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May 31, 2005


In enterprise space we talk a lot about the "system of records".  You cannot complete a brainstorming session without mentioning it in some context.  SAP is a system of records for material master and product BOM, Seibel has customer info, Ariba has supplier inventory and so it goes.

There is a similar honorary  status at the infrastructure level which is usually given to the most popular component. Be it Apache for web server, Tomcat for servlet container etc. They constitute system level services for any enterprise stack.   They are fairly standardized to the extent that they are taken as obvious choice during architectural design.

Some where between system services and business system of records lies another set of service - in some cases I would say cluster of  services. LDAP is the oldest member of this service category.  It acts as a system of records for access and identity  information.  Microsoft Active Directory, Novell, Sun and Netscape LDAP lead the pack in this category.  There are other services in this category which include - single sign-on, federated process orchestration, portal services etc.

If you follow the web services growth then you will realize that the identity management is  key to a successful web services rollout. Identity and access management are closely related - they are like yin and yang. They have to co-exist.  They do this on top of LDAP persistence layer. That alone is a reason to take LDAP as a critical component of SOA-enabled enterprise architecture.

SOA infrastructure build-out is what makes Redhat's decision to acquire Netscape LDAP code (and subsequent decision to open source it)  a  very smart move. By tightly integrating it with Redhat Linux Enterprise server this will provide a very compelling foundation level architecture for open source based SOA.

The fact that Netscape LDAP is of high quality and can claim most intense deployments out there will help position Linux favorably. Watchout Sun.  As in other stories related to Sun, irony is that Sun LDAP server and Netscape Directory server share some common code. Now this same code will be available under CDDL and GPL separately.

Lets see how Redhat $25million gamble changes the enterprise architect's mindset in deciding which stack provides the biggest bang for the buck.

Related Links:

Slashdot discussion

May 31, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2005


Under normal circumstances we don't care about lot of software out there. You come across them in some  discussions and you wonder why people care about it.  And then something happens to your server (yeah that server which runs your CVS repository !) and you wonder to yourself - what I did to deserve this. 

Linux is a stable operating system but its not very clever to sudden power outages ( Thanks to PG&E I get to know something which my Bangalore office guys keep reminding me every other day - back up early and often !)

Thanks to this little utility I managed to recover all the important files.  R-linux is a windows based free  utility to save your heartbeat ! Similar to Knoppix,  it will get your Linux or other Unix file system images recovered.

It saves your life and its free ! Keep it in your tool chest.

May 27, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2005

Young and Hacking

This easy and this scary :

A friend of Krazed masqueraded as a 14-year-old girl online and engaged a Florida police officer in a chat session, the hackers said. The friend sent the officer an attachment, which he said was a slideshow containing naked pictures of the girl he was pretending to be. When the officer clicked on it, a Trojan horse downloaded silently to his computer, which gave Krazed complete access to the computer's files.

Aah those 19 year olds. Things you guys  do for the kicks generate multi-billion dollar security market !

May 25, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2005

ERP meets open source

SAP wants to be everywhere now. Having hit the limits of the enterprise spending on ERP solutions and realized that the LOBs are not putting multi-million dollars on their business suite anymore. They are now going for a strategy which rides on top of the developers.

Pitch goes like this - we are already system of records for most of the data, we already have core APIs to fetch that data, we link those APIs in key business processes and rules - so why not write new apps using our platform ! On the surface this all makes sense, but the big question remains will developers take this bait ! SAP is big but it's not IBM or Microsoft, atleast in the developers world.

Second strategy for Agassi is to see if this can fly on top of the open source wave.  Open source is a twin edge sword.  If more business processes go into the open source fold, you end up seeding the next generation open source business app. Who knows what future holds in terms of architecture and customer fad - so lets work the conservative route and go slow in selling to the slashdot addicts.

This same post mentions  Dave Duffield's new venture - Dave's Next Move.  I am biased towards innovation and optimism so I welcome this move, but I have one question here. This list of challenges were there when Dave was running  Peoplesoft -


Enterprise apps

  • Are too expensive to deploy and maintain.
  • Are complicated and difficult to use.
  • Were built for the back office and largely ignore the informational needs of the line manager.

My crib is that these same managers don't fix the problem when they are captain of the ship. Once booted they suddenly find the vision and next generation blue print ! Could this be true for lot of current CEOs of the public companies. Meaning they are selling inefficient vision to their customers because they are locked up in the cost-containment and this-quarter's-number obsessions ?

I hope Dave really puts open source philosophy behind this revolutionary product he is developing. Only then an enterprise solution can be revolutionary in the current context.

May 24, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

irrational exuberance 2.0

When you see more of  the they-see-something-you-dont-see then that could be a sign of an irrational exuberance 2.0:

A San Diego developer who has built high-rise condominiums in Chicago, San Diego and San Francisco has offered the San Jose Redevelopment Agency $28.6 million for a prime 1.48-acre downtown parcel -- nearly four times what Cupertino's Sobrato Development Cos. offered for the same property and a new high for residential land in the urban core.

Urban West Associates envisions twin 25-story luxury condo towers at the corner of Market and San Carlos streets. But the price of $444 a square foot for land is raising eyebrows among commercial real estate developers.

The land price is premised on condos selling at an average of $640 a square foot, according to RDA executives. Condos in downtown have sold recently for an average of about $320 a square foot, although some individual sales have carried price tags closer to $450 a square foot

May 23, 2005 in Silicon Valley | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

US based VCs in India

This is definitely a new trend (ok not yet a trend !). Bay area VC firm investing in automotive sector in India -

Gurgaon-based publicly listed automobile components firm Rico Auto Industries Ltd. is to raise about $24 million (Rs. 103.2 crore) through a preferential allotment to Morgan Stanley, New Vernon Bharat, and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Looks like non-technology sector is catching interest of VC firms. Same New Vernon Bharat bought 25% of Jagran TV.  Hindi language based media will see more action in near future.

May 23, 2005 in Silicon Valley | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Only 30% !

Bruce Perens in a very thought provoking essay :

Whether or not we will admit it, most of us are very impressed   with Microsoft's wealth and arrogance, and when we think of   producing software, we automatically think of Microsoft and the   way they do it. But it   turns out that the Microsoft model accounts for only a   minority of the software   that is made and used in business today. Around 30% of the   software that is written is sold as software[2]. Most software is not sold at all.   It is developed directly for its customer, by the customer's own   employees or by consultants who bill for the service of software creation rather   than for the end product. It's important to look at why that is   the case, in order to understand the economics of Open   Source.

This is a great way to set the context for all the debates around "open source is a communist agenda which will kill software capitalism" !  Capitalism will be alive and kicking, what needs to change is the business model around software business.

Will be revisiting this essay, digesting complete essay will require spare cycles.

May 23, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2005

Open source news wrapup

Here is a quick list of the open source related news  in last one week:

- Simula Labs launches an Idealab-type portfolio approach to funding open source based services startup.   They got a commitment of 10 to 15million  over the course of 3 years to fund and incubate 6 to 8 startups. That number comes to around $2million per startup. Pretty cheap way to have access to the code copyright.

- Deepak Phatak
of IIT Mumbai proposing a new open source license - Knowledge public license. Funny thing is Cnet went ahead and mixed up outsourcing and India's gazillion engineering grads to psyche everybody about the potential of this license but didn't have enough sense to tell us few things about the license itself ! Now where should I go to read the license ! Lost somewhere between J-Factor and G-factor ?

- Egoclash between Ray Lane and Ellison camp gets serious. Chuck Phillips hints on Oracle's move into the testing certification business in a move to take on Spikesource.  Oracle seems to be all over the place. I would bet this is the time to go after Oracle's database business. If only Sun can show the right  imagination to buy either MySQL or Postgres and put that database into their proposed grid !

May 21, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2005


Do no evil RSS

Why ? Beats me ! 

I went ahead and signed up for the myGoogle and right there I got a quote of the day:

May 20, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 18, 2005

Religions of the IT world

Definition of religion is very relevant for what's going in the world of IT. Here is how Wikipeadia defines religion:

Religion—sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system— is commonly defined as belief concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine, and the moral codes, practices and institutions associated with such belief. In its broadest sense some have defined it as the sum total of answers given to explain humankind's relationship with the universe. In the course of the development of religion, it has taken a huge number of forms in various cultures and individuals. However, religion today is dominated by a number of major world religions.

We have few entrenched religions in IT and few new ones are developing very fast.  Some of them are quite obvious:

IBM  religion
Microsoft religion
Apple ooh-so-cool religion
Unix religion
Open Source religion
Software-is-dead service religion

Most of these have their own Pope, their own belief system and their own codified rules of engagement. If you work for a software company in the marketing organization it will help you to get the basics of the history of religion.  Sects (market segments), sub-sects (vertical market strategy), evangelism (pitch doctor), codification (Gartnerization), sanctity (NIH), technology Pope (our CEO really gets it !)  coronations in one beta release are some of the secret tools you can learn from the world of religion. 

Religion on the other hand follows fashion world as well. It's cyclical and goes through it's popularity curve.  Some of them even die mysteriously.  What we are seeing around open source tells us how suddenly good religions (like Solaris)  run into bad patches.

Combining fashion with spiritual march generates a powerful force. This force is what open source is right now.  Naturally other religions are threatened by this formula. You can get fashion - like OpenSolaris - but it's very hard to get the spirit.  Getting spiritual high requires a good dose of irrationality which is hard to get on CDDL. 

History tells us that weak and vulnerable (this could be either financial or emotional vulnerability) religions get attacked by evangelicals.  It's not an accident that Africa sees so many  Christians and East Asia has so many Buddhists.

IBM and Redhat are as much open source pretenders as they are market share slaves. They see Unix market ready for the Linux conversion,  and not all the reasons for migration are  rational. The fact that this conversion is based on  irrational ground might work to its advantage.  Remember success of any religion needs two things -  fashion ( which also means timing) and spiritual energy.  It's obvious that Sun needs energy now that it has adopted the fashion.

I will continue to chew on this analogy, more to teach myself how world of religion can teach us few tips about software marketing.  Also  I want to add here why every religion needs to have it's own unique database and application server!

Religion  needs RDBMS.  That too free and of enterprise grade!

May 18, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack