How to Address the Challenges of a Pervasive Integration Strategy

Earlier this months at the Gartner ITxpo event, Massimo Pezzini presented the challenges that must be addressed by a pervasive enterprise integration strategy. In summary there are four types of hybrid challenges (see Massimo’s diagram below).

Gartner-HiP

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The State of Microservices Survey 2017 – Eight trends you need to know

During the fall of 2017, we conducted a microservices survey with our Red Hat Middleware and Red Hat OpenShift customers. Here are eight interesting trends discerned by the results:

1. Microservices are being used to re-architect existing applications as much as for brand new projects

There seems to be a strong emphasis in the market by technology vendors for positioning microservices as being only for new projects.  However, our survey reveals that organizations are also using microservices to re-architect existing and legacy applications.

Sixty-seven percent of Red Hat Middleware customers and 79 percent of Red Hat OpenShift customers indicated this. This data tells us that microservices offer value to users all along their IT transformation journey — whether they are just looking to update their current application portfolio or are gearing up new initiatives. So, if you are only focused on greenfield projects for microservices, it may be a good idea to also start evaluating your existing applications for a microservice re-architecture analysis. Microservices introduce a set of benefits that our customers have already started seeing, and they are applying these benefits not just to new projects but to existing ones as well.

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Announcing Red Hat Fuse Online Technical Preview

On May 2, 2017, we announced a new open source project called Syndesis.io. Syndesis.io provides a low code environment for agile integration. We also demonstrated key capabilities at the Red Hat Summit 2017 keynote.

Building on our foundational work in Syndesis.io, we have expanded those capabilities into a new product and are happy to announce Red Hat Fuse Online as a technical preview.

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What is agile integration?

If you Google the term “agile integration,” you’ll come up with about 30 million results, but they focus heavily on one area: continuous integration within agile development. That definition of agile integration is based on the build environment.

However, it is possible to have another definition for “agile integration,” one that looks at the platform architecture.

In this definition, “agile” doesn’t relate to the process or the infrastructure, but to the flexibility and adaptability–the agility–of the application architecture. Integration within this context has a more strategic role, as the architectural framework that defines the interoperability of services and with a focus on the application functionality.

Traditional vs. agile as an architectural approach

There are functional similarities between traditional integration and agile integration – like routing, connectivity, and orchestration capabilities. The difference between traditional enterprise application integration and agile integration is not in the tasks performed, but in the strategic perspective of those tasks. Put simply, integration can be viewed as a necessary but often limited part of the infrastructure (traditional) or it could be viewed as the core framework of the application architecture (agile).

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Integrating SOAP based Web Services into Red Hat 3scale API Management

In Red Hat 3scale API Management, we can manage any HTTP(S)-based APIs – including REST and SOAP. With REST, it is particularly straightforward as individual URL paths usually map quite nicely to operations. By operations, we mean fine-grained tasks and services which providers may wish to  a) get visibility into and b) apply control access to.

With SOAP, there is more of a challenge, as it is typical for multiple operations to share the same endpoint. Yet providers may still want to get the same visibility and control they get with SOAP as they get with REST.

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There is no magical OFF switch for legacy apps

I really dislike the term “legacy apps,” especially when it is used by vendors. It feels like they are calling my baby (i.e. my app) with a bad name.  I love the quote by Martin Fowler, “All we are doing is writing tomorrow’s legacy software today.”  I am certainly not advocating to stick to your old applications forever.  All applications and systems have a life-cycle that goes from build to retire. Somewhere in between lies the stage of renewing the capabilities of the system, often named as modernization, enhancement, or rehab. This is the most important phase from the perspective of extending the life of the application and enhancing the long term value harvested from it.

In IT, each generational transition has called for modernizing and redesigning applications, business processes and IT infrastructure to exploit new technologies’ capabilities and efficiencies. App modernization isn’t carried out as a fashion statement or status symbol but for hard business reasons. Regardless of the era, the benefits of a periodic app overhaul include better performance, more features, greater usability, and higher reliability.

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Data and Architecture: Business Capability Future State How-To, Pt. 2

The Future-State Business Capability Model How-To  is a series to help IT and architecture practitioners think about a few key steps to build a future-state business capability model to influence business and technology senior leaders and executive decision makers. Part 1 ran last week and looked at the first two steps to creating a strategy-defined project planning model: understanding the goals of the organization and determining the architectural scope model to use. This post explores the steps to actually defining and implementing your planning model. 

Step 3: Define the plan to develop your future state capability model

    1. Determine if your organization requires a current state capability model. If your organization does not have a current state capability model, this may be an easier exercise to initiate dialogue and understand the concept.
    2. Identify how the corporate goals and strategy are applicable to the future state lifecycle. If required, translate the corporate goal to the applicable lifecycle. For example, a Corporate Revenue Goal can be translated into order transaction volume, number of newly hired associates, number of marketing campaigns or new product launches.
    3. Determine your standard definitions to categorize your capabilities.  For example, Core vs. Differentiate is a foundational interpretation. Determine what capabilities are “core” (something required to keep our business running) vs “differentiating” (something that has a direct impact on our growth).  This is a helpful reference for modeling: CEB’s Business Architecture Handbook.

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Data and Architecture: Business Capability Future State How-To, Pt. 1

Does your organization need to improve strategic investments and prioritize investments? Do you feel confident in the objectivity of your investment and spend decisions? Are you constrained with annual budget allocations and have to make tough decisions year-over-year with running the business work or “keeping the lights on” versus transformational projects?

Establish a process to integrate an environment of many complex organizational capabilities to simplify and inform specific business outcomes through a future-state business capability model.

Portfolio Planning Prioritization 1.0 (in our blog series) features a way to prioritize investments from a “bottoms-up” perspective, as featured in the figure. The prioritization model identifies current or upcoming projects based on strategic drivers (key elements that align to organizational strategy, key portfolio data, and business value/outcomes) and detractors (elements that reduce value based on longer time periods, cost, and organizational readiness). Although this model is a good way to make data-driven prioritization decisions for the portfolio, it does assume that the organization has identified the critical must-have business capabilities needed to advance the business.

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3 ways to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey

In our journey to transform our ways of working, our focus on our customers wishes and our plans to pivot to a digital business there is always a need for process improvement.

While the transformation to a digital business can encompass many aspects that are new to your organization, there are always existing investments in technologies and processes that need to be evaluated.

Some can be modernized and migrated on to the new infrastructure that will support the digital business and others end up remaining in place as legacy systems of record.

One thing is for sure, evaluating existing business processes and looking to improve their effectiveness is going to be a necessary step. With that in mind, here are three ways to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey.

1. Effective BPM theory

The first step in any journey is to plan effectively and gather as much information from the experts as you can. For this step you have many options, but the following example previews the open technology and tooling that will ensure you are ready to tackle process improvements.

2. Inventory existing processes

Identifying the list of existing processes in a business, both automated and non-automated processes will be the next step on the journey.

Businesses have processes in place that might be automated in some form, but showing signs of age or lack of effective execution. Others might have partial automation and exhibit a need for further automation at the time of evaluation. Finally, there can potentially be processes in your business that are crying out for automation and are hindering other processes with their lack of automation.

Collect all this information for evaluation without regard for size, level of automation or making decisions on priority for the next step.

3. Short list processes

Now that you’re able to browse all processes in your organization, identifying the short list where quick wins on process improvements is critical to the project’s success.
Everyone wants to see gains and building momentum with processes that can be improved both quickly and effectively builds confidence. Identify processes that have impact, are visible and can be effectively improved without having major impacts to the existing architecture or business process owner perceptions. This will be different for every organization, but crucial to building success and ensuring a smoother transition on your digital journey.
Armed with these three guidelines you’re ready to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey.

Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes and Spring Boot – details you want to know

Have you read the announcement of the alpha release of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR)? We also posted an introduction to the component in RHOAR earlier. This post dives into more detail on the Spring Boot certification support that is expected to be included with RHOAR.

First things first, Spring Boot remains part of the Spring Framework that is controlled by Pivotal. Red Hat and Pivotal are not announcing any sort of alliance to alter how elements of the Spring Framework, including Spring Boot, are defined or brought to market.

Instead, with RHOAR, Red Hat is working to certify some technologies and support others (when generally available) that Spring Boot will interoperate with. Conceptually, Red Hat wants to welcome Spring users to the Red Hat ecosystem and enhance their ability to deliver effective cloud native applications on the OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) using the Spring Boot java development framework. So let’s dive into the details a bit more.

First, lets look at some of what RHOAR will offer Spring Boot developers. For starters, if you’re new to working with Spring Boot, Red Hat will be offering a browser based utility to get started with multiple cloud-native runtimes, including Spring Boot. The utility known as a launchpad will create a fully-functional starter application for you. You can download the starter application as a zip file, or interact with an OCP instance. When the later is done, code is pushed to a GitHub namespace, sets up a build pipeline for for continuous delivery, and ensures it’s triggered to run on each push to your git repository. Now, the choice of OCP instance is up to you. You could certainly use a centralized public or private OCP deployment. But you could also use a local OCP environment right on your desktop. Pretty cool.

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