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Culture eats PaaS and DevOps for Breakfast. Convergence : a Hangout

Amidst all the hype around PaaS and DevOps right now is an essential truth – that just as its people that usually break things, so it is that it is people that usually fix them. Automation has its limits. Indeed, to my mind one of the best things about the DevOps movement itself is that its about using tools to augment highly skilled operators, rather than to replace them.

So during this Google Hangout, part of the ongoing Purechat series I moderate on behalf of IBM, it was great to see all the panellists come back to the same issues. Break down the silos in order to do great work. Get ops and dev in the same room. The video runs a little long, but IBM helpfully broke it into nibbles here.

So while some might say DevOps means Ansible, Chef, Puppet or SaltStack, that’s overly reductive.

Same goes for Paas – “oh yeah mean Heroku or CloudFoundry”. Apparently not. It’s fun watching me and the other panellists dance around this.

Sanjeev Sharma (@sd_architect), IBM, Worldwide Technical Sales Lead, DevOps
Brian Massey (@brym13), IBM, Senior Product Manager, PureSystems
Mark Willemse, ING, Executive IT Teamleader Customer Intelligence
Peter Philp (@Philp_Prolifics), Prolifics, Solution Director

I am really pleased how the show came out, particularly the insights from Mark Willemse at ING – consultants and product folks have useful opinions, but the voice of the customer is always very welcome. Also to note that ING is coming at PaaS from an intriguing perspective- really its just about better developer experience and better quality.

Which is a lot like this definition of DevOps last year from Jay Snyder, director of platform engineering at Aetna.

“It’s a way to make the developer experience better. How can we help developers to build better apps? it’s about putting more power in the hands of the developer via automation.

We built something we call Developer Cloud. We virtualised the client… and put in the cloud. Then we took the runtime and put it there too – so we got consistency of development across QA/dev/test and production.”

So what one customer calls DevOps another calls PaaS. But that’s OK – both definitions amount to the same thing. Better serving developers to get better results.

Enjoy the Hangout.

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Dog’s Nose is The Map of Zombies

What the Internet was made for. Two pictures shared on Twitter, one after the other. Nothing to connect them except the connection in the mind of the viewer.

Check out the dog’s nose… and compare with the brain.

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Coming Very Soon: Monki Gras 2014. Why You Should Get Involved

And so now it’s just a few weeks until my signature conference is back – Monki Gras: where craft tech meets craft beer. The theme this year is Sharing Craft, following last year’s look at Scaling Craft.

The theme came from a conversation earlier this year with Kohsuke Kawaguchi, founder of the Jenkins Continuous Integration server, on a Google Hangout about Cloud, DevOps and Continuous Integration, sponsored by IBM.

Kohsuke made a point that resonated with me really strongly.

“We really haven’t figured out how to share what people do in one context to another. We have these conferences where people come in and talk about the amazing things they have done. But for someone else to replicate that work, it’s basically all custom made from scratch.”

Blammo! We’re generally terrible at sharing knowledge within, let alone across, domains. And so the theme Sharing Craft was born.

I am really excited to say Kohsuke will be at Monki Gras 2014 to help us unpack these ideas. And given my colleague Donnie’s current research directions, he will have plenty to say on the subject.

The parallel universes of DevOps and cloud developers

When I think about people who live in that foggy world between development and operations, I can’t help being reminded of a China Miéville novel called The City & the City. It’s about two cities that literally overlap in geography, with the residents of each completely ignoring the other — and any violations, or breaches, of that separation are quickly enforced by a shadowy organization known as the Breach.

Much like people starting from development or operations, or for you San Franciscans, the Mission’s weird juxtaposition of its pre-tech and tech populations, The City & the City is a story of parallel universes coexisting in the same space. When I look at the DevOps “community” today, what I generally see is a near-total lack of overlap between people who started on the dev side and on the ops side.

The industry has tried to overcome these issues with massive uber frameworks such as SSA, Corba, ITIL, UML and so on, but these efforts generally all fail.

At Redmonk we believe in people over process, which is why we run this event series.

Monki Gras 2014 will be all about knowledge sharing and cross functional learning – with some talks from brewers, artists and historians along the way. I am really looking forward to Greg Brockman, Stripe’s CTO, talking about how the craft of Mathematics can improve software development.

We have plenty of amazing speakers including the aforementioned Kohsuke, Leisa Reichelt from GDS UK, Elaine Lennox of Zend, Theo Schlossnagle, CEO of OmniTI, Rafe Colborn from Etsy data/ops, Narinder Singh, chief troublemaker at Appirio. Ana Nelson will tell us how making documentation beautiful can help bridge semantic gaps.

Initial sponsors include Appirio, Amazon Web Services, Basho, IBM, EMC, and Perforce.

And of course the catering and craft beer will be amazing. Plenty of surprises in store…. A new evening magical mystery tour, and food created by a chef from one of London’s top restaurants. Belgian beers, and a celebration of the Sour.

If you work in software development, and want to understand the latest thinking in how to do it right, you should come. If you’re a software vendor that wants to be part of a conversation with people building and defining the future you should come along too, and sponsor us of course. Even if you just find craft interesting there will be plenty to enjoy in the two day conference, hosted at the venue I co-founded, the Village Hall, Shoreditch.

This is not the biggest software development event, but we optimise for quality, not size. We’ll create a Dunbar-sized village for two days, and it will rock. All talks will also be videoed, though we won’t be streaming.

You should buy a ticket here.

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ThingMonk: Some Notes on a Successful IoT Event

Last month I ran an Internet of Things conference for the first time. It went really well. We had amazing talks, great hallway conversations, fab food, and… a power cut.


That’s right, you’re working towards the Internet of Things when suddenly the lights go off. What impressed me however was that people just kept right on working by the light of their laptop screens, and the few auxiliary ceiling lights. Most of the hardware being hacked had batteries, so everything just worked. Distributed Internet of self-powered things indeed.

I had given myself a tough deadline, putting together the entire event in less than three months, but I pulled it off reasonably well I think. Day one was a hackday – meet the IoT APIs, as it were – while day two was all about talks on a range of related subjects.

IoT touches so many areas that it can be hard to build a program around, so I went with some key themes- next generation industrial automation, hardware hacking, big data, the rise of Javascript for automation, and perhaps most importantly, Design for acceptance.

My speakers all did a phenomenal job, so thanks again Rick Bullotta, Dom Guinard, Malcom Sparks, Yodit Stanton, Paul Tanner, Jon Collins, Haiyan Zhang, Claire Rowlands, Matt Webb, Alex Deschamps-Sonsino, Patrick Bergel, Nuno Job, Darach Ennis, Tom Taylor, Peter Elger, Andy Piper and Reid Carlberg, Nick O’Leary, Morten Bagai, Seema Jethani, Tom Raftery, Ian Skerrett and Usman Haque.

As ever at RedMonk events we went hardcore on the catering – people are still talking about the charcuterie on day one. At which point I should also thank my sponsors, which help pay for all the lovely victuals and beverages- ARM, IBM, ThingWorx, The Eclipse Foundation,, Ubiquiti, Typesafe, 2lemetry and Datastax.

But of course its the program that folks come along for.

There are some great roundup posts about the event – such as one this one by ThingWorx.

“ThingMonk lived up to its theme of “Unpacking the Internet of Things”, where several players from diverse backgrounds came together to share their vision and insight on the Internet of Things”

Some great posts, and photos and video, came from the IBM Hursley crowd, which came along mob-handed, demonstrating IBM’s strengthening commitment to developer-led adoption. We brought Hursley to Shoreditch!

Laura Cowen sums things up in this post, summarising some of the talks, and celebrating impact.

“It seems Nick and colleagues, Dave C-J and Andy S-C, won over many of the hackday attendees to the view that IBM’s MQTT and NodeRED are the coolest things known to developerkind right now. So many people mentioned one or both of them throughout the day. One developer told me he didn’t know why he’d not tried MQTT 4 years ago. He also seemed interested in playing with NodeRED, just as soon as the shock that IBM produces cool things for developers had worn off.”

It’s true. NodeRED was the belle of the ball. After a hackday on day one, everybody on day two was talking about NodeRed, a node.js based IoT integration tool built by an IBMer.


Finally I just wanted to close the coffee loop. Before the conference I used this Youtube video to explain the IoT in terms of coffee machines.

And we did it! Check out this video of flying a nodecopter by pouring a coffee!


Reid, Darach and Mikeil For The Win.

So that was ThingMonk, another RedMonk conference. I hope my delegates enjoyed it as much as I did, but now I am working on Monki Gras, my craft conference!

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Monki Gras is here again. You should come!

Monki Gras is now pretty well established as a thing on the conference circuit, and I am pleased to announce that I will be running the show again next month in London on January 30th and 30th.

The theme this year is Sharing Craft – looking at codified principles and approaches to knowledge sharing in delivering goods and services faster and more effectively. How can one discipline inform and improve another? How can design improve operations and vice-versa, for example? Breakthrough innovation tends to happen when practices or insights in one community are applied to another. Statistics, and now data science, are another fruitful area where one craft is informing another.

Companies like Etsy have made great play of the notion of Code as Craft, but at Monki Gras 2013 I want to turn this on its head and look at Craft as Code. Any craft is a knowledge base, but how can it be passed on most effectively? In the age of Github we’re seeing new types of mentor and apprentice relationships emerge, where following means learning.

For more insights into the conference theme check out this post ON SF AND THE SHARED CRAFT BUBBLE.

We will of course be bringing you only the very finest craft beers and artisan foods at the conference. Monki Gras is of course still the conference where craft beer meets craft technology. The dinner and party on day one is set to be truly legendary, worth the price of admission alone.

So if you’re interested in the future of software design and development – and more importantly how to get things done more effectively right now – you should sign up here.

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Opinionated Infrastructure: Watson Finally for Developers, IBM Thinks Grassroots

In this video I talk about the importance of location and great coffee in creating fantastic developer experiences – why platforms need to work with web developers in metro centers, for IBM and everyone else. The Watson API is here. Welcome to the Village Hall!

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Opinionated Infrastructure: The Internet of Coffee Machines

This video explains why the Internet of Things is something all business people should be thinking about, with Shoreditch, popups and Barista coffee as a backdrop. Hope you enjoy it. And you should come to my conference next week if you don’t already have a ticket.

As ever, sponsored by the cool folks from IBM PureSystems.

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Java: 43 is the new 23. But where is the Framework? Hadoop as a language phenomenon.

How java got its mojo back jax 2013 from James Governor

I gave a keynote address at JAX last week with a talk entitled “The Upswing: How Java got its Mojo Back”. RedMonk has been tracking the Java resurgence pretty closely, and the talk was actually reprise of an 2011 JAX keynote on the same subject.

Jaxenter did a great precis of the talk here:

Younger developers clamour for newer JVM interlopers like Ruby and Scala, and naysayers such as Tim Bray, who recently claimed that Java isn’t relevant, abound.

The point that these critics are missing though, is that Java isn’t just a language – it’s a platform, and a terrifically robust one at that. Has it peaked? According to Governor, maybe. But then, so have the US and Europe – and they don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. After all, as Governor crucially pointed out, when web companies grow up they turn into Java shops. To date, Linkedin, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and Facebook, among a host of other web powerhouses, have all turned to Java in recent years to power them into maturity.

Looking to the future, Governor said that web frameworks are the best way to understand language adoption. After all, Ruby was just a curio until Rails came along, and Django, and Node.js have led adoption of their respective languages. Despite a tonne of options, Java still has yet to develop a leading framework – and Governor reckoned that to see explosive growth once again, it will need one.

Thanks Stephen for the maths underpinning the thesis that frameworks lead language adoption.

One area the author doesn’t mention from my talk is Big Data – many of the leading data management tools are JVM-based – see Hadoop (Java), Storm (primarily written in Clojure), Kafka (written in Scala), Cassandra, and Apache Giraph (Java). Many Organisations are now choosing data tooling based on affinity with Hadoop, which means sharing Java libraries. Hadoop is a Java language phenomenon rather than simply a JVM phenomenon.

It’s not an accident that Hadoop was written in Java. Doug Cutting made an engineering decision to do so. Engineers keep choosing Java for high scale environments, even some that are younger than 43.

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New Kingmakers and the Enterprise: On Purchasing, Technical Competence, Webification, $500k developer salaries, Developers Loving Marketers, and IoT

I was at SAP TechEd, recently, and we recorded this show about how Enterprise IT is changing. We discuss how the Web is changing the enterprise, from a cultural and technical perspective. The renaissance of technical competence, and the need to bring developers closer to the user. Marketing and Internet of Things are two fantastic opportunities for developers to make a difference to the companies they work for. Oh yeah I also talk to Raspberry Pi.

It’s nearly 20 minutes long, but well worth watching, in my opinion, if you want to understand RedMonk’s current take on the world.

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One chart that tells you everything you need to know about GitHub going mainstream

github pwn

Yesterday my colleague Donnie posted this chart, to immediate effect. Hundreds of retweets later, with developers rubbing and nuzzling into the data like cats to catnip, and I still wasn’t sure what the data meant.

Donnie had originally noted that it represented falling market share by Ruby, which is seemingly obvious from the graph. And yet…

And this is where I need to be careful, because Donnie has a PhD in biophysics, while I am merely data curious. I am sure the post he will write will clear everything up

But in the meantime the graph as far as I can really shows just what a mainstream phenomenon GitHub has become. While just a couple of years ago GitHub was still heavily skewed towards the Rails community, which had grokked the value of the social coding platform, today Ruby is just one of the languages significantly represented there.

Rails developers were the new Kingmakers that helped propel GitHub to dominance, but now others have joined the party.

The free wheeling Post Open Source Software (POSS) folks churning out Javascript libraries are still growing their share of the total platform, but everything else is seemingly stabilising.

One reason Java is now so well represented is that the open source foundations – first Eclipse and then the Apache Software Foundation – are now onboard.

The movement of entire communities to GitHub is best represented by the Perl graph. At first glance the chart screams “Perl is cratering.” But in fact what are seeing is 21000 Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) projects being ported to GitHub in late 2009.

That said, according to this data composed by Adam Bard, we may indeed be seeing some softening of Perl on Github.

When I look at the chart above I see GitHub emerging as a mature platform, used by a broad range of developers, communities and technologies. GitHub is no longer just about Web Development, but rather all mainstream development.

Git is hard to use and grok, but GitHub made it social and consumable by a broad range of constituencies. Which is why its going to hit 5m developers by year end, according to Donnie.

In summary the chart above is beautiful but dangerous. As far as I can see it shows us that Github is now not about outliers. The Social Coding model is now mainstream. Forking isn’t scary anymore.

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