Clouds, virtualization and other hip stuff going kaboom

After reading the news the other day, i had an idea to put a blog entry but never got to.

Today I saw a post on bmoc and I began writing a comment on it. Was too long, so i evolved it to a blog post:

The recent mediatized cloud crash of Linkup and also the massive VMWare bug comes to prove that “innovative” IT technologies come with an inherent risk of their own.
Both had somewhat straighforward solutions (some of the many):

1. just have a decent backup solution.

2. don’t use license management in enterprise class software.

But technology cannot solve all on its own. You need other enforcement which works in real life. Like Marko showed with the US Postal Service sample.

It so happens that the company I’m in provides also some sort of “cloud” services. I’m not going to say we’re better than others, but one thing i know we have is insurance and this is included in one to one contracts with all cloud customers (each contract is tailor made, not just an “accept terms and conditions” web check box).

Of course, in case of a disaster no one can provide the lost data (if it’s really lost meaning no backup exists).
Therefore, I think that anyone which does not complete it’s IT infrastructure with additional material procedures likes to live on the edge.
On a last minute info, i have just learned that one of our customers was running its servers on a RAID array which was since several months in “destroy” mode since all spare and redundant hdd’s were dead and no one noticed. Comes to prove the point.
If i were to be sadic, i would say “no problem, more money for us.. we’ll just charge a hefty sum to rebuild its infrastructure”. But the problem is it never should have happened in some persons would have acted more professional and think outside the technology for a minute.

Doesn’t matter too much…

… what ECM system you use. (disclaimer following…)

In the past few days I’ve been involved in making effort estimation for various business solutions on various ECM platforms (EMC, IBM, MS).

Usually each estimation was done on at least 2 different platforms. To my surprise the customization / development effort was almost the same (15-20% difference) for any given platform.
Of course, the finished solution would have looked almost totally different in terms of look and feel or way of performing some actions. But the customer requested functionality would be there in a reasonable way.

Is this good? Is this normal? What next?

Good it is. At least for the customer, since it can fairly budget independently of the chosen ECM given he is willing to adapt to certain ways of doing things.

Normal it is. Each major ECM out there has the same core functionalities as the next one. The older the ECM world gets, the smaller the differences between major players. At least comparing to the usual customer requirements level. Of course, some products are a lot better than other in specific things but i think on the average “ECM” deal the same level of functionality is provided by all.

What makes the difference? A lot, but this really depends on the actual need.

if you’re shopping for a general ECM/Document Management solution, then you can pick either on of the top 10 vendors and you’ll get the same functionality with the same implementation effort. How to choose?
Apply politics. 🙂 That was meant as a joke but it’s actually how it’s done in the majority of deals.

The other reasonable ways to do it is evaluating a lot of criteria (eg. resources to support it locally, implementation partners… etc.). I’ll not go into that, this is a different story.

What next?

For who? For us, the implementation partners. For us, the customers.

Build vertical / specialized solutions. Let the ECM vendor munch its way through improvement of core functionality and focus on leveraging them as part of the real solution to the customer’s need.

End of post.

Yes, i’ve been away for a while. Working sometimes or traveling. Canada was nice, by the way.