From The Founder and Senior Analyst of ZapThink

Ron Schmelzer

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Top Stories by Ron Schmelzer

Content is information that is intended for human consumption, as opposed to "data," which are information intended for machine or system use. At times, we use other words such as knowledge, semantics, and intellectual assets to describe content. What differentiates human-oriented content from machine-oriented data is that people must create, manage, publish, and distribute content so that it can be represented in a variety of different ways, all the while maintaining the same overall meaning. Content represents information such as news, facts, fiction, charts, illustrations, photos, opinions -- anything that communicates something to someone. Of course, information without structure is meaningless; a random assortment of facts doesn't do anyone any good. Information must be organized and structured in a way that makes sense. This need for organizing and managing t... (more)

Cloud Governance Awakens

As we predicted earlier in the year, cloud computing is starting to take hold, especially if you believe the marketing literature of vendors and consulting firms. Yet, we are seeing an increasing number of Cloud success stories, ranging from simplistic consumption of utility Services and offloading of compute resources to the sort of application and process clouds we discussed in a previous ZapFlash. Perhaps the reason why usage of the Cloud is still nascent in the enterprise is because of an increasing chorus of concerns being voiced about the usage of Cloud resources: Cloud ava... (more)

Model First, Service-Enable Next

Reducing the cost of IT management is one of the primary pressures for most organizations. One of the most common ways to reduce such costs is to enable the reuse of applications that developers have already created and configured for the enterprise. In the past decade, especially in the past 3-5 years, companies have spent millions of dollars on enterprise software applications of all sorts: CRM, ERP, and other operational applications. The next few years will be less about new application development, and more about existing application integration and reuse. The Service-orien... (more)

Understanding the Value of Reference Architectures

There’s nothing more that architects love to do than argue about definitions. If you ever find yourself with idle time in a room of architects, try asking for a definition of “Service” or “architecture” and see what sort of creative melee you can start. That being said, definitions are indeed very important so that we can have a common language to communicate the intent and benefit of the very things we are trying to convince business to invest in. From that perspective, a number of concepts have emerged in the past decade or so that have become top of mind for self-styled ente... (more)

Why Current Network Protocol-Based Firewalls and Routers Can't Handle XML

Look in the network closet in any good-sized company today and you’ll find a wide assortment of network gear: firewalls, switches, gateways, routers, hubs, bridges, the list goes on and on. Each of these devices essentially either directs or secures the packets that form the automobiles on the streets and freeways of today’s networks. All data networks -- including the mother of all data networks, the Internet -- are built from these packet-directing and packet-securing devices. All this equipment works pretty well, as long as they don’t care what is actually inside the packets. ... (more)