I’m just back from my fifth Catalyst conference in San Diego. This was the biggest Catalyst ever, at almost 1800 attendees, proof that Gartner for Technical Professional analysts have something special to offer their architect constituency. I didn’t come away with any vendor swag, but I did distil these three takeaways from all the stage sessions, analyst-user roundtables, client 1:1 meetings, and meal conversations I had during the week.
Business areas are grabbing the sourcing of cloud services from IT. This is a major cause of frustration. I learned from my two “Tales from the trenches: Dealing with cloud service providers” analyst user roundtables that bypassing IT for cloud sourcing (SaaS primarily and IaaS secondly) is a bigger problem than we realized. IT may be last to know about a new SaaS deployment or some VMs and storage, often called in when previously unknown integration requirements surface.
So the point I made above in my “Buy vs. Build becomes Broker” session was spot on – application sourcing is returning to the Wild West – but I was too conservative if anything. The quote above is from an application manager in an electronics manufacturing business. Business-IT liaison or relationship management groups seem to be making this worse, according to attendees from major enterprises. Time for a new organization model to support hybrid IT. My fellow Gartner analysts, particularly Drue Reeves and Anne Thomas Manes very clearly set out their detailed vision of a hybrid IT organization.
Application integration remains the blocking and tackling work for many IT architects. What new (or modified) IT architecture and service provider tasks are architects compelled to do more of in this hybrid IT environment? My diagram below indicates the sourcing aspect of a broker role includes going out finding services, assembling them together, make it seamlessly support the needs of users. Integration, more integration, and even more integration just about sums it up.
Related to integration strategies, the general maturity level around SOA is fascinating. I had more detailed conversations about service catalogues this year than any conference in the last 5 years. This tells me teams are finally building out enough web services to warrant a way to manage them. For example, I had 3 analyst 1:1 consulting sessions with people choosing and implementing ESBs (also of note: 2 out of those 3 were favouring open source ESBs). I believe OSS vendors such as Mule, WSO2, Red Hat, and others have a big opportunity as people adopt ESBs, plus there’s another big opportunity for any vendor with a service registry that works well for both SOAP and RESTful services. Is there a great one out there?
Building internal PaaS is a more pressing activity than I expected. In my session on internal PaaS, entitled “Do You Need an IaaS Cloud for Internal PaaS?”, I asked the audience – a couple of hundred people – who was building internal PaaS. I was surprised to see one third of the audience raised their hands. In 1:1 consulting sessions, I was asked a couple of times for more vendor and product assessments and reference architecture template research on cloud enabled application platforms (CEAPs). Clients are really out there demanding enabling technologies for building internal/private PaaS, so there’s a opportunity for vendors such as Apprenda, Active State, and the other CEAP vendors in my Venn diagram below. (Note the vendors below are a sample of the dozens of players in each segment.)
Those are my three big takeaways – on cloud sourcing, the drum beat of integration, and internal PaaS demand. If you were at the Catalyst conference last week, what were yours? Please share your Catalyst takeaways in the comments form below. And if you weren’t in San Diego last week, your observations on my takeaways are most welcome too.
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