Consumerization

Public Cloud Availability

If you are in the Australian IT industry it will not have escaped your notice that AWS has had an outage in a single availability zone in Sydney.  This has created a large amount of coverage online, some outrage, some opinion and a lot of WTF moments.

The volume of coverage goes to show how successful public clouds have become.

I cannot comment on the infrastructure of any public cloud let alone AWS. Before I worked at Microsoft I certainly used AWS and am familiar with it.  But I cannot and would not like to comment on how it is built and managed, the truth is like the majority I do not know and to be honest I don’t care. Amazon is a very large, very successful company and therefore it’s easy to assume they do a lot very right indeed.

I’m sure they have fully redundant systems, like all public clouds, and probably more redundant systems than you or I could shake a stick at.  However nothing is 100% and the availability of any system is the aggregate of the provided uptime of each component.  If that aggregate does not meet your business requirements you need to architect in redundancy to meet the accepted risk level the business is prepared to tolerate.

How many of these environments were too reliant upon a single data centre?  Too many by the looks of things.

When natural disasters hit they do tend to impact a city hard.  Look at Sydney today, Brisbane a few years ago.

Your cloud deployments need to be different.  You must architect for cross region redundancy or make the business aware of the risk.  Let the business requirements drive the strategy, cloud, hybrid or multi vendor.  After all it’s what we are here for to drive successful business outcomes.

Disclaimer:  Please note although I work for Microsoft the information provided here does not represent an official Microsoft position and is provided as is.

The Rise of the Complex Workplace

It’s been twelve months since I managed to find that time for blogging spot in the work life balance venn diagram.  That point has arrived thanks in part to actually thinking about one thing for more that a couple of days, finding the time to do a little reading and spending a lot of time in airports and hotels.   The reading piece is mostly due to the airport and hotels bit of my recent life.   At times that is just the #lifeofanse, if only I hadn’t eaten steak every night!

At this moment I am on my way back from Citrix mForum in Sydney (see bottom of article for the presentation), going via Adelaide, before I finally get home.  At mForum I was given the chance to present on and demonstrate some business use cases for our technology.   The presentation wasn’t long and therefore I’d been asked to focus on just three topics.  But rather than just jumping into the use cases I wanted to set the scene, so spent a little time thinking about what’s driving change, how we are reacting and why change at all.

So Why Change?

As IT professionals I believe we have to change, the ground has shifted, devices like the iPad are only few years old but their impact has been significant.

Consumerisation has leaked into the workplace the same way the ocean washes over a sandcastle at the beach.  It can start as a trickle eating away at the walls of a lovingly created fort; it can be encouraged with a path to follow or arrives in an almighty rush.  The end result is the same, what you had has changed forever.

Gartner in a definition of Consumerisation states “… Consumerization can be embraced and it must be dealt with, but it cannot be stopped.” 

I’ll agree that it cannot be stopped, every workplace has its own examples but dealt with sounds a little too harsh to me and embraced a little too welcoming, maybe excepted?

Why do we have to except this change, the Economist has an interesting article on this topic and states: “The PC may have been personal; a smartphone or tablet, held in your hand rather than perched on your desk, is almost intimate, and you can take it almost anywhere.”

Dealing with intimacy in IT is nothing new.  Just try updating someone’s PC when they have their own desktop background and shortcuts to their favourite sites.  Miss them out of an update and you’ll be in trouble! Or just listen to people in the office talk about their computer “come on you stupid thing”, or “excellent job” you’ll hear.  I’ve even seen people pet them!

So the devices brought into our workplace, this unstoppable wave is more than handholding, pretty packaging or the ability to be mobile.  Although I’m sure all those factors play their part.

Anyone who has a tablet or phone these days has their own set of apps and data with them and for me it is this combination that drives this true demand for constant use and companionship.  It is this demand; device, apps and data, that is causing greatest disruption and therefore this is the true impact of consumerisation.

Each new factor (data, apps and device) is having a compound effect, therefore leading to greater and more unforeseen complexity.   The ocean has washed over the enterprise.

mForum Presentation