Microsoft strategic issues

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Microsoft strategic issues

We are now in the era for cloud — Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc. As an industry, we have been sold on the same messages for years: Why have developers when you can have power-users who can self-service their own maintenance?

Why design your own architectures for scalability, security, etc. Why own your own code, platforms, etc. Why have a simple, monolithic application when you can try dozens of new services optimized to be best of breed?

As we fast forward five to ten years from now, there is a lesson from our experiences maintaining, upgrading and re-platforming applications from years ago. When upgrading this particular application, the custom code we developed upgraded without any problem.

Take the 10 year old code, put it into Visual Studio and build it and it builds. Hosting the code in a basic web container like IIS also works without a problem. We will see the same issue with cloud vendors like Amazon, Google, Salesforce.

Migrating to the cloud is easy. Upgrading to a new cloud, migrating off the cloud or picking a new cloud vendor could be very hard indeed. Lets imagine our organization has a line of business application that processes orders coming from the web site to our CRM system and then into our financial system.

We also want analytics so we also invest in some big data services and business intelligence tools. In the Microsoft world, we might use ASP. Regardless of the platforms you pick, each introduction of a new component creates a dependency on the application that increases your migration risk, the complexity to make changes and locks you into the vendor providing you the service.

Walmart bets on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft in strategic cloud partnership | ZDNet

As the cloud architects advocate for micro-services architectures that split your applications into potentially dozens of services the supply chain of code for your application will become increasing complex. While there are benefits to such architectures, tracking the dependencies and ensuring all these services work together now and into the future will become a significant challenge in the cloud era.

Microsoft strategic issues

Avoiding future nightmares by learning from the past. In reviewing upgrades to legacy applications, we can learn lessons that apply equally well to cloud. Our team does many of these projects where we review, analyze and re-platform applications that were built decades ago.

Here are is what we have found: Vendor lock-in is a huge challenge and creates a massive migration risk. Microsoft, SalesForce, Amazon, etc. These programming languages are super mature and backward compatibility is very high.

Transparency and portability of code and data is an important principle. I can also export it, move it around, take it back on premise, and see it as a set of well understood tables. Can I say the same thing if my data is in SalesForce?

As the number of platform components increase, the challenges with dependency management increase as well.

Microsoft strategic issues

While your architecture could leverage dozens of cloud services to optimize the operation and hosting costs of your application, what is the cost of the increased complexity when you try to upgrade? Understanding the maturity and commitment to maintain backward compatibility and support your customization model is a key requirement.

While there are some performances and scalability advantages to introducing micro-services, leveraging distributed architectures, harnessing specialized cloud services, etc. Most organizations are not Facebook and could build a reasonably focused and robust application using a simple web server and a database only.

While this may sound old-fashioned and harder to maintain than a more sophisticated architecture and operational model, it means upgrading and maintaining the application will be easier. Past technology revolutions show the way forward — those who invested in new fangled technology solutions a decade ago made some bad bets and bought into technologies that over-promised and under-delivered.

Applications that are simple, leverage non-proprietary and mature technologies and that are easy to migrate over time provide longevity.Strategic Drivers Defined.

Microsoft Project Server lets you prioritize projects based on different criteria. You could start out with a simple numbering system to the more advanced and value-added approach which is Strategic Driver-based optimization.

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