Build Newsletter: CEOs, OSS, SDKs, Java, Photon, IoT—Sept 2015

September 16, 2015 Gregory Chase

sfeatured-buildAs always, a lot has happened since our last BUILD Newsletter.

At the top of the list—our CEO, Paul Maritz will be Executive Chairman, and Rob Mee will be the new CEO. Rob built our namesake Pivotal Labs in 1989 and has been a pioneer for transforming how companies build software all along, and we are stoked.

After that important tidbit, this newsletter starts off in our usual manner—with open source. We cover the progress of Apache Geode and in-memory databases overall. Next, we move into development. It’s amazing just how many development kits are out there, and we showcase a bunch. There is also some news worth covering in the Java, Node.js, Go, and Python communities. We will cover our work with VMware on Project Photon from the recent VMworld. Lastly, we give a roundup on brain-computer-interfaces, smart cars, IoT, wearables, nearables, and mobile apps.

Also, I should mention we are hiring smart, cool people who want to contribute to amazing open source technologies!

Open Source—Apache Geode + In-Memory Grows

More and more software-related open source solutions keep popping up—add furniture, scientific equipment, and motion picture cameras to the list—and who knows what is going to come out of the Open Source Hardware Summit or SolidCon. In contrast to all the futurism, Linus Torvalds had another perspective regarding the software innovation on the road ahead.

Pivotal’s first contribution this year, Apache Geode (incubating), the linear scale, super-fast, distributed, and resilient IMDG with consistent transactions continues to gain more momentum since joining the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). Why? Well, it is first and foremost proven as an enterprise level open source project in mission-critical environments. Second, in-memory databases (IMDBs) are widely recognized as a the future—Apache Spark™ is the current poster child for this movement. Or, you can search trends for in-memory databases—they are up. Some analysts believe in-memory gives us high performance computing without the cost. If we just step back and look at economics, the price of RAM has gone from $31,000 per GB in 1995 to $9.1 per GB in 2014, and continues to fall. Some say that, the days of the disk, at least of first tier storage, are numbered. So, open-source, proven, scalable, in-memory data stores are just getting more and more important. Why not use one that powers Wall Street trades and super-large scale e-commerce? It’s free!

In case you missed the recent updates on Apache Geode, Bruce Schuchardt, did a walk-through of key components not too long ago, and there are also some great overview videos on the community page. There is also quite a bit of content out there on Geode/GemFire, including the wiki. There are some quick demos, such as Twitter stream processing and Apache Zeppelin Geode Interpreter put together by Christian Tzolov, one of our prolific open source engineers that we recently profiled. One of the best talks is from OSCON and is now out on video—Build Your First IoT App Today with Open Source—in parts one, two, and three. We’re also happy to get a nice compliment on where Geode is heading.

Lately, we started a virtual Apache Geode clubhouse—an interactive format that offers a Q&A environment and direct access to experts for anyone getting involved with Geode. In the first of these community video conference calls, William Markito covered how Apache Geode works with Docker and how Geode is containerized. The second conference included a roundtable with many members of the team. Come join us on September 30th for the next Apache Geode Clubhouse hosted from ApacheCon.

Software Development: DevKits + Java, Node.js, Go, and Python Updates

There was some big news in Java, Node.js, Go, and Python in the past month, but let us press pause for one minute.

What’s the deal with all these developer kits? It seems like you can’t blink without hearing about a new one—2015 is like 365 days of devkits. While some developers are frustrated with all the new SDKs, IDKs, and even HDKs (hacker development kits) out there, they have not showed any sign of slowing down because everything is connecting. Even with the widespread variety of endpoints, the good news is that we can count on a common platform to run the backend for all this kind of stuff.

So, what’s at the the top of devkit list announcements this past month?

The new Apple TV—its tvOS and associated developer kit will allow programmers to use many of the same frameworks, technologies, and concepts in iOS to build apps and games for your television viewing pleasure. After that one, Google and Intel announced the Project Tango developer kit. This is also wicked-cool—it supports use cases like indoor navigation, area learning, VR, AR, 3D scanning or environments and more. Facebook’s Parse SDKs were also open sourced and support mobile, desktop, IoT, and embedded environments. IoT and embedded Facebook?

Another company, FocusMotion, has released an SDK for motion recognition and gestures within exercise-related wearables—and it can learn new movements, like a yoga pose, based on machine learning. Open Source Virtual Reality, supported by over 200 VR and AR development companies, is now offering a kit that includes open source hardware and software. AWS launched a C++ dev kit for AWS, designed mostly for video games. And, last but not least, Samsung announced the new Tizen development kit for Tizen OS along with an SDK for Gear S2 smart watches.

OK, enough about the never-ending state of software devkits.

Our friends over at GitHub took a look at the languages used in public and private repositories since 2008, and they clearly show Java ratcheting up each year, from number #7 to #5 to #3 and now holds place #2, just behind JavaScript. With that said, we also had some crazy Java and Node.js news this past month.

First, Oracle cut their Java team. From that loss, we gained some stellar new team members! As well, there are going to be some amazing talks and news coming out of SpringOne2GX, which is taking place right now. Leading up to it, the team has been cranking out new releases. Spring Framework 4.2.1 is now available. Spring Data Release Train Gosling just went GA. Spring Cloud Connectors 1.2.0 added support for IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server along with updates to AMQP, Redis, and MongoDB. Spring Integration 4.2 is also got a nice update, while Spring XD got a complete overhaul for Cloud Native use cases and is now called Spring Cloud Data Flow.

On the JavaScript front, the Node.js Foundation, an official Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, announced its first board of directors, which includes members of PayPal, Groupon, Joyent, Microsoft, IBM, Famous Industries, and Intel. Innovative ideas are alive and well in the Node.js community—one programmer recently figured out a way run COBOL from Node.js, albeit with criticism.

In other news the Go Language released version 1.5, and Python 3.5 was released as well.

Lastly, today’s tech marketplace pace pushes performance, making it important to understand the differences between hackers, programmers, engineers, and computer scientists. It’s a good perspective to consider.

Containers and Cloud Native Platforms: Photon, Cloud Foundry, and all the Pieces

VMworld 2015 just ended, and we were there actively sharing almost everything we know about microservices, Cloud Native apps, and DevOps. Together with Vmware, we spent a good chunk of time explaining VMware Photon Platform and Pivotal Cloud Foundry. Photon is made up of an ESX microvisor, the Photon OS, and the Photon Controller, which provides APIs for Pivotal Cloud Foundry to engage the infrastructure. This design can be described as container-only, high scale, high machine churn, no single point of failure, and API-driven. It’s pretty powerful. The other, similar concept VMware pushed is vSphere Integrated Containers, and both concepts are summed up in this article. For those seeking more container insights, here are some good container myths debunked—by Alex Polvi, CEO of CoreOS.

Outside of VMworld, a lot has been going on. Of course, Pivotal Cloud Foundry crossed the $100M annual booking run rate in six quarters—now that’s hypergrowth. We also made Pivotal GemFire (Project Geode) available on Pivotal Cloud Foundry. Coté continues to pump out the elements of a Cloud Native journey, with a short essay on the greenfield variety. As well, Jared Gordon began a series that spells out the steps to refactoring a monolith. Lastly, James Bayer explained how new capabilities for Pivotal Cloud Foundry buildpacks work with Windows .NET apps and Docker images.

Now, for anyone trying to articulate all the pieces in the PaaS puzzle, Lenny from Redpoint Ventures has a few nice diagrams that organize key players into buckets—code, workflow & management, orchestration & scheduling, service discovery, containers, minimal OS, virtualization, and physical—we thought he almost forgot the platform! As well, Phil Wainewright, who has covered the *aaS industry since the late 90s, gives a well-explained sense for how IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS fit in today’s terms.

Brain-Computer-Interfaces, Smart Cars, IoT, Wearables, Nearables, and Mobile

Of course, we can’t forget the endpoint arena, where the rubber meets the road for all the work to transform how we build software.

If you weren’t aware of the brain-based control of applications, see what IBM and Xerox researchers are up to. And, yes. We will see this stuff in our lifetimes.

In the smart car space, Toyota is investing $50 million over the next 5 years for two collaborative research centers at MIT and Stanford—all to help cars become “crash proof” and save lives. This is a different trajectory from driver-less cars, like the ones in the works from Honda. By the way, Google is saying the biggest problem with driverless cars is the drivers (the other drivers, that is).

The Industrial Internet Consortium announced their next testbed—an airplane landing gear—as a use case for improving asset efficiency and modeling IoT frameworks and architectures.

Don’t laugh at the name if you haven’t already heard it. But, nearables are making headway alongside wearables like watches. This product works of triangulation of beacon signals and mobile devices let you see where things are on a map of a room or building. With it, things can happen in your environment as you move through it or apps can direct you to specific points.

In other wearable news and of all the things we probably didn’t expect when we started to write this section, we are seeing Intel technology creep into bras and dresses, responding to things like body temperature. I guess if a toothbrush can have a bluetooth connection, why not clothes?

There is also yet another report that shows how we are spending more time using apps than watching TV—198 minutes in apps versus 168 minutes on TV per day. Maybe that is why the mobile dev landscape is so fractured. Of course, the app/TV space is blending, like with the RFID sensors on NFL players that will be connected to Xbox and Windows 10 TV programming this season. We also have our mobile app of the month—Periscope continues to grow, breaking the mark of 10 million users in 4 months. It will be an interesting world when millions of people start broadcasting live video via a Tweet on a regular basis—it’s not just a text that the dog bowl is empty or you need to use the bathroom, it’s an on-location, play-by-play video commentary.

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About the Author

Greg Chase is an enterprise software business leader more than 20 years experience in business development, marketing, sales, and engineering with software companies. Most recently Greg has been focused on building the community and ecosystem around Pivotal Greenplum and Pivotal Cloud Foundry as part of the Global Ecosystem Team at Pivotal. His goal is to to help create powerful solutions for Pivotal’s customers, and drive business for Pivotal’s partners. Greg is also a wine maker, dog lover, community volunteer, and social entrepreneur.

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