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Category Archives: Application Director

10 Lessons from Spring Applied to Java Virtualization with vFabric

The Spring Framework became the de-facto standard for developing enterprise Java applications, and its radical simplicity was fundamental to its success. Why the “radical” simplicity? Because at the time, it was hard to imagine how creating such applications could be made simple.

By tackling issues such as portability, understanding the importance of cross-cutting concerns, and making it trivial to develop automated tests, Spring allowed developers to focus on what matters: what makes their application unique.

As I was pulling together my presentation for SpringOne2GX 2012, I reflected on the parallels between Spring’s success and the direction we were going with EM4J. Why did Spring succeed? Why did simplification win? Where are we replicating these patterns within VMware, vFabric, and Java?

In short, complexity is expensive, and simplification has many economic benefits. By giving people better, simpler, and easier to use tools to help build, run, and manage applications, we create economic advantages.

In a nutshell, there are some core reasons why Spring succeeded, “Spring values” if you will: Reducing complexity, increasing productivity, provisioning flexibility, tooling and monitoring, extensibility, automation, flexible integration and ease of testing. Continue reading

5 Characteristics of a Modern Mainframe Cloud App – Avoid Tornado IT

No one likes being rushed into bad decisions.

Yet, the pace of information technology often forces IT executives to do that.

In today’s world, mainframe-to-cloud decisions need solid thinking or we risk a technology tornado. This article outlines some key lessons learned at the front-line of IT decision-making.

As previously discussed, it’s possible to “modernize” mainframe legacy applications to the cloud. You can get there with little to no modification by using a “lift-and-shift” strategy.  Several of my clients have taken this approach to quickly satisfy a “cloud mandate”. The results have been less than desirable:

  • Without the use of pooled resources, the applications do not scale well.
  • Timely user provisioning and access from any device is still a challenge because the apps do not provide on-demand, ubiquitous access.
  • In addition, utility-based pricing/costing is performed manually, with little accuracy to the realities of actual usage.
  • Most importantly, the applications continue to have monolithic, stove-piped architectures, which are difficult and expensive to maintain and enhance.

These “cloud” applications are more like funnel cloud apps or tornoado apps—waiting to cause IT organizations extreme havoc. Assuming you want to avoid funnel clouds and IT tornadoes, consider applying the following five application architecture and design principles indicative of a true cloud application: Continue reading

Why Partners Should Check Out vFabric at PEX

The VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) is coming up next month from February 25-28 in Las Vegas. This event is the premier event for partners to meet with product specialists from VMware, to educate and enable them to sell VMware products and services. Many partners attend just for the virtualization software itself, but especially over the past few years, many partners have opened their go-to-market strategies to include how to build cloud-ready apps using the vFabric product family.

This year, partners attending the event may be thinking of the news of the Pivotal Initiative announced last December, where a significant portion of the vFabric products are moving out of the VMware umbrella and into a new company. These partners attending or deciding to attend PEX may question if they should still pay attention to the vFabric portion of this event. Our answer is resoundingly YES. Here’s why: Continue reading

VMware vFabric tc Server to Continue Support of Java 6

Oracle has announced the formal end of life (EOL) of Java 6 coming up in February of 2013. Given that a significant portion of VMware vFabric Suite customers are still running applications that use Java 6, VMware has chosen to continue  support for vFabric Suite running Java 6 applications.  This includes a la carte support only contracts for Apache Tomcat and Apache HTTPD. Current versions will not expire their support for Java 6 with the EOL in February, 2013.

Additionally, VMware will continue testing and validating future versions of the vFabric Suite on Java 6 until further notice.

What this means for customers

vFabric customers that chose not to update their applications to Java 7 will still enjoy the same level of support from VMware for their vFabric middleware stack that powers their Java 6 applications, even past its end of life. It also means that Java 6 will continue to be a testing requirement for future versions of vFabric Suite. Customers not interested in updating their applications to Java 7, can continue to trust their vFabric upgrades from VMware.

For customers purchasing a la carte VMware support only for Apache Tomcat or combined support only for Apache Tomcat and HTTPD, they will not violate their support contract by continuing to run applications using Java 6.

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The Software-Defined Datacenter Will Auto-Scale Gracefully

VMware has been leading the charge to enable the vision of the Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) to become a reality. Today, we will explore an important part of the SDDC—auto-scaling.

To start, we are going to paint a picture using our handy reference architecture, NanoTrader (now known as SpringTrader). As the name implies, this app is based on the Spring framework (actually vFabric in general) and does trading with real links to stock market data feeds.

In our scenario, NanoTrader is working well at normal trading volumes, but what happens on the days when a social media jaggernaut has a highly publicized IPO? In our example, a made up entity we shall call “Bookspace” is doing just that–and while stock volumes are soaring, so is the load to the NanoTrader app. Fortunately, NanoTrader was deployed using integration between vFabric Application Director 5.0 and vFabric Application Performance Manager 5.0 (APM).  This integration enables a “closed-loop” application scale-out, that is automatic and does not depend on any human interaction. Continue reading

The Best VMware vFabric Stories of 2012 & What’s In Store for 2013

As this year comes to a close, it’s time to be reflective of what happened in the past and start planning for a new year. The vFabric team has had some major achievements this year, introducing several new products to the market including the innovative vFabric Application Director, the widely anticipated Project Serengeti to enable rapid cloud deployments for Hadoop, and a new tool to the vFabric Suite users called vFabric Administration Server (VAS).  We announced a new VMware Cloud Applications Marketplace to help further accelerate application development with a professionally moderated library of enterprise grade, ready-to-use application components that can be run on any cloud.

Next year is going to be even bigger with the Pivotal Initiative where several of the products covered on this blog will be following the new venture. This is still in the planning stages, so we will be expecting to share with you the plans for our products alongside the formal communications from each of the companies involved. (Sorry — no extra information is available right now)

One thing that we are going to be doing in early 2013 is to move the conversation of how you manage applications to be with the conversations of how you manage virtual infrastructure. To that end, we will be moving all topics of Application Performance Manager, AppInsight, Application Director, Hyperic, and Spring Insight to the VMware Management Blog as of January 1st. To make sure you keep up with the management topics, please be sure to follow us @vmwareappmgmt and @vmwaremgmt.

In the meantime, we’d like to reshare with you the top 20 stories we had for 2012, and invite you to comment here on what stories you would like to see us cover on either blog for 2013.

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How Building Websites Is Changing Right Before Your Eyes

For several decades, the world of computing was one of custom operating systems, languages and applications. With the advent of Unix, things improved quite a bit, and it became possible for end-users to write applications that would be portable across different computers. This started the quest for developers and adminstrators to be able to reuse existing code and libraries that has been the goal of many computing trends.

Not so long ago, creating websites was similar to creating applications for the early computers–you had to start from scratch. Over time, reusable libraries and frameworks started to emerge and entire ecosystems were created around popular open source Content Management Systems (CMS) such as Drupal, Joomla! and even WordPress, a blogging engine increasingly used to build and manage entire web sites. As a result, today, most websites are not started from scratch, with just a text editor and a blank PHP file. Instead, developers take an existing CMS application as a starting point and extend it to meet their needs.

From there, developers can pick and choose from thousands of modules (20,000 modules in Drupal’s case for example) or write their own. Modules range from e-commerce add-ons to administrative tools to analytics and reporting extensions. Many modules tend to be used together, and a number of niche-specific distributions have emerged. They provide collections of modules and configuration that make it easy to get started with content publishing for a wide range of verticals such as education, news sites, HR portals or photography portfolios. Continue reading

Solving the Learning Curve: How VMware Accelerates IT Service Delivery Yet Again

Have you ever been asked to get a new application environment up and ready for a new initiative and been told, “this really should have been done yesterday”? Usually when this happens, the application they are looking for requires some technology you know nothing about, like an Oracle WebLogic Server. Of course, just to stress matters more, you do not have any WebLogic subject matter experts in-house to help you out. So, you are stuck with cryptic installation docs and maybe a useful YouTube video or two. Wouldn’t it be great if you could leverage a website that was similar to Apple’s App Store? A marketplace where you can download and deploy that environment at the click of a button, and avoid the whole learning curve of setting it up? As a bonus, you can trust that the WebLogic server you are deploying was set up by subject matter expert whose optimized the setup already to run in the cloud? If that existed, your job in IT would be a lot easier, right?

As of this month, your job can be that easy. On December 3rd, VMware announced the VMware Cloud Application Marketplace as part of the VMware Solution Exchange. The Cloud Application Marketplace provides easy access to best practice application components, services, and even complete blueprints for cloud-ready solutions that can be deployed to any cloud using vFabric Application Director.

With over 30 software vendors, system integrators, and cloud providers like Oracle, Microsoft, Riverbed, and Accenture already on board, your IT department has access to over 100 real world applications you can rapidly deploy, monitor and scale in public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructures. Continue reading

A Tale of Modernization: Stopping Bank Robbers as a Service (20 Billion Times to Date)

Pirates. Pick pockets. Bank Robbers.

What do these have to do with applications modernization?

Well, bank robbers have turned digital, and this article is about modernizing one of the most successful systems used to stop them.

Stealing credit card numbers, emptying online bank accounts and stealing identities is now big business for thieves and consequently a big area for software companies and banks to collaborate and stop them. Cybercrime and malware have become such an issue that, according to Gartner, the web fraud detection market (where RSA competes) grew 35% in 2010 and 25% in 2011.

RSA is in the business of stopping banks and their customers from being robbed (among other things). Their technology has protected people, businesses, and financial institutions from online fraud for almost 20 years. Their Adaptive Authentication solution is deployed at over 8000 companies, used by over 200 million people, and has protected over 20 billion transactions to date. To jump on the “everything as a service” bandwagon, Adaptive Authentication is literally embarking on a project to “Stop Bank Robbers as a Service.”

We had the opportunity to catch up with the RSA engineering team that is developing this next-generation service using a wide range of VMware capabilities, including VMware vCloud Suite and vFabric. We learned that VMware virtualization infrastructure management, application performance management, automated provisioning, and application servers are already providing benefits along with improved runtimes, and got a peek into how they plan to do the financial side of IT business management using VMware tools.

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Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs): The Last Physical Hurdle to the Software Defined Datacenter (SDDC)

Effectively a next generation load balancer, enterprises are deploying Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) to front-end their mission critical applications. The enterprise ADC market is mature with well established players and solutions. Yet when moving applications to the cloud – it’s a completely different playground. The business need is to support a new application life cycle—one that allows the business to scale across hybrid cloud environment.

In this post I will explore an application life cycle use case across hybrid cloud, and how to properly deploy an ADC in the cloud to support the application life cycle.

Understanding application life cycle in hybrid cloud environment

IT managers move their applications to the cloud in order to reduce costs and improve the business agility. A typical enterprise application life cycle is based on the following stages:

  • Application development and testing—in the public cloud
  • Application production—in the private cloud
  • Application Disaster Recovery (DR) and bursting—in the public cloud Continue reading