Linux Containers Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Derek Weeks, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, @DevOpsSummit

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Post

Theresa Lanowitz on Solving Age-Old Problems in the Enterprise

Extreme Automation, Service Virtualization, and More

Lanowitz_picBy Noel Wurst, Managing Editor at Skytap

This article was originally published on the Skytap Blog

Noel: Hello, this is Noel Wurst with Skytap and I am speaking with Theresa Lanowitz today, who is the founder of voke. Theresa is going to be giving a keynote at this year's STAREAST conference on May 8, in Orlando, Florida. The keynote is titled "Extreme Automation: Software Quality for the Next Generation Enterprise." I wanted to speak with her about what exactly extreme automation involves, trying to define the "next generation enterprise," and to find out more about what she does and what voke does. Theresa, how are you today?

Theresa: I'm great, and thanks for inviting me to do this interview.

Noel: You're welcome! So, let's learn a little bit more about what you do with voke and what voke does. I was reading about some of your company's services on your website-particularly those that relate to application development at the enterprise level. I saw where voke helps companies evaluate a variety of application lifecycle solutions. Actually, I'll go ahead and let you talk about that first before I move on.

Theresa: Okay, so I'll just give you a little bit of a background about who we are. We are an independent industry analyst firm and I'm the founder, I founded it 2006. What we do at voke is we really focus on the application lifecycle, the entire application lifecycle, and the transformation of that application lifecycle- including technology such as virtualization, cloud computing, embedded systems, mobile and device software and so on. We provide strategic, independent, impartial advice and market observations through both quantitative and qualitative research. That's just a little bit about who we are and what we do.

Noel: So, when you're working with clients and you're trying to help them make these decisions that involve the entire lifecycle, I'm sure there are numerous questions, obviously, but I was curious- are there any questions that you tend to ask, or you're trying to get the answers to some questions that perhaps clients kind of tend to forget or overlook, or not maybe think about when you're dealing with the entire lifecycle?

Theresa: Yeah, when you're looking at really evaluating application lifecycle solutions one of the things we always want to understand from people that we're working with is, how mature is the organization? Do you have one part of the organization that might be a little bit more mature than the other? Maybe, is your QA organization really, really, mature with their practices and processes and tooling and maybe other parts of the organization may not be as mature.

We really want to understand the maturity of the organization. Then we also want to understand whether or not there is parity between the development, the quality assurance organization, and the operations organization, so those three pillars,those three classic pillars of IT. Do you have parity across those? Are all three, dev, QA and operations, are they really working to support the line of business to deliver high quality valuable business outcomes?

Another really important thing that we see going on right now is we want to find out if there is a change agent at the executive level in the organization. Because one of the things we know now is, there is really great technology in the market to help us overcome some of those traditional age-old computing problems that we've had. Things such as virtualization, things such as virtual lab management capabilities, service virtualization capability that free up a lot of time from people in dev, QA, and operations to do far more strategic things. If there is a change agent in the organization, that change agent is really able to effect change it will really get buy-in from the senior level management to make these changes happen. Finding out whether or not there is a change agent at the executive level is really important.

Then, if there is a change agent, how committed really is that executive team to implementing the change? Are they just saying, "You know, we think this is a good thing to do because it seems to be one of the things that people are talking about." What type of commitment is there? Another thing that's really, really, important is, how valued are requirements within the organization? Are you really willing to take more time to get requirements right to prevent those defects later on? Do you really understand what your cost of quality is? Do you really understand what the cost of building that software is actually going to be? How committed are you to those requirement and to getting it right?

Then I think another important thing that we really look at is what is most important to the organization? Are they more concerned about cost, quality, or schedule? Ideally, you want to be equally concerned about cost, quality, and schedule. But as we see from so many big catastrophic failures that happen in the news these days is that often, people are more concerned about schedule. Faster is better than correct, or faster is better than high quality.

If you're willing to take that risk of having those catastrophic events, what do you do about your cost, what do you do about your quality? If you are willing to take that risk and have those catastrophic events out there, how willing are you to have your brand impacted? Because if you think about it, every company, every government agency is a software company, because you're building software that are going to deliver these business outcomes and software is the differentiator for your business. What we see are these big, big catastrophic failures making headlines and we have to ask ourselves why are these failures making headlines?

One thing is, during the global financial crisis we really saw a lack of investment in IT. IT budget remained flat or they declined. Then we have this idea of faster was greater than being right or having higher quality. Faster is not really equal to better. In many organizations, we see a lot of old technology. Organizations are not up-to-date on the software platform that they're using and a lot of organizations are really not leveraging the power of a lot of these really wonderful modern solutions that are out there.

Noel: That really is a complete transformation as you kind of listed some of those things as far as virtualization and dev/test environments and the cloud, hybrid applications, continuous integration, etc. All of these things are being adopted by companies that are doing it right but they're also things that some are having to embrace all at the same time. It really is a complete transformation from collecting those requirements to delivering better software or faster, it's not just, "oh, we only needed to do one of those things to get it right."

Theresa: Yeah, and it's the reality of understanding cost, quality, schedule, where you're willing to make the sacrifices, and then also looking at the people process and the technology. Do you have the right skillsets in place? Do you have a relationship with professional service providers? Do you have a relationship with the software vendor that you're using? Do you have the right process in place for each project, because process is not a one size fits all? Do you have the right tooling?

In many, many cases like I said, we see organizations using versions of software that are several, several, versions old and really not embracing some of these new technologies that you just discussed. If you don't have the skillsets internally, look to a good professional services organization to help you really bring these new technologies in. Because a lot of the things that you were doing in the past, some of these very manually-related activities, can now be done through the use of these modern tools and have really wonderful return on investment with these tools. Such as lowering the number of defects going into production, testing on more platforms, having environments available anytime people want them for testing. These are all really great things that these newer technologies offer to organizations.

Noel: Let's talk about your keynote for a little bit. Again, the title is, "Extreme Automation: Software Quality for the Next Generation Enterprise." You're employing all of these different technologies and skills and processes to build this next generation enterprise, so I was curious to get your definition as to what makes a piece of enterprise software "next generation?" What it makes it different from a piece of software in the past?

Theresa: Okay, one of the things that we hold core to our beliefs is that virtualization; the technology of virtualization is really the hub of the modern application lifecycle. Using things like virtual lab management or VLM, dev/test clouds, service virtualization, defect virtualization, device virtualization, bringing that virtualization technology to the pre-production environment, because we know how great virtualization worked in the production environment for the data center, for the operations team in terms of saving capital investments on hardware, reducing the footprint in the data center, reducing energy consumption, just making things far more efficient. We do believe that virtualization is really the hub of the modern application lifecycle and bringing it to the preproduction site is something that we've been really bullish on since we founded the company in 2006.

If you look at the next generation enterprise, that next generation enterprise is really about business connectivity. It's about a global marketplace. Your customers are everywhere and you're powered by software but that software has to be ready and available and working anytime, anywhere, any place. If you think about software, software only has to do three things: software has to work, software has to perform, and software has to be secure. When you think of it in terms of, "does my software work, is it fast enough, does it perform well, and is it secure enough," those are three very, very basic fundamental questions, but that has to be right.

It has to have the quality aspect associated with that. That's what you're going to see in the next generation enterprise, the technology is really optimized for the business outcomes to make sure that people are having that software experience that works with them, that is performing enough, and does have a high degree of security.

Noel: To look at the other half of your keynote's title, "extreme automation." I'm always a fan of writing about automation and reading people's opinions on it. It tends to stir up a debate sometimes where you have some people who are talking about automation is the key to this, and the automation is the key to that, or I feel like sometimes they think it's the key to everything, but then you have others who are kind of holding their hands up and saying, "automation isn't going to solve everything." Is that kind of a tough decision sometimes to figure out when automation is absolutely necessary and when it's not?

Theresa: Well, I think if you look at what's going on in the enterprise we know that the enterprise does not embrace automation as much as it could, given the capability of a lot of the new tooling that's out there. If we look at extreme automation, the definition of extreme automation is the concept of solving classic computing problems across the lifecycle with the use of modern tooling technology. You're removing barriers and you're facilitating communication, collaboration and connectivity of the development team, the QA team and the operations team to support the line of business and that insatiable demand for quality software. It's this idea of using modern tooling, removing those barriers, using people, processes, and technology to really deliver on that demand for high quality software and that's how we define extreme automation.

Noel: I was just writing it down as you were saying that it's "solving classic problems with new technology and new tooling. That almost seems like a gentler way of saying "extreme automation." I wonder if maybe it wouldn't scare as many people when they hear "automation!" I love that, because, it's not solving problems people don't know they have, or haven't ever heard of, it's problems that they know they have, and have always had, and new technologies are available to solve those. That's great.

Theresa: Yeah and you're right they are problems that people have known that they have always had, so take for example, a test environment. What do people typically do? People will typically have to wait. We have survey data that says that 96% of people wait to get access to a test environment.

Noel: Wow!

Theresa: To get access to the test environment in a typical organization, without using virtualization, they have to wait for the operations team to provision, so that becomes a bottleneck. Quite honestly, the skills of the operations team should be used far more strategically, and the skills of the QA team waiting to get into that test environment should not be used waiting for an environment to be provisioned.

If you're using something like virtual lab management technology, or dev/test cloud technology, you can spin up those virtual environments for tests that give people an environment as close to production as possible for as long as they want it to test whatever they need to test.

That's really something that's really beneficial because everybody today has to work with a third party supply chain for their software, so you have your entire software supply chain where they're using outsourcers to do a portion of your development or testing, or whether you're taking code drops from a partner that you might be working with, or whether you're working on some type of collaborative project with another business partner. We have this software supply chain that we have to work with, and not waiting for those tactical things to happen really gives you a big, big benefit.

Noel: Absolutely. Well, for my last question, I feel like it's all led up to this, you've got developers and testers able to work alongside each other and not have to wait, and IT not have to spend so much time provisioning and managing: it all leads to collaboration. I wanted to look specifically at the collaboration between developers and testers.

I feel like we're not hearing, and I'm not reading as much about as the incredible differences between those two groups. Obviously there are still differences, but there's just much more talk about them working together and realizing that by collaborating and working together that's what ends up building better software faster. We're not hearing anywhere near as much about the headbutting of these two groups in particular.

Theresa: Yeah, there is absolutely has to be collaboration, communication, and connectivity. I think one of the things you have to look at is, "is there really parity across development, QA, and operations to support that line of business?" With the development team really delivering architectural readiness, the QA team really delivering customer readiness, and the operations team really delivering production readiness. That line of business is really the requirements communicator, the keeper of profit and loss, and everybody in the IT organization, those three pillars of IT, they're working to deliver those valuable business outcomes for that line of business.

Now, having said that, the line of business also has to be involved as well. You can't just run around and code something and say, "Okay here you go line of business, you know, this is what we think you wanted." The line of business also has to be involved as well.

If you think about the idea of parity, so you want to have parity between development, quality assurance, and operation to support that line of business. If there is parity, are the groups really collaborative or are they functionally isolated? You wanted have that collaboration and functionally there is still a need to have specialization of resources but you don't want them to be isolated.

If there is no parity, is one group more dominant than the other? Is the operations team driving everything at the expense of what dev and the QA teams are doing? Collaboration across the groups is really essential and one of the things we've been talking about I think during the course of this discussion is that we have really good technology available to eliminate those age-old issues among the groups. Virtualization, as I said, we believe is the hub of the modern application lifecycle, so what you do with this collaboration using tooling such as virtualization is you don't have to wait for operations to spin up the environments for testing. You have as many test environments for as long as you need.

You eliminate that friction between development and QA, where QA identifies the defect and then says, "Okay, dev team here is the defect" and the dev team comes back and says, "Well, I can't really identify this because it works on my machine." So, we eliminate that phrase, "it works on my machine."

It's really, really wonderful just to take that out of the IT vocabulary. It's a big, big win. One of the people that we've talked to in one of the many market research surveys that was actually done on virtualization, one participant said that virtual lab management brings about peace between developers and testers ...

Peace in the IT world. I looked at that, and I look at just the idea of virtual lab management without bringing any other piece of virtualization into the preproduction environment and say, "if we can really eliminate this friction between the three pillars of IT to really work, to support what that line of business needs we're really in a good position." It's great that there are these collaborative tools out there that allow more collaboration, allow more communication, allow more connectivity. Organizations should not be struggling with that anymore because the tools do exist.

It's been really great and I think that we've seen this really happen in the past couple or three years-we've really seen these tools come to a new level where there is not this reluctance to say, "Well, I'm not really sure if these tool is going to work, this tool might be too difficult." The tools are getting easier and easier to use. The tools are really robust.

Again, if you don't have the skillsets in your organization, go out and reach out to professional services organizations and make sure that you have that relationship with the professional services team. Leverage those relationships with the professional service providers. Leverage the relationships with the vendors.

One of the things that I always like to say to people in working with the software vender is talk to that vendor, have a relationship with the vendor, tell the vendor what you want to see in terms of features and functionality of the tooling. Vendors are very, very open and very receptive to hearing from their customers and from their potential customers, so leverage that relationship.

And then, if you're thinking about bringing in some new technology-select a pilot project. Don't say, "We're going to bring this in and put it right in to the organization and have everybody use it." Select a pilot project, figure out where you can get that really quick good return on investment and be able to go around and do some internal public relations about how it's working, how it's making a difference.

The best thing I can say about technology is to get current and stay current on your existing tools. Also, go out and evaluate and new technologies that you may not have, or get it as a way to complement and supplement what you're already doing. Leverage the whole people, process, and technology portion to deliver high quality software on time and on budget.

Noel: That's great. That really kind of sums everything up. I love the bit about these tools actually bringing peace to these organizations. I feel like sometimes like if your boss comes to you and says you got a new tool that's going to help you work faster or help you work harder it's kind of like, "I didn't know I needed to work faster or harder." But you find out that it's actually going to also bring peace to the environment around you, that's another attractive selling point of this technology.

Theresa: Yeah, it lets you work smarter and it allows you to focus your attention, your activities on far more strategic things rather than sitting around waiting for a lab, manually scheduling a lab, trying to get into that lab, hoping that ... as a test team, hoping that you don't run into any unforeseen problems and the team in front of you didn't run into any unforeseen problems, they were able to get out when they were supposed to get out in the lab and you're able to get on that lab when you were supposed to get at the lab.

But that says "all right, now we're limiting our testing, what if I now have to test on maybe my line of business, you know what we really need to support a new tablet device so now I have to test on multiple platforms." And if you're in a physical lab you may not have time to do everything." So having that environment it's close to production as possible when you need for as long as you need it is ... you know, you're right, it brings ... it's a very peaceful environment running around doing a lot of tactical things.

Noel: That's great. Thank you so much for speaking with me today.

Theresa: Oh you're quite welcome.

Noel: Thank you. Everybody, again, this is Theresa Lanowitz, who is the founder of voke and you can hear Theresa's keynote or visit it in person at STAREAST on May 8 ... it' s Thursday, May 8. The title again is "Extreme Automation: Software Quality for the Next Generation Enterprise. Thanks so much again.

Theresa: Thank you.

More from Theresa at the SDLC Acceleration Summit: A Deep Dive into Delivering Better Software Faster

SDLCAccelerationSummitUnder pressure to deliver more software, more frequently-and with zero defects? Want to explore SDLC acceleration best practices, trends, and insights with your peers and industry experts (industry Theresa Lanowitz)? Join us on May 13 in San Francisco for the SDLC Acceleration Summit.

The SDLC Acceleration Summit is your forum for asking questions and sharing ideas about accelerating development and test cycles to ensure that top-quality applications are delivered on time and on budget. Join us as we delve into topics such as:

  • The Future of the SDLC
  • Integrity within the Software Supply Chain
  • Reassessing the True Cost of Software Quality
  • Gaining a Competitive Advantage via an Advanced Software Delivery Process

More Stories By Cynthia Dunlop

Cynthia Dunlop, Lead Technical Writer at Parasoft, authors technical articles, documentation, white papers, case studies, and other marketing communications—currently specializing in service virtualization, API testing, DevOps, and continuous testing. She has also co-authored and ghostwritten several books on software development and testing for Wiley and Wiley-IEEE Press. Dunlop holds a BA from UCLA and an MA from Washington State University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.