Monday, November 14, 2011

ApacheCon NA 2011 - Geeky Paradise!

ApacheCon NA this year was in beautiful Vancouver, BC. This conference, besides being my first ApacheCon, was really different from my usual trips since it was in my home country :) No customs and crazy exchange rates FTW! I think there were over 400 attendees so it was a pretty good turnout IMO. Lots of geeky chats, hacking and beverages made for a great time. The sessions were great too of course. I wanted to blog about my trip not because anyone finds my travels interesting :) but because the topics are really cool and are probably not widely known.

Fuse Fabric + Apache ZooKeeper

I want to start off with my colleague Guillaume Nodet who spoke about how Fuse Fabric is created on top of Apache ZooKeeper and allows you to provision ActiveMQ, CXF, and Camel applications into a cloud of ServiceMix or Karaf instances. Very cool presentation overall but I was really quite excited by the prospect of upgrading a whole cluster of ServiceMix or Karaf instances to a new version of Camel. Right now, to upgrade at runtime you have to either update every bundle of Camel separately or uninstall + reinstall the new version (not very pretty).

Fabric also has an super fast implementation of Distributed OSGi, which allows you to invoke OSGi services hosted in remote nodes. When on the same machine it can run at 25,000 MPS on pretty minimal hardware!

This wasn't in the talk (cause it is closed source), but I also heard that Fuse IDE has a nice GUI for interacting with Fabric now too :)

Apache TomEE

I heard a bit about the TomEE project recently and thought it would be good to hear from the main guy David Blevins what it is all about. In short, at the Apache TomEE project they are creating a Java EE 6 certified server based on Apache Tomcat. They are doing this because they think that the EE spec is actually not bloated as people say (yeah, its just an API after-all) and that the bloatedness comes from the implementation of various vendors. So, they wanted to make a lean mean EE server. The other main point about TomEE is that it is built on top of Apache Tomcat, which is the most widely used web app server.

On the bit about it being lean, apparently to run the entire EE TCK (that is the certification tests), TomEE only needed the default heap size of 64MB... now, I wonder what the other EE app servers required?

Apache ACE

Jean-Baptiste Onofre gave a great demo of Apache ACE in action. Essentially ACE allows you to provision your OSGi packaged apps into Karaf or ServiceMix instances. I thought it has a pretty slick web interface where you can centrally manage what Karaf nodes have what bundles, etc. Very cool stuff!

Apache ServiceMix + Camel

The ServiceMix project came up numerous times in presentations and offline talks. In short ServiceMix 5 will bring large changes to ServiceMix. Not as large as the gap from version 3 to 4 (where we switched from JBI to OSGi) but still big changes. Some include:

- Removal of JBI layer
- Instead of the NMR as the central solution for routing, use Camel
- Move some NMR features to Camel (audit, events, tracing, etc...)
- Add CXF console shell
- and the many many new features coming with Karaf 3...

Version 5 is especially exciting for me because of the implications for Camel. Right now, Camel hasn't changed its architecture much lately IMO; it just keeps getting faster, more stable, and with an ever growing number of components - the best changes for a widely used framework. There haven't been as many improvements to Camel operating at the container level though. We are kinda limited by what the Camel project guidelines are; Camel is a framework, not an ESB. So ServiceMix has no such restriction (it is an ESB!) so version 5 has the major goal of being the best home for your Camel applications and as such will have many improvements for running Camel. Nothing is 100% decided yet so if you have ideas, let the ServiceMix community know before version 5 development starts :)

OK, so there were many more talks as well but these were the ones I wanted to talk about :) Overall ApacheCon was one of the coolest conferences I've been too. Very happy to have hung out with some old friends and met some "IRC friends" that I've been wanting to meet for years.

Oh yeah, and the next ApacheCon will be November 2012 in Germany... sounds fun already!