Application Architecture is one of these complex topics sustaining long conversations, with as many views as participants (sometimes even more). Service Oriented Architecture, Cloud Computing, Everything As A Service, to cite just these have been the buzzing words this last decade, and by now every CIO has an on-going strategy involving at least one of them.
SAP, just like many other vendors, embraced these paradigms, making its software comply with the customers expectations, and providing solutions that support the concepts of agile provisionning.
Through a comprehensive toolset, including PI – CE – ACC, SAP has provided a solid base to shift from monolithic and siloed applications to open composite apps, based on service components provided using different technologies.
Once we provided enough agility to the application, we were due to align on the infrastructure. Cloud computing allowed to design the next generation architecture. Although, let’s face to face it. Neither SOA nor the principles of cloud computing are new. They have been around since two decades already. But technologies (hardware and software) have matured to the level of providing mainstream solutions that can be leveraged for these purposes.
As such, we have seen several great products shaping including ones such as Business By Design or Amazon’s EC2.
Now, we’re 2010, and we’re just at the starters of a technology downturn. From an usage standpoint, there have been massive changes to the world of business applications. SOA and Cloud Computing have offered a first level of transition supporting these usages:
- Mobile access including the usage of embedded devices in a smartphone (camera, GPS)
- Mobility: applications available anytime and anywhere
- User Experience focus (UI, desktop personalization and virtualization)
- Increasing real time requirements
And we’re still about to see several newly emerging trends.
If you’ve attended TechEd this year, you might have heard of a few of them. Tighter integration between the hardware and the software: HANA appliances provide high performance platforms for analytics. But this is just the beginning, OLTP systems and middleware platforms are on their way. This also means, that we’re moving back from grid architectures back to heavy frames integrating all components (Servers, Storage and Network). Oracle and Terradata are developing similar appliances.
This has a significant impact where your appliance is designed for a specific usage. This, theoretically, goes against the fundamentals of reusability that are pertaining to cloud architectures. But this is not a bad thing.
The future of architecture will be driven by service levels.
Up to now, SLAs have focused on two main drivers:
In the (near) future, SLAs will define class of applications and its underlying infrastructure, allowing different visions for each component of the landscape, allowing a better optimization ofthe resources leveraging appliances, cloud computing and virtualization.