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Posts Tagged ‘Calypso’

Moving the conversation from point-to-point to SOA

November 3, 2009 1 comment

I’m currently working as the Architect on a large Calypso implementation. Integration with the surrounding systems is clearly critical to our success. As usual, we are under very tight time constraints  I am participating in recurring working groups where we are reviewing all the interfaces that currently exist and determining how we should replace them or reproduce them.

My continuous reminder of thinking in terms of Services is probably very frustrating for the Business Analysts in the room.  They of course are concerned that their task in the project plan says, “Write the Business Requirements Doc (BRD) for the Systems X to System Y interface by next week.”  They really do not want to consider the possibilities and try to think about this a little differently

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It’s not about the SOA Stack

No offense to my friends at Tibco and WebMethods who sell the technologies in the SOA stack, but it’s not about your stack.  We bought the stack and we’re still not SOA.  Until we start people thinking about the interactions of systems as one providing a Service and the other Consuming it, we are still going to be implementing specialized point-to-point interactions on top of some very cool and expensive technology.

Stop thinking like an Architect!

I’m sure many of you’ve been in these same type of conversations where you go though the list of existing interfaces and ask, “do we still need this one?”  As we go through these, I keep trying to drive the conversation away from interfaces and towards looking at what Service does a given legacy interface provide for whom rather than say, “this interface must be built.”

“If we look at what’s going on in this interface and build it as a Service, then we can reuse it,” I tend to say.

Half way through one of the above sessions, one BA whom I’ve known a long time half jokingly grumbled, stop thinking like an architect! Because he did not want to re-scope or revise his BRD’s just for the sake of what to him appears to be technical purity or unnecessary elegance.

I persist though in my doggedly determined manner.  Ask them to humor me a little longer, “…bare with me, be patient, you’ll see,” I say.  The people in the team are willing, so we entertain my way of thinking a little longer.  Finally there comes the moment, where the lights come one.  We’ve moved on to another interface.  As we dig in, we discover that this other interface is performing nearly identical function as a previous one.  I can see the result almost immediately.  Very quickly rather than having two more interfaces, we start having one more Consumer of an existing Service.  When that reduces time required to finish the project, finally the project manager smiles and is glad someone recommended he add an Architect to his project.  Keep thinking like an Architect, he says.  As a matter of fact, can you teach my whole team to think like an architect?

Now I’m happy!  We’re on the way to SOA and we haven’t hat to boil the ocean.

 

Data Migration

June 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Is it just me, or is Data Migration suddenly interesting?

I recently joined a big Australian Bank and noticed there are many data migration exercises to come as a result of a recent merger and major system replacement programs in the works.  I thought with so much data migration work in the pipeline, it would make sense to standardize the way data migrations were performed and perhaps even setup a competency centre or the like.

Some Research

I know a small consulting firm in Sydney named Lucsan Capital that specializes in helping financial markets firms with implementations of systems such as Murex and Calypso.  They have been engaged in many system implementation projects and found a need for a tool that combines Data Migration, Reconciliation and Process Management into a single easy to use platform.  They’ve built this tool called LMIG and use is as a practice aid on their implementation projects.

What’s the competition doing?

Though I have been pretty impressed with what I’ve seen of LMIG and the Lucsan people, before going too far, I thought I better do a bit of research to see what the competition has to offer.  I looked at Informatica and IBM Infosphere.  Both of these tools are leading ETL products and obvious candidates.  But there is definitely a dinstinction between the requirements of large mission critical ETL platforms – things that populate your data warehouse or act as information gateways and the needs of a project team working to quickly and safely migrate the data from one or more legacy systems to the target environment.

Informatica Data Migration Solutiona  contains information on the work informatica has been doing on both the tool and their Velociy Methodology to adapt to requirements of Data Migration.  There is also a fair bit of research by Bloor in this space which looks at the market opportunity and competing products.

Both these products appear to be world class.  Where the seem to fall down is their being almost too good.  They both seem to have many modules and options and many moving parts for their full deployments.  For example there are developer studios, process servers, schedulers, etc… all these things have to be idenfitied and costed in your final solution.  That may be suitable in the case of building a stable ETL environment.  But when working in Data Migration, you need a bit more agility and simplicity.  Something that gets the job done but doesn’t become the focus of your entire project.  Keep in mind, Data Migration is really just a necessary evil to achieve a strategic objective such as system consolidation or upgrade from a legacy to a shiny new system 🙂  You need to be sure your DM solution doesn’t divert your attention from the real objective.

How about OpenSource?

I generally love open source and Java for everything.   A few of my old colleagues at Macquarie Bank turned me on to Talend which is an OpenSource Data Integration platform.  It has a data profiling engine which sounds very interesting.  If I had a development team working for me, I’d probably be keen to go OpenSource.  But at the moment, I’m looking for something that is out-of-the-box and easy for Business Analysts to use.  I’ll look at Talend a little bit later.

Conclusion

I’d love to tell you the conclusion.  But I’m afraid the jury is still out.  I’m really looking forward to getting past the analysis stage and getting on with delivering some benefits to the business in terms of greatly reduced lead times to Data Analysis results and migration of data.  Let me know if you have any views on this topic.

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