Five Links: Band of Brothers Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

Red Hat has a lot of corporate blogs (worth reading!), but a huge part of our culture as a company is collaboration and meritocracy. As in … letting our opinions be known. There’s a reason we actually made a t-shirt to commemorate our corporation-wide mailing list.

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From Pinterest

A lot of Red Hatters have personal blogs (or active LinkedIn postings) precisely because of the value that we as a group place on transparency, defending ideas, and innovation.

This week, I want to highlight some of the blogs by Red Hatters that I’ve read recently. I’m not even going to call this a “top 5,” because we have a lot of prolific and interesting writers on a million different topics. These are a random sampling of the blogs that I hit periodically.

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Five Links: Pattern Recognition Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

When I was a reporter in Livingston, Montana, I wrote a story about a massive infrastructure campaign that was just kicking off — new sewer and water lines across town, changing traffic flows and redesigning streets, new green spaces and public art. I interviewed the primary architect, and he told me that the designs were influenced by A Pattern Language, published in 1977. That book has fascinated me; from the placement of a single window to the layout of an entire central business district, it breaks down the patterns of human behavior and then analyzes design techniques that best reinforce the desired patterns for a given space. It doesn’t say what should be done; it simply uses patterns to say if you want to accomplish Goal A, use Design Technique B.

In a roundabout way, this week’s series of links look at patterns and how they influence behavior.

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Ultra Low Latency API Management for Microservices with Red Hat 3scale

In this article, we provide a solution that enables almost latency free API management for Java-based microservices APIs. We build on Manfred Bortenschlager’s white paper Achieving Enterprise Agility With Microservices And API Management. We provide a practical solution for adding the management layer Manfred outlines to internal microservice-to-microservice API calls.

API Management and Microservices

Figure 1 – a typical microservices architecture with depictions of externally and internally consumable microservices

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In the white paper Manfred describes a typical microservices architecture consisting of:

  • A perimeter service layer that is typically implemented by an API gateway which manages and secures components that follow the backend for frontend (BFF) pattern. The perimeter service exposes APIs to external consumers.
  • Internal microservices that are clustered into functional elements and communicate via APIs.

The most common and most decoupled way to achieve API management is through deployment of API gateways on the API provider’s infrastructure. These gateways act as traffic controllers which authenticate, authorize, and report on API traffic to the 3scale API Management Platform. These extensive management features are achievable with very low latency overhead through our caching and asynchronous architectural features. Additionally the gateways provide excellent routing and security protections such as defense against DDoS attacks and more.

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Data and Architecture: Business Architecture and Capabilities

Does your organization talk about connecting the execution of work to its strategy? Are you building a roadmap on how to get there and achieve desired goals? To help your organization achieve the strategy and goals, model the business architecture by understanding the organization’s strategy, communicating business outcomes, and aligning these outcomes to the appropriate business capabilities.

Business architecture is illustrating what the business does and how the business operates. Gartner defines business capabilities as  “what the business needs to do to achieve the business strategy.” Business architecture uses business capability modeling, to visualize and influence people, processes, and technologies needed to maximize stakeholder value, achieve organizational goals, and execute on the business strategy. This model should map out the future state capabilities needed to support where the business is going over multiple years, as defined by the organization’s strategy.

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APIs Are The New Language of Collaboration

“Survival of the fit,” in Darwinian evolutionary theory, describes the mechanism of natural selection. The biological concept of fitness is defined as reproductive success. But could this also apply to modern business? Sustained growth might be the criterion for fitness in a business context. So why is sustained growth so difficult to achieve? Surprisingly, it is not for the lack of ideas but lack of ability to adapt to change and competition.

The fittest business can quickly innovate and adapt to competition and it can use its core competencies to extend itself in new ways. These organizations are often lean, mean, and learning machines using application programming interfaces (APIs). They are built on a foundation of cloud, mobile, big data analytics and social computing and they are generally connected to the internet of things, to extend and monetize the organization’s core assets for growth and  new value and revenue streams.

Even organizations born in different eras of digital transformation (mobile, internet-based, and client/server) that are successfully using APIs to achieve disruptive growth in their respective industries.

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Architecture, Process, Platform

Digital transformation is a hot topic in enterprises these days, and like any such topic it’s associated with a wide range of use, overuse, and misuse. But the phrase does get at something that we can all sense is really going on, a truly profound change. As different businesses undergo or undertake variants of digital transformation, we see a number of common characteristics of the more digital world:

  • More things happen (or are expected to happen) in real time
  • More different sources and kinds of data are brought together
  • Activities are more decentralized and ad hoc
  • There is a broadening of participation in both the building and the use of I.T.
  • There is a shift from analysis and planning to trial-and-error experimentation

Each of those ideas deserves elaboration–topics for future blogs–but going for the moment with whatever came to mind for those bullets as a rough characterization of digital transformation, let’s explore the interplay of architecture, process, and platform in helping enterprises compete and succeed in this emerging digital world.

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Bringing Containerized Services and DevOps Closer to (Your) Reality

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For more than 10 years, Red Hat JBoss Middleware has been a successful business that deeply represented the Red Hat DNA: open source software. We expanded our product portfolio with projects created and imagined by the open source community; we decided to support other projects with contributors; and we also opened the source of technologies we acquired. Somewhere along the way, Linux containers, Kubernetes, and docker happened which made us realize that containerization of applications is the base for your next 20 years. The caveat in this is that a platform is only as important as the applications you run on top of it. In other words, a platform not running applications is not realizing its value. With that in mind, we made an important decision and investment to evolve our application portfolio in similar ways that we ask our customers to do to theirs: let’s take our Red Hat JBoss Middleware products, commonly deployed on Linux and Windows machines, and make them available as containerized deployments.

With the announcement of the availability of JBoss Data Virtualization for OpenShift we now have 100 percent of our Red Hat JBoss Middleware runtime portfolio containerized and available in Red Hat OpenShift, an enterprise-ready Kubernetes distribution with value-added capabilities that go from deploying your already packaged container images, to delivering a DevOps pipeline for an iterative development process.

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Five Links: Embrace the Change Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

As we come upon the glorious time change weekend, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately on changes — planning, designing, trying to understand what needs to change and how. Change is inevitable, but the question seems to be how far can we control it or define it. Within technology, we talk a lot about disruptive companies or key innovators, and sometimes it’s easy to begin looking at change for change’s sake. Disruptors and innovators don’t (only) change because it’s fun — they do something new with purpose. So this week’s posts look at change, design, and transformation as means to an end — chaotic yet intentional.

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Continue reading “Five Links: Embrace the Change Edition”

Data and Architecture, pt. 1: Ask the Right Questions

Your business needs to better use its data — but what does that mean? Context matters. Data governance, reporting and analytics, business intelligence. When you approach your data architecture, first start with asking the right questions that solve business challenges. What data does the sales team need to increase sales by x %? What data does the engineering team need to work on and innovate products that provide competitive advantage?

Similar questions have inspired companies to disrupt markets. Uber started with asking questions like, how can we optimize drivers at the right locations with the most customer demand? How can we give consumers the ability to call a cab with a click of a button? Tomasz Tunguz highlights similar examples in his book Winning with Data, where he states that “the best data-driven companies operationalize data.” To operationalize data is where companies can use the right data to rapidly change the way they operate.

In order to use the right data, ask the right questions. Gartner states exactly this, “Ask the right questions” in the 2015 article Big Data Analytics Failures and How to Prevent Them. Simply, what problem or toughest business challenge is your company trying to solve with data?

At the foundation and beginning practice of enterprise architecture, dating back to the 70’s with the Zachman Framework, the principle question related to data was “what data is needed to list the things most important to the business?” The framework focuses on the “what”, what is needed, in order to produce the right enterprise, data and technology models for the best use of data.

In order to harness the “Power of Data”, HBR suggests that companies start with the business problem in mind, and then “seek to gain insights from vast amounts of data.” With stating the specific business problem, companies can narrow the search and refine how they are going to find data-driven answers to their most challenging business problems.

Upcoming: Architecture Designs for Camel Developers

Bilgin Ibryam, a senior architect with Red Hat, will be conducting a webinar about design patterns for new architectures like microservices, IoT, and SOA — which Apache Camel developers can use to be more effective in their coding.

Apache Camel itself is based on defined set of design patterns for messaging and integration. This makes Apache Camel a natural framework for designing microservices and IoT applications, which are inherently distributed computing systems. However, developing applications in Camel requires layers of design decisions, because effectively isolating computing components requires a clear understanding of how they will be interacting. This webinar will call out commonly used patterns and design principles for Camel application development, based on real-world examples. This covers a variety of principles, from error handling to complex, multi-route applications, scalability, and high availability.

Registration is open. The webinar is Tuesday, June 7, at 11:00am Eastern Time (US).

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Fun Follow Up: Webinar Q&A

I will collect any questions asked during the webinar, and I’ll do a follow-up post on Friday, June 10, to try to capture the most interesting (or confounding) questions that arise.

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