Briefing Notes: CloudFabrix AppDimensions

In this briefing note, we will talk about CloudFabrix AppDimensions Platform. CloudFabrix is a new startup that is launching at the CiscoLive conference going on in Berlin. The founders of CloudFabrix are the same group of people who launched Cloupia and sold it to Cisco in 2012 (Disclaimer: I was an advisor to the executive team of Cloupia at the time).

Market Overview

As organizations steer their way through digital transformation embracing the idea of Modern Enterprise, they are using the Microservices architecture for developing modern cloud native applications. Even though Microservices is still at its infancy in terms of enterprise adoption, companies like Amazon and Netflix has shown shown a path for other organizations to follow. Along with other architecture and infrastructure challenges organizations may face in their push towards Microservices, application governance is a critical need.

Any enterprise embracing Microservices without a proper strategy for governance will increase their risk manyfold, resulting in a lower ROI with enterprise modernization. For small organizations with 50 or less Microservices, governance can be easily managed without any need for specialized tools but large organizations are going to be looking at several hundreds (or even thousands) of Microservices and, possibly, with a good mix of legacy applications. It is important for these organizations to use a standardized platform for application governance that could manage both the breadth and depth of their stack. Governance as a Platform is already a talking point among the CIOs and there are a few vendors who are trying to tackle this space.

Cloudfabrix AppDimensions Overview

CloudFabrix is a new entrant in the Governance as a Platform space and are trying to define a new category called GPaaS (Governance Platform as a Service). CloudFabrix AppDimensions is a platform for enterprise modernization where they define the application in terms of multiple governance related dimensions and then use this categorization to implement organization-wide digital governance (see the image below). This platform bridges the traditional and digital world, giving organizations seamless outcomes and insights driven governance, using Blueprints and through service discovery and data driven intelligence.

In the following section, we will do a SWOT analysis on their platform. This analysis is based on the demo they showed during the briefing session.

Strengths:

  • The platform solves a more critical need for any organization embracing digital transformation by bridging the legacy world with modern cloud native applications
  • Ability to enforce governance across the entire application stack
  • Platform is capable of enabling the “social graph” for Microservices
  • Multi – Cloud support

Weakness:

  • Lack of standardization in the industry around Microservices governance puts burden on the startup but it is also an opportunity to establish themselves in a thought leadership position
  • The imperative is on the company to carve out a new space related to governance

Opportunities:

  • At this point, the space is not crowded with very few players.in the space. Once Microservices adoption in the enterprise increase, there will be a stronger demand for such a platform and there is an exit opportunity as larger vendors try to jump into the space
  • Since they are one of the early movers in the space with other competing startups, they have a good opportunity to grab a significant portion of the market pie

Threats:

  • As it is the case with any startup trying to carve a new space, larger vendors will jump in once they see the opportunity. It is a threat as well as an opportunity for CloudFabrix.

Competitors: Apcera, Weaveworks, Sysdig

Open Source And Governance

Yesterday, Stephen O’ Grady from Redmonk wrote a great post addressing the role of foundations in the post Github world. He was trying to address the potential confusion among the role of open source foundations and version control systems. This reminds me of some of the arguments I heard from developers (and even some vendors) on open source.

I have come across some developers and vendors who think that dropping their source code on Github makes their project open source. In the early days of Web 2.0, we saw vendors opening up their APIs touting support for open APIs only to lock them down with restrictions once they realized that it costs money to open up their APIs or it even affects their own bottom-line. We have seen the drastic impact of unilateral changes made by them to address the issue on their ecosystem. People are slowly understanding that API dynamics involves much more than exposing their API over the internet. It involves cost, legal issues, etc. that comes along with exposing the API for any service. Though late, vendors are much more smarter on their API strategy these days.

It is even more important to consider such aspects when sharing the source code of a project. Before even sharing your code on Github, it is important to make sure copyrights are not violated and there are no legal issues associated with the shared code. After the source code is shared, apart from the license part of the code, it is also important to define the governance related to code. Governance is critical not only in protecting the source code but also in establishing trust with contributing developers and users.

Users?
In the past, with software like desktop operating systems, content management systems, etc., most of the end users of OSS were apathetic to the rights they had and, for most part, they were very happy with the availability of the source code. Some enthusiastic users participated in the mailing lists and forums suggesting features, promoting and helping fellow users. Even some contributing developers were apathetic to lack of any governance because, in the past, not many of the OSS projects ended up making money for the vendors. However, things changed drastically in the last decade.

More and more vendors realized that they can monetize open source and make a living out of it. Many other vendors were forced to embrace open source due to the market forces. More and more open source projects became vendor controlled OSS projects. Developers contributing to open source projects have started worrying about whether their contribution is at the mercy of the whims and fancies of the vendor controlling the project. They are also worried about vendor monetizing their hard work and cutting them off the loop (eg: issues related to MySQL acquisition).

Similarly, a shift happened in the open source user landscape as well. As we move into the services world, the end users of open source software changed from the ordinary Joes and Janes to enterprise IT and service providers. Unlike the apathetic Joes and Janes of the traditional software era, the use of open source software by enterprise IT and SPs are driven by the motivation that the open source nature of the product/project will empower them to participate in the software development process and even help them to nudge the direction of the project in the right direction. More than anything else, enterprise IT and SPs rely on OSS these days due to the “power” they get in the design and development of the software they use.

The changed developer mindset and the newer end user requirements puts project governance at the center of any credible open source project. Everything else comes next to governance. Unfortunately, today’s mindset among some developers and vendors is that source code on Github alone will help them attain the open source nirvana. They are either ignorant about the importance of governance or willfully ignore its importance. It is going to hurt everyone involved in the project in the long term.

In short, if you are a developer wanting to contribute your time and sweat to any open source project or an end user (enterprise IT or SP) wanting to invest your money and time on an open source project, the first question you should ask is “Have you got governance in place?”. If the answer is no, my humble suggestion is “Run Forrest, Run”. Good night and good luck.

Briefing Notes: CloudVelocity

This is a briefing note prepared by Lori Macvittie on CloudVelocity, a company offering hybrid cloud automation software.

Abstract: Cloud Velocity technology is designed to manage automated migration of applications in hybrid cloud environments as well as on- boarding enterprise applications to public cloud computing environments.

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Webinar Series On Federated Clouds And Marketplaces

Rishidot Research and 6fusion (Disclosure: Rishidot Research Client) are hosting a series of webinars talking about federated clouds, usecases, unit of compute, the notion of marketplaces and how they fit in, etc.. The first webinar in this series will be held on June 5th 2013 and the second webinar on June 26th 2013. The topic for the webinars are given below:

  • Federated Clouds, Agile IT and the Unit for Compute: In this webinar, we will discuss the notion of federated clouds, the business and technical benefits of federated clouds and the need to have an unit of compute which enables federated clouds and makes the consumption by enterprise IT friction-less. This webinar, presented by Krishnan Subramanian of Rishidot Research, will be held on June 5th 2013 at 10:00 AM PST / 1:00 PM EST.
  • Cloud Federation and Marketplaces – Smarter IT economics for the services world: In this follow up webinar, we will introduce the idea of marketplaces and talk about how it helps enterprise IT take advantage of better economics offered by such marketplaces and exchanges. This webinar, presented by Krishnan Subramanian along with executives from 6fusion and other industry luminaries, will be held on June 26th, 2013 at 10:00 AM PST / 1:00 PM EST.

You can register for these webinars using the form below and if you have any questions, please contact us.

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