Monday, May 16, 2011

Why 100 Percent Web

Why 100% Web

The Point
Most organizations and virtually all of the analyst have determined that outsourcing applications to the cloud is a prudent financial move.  Of course, you choose applications that have a clear Service Level Guarantee which is why most organizations are evaluating cloud based e-mail solutions.  There is an opportunity to go farther than hosted email, to move toward 100% Web.  

We have entered the decade of the Web Application.  Web Applications allow us to use the cloud for all back-end systems while simplifying application deliver by using Web browsers for user access.  Web apps can be created to fully implement business process or to integrate into existing applications to complete a business process.

Your Homework
Develop a criteria to determine which cloud providers can be a part of your 100% Web strategy.

In the Good Old Days
In the past organizations took more control over automating their business processes with software applications.  When computing was young we knew that we were best able to conduct our own business process mapping and felt that any process could be automated.  
If you ever saw one of the original bank processing centers with check after check after check after check … that all needed processing you might have been intimidated.  Bank employees were not intimidated.  They applied technology with confidence that allowed banks to automate operations.  Those systems  had only 4,000 K of memory, with programs written employees, utilizing hand wired computer boards (some of which were wired in the field by the banks IT staff).

The systems that were put in place 20 and 30 years ago worked.  With today’s Internet and Web Applications, it is once again possible to automate solutions to small and large problems and knit those solutions together in Web Applications.  

I suggest we push back from vendor analysis and re-acquaint ourselves with application publishing.  If we take the time to understand our business processes we can produce web apps that will pay us back with increased efficiencies, reduced cost and profit.

What is required
  • Business Analysts or Employee SMEs to map processes
  • Programming (it is affordable)
  • An HTML5 compliant Web Browser as an application delivery vehicle to minimize the ongoing cost to the organization ( as contrasted with the high support cost of today’s desktop infrastructure)
  • Cloud based back-end systems to minimize the on-going cost of the back-end

What the past has taught us
Current analyst studies claim that each user desktop cost an organization $2,000 to $5,500 each year, in addition to the purchase cost of that desktop.  Yet, we have lost the battle for the desktop twice since the PC revolution began: once when we did not stay committed to the Private Cloud and its champion Citrix; and once again when Web delivered applications of the late 1990s failed to fulfil their promise.  

What goes into this desktop cost
  • centralized administration and patching
  • repair and rebuild from device crashes and data losses
  • reduced efficiencies due to network overhead from device management and machine performance degradation due to malware and patches  
  • Security product layering and data loss

What was not addressed in the last desktop elimination efforts
  • Operating systems on fixed function PC replacement machines did not provide an ongoing enhancement of additional features that applications could exploit
  • Web delivered End User applications did not have the “pop” (response time  and user graphics) of desktop resident applications.  
  • Web solutions did not have secure access to multi-tenant cloud storage or true 2d and 3d graphics
  • The back-end of the desktop replacement application portfolio was to local storage or Private Clouds that consumed significant IT resources

What is the evidence that we have entered a new era
  • There is support for browser technology that crosses vendor lines with HTML5.  
  • Citrix has announced a HTML5 browser client
  • Google and Mozilla have led the push for faster JavaScript processing within browsers (a 2000% increase in performance) allowing browser based applications that “pop”.
  • HTML5 allows browser programmers to access secure storage in support of Web Apps.  There is support for secure indexed databases, Web storage, 2D & 3D graphics.
  • There is re-usable code for the “heavy lifting”; OAUTH; Database calls; graphics rendering; searches; and more
  • The “law of large numbers” is in effect in that the 35,000,000 user bar has been crossed by vendors deploying these technologies
    • 160,000,000  Chrome User
    • 400,000 new Android phones activated each day (100,000,000 total activations)
    • 760,000,000 downloads of Google Earth
    • 4,000,000,000 Android Application Downloads

Exploiting 100% Web
Cloud Computing infrastructures available from our largest vendors, like: Google; Amazon; Microsoft; AT&T; Oracle; IBM; and other multi-billion dollar technology firms, will avail us to solutions that we may purchase more cheaply then we can build.  For example one of Google’s Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Google Apps for Business, includes: email; calendaring; contacts; on-line document storage; unlimited intranet sites; public web sites; blog sites; video chat; chat; free IP calling in the US and Canada; video; on-line picture storage; and document collaboration … all for 14 cents per day for each user ($50.00 /user/year for the suite of solutions)

Technologies available from Google that support a migration to a 100% Web application hosting and the Web App Delivery Environment are:
  • Google App Engine for Web Applications
    • A Platform as a Service offering that provides dynamically load reactive multi-tenant serves, an encrypted database, and Internet bandwidth all within a network of SAS 70 secured data centers.
    • 10 application slots are included with Google Apps for Business accounts
  • Google App Script
    • a JavaScript like language that runs on the Google Servers in your account not in the browser window.  
    • This allows you to have a consistent web app presentation no matter what the browser platform
    • access to data through secure database calls with data storage for your application within the Google Cloud or in your data center via secure tunnel's
    • Google App Script is included with your Google for Business account
  • Google Native Client _ NaCl
    • allows you to run native programming language code within a  Google Chrome delivered Web App.
    • port c++ applications to Web Apps
    • Get that desktop application “pop” (speed, responsiveness, user graphics) from a web application  
    • works in a sandboxed environment that protects you from malware
    • included in the Google Chrome Browser
  • Near field communication, or NFC, is a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz and at rates ranging from 106 kbit/s to 848 kbit/s. NFC always involves an initiator and a target; the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries.
    • included in Android devices
  • Google Chrome computers (Chromebooks) as a complete web enabled OS device that works on-line or off-line

    Reference Charts

    HTML5 Readiness Reference Chart
    HTML5’s goal is to keep the Internet in the public domain so that innovation continues and individual companies are not able to lock you away from technologies that improve your web applications.  

    This chart and the link above go into more depth of how today’s web browsers support 28 of the HTML5 capability areas (Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari have the most adoption).

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Not paying what a thing costs

    Don't you love a sale?  I mean really.  Don't you love:
    • A going out of business sale where you have an opportunity to buy something at a fraction of the price that it was being offered for just last week?  It may not be for sale for less than it cost the store but it is for sale at an unbelievably low price.
    • Last year's model of a product that is available for a fraction of what this year's model would cost?  The product may not have this years cool color or this years newly redesigned enhanced and improved feature but, the product still meets your need.  It may not be for sale for less than it cost the store but it is for sale at an unbelievably low price.
    • A bidding site?  Well maybe not the new pay to bid sites where there are enough loosing bidders to pay the site owner the full cost of the product but, instead those ebay type sites where you can find things for a great price.  It may not be for sale for less than it cost the seller but it is for sale at an unbelievably low price.

    In business we all love a sale.  

    Some say that a company provides business value when they sell their service to you cheaper than you can provide the service for yourself.  You have to love that sale, paying less for something then that thing is worth.  It may not be for sale for less than it cost the seller but it is for sale (at an unbelievably low price) for less than you could produce it internally.

    The Cloud provides value by delivering (selling) applications to you cheaper than you are able to deliver them internally.  This is especially true if you are delivering those applications responsibly.  If I were to deliver an application responsibly I would:
    • … protect user data.  I would have back-ups of my user data probably in multiple locations
    • … secure user data.  I would have policies and procedures that defined who could access that data.  I would have facilities that would assist me in implementing physical restrictions to data.  I would obfuscate data when it was at rest providing some level of on disk encryption to further impede access to the data
    • … plan for application availability.  I would have a method to ensure that the application could dynamically move from machine to machine so that no machine outage would interrupt application access.  I would have redundant power and network connections so that no infrastructure outage would interrupt application access.  I would have machines in multiple locations so that no location specific outage would interrupt application access.
    • … plan for application performance.  I would ensure that enhancements made to my application did not add an additional latency delay (didn’t increase the users response time).  I would run on an operating system and on a database that was dynamically reactive to increased user load and made more memory, more data records, and more disk space available to react to those increased user loads.
    • … plan for the best user experience.  I would ensure that my application delivered feature enhancements to my users on a regular basis.  I would perform any maintenance updates without user involvement.  

    With Google you get all of the above components of responsible computing for less than you will be able to provide them internally

    Better Email Uptime via the Cloud than on-premise Email Systems Provide

    Dramatically Lower Email Costs

    Take a look at Google Apps or some of the other Google Cloud Solutions.  Join MMY for one of our Google Seminars, attend a Google Apps Seminar, or visit our web site’s contact page to ask for other follow-up activities, contact MMY Consulting.