Eclipse Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, JP Morgenthal

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Is Standardization Right for Cloud-Based Application Environments?

The need for eventual standardization

For me, this week has been one of those weeks that I think all technologists enjoy. You know what I'm talking about. The week has been one of those rare periods of time when you get to put day-to-day work on the backburner (or at least delay it until you get back to your hotel at night), and instead focus on learning, networking, and stepping outside of your comfort cocoon.

This week, I am getting a chance to attend Cloud Expo, two CloudCamps, and QCon all within a four-day span. In the process, I am meeting many smart folks (all the while finding out there are indeed people behind those Twitter handles) and coming across quite a few interesting cloud solutions. I could easily write a post talking about the people I met and the cool things they are doing, but instead I want to focus on the cloud solutions I came across during the week. When it comes to the solutions, rather than focusing in on one or two specific solutions, I wanted to focus in on a class of solutions, specifically cloud management solutions.

It's an obvious trend... the number of cloud management solutions on display far, far outweigh any other class of offering. To be fair, calling a particular offering a cloud management solution is to brush a broad stroke. Accordingly, these solutions vary in some respects. Some focus more on delivering capabilities to setup and configure cloud infrastructure, while others emphasize facilities to enable the effective consumption of said infrastructure. While some of the capabilities vary, there is one capability that nearly all have in common. Just about each of these solutions that I have seen provide some sort of functionality around constructing and deploying application environments in a cloud.

Now, the approach that each solution delivers around this particular capability widely varies. Before we get into that, let's start by agreeing on what I mean by an application environment. In this context, when I say application environment, I am thinking of two main elements:

- Application infrastructure componentry: The application infrastructure componentry represent the building blocks of the application environment. These are the worker nodes (i.e. management servers, application servers, web servers, etc.) that support your application.

- Application infrastructure configuration: Application infrastructure is a means to the end of providing an application. Users always customize the configuration of the infrastructure in order to effectively deliver their application.

As I said, in tackling the pieces of these application environments, the solutions took different approaches. Nearly all had a way of representing the environment as a single logical unit. The name of that unit varied (patterns, templates, assemblies, etc.), as did the degree of abstraction. Some, but not all, provided a direct means to include configuration into that representation. Others left it up to the users to work out a construct by which they could include the configuration of their environment into the logical representation of their application environment.

At this point in the cloud game, I believe most would expect this high degree of variation. In addition, I believe most would agree it is a healthy thing as it gives users a high degree of choice (even if it can be frustrating as a vendor to try to differentiate/explain your particular approach). However, as the market begins to validate the right approaches, I firmly believe we need some sort of standardization or commonality in how we approach representing application environments for the cloud.

As I see it, an eventual standardization in the space of representing application environments built for the cloud will enable several beneficial outcomes. This includes, but is not limited to:

- Multi-system management: One of the most obvious benefits of a standardized application environment description is that it sets the course for the use of these representations by multiple different management systems. Users should be able to take these patterns, templates, assemblies, and move them from one deployment management system to another.

- Policy-based management: A standard description of the environment and configuration paves the way for systems to be able to interact with the environment. Among other things, this may enable generically applicable policy-based management of the application environment.

- Sustainable PaaS systems: My last post goes into this in more detail, but it is my belief that to build sustainable PaaS platforms we need a common representation of application environments.

Admittedly, there is much more to this topic than a few words. These are just a few quick thoughts inspired by some of the emerging solutions I got an up-close look at this week. What do you think? Should we gradually move toward standardization in this space?

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named "Media Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "IoT Now" was named media sponsor of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.