• United States
IDG Enterprise Consulting Director

Are we lagging behind in the broadband race?

Sep 17, 20045 mins
BroadbandData Center

Our union is now complete; our Constitution composed, established and approved. You are now the guardians of your own liberties… For my own part, I ask no greater blessing than to share with you the common danger and common glory. If I have a wish dearer to my soul… it is that these American states never cease to be free and independent.

Samuel Adams, in a speech at the State House in Philadelphia, Aug. 1, 1776

Dear Vorticians,

I thought you might find the above quotation refreshing while we wade through all the muck as the 2004 election nears its climax. In this age of Swift Boats, questionable memos on military service, spin doctors, accusations, smear campaigns and attack ads, it’s nice to be reminded of the higher ideals behind our democracy and those who espoused them.

One thing that is not being espoused – not very loudly anyway – in this election is the need for a national broadband policy, something that this newsletter has sounded off about in the past. However, the need for such a policy is getting more and more attention, at least in the press. In recent days, I’ve read pieces in Business Week, The Wall Street Journal and Fortune, discussing our lack of said policy and the gains being made by other nations in the broadband race.

We’ll talk about the election and broadband policy, among other things, during the Special Town Meeting at VORTEX 2004, which is only a couple weeks away now. (Go to to register. Register soon, as rooms at the Bacara are getting scarce.)

On the theme of previous coverage, after I revisited my thoughts on VoIP provider Vonage last week, a colleague shared a scary piece from Slate online about a Vonage customer trying to call 911 in an emergency. Let’s just say that your old landline might be a better ally when the chips are down. Makes for interesting reading at

As I mentioned last week, I’ve also got for you an interview conducted by Geoff Moore with HP’s Shane Robison, executive vice president and chief strategy and technology officer. Shane is one of our featured speakers at VORTEX and Geoff spoke with him in advance about HP’s move to services-oriented computing.

Q: HP has positioned OpenView as part of an ‘open systems stack’ for the services-oriented-architecture of the future, to work alongside BEA’s WebLogic and Oracle’s database. What are the challenges you see for yourself, your partners, and your customers in bringing this vision to reality?

A: The challenges are far outweighed by the opportunities, and I’ll address both. A service-oriented architecture (SOA) is simply a set of architectural principles that define how autonomous systems interoperate. SOAs change the dynamics for customers in some profound ways. The discussion moves from being just about services linked to ‘stacks’ to a discussion about what we can do with the services the SOA enables – in terms of applications, functionality and TCO.

In an SOA, systems are made available to other participants in the network as autonomous services that are discoverable and interoperate based on standardized identity, message formats and transfer protocols. In short, it’s about systems speaking a common language.

When you think about the definition and semantics that a service has to communicate to be autonomous but interoperate, there are perspectives beyond just the functional that must be considered. For example, a funds transfer service has a functional perspective (transferring money from one account to another) and a plethora of other critical perspectives: security, how it’s configured, what quality of service is required, what cost constraints it must satisfy, and so on. HP refers to these as the Management Perspectives of a service.

When you look at total IT spend, across the entire lifecycle of a service, what you find is that the costs associated with these management aspects dwarf the costs of the functional capability itself. In other words securing, configuring, operating, upgrading and billing for the funds transfer service costs significantly more than implementing the funds transfer itself. Customers spend a significant percentage of their IT costs on maintaining and managing their IT environments as opposed to driving new innovations that make the environment more efficient, effective and flexible. An SOA enables us to flip that ratio over time. 

HP’s Adaptive Enterprise strategy helps customers synchronize business and IT to capitalize on change. Dynamic services must be able to accommodate change. As part of that, HP’s management solutions focus on using the IP of our OpenView suite of products, along with our services portfolio, our recent acquisitions and our continued innovation to address the management perspectives of services. 

Without a model-based approach to defining these perspectives, services cannot be successfully or automatically discovered, composed into larger services or managed in line with business policy and objectives for the services. Bottom line – SOAs are a big part of the blueprint for the modular framework that enables us to get beyond vertical silos and allow key business information to travel across a heterogeneous enterprise.

This blueprint will enable IT to adapt and flex with change and, most importantly, for IT to be run as a service delivery business itself – rather than as a cost center. This will ultimately help our enterprise customers capitalize on the big shifts happening across the IT industry landscape. These are all new opportunities for our customers to capture and create new value in their own businesses.

Thanks Geoff and Shane. We’ll have more of this discussion about HP’s strategy, and how it compares and contrasts to those of other leading companies like IBM, Microsoft, Sun, EMC, Cisco, Oracle, SAP and more at VORTEX 2004.

That’s it for me for now. Drop me a note at