|By Peter Holditch||
|October 3, 2003 12:00 AM EDT||
No, don't worry, it's not a a floor-wax/dessert-topping/toothpaste article this month; it's simply a look at how multilanguage application environments might be used together in highly distributed systems. Interested? Well, don't worry, somebody has to beS Swallow your pride and read on, MacDuff!
Looking at the IT systems of most large organizations is often closely akin to going on a fossil hunt. You dig through the J2EE surface to find a strata of C++ code in the supporting layers. Dig a little deeper and you start finding relics of a bygone age when C and Unix ruled the world. A little more scraping and an outcrop of COBOL is likely to be revealed, or maybe a little PL/1 and then, brushing aside the minicomputers that everyone forgot about, you might be lucky enough to unearth some real assembler. The archaeological metaphor starts to decay here, however. In archaeology, all the creatures in the various strata are dead. In many (most?) IT shops, the creatures from each period in history are actually cohabiting. They are working together to run the business! It's pretty scary stuff.
In short, heterogeneity is the norm. No surprises here; that's the main issue that Web services technology and service-oriented architecture are trying to address in their joint attempt to provide some kind of "Esperanto" and rules of engagement that all these systems can use to communicate (a less costly and more flexible proposition than the custom bits of string that have spent the last few years multiplying out of control). Of course, along with the strata of technology tend to exist strata of technologists, indispensable due to their business knowledge, not to mention their business application knowledge, but hardly next year's news. "That bearded guy in the corduroy trousers and Arran jumperS what does he do?!" (And we haven't even talked about client-side or small-scale systems and their associated entourage).
"So, that's a fascinating statement of the obvious", I hear you yawn. "What's it got to do with WebLogic and transactions?" I'm getting to that...
Well, Hold Up and Stop Getting Shirty
It will not have escaped the notice of the more attentive readers that BEA has application-server technology that addresses two of these strata; J2EE and COBOL/C/C++ on Unix. WebLogic Server (as you all know) is arguably the industry's preeminent Java application server. Tuxedo, meanwhile (as many of you may know), is indisputably the industry's leading C/COBOL/C++ on nonmainframe application server. So why is that interesting? For a large organization it's highly probable that there are pockets of expertise that fall into both Java and non-Java open-systems camps (to take but two strata). Clearly, the best way to get value for money from your developers is to set them to work doing what they do best - a C/Unix guy can't be expected to be a J2EE guru overnight, however good the training course. For the maximum short-term bang for the buck, get him writing the C that he knows and loves; over time, let him migrate to the modern Java world. Wherever he is at any point in time, BEA can provide him with an application server to underpin his endeavors, bringing to bear the required scalability and reliability whilst he concentrates on the business rules - where his focus is adding value to the business. Here, we have a technology migration scenario.
Just Opening a Port and Listening for HTTP Won't Cut the Mustard
Alternatively, maybe the organization is looking to expose a service-based interface to some of its Unix legacy code in order to include it more cost effectively into the new interconnected world. Web services are the key to the language it should speak, but what about the runtime characteristics? If the new service-oriented interface will generate a significant volume of requests to the old logic, just opening up a port and listening for HTTP SOAP requests isn't going to cut the mustard. A runtime infrastructure will be needed to throttle and balance load, not to mention making the resultant online system manageable in production. A good solution would be to move the old C/COBOL/C++ Unix code into an application server environment and we've already agreed (well, I already asserted, and I have the references) that Tuxedo is by far the preeminent UnIX non-Java application server environment. So here we have introduced Tuxedo to provide new levels of scalability and visibility to existing business logic - a technology renewal scenario.
The common thread between the two scenarios is that both envisage a Java application server (and a person of your exquisite taste is bound to have chosen WebLogic!) and Tuxedo coexisting in an operational environment.
The good news is that BEA understands this. WebLogic Server contains a piece of technology called the WebLogic Tuxedo Connector (WTC). WTC's sole purpose is to allow you (from a runtime perspective) to view Tuxedo and WebLogic as a single logical platform - messages can flow back and forth as needed, with the connectivity all defined by administrative configuration. In the technology migration scenario, this allows for the maximum return on developed assets - C or C++ developed in Tuxedo today does not need to be replaced tomorrow with Java, since it can be used from the Java code. Mixed skill development teams can put together applications composed of new (and existing) code in Java and non-Java languages with no integration pain. For the technology renewal scenario, the connectivity was an explicit requirement; it was the driver for the whole effort.
Now I hear a murmur going up: "Hang on, I thought SOAP was the way to do technology strata integration. And how can you be pushing WTC with a clear conscience? It's WLS specific, and I know there are competing Java 2 Connector Architecture-based products available from third parties!" So before you go into a frenzy, let me come back on those points.
WTC is architected after J2EECA, but it would be impossible (at this point) for it to be a J2EECA implementation; for a start, I already mentioned that it's bidirectional (unlike the standard) and as for SOAP and Web services, wellS the standards as they are today lack some features that are needed for enterprise-grade solutions. One of the lacking areas (and finally, I get to the point that ties all this to the theme of my column!) is transactions!
Finally, I Get to the Point
The WebLogic Tuxedo connector can propagate two-phase commit transactions between the BEA WebLogic and Tuxedo environments. In my mind, that is implicit in making them a logically united platform (but that's just the kind of mind I have, I guess). None of the alternative products on the market that I know of (however standards based they claim to be) can do that. They all claim to support transactions, but what they mean is that they can start a Tuxedo transaction from the Java side - not that they can flow a transaction from it (or to it, come to that). In the migration scenario, it could be common for atomic updates to be needed where the data to be persisted has been computed on both sides of the technology fence; remember the scenario involved a mixed-skill development team. Full two-phase commit is needed and it is needed in such a way that it spans the two technologies. WTC provides that. Even for the renewal scenario, it would be lovely for all the systems to be interconnected in such a way that they were loosely coupled enough that they never needed to coexist in the same transaction. Life isn't always like that, and until implementations of WS-Transaction hit the market, WTC is the only game in town.
Oh, and don't forget those client-side, small-scale guys. Wouldn't it be great if they could apply their PowerBuilder/Delphi/Visual Basic- style skills to this unified applications environment! Oh, sorry, I must have forgotten to mention... they can! With BEA WebLogic Workshop, not only can they access the Tuxedo-based resources via an out-of-the-box control, but since the fruits of their labors run atop WebLogic, their transactions can flow as freely as anyone else's between the old and the new technology worlds.
So, in conclusion, the WebLogic Tuxedo Connector is a kick-ass piece of technology (if you'll excuse the hyperbole). By its ability to stitch together the WebLogic and Tuxedo worlds with transactions (and security, come to mention it), it gives you maximum ability to leverage assets in the Java and non-Java worlds with the minimum of developer effort. And did I mention it's free?! Now that's what I call return on investment!
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Oct. 21, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,769
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
Oct. 21, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 610
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
Oct. 21, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,448
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
Oct. 21, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 916
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
Oct. 21, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 900
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
Oct. 21, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 862
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
Oct. 21, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 8,049
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Oct. 21, 2016 10:50 AM EDT Reads: 220
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Oct. 21, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,640
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
Oct. 21, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,228
Donna Yasay, President of HomeGrid Forum, today discussed with a panel of technology peers how certification programs are at the forefront of interoperability, and the answer for vendors looking to keep up with today's growing industry for smart home innovation. "To ensure multi-vendor interoperability, accredited industry certification programs should be used for every product to provide credibility and quality assurance for retail and carrier based customers looking to add ever increasing num...
Oct. 21, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 271
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Oct. 21, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,371
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Oct. 21, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 11,123
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
Oct. 21, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,583
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Oct. 21, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,735
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service.
Oct. 21, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 883
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Oct. 21, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,284
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Oct. 21, 2016 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,796
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Oct. 21, 2016 06:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,656
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessi...
Oct. 21, 2016 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 5,052