Distributed Cache Technologies Are Ready For The Mainstream

Mike Gualtieri

The open source project, Memcached, is a common staple for many of the largest Web sites including facebook, twitter, wikipedia, and others. The enterprise software vendors haven entered the market and have added features that are more attractive to enterprise IT - especially to Java shops.

In recent months, we have had a significant uptick in client inquiries about distributed cache technologies and how they can be used to improve performance, scale, and reduce costs of Web and application architectures. We are also encountering distributed cache technology in conjunction with other platform technologies such as CEP. There is also an intriguing potential for distributed cache technology to become a staple of cloud computing environments (some might say amazon S3 has the properties of a distributed cache).

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BI Saas Vendors Are Not Created Equal

Boris Evelson

Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

As many of my readers know, for years I’ve been quite skeptical about non-mainstream BI solutions, such as BI SaaS. Security, control, operational risk, data, metadata and application integration are just some of the requirements for enterprise BI that are still on my watch list as potential reasons to be weary about BI SaaS. However, I am also a very pragmatic analyst and truly believe that nothing but supply and demand drive the markets.  And I am now, slowly but surely, beginning to believe there couldn’t be a better case for demand for BI SaaS especially after findings from one of the project that I am currently conducting.

I recently talked to a few dozen non-IT professionals (specifically in front office roles, such as sales and marketing) across multiple industries, regions and company sizes. Guess how many of them fully or partially relied on IT for their day to day operational and strategic information needs? BIG FAT ZERO!!! This finding was a huge surprise to me – yes, I did expect to find something like less then 50% reliance on IT, but I surely did not expect to find 0%.

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What are the Next Secret Weapons in the Test Manager’s Toolbox?

Margo Visitacion

As teams become more agile, or, add more agile like practices to traditional
development practices, I’m seeing increasing frustration on the part of test
managers.  Rapid development cycles and scrutinized bottom lines are putting
more pressure on them to deliver comprehensive testing in tighter time
frames.  More and more testing is being taken on by development teams, and while
that is a positive trend to be sure.  More stringent testing performed by
development is a good thing, as a long time QA manager myself, I used to pray
for consistent unit and integration testing, but, ultimately, developers are not
trained to think in the same way that QA does.  Development testing is meant to
ensure that the code, service, or integration performs the way it was conceived;
it doesn’t always cover the assurance that the business process is being met
and it doesn’t replace the end to end perspective that an organization needs to
ensure that the highest quality software is being delivered. Development testing
is faster, to be sure.  End to end testing takes more time, but it’s necessary.
Test managers must do something to prevent testing being co-opted by development
at the expense of business value.

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Thinking About Software Machines

John R. Rymer

During the past two weeks, I received two client Inquiries about specialized Java hardware and Larry Ellison announced v2 of Oracle's "database machine."

These two seemingly disconnected events made me ask: Is specialized hardware for software inevitable? Last year, we saw TIBCO announce a messaging appliance too. And IBM has a robust business in XML and security appliances. Will growing volumes of data, messages, and logical operations force us to adopt specialized hardware, abandoning the unbundled software model IBM introduced back when real Hippies roamed the Earth?

The client Inquiries were from firms having to invest heavily in infrastructure and still struggling to keep up with their Java processing loads. Both had seen Azul Systems, found its touted performance numbers compelling, but wondered: "Where are the other competitors?" Answer: I don't see any others doing what Azul does.

Why? My answer: Too few customers buy this way -- particularly from a startup with a proprietary software machine. IBM, HP, Intel, and the other big vendors don't see enough of a market yet to take the plunge.

With its database machine, Oracle claims impressive advances in I/O and query speeds, and disk compression. But the company says it has 20 customers for this product. For a new model and a new product, that's not bad. But I think it helps answer my question: Only the tippy top of the enterprise food chain really needs software machines for general purpose products like databases, Java application servers, and message processing. The majority of customers can use other software techniques to keep growing without being locked into proprietary software machines. Virtualization, distributed caching, in-memory databases, optimized garbage collection, and alternative database structures come to mind.

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Which is it, shortage of mainframe skills ... or jobs?

Phil Murphy

Murphy_p_small   

There is a lot of noise lately from 2 camps - one swears that the availability of people with mainframe skills is drying up rapidly - they either forecast dire shortages, or note problems hiring for certain positions internally. Most of the trade press articles are firmly in this camp.

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How do you define an "application" for app portfolio mgt purposes?

Phil Murphy

Murphy_p_small   Once apon a time ... the definition of an application was easy - firms built accounts payable, general ledger, purchasing, order entry, and other applications to meet the automation needs of the business. The applications were written as monolithic collections of functionality that were dedicated to accomplishing key business functions and had relatively clear boundaries.

However, over the years, technology shifts have resulted in "applications" that don't fit the earlier simplistic definitions. DLLs, Services / SOA, ASPs and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) all bent the definition of an "application" from its previous form. Looking forward, Cloud computing promises to alter the definition once again.

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Is open systems dead? Does code portability matter?

John R. Rymer

Jeffrey Hammond and I did a Teleconference today for clients about the first release of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g. One of the big areas of concern among attendees was an old chestnut that I actually haven't seen for awhile: Portability. The basic question: If we develop for Oracle's stack, are we locked into it?

Jeffrey and I have documented the basic risks of lock-in we see in Fusion Middleware 11g in our analysis (http://www.forrester.com/go?docid=55043). I don't want to revisit that analysis here; rather, I'm more interested in why we suddenly heard this concern..

I've been writing about software technology roughly since the birth of the "open systems" movement during the late '80s. At that time, open systems meant SQL relational DBMS + Unix at its core, with DCE and CORBA sometimes tossed into the mix as well. The concern for code portability extended to Java's "write once, run ... anywhere" promise in 1995. And then I think it started to die.

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The Rise Of The Collaborative Cloud

Holger Kisker

Salesforce.com announces Service Cloud 2

 

On 9/9/09 Salesforce.com announced the launch of Service Cloud 2, a new set of three collaborative offerings: Salesforce Knowledge, Salesforce Answers and Salesforce for Twitter.

 

With Salesforce Knowledge companies can share data in the Service Cloud, Salesforce Answers enables companies to create communities to capture knowledge and Salesforce for Twitter allows companies to screen and participate in the 45mio user Twitter community directly from the service cloud.

 

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Head Of BI Job Description

Boris Evelson

Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

I get many requests from Forrester clients to describe job requirements for a head of BI team, department, solutions center, etc. While Forrester does not have a formal description of such requirements, if I map such requirements to all BI best practices that I write about, here’s what I come up with:

  • Champion and rally the organization around BI. Educate senior non-IT executives on the value of BI: without measurement, there’s no management. Be able to argue that business, not IT, should own BI.
  • Build and support BI business cases (BI ROI)
  • Understand Key Performance Measures and Indicators that drive company measurement, reporting and analytics across functions like
    • Sales  
    • Marketing  
    • Customer Service  
    • Finance  
    • Operations/Logistics  
    • HR  
    • IT/Systems  
    • Compliance and Risk Management  
  • Understand how these metrics and measures align and track against overall business strategies, goals and objectives.
  • Be proficient in all aspects of BI and Information Management processes, technologies and architectures such as
    • BI delivery mechanisms: portals, thin/thick clients, email/mobile phone alerts, etc  
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As Eclipse Kits for Cloud Arrive, Amazon Deployment Wins

John R. Rymer

Amazon's announcement on August 26th of its Eclipse toolkit added another Eclipse-cloud option for Java developers. Here is a table comparing these four: Amazon AWS Eclipse Toolkit, Google Plug-In for Eclipse, Stax Platform for Amazon EC2, and the planned next major release of SpringSource Cloud Foundry. (Cloud Foundry today provides a Web interface, but will embrace Eclipse.)
Eclipse cloud kits 

Several observations jump out at me:

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