Cloud Native Application Development – Adopt or Fail

In today’s digital world, software strategy is central to business strategy. To stay competitive, organizations need customized software applications to meet their unique needs — from customer engagements to new product and services development. Drawn-out development projects are no longer acceptable, given business demands. Therefore, the need to speed up application development, testing, delivery, and deployment is no longer optional but a must-have competency.   

At the same time that developers are confronting this challenge to deliver solutions more quickly, they are also facing the most diverse technology ecosystem in the history of computing.  To address this challenge, development teams must modernize architecture, infrastructure, and processes to deliver higher-quality applications with greater agility.

Cloud native development is an approach to building and running applications that fully exploits the advantages of the cloud computing model.  Cloud native development multidimensionality involves architecture, infrastructure, and processes based upon four key tenets:

  1. Services-based architecture: could be microservices or any modular loosely coupled model for independent scalability and flexibility of maintenance and polyglot language runtimes.
  2. Containers and Docker image: as the deployment unit and self-contained execution environment with consistency and portability across cloud infrastructures.
  3. DevOps automation: implementing processes and practices and instrumentation of development to test deployment of applications.     
  4. API-based design: The only communication allowed is via service interface calls over the network. No direct linking, no direct reads of another team’s data store, no shared-memory model with an outside- in perspective.

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Announcing Red Hat Fuse 7.0 Technical Preview 3

On November 2, 2017, we announced the technical preview of a new low-code integration platform called Red Hat Fuse Online. This technical preview provided a first chance for users to experience the new platform and provide feedback.

Building on the feedback we’ve received with the  Red Hat Fuse Online technical preview, we are happy to announce the Red Hat Fuse 7.0 technical preview 3 (TP3).

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A DevOps approach to decision management

Sometimes we would like to change the behavior of an application fast. I mean, really fast.

Traditional development cycles for enterprise applications take weeks if not months for a new version to be ready in production. Even in the world of DevOps, containers, and microservices, where we can spin up new versions of an app in days, or even hours, we need to go through development cycles that are too far away from the business users.

Welcome to the world of business rules and decision services, along with low code development.

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“Micro-rules,” event-driven apps, and Red Hat Decision Manager

As we described in an earlier blog, microservices are mini-applications which are devoted to a single, specific function. They are discrete (independent of other services in the architecture), polyglot with a common messaging or API interface, and they have well-defined parameters.

As application development and IT operations teams have started streamlining and speeding up their processes with methodologies like Agile and DevOps, they have increasingly begun treating IT applications as microservices. This breaks up potential bottlenecks, reduces dependencies on services used by other teams, and can help make IT infrastructure less rigid and more distributed.

One area where we are seeing this looser, more distributed approach to service development is with business rules.

“Micro-rules”

Business rules and processes in a traditional structure tend to be centralized, with the complete set of functionality defined for all workflows. The problem with centralization is because there is a single, centralized collection of business rules, any changes to one set of rules can affect many other sets, even those for different business functions.

Micro-rules essentially treat each functional set of rules as its own service — well-defined, highly focused, and independent of other rules.

Figure – Function rule sets as micro-rules

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Announcing: Red Hat Decision Manager 7.0 Is Now Available

Red Hat has announced the release of Red Hat Decision Manager 7. Decision Manager is the evolution of Red Hat JBoss BRMS and provides a platform to develop rules-based applications and services.

As applications and services become more central to business strategies, business users will become increasingly involved in the development process. Software that aids in creating applications without directly writing code is known as low-code development. Decision Manager provides tools, including an updated UI and enhanced wizards, that help business users participate more actively in application development.

Major Use Cases

Decision service as a microservice

Decision Manager has a more modular architecture, such as a decision service, an execution server, and a management interface. Each component can be containerized and deployed as an image on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. Developers can create discrete services for specific needs and deploy those “micro-rules” in a microservices architecture. This approach is covered more in another blog post.

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The Business Value of JBoss Enterprise Application Platform – latest white paper by IDC

The latest edition of the white paper titled “The Business Value of JBoss Enterprise Application Platform,” which summarizes the benefits and value that Red Hat customers are seeing by moving to JBoss EAP, has been released.

As the paper states, “IDC interviewed organizations that are using JBoss EAP to develop and run various business applications. These study participants explained that they not only have significantly reduced platform costs with JBoss EAP but also are supporting important organizational IT initiatives such as containerization, microservices, and hybrid cloud use.” The interviewed participants varied in size from medium to large organizations and belonged to a set of diverse vertical industries.

Some of the results from this study are:

  • 481% 3-year ROI
  • 8-month payback period
  • $50K USD average annual benefits per 100 users
  • 43% more number of new application released per year
  • 21% faster time to deliver new applications
  • 38% more number of new features released per year
  • 74% less productive hours lost due to unplanned downtime per year

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Taking Control of your IoT APIs

At its core, IoT is all about data: data from devices, commands to devices, integrating IoT data with other data to gain insights. The data sources include devices, enterprise applications, vendor/partner systems, service providers and customers. The point-to-point integration between these various systems is not feasible; hence, APIs become the primary means of communication between these disparate systems. A clean architectural approach is the one suggested by the agile integration concept. APIs are central to this concept, which allow data to be shared securely between internal and external systems. The opening of APIs enables a company to provide uniform data and transaction interfaces to internal and external developers, partners, and customers, for improved data access and control of remote resources. By providing well-defined APIs, developers can use data in a programmatic manner; e.g., app developers can get access to IoT devices data without worrying about the underlying hardware interfaces. Considering the importance of APIs for IoT, it’s imperative for an organization to manage these APIs effectively. In fact, APIs have been called a fundamental enabler of IoT however, without an effective API Management solution, API sprawl can easily lead to catastrophe.

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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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