Architecture Presentations


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Using Cache to improve performance of web scale properties

Recently viewed a Reinvent Session on Cache and its importance on delivering superior quality user experience from response times and page loads.
The layered cake and peeling the onion approach of HTML 5 Browser cache + Edge / CDN Cache + Web Server / front end LB cache + App server / Application cache + DB cache is a powerful combination to produce good and effective end user responses.
Add to that the independent analysis by and provides great insight into your public facing web properties.
In my current project im employing some of the constructs of the caching i could not use in release 1 due to constraints

Google - Cache is King from AWS Re:invent 2013


Identity and Access Management

IAM is a huge topic as most architects know and deal with on a daily basis.
But some interesting trends on the IAM industry.
I classify the work involved in IAM into a few categories

  1. Traditional Provisioning Challenges - User Provisioning / de-provisioning, centralized user stores, Corporate LDAP / Directories.
  2. Enhanced Provisioning challenges - User / Group / Role management, Learning/Skill/Cert/Attestation based role changes, attributes management and utilizing them in corporate and business application
  3. Extend IAM to large end user population, solve the provisioning for scale,volume,high availability etc
  4. Entitlement/Permissions management - Move apps from managing permissions to more centralized permission management model
  5. Declarative access control / resource protection - Reverse proxy model to protect web resources by a centralized policy store
  6. Federation of identities and social integration
  7. Support for standards based identity integration using SAML, OAUTH.
  8. Identity management in Mobile devices - MDM and IAM integration story
As we all know the large players in this space are Oracle, CA, IBM, Microsoft and whole set of boutique niche players such as Okta, Ping, Courion,Sailpoint,Hitachi ID, Symplified and a variety of open source systems like OPENAM and  JOSSO.
Recently amazon introduced the AWS IAM support for SAML to promote federation as well.
For an independent IT organization centeralized IAM and Cross domain SSO is a long vision and to realize it requires strong vision, leadership, product roadmap and an effective combination of best of breed products that stand out in their own realms.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Unconventional approaches to Architecture Views

As architects we have all had a variety of methods, tools, stencils, approaches to represent views as a tool to capture the essence of a system / software / application to capture concerns of various stakeholder's viewpoints.
Nothing new or fancy.. i agree.
This is very true for enterprises and not for startups as you may also know. Startups use technics like Business model generators, Leanstack, LeanCanvas etc to represent the dimensions of the problems they are trying to solve but the view is more geared to a VC who would like to fund the idea.

As i start working on new and unconventional projects - not your typical web apps, high volume webscale properties, content managed apps but more backend business process oriented and more around carrying out the core of a business but from behind the scenes with little to no UI components i started to explore new-traditional ways to represent architecture.

Some interesting observations on this problem are provided below

I also started exploring really breaking ways to represent this.
For example - Use case view/ business process view / Use case surveys we can use standard UML notations, bubbles/ actors, interactions etc but how about taking the UPS whiteboard guy and using the UPS ad whiteboarding technique to represent every use case -

Check this out

Similar to this for every view such as Logical, Context, Data, Deployment, Physical, Security there has to be unique ways to represent rather than the boring usual content that puts the audience to sleep.

I will post as i research and find new stuff

Sada Rajagopalan

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Data Science and of course Scientists

With the outburst of BigData and unstructured data analysis a new stream of Job role/function called data scientists has become a common thing in many organizations.
The phenomenon is no different than when Zachman wrote a white paper about the concept of " Enterprise Architecture " and there are millions of them now in the IT landscape.
What i have found interesting IMO is , the art of data science has been in practice for a very long time. Do we remember or hear or used this company called SAS from a little technology corridor in Raleigh Durham Cary area. They have been doing analysis on large sets of data for a very long time - spatial, geo, environmental, weather, census, retail etc.
But they never called it Big Data nor their analysts Data Scientists.
I see nothing wrong in this Big Data movement, but i take an issue with a few technology companies who are pushing the marketing spin so hard that its beginning to dilute the value.
Take for example EMC, Netapp, Oracle and IBM and also look at Amazon, SAS and say Pentaho. These 2 classes have very different agendas as you can see, both needed perspectives but the value of the offerings drastically different. The first class is about spinning big data and thereby using to sell Compute, Storage and Databases. The second class about providing real analytics solutions to solve business problems.
As we all know the concept of Hadoop/HDFS and the sprit behind the Google white paper and the concept of Big table is all around splitting workloads into smaller manageable chunks and move compute to where storage resides for organizations who cannot afford big giant boxes to begin with.

Now, how does Oracle even position a product such as a giant compute engineered system offering called Big Data Appliance that is not affordable to begin with.

Is it not counter intuitive ?

On the same token companies like Amazon providing offerings such as EMR and SAS and Pentaho providing a Bigdata hadoop offering along with their core product makes a whole lot of sense because they are in the data mining and churning business and now they got hdfs, hbase,map-reduce and a plethora of tools to go on top of it their lives are becoming easier.

Bottom line as an Architect be prepared to differentiate between Spin vs Value , Fluff vs Stuff.

Sada Rajagopalan

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Acronyms commonly used in Big Data World

Acronyms commonly used in Big Data World

3Vs of Big Data
Eventual Consistency
CAP theorem
Pig Hive Crunch Oozie

Good SOA Anti-pattern architecture survey

This is a good and interesting read -

the ones i liked were

Field of Dreams - if you build it they will come
Right Arm architecture
Lipstick on the PIG

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Architecture Recap of the week - Nov 17th 2013

Highlights of the Week
The major highlight of this week was the Amazon Re:Invent 2013 conference . the second of its kind and already growing to 9-10,000 attendees.
I had the opportunity to tune into Andy and Dr Vogel keynotes and they were truly transformational and phenomenal. The emphasis AWS keeps on their customers is truly unique.
Some thing that struck my mind was when Werner said, when a new idea or product concept is formulated the team's first deliverable is the Press release and the FAQ page.
Work the product roadmap backwards from what you are saying to your customers. very different , its not about what you know, its about what the customer wants, pure engineering companies like Sun, Oracle, IBM, HP i guess never got this basic fact.
If you have time please follow the links below -;hd=1;autoplay=1;hd=1;autoplay=1

Of the major product announcements that were released my favs were :

Amazon Kinesis
AWS WorkSpaces - fully managed desktop solution
IAM support for SAML2.0
RDS support for TDE
Cross ZONE load balancing by ELB
RDS support for PostgreSQL

This technology platform and culture that AWS is promoting is for here to stay and is going disrupt the traditional data center business. Its only a matter of time

Want to end with a quote from one of the key note speakers

"Architects must not obsess with what is visible in the rear view mirror but rather look ahead through the windscreen in front of you"
If you think about this, the rear view mirror is so small and the windscreen is multi times bigger for a reason, while we need to check our back and side view mirrors, our goal is driven by our windscreen

Often times as architects we tend to lose the focus on the windscreen and get fixated in what we see in the rear and side view mirrors. It was a key take away for me listening to the key notes
Hope it is for you as well

Sada Rajagopalan

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Convergence of standards in the education technology - Ed Tech industry

Education is a national focus and a complete re-thinking of the assessment landscape of kids abilities is shaping up in the country.
Most of us are familiar with standard SOL testing, mid year assessments from a variety of providers such as Eearson, Iowa state skills test, Stanford achievement test, ACT, PSAT, SAT etc. The challenge in the approach is that they are disjoint and not coordinated to provide a comprehensive picture of the kids continuos skills measurement. To combat this a variety of movements are creating frameworks to have a common method of skills assessment with varying levels as the kids progress from 3 to 12.
Some examples are below

Common Core - standards creation -

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium -

Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers --

Ok, what has these have to do with Architecture. Architecture is prime and central to these efforts.
The only way to make such disparate assessement efforts systems and tests to talk to each other is via interoperability. Standards based integration and interoperability is paramount to acheive such mission.

Ed- Tech industry has been creating such standards, a list of the top standards are as below -

Assessment interoperability framework -

Common Education Data Standards -

School Interperability Framework -

IMS Question & Test Interoperability™ Specification

Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP)™

Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC)

Organizations building systems for creating tests, distributing tests , scoring tests, reporting scores and data regarding tests would have to consider these standards when deriving architectures for their assessment systems.

To be compliant with SBAC or PARCC these standards become critical and would help to gain and win state contracts for assessment work.

More to come .....

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Welcome to All Things Architecture

Welcome to All Things Architecture

This is a blog dedicated to spread and collaborate all architecture practices that practitioners adopt across the information technology industry landscape.
This blog is not restrictive to any one type of Architecture namely - Enterprise, Business, IT, Data, Application, Technology, Network, Infrastructure, Information, UI, UX etc
There is really no bounds to the topics to be discussed and hence the name
" All things Architecture"

- Sada Rajagopalan