Altabel Group's Blog

Archive for June 2011

I think many of you have been keeping up with the Windows 8 announcements and you are aware that Microsoft made a bit of a stir in the .NET development community with their 10 minute demo of Windows 8. They explicitly mentioned HTML5 and JavaScript as the ways to build new-look Windows 8 applications while there’s been no mention of Silverlight or .NET and their place in the OS. The developer communities of both technologies have been panicking a little as a result. Because of Microsoft’s lack of assurances, there’s a chance that both might see a diminished role in the OS. If that trend continues, there is a possibility that .NET and Silverlight could soon die, leaving a bunch of developers’ skills useless.

Many think it won`t happen, at least with .NET as it’s widely used by some high-profile companies. Silverlight… there is a little bit of concern about it.

Obviously, we can`t suppose what Microsoft is planning for Silverlight, but some people are beginning to have difficulties understanding how any company could still trust it as a viable technological choice. First the mixed messages, then the clear favoritism Microsoft is showing towards HTML5 and JavaScript (which, IMO, is justified but that’s another topic), and now the unwillingness to stand up for one of their products that is being doubted so openly, for the first time by its very users who only want assurance of Microsoft that their investments in the technology haven’t been a total waste.

What are your ideas ? What is the future of Silverlight? Do you think developers will switch from SL to the more open standard of HTML/JS?

BR,
Anna Kozik
Altabel Group

Fewer than 30 percent of IT expenditures go toward developing new functionality; most of the expense is for managing legacy systems. Isn’t that a problem? It definitely is and Cloud Computing may provide a solution to it. “This is the fundamental reason that cloud computing is important. Unlike SOA, cloud computing is not a buzzword driven by vendor hype; it’s different… Enterprise middleware, as we know it, will cease to exist,” said Spring founder Rod Johnson, senior vice president at VMware.

So, nowadays languages and technologies must step up to cloud challenge and evolve to meet the needs of cloud computing to maintain their prominence. So must do Java – “lead drive to cloud computing, otherwise, it’ll potentially lose to Ruby”, says Rod Johnson.
“Java needs continued productivity increases and must accommodate non-relational data stores like Hadoop to thrive in the cloud.., but these issues are in the process of being addressed.”

“Current methods in which IT deploys application servers, messaging brokers, and other software will give way to organizations either working with public clouds or their own private PaaS rather than dealing with low-level infrastructure components, which is complex”. Johnson noted that Java is a good fit for PaaS, offering a programming model such as Java EE (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition) or Spring.

And according to Oracle, Java EE 7, the next version of enterprise Java to be out next year, will be fitted with capabilities for PaaS cloud computing.”Our main goal is making the Java EE platform ready for use in the cloud so that you can deploy your Java EE apps into a cloud environment,” said Linda DeMichiel, Oracle Java EE platform lead. PaaS backing in Java EE 7 would entail evolutionary change, with support for multi-tenancy, small programming models, and new platform roles. APIs useful to a cloud environment would be added in Java EE 7, including JCache, for temporary in-memory caching of Java objects, and JAX-RS, which is a Java API for RESTfull access to services.

In addition to its PaaS capabilities, Java EE 7 is set to have limited support for SaaS, in which an application can support multiple tenants but each tenant gets a separate instance of an application. Oracle sees SaaS as the ability to deploy a cloud application where the application can serve multiple customers or tenants. Roles planned for inclusion in Java EE 7 include a cloud provider, such as Java EE product or PaaS provider, along with cloud customer roles, such as application administrator or end user.

Also Linda DeMichiel offered a glimpse of a subsequent Java EE 8 release, which would be fully modular and be tuned for use in SaaS cloud computing. With Java EE 8, Oracle is planning modularity akin to what is enabled in the Java SE (Java Platform, Standard Edition) 8 specification, along with more SaaS capabilities. A cloud profile for Java may be introduced and perhaps more cloud-related APIs, such as one for NoSQL databases.

So, in the next version Enterprise Java will gear to PaaS clouds and a subsequent Java EE 8 is going to be tuned for use in SaaS cloud computing.
With this, do you believe Java is evolving in the right direction? Will it lead drive to cloud computing?
And what closest competitors in the field does it potentially have? Perhaps Ruby?

You are welcome to share your opinions here.

Thank you so much,

Helen Boyarchuk
Altabel Group – professional software development

Google unleashed Android 3.1 OS for tablets recently, but the buzzer news is that come its next release, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich and landing this year, the company is putting a fork in “forked” versions of Android. Is one Android for all only good news?

For better understanding this questionI have chosen the most valuable and interesting quotes from LI members:

«For developers, yes. If you compare Android to iOS you can see the problems that a fragmented versioning causes. Developers writing for iOS still have the option to bring out different versions for tablets and phones or can write one app covering all devices. With Android much more effort is involved to create versions running across all flavors.
There is a lot of consumer confusion in the marketplace at present. I am in the IT industry myself – I was researching a new Android phone for the wife recently and was not sure of the different versions of Android out there, which I should go for and why. The obvious choice would be ‘newest is best’, but without significant research it is unclear what the benefits (or drawbacks) are between versions.
A lot of people hate the stranglehold that Apple place on industry ‘partners’ but from a consumer perspective they deliver a much more stable, streamlined and easy to understand system. By standardizing the OS across all Android devices Google will be much better placed to compete on an even level.»
Martin Bailey
General Manager, JETCAM/ Marketing Manager at 123insight

«Yes, for developers and for consumer. The success factor for Android is that it’s an open platform where people are free to choose what to install or develop etc. But the fragmentation can broke this critical advantage so iOS could win.»
Ruggero Piccoli
Excel Business Intelligence

«Depends.
The fragmentation problem that exists currently it’s not only Google’s fault. If equipment manufacturer’s (HTC , Samsung,Etc..) provided updates in a regular basis the fragmentation problem would be almost nonexistent. Since that doesn’t happens because it would probably reduce the profit on phone sales, we consumers and developers have this problem that makes customers spend more money on phones and developers put more effort in app development. Having all this in mind developing for android becomes more costly and a less attractive than Apple’s platform. So although we’ll have a android version that is the same for phones and tablets, it won’t reach all or most of all android customers out there.»
Carlos Ferreira
Junior Software Developer at ITSector

«Absolutely yes. Look at it like this, is an unified Windows OS a good thing or would you rather be riding the Linux horse to fight the desktop war?»
Fernando Giannaccari Nunes
Services Intake Manager at Dell

What do you think? Your opinions are welcome!

BR,
Kristina
Altabel Group

Cloud computing is made up of a variety of layered elements, starting at the most basic physical layer of storage and server infrastructure and working up through the application and network layers. The cloud can be further divided into different implementation models based on whether it’s created internally, outsourced or a combination of the two.

The three cloud layers are:
• Infrastructure cloud: Abstracts applications from servers and servers from storage
• Content cloud: Abstracts data from applications
• Information cloud: Abstracts access from clients to data

The three cloud implementation models are:
• Private cloud: Created and run internally by an organization or purchased and stored within the organization and run by a third party
• Hybrid cloud: Outsources some but not all elements either internally or externally
• Public cloud: No physical infrastructure locally, all access to data and applications is external

An infrastructure cloud includes the physical components that run applications and store data. Virtual servers are created to run applications, and virtual storage pools are created to house new and existing data into dynamic tiers of storage based on performance and reliability requirements. Virtual abstraction is employed so that servers and storage can be managed as logical rather than individual physical entities.

The content cloud implements metadata and indexing services over the infrastructure cloud to provide abstracted data management for all content. The goal of a content cloud is to abstract the data from the applications so that different applications can be used to access the same data, and applications can be changed without worrying about data structure or type. The content cloud transforms data into objects so that the interface to the data is no longer tied to the actual access to the data, and the application that created the content in the first place can be long gone while the data itself is still available and searchable.

The information cloud is the ultimate goal of cloud computing and the most common from a public perspective. The information cloud abstracts the client from the data. For example, a user can access data stored in a database in Singapore via a mobile phone in Atlanta, or watch a video located on a server in Japan from his a laptop in the U.S. The information cloud abstracts everything from everything. The Internet is an information cloud.

Read more about the Cloud here.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – professional software development

These days cloud computing technology is being discussed just about everywhere. People are excited and curious to know more and more about this latest technology and about its working pros and cons. Cloud computing is usually viewed in the context of web, business firms, and data servers. But it is not only business companies and personal computer users which are going to feel its impact; it will bring a major change in the mobile industry as well.

How is the “mobile cloud” different from the “cloud?” Ask ten different tech experts and you’ll get ten different answers. Often, the term “mobile cloud” simply indicates the most common end point accessing a particular cloud, although as the mobile cloud evolves expect some subtle differences in regard to security, back-end infrastructure, app design, etc. to emerge.

Even though the mobile cloud is still in its infancy, here are five things IT should know about the mobile cloud in order to prepare for the future:

1.The mobile cloud will accelerate the “consumerization” of IT.

As knowledge workers increasingly rely on non-PC devices like smartphones and tablets as their go-to computing platforms, IT is being forced to change and change quickly.

“IT can’t think about things on a node-by-node basis anymore. They must think of resources as aggregate services that they must make securely available to a number of devices, including phones and tablets,”
David Link, CEO, ScienceLogic.

In technophilic organizations, you’ll see people accessing social media and corporate apps from smart phones and tablets. Consumerization isn’t something that’s coming. It’s something that’s here.

“The demand from employees for iPhones, Androids and tablets places tremendous pressure on IT. Companies should deliver functionality from the cloud and implement the support for multiple end devices into the applications. If they weren’t doing that, they’d lose ground to our competitors. IT has been slow to adjust these changes, so the prospect of a “mobile cloud” could seem downright horrifying.
However, while the mobile cloud should accelerate the consumerization of IT, this might not be such a bad thing. Done right, the mobile cloud could actually offer IT a path out of the chaos. The mobile cloud could simplify security and limit a number of end-user created headaches.

2.Risk equations are changing.

While vulnerabilities are skyrocketing on mobile devices and hackers are turning their attention to them, smartphones, tablets and the like do not offer the vast number of attack vectors that PCs do – in theory.
Apps are vetted. Email is cloud-based and should have some sort of virus and phishing protection behind it. Since the devices by definition roam outside the corporate walls, access control and identity enforcement should be standard. Moreover, enterprise apps accessed via handsets should prevent users from storing data locally, and, perhaps, could even disallow users from making certain types of changes to the data, depending on a number of factors. These factors include how you logged in, how robust your authentication mechanism was and even where exactly you are. Using built-in GPS, it wouldn’t be difficult to limit certain activities to certain places, such as the office, your home office or certain trusted places where you tend to do work like a specific airport lounge. The invasion of mobile devices into the enterprise is forcing organizations to rethink how they calculate risk. Blanket policies blocking smartphones won’t last. If your organization sticks with them, your most tech-savvy employees will find workarounds – workarounds that are often less secure than letting IT figure out how to deliver secure mobile access in the first place.

It is important to find the best approach is to start figuring out how to control data and how to manage access to that data, rather than simply blocking classes or types of device. If different categories of data are created, then it will be easy to define what each level means and how to control it.

The mobile cloud could again be a boon here. If applications have mobile-app components house in the mobile cloud, it’s easy to shuffle mobile users into a safer, more controlled environment.

3. The Mobile Cloud will change how we work.

Microsoft, Google, Salesforce.com, and plenty of others are rolling out cloud-based features that enable collaboration. Much enterprise collaboration, though, is still done through a tried-and-trued communications medium: email. And what’s the first application everyone wants on their smartphone? That’s right: email.
Email is also often the first application companies seek to move to the cloud.

The mobile cloud will change how we work in more ways than simply how we access email and how IT manages it. Today, location-awareness is pretty much inherent in mobility. Location-awareness will change how sales teams prospect, how IT delivers security, how marketing and advertising firms interact with customers.
Applications will be more fractured (the single-purpose app model), yet they may well integrate more easily with related apps.

“Mobile devices are going to create some challenges for IT, but they’re going to create a different working ‘sensation’ for individuals,” Crampton said. “When you can do things like connect your social network to your car, all sorts of behaviors will change. There will be a different paradigm for how we use and think of mobility.”

4. The Mobile Cloud will pave the way for the “Internet of Things.”

Imagine a time when everything from refrigerators to parking meters to pacemakers is connected to the Internet?

If you’re imagining a time well into the future, you’re either a cynic who’s grown wary of these promises and predictions (I’ll raise my hand as being guilty here), or you haven’t realized how cheap processing has become and how much downward price pressure there is on wireless networking.
Looking at the various reports coming out of IBM, Ericsson and Cisco, we could be looking at potentially one trillion Internet connected devices by 2015. To put that in perspective, we passed the five-billion milestone in late August/early September.”

IBM predicts that there will be 1 trillion connected devices by 2015. Cisco moves that up to 2013.
Ericsson looks further ahead and believes there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020, and IMS Research notes that we only just passed the 5-billion-device threshold in August 2010.

“If you can put a sensor and a network anywhere, then think of all of the places you might want to monitor and all of the data you’d like to collect. Today, with sensors running on batteries or harvested energy, you already have the ability to get information from anywhere or connect to anything – anywhere.
Joy Weiss, President and CEO of Dust Networks

5. It’s happening whether you’re ready for it or not.

Sensors are already monitoring environmental conditions in vineyards. Smart parking meters are already sending text messages to alert drivers of vacant parking spaces, and sensors are being used to monitor corrosion in pipelines. Previously, these kinds of applications had limited scalability because they tied back into proprietary applications and systems. Soon, though, it will be the mobile cloud driving the so-called “smarter planet,” as IBM likes to call it.

The “Internet of Things” or this “Device-aggeddon” as David Link of ScienceLogic refers to it is already here. It’s happening, and the only reason that we don’t realize it is that much of this is happening in the background.

What would you say about mobile cloud computing? What are your expectations from this technology? Would you like to use it? Why? What are the benefits for you?

Best Regards,
Natalia Kononchuk
Altabel Group

These days cloud computing technology is being discussed just about everywhere. People are excited and curious to know more and more about this latest technology and about its working pros and cons. Cloud computing is usually viewed in the context of web, business firms, and data servers. But it is not only business companies and personal computer users which are going to feel its impact; it will bring a major change in the mobile industry as well. Cloud computing is going to dominate the way in which mobile applications will operate in near future.

A new term “Mobile Cloud Computing” has been devised for a combination of cloud computing and mobile applications. In mobile cloud computing, data storage and data processing occurs outside the mobile device and results are displayed through screen or speakers. GPRS, Gmail, and Google Maps are already being used are pioneer examples of mobile cloud computing. In a few years time we can expect a major shift from traditional mobile application technology to mobile cloud computing.

Mobile cloud computing can give mobile device users a number of advantages. Company users are able to share resources and applications without a high level of capital expenditure on hardware and software resources. Due to the nature of cloud applications, users do not need to have highly technical hardware to use applications as complex computing operations are run within the cloud. This lessens the cost of mobile computing to the client. End users will see a plethora of unique features enhancing their phones because of mobile cloud computing. A few examples of such applications can be seen to emerge such as applications that give users the ability to watch home security systems and others which allow users to create location based social networks.

Developers also have real advantages from mobile cloud computing. The largest benefit of cloud computing for developers is that it allows them to have access to a larger market. Since cloud computing applications go through a browser, the end user’s mobile operating system does not have any impact on the application, meaning that they will be useable with any application that has a suitable browser. Because of the advanced improvement in mobile browsers thanks to Apple and Google over the past couple of years, nearly every mobile should have a suitable browser. This means developers will have a much wider market, means they can bypass the restrictions created by mobile operating systems.

Along with a bigger market, cloud computing offers developers the chance to build programs at a lower cost, and keep a larger share of the revenue. Since programmers only need to create one version of the application and still have access to every device user, their building costs will be reduced when compared with if they needed to make a new build for each mobile platform individually. Creating cloud programs also allows programmers to bypass application shops Apple’s App Store. This will ensure that programmers won’t have to pay a percentage of their revenue to the mobile platform owner.

Mobile cloud computing gives new company chances for mobile network providers. Several operators such as Orange, Vodafone and Verizon have started to offer cloud computing services for companies. These services give the chance for businesses to outsource the IT infrastructure, getting past huge capital investments in high spec hardware. These cloud services allow companies to pay resource costs such as data storing and program hosting. The network providers charge subscription fees for these services. Network operators also give security services for these networks, which shows another new opportunity available by cloud computing
A key challenge for cloud computing is network availability and intermittency. A cloud application needs a constant connection that might prove to be an Achilles heel for the cloud computing movement. However as mobile internet capabilities continue to get better, it is likely that solutions to this particular problem will become apparent. New programming languages such as HTML 5 already provide a solution by enabling data caching through a mobile device, and this allows a cloud application to continue working is a connection has been momentarily lost.

The refining of this new technology seems to be a new major step in mobile application development. Mobile cloud computing provides benefits for each agent within the mobile devices and applications sector. It expands the market, reduces the price of programs, reduce hardware requirements and provides unique chances for network operators. When mobile web capabilities gets to levels of usability to its desktop counterpart, cloud computing is likely to become a very popular method in developing, distributing and using mobile applications.

What do you think about mobile cloud computing? Is it right direction in mobile industry? What would expect from this technology? What would you say, is it worth using? :)

Best Regards,
Natalia Kononchuk
Altabel Group – professional software development


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