During a presentations on N1, Garima Thockburn & Doan Nguyen showed an architectural functional model for the applications provisioning technology. What’s really cool is that, as I’d expect from Sun, although we often forget what it made us, is that openness is being designed in from the ground level.It’s recognised that a DC automation solution will have to utilise external capabilities. A second piece of ideology is borrowed from SOA and the products need to workflow manage various transactions, i.e. systems management transactions in the data centre. (This is the service manager ). The whole SOA vocabulary of composition & orchestration fits the problem. The industry (or community if you prefer) are also developing business applications design skills for the infrastructure. This is also necessary if automation is to succeed. The block diagram puts work flow at the centre of the design.

N1 Block Architecture

We were given the opportunity to workshop with members of the team. We had a discussion about solutions selling and examined the reality of the partnering dimension. I argued that we need to take more ownership of the relationship; in many cases, our “Partners” don’t use that word to describe us. On a good day, we’re suppliers on a bad day we’re competition. I have thought through this since I said it, and it clear that this problem requires inter-company co-operation. At least Sun is comfortable working with others and partnership will help our customers meet broader requirements today, and as I said partnering helps meet the heterogeneity requirement, at the least we’ll need help dealing with oddities. Matthias Pfuetzner (a german colleague) argued for openness of the products APIs at both the plugin level, which determines what objects the software can manage and at the UI level, because as the plugin capability extends, it may be necessary to customise the UI to invoke and monitor the extended functionality. I like his idea of making a “plugin builder”.


Originally posted on my sun/oracle blog, republished here in March 2016. Another one, more diary than forecast, the old version is tagged “new age”, but it’s 10 years later.

The architecture of the N1 provisioning server
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