December 21, 2015

Why we need a national IoT strategy

While the Center for Data Innovation report anticipates that the private sector will be the primary driver of innovation and development in the IoT over time, it notes that there is hesitation among many firms to dive headlong into the field owing to concerns over the risks of not being able to recoup investment in the nascent technology. In that regard, the center is suggesting that the government could position itself as an early adopter, deploying IoT devices and applications in its own facilities and in the sectors where it plays a dominant role, such as defense, transportation and energy. Castro also sees a role for the government to play in expanding deployment of the infrastructure that supports IoT -- and ensuring universal access to it -- to prevent a new type of digital divide from taking hold.

A practical guide to effectively ushering DevOps into any organization

Many times, we observe that within the IT organization, development, testing, and operations have different goals, objectives, and KPI’s. They never cross-functionally define business needs. They mostly define technology as organization-specific. As an example, a functional tester doesn’t know how developers are communicating with each other, or the security team for security-related issues. An operations engineer has KPI up-time, but he really doesn’t know the various application modules he's supporting.  Suddenly, by enforcing DevOps, we're telling all the organization to begin communicating, start intersecting, start having cross-communication. So this has become a key problem in the 21st century infrastructure, application, testing, or overall DevOps framework implementation. Communication and understanding have become key challenges for organizations.

Cloud Foundry Launches Cross-Vendor Cloud Service Certification

"We are betting big on Cloud Foundry to run our next-generation Nexen digital ecosystem. We need to be able to run our apps all over the world, and that means we need Certified Cloud Foundry to guarantee portability," Kumar said in Cloud Foundry's announcement Dec. 15. Cloud Foundry also has a reputation for providing good virtual machine and container tools geared to modern microservice applications. It automatically embraced VMware and open source hypervisors. Its Garden and Warden container technologies were designed to deal with different container formats and runtimes, moving it beyond the just-Docker approach prevalent in the early days of containers. Another user commenting in Cloud Foundry's announcement was Kaiser Permanente's CTO Mike Sutten.

Benefits of an “Agile” Mindset

The main difference in rapid project initiation lies in the level of detail explored. Because the agile approach is designed to be tolerant of change, the lean principles of “just enough” and “just in time” are applied to project planning. Agile projects draw the “just enough” line at a relatively high level, leaving significant ambiguity at this phase of the project. This ambiguity is most obvious in the lack of requirements detail and the rough preliminary project plan produced. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) Fifth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2013, does not specify the level of detail needed for project initiation.

Essential data points for the tech year ahead

If an overarching conclusion can be drawn from the results of Computerworld's Forecast survey of 182 IT professionals, it's that 2016 is shaping up to be the year of IT as a change agent. IT is poised to move fully to the center of the business in 2016, as digital transformation becomes a top strategic priority. CIOs and their tech organizations are well positioned to drive that change, thanks to IT budget growth, head count increases and a pronounced shift toward strategic spending. Amid the breakneck pace of change in technology and business alike, where should you direct your focus in the new year? Read on for key highlights and data points on budgeting, hiring, business priorities and disruptive technologies that promise to define the IT landscape in 2016.

JUnit Lambda: The Prototype

The most important piece of JUnit’s API is the @Test annotation and nothing changes here: Only the methods annotated with it will be considered as tests. The tried and tested annotations to set up and tear down tests stay virtually unchanged but have new names: @Before and @After, which run before and after each test method, are now called @BeforeEach and @AfterEach; and @BeforeClass and @AfterClass, which run before the first and after the last test from a class, are now called @BeforeAll and @AfterAll. I like the new names. They are more intention revealing and thus easier to understand – especially for beginners. Then there is the new @Name, which can be used to give more human readable names to test classes and methods.

Four technologies impacting enterprise communication

Messaging through smartphone applications is an obvious means of communication considering we are always connected. We used to walk away from our phones, but now we still have them even if we are busy. Enterprise UC services offer instant messaging, but it is not usually effective for inter-company work teams. A new breed of business-focused messaging apps, such as Slack and HipChat, are gaining popularity, but they don't do a great job at real-time communications. Workstream communications and collaboration (WCC) is where asynchronous messaging-based solutions combine with UC. Services are already available from several vendors including Cisco, Interactive Intelligence and Unify, and many more are coming.

5 Strategic Planning Pitfalls and their Antidotes

People often enter a planning process with the expressed concern that “this will not be actionable and we will fail to actually implement it back at work.” As a result, an inordinate amount of time goes into attempting to plan for how to implement the plan back at work. Predictably, back at work, the day-to-day whirlwind of business as usual takes those well made plans and has their way with them, leaving people feeling frustrated at the time spent preparing for execution. ... Planning at its best results in new context, prioritization, and vision that allows day-to-day work to be executed in sync with the directional push, not separate and distinct from it. Over-communicate the plans and priorities you craft in strategic planning sessions so that everyone, at every level, understands how what they do today connects to where you are going tomorrow.

“DevOps: A Software Architect's Perspective”

Activities that have system-wide impact should occur within the constraints of the enterprise. There are two types of monitoring and metrics that are relevant to a team. One is the monitoring and metrics of their particular code (service, subsystem, whatever). The team needs to have leeway to do the right thing in this case. The other type of monitoring and metrics are those with business relevance - transactions per second, latency, reliability, orders per second, etc. Monitoring needs to present both the business relevant metrics and have the ability to drill down to determine which code segments are contributing what to those metrics. Developers when they deploy a new version should first ensure that the business metrics are not affected (or are affected in predicted ways) and then that their particular new deployment is behaving well.

Welcome To The ‘Always-On’ IT Department

To be effective, and considerate, the IT department should have no more than four to six layers for the user to navigate through. Fewer than four and the user’s problem really can’t be identified with enough certainty. More than six, and the user is probably going to get very perturbed.  “The first thing is programming [the on-call scheduling system] as explicitly as possible,” Jones says. “We know people don’t want to sit through 10 different choices, but the more choices you have, the more likely you are to get somebody to the right place. Still, there’s a limit to the number of buttons on a phone – and usually we don’t want 10 choices – you can’t use a zero because that will call an operator, theoretically. This is the dilemma, because to be explicit and to be quick and to the point, and also be easy to program are often totally at odds with each other.”

Quote for the day:

"When you believe you have lost your power and control, nothing will ever seem easy or simple." -- Shannon Alder