Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Sematext Blog, Pat Romanski, Eric Robertson

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Standardizing and Centralizing Data Assets

Providing IT managers & commissioners visibility into software development activities across the enterprise of state government

I was asked by Mr. Peter Hastings (NH DoIT Commissioner) to document the benefits and activities behind the Standardization and Centralization Initiative (SACI). This initiative concerns the standardization of the software configuration management tool, defect tracking tool and standardizing production compiles across the enterprise of state government. In addition this includes the storage of assets for disaster recovery purposes, securing and controlling state source data assets, intellectual property and mission-critical data assets across the enterprise of state government.

This article will cover how the State of NH is working to save money in efficiencies related to standardizing and centralizing state data assets. Every state wants to save money for its citizens and stakeholders but saving money in state government can be a very challenging task. The fact that every agency in state government is basically its own separate entity makes this even more difficult. Initiatives of this size and scope can be complicated to implement if agencies don't understand the value and don't feel the need to cooperate or collaborate to achieve success and understand that the savings is in their best interest. In today's economy no one wants to spend any money to achieve any savings to begin with because they don't have the money to make any capital investments.

Attempting to standardize any process, tool or initiative across the enterprise of state government is no easy task. The Standardization and Centralization Initiative (SACI) is no exception. This project standardizes the Software Configuration Management (SCM) tool across the entire enterprise of state government, secures, controls and centralizes all state source data assets, intellectual property and mission-critical assets for state government and for disaster recovery purposes, meeting the Federal COOP requirements as set forth by Homeland Security.

To introduce a directive of this magnitude speaks to the courage of Commissioner Peter Hastings for taking on such a challenging initiative across the enterprise of state government. You need a leader who can communicate effectively to the agency heads that there is value in this initiative that will ultimately lead to savings across the enterprise. The State of NH will receive many benefits from this initiative and there have been many hurdles to achieving such a huge undertaking. This initiative reflects the understanding of Commissioner Peter Hastings to address enterprise-wide level inconsistencies that cost the State of NH money and realize a cost savings instead.

This initiative establishes a centralized virtualized repository environment for all state software assets. It standardizes the Software Configuration Management (SCM) tool, Defect Tracking tool and formalizes production compiles across the enterprise. This initiative set in motion by Commissioner Peter Hastings at the State of NH is transforming state government software development activities across the enterprise of state government thereby streamlining processes and saving resources, time and money for the citizens of NH and the stakeholders of state government software development activities. I don't see any initiative like this taking place or being tackled anywhere else in the country on a state level and over the long term this will potentially save the State of NH perhaps millions of dollars.

Business Problem and Solution
Prior to the implementation of the SACI (Standardization and Centralization Initiative), state source data assets were spread across the enterprise of state government anywhere and everywhere. No one really knew where all the assets were truly located. State developers would leave for other opportunities and managers would hire a new developer and not be able to point the developer to the latest greatest application source assets for a specific project. Some developers were storing assets on their local drives, others on shared drives and no one knew where they were placed. Others stored these valuable assets on CDs and DVDs, which could be lost, and local drives, which can crash, and assets would be misplaced and lost. This resulted in a lot of state money being expended to re-create these assets again.

Let's just say a lot of state resources, time and money can be wasted this way: lost code, overwritten code, deleted files, no source code control, restores of assets and many flavors of other types of source code control tools contained within a silo across the enterprise. This can apply really to any organization.

Commissioner Peter Hastings realized quickly once becoming Commissioner that if he standardized and centralized all of the state's assets - whether they be source data assets of application source code, intellectual property related to applications that are supported inside and outside of state government, and secured and controlled state mission-critical assets in a centralized repository - that this would save the state a lot of money.

Commissioner Peter Hastings provided a directive to implement the Standardization and Centralization Initiative (SACI) and save money on activities related to software development and transform state government with more status accounting of software development activities across the enterprise of state government. There is visibility into software development activities that did not exist before this initiative.

The direction was to place all existing physical servers housing software assets and software developers across the enterprise in a virtual environment on one server and on one standard tool across the enterprise to centralize the state source data assets, intellectual property and mission-critical assets.

There is a cost savings to the state with this initiative alone with fewer software configuration management (SCM) servers in technical support and electricity and a myriad of other savings I'll speak to later. This initiative would centralize and standardize the users, licenses, assets and support across the enterprise for software development activities.

Improvement to Government
Intellectual property is a valuable commodity and it needs to be secured and controlled. The Federal government realizes this as well with some of the problems experienced with NSA securing metadata for the gathering program for phone calls, emails, etc. Standardizing tools and centralizing assets to reduce cost and streamline software development activities makes sense on so many levels (reduction in support, fewer physical SCM servers to maintain and support, less electricity, less software to install, fewer operating systems to maintain, fewer servers to back-up, easier to maintain SCM licenses, less of a learning curve for developers from one state agency to another on an SCM tool, more formalized development, more disciplined development, status accounting now available on software development activities, common code library can be shared to reuse code, future upgrades to the clients are easier, standard defect tracking being used which is centralized, etc.). All these savings add up and benefit state government in managing the cost of software development activities.

In addition when all users are in a centralized virtual environment the cloud concept can now be applied from within the standardized Software Configuration Management (SCM) tool to reuse common functionality code across the enterprise. A common code library for common functionalities between agencies across the enterprise can be set up and code that could be shared, reused, understood can all be under the secure umbrella of SCM.

Standardizing the Software Configuration Management tool allows groups to be created that have certain levels of access all the way down to a process or a file. It's easier to allow some teams or many teams to browse this library of shared common code. It also educates other teams on how one team versus another might be developing common functionalities. It can save the state money rather than reinventing the wheel on common functionalities already written by another development team.

This initiative saves the state resources, time and money on development activities:

  1. All state source data assets are centralized - diminishes the overhead of physical support.
  2. All processes are standardized by the use of one product to support multiple platforms. When a tool has a generic repository that houses any type of data asset any development platform can be secured and controlled. In large organization there can be legacy platforms that have to be sustained sometimes for years and a generic repository supports that effort.
  3. Allows movement of a developer from one project to another with more flexibility.
  4. Common functionality libraries can be set up for all development platforms (Visual Studio, PowerBuilder, Java, etc.) so that all developers can have access to reusable code under a SCM secure umbrella.
  5. Provides transparency to all managers with a view into a life cycle as to what developers are working on in any SCM State across the enterprise of State government.

Many large organizations have too many varying methods, tools, and processes and this creates silos of development, which overall is counterproductive to the whole. This makes it harder to not only know what the team(s) are doing or developing in or have access to or to interchange that skill set with another development team.

When all developers are using the same tool they can easily be provided access to another project via the secure cloud of the standardized SCM tool and work any project and have a much smaller learning curve by not leaving the development environment but seeing a new project in their view in the SCM tool.

When all users/developers are on one server that contains all the licenses for the tool and the assets are centralized and the SCM tool is standardized, the state can save money in various ways on activities related to software development and transform state government with more status accounting and visibility into software development not only for state developers but contractors as well.

The following is a list of the benefits of this project to State Government: Standardization and Centralization Imitative (SACI):

Benefits of the Project:

  1. This project will standardize the state's Software Configuration Management (SCM) Tool so that one product is being used by all agencies and this will save the state time, money and resources by having one tool across the enterprise to support.
  2. Provides the state with a smaller learning curve from software development team to software development team across the enterprise and allows software developers to save time by not learning a different tool from agency to agency. This allows for more focus on software development activities for application development.
  3. Allows for cloud software development to occur in a secure umbrella of SCM and allows for reuse of source code to save the State time, money and ultimately resources on software development activities. Prevents re-inventing the wheel on common functionalities.
  4. Allows for software developers to be interchanged between agencies more easily without the need to learn a new SCM tool for software configuration management activities.
  5. Precludes lost source code (source data assets, intellectual property, mission-critical assets) from agency to agency that saves the State time, money and resources over the long term.
  6. This will save the state money on electricity as well because all software developers will be on one virtual server versus three or four physical servers. Power consumption is a big deal with servers. It takes a great deal of energy to keep them cool and running.
  7. This will save the State money in terms of manpower as well with only one virtual server to maintain and back-up and one operating system to maintain and support rather than three or four.
  8. Saves the state money with all state data assets, intellectual property and mission critical assets centrally located rather than spread out all over the place across the enterprise.
  9. This methodology allows for better control of disaster recovery to meet Federal COOP requirements across the enterprise when it concerns State source data assets and intellectual property. These requirements are set up by Homeland Security to maintain business continuity.
  10. This allows state managers more visibility into software development activities and allows for better time management of these resources. It removes the silo effect.
  11. Standardize Defect Tracking for all state agencies so that one tool is used across the enterprise for all reporting against application development. This centralizes reporting.
  12. Standardize production compilations so that compilations and debugging issues are minimized across the enterprise for software development activities.
  13. When contractors use our standardized tool we have greater insight into their software development activities and at least have the assets secured and controlled within state government.
  14. When contractors use our standardized tool and house the State assets within our infrastructure it allows State software developers to shadow contractors and parallel the contractors work so that when the contract is complete State staff can sustain the application. This saves the State money because state staff can do the work cheaper than contractors.
  15. Harvest SCM integrates with all the software development platforms that we use here at the State today even legacy applications. So, one tool rather than a myriad of tools can perform the task of SCM and this saves the State time and money with only one tool to support across the enterprise and it takes only two people to support the entire infrastructure across the enterprise.

The final result is one virtual software development server, which would include intellectual property of various types (application code - VS, PB, Java, docs, etc., or Oracle code, SQL code, Access, etc.) and mission-critical assets.

In Summary
What will have been achieved across the enterprise:

  1. Centralized State Data Assets across the Enterprise of State Government
  2. Centralized Data Asset Repositories
  3. Standardize Software Configuration Management (SCM) Tool
  4. Standardize Application Compilers - OpenMake
  5. Standardize Defect Tracking System
  6. Created Common Code Library for Common Functionalities
  7. Provide Status Accounting and Auditing of SCM projects
  8. Provide IT Managers and Commissioners visibility into Software Development Activities across the Enterprise of State Government

It's difficult to measure these savings in terms of real dollars today (ROI) but the savings can be measured by the streamlining of software development activities across the enterprise. The increased efficiency and quality improvements as well as a reduction of errors and or duplicative efforts are the real payback to this initiative.

My background is that I have been working in Software Configuration Management (SCM) for a few years now and I am presently, the administrator of SCM at the State of NH. SCM is a process-based Software Configuration Management (SCM) tool for managing application source code, intellectual property and mission critical assets. In this capacity I also secure these assets for disaster recovery purposes. I manage 400 plus applications housed in SCM and support 400 users using the product. The development tools we currently use are PowerBuilder PBV8, PBV11 and 12; Visual Studio 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012; Eclipse, Juno, RAD, Mule, Cold Fusion, Java, COBOL and VB.

As the Software Configuration Manager (SCM), I provide the administration of the source code management tool. This includes the entire infrastructure of the environment for development, developing life cycles, providing best practices, procedures, processes, documentation; defect tracking, disaster recovery, maintaining build machines and the training of all the developers on proper source code management using the development tools in our development environment.

More Stories By Al Soucy

Al Soucy is software configuration manager at the State of New Hampshire's Department of Information Technology (DoIT). In that role Al manages software configuration for dozens of PowerBuilder applications as well as applications written in Java, .NET, and COBOL (yes, COBOL). Al plays bass guitar, acoustic guitar, electric rhythm/lead guitar, drums, mandolin, keyboard; he sings lead and back up vocals and he has released 8 CDs.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...