Monday, January 16, 2017

Digital Foundations - Increasing agility in application delivery

When building anything substantial, such as a house or bridge, you start by laying down a solid foundation.

Nothing changes this aspect of building brick by brick when you move from traditional constructions to application development and architectural design of your supporting infrastructure. Throw in Cloud terminology and you might think that the principles of a solid foundation are a bit flighty, but nothing is further from the truth.

In the previous article, I talked about how you can reduce the complexity in your current infrastructure by leveraging policies to automate some of the more common tasks operations must face on a daily basis.

Digital foundations

Let's take a look in this article at what you can do with open technologies to increase your agility in delivering customer solutions to support your digital journey:
The path to increasing agility is found in modernizing development and operations, so let's take a look at how this help in building a solid digital foundation for your organization.

Increasing agility

Many organizations are still stuck with teams functioning in isolated silos, working to deliver on monolithic solutions which are then dumped on the operations teams. They are struggling to understand how to configure, secure and deploy these solutions at scale and still be able to maintain them over time.

Development teams are looking for ways to make more changes to applications at a higher rate than ever before. They want applications to scale independently and provide the flexibility to share functionality across the entire application landscape.

What will this new organization look like and how can that deliver on the agility that is desired?

Modernize development and operations

The changes needed to modernize an organization are going to be found in collaboration, something that open technologies foster from their very beginnings in the communities that create them. Development and operations will need to embrace this pattern and work in cross functional teams to achieve the agility needed for faster and shorter release cycles.

Operations will facilitate the infrastructure with automated pipelines for development to push in changes that are then automatically tested and configured for each environment leading up to and including production deployments. 

This method of modern development and operations leads to faster feedback cycles, earlier detection of blocking problems and smoother processes for automation from development to production. Development teams will make more progress with less time lost in testing, feedback that can be actioned into new releases pushed back into the build pipelines for eventual deployment into production.

To illustrate this process and how it might look, the following slides show how to increase agility in application delivery with Open Source Cloud technologies.

The story continues... next up on building the foundations of digital transformation, I will be a look at providing scalable solutions for hybrid cloud.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Containers Virtual Event - Using Containers to Build a Microservices Architecture

The Red Hat Containers Virtual Event is going to be held next week on 19 Jan 2017 from 11:00 EST until 13:15 EST (11am - 1:15pm).

What's this about you say?

Well, the introductions goes like this:

Now more than ever, we know that modern application development and deployment are tied to business growth. A business is eight times more likely to gain share if it is at the forefront of digital maturity. Speed, security, and operational efficiency are the key elements that will determine success or failure. Linux containers, used correctly, will help your organization deliver all three.

Attend Containers for the Enterprise | A Red Hat virtual event to find out how to unlock the potential of Linux containers in your enterprise.

We’ll explain how Linux containers:
  • Deliver new applications faster
  • Are a core component of DevOps practice
  • Lower deployment and maintenance costs
  • Ensure application portability
You’ll gain insights on Container adoption from Forrester principal analyst Dave Bartoletti, hear Red Hat’s container vision and strategy, and learn directly from the experts who are delivering these capabilities to organizations like yours today.

After the keynotes, I am kicking off the first track with the following talk:

Using Containers to Build a Microservices Architecture

Microservices are more than just building software. There are questions around architecture, your organization, processes and your way of thinking. Innovation does not come naturally to everyone, so let's explore the journey you need to take as you leverage your current architecture and learn how the foundational building blocks to microservices are containers.

Time: 11:50am - 12:15pm (11:50 - 12:15) EST

Be sure to register and join me and my friends as we cover the following an array of topics over the following four tracks.

  • Track 1: Architecting your infrastructure for tomorrow
    • 11:50 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. | Using Containers to Build a Microservices Architecture
    • 12:20 - 12:45 p.m. | Ten Layers of Container Security
    • 12:50 - 1:15 p.m. | Building a Hybrid Cloud Platform with Containers and OpenShift
  • Track 2: Building and securing container-based apps
    • 11:50 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. | Dividing Responsibility for Container Images
    • 12:20 - 12:45 p.m. | Using Ansible Container to build your Images
    • 12:50 - 1:15 p.m. | Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery with Containers and OpenShift
  • Track 3: Deploying and managing container-based apps
    • 11:50 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. | Delivering OpenShift on OpenStack for Performance and Scale
    • 12:20 - 12:45 p.m. | Migrating Existing Applications with Containers
    • 12:50 - 1:15 p.m. | When Containers and Virtualization Do -- and Don’t -- Work Together 
  • Track 4: Solving for scale
    • 11:50 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. | How to keep Dirty Cows from contaminating your milk
    • 12:20 - 12:45 p.m. | Managing OpenShift at scale across the open hybrid cloud
    • 12:50 - 1:15 p.m. | Solving the persistent storage challenge for containers
See you there!

Monday, January 9, 2017

3 Steps to Cloud Operations Happiness with CloudForms

New version of Red Hat CloudForms 4.2
brings many new features to Cloud Suite!
This week it was announced that the newest addition to the Cloud Suite management layer, CloudForms 4.2, was available for all to enjoy.

There are many cool and new things to get excited about with over 1800 improvements added to the product.

CloudForms is the Cloud management platform for the Cloud Suite product, providing you with the ability to deploy it federated across regions for centralized administrative actions, but also to execute actions in local regions.

Are you looking to get a feel for the challenges that CIOs face and must embrace? Do you want to see how various use cases can be easily solved with open technologies within Cloud Suite? Ready to start building your very own digital foundations to ensure a smooth digital transformation for your organization?
Scaling into the pubic Cloud was never easier!

All these and more are possible with the help of Cloud management tools like CloudForms that are able to bring this all together without your operations departments losing the overview of their infrastructural architecture.

Some of the more interesting features include new network providers for public clouds, a new storage provider, uniform dashboards and reports, and performance and responsiveness enhancements reducing page loading by 90% or more (0.5 sec for 20,000 VMs in a report).

Tracking middleware applications in your Cloud just
got easy-peasy, so start managing your
JBoss middleware solutions today.
These are but a few of the new changes and I wanted to share one of my favorites, a technical preview for adding middleware as a provider to generate all kinds of new reports around your JBoss middleware applications in the Cloud.

Operations happiness in minutes?

So now that you have this great management tool, what next?

I wanted to make sure you got the chance to play with this in the easiest way I know how, based on the same demo template I provide for many other fantastic AppDev in the Cloud examples. I found a great project that pulled CloudForms together with a great data set into a container (thanks to Michael Surbey, Inside Partner Solutions Architect online @ecwpz91), allowing us to install and run this on any machine that can run containers.
Running and available on https://localhost for you!

How cool is that?

You can find it over at the Red Hat Demo Central and it's just three steps to getting your operations happiness back:

Red Hat CloudForms Install Demo

Install your very own local instance of the Red Hat CloudForms, the management tool of choice for Red Hat Cloud Suite infrastructure solutions.
This project requires a docker engine and some patience for the database to be populated after starting up the containerized CloudForms instance. There will be checks during installation and I point you to what is missing. It also checks that you have the right versions running too.
Get your Cloud intelligence from CloudForms,
explore and learn!

Install on your machine

  1. Run '', then sit back.
  2. Follow displayed instructions to log in to your brand new Red Hat CloudForms!

Hope you enjoy this container install with CloudForms and can experience the management features on your very own local machine. Comment and feedback welcome in the project.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

App Dev in the Cloud - HR Employee Rewards Application on OpenShift

Over the holiday break I noticed an old favorite BPM example project, maybe one of the first ones I ever created in my BPM career, the JBoss BPM Rewards application was being neglected and no longer deemed worthy of updates.

It has been a part of the learning path for many beginners to the JBoss BPM space, including an integral role in the long running free online BPM workshop that I have shared around the world at Red Hat Summit, JUGs, meetups and JBUG conferences.

With my focus shifting last year to a more Cloud centric application development story I have taken this example project and enabled it for most OpenShift Cloud installation, fully containerizing the example in the easy to use demo format I always provide.

Instead of letting this project deteriorate in the annals of history, I took the project and updated it with the following:
  • Updated to use JBoss BPM Suite 6.4.0
  • Updated to use JBoss EAP 7.0.0
  • Installs locally on your machine
  • Installs containerized
  • Installs to any OpenShift installation
To achieve all this I forked the original project and updated the Cloud based project over on Red Hat Demo Central. To install locally or in a container on your own container platform, you use the forked project I will keep on my own Github:

JBoss BPM Suite Rewards Demo

This is the HR employee rewards demo that provides examples of human task integration, form designer and a custom email work item handler.
There are several options available to you for using this demo; local, containerized or on any OpenShift installation.

The second project can be found on Red Hat Demo Central and hosts the install to any OpenShift installation, but we suggest you use the OpenShift Container Platform Install Demo:

App Dev Cloud with JBoss Rewards Demo

This demo is to install JBoss BPM Suite Rewards Demo in the Cloud based on leveraging the Red Hat Container Development Kit (CDK) and the provided OpenShift Enterprise (OSE) image. It delivers a fully functioning JBoss BPM Mortgage example containerized on OSE.
This is the HR employee rewards demo that provides examples of human task integration, form designer and a custom email work item handler.

Enjoy and keep an eye on this site for more updates soon.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Digital Foundation - Reducing the complexity in current infrastructure

When building anything substantial, such as a house or bridge, you start by laying down a solid foundation.

Nothing changes this aspect of building brick by brick when you move from traditional constructions to application development and architectural design of your supporting infrastructure. Throw in Cloud terminology and you might think that the principles of a solid foundation are a bit flighty, but nothing is further from the truth.

In the previous article, I talked about how you can deal with the challenge of a sprawling infrastructure that is reducing your ability to deliver services on time. You are shown how this challenge to digital transformation can be surmounted and how to accelerate your ITs ability to deliver successfully.

Digital foundations

Let's take a look in this article at what you can do with open technologies to reduce the complexity in your current infrastructure to support your digital journey:
To start reducing complexity in a current infrastructure you need to tackle optimization of your current processes and increase efficiency with policy driven automation to continue on the path of building a solid digital foundation for your organization.

Reducing complexity

While speeding up the delivery of services in your environment is one of the steps on the road to building your digital foundations, your operations continues to spend the majority of their time on the day-to-day management of your environments.

When so much time is lost to management of existing environments, how can you expect them to deliver on the next generation of scalable and programmable infrastructure or find time to engage early with development teams to increase agility in delivering on customer promises?
Let's take a look at what can be done with policy driven automation to help operations optimize their IT management activities.

Optimize IT

Many of the day-to-day tasks of an operations department can be optimized by applying management through automation largely driven by policies. Seems like common sense, but may IT departments continue to struggle with this very topic and fail to make good use of their current environments.

The first set of policies that you can profit from are based on workload placement, such as when one virtual cluster is running hot while another is completely cold. The results are calls or tickets being raised by owners of the applications running on the hot cluster asking why their applications are under performing. By automating the balancing of clusters through proper policies will keep your virtual infrastructure operators free to focus on more important tasks.

Another area where policies can help is with the ability to quickly move workloads between different infrastructure environments. This has become increasingly important as organizations looks to adopt scale-out IaaS clouds. Operations leadership realizes if they can identify workloads that do not need to run on (typically) more expensive virtual infrastructure they could save money by moving those workloads to their IaaS private cloud. This migration is typically a manual process and it’s also difficult to even understand what workloads can be moved. By having a systematic and automated way of identifying and migrating workloads enterprises can save time and move workloads quickly to reduce costs.

These are but two examples of how you can optimize your IT by implementing policy based automation that will deliver on promised improvements to your resource utilization and reductions on expenses per workload managed. The following slides showcase visually what it looks like to reduce the complexity of your infrastructure with Open Source Cloud technologies.

The story continues...  next up on building the foundations of digital transformation, I will be a look at increasing the agility in delivering customer solutions.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 in review - Transitions, storytelling and more

It's that time of year again, when I sit down to take a short look back as the sun sets on another year.

This year was my eighth year at Red Hat and my fifth year as a Technology Evangelist. While the year started with my focus being on JBoss BRMS & BPM technologies, I transitioned upwards when was approached to take on an expanded role within the Infrastructure Business Group (IBG).

This new role is as a Global Technology Evangelist and allows me to focus on full portfolio solutions, such as Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure and Red Hat Cloud Suite. It also provided a platform to initiate the Red Hat Technical Marketing Manager Practice, a company wide initiative to help all Technology Evangelists to work towards common standards.

I started the year continuing our family adventure of living on the North Carolina coast in a small town called Emerald Isle. This adventure was scheduled for just a year and at then end of our summer there, as all good things must end, we packed up and moved back to the Netherlands.

As I transitioned from application development to a more broad view of the private Cloud portfolio at Red Hat, I have been adjusting the flow of my publishing to reflect the broader view everyone in an organization needs to take. It is not just about the Cloud, the stack, operations and application development as individual islands, but it is a cooperation that needs to be understood. There is no way you can ignore the stack anymore as part of your organizations digital transformation team.

With that in mind, here is my review of my publishing and travels over the last year.

Get started with JBoss BPM...


Aside from the +100 articles published here, 68 articles were syndicated or featured on other sites that found the content of note. I also continued to work closely with DZone as an MVB as I transitioned from application development to Cloud and private PaaS solutions that support the application development lifecycle.

The transition to solutions also brought with it many new videos and tutorials that can be found online and a brand new Cloud application development demo repository called Red Hat Demo Central where you can now setup your own OpenShift Container Platform private PaaS in just minutes. 

When I departed from my role of supporting BRMS & BPM products as an evangelist, I started a project in Feb 2016 with Manning Publishing to share my knowledge in the form of a book. Effective Business Process Management with JBoss BPM was born, I started writing and in June the Manning Early Access Program launched.

This year finished out with the book project being my biggest focus, currently with six chapters finished and online. I am writing the seventh chapter and expect to finish this book project early in 2017.

My hobby of writing as a sports journalist for continued, but at a much slower pace due to my book project. I only pushed out one article a month on average, but that will again pick up once I finish up the book.


The places I went and the people I met again this year are what make the efforts we put into Red Hat technology evangelism worth the time and jet-lag. I wish I would be able to list everyone and every place but that is just not possible. I enjoyed the chats, the beers, the hanging out, the presentations, the workshops, the dinners, lunches and meetings with each and every one of you.

I traveled more this year than any other to date, with 55 flights and 4 serious road trips. This was mostly due to my proximity of being in the US for most of 2016. The road trips included 8 days through the South, a Las Vegas and Grand Canyon drive, East Coast up to DC and a West Coast Highway 101 from San Francisco to Portland.

The sun sets on 2016...
Here are the cities I visited to talk about Red Hat technologies or meet with our partners and customers:

  • Raleigh, NC (5x)
  • Tampa, FL (2x)
  • Boston, MA (9x)
  • Atlanta, GA (2x)
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Austin, TX
  • San Paulo, Brazil
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands (3x)
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • London, UK
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Breda, Netherlands
  • Barcelona, Spain

Thanks to you all

I certainly hope you enjoyed what I was able to bring to you in 2016.

I want to thank you personally for attending any of the webinars, conference sessions, workshops, JUG's, and JBug's were our paths might have crossed or for just taking the time to read a published article.

2017 is going to start with a bang, so join me on this wonderful ride as we explore the amazing things you can achieve with the Red Hat product portfolio... stay tuned!