Is Moore's Law Still Valid?

Brian  Hopkins

Has anybody noticed that processor speed has stopped doubling every 18 months? This occurred to me the other day, so I took some time to figure out why and draw some conclusions about Moore's law and the impacts of continued advances in chip technology. Here what I've come up with: 1) Moore's law is still valid, but the way processor power is measured has changed, 2) disk-based memory is going the way of the cassette tape, and 3) applications will move into the cloud.

We have pushed semiconductor technology to its physical limits, including our ability to cool chips and the speed of light. As a result, chip manufacturers have turned to multicore processing technology rather than pure chip and bus speed. Now the power of a microprocessor is judged by the number of cores it contains — and the number of cores on a single chip will continue to increase for the near future.

So what? Extra cores per chip means more parallel processing to speed through operations — so parallel is the future.

Two other trends are also important to understand my conclusions:

  1. RAM keeps getting more powerful and cheaper.
  2. As the number of cores in a chip goes up, its ability to process data begins to exceed bus technology’s ability to deliver it. Bus speed is governed by Moore’s law.
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Blogging From the IBM Big Data Symposium - Big Is More Than Just Big

Brian  Hopkins

Just attended a Big Data symposium courtesy of IBM and thought I’d share a few insights, as probably many of you have heard the term but are not sure what it means to you.

No. 1: Big Data is about looking out of the front window when you drive, not the rearview mirror. What do I mean? The typical decision-making process goes something like this: capture some data, integrate it together, analyze the clean and integrated data, make some decisions, execute. By the time you decide and execute, the data may be too old and have cost you too much. It’s a bit like driving by looking out of your rearview mirror.

Big Data changes this paradigm by allowing you to iteratively sift through data at extreme scale in the wild and draw insights closer to real time. This is a very good thing, and companies that do it well will beat those that don’t.

No. 2: Big is not just big volume. The term “Big Data” is a misnomer and it is causing some confusion. Several of us here at Forrester have been saying for a while that it is about the four “V’s" of data at extreme scale - volume, velocity, variety and variability. I was relieved when IBM came up with three of them; variability being the one they left out.

Some of the most interesting examples we discussed centered on the last 3 V’s – we heard from a researcher who is collecting data on vital signs from prenatal babies and correlating changes in heart rates with early signs of infection. According to her, they collect 90 million data points per patient per day! What do you do with that stream of information? How do you use it to save lives? It is a Big Data Problem.

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Not Your Grandfather’s Data Warehouse

Brian  Hopkins

As I dig into my initial research, it dawned on me – some technology trends are having an impact on information management/data warehouse (DW) architectures, and EAs should consider these when planning out their firm’s road map. The next thought I had – this wasn’t completely obvious when I began. The final thought? As the EA role analyst covering emerging technology and trends, this is the kind of material I need to be writing about.

Let me explain:

No. 1: Big Data expands the scope of DWs. A challenge with typical data management approaches is that they are not suited to dealing with data that is poorly structured, sparsely attributed, and high-volume. For example, today’s DW appliances boast abilities to handle up to a 100 TB of volume, but the data must be transformed into a highly structured format to be useful. Big Data technology applies the power of massively parallel distributed computing to capture and sift through data gone wild – that is, data at an extreme scale of volume, velocity, and variability. Big Data technology does not deliver insight, however – insights depend on analytics that result from combing the results of things like Hadoop MapReduce jobs with manageable “small data” already in your DW.

Even the notion of a DW is changing when we start to think “Big” – Apache just graduated Hivefrom being part of Hadoop to its own project (Hive is a DW framework for Big Data). If you have any doubt, read James Kobielus’ “The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Data Warehousing Platforms, Q1 2011.”

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Closing The Innovation Gap

Brian  Hopkins

Greetings — thanks for taking the time to read my inaugural blog! Let me introduce myself by way of continuing a discussion that I started at Practicing EA and CIO.com on innovation and technology that I think strikes at the heart of our challenges as enterprise architects. It also provides a good context for my future research, which I discuss at the end.

Closing The Innovation Gap

In part 1 of this post, I claim that a gap opened while we were fighting the overly complex, expensive current state and trying to help our business partners innovate with new technology.

The gap – We cannot deliver new technology and innovation quickly or cheaply enough.

Shadow IT Is The Symptom, Not The Cause

  • The Symptom – We often blame Shadow IT and manual workarounds for increases in complexity, reduction in quality of service, and obscuring true technology costs. These are symptoms of the problem, not the problem itself.
  • The Cause – Business users know more about what they need and when they need it and are the most motivated to solve their problems now, not once the budget cycle gets around to funding a project. Central IT, where most EAs practice, is a knowledge store for designing enterprise-scale systems but is constrained in its ability to deliver.
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Is Your EA Program Making A Difference?

Alex Cullen

Several recent reports on Forrester.com start with the sentence: "EA organizations often toil out of the limelight . . . " There are fewer and fewer reasons why this should be the case. 

InfoWorld Enterprise Architecture AwardWe hear fewer stories of EA teams as purely "the standards police" or with "their heads in the clouds, not producing anything useful." We hear more and more stories of EA teams changing how business and IT plan, taking the lead in application simplification and rationalization, or being the broker for innovation. Infoworld and Forrester want to recognize these success stories with the 2011 Enterprise Architecture Award.

Our 2010 Award winners show the range of ways EA teams are making a difference:

  • Discover Financial created an EA repository that aggregates information from its Service Catalog, Fixed Asset, PPM, and Business Goals to provide decision-making insights that saved more than $1M of avoided costs.
  • Aetna used its Business Capability Map to combine more than 30 business unit strategies and road maps, highlighting common opportunities and gaps that it then used for its annual planning.
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Architect Angst On Their Readiness For Empowered Business

Alex Cullen

Forrester sees business empowerment — where business areas seek greater autonomy to address their own technology needs — as an inevitable trend. We’ve seen this before: New technology brings business areas new opportunities to improve their performance — from finance (PCs and spreadsheets) to marketing (web and eCommerce) to sales (PDAs). When this occurred, IT was unconnected to the frontlines of the business; IT’s technology was viewed as hard to use, and the result was business-initiated “shadow IT.”

At the recent Forrester Enterprise Architecture Forum in San Francisco, we offered attendees a copy of the new book Empowered, by Forrester analysts Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler. To get a copy, attendees had to complete a two-question survey. The questions directly related to their readiness to support this round of business empowerment:

“On a scale of 1-5, where 1 = ‘This doesn’t sound like my company at all’ and 5 = ‘This sounds exactly like my company,’ please rate the following questions about your organization:

  1. The EA function has close ties with business management.
  2. Our technology strategy and standards allow for rapidly changing technologies.”
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Xerox Corp. Acquires WaterWare Internet Services : Will Have Meaning for Meaningful Use

Craig Le Clair

WaterWare  will add  more software development and consulting services to Xerox  which is always a good thing but more importantly, WaterWare  has the Aquifer EHR electronic records system that helps convert paper records to electronic data. Added to Xerox's broad  document services and global reach  the combination gives Xerox strong capability in electronic health records capture and management.  Health Care Reform = as we know- is pushing providers to meet “meaningful use” guidleines which boil down to turning massive quantities of unstructured content into structured data -allowing better monitoting of patient outcomes, better access to health data for consumers, and lower administrative costs.  Could there be a stronger core competency for this company – and this combination.  I also like WaterWare as a launching point  for broader Dynamic Case Management solutions they can extend Xerox capability, using DocuShare foundation BPM and ECM components in verticals like pharmacy and order automation.   Combining WaterWare with  DocuShare makes sense to boost professional services and  system integration, but also to provide some luster to a strong product that has been a bit buried in the larger Xerox.  So, a nice pick up.

Best Practices For Influencing Business? Tips For Revitalizing IT Standards? Join Our Community Discussions!

Alex Cullen

Architects frequently tell us how much they value insights from practitioners like themselves. We at Forrester equally value these insights, as they are the foundation of our research. To serve you and us, we've launched The Forrester Community For Enterprise Architecture Professionals.

The community is open to all, whether you're a Forrester client or not. Check out the community, and you'll see conversations focused on the key challenges that you face – from influencing the thinking of your business execs to revitalizing an IT standards program to asking if application portfolio management (APM) is a responsibility of EA or the IT function supporting apps. Participating architects and Forrester analysts are sharing their perspectives – on these questions, plus other questions like the use of Wikis for architecture standards.

You can use these discussions to get better at your role – plus you'll be able to shape our research agenda by posting your questions or highlighting a topic you think demands further investigation. Our leading analysts – like Jeff Scott, Randy Heffner, Henry Peyret, Galen Schreck, and Gene Leganza – will also post the topics they are working on to get your input on them. 

Here's what you’ll find in The Forrester Community For Enterprise Architecture Professionals:

  • A simple platform on which you can pose your questions and get advice from peers who face the same business challenges.
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Which Next Subject Would Be Great In The EA And IT Governance Series Of Docs?

Henry Peyret

Last week I finally published the third document in the collection "EA Involvement In IT Governance": "Integrate EA With ITIL Service Portfolio Management." It follows the two previous documents "Integrate EA With Project Portfolio Management Governance" and "Integrate Enterprise Architecture With Application Portfolio Governance."

I say "finally" because most of the ideas for these documents were collected during the research Diego Lo Giudice and I did for Forrester's EA Forum 2010, nearly one year ago. If the ideas are quick to come, they sometimes take a long time to be realized in a document! I apologize to the customers who were waiting for the final document.

The goal of this collection of documents is to demonstrate typical EA involvement in IT governances — an area that is usually more or less "beyond" EA's scope. We also said in the EA Forum presentation that these potential involvements are not mandatory and highly depend on your particular EA objectives. EA involvement in IT governance should remain in line with the recommendation we made in Forrester report "Avoid The EA Governance Versus Agility Trap" and in which we still continue to believe: Governance is a lever to obtain nonshared (or even diverging) objectives. When objectives are shared, then governance is not required, and the approach should remain agile.

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EA Forum 2011: Key Tech Trends That Will Change Your Business

Gene Leganza

Only a few weeks to go before Forrester’s US EA Forum 2011 in San Francisco in February! I’ll be presenting a number of sessions, including the opening kickoff, where I’ll paint a picture of where I see EA going in the next decade. As Alex Cullen mentioned, I’ll examine three distinct scenarios where EA rises in importance, EA crashes and burns, or EA becomes marginalized.

But the most fun I’ve had preparing for this year’s event is putting together a new track: “Key Technology Trends That Will Change Your Business.” In the past, we’ve focused this conference on the practice of EA and used our big IT Forum conference in the spring to talk about technology strategies, but this year I’ve had the opportunity to put together five sessions that drill down into the technology trends that we think will have significant impact in your environment, with a particular focus on impacting business outcomes. Herewith is a quick summary of the sessions in this track:

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