6 days ago

API First with Apiary and API Platform

Just a quick post to let people know about this great demo of creating and deploying API’s using the Oracle API Platform. Nothing like a demo to drive home how you can get started on your API First Strategy!

Check out the video with Vikas Anand and Jakub Nesetril demoing the platform: Click here.

Of course you can also check out my recent post on this same topic: Click here

 

 

29 days ago

Oracle Fn – Serverless for the Enterprise

Oracle Fn – Serverless Computing for the Enterprise

In other blog posts, I have talked about emerging technologies and, when I say emerging, I mean that they are are beginning to “cross the chasm” and become more widely used. 

 

Serverless computing is gaining popularity because it allows developers to focus on the functionality of their code and not be worried about the target deployment environment. You could say it takes a lot of the “Ops” out of DevOps 😉 Developer’s code can scale as needed automatically. Another advantage is that Serverless is elastic in its compute utilization which means you use compute resources only as they are needed in an on-demand fashion. 

 

As Shaun Smith said in his blog introducing the project, Fn is a container native Apache 2.0 licensed Serverless platform that you can run anywhere–any cloud or on-premise. It’s easy to use, supports every programming language, and is extensible and performant. In that blog you learn that Fn is based on technology and a team that has been doing Serverless at scale both pre and post Docker. In fact, Docker is the only dependency. This is key because it means that developers can run Fn projects anywhere; different cloud providers, and even on their laptops for development.

 

For more background on why Serverless is important, see this article “What is Serverless Computing and Why is it Important” by Dylan Stamat from the team that helped create the Fn project.

 

For a enterprise-level technology to take off and become widely accepted, it needs to be open – that is a lesson we have learned since the earliest days of Java all the way through the numerous open source projects that have shaped the landscape. So, Oracle understands the power and usefulness of Serverless computing but, unlike some other vendors, does not believe that it should be proprietary. To the contrary, it should be open source.

 

To get an even more detailed look at why Oracle created the Fn Apache project, read “8 Reasons why we built the Fn Project” Chad Arimura – worth a read!

 

So, Serverless impacts Enterprise Architecture because it is a new model that needs to be worked into many companies ecosystem topographic maps and changes how enterprises need to support custom code in a very positive way.

You can access the Fn open-source project/materials at GitHub  

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 months, 18 days ago

Rip Van Winkle and the Speed of Change of the Oracle Cloud Platform

A lot has been going on in the industry and at Oracle, and the pace is only getting faster! The Oracle Cloud Platform has evolved to a point that is so vastly different, deeper and differentiated (how’s that for alliteration) that someone, who has not been consistently watching, would be shocked to see how things look now. Like Rip Van Winkle waking up to a different world, you’d be surprised at what has changed and wonder how these changes passed you by. The problem is that the rate of change is now so fast that, if you are not carefully watching on a monthly basis, you could feel “Rip Van Winkled” after just a few short months. It can happen that fast!

Rip Van Winkle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, Oracle has announced some really amazing new capabilities such as the Autonomous Database, Blockchain, support for Robotic Process Automation, and the new Serverless platform–Fn (see this great blog for more information: here).

Here are just some of the capabilities that one should really have their eye on as sweeping architecture trends. Each of them hold tremendous promise to help you drive differentiation and innovation in your company or agency.

  1. Artificial Intelligence/Machine learning
  2. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  3. Serverless computing
  4. Microservices
  5. Blockchain
  6. *Unifying related cloud services into cloud platforms

The 6th point in that list is very important from a strategic standpoint. Oracle just released 2 major new services (DIPC and OIC). If you don’t have your Oracle Acronym Decoder Ring© available, those stand for the Data Integration Platform Cloud and the Oracle Integration Cloud, respectively. What is important about these service, at the highest level, is that they both take what were delivered as stand-alone cloud services, and combines them into 2 integrated platforms where you don’t spend time worrying about which tool to use, you simply start with what you want to do.

In the past, you would say “Oh, I need to build an integration to SalesForce, guess I’d better use ICS.” Likewise you might say, “I need to create a better, and automated, Employee on-boarding process, guess I should use PCS.” Or you might say “I need to create a real-time data replication link between my on-prem database and a Cloud instance for reporting, guess I need Golden Gate.” We have all been there, that is how we solved problems in the past.

f(x) = y; I need to do this (x), so I use that (y).

Now you change your focus drastically away from a tool-focus to a focus on creating business value. Because both new platforms (OIC and DIPC) abstract away many of the details (such as selecting and deploying a new Cloud Service), you get immediate results and value from your efforts. That means you have more time to do what needs to be done — but also start thinking of new ways to innovate on top of that. “What if instead of simply automating this process, we also enhanced the data reporting so business could get real-time reporting on Employee data across our geographically separate subsidiaries from a centralized ‘source of truth’!”

As an example, here are some of the things you can do with OIC:

  • SaaS and On-Premises Integration: Quickly connect to 1000s of SaaS or on-premises Applications seamlessly through 50+ native app adapters or technology adapters. Support for Service Orchestration and rich integration patterns for real-time and batch processing.
  • Process Automation: Bring agility to your business with an easy, visual, low-code platform that simplifies day to day tasks by getting employees, customers, and partners the services they need to work anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Support for Dynamic Case Management
  • Visual Application Design: Rapidly create and host engaging business applications with a visual development environment right from the comfort of your browser.
  • Integration Insight: The Service gives you the information you need — out of the box, with powerful dashboards that require no coding, configuration, or modification. Get up and running fast with a solution that delivers deep insight into your business.
  • Stream Analytics: Stream processing for anomaly detection, reacting to Fast Data. Super-scalable with Apache Spark and Kafka.

This platform/capabilities approach is a huge step forward for Enterprise Architects who look, in ever increasing amounts, to technology to be in direct of support business needs and can’t afford to be “Rip Van Winkled” by these recent trends wondering, “how did I miss this one?!?!”

For more information, take a look at:

 

 

 

 

2 months, 23 days ago

API First – A Strategic Business Architecture

I took a break from blogging, but am back. So, for anyone who was following me in the past with greatest hits like “TOGAF Study Help – iPhone to the Rescue (perhaps)” and “Pats SOA Governance Perscription“, I’m back. In my new role as Director of Business Development and Strategy, Oracle Cloud Platform – I still wear the hat of an Enterprise Architect all the time. That is to say, I help create and direct programs and strategy that are big-picture and cut across multiple domains and geographies. Sort of an Uber (not the car service company) Enterprise Architecture. So, with that re-introduction out of the way, today’s topic is:

API First – A Strategic Business Architecture!

First off – there are some great blogs on this topic, and this is certainly one of the best out there (by Guy Levin on DZone) that explains the “how” to implement API-First. The article emphasizes that this approach fosters a strong foundation for enabling faster development and that (critically) you need to get the API contract right before teams all jump in as start using a particular API:

APIs Are Everywhere

What I have seen in my travels, talking with numerous different companies, managers and developers – is that they are beginning to see that API’s are the doorway to innovation in this Age of Digital Disruption happening right now. If you were asleep or even just blinked, you might have missed the tsunami sweeping the corporate/business landscape, much like The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Tsunami by hokusai 19th century.jpg

As mentioned in the article I referenced above, many large companies like Apple and Google are moving towards an API-centric strategy. When you look at your API’s from a business-standpoint you see that they unlock opportunities and potential that would not be there otherwise. Why? Because API’s are open, lightweight and easy to use – unlike any other integration approach of the past. Even SOA (in it’s typical form) requires heavy-weight WSDL and SOAP – none of which fly with Mobile Developers or modern Application/Microservices Developers. The other HUGE area of innovation is opening up your core competencies and value-chain to partners, but in a light weight fashion that eschews the complexity of EDI.

One of the best quotes I heard from someone I met in my travels recently is; “If it’s not an API, it doesn’t exist.” This really drives home the point that older integration/access approaches are suddenly getting left behind. I will never say that SOA does not have merit, but if you don’t have an API-First strategy in front of your SOA strategy, look out; you will get crushed by the tsunami of change before you have time to realize “what just happened?!?!”.

So, before you buy or build any new IT systems/applications, one of the first questions you need to ask is “How does this support our API-First strategy?” and “What new business opportunities can we leverage now that we have API’s that we could not before?” With that lens, you start to see that business strategy decisions become predicated on the degree to which you have established your API strategy! The two become inexorably linked.

Luckily, Oracle has you covered with the API Platform: 

Oracle API Platform

More on that in a future post.

For now, I will leave you with the notion that you should begin thinking about what you could do, that you couldn’t do before, if you had an API-Fist strategy in place. That is how you can make technology (API’s/REST, etc..) super relevant to the business! But, you need to do it right up-front or you will miss the opportunity to ride the tsunami of Digital Disruption.

Ride the Wave