Technology Diversity: A Growing Melting Pot in Today’s Enterprise

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The Days of Floppy Drives and Incompatibility

One of those vivid memories from my childhood is learning my first programming language at computer camp in 1985. The language was BASIC and we learned on an Apple IIc. My final project for the summer session was an original text-based adventure game called “Caveman” that probably clocked in at about 50 lines of code tops. I was 11 years old and super proud of my accomplishment. However, I also recall how disappointed I was that I could not bring my new creation home to play on our Apple II+ computer. The reason being that the media we used at computer camp was a standard audio cassette tape (yep, software could run on cassette back then) and my Apple II+ used a 5.25” floppy drive. I had no access to the tools that would enable me to transfer my code from cassette to floppy disc. So, “Caveman” lived and died that summer.

Fast forward several years to my time in college when I graduated to learning Pascal and C in computer science class. We started to standardize computer media much more and most of my work for these classes was done using 3.5” floppy discs. I was amazed at how I was able to transfer files from the PCs in the lab to my IBM PS/2 in my dorm room with ease. If only this were possible in 1985, I’d still be playing Caveman! This newfound level of compatibility quickly fell apart when I took a class that utilized Macs instead of PCs. Sure, both systems used 3.5” floppy discs. But, I had to reformat the disc every time I wanted to use it on my PC after using it on the Mac…ugh!

Technology Diversity Breeds Complexity

Today, most of these compatibility issues that we dealt with years ago are for the most part solved. I can seamlessly collaborate with colleagues and friends across PC, Mac, web, smartphone, tablet, etc. I can even save a photo taken by my smartphone to a cloud-based storage service such as OneDrive and instantly view the photo on my TV using my Xbox…all within a matter of seconds. We perform tasks like this every day as second nature…however, I often forget how much we take for granted the level of compatibility we have today compared to just a few years ago.

Along with this level of compatibility has come a proliferation of technologies all working together (although not always seamlessly). Regardless, compatibility and interoperability have bred diversity in technology. Take software programming languages for example. Wikipedia currently lists over 700 programming languages in existence and some sources estimate there are over 2,000 known programming languages. A recent YouTube video demonstrates the most popular programming languages over the last several decades and reinforces several trends as a result:

  1. Specialization: the best developers today are familiar with multiple programming languages. However, they typically have deep expertise in 5 or less programming languages.
  2. Best of Breed: enterprises often need to balance decisions between standardization of their technology stack and choosing “best of breed” technologies for different applications. We still see many scenarios where organizations choose the best of breed approach. In fact, in a recent Gartner survey of public cloud users, 81% of respondents said they are working with two or more providers.
  3. A World of APIs: one of the most common mechanisms to enable interoperability between diverse systems today is using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). It seems like every software vendor on the planet touts their open APIs for integrating their unique technology with existing technologies that customers have already deployed.

Gaining Visibility in a Complex World

Although the intent of compatibility and interoperability is to make life easier, the result has been a significant rise in the diversity of technologies deployed in a typical enterprise. And, in some cases, the result is actually a significant increase in complexity across the IT landscape within most organizations today. CAST’s own research from decades of analyzing enterprise software systems shows that the average enterprise software application is developed using more than two different programming languages and the average organization has over 10 programming languages in use across the enterprise. Combine this with diverse databases, infrastructure, APIs, cloud providers, etc. and it is clear why the technology landscape has become increasingly more opaque, quite the opposite of the original intent of interoperability.

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CAST Highlight is an Application Portfolio Analysis platform that hundreds of organizations have used to gain rapid visibility across their diverse and complex software estates to help improve application rationalization, cloud migration, and open source risk management. In that vein, the December 2019 release of CAST Highlight introduces a number of new features to help address the complex and diverse environments of today’s enterprise. For example, we have added support for Google Cloud Platform specific patterns in our Cloud Ready dashboards for customers that are considering a move to GCP. This complements the Azure and AWS specific patterns already in the product and we now support the top three cloud providers for customers that have a multi-cloud strategy, which is quite common. New programming language support has been added to CAST Highlight in this release including: Swift (iOS), Kotlin (Android), Apex (Salesforce.com) and Natural Adabas. This helps increase the platform’s technology coverage in today’s diverse world.

The technology world may be more interoperable today than it was decades ago, however this does not necessarily mean it is simpler. CAST Highlight helps provide the visibility to better manage your software portfolios in this complex environment. See below for the rest of the new features you can now enjoy in CAST Highlight.

What’s new in CAST Highlight?

Feed your JIRA with CAST Highlight

Feed your JIRA with CAST Highlight

We’re publishing our first extension in Atlassian JIRA’s marketplace. It is now possible to take quicker action on your CAST Highlight insights and automatically create issues in Jira based on Cloud blockers and possible vulnerable or obsolete OSS.

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Detect Google Cloud patterns

Detect Google Cloud patterns

CAST Highlight now detects 16 Google Cloud-specific CloudReady patterns for Java, C#, TypeScript, Python, JavaScript, PHP and VB/VB.Net. With Azure and AWS, the CloudReady features now support the three major Cloud Service Providers on the market with actionable cloud insights.

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Swift, Kotlin, Salesforce ApEx and Natural Adabas support

Swift, Kotlin, Salesforce ApEx and Natural Adabas support

In this new version, CAST Highlight adds support for Swift, Kotlin, Salesfoce ApEx and Natural Adabas, which includes sizing (lines of code) and Open Source component detection giving you broader technology insights.

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Portfolio-Level SCA Component View

Portfolio-Level SCA Component View

This new version of CAST Highlight adds a new view listing all third-party components identified across the portfolio, and the corresponding applications using them. Quickly understand where components are being used and prioritize risky components to address first.

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Excel Object Importer


Excel Object Importer

This tool allows you to automatically create in CAST Highlight the applications, domains and users from an Excel sheet, leveraging our public API. Edit your Excel file, run the tool and start onboarding hundreds of apps and users in a few seconds.

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Full survey management through the API


Full survey management through the API

It is now possible to create and modify surveys, questions and possible answer choices through the CAST Highlight API reducing the time is takes to capture survey information.
Read the API documentation

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CAST Highlight’s command line available on Docker Hub to ease CI/CD integrations


CAST Highlight’s command line available on Docker Hub to ease CI/CD integrations

Scan your apps by using our Docker image which embeds everything you need regardless of your OS. This is especially useful in automating CAST Highlight scans as part of a CI/CD integration. See how it works

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Code Insights available from the API


Code Insights available from the API

Top code insights and riskiest files are now exposed through the public API so that you can integrate actionable Software Intelligence insights in third-party integrations or external reports.
Read the API documentation

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CAST Highlight subscriptions available on AWS marketplace


CAST Highlight subscriptions available on AWS marketplace

If you’re an AWS customer, you can now directly subscribe to CAST Highlight through the AWS marketplace making the procurement process as simple as possible.

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Command Line Assistant


Command Line Assistant

Using the command line is now easier with the new Command Line Assistant. From the platform, download and preconfigure your command line scan with the right application and domain identifiers and credentials.

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Useful resources to get started

Useful Resources to Get Started

The Highlight team has developed very useful resources to help you onboard the platform, operate automation and API tools and leverage our software analytics within your organization. Visit the Product Tutorial page


[Suggested readingOpen Source Risk: A Critical Software Intelligence Component and New Innovations in the CAST Highlight May Release]

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Open source is part of almost every software capability we use today. At the  very least libraries, frameworks or databases that get used in mission critical  IT systems. In some cases entire systems being build on top of open source  foundations. Since we have been benchmarking IT software for years, we thought  we would set our sights on some of the most commonly used open source software  (OSS) projects. Software Intelligence Report <> Papers
In our 29-criteria evaluation of the static application security testing (SAST)  market, we identified the 10 most significant vendors — CAST, CA Veracode,  Checkmarx, IBM, Micro Focus, Parasoft, Rogue Wave Software, SiteLock,  SonarSource, and Synopsys — and researched, analyzed, and scored them. This  report shows how each measures up and helps security professionals make the  right choice. Forrester Wave: Static Application Security Testing, Q4 2017  Analyst Paper
Making sense of cloud transitions for financial and telecoms firms Cloud  migration 2.0: shifting priorities for application modernization in 2019  Research Report
Greg Rivera
Greg Rivera Vice President
As Vice President of CAST Highlight, Greg leads product strategy for the CAST SaaS platform helping customers and partners accelerate app modernization / cloud migration, rationalize their app portfolios, and reduce open source risk. He has worked with Fortune 1000 companies such as Microsoft, IDG Communications, and Arrow Electronics for over 20 years in technology and media, helping them make successful digital transformations. Greg has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Management of Technology and is passionate about applying technology to improve business and our everyday lives.
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