|By Jason Bloomberg||
|August 20, 2009 05:45 AM EDT||
ZapThink recently conducted our Licensed ZapThink Architect Bootcamp course for a branch of the United States Department of Defense (DoD). As it happens, an increasing proportion of our US-based business is for the DoD, which is perfectly logical, given the strategic nature Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) plays for the DoD. SOA is so strategic, in fact, that SOA underlies how the DoD expects to achieve its mission in the 21st century -- namely, defending US interests by presenting the most powerful military presence on the globe. Furthermore, the story of how SOA became so strategic for the DoD provides insight into the power of SOA for all organizations, both in the public and private sector.
This story begins with the issue of complexity. The DoD, as you might imagine, is an organization of astounding complexity, perhaps the most complex organization in the world, save the US Federal Government itself of which the DoD is indubitably the most complex part. And with complexity comes vulnerability. As the sole remaining global superpower, the US's strength in battle, namely our overwhelming force, presents vulnerabilities to much smaller enemies. Traditional guerrilla tactics give small forces advantages over large ones, after all. Our 21st century adversaries understand full well the ancient principle of using an enemy's strengths against them. The DoD is rightly concerned that its sheer scale and complexity present weaknesses that today's terrorism-centric threats can take advantage of.
From the Network to Service Orientation
Even before 9/11, there was an understanding that the core challenge that this complexity presented was one of information: who has it, how to share it, and how to rely upon it to make decisions -- in military parlance, Command and Control (C2). In response to this need, the DoD instituted a new strategic program, Network Centric Warfare, also known as Net-Centricity. The idea for Network Centric Warfare arose during the late 1990s in response to the rise of the Internet. Its original concepts, therefore, were essentially "Web 1.0" in nature. It didn't take long, however, for DoD architects to realize that the network itself was only a piece of the puzzle, and it soon became clear that the challenges of Net-Centricity were as much organizational as technological. After all, Net-Centricity requires cooperation across the different branches of service -- a tall order for an organization as siloed as the DoD.
In fact, as the DoD and their contractors hammered out the details of Net-Centricity, it became increasingly clear that Net-Centricity required a broad, architectural approach to achieving agile information sharing in the context of a complex, siloed organization. At that point, SOA entered the Net-Centricity picture, providing essential best practices for sharing information resources to support business process needs. In the military context, such business processes are operational processes, where the operation at hand might be fueling airplanes or deploying ground troops or spying on suspected terrorists with a satellite. When battlefield commanders say that they want the warfighting resources at their disposal to be available as needed to achieve their mission objectives, they are essentially requiring a Service-Oriented approach to Net-Centricity.
Information as a Strategic Military Asset
Information has always been a part of warfare, since the stone age or even earlier. Essentially, the element of surprise boils down to one force having information the other does not, regardless of whether you're sneaking up on a foe with a club or leveraging satellite technology to precisely target an attack. The same is true of Net-Centricity. Net-Centricity centers on supporting the military's C2 capabilities by ensuring the right information is in the right place at the right time. These three dimensions all create a path toward SOA:
- The right information: commanders on the battlefield need all relevant information. It is essential to have access to relevant information from different forces, different locations, and different branches of service. Furthermore, commanders need a way to separate relevant information from the surrounding noise. And finally, they must ensure that the information is reliable.
- In the right place: today's warfare is an inherently distributed endeavor. Gone are the days where armies fight each other on single fields of battle. Today, commanders might call upon forces from hundreds of miles away, on land, at sea, in the air, or in space. Furthermore, the people who need the information might be anywhere. For example, a navy ship may get the information it needs to target a missile from air support, satellite-based intelligence, and ground capabilities. The commander needs one view while the troops on the battlefield need another.
- At the right time: information is perishable. The more dynamic the purpose of that information, the more perishable it becomes. Knowing where your enemies are right now is far more valuable then where they were an hour or a day ago.
If you've been following ZapThink for any amount of time, you'll recognize these business drivers as being a recipe for SOA. It's no surprise, therefore that the Global Information Grid (GIG), a central Net-Centric capability, is inherently Service-Oriented. The GIG essentially consists of a set of Services that provide the underpinnings of the right information at the right place at the right time, as the figure below illustrates.
The Global Information Grid
There are a few features of the GIG worth noting. First, note how the core notion of a Service pervades the GIG. Every capability, from security to messaging to management, is represented as a Service. Secondly, keep in mind the global nature of the GIG. This is not a solitary data center; the GIG represents global IT capabilities across all branches of service for the entire DoD.
Today, the stakes for Net-Centricity couldn't be higher, because information itself proffers a new set of weapons, and even new battlefields. As a result, Net-Centricity focuses not only on leveraging shared IT capabilities to gain an advantage on both large and small opponents using traditional tactics, it also covers protecting our forces from information-based attacks as well as launching our own. After all, if a small but smart opponent combines traditional guerrilla warfare with the information-centric guerrilla tactics we now call cyberwarfare, our vulnerabilities multiply. If a single opponent with an improvised explosive device can wound us, what about a single opponent with a means to interfere with our communications infrastructure?
The ZapThink Take
There are lessons here for our readers both within the DoD as well as at other organizations, including those within the private sector, where the battles are economic. For DoD readers, it's important to recognize the importance of SOA to Net-Centricity, in particular how the architecture required to succeed with Net-Centricity is the true SOA that ZapThink talks about, where organizational transformation is a greater challenge than the technological issues that organizations face.
For other organizations, the lesson here is how to take a page out of the DoD's playbook. Net-Centricity is by no means the first example of how a DoD project led to broad commercial application; after all, the Internet itself is a case in point. In the DoD we have an organization with both a mind-boggling complexity problem and enormous resources, both financial and human, to assign to the problem. Sharing information across lines of business in a bank or manufacturer or power utility is child's play in comparison to getting the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines to share information effectively.
Furthermore, as ZapThink continues its work within the DoD, we can help act as a conduit for conveying the best practices of Net-Centricity to the private sector, as well as other government organizations. You'll see evidence of Net-Centric lessons learned in both our LZA Bootcamp as well as our new SOA & Cloud Governance course. The more complex your organization, the more a Net-Centric approach to achieving your strategic goals is a useful context for your SOA efforts, and ZapThink can help.
Finally, some organizations may find the concept of Net-Centricity to be a useful synonym for SOA. If you're having trouble explaining the benefits of SOA to a business audience, perhaps a discussion of Net-Centricity will help to shed the light on the approach you're recommending. After all, not only does Net-Centricity focus on effective information sharing in a complex environment, it also distills the urgency and importance of the military context, where the enemy is literally trying to kill us. Competition in the marketplace may not be a literal life-or-death battle, but leveraging best practice approaches to fighting such battles that treat them as though they were truly about survival is an attitude that any seasoned business stakeholder can take to heart.
The WebRTC Meetup, where WebRTC enthusiasts exchange ideas, is being held on Wednesday, June 10, from 7 pm – 9 pm at the 4th WebRTC Summit, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The WebRTC Meetup is being hosted by the New York WebRTC Developer Group. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 4th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, ...
Jun. 3, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 635
We’re entering a new era of computing technology that many are calling the Internet of Things (IoT). Machine to machine, machine to infrastructure, machine to environment, the Internet of Everything, the Internet of Intelligent Things, intelligent systems – call it what you want, but it’s happening, and its potential is huge. IoT is comprised of smart machines interacting and communicating with other machines, objects, environments and infrastructures. As a result, huge volumes of data are being generated, and that data is being processed into useful actions that can “command and control” thi...
Jun. 3, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,243
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, will investigate three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Jun. 3, 2015 04:19 PM EDT Reads: 289
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jun. 3, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,093
Thanks to widespread Internet adoption and more than 10 billion connected devices around the world, companies became more excited than ever about the Internet of Things in 2014. Add in the hype around Google Glass and the Nest Thermostat, and nearly every business, including those from traditionally low-tech industries, wanted in. But despite the buzz, some very real business questions emerged – mainly, not if a device can be connected, or even when, but why? Why does connecting to the cloud create greater value for the user? Why do connected features improve the overall experience? And why do...
Jun. 3, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,154
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Jun. 3, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,228
SYS-CON Events announced today that MediaTek Labs will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MediaTek Labs is a global ecosystem initiative supporting Wearables and Internet of Things device creation, application development, and services based around MediaTek chipset offerings. Developers can use the MediaTek LinkIt™ ONE development platform and the LinkIt ONE HDK to easily access the features and functions of the MediaTek MT2502 System on a Chip (SoC), with the goal of creating the next generation of MediaTek p...
Jun. 3, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 853
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jun. 3, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,857
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In this session, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, will describe how to revolutionize your architecture and...
Jun. 3, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,252
Aria Systems, which helps enterprises grow recurring revenue, today announced that its co-founder and inventor of cloud billing Brendan O'Brien, will be a featured speaker at the Cloud Expo, June 9-11 at The Javits Center in New York. Aria also will be demonstrating its Active Monetization platform in Booth #424 on the Expo Floor. O'Brien will lead the following sessions: June 9 - 11:00 am - 11:35 am, Room 1A16 with participants from Constant Contact, MGI Research and ATG Enabling Complex Recurring Revenue Strategies – With IoT exploding, massive data will transform businesses with oppor...
Jun. 3, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 490
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it!
Jun. 3, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,192
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, will analyze how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Pay...
Jun. 3, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,058
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participa...
Jun. 3, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,279
The basic integration architecture, as defined by ESBs, hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Most cloud integration providers still rely on an ESB architecture and their proprietary connectors. As a result, enterprise integration projects suffer from constraints of availability and reliability of these connectors that are not re-usable across other integration vendors. However, the rapid adoption of APIs and almost ubiquitous availability of APIs amongst most SaaS and Cloud applications are rapidly redefining traditional integration approaches and their reliance on proprietary connectors. ...
Jun. 3, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 879
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Jun. 3, 2015 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,051
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Jun. 3, 2015 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 4,482
Imagine a world where targeting, attribution, and analytics are just as intrinsic to the physical world as they currently are to display advertising. Advances in technologies and changes in consumer behavior have opened the door to a whole new category of personalized marketing experience based on direct interactions with products. The products themselves now have a voice. What will they say? Who will control it? And what does it take for brands to win in this new world? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zack Bennett, Vice President of Customer Success at EVRYTHNG, will answer these questions a...
Jun. 3, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,026
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
Jun. 3, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,493
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Jun. 3, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,447
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
Jun. 3, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,751