Some topics for discussion and to jumpstart your thinking after a long memorial day weekend. (The only thing I am up to exercising is my brain after an overly ambitious tree planting project this weekend...red maples, bradford pears, mountain ash, and a peach tree!)
Can self-awareness be achieved for IT infrastructers? What would enable self-awareness? Neural Networks? Self-adapting Programs? or some other Biological inspired Solution?
As systems become more automated will they become more brittle?
Can we formalize everything into policies?
Some maintain that manual is still better for the most complex tasks? Do you agree?
Thoughts? Topics you have been thinking about?
Industry Solutions and Tivoli
From archive: May 2005 X
Back from a very blistering 105F Vegas to a very cool gray 58F New York with a sore back from riding the back of an MD80 for way too many hours hunched over an X40...the sounds of Thomas Dolby still resonating in my head - especially his sonification of a very active period of solar activity that happened a couple of years ago. Remember the one that even took out communications?
Dolby http://www.thomasdolby.com/index_frameset.html brought a lot of energy to the Rational User Conference demonstrating the powerful potential of software. I wonder if there is a place for self-sonifying technology in the autonomic portfolio? Imagine, for example, applying sonification to raw application traffic data for monitoring and automating responses to the pitch and frequency changes that represent actionable events. You could build a sonic knowledge base for pattern based learning - like adding ears to your router!
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You may know that in Texas they have Texans but in Nevada they have Toxins! Five hot miked singers belting out tight a cappella harmonies with vocal percussion and voice effects processors that blew everyones socks off to kick off the 2005 Rational User Conference. I think in autonomic terminology we would call this self-orchestration.
Mike Devlin, co-founder of Rational, announced his plans to retire but not before leaving us with some final observations. Mike emphasized the ever growing importance of software. It wasnt that long ago that software was nonexistent in appliances, cameras, cars, etc. In just the last few years the lines of code in the average automobile has exceeded one million and in the next few years that number will soar to tens of millions of lines of code governing every conceivable aspect. The automobile industry calls it the new generation of drive by wire cars. Software has provided advanced new features and is helping to make cars safer but on the other hand the fastest growing percentage of warranty costs is now in software maintenance. Clearly, the big challenge to stay competitive will be to build better bridges between development and warranty providers.
Rational is more important than ever in helping developers build better software and in creating better bridges between business, development, and operations and Danny Sabbah, the new Rational GM, wasted no time in jumping into on stage live demos, a cappella, to demonstrate the rapid advancement
of the Rational portfolio with its latest features.
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Many years ago, when I was a systems programmer at Carrier(United Technologies), we developed a beautiful application that could update all the database and networking products and only required one entry to accomodate all the needs of a new user. It had a few flaws - it was highly customized, dependent on non-standard interfaces, and not documented(er- at all) - but it was an awesome tool to bridge development and operations for the brief time we used it (before some of the dependencies changed and the author of the affected code jumped to another company!)
I am on my way to Las Vegas for this year's Rational User Conference where I will do a mini-theater about building better bridges between development and operations by using self-managing autonomic technologies based on strategic and sustainable standards. As I took off from LaGuardia for Las Vegas, I got a glimpse of the Whitestone between the Bronx and Queens. Did you know the Whitestone is the 7th longest main span in the US? (Verrazano-Narrows has the longest at 4,260 feet, not the Golden Gate) The fifth longest in the US has a pretty amazing story - The Tacoma Narrows just south of Seattle. When it first opened on July 1, 1940 it was the third longest suspension span in the world and by most accounts the most beautiful- slender, sleek, structural grace - a truly artistic rendering at a truly high cost. It seems that artistry took precedence over sustainable architecture and design that could withstand the aerodynamics of Puget Sound. No problem with the weight of tons of traffic - it was that pesky wind coming up the sound that could whip it like a rope into a sine wave(hence the name Galloping Gertie) that caused it to plop into the river only 4 months after it opened! The video of its collapse, which I first watched in college physics, is some of the most spectacular footage I have ever seen.
I plan to have some more fun with this video during my gig at Mandalay Bay this week to illustrate how the right architecture, open standards and integrating technologies can build much more effective and sustainable bridges between development and operations. We all know that highly customized, one-off,propriatary approaches, while sometimes beautiful, are almost always a waste of resource and time. The last few weeks have seen some very exciting announcements about how the industry is really collaborating on new autonomic standard designed to address this very problem. There will also be more exciting news this week for the over 2000 people expected to attend the annual Rational User Conference and I am anxious to share it!
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My idea of a good time is visiting famous bridges in the world. If you have ever visited the Tower Bridge you might agree with me. If you haven't I really recommend it for your next trip to London. I toured the Tower Bridge with my daughter, Abbie, who studied it in great detail for one of her univeristy engineering projects. Lately I have been reading about the award winning Oresund Bridge which recently opened linking Denmark and Sweden for the first time in history. I have only seen it from the air on approach into Copenhagen. The high bridge has the longest cable-stayed main span in the world for both road and rail traffic and the 16+ km structure plunges into the sea (a breathtaking view from the air) in the middle of an artificial island to accomodate the shipping channel. The bridge provides an unprecedented surface connection from southern Sweden to the rest of Europe and there was a number of studies done as to what impact this might have on southern Sweden's people and their jobs.
Bridges are a useful analogy for what we are doing in Autonomic Computing. If you consider the unifying standards and integrating technology we are building for the industry it is analogous to the unifying impact bridges can have on different countries and their people. We often talk of the walls between development programmers and system programmers and the need to build better bridges between development and operations. As we bring such standards as CBE and Solution Install to fruition it is becoming more and more apparent how they can play a powerful role in bridging these two worlds. In fact they have played an important role in bridging the industry in the self-healing and self-configuring initiatives of Autonomic Computing.
An important announcement was just released from Oasis entitled, OASIS Forms Committee to Standardize Software Installation Characteristics for Lifecycle Management. IBM along with HP, Sun, Novell,Fujitsu, NEC, CA, and ZeroG are among the companies that will collaborate on Packaging for Distributed Application Environment on a standardized method for expressing software installation characteristics required for lifecycle management in distributed, multi-platform environments.
This work will provide an industry first in bridging the world of development and operations by creating a systematic way to package and declare all dependencies of any given component in any target heterogeneous environment. It will result in better time to value and ROI as well as lower support costs. Bridging these two worlds will also create new roles. For example: the solution developer whose job it will be to capture and codify all dependencies for all the target environments the code will manifest itself in... And that is just a first peek at what new views and capabilities will be possible from this unprecedented span![Read More]
A roomful of relatives can mean something different depending on who you talk to. Personally, there are times that I am grateful for relatives, but right now a room with an oceanview without the relatives in it - that would work well for me.
Customer IT infrastructures without Autonomic Computing? "Its like a roomful of relatives all talking about the same set of problems at the same time, but in different languages with no one listening, and no structure for finding solutions to their common afflictions.", according to a recently published Red Herring article entitled, Anticipating Autonomics
Combining IBM's autonomic self-managing technologies with business partner Singlestep's Unity product was, in the author's words 'like getting all the chattering neurotic relatives to take turns talking to a group therapist in a common language.'
There is a growing momentum within a number of hot startups like Singlestep to deliver value with Autonomic Computing. Venture capital investors see opportunity in these companies with autonomic computing as a theme according to Red Herring. Another excellent example cited of such a company is Network Physics in Mountain View, California that offers a product that incorporates IBM autonomic technology compatible with autonomic computing architecture.
hmmm - maybe a little more unity and some applied network physics would work with my relatives...[Read More]