Monday, August 25, 2008

Elastic cloud, S+S, how can I take advantage?

Admittedly I was also a bit confused when I first heard the term Software + Services (S+S); I just presumed that it was a mispronunciation of Software as a Service.

Let me sum up my understanding of this term and what it means to architects, IT managers and developers:

S+S is an architectural style that seeks to move IT services and infrastructure out of the enterprise and into the cloud.

We all know that services are a good thing, and if designed correctly i.e. process centric based on autonomous business capabilities with a decentralized data model, they can be a tremendous asset to an organization.

Which is great if you have servers, networks, VPN, etc, but what if you have a really good idea, but what to keep costs down, or if you are a CIO looking to reduce costs?

Enter S+S and the concept of federation, the idea io this is closely tied up with the trend we are seeing in businesses pushed by globalization and competitive forces, the classic, linear supply chain has evolved into a complex value network of partners participating in a common business.

Federation aligns nicely with this trend and clever businesses will be looking at outsourcing their non-core business capabilities. What are these? Think of things like database management, identity management, hosting of their internal and client facing applications, SMS and cellular communication applications, this is endless and growing as more service providers add more services to the domain.

And for many businesses this really makes sense, rather than a large capital expenditure on hardware, and maintaining a staff of potential substandard and expensive IT resources, you move your expenditure to an operational one and get the support of some of the best professionals in the world as well as access to some of the most advanced data centers currently in existence.

The ability to only pay for what you use is a great opportunity for business to become more innovative as the cost of failure is much less. It also lowers the entry criteria for small business as they can offer enterprise like applications and infrastructure at fractions of the normal cost.

Leaders in the S+S space are Google and Amazon, Amazon Web Services offering file storage, database, connectivity and an application hosting engine see and Google with application hosting see

As part of their future strategy Microsoft have committed to getting into this space in a big way, projects Red-dog and Zurich promise to bring Microsoft server platform into the cloud, and combined with the current and future offerings of the Live platform will provide some phenomenal opportunities to business in the near future.

You can go have an early look at SQL Server Data Services which are in a preliminary release format at
BizTalk connectivity services currently allows disparate networks to communicate without any additional hardware, Live Id offers to remove security woes and the grand plan of Project Oslo seeks to deliver it all up as a cohesive development and administration platform.

British Telecom has a fantastic S+S API out in the form of the WEB21C SDK which integrates SMS, cellular and telephony into applications easily, see

These are exiting times and I intend to embrace the Zeitgeist, I believe that S+S represents the way forward for small to medium enterprises, as well as a great vehicle for IT entrepreneurs.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tech-Ed Durban 2008

I am off to Tech-Ed on Sunday, and this year I am following a mainly SOA track with a bit of dev thrown in.

Ron Jacobs’s sessions on WCF and WWF promise to be great, I have seen his sessions from Barcelona, and have been an avid Arcast.TV watcher/listener for years, so it will be great to see the man in person.

Speakers like Steve Riley and Shy Cohen also have some great sessions that I will not be missing.

It will also be interesting to see how the speakers handle questions around the Entity Framework and LINQ to SQL, as there will be some of South Africa’s largest Development shops present and many of the guys there have been using these products in the wild and will have a ton of questions.

Good to see some top South African speakers like Hilton Giesenow and Ayal Rosenberg I always enjoy their sessions.

Please feel free to look me up at the conference and have a chat, looking forward to seeing you all there.