What to look for, what to ask for
OSG’s core business revolves around delivering cutting edge, industrial strength enterprise platforms for our customers. Whether they are built from scratch (a Genesis project) or a significant refresh / rework (a Rescue project), we find that there are some repeating aspects of systems that last.
If your company has infrastructure that may no longer provide the solutions to your problems (or may be breeding its own problems), here are some guidelines to consider when defining a replacement or next generation platform:
Be simple enough on a conceptual level that a moderately skilled developer can successfully create or consume services
Many companies love to reach for high concept software and systems, hoping to prove “we are just as smart at Apple (or insert tech leader name here)”. The truth of the matter is that all but a handful of business operate systems as an adjunct to their core business; it automates work and lowers cost of doing business. This means that either the staff is horribly over-tasked, or under-skilled.
Guide the business to redevelop business logic away from the mainframe / packaged systems
OSG continues to encounter large amounts of core business logic running on CICS systems, or closed vendor solutions. It’s recognized that it’s almost impossible to beat a mainframe for I/O performance and total system throughput, it’s easier to change the software to meet an evolving business climate if it’s been rebuilt in a modern language on a flexible, virtualized platform. Part of achieving this is a clear and understandable path to translate business logic into service components hosted in the new platform rather than continuing to extend the mainframe.
Provide for dependency isolation
Dependencies such as messaging, persistence, core processors (and others) must be isolated behind facades and their specific data formats abstracted away from core logic. Think about the last five years, how many times have you encountered “the” technology that was going to revolutionize everything we do in IT? Clearly this trend will not slow, it is therefore important that a new platform be able to incorporate these fleeting technical targets without disrupting the core work, or the operational business capabilities.
Be modular enough to encompass a heterogeneous operational environment – this includes a mix of internal and external cloud and virtualized host platforms
Some of the fastest rate of change today is around the evolution of cloud-based systems and their application in enterprise IT. For most companies, the strategic direction is likely to be aligned with some manner of cloud-based hosting, any new platform must be able to support a variety of hosting strategies with little or no change to the underlying software.