The Role of Agile Integration in Open Banking

In the mid 90s, Bill Gates famously said that “banking is necessary, banks are not.” There is certainly a lot of truth in this statement. We all need banking services in some shape or form. But who delivers these services to us is secondary. In fact, Accenture concluded in a study conducted in 2016 asking over 30,000 people in 18 countries that if the tech titans like Google, Amazon, or Facebook would offer such services, 31% of the respondents would switch to them. This clearly imposes a significant threat on traditional banking institutions.

Another challenge that banks are facing worldwide are the increasing demands for regulatory compliance with respect to openness. Such regulations include, for instance, Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) in Europe, the Amendment Bill to Japanese Banking Law in Japan, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) with the Unified Payment Interface, UK’s Open Banking standard by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), or the Open Banking Regime by Australia’s Federal Government. Banks approach these regulatory challenges in many different ways. Some see it as a serious business threat and only do the bare minimum for compliance; others see it as an opportunity and with smart investment start building banking platforms for the future.

Our suggestion for building the banking platform of the future resides on the principles of agile integration, which is an architectural approach centered around application programming interfaces (APIs) and API management. At its core, agile integration resides on the three pillars: distributed integration for greater flexibility, containers for the ability to scale better, and managed APIs for re-usability and hence speed. We described the details in an earlier post.  

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The 3 benefits of RHOAR, by Thomas Johnson, Shadow-Soft

The rise of microservices and containerized environments comes with its own set of demands and challenges for developers, who are being asked to quickly and reliably bring new features to market and adhere to strict best practices.

Thomas Johnston from our partner Shadow-Soft recognizes their pain points and offers the three benefits that RHOAR offers to speed up microservices development.

Read more here: Microservices slowing you down? Streamline the orchestration process with Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR)

Red Hat JBoss EAP – a platform for current and future workloads

There is this myth that Java EE containers aren’t fast and agile enough to build modern applications. Although this may be true for some app server vendors, it’s definitely not the case for Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (JBoss EAP).  JBoss EAP is a modern application platform that includes a modular structure that allows service enabling only when required, improving startup speed.

With this in mind, we decided to run a comparison between JBoss EAP and other technologies that are touted to be the best for cloud-native applications. Not to our surprise, here are the results:

Note: The performance tests above were produced without any performance optimization, and if you run the tests yourself, you might get different results depending on your hardware and memory. The conclusion from the above results is that JBoss EAP is not slower and does not use more memory than the other runtimes.

When comparing a JBoss EAP instance running Java EE Web Profile app, a JBoss EAP running a Spring application, Tomcat and Spring Boot, you can see that in our tests, JBoss EAP running Java EE Web Profile was faster, used less memory, and had the highest throughput under load. You can find the entire test suite and source code at the following location:

https://github.com/tqvarnst/eap-vs-tomcat-vs-spring-boot

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Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.1 Availability

The release of Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.1 (JBoss EAP) is now available. JBoss EAP is Red Hat’s middleware platform, built on open standards and compliant with the Java Enterprise Edition 7 specification, which includes a modular structure that provides service enabling only when required, improving startup speed, memory footprint and performance. Included in this minor release are a broad set of updates to existing features. In addition, the release provides new functionality in the areas of security, management, HA, and performance, such as a new additional security framework that unifies security across the entire application server, CLI and web console enhancements, and load balancing profile, respectively. Also included are additions to capabilities related to the simplification of components such as a new additional EJB Client library, HTTP/2 Support and the ability to replace the JSF implementation as well as the JBoss Server Migration Tool to migrate from previous versions of JBoss EAP to JBoss EAP 7.1. With these new capabilities, customers can continue to reduce maintenance time and effort, simplify security, and deliver applications faster and more frequently, all with improved efficiency.

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How to Address the Challenges of a Pervasive Integration Strategy

Earlier this months at the Gartner ITxpo event, Massimo Pezzini presented the challenges that must be addressed by a pervasive enterprise integration strategy. In summary there are four types of hybrid challenges (see Massimo’s diagram below).

Gartner-HiP

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The State of Microservices Survey 2017 – Eight trends you need to know

During the fall of 2017, we conducted a microservices survey with our Red Hat Middleware and Red Hat OpenShift customers. Here are eight interesting trends discerned by the results:

1. Microservices are being used to re-architect existing applications as much as for brand new projects

There seems to be a strong emphasis in the market by technology vendors for positioning microservices as being only for new projects.  However, our survey reveals that organizations are also using microservices to re-architect existing and legacy applications.

Sixty-seven percent of Red Hat Middleware customers and 79 percent of Red Hat OpenShift customers indicated this. This data tells us that microservices offer value to users all along their IT transformation journey — whether they are just looking to update their current application portfolio or are gearing up new initiatives. So, if you are only focused on greenfield projects for microservices, it may be a good idea to also start evaluating your existing applications for a microservice re-architecture analysis. Microservices introduce a set of benefits that our customers have already started seeing, and they are applying these benefits not just to new projects but to existing ones as well.

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Red Hat partners guide your journey to cloud-native development

The big question is always, “Do we car manufacturers learn to become tech companies more quickly than a tech company learns to be an automotive player?”

That is quite a statement. When a leading car manufacturer worries about being disrupted by a technology company, you know something big is going on. No wonder so many companies are talking about disruption these days.

There is a big transition taking place. And it is not just about competition. Or innovation. Or value migration. Or the creation of new markets. It is about the fact that every company is becoming a technology company, and only those that embrace this will survive, thrive, and shape our world. Software is at the core of this change, and increasingly it appears that the cloud is where much of this is going to take place.

Customers often come to us asking, “How can I be faster? How can I innovate and lead, instead of repeat and follow? How can I do that with enterprise-grade security, reliability and resiliency?”

A good part of the answer lies in using the cloud to power business models and help run, migrate, or scale existing applications, or develop new cloud-native ones. Red Hat has offered platforms to run customers’ applications and infrastructure in the cloud for a number of years. Today, we are taking another step forward by offering cloud-native application runtimes and frameworks, fully supported and enterprise grade.

Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes offers a curated selection of popular cloud-native application runtimes and frameworks that are well-suited for enabling cloud-native application development.

In the words of Joe Dickman, senior vice president of Vizuri, “Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes establishes a foundation for building services for hybrid and multi-cloud application and systems […] in a myriad of environments using their preferred tools.”

With Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes, organizations can innovate directly in the cloud, from inception to production; running in the industry’s most comprehensive Kubernetes platform, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, and in a cloud provider of choice.

James Chinn, CEO at Shadow-Soft, adds: “With Red Hat’s latest support of Wildfly Swarm, Spring Boot, and NodeJS, our customers can feel confident building and scaling containerized workloads on OpenShift. Openshift deployed in a public cloud gives our customers the flexibility and agility to deploy an enterprise and container framework quickly and easily.”

When customers develop an application strategy for moving to the cloud, they have to choose the right runtimes, based on factors such as existing skills or the right framework for the application they need to create.

“Historically, one of the biggest challenges has been the roadmap necessary for change in legacy environments,” says Chris Hart, chief technology officer of Levvel. “OpenShift Application Runtimes helps simplify that transformation and lowers the effort and risks to getting started with cloud-native development.”

They need to decide which applications to move to the cloud and how to keep evolving and innovating. What applications get a lift-and-shift (rehost) versus reshape or re-architect? Should they create “fast monoliths” or decompose them, totally, or partially, as microservices? If so, what is the right framework for the job?

Erik Melander, EVP of solutions at Kovarus, expands on this: “Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes […] reduces friction by packaging and supporting a curated set of open application runtimes and letting developers make the right choice for cloud-native development.”

It is also important for them to learn about containers and how to implement DevOps methodologies and culture. Development and operations teams may need to learn new skills and change the way they work.

We are happy to have a large network of partners around the world with the expertise to support our customers along the exciting path of going to the cloud. From the top level strategy and innovation consulting, down to the most detailed testing and infrastructure set up. From defining and helping implement an application modernization strategy, to helping implement and deploy a microservices architecture.

Red Hat solution systems integrators and solution providers can help select the right option based on the technical objectives, existing skills or strategy. They can also help customers prepare for the challenges of complex microservices architectures and equip an organization to adopt DevOps practices and culture.

Start your journey here!

Supporting quotes:

“For our customers that are developing applications to create and sustain competitive advantage, developer productivity is an ever-present challenge. We are excited to see Red Hat addressing this problem with the launch of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes, which reduces friction by packaging and supporting a curated set of open application runtimes and letting developers make the right choice for cloud-native development.”
Erik Melander, EVP of Solutions at Kovarus

“We’re excited about Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes because it simplifies the adoption of beneficial technologies for our enterprise customers. Many companies know they need to achieve higher release velocity and improved reliability using approaches like microservices architecture and more modern development and operations tools. Historically, one of the biggest challenges has been the roadmap necessary for change in legacy environments. The OpenShift Application Runtimes help simplify that transformation and lowers the effort and risks to getting started with cloud-native development. We’re looking forward to seeing this accelerate our customers’ success.”
Chris Hart, Chief Technology Officer, Levvel

“We are excited about the announcement of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes as it signals Red Hat’s continual commitment to meeting our customers where they are today and positioning them for success in the future. With Red Hat’s latest support of Wildfly Swarm, Spring Boot and NodeJS, our customers can feel confident building and scaling containerized workloads on OpenShift. Openshift deployed in a public cloud gives our customers the flexibility and agility to deploy an enterprise and container framework quickly and easily. And like any public cloud deployment, you can start small and scale elastically as workloads demand.”
James Chinn, CEO, Shadow-Soft

“Organizations that are investing time and resources in cloud-native architectures must look at leveraging containerized workloads to provide a robust, flexible and reliable infrastructure that can respond quickly to changing customer needs. Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes establishes a foundation for building services for hybrid and multi-cloud application and systems in a programmable way that provision and decommission infrastructure and applications resources in a myriad of environments using their preferred tools.”
Joe Dickman, Senior Vice President, Vizuri

 

What is agile integration?

**This post was updated on September 26, 2018.**

If you Google the term “agile integration,” you’ll come up with about 30 million results, but they focus heavily on one area: continuous integration within agile development. That definition of agile integration is based on the build environment.

However, it is possible to have another definition for “agile integration,” one that looks at the platform architecture.

In this definition, “agile” doesn’t relate to the process or the infrastructure, but to the flexibility and adaptability–the agility–of the application architecture. Integration within this context has a more strategic role, as the architectural framework that defines the interoperability of services and with a focus on the application functionality.

Check out this e-book to learn more about Agile Integration: The Blueprint for enterprise architecture.

Traditional vs. agile as an architectural approach

There are functional similarities between traditional integration and agile integration – like routing, connectivity, and orchestration capabilities. The difference between traditional enterprise application integration and agile integration is not in the tasks performed, but in the strategic perspective of those tasks. Put simply, integration can be viewed as a necessary but often limited part of the infrastructure (traditional) or it could be viewed as the core framework of the application architecture (agile).

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3 ways to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey

In our journey to transform our ways of working, our focus on our customers wishes and our plans to pivot to a digital business there is always a need for process improvement.

While the transformation to a digital business can encompass many aspects that are new to your organization, there are always existing investments in technologies and processes that need to be evaluated.

Some can be modernized and migrated on to the new infrastructure that will support the digital business and others end up remaining in place as legacy systems of record.

One thing is for sure, evaluating existing business processes and looking to improve their effectiveness is going to be a necessary step. With that in mind, here are three ways to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey.

1. Effective BPM theory

The first step in any journey is to plan effectively and gather as much information from the experts as you can. For this step you have many options, but the following example previews the open technology and tooling that will ensure you are ready to tackle process improvements.

 

Schabell_JBoss_front1

2. Inventory existing processes

Identifying the list of existing processes in a business, both automated and non-automated processes will be the next step on the journey.

Businesses have processes in place that might be automated in some form, but showing signs of age or lack of effective execution. Others might have partial automation and exhibit a need for further automation at the time of evaluation. Finally, there can potentially be processes in your business that are crying out for automation and are hindering other processes with their lack of automation.

Collect all this information for evaluation without regard for size, level of automation or making decisions on priority for the next step.

3. Short list processes

Now that you’re able to browse all processes in your organization, identifying the short list where quick wins on process improvements is critical to the project’s success.
Everyone wants to see gains and building momentum with processes that can be improved both quickly and effectively builds confidence. Identify processes that have impact, are visible and can be effectively improved without having major impacts to the existing architecture or business process owner perceptions. This will be different for every organization, but crucial to building success and ensuring a smoother transition on your digital journey.
Armed with these three guidelines you’re ready to effectively prepare for process improvements in your digital journey.

Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes and Spring Boot – details you want to know

Have you read the announcement of the alpha release of Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR)? We also posted an introduction to the component in RHOAR earlier. This post dives into more detail on the Spring Boot certification support that is expected to be included with RHOAR.

First things first, Spring Boot remains part of the Spring Framework that is controlled by Pivotal. Red Hat and Pivotal are not announcing any sort of alliance to alter how elements of the Spring Framework, including Spring Boot, are defined or brought to market.

Instead, with RHOAR, Red Hat is working to certify some technologies and support others (when generally available) that Spring Boot will interoperate with. Conceptually, Red Hat wants to welcome Spring users to the Red Hat ecosystem and enhance their ability to deliver effective cloud native applications on the OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) using the Spring Boot java development framework. So let’s dive into the details a bit more.

First, lets look at some of what RHOAR will offer Spring Boot developers. For starters, if you’re new to working with Spring Boot, Red Hat will be offering a browser based utility to get started with multiple cloud-native runtimes, including Spring Boot. The utility known as a launchpad will create a fully-functional starter application for you. You can download the starter application as a zip file, or interact with an OCP instance. When the later is done, code is pushed to a GitHub namespace, sets up a build pipeline for continuous delivery, and ensures it’s triggered to run on each push to your git repository. Now, the choice of OCP instance is up to you. You could certainly use a centralized public or private OCP deployment. But you could also use a local OCP environment right on your desktop. Pretty cool.

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