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Re: What is Enterprise Software?

by renodino (Curate)
on Oct 31, 2005 at 01:18 UTC ( #504105=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to What is Enterprise Software?

Software whose failure everyone notices quickly.

Probably a good definition, but not for the reasons you'd think. If you've ever been involved in a Java/COM/.NET "enterprise" adventure, you'll know that "everyone" means the CEO/CIO who's gotta fire somebody, and quick!

My definition of enterprise software ?

Something that costs at least one order of magnitude more than a reasonable solution to the problem should.

Before you dismiss my definition, consider this case in point:

I've developed both a Perl DBD, and a JDBC driver, for a large scale "enterprise" database system. When I attempt to solicit a modest price for the DBD, I am greeted with silence and occasionally derision. When I ask >US$10K per license for the JDBC driver, many sites happily fork over the money and the JDBC driver was derived directly from the Perl driver!.

I suspect most of us know that many (most?) things being done under the auspice of "enterprise" J2EE could easily be delivered with Perl (or python, ruby, PHP, et al) for a 1/10th the time and money. But Perl/Python/Ruby/etc. don't have an army of marketing suits telling PHB's that its "enterprise".

In summary, "enterprise software" eq "marketing grot".

If your purpose is to market Perl, then you'll need to discuss its scalable paradigm shift in the context of re-engineering the enterprise to repurpose the legacy platform solutions in the context of grid computing frameworks for exposing service oriented architecture access via the empowering technology of dynamic language implementations.

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Re^2: What is Enterprise Software?
by brian_d_foy (Abbot) on Oct 31, 2005 at 01:32 UTC

    To be fair, though, Java or .Net or anything else we like to demonize aren't the only things that can break for executives. Plenty of Perl things can do that too. However, that only a couple of executives notice something breaking doesn't qualify things as "enterprise", I don't think.

    I've alrady considered your answer and I think it's glib and purposedly avoids the question. I'm not trying to talk about how stupid businesses can be or how messed up the software development process is, or how people beleive hype that they shouldn't. I don't think enterprise software has to be marketing hype (although I might beleive that marketing hype invented the term).

    brian d foy <>
    Subscribe to The Perl Review
      To be fair, though, Java or .Net or anything else we like to demonize aren't the only things that can break for executives. Plenty of Perl things can do that too.

      Except that Java/.NET will usually fail after > 10x the investment of the equivalent Perl/Python/Ruby/etc. solution.

      My comment may be glib, but 25+ years involvement in "enterprise software" (as both producer and consumer) leads me to believe it isn't false.

      Many of us have experienced the way that overly complicated nonsolutions get pimped as "enterprise", tagged with a massive price, and folks can't buy them fast enough. Meanwhile, elegantly simple solutions - some often free - are overlooked cuz they don't have a SKU code, a suit to pimp them, and someone to sue if they fail.

      Does my answer avoid the question ? I don't think so; in fact, I think it directly responds to the appellation in question. You presented a rather lengthy dissertation about what "enterprise software" might (or might not) be, and end up with a (IMHO) trite generalization. Your generalization, in itself, should indicate the question may be searching for technical confirmation for a pure marketing term. I.e., the premise that there actually is a technical, rational definition for "enterprise software" may be flawed.

      Based on your definition, if there's a bug in the firmware in my digital watch that also effects everyone who bought one, its enterprise software. For that matter, any of the numerous failings of MSFT's various Windows platforms also qualify it as enterprise software, tho Win95 seems an unlikely candidate for that classification.

      I'll offer another glib, albeit true, definition:

      If a manager (CIO or otherwise) gets fired when it fails, it's Enterprise Software.

      Think about that for a bit: if its just a desktop app of convenience (e.g., Word, Excel, Outlook, etc), that breaks, the CIO won't even be advised of it (except when some sysadmin shows up to install the patch). But if the Exchange server screws up and sends a copy of everyone's salary to the entire organization, somebody is likely going to get an escort from security.

      Here's another glib, albeit true, definition:

      When Enterprise software fails, there's someone to sue.

      Thats a major part of the reason PHBs pay the extra order of magnitude - and why it costs an extra order of magnitude. Again, its not a techie answer, but quite possibly (at least in the Litigious States of America) is what the purchasers of "enterprise software" are really looking for. (It lets them sleep better at night... hmmm, maybe thats another definition ?)

      So far, both our definitions seem to define enterprise software as a product defined by its effect when it fails, and (in my case) by its cost. So lets think about the opposite:

      • Enterprise software is software that demonstrably contributes to the success of the enterprise.
      • Without the enterprise software product, the enterprise would either fail, or would otherwise demonstrably suffer.
      Based on those definitions, I'd say Perl is undoubtedly enterprise software in many enterprises. Yet, if you collared the CIO's of those enterprises and asked if they agreed with that notion, they'd likely nrevously laugh at you, or otherwise ignore the question (very likely cuz they don't know what Perl is). For that matter, ksh, "Command prompt", and IE fit the definition as well.

      Since that seems to fall short of a full definition, here's another glib definition:

      Enterprise software is something complicated enough that a CIO will pay an order of magnitude more than its actually worth, regardless whether it actually solves the original problem.

      So we're back to square one. There is no definition. "Enterprise software" is not a provable term. It's not 3NF. It's not O(NlogN). It may be NP complete. The value of the limit of enterprise software as it goes to zero is unknown.

      Because its just a marketing term.

        As I've said to someone else, I think you're confusing cause and correlation. There are consequences that come along with enterprise software, but those don't define it.

        Perhaps part of the reason that other technologies do so much better than Perl is that they don't spit on managers and executive, no matter how much they might want to. Your sort of answer seems to be rooted more in a personal distaste for non-techies than anything to do with technology.

        I wouldn't use your defintions. A couple of lines of Perl can demonstrably contribute to success. I also don't think that using enterprise software is ensures success, so adding it might cause a company to go under too (and I've seen companies try to make that transition).

        brian d foy <>
        Subscribe to The Perl Review
Re^2: What is Enterprise Software?
by pg (Canon) on Oct 31, 2005 at 01:36 UTC

    You have brought up a very good aspect about enterprise software. Although at first glance, enterprise software is measured by a set of technical requirements (although not really that measurable ;-), it is certainly created with a clear and strong marketing purpose there.

    Have said this, you have to give credit to some of those softwares, such as Oracle. Things like MySQL obviously does not provide the same level of strength (at least not currently).

    But when a software is called enterprise, it is not just about techonology, it is about to charge companies that are at the enterprise level.

      Things like MySQL obviously does not provide the same level of strength (at least not currently).

      BZZZZT! Try again. I wrote a reporting application that was backed by MySQL that returned complex reports against several million-row tables back in under a second. What's not enterprise-level about that?

      My criteria for good software:
      1. Does it work?
      2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
        I wrote a reporting application that was backed by MySQL that returned complex reports against several million-row tables back in under a second. What's not enterprise-level about that?
        What's not enterprise-level about that is that all you mention is speed of a query. There's much more to database than speed of a query.
        Perl --((8:>*

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