News from the World of Software Development – June 2018

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Welcome to the latest edition of our monthly news digest where we analyze a few of the most interesting recent stories from the software engineering world. If you are interested in last month’s digest, by all means click on the following link. Hopefully, the month’s version provides some food for thought to assist you and your team with your development work!

IBM making Blockchain Development easier for Software Engineers

Blockchain and similar peer-to-peer ledgers continue to make an impact within the technology industry. In fact, software engineers experienced with blockchain development remain highly in demand all over the world, something we previously noted. Unfortunately, the lack of the proper tools for these kinds of applications – let alone finding enough skilled developers – makes programming projects in the space a difficult process.

Here comes IBM to the rescue. Big Blue recently announced the IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan, providing developers and businesses the means to bootstrap their efforts in this area of software engineering. News about the new IBM product appeared this week in SD Times.

IBM is a strong supporter of blockchain. In fact, the company introduced IBM Blockchain Starter Services, Blockchain Acceleration Services and Blockchain Innovation Services earlier this year. Big Blue’s VP of blockchain technology, Jerry Cuomo commented on the new platform starter plan.

“What do you get when you offer easy access to an enterprise blockchain test environment for three months? More than 2,000 developers and tens of thousands of transaction blocks, all sprinting toward production readiness,” said Cuomo.

The new platform leverages the open source Hyperledger Fabric framework built by IBM with Digital Asset. Organizations using the platform receive $500 in credit for their own blockchain network. Their developers enjoy a test environment, a suite of educational tools, code samples hosted on GitHub, in addition to network provisioning.

“And while Starter Plan was originally intended as an entry point for developers to test and deploy their first blockchain applications, users also now include larger enterprises creating full applications powered by dozens of smart contracts, eliminating many of the repetitive legacy processes that have traditionally slowed or prevented business success,” added Cuomo.

MongoDB 4.0 embraces the Cloud

One of the most popular NoSQL databases, MongoDB recently introduced its latest version, 4.0, with a host of new features aimed at Cloud deployment. We previously talked about MongoDB when we wrote about the MEAN stack, which uses the database. Coverage of version 4.0 of the database appeared this week in ZDNet.

MongoDB leverages a document model, which allows it to support key-value, graph, and text-based database structures. 4.0’s most relevant new features improve its transaction processing capabilities – notably support for ACID transactions – as well as making it easier to build Cloud-based applications. ACID support is facilitated by a new replication model using stronger consistency combined with fast failover.

The 4.0 feature supporting the Cloud is known as MongoDB Stitch. Stitch is a Cloud-based serverless environment hosted on MongoDB’s Atlas Cloud environment. Significantly, it supports stateful applications. There are currently 23,000 apps hosted on Atlas, with nearly 500 more being added each day.

Version 4.0 also includes support for mobile devices with an embedded version of MongoDB. If your team is using the MEAN stack or curious about it, take the time to learn more about this popular NoSQL database. 

Thanks for checking out the edition of the Betica Blog. Keep coming back for additional insights on the software development world!   

Adopting Agile or DevOps? Use the Cloud!

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Organizations of all sizes continue to embrace Agile and DevOps. Some firms might adopt one or the other methodology, while others combine the two in the hopes of improving their chances at success. Whatever the approach, there’s no denying that leveraging the Cloud makes adoption an easier process.

If your company is new to either Agile or DevOps, or are looking at ways to make the practice of both more efficient, here are a few insights on how the Cloud helps. Watch your team build and deploy great applications faster than ever before. Good luck!

The Cloud helps Agile and DevOps in a Myriad of Ways

An article by Leon Tranter for Extreme Uncertainty covers the different ways Cloud services make implementing Agile or DevOps a relative breeze. Maybe your organization is currently using the Cloud for a portion of its development operations? If so, you are already one step closer to a successful Agile adoption.

Of course, the Cloud facilitates the virtualized environments used for development, QA, and production. Using a virtual container application, like Docker, is essentially an industry standard in software engineering. In this case, the Cloud helps organizations achieve the velocity required for success in DevOps, eventually reaching the Holy Grails of continuous integration or delivery.

As Tranter notes, smaller businesses embracing either Agile or DevOps as part of a Lean startup approach especially benefit from the Cloud. Lower expenses combined with a faster entry to market make the Cloud a winner for many tech startups. It allows the SMB to truly take advantage of their agility.

A Cloud-based IDE?

The Cloud also facilitates the actual process of writing and storing code, especially collaboration in a distributed fashion. This fact largely contributed to Microsoft’s recent decision to purchase GitHub. In essence it gives Redmond a better chance of competing with Amazon’s industry-leading AWS Cloud service.

But what about an actual Cloud-hosted IDE – essentially an IDE as a Service (IDEaaS)? Tranter commented on the emergence of some IDEs offered using the SaaS model. This offers many advantages to startups or existing organizations hoping for the extra efficiency for a successful DevOps adoption.

The Cloud-based IDEs tend to be simpler than their fully-fledged brethren like Visual Studio or Eclipse. Organizations – no matter their size – need to weigh the functionality factor versus the cost savings gained through the Cloud option. Companies developing complex applications may still find a desktop IDE to be a better choice.

General Business Productivity Applications

On the other hand, the Cloud makes perfect sense for the office productivity applications used by any development shop. Choosing Google Docs over the Microsoft Office suite simply saves more money even with the latter option now being provided online. Examples from Application Performance Monitoring software to HR and payroll applications are now available as a SaaS offering.

The bottom line is simple. Any company – startup or enterprise – considering an investment in Agile or DevOps needs to look at leveraging the myriad of Cloud-based tools. The efficiencies and cost savings help earn a faster return on investment, not to mention an improved ability to thrive in a competitive business landscape.

Thanks for reading the Betica Blog. Stay tuned for additional insights from an evolving software development world.

Scale your Organization’s Cloud Operations using Fugue

While Cloud Computing continues to revolutionize the IT industry, DevOps supercharged the pace of this transformation over the last few years. Companies strive to achieve a competitive advantage by both improving efficiency and cutting costs, with Cloud-based technical infrastructures being a big part of this equation. Increasingly these firms use Fugue, an automated tool to assist in the governance of Cloud operations.

Let’s take a high level overview of Fugue and its functionality to see if it makes sense as part of your organization’s Cloud investment. If you are looking at turning DevOps into DevSecOps, it might be the perfect fit.

What is Fugue?

At its heart, Fugue provides automated services for regulatory compliance and corporate policies as they relate to a Cloud infrastructure. It uses a code-based model to facilitate this infrastructure management, thus lending itself to a higher level of regulation, especially at firms implementing DevSecOps. Companies use Fugue as the “single source of truth” when operating and managing their Cloud-based technical assets.

Fugue uses a classical music metaphor to describe its functionality. The programming language used in the application is called Ludwig. Individual programs are known as compositions, while the automation server is called the Conductor. Chef, another Cloud infrastructure management tool, uses food-based metaphors in a similar manner.

Ludwig offers a host of features suitable for software engineers, including types, code validation, and a module-based architecture, allowing complex designs to be broken down into individual abstractions. It facilitates collaboration as well as the documentation that is vital in a regulatory compliance scenario. Once again, this approach illustrates the blurring of technical roles which is a major aspect of DevOps itself.

Scenarios where using Fugue makes Sense

Organizations embracing DevOps with the hope of automating their Cloud operations make up the core of Fugue’s user community. It automates all aspects of CloudOps, including the creation, operation, and maintenance of any size infrastructure. As usage needs increase, the system scales in a seamless fashion – an important consideration in the modern technology world.

It also plays well with other DevOps tools used for Continuous Integration, including Jenkins, Travis, and CircleCI. This helps automate the entire lifecycle of any organization’s Cloud-based infrastructure. Ludwig compositions are also able to be stored in a source code repository, including Git and GitHub.     

The tool truly shines in the management of Cloud-based infrastructures where cybersecurity and regulatory compliance are highly important. As noted earlier, Ludwig makes the creation of vital system documentation an easy process. Fugue supports traditional IT processes relevant to compliance, like change control and policy enforcement – all in an automated fashion.

Companies with an investment in container technology, such as Docker, also benefit from being able to easily create and manage virtual Cloud-based environments. Fugue includes a “no-op” operational mode to properly vet any infrastructure changes before they go live in production. Remember that everything gets documented and stored in source control

In short, Fugue needs to be considered as a valuable tool by any company who relies on the Cloud for their technical operations. It is especially useful for organizations embracing DevSecOps or that require strong regulatory compliance. 

Keep returning to the Betica Blog for additional insights from the software development world. Thanks for reading!