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?