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!