August 15, 2016

Tweaking with Application Assessment Tools

By Scott Andersen

Application Assessment

We have all seen the TV commercial where impossible situations are solved quickly by simply pressing a button market “Easy.” For many organizations, the cloud presents a difficult transition. Over the past few years as a consultant helping organizations consider cloud computing, I have developed a number of useful tools to help customers make the leap.

A number of the tools I’ve developed have nothing to do with technology, or they are focused more on the business reality of the organization, not the technical reality. In fact, I have a tools-based process to help customers take a look at their environment and ultimately get to where they want to be. One of the tools I have been working with for the past five years is that of Application Assessment.

Many years ago I developed an application assessment process. That process was designed to map organization requirements to application capabilities in order to produce a view of what an organization really needed to migrate. There is another piece to that process that hasn’t been published until now –the concept of application improvement.

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As you move applications from your on-premise data center to the cloud, the first thing you are told is to prepare or “cloudify” the application, where cloudify represents enabling the components of cloud applications that traditional on-premise applications don’t normally have (unless it is a cloud app running on premise for whatever reason). This tool involves starting with questions for IT and the business about the application.

Spinning of Wheels

The concept and the process are holistic. The goal is to see your application end to end. It is possible, as you consider your application, to consider components. In considering components of your application it is possible that you can speed up any one component. The example would be a motorcycle. Whereas an improvement, you can speed up the front wheel of the motorcycle. This would allow the front wheel to spin faster than the rear wheel. However, the result would be that either the governor for the rear wheel would overheat and seize, or the governor would burn out and you wouldn’t be able to apply brakes to the rear wheel. In either case, you wouldn’t speed up the motorcycle and the process improvement would lead to additional repairs.

Speed up both wheels by reducing friction when the brakes aren’t applied and you will speed up that motorcycle.  The holistic approach then takes a view of the application and what it touches. This overall process has a number of tools that gather the data you will need for this particular tool. The goal of this tool is to evaluate specific applications and the impact of speeding up all, or part, of that specific application. The intent of this tool is not to gather data, but rather to impact the process of determining whether or not we can speed up a specific application.

1. What are the components of the application overall?

2. What are the components that wait for other components in either assisting or building this applications output?

3. Can we speed up the components that produce wait times in the application overall?

4. If we speed up the components that delay the application now, will the overall application speed up?

The last one is the most important of the four; the first three give us the possible answers and the last one gives us the final answer. Again our goal is not to speed up the front wheel of our application motorcycle but to speed up the entire motorcycle.

Knowing the long-term goals of the organization and the overall capabilities of every application makes the transition easier. Good luck – and remember don’t speed something up because you can. Speed applications up because it makes your entire process faster. Nothing is worse than waiting for data. Data that waits for use is out of date.

By Scott Andersen

Scott Andersen

Scott Andersen is the managing partner and Chief Technology Officer of Creative Technology & Innovation. During his 25+ years in the technology industry Scott has followed many technology trends down the rabbit hole. From early adopter to last person selecting a technology Scott has been on all sides. Today he loves spending time on his boat, with his family and backing many Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects.
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