December 31, 2015

7 Technology Resolutions For a Better 2016

It's 2016 and there's a feeling of hope and renewal in the air. That can mean only one thing: It's time for some New Year's resolutions. What did you vow to change this year? Are you going to learn a new skill? Pay off your credit card debt? Lose 40 pounds? Whatever your plans are, don't forget to throw in a few resolutions that involve the technology in your life. The best part of tech resolutions is they're fairly easy to keep and can improve your life almost right away. We've got seven suggestions below on how to make technology central to your plans for an awesome 2016.

Immutable Layers, Not (Just) Infrastructure

Immutable infrastructure is an effective application delivery workflow, but the deployment process is slow and resources are often underutilized. Building images and creating new hosts on every application update leads to a deploy process that can take 10 minutes or more. If there’s only one service per host, it usually does not use all the available CPU, memory, and disc resources on the host. If only 20% of resources are used, then the remaining 80% is wasted expense. Schedulers like Nomad, Mesos, and Kubernetes allow organizations to split applications and infrastructure into separate immutable layers, which speeds up deployment times and increases resource density, while still maintaining the benefits of immutable infrastructure. 

Software Licensing Audits: Is Your Company Prepared?

Violating license agreements can be expensive. Six defendants recently pled guilty in a software piracy case worth more than $100 million. While it wasn't an enterprise company left holding the bag, the outcome illustrates the consequences. In enterprise settings, most noncompliance is unintentional, which usually means the company did a poor job of managing its software licenses. If a company does not go to court, at minimum it will likely have to "true up," which means pay any licensing fees owed for software overuse. That can easily mean six or seven figures in large organizations. Licensees may also be subject to fines and penalties outlined in the license agreement. If the matter goes to litigation, the causes of action usually include breach of contract and copyright infringement, whether or not the noncompliance was willful or negligent.

How will blockchain technology transform financial services?

Bitcoin’s open source blockchain, described as a “permissionless” system, means it is decentralised and open to anyone. UBS and Microsoft are both working with blockchain start-up Ethereum, which runs a similar open source technology, and allows for the smart contracts that can execute trades automatically. But many in banking, wary of losing their grip over operations or of upsetting regulators, see the future in closed, or permissioned-only, networks. Almost two dozen of the world’s largest banks, including JPMorgan, UBS and Barclays, have thrown their weight behind R3 CEV, a start-up venture, to set up a private blockchain open only to invited participants who between them maintain and run the network. It forms part of an effort to build an industry-wide platform to standardise use of the technology.

Waterfall-to-Agile transition: Five tips from Bose

Bose adopted Agile development in 2003, after having become frustrated with the Waterfall methodology. CIO Rob Ramrath said Bose had trouble with Waterfall's "unknown unknowns," or ambiguity inherent in the process. He said the company "made a decision to burn the ships," and move to Agile development, which, he said, provides a structured way to avoid ambiguity in the development process and to pull business customers into the development process. Here are five recommendations that came out of the panel for a Waterfall-to-Agile transition:

Metatheory and enterprise-architecture

By contrast, a metatheory provides a consistent description of the context-space itself – the parameters and trade-offs underlying that context-space, much as above. As a theory-of-theory, a metatheory provides a frame in which to identify where each type of theory would work well – and where it wouldn’t. Hence on complexity, for example, Roger Sessions argues that we should aim to eliminate all complexity; John Seddon argues instead that we should aim to embrace complexity, and that trying to eliminate it only makes things worse. Which of them is right? If we were looking for a single consistent theory, one of them surely must be wrong? But actually they’re both right - in the right types of context. Equally, both of them are wrong – for the wrong type of context. To use a well-worn architects’ expression, “It depends“…

Microsoft outlines its cloud and server integration roadmap for 2016

Microsoft is planning to make generally available its tenth release of BizTalk Server in the fourth quarter of 2016. Before that, in Q2 of next year, Microsoft will release a Community Technology Preview of BizTalk Server 2016, followed by a beta of that product in Q3.BizTalk Server 2016 will align with Windows Server 2016 (due out in Q3 next year), SQL 2016, Office 2016 and the latest version of Visual Studio. The latest BizTalk release will support SQL 2016's AlwaysOn Availability Groups both on-premises, as well as hosted on Azure. Microsoft plans to tighten the integration between BizTalk Server and various application programming interface connectors, such as the ones to and Office 365, to enhance hybrid on-prem/cloud scenarios.

Hybrid Cloud – Taming the Digital Dragon

Often the somewhat rigid structures and processes of IT departments, such as fixed employment or procurement via RFP, aren’t the most innovation-encouraging activities. This means CIOs can easily source their functional requirements, such as delivery and support of a SAP system, but they struggle to engage personnel who can devise innovative new ways in which it might be used to extend a successful digital strategy. That’s a much more rare skill set and is often concentrated in small startup businesses, where domain experts seek to exploit their considerable assets of knowledge areas. They in turn urgently need reference clients and problem statements to build their business around, and so very dynamic fusion can be achieved with regards to shared goals of digital innovation.

An Evaluation Guide to Application Lifecycle Management Software Solutions

Application Lifecycle Management tools can help improve software quality, cut costs, shorten time to market, and enhance collaboration by clearly outlining workflows, and helping you stay on top of your artifacts and processes throughout the lifecycle. What's more, advanced integrated ALM solutions also offer simple ways to export reports, greatly facilitating compliance audits in the above-mentioned safety-critical industries. Right, so there's a solution (or at least significant help) available for some of the most pressing difficulties you're facing. Should you just run to the store, grab an ALM platform off the shelf, and sit back to watch the extra money flowing in? Well, here's the thing: Application Lifecycle Management software come in all shapes and sizes, and finding the one that perfectly suits your processes can be problematic.

The Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2016

Voice-operated electronics are poised for a quantum leap in accuracy and intelligence in 2016. Talking offers a more natural way to interact with devices that need complex input but aren’t exactly keyboard-friendly, such as TVs, sound systems and household electronics. Voice arrived in a big way in 2015 when Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant came to Windows 10, while Siri and Google Now turned up in cars and TVs. This year, expect voice control on more computers and an even wider range of gadgets, including the CogniToys Dino, a toy that uses IBM’s Watson to help answer questions, and Jibo, a talking family robot.

Quote for the day:

"Be a leader to be remembered, make people feel good about themselves and increase their belief in their own abilities" -- Gordon Tredgold

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