Red Hat Summit: Tuesday Recap

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Tuesday was the first official day of Red Hat Summit. (DevNation started on Monday.) There is a lot going on in middleware, down a lot of different tracks — application development, business automation, integration. Tuesday had an overall focus on containers; for middleware, that means that most of the sessions related to Red Hat Enterprise Application Platform 7 and how it works in cloud and container environments.

Don’t forget to check the Middelware Guide to Loving Summit for session highlights for each day and for social media channels to watch for live tweeting and general commentary.

Keynotes and General Sessions

One of the more anticipated keynotes for Tuesday was Target’s Elwin Loomis, who was talking about the impact of culture on effective technology innovation. (Side note, but his classic comic-inspired presentation was a blast to watch.) The crus of his argument was much less on technology – no silver bullet of This Awesome Product that instituted change for them. His focus was on how to inspire a change that propagates naturally throughout an organization. It’s not enough for one person to have a vision; that vision has to be inspirational.

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The first step in culture change is to find the doers and allow them to do. A few years ago, Target was locked by its culture: monolithic, bound by over-collaboration (which sounds like rule by committee), and an ingrained resistance to new ideas. He searched out people who wanted to try something and told them to actually try it. Legacy – whether it is infrastructure or mindset – is the biggest challenge. Without the ability to adapt, the organization will eventually die.

Jim Whitehurst’s session touched on a similar note. He was drawing parallels with the previous industrial revolutions, where the growth of industrial technology inspired a hierarchical and highly ordered culture. He looks at the next revolution as requiring culture and process that is more dynamic and participatory.

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There was on phrase from the SAP keynote in the afternoon session that I really liked – ambient intelligence. It was just part of their slide deck on what they call the “digital core” of the Internet of Things, but it stuck out to me because of both the idea of massive amounts of information and the ability to parse it for value. The speaker likened it to a conversation. Those diverse information streams are the ways that customers are talking to you; the way your process that information is how you listen. It moves data from being a clinical specimen that you collect into a real relationship. To reference the Target talk again, looking at IoT or technology as a relationship makes it meaningful.

JBoss EAP 7 Sessions and Container Day

There were a lot of fantastic OpenShift-related sessions today. I attended two for JBoss EAP 7 that had a lot of similarities.

The first was a DevNation session with Don Schenk on .NET, Java, and containers. He used the music store example application from Microsoft’s .NET Core GitHub repo to show how to deploy the same application to a Windows instance or a Linux container (which just some quirks between builds on the different platforms). The application had parts written in both .NET Core and Java, while the builds were deployed to different instances in OpenShift.

The other session I went to was with Christina Wong and Thomas Qvarnstrom for the JBoss EAP team, talking about how to deploy Java applications in the cloud. They defined three different high-level architectures: running JBoss EAP 7 on a physical machine, running JBoss EAP in an OpenShift container, and creating 12-factor applications.

Both of these touched on a couple of similar points.

  • The container environment is largely irrelevant to the application developer, since they don’t need to manage that environment. This is especially true with portable, platform-agnostic programming languages like Java and, now, .NET Core.
  • The architecture of application is much more important than the architecture of the platform it’s running on (assuming the platform supports your desired application architecture).

With a lot of the push in new development directions like containers or (brave new world) Microsoft’s .NET Core, it is fascinating to see how vital Java remains. The combination of deep technical knowledge and the ability of the language to handle significant complexity and workloads is allowing Java to grow in really varied environments.

Highlights for Wednesday

WP_20160627_08_03_54_ProThe Wednesday morning keynote will feature Paul Cormier and Burr Sutter with a focus on application development and DevOps methodologies, with a live demo.

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