Thursday, February 18, 2016

Building a Solution? The Cloud Architecture Center has Blueprints

Cloud Architecture Center
Remember the days when a simple text client and a small database server were the core enterprise solution? These days data flows from various endpoints to data lakes or data reservoirs, data streams are analyzed in real time to trade stacks, prevent fraud, to react to sensor data. How are other companies building their solutions or what are best practices? What products or services can be used? Great that the new Cloud Architecture Center offers blueprints.


Right now the IBM developerWorks Cloud Architecture Center features an architecture gallery where you can filter the available blueprints by overall area like data & analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile or Web Application. Another filter criterias are by industry or capability, i.e., you could look for sample solution for the insurance industry or a use-case featuring a Hybrid Cloud scenario.
Partial view: Architecture for Cloud Solution

For the selected architecture and solution you are presented with the overall blueprint (as partially shown in the screenshot) and are offered information about the flow, the included components are deployed services and products, and get an overview of the functional and non-functional requirements. Depending on the solution there are links to sample applications, code repositories on GitHub, and more reading material. See the Personality Insights as a good example.

The Architecture Center offers great material for enterprise architects and solution designers and the linked samples and demos are also a good start for developers.

(Update 2016-02-21): There is a new and good overview article with focus on Big Data in the cloud and possible architecture.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How to Navigate Bluemix - My Starter Guide

Bluemix Account
Coming from a product like DB2 with a focus on operational and feature stability, consistency and high availability, and now working with a product or, better, platform like Bluemix feels like an entirely different world. At least at first sight. Truth is that I feel at home once I learned to navigate it. Here is the first installment of my "how to bluemix"...

Bluemix by Region and Organization
Once you have logged into IBM Bluemix, in most of the cases the dashboard should be show. Its content and also the services offered to you in the Bluemix catalog depend on the selected region and the organization (see screenshot on the right). Bluemix and its services are hosted in different data centers around the world (regions) and not all services are available in each data center. You can find out which regions are available and which services are supported in a region by checking out the Bluemix status page (also see the section below).

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Parse shutting down, move your data

Parse shutting down
This week Parse.com, Facebook’s Mobile Backend as a Service offering, surprised their users. The service will shut down next year and all users are asked to move on. The Parse backend server has been released as open source project, a tool has been made available to migrate data. My Bluemix colleagues have created migration guides.

Mike Elsmore has created a quick overview of how to provision the required services on Bluemix to move over your data from Parse.com. Reading his instructions probably requires more time than the actual migration process. If you are not that deep into Bluemix, want more details, or a simple click of a button to deploy the required components, I would recommend reading the extended tutorial that Andrew Trice wrote. He walks you through the process, step by step and screenshot by screenshot, on how to provision and configure the services, how to move the data, and eventually testing the migrated application. 

Parse is using the NoSQL MongoDB to store the data. You can take a look at the DatabaseAdapter.js and ExportAdapter.js files to see how Parse is using the database and, if you like, write your own adapter for Cloudant/CouchDB or maybe even a relational database like MySQL or DB2.

Given that several Cloud service providers and PaaS hosters have announced shutting down, it is an interesting time. It seems that a new chapter in the Cloud story has begun, market consolidation has started.

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