Pacing cloud-native transformation, and actually doing the work to increase productivity

I like to tell large organizations that compared to the break-neck pace of “the silicon valley mindset,” they can operate at a leisurely pace. That pace is usually fast for these enterprises, but their problem set and risk profile is a lot different than hats on cats. Abby has a nice, short write-up that hits on this topic among others:

By the end of his first year, Safford and his teams had built prototypes and market tests and finished 16 new software projects.

At Home Depot, they were at about 140 to 150 projects after a year or so. However, it’s common in the first year to do a lot of replatforming of “simple,” mostly cloud-native compatible apps in there. You can do these at a pretty fast clip, with the rule of thumb being 10 apps in 10 weeks. This is in addition to new applications, but explains high numbers like those at Home Depot. I suspect the Allstate numbers are mostly net-new apps, though.

Goals:

Safford’s eventual goal is to shift Allstate software development to 70 percent extreme agile programming and 30 percent traditional scrum and waterfall. Where developers used to spend only 20 percent of their time coding software, today up to 90 percent of their days are spent programming. Each of his CompoZed development labs around the world has the same startup look and feel, including scooters parked in the hallways. This is not your grandfather’s insurance company anymore.

What you hear over and over again from organizations going cloud-native is that developers were spending lots of time in meetings, checking email, and otherwise not coding (and, yes, by “coding” I don’t mean just recklessly LOC‘ing it up without design, and all that). Management had to spend much effort to get them back to coding.

As I fecklessly tell my seven year old when he’s struggling with homework: the only way to finish this quickly is to actually do the work.

(Also: nice write-up from Abby!)

Source: Don’t Forget People and Process in Your Digital Transformation

The platform for keeping promises – a logical architecture for Pivotal Cloud Foundry

Check out my brief (~15 minutes) discussion with Alex Williams at The New Stack about how we’re thinking about the architecture of Pivotal Cloud Foundry. In addition to giving an overview of what Pivotal Cloud Foundry is and the cloud management and PaaS capabilities it has, I go over a way of thinking about the layered architecture (and why you’d care) that Andrew has been talking about recently.

There’s a longer version of this in my recent talk from Gartner ADDI as well.

Link: Ford teams with Pivotal, bets on Cloud Foundry

“As for the Pivotal partnership, Ford will use Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry and big data suit e to build its connected vehicle program. So far, Ford said it has sped up software development times from months to weeks using agile techniques.”

Source: Ford teams with Pivotal, bets on Cloud Foundry

Pivotal Cloud Foundry 1.6, getting beyond the blinking cursor into the application layer

There’s a new release of Pivotal Cloud Foundry out this week. We’ve been seeing great pick-up from customers, and the nature of conversations I’ve been seeing while visiting them has been changing from operations, IaaS-driven topics to discussions about improving application development and delivery. This release also reflects that shift “up the stack.” Here’s my brief take on how things are going for Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

The most typical path to using Pivotal Cloud Foundry

First, this is how I see most customers arriving at Pivotal Cloud Foundry:

Who does Pivotal see as their toughest competition? According to Watters, that distinction belongs to AWS. Cloud customers often believe that AWS itself is enough. [James] Watters says that there wouldn’t even be the concept of cloud-native apps without Amazon, but “people need more than just Amazon to be successful.” Watters believes that some of Pivotal’s best customers are those who first tried to creates platforms themselves, but then asked “what’s the right thing to do for my organization?”

The rest of the piece is a good, brief overview of the new feature in Pivotal Cloud Foundry 1.6.

What I see in this release is a movement “up the stack” to address application architecture and development concerns. You can see this in the incorporation of Spring Cloud (which supports, among many other things, a microservices approach), support for .Net (almost every large organization wants and needs this for the way they develop applications), and the numerous integrations with ALM tools (like Cloudbees, GitLabs, etc.).

For many years – and still! – the focus of “cloud” has been on the infrastructure layer: setting up the “operating system” for the cloud, your big datacenter, and everything that results in that magical blinking cursor:

I think of this as the “blinking cursor” problem. You know that softly pulsing cursor: it’s the result of millions ­—if not billions! — of dollars spent on cloud projects. These “private cloud” projects see companies redoing how their IT department provides infrastructure. They move from physical to virtual management; move from manual ticket processing to self­-service, automated provisioning; and after efforts that must have seemed like building all of the furniture for a new IKEA store with just a pocket knife, they might end up with their own cloud. And then, after all of this, they’ve gotten the blinking cursor up! The servers are ready to use! Now the hard work of designing, developing, deploying, and managing the applications that run the business starts. There is little wonder that 95% of folks in [a poll asking “what went wrong with your private cloud project?”] were not completely satisfied with their private cloud projects.

I still see much of the conversation centering around getting the blinking curser up, and too little on how to create and manage good applications. So, obviously I like our new positioning “up the stack,” not only providing application-centric services, cloud-ified middleware, and the operations capabilities needed keep those application up and running.

In addition to the actual product, you can see this reflected on the team (the evangelist/advocate/community team) I’m on where we’ve added people who focus on explaining how to do better software development, in addition to the more operations-centric people we started with.

Momentum: customer and ecosystem growth and character

Momentum wise, I measure Pivotal Cloud Foundry based on customers and the overall Cloud Foundry ecosystem.

Customer wise, we’ve gone from about $40m in bookings in 2014 to a $100m annual bookings run-rate this year. Those are two, slightly different type numbers, but you can get a feel for the amount of business we’ve been doing, and more important, the high growth and fast traction we’re getting. What I like about out customer base is that they’re everyday, big brands and companies. This not only means I can better explain what I do to my non-tech friends and relatives, but also means we have a sustainable customer base: these Global 2,000 customers aren’t going away anytime soon, esp. if they keep up the strategy that brought them to Pivotal Cloud Foundry: transforming to a software defined business.

There’s a Cloud Foundry Summit this week in Berlin and it evidenced the ecosystem momentum around Cloud Foundry, the open source project that Pivotal Cloud Foundry is based on. There’s now just north of 50 members. When you look at those logos notice how many non-tech companies are on there: it’s still mostly tech companies who want to use or extend Cloud Foundry, but there’s a delightful number of non-tech companies who want to support the platform that’s supporting their business. And, of course, the work with Microsoft to support .Net brings that whole ecosystem very close as well. As I mentioned above, many of the every organization I talk with really wants .Net support. Another interesting thing to watch is growth in use of Azure; that’s an option that I hear companies exploring a lot now-a-days, and, indeed, as Microsoft said in the press around this release, “[t]he demand for Azure was so high that we already have Fortune 100 customers building their next-generation applications with Pivotal Cloud Foundry on Azure.”

Obviously, working at Pivotal I’m highly biased on all this. Still, I think there’s good evidence that things are panning out. My main hope, as always, is that we can help improve the state of software, globally, and, thus, improve how organizations are operating.

More on Pivotal Cloud Foundry 1.6:

Cloud Native Journey Series

I’ve been working on a series of blog posts on “the cloud native journey.” I put that in quotes because it’s admittedly a cheesy marketing phrase. The point of it is: if you’re looking to start using all these new cloud-based ideas for improving how your company does custom software development, what’s that look like. You know, what’s the “journey.”

Cutter Survey

All four parts are now up:

  1. The introduction to the series
  2. The Purity & Tyranny Of A Blank Screen: The Greenfield Journey – see also a recording of my webinar on this section, also the slides.
  3. Dealing With The Stuff That Makes All The Money: The Legacy Journeycheck the recording of the webinar on this section, too. Also, the slides.
  4. The Cloud Native Journey: Enterprise Transformation – check out the recording of the webinar on this part. Also, the slides.

There’s also a PDF of the whole thing if you prefer that format.

Tell me what you think of it!

Axel Springer | Case Study | Pivotal

“Together, the teams were able to reduce deployment times from 14 hours to 14 minutes, facilitated by Pivotal Cloud Foundry’s integration with Jenkins and Gradle build systems. Since this pilot, Pivotal Cloud Foundry has had zero downtime. It is being maintained by just two operators, using their preferred tools: Logstash, DataDog and PagerDuty. Furthermore, it runs in Axel Springer’s chosen datacenter on European soil.”

Axel Springer | Case Study | Pivotal

The Green PaaS: Innovative Data Centers Will Save the World Billions | Pivotal P.O.V.

“They initially planned for a 6 month pilot. With Pivotal’s help, we had Pivotal CF running in a surprisingly short period of time. It was installed within days. This is how modern applications should work! Then, our customer deployed a single customer-facing app to production. Instead of 6 months for the pilot, they decided to move beyond the pilot to a full roll-out after only 3 months. Now, we are in the process of ramping up 5 or 6 more applications.”

The Green PaaS: Innovative Data Centers Will Save the World Billions | Pivotal P.O.V.