Tag Archive for 'forrester'

Three Unconventional Ways to Manage IT Costs

David Richards, CEO WANdiscoYou have to run leaner and meaner and so you’re intent on driving IT costs down. But where will those much sought-after cost reductions come from? One area that may not have received the scrutiny it deserves is software development.

The evidence is mounting. When Forrester Research examined the total economic impact of new software development infrastructure, it discovered considerable savings associated with the near real-time replication of source code on servers globally.

In the case of one Fortune 500 electronics company it studied, $776,509 in specific benefits was identified over a three-year period — leading to a risk-adjusted ROI of 150%. By enabling developers in Asia to perform builds locally, the new approach eliminated up to two man-days of idle time each day and increased the number of builds 100%.

Phoenix Technologies, a leader in core systems software products, discovered it could significantly reduce costs associated with production delays and lost man-hours by adopting a similar solution. By enabling continuous builds at six different locations across East Asia and North America, it reduced overall build cycle times by more than 60% and increased productivity by 30%. Previously, over two hours of development time had been lost each day due to poor network performance and outages.

So why have the costs of software development become excessive?

One clear factor is developer inefficiency. This is often a concern when developers are spread out geographically, particularly when many of them are located in regions (such as India and Greater China) with limited network capabilities. You experience clear and irretrievable costs when developers can’t promptly check in their source code to a central repository. Cycle times lengthen and projects are delayed. If time is money, then this is money that’s burning.

Another issue is network performance. After all, network failures happen all the time.. What’s the cost of developer downtime or the inability to access your source code at all? Network performance and downtime issues represent an ongoing tax on software development — imposed in endless delays and lost man-hours.

Yet another factor is the absence of Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD). Companies that implement this best practice test their software builds perpetually to identify bugs, errors and other signs of corrupted code. Through this approach to quality control, they streamline software development.

But companies that don’t engage in this practice run the risk of discovering software problems late in a project, which can lead to considerable rework and long delays. Worst case: they release corrupted code into production. As I’ve written elsewhere, such mistakes can have a devastating impact on corporate finances and reputations. Knight Capital Group saw its stock price collapse and the company took a pre-tax loss of $440m as a result of bad code.

Finally, there is the opportunity cost associated with geographic barriers and boundaries. Many companies bear added and unnecessary software development costs because they cannot source the right talent in the right place at the right price. Because of network limitations, an inability to synchronize development efforts and other factors that hinder productivity, they are simply unable to get the full benefits of offshore development.

Which leads us to the question of how to confront your costs.

How can you intelligently reduce software development costs and, thus, drive down overall IT costs? Here are three proven steps you can take:

  1. Embrace Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery. It’s been written elsewhere that “quality is free.” Ultimately, it costs nothing to implement practices enabling you to continuously test and enhance the quality of source code. You prevent defects on the front-end to ensure they don’t emerge later in the development or, worse, production process. It will save you considerable costs associated with rework and delayed projects.
  2. Commit to Highly Available Source Code. In order to enhance collaboration, avoid developer inefficiencies, and make CI/CD possible, you need high availability. Developers need the ability to rapidly check in their source code to central repositories. Companies need the ability to rapidly replicate changes to source code between servers on a global basis. And you need the confidence of knowing that network performance and downtime issues will not undermine this availability.
  3. Aspire to Software Development without Geographic Constraints. Today’s technologies increasingly make possible what British economist Frances Cairncross called “the death of distance” just over a decade ago. You can now seek the right talent in the right place for the right price. You can realize economies of scale and skill that previously would not have been available to you.

Software development may not have been the first place you considered when seeking ways to drive down costs. But, as a growing number of companies have discovered, it’s often loaded with excessive costs — both direct costs and opportunity costs.

As the evidence suggests, software development represents an important, if under-appreciated, area for achieving new efficiencies. By rethinking software development infrastructure, you can both reduce costs and accelerate your time to market.

And as software is increasingly suffused throughout the overall economy and demands escalate for new releases, you’ll find that that today’s investments in cost reduction and superior infrastructure set the stage for tomorrow’s gains in revenue growth.

 

Cheers,

David

P.S. If you haven’t signed up yourself or your team members, I highly recommend registering for Subversion Live  2012 this October. Use code DAVID45 for 45% off registration. Visit www.wandisco.com/svn-live-2012 to get more information.

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About David Richards

David is CEO, President and co-founder of WANdisco and has quickly established WANdisco as one of the world’s most promising technology companies.

Since co-founding the company in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led WANdisco on a course for rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded the acquisition of Altostor, which accelerated the development of WANdisco’s first products for the Big Data market. The majority of WANdisco’s core technology is now produced out of the company’s flourishing software development base in David’s hometown of Sheffield, England and in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

David has become recognised as a champion of British technology and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he led WANdisco to a hugely successful listing on London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE), raising over £24m to drive business growth.

With over 15 years’ executive experience in the software industry, David sits on a number of advisory and executive boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship, he has established many successful start-up companies in Enterprise Software and is recognised as an industry leader in Enterprise Application Integration and its standards.

David is a frequent commentator on a range of business and technology issues, appearing regularly on Bloomberg and CNBC. Profiles of David have appeared in a range of leading publications including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

Specialties:IPO’s, Startups, Entrepreneurship, CEO, Visionary, Investor, ceo, board member, advisor, venture capital, offshore development, financing, M&A

Making Your Version Control Solution Agile

Maintaining a successful version control system is an important part of an agile project: version control allows you to easily roll back to a previous revision rather than manually unpicking changes; makes it easy to share your latest changes across distributed teams, and provides you with a quick and convenient sandbox in the form of a branch. These are just some of the benefits of version control, but there are some measures you can take to get even more out of your system. In this post, we share five tips for making your version control solution agile.

1) Set some guidelines

Maintaining a version control system can be a complex task, so implementing some guidelines – and making sure your whole team sticks to them! – can save you from unnecessary admin work later on.

  • Plan your layout – implementing a logical project layout from the very beginning can save you time and energy at a later date. Some version control systems, such as Apache Subversion, don’t impose a particular project structure, so it’s even more important to plan your layout in advance.
  • Be consistent with your file/folder names – a logical naming convention will make it easy to locate particular items.
  • Make your guidelines easily accessible – any conventions should be explained in a coding conventions file, which must be accessible to all members of your team. Consider placing these coding conventions under version control alongside the rest of your project, so they are always to hand.

2) Your code should always compile

In an agile project your code should always compile, which is where version control’s branching and merging functionality comes in handy. Any experimental development or new features should be confined to separate branches, and they should only be brought into the trunk when they’ve been tested to check they won’t break the build. This will ensure that the code in the trunk is always stable, and always compiles.

3) Place your whole project under version control

Version control isn’t just for source code management; you should place all files and folders related to your project under version control. Not only will this make it easier to locate files by keeping everything related to your project in one place, but version control’s ability to roll back to previous revisions is useless if you cannot then use that previous revision, or if you need to spend hours re-instating a list of related tools. Documentation, tools and libraries are all worth placing under version control, alongside your code.

4) Use Branches Wisely

Branches work best when they’re short lived. Being able to create a branch and customize the code to fit a particular customer’s requirements is one of the benefits of version control, but beware of maintaining this branch indefinitely alongside your main development line – multiple codebases can be costly and time-consuming to maintain.

5) Consider Enterprise Version Control Solutions

Our Subversion MultiSite solution combines open source Apache Subversion version control technology with value-added functionality designed to help teams stay agile, including:

  • No single point of failure
  • Automated failover
  • Built-in continuous hot backup and automated recovery
  • Continuous build integration
  • ….and more.

Want to learn more about Subversion MultiSite? On June 6th, 2012 WANdisco will hold a free webinar looking at the findings of an independent Forrester TEI study of a Fortune 500 company that implemented Subversion MultiSite. Visit the ‘Forrester Research on Optimizing Global Distributed Software Development Using Subversion’ page now to register.

Webinar on Globally Distributed Subversion for the Enterprise

On June 4th WANdisco will be hosting a free webinar on optimizing globally distributed development for the enterprise. ‘Forrester Research on Optimizing Global Distributed Software Development Using Subversion‘ will explore the issues associated with distributed development and the challenges and costs these issues create. This discussion will also include a third party analyst from Forrester that conducted a study on a Fortune 500 company to determine the pain points felt for infrastructure, collaboration and risk management as well as the cost impact to the company from problems such as performance and extended downtime during disaster recovery.

Software development of any kind comes with imposing challenges that become exponentially more difficult to the enterprise who must deal with the issues of scale, security and collaboration between geographically dispersed offices and employees.

The latest and greatest software development methodologies, specifically the Agile practices, are borne out of fundamental principles designed to achieve just one thing: Success. Project success is the key driver behind the massive popularity of Agile development practices and any successful implementation will require speed, excellent communication and collaboration, as well as the ability to introduce, test and build new changes as quickly as possible.

Source code is one of the most important, if not the most important, asset of most companies, this is especially true for the enterprise who employ hundreds to thousands of developers around the globe contributing new code around the clock. Having a secure, reliable and redundant infrastructure is imperative to managing and mitigating the risks associated with hardware or infrastructure downtime especially in disaster scenarios but also routine situations such as patching or updating the operating system. Developer downtime resulting for system downtime or network outages incurs a real cost to the organization.

Please join us on June 4th to see an overview of the Forrester study and how WANdisco technology has resolved all of these issues and concerns and can do the same for you.

Total Economic Impact of Subversion MultiSite

It’s been ten years since the Agile Manifesto was published, and Agile is still a buzzword for the software industry, but Subversion’s single point of failure can be a problem for distributed teams looking to implement agile practices. Subversion MultiSite combines Subversion with WANdisco’s value-added features, which are particularly useful for keeping distributed teams agile. Crucially, Subversion MultiSite removes the potential bottleneck of Subversion’s single point of failure. With Subversion MultiSite, all repositories and fully readable and writeable, and remote developers aren’t dependent on a centralized build team.

Other key benefits of Subversion MultiSite include:

  • Automatic failover – individual servers or an entire site can be taken offline for planned outages, without interrupting user access. Of course, this automatic failover also applies to unplanned outages.
  • Built-in, automatic and continuous hot backup – as each server is a mirror of every other, and they are kept continuously in sync, recovery is automatic. As soon as the failed server comes back online, Subversion MultiSite retrieves all the transactions committed to the other servers in the Subversion cluster, during the outage. Whenever a server, or an entire site fails, users won’t notice and administrators won’t have to do anything – failover is truly transparent.
  • Ability to run builds at every site immediately – eliminates time wasted while waiting for a build to happen in a different time zone.
  • LAN speed performance – users at every location experience LAN-speed performance for both read and write operations.
  • Synchronization of all servers in a cluster – whether they’re located over a LAN or a WAN. This is achieved by replicating changes made against one server, to all the other servers, in real-time.
  • No additional hardware required – Subversion MultiSite is typically installed on the same server as Subversion or Apache, at each site.
  • Eliminates the need for disk mirroring solutions – no administrator intervention is required to achieve recovery.
  • Allows distributed systems to scale to support new sites/users – new nodes can be added to a distributed system, or existing nodes can be removed without interrupting the operation of the remaining nodes.

But, what is the actual economic impact and potential return on investment, for enterprises deploying Subversion MultiSite? Our latest report, illustrates the financial impact on a company employing Subversion MultiSite to replicate distributed Subversion servers. The report looks at the idle time saved, changes in bug fix rate, and the general benefits the company experienced from deploying Subversion MultiSite. The report employs the four fundamental elements of TEI in evaluating Subversion MultiSite:

1) Costs and cost reduction.
2) Benefits to the entire organization.
3) Flexibility.
4) Risk.