Back to in-person – Conference contributions in September

Finally, we’re back to in-person events! In September, I had a very busy month doing different presentations at various conferences. I wanted to use this short blog to collect the presentations, I delivered and link to the respective slides, in case you missed the presentations, but might be interested in the materials presented during the talks.

Digital Exchange Bergisches Rheinland 2022 (DIX 2022)

Promoting innovation, establishing networks, shaping transformation that’s the overall goal of Digital Exchange, which is a regional one day conference in the “Bergische Rheinland“, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. With over 700 attendees and 80 presentations it was a fully-packed day, with lots of opportunities to learn new and interesting things as well as to exchange ideas or simply meet people.

At DIX 2022, I delivered two sessions:

DOAG 2022

DOAG is the main conference of the German Oracle User Group. With about 1000 participants, the largest Oracle user conference in Europe took place again on site, in the city of Nuremberg, after a two-year break. This year, we had one special theme day, shaped by the different communities within the user group, two classic conference days and one training day.

At DOAG 2022, I did the following presentations:

I addition, I was part of a Panel discussion about challenges and experiences in Cloud transitions projects.

Kong Summit 2022

My highlight so far this year was Kong Summit that took place in San Francisco. At this 2 day conference, with almost 500 attendees with 75 speakers delivering various session, I did one session about how to implement a consistent Observability (o11y) strategy in Microservices architectures without changing your service implementations. If you wanted to learn, what happened at Kong Summit, you can read that in my post in our OPITZ CONSULTING company blog.

For my personally the event had a special surprise, as I was named Kong Champion of the year. This was a great honor for me and shows me that the community activities I did in the past months are valuable.

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Oracle Open World Wrap up: Autonomous Cloud platform to built intelligent Cloud Native apps

Oracle Open World and Code One are just over, so it’s the ideal time to reflect what happened during the days at the conference. The big things of this years conference were:

  • New Data centers
  • Autonomous Database enhancements
  • Autonomous Linux
  • Partnerships with Microsoft & VM Ware
  • Intelligent Apps development (Powered by ML/AI)
  • Cloud Native

In the following sections let’s take a closer look with regards to the aforementioned topics.

New Data centers

Besides that Oracle showed how aggressively they’re building out new Gen-2 data center regions, to catch up with the main competitor AWS.

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By the end of this year it is planned to have 19 data centers all over the world, for both Commercial and Governmental customers.

Autonomous Database enhancements

The Autonomous Database (ADB) is Oracle’s flagship product for Data Management in the Cloud. It is nothing new, but a lot of new enhancements are currently happening or going to happen in the near future.

Besides features like automatic indexing, self-scaling and built-in Machine Learning capabilities, one of the most important messages was that ADB will be evolved in the direction of a Multi-model Data Management Platform. Multi-model means that besides relational data there will be support for JSON, Key Value, Graph, Spatial and Files. Saying that, it was announced that a new Autonomous JSON database will be available that will coexist with Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing and Autonomous Data Warehouse.

To run Production workloads in a secure and isolated way, Autonomous Database Dedicated was announced. This basically means that such database tenants are isolated and run on dedicated Exadata Cloud infrastructure. This model feels like a fully isolated private Cloud in the Public Cloud and comes with a guaranteed availability of 99.995%.

Since ADB will be the central Data Management Platform within Oracle Cloud, Security is another hot topic. To further security, Oracle Data Safe was announced, which is the new, unified database security Control Center and comes with features like Security configuration assessment, User Activity Auditing and Data masking. This new offering is free for Cloud Databases and can also be used for On-prem Databases (for those you’re charged). With that you have kind of a hybrid, unified and central Security Control Center, which is quite cool from my perspective.

One of the biggest announcements for sure was the Free Cloud tier. This includes an always free Autonomous Data (2 Micro instances with 20 GB storage and 1 OCPU per instance). In addition to that you get the full development experience because it includes APEX, ORDS, SQL Developer Web, Machine Learning Notebooks. Having said that: Finally also APEX arrived on Autonomous Database. APEX is a low-code development platform to rapidly develop DB-centric applications.

Autonomous Linux

Taking the autonomous strategy to the next level, Oracle announced Autonomous Linux, along with the new Oracle OS Management Service, which the first and only autonomous operating system offering that eliminates complexity and human error.

You can get more information about these new offerings in the official Press release: https://www.oracle.com/corporate/pressrelease/oow19-oracle-autonomous-linux-091619.html

Partnerships with Microsoft and VM Ware

It is good to see that Oracle is further opening themselves embracing Open Source and collaborate with other companies. Just before Open World a partnership with Microsoft was announced and during Open World more details about this partnership were announced, which includes:

  • Running MSSQL on Oracle Cloud
  • Running Oracle Ecosystem on Azure (Database, Apps, Linux, Java on Azure, WebLogic)
  • Oracle provides license mobility for Oracle Software from On-prem to Azure

Besides that on some data centers there’ll be Oracle Gen-2 infrastructure co-located to Azure infra, which means less latency.

Oracle on VM Ware virtualization was always on of the most annoying topics for Oracle customers. Now Oracle and VM Ware announced a partnership where customers will be enabled to run VM Ware workloads on Oracle Cloud and furthermore Oracle will provide technical support for customers to run Oracle products on VM Ware virtualization. Read more about this in the official VM Ware press release: https://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-newsfeed.Oracle-and-VMware-Partner-to-Support-Customers-Hybrid-Cloud-Strategies.1916340.html

Intelligent Apps development

Intelligent apps are supposed to deliver a next gen User experience by supporting users in an intelligent and convenient way.

In this area the Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA) platform, which is officially there since last years Open World, is one important thing. ODA allows you to create intelligent, conversational apps. Intelligence is derived from the existing data using AI and ML capabilities.

One big announcement for ODA was the upcoming support for Voice. On top of that it was announced that ODA will be enabled to understand specific Enterprise vocabulary using semantic pattern matching, so that the bot is able to better understand specific user intents.

ODA is constantly evolving and is also used by Oracle’s SaaS offering like HCM or ERP (pre-built skills). To allow ODA to connect and talk to other systems, Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC) can be used, which comes with OOTB business accelerators. Those are basically pre-built integration recipes that can be used and adjusted to a certain use case if needed.

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Content Management for ODA solutions can be done in Oracle Content and Experience Cloud (OCE), which has been evolved over to a multi-channel, intelligent Content Hub.

Besides Conversational apps, powered by ODA, Progressive Web App development is also a very interesting and relevant topic, especially when it comes to efficient software development. For that Oracle has Visual Builder Cloud Service sided by Oracle Developer Cloud Service (which is basically free). One announcement here was that those two services will become more integrated (Visual Builder Studio/Platform) to further Developer productivity and to provide an outstanding developer experience.

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Cloud Native

Cloud Native was an omni-present topic especially at Oracle Code One. Here we had a lot presentations with respect to Kubernetes, Microservice development, Function as a Service, Reactive app development, etc. The interesting thing to see was that Java is still relevant and as a programming language is constantly evolving. In the Java Keynote the GA of Java 13 was announced. Furthermore there are tons of Java-based framework to develop Microservices around (MicroProfile-based (Helidon), Quarkus, Micronaut).

From my perspective new applications today should be developed using Cloud Native technologies adhering the respective design principles (12-factor app). So, I recommend to make  yourselves familliar with those concepts and technologies. A great source for that is the CNCF website (https://www.cncf.io).

Oracle itself has an impressive amount of Cloud Native OCI services, like Event Streaming or Functions (based on Project Fn), which become constantly improved and integrated with each other. The idea is to build and run scalable apps in public, private and hybrid Clouds. The philosophy for those services is to provide a completly managed Cloud Native development stack based on leading Open Source technologies that are certified by CNCF. In this area new services were announced Logging Service, for centralized log management, and a native OCI API Gateway. The later one is a fully Oracle-managed API Gateway.

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By the way – What about On-prem?

Besides all the noise around Cloud, it is good to see that also the On-prem offering is further evolved in parallel. Shortly, we can expect a new Patchset for WebLogic Server (12.2.1.4), which brings in some enhancements and security fixes.

Furthermore it was announced that WebLogic Server 14.1.1 is currently under development and will be out in this calendar year. This version is expected to fully support Jakarta EE 8 and runs on top of JDK8 resp. JDK13. There will also be support for Middleware components like SOA Suite or Servicebus with upcoming releases of Weblogic Server (14.1.2).

Summary

Puuuuh… A lot of stuff is obviously going on. Oracle is moving forward and has – at least from my perspective – a very strong vision where the Cloud should go to. I am glad to see that, especially with respect to the newly announced partnerships and the constantly evolving adoption of Open Source technologies and also give things back to the Open Source community (Helidon, Oracle JET, Java EE -> Jakarta EE).

 

 

 

 

News and noteworthy about Oracle PaaS – My thoughts on the emerging PaaS Partner Community Forum 2019

5 days packed with lots of information regarding the current product portfolio as well as the respective product strategies and that’s all for free? Where can you find an offering like that? Simple answer: At the annual Oracle Emerging PaaS Partner Community Forum!

This year the conference took place at Magaluf (Mallorca, Spain). This traditional event is a must-attend event for partners, since it provides outstanding possibilities
to share and exchange knowledge with other Oracle partners as well as the Product Management team. It also provides the chance, to give feedback Oracle’s Cloud Platform portfolio and the products itself.

The event is also intended to enable Partners to implement solutions on basis of the Oracle platform, by provide an interesting and valuable set of Hands-on labs (HOL) focussing the the latest Product versions and features.

The conference agenda

The first day of the forum belongs solely to the Partners, who did presentations on emerging technologies used in customers projects. Attendees were able to choose between presentations about SaaS and SaaS integration, technical topics like Digital Assistants or GraphQL and business-related topics, with session about Women in IT, as well. This day, with its built-your-own agenda concept was really cool with valuable information.

The second and third day were mainly focussing on the Oracle Cloud Platform portfolio and the latest evolvements and innovations within the portfolio. Where the second day gave a high-level and general overview to the platform-level strategy with respect to the following product areas:

  • Content and Experience Management
  • Serverless Functions and APIs
  • Digital Assistants
  • Integration, Process and Machine Learning (“Smart Processes”)
  • Artificial Intelligence

On the third day it gets more into the details of the aforementioned areas. The respective  breakout sessions could be chosen individually. The day was structured in four different rounds:

  • Enterprise process & integration track, where aspects like SaaS Integration patterns as well as SaaS Customization, the general Integration portfolio
    and SOA Suite migrations to the Cloud have been discussed
  • Development tools & DevOps track, with topics from the area of Application modernization with Client-side Javascript, Digital Assistants, Progressive app development with VBCS and
    DevOps based on the Oracle Cloud portfolio
  • Application development track, dealing with Microservice development with Helidon, Weblogic on Kubernetes, API Management and last but not least Serverless development with Oracle Functions
  • Innovation track, dealing with innovative solutions in the Content & Experience space (Integration with AI and ML), Enterprise Blockchain, Smart process (Dynamic processes supported by ML and Robotic Process automation)
    as well as Internet of Things

Traditionally, the conference closes with two days of Hand-on Labs (HOL). The offering here was overwhelming. 11(!) different Labs were offered covering everything that was discussed over the days before. Incredible offering and an amazing chance for partners to get their hands dirty on the latest stuff.

Summary and key takeaways

The annual PaaS Partner Community Forum is a first-class conference and as already mentioned a must-attend event for Oracle Partners, to get the latest information from Product Management and – even more important – to provide feedback on products, the portfolio and also the current strategy.

My personal key takeaways from this years conference are:

  • Oracle continuous their way to embrace and support Open Source technologies by leveraging respective technologies in their products, like Spark for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning or Hyperledger Fabric in the Blockchain area; Oracle also publishes frameworks like Oracle JET (Javascript UIs, http://tinyurl.com/y38rkgta), Fn Project (Serverless/FaaS, https://fnproject.io/) or Helidon (Microservices, https://helidon.io)
  • Kubernetes is the de-facto next-gen Application delivery platform
  • Don’t under-estimate the power and also weaknesses of GraphQL; there is no REST or GraphQL, simply use the one that best fits your use case; there are good reasons for a co-existence, e.g. GraphQL for implementing API compositions based on REST APIs
  • Digital Assistants are the latest and fanciest communication channels to engage with customers, partners and also internal colleagues (ChatOps, etc.)
  • Blockchain is becoming more and more relevant for enterprises with respect to transparent and secure End-2-End Business transactions; time to take a deeper look and discuss real-world cases with customers
  • Integration and workflow automation is not new, but it is still a first class citizen and provides the foundation for new concepts, like Digital Assistants; in addition, it all gets more and more integrated with AI and ML, with respect to Smart and predictive processes
  • Helidon is a serious alternative to Springboot for implementing Microservices
  • Oracle provides a good and solid Serverless foundation with Fn Project and Oracle Functions (to be GA’ed) and should be seriously considered

Last but no least I wanted to thank Jürgen Kress for an amazing event, which was perfectly organized and very valuable for all attendees. Thanks for building this amazing community of experts and provide an opportunity to share knowledge in such a great and professional atmosphere!

 

 

Autonomous, intelligent and open Cloud – An Oracle Open World and Code One Wrap-up

Oracle Open World 2018 is over, so it’s time to take a step back and replay about what happened during some interesting days fully-packed with great and useful information.

Oracle Gen2 Cloud Infrastructure – the big thing in IaaS

Oracle Gen2 Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), is intended to deliver a better Performance (Compute, Memory, Block Storage, Network) and a better Pricing to customers than the Gen1 infrastructure.

From an architectural perspective Oracle’s new Cloud infrastructure is more than just a facelift, since it has been re-designed from the ground up.

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As the picture above shows, Oracle introduced a completely new tier: the Cloud Control Computers. These specific components, called the impenetrable barrier, run all Cloud control code. Before, the Cloud control code was co-located with all customer code, which was suspect to be less secure and vulnerable. The Cloud Control computers surround the Oracle Cloud infrastructure to protect the Cloud as such and additionally surround each customer zone. This leads to enhanced security and more data privacy.

In addition to the impenetrable barrier, Oracle introduced so called Autonomous Robots that detect and kill potential threats automatically. To be able to identify those threats, the Robots are empowered by Machine Learning algorithms and so protect the Oracle Gen2 Cloud infrastructure for attacks.

OCI is already available in most regions today and will also be available for Cloud@Customer in Summer 2019.

Oracle Autonomous Database

The Oracle Autonomous Database was already announced during last years Open World; now the vision seems to be compete. The Database can be used for implementing transaction-intense applications (OLTP) as well as for defining analytics applications (OLAP, Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse) and leverages the new OCI infrastructure. In the context of the Autonomous Database autonomous Robots are responsible for:

  • Provisioning
  • Scaling
  • Tuning (tuning is constantly applied)
  • Recovery
  • Patch & update
  • Fault-tolerant failover
  • Backup & Recovery

Doing so, the Database is supposed to be more stable and available (Availability: 99.995%) and should allow Developers and Administrators to focus on more important questions with respect to data organisation and business logic.

From an architectural perspective, Oracle Autonomous Database is designed in a Serverless fashion, which means that customers only need to pay when data is actively processed. When the Servers are idle, nothing needs to be paid – with the exception of storage.

OCI Security announcements

The Security topic was very prominent this year. For the OCI infrastructure the following new announcements in this area were made:

  • Key Management Service– Store & Manage all encryption keys for all storage layers
  • Cloud Access Security Borker (CASB)– Automated, continuous security monitoring and management (e.g. configuration changes done by potential attackers)
  • Web Application Firewall– Web application traffic inspection
  • Distributed Denial of Service Protection– Automated DDoS attack detection and mitigation of high volume layer 3 & 4 attacks

With that the OCI offering becomes more secure and trustworthy, so that customers have less to worry about data security in the Cloud.

News and noteworthy from the SaaS and PaaS space

Oracle SaaS and PaaS solutions are leveraging from the innovations for Oracle Gen2 Cloud infrastructure, since the respective solutions are running upon the IaaS components.

Oracle SaaS

In the SaaS space, Oracle claims the market leader position, especially in the Cloud ERP space. Bringing existing on-premise customers to Oracle Fusion SaaS is something were Oracle is working on hard, to make this journey as easy as possible. In addition, it should be done at a very low-cost level and in the shortest possible period, which is depending on the number of customisations built in the existing on-premises solution.

Talking about customisations Larry Ellison said: “We love extensions, extensions are great! We have these great tools for extensions to our SaaS applications.”, and he further explained that customisations are not welcomed. From a long-term maintenance perspective, this is comprehensible.

With great tools, Ellison points amongst others to the integration accelerators that can be used to integrate Fusion SaaS apps and the respective data with other applications. Regarding data integration and analytics of the existing Fusion data Oracle introduces the brand new Fusion Analytics Data Warehouse that is build upon Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse as well as the Oracle Analytics Cloud Service (PaaS), which is intended to make data analytics very easy and efficient by just pushing a button.

Oracle_Fusion_Warehouse.png

Oracle PaaS

Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be very popular nowadays and omnipresent at a lot of presentations at Open World this year, as already mentioned in this post, while talking about OCI and the concept of the autonomous Robots.

That Oracle takes the topic seriously, shows itself also by the announced acquisition of the Cloud-based AI data engine company DataFox for undisclosed terms. The acquired tech will enhance Oracle Cloud Applications and the Data as a Service offering.

“Machine learning is a technology as revolutionary as the internet” (Larry Ellison, CTO Oracle)

ML and AI technologies (and therefore the Autonomous Data Warehouse, which provides the data basis) are also the basis for the newly announced Oracle Digital Assistant, which is the next evolution level of Chatbots and Intelligent Bots.

Other as the Chatbot or Intelligent Bot offering before, the Oracle Digital Assistant is a new standalone Service offerings and combines diverse so called skills for different business contexts under a common interface. This makes the User experience more consistent, since users have a single entry point to follow up with different user journeys, depending on their current context. Empowered by ML and AI the digital assistance knows, by analysing the information provided by the user, which skill to use to fulfil the current request. From a interface perspective, Oracle provides an app, but also supports integration with existing Services like Slack or Facebook messenger. In addition to that there a completely new support for Voice is available, which allows integration with existing voice assistants like Siri or Alexa.

With respect to Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC), we’ll see some new innovations also driven by ML and AI. For example in the Process Space there’ll be support for Dynamic Business Rules and next best action offerings in the area of dynamic processes and in the integration space integrations can be built more efficiently by providing intelligent recommendations for data mappings.

A new kid on the block in the Process and Integration space is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), where application integration is done by so called Robots (other than the autonomous Robots used by OCI) by basically leveraging the existing UI capabilities of an existing application to realise a certain integration scenario. The RPA technology can be used in cases where no appropriate UI is available and integrations needs to be established quickly. To implement RPA-based integrations a developer basically defines a UI Flow, similar to a Screencast, which is replayed by the Robot.

For developing and running the Robots, Oracle has established a cooperation with UIPath, a leading company in the RPA space. At Open World Oracle announced a new OIC RPA Adapter, which can be used to easily integrate with UIPath’s RPA solution, which makes the development of those solutions more efficient.

Cloud-native application development

Cloud-native application development denotes a modern approach to build and run applications by exploiting the advantages that Cloud and emerging technologies for developing modern applications deliver. Cloud-native applications embrace the 12-factor  principles, integrate concepts like DevOps, Continuous delivery and are often build on Container technologies.

Oracle also implement some of their Cloud offerings considering Cloud-native principles. While doing so they also share technologies and frameworks with the Open-Source Community, like the Oracle JET framework (the standard UI Framework used for Cloud UIs). With Fn Project Oracle last year open-sourced a framework for defining Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS) apps which are Docker-based and therefore can be executed vendor-agnostic.

At this years Open World Oracle introduced a new framework that was open-sourced just before Open World: Helidon. It is a framework to implement Microservices. It comes in two different flavours: MicroFramework, which is a lightweight and function-based variant, and MicroProfile, which supports MicroProfile version 1.1 and therefore comes with support for JEE features. So Helidon is a valid alternative to Spring Boot, when it comes to Microservices implementation on a Java basis.

During Open World 2018 Oracle Oracle announced 9 new Services to support Cloud-native application development, from Managed K8S, Kafka and Serverless, Orchestration, Telemetry, Notifications, Auto scaling and Cloud events.

9_Cloud_Native_Services.jpg

The Orchestration Service for example aims at Infrastructure-as-Code, which is a very important thing for Cloud-native application development, since with that applications become even more independent from the runtime as it’s runtime is part of the software.

Orchestration_Service_details.jpg

From a technology perspective topics like APIs,  Microservice technologies, like Service-Mesh with Istio or Envoy and Kubernetes as the Next-gen application development platform, were prominent citizens especially at Oracle Code One. In addition, the Kafka platform for real-time Data streaming and analytics, Serverless technologies and implementations as well as Machine Learning based on Open-Source technologies and frameworks were on the agenda.

Conclusion

This years Open World was mainly branded by the new Gen2 Infrastructure, the enhancements in this area and the autonomy of certain Oracle Cloud components, like the Database or the Data Warehouse. It seems that at least the Oracle IaaS stack is following a consistent vision and is becoming more mature. Also on the PaaS-level the available product palette seems to become more homogeneous and consistent, since everything converges together from a higher-level perspective. There are still some childhood illnesses, but maybe that’s just a matter of time.

Code One was a conference with many different facets, amazing presentations and awesome speakers. Here developers were able to share knowledge and exchange opinions, about how applications development should be done nowadays. It’s good to see that trend for embracing Open-Source technologies, which I already noticed last year, evolved further.

I am curious to see how the observed trends will develop further. Latest at Oracle Open World and Code One 2019, we’ll see how trend will look like.

DOAG 2017 contributions overview

With DOAG 2017 conference, I am done with my conference year. You can find the complete conference program here.

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But – as always – after a conference is always before the next conference. With this in mind, I just quickly wanted to provide a quick overview on my contributions and where to find respective materials.

At this years conference I had 3 presentations, which I gave with with my congenial partner Danilo Schmiedel. We covered different topics all around strategies, guidelines and technologies on the area of digital transformation

Strategies for efficient Delivery with APIs, Containers, Microservices, DevOps

A central challenge for today’s IT is how to ensure business agility and how to keep the robustness of core business functionalities. A microservice-based architecture in conjunction with APIs for decoupling the building blocks becomes more and more important. By using modern container technologies, companies can leverage all the advantages of modern software development. This session covers the impact of modern software architectures based on a real-life scenario, which we implemented to establish faster delivery cycles and to start innovations. Learn different strategies for how modernized software architectures can be introduced. Slides are available on Slideshare.

Cloud meets On-Premises: Guidelines and Best Practices

Integrating distributed systems or microservices with each other has been a challenging topic over the past years. The architecture blueprint which will be explained in this session considers highlights and lessons learned from our real life experiences with hybrid and multi-cloud environments. As part of that we will demonstrate how to bring back architectural best practices into modern solutions that are suitable for organizations of any size and industry. Slides are available on Slideshare.

Dynamic Processes & DMN Accelerate Digital Transformation

Business Process Management (BPM) as a Service, that is what the Oracle Process Cloud Service (PCS) is about. It provides tools to collaboratively create business processes, forms, rules, documents, services and data in a zero-code web-based environment. Of course BPM is not a new topic and quite a few initiatives failed in the last decade. However, with dynamic processes and decision modeling, Oracle PCS provides two very important enrichments which avoid the main challenges from the past in order to deliver real value to the knowledge workers. But is BPM dead or is it still relevant with respect to digital transformation? This is a question, we’re trying to clarify. Slides are available on Slideshare.

In summary, we had very interesting sessions at the conference, with great feedback and discussions. I am really looking forward for the next year. Until then, I’d like to say thank you and see you next year in Nürnberg.

My Oracle Open World 2017 contributions in a nutshell

OOW 17 is behind us and is was again an amazing and informative experience to attend one of the world biggest and relevant IT conferences.

Time to give you an overview on contributions and outcomes I was involved in. In total, I delivered 4 sessions:

  • Modernize Your IT Landscape with API-Driven Architectures (delivered 2 times, once at OOW and once at JavaOne Oracle Code track)
  • Strategies for Efficient Delivery with APIs, Containers, Microservices, DevOps
  • Soaring Through the Clouds: Live Demo of 17 Oracle PaaS Services Working Together

In addition, my colleague Danilo Schmiedel and me did an Dev interview with Bob Rhubart about APIs and Microservices and it’s meaning with respect to modern software architectures.

Concluding the conference, I also wrote a blog post, containing my thoughts and impressions of Oracle Open World 2017, which was published on the OPITZ CONSULTING CattleCrew Blog.

As you can, a significant number of contributions have been delivered and, more important than that, tons of information and impressions that I took home form an impressive conference!

 

Oracle Code Berlin – Personal impressions from a surprisingly different conference

Monday the 24th of April, 3:15 a.m.: My alarm clocks rings me up – yes, this is of course brutally early! But it was necessary to catch my train from Cologne to Berlin, where the newly invented conference format “Oracle Code” opens the doors. With respect to these early hours, knowing that this will be a long day and not sure what to expect, I made my way to Berlin – and this was a very good invest!

The facts of Oracle Code 2017 in Berlin:

  • 350 attendees
  • More than 20 sessions covering relevant topics like
    • Micorservices
    • API Management
    • Chatbots
    • Docker
    • DevOps
    • Kafka
  • 2 Hands-On-Labs (Docker introduction and Oracle Bare Metal Cloud)
  • Experienced, international speakers

The focussed audience of this conference were developers and architects, so the focus of the conference presentation was on technology, real-world problems and solutions – no marketing, which was very welcomed! If you want to know more about the agenda: here we go.

Our contribution to the conference

My colleague Danilo Schmiedel and myself had two talks at the conference this time.

The first one was about “API Management and why it matters”. In this session we were presenting an internal project, where we’re currently working on breaking up a monolithic application, following modern architecture approaches and concepts, like Microservices, API Management and modern UI technologies. We showed to the audience how this looks like form an architectural perspective and focussed also on how the implementation is done.

In the second talk “Improve Your Cloud Integrations with Test-driven Development”, we were talking on how to establish a consistent DevOps in integration respectively cloud integration projects. We explained this based on experiences from customer projects and described why Test-Driven Development is also or especially important in (cloud) integration projects as well as how to support a DevOps approach using Oracle Developers Cloud Service.

Between the two presentations I was interviewed by Javed Mohammed from OTN, where we talked about different topics with reference to our sessions and about me current thoughts regarding relevant challenges to be solved with modern software architectures. The complete interview can be found here.

Wrap up

To make the story complete, I just wanted to mention that my Oracle Code journey ended yesterday at 11:30 p.m.

It was an exhausting, but very valuable conference day. I really enjoyed, to be part of this great conference. Great sessions, interesting topics, an interesting audience and also a great finale, since there was beer and pizza at the party afterwards!

Thanks to the organization team for this wonderful event – I will definitely come back next time!

Chatbots, Cloud and beyond – Impressions about the PaaS Forum in Split

The yearly PaaS Forum should be a fix appointment in every Oracle-focussed IT Specialist. Why do I think that? Here are some reasons:

  • Get aligned with the newest products, features and roadmap information regarding Orcale’s massively growing Cloud offering
  • Get into touch with Oracle Product Management, Architects from the A-Team and leading experts from diverse Oracle Partners
  • Use the productive atmosphere at beautiful locations to network and talk about the newest trends and challenges in the IT market

This year the conference took place in Split at the beautiful Croatian coast in an excellent hotel; ideal settings for a productive and valuable working atmosphere.

The topics of the conference were all related to the Oracle Cloud Platform and insights into the roadmap as well as the strategy and where things are heading to. The key aspects of that will be briefly covered in the following.

Chatbots awakens

It sounds a little more scary than it really is; we will not run into a Terminator-like Skynet vision! But, it’s fact that chatbots seems to become more and more relevant, even for the business world.

In the consumer area chatbots are commodity. Intelligent asssitents like Siri or Alexa are helping us to organize daily work. Companies can also leverage from that. With today’s technologies the creation of those virtual assistants is possible in a quite easy way.

Key to be successful is to train the bot to identify the intent of the conversation partner, so that it can provide an appropriate answer. Since natural language is not that easy and straight-forward this can be challenging, because the bot also needs to know about synonyms, etc. In addition, a chatbot must be enabled to be self-learning, which is supported throug Machine Learning algorithms.

With their Chatbots Development Platform, Oracle allows the implementation of those virtual assistants. With Facebook as a strong cooperation partner in this space, Oracle seems to be well prepared to be at top, when the broad business adoption of chatbots begins.

APIs as a key enabler for new business models

APIs are doors to an enterprises data, services and processes, which might be exposed to the outbound world. Those APIs need to be managed to allow the definition of security, thread protection and throttling. In addition, things like API usage monitoring and monetization are also very important since a consistent API management approach is a key enabler for new business models.

With Oracle API Platform Cloud Service (APIP CS), which will come out soon, Oracle addresses the needs for implementing a consistent API Management approach, which covers the full API lifecycle from design over implementation to deployment, monitoring and management. The acquisition of Apiary, which covers the full API design lifecycle, makes the platform even more complete. You should definetly keep an eye on this upcoming product.

Integration is not dead yet

The basis for adopting new concepts, like for example IoT, are integrated enterprise systems. Even if integration as such is not as sexy as chatbots, since it purely happens in the background without user interaction, it is essential for keeping backend systems into sync with each other and for supporting concepts like a harmonized data model.

With Integration Cloud Service (ICS) and SOA Cloud Service (SOA CS) Oracle provides a first class integration offering, which enables the implementation of hybrid integration architectures. Those architectures are relevant to support companies on their way to the Cloud.

Containerization as basis for flexible architectures

Markets are very dynamically today, which causes companies to react on that. Furthermore technology is also evolving faster. To keep up with that, an ability to change mindset is needed throughout an organization. This means the business side as well as the IT. Therefore applications, which depict business capabilities, need to be changeable in an appropriate amount of time, without disturbing the business continuity.

With the Oracle Cloud Platform it is possible to create applications in a Microservice architectural style, by using Servics like Application Container Cloud Service (ACCS) or Container Cloud Service (CCS). A broad palette of technologies is supported by ACCS and CCS, applications can be scaled out at runtime and containers can be orchestrated, which makes the solutions even more powerful and flexible. To support flexibility agility a complete DevOps approach can be established by leveraging Oracle Developers Cloud Service’s collaboration and development features.

With that services, Oracle provides a very consistent approach to develop next gen applications and services, adressing the volatility of markets, business requirements and technologies.

Human-centric business workflows

Depicting human-centric workflows can be done Process Cloud Service (PCS) that’s nothing new. With PCS straight-forward workflows can be expressed using BPMN. But when business processes have a more dynamic character, it will be difficult to address those with BPMN.

For depicting dynamic business processes Adaptive Case Management (ACM) is needed. This was already part of Oracle BPM 12c and now will also become part of PCS. This is great and makes even more valuable for businesses, since with that capability the platform provides the basis for Enterprise decision modeling and Human-centric business workflows.

ACE world record in integrating Cloud Services

From the ACE team a showcase was delivered showing the integration of 15 (!) different Cloud Services in a Showcase in which a Voting Platform, for this years Open World music act, was created.

The team lead by Lucas Jellema showed impressingly how different Oracle Cloud Services (DevCS, APIP CS, PCS, ICS, SOA CS, ACCS, CCS,…) can be combined and integrated with each other to depict a Cloud native application.

The ACE team consists of:

  • Lucas Jellama
  • Lonneke Dikmanns
  • Richard Olrichs
  • Danilo Schmiedel
  • Mark Simpson
  • Torsten Winterberg
  • Sven Bernhardt

It was good fun and also very experiencing, being part of this great team.

Conclusion

It was again a great conference, which I personally left totally inspired with new ideas, taken from the spirit of the conference. Good to see that Oracle is making their way in the Cloud space consistently and is taking the partners with them on this journey. It is essential to build up knowledge in this space, since there seems to be lack of knowledge in the market; homework for us as partners!

Special thanks to Jürgen Kress for building up such a great and powerful community of friends!

 

 

OOW 16: My thoughts and experiences

Oracle Open World 2016 is over and it’s time to take at least two steps back. Why at least? You’ll know it, if you read through this article.

To briefly summarize it upfront: It was again a great event! There was an amazing and, at the same time, special spirit around, which attendees were able to feel and which was contagious – that’s my view, because before Open World I felt a little uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure about the general direction, where Oracle is heading regarding different Cloud topics; the overall strategy was not 100% clear to me. I had some open questions and uncertainties, which were answered respectively clarified during the conference. This makes me much more confident for the future and gives me in addition new ideas for my daily work, which of course will not become easier with the knowledge I gained at the conference. But this simultaneously makes my job attractive and exiting.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – The new focus

If you look at the figures in Oracle’s business summary for fiscal year 2016, it is really impressive what happened there. The revenue, just for the Cloud business, was at 1 Billion dollar!

Cloud Business Figures 2016

The good news, although this is not a secret, Oracle will keep going with investing in their Cloud business. As it can be seen from the picture above there is still room for improvement, since most of this revenue is coming from the SaaS and PaaS area.

“Now we are aggressively moving to infrastructure. We have a new generation that we are running around the world”, Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison  

The new thing is that a large part of the investments will be especially done in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) area, the Gen2 IaaS offerings, – I personally wasn’t aware of this. But doing so is just the logical next step, because a robust and reliable IaaS platform is key for growing the PaaS and also the SaaS business! This also converges with Larry Ellison’s statement, who said in one of his Keynotes: “IaaS represents a huge new opportunity for Oracle to layer on top of our rapidly growing SaaS and PaaS businesses”.

With this move, Oracle is approaching their main Cloud Competitors, like Amazon and Microsoft even more aggressive. So it will become hard times for them, since Oracle is even cheaper and faster than Amazon – the only thing you need to do is that you must be willing to pay 20% less, as Larry Ellison mentioned.

Oracle Gen2 IaaS vs. AWS

A further key differentiator for Oracle’s IaaS Cloud business are Bare Metal servers, which were announced during the conference. Bare Metal is a physical appliance optimized for high performance, without the need for virtualization. It is able to handle any workload, on any operating system and hypervisor – another piece of the Cloud puzzle. In addition Oracle is also working on the availability by providing cross-datacenter HA. All in all, these are  interesting steps in the right direction!

Further investments in PaaS offerings to delivery “One consistent Platform”

Also in the areas of PaaS Oracle listed a singificant growth. Starting with 12 Cloud Services in Q1 2016, Oracle finally ended up with over 50(!) Cloud Services by Q4 2016. This is a very impressive increase in only one year, but also a huge challenge for Oracle to make comprehensible offerings to customers, since some of the Cloud services have overlapping functionalities. One big advantage of the Oracle PaaS offering: it is one complete platform that covers different areas, like for example Integration or Big Data, and which can be managed and monitored consistently.

img_5368

To survive in this “jungle” of Cloud Services, customers need some guidance to choose the right combination of Cloud Services to address a specific business need. From a partner’s perspective, it is important to guide customers and to help them to find the right combination of Cloud Services – that’s blessing and curse. Oracle is already aware of that and will shortly introduce so called Suites, which will contain a useful combination of services, aiming to cover specific use cases.

In addition, there were some announcements regarding new PaaS services respectively the enhancement of existing ones. Highlights here were:

  • New: API Platform Cloud Service
    • Consistent Enterprise API Management platform
    • Supports API First Design
  • New: Analytics Cloud Service
    • Visualize any data on any device
    • No need for specific implementation skills
    • Great connectivity (40+ connectors)
  • New: Data Integration Cloud Service
    • Data Warehouse and analytics
    • Repliaction, ETL/ELT and Data quality
  • New: Dataflow Machine Learning Cloud Service
    • 0-Code GUI
    • Leverages from Open Standards, like Apache Spark and Kafka
  • New: Big Data Discovery Cloud Service
    • Visualize and discover hidden values in data
    • Transform huge amount of data to business insights
    • Process data using Apache Spark
  • New: Content and Experience Cloud Service
    • Digital asset management and mobile collaboration (Multi channel)
    • Consistent brand experience across channels
  • New: Virtual Assistance (Chatbot) Platform
    • Contextual conversations with intelligent virtual assistant
    • Integration with Facebook Messenger, Slack and others
  • New: Identity Cloud Service
    • Central Identity Management Platform
    • Can be used to align OnPrem and Cloud Identity Stores
  • New: Management Cloud Service
    • APM capabilities
    • Centralized Logging

Furthermore there were announcements regarding enhancements of the already existing Cloud Services, like Integration Cloud Service (ICS), which is further improvement by adding new connectors and also adding new capabilities for defining integrations. So the existing Cloud Services are becoming also more and more mature, which is good to see.

Oracle Cloud Platform – Migrate, Extend and Modernize

Oracle’s claim is to provide a complete  Cloud offering that supports the easy migration of existing applications to the Cloud, the development of Cloud Native apps in common technologies like Java or Node.js and the creation of new applications leveraging from the functionalities from the PaaS offerings.

Regarding the migration, Oracle’s  intention is to make it as easy as possible for customers to move their applications to the Cloud by just hitting a button, which furthers the Cloud adoption – Lift ‘n Shift is the magic word these days.To flesh this out, Oracle acquired Ravello Systems. With Ravello it is easily possible to move complete existing VMware images to the Public Cloud. This works seamless by just hitting a button, without any furthers efforts.

In addition, Oracle provides Container Cloud Services to build Cloud Native apps, like Application Container Cloud Service (ACCS), to allow customers to easy shift existing Java, Node.js or even PHP applications to the Cloud. With Developers Cloud Service (DevCS), Oracle also provides a Cloud development platform that covers basic DevOps capabilities, like Source Code management, Build automation, Issue Tracking, Wiki and more.

To infinity and far beyond…

To make a long story short. Oracle’s Cloud offering reaches the next level of maturity, even though there is still a way to go! The great advantage of Oracle with respect to the competitors is that they have an integrated approach built upon the three pillows: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.

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It is interesting to see that Oracle is doing a huge shift of it’s core business; away from a leader for on-premise Platforms and Solutions and over to a pure Cloud company. This takes some time and also is challenging, from a organizational as well as from a technical perspective. The exciting thing is that we can learn a lot from this, because similar things has to be taken into account while defining a long-term Cloud strategy!

Even if Oracle seems to be late in the Cloud market and is now maybe not as mature as for example Amazon, they have a consistent and comprehensive vision. And although some people think that this is a disadvantage, from my point of view this might be a potential advantage form a long term perspective. Because as we’ve already seen in the past, learning from the pioneers in a specific area is not the worst thing.

 

 

Upcoming talks at Oracle Open World 2016 and DOAG

Finally my first post in my brand new blog… 🙂 This time it is more about organisational than real tech stuff, but don’t be worried it will not stay like this.

I wanted to keep you updated about upcoming conferences I attend in the near future and about the corresponding talks I’m going to give there.

Oracle Open World 2016

The CfP was already over for quite some time and I was curious about the results, because my good friend Danilo Schmiedel and me submitted six(!) proposals. And finally it happened: We received one confirmation for this awesome event taking place in beautiful city of San Francisco: Oracle Open World 2016 taking place in September (18th–22th). We are going to talk about Test Driven Cloud Development based on Oracle Developers Cloud Service and Oracle SOA Cloud Service. You can learn more about the details here.

DOAG Conference 2016

Another great Oracle conference is the DOAG conference in Germany hosted by German Oracle User Group. This conference takes place in November  (15th-18th) in Nuremberg. On this beautiful conference me and my colleagues Danilo Schmiedel and Borys Neselovskyi will speak about different topics like API Management, Cloud development and operating SOA Suite in Amazon Cloud environments. The titles of the three talks are:

Find more details about the presentation by following the links.

So check your calendars and subscribe for the conferences to learn about the interesting stuff. I’m looking forward to meet you at the conferences!