A Demonstration Of The Importance Of Architecture And Infrastructure

*** Experiment Number 1 ***

1. Security is an essential, core enabler of online business. Security must not be an afterthought, a necessary evil, or a function forced by government regulation. It is more properly recognized as a key business enabler. The modern business paradigm of delivering highly personalized service to individual consumers demands that Security is at the core of the business process.

2. Security can provide a competitive advantage. Properly delivered Security services can enable enhanced user experience while securely protecting confidential data, thus increasing feelings of trust and customer satisfaction. Companies that leverage these factors will have a competitive edge in the online marketplace.

3. Security strategy must be tightly aligned with business strategy. As a critical enabler of business sucess, Security services must evolve in harmony with business objectives. For example, global business initiatives will demand global Security infrastructure. New business models may demand new Security services. Large business scale will require commensurate Security services scale.

4. Security should be delivered as an integrated set of web services. When Security is a core business function, services such as authentication, authorization, personal preference and federated relationships should be services accessible to every business application, whether such applications are provided by the enterprise or by its business partners.

5. Security services must be highly available with very low latency. Security services in an online environment are mission critical. Like we depend on five-nines availability for telephone dialtone and very low latency for telephone call connection, we should expect Security services to be virtually always available with mimimal impact on the duration of a business transaction.

*** Experiment Number 2 ***

1. Network Infrastructure is an essential, core enabler of online business. Network Infrastructure must not be an afterthought, a necessary evil, or a function forced by government regulation. It is more properly recognized as a key business enabler. The modern business paradigm of delivering highly personalized service to individual consumers demands that Network Infrastructure is at the core of the business process.

2. Network Infrastructure can provide a competitive advantage. Properly delivered Network Infrastructure services can enable enhanced user experience while securely protecting confidential data, thus increasing feelings of trust and customer satisfaction. Companies that leverage these factors will have a competitive edge in the online marketplace.

3. Network Infrastructure strategy must be tightly aligned with business strategy. As a critical enabler of business sucess, Network Infrastructure services must evolve in harmony with business objectives. For example, global business initiatives will demand global Network infrastructure. New business models may demand new Network Infrastructure services. Large business scale will require commensurate Network Infrastructure services scale.

4. Network Infrastructure should be delivered as an integrated set of web services. When Network Infrastructure is a core business function, services such as authentication, authorization, personal preference and federated relationships should be services accessible to every business application, whether such applications are provided by the enterprise or by its business partners.

5. Network Infrastructure services must be highly available with very low latency. Network Infrastructure services in an online environment are mission critical. Like we depend on five-nines availability for telephone dialtone and very low latency for telephone call connection, we should expect Network Infrastructure services to be virtually always available with mimimal impact on the duration of a business transaction.

*** Explanation ***

Often when I come across verbiage on the web which evangelises the importance of some whizbang new architecture, I play a game of global substitution and see how sensible (or unexciting) the underlying document becomes.

During 2005/2006 it was particularly funny to remove the word “Grid” from the text of articles on C|Net and other news resources, so that the exciting Grid Security will be critical in 2006 becomes the less-exciting Security will be critical in 2006.

Another fertile field for such word-substitution games are the reports produced by Gartner et al. Try it sometime.

The two examples above are straightforward edits of an original blog posting that is held elsewhere; if you want to know what the posting said originally then I suggest you go read it because I agree with the author wholeheartedly. I think the simple search-and-replace has worked well, especially in the first example although the latter one sounds pretty good, too – however the reason I am posting this particular example is to make a point:

Whenever you encounter a sentence like FOO is an essential, core enabler of online business, perhaps you should stop to consider what other kinds of FOO are also core enablers of online business, and whether and why you should focus upon one sort of FOO more than another sort of FOO.

Examples of the sorts of FOO that I care about, include:

  • Performance is an essential, core enabler of online business
  • Integrity is an essential, core enabler of online business
  • Operational Discipline is an essential, core enabler of online business
  • Authorisation Management is an essential, core enabler of online business
  • Backups and Disaster Recoverability is an essential, core enabler of online business
  • Networking is an essential, core enabler of online business
  • Availablilty is an essential, core enabler of online business
  • Scalability is an essential, core enabler of online business
  • Security is an essential, core enabler of online business
  • Design is an essential, core enabler of online business

Historically, within Sun Microsystems these systemic matters have been referred to by the awkward term “-Ilities”, reflecting their collective focus upon qualities, abilities or functionalities of a given solution, be it hardware, software, or whatever…

So – to return to editorialising – why is it that Sun have so much infrastructure dedicated to just one small aspect of this larger “Ilities” issue?

Perhaps it’s because we have a software product associated with it, and that product, like other products, can be sold like a hamburger – a discrete item which provides “point satisfaction” but requires little integration into a larger, quality-laden, consumption experience?

6 Replies to “A Demonstration Of The Importance Of Architecture And Infrastructure”

  1. My life in a nutshell

    Right now I’m battling my boss’ boss that just because a product isn’t marked in Gartner’s “magic quadrant” doesn’t mean it isn’t the best fit for what we’re doing.

    Shoot me now, please. I may just forward him your posting.

  2. More Substitution Fun!

    From March 2005:-

    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0%2c1759%2c1780849%2c00.asp

    * Computing Can Allow Security Threats

    Security experts on Wednesday recommended that IT administrators clearly identify and understand the security risks associated with large-scale * computing deployments.

    During Ziff Davis Media’s Enterprise Solutions Virtual Tradeshow, the pros and cons of * computing and safe data storage took center stage, with panelists stressing the importance of using best practices to protect the confidentiality of information passed over corporate * systems.

    Mansell recommends that businesses deploying * systems identify critical assets and the threats to those assets.

    More importantly, IT administrators must assess the impact that a security threat could have on the business and implement mitigation controls and policies.

    To ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of crucial data on the * systems, Mansell said administrators must implement proper classification to handle confidential data. “Access to confidential data needs to be restricted to those with a need to know and you have to set up audit trails,” Mansell said.

    “Many of the concepts that apply to a well-managed information security practice apply to * computing,” he said, warning that the reliance on authentication and authorization of users and groups makes it complicated for an administrator.

    “Policies and processes must be created to address this expanded reliance on these extended models,” Mansell said, calling for boundaries of administrative control to be clearly defined.

    Mark Teter, chief technical officer of Advanced Systems Group LLC, said the highly automated manner in which resources are allocated * can be used by a malicious attacker to steal sensitive corporate data.

    “It is crucial to safeguard * the data being distributed. Your whole storage infrastructure can be compromised,” Teter said. He recommended that businesses use encryption technologies to mitigate the threat.

    All references to Grid, The Grid, A Grid, etc, have been replaced by asterisks. Amazing how mundane the article suddenly becomes, isn’t it?

  3. re: A Demonstration Of The Importance Of Architecture And Infrastructure

    Thank for this. What a great tip on how to handle the various FOO fetishists. Rather than arguing with the verbiage, which is an ungrateful and exhausting task, simply replace the words with another FOO…

    The trouble is they probably won’t get it. But at least you’ll feel better and with a bit of luck also superior mastering the situation with humour and detachment. As opposed to head-banging and hair-tearing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. re: A Demonstration Of The Importance Of Architecture And Infrastructure

    Coffee is an essential, core enabler of online business.

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. re: A Demonstration Of The Importance Of Architecture And Infrastructure

    Or, even better, chocolate cake… ๐Ÿ™‚

    “1. Chocolate cake is an essential, core enabler of online business. Chocolate cake must not be an afterthought, a necessary evil, or a function forced by government regulation. It is more properly recognized as a key business enabler. The modern business paradigm of delivering highly personalized service to individual consumers demands that Chocolate cake is at the core of the business process.

    2. Chocolate cake can provide a competitive advantage. Properly delivered chocolate cake services can enable enhanced user experience while confectionarily protecting confidential data, thus increasing feelings of trust and customer satisfaction. Companies that leverage these factors will have a competitive edge in the online marketplace.”

  6. Chocolate Cake

    Yup, well chocolate cake would provide an advantage to me ๐Ÿ™‚

    Actually that’s very true!

    My salary in the private sector is less than the public sector. However my lunches are paid for. I find the quality of the food a big advantage that truely does make me want to stay teaching where I am.

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