I Feel So Bloated

I Feel So Bloated

Posted on January 31, 2008 0 Comments

No, I'm not having a fat day. I'm just exhausted from talking with people who are trying to boil the ocean in order to cook a couple of fish for dinner.

A question came up yesterday about the "tight coupling" between CMDB's, Reg/Rep, and SOA Management. In the context of CMDB's, the exact statement I was confronted with was "generally, SOA management vendors have some sort of repository." So, they wanted to know our strategy, since there seems to be a big gaping hole where the CMDB & Reg/Rep component of the solution should be.

I could have promoted our partnerships with companies like BEA (ALER), HP (Systinet), and Software AG (CentraSite Governance Edition), and moved on.

I could have also been defensive/argumentative and tried to convince the customer that my point of view is simply that they should not be coupled... In fact, look at how Forrester approached their analysis of the market. It supports the idea that Reg/Rep is separate. Of course, look at Gartner's segmentation. They define it very differently. Both are influential. Both are good. But, who's right?

So much in life is clear, if you keep one simple question in mind... "what are you trying to accomplish?"

If you're in a fight with someone, do you want to make them feel bad, win the argument, or come to a conclusion you can both live with? One situation, three different possible approaches - insult/sarcasm, kill with logic, compromise. Know what you want to accomplish and then you can decide how to approach the situation. It's incredible how many people will try to win an argument in order to reach a compromise, or insult people to win an argument.

Time to bring it on home... SOA What?

I think in creating a CMDB, the idea is to have a way to centrally store artifacts of the environment to make it easy to figure out what's going on. Fact is, there are so many moving parts in an IT infrastructure, and companies are very dependent on the knowledge in people's brains. That's scary.

So from a SOA Management solution, they want to have an open way to share information and do so such that it:

  1. Reflects reality
  2. Provides practical and useful information
  3. Is actionable, and enables the consumer to relate that information across the IT value chain

How does Actional do that?

  1. Reflecting reality. Our run-time discovery is the ONLY solution that actually discovers things you don't already know about. We don't require accurate documentation, or even custom configuration of services in order for them to be discovered. Things change accidentally, people work "around" the rules (yes, even when there are comprehensive governance solutions in place), and things that were OK when they were checked at the border (before being put into production) are no longer OK, but lost in the chaos that is every organizations' IT infrastructure. I've said it before and I'll say it again, every single time we install our software for a POC, we discover something in the customer's SOA infrastructure that they didn't know was there, or had forgotten. The most common culprits are pre-production services connecting to production databases, consumers using long-forgotten versions of services, and unknown consumers using services without even realizing it.
  2. Practical and useful information is provided in the way we segment data using dimensions and business processes (it's not about orchestration... see an earlier post of mine). In fact, this is something I discussed awhile ago, in respect to averages being useless indicators of performance - but seemingly the most relied upon statistics.
  3. Finally, because we can tie the IT and business together, and do so in run-time, the information we collect and make decisions on is actionable and enables communication between all the different specialty areas that keep a company's systems running. It's actually quite interesting...

The problem that Actional solves can best be demonstrated with a typical conversation between "business person" and "technical person."

[business person] "It's not working (again)!"
[technical person] "But, we have %99.9999 uptime, everything is working fine."

I say let's focus on trying to accomplish something substantial, reduce the bloat, and demonstrate value before trying to boil the SOA ocean just to cook a couple o' fish. And, figuring out how to communicate better with each other with more accurate and actionable information is a great place to start.

david bressler

View all posts from david bressler on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.


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