Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Contemporary technology platform design

(shameless plagiarised from this work on SOA - real time enterprise)

IT Platform strategy needs to be driven by an organization’s business priorities. It is these priorities that set the drivers from which an application, system and network infrastructure strategy can be created. The increasing importance of IT as the digital value chain of the business, positions IT executives and their organizations to be more strategic and critical than ever before. IT organizations must transform from a “lights-on” culture to a “strategic differentiation through IT” culture.

An IT platform should:
  • combine decision support and just in time fulfillment with real time execution & information availability
  • deliver services when needed- as needed based on the explicit service requirements of the business.
  • afford organizations the ability to implement, new, unique products or differentiated capabilities in a timely manner for purposes of competitive advantage & operational control
  • leverage and reuse common component services (both business & infrastructure) for productivity, efficiency and competitive advantage purposes.
  • provide the necessary “plumbing” – rich user experience, dynamic execution environment, intelligent mediation platforms, real time data frameworks, optimal system footprints, dynamic network coordination, automated orchestration and tooling to enable autonomic management, monitoring & reporting
Some common questions driving a move to new platform are how to:
  • become more flexible and responsive to the dynamic needs of the business
  • simplify & reduce the complexity of the IT environment
  • get more value out of project & operational IT spend – both systems & people
  • reduce costs while delivering improved service
  • eliminate dedicated silos of data, systems and infrastructure as they exist today
  • reduce the time it takes to build and deploy new business services
  • implement and sustain predictable qualities of service
A platform has to produce services that respond to the business in four key areas:
  • business services – (information, automated logic, intelligent analysis)
  • infrastructure services – (federated query, caching, execution, messaging)
  • infrastructure resources – (storage, network, compute)
  • systems performance management – (service execution that alleviates/minimize any compute, memory, I/O or bandwidth limitations and meets service levels)
This helps address datacenter management challenges of:
  • Data Center optimisation: space, power, cooling
  • Network bandwidth optimisation and management
  • Enterprise systems management
  • Dynamic infrastructure management (operational processes and technical skills)
Consequently the key attributes sought in the design of IT platform are:

Service orientation
  • components and services are loosely coupled
  • components and services are not locked to an implementation technology
  • business logic and data is not be hard-wired to data stores or a technology/vendor
Real time infrastructure – a virtual, dynamic runtime environment
  • service requests are via: message framework (publish and subscribe), grid service (scheduled, on-demand, adhoc), fabric service (application server container originated)
  • services are dynamically allocated based on: service contract requirements of speed, throughput, load, calendar, wall clock, costs/margin rules etc.
  • performance management (applications, network) and dynamic load-balancing and message brokering
  • consumption and usage monitoring, logging (task, resource, user, transaction, job, etc.) and reporting (usage, service level compliance, trends, service allocation, efficiency, etc.)
  • policy driven infrastructure provisioning & configuration management
  • real time transaction workload management, transactional data caching and synchronization.
  • meta-data repository and data transformation services, meta-rule repository with real rule evaluation.
Service oriented infrastructure utility – policy driven consumption and fulfillment
  • ITIL/ITOM best practices
  • Proactive capacity planning
  • Multiple service fulfillment strategies
  • Dynamic network routing
Service oriented product management – repeatable discipline that defines the products, services, policies and infrastructure for service oriented business.
  • explicit management of the alignment of the business (strategies and operations) and IT - Service management that is suited to the granularity of services provided and consumed (service level management, service life cycles, service catalogues)
  • systems integration architecture and team
  • utility infrastructure model oriented at end to end optimization
  • asset management (for reuse).

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