Putting it All Togather – The Delivery Platform

February 18, 2008

The Delivery Platform of a Platform as a Service is the stacking of all the technology aspects I have addressed in my posts so far. The following diagram presents it in the context of applications built on top of it :

platform

As you can see the actual implementation by a customer(in blue), be it a web site developer, an ISV of a saas application or an enterprise developer  is limited to creating the Business UI – currently off the platform (His own web site or enterprise environment) thus preserving the ability to work with any presentation framework or platform, The Business logic and The Business Data– on the platform. Every other type of work required is done by working with the platform services. The life cycle can be viewed in the following diagram :

lifecycle

The platform delivers an end to end solution for the Software Development Life Cycle and to the Software Operations Life Cycle while preserving the high abstraction level required by advanced application development and providing a process and role enabled environment.

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Application Architecture

February 12, 2008

The application architecture we see today in many of the web apps is based on a few frameworks(Spring+Hibernate+presentation) and on a set of patterns. This has basically become a best practice in the field. It is the referance architecture of web apps as we know it today. Below you can see a detailed description of such an application :

The diagram presents the layers of the application and the frameworks used to construct it. We can see there are two types of tasks at hand. The first is the wiring and gluing of all the frameworks together into a coherent application. The second (green) is the actual implementation(ie coding) . We are coding only the business domain in which we are doing the project. Practically there are three types of implementation artifacts at hand :

  • Business Screens – driving the user through the business forms.
  • Business Behaviour – the services which implement the business rules.
  • Business Data – The entities which comprise the business model.

When considering an alternative for on-premise environments it is important to review all the benefits a platform as a service offers and to verify they deliver a comparable quality of service in all the IT domains. Specifically for development, we need to understand if the abstractions and agility we can implement using the above architecture is available with such a platform. A rigid, limiting or inexpressive environment is a true barrier to entry.

Below you can see a detailed description of the software architecture a platform should offer as an application architecture template to its customers – developers in order to truly compete with the on premise rich set of features and abstractions :

In fact this architecture includes additional features not available today with spring which extend the issue of development and operations. It also provides a higher view of the application as a part of a larger application portfolio – not just a stand alone app. The presentation layer is not addressed at this diagram.

In my next post I will address the role of an application in the enterprise and how it fits into the “BIG PICTURE”.


Who will use a level 3 platform and why?

February 6, 2008

A level 3 platform – Platform as a Service – is looking to be the possible alternative to the on-premise stack of development and operation tools. but who will use it and why ? lets start with the why:

  • No Data Center operations – in the cloud economy of scale, lower TCO.
  • Unlimited SLA based scalability – Agile and reliable computing resources.
  • End to End In Browser SaaS solution – no configuration, plug and play productivity.
  • Portal based process oriented holistic environment – A higher level of IT productivity.
  • Business Domain development only – smart reuse of technology stack, Shorter TTM.
  • Environment Management and Deployment – Instant deployment to many environments.
  • Full Service Management and Monitoring – Built in to the technology stack.
  • BusinessEvent Bus -Enterprise Nervous System.
  • Overall order of magnitude IT cost & time reduction.
  • We can see that such a platform offers an order of magnitude improvement in the Strategy, Development and Management of IT for ISVs, Enterprises and Web sites. For those looking for shorter TTM and lower TCO this is the most appealing option.

    However there are attributes which we find in today’s on premise technology and architecture which may become a barrier when considering the use of a level 3 platform product. I will address them in my next post.