December 10 - Day 3: The Many Flavors of PaaS - InformationWeek

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December 10 Day 3: The Many Flavors of PaaS
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Thanks Joe! And thanks for the chat today! Looking forward to tomorrow!

Apprentice

I think the most important thing is that because "PaaS" is so poorly defined, you shouldn't assume anything called "PaaS" will work.  You need to solve the right problem, and you need to find the right way to solve it.  You need to cut past the high-level descriptions of values from vendors, and you need to get to the details of exactly what needs to be done.

Ninja

Thanks David! Joe, you raise some valid points about building credibility with the business. Are there any other tips you can suggest for CIOs looking to engage into a new PaaS initiative?

 

Apprentice

In terms of "small", I think you want your first projects to deliver value within 3 months or less.  I think you need to build up some credibility in order to get the business to give you 6-9-12 months to implement something bigger.  And I think anything that's more than 12 months can be broken into smaller pieces, and so you should do that.  (Actually, that probably applies to 9 months as well).

Ninja

Sorry folks. I have to go run to a meeting. It was nice talking to all of you. thanks for a great presentation, Joe.

Strategist

@David-- I think you have to look at the strategic objectives of the organization, and figure out what first project can give the best ROI toward one of those strategic objectives. So, for example, if one of the strategic objectives is to launch a particular product that's going to generate new revenue, then I think you ask how you can get that product to market faster/better (and maybe cheaper, but that's presumably secondary).  If the main thing that's making the product go slowly is that your developers aren't getting development environments set up quickly, you tackle that.  If the main thing is that developers are having to work to fix other things and their time is getting eaten up, you tackle that.  Etc...

Ninja

Ah but "small" is deceptive. (Once a project manager, always a project manager)

Apprentice

Great, so when you start with the smaller pieces, how do you identify the low hanging fruit? Pain points? ROI? A little of both?

Strategist

@David-- I do think that you want break the process into as small cycles as you can, because it's unlikely that you would ever complete a truly comprehensive project without being able to show consistent ROI along the way.  And so many things will change and need attention along the way that you're never going to catch up if you're developing a comprehensive system alongside.

Ninja

On David's point, what's the risk at investing a lot of time in building a model slowly... only to find out that it doesn't work and you wasted a bunch of time?

Apprentice

And let me see if I can ask my earlier question in a slightly more useful way. Is this the kind of thing youc an do a little at a time and slowly build to a more comprehesive model? Or does doing it a little at a time make it more complex to move to a comprehensive model?

Strategist

@David-- If you have a single application (like Netflix), and a lot of engineering talent, I do think it's possible to be technically pure.  I also think that if you have centralized IT successfully and have a lot of engineering talent, it's also possible to be technically pure (like Google or Amazon).  But for the rest of us, I think it makes more sense to figure out the driving business reason for your adoption of PaaS and seek to impact that in the most direct way possible, and don't worry about purity.

Ninja

True, one department's "low hanging fruit" is another department's "holy grail" and yet another department's "tilting at windmills"

Apprentice

Anyone wanting to post a question for Joe can post it right here. Join in the chat.

Strategist

@jemison288- I get that it isn't worth i tto be technically pure. That makes sense to me. But is it possibly for a PaaS to be technically pure for you? Can you let them do it? Or is it equally impossible and unnecesary for them?

Strategist

So I think it's a good idea for all business operations to take an "agile" approach, where you're trying to tackle the things that have the most value first, and in short cycles, and you just keep taking the low-hanging fruit approach again and again.  The challenge is to make sure (a) that you're using as limited a number of tools and approaches as possible, and (b) you're using technical debt/cruft as a criteria to define low-hanging fruit.

Ninja

@jemison288- Sounds good to me. Basically, I guess you don't want to pop the balloon no matter who is popping it. I guess smart CIo decisions and picking the right PaaS strategy both are necessary.

Strategist

Joe, from a complexity standpoint, I see a lot of businesses offering up these kind of "microservices" via PaaS... simply because they can. And by businesses, I mean, "not IT" is generating those PaaS offerings. Doesn't that actually drive up complexity more than anything?

Apprentice

@David-- I think the reality in IT is that we want everything to be on the same platform using the same tools, but like any infrastructure, you always have heterogeneity, you always have active edge cases, and you always have things that don't fit in.  And you never have the time or resources to rewrite/redo everything, because (honestly) it's not worth it to the business to be technically pure.

Ninja

Here's the link again to the calendar of this week's shows. Youc an use it to get to the archived shows and all the future shows. Thanks. http://www.informationweek.com/lecture-calendar.asp

Strategist

@David-- I think the balloon popping is the equivalent of firing your CTO/CIO because it's just not working.

Ninja

The advatages to some of these narrower concepts seems to be you can do a few at a time. But is there a point when you are doing to many narrower choices, you should have probably tried a comprehensive approach?

Strategist

I love this Heroku reference... rap genius debacle was astounding.

Apprentice

Yeah, narrowing the focus almost seems like giving up.

Strategist

Yes, I make my analogies seasonal. :)

Strategist

Yeah, that's as locked as Scrooge's money box before the ghosts come.

Strategist

I like these sorts of targeted options for lots of things. Feels like a good way to get rid of some of your major pain points but keep some control

Strategist

So to do this, you are getting in the script writing business.

Strategist

Wow, those are a lot of scary limitations.

Strategist

"Even mediocre PaaS is better than the best devops"... CIOs around the country are groaning right now

Apprentice

Can't avoid asking the question-- what happens if the balloon pops? Is that like if your PaaS provider goes under?

Strategist

I like the discussion of maintaining core competency. Many experts talk so much about shedding work without realizing that if you give up skills you can also give up innovation and expertise.

Strategist

Reminds me of the party game where kids pop balloons by sitting on them

Strategist

@wendy- There's alywas a tad delay. It varies based on various issues. But welcome to the show, and we just started so you aren't too far behind.

Strategist

I think I'm slightly behind on the audio, but really excited for this one! 

Apprentice

@kiacovacci- Thanks for that. Welcome to the chat.

Strategist

Here is the link to all the shows in the series. Hope you can enjoy them all. http://www.informationweek.com/lecture-calendar.asp

Strategist

Hi all -Audio is live! If you don't see the audio bar at the top of the screen, please refresh your browser. It may take a couple tries. When you see the audio bar, if it doesn't start automatically, hit the play button. If you experience audio interruptions and are using IE, try using FF or Chrome as your browser. Many people experience issues with IE. Also, make sure your flash player is updated with the current version. Some companies block live audio streams, so if that is the case for your company, the class will be archived on this page immediately following the class and you can listen then. People don't experience any issues with the audio for the archived version.

Apprentice

Howdy, all. Joe and I are ready to go. Hope you are, too.

 

Strategist

We'd love to have your voice in the discussion here. To take part, just type your comment or question into the "Your Post" box and then click on the "Post" button below the box. Feel free to introduce yourself before the class starts -- I think you'll find that we're a very friendly community here! 

Strategist

Hey, everyone, we're glad you could join us! When the show is scheduled to start, at 2:00 p.m. EST, an audio player should appear above the "Your Post" window. If it doesn't appear, you might need to refresh your browser until it does. If it appears but doesn't start playing, then you may need to click on the "play" button on the far left of the player. 

Strategist


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