SOA Talk

February 16, 2011  6:30 PM

Q&A: Watson

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

IBM’s Watson complex language analysis capability is on display on quiz show ”Jeopardy” this week and it is looking a little bleak for the Mudville Nine, or rather, the human side. Jeopardy champs such as Ken Jennings look like the feeble townspeople in ”The Blob” as Watson, so far, answering most of the questions, and mostly correctly, plows ahead heedless of the humans.

Watson concurrently processes vast quantities of data – analyzing it what looks to me like real time.  Watson is a big machine (bigger than the front-line of the Green Bay Packers, anyway) specially programmed to address the scientific problem of “Question and Answering” ( “Q & A”).  Hopefully, some day, this will find good use in diagnosing human health problems.

Jeopardy calls for a number of skills. Watson may have an unexpected edge in one of those skills, – and it might not be cognition. The son of one of my computer trade press mentors was once on Jeopardy, and handily won his first evening on the show. The second evening, he lost by a large margin – not because he didn’t know the answers, but because another contestant was damn fast on the buzzer. In my household, this week, a few of the family members seemed to do better at times than the Jeopardy champions or Watson, but we did not have to resort to any buzzers to lodge our answer – which leads me to conclude that the ‘buzzer’ is the issue in Watson’s large lead.

For now, it is painful to watch the vaunted Jeopardy champs’ sagging shoulders. Tune in tonight – maybe Godzilla will come to humanity’s rescue!

 Our take: Speaking as a techno-dweeb: ”Go Watson!” Speaking as a human: ”Give me a break!”

February 16, 2011  1:58 PM

Cloud Silos and the role of ESBs in the cloud

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Businesses have worked over many years using SOA to ‘break down the silos’ that separate one application from another. Yet, many of the best early cases of cloud application integration provide the narrowest type of point-to-point integration, with SOA somewhat less than an afterthought. 

This has led Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and integration house MuleSoft to coin the phrase “Cloud Silo” to describe the issue it is trying to address with its Mule iON cloud platform. It is suggested that this company’s public cloud architecture sets the stage for hybrid cloud applications where on-premise applications interoperate with the public cloud.

“Existing [Software as a Service] applications are very much point-to-point,” said Ross Mason, CTO and founder of MuleSoft. “You ’self-serve’ but you do it the way the SaaS vendor wants it.”

Mason said MuleSoft set the stage for Mule iON with earlier Mule ESB 3.0 enhancements.  The cloud version of the company’s Mule software is described as a Platform as a Service.

“Typically, ESBs have been thought of as being behind the firewall. With Mule 3.0 we focused not just on the enterprise but on the cloud as well.” Mule 3.0 supports REST and Web services development, using JSON, ATOM and RSS.

We asked Mason what role ESBs would really play in the cloud computing architecture.  ESBs in the cloud provide the integration points to grab data from different sources, he said, adding that MuleSoft’s implementation supports ready orchestration of such data services.

Tactical integrations are on the rise, Mason said.

Is the Mule iON cloud platform a “public” public cloud? Well, not quite yet. It is presently in private beta.

February 14, 2011  8:26 PM

Java: A dead end for enterprise application development?

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Legend has it that Java got its name one day in 1995 when Sun marketing wunderkind Kim Polese was waiting in line at Starbucks. [Ed Note: We think the author just made this up.] “Java” proved superior to the language’s birth name of “Oak,” since it evoked coolness and caffeinated marathon programming sessions. Java was a step back from the domain-oriented 4GL tools of the time, but it was better than C/C++ for distributed object programming, and a ready army of talent formed around it. Continued »

February 8, 2011  7:59 PM

Got Cloud? Need SOA.

James Denman James Denman Profile: James Denman

By Ryan Cloutier

Cloud computing is becoming a popular buzzword, which is leading many to believe that the adoption of the technology will have the effect of fairy dust, magically fixing their problems like an antivirus that doesn’t depend on signatures or a fairy godmother. Marketing aside, cloud computing is still just that —computing—as such, architecture is an integral aspect that needs to remain prevalent in the minds of developers and architects. Continued »

February 8, 2011  7:54 PM

IDC forecasts cloud systems management software revenue of $2.5 billion in 2015

James Denman James Denman Profile: James Denman

By Ryan Cloutier

IDC projects that the market for cloud systems management software will experience rapid growth, reaching a total revenue of $2.5 billion in 2015. IT professionals will need highly sophistical tools and software to manage a multitude of cloud and non-cloud environments in the coming years. The ability to manage hybrid cloud effectively will also be key. IDC said 70% of currently deployed cloud systems management software worldwide is in private cloud environments.

February 7, 2011  4:13 PM

Software architecture on display at upcoming TheServerSide Java Symposium

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

An upcoming event I’d like to discuss is the TheServerSide Java Symposium next month in Las Vegas. The event is put on by our sister site, Site Editor Cameron MacKenzie and Group Executive Editor Jan Stafford have worked with Java experts such as Jeff Genender, Reza Rahman and others to fashion a fabulous program. Among the keynotes are presentations by Spring Framework creator Rod Johnson, Oracle middleware maven Adam Messinger and no less a personage than Java language creator James Gosling. Continued »

February 1, 2011  7:19 PM

Searching for Private Orion – a browser-based open tool integration platform

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Orion is not a set of Java plug-ins which run in the existing Eclipse Java IDE, according to Eclipse head  Mike Milinkovich. It is instead a browser-based open tool integration platform which is “entirely focused on developing for the web, in the web.” Tools can be written in JavaScript and run in the browser. On the server side, Orion is an OSGi-based Java app that runs in a Jetty container. Milinkovich posits this as a major new code undertaking for Eclipse, and it bears watching. In the last ten years, the Eclipse army has done nothing less than revolutionize the way tools are applied to services – and there is more in store.

February 1, 2011  7:16 PM

Ruby on Rails on NetBeans riding the rails?

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Since It took over Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corp. has made some positive moves to ensure multi-language support for the Java Virtual Machine going forward – but a recent move raises issues. The open source community site, a provider of a key IDE, has announced it will no longer support the Ruby on Rails Web application framework. Of course, the issue may really be that there was limited traction for the NetBeans IDE’s Ruby support in the first place, and resources could not be further spared on a somewhat evangelical effort.

January 26, 2011  12:34 PM

Platform supports out-of-the-box environments for Hadoop, Jboss and others on cloud

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Clustering house Platform Computing has forwarded its efforts in cloud computing with Platform ISF 2.1, a new release of its software for building and managing enterprise private clouds.  It is said to support the application lifecycle from development to operations. Continued »

January 21, 2011  4:02 AM

XML gateways at a crossroads?

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Are changes coming to specialized XML gateways/accelerators? It appears so. Is everyone onboard with the idea? No. Some viewers say the gateway will place its best traits – security and data transformation – in jeopardy, if it dilutes its ”core competencies” and begins to take on the traits  of a general purpose system.

But IBM has added data caching to its Data Power engine. Intel expanded features too. In the latter case, cloud computing is a big driver. And workflow orchestration is the added feature.

That’s what Todd Cramer, director of product marketing for Intel’s SOA products group told us in conversation last year. Cramer said:

“We see an evolution for XML gateways. They first processed XML at wire speed, then [they began] to validate for security. We think in the new environment of the cloud, what you need is an added workflow on top of it. We added a workflow engine. Cloud is the real thing that is changing the game.  Now, a service may be scaled off site to public or private cloud.” 

It is not BPEL-style workflow orchestration that Cramer is discussing – rather, it is machine-to-machine orchestration. It is fair to say the XML accelerator has recently become a more interesting piece of SOA infrastructure. The gateway itself stands at a crossroads.

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