Today, software and service as often merged into one concept. Alfred is our solution to achieve the highest standards in performance and availability when running Alfresco Content Services. It is software, a reference architecture, best practices & managed services. Our arsenal of tools consists of proactive monitoring, systematic failure analysis, downtime avoidance, and continuous performance tuning.
With an Alfred subscription, you get the classical advantages from a commercial subscription-like warranty and support, road-map input, early release, rapid bug correction, and fast security updates. But what you really get, as good as we can deliver, as the results you need in line with your budget:
- 99.9 % or better availability
- 95 % of searches return results in 3 seconds
- users need 3 clicks or less to retrieve the document they need
We take pride in Alfred’s DNA, namely Clarity (of the user interfaces), Performance (95% query results in 3 seconds), Availability (up to 99,9%) and Agility (facade based architecture). Alfred boosts Alfresco content services into consistent and reproducible grade quality of service. Moreover, Alfred fortifies security and governance in Alfresco ECM systems.
In the previous article, Xenit open sources Alfred Software, we explained how an open-source product is about sharing and reuse to create a sustainable service at a low cost. A product approach mainly decreases operational, upgrade, and integration costs over the lifetime of a solution. For content services, these costs are typically 3 to 10 times the cost to build a solution.
Services can be productized, the software can be delivered as-a-service, and that is what Alfred is about. It requires standardization, intelligent automation, a lot of data and smart people. Once productized, BUILD and RUN cost can go down, quality goes up, and industrial robustness kicks in.
All code is available in LGPL. People can use it. What we sell are our services, alongside software and know-how, to keep your system up & running, thanks to our high-quality components and the core services like Alfresco ECM. Our managed services cover the full stack, including Alfresco.
You need a system that works end-to-end. Software + Service = Solution.
On-premise or in the cloud, we aim for an excellent service. Optimal systems strike a balance. All non-functional elements of a system are in equilibrium. Alfred software, combined with Alfred managed services, and Alfresco at its core, must achieve:
- Agility for change (façade architecture);
- 99,5 or 99.9 % availability;
- 3 seconds for 95% of queries;
- The durability of your documents of 99.9999999999 (that is 10 9’s);
- Maintaining the highest standards of security and governance (audit, log, visibility).
All of those capabilities need to evolve rapidly, without breaking interfaces, and strive for 0 downtimes.
How DOES Alfred CREATE QUALITy of SERvice?
Alfred Software will be soon available on GitHub and will include our next-generation products: Alfred Finder, Alfred Edge, Alfred API, and Alfred Inflow.
Alfred products enrich and improve the Alfresco experience in a truly open-source model combined with a managed services contract, covering software quality but also full operational excellence. What we sell with our partners is expertise, know-how and services.
Basically, we want to create an input/output layer to Alfresco that allows us to stabilize and scale the core content services. Alfred consists of a gateway and asynchronous inflow to regulate the traffic into and out of Alfresco. If you want to control and stabilize, even scale a system but keep in a stable state, you need to control input & output. This creates an architecture in which control and flow points are provided, getting the best out of Alfresco and its core components (Solr being paramount). It builds upon good practices in other engineering disciplines that permeate software architecture (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resilient_control_systems).
For the scalability of storage, we offer the Alfred Object Storage connector, which combined with object storage software SWARM from our partner Caringo, allows us to build S3 compliant object storage on-premise. We warmly recommend swarm: it has been a reliable companion on our last twelve years towards large and scalable content services.
open core and "shared" network
With Alfred, users can stabilize their incoming and out-coming content streams, support business API, and all basic features will be available in LGPL. This guarantees their independence of Xenit, as software providers. For sure, we would like users to subscribe to our support, covering Alfred AND Alfresco SLA, to benefit maximally from their investment and cover any (operational) risks.
We do intend to release some components ‘cloud-only’ or ‘shared source (with customers and partners)’. No crucial processes are affected by components in the ‘shared network' edition. However, these will be modular, independent and in no way interfering with the core capabilities of Alfred open-source software.
We expect to develop a number of add-on modules in ‘shared network’, as these features might require extra funding and we want to reserve them for customers that fund the development, directly or via a subscription. LPGL perfectly supports this business model, as long as the core and all of the core remains LPGL.
Below a few examples for enterprise features:
- A module to do a federated search;
- A module to apply security filters on Alfresco, without complex ACL manipulation, based upon meta-data;
- A connector to Office 365, and so on.
A REAL COMMUNITY
We intend to build up a select partner network of companies like Zia Consulting, Crawford Technologies, and a few others to come to that pride themselves on being experts in Alfresco. Together, we build ever-improving ECM operational excellence with Alfresco content services at its core. We believe that working together for operational excellence will help Alfresco and help our partners and ourselves to serve customers better. Expertise is always scarce, and automation is no longer optional.
We love to work together with experts from any company, customer or partner or just Alfresco users, that are highly regarded and competent and suggest or create improvements to our products.