HBO: visiting another great customer

One of the best parts of my job is going on customer visits. Yesterday I got to visit the folks that run HBO&Cinemax. No, not the CEO and a pile of executives: the folks who make the bits flow. The server and storage farms, the transcoding arrays, the video stream construction and the satellite uplinks. It's all in an impressive 5 9's reliability site on Long Island. Redundant everything. Big power supplies. There are big bags of Java code in the control system. I had a great time with the engineers who designed, built and run the whole thing. One of the pieces was the app that schedules and manages the movement and assembly of assets (movies, commercials, whatever...) from the storage arrays to the satellite streamers. It's really the central crossbar that gets everything to the right place at the right time. The hard part is doing that and dealing with all of the failure scenarios - including the failure of itself.

A few weeks ago I got to visit a bunch of engineers at Sabre - the folks behind travelocity and a whole lot of the IT infrastructure of modern civil aviation. One of the fellows I talked to was involved in the piece of software that decides where to put containers that are loaded into aircraft: balancing the load so that the planes don't fall out of the sky. Mission critical everything. They're a huge Java shop.

And before that it was FedEx - more Java engineers than Sun... The Weather Channel... Home Depot... Delta airlines... Equifax... Cingular...

There are so many ways that Java apps touch peoples lives every day. And they aren't even aware of it. The web is just the tip of the iceberg.

Comments:

Too true - Java is at it's very best when things run so smoothly you don't even know its there. It is a pity people always get hung up over the concept of 'killer' apps.....

Posted by guest on February 14, 2007 at 09:52 PM PST #

Exactly. The applications I love most are those that just work.

Posted by Jon Seltzer on February 14, 2007 at 11:10 PM PST #

There are so many ways that Java apps touch peoples lives every day. And they aren't even aware of it. The web is just the tip of the iceberg

Posted by Niraj Manandhar on February 15, 2007 at 07:26 AM PST #

hi james, take a visit to yien tien port, china. you wont believe what you see. own by HIT.

Posted by unknown on February 15, 2007 at 03:16 PM PST #

Have a look at XM Radio's Uplink Delivery System and you will find a Swing GUI. Java is huge.

Posted by Dan Andrews on February 16, 2007 at 01:37 PM PST #

10 years ago, I wrote an introductory Java course for a well known technical training company. I expected the course to last a few years and eventually fade, as most technology courses do. To my surprise, it is still going strong to this day. In fact, it's one of the top sellers. It's the in thing to say Java is past its prime, but the reality is that it solves real problems at a price that's hard to beat. Fundamental qualities like reliability, robustness, security, and performance just don't go out of style.

Posted by Madhu on February 21, 2007 at 12:24 AM PST #

It's hit slashdot already... time to get a blog comment in there about recieving the Order of Canada! :)

Posted by Arron Bates on February 21, 2007 at 07:20 AM PST #

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