Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Open Source Learning Management Systems

Our experience with Enterprise LMS such as Saba (past) and Plateu (current) hasn't been great. Since I am involved in Application support, my group has been through many painstaking & frustrating hours of discussions with Platue support for getting desired technical support. That lead me to analyze the Open source trends around Learning Management systems.

The Open source LMS platforms are quickly maturing. Leading the pack is Moodle (www.moodle.org). It's modular in design and allows new modules/ plugins to be incorporated with core modules. Moodle has developed a significant user base among SMEs and educational institutes. It has currently around 36000 registered sites with 1.4 million courses. Available under GNU GPL and is OSI certified.

Other worthy competitors are

Blackboard WebCT
Sakai (www.sakaiproject.org)
Atutor (www.atutor.ca)
EFront (www.efrontlearning.net)

Checkout the eLearning Guild
Press Release for market leaders in LMS platforms.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Biggest Ruby on Rails Application in the world

As a continuation from my earlier post, here is another thumbs up for 'Cloud Computing'. Checkout "Bumper sticker" application on Facebook. With above 1.4 million daily hits, this is the biggest Ruby on Rails application in the world (by amount of data exchange).

See the video below to find out how the Light Engineering development team in LinkedIn, used RoR scalability best practices along with cloud computing to build Bumpersticker.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Enterprise Software - Getting Archaic?

With advent of Web 2.0, we are seeing an evolution in Information technology. As the web turning out to be a platform, Applications are being more agile, thin & continuously evolving. The usage patter of IT is slowly but steadily shifting from being Enterprise driven to be more consumer driven. The days of huge custom built enterprise software, with a whole lot of speculative design seems to be passée.

Now some facts to corroborate my hypothesis..

The Global IP traffic data (In a recently published report by Cisco), makes an interesting revelation – the Consumer IP traffic has been growing at 58% CAGR since 2005 and expected to surpass Enterprise IP traffic by end of 2008. Also it’s predicted that Consumer IP traffic will reach 1.5 times the Enterprise IP traffic by year 2011.

As Douglas Merrill (Former CIO Google) put’s it “Fifteen years ago, enterprise technology was of higher quality and consumer technology. That’s not true anymore. It used to be that you need enterprise technology because you wanted uptime, security and speed. None of these are as good in Enterprise software any more as they are in some consumer software”

In the age of globalization, more and more employees are on move. Enterprise IT for people constantly on move is a costly affair and not always easy to use. Further the cost of maintaining huge data centres and with a large number of in house IT staff is adversely impacting the bottom-line of large enterprises. More and more large enterprises are realizing that apart from a few key business processes, rest all IT requirements doesn’t need large enterprise applications, rather they can be delivered to users over the internet as Consumer IT by Software as Service (SaaS) offerings / smart applications on mobile devices procured by other organizations.

Let’s looks at some of the technology trends, which can eventually replace majority of Enterprise IT spending

- Data centers moving to SaaS model with use of Cloud computing
- Improved storage/ computing capabilities of mobile handset
- Web as a platform - Market leader Google - Spreadsheets, word processors etc
- Cloud Computing - examples
o Amazon.Com – Simple Storage Service (S3) – Provides a simple web service interface which can be used to store/ retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere.
o Amazon.com – Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) - Provides resizable computing capacity in the cloud, with users paying only for capacity they actually use

Hence it's time for Enterprise architects to revisit the technology stack and to see how we all can go lean..any thoughts?