The Proliferation Of Cloud Services Is Creating The Need For Cloud Orchestration Solutions

Naveen  Chhabra

Ubiquitous public cloud services are making stronger strides into the world of business technology, and enterprises are increasingly looking to cloud services to help them succeed. Cloud services stretch across the business value chain, including ideation, prototyping, product development, business planning, go-to-market strategy, marketing, finance, and strategic growth. Consumption patterns vary by service. For the past few years, the businesses has owned certain services, in some cases without keeping their technology management teams in loop — AKA “shadow IT”. Every business unit engages in this behavior, each one sourcing the various services they use from multiple providers. As a result, today’s businesses face a complex array of cloud services, each with their own business functions and requirements. The emerging cloud landscape does not provide a “single pane of glass” for the tech management team and lacks a standard governance model across services. Finally, it does not allow firms to compare costs for a standard service, which could result in suboptimal spending. This situation is creating a need for what we call “cloud orchestration solutions”. Such a solution would provide:

  • A single window on all cloud services. It merges all required and approved service types from multiple cloud service providers into a single portal, much like the ITSM service portals that offered services built within an organization.
  • Information on the service provider most suited to a given workload.
  • Comparison of services across service providers.
  • Consistent governance models across services.
  • Control over service life cycles and thus service cost.
Read more

New Announcements Foreshadow Fundamental Changes in Server and Storage Architectures

Richard Fichera

My colleague Henry Baltazar and I have been watching the development of new systems and storage technology for years now, and each of us has been trumpeting in our own way the future potential of new non-volatile memory technology (NVM) to not only provide a major leap for current flash-based storage technology but to trigger a major transformation in how servers and storage are architected and deployed and eventually in how software looks at persistent versus nonpersistent storage.

All well and good, but up until very recently we were limited to vague prognostications about which flavor of NVM would finally belly up to the bar for mass production, and how the resultant systems could be architected. In the last 30 days, two major technology developments, Intel’s further disclosure of its future joint-venture NVM technology, now known as 3D XPoint™ Technology, and Diablo Technologies introduction of Memory1, have allowed us to sharpen the focus on the potential outcomes and routes to market for this next wave of infrastructure transformation.

Intel/Micron Technology 3D XPoint Technology

Read more

Robots Won't Steal All The Jobs -- But They'll Transform The Way We Work

JP Gownder

This morning, WIRED published an article about my new Forrester Big Idea report, The Future of Jobs, 2025: Working Side-By-Side With Robots. You're probably familiar by now with the panic-stricken books (like Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future) and headlines (HBR's What Happens When Robots Replace Workers?) proclaiming that the future of employment is bleak because of the rise of automation technologies. In other words, the meme goes, robots are taking all the jobs.

By "robots," we mean all forms of automation technologies, including those that conduct physical tasks, intellectual tasks, or customer service tasks (which mix elements of both physical and intellectual activities, but which constitute a distinct category in the age of the customer). Indeed, some impressive new technologies are becoming incredibly useful in a variety of organizational settings. Take, for example, Rethink Robotics' Baxter robot, seen in the video below. Unlike traditional industrial robots, it's safe for workers to be around Baxter -- and it's imperative, too. Because software engineers don't program Baxter; human colleagues simply move the robot's arm to teach it new actions, and it learns in real time.

Read more

Augmented And Virtual Reality Are Ready For Prime Time

JP Gownder

I've just released a major new report on Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented And Virtual Reality Should Be Part Of The Innovator's Toolkit. My research finds that it's time to give AR and VR their due consideration when solving business problems involving either workers or for customer interactions.

AR and VR technologies aren't new. Virtual reality first experienced a boom of interest in the early 1990s, spurred by the 1991 book Virtual Reality by Howard Rheingold. In 1995, Angelina Jolie starred in the movie Hackers, which introduced mass audiences to head-mounted VR display technology. But the early promise of the technology fell apart due to underperforming graphics, attention-jarring lag times, outlandish hardware requirements, and the lack of an application ecosystem. No VR market emerged (outside of niche categories like military usage) until Facebook acquired the Kickstarter startup Oculus for $2 billion in March, 2014.

Read more

Global Tablet Forecast: Consumer Is Volatile But Business Tablets Are Resilient

JP Gownder

Tablets, once the darling of the consumer electronics industry, have hit hard times -- if you measure by shipments and sales. While the installed user base continues to grow -- Forrester forecasts that 580 million people will be using tablets globally by the end of 2015 -- shipment numbers have been disappointing, even looking at Apple's iPad. In Q2, 2015, Apple sold 12.62 million iPads, a whopping 23% drop compared with Q2, 2014 when the company sold 16.35 million. Clearly, all is not well in tablet-land.

We lay out the reasons for this generalized market volatility in our major new forecast report, Global Tablet Forecast 2015 to 2018: Despite Market Volatility, Tablets Are Big In Business. Some important factors? A lack of replacement behavior, whereby many consumers hold on to older tablet models, has persisted due to a lack of genuine new innovations (and the fact that, say, an iPad 3 still works well). We present other factors in the full report.

But there's a bright spot in the tablet industry -- the company-purchased segment. Our forecast shows that enterprise tablets are growing as a percentage of the market, from 6% in 2010 to 20% by 2018. These tablets can be Apple iPads, Windows-based tablets, or Android devices, and they are generally purchased and managed by the company on behalf of employees, who might receive them individually or, in other use cases, share the devices.

The enterprise segment is being driven by a variety of factors.

Read more

IBM Pushes Chip Technology with Stunning 7 nm Chip Demonstration

Richard Fichera

In the world of CMOS semiconductor process, the fundamental heartbeat that drives the continuing evolution of all the devices and computers we use and governs at a fundamantal level hte services we can layer on top of them is the continual shrinkage of the transistors we build upon, and we are used to the regular cadence of miniaturization, generally led by Intel, as we progress from one generation to the next. 32nm logic is so old-fashioned, 22nm parts are in volume production across the entire CPU spectrum, 14 nm parts have started to appear, and the rumor mill is active with reports of initial shipments of 10 nm parts in mid-2016. But there is a collective nervousness about the transition to 7 nm, the next step in the industry process roadmap, with industry leader Intel commenting at the recent 2015 International Solid State Circuit conference that it may have to move away from conventional silicon materials for the transition to 7 nm parts, and that there were many obstacles to mass production beyond the 10 nm threshold.

But there are other players in the game, and some of them are anxious to demonstrate that Intel may not have the commanding lead that many observers assume they have. In a surprise move that hints at the future of some of its own products and that will certainly galvanize both partners and competitors, IBM, discounted by many as a spent force in the semiconductor world with its recent divestiture of its manufacturing business, has just made a real jaw-dropper of an announcement – the existence of working 7nm semiconductors.

What was announced?

Read more

The Quantified Workforce Drives Improved Productivity And Safety

JP Gownder

You've probably heard about the Quantified Self (QS), a movement that aims to capture, analyze, and act upon data from the human body in the interest of better health, fitter athletes, and sharper minds. Today, QS is giving way to QW -- Quantified Workforce. A variety of technologies -- devices, software, services -- can quantify the health, fitness, mental acuity, timeliness, and collaboration of workers. Many of these services are ready for prime time, but present some challenges in implementing. These challenges aren't primarily technological; they're related to privacy, workers' rights, and human resources policies. Done right, though, quantifying the workforce can drive both top- and bottom- line growth in your company's business.

I've analyzed this trend in a new report, Smart Body, Smarter Workforce. Here are just a couple of examples of how quantifying the workforce can drive better business outcomes:

  • Lower the company's insurance rates. In January, 2014, Forrester predicted that insurance companies would offer lower rates to individuals who donned wearables -- and we are now seeing that response. In April, 2015, John Hancock announced an opportunity for buyers of its term and life insurance policies to earn up to 15% discount on their insurance rates by wearing a Fitbit, sharing the data with the company, and meeting certain activity levels.  
Read more

Red Hat Summit – Can you say OpenStack and Containers?

Richard Fichera

In a world where OS and low-level platform software is considered unfashionable, it was refreshing to see the Linux glitterati and cognoscenti descended on Boston for the last three days, 5000 strong and genuinely passionate about Linux. I spent a day there mingling with the crowds in the eshibit halls, attending some sessions and meeting with Red Hat management. Overall, the breadth of Red Hat’s offerings are overwhelming and way too much to comprehend ina single day or a handful of days, but I focused my attention on two big issues for the emerging software-defined data center – containers and the inexorable march of OpenStack.

Containers are all the rage, and Red Hat is firmly behind them, with its currently shipping RHEL Atomic release optimized to support them. The news at the Summit was the release of RHEL Atomic Enterprise, which extends the ability to execute and manage containers over a cluster as opposed to a single system. In conjunction with a tool stack such as Docker and Kubernates, this paves the way for very powerful distributed deployments that take advantage of the failure isolation and performance potential of clusters in the enterprise. While all the IP in RHEL Atomic, Docker and Kubernates are available to the community and competitors, it appears that RH has stolen at least a temporary early lead in bolstering the usability of this increasingly central virtualization abstraction for the next generation data center.

Read more

Is ITIL Fit For Purpose For DevOps?

Amy DeMartine

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about ITIL and whether or not it is fit for purpose for DevOps.  The logic I keep hearing goes like this - you shouldn't confuse the ITIL approach with the implementation; the ITIL approach is building blocks; these building blocks are easily applied to DevOps.  I’m not convinced.  First, ITIL is fundamentally time bound.  For example, ITIL v1 was primarily around applying mainframe disciplines into the emerging world of Client/Server, ITIL v2 was more about ensuring quality of output across complex operations environments and ITIL v3 was more about consolidating established operations principles and shifting the focus to “how does IT contribute to business value?”  Isn’t it a stretch to make best practices for previous waves of technology apply to DevOps whereby infrastructure and operations professionals are not silo’d but play an active part in delivering customer products and services along with application developers?  Second, ITIL zealots are convinced that these ITIL “best practices” are some kind of complex baking recipe and if all steps are not followed to the letter, the end result will be a failure.  This means that for many, the approach and the implementation of ITIL is tied.  This leads me to my question:  Is ITIL fit for purpose for DevOps?  To return to the analogy of building blocks, let’s use the ultimate of building blocks – Legos.  When I think about ITIL and service management, what most enterprises have implemented, looks like this:

Read more

Houston, We Have A Problem . . . In The Networking Community

Andre Kindness

I noticed an interesting phenomenon at Interop, which sparked my theory on new network technologies. New network technology maturity and its adoption correlate directly to the five stages of loss: 1) denial; 2) anger; 3) bargaining; 4) depression; and 5) acceptance. For example, Interop break-out sessions on cloud and bring your own device (BYOD) now mostly seemed to be mainstream initiatives compared to other technologies, such as software defined network or network functions virtualized. In the mainstream initiative sessions, an aura of acceptance and even tinges of optimism reverberated throughout the room. Presenters spoke passionately and positively about their topics and reinforced the importance of: 

  • Teamwork. Courtney Kissler, Vice President of E-Commerce & Store Technologies at Nordstrom, shared with the audience that the new world is made up of a team of business product managers and mobile app and networking professionals, to name just a few groups working together under the initiative. There was the mentality that everyone is accountable and must work together as a team, helping each other to roll out a great application that will benefit the business.
Read more