Moving Beyond Software Development

Bev Crair, VP, Strategic Software Initiatives, Intel Corporation
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The shift to Agile development methodologies and the associated DevOps deployment strategy has emerged as a major trend today. Everything in our world is moving faster, with higher demands on development and IT organizations to deliver new technologies, new features, new interfaces and new capabilities quickly, efficiently and with high reliability. The old ways of doing software development are no longer adequate. To some extent software development itself is no longer adequate–software engineering is required. Successful organizations recognize that and embrace the change.

There has been a significant move to cloud architectures and deployments–public, hybrid and private. Cloud architectures require a software defined infrastructure that supports virtualized pools of compute, network and storage that can scale to meet demand, with orchestration technologies such as OpenStack to help manage the environment.

Cloud service providers have embraced these new software trends and have delivered revolutionary new capabilities more quickly and efficiently than many people thought was possible. Cloud service providers continue to innovate and to make it simpler and easier for startups, small companies and lines of business within larger companies not just to deliver new services faster, but also to enable disruptive new business models. Enterprises must determine how best to take advantage of these innovations and address these disruptions within the context of their business, regulatory and cultural environments.

  ​We partner with the global technology ecosystem to make development easy, open, and scalable so developers can do what they do best: deliver groundbreaking applications and end-to-end solutions on Intel technologies  

The proliferation of so many different types of devices and systems, from the tiniest internet-enabled sensor to the largest data center server, has shifted the landscape. Software engineers need to understand the implications of writing software for multiple types of devices, in ways that preserve and project the company’s brand consistently and reliably. This also means that there must be agreement on interconnectivity standards that will allow devices to connect to the cloud as well as to one another. The Intel-led Open Connectivity Foundation is aligning industry players behind a common standard and forming alliances to ensure the seamless interconnectivity that consumers expect.

The Internet of Things creates massive amounts of data. The cloud and the data center store, process and analyze that data. The analyzed data then generates a demand feedback loop–all bound together by connectivity and enhanced by the economics of Moore’s Law. At Intel we call this the virtuous cycle. In today’s complex environment, sustaining growth and creating value takes an intense synergy of hardware and software. Intel software and Intel industry leadership make sure technology works together. From devices to the cloud, software connects machines, data, insights and people, breaking boundaries to drive optimal performance and shape the future.

Tackling the Hurdles

The ongoing challenge for all organizations continues to be doing more with less. How to become more efficient? How to deliver a broader range of solutions more quickly? How to stay on top of the technology curve to keep up with–or get ahead of–the competition? Successful organizations do this by being flexible and nimble, not tied to a historical way of recognizing and solving problems. Having the knowledge and agility to take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities is a key aspect of being more effective and efficient. The latest seventh generation Intel Core processor, for example, is ten times more efficient, in terms of performance per watt, than the first generation. Features such as Intel QuickAssist Technology will continue to move capabilities formerly available only in software into silicon. Developers who understand the pathway from software to silicon and who can leverage it quickly will have the upper hand.

The Remedy

DevOps is one of the most important tools in the agility arsenal, enabling faster delivery of new capabilities to lines of business and customers, with higher quality and reliability. But DevOps must be done right to be successful. DevOps requires an end-to-end commitment across the organization; without commitment and alignment between development, test and operations teams there is no DevOps, only the traditional development, test and operations.

Tools are critical to DevOps, and Intel delivers a wide variety of tools to help enterprises of all shapes and sizes. In today’s complex environment, sustaining growth and value creation takes an intense synergy of hardware and software. Intel Software sits at the intersection of hardware, interoperability, and amazing customer experiences. We partner with the global technology ecosystem to make development easy, open, and scalable so developers can do what they do best: deliver groundbreaking applications and end-to-end solutions on Intel technologies.

The Intel System Studio accelerates time to market, boosts power efficiency and performance, and strengthens system reliability across a wide range of Intel processors and platforms using Windows, Linux, Android and FreeBSD. Intel’s modeling and simulation tools allow simulating anything from chip to system, taking the guesswork out of development and enabling engineers to predict, model, test, and validate performance. Intel tools allow hardware and software engineers to accelerate time to market, reduce risk, and achieve optimal performance, from devices through the network to the cloud.

The Road Ahead

From a software engineering perspective, the environment has become very democratic and fluid.  Whereas in the past a software developer may have written for one platform or operating system, it is becoming very common to see applications targeting multiple platforms and operating systems.

As platforms become more sophisticated and diverse, software development must also become more sophisticated and diverse. Understanding target markets and customer environments requires broad knowledge and a diversity of perspectives as customers themselves become more sophisticated and diverse. Research has consistently shown that building teams that are diverse and have different ways of approaching and solving problems produces better results. Teams that embrace and encourage diversity of thought, background and experience will be the ones that produce the successful software of tomorrow.

Software engineering means taking a disciplined approach to software development, understanding the environment in which an application will be used, and optimizing for the characteristics and capabilities of the systems on which the application will be running. Engineers who have a broad range of experience and training, who are always learning and developing themselves, and who are open to new approaches and perspectives will be the ones who are most successful in this dynamic new environment.

Finally, since the beginning of digital computing two factors have driven software architecture and design: limited amounts of memory, and the wide performance gap between memory and persistent storage. Intel’s upcoming 3D XPoint technology has the potential to change both of those factors, by enabling both larger memories and very fast persistent storage. Having access to large amounts of fast, persistent memory should make things possible that simply weren’t before, for example, real-time analysis of medical imaging data.  Beyond that, this technology may enable completely new applications that no one has even envisioned yet, which is one of the reasons Intel has created the Maker program to encourage and spark innovation across various disciplines and industries.  It’s the makers of today and tomorrow who will invent the applications that change the world.

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