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Back to Basics - How to Reduce Costs & Improve Time to MarketFirst published in SpiritSoft Digital Newsletter, November 2002
Over recent months we have seen continuous reductions in workforces, with Sun Microsystems making the press most recently. Return on Investment and total cost of deployment become more and more important at times like these. Organizations are focusing on these areas when they are choosing technology. This means that it is time to go back to economic basics! Here is my short guide to economic basics which demonstrates some key cost saving initiatives using Java Message Service (JMS) and JCache related software.
It has not escaped the attention of many that we are in the middle of the most severe technical recession since the early 1990s. Many organizations and individuals are witnessing an actual decline – rather than reduced growth – for the first time. What is the best way to respond to these circumstances? What course of action should be taken? I suggest the following:
- Make more of what you have
- Look for projects that give you a rapid ROI
- Reduce the cost and complexity of new development projects
Make more of what you have
When you cannot afford to extend your infrastructure, but still have to deliver additional services, you have a problem. Your systems are flat out; how can you fit a quart into a pint pot?
One successful approach is to identify redundant workload and then factor it out. Caching is a great way to do this. Repeated data accesses are avoided, and the load on the data server – whether it is an Oracle database, CICS transaction monitor, or a collection of web services – is reduced. Application clients experience reduced latency, and the servers perform with reduced load and higher throughput for necessary work (For example, database updates).
If the workload is reduced enough, you may be able to retire no-longer-needed hardware and software; this can lead to substantial and immediate direct cost savings. Alternatively, you avoid additional costs of scaling up your infrastructure to support new users or new applications.
Reduce the cost and complexity of new development projects
It is estimated that 70% of all development effort is spent on integration. Over the past 10 years the EAI tools market was developed to help reduce the cost of integration activities. However, the first generations of EAI products raise the following significant problems: they are expensive to acquire, complex to use, and demand expensive skills to manage over time.
Two recent developments are instrumental in reducing integration costs.
First, the Java Connector Architecture (JCA) standardizes interfaces between so-called Enterprise Information Systems (For example, packaged applications like SAP and PeopleSoft) and a J2EE application server.
Second, Web services technology extends the benefits of J2EE and JCA beyond a single organization. Different departments or organizations can cooperate without being locked into a particular vendor, or the same technology platform. Using Web services, J2EE applications can interoperate with .NET or legacy mainframes.
Both the JCA and Web Services standards can be combined with asynchronous messaging using JMS (Java Message Service) to offer loosely coupled integration. Breaking applications down into independent components, reduces the cost of development and maintenance, and makes it easier to replace or extend components in the future.
Using all these open standards, eliminates the need for expensive proprietary integration platforms, and reduces the risk of vendor lock-in. JMS, Web Services and the J2EE processing engines (servlet and EJB containers) are very well understood by thousands of developers, so there is no exclusivity premium on hiring, and you can be sure to find the skills when you need them. Better still, these processing engines are truly cost-effective (that is vendor-speak for low cost and high quality).
Look for projects that give you a rapid ROI
We have already discussed the massive infrastructure savings that are derived from careful use of caching technology, and the development and operational savings via the use of appropriate integration technology.
Now let’s look at a third line of attack on infrastructure costs – your message-oriented middleware (MOM).
For many years organizations have been using products like IBM MQSeries, Tibco Rendezvous, and BEA Tuxedo to handle the flow of information between and within applications. These ground breaking products, providing innovative integration solutions, only position the user once again to suffer from vendor lock-in (using proprietary MOM’s) and high ongoing costs of support. Finding qualified specialists to build and run applications based on these products does not get any easier – and you have to pay a premium to keep a center of competence on staff.
Using SpiritWave JMS drivers on top of proprietary middleware allows you to develop new applications based on the JMS API, but still use your existing proprietary middleware. Your cost of ongoing development is reduced without having to risk costly changes to your middleware.
When it is time to migrate away from the legacy infrastructure, your JMS based applications can simply be re-configured to use any JMS provider, such as SpiritWave Message Server. A high performance messaging system using Java technology, SpiritWave runs on any suitable Java platform, including Windows, Unix, Linux and OpenVMS.
SpiritWave’s client interfaces from C, C++, and COM/.NET make it easy to implement alongside your existing core applications – whatever technology they use. By replacing legacy middleware, SpiritWave customers substantially reduce their cost of ownership, and enable their applications to integrate with the latest J2EE and .NET based services.
Ongoing reductions in the workforce with no definitive end in sight, has truly prompted enterprises to re-think their technological strategies. Using my guide for returning to economic basics and applying JMS and JCache related software, enterprises can respond to our current economic reality. The SpiritWave and JCache products successfully demonstrate the associated proven costs savings that are critical to businesses.
With organizations focusing on return on investment and total cost of deployment, SpiritSoft resolves such issues head on. SpiritSoft provides the only complete integration platform that meets today’s challenges of building, deploying, and managing distributed systems. Finally, I hope to have shown you how, even in such difficult times, you can actually save money using our messaging, integration and caching products.
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