Dot-Com and Beyond : Breakthrough Internet-Based Architectures and Methodologies

Dot-Com and Beyond : Breakthrough Internet-Based Architectures and Methodologies

by Sun Professional Services: The .com Experts



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780130622976
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 06/23/2001
Pages: 334
Product dimensions: 7.04(w) x 9.22(h) x 0.91(d)

About the Author

Sun Professional Services offers consulting and integration expertise in the areas of dot-com technology platforms, IT infrastructure architectures, Sun products, and leading-edge Java technology designs to assist customers in planning, implementing, and managing distributed network computing environments.

Our offerings include a suite of technical consulting and platform integration services that help customers assess, design, and deploy these computing environments in ways that provide the scalability, reliability, availability, and security required in next-generation IT environments.

Our philosophy is to work closely with customers to understand their business visions and help map their goals to clearly defined technology objectives.

As part of Sun Professional Services, the global Sun .Com Consulting organization guides the complex task of designing, building, and extending Internet infrastructures for large-scale multiple-service delivery. Our consultants have unparalleled expertise in Web, Internet, and Java technology solutions that can provide increased operational efficiencies, enhanced revenues, and a high-end IT environment that leverages existing investments and enables future growth. Our clients range from huge multinational businesses to startup firms in emerging, net-enabled markets.

Our ground breaking services-driven IT architectural approach employs a combination of products, standards, best practices, and methodologies for building versatile, manageable Internet environments. The open and flexible architecture is designed to incorporate new services and accommodate volume growth while maintaining the security, reliability, scalability and availability required.

The Sun .Com Consulting experts can help deploy a wide range of net-based platform designs for e-commerce, customer relationship management, supply chain management, portal computing, wireless technologies, and service provider offerings.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: The Dot-Com Landscape: A View From 10,000 Feet 1

The Internet has already transformed commerce, and is now bringing rapid change to business organizations of all types and sizes. But the Internet-based enterprise of today is only the beginning. The true Internet century is not the one just ended, but that which is to come.

The Internet Upheaval

Success has many parents, so it is not surprising that something as successful as the Internet should also have many birthdays. Originally conceived in the 1960s, what is now called the Internet grew out of a number of efforts, mostly by government and academic organizations, to build an infrastructure that allowed computers to reliably pass information between them.

Although consolidated and given its present name in 1987, the Internet remained largely a research tool used by a small number of academics and military personnel, and an even smaller number of corporations. Despite some newcomers' proclamations, the Internet did not begin in 1996.

Something did happen in the mid-1990s, however, that changed the global economic and social landscape forever. The Internet gained a critical mass of users, and the whole became vastly greater than the sum of its parts. The Net Effect—through which the value and emergent properties of connected people and devices far exceed the sum of the values and properties of the same unconnected entities— had been realized.

Although the World Wide Web has been the public face of this upheaval, it is really only one aspect of a much more comprehensive transformation.

Three Internet Landmarks

There were numerous developments that made the Internet—and thus the Net Effect—possible, including (to name a few) the initial funding by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the development of TCP/IP networking, the creation of a server protocol for transmitting multipart documents, and the buildout of the fiber optic cables that carry Internet traffic. Three fundamental innovations, however, converged in the early 1990s to create global critical mass in the few years that followed. These were:
  • The Web browser: a widely (and easily) supported end-user tool providing a unified point-and-click interface to a variety of network services

  • PPP and SLIP: dial-up protocols that allow any computer with a modem to become a first-class node on the Internet using common telephone lines

  • Java™ technology, the first highly portable technology for building distributed object-oriented computer programs running in a virtual runtime environment2
In isolation, none of these developments were particularly new ideas.
  • Point-and-click interfaces to network services such as FTP (file transfer protocol) had been available in the 1980s; they required a dedicated connection to the Internet, however, and typically provided access to just one service.

  • Dial-up connections to the Internet had also been available for more than 10 years, including a national network of dial-in centers (the MILNET TACs). The dial-in protocols were ASCII terminal-based, however, and allowed only command-line access to an Internet-connected machine, or at best, fullscreen but primitive character-based interfaces.

  • Object-oriented programming was a thoroughly explored concept, with languages such as Zeta Lisp, Smalltalk, and C++ building serious followings in the previous decade. The notion of a virtual environment in which write-once, run-anywhere code could be executed had also been realized in the 1980s by the University of California at San Diego p-system, a collection of p-code compilers for various languages (including Pascal and C) and p-code interpreters for various hardware/operating system platforms.
It was the simultaneous and integrated application of these three developments, however, that created the potential for the contemporary Internet infrastructure: simple enough for nontechnical users to understand and work with, seamless enough for global and mobile organizations to plug into at will, robust enough for industrial-strength applications.

The world has already seen the impact of ease of use in the dizzying growth of the Internet population. And this population is using the browser for much more than just HTML and HTTP. NNTP-based news readers and POP- and IMAP-based email clients are also included in most browsers, as is the facility for anonymous FTP transfers and even browsing files on the local disk. With Java runtime environments built into many browsers, they also become the usability framework for more specialized and complex applications.

The integrating effects of PPP and SLIP were equally present in the initial establishment of the Net Effect, but are now in decline as broadband, always-on connections are becoming predominant. (A similar impact will be made, however, as protocols for connecting truly mobile devices, such as cellular telephones, are widely adopted.)

In contrast to these first two, the impact of industrial-strength, network-based applications is only now beginning to be felt, as the initial euphoria of the new infrastructure passes and the serious work of creating value begins. Ultimately, this development—as exemplified in the use of XML (Extensible Markup Language) to automatically translate between data formats, and Java technology to handle XML messages—will greatly overshadow the first two in the changes it is bound to bring to the economic and social world.

Getting to Dot-Com

The changes brought by the Internet to date, and the enterprises that have risen to prominence by exploiting Internet technology, are widely and loosely identified by the shorthand term "dot-com." Most simply, this term refers to the use of the Internet to perform business functions and execute business processes, including both the traditional and those that the Internet itself has given rise to.

To many people, 2000 was a bad year for dot-com. But this view derives from a limited understanding of what the term dot-com means. In this book, dot-com refers not to failed e-tailers with poor business models, but to the fundamental and far-reaching changes in information technology that are sweeping the economy and creating new business opportunities.

Dot-Com and Beyond is concerned not only with where dot-com has been, but where it is going. As we know it, dot-com has only just begun, and its leading edge will take today's businesses to places most have not yet imagined.

To stay on that leading edge, business organizations—established and new, large and small—must take advantage of three key opportunities for change. Just as the current dot-com landscape is dominated by the three landmark developments outlined in the previous section, there are three transformative processes to which your organization can apply the dot-com techniques described in this book.

  • Dot-comming your customer
    How can you make the value your organization offers easier for your customers to take advantage of, thereby improving their relationship with you? This transformation is tied to the capabilities you can deliver to the user's Web browser, and occurs in what is sometimes referred to as the business-to-consumer or B2C space.

  • Dot-comming yourself
    How can you improve communications within your organization, thereby improving information flow, enhancing organizational efficiency, and speeding organizational flexibility? This transformation depends on your use of open connectivity pro-tocols.

  • Dot-comming your supply and delivery chain
    How can you improve the relationship between your organiza-tion and its vendors and partners, thereby creating a more effi-cient and manageable business environment? This transformation involves network-centric software and takes place in what is sometimes referred to as the business-to-busi-ness or B2B space.
The rest of this chapter describes these three transformative pro-cesses and their characteristics, including both potential gains and important concerns.

Dot-Comming Your Customer

Clearly, the most trumpeted advantage of the Internet expansion of the mid- to late-1990s was the enhanced ability to attract, retain, and satisfy customers. From supplying shoppers with product infor-mation to providing buyers with information services to actually taking and fulfilling orders on the Web, most early Internet business was focused on attracting, satisfying, and retaining customers.

"But Wait! There's More!"

Phrases like "mass customization" and "attracting and retaining eyeballs" were bandied about as if the Internet were the first medium to make such things possible. But many of the ideas now touted as innovations, including electronic commerce, are not much different from marketing techniques that have been used for decades.

Consider the customer relationship established by Ron Popeil, the king of late-night television advertisements for handy-dandy gadgets you never knew you needed (such as the Popeil Pocket Fisherman and the In-the-Egg Scrambler). In Internet terms, his near-ubiquitous commercials are highly dynamic, multimedia displays of product information presented on a CRT screen. They are targeted to specific customer segments through their presentation during particular types of programming. They offer the ability to upload an order over a phone line with a few simple button presses ("Just dial 1-800 ..."). They promise a quick and easy financial transaction ("All major credit cards accepted …"). They provide 24/7 availability ("Operators are standing by!").3

So what is the substantial difference between the Internet and late-night television marketing? What can the Web and the browser do for you...

1. Where all the water looks drinkable.

2. See Clay Shirky's October 1996 Communications of the ACM article, "Don't Believe the Hype", for a similar perspective, remarkably relevant for a five-year old piece. Also available at

3. Needless to say, offers all of this and more.

Table of Contents

1. The Dot-Com Landscape: A View From 10,000 Feet.
The Internet Upheaval. Dot-Comming Your Customer. Dot-Comming Your Organization. Dot-Comming Your Supply and Delivery Chain. A New Internet for a New Century.

2. The CNN Moment: Trouble in Paradise.
Anatomy of a CNN Moment. Costs of a CNN Moment. Any Outage Is Bad News. Avoiding the CNN Moment. The Dot-Com Challenge.

3. The Naked Cowboy: Warning Signs in the Dot-Com Age.
When Bad Things Happen to Good Dot-Coms. Areas of Concern. Symptoms in Management. Symptoms in Requirements. Symptoms in Development. Symptoms in Deployment. Symptoms in Use. Symptoms in Operations. Symptoms in Maintenance. Keeping a Dot-Com Healthy.

4. The New Wave: Architecture to the Rescue.
Services-Driven Architecture. The 3-Dimensional Architectural Framework. The SunTone Architectural Methodology. 3-Dimensional Architecture, the Dot-Com, and You.

5. Built to Last: Designing for Systemic Qualities.
Why Systemic Qualities? Systemic Qualities Defined. 99 Quality of Service: a Strategic Requirement. Architecture for Large-Scale, High-Performance Design. Strategies for Developing Systemic Qualities. Implementing Systemic Qualities. Advanced Systemic Quality Design. Systemic Qualities: Into the Future.

6. Getting to Dot-Com: The SunTone Architectural Methodology.
3-Dimensional Services-Driven Systems the Sun Way. Elements of the SunTone AM: Who, What, When, How. Activities at the Core: SunTone AM Process Workflows. Key Principles of the SunTone AM.

7. Don't Eat the Boat: Managing Dot-Com Projects.
The Essence of Project Management. The Dot-Com Challenge. ThreeProject Management Tasks. Scoping the Project. Planning the Project. Managing the Project. Getting the Most from the SunTone AM.

8. Not Rocket Science: A Dot-Com Case Study.
Projects: People Plus Processes. A Dot-Com Is Born. Preinception: Framing the Project. Inception: Defining the System. Elaboration: Managing the Risks. Construction: Building the System. Transition: Taking It Live. Happy Holidays for I2RS. Not Rocket Science After All.

9. The Next Generation: Future Dot-Com Infrastructures.
The Ever-Changing Internet. Ubiquity and Performance. Multiple-Site and Distributed Architectures. The Evolving Service Network. New Customers and New Capabilities. An Ever-Expanding Future. Beyond the Dot-Coms.

About the Authors.


Dot-Com Now!

Dot-com is our future.

Where are we going? There may be detours along the road, changes in speed, questions about the route, but the answer is clear: businesses today are on their way to a new world, in which they will all live on the network. In order to thrive there, they must rethink their strategic and technological foundations. They must transform themselves to meet the challenges of the networked age.

To many people, 2000 was a bad year for dot-com. But this view derives from a narrow understanding of what the term dot-com means. In truth, dot-com refers not to failed e-tailers with poor business models, but to a fundamental transformative process, represented by the far-reaching information technology changes sweeping the economy and creating new business opportunities.

Consider these recent statistics:

  • The Commerce Department said online purchases of everything from books to clothes and toys surged 35.9% to $8.686 billion in the fourth quarter from third-quarter levels, far outstripping the 5.4% gain in total retail sales during the traditional holiday shopping season. (ZDNet; Study: Online shopping jumps 36%; Feb. 16, 2001)

  • The U.S. Census Bureau said that online retail purchases came to an estimated $8.69 billion in the fourth quarter of 2000, up from third quarter sales of $6.39 billion. ( U.S. Online Sales Hit $8.69B in 4Q; Feb. 16, 2001)

  • Most Internet specialists believe the U.S. will embrace m-commerce (mobile commerce) within one year, according to a recent B3 Corp. survey. (E-Commerce Business Daily; M-commerce seen gaining quick U.S. acceptance; Dec. 26, 2000)

  • Seventy percent of all online purchases in Brazil were of music. But one-quarter of respondents reported purchasing clothing last year, and increased spending was also seen in health and beauty products, sporting goods, flowers, and toys. ( Shop Talk: E-commerce comes around; Feb. 13, 2001)

  • A report from Ernst & Young predicts that Australian e-commerce will grow from US$3.1 billion in 2000 to $39 billion in 2004. The number of e-shoppers is also set to explode from 2.2 million in 2000 to 5.84 million in 2004. (E-Commerce Times: Report: E-Commerce Surging Down Under; Jan. 18, 2001)

  • Research by the Interactive Audience Measurement Asia (iamasia) showed the number of Internet users in Greater China (the People's Republic of China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the Republic of China on Taiwan) reached 23.8 million. ( E-Commerce Growth Remains Slow in Greater China; Jan. 17, 2001)

Does this sound like a flash in the pan?

Dot-Comming Ourselves

At Sun, we not only believe in the value of dot-com, we live it. Sun is focused on delivering a services-driven network to provide customers, partners, shareholders, suppliers, and employees with simple, efficient, convenient ways to do business with the company. This focus is called the eSun? program-an effort to dot-com Sun itself.

The eSun effort is not concerned solely with improving existing transactions between Sun and its associates. Rather, eSun is the complete transformation of Sun's interactions with a wide audience of constituents, including customers, partners, employees, and suppliers. With eSun, everyone at Sun is committed to providing full access-easy, anywhere, anytime access-to everything they do.

As part of this effort, we run Sun on Sun, using our own products and partner solutions to dot-com ourselves. We have also built a portal framework to enable complex interaction with all of our constituents. We took a new look at all transactions, from many different perspectives, and provided a variety of ways to perform each of them over the Internet-by using the Web, EDI, auctions, and so on. For example, we know the Internet browser is increasingly important in assisting customers as they make key purchasing decisions. A recent study we conducted showed that nearly 90% of our online visitors find our Web site useful in making IT purchases and strategy decisions. In fact, each day our customers use the Web to request 7,000 quotes and configurations and track more than 1,000 orders.

Overall, we estimate that dot-comming our organization will save us nearly $400 million this year and up to $600 million next year, while boosting the productivity of our sales operation by $1 billion a year. And this transformation remains ongoing, including initiatives ranging from participants registering online for Sun Education to Sun sales reps accessing needed information from a handheld device.

Simply put, we look into every nook and cranny of Sun and ask, "Why isn't it online?" Then we make sure we get it online, and we make sure we do it properly. The future of Sun depends on it.

The Net Effect

Here at Sun, we see the exponential increase in the availability and bandwidth of the Internet, and the ever-greater number of people and devices it connects, as a pivotal development in both computing and business. We call the tremendous opportunity created by this phenomenon the Net Effect.

Not long ago, the dominant computing model was one of PCs and applications, driven by advances in CPU technology. Today, computing is centered around the network and the services it provides, with advances in network architecture and technologies that maximize bandwidth driving the evolution of information technology.

The Net Effect will continue to generate more devices, more users, more information, and more services-all of which will further multiply the value of the Internet to businesses and consumers alike. It won't be long before everything-music, video, TV, and even data from household appliances-is carried over the Internet, giving each of us access to information whenever and wherever we want it.

To better understand the Net Effect and its foundations, consider:

  • Single optical fiber bandwidth has doubled every 16 months since 1975, and every nine months over the past three years. Overall, such bandwidth has increased by a factor of 1,000,000 since 1975. CPU power, on the other hand, has doubled only every 24 months since 1975.

  • The delivery capacity (in packets per second) of a single optical fiber now exceeds the processing capacity of even the fastest CPU-and the gap is growing.

  • Not only does this performance gap highlight the need for scalable multiprocessor systems, it hints at the opportunities inherent in exploiting virtually unlimited network bandwidth rather than a relatively limited supply of CPU cycles. Network bandwidth and latency considerations are now driving service architecture and design.

  • 85 percent of all commercial buildings in the U.S. are within 1 mile of dark fiber-fiber that is installed but is not being used.

  • New technologies such as fixed wireless can deliver more than 100 megabits per second to every business or home within range of fiber, thereby significantly reducing so-called last mile costs. This is easily enough to support all the data needs of all the appliances (radios, TVs, computers, and so on) in a typical home.

  • New mobile wireless technologies, such as so-called 3G Wireless, will provide data rates rivaling T1 lines (1.5 megabits per second) to mobile devices such as cell phones and automobiles.

Imagine the impact of these developments in even the immediate future, and ask yourself this: Is my organization ready?

You Can't Keep a Good Internet Down

Despite all the trendy talk and media gloom, the Internet and e-commerce are alive and well. Did you know that online sales during the 2000 holiday shopping season doubled from last year? According to PC Data and Goldman Sachs, shoppers spent $9.8 billion online between the first week of November and Christmas eve-twice the $4.7 billion spent during the same period in 1999.

So while some dot-coms are indeed fading away, online commerce continues to grow where it has already taken root, and to crop up in more and more established industries and enterprises. In fact, some of the biggest online profit-makers in recent months have been the so-called bricks-and-mortar companies. teamed with to draw about 28% more shoppers than eToys during the holiday buying period. Nielsen//NetRatings found that 11 of the 15 most visited e-tailing sites during this season were run by so-called "offline, old economy" firms such as Barnes and Noble, Walmart, JC Penney, Sears, and Kmart.

Tomorrow's online business winners are realizing that they must transform their companies now. The changes that are sweeping the new economy are not concerned with the sales transaction itself, but with tasks like linking up with thousands of partners, slashing customer response times, and removing hundreds of millions of dollars in costs from business systems. Farsighted organizations are turning the Web into a tool that streamlines, expedites, and enhances hundreds of aspects of business, not just sales. And they are making ever more of their daily business activities easily accessible online.

Above all, online relationships must reflect the fact that behind each sale is a tremendous amount of work. Sun's constituents, for example, are actively concerned with far more than online sales. They want to use the Internet for inquiries, price quotes, product orders, and status updates. They want a Web-based tool that can assist with events before and after the sale-telling them how to configure their hardware, when their items are shipped, and who can answer their service questions.

Simply put, these changes are not optional. The Internet is here to stay; it's up to you and your business to come to terms with it, as so many successful enterprises are already doing, or be left out and left behind.

Dot-Com and Beyond

This book represents what we know about dot-com. And we know a great deal! The concepts, methodologies, and best practices described here grew out of, and were tested and refined by, our experiences in thousands of real-world projects. Whatever your circumstances, Sun Professional Services and the .Com Consulting team have seen them before, and have guidance and advice to help you create successful dot-com architectures, infrastructures, and services.

From a technical perspective, this book covers the architectural models, design patterns, and methodologies used by architects and developers in the delivery of Internet-based infrastructure components to meet given business requirements. As you focus on your company's business needs, you'll find this book very useful in learning to understand and define infrastructure requirements and capabilities, and use that knowledge to architect and deliver the quality of service levels needed to meet your long-term business goals.

We don't have every answer, and we can't predict the future in detail. That's exactly why we've developed these best practices-to help you do it right, no matter what challenges you encounter. Call on us if we can assist you. We hope you'll let us be your partner in dot-com success; we know you won't be sorry.

— The Consultants of Sun Professional Services

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