While we are in the slow week of summer, the tech industry does not take much of a vacation. This week VMware went public, Citrix acquired XenSource and virtualization and hypervisors are in vogue. Several ZDNet bloggers--Dana Gardner, Mary Jo Foley, Larry Dignan, Dana Blankenhorn, Ed Burnette and Dan Kusnetzky-- offer their comments on the Citrix/XenSource marriage and related topics, such as the impact on Microsoft and VMware.
Dennis Howlett reflects on Cynthia Rettig’s article, "The Trouble with Enterprise Software" (MIT Sloan Management Review, August 2007), which makes a case that IT is more about keeping the wheels from falling off incredibly complicated systems than innovative solutions that "march in lock step, providing synchronized, fully coordinated supply chains, production lines and services, just like a world class orchestra." Dennis doesn't find her thesis surprising--he calls it the "ERP mess"--and threads comments in his post from Vinnie Mirchandani, Mike Krigsman, Nick Carr, Andrew McAfee and Brian Sommer.
Joe McKendrick chimes in with a critique of Rettig's notion that SOA will not make a dent in solving the IT complexity problem. Joe wrote:
Rettig does not offer an alternative to suffering with the complex, legacy systems that now populate today’s enterprises.
Let’s put it this way: aside from SOA, what is the alternative? No one is willing, or can afford to, to stay with the rigid, stovepiped systems in their current form. One solution is just throw the entire mess out, and buy a huge, well-integrated, modular application. (That’s what happened with many ERP migrations, as a matter of fact.) But no one has the time or budgets. The only workable approach, then, is gradual integration between systems, and gradual, greater agility.
If not through SOA, then how? SOA, pure and simple, is the first step to software industrialization — creating massive, adaptable systems in an automated and modular fashion through greater economies of scale. ERP was a step in this direction, since it modularized, and brought many vital pieces of the business together into a single standardized system. SOA takes it to the next level, beyond the domain offered by a single vendor. That’s the core value proposition of SOA.
Dennis also posted a blog about Oracle's social network behind the firewall experiment. The simple employee directory application with 'join my network' feature was built in a few weeks and 10,000 Oracle employees joined in about a day, with no marketing or authorized plan. It's like Oracle woke up one day and discovered what the rest of the world has been talking about for the last year. SAP has been playing around for the last several months with its own behind the firewall social network application, Harmony.
While Facebook isn't behind the firewall, it's replacing the water cooler in many corporate settings. In fact, some enterprises have closed off access to Facebook and other social networks in their networks because of perceived time wasting. Denise Howell has a deep and insightful post about Facebook and privacy control. She found that Facebook’s feeds for Status Updates, Notes, and Posted Items are potentially at odds with the privacy deisgned to limit an individual's Facebook activities to “friends only.”
Phil Wainewright gives his take on what factors--such as virtual working, new application categories and budget constraints--will fuel the growth of SaaS over the next five years.
Large-scale business adoption of Enterprise 2.0 infrastructure applications, such as Skype, will only occur when these new technologies can survive comparison with established utilities. Society has demanded that basic services — water, phone, electricity, roads, and so on — must adhere to certain levels of reliability and availability. Likewise, business users expect their software infrastructure to provide high reliability, especially in mission-critical domains.
Our newest blogger, David Greenfield, checks out Gazool, an enterprise-oriented, community-based metasearch tool from Attomic Labs.