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Hybrid Governance Fabric June 4, 2015

Posted by Marty Wolfe in Uncategorized.

The Rapidly Emergent Hybrid Environment

One of the rapidly emerging use cases, especially for those enterprises with fairly complex IT topologies, is using services from various external providers in conjunction with their existing systems.

A good example of this is with the Internet of Things (IOT) where various sensors, devices, mobile apps (systems of engagement) and legacy information sources (systems of record) are combined.  Many of the key characteristics of Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) apply here, but now in a geographically distributed and cross-provider model.

Now What?

So how do you manage all of this?

You can imagine the issues here, and in the increasing complexity of this truly distributed system of “pieces”.

How can we track the movement of data and track down the various issues that arise when these types of heterogeneous systems are used to build applications for the business.  The data is moving back and forth on and off-premise and the number of integrations between systems are abnormally higher than a single system.  The composition of these business applications makes it really much harder and more complex to manage changes, updates to releases, incidents and issues as well as ensuring security and compliance.

So What?  What’s The Point?

There is so much energy and activity on the deployment of Hybrid IT, Hybrid Cloud and the whole move to consuming services in a utility model.  Regardless of how you want to name the approach, the truth about Cloud is there will always be some “systems” which remain on-premise and some that are off-premise.  You could argue that there are some organizations and enterprises which will use only those capabilities which they don’t own.  In this case everything will be consumed as a utility.  However, for every case where you would say “there are no IT systems or data they will have on premise”, I can counter that there is at least one scenario where some piece of enterprise collateral will remain on their premise, at their site and/or in their possession.

So, here’s the point..

All enterprises and organizations, regardless of size, will retain some data or technical component “on their premise” and thus governance is needed to track, check, and maintain this cross-premise deployment of data, business logic, and applications.  They will build more and more of these applications which integrate various components and data sources, both on and off-premise (take a look at this article)

The Important Focus Areas

If you can make these two capabilities work effectively then Hybrid Cloud will work for your enterprise:

  1. “Hybrid” Root Cause Analysis (HRCA)
  2. Data Lineage and Traceability (DLT)

These are really the most important areas to get up and running.  When going down the path of Hybrid Cloud and wanting it to actually work in real-life scenarios it’s as simple as making sure you can do those two things.. and do them well.

Establishing an interconnected set of processes across many different providers and services allows for effective root cause analysis and to know the path of your data are key.

This interconnected set of processes is something I am calling a “governance fabric”.  It is a single approach to managing the movement of data between service providers, different services, data sources, and heterogeneous infrastructures.

Hybrid Root Cause Analysis (HRCA)

One of the most challenging aspects of Hybrid Cloud, where many different components, systems, and data sources are stitched together to form a single business function is to determine how to resolve functional and delivery issues as they arise.  Hopefully good design of each “service” lessens the possibility of functional or operational problems.

The key aspect is to create incident, problem, and change management processes that take into account having a heterogeneous set of functionality, service providers and methods of connectivity (APIs, Middleware, and Network infrastructure).  There are early aspects of this described in early work done in the SOA Governance and Maturity Model (SGMM), but here are the main points:

  • Incident and Problem Management need to take into account not just functional issues but the interconnections between those systems, the various APIs being used, and the movement of data and how it may have changed as it moves between services and service providers.  Handling and identifying an incident that likely spans multiple components in multiple locations is the key here.
  • Change Management is the place where leveraging DevOps and Continuous Integration techniques are really valuable.   It’s vitally important that both building services and the integration of those services is merged into the overall process of operations governance.

Data Lineage and Traceability (DLT)

The most important IT capability is not servers, networks, services or databases, but it’s the data that is most important. This is the most interesting and the most cutting edge aspect of establishing common governance. The ability to know the location, status, and security of data is vital as it moves between services and components especially from on-premise to off-premise locations.  To assure the integrity of the data is key and thus knowing the linage of the data and have the ability to trace and track its movement across systems is key to being able to adequately govern data which is, above and beyond all other things, the most important asset an enterprise or organization owns.

Establishing common governance in a Hybrid Cloud model has turned out to be the most important aspect to going beyond just deploying tools for Hybrid Cloud and consuming Cloud services. Being able to assure the integrity of data as it moves between the components in a Hybrid deployment and integrating with a process to determine the root cause of problems and manage changes is key to successful deployment.


1. Governance for IoT, Hybrid Cloud, and Microservices | Marty Wolfe - January 8, 2016

[…] in June 2015, I described an approach to managing and governing a Hybrid Cloud environment.  It really is the last thing we think about. Just deploy a bunch of applications and data […]

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