This pretty much sums of the transformation problems and internal resistance faced inside of large companies. This case study is with Merrill, an old company renowned for being the intermediary in mergers and acquisitions, in the old world Wall Street way. The company realized that their history and respect would only give them a little window of time before new cloud players would come in and disrupt their business. So management, not necessarily to developers delight (as there was clear resistance as stated below) decided on Pivotal Cloud Foundry instead of open source Cloud Foundry and moving to Azure for many reasons that are quite compelling. The company also considered going Dockers, but for reasons we discussed, chose not to go the higher maintenance, less “just work” method that Dockers requires. It is a long case study, over at least 2 different websites actually, with multiple videos, and there is probably a Forrester report somewhere, but instead of going through all of that, I pulled out the on point topics relative to the points we had discussed and the below summarizes the investment issues:
In addition to fully embracing cloud technology, Merrill adopted an Agile software development methodology and a microservices architecture. It sought a modern, loosely coupled development model to facilitate modular, reusable code creation, and wanted the best cloud platform to accommodate this model.
Merrill chose Pivotal Cloud Foundry, from Pivotal Software, which gives Global 2000 companies the platform they need to continuously deliver scalable software. Developers deploy applications written in any language, and the platform handles infrastructure configuration, scaling, and more.
“We looked at the cloud foundry from the open source community, but soon realized that Pivotal Cloud Foundry mapped best to our requirements,” Fredell says. “We also looked at Docker containers and other PaaS offerings and determined that they would require a lot more integration work. We concluded that Pivotal Cloud Foundry with Spring Boot and Spring Cloud would help us best meet our objectives, largely because Pivotal has already handled the integration issues.” Developers use Spring Boot to build Java-based microservices and Spring Cloud Services to run those microservices at scale.
Merrill, with Pivotal’s help, trained its team in Agile software development methods that are best used by Pivotal Cloud Foundry. At the same time, Merrill, Pivotal, and Microsoft worked together on a four-week proof of concept that involved setting up a Pivotal Cloud Foundry environment in Azure and creating Merrill services within it. “The adjustment to microservices was challenging,” Fredell says. “Pivotal’s help was, well, pivotal. Prying developers away from a three-tier architecture was the biggest challenge. Pivotal’s approach to development agility is great, but we really had to start with a clean slate and eliminate all assumptions that the way we did things in the past was the way to do things going forward.”
Further, key components of Merrill DatasiteOne…MongoDB, which stores transactional and metadata about content; and Elasticsearch.
I put in this last snippet because I have noticed that anywhere Pivotal talks about third party software MongoDB always gets tossed in there.
Note also how Dockers was not chosen, primarily for the reasons we discussed that even the latest containers are more like an IaaS and not a PaaS and this company saw no benefit in bearing excess complexities of infrastructure management. And I am sure there may be advantages for someone, but I am not clear what they are when all you want it to do is just work.
It also seems that modernizing a company’s software entails movement away from legacy databases, and the database of choice to turn to is Mongo.
Thus why I own Mongo as well. It is always mentioned, and is everywhere.
Seems, as DreamerDad specified, the wildcard issue is how fast will new companies jump on board given internal developer resistance.
My reply is that when it comes to large companies like this, who have seen so many disrupted in the past, so that it is no longer a surprise when disruption comes from upstarts, that there is pressure to not fall behind, and when they see their peers moving forward, pressured by firms such as Accenture, Microsoft knocking on the door, Google speaking at conventions, peers talking about how they made miracle transformations, that the herd mentality will turn more into a controlled panic to get on board and not be left behind.
This is the sort of thing where executives and managers can be fired because these are business critical issues. The company cannot fall behind, and the projects can not be like the monolithic software installations of decades ago that always fell behind schedule, way over budget, enormously expensive, and go live days were like the invasion of Normandy.
So far, since 2015 growth has been tremendous starting basically at 0 for subscription services. Will it snowball? Or will it get bogged down from long sales cycles and tentative commitments due to internal resistance? The latter scenario is of course possible, but the entire purpose of Pivotal is to stop companies that are already bogged down and fearful of falling behind.
Therefore, there should be a good number of forward looking companies who will not accept either their company to continue to be bogged down by legacy software and fall behind, nor allow the excuse that being bogged down, as something that is internally enjoyed, to allow the company to continue to be bogged down to its own detriment. Any company who cannot overcome this resistance, or have enough will to try, in this day and age of software magic and upstarts everywhere, deserves to die a slow death anyways.
We shall see.