I'm thrilled to join Vendia as its Director of Solution Architecture and Customer Success. In sharing the news with friends, colleagues, and clients over the last month, two common themes emerged. One was encouragement and support, which I'm humbled by and grateful for. Getting affirmation from those with whom I've worked about the value I'll be able to bring to a new organization is certainly inspiring and motivating. A second theme was curiosity about what, exactly, Vendia is working on that would entice me to join the team.
There are often many factors that contribute to a job change but in this case one stood out: Vendia will cause a paradigm shift that changes the “right solution” for many distributed applications, including almost every system I've built in my career. That's a lofty statement, but consider some of these examples and their unmet challenges:
- Command and Control Data Sharing (circa 2005) – This was a centralized network, where “content creators” sent data to “content analysts” who then sent results to “decision makers.” The hub-and-spoke model relied on a central broker to manage communication transports and channels as well as distribution and delivery rules. The unmet challenges were node resilience and scale (the hub and its spokes) coupled with the need for on-prem, on-site installation for additions to the network (e.g. a new spoke).
- Connected Space Sensors (circa 2010) – This was a centralized network, where each node resided alongside a space sensor (e.g. a sensor sidecar). A central “hub” was created to aggregate and process all the data from all the nodes, enabling automated tasking and improved decision support. The unmet challenges were resilience, scale, and throughput of the hub, end-to-end lineage of the data from its creation to its incorporation into custom products, and data protection and distribution after data from multiple sensors was processed together.
- Cyber Operations (circa 2015) – This was a centralized network of virtualized nodes, where each node could be created or deleted on demand. Users would work from an operations playbook and an auditable record of actions, from setup to teardown and everything in between, needed to be captured and preserved. The unmet challenges were reaching scheduling consensus across nodes, ensuring playbooks were followed as intended, and the inherent complexity of building a comprehensive and immutable audit log across a disparate set of systems and technologies.
- Housing Information (circa 2018) – This was a centralized network, where each participant could contribute data sets (files, json, etc.) within their subject area to a centralized exchange. The exchange would ingest and store what was provided and make that information available through developer-friendly REST APIs. The unmet challenges were the need to create a custom inbound data pipeline for every new data set, requests to create custom API operations useful for a subset of consumers, and an easy way for the hub owner to offload a portion of development cost and operational complexity to its partners.
Vendia Share addresses almost every one of those challenges directly with built-in architectural approaches, technical choices, product features, and integrations, which I'll detail in depth in future posts. For several of the challenges that aren't directly addressed by Share, complete solutions are much more easily created using Share as a starting point instead of building a solution from scratch. How do I know, only one week into my Vendia tenure? I know first-hand because I've had the pleasure of using Share since its launch while supporting several clients.
To steal a phrase from one of the wisest architects I've worked with, Vendia Share has the potential to be “architecturally significant.” It flips the common, but challenged, hub-and-spoke data sharing approach on its head. It provides a decentralized code and data sharing platform, which allows multiple parties to easily work from a single source of truth. As a result, it promotes multi-party collaboration further upstream and further downstream from a given participant, which allows for optimization of an ecosystem instead of just a single party. It allows developers to develop as if they were working in isolation, but with the benefit of knowing their users' actions will seamlessly propagate consistently and reliably to their counterparts in other applications and organizations. It builds on the best of serverless and SaaS, streamlining the path to value and minimizing development investment and operational toil. And, Share includes security, scale, resilience, and throughput at the forefront of its design. Those factors were built in from the start, and it shows.
Pretty brilliant stuff, and you'd expect nothing less given the track record of Vendia's founders. What I've been most impressed with over the last year, even beyond the feature richness and maturity, are the people joining the team. It's clear we all see the same vision I do for Vendia and genuinely want to accelerate that vision becoming a reality.
I'll follow-up with future posts that explore use cases, reference architectures, and common challenges mapped to Vendia capabilities. For now, please contact me if you want to learn more or join in on the fun.