Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Enterprise App Store Trends Point to Need for Better Applications Marketplace for ISVs, Service Providers, Mobile Business Ecosystems

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast on the development of enterprise app stores and application marketplaces for ISVs to extend and modernize the applications delivery model to better serve employees, customers, and partners.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Request an app marketplace demo. Sponsor: Partnerpedia.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on the fast moving trends supporting the escalating demand for enterprise app stores. As enterprises and most business users have rapidly adopted smartphones and made them mission critical to their work and lives, tablets are fast on their heels as a similar major disruptor.

RIM, Apple’s iOS, and Google Android devices are rapidly changing the way the world does business ... and does software. Riding along on the mobile device wave is the complimentary App Store model pioneered by Apple. The App Store is rapidly gaining admiring adopters from many quarters, thanks to its promise of reducing cost of distribution and of updates, and also of creating whole new revenue streams and even deeper user relationships.

Those seeking to make application store benefits their own -- and fast, before someone else does -- come from a diverse lot. They include vendors, service providers, and communication service providers. Interestingly, though, it’s the users that have shown the way to adoption by demonstrating a comfort, a willingness, and an affinity for a self-selection process for downloadable mobile (and increasingly enterprise) applications and services.

The users are really quite happy with paying for what they have on the spot, as long as that process is quick, seamless, and convenient. So the onus is now on a variety of business service providers and enterprises to come up with some answers for app stores of their own and to serve their employees, customers, and partner ecosystems in new ways.

This can't be done haphazardly. The new app stores also must stand up to the rigors of business-to-business (B2B) commerce requirements, not just consumer-driven games.

So to learn more about how the enterprise app store market will shape up, I'm here with a panel to delve into the market and opportunity for enterprise app stores, and to find out how they could be created quickly and efficiently to strike, as it were, while the app store iron is hot.

Please join me now in welcoming our guests. We're here with Michele Pelino, a Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Welcome, Michele.

Michele Pelino: Hi, how are you?

Gardner: I'm great. We are also here with Mark Sochan, the CEO of Partnerpedia. Hi, Mark.

Mark Sochan: Hi, Dana.

Gardner: And we're here also with Sam Liu, Vice President of Marketing at Partnerpedia. Hi there, Sam.

Sam Liu: How are you doing, Dana?

Gardner: I'm great. Michele, let's go to you first. This whole applications marketplace concept is something we hadn’t even thought of perhaps two or three years ago, and it's moving very rapidly. The trend is also happening across categories.

Usually we can sort of slice and dice these things, but we are looking at consumer, business, enterprise, and service providers seeking app stores. Maybe you could sort of paint a picture for what's going on with business applications, now that we have seen the app store model really pick up and become attractive to consumers.

Importance of mobility

Pelino: In order to provide some context around the momentum that we're seeing on the app store side of the world, it’s really important to take a step back and recognize how important mobility has become to enterprises overall, as they are interacting with their employees and their customers and their partners and providers as well.

We do surveys at Forrester of enterprises in both North America and Europe to better understand those priorities and how mobility fits into overall technology initiatives. We find that three of the top priorities that are being focused on by many enterprises are related to mobility.

That includes deploying new devices to their employees. It includes supporting more types of applications for not just the employees that are working outside of the office and the road warriors that we all think about when we are thinking about mobile workers, but also expanding applications for workers who are actually in the office.

So this broadening of mobility includes many types of workers and applications that address not just the traditional email/calendaring applications, which are widely deployed by most companies, but is also pushing those applications down into line of business worker types of applications, which are tied to particular types of employees in an organization.

They're applications that may be designed for the sales team, customer service, support, or marketing. They also might be applications that are tied to the needs of particular vertical industry’s logistics or supply chain management or enterprise asset management types of applications.

Many firms are broadening the types of applications that they're deploying to their customers, partners, and suppliers, as well as to their employees.



All of these applications are where we're seeing the momentum today. Ultimately, many firms are broadening the types of applications that they're deploying to their customers, partners, and suppliers, as well as to their employees, and this momentum is continuing.

The other thing that’s driving some of this momentum is that individuals, not just employees, are going out and buying lots of different smartphone devices and mobile devices. You touched on that in your earlier comments around tablets, slates, and different types of smartphones that are out there. So, this momentum isn’t just happening within the corporation. It’s actually happening outside of that, and it's what we would call the consumerization of IT.

This means that many individuals, consumers, are driving requirements into the corporation and into the IT organization to get new types of applications on their devices, whether those devices are personally owned or ones that the corporation has as well.

This consumerization trend is also happening to drive these requirements into the organization and to really generate more momentum around applications in general as well as smartphone devices, tablets, and other types of mobile devices.

Gardner: So we have the consumers, the users, very much aligned with this trend. They seem to have adapted to it rather easily. We've also seen an ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs) involved, where they see opportunities to create direct relationships or marketplaces and get new revenue. We've even seen some companies like Zynga and some of the other gaming corporations, taking off based on this apps model.

What's the last leg on the stool? It seems to me that their will be new types of app store providers. Michele, for those organizations thinking of doing this, what do they need to consider? What's important from a B2B perspective of doing an app store?

A lot of momentum

Pelino: One of the things to think about, when you are doing an app store, is to recognize that there's a lot of momentum around app stores in general and that came from the initial foray that we had seen from the device manufacturers like Apple and RIM. All the different device manufacturers have application stores tied initially to a consumer-oriented perspective.

The momentum around those app stores has driven corporations to start thinking about what they can do to more effectively and efficiently support their requirements around applications.

The thing with corporations is that IT organizations still want to control which version of the applications are in there and what types of apps an employee might have access to in a corporate environment, as opposed to what they might be doing in their personal world. Security is always a key issue here.

All of these things are really driving the need for these application stores -- but at an enterprise level. More and more applications are not just coming from what the IT organization wants to put out there, but also line-of-business workers within the organization are driving more and more application requirements.

By implementing these application stores, I, as an individual employee with a particular role will have access to certain applications. Another employee may have access to other applications that are tied to their role in the organization. And you could broaden that concept out to interacting with partners, suppliers, and customers as well.

The IT group is getting pushed by the end users and organizations that have become very comfortable with how they can search, browse, try, download, and purchase applications.



That’s where this momentum for application stores is coming from. It's not just coming from the IT organization, but it’s coming from line of business workers who want to have applications out there for their customers, employees, and partners.

Gardner: Mark Sochan at Partnerpedia, there's a need now for an IT department or an enterprise organization to take advantage of this trend, but to do it in a way that’s amenable to them, that suits their requirements. Is this a big opportunity for IT to do something differently but perhaps even do something better than the way they have distributed software in the past?

Sochan: Absolutely, Dana. Adding to some of the comments that Michele made about IT consumerization, there is no doubt that the IT group is getting pushed by the end users and organizations that have become very comfortable with how they can search, browse, try, download, and purchase applications. As a result, that has raised the expectations of how those same workers would like to be able browse, search, and download applications that could help them in their business world and with their productivity.

But, there are some pretty big differences between the consumer world of buying a 99-cent Angry Birds game versus downloading business applications. So some of the things that IT groups are having to think about and sort out are security and data governance, and how data that is specific to the device can be managed and, if need be, removed.

There are also issues about how the IT group can enable worker productivity and increase the satisfaction of the user base. [Request an app marketplace demo.]

Savings and efficiencies

Finally, there's a need to try and find cost savings and efficiencies. If you had everyone just buying individual applications, then you wouldn’t have the benefit of bulk license purchasing or the ability to purchase through normal corporate buying processes that result in larger scales of economy.

Gardner: Michele, back to you. I know this is still early and this is a very fast-moving and dynamic marketplace, but do we have any sense of how big this is going to be? Not necessarily numbers, but do you think that most enterprises are going to want to adopt this sort of a model?

Also, this all reminds me of a couple of years ago, when we talked in services oriented architecture (SOA) terms about registry and repository, making a list items of services and/or applications, and then users could pick and choose and start beginning to make processes from them. Is this something that you at Forrester expect to be pervasive or is this going to be on the fringe?

Pelino: This is the beginning of a pretty key momentum driver in this area. What we're seeing now is that some of these key drivers, are coming together for large, medium, small enterprises who must figure out how to expand their applications and capabilities. What we're seeing now is that some of these key drivers are coming together for large, medium, small enterprises who must figure out how to expand their applications and capabilities.

Also, as Mark said, you still have to have some control over this. You have to deal with corporate requirements around purchasing and all of the requirements internally as well. All of those factors are coming together.

About 30 percent of enterprises are using application stores do deploy some of their applications at some level.



Our surveys say that about 30 percent of enterprises -- that’s medium, large, as well as small enterprises -- are using app stores do deploy some of their applications at some level. It’s not that they're doing everything that way today. That’s the early stage of this, because this is an evolutionary path. It started on the consumer side and now it’s going into the enterprise.

As I think about what our survey data would say going into 2011, I have a feeling that, that percentage will jump pretty dramatically. More enterprises are dealing with that pain-point of the complexity of getting these applications out there, of having to have some control over which version, monitoring them, tracking what's going on with the apps, ensuring that everybody is getting the application that they should ... or not.

Those kinds of things are very important, certainly at a corporate level, and so this is driving a lot of that momentum as well, and security can't be lost in that picture either.

Gardner: Sam Liu at Partnerpedia, how do we help enterprises step into this? Is there a path? Is there some methodology, or track record involved? If I were an IT manager, I am thinking, okay, I have to build, I have to buy, or I have to partner -- or some combination to get an app store up and running.

If I have an app store that’s serving my employees, the chances are that I'm going to need to have one that’s going to be able to stand up to the rigors of delivering apps and services and business value out to my customer end-users as well.

How does an organization like an enterprise, a vendor, or a communication service provider start the process of thinking about architecting and providing an app store?

Early stages

Liu: We've talked to a number of different enterprises and various industries, and most of them are in the early stages of researching and trying to figure out what this means to them. They know that tablets are coming, but actually today’s problems have as much to do with just devices already in-house, such as smartphones.

What we're hearing in terms of platforms is that the top three platforms they're trying to figure out are iOS, Android, and the platform coming from RIM.

In that research phase, some of the issues that they're concerned about are more traditional IT policies and compliance issues. They understand the motivation from the user standpoint and the value of that, but they're really trying to understand the landscape in terms of those more traditional issues around IT control and compliance, such as security.

The other thing is that they're also more open to outsourced or cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based solutions, as opposed to something that may be completely managed in-house via traditional software. The issue there is that they want to make sure that it actually can connect to the very secure session in the corporate environment, and that by outsourcing they are not giving that up in terms of the security and control.

What we recommend is to start with a scoped project. Don’t try to solve all of your problems at once. Figure out what you need today and build up a roadmap for how you want to get there tomorrow. So you might want to start with the current devices, such as phones and focus on maybe internal applications or select third-party applications. Deploy a project from that and then figure out how you want to evolve that towards other devices and other platforms. [Request an app marketplace demo.].

They're looking for some blended model between complete end-user autonomy and some better corporate control.



Gardner: Mark Sochan, this isn't just about the technology of being able to serve up an application. This is also about billing, invoicing, the money trail, and then making that auditable. In certain industries, it’s a bit more of an integration issue.

How do you walk into an enterprise or a vendor and help them sort through, not just the delivery of these apps, but also the management of the charge-backs and/or processing of credit cards or other means of billing?

Sochan: At Partnerpedia we've been working with a number of the leading tablet vendors and some of the largest enterprise customers to understand what are the business problems and what are the priorities that need to be solved.

Overwhelmingly, what we're hearing is that most customers are not satisfied with just having an open marketplace that you might see from, say, the Google Apps Marketplace. They're looking for some blended model between complete end-user autonomy and some better corporate control. That’s the first piece of feedback we are hearing.

The second piece is that there is a need to have some sort of branding. Most enterprise companies want to have some branding, so that it’s very clear to their users that this is their marketplace, this is their store. And that store has a combination of third-party built applications, similar to what you might see if you went into an Apple App Store or into the Google Android marketplace.

Custom built

B
ut, you also see applications that have been custom built specifically for that corporation. That is, bite-size pieces of applications and business process productivity that is specific to a person’s role in that organization. Plus, some higher-end applications are coming from some of their business partners.

Because there are a variety of different sources of these applications, there are different business models that need to be addressed. The one that may be most familiar to all of us would be the ones that are the similar kinds of applications that we might find in the Apple App Store or the productivity type things, whether it’s news and information or time management or calendaring.

Then, as we move to the custom-built applications or the in-house applications, it’s also important to be able to have a way to side-load those applications and make sure that those applications are available and discoverable by the people in the organization that they are relevant to.

There's a whole idea of personalization that goes far beyond what we've seen on the consumer side, where basically everyone is presented a very similar experience in the enterprise side.

It’s very important to personalize much further to a marketing executive, for example. That’s going to be a very different set of applications that have been pre-approved and that are relevant to that marketing executive, versus someone who is on the production floor.

There's a need to have a lot of control and flexibility for the corporation to either pre-purchase those licenses and to manage those licenses effectively.



Finally, depending on the type of application and the user, there's a need to have a lot of control and flexibility for the corporation to either pre-purchase those licenses and to manage those licenses effectively. Then, they can both purchase and manage the distribution of those license, and be able to reclaim them as employees leave the organization or devices are lost, as well as allowing, as appropriate flexibility for the end-users to actually make purchases directly based on their budget. [Request an app marketplace demo.]

Gardner: Michele Pelino with Forrester Research, I don’t know if this is a bit outside of your field, but it seems to me that that from an IT procurement perspective we have been talking about smartphones and tablets.

When you think about the app store model as a way to distribute and manage applications to all devices -- including PCs -- you can start to get better efficiencies over licensing. You can really meter who gets applications and how often they're used and use that to decide what apps to keep or what to throw out. You can also have a better means of updating and adding security patches in a way that’s automated and centralized, rather than going from point to point.

Do have any thoughts about the IT efficiency aspects of an app store model, if we take it beyond smartphones and tablets to the entire endpoints the users use?

Evolving over time

Pelino: That is how this could evolve over time. We've been starting on the mobile device side of the world -- smartphones and tablets, those types of devices. But, at a corporate level, there are other types of endpoints that you need to manage and deploy applications to, and you want the same kind of control. You also want to have a sense of how much you are spending.

Sam mentioned, as a service type of delivery model or a per user type of delivery model, you can use different kinds of models here to keep control of the cost and have efficiencies around cost that you might not have today, because there is lots of overlap happening.

There are benefits as well, when you're thinking about individual end users who might have devices that they use in certain situations. When they're at their desk, maybe they have their laptops or desktops there. So, ultimately, you could have the same environment to integrate what an individual end-user or an employee could get in terms of the apps that they're able to get and always have a consistent experience for that.

The other side of that is just having a recognition that at the IT level, as much as they would love to control this, there are lots of devices around the bend. So even in the mobile world the devices we see today are not the ones that are going to be here tomorrow and there is more and more, almost on a day-to-day basis, being announced and put out there for end-users, whether it be enterprises or consumers to use.

How do I keep that in line? This app-store model is certainly one way to do it. But, when you think about it at the IT organization level, it’s not just about mobility. They have to think about the endpoints across the organization and this could certainly be relevant in that case as well.

The ability to create a very rich catalog of information makes it much more compelling and gains a lot more commitment from your partners.



Gardner: Mark, we're hearing about the benefits for an internal app store where IT, for example, might get better software distribution benefits. I know that Partnerpedia has been working with a number of early adopters on storefronts and branding around app stores. Are you finding that there is a capability here that you can, in effect, create the same app store for internal distribution as well as external, where you would be taking apps and services out to a wider audience, be it B2B or business-to-consumer (B2C)? [Request an app marketplace demo.]

Sochan: Absolutely. If you look at the core essence of an app store, there is a repository or catalog of information that makes it very easy for a company’s customers be able to find, browse, and look for products and services, not only from the vendor, but also related products and services that are of value from that vendor's ecosystem.

It almost doesn’t matter what kind of company it is. Most companies have some extended ecosystem of value-added partners. The ability to create a very rich catalog of information that your customers can browse and search and look for related products and services makes it much more compelling and gains a lot more commitment from your partners.

Because you're now providing them with of a go-to-market benefit directly to the customers, and from the customer’s perspective, they see tremendous value in your company’s products and services, because they see the richness of the ecosystem around it.

At the heart of it is this catalog that can be highly personalized. You can imagine that if you're now able to personalize this for your customers, where your customers are coming into this marketplace and they are not just seeing a generic marketplace, they are actually seeing a marketplace that’s been personalized to them.

Marketplace knows

This means that the marketplace already knows which products your customers have purchased from you and therefore is making a pre-selection or presenting them with information that’s very specific and related to the footprint that, that customer already has of your products.

In some cases, in a more consumer-oriented world, you may want to actually go to a transaction and actually enable purchasing. But, our enterprise customers are telling us that, equally important, if not more important, in the first steps is to have a very sophisticated lead capture engine, so that you can capture that interest that your customer has expressed, and been browsing and expressed interest in a particular product.

Then, you can route that, as appropriate, into whatever customer relationship management (CRM) system is being used and more effectively follow up with that customer, either with your own direct sales force or with passing that lead to your partners for the appropriate follow up.

Gardner: This is interesting. App stores in the enterprise seem to be the gift that keeps giving. We have distribution benefits, but now we are looking at some marketing and business intelligence (BI) benefit, where we can segment and provide a different fa├žade or set of applications and services to different constituencies, know who they are, create a relationship, gather metadata about their activities, and then better serve them with the next round.

Back to you, Michele. Is there a marketing and a BI benefit through the app store model that allows for an efficiency in gathering information and delivering products and services significantly better than some of the past models, where these have all been in sort of similar silos and it has been difficult to integrate and pull them together?

As you have all of your customers, partners, and suppliers accessing these application stores, as well as your employees, you can then target those individuals with appropriate information.



Pelino: You can imagine that now, with the capabilities that you have, you're going to be able to track and understand better what individuals are doing. Are they using certain applications? What they are doing? When they are doing it? As well as better understanding how you might be able to package and put together capabilities that might be more valuable to your customers in a manner that will be useful, in an individualized manner, not just basic bundles or combinations of services.

From the BI side of this, we've only started scraping the surface, because we are in the earlier stages. But as you have all of your customers, partners, and suppliers accessing these application stores, as well as your employees, you can then target those individuals with appropriate information. Not necessarily marketing all the time, but appropriate information, if it’s for employees and partners and suppliers, and for the customers, certainly marketing and promotional activities could be tied in here as well.

Gardner: It sounds very good in theory. Mark, tell us a little bit about some of the ways that this is actually being used now. I know you can’t always tell us the names of the folks you're working with, because you are an OEM supplier and they may still be in pilot in terms of their own app stores, but how are these ideas really coming into fruition? What’s really going on on the street? Some use cases for this enterprise app store concept?

Sochan: What’s happening on the street is that a number of tablet vendors are seeing that having a branded app store capability around their tablets is a critical checkbox item to creating a whole product that is valuable to the enterprise. That’s the first thing that we see happening through our direct relationships with our vendors and customers.

The second thing is that the enterprise customers and consumers of these tablets are looking and starting pilots right now, where they're setting up their own branded app store to make it easier for their internal users to be able to browse and find and demo'd applications and these pilots are starting now. [Request an app marketplace demo.]

Gardner: Do you have any metrics of success? Are we too soon into this? Have you got any users that have put some of this into practice and said, "We did blank and then we got blank in return. There was a percent increase in this or a decrease in that?" Do we have any metrics that demonstrate what the payoffs from doing this are?

Trove of data

Sochan: As Michele motioned, there is a really exciting rich trove of data and BI that you get, because now you can see what users are interested in. You see what they are browsing.

All of us are very familiar with the Amazon-like model, where you rate products and services. The exact same thing is now enabled in these branded app stores, where the users are in real time rating the number of stars for that application. More importantly, they are giving their comments about what they found useful and areas that they would like to see improvements, which creates this very exciting innovation cycle.

Where previously you had very complex monolithic applications that got delivered and had a couple of year cycle, now you're seeing bite-size pieces of innovation that gets immediate feedback from the end-users. The developer sees that feedback almost instantly and is able to immediately respond with either bug fixes or feature enhancements.

What’s really exciting to me is just how fast the innovation and that feedback loop happens that just spurs more innovation.

Gardner: Before we wrap up, maybe we could step out a little bit into the future and think about some of the implications for this.

It's bringing up the value of the information into making better business decisions, and that business intelligence I think should not be underestimated.



Michele, how far do you think this can go? We've talked about how it could come back and affect the PCs. I am thinking that it really could change the way businesses operate in terms of their revenue, relationships with their customers, central repository and means of managing both marketing and innovation and then distribution.

Pelino: If you think about the evolution of where this could head, you're starting with the central piece of the value proposition to many of these mobile devices and tablets, which is the application, and that’s absolutely critical.

You're going to be proving out the value of the applications in these app stores. But, benefits that can be achieved are efficiencies around cost. You've got benefits around having all this information about your customers, your partners, your suppliers, your employees, or anybody interfacing with these application stores -- depending on how you're implementing them -- that you can now use to leverage and broaden out your relationships with them at various levels.

This is absolutely critical. It's bringing up the value of the information into making better business decisions, and that business intelligence I think should not be underestimated. The other side of it is, when you think about the complexities that are facing the IT organization at a real tangible level, that’s not going to go away.

As we look to the future, the complexities around these devices, around the tablets, the slates, the smartphones, the other devices that are the more traditional devices and endpoints that companies have to manage and deal with, that complexity is going to continue.

Managing complexity

W
hen you think about where this can head, recognizing that companies are going to be looking for more efficient ways to manage that complexity, these application stores are one way to do that, and they provide a pretty cost effective way potentially, because, as Sam mentioned earlier, some of these are dealt with as a service, per user basis, per use basis, and so there is efficiencies around this that you can’t underestimate either.

Gardner: You almost want to throw another acronym out there, which would be something like "business services as a service."

Pelino: That’s not a bad idea. But, as you think of the future, there are a lot of opportunities to really build this out and have a critical impact on the strategic initiatives of the organization. It may not be just a tactical thing that the IT organization is implementing. It’s a very strategic potential for an organization to implement these stores.

Gardner: Mark Sochan, are you talking at that executive level with some of your customers? First, maybe you ought to quickly summarize what it is that the Partnerpedia is delivering to the market and then follow on with are you selling this to IT people or to strategic thinkers who are really looking at this as a business strategy.

Sochan: The core of the Partnerpedia offering is a white label, cloud-based, branded app store, that allows very efficient discovery and delivery of applications. The internal benefits for the internal facing app store is the capability for IT members to be able to pre-purchase select applications that they want their users have available to them. And also providing the capability to brand that app store so that it follows the company’s logo and it has a very consistent corporate look and feel.

The internal benefits for the internal facing app store is the capability for IT members to be able to pre-purchase select applications that they want their users have available to them.



Then, giving a way for users to be able to very easily search, browse, and look for applications that are specific to their role in the organization.

Finally, the license management of that software, allowing the IT department to be able to track licenses that have been purchased and downloaded, as well as be able to reclaim those licenses as is appropriate, when an employee either no longer needs that license or has left the organization or has lost the device.

And looking more to the future, we are also working very closely with customers that are building a private branded marketplace. And I distinguish between an app store and a marketplace in that a marketplace is much broader than just applications. It can be hard goods, products, services, or offerings from partners and provides just a much richer way for customers to discover value-added offerings from a company. [Request an app marketplace demo.]

Gardner: Who are the folks who seem to be most interested in this? Is this something you're selling at multiple levels, or do you really have the ears yet of that business strategy?

Sochan: We're seeing it in a few different industries. Certainly high-tech is an area where this lends itself very well, because most companies are moving to a cloud services world and so they're looking for new and more innovative ways to combine and recombine multiple solution offerings to come up with more valuable offerings to their customers.

Driving opportunities

T
his is also driving opportunities for innovation and business models. how the customer pays for it. Having these bite-size pieces of innovation lends itself to new ideas and new business models in which there can be not only just actual new sources of revenue that can come out of this, because now it’s a channel to the market.

Gardner: Michele, are there any resources at Forrester that you could point people to, if they wanted to explore this a bit more? Are there some reports, some URLs, any place that you would suggest people go to at Forrester to learn more?

Pelino: As I was talking I was referencing a few points of data from various reports that might be relevant, and you can get to those links through the Forrester site.

There's one report that sets up the complexity that’s facing many organizations that I touched on very early on, called "Managing Mobile Complexity."

There's another report that’s coming out very soon around mobility in the cloud. We've been talking about these delivery mechanisms, cloud-based delivery mechanisms for applications and services, especially around mobile devices and applications and services.

Having these bite-size pieces of innovation lends itself to new ideas and new business models.



Gardner: Mark Sochan at Partnerpedia, are there some reports, resources, white papers, ways in which people can learn more about your approach to the market and this notion of the white label in the cloud app store as a service?

Sochan: We have some great white papers that people can access from our website at partnerpedia.com, that will give very useful insights into some of the best leading practices in this area.

Gardner: You've been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast discussion on the fast moving trend supporting the escalating demand for enterprise app stores.

I'd like to thanks our guests, Michele Pelino, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Thanks, Michele.

Pelino: Thanks so much.

Gardner: And Mark Sochan, CEO at Partnerpedia. Thank you, Mark.

Sochan: My pleasure.

Gardner: And also Sam Liu, Vice President of Marketing at Partnerpedia. Thanks, Sam.

Liu: Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks again for listening and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Request an app marketplace demo. Sponsor: Partnerpedia.

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast on the development of enterprise app stores and application marketplaces for ISVs to extend and modernize the applications delivery model to better serve employees, customers, and partners. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

HP Delivers NMC 9.1 as New Demands on Network Management Require Secure, Integrated, and Automated Response

Transcript of a sponsored podcast on the increasing demands placed on IT network managers and the tools available to help them.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Learn more. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect. Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on raising the bar for network performance management.

The IT news headlines are full of incidents of major cloud instances brought down for days, and unfortunately often weeks, with some of the largest of these due to network issues in association with virtualization and storage sprawl. The price in the cloud era for such disruptions is very high and very public.

A big part of the solution to preventing such outages comes from comprehensive, automated, and increasingly integrated network management capabilities. The tasks before network managers have never been more daunting. There are far more devices, hybrid networks, hybrid compute resources, higher levels of virtualization, and there is a need to maintain security and compliance requirements throughout.

What’s more, the pressure to keep cost down and to seek lower cost alternatives for converged infrastructure remains a constant companion to business and IT architects, and therefore an ongoing network challenge.

Into this environment, HP has recently delivered a wide-ranging update to its Network Management Center suite Version 9.1. The emphasis is on a comprehensive lifecycle approach to network management with deep data gathering, automated root cause analytics, and intelligent and proactive response features that enable consistently high performance and network reliability.

When you're not sure, you know the answer first and foremost is that it must be the network. The network is the backbone of any IT organization today.



I'm here with an HP Network Management Center expert to dig into the new offerings and to better understand why previous fragmented approaches to network performance and stability just won’t hold up for most enterprises. Please join me now in welcoming Ashish Kuthiala, Director of Product Marketing for HP Software’s Network Management Center. Welcome, Ashish.

Ashish Kuthiala: Hi, Dana. Glad to be on this call.

Gardner: This overarching network importance seems to be growing more and more. We're hearing about issues with virtualization and issues with multiple devices. The load on the network is increasing, and the complexity is increasing. Maybe you could help me understand what it is about the new environment that is taxing the older ways of accomplishing a network management function?

Kuthiala: Let’s start with a simple example of a business outage, whether that is your shopping cart, through which you do your business transactions, going down or you come into the office on a Monday morning and your email is really slow or not syncing up to the main server.

When you have a business outage, the blame is put on the IT organization. Then, within the IT organization, you're not sure whether it’s an application issue or it’s a backend database issue. Is it the server that’s not responding or is it the network? When you're not sure, you know the answer first and foremost is that it must be the network. The network is the backbone of any IT organization today.

Very complex

It’s always the first thing to be blamed and the most complex things to diagnose and solve. When you're looking at the network today, it has become very complex and is increasingly becoming more complex. With new domains coming in, such as voice over IP (VOIP), webcasts, and video traffic, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) services, unified communications, and cloud computing and virtualization, it just becomes a nightmare to manage your network for your business.

Then, you look at the volume of network devices coming online. Now, everyone wants to be in the instant-on enterprise mode. Everyone has to be connected. Everything has to be connected. Everyone expects immediate gratification and instant results. You have to respond to this opportunity continuously, and "any time, anywhere, any way" is the new tagline for anybody who is working.

Let’s look at the job of the director of network ops in a particular IT organization. Not only does he have to configure, manage, and standardize a network, he has to provision, he has to deliver, and he has to report on it. He has to do it very proactively and he has to do it very strategically at the lowest cost possible.

IT budgets are shrinking or remaining flat, whereas the demands on IT are really going up. It’s estimated that a customer can lose about $70,000 a minute during network outage, as I'm sure you’ve seen in the recent news. It's a big business inhibitor if the network goes down. It is what provides the experience to the end user for all the IT services that they experience.

Gardner: What about the old ways? Why isn’t the previous mode of network management able to keep up?

Kuthiala: Today, if you were to look into a customer’s IT department managing a network environment, you would often see a war-room like approach to managing networks. They have multiple tools, legacy approaches, and a lot of band-aids. The inability in tying together what used to be separate domains has become unacceptable.

If your shopping cart goes down doing the Christmas shopping season, and a customer tells you about it, that is just unacceptable.



The inability to cope up with the scale and complexity, the different teams hunched over their different monitors, is what I call the "swiveling chair syndrome." If there is a network outage, you have these 8 or 10 different operators looking at different aspects of the network. They are just swiveling in their chairs, talking to each other and looking for data that should really be on one screen for them to manage. The lack of scalability of such tools just adds to the problem.

Gardner: So they are fragmented and reactive. They're not proactive. Is that right?

Kuthiala: They're very reactive. If your shopping cart goes down doing the Christmas shopping season, and a customer tells you about it, that is just unacceptable. By that time, you've lost money, you have damaged your brand, and you have a number of IT people being woken up in their homes at night to resolve this problem -- and you don’t know when this will get resolved.

Gardner: Why is it that an automated approach can work? Now, you have a suite of products. You recognize that you need different tools for different parts of the equation of the problem. I guess it’s abstracting that up to a console or a single view that is a powerful approach here. Is that what’s going on?

Built-in intelligence

Kuthiala: To manage your network today, you really need to understand how your network is constructed from the bottom up, how it ties together, how it changes over time, and how it self-organizes. You need to build that kind of intelligence into your root-cause analysis.

The design of the tools has to be built ground up, based on these decisions. That’s how you need to construct the tools. That’s how they need to be integrated. For an operator, all these need to build upon each other.

It has to be in the right context. It cannot be siloed. It is a nightmare to manage. The desired nirvana for a network team is to reduce the numerous point tools to manage various aspects of network management. It has to be proactive, not reactive.

You have compliance management diagnostics and change issues that you need to take human error out of, and you need to automate that. You want to reduce the manual effort, the errors and increase control over your environment. You want to reduce the mean time to repair network outages, and maintain cost optimization as your network grows.

Today for customers, “performance is the new fault." So just because a network device is up and running, and you can ping it, doesn't mean it is providing the quality of service it should to the end user. It’s really the performance that the network is being measured against.

It’s all about efficiency, how you reduce your errors, and increase your speed through automation.



Gardner: So, it’s not so much a red light/green light effect. It’s really what is the level of performance, what are the tradeoffs, how can I remain secured and reliable, and then how can I manage my cost? That’s a fairly a big equation.

Kuthiala: Correct. It’s a pretty big equation. It’s all about efficiency, how you reduce your errors, and increase your speed through automation.

Gardner: So, HP has looked at this problem. You've been in the management business for quite some time with a long legacy with Open View, but you've been building, buying, and partnering for a wider and more comprehensive approach.

Tell me a little bit about the philosophy. I guess there are three aspects to management and a way in which you can broaden your capabilities, but at the same time give a singular view of what’s going on.

Kuthiala: So, just to recap, customers are looking for a solution that's efficient, automated, and secure for them. When they manage a network, they should be able to do things like fault, performance, change, configuration, compliance, trending and reporting, and this ties into their business services.

Long history

S
o, HP looked at this problem. As you know, we've had a long history of about 20 years with the HP OpenView product in network management. As we acquired other companies such as Opsware, they bought in additional tools with them. We looked at the tools and the evolving landscape of the network management domain and about five years ago, embarked on a re-architecture plan for these products from the ground up.

The approach wasn’t to make these products just work together by putting in connectors, but we wanted them to be integrated from bottom up, from the data level itself, where the data would build upon each other.

Now, as we look at the Network Management Center (NMC), it is a complete portfolio of solutions and tools that lets you do network management in an integrated and automated way.

This really builds upon the HP Network Node Manager i (NNMi), the related special plug-ins that handle complex services such as multicast traffic, VOIP, etc., as well as the network automation piece of it which really helps customers automate and manage their change, compliance, and configuration of network devices that they need to do on an ongoing basis.

The five-year journey of re-architecting our NMC portfolio completes with the 9.1 release that we are talking about today.



Gardner: Ashish, as I recall, you had a pretty large update with this whole Network Node Manager family and a whole set of smart plug-ins. This was about a year ago, Level 9.0. Maybe we should revisit that, before we think about understanding more about 9.1.

Kuthiala: The five-year journey of re-architecting our NMC portfolio completes with the 9.1 release that we are talking about today.

So, 9.0 introduced a number of features including better user interfaces, the ability to scale to large environments, and tying our products together into better functioning solutions. With 9.1, we are building on that.

We've strengthened the ability of our customers to manage cloud services. The most critical capability that a customer must have is to manage the network the same way that they have managed traditional networks, and it doesn’t matter if they have to go across the cloud or are looking at private or public clouds.

Gaining visibility

Gaining visibility into the network elements, whether they are local, off-premise or the health and quality of the cloud services that's being delivered, is the most important step. Can I reach my device? Is it healthy? Is it performing to the expected levels of business needs?

And, of course, configuration compliance management of these devices across the cloud is very important, and corrective actions and rollbacks are very important. Our tools are able to do that across different environments.

The 9.1 release is also focused on the managed service provider’s (MSP's) market needs. There is a big trend of IT outsourcing to MSPs, and one of the things that customers want to outsource is network management services. So this is a big, growing market, and our MSPs need platforms to manage their customers' network environments in a way that that maximizes their profit.

They need to scale and grow with their customer in expanding network environments, reduce their hardware spend and their training costs, as well as grow their revenues and create new lines of business, as their own customers move to new and complex services.

For example, a customer might go from traditional phones to IP telephones, and at that point, the MSP has to manage that aspect of their customer’s environment as well, and they don’t want at this point to buy a new tool.

This helps them manage multiple customers, departments or sites per single software instance, driving down their cost and giving them a flexible architecture.



The size of the customer's network might increase, and you don’t want to buy another server, another set of tools and deploy another set of operators to manage that.

We have introduced multi-tenancy capability and security groups that allow our customers to separate their data and views into secure partitions. This helps them manage multiple customers, departments or sites per single software instance, driving down their cost and giving them a flexible architecture.

We’ve also done a lot of work on the performance-based, time-based thresholds for better alerting. What this means is that the performance data is in the context of the network topology providing a unique point of your fault monitoring. It helps them with proactive notification of performance degradation, fix it proactively and guarantee service delivery levels.

We've also increased the number of months that the data is retained. It's up to 13 months now which allows you to do forecasting and trending capabilities. This is a sufficient data retention period for compliance requirements for real-time and historical data, and allows a very efficient analysis.

Our user interface (UI) has been enhanced based on the feedback we’ve gotten from customers. The common look and feel UI across all the products and our solution set ensures lower training cost -- train once, leverage across all these tools.

Contextual information

T
he UIs show relevant contextual information on the nodes and incidents they're managing, giving them a lot of operational efficiency. The breadcrumb history and the easy navigation with right-click menus also allows the operators to get to the root cause more quickly, making them much more efficient and improving the time to resolution.

The analysis pane shows you a number of system component help enables you to get key information including availability and performance graph really quickly.

Gardner: In some of these high-profile outages that we've had recently, it seems that they were doing updates and that caused the cascading or spiraling effect and ultimately brought the network down. For these MSPs their credibility is on the line, a lot of the money could be lost, and their service level agreements (SLAs) can't be met, and so forth.

What is it about your suite and your comprehensive approach that could help ameliorate something like that? Are you doing updates, constantly and in a dynamic, constantly changing environment? Tell me how this could be prevented in the future?

Kuthiala: A network constantly needs updates, whether its configuration updates or being in compliance with a number of different policies -- Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and government regulations.

When something goes wrong, you don't know what has gone wrong, and you are scrambling to fix it. Think about doing this across 50,000, 60,000, 70,000 devices in your network.



Typically, customers have a set of people who use multiple tools or manually log into a number of these devices and do these configuration changes manually. This is very dangerous. One, there is human error involved. Second, when something goes wrong, you don't know what has gone wrong, and you are scrambling to fix it. Think about doing this across 50,000, 60,000, 70,000 devices in your network.

Our network automation capabilities allow customers to automatically make these changes through our tools. As they implement these changes, it's takes minutes and hours, versus days, to keep these devices configured to the latest and greatest configurations and in compliance.

Think about when you are on the 59,000th device that you are updating and you realize there is an error. This was not the right thing to do, and you need to roll back. If you're doing this manually, you're spending many hours fixing the error while your business is suffering during that time. Our automation capabilities help customers; with a few clicks of buttons they are able to automate all of this.

Today, customers might be looking at a number of incidents -- 10,000, to 15,000 incidents. For example, if somebody yanks a LAN cord out and puts it back in, what really has happened is the interface has gone down and come back up. And now that is flagged as an incident or an event that the operator has to pay attention to.

With our root cause analysis engine, and the ability to map the topology dynamically in a spiral discovery fashion, the network topology is always up-to-date. The root cause analysis engine helps figure out whether this is an incident that needs to be paid attention to or not, auto-resolving some of that.

Meaningful incidents

The incidents that boil up to the operators are meaningful, and therefore are reduced in number to those that are actionable. We have had customers whose incidents have been reduced from 10,000-12,000 down to 400, and only about 100 of those have to be acted upon and escalated to the next level of management.

Automation really takes a lot of the work out of your hands and enables you to fix errors very proactively, and if there is a mistake, fix it right away with a few clicks.

Gardner: Configuration management is something we’ve heard about over the years and often it has been applied to the servers and the application workloads. Are we talking about the same type of configuration management or do you need to do it in an entirely different way on the network?

And then second, your configuration and your management center capabilities are part of the larger business service management suite or set of products and services at HP, is there a commonality between configuration management of the network and configuration management at some of the other major aspects of a converged infrastructure?

Kuthiala: I'm talking very specifically about the configuration of network devices. The software that your network device comes with is the key differentiator in how they act, and the intelligence that they provide. So this has to be not only managed really well, but there are patches and upgrades, just as you have software patches and upgrades on your servers. These have to be managed. Sometimes, there are government regulations or company regulations that you want to propagate across these devices.

It's essential to understand what type of traffic is flowing on your network. This gives you the ability to optimize your network performance and network resiliency.



But tying to the business service management set of tools or the suite stems from the fact that, when you look at it from a business service availability aspect, it’s not just about the network. There are servers, there are applications, and they are all tied together. For example, if application business service is not working, do you know if it’s the server? Do you know if it’s the application? Do you know if it is the network?

Our Business Service Management offering ties in these aspects through our runtime service model. This ties your network, to your application, to your server and is able to give your business a look into how your business service is going to be affected by the failure of any one of these infrastructure elements.

Gardner: Okay. I have seen you referred to as "application-aware network management." Maybe you could help me better understand. What do you mean by that?

Kuthiala: If you go back to the basic premise, the network is there to transit the traffic for applications themselves. It's essential to understand what type of traffic is flowing on your network. This gives you the ability to optimize your network performance and network resiliency.

The true measure of how an application is running is what a user cares about. He doesn’t really care about how the network is running. Your network has to be very application-aware so that you can tune it to the desired performance and resiliency that you need.

Gardner: Now, we've been talking about network performance management in the context of sort of firefighting and preventing outages, but as I mentioned earlier, cost is such a still an important element here.

TCO benefits

In using your approach to network management, is there some efficiency or total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits, when you have better insight into the network? When you can have these root cause analysis data points available, when you have that comprehensive view, can you then perhaps start tweaking and refining the way in which your network operates in such a way that sure you're going to keep availability and performance? Can you also find ways of developing efficiencies and therefore cut total cost?

Kuthiala: A customer that I met last year was on a prior version of our toolset and also had a number of other vendors' tools to manage his network.

We talked about the new NNMi platform, and customer’s response was, "You know, I have seven or eight people dedicated to managing my network. I have a toolset that works and I'm happy. And, I have a number of other IT projects that I need to attend to. I do understand the value of going to the new platform, but I will do that next year."

As we talked, I was able to articulate the value of how they could reduce the number of operators invested in managing the network, the number of resources, the number of different contracts they had, the server footprint, the cooling costs, etc. The customer agreed that it made a lot of sense to upgrade.

The customer came back to me in about three weeks and said, "The upgrade was easy, we got it up and running. I now have only two people managing my network. I've been able to free six people to put them on other critical IT projects. There has been a lot of savings for me and the ability to redeploy my resources has been tremendous." So, I think a lot of customers of ours are actually realizing tremendous value from taking this new approach.

The scalability of our products is immense. We're able to manage 25,000 devices or up to two million interfaces from a single server instance.



The other case that I would like to share with you is about HP Enterprise Services. They were looking to deploy 10,000 new remote workers, where people would be able to work from their remote offices or homes. And, per worker that they would deploy, they would have to invest a couple of man hours on their end with somebody on the phone sitting and getting people to configure their new equipment to work with the corporate environment in a seamless fashion.

By using automation tools, they were able to save about two hours per deployment per worker, as they rolled this program out and they deployed about 10,000 workers in a matter of few weeks versus months. They have had multiple successes with automation across their entire system and deployed it across 350-plus clients to reduce their costs, increase their efficiencies and reduce errors.

Gardner: And these economic issues are very important to everyone, but I suppose they are even especially important to those MSPs, where their margins are lower and their costs, when they cut them, can go directly to the bottom line.

Kuthiala: Absolutely. It enables them to maximize their profits. For example, the new multi-tenancy capabilities enable them to manage multiple customers from a single software instance.

It helps them drive down their ongoing hardware, software, and headcount costs that they can redeploy somewhere else. The scalability of our products is immense. We're able to manage 25,000 devices or up to two million interfaces from a single server instance.

They can partition their customers in their own secure environments and use security groups. So, they can meet their customer SLAs but drive down their costs by going to a single instance of the software.

Gardner: Now Network Management Center is a fairly significant set of different products, but most people already have something in place. So this is not a matter of starting greenfield. This is a matter of coexistence, migration, and transformation. How do you get started? What’s the typical scenario for working with a Network Management Center set by bringing it into an environment where you’ve already got installed management?

Automated capabilities

Kuthiala: Most customers today have in place something to monitor their networks, but a lot of customers have not automated their configuration, compliance, and diagnostic capabilities that we talked about.

So, let me start with that. We've seen a trend in our customer base where they buy smaller node packs to manage a small number of devices with our automation capabilities. Once they have put that in place, they start to see other efficiency use cases that they can achieve using our network automation capabilities.

We observe that these customers come back and buy more licenses for managing a greater number of network devices. So, that’s almost like a greenfield opportunity here.

But, when we look at the most customers looking at managing their networks and doing performance and monitoring, for example, if they have an instance of our software, it’s an in-place upgrade. We offer a dual entitlement and run a parallel program
that allows customers is to seamlessly set up another parallel environment and bring the network up there, start to manage it, and seamlessly shift.

We’ve had an instance of a customer in the EMEA region, where they were testing our latest software and running it in parallel to see how it was functionally different and what effect of productivity it would have on their operators. A couple of weeks went by and their senior management started getting escalations for network problems.

Once they have put that in place, they start to see other efficiency use cases that they can achieve using our network automation capabilities.



Now, when senior management turned to the network operations team and asked, "We have all these incidents showing up. What is going on? Is something wrong?"

Almost sheepishly, the network operator team had to acknowledge that they were testing the new platform and had completely forgotten about the old tool which they needed to shut down because the new platform ignored the incidents that were not meaningful. They had “accidentally” migrated to the new platform to managing the network much more efficiently.

A lot of our customers use this approach to migrate to the new platform, and of course, our approach is modular. Start with the core product and add the special plug-ins to manage your IP telephony MPLS or multicast capabilities.

Gardner: Okay, for those folks, thinking about evaluating these entry points and looking at the wider benefits of an automated managed approach to configuration on the networks, do you have any landing pages, vanity pages, whitepapers? Where can people go for more detail and more information?

Kuthiala: We have an hp.com page, which is www.hp.com/go/nmc for downloading trial software, reading whitepapers, customer case studies, product capabilities and features. That’s a good starting point.

We also blog about customer experiences and the stories they share with us as well.

To see the HP Automated Network Management (ANM) Solution in action, you can watch a short overview and the ANM 9.10 Video Demo. This recording will explain the NMC components that make up the ANM solution and walk you through a use case to demonstrate the automated capabilities of HP Automated Network Management 9.10.

Gardner: You’ve been listening to a sponsored podcast discussion on raising the bar for network performance management and learning more details about HP’s new Network Management Center 9.1 release. I’d like to thank our guest. We’ve been here with Ashish Kuthiala. He is the Director of Product Marketing for HP Software’s Network Management Center. Thank you, Ashish.

Kuthiala: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Learn more. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a sponsored podcast on the increasing demands placed on IT network managers and the tools available to help them. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Rapidly Evolving IT Trends Make Open, Agile App Integration More Important Than Ever

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast on the maturing of open source integration software and its role in making enterprises responsive to a rapidly changing IT landscape.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Register for CamelOne. Sponsor: FuseSource.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on how enterprise integration requirements are rapidly shifting to accommodate such trends as cloud computing, mobile devices' explosion, and increased demand for extended enterprise business processes.

Application-to-application integration inside an enterprise's four walls is well understood, but very quickly the demands placed on integration are spanning multiple enterprises, multiple types of applications, and varieties of service providers. Software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing are joining with legacy systems to form new and varied hybrid models that require whole new sets of integration needs and challenges.

Once these newer breeds of integrations are set up, can the old, brittle management and upkeep of them suffice -- or will agility and rapid upgrades and innovations require new tools to make integration a lifecycle function with ongoing management and more automated governance?

In this discussion, we'll examine how open-source integration projects like Apache Camel and lightweight integration implementations and graphical tools are making developers and architects more agile. At the same time, these open-source approaches are proving less vulnerable to the complexity, fragility, and cost that often plague aging commercial middleware integration products. [Learn more about the CamelOne conference May 24 in Washington, DC.]

Here to examine the new need for open and agile integration capabilities is Rob Davies, Chief Technology Officer at FuseSource. Welcome, Rob.

Rob Davies: Hi, Dana. Good to be here.

Gardner: We're also here with Debbie Moynihan, Vice President of Marketing at FuseSource. Hello, Debbie.

Debbie Moynihan: Hi, Dana.

Gardner: Debbie, what's going on out there? Why are things happening so rapidly? Why do people need to rethink integration?

Many challenges

Moynihan: Dana, there are so many things happening out there -- integration, in particular. There are so many challenges right now. The business models are changing and people are being asked to do more with less. Teams and applications are more distributed than they have ever been.

There are a lot of new technologies coming out that people are struggling to learn about, and figuring out how to incorporate them into their infrastructure: cloud, mobile, the explosion of the huge amounts of data that enterprises are trying to understand and make sense out of. Not to mention the social media technologies that people are being asked about and wondering how to incorporate into their enterprise infrastructure.

There are a lot of different skills that people are looking to have that they've never been asked to have before. More and more people are being asked to perform IT tasks. It isn’t just highly skilled developers, but also business analysts and people who have never done integration before are being asked to do integration activities.

A lot of people are looking for solutions and ideas. They're not sure how to keep up with all of these changes. Costs are a problem because essentially everyone has the same or smaller budget going forward and a lot of people have fewer people to do what they've been doing before.

People are challenged. I think open source is a great solution. At FuseSource, we've seen a lot people looking more and more to open source to solve some of these problems.

The reason why open source is a good solution is that with open source there's a lot of flexibility. When the environment changes and new technologies come out, you need to integrate new things into your environment.

The community people, when they see a problem or new technology, just make it happen. They can add, expand, and modify what's involved in the various open-source integration projects without the overhead and bureaucracy of some of the traditional software development environments.

Gardner: Debbie, in the past, when we had a shift in computing, we'd bring in a new set of applications, we'd update our platforms, and then think about integrating them. It was a sequential process and it could take three to five years to go through something like that.

We don’t really have that luxury anymore. Now things are happening in a simultaneous fashion. So integration really can't be an afterthought, but needs to be part and parcel with how you go about designing and implementing your applications.

Doesn’t open source, in a sense, allow for a compression of the time that we’ve traditionally taken with commercial products?

Moynihan: Absolutely. Open-source is a componentized, lightweight approach. As people develop their applications, they develop them in such a way that they can be broken apart in new and different ways down the road, and it's very transparent. It makes it easier over time to further integrate what you’ve built and to make changes as you need.

Gardner: Rob Davies, let's dive a little deeper into this notion of open and agile integration capabilities. What's wrong with simply going into traditional, commercial integration capabilities and somehow broadening them into this new domain? Is it not something that can be extended?

The pace of change

Davies: I think it is, but I think the real crux of the problem goes back to what Debbie was talking about earlier -- the pace of change. If you’ve got an open-source framework, you can actually have an insight into how the project works.

After we launched Apache Camel at the Apache Software Foundation, we provided a number of default integration components for Camel. But, as soon as they got out there and the community started to use them and saw the benefits of using them, we saw no end of contributions. People contributed adapters to weird and wonderful systems, and contributed them right back into the Apache project. [Learn more about the CamelOne conference May 24 in Washington, DC.]

Then we’ve got other components that people use to automate open-source but not at Apache. A number of components have grown rapidly since the inception of a project. When we started, we had probably 20 components, and now it's well over 100. Those are the ones we know about, the ones that people have open-sourced.

We know from our customers that they’ve got specific needs. They’ve got legacy applications. Because we've gone to the effort of making sure that it's very easy to add a new component into Apache Camel, it's very straightforward for someone to add in extra functionality.

For example, if you want to write a component for legacy mainframe application, you could very easily do in a matter of hours. The old approach would take you weeks, months, maybe even years, especially if you don’t have access to the source code. So, you’ve got that added flexibility.

The fact that it's an open-source project at Apache means that there is a vibrant community of users and developers.



The fact that it's an open-source project at Apache means that there is a vibrant community of users and developers. You can get feedback instantly, if you’ve got issues and problems. Of course, if you want professional help, there’s FuseSource as well. We have our own community at fusesource.com. So, all these things combined means that you have more flexibility and a much more agile way of doing integration.

Gardner: You know it strikes me that when we begin to talk about integration that I’d mentioned service-oriented architecture (SOA), but that was sort of yesterday’s buzzword. We're now into cloud, hybrid, and mobile. But, from an architectural perspective, you can't really scale and leverage these open components without that proper underpinning, typically an enterprise-service-bus (ESB) architecture.

Rob, help me understand why doing this correctly from an architecture (not just an open-source) perspective is really important as well.

Davies: You hit the core things about the SOA and the ESB architectures. We see where people are using, in particular, Apache Camel and some of our other open-source projects. They want flexibility there. So, they want to leverage a service bus, put things on, expose them as service, and expose them over the service bus, which uses different transports to enable that bus, be that messaging, HTTP, or whatever other means you want to use.

Application integration

At the same time, you also want to have the flexibility now to do it in application integration. You want to have that flexibility for some services and you very much need that enterprise service bus in place. But for other cases, you want to be able to do that more locally, where the integration points are.

The approach that we have is that we enable you to do both, because you can embed Apache Camel inside an application server, if you want it inside your application itself. If you want to use it in a more traditional sense, you can deploy it into ServiceMix. You can define your apps easily, deploy them into ServiceMix, and use it to manage the container.

Having that flexibility as well means that you can have the right architecture for your particular solution. If you look at how people would do the integration before, they’d have to get an ESB, and that would force the whole architecture of how they do things. When you’ve got more flexibility, it means that you can make the right architecture choices that you need, and you're not constrained to one particular style of integration.

Gardner: I'm facing a lot of questions more recently about how to cross the domains that we've mentioned -- SaaS, cloud, on-premises, traditional architecture, and private cloud architecture.

Does the service-bus approach and the open-source approach also give us some sort of a path or vision for how to go about this? I think we're just starting to enter into how to integrate my legacy applications with cloud or SaaS applications in a meaningful way? What are your thoughts about that, Rob?

You can only really get that speed of innovation to keep up with the way the environment is changing by choosing open source.



Davies: I completely agree. Having open source enables you to have the insight into how the integration application works. But more importantly, those environments are changing very rapidly.

If you just look back just a couple of years, when people were starting to use the cloud, they weren’t even thinking about having hybrid clouds. Now, we're seeing more and more people, more of our customers, looking to hybrid clouds and have a private cloud for applications.

When they need the capacity, obviously they can get that capacity in a public cloud. But, to have all those PCs working together seamlessly, they need the agility that you get from an integration solution that can be deployed on a public cloud, locally, or a combination of both. That’s something that you can only get from software that has evolved at the same pace as the demands of the environment.

You can only really get that speed of innovation to keep up with the way the environment is changing by choosing open source, because the open-source community itself is driving the projects to keep up with the demands.

So, you have to try to move outside of a traditional release cycle that you would get from a traditional product company. You don’t really have any other alternatives, if you want to keep up, than to look at open-source projects, the Apache ones in particular. [Learn more about the CamelOne conference May 24 in Washington, DC.]

Apache projects certainly hit the right notes in that you've got both very business-friendly license from the Apache license and very active communities, and you’ve got diversity in that community. You know these projects are going to live beyond the lifetime of particular individuals on the projects.

Support and consultancy

Y
ou also have the benefit of having companies like FuseSource, which created the projects in the first place, and who are there and able to provide support and consultancy if you need it. You get the best of having a dynamic community, a dynamic project, and you also get the security of having professional company to back it up.

Gardner: I'd like to revisit that thought about the traditional upgrade path in the product cycle. Many organizations have faced two stages of this. One is to wait for the commercial vendor, to come out with the upgrade or often, an association with larger projects that they have across different platforms, brings in various versions and iterations that they've done.

It's a fairly complex undertaking for the vendor, but then there is the complexity of them bringing that into your organization, and there's cost, because you have the upfront licensing cos. Many times, you’ll incur hardware cost and many times you want to have cohabitation of your older deployments, as well as new ones that come online. This is sometimes a three- to five-year process.

Tell me why an open-source approach and, from a cost perspective, that upgrade path is much different.

Davies: Because it’s open source. The projects that we are involved in Apache are Apache licensed. ActiveMQ, which is a message bus, Camel, ServiceMix, and CXF, are Apache licensed. It means that you don't have to pay the license costs upfront.

The problem that organizations are facing now is that the environments that they can deploy into and have to interface with are changing and evolving so quickly.



You're actually right about the time of the release cycle for a traditional product company. The problem that organizations are facing now is that the environments that they can deploy into and have to interface with are changing and evolving so quickly. You just can't have a luxury waiting for a three- to five-year release cycle.

And what often happens is that the software you are trying to integrate with is really out of date and people have moved onto something else. So, up front, you have to look at what you can use to integrate with these systems as they evolve. Things are evolving more quickly over time. There are different sorts of social networks that you have to interface with, and that market has been very dynamic over the last few years.

Twitter has been around for a few years, but we see people using Twitter as asynchronous communication within their organizations to give out real-time information updates. So, that’s important. Who knows what's going to be just around the corner, because things have evolved very quickly.

If you want your organization to keep pace with the changing environment we're in, you have to look for the right integration solutions right now, and choose the ones that will be able to keep pace.

Gardner: How rapidly are the iterations within the Apache project, within Camel in particular, happening? How rapidly is innovation taking place?

Very fast pace

Davies: It’s happening at a very fast pace. When we do release these out of Apache, it's typically every three months, but in that three month period there could be other components that have gone into the Apache Camel Framework. Because it's open source, people can actually look about, release their own components into an open-source environment, or develop them separately without necessarily releasing to Apache, just to get the functionality out.

That pace of change is very fast and it’s near real time. When the need comes up, within a few days or a week, you would probably find someone who has already written that integration component that you need and it’s available.

Gardner: This is, of course, a global community. You have a great number of different inputs and parties involved, different locations that are supported, and different localizations, and languages.

Davies: Absolutely. That’s another benefit of having an open-source, and a well-known open-source, community to drive our innovation and to back it up.

Gardner: Debbie, let's go look at what's happening in the community. I understand you have a conference that’s coming up May 24, a first of its kind. Why is this a good time to be pulling together the Camel Community, and what you’re going to do?

The nice thing about Camel is that it provides a basic foundation and a terminology of well-defined patterns.



Moynihan: We’re really excited. We have an event coming up in May. It’s called CamelOne and the reason why we focused on Camel with the name of the event, is that it’s actually an event for open-source integration and messaging overall. It’s because Camel is a really great way for people to get started, and it’s also a great way for more advanced integration developers as well. It brings together the entire community.

Rob was talking about earlier about how there is always these new technologies coming up and people can add components. The nice thing about Camel is that it provides a basic foundation and a terminology of well-defined patterns. The integration patterns themselves are very well-defined, but what's happening is all the different ways in which you connect and what you are connecting to have been changing and evolving over time.

Camel is a great foundation and CamelOne is an event to bring together users of Camel and other open-source integration and messaging technologies to learn more about Camel, open-source messaging like ActiveMQ, and ESBs like Apache ServiceMix.

You were talking earlier about cost savings. More and more people are being asked to do integration. The nice thing about Camel and about these other technologies is some people maybe just only needed to do lightweight integration. They can just learn how to use Camel and learn the basics.

Other people are going to be doing more in-depth management of many integration patterns and they may need to know all the nuances of an ESB platform. The focus of CamelOne is to bring people together to understand, learn about, and meet each other and to grow this community of open-source integration users.

Gardner: So, this is CamelOne, May 24, in the Washington D.C. area. Why Washington D.C.? Is there a lot of this going on in the public sector?

Central location

Moynihan: Actually, we do have a lot of users in the Washington D.C. area. We also thought that was a central location, where people could come from not only anywhere in the US but also from other regions of the world as well. There are a lot of direct flights to that location. But, we do have a lot of users in the area. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is going to be speaking and they have selected open-source integration for the next generation of their services infrastructure.

Since they connect with a lot of other agencies, there is a lot of interest in learning more specifically about that program and about the technologies that it's built upon, because a lot of other agencies need to connect.

Gardner: One of the other aspects of this that I'm seeing in the market is that more people need to take part in integration. It can't just go through a bottleneck of "beard-and-sneaker guys" in the back room who can do coding. Integration needs to be part and parcel with process innovation. That means we need to elevate it out to a wider group of individuals, maybe as many as possible that are on the front lines of process innovation and analysis.

The addition of tooling is going to help broaden how many people can do integration, and we're real excited.



What's being done about the integration that we've been describing? It’s wonderful that we have the open source and we have the cost benefits, but how about bringing this to a larger class of individuals, Debbie?

Moynihan: On April 11, we announced the general availability of a new graphical tooling for Apache Camel. [Users can download a trial version of the plug-in, which includes some of the functionality of the fully paid version found on the subscription-based Fuse Mediation Router.]

The addition of graphical tooling makes it easier for more people to do integration development. They don't have to write code. They can use a drag-and-drop environment to select the integration patterns that they want to implement, and the software will implement them. They can test them and deploy them into production as well.

The addition of tooling is going to help broaden how many people can do integration, and we're real excited. We've been doing a beta program since the end of January with over 500 participants. Rob mentioned the breadth of all the components and how hot Apache Camel has been. We're not surprised that more and more people want to use it. So, the idea of having tooling on top of it is really attractive to users.

Gardner: So, what's the name and where do you go to find out more about them?

Moynihan: The Fuse IDE for Camel is the name. It plugs into an Eclipse environment and you can get it at fusesource.com.

Gardner: And how about more information on CamelOne? It’s simple, I suppose search on CamelOne will get you there.

Moynihan: Yes, camelone.com is the website as well.

Gardner: Now, you guys have been involved with a series of books and you have something new coming out in that series. Tell me about that.

Camel in Action

Moynihan: There are a couple of books that recently have come out. One is Camel in Action, which is fantastic for people who want to get going with Camel and learn how to use and deploy it. Rob is coauthor of the ActiveMQ in Action book, which has come out in print recently from Manning Publications.

Davies: ActiveMQ in Action is really a scripted book, which goes through all the different use cases of using ActiveMQ, right from getting started and what messaging is about. It walks you through different deployment options, all the way up through using clusters of ActiveMQ brokers, to using ActiveMQ as a wide area network, so you can connect geographically dispersed locations.

It shows you how to tune the performance of ActiveMQ and get the best out of it. So it's very comprehensive book about how to use ActiveMQ. It's somewhat complementary to Camel in Action as well, which goes through all the different patterns you can use.

It doesn't talk about using Camel. It talks about integration patterns as well and then describes how you can use those using Apache Camel, and you can use Apache Camel with ActiveMQ. ActiveMQ also can embed Apache Camel. So, you have routes running inside the broker from Camel. The two of them are very complementary.

Gardner: Let's step back for a wider perspective. I'm seeing that the need for integration is increasing. The things that need to be integrated are increasing, perhaps exponentially. The pace at which that needs to take place is very rapid and dramatic, compared to the history of computing. Open source is well established. We’ve seen many different organizations embracing this. We saw Red Hat come out recently with some very strong growth figures.

It's coming to the point where organizations won’t have a choice other than to use open source as a way to try to keep up with a pace of change.



So, it seems to me that open source is a very mature approach now, not something that’s a new kid on the block, by any stretch. When you put these factors together and when you look at the need for integration as a service within applications from the start -- not something you bolt on or think about after the fact but actually build applications for, of, and by integration capabilities -- this perhaps spells a historic shift.

Maybe we could riff on the future or even look at this from an abstract or even philosophical perspective. Rob, are we at a shift here where the ability to integrate becomes an essential character of businesses?

Davies: We probably are at that shift right now. Sometimes, it's difficult to see things happening like that, if you’re actually right inside in the middle of it. But, if you look at the way the environments change, you’ve got to actually be running your compute resources.

We’ve talked about cloud environment. Also there’s social network, SaaS, and mobile devices, and you need to link all those together. It's coming to the point where organizations won’t have a choice other than to use open source as a way to try to keep up with a pace of change.

We're probably at a point now, where we’re going to see that the traditional model of providing software is going to dwindle over time, probably pretty rapidly as well, as organizations realize that they need the flexibility and the ability to change what they’re doing very quickly.

Future-proofing applications

It's a really good point that you made. You have to start thinking about how you're going to future-proof your applications right from the beginning to adapt to changes in their environments. You have to architect in how you’re going to integrate and future-proof your applications, because it does get more costly if you do it as an afterthought.

Gardner: Many of the SaaS providers are doing multitenancy and providing applications as services on demand at a very attractive and aggressive price point. They're leveraging open source on the back end, I have to imagine. Do you have any insight into what the service providers themselves are building with?

Davies: Most applications now, in particular on the cloud, are using open source at the back end. We can't give you any specific details of vendors that are doing that, but I know they're using open-source projects, and not just the SaaS vendors, but some of the other existing product vendors use open-source as well to enable their products.

We certainly see open-source as definitely mainstream now, and we’ve seen it has been the first choice that people use for building any kind of application or service they’re providing. It's more a case of people asking the questions now of not should we be using open source, but why shouldn’t we use open source? It's starting to become a first choice for people to go to.

Gardner: Let's look at some of the ways in which those people are making that choice. Debbie, you mentioned the FAA. Are there other organizations that you can point to and say, either by name or by use case scenario, that they’ve taken this leap, they’ve made those choices, they’ve embraced some of the new requirements around integration, and they have some positive proof points? Any examples that we can look to?

It’s more dynamic and flexible, and being involved with the community is really exciting.



Moynihan: Sure. Sabre is one of our customers. Sabre Holdings is using the FuseSource open-source software, and they started using open-source software many years ago. Years ago, a lot of people chose it because they were looking at cost and flexibility. Now, they're seeing that you actually were getting more features faster in open source than you were getting in traditional software. It’s more dynamic and flexible, and being involved with the community is really exciting.

One of the things that Sabre has done with open-source software is a travel gateway. They connect to many different airline technologies and travel agencies and they have over one-and-a-half billion transactions running through their infrastructure on any given day. They've been using FuseSource open-source software for over a couple of years with zero downtime.

Being able to use open-source, they have that flexibility, have the interaction with the community, and also have high-performance and reliability.

People are getting all of the traditional benefits of high-quality software, but also that dynamic ability to get new features, to get new technologies, to get bugs fixed, for example, really quickly with the community. With support vendors like FuseSource providing subscription so that they can have access to the engineers directly who are working on these projects, they can quickly get turnaround and get what they need to make those dynamic changes in their business.

Retail industry

Another area that we are seeing a lot of people look at open source is in the retail industry. Earlier on, people were looking for cost savings. If you think about retail, it’s common for retailers to have a lot of locations, whether it’s franchises or stores. Using open-source, you can save a lot of cost on your IT footprint in those locations.

Specsavers is one of our customers. They're deploying open-source to over 1,000 retail stores. We're seeing more and more retailers looking at open-source to be able to do that. They're going to get all the flexibility of being able to incorporate these new technologies as we incorporate them into the open-source projects really quickly. But, right from the get-go, they have reduced costs, flexibility and the involvement within the open-source community and directly with the development teams through working with vendors like FuseSource that support the open-source communities.

Gardner: For folks who are looking to ramp up their adoption of open-source integration, are there some resources that they should be aware of in terms of getting started?

Moynihan: I would encourage people, specifically if they are looking at open-source integration and messaging, Apache Camel is a good place to get started. We have a productized distribution at fusesource.com as well.

I would encourage people, specifically if they are looking at open-source integration and messaging, Apache Camel is a good place to get started.



The reason why I suggest Apache Camel is that it's is based on the enterprise integration patterns book and provides a nice foundation and definition around some of the most commonly used integration patterns. It’s a great way to get started.

People could obviously come to CamelOne, which is going to be really exciting, meet a lot of the people who are experts in the community, and meet other users of open-source integration messaging software.

Also on our website fusesource.com, we have a lot of webinars, which are happening live on a regular basis. We have a lot of archived webinars, which actually walk you through technical tutorials on how to get started with these various open-source projects.

So I’d highly recommend to check that out and to check out the books that we've mentioned and the documentation on our site as well.

Gardner: Very good. We have been talking about how enterprise integration requirements are rapidly shifting in order to accommodate such general and global trends as cloud computing, mobile device use explosion, and the increase demand for extended enterprise business processes.

I want to thank our guests, Rob Davies, Chief Technology Officer at FuseSource. Thanks a lot, Rob.

Davies: Thank you very much, Dana.

Gardner: And Debbie Moynihan, Vice President of Marketing at FuseSource. Thanks, Debbie.

Moynihan: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: You've been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Register for CamelOne. Sponsor: FuseSource.

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast on the maturing of open source integration software and its role in making enterprises responsive to a rapidly changing IT landscape. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

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