SpringOne 2020: Day 1 Recap and Highlights

September 2, 2020 Jared Ruckle

The Spring community virtually converged for the first day of SpringOne. Over 40,000 of our closest friends registered for the event!

The VMware team and a rich community of speakers put on quite the show, discussing the state of enterprise development and best practices for getting apps to production.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite moments from Day 1.

(Couldn’t catch all the sessions you wanted? You’re in luck: Recordings of Main Stage talks and breakout sessions will be posted in the coming days.)

How Fiserv delivered a financial lifeline to 18,000 businesses at the height of COVID

Stories like this are my favorite part of SpringOne.

Keith Fulton, SVP and CIO of account processing at Fiserv, recounted how his company stepped in to deliver financial relief to thousands of small businesses at the peak of COVID.

Earlier this year, thousands of small businesses were shut down due to the pandemic. That thrust Fiserv right into the middle of a complex workflow between the federal government and thousands of banks around the country.

The federal government passed the CARES Act. Fiserv needed to quickly launch several new products to help its customers process a deluge of new loan applications. The workflow was deceptively simple: Send applications from hundreds of banks to the Small Business Administration (SBA). From there, the SBA would instantly approve (or deny) a loan, and proceed to disburse the funds.

Fortunately, Keith and the Fiserv team had been on a modernization journey with VMware and Spring for quite some time. Thanks to Tanzu Application Service and Spring, a team of 15 developers were able to write 100,000 lines of code and perform 436 releases to production over 28 days. Wow!

The stakes couldn’t have been higher. The new Fiserv workflow helped secure 18,000 loans worth more than $1.4 billion dollars. That saved countless jobs and kept paychecks flowing for thousands of people during a crisis.

Keith highlighted three things made these incredible outcomes possible.

First, Fiserv built cross-functional teams, and secured strong leadership commitment to make this project a priority.

Second, without a modern application platform in place, this never would have happened. All of the modernization work in prior years helped Fiserv deliver code quickly when its customers really needed them to.

Finally, the people side. To release more than 400 times in less than a month you need people that embrace agile methodologies and continuous delivery.

We all love transformation stories about happier customers and happier employees. But this particular story saved countless jobs and allowed workers all over the country to have just a bit more financial stability when they needed it most.

Azure Spring Cloud, from VMware and Microsoft, is now GA

VMware and Microsoft have been working together on a number of fronts in recent times. Julia Liuson, CVP of the developer division at Microsoft, shared the latest fruits of this collaboration: Azure Spring Cloud is now generally available.

Julia said Azure Spring Cloud is ideal for Spring developers that want to run their apps on Kubernetes but don’t want to work with K8s directly.

The service is fully managed by Microsoft, with VMware providing engineering and support resources. Azure Spring Cloud supports Microsoft’s Spring Starters, so developers can easily add popular services like CosmosDB and KeyVault to their apps running on Azure Spring Cloud.

Try out the service today. It’s available in 10 regions around the world!

Want to learn more? Read about Azure Spring Cloud on the VMware blog, then check out the announcement from Microsoft.

Juergen Hoeller: Spring’s adaptability is key to its past, present, and future

Most folks associate Spring with modern Java development, and rightly so! Juergen Hoeller reminds us that Spring is used by a lot of people for many different enterprise scenarios. The framework offers significant value to enterprise architects working on a long-lived monolith, and for agile teams building microservices.

History proves out Spring’s versatility. Over its 16 years, Spring has supported XML configuration and declarative annotation config styles. From there, Juergen said “Spring Boot changed the landscape completely,” with self-contained deployment units and embedded web servers. These days, functions and reactive architectures are gaining popularity.

That brings us to the future of Spring. What do Java developers need to know? Juergen highlights OpenJDK and the new projects bundled into its 6-month release cycle. GraalVM, and its notion of native executables, “provides a radical rethinking in how Java applications can be deployed.”

What about the present? The upcoming Spring Framework 5.3 and Spring Boot 2.4 “bring it all together” with support for many architectural styles and the embrace of OpenJDK and GraalVM.

Spring is tailor-made for your top 3 enterprise challenges, says VMware’s modern apps chief

Is changing your business model a top priority? That’s what Ajay Patel, GM at VMware, sees across the enterprise.

Modernizing your business in this fashion falls to developers and the IT organization. Ajay noted that three challenges must be addressed to improve competitiveness: releasing app features faster, making use of data, and managing integrations. The solution to these challenges? Microservices patterns, data pipelines and integration, and distributed API gateways, respectively. In each case, enterprise developers turn to Spring.

For microservices patterns, Spring Boot and Spring Cloud give you the tools you need to build, integrate, and manage APIs.

Spring Cloud Data Flow is a terrific choice for streaming and batch data processing. Ajay cited numerous plug-ins for popular data sources as a key reason why enterprises are using Spring Cloud Data Flow at scale for modern data pipelines.

Spring Cloud Gateway is the cloud native gateway loved by Spring developers. Changes to API routing rules are done instantly with code, as part of your application lifecycle. No more waiting on a ticketing system!

Where’s the best place to run all of these Spring services? Ajay pointed out that hundreds of enterprises use VMware Tanzu Application Service as their “superhighway” to production. It offers the “rich features to full digitize your business.” He closed his talk by noting the major investments VMware is making to bring Spring and Kubernetes closer together as well. It’s all about choice!

Gelsinger: Spring is a “jewel” of VMware’s modern apps franchise

Pat Gelsigner, CEO of VMware, joined Ajay and emphasized VMware’s excitement for Spring as “this jewel” of the company’s modern apps portfolio. In fact, Pat said VMware wants to “lean in harder with Spring” to help businesses get to prod faster. (Curious about the state of Spring? Read the report.)

Spring and the Tanzu portfolio offer higher levels of abstraction for developers. That is complemented by VMware’s ability to “solve the infra stuff.” With this rock-solid foundation, businesses can proceed to focus on the rapid delivery of modern apps.

Pat and Ajay then discussed how VMware has closely partnered with the hyperscale providers: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. There are also relationships with IBM, Oracle, Alibaba, and Tencent.

The upshot of all of this: a unified, consistent environment for Spring developers on private cloud, public cloud, and edge environments.

“Healthy teams build healthy code”

Despite all the advances in building software, Dr. Aneika Simmons, a full professor of management at Sam Houston State University, points to an enduring truth.

“The people side is still the hardest part.”

How do you keep teams of engineers pushing code to production? More importantly, how do you keep them happy and motivated to do their best work? Dr. Simmons suggested that a theory from 1943 may offer answers: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

At the base level, your developers probably have their physiological needs met (i.e., food and shelter). But are they getting enough sleep? Do they eat well-balanced meals? What about exercise? These are questions managers need to be thinking about.

Dr. Simmons goes on to discuss microaggression and psychological safety. Does your team feel comfortable talking honestly about their hopes and fears? She suggested using channels in Slack to connect underrepresented individuals together as a means of support. After all, “we all need support.”

Going up the hierarchy, does each person “feel that they have the opportunity to earn a sense of prestige and accomplishment”? Leaders should frequently praise people for their hard work and ideas.

Leaders should nurture the lower four levels of the hierarchy to help their teams achieve their full potential.

“Healthy teams build healthy code.”

Carina connects essential workers with child care through rapid, usable releases

Carina is a nonprofit that uses technology to improve systems of care. It partners with community organizations, labor organizations, and state and local governments to connect home care consumers and providers.

Nidhi Mirani, Carina's founding executive director, shared a story with Ajay about how COVID spurred the need for a new app.

Essential workers were struggling to perform their duties while balancing the need for child care. Nidhi and the Carina team decided that a new application that connected these workers with child care providers would fill a big need.

Thanks in part to VMware Pivotal Labs, Carina was able to release a version of the app for providers after two weeks of development. Two weeks after that, Carina had a “parent” release, completing a fully functional app!

Nidhi said that working alongside Pivotal Labs was “transformative.” In particular, she highlighted the rapid delivery of usable releases, agile methods, and user-centered design.

“People shouldn’t have to wait for what they need.”

As it turns out, software is a lot like home care.

You can’t beat the laws of physics—but reactive programming can get you close

No one likes latency. But one group in particular detests it: gamers.

This is the world that Phil Clay, principal software engineer at Blizzard Entertainment, lives in. Certainly, you can combat latency by serving traffic in data centers and clouds around the world. But eventually, latency creeps in, and you have to handle requests asynchronously.

Phil and his team made the move to reactive programming. Why? Reactor “offers a much more rich, elegant API.” And it works well for stitching data streams and data manipulations together. This is a common use case for Blizzard, especially during new user signups and other account management workflows. Reactor is also uniquely suited to handle a particularly thorny use case: high-throughput workloads, and apps that require better back-pressure support.

The more you adopt the reactive style in your stack, the greater the benefits. Blizzard added reactive support to common libraries, so the reactive apps could be tied into the rest of the company’s operational systems. Along the way, developers updated their stack to use newer components (e.g., WebFlux/Reactor-Netty, Reactor-RabbitMQ, Reactive clients, and Spring Security).

Thinking of moving to Reactor? Phil shared three lessons: Introduce Reactor selectively and only for those apps that really need it; verify that Day 2 operational systems are geared for the reactive style; and make sure metrics, tracing, security, and health checks are all in place. (Phil noted that the Spring ecosystem has you covered for many of these items.)

Finally, bake in time for your team to learn the new style.

“It takes time, but it’s not insurmountable. And it quickly becomes second nature.”

The key to securing space: Being good at software

Day 1 closed with a look at how software is used to secure the final frontier. According to Colonel Jennifer M. Krolikowski, senior materiel leader for Space C2, building software and aggregating data is a big part of the U.S. Space Force mission. Col. Krolikowski notes that Space Force is collecting and processing data related to upcoming space launches, satellite conjunctions, atmospheric re-entry of space objects, and sensor status.

How does all this happen? With military software factories—groups of enlisted personnel, developers, and operators that come together to build applications that provide broad awareness of what’s happening in space.

The velocity of change is impressive. In just two years, teams across the Space Force have fully embraced agile and DevSecOps practices. New ways of working demand new tools. (That’s why Space Force is working with VMware Tanzu and Pivotal Labs.)

Now for the fun part: the outcomes. Application teams release weekly, so there’s always new features available to users. Greenfield apps are going to production for the first time after a mere six months. Previously, it would have taken three years, with 10x the expense!

The embrace of cloud native architectures enables the Space Force to share data with allies (the “Five Eyes” alliance) much more easily than ever before.

We can’t wait to see what Space Force does next!

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Join us for Day 2 of SpringOne. Register for free: springone.io. Sessions begin Sept. 3 at 9am Eastern.

About the Author

Jared Ruckle

Jared works in product marketing at VMware.

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