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That Other Single Point of Failure
Unless you’re in publishing or high-tech, it is likely that our entire organization is a single point of failure

When you’re a kid at the beach, you spend a lot of time and effort building a sand castle. It’s cool, a lot of fun, and doomed to destruction. When high tide, or random kids, or hot sun come along, the castle is going to fall apart. It doesn’t matter, kids build them every year by the thousands, probably by the millions across the globe. Each is special and unique, each took time and effort, and each will fall apart.

The thing is, they’re all over the globe, and seasons are different all over the globe, so it is conceivable that there is a sand castle built or being built every minute of every day. Not easily provable, but doesn’t need to be for this discussion. when it is night and middle of winter in the northern reaches of North America, it is summer and daytime in Australia. The opportunity for continuation of sand castles is amazing.

Unless you’re in publishing or high-tech, it is likely that our entire organization is a single point of failure. Distributed applications make sense so that you can minimize risk and maximize uptime, right? The cloud is often  billed as more resistant to downtime precisely because it is distributed.

And your organization? Is it distributed? Really, spread out so that it can’t be impacted by something like Sandy?

There are a good number of organizations that are nearly 100% off-line right now because there is no power in the Northeast. That was not a possibility, it was an inevitability. Power outages happen, and they sometimes happen on a grand scale (remember the cascading midwest/northeast/Canada outage a couple years back – that was not natural disaster, it was design and operator error). And yet, even companies with a presence in the cloud clustered their employees in one geographic area. There is a tendency amongst some to want face-to-face meetings, assuming those are more productive, which leads to desiring everyone be on-site. With increasing globalization, and meetings held around the world - long before I became a remote worker, I held meetings with staff in Africa, Russia, and California, all on the same (very long) day, and all from my home in Green Bay – one would think this tendency would be minimized, but it does not seem to be.

The result is predictable. I once worked as a Strategic Architect for a life insurance company. They had a complete replica of the datacenter in a different geographic region, on the grounds that a disaster so horrible as to take out the datacenter would be exactly the scenario in which that backup would be needed. But guess where the staff was? Yeah,  at the primary. The systems would have been running fine, but the IT knowledge, business knowledge, and claims adjustment would all have been in the middle of a disaster.

Don’t make that mistake. Today, most organizations with multiple datacenters have DR plans that cover shifting all the load away from one of them should there be a problem, but those organizations with a single datacenter don’t have that leisure, and neither of them necessarily have a plan for continuation of actual work. Consider your options, consider how you will get actual business up to speed as quickly as possible. Losing their jobs because the business was not viable for weeks is not a great plan for helping people recover from disaster.

Even with the cloud, there is critical corporate knowledge out there that makes your organization tick. It needs to be geographically distributed. It matter not what systems are in the cloud if all of the personnel to make them work are in the middle of a blackout zone.

In short, think sand castles. If you have multiple datacenters, make certain your IT and business knowledge is split between them well enough to continue operations in a bad scenario. If you don’t have multiple locations, consider remote workers. Some people are just not cut out for telecommuting (I hate that phrase, since telecomm has little to do with the daily work, but it’s what we have), others do fine at it. Find some fine ones that have, or can be trained to have, the knowledge required to keep the organizations’ doors open. It could save the company a lot of money, and people a lot of angst. And your customers will be pleased too.

The key is putting the right people and the right skills out there. Spread them across datacenters or geographies, so you’re distributed as well as your apps. And while you’re at it, broadening the pool of available talent means you can get some hires you might never have gotten if relocation was required.

And all of that is a good thing.

Like sand castles.

Meanwhile, keep America’s northern east coast in your thoughts, that’s a lot of people in a little space without the amenities they’re accustomed to.

Read the original blog entry...

About Don MacVittie
Don MacVittie is currently a Senior Solutions Architect at StackIQ, Inc. He is also working with Mesamundi on D20PRO, and is a member of the Stacki Open Source project. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

Presentation Slides
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Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
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The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
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MOR
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LEFORT
BMC

ANDERSON
BMC

BRODY
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NIELSEN
Redis Labs

SEHGAL
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MANN
Splunk

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Fuze

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Kintone

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Webair

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Juniper

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Pivotal

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HGST

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FRANCISCO
Evolute

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Nexenta

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JFrog

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ProfitBricks

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IBM

HANNON
SoftLayer

GALLO
SoftLayer

SAYEGH
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BIMMU
Clouber

SRINIVAS
IBM

CHAVAN
IBM

HEDGES
Clouddata

AHUJA
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MEINER
Oracle

SWARTZ
Ericsson
Cloud Expo New York All-Star Speakers Included

DE SOUZA
Cisco

POTTER
SafeLogic

ROBINSON
CompTIA

WARUSA
-WITHANA

WSO2 Inc

MEINER
Oracle

CHOU
Microsoft

HARRISON
Tufin

BRUNOZZI
VMware

KIM
MapR

KANE
Dyn

SICULAR
Basho

TURNER
Cloudian

KUMAR
Liaison

ADAMIAK
Liaison

KHAN
Solgenia

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

SUSSMAN
Coalfire

ISAACSON
RMS

LYNN
CodeFutures

HEABERLIN
Windstream

RAMA
MURTHY

Virtusa

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE MENO
CommVault

GRILLI
Adobe

WILLIAMS
Rancher Labs

CRISWELL
Alert Logic

COTY
Alert Logic

JACOBS
SingleHop

MARAVEI
Cisco

JACKSON
Softlayer

SINGH
IBM

HAZARD
Softlayer

GALLO
Softlayer

TAMASKAR
GENBAND

SUBRA
-MANIAN

Emcien

LEVESQUE
Windstream

IVANOV
StorPool

BLOOMBERG
Intellyx

BUDHANI
Soha

HATHAWAY
IBM Watson

TOLL
ProfitBricks

LANDRY
Microsoft

BEARFIELD
Blue Box

HERITAGE
Akana

PILUSO
SIASMSP

HOLT
IBM Cloudant

SHAN
CTS

PICCININNI
EMC

BRON-
GERSMA

Modulus

PAIGE
CenturyLink

SABHIKHI
Cognitive Scale

MILLS
Green House Data

KATZEN
CenturyLink

SLOPER
CenturyLink

SRINIVAS
EMC

TALREJA
Cisco

GORBACHEV
Systems Services Inc.

COLLISON
Apcera

PRABHU
OpenCrowd

LYNN
CodeFutures

SWARTZ
Ericsson

MOSHENKO
CoreOS

BERMINGHAM
SIOS

WILLIS
Stateless Networks

MURPHY
Gridstore

KHABE
Vicom

NIKOLOV
GetClouder

DIETZE
Windstream

DALRYMPLE
EnterpriseDB

MAZZUCCO
TierPoint

RIVERA
WHOA.com

HERITAGE
Akana

SEYMOUR
6fusion

GIANNETTO
Author

CARTER
IBM

ROGERS
Virtustream
Cloud Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers

TESAR
Microsoft

MICKOS
HP

BHARGAVA
Intel

RILEY
Riverbed

DEVINE
IBM

ISAACSON
CodeFutures

LYNN
HP

HINKLE
Citrix

KHAN
Solgenia

SINGH
Bigdata

BEACH
SendGrid

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE SOUZA
Cisco

PATTATHIL
Harbinger

O'BRIEN
Aria Systems

BONIFAZI
Solgenia

BIANCO
Solgenia

PROCTOR
NuoDB

DUGGAL
EnterpriseWeb

TEGETHOFF
Appcore

BRUNOZZI
VMware

HICKENS
Parasoft

KLEBANOV
Cisco

PETERS
Esri

GOLDBERG
Vormetric

CUMBER-
LAND

Dimension

ROSENDAHL
Quantum

LOOMIS
Cloudant

BRUNO
StackIQ

HANNON
SoftLayer

JACKSON
SoftLayer

HOCH
Virtustream

KAPADIA
Seagate

PAQUIN
OnLive

TSAI
Innodisk

BARRALL
Connected Data

SHIAH
AgilePoint

SEGIL
Verizon

PODURI
Citrix

COWIE
Dyn

RITTEN-
HOUSE

Cisco

FALLOWS
Kaazing

THYKATTIL
TimeWarner

LEIDUCK
SAP

LYNN
HP

WAGSTAFF
BSQUARE

POLLACK
AOL

KAMARAJU
Vormetric

BARRY
Catbird

MENDEN-
HALL

SUPERNAP

SHAN
KEANE

PLESE
Verizon

BARNUM
Voxox

TURNER
Cloudian

CALDERON
Advanced Systems

AGARWAL
SOA Software

LEE
Quantum

OBEROI
Concurrent, Inc.

HATEM
Verizon

GALEY
Autodesk

CAUTHRON
NIMBOXX

BARSOUM
IBM

GORDON
1Plug

LEWIS
Verizon

YEO
OrionVM

NAKAGAWA
Transparent Cloud Computing

SHIBATA
Transparent Cloud Computing

NATH
GE

GOKCEN
GE

STOICA
Databricks

TANKEL
Pivotal Software

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Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
General Manager of Window Azure
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


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@CloudExpo Blogs
Information security has become a critical priority for many businesses over the past decade, and for good reason. It seems like a new breach is exposed on nearly a daily basis, impacting another organization and its patrons. However, some companies believe that they're safe because they're either too small or too big to be affected by any of these cyberattacks. The truth is that groups of all sizes from Target to your local dentist are being hacked or having their data compromised, and it's causing a major upheaval in the security community.
Karen Field, Penton Communications' IoT Institute director, in her article "Start Small to Gain Big," postulated an oil drilling platform with 30,000 sensors would generate about 1 Terabyte of data per day. She also stressed that only 1% of that data would likely be used. From a systems engineering point of view this data flow is multiplied by the trillions of other IoT sensors in the cloud, introducing unprecedented data processing and data transport stress. Industries and competing companies within those industries will also be forced to weigh the economic impact of paying for this transport...
xMatters for the Enterprise DevOps toolchain stitches together the disparate operational tools to help orchestrate hand-offs between the tools and team members. Customers like us because we understand the need for DevOps or NoOps automation at enterprise scale and recognize that humans are still involved when something goes wrong.
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals, as experts estimate that “as-a-service” cloud sourcing will increase from today’s 15% to 35% by...
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists discussed the patterns and anti-patterns of DevOps, and what it means to ‘do the right thing’ in a DevOps wa...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, which can process our conversational commands and orchestrate the outcomes we request across our perso...
Security is one of the most controversial topics in the software industry. How do you measure security? Is your favorite software fundamentally insecure? Are Docker containers secure? Dan Walsh, SELinux architect, wrote: "Some people make the mistake of thinking of containers as a better and faster way of running virtual machines. From a security point of view, containers are much weaker." Meanwhile, James Bottomley, Linux Maintainer and former Parallels CTO, wrote: "There's contentions all over the place that containers are not actually as secure as hypervisors. This is not really true. Para...
Too many myths and hypes create the confusion around digital transformation. Digital transformation isn't a technology change matter, it's primarily about transforming business models: infrastructure and operating model. Digital transformation when tackled with proven methodologies and approaches isn't as complex as it seems, they provide the step-by-step guide, the logic, and the tools to make it easy.
One of the greatest challenges facing business and government organizations is how to store and move sensitive data around the world while maintaining security. Storing and securing critical data held within data centers (whether physical or virtual) is top of mind from the boardroom to the remote data center. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker, spending on private cloud IT infrastructure in 2015 will grow by 15.8 percent year over year to $12.1 billion, while spending on public cloud IT infrastructure will increase by 29.6...
IDC estimates that the digital universe is doubling every two years. That means the need for data storage is increasing at the same rate. This exponential demand is no match for traditional vertical-scaling storage architectures. The resulting bottlenecks significantly reduce performance, and trying to store so much data would require prohibitively expensive server scale-out.
Big Data automation can mean writing dozens of scripts to process different input sources and aligning them in order to consolidate all this data and produce the required output. Why exactly do you need Big Data for your enterprise projects? Many industry observers have been noting that although a lot of enterprises like to claim that their big data projects are aimed at "deriving insights" that replace human intuition with data-driven alternatives, in reality though, the objective appears to be automation. They point out that the role of data scientists at a lot of organizations has got litt...
Cloud Expo 2016 New York at the Javits Center New York was characterized by increased attendance and a new focus on operations. These were both encouraging signs for all involved in Cloud Computing and all that it touches. As Conference Chair, I work with the Cloud Expo team to structure three keynotes, numerous general sessions, and more than 150 breakout sessions along 10 tracks. Our job is to balance the state of enterprise IT today with the trends that will be commonplace tomorrow. Mobile Computing, Big Data and Analytics, the Internet of Things, Platforms and Microservices and Containe...
Fog Computing is being touted as the data communication solution our Internet of Things (IoT) devices are asking for by bringing the power of cloud computing closer to the end user. The fact is, the number of connected devices is going to continue to grow exponentionally. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020 IoT will include 26 billion connected things. Consider the impact that amount of data collected and processed will have.
Advances in thin clients, desktop virtualization (VDI), cloud management services, and mobile delivery networks are allowing both increased security and edge applications performance gains. The next BriefingsDirect thought leadership panel discussion focuses on the heightened role of security in the age of global cloud and mobile delivery of apps and data. As enterprises and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) alike weigh the balance of apps and convenience with security -- a new dynamic is emerging. Security concerns increasingly dwarf other architecture considerations. Yet advances ...
IoT networking requirements are vastly different from those supported by today's cloud network. The processing and transport levels are multiple orders of magnitude higher than ever seen before. More importantly though, societal economic and the safety ramifications of making mistakes during this transition are off the scale. This is why system engineering of the cloud computing network is now an immediate global imperative.