Breaking the Karmic Cycle

Paremus News

As you may have guessed from the syndication of Neil Bartlett’s blog; I’m very pleased to announce that Neil has joined Paremus and will be working on a number of interesting OSGi & Service Fabric based projects. Some of this work will appear in our imminent Service Fabric 1.8 release; but more on that in due course. In addition to Service Fabric and Nimble related work; Neil will be spending time advancing the open source BNDTools project and some interesting new capabilities are already in the pipe-line for the next release.

On a different note:  Whether you are a battle-hardened ‘OSGi master’, an enthusiastic ‘OSGi initiate’, or just curious; you’ll be interested in the OSGi Community Event in Darmstadt in September. Paremus will be attending this year: I’ll be presenting on Cloud and OSGi and explaining the importance of modularity and why the current generation of virtual machine based Cloud solutions have got it wrong! Should be fun and controversial – so come and heckle 😉


Breaking the Cycle

Whilst writing this post I came to the realisation that I was re-iterating a message I posted in 2008: see Impaled on the Horns of an OPEX Dilemma.

Perhaps,  if repeated frequently enough, the message concerning the fundamental importance of environmental modularity will seed, grow be heard over the general cacophony relating to the latest technology and software  fads.

With that hope –  once more…

As we  head towards the latest global economic downturn we see the all too predictable response from many organisations whose core business functions are heavily dependent upon technology.

The response goes something like this:

  • We have to deal with spiralling OPEX costs; the dominant component of which is ongoing application maintenance.
  • We have to do something now!
  • If we  reduce number of applications; clearly we reduce our maintenance burden!
  • We can also reduce headcount by pairing down local teams and off-shoring support.

These slash and burn programmes are subsequently implemented with varying degrees of success; BUT IN ALL CASES the remaining application portfolio is: just as difficult to manage; just as difficult to bug fix; just as difficult to functionally enhance; as ever. Perhaps more so as during the cost cutting exercise, with each round of redundancies, critical knowledge concerning the environment flows away from the organisation.

Business Agility and Service Availability Suffer

And then we have the economic upturn!

The business demand new functionality – NOW! The IT department cannot adapt or change the existing business systems: they are too monolithic, too high risk and core expertise has been lost. And so new generation of applications are created to meet the new business requirements. Developer and Operations headcount swell. The business systems are ever more complex, less flexible and OPEX is even higher; yet the business don’t care: they are making profit!

That is until the next down-turn.

Repeat this short term cyclic behaviours for ~15 to 20 years and you’ll end up with a fundamentally broken organisation.

Maintainable Systems are Modular Systems

There is a better way!

  • Acceptance: Realise that agile and cost effect environments take time to create; and will require some fundamental changes.
  • Enlightenment: Ignore industry fads (cloud, virtualisation, programming language of the day); maintainability is only achieved through ensuring modularity and agility at each layer of your environment.
  • If your business systems are Java based – then you are in luck. OSGi technology provides – if not the elusive silver bullet – the next best thing; an industry backed standards framework for modularity from which one can begin to realise these objectives.
  • In addition to these industry standards – you are going to need some help – so call us!
  • You need to start sometime; so may as well be today!

It many be unpalatable – but if organisations had implemented a long term modularisation strategy in 2008; those same organisations would be well placed; realising substantive and sustainable OPEX savings today.

Wonder if I’ll be repeating the same message in 2015?