Welcome!

Linux Authors: Trevor Parsons, Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, Peter Silva, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: 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
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have spoken with, or attended presentations from, utilities in the United States, South America, Asia and Europe. This session will provide a look at the CREPE drivers for SmartGrids and the solution spaces used by SmartGrids today and planned for the near future. All organizations can learn from SmartGrid’s use of Predictive Maintenance, Demand Prediction, Cloud, Big Data and Customer-facing Dashboards...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
Noted IoT expert and researcher Joseph di Paolantonio (pictured below) has joined the @ThingsExpo faculty. Joseph, who describes himself as an “Independent Thinker” from DataArchon, will speak on the topic of “Smart Grids & Managing Big Utilities.” Over his career, Joseph di Paolantonio has worked in the energy, renewables, aerospace, telecommunications, and information technology industries. His expertise is in data analysis, system engineering, Bayesian statistics, data warehouses, business intelligence, data mining, predictive methods, and very large databases (VLDB). Prior to DataArchon, he served as a VP and Principal Analyst with Constellation Group. He is a member of the Boulder (Colo.) Brain Trust, an organization with a mission “to benefit the Business Intelligence and data management industry by providing pro bono exchange of information between vendors and independent analysts on new trends and technologies and to provide vendors with constructive feedback on their of...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how these devices generate enough data to learn our behaviors and simplify/improve our lives. What if we could connect everything to everything? I'm not only talking about connecting things to things but also systems, cloud services, and people. Add in a little machine learning and artificial intelligence and now we have something interesting...
Last week, while in San Francisco, I used the Uber app and service four times. All four experiences were great, although one of the drivers stopped for 30 seconds and then left as I was walking up to the car. He must have realized I was a blogger. None the less, the next car was just a minute away and I suffered no pain. In this article, my colleague, Ved Sen, Global Head, Advisory Services Social, Mobile and Sensors at Cognizant shares his experiences and insights.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) irreversibly encoded. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, will look at how this identity problem can be solved and discuss ways to use existing web identities for real-time communication.
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT. Attendees will learn real-world benefits of WebRTC and explore future possibilities, as WebRTC and IoT intersect to improve customer service.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, will share some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, an Open Source Cloud Communications company that helps the shift from legacy IN/SS7 telco networks to IP-based cloud comms. An early investor in multiple start-ups, he still finds time to code for his companies and contribute to open source projects.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to create new business models as significant as those that were inspired by the Internet and the smartphone 20 and 10 years ago. What business, social and practical implications will this phenomenon bring? That's the subject of "Monetizing the Internet of Things: Perspectives from the Front Lines," an e-book released today and available free of charge from Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue management.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Erik Lagerway, Co-founder of Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services to the modern P2P RTC era of OTT cloud assisted services.
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehension and conference efficiency.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, will discuss single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example to explain some of these concepts including when to use different storage models.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: 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 processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace. These technological reforms have not only changed computers and smartphones, but are also changing the data processing model for all information devices. In particular, in the area known as M2M (Machine-To-Machine), there are great expectations that information with a new type of value can be produced using a variety of devices and sensors saving/sharing data via the network and through large-scale cloud-type data processing. This consortium believes that attaching a huge number of devic...
Innodisk is a service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies, with a focus on the enterprise, industrial, aerospace, and defense industries. Innodisk is dedicated to serving their customers and business partners. Quality is vitally important when it comes to industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products. That’s why Innodisk manufactures all of their products in their own purpose-built memory production facility. In fact, they designed and built their production center to maximize manufacturing efficiency and guarantee the highest quality of our products.
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here