Microservices Matters

November 8, 2012  8:54 PM

Axway goes after Vordel

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

B2B software company Axway said it will acquire Vordel, the SOA security gateway company that has recently come to include cloud, mobile and social networking support in its offerings. The move will expand Axway’s data governance portfolio, combining Axway’s current managed file, B2B and integration capabilities with Vordel’s API management, SOA governance and identity management technologies. Continued »

November 1, 2012  8:50 PM

Decoupled design of the Web API kind

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

When WCF started, the focus was on decoupling. That was a basic SOA tenet, and Microsoft, though it was not that big a singer in the SOA choir, took those principles to heart in formulating .NET design patterns. Of course, the REST dialect of SOA has gained traction. REST can’t exactly be called “decoupled” because it is so much about HTTP. In a recent article on SearchSOA.com, we look at updates to WCF, but there is consideration of ASP.NET’s Web API for REST as well.

October 26, 2012  2:17 AM

Gartner ITxpo: Cisco sets goal to double software revenue

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

A few years after some less than some less than momentous forays into XML and Web services software, network equipment provider Cisco has not yet thrown in the towel on software. Instead, the company intends to double its software revenues in the next five years, long time company leader John Chambers told Gartner ITxpo attendees this week in Orlando, Fla.

“You are going to see us move on software on multiple fronts,” he said. Chambers took part in a lighting round interview led by Gartner analysts. The message was that Cisco is confident it can exploit cloud computing, mobility and the Internet of everything – all of which are technologies that can converge to displace present standard software architectures. Big data, too, could be a Cisco sweet spot, if it is highly distributed.

“You want to make decisions on big data in realtime. You want big data in motion,” said Chambers. That means “moving architecture and distribution out,” he said. As hardware giant Cisco embraces software, Chambers shows no surprise that software companies like Oracle, Microsoft and Google Oracle have of late taken the plunge into hardware “If you only have the software you cant move at the same speed that someone will all the pieces- hardware and software – can,” he said. – Jack Vaughan

October 18, 2012  2:35 PM

High-speed trading: Time to take a breath?

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Low-latency messaging, complex event processing, big data, operational business intelligence and other high-powered technologies must be considered by IT leaders looking to achieve competitive edge. But most IT leaders know such systems come at a price, and they must be subjected to the same ROI considerations any other business effort must endure. Continued »

October 18, 2012  2:17 PM

OMG DDS makes SOA approach available for real-time embedded systems

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Integrating disparate computing systems is by no means an easy task. Integration is one of the most important reasons to focus on Web services in enterprise architecture. Standards like SOAP and REST make it less difficult to get various applications and components talking to each other. However, these protocols are not without latency costs. Continued »

October 11, 2012  2:07 PM

Polymita BPM to join JBoss middleware line

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

While outlining its intentions for its new FuseSource acquisition, Red Hat’s JBoss group this week discussed plans for incorporating BPM technology it recently bought from Spanish BPM company Polymita. As described by Red Hat, the Polymita software is meant to more closely integrate advanced BPM capabilities with the JBoss enterprise middleware line.

Red Hat JBoss anticipates a convergence of rules, process and event-style programming, said Ken Johnson , director, product management, Red Hat, and the Polymita BPM purchase helps the firm expand to better cover that convergence. He said he expected Polymita’s present ‘script-like’ rules capabilities to be replaced by open source Drools rules formats.

Its Drools-based rules engine has been the centerpiece of the Red Hat JBoss BPM effort to date. The Polymita purchase may presage a BPM positioning more in tune with other BPM and infrastructure players’ efforts, where a rules engine and a BPM engine typically both get emphasis.

Industry analyst Steve Craggs told SearchSOA.com that he expected Red Hat “to change their approach and go for both a BPM product and a rules product.” He went on to say that Red Hat has work cut out for it in the BPM space. “BPM is a completely different sort of sale from traditional middleware like messaging and ESBs and even application servers,” he said.

Red Hat’s Johnson said but that in 6 to 12 months Polymit’s BPMN-based technology would be incorporated into a JBoss BPM platform that included the company’s rules engine. The rules engine would continue to be made available separately, he said.

Jack Vaughan, Editor in Chief

What do you think? Follow this and other trends on the @SearchSOA twitter feed.

October 3, 2012  9:08 PM

Developing Digital Disruption: On tap at Forrester AD event

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

At Forrester Research’s Application Development & Delivery Forum last year, we were introduced to the idea that innovative disruption was the principal force propelling the future of IT. In the last year, the sense of disruption of convention in both digital and business models seems to have only grown stronger.

Disruption is driven in a big way by forwardly charging mobile computing applications. Strategies for successfully developing such apps are among the central elements upcoming at this year’s Forrester development event, dubbed the Developing Digital Disruption forum.

Aimed at application development and delivery professionals, the event coincides with another forum, called Embracing Digital Disruption, intended for business architects and business process leaders. For both forums, disruption is front and center.

“In  the mobile space we are seeing disruption of our customer’s planning,” said Forrester Principal Analyst Jeffrey Hammond, who indicated mobile apps are no longer mere add-ons to existing applications, but are instead the ‘’first option’’ for application development.  That turns the table on conventional approaches, and calls for changes in skill sets, he said.

“What people are finding is that it requires a lot of different skills. It requires a different culture in development. Before, ‘agile’ was nice to have.  Now it is a necessity,” he said.

And that changes not just how things are built but also the way in which they are designed. “The need to release [updates] more frequently has an impact on architecture,” said Hammond.

At the Developing Digital Disruption forum, Hammond and colleague Michael Facemire, Forrester senior analyst, will debate emerging mobile architectures such as MBaaS (Mobile back-end as a Service) and mixed-mode mobile middleware.

The digitization of business processes has gone far beyond the early Web days, when e-commerce emerged as a supplement to the basic endeavors of ‘’brick and mortar’’ enterprises. Online strategy and product strategy are one and the same.

“IT people traditionally think of the product as something on the other side of the wall. In an age of digital disruption, that is no longer a good assumption,” said Randy Heffner, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester.

Products, be they books, cameras or even cosmetics, increasingly appear as part of a digital on line presentation, and all stakeholders need to adopt new ways of thinking. “Don’t silo the product experience,” said Heffner.

Naturally, we asked Heffner what role SOA would play in this new world. “SOA continues as a way to package business logic so it is available where it needs to be,” he responded. “It’s an enabler for those who are doing new things like mobile. SOA is just in the big mix somewhere.”

Clearly, mobile applications connected via the Web  disrupt the status quo.  Development leaders must adjust, taking an even greater role in facilitating communication between technology, product and business architects. “You have to think about how you are doing customer experience and everything else in a much more integrated way,” said Heffner, who will discuss how to blend product design, systems of engagement and systems of record at the upcoming Forrester event.

Heffner’s forum session is entitled “Digital Disruption and the Future of your Business, Product and Technology Architectures.” Among a host of other sessions are ones addressing the need for agility in planning and governance, security in the age of the open Web and digital design experience principles. The event is set for Oct. 18 to 19 in Orlando, Fla.

Running as a theme through the event is the need for software development teams to better understand the customer. Even after nearly 20 years of the World Wide Web, many enterprise IT teams are still only familiar with development for ‘captive’ in-house users, who, if they don’t like an application interface, are not likely to get up and walk. Today’s Web-based mobile device wielding customers will, however.

Forrester’s analysis holds that more and more companies will begin think of themselves as software development companies, ones with a special focus on creating a topnotch customer experience.  “You can’t use an employee to make up for your poor user experience anymore,” said Hammond.

@SearchSOA Join the conversation.

October 2, 2012  9:19 PM

SOASTA buys LogNormal; The goal? Gain mobile end-user point of view

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Cloud and mobile test service SOASTA has acquired LogNormal, makers of Web performance tools. That news accompanies SOASTA’s release of mPulse, a real-time user monitoring tool that itself derives from an already established alliance between SOASTA and LogNormal.

The mobile user space differs from that of traditional Web apps, said Tom Lounibos, SOASTA’s CEO, and so requires new types of tools. “On the mobile side, customers are looking at the difference between mobile apps and web apps. It goes beyond pure footprint. It  goes to how the [devices] are being used.”

“With mobile, you have people on the move. They are usually interested in one thing, say, a sports score, or a transaction. None of the developers have too much visibility into this,” said Lounibos.

He said mPulse garners performance measures like bandwidth and page load time as well as engagement metrics like bounce, exit and conversion rates. User metrics like user location, device type, carrier speed, and application usage are captured too. Then, mPulse displays the information via an interactive in-memory monitoring dashboard.

Why did SOASTA move to buy LogNormal? “The company has been a leader in real user monitoring,” said Lounibos. In fact, LogNormal principals have been involved in the roots and flowering of Real User Measurement (RUM). Co-founders Buddy Brewer and Philip Tellis had roles in developing Boomerang open source RUM software and other JavaScript-oriented monitoring endeavors.

The LogNormal technology employs JavaScript tagging that lets you capture end-user activity to get a better understanding of how devices are interacting with services. “It captures the real user experience,” said Lounibos. That experiential data is fed back to the SOASTA in-memory analytical engine, he continued, which is at the heart of its flagship CloudTest platform.

Mobile development, clearly, is changing the overall development ethos. Just when some test shops were getting their arms around the idea of end-user PC interaction monitoring, they face new challenges of a mobile nature. Not surprisingly, SOASTA’s Lounibos sees it a s a key area of attention, as was seen depicted in a recent posting on sister blog Head in the Clouds. – Jack Vaughan

September 27, 2012  5:56 PM

JavaOne 2012 kicks off

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

As JavaOne 2012 kicks off in San Francisco Sept 30, industry experts and practitioners gather to learn about the newest in Java standards, best practices and developments.  New this year are a larger keynote location at the Masonic Auditorium and an expanded schedule that includes hundreds of technical sessions, hands-on labs, and BOFs.

Issues confronting the JavaOne throng are many. The community is looking for Java updates that were held off going back to the tumult that ensued as Java originator Sun Microsystems  was courted by IBM and eventually acquired by database giant Oracle. Java on the server is under some stress, as mobile computing moves to the fore, pushing JavaScript, Java’s faux language cousin, higher in the pecking order.  That has led some to question the future of Java.

Meanwhile, a host of new languages are being fielded on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) platform, giving developers much to digest. Finally, OSGi  has edged into production as a means for modular Java app making – but it is challenged, some would say, by Jigsaw, a newer modularization scheme that apparently will not make the next Java rev. One thing is clear: Oracle is now firmly established as chief Java overseer.

For Java consultant, trainer and JavaOne presenter Venkat Subramaniam,  founder of Agile Developer, Inc.,  JavaOne is a chance to reach developers who need new ways to be effective on the JVM platform. Among key concerns he cites are concurrency. New multicore chips, he says require new programmatic ways of working with Java, whether the target platforms are conventional or new cloud varieties.

On multicore chips, [software] multithreads are on steroids, Subramaniam said. That brings out problems in Java coding that have not been uncovered in familiar single-core implementations. Multicore chips bring multiple levels of caches, he added.  “Programs that pretend to work correctly get broken. This is not a problem we invited,” he said.

For those worried about Java’s future, Subramaniam has relief. “It will continue. It is powerful. But the way we use it is going to change in the future,” he said.

How will it change?  Subramanian suggests Scala, Groovy and JRuby will appear on the JVM with greater frequency to help deal with a new architecture paradigm that places Web applications in juxtaposition to enterprise apps.

As has been seen in  other recent JavaOne events, JVM and Java as a platform are becoming as important as – or more important than – Java, the language.

“I think Java is very strong and healthy but you have to look at all the different languages that are available,” said Kirk Knoernschild, software developer. He points to Groovy, Scala and Clojure, as well as other languages as examples of the new “Java platform” landscape.

“You really need to focus more on the separation of Java as a runtime platform. More and more, we will see organizations using the right language on top of the platform,” said Knoernschild, author of “Java Application Architecture: Modularity Patterns with Examples Using OSGi” [Prentice Hall, 2012]. “This language could be Java. It could be Groovy. It could be Grails.”

Emerging languages on the JVM are covered in various sessions at JavaOne. Under consideration will be improvements in the JDK, and support for dynamically typed languages on the JVM.  A conference track covers some of the most popular dynamic languages  now appearing on the JVM, such as Groovy, JavaScript, JRuby, Kotlin, and Scala.

In fact, the JavaOne event offers over 500 wide-ranging sessions. Some notable choices include “Rapid Robot Programming,” “Building Mobile Apps with HTML5 and Java,” “Going Real-Time: How to Build a Streaming API,” and “How RESTful is Your REST?”

Among the nearly 540 speakers at this year’s JavaOne are the so-called “Java Champions,” a selection of community-nominated technology leaders who will run a series of technical talks and community-building activities at the conference.

Stephen Colebourne, project lead at Joda.org, is one member of that group. His talk, “From Instants to Eras, the Future of Time in Java,” will look ahead to the inclusion of an easy-to-use, expressive API for times and dates in Java SE 8. “Java Champion” Bruno Souza will talk about “101 Ways to Improve Java: Why Developer Participation Matters.” He will lead a community brainstorming session about how developer participation can influence the development of Java technologies. -Stephanie Mann and Jack Vaughan

Join the conversation on Twitter

September 20, 2012  6:03 PM

Goodbye to three-tier computing?

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Software in the original mainframe days was all glommed together. Why not? Who was looking? Sometimes, reluctantly, some structure came about. Even in the early mid-range days, code was built up into classes, objects and components that were often loosely strung together.

With standard Java and standard Java servers, fairly strict and familiar three-tier architecture came about. The question to ask now is “Will it last forever?” Like so many things, the fundamental tiers of computing do come up for reconsideration once and a while.

These breezes have been blowing subtly since people cast about for lighter versions of Enterprise Java Beans. More recently, Node.js has arisen as a JavaScript alternative to Java on the server side. Increasingly, the client is the object of interest.

Node.js and other browser-influenced technologies seem to encourage software architects to cast skyward their monolithic three-tier components. As these flying components drift down to earth, they may not settle back up in the same alignment. The sudden near-hegemony of mobile clients is pushing things ahead quickly.  A variety of new architectures are brewing.

In some ways, there seems a growing reaction to the rule of Java and the server. That view emerges from a look at a reporters’ notebook. It’s not going away, but as described in an interview with James Strachan, now senior software consultant with JBoss: “The server side is becoming thinner and thinner.” When SearchSOA.com and TheServerSide.com spoke with Strachan earlier this year at the CamelOne event, the topic of Node.JS was on the docket, but Strachan was expansive.

He said, looking forward:

The server side might just be Amazon Simple DB or Mongo DB or something; there might not be much of a three-tier architecture anymore.

Meanwhile, with flair, he continued:

….the client side is becoming bigger and more and more complex; it’s real-time now, everyone’s doing Ajax, real-time updates, and people are doing lots of single-page applications – which is when one Web page starts up and the entire app is in there. There are lots of models, containers, relationships and persistence and “yada-yada.”

Strachan notes this is highly driven by mobile applications:

In many ways the browsers won. Almost every mobile platform has Web capabilities inside it – Android, iPhone, iOS all have Web browsers and so forth. So the Web has kind of won … most browsers use JavaScript and HTML 5. Silverlight’s dead, Flash is kind of dying … the browser is really where it’s at …  with HTML and JavaScript.

Are the new approaches overblown? Is real change far off? Do you see a shift in emphasis to the client? If so, do you think services or SOA have had a hand in breaking down the status quo? -Jack Vaughan



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