Mode 1 vs Mode 2 – the Infrastructure Wars
“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain
Do phrases such as CI/CD, GitHub, Jenkins, Kubernetes, Cloud Foundry, etc leave you baffled? If someone mentions an agile scrum, do you think of rugby rather than software development? Then do not despair, you are only one of many feeling slightly bemused by what might be termed the infrastructure wars.
I’ve written before about the supposed “paradigm shift” in IT services or what Gartner calls Mode 1 vs Mode 2. As ever with these analyst-led clichés, there’s a tendency to assume that the whole world is busily focused on the new while you’re still plodding away with the old or what’s also known as “doing the day job”. Actually, in this case, the whole DevOps movement could be seen as an attempt to bridge the divide and get both sides working together in a mutually beneficial way. Crazy talk, I know but us “hippies” (or Open Source evangelists as we’re otherwise known) quite like this kind of approach.
In the current form, it’s my belief that that we’re looking at something of a phoney war. Traditional core infrastructure and services still absorbs the vast amount of time, resources and budget for most non-cloud native organisations. Those doing software development are largely using the public cloud or working with consultancies to deliver the applications for them. The need for the flexible infrastructure that underpins this development or the software tooling that automates the delivery are currently not as crucial as understanding how to organise the people and processes to compete in the digital age.
This phoney war, however, can only last so long. In the rush to create new Digital Services, every organisation will have to build a strategy or risk disappearing in a competitive landscape infiltrated by new cloud native organisations who have no legacy core to support or transform. At this point, it’s crucial to realise that your existing infrastructure just isn’t going to cut the mustard and a new approach is needed.
This was the conclusion reached by one of my favourite organisations, SmartOdds. Based in north London, SmartOdds do statistical analysis for professional gamblers and so their offices have multiple screens showing sport from around the world and copies of the Racing Post on the desks. Heaven for a horse racing enthusiast like myself!
In the rapidly moving world of online gambling, success has been achieved through innovative software. SmartOdds needed to continually improve their range of services into new sports and markets and so process data through statistical models to achieve better predictive insights. Using upstream open source code, they started to build out a container management platform to help them to deliver faster before realising that SUSE had already done this work for them (SUSE Containers as a Service Platform, an Enterprise Kubernetes distribution). The result has been to rapidly increase productivity as developers can now get their new releases online much faster.
As a Fintech business, it’s probably easier for SmartOdds to take this approach. With a heavy investment in a traditional core, many organisations are just starting to get to grips with the challenges posed by the Digital age.
As Open Source experts, SUSE can help navigate the minefield of new terminology, what it means and where it’s relevant. And as collaboration and Partnership are at the heart of everything we do, we also build networks of organisations who can help to deliver on the promises and indeed necessities of Digital Transformation.
Want to know more? Why not attend our session on “Demystifying Software Defined Infrastructure” on 1st November in London? For more details, please email Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org