee will be standing down at the AGM so we are looking for volunteers to join the Committee to take part in planning our activities for the 2009-10 session. If you are interested in joining the Committee please contact John Chinn, Branch Secretary, at john.chinn@manchester.ac.uk or you can come forward at the AGM itself.

Details for the event are:

  • Date: Monday the 18th of May, 2009
  • Time: AGM at 6pm for 6.30pm, Presentation at 7pm
  • Location: Trophy Suite, Tally Ho Sports & Conference Centre, Pershore Road, Birmingham B5 7RN
  • Cost: Free, Presentation open to all (including non-members of BCS), no registration required although we would prefer that you contact the Branch Secretary, John Chinn, at john.chinn@manchester.ac.uk or 0161 306 3733, so that we can advise the caterers of the correct numbers for the buffet.

Official BCS Birmingham Branch AGM and “An Exploration of Cloud Computing” page: http://birmingham.bcs.org/agm2009.htm

Very much hope that we will see you at the Branch AGM, and even better if your interested in being involved with the Committee.

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Enterprise Architecture Case Studies presentation on Friday the 8th of May in Aberystwyth

This Friday I’ll be presenting on the topic of ‘Enterprise Architecture Case Studies’ in Aberystwyth, in an event organised and hosted by the South Wales branch of the BCS.

For more information the event is advertised here with the BCS. The core details are:

  • Date: 8 May 2009
  • Time: 17:00 Refreshments / 18:00 Start
  • Location: The finger buffet is in the foyer of the Computer Science Building and the talk itself will be in Lecture Theatre `A’ in the Physical Sciences Building, both on the Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth.
  • Cost: Free, open to all (including non-members of the BCS or IET), no registration required.

Here’s what I generally say as an overview of this talk:

The case studies presented explore my experiences with Enterprise Architecture in three major customer engagements. They include an Enterprise Architecture team which led its company into a £70+ million ‘pitfall’; the use of Enterprise Architecture to define a Service Oriented Architecture; and an example of how much Enterprise Architecture is about achieving the proper governance model.

Key takeaways:

  • Enterprise Architecture best practices drawn from multiple engagements.
  • How to use good governance to avoid and limit the ‘Ivory Tower’ syndrome.
  • How to combine Enterprise Architecture and Service Oriented Architecture to deliver sustainable Transformation.

Given the current downturn I’ll also go into some of the issues facing EA programmes due to the credit crunch and what can be done to ensure that they continue to receive executive sponsorship and funding.

Happy to answer any and all questions; please consider that I’ll be attempting to condense three major and very large scale Enterprise Architecture case studies into a talk lasting an hour and a half or so, therefore I will definitely be around to speak with afterwards. ¨C13C

‘Many Thanks’ to Fred Long (of Aberystwyth University) for organising and co-ordinating this event and for Clive King (of Sun) for initially brokering the relationship.

Links to the BCS page for the event: ¨C14C

¨C15C ¨C16C¨C17C

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Alan Mather’s 2003 ‘Enterprise Architecture in Government’ white paper available online

Alan Mather has just released his excellent “Enterprise Architecture in Government” white paper from 2003. This white paper has mythic status in UK Government IT circles because of it’s visionary roadmap of an implementation for Enterprise Architecture (EA) for the UK. Pre-dating the “Cross Government Enterprise Architecture” (XGEA) work of the CTO Council (who hadn’t even been formed at the time, but nor had the CIO Council who commissioned them either) this is the earliest attempt at applying an EA vision to the co-ordination of the UK’s IT and IS portfolio.

Alan surely requires little introduction, and is a singularly authoritative voice, having been the been the Chief Exec. of the Office of the e-Envoy’s (OeE, then e-Government Unit, or eGU, and finally the CIO Council) e-Design Team (eDT, currently led admirably by it’s new Director, Chris Haynes, although the eDT itself is now part of DWP having moved there at the same time as the eGU transformed into the CIO Council). Alan spent a number of years at the heart of the Cabinet Offices push for ‘Shared Services’ and Government services online programmes, helping to instigate and then deliver the largest UK “Government to Government” (G2G) system, by volume and scale, the Government Gateway.

Writing in his blog article also entitled “Enterprise Architecture in Government” (available from http://blog.diverdiver.com/2009/05/enterprise-architecture-in-government.html) he says:

More than a few people are starting to get active again around shared services, enterprise architectures, shared data centres (and all of the SaaS, HaaS and maybe just plain old aaS that could bring). A while ago I wrote a document that I hoped would lead to a debate on delivering some or all of those things into UK government. The document largely languished on my hard drive gathering virtual dust like so many reports about what government should do to make things better. It never quite got finished although, looking through it now some 6 years after it was written, it still seems to hang together pretty well.

Alan’s being rather reserved here because I know it was released to a few, select, senior people across Government, and I genuinely credit this to having furthered, if not initiated, the conversation in Government about planning out it’s overall EA (both “as is”, “to be”, and strategy) in a much more pro-active manner. I’m glad to say I was one of the people Alan chose to review the document back in 2003, but frankly I thought it was excellent at the time and still do.

For the life of me I can’t understand why Alan isn’t at the epicentre of Government as an integral part of the UK Government EA programme, then again he is running a major programme at the moment, another large-scale system key to the future of the UK, so I imagine know he is kept pretty busy by that delivery.

Anyone and everyone interested in UK Government IT should read this document, I’m sure many of you would be shocked at how visionary the paper is, and how relevant it still is after six years. Alan Mather’s “Enterprise Architecture in Government” document is available from box.net (which opens in a new window): https://www.box.net/shared/ki3z6ejjiv

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