by Timothy Beneke
John Duimovich, Java CTO and IBM Distinguished Engineer, took the stage at Sunday’s JavaOne 2013 keynote and stated that IBM had a new approach to this year’s JavaOne. They arrived at JavaOne with 20 developers of all ranks, giving 28 sessions -- and only one marketing person. This was consistent with a mantra he repeated throughout his keynote: “It’s a great time to be a developer.” Duimovich also commented several times that developers ultimately have a lot of power, a recognition that leads IBM to shape many policies around the needs and desires of developers.
Systems of Interaction and Engagement
Duimovich identified an interesting turn of events. “There is a new class of application development out there now called systems of interaction, which are typically delivered via the cloud." “Systems of interaction” is a term that encompasses what has traditionally been called systems of record, which are what many Java developers work with in Java EE using containers and databases in such domains as business process-oriented bank accounts and HR systems.
He observed that there are new and growing open cloud ecosystems centered around such platforms and projects as CloudFoundry and OpenStack, offering the next “big thing” for developers -- the ability to access a whole open stack and write applications. “What’s different about IBM is that we are investing in open things a bit earlier in their life cycle,” said Duimovich. “We don’t wait until they are done and competing with us. We try to influence them early.”
New applications are being developed that offer systems of interaction which he characterized as user-centric applications specifically targeted to support user work flow. These are mobile apps similar to what is in a phone or a car that bridge both systems of record and social networks. “So the application might take Twitter or Facebook into account, while bridging big data and bring together capabilities that drive user-focused applications,” explained Duimovich. “You are on the way to the airport and the app tells you the plane is late; you take off and the app tells you about the weather in the city of arrival. After that, you might be interested in where to buy new clothes because your luggage is still at the airline.”
Such applications have contextual “awareness” driving them. All of this is driven by the cloud as systems of record get pushed out to the cloud as services. “IBM has created an experimental platform that developers can try out called IBM BlueMix which is based on OpenSource and CloudFoundry,” said Duimovich. “It has runtimes and frameworks, like Java, and new ones like Node, and other scripting languages like Ruby.”
IBM BlueMix offers standard services such as database, caching, and messaging, but also includes new ones like social information, and location and geo-spatial database information. “This is all brought together so the enterprise can engage with their customers in a much richer way -- the way they do that is via the cloud.”
Java Innovation at IBM
He discussed the IBM WebSphere Liberty Buildpack, which is freely available for developers. It can be downloaded and pushed to any Cloud Foundry-based system. “This is our first step in making Java to PaaS deployment as easy as possible for developers.” Liberty is a Java profile that supports Java EE and is a container offering lots of features for clouds.
IBM has also been working on a multi-tenancy JVM, which means the VM can run and stack more VMs inside of it to save space and enable faster startup performance. This allows developers to manage life cycles independently. It’s intended for those who want to get more dense and efficient deployment on the cloud. “Just as peanut butter and chocolate go together – Liberty and multi-tenancy VMs are delicious,” said Duimovich.
He explained that running the Liberty profile and on the multi-tenancy JDK results in 2-3 times faster startup and twice as much density, so developers can stack twice as many instances on a machine than before without loss of performance.
Duimovich closed with some remarks about hardware innovation at IBM, and where the Java language may be headed in the future.
IBM WebSphere Liberty Buildpack
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