Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Kevin Benedict, Carmen Gonzalez, Derek Weeks, Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, IBM Cloud, Weblogic, Recurring Revenue, Artificial Intelligence, Log Management, Server Monitoring

Microservices Expo: Blog Post

Net-Centricity: SOA in Battle

How the Department of Defense's Net-Centricity is fundamentally Service-Oriented, and how to take a page out of their playbook

ZapThink recently conducted our Licensed ZapThink Architect Bootcamp course for a branch of the United States Department of Defense (DoD). As it happens, an increasing proportion of our US-based business is for the DoD, which is perfectly logical, given the strategic nature Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) plays for the DoD. SOA is so strategic, in fact, that SOA underlies how the DoD expects to achieve its mission in the 21st century -- namely, defending US interests by presenting the most powerful military presence on the globe. Furthermore, the story of how SOA became so strategic for the DoD provides insight into the power of SOA for all organizations, both in the public and private sector.

This story begins with the issue of complexity. The DoD, as you might imagine, is an organization of astounding complexity, perhaps the most complex organization in the world, save the US Federal Government itself of which the DoD is indubitably the most complex part. And with complexity comes vulnerability. As the sole remaining global superpower, the US's strength in battle, namely our overwhelming force, presents vulnerabilities to much smaller enemies. Traditional guerrilla tactics give small forces advantages over large ones, after all. Our 21st century adversaries understand full well the ancient principle of using an enemy's strengths against them. The DoD is rightly concerned that its sheer scale and complexity present weaknesses that today's terrorism-centric threats can take advantage of.

From the Network to Service Orientation
Even before 9/11, there was an understanding that the core challenge that this complexity presented was one of information: who has it, how to share it, and how to rely upon it to make decisions -- in military parlance, Command and Control (C2). In response to this need, the DoD instituted a new strategic program, Network Centric Warfare, also known as Net-Centricity. The idea for Network Centric Warfare arose during the late 1990s in response to the rise of the Internet. Its original concepts, therefore, were essentially "Web 1.0" in nature. It didn't take long, however, for DoD architects to realize that the network itself was only a piece of the puzzle, and it soon became clear that the challenges of Net-Centricity were as much organizational as technological. After all, Net-Centricity requires cooperation across the different branches of service -- a tall order for an organization as siloed as the DoD.

In fact, as the DoD and their contractors hammered out the details of Net-Centricity, it became increasingly clear that Net-Centricity required a broad, architectural approach to achieving agile information sharing in the context of a complex, siloed organization. At that point, SOA entered the Net-Centricity picture, providing essential best practices for sharing information resources to support business process needs. In the military context, such business processes are operational processes, where the operation at hand might be fueling airplanes or deploying ground troops or spying on suspected terrorists with a satellite. When battlefield commanders say that they want the warfighting resources at their disposal to be available as needed to achieve their mission objectives, they are essentially requiring a Service-Oriented approach to Net-Centricity.

Information as a Strategic Military Asset
Information has always been a part of warfare, since the stone age or even earlier. Essentially, the element of surprise boils down to one force having information the other does not, regardless of whether you're sneaking up on a foe with a club or leveraging satellite technology to precisely target an attack. The same is true of Net-Centricity. Net-Centricity centers on supporting the military's C2 capabilities by ensuring the right information is in the right place at the right time. These three dimensions all create a path toward SOA:

  • The right information: commanders on the battlefield need all relevant information. It is essential to have access to relevant information from different forces, different locations, and different branches of service. Furthermore, commanders need a way to separate relevant information from the surrounding noise. And finally, they must ensure that the information is reliable.
  • In the right place: today's warfare is an inherently distributed endeavor. Gone are the days where armies fight each other on single fields of battle. Today, commanders might call upon forces from hundreds of miles away, on land, at sea, in the air, or in space. Furthermore, the people who need the information might be anywhere. For example, a navy ship may get the information it needs to target a missile from air support, satellite-based intelligence, and ground capabilities. The commander needs one view while the troops on the battlefield need another.
  • At the right time: information is perishable. The more dynamic the purpose of that information, the more perishable it becomes. Knowing where your enemies are right now is far more valuable then where they were an hour or a day ago.

If you've been following ZapThink for any amount of time, you'll recognize these business drivers as being a recipe for SOA. It's no surprise, therefore that the Global Information Grid (GIG), a central Net-Centric capability, is inherently Service-Oriented. The GIG essentially consists of a set of Services that provide the underpinnings of the right information at the right place at the right time, as the figure below illustrates.

Source: SAIC

The Global Information Grid

There are a few features of the GIG worth noting. First, note how the core notion of a Service pervades the GIG. Every capability, from security to messaging to management, is represented as a Service. Secondly, keep in mind the global nature of the GIG. This is not a solitary data center; the GIG represents global IT capabilities across all branches of service for the entire DoD.

Today, the stakes for Net-Centricity couldn't be higher, because information itself proffers a new set of weapons, and even new battlefields. As a result, Net-Centricity focuses not only on leveraging shared IT capabilities to gain an advantage on both large and small opponents using traditional tactics, it also covers protecting our forces from information-based attacks as well as launching our own. After all, if a small but smart opponent combines traditional guerrilla warfare with the information-centric guerrilla tactics we now call cyberwarfare, our vulnerabilities multiply. If a single opponent with an improvised explosive device can wound us, what about a single opponent with a means to interfere with our communications infrastructure?

The ZapThink Take
There are lessons here for our readers both within the DoD as well as at other organizations, including those within the private sector, where the battles are economic. For DoD readers, it's important to recognize the importance of SOA to Net-Centricity, in particular how the architecture required to succeed with Net-Centricity is the true SOA that ZapThink talks about, where organizational transformation is a greater challenge than the technological issues that organizations face.

For other organizations, the lesson here is how to take a page out of the DoD's playbook. Net-Centricity is by no means the first example of how a DoD project led to broad commercial application; after all, the Internet itself is a case in point. In the DoD we have an organization with both a mind-boggling complexity problem and enormous resources, both financial and human, to assign to the problem. Sharing information across lines of business in a bank or manufacturer or power utility is child's play in comparison to getting the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines to share information effectively.

Furthermore, as ZapThink continues its work within the DoD, we can help act as a conduit for conveying the best practices of Net-Centricity to the private sector, as well as other government organizations. You'll see evidence of Net-Centric lessons learned in both our LZA Bootcamp as well as our new SOA & Cloud Governance course. The more complex your organization, the more a Net-Centric approach to achieving your strategic goals is a useful context for your SOA efforts, and ZapThink can help.

Finally, some organizations may find the concept of Net-Centricity to be a useful synonym for SOA. If you're having trouble explaining the benefits of SOA to a business audience, perhaps a discussion of Net-Centricity will help to shed the light on the approach you're recommending. After all, not only does Net-Centricity focus on effective information sharing in a complex environment, it also distills the urgency and importance of the military context, where the enemy is literally trying to kill us. Competition in the marketplace may not be a literal life-or-death battle, but leveraging best practice approaches to fighting such battles that treat them as though they were truly about survival is an attitude that any seasoned business stakeholder can take to heart.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

@ThingsExpo Stories
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...