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Tuesday 8 November 2005

SOA: The dream of a common language.

(InfoWorld) - NEW YORK -- SOA isn't a revolutionary new technology that will necessitate ripping, replacing, or relearning everything you know. Rather, SOA is an evolutionary step in interoperability. And it is good news for any business or IT executive who has ever dreamed of a technology framework flexible enough to respond to real world business processes. 

This knowledge comes from Andy Brown, chief technology architect at the financial services company Merrill Lynch, who spoke Monday at InfoWorld's SOA Executive Forum in New York.

Brown has a lot of knowledge to impart. Merrill Lynch is ahead of the pack in SOA deployment and Brown is right there in the trenches.

SOA is a framework architecture and a way of thinking, not another new technology, Brown said.

Although SOA is evolutionary it is changing how we do business and, unlike many buzzword IT acronyms, it is here to stay.

First off, SOA requires enterprise architecture and a vision for your company's business processes, Brown said.

"You have to have enterprise architecture and goals about how you want processes to function -- where you want to be in a year's time. It comes down to business aspirations, operating principals, and rolling that into a [strategy], of which SOA will be a part," Brown said.

SOA creates return on assets via systematic reuse, Brown said.

Although the idea of reuse is not new, he added, "what SOA does is change it from a technology problem to a business problem."

A Common Language

A key benefit of an SOA approach is that it creates a common language between technology and business people, Brown said.

"We've been talking different languages for the past 20 years," Brown said.

At its core, SOA is process oriented and gets business people thinking in a process-oriented way. To help create real-time process visibility, adoption of business process modeling tools alongside SOA is important.

"Getting business [people] thinking about how processes should work [is] very complicated. BPM tools let you capture the processes out of peoples' heads and write them down," he said.

For financial services in particular, one of the most important considerations in SOA development is process effectiveness, Brown said.

"At Merrill Lynch we focused on operating efficiencies, put everything on standards. Our major cost is driven by process integration and data. Those two things are driving the strategy at Merrill Lynch," Brown said.

Furthermore, the processes you put around data are competitively differentiating.

"Look at Dell," he said. "If you are in a commoditizing business, data drives efficiency."

New Challenges

With SOA initiatives, as with any technology or framework, there are new problems.

Two of the biggest issues to deal with are capacity management and SLAs, Brown said.

"Getting a real capacity for processes is very important. You can't really do it without BPM," he said.

Another stumbling block is data, Brown said. When getting systems that haven't talked together to work together in a process, data is the problem.

In an SOA framework, reliance on a mainframe isn't something that needs to be changed.

"At Merrill Lynch many business processes run on the mainframe," he said. Benefits are that the costs are known and controlled and the mainframe is stable and reliable, according to Brown.


  • Steps to SOA No. 9: Deploy service management
  • Steps to SOA No. 1: Think big, start small
    Gig-E Wireless Bridges. Online price estimates: www.lightpointe.com

    By cathleen_moore@infoworld.com (Cathleen Moore). [InfoWorld: Top News]
    3:17:36 AM    comment []

    Friday 21 October 2005

    IDC, Gartner see Q3 PC shipment increases. Spurred by low-priced computers, global shipments of PCs increased more than 17% in the third quarter, according to research firms IDC and Gartner. [Computerworld News]
    11:09:47 AM    comment []

    Wednesday 19 October 2005

    That was something I read already when they were launching the Electric powered record breaker airplane, saying that one of its forecast use would be flying low orbit over a major city in order to provide Internet coverage...

    Broadband net goes stratospheric. Researchers have successfully tested a system using a high altitude balloon to offer wireless broadband. [BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition]

    Well, what about Wi-Fi? or GSM/3G servicing? Remember you read it here first! Giorgio Occhioni

    PS: I'm back on the Blogosphere to stay!
    11:45:14 AM    comment []

    '4G' Leapfrogs Next-Gen Wireless. 3G's for chumps and losers. Winners anticipate the arrival of fourth-generation networks that will provide phone customers and laptop users with truly efficient wireless internet service. First in a four-part series. By Michael Grebb. PLUS: Look Ma, No Wires! [Wired News]
    11:25:07 AM    comment []

    Thursday 6 October 2005

    GridWorld: Standards adoption key to grid computing growth. Moving grid computing into mainstream business use will require development work by vendors and the adoption of standards, IT managers and analysts said at the GridWorld conference this week. [Computerworld News]
    3:33:30 PM    comment []

    IBM, Mercury team up on Cell-based blade server.

    (InfoWorld) - IBM and Mercury Computer Systems plan to ship a blade server using the multicore Cell processor designed exclusively for IBM's BladeCenter rack system, the companies announced Thursday.

    Starting in the first quarter of 2006, Mercury's customers will be able to purchase the Dual Cell-Based Blade, said Craig Lund, Mercury's chief technology officer. The two-chip blade server will be the first product available using the Cell processor, and it is designed as a development platform for Mercury's customers that are interested in using the chip for industrial and medical applications, he said.

    Cell was the result of a three-way collaboration between IBM, Sony, and Toshiba. It has nine separate processor cores, including one PowerPC core and eight smaller processing units called SPEs (synergistic processing elements). Sony's Playstation 3 will be the first mass-market product to use the processor starting next year, but Mercury and IBM will bring it out first in their upcoming blade server, Lund said.

    Detailed specifications will be shared with early customers under a nondisclosure agreement, Mercury said in a press release. The systems will use Rambus' XDR (extreme data rate) memory and come with two Cell processors, it said. Presentations at the Hot Chips show in August indicated that Cell will probably debut at a clock speed of 3.2GHz

    The unique combination of Cell's multiple cores requires software that must be tweaked to fully exploit Cell's capabilities. As a result, Mercury and IBM believe that many initial customers will purchase a single Dual Cell-Based Blade server to use as a development workstation, Lund said.

    Mercury builds motherboards designed for applications that need more performance or capabilities than are available from standard servers by companies such as IBM or Dell. In many cases, those boards are combined into multiprocessor systems that resemble the Cell processor on a much larger scale. This means that applications for Mercury's existing products had to be written with multiple processing units in mind, Lund said.

    As a result, Mercury and its customers have already developed several software applications and tools that Mercury believes will help its customers get started developing applications for Cell, Lund said. It is also working with several independent software vendors to get third-party applications ready for the Cell servers, but most applications used in the medical, industrial and military markets targeted by Mercury are developed internally, he said.

    The server will run a version of Linux tweaked by IBM's programmers for Cell's multiple processing engines, said Satish Gupta, general manager of IBM engineering and technology services. IBM is in talks with a few well-known Linux distribution companies in hopes of putting together a distribution deal for this Cell-ready version of Linux, but the company is not disclosing the progress or nature of those talks, he said.

    Mercury will provide basic operating system support for customers of the Dual Cell-Based Blade, said Joel Radford, vice president of marketing and alliances for Mercury.

    The blade server will fit into any blade chassis designed using IBM's BladeCenter standard, Gupta said. BladeCenter is a specification developed by IBM and Intel for building racks of servers, storage, and networking devices designed to fit into slim "blade" formats. Any customer that purchases the Mercury Dual Cell-Based Blade has to use that product in a BladeCenter chassis.

    IBM and Mercury are working on several future versions of Cell-based blade servers that will start to emerge next year, Lund said. Initial versions of the Dual Cell-Based Blade will become available in the first quarter of next year, with widespread availability of the product expected by the second quarter, he said. The companies did not disclose the pricing for the systems.



  • Hot Chips: IBM, Toshiba present Cell details
    Meet the super-performing SDLT 600 drive.

    By Tom_Krazit@idg.com (Tom Krazit). [InfoWorld: Top News]
    3:30:51 PM    comment []

    Saturday 28 May 2005

    Sorry, but I have to say it: YES!!!!!

    It is interesting that some expert in security start looking at alternatives, they can still consult on Windows problems, but themselves are safe on a safer platform...
    Interesting also, this guy works always on two (say two) laptop, er, let me see where I put my second PB 17inches... ;-)

    News: Mad as hell, switching to Mac. This is my first column written on a Mac - ever. Maybe I should have done it a long time ago, but I never said I was smart, just obstinate. I was a PC bigot. [Macworld]

    PS So i needed this news, that I read yesterday night, to make me decide to reopen my blog.... don't know for how long!


    7:31:00 PM    comment []

    Saturday 2 April 2005

    Just wanted to note as how much difference there is between this time and the last time it happened (twice ina year!) in 1978, when Internet was still ARPANET...
    Tonight, millions of mourning people will also exchange thoughts and blogs on the death of the Great Church Shepherd.
    Pope John Paul II dies in Vatican. Pope John Paul II dies at the age of 84 following heart failure, ending one of the longest papacies in history. [BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition]
    10:48:09 PM    comment []

    April Fools. Looking for April Fools jokes on the Net? Stop reading now if you dont want them ruined for you. The Washington Post has a rundown of those ... By David Appell. [Technology Review RSS Blog Feed]
    10:39:16 PM    comment []

    Electrical (Standards) Interference. HomePlug AV is near--but so are three other standards: Frustrating, isn't it, that just when you hear the news that the electrical networking standard HomePlug is about to be revised from version 1.0 to AV (11 Mbps to 200 Mbps!) that three other standards could split the marketplace and thus doom it in the same way that the excellent HomeRF standard sunk beneath the waters by failing to reach the market fast enough with speedy bandwidth. PC World reports that HomePlug AV will be ratified in June and be built into settop boxes and other devices. With a raw 200 Mbps design, it should deliver at least 100 Mbps of actual net throughput, enough to stream multiple video signals across your home's wiring. It's also designed to work with Broadband over Powerline (BPL) equipment, although I'm finding that increasingly unlikely to be deployed in the U.S. based on power utility statements. (Anti-municipal telecom/broadband bills would make it impossible for private utilities to deploy BPL, too.) The United Powerline Association unfortunately has a competing spec that won't interoperate. And then HomePlug has a low-power control protocol they're working on as does Z-Wave. The article unfortunately quotes the New Millennium Research Council, a group that I have written about extensively here because of their parent company, Issue Dynamics, which is a PR firm that represents incumbent telco and cable operators. The NRMC is oddly 100-percent behind BPL, and if you look at Issue Dynamics's client list, you find that Edison Electric Institute and Virginia Power are represented in their client list; Pacific Gas & Electric was a former client. So keep your scorecard straight: utilities offering broadband is a bad idea when they are owned by municipalities, but an entirely good idea when private companies own the utilities. And allowing municipal utilities to allow private companies to offer broadband over their electrical lines would be bad, too.... [Wi-Fi Networking News]
    9:17:04 PM    comment []

    Wednesday 30 March 2005

    Microsoft, Intel, HP ally to help European SMEs. Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard have formed a consortium to help provide information to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in Europe on how to access European Union (E.U.) funds, they announced Wednesday.

    [InfoWorld: Top News]
    11:09:17 PM    comment []

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