Application Services provides a platform for IT Development and Maintenance professionals to discuss and gain insights into best practices, process innovations and emerging technologies that will shape the future of this profession.

October 13, 2016

The art of choosing the right product for business transformation

Author: Ravi Narayan Vishnubhotla, Senior Technology Architect

As part of the future-state architecture of IT transformation, certain business requirements need specialized IT applications. These could mandate newer technology systems or migrating from legacy technology platforms. As part of buy versus build evaluation, products that can address such requirements need to be identified.

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October 4, 2016

Indoor Localization

Author: Varun Singla, Technical Test Lead

Location these days carry a lot of importance in indoors as well as outdoors. Outdoor localization, these days is, widely used in many applications with the help of versatile sensors and technologies like GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope etc.

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September 16, 2016

Future of enterprise web applications: Pervasive next-generation JavaScript

Author: Arshad Sarfarz Ariff, Technology Architect

No one would have ever thought that a 10-day project, created at Netscape by Brendan Eich in 1995, would turn out to be the frontrunner for building enterprise web applications after 20 years. Today, JavaScript leads the race for building isomorphic web apps. An isomorphic application is one whose code can run both on the server and on the client. This was primarily made possible by Node.js - an open source, cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment built on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine, which opened the doors of JavaScript to server-side coding. 

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September 14, 2016

Minimizing risks implies investments in automation for next-gen underwriters

Author: Naveen Sankaran, Senior Technology Architect 

One of the main objectives of software is to automate work that would otherwise be done manually. This has multiple benefits including cost reduction over the long term, increase in productivity and profits, and the ability to channel human effort towards more important work.

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July 18, 2016

My experience with Bare metal provisioning: OpenStack Ironic

Cloud! The name itself says a lot. No need to explain. But just think about what were there before cloud. Guess!! Yes, it is virtualization. Entire community was amazed with the capabilities and the feature virtualization technology provides. The ease of maintaining infrastructure and reducing burden on the cost was truly awesome. No doubt about it.

However, when technology evolves further and started new edge on the research and technology, cloud came up. And surprisingly, it started roaming all over the IT sky in a very short time span, it grew like anything. Now everyone talks about the cloud, what why, how and so on. Most of the organizations and products are now moving to clouds and using its benefit.

So, what next! Yes, when we talk about cloud, many people raises their eyes and ask, what about computing performance and for that I have answer, bare metal provisioning in openstack, aka Ironic!!!

Ironic: the openstack bare metal hardware provisioning service

Today, I will shed lights on the setup and challenges faced while implementing the same across projects.

As you might be already aware, the main purpose of Ironic service is to provision the hardware based on the configuration and let the guest operating system be installed on that remotely to have the E2E infrastructure provisioning done.


·         Ironic has three major components

o   Ironic API

§  Talks to Nova compute service

o   Ironic conductor

§  Talks to other openstack services  

o   Ironic DB

§  Talks to the different drivers.


·         Make sure that authentication system is in place before executing any openstack command.

·         You need to download the rc file from horizon dashboard and source it.

·         Actual command  : source server-openrc

·         This file contains all the variables required to locate each service and url. It asks for the password once you enter the command. you need to enter the admin password if you are using rc file of admin user

·         Every user has its own RC file which contains information related to its tenant, projects and credentials etc.

·         You need to create the endpoint for service. The service type is baremetal and service name is Ironic

·         Ironic API and Ironic conductor service can be on different machines. Ironic conductor can be installed on many machines but there version should be same to have exact function properly.  


·         Mysql DB gets used to store all data. mariaDB prompt comes for all the mysql commands.

·         Ironic database and ironic user has to be created.

RabbitMQ configuration:

·         In the first attempt, we see that rabbitMQ portal was not working. To fix that, we have to install management plugin and then it started working.

·         Get the RabbitMQ username and password from nova configuration file.

Key challenges:

·         While creating ironic database, faced the issue with sql connection. The issue was, while creating database, service was not able to access the mysql connection. The reason being, in the /etc/ironic/ironic.conf file, in the connection section the IP of controller where identity service is running was provided. Instead, it should contain that entry which is there in /etc/mysql/my.cnf


·         Ironic supports plenty of driver to provision the hardware and install the OS. There are various 3rdparty providers who have their own proprietor software's and drivers to work with Ironic.

o   The popular one is IPMI

o   Installed the IPMI utility.

o   Configured the service as it is and restarted the service.

·         It seems that IPMI-tool need IPMI controller hardware to be present on the machine which is being provisioned.

Configuring Compute service:

·         Nova.conf file needs to be modified to add the parameters required for Ironic to work.

·         Sometimes nova.conf file present on the both the boxes. Compute node and controller node. This is bit confusing. The file which is present on the node on which nova-scheduler service is running is the main file and is responsible for all the changes related to Ironic.

·         Once all the configuration are in place, restart nova-scheduler on controller node and nova-compute on compute node.

Enrollment process:

·         While enrolling any node, we need to provide the ironic api version. set the environment variable : export IRONIC_API_VERSION=1.11

·         Need to register the MAC address with ironic service. If there are multiple NICs , get the MAC address of that NIC which is connected to LAN

·         Node should be in available state so that compute service can see it to provision the hardware. If the node is in any another state then compute service won't see it and cannot be provisioned.

·         Node cannot be moved directly from enroll state to available state. First they should move to manageable state and then to available state.

To summarize, bare metal provisioning is really cool stuff when you design the private cloud and planning to deploy an application which requires high end computing and are very sensitive to computing performance. "pxe_wol" is the easiest driver to learn how Ironic service works and get acquainted enough to understand capabilities of Ironic. As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of drivers, however, they need special hardware support and configuration to get it working. Try with "pxe_wol" first and move forward.

Typical Openstack Ironic conceptual design you can refer here:


April 4, 2016

IT Transformation is Business Transformation! Why? How?

Author: Ravi Vishnubhotla, Senior Technical Architect (Insurance - FSI)

Today, IT transformation (IT Strategy/Application Portfolio Rationalization) has become synonymous with business transformation. In this post discusses why has this happened and how can it be achieved.

Why is IT Transformation same as Business Transformation today?
As part of IT Transformation, businesses and clients go through IT strategy for 3-5 years to replace their existing legacy technology with newer or better technology. IT Transformation is assessed in terms of People, Process and Technology. The sponsorship is mostly within IT department and implementation of the strategy is completely IT driven. However, in today's era where growth is measured in terms of revenue / profit / customer service and SLA's, IT becomes an enabler for business to achieve these goals. So when business vision, mission and goals are considered, IT transformation automatically becomes the same as business transformation. Business users play an active role during this process and  act as a key driver for the successful completion.

How can Business Transformation be achieved?
Business Transformation can be achieved by using the following methodology. This methodology is one of approaches based on my experience which can applied to small or medium sized businesses and can vary depending on businesses or industry. The key principle is to define steps using People, Process and Technology perspective.

Ravi Vishnubotla_1.jpg

  • Business Vision
    - Obtain business stakeholders vision of the future of their business; Where do they expect the business to be few years from now (generally 3-5 years depending on the size of business or industry)
    - Understand overall organization and the business
    - Understand the core services and business processes
    - Key concerns / challenges being faced in the business
    - Define key driving factors of the business
    - Create a Vision Document and core stakeholder group to oversee the transformation process
  • Current State Assessment (CSA)
    -Understand the AS-IS business process and business applications
    -Conduct discussion sessions with business stakeholders
    -Document all issues, manual processes, areas of pain points
  • Future State (CSA)
    -Define the 'To-Be State' for IT Systems, Infrastructure and business processes
    -Apply solution(s) to business vision, manual processes and pain points
    -Consider modern business, IT trends, Industry Standards and guidelines
  • GAP Analysis
    -Defines what it will take to go from current state to defined future state
    -Should consider new business processes, new IT applications
    -Apply disruptive IT solutions e.g. Mobility, Automation
  • Define IT Solution Architecture
    -Define solutions for various gaps identified and new processes/applications considered
    -Perform initial Product Evaluation for solutions if needed. Consider Buy vs Build
    -Identify Logical (functional view) and Physical (system view) IT solution and model
  • Develop CBA and Roadmap
    -Estimate the timelines and effort for the various solution defined
    -Perform cost analysis by considering price of infrastructure, IT systems (product / in house development), hiring new people, and introducing new processes
    -Break down solutions into various projects and assign stakeholders either from IT or Business
    -Propose a Road map to rollout the solutions.
  • Review and finalize strategy
    -Review the proposed transformation process as draft via a presentation or a document
    -Conduct sessions with various business unit stake holders and IT stakeholders
    -Agree on the proposed solution and roadmap
    -Refine and resolve any open issues or questions
    -Baseline Strategy for CTO and CEO approval

To summarize, this is how the business transformation process will look:

Ravi Vishnubotla_2.jpg

The steps defined here are based on my experience, working with various customers and clients. The process or approach can vary and will be different depending on the business and industry. This is not a one size fits all methodology but should give you fair idea as to what it takes to achieve business transformation from an IT perspective.

Continue reading "IT Transformation is Business Transformation! Why? How?" »

September 28, 2015

Macro to Microservice Architecture - Shrink or Sink? Part-2

Author: Archana Kamat, Product Technical Architect

In my previous blog, "Macro to Microservice Architecture - Shrink or Sink? Part 1", we explored the basic characteristics of MSA and how it differs from Service-oriented Architecture (SOA). While MSA enables higher service independency, it cannot be applied to all business scenarios. 

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Macro to Microservice Architecture - Shrink or Sink? Part-1

Author: Archana Kamat, Product Technical Architect

The world of software service architecture is witnessing rapid change owing to a new paradigm named Microservice Architecture (MSA). There are several debates and questions about this newcomer. Sample these:

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April 28, 2015

Agile Contracts

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February 13, 2015

Data Analytics in IoT/M2M

IoT is 'the' happening thing right now and is expected to continue this way as we move more towards connected world. It was and is among the top spots in most of the Industry buzz word list published in 2014 & 2015.  But not many, including the technology people or enterprises, are aware as to what IoT really means to them or to the economy, or how to monetize the immense volume of data generated by the constituents (namely sensors, devices, microchips) of IoT.

Let's look at some of the use cases in diverse industries where IoT can be deployed to get a perspective:

Fleet management:

Global logistics operators who have a wide variety of fleets across rail, road, air and sea routes are now realizing that effective utilization of their fleets can save millions of dollars. For instance, volumes of data collected on speed, acceleration, braking, temperature, and fuel can be collected and analysed in real time to identify the areas where efficiencies can be improved.

Using IoT intelligence, logistics companies can see how the use of the right route and acceleration patterns can affect vehicle performance and fuel usage. In addition they can also discover the impact of driver performance and how his behaviour can not only affect fuel efficiency, but also the longevity of the asset in regards to maintenance. Also telematics, GPS data, and local map software can be combined to make companies aware in real time of routes that may be affected by traffic jams, speed traps, or weather conditions.

Real estate/Building management:

Imagine working in a skyscraper that adjusts temperature and humidity to suit the number of people in your office, provides access to designated places and keeps elevator and power outages to a minimum. Now imagine all this can be remotely controlled for all the buildings that are owned by an enterprise or run by building Management Company across the globe.

The concept of the Internet of things (IoT) where everyday things are connected to the Internet presents unprecedented opportunities for the management and operation of real estate. With IoT, any part of a building can become a point to capture and send data. This data when analysed and made actionable will have the opportunity to explore, relate to, and interact with buildings in amazing new ways, to move from building management to full building automation.

So what seems to be crucial in each of the use cases above? It's obvious, gathering and analysing data.

The IoT data that is gathered every fraction of a second can be complex. For ages enterprises have not completely exploited the vast amount of data that they gather on an on-going basis and now IoT will bombard with more heaps of data.

Of all the big numbers being thrown around about IoT - I picked the below

$15 trillion - the economic value expected to be generated by IoT by 2030

$5+ trillion - 30-40% of total IoT market which can be attributed to analytics

Types of analytics:

Data collected in IoT can be processed and analysed under two different methodologies called Predictive and Prescriptive analytics.

Predictive analytics: Predictive analytics utilizes a variety of statistical, modelling, data mining, and machine learning techniques to study recent and historical data, thereby allowing enterprises to make predictions about the future. The purpose of predictive analytics is NOT to tell what will happen in the future, its purpose is to just predict or suggest what might happen in future. 

For ex: In the fleet management use case we mentioned above, predictive analytics can be used to suggest routes that could have traffic jams during certain period.

Prescriptive analytics: The emerging technology of prescriptive analytics goes beyond descriptive and predictive models by recommending one or more courses of action and also showing the likely outcome of each decision.

For ex: In the fleet management use case we mentioned above, prescriptive analytics can be used to recommend which routes can be avoided by the driver and which route can be taken based on the time of the day and also display estimated time to travel through the recommended route.

Decentralization of Analytics processing:

Real-Time Analytics done over large tracts of data that are streaming in from all connected devices like sensors, wi-fi connections spread across geographies will generate tremendous value with tremendous impact. Also it would be much more efficient to have a decentralization of data storage, processing and analytics since there may not be just not enough network bandwidth in the future to transfer all the data in real-time. For instance, think about a ship in the middle of the ocean - do you really want to transfer all of the (low-value) log data from all sensors, machines, switches, etc to a central data analytics installation? The costs of transferring data from all over the world in real-time to a central location is much higher than the savings through economy-of-scale of a centralized solution. Furthermore, network latencies and interruptions omit the usage of centralized solutions.

The Challenge for IoT Analytics vendors:

There is a challenge for IoT Business Intelligence/Analytics vendors to create new tools that not only allow companies to capitalize on their own data but also aggregate sensors data gathered from sensor networks, public and private clouds and provide embedded predictive and prescriptive analytics services to support the enterprise decision makers in crucial decision processes that reinforce their ability to continuously improve the company's financial performance, to keep the costs down, and increase customer experience.

To thrive in the new environment, enterprises need solutions that use in-memory computing to harness the power of Big Data and advanced analytics to help them draw insights from - and make them more responsive to - the needs of digitally connected customers.