2001: An Enterprise Odyssey

The Discovery from 2001When I was at the AIIM Conference this year, Thornton May, gave a frenetic keynote address. While I am never quite sure what the key point Thornton is trying to make during his talks, he always makes everyone in the audience think, which is a very good thing.

During his keynote this year, Thornton used the following exercise to get the audience thinking about the future.

Choose movie, show, or work of literature which comes closest to capturing the essence of the external environment facing your enterprise today.

There were a lot of answers, some good, some mired in the past, but it was a very thought provoking discussion. My choice, if you haven’t figured it out by now, was 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Cloud Native or Cloud Migrant?

For years, people have talked about the different generations that make-up the digital world. There is the Baby Boom Generation, Generation X, Generation Y, and the Millennials. At some point, the concept of the digital native was introduced. Depending on who you talk to, digital natives typically start somewhere in the Generation Y generation.

I am a Generation Xer. I am not a “digital native” by anyone’s definition. I may be an early adopter from Generation X, but no matter how well I adapt to the changing technology, I am not a digital native. I still remember using rotary phones and a time when the most advanced technology in the home was the television sitting on the floor.

The same division can be made with technology companies. There are many different generations. There is the Mainframe Generation, the Enterprise Generation (the client-server), and the Cloud Generation. In software there is also a strong DNA strain of Open Source, though those vendors can still be categorized in specific generations.

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The Grass Probably isn’t Greener with that System

imageThe other morning as I walked my son to school, I took on a little experiment. You see, every day I walk out my door and I see every imperfection in my lawn. I see the dead spots from where a dehydrated dog relieved themselves on the grass. I see the thin areas that are still recovering from the drought two years ago. I also see the beginning of crabgrass that I need to break down and fight soon.

When I look down the street, I see lawns that look greener and richer. As I walked my son to school that morning, I looked closer. Some lawns had green from lots of clover. Other had the same dead spots, they just weren’t visible at a distance. In general, most looked worse than mine upon closer inspection. There were lawns that were better, but that’s okay. I don’t strive to have the best lawn, just a good lawn by my standards and the standards of my neighborhood.

This applies to enterprise software of all flavors. You system is never perfect, it has flaws. Of course, every system has flaws, you just may not know what they are. That other system may look better but that’s because you are seeing the good side.

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Online Games and Enterprise Applications

James posted on this topic after watching a presentation at OWASP’s local Hartford chapter meeting last week. It was buried halfway down in the post, but it asked a great question:

Do they really think that their silly little architectures that support 500 users concurrently is somehow more challenging than implementing an architecture that supports 2 million concurrent?

It is a damn good point. The playground for these applications is different, but the same issues arise. I’ve played a few online games in my day and have seen the ups and downs of their implementations. I think I’ll throw in my opinion on two of the items for comparison, performance and security.

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