TWiMS logoWelcome to inaugural edition of This Week in Modern Software, or TWiMs, our weekly roundup of the need-to-know news, stories, and events of interest to the people who build, operate, and manage the applications that power today’s increasingly data-driven businesses.

Each week, we’ll cover the latest in software analytics, cloud computing, application monitoring, development methodologies, programming languages, and the myriad of other issues that influence modern software.


TWiMS Top Story:
Companies Must Teach Employees How to Swim in Oceans of DataCIO

What it’s about: There’s a rapidly growing business need for people who possess data analysis skills—and a relative lack of in-house educational and training opportunities for current and future professionals who want to develop better data-driven decision-making chops.

Why you should care: It’s not necessarily news that there’s a growing need for data analysts, data scientists, data engineers, and other IT pros with the right mix of technical and business know-how to mine value from an organization’s information. What’s becoming apparent, however, is that demand has spilled well beyond the aisles of IT into just about every level and department of a company.

oceans of data illustration: this week in modern softwareThat growth underscores a crucial element of any organization’s data strategy: It’s not just about accessing, harvesting, and storing your information; it’s about deriving meaningful insights from that information to drive smarter business decisions.

To make that happen, data analysis can’t be limited to just data scientists. Increasingly, every employee must be a data-driven employee—not just those in the IT department. So look for these skills to show up in an increasing variety of job descriptions.

“Not everyone needs to be a data scientist, but nearly everyone will need to learn to utilize the data to make more data-driven decisions,” University of Cincinnati professor Jeffrey Camm tells


Google Backs Rival of Docker, Cloud’s Next Big Thing—Wired

What it’s about: Google—along with Red Hat, VMware, and others—joins CoreOS open source project rkt, formerly known as Rocket.

Why you should care: Docker has been white hot for a while now in the software world, especially when it comes to cloud. (This week, New Relic announced the public beta of our Docker support.) rkt is one of several proposed containerization alternatives vying for acceptance, pointing to even wider interest in the “build it once for any system” philosophy that’s helping to driver smarter, faster software development. But will there be an actual “war” over which solution to choose?

More sources:


Nordstrom VP: Take the Emotion Out of Agile TransformationInformationWeek

What it’s about: Nordstrom tech exec Courtney Kissler explains how the retailer successfully made its mobile development faster and more agile.

Why you should care: Nordstrom shrunk its mobile development cycle from an agonizing 28 weeks to a monthly release—but even that’s just a “cadence,” according to Kissler, Nordstrom’s vice president of e-commerce and store technologies. “The business actually can release whenever they want,” Kissler is quoted telling an audience at the Interop IT Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. Kissler shares a key lesson learned for “doing lean and agile transformation: ‘Honor Reality.’” She advises companies to “make the conversation as much about data as possible and not about emotion. A lot of the skeptics come around once they see it.”

See also:


What the Internet of Things Means for

Internet of ThingsWhat it’s about: Even cutting-edge DevOps teams may not be adequately prepared for the potential challenges posed by the Internet of Things (IoT).

Why you should care: By just about anyone’s and everyone’s predictions, IoT will be huge—and will create a corresponding explosion of new data and applications. That will present considerable opportunities but also place new strains on DevOps teams, which “must be agile and flexible enough to manage this diversity” and scale. And it will be up to DevOps to make sure management’s goals—perhaps driven by media hype—are compatible with existing infrastructure.

See also:


How Talent Shortages Impact Cloud Costs451 Reseach

What it’s about: The latest Cloud Price Index from 451 Research [registration required] discusses how a scarce OpenStack engineering talent can drive private cloud costs higher than some of its commercial counterparts.

Why you should care: 451 Research estimates that typical small-scale private cloud costs with commercial vendors like VMware, Red Hat, and Microsoft run roughly around $0.10 per virtual machine hour, while OpenStack distributions run around $0.08 per VM hour. You don’t need a Ph.D. in applied mathematics to circle the less expensive option, right? Not so fast. The report also notes that the current cost of qualified OpenStack engineering talent—which is in limited supply—can actually drive OpenStack solutions’ total cost of ownership higher than the commercial options.


Here’s What Happens When You Let Artists Play With Big DataNext City

What it’s about: In a project called Sense Your City, “citizen-science-cum-art collaboration” Data Canvas deployed 100 sensors in seven cities to collect a variety of data, then turned the feeds over to artist groups to render it in visualizations that were later projected on giant screens set up on the sidewalk.

Why you should care: It’s a cool and beautiful reminder of the power and impact data can have when put in the right hands. Data really is everywhere, even on the neighborhood streets.

Want to suggest something that we should cover in the next edition of TWiMS? Email us at


Data ocean and IoT images courtesy of

Kevin Casey writes about technology and business for a wide variety of publications and companies. He won an Azbee Award, given by the American Society of Business Publication Editors, for his InformationWeek story, “Are You Too Old for IT?” He’s also a former community choice honoree in the Small Business Influencer Awards. View posts by .

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