Welcome to the second edition of This Week in Modern Software, or TWiMS, our weekly roundup of the need-to-know news, stories, and events of interest surrounding software analytics, cloud computing, application monitoring, development methodologies, programming languages, and the myriad of other issues that influence modern software.
This week, our top story concerns Google eating its own dog food in the cloud.
TWiMS Top Story:
Google Moves Its Corporate Applications to the Internet—CIO Journal
What it’s about: Google has moved 90% of its internal business applications to the cloud, and will eventually be 100% online. That includes a massive shift away from traditional enterprise security strategies that focus on the network perimeter to a new paradigm that grants application and data access based on device and user credentials.
Why you should care: Google’s business is the Internet, but until recently it wasn’t necessarily conducting its internal operations there. That has changed with the tech giant’s BeyondCorp project, which essentially argues that there’s as much risk behind the corporate firewall as there is in the open Internet. As a result, BeyondCorp relocates the traditional security onus from the network to the device and user level, recognizing the seismic impact of Internet, mobile, and related technologies on traditional business processes. Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Jon Oltsik applauded Google’s “aggressive” move and said more companies should follow suit, telling CIO Journal: “There’s not a company anywhere that won’t have to develop something like this.”
- Google Finally Goes All In On Cloud Internally — TechCrunch
- Google Network Security Sans Perimeter — Network World
- BeyondCorp: A New Approach to Enterprise Security — ;login:
What it’s about: NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson sits down for a Q&A on the evolving CIO role and what’s required of technology leaders in the modern era.
Why you should care: Nelson, who has led the $7 billion cloud ERP firm since its pre-IPO days in 2002, doesn’t mince words about the future of IT leadership: Those who embrace cloud computing will thrive, and those who don’t will be looking for new jobs. “The shift that I’ve seen is from ‘cloud never,’ to ‘cloud maybe,’ and now on to ‘cloud first.’ And I think the people who are still saying ‘cloud never’ will be the 50% of IT leaders who won’t be CIOs in five years’ time,” Nelson says.
For Zynga, a Journey From the Cloud to Home—and Back Again—The Wall Street Journal
What it’s about: Zynga CEO Mark Pincus announced the games developer will move its operations back to Amazon Web Services, barely four years after spending $100 million to build its own data centers.
Why you should care: Zynga was once a poster company for the cloud, running its wildly popular Facebook game apps on Amazon Web Services, which helped enable the firm’s hyper-growth. Then, in 2011, the company decided it could do better running its own data centers, but the bet didn’t pay off. As Gartner analyst Lydia Leong tells the Journal’s Digits blog: “Their business didn’t grow the way they expected.” That’s putting it politely. As a result, Zynga’s projected compute and storage needs didn’t align with predictions, either—even as cloud vendors like Amazon were slashing prices.
- There and Back Again: Zynga’s Tale With Amazon’s Cloud—PC Magazine
- Zynga’s Data Center Troubles Prove Cloud Computing Isn’t a Game—Network World
- AWS to Data-Center Worshippers: You’ll Be Back, Just Like Zynga—ReadWrite
What it’s about: Dell Software chief security architect David Mortman, speaking at the RSA Conference last month in San Francisco, explains how DevOps not only helped the company build better software, faster, but also improved security in the process.
Why you should care: A common knock against DevOps’ promise of “faster” development and continuous delivery is that moving too fast could increase the likelihood of security risks and other flaws in production software. But Mortman explains that, by baking security into the software supply chain, DevOps teams can actually deliver software faster and more securely. He identified two key elements of that supply chain: Making sure that developers don’t rely on software libraries with known security flaws, and ensuring the ability to audit production apps for defects when security issues do arise. In the recent high-profile Heartbleed incident, Dell was able to identify instances of the bug within five minutes and fix them within another five minutes.
Cuba Turns to Analytics, Big Data to Help Tourism—InformationWeek
What it’s about: As relations between the U.S. and Cuba warm up, the island nation is turning to big data and analytics to get a handle on potentially explosive growth for its tourism industry.
Why you should care: Cuba has just 5% Internet penetration among its residents, according to a recent White House fact sheet, which makes the government’s interest in data and analytics all the more remarkable. The country is using analytics software to monitor social media, hotel and tourist sites, and competitor destinations (among other data,) as it preps for the possibility of an additional 2 million visitors annually. As Pablo Valerio writes: “The fact that Cuba is able to turn to an analytics and big data provider to help its tourism industry … shows how far this field has come from when only the largest firms could afford data scientists to crunch huge data sets.”
What it’s about: A recent survey finds the majority of IT managers at federal agencies believe DevOps would help solve some of the government’s challenges on its intended—but sometimes bumpy—path to cloud computing.
Why you should care: Tim Hoechst, CTO of Accenture Federal Services, which commissioned the survey, invoked the “Dilbert Effect” to describe federal IT’s resistance to cloud computing and DevOps. Hoechst’s argument leverages the comic’s engineering bent and portrayal of management as blithering idiots while workers in the trenches are the real brains of the business. Moreover, he explains how that dynamic causes fear and inaction when facing change to organizational structures and processes such as DevOps: “Sometimes these practices are misperceived by leadership as … no requirements or design and the inmates will be running the asylum,” Hoechst says, adding that the opposite is actually true. Writes author Suzette Lohmeyer, “Working in a DevOps system is about getting momentum going and giving staff the tools to work more efficiently.”
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