30 October 2007

Apache ServiceMix Used for a Large Student Records Management Application

Today a friend pointed me to a very interesting blog entry about the Belgian Ministry of Education and its use of Apache ServiceMix (by way of the FUSE ESB) to manage over 1.5 million student records and exposing it to nearly 3000 schools. Lilian DuchĂȘne's blog entry does a good job at detailing this system architecture from a high level. Intalio also had a hand in the architecture with it's products as well.

Below is a diagram of the system architecture Lilian describes:

The architecture shown here is fairly common, whereby services are decoupled using JMS messaging via Apache ActiveMQ. Not only does this make the services location independent, but it also guarantees the delivery of messages. Also notice that the services have been kept smaller and reusable and separate from the real back end application. This abstraction is great for scaling the application as Lilian describes in the blog entry.

Another interesting aspect of this architecture to note is the use of VMWare for the virtualization of the entire architecture. I am finding more and more customers seeking virtualization of architectures in this manner recently. IMO, the benefit of being able to move an an entire architecture to another piece of hardware in one fell swoop can't be undervalued.

25 October 2007

Colorado Software Summit, Keystone, CO

This week Raible, Scott Davis and I are sharing a condo in Keystone, Colorado for the Colorado Software Summit. This is getting to be a yearly tradition for us partially because the conference is here in Colorado but also because we get to meet a lot of people because each speaker must deliver two presentations three times throughout the week! (Yes, that's six talks throughout the week for each speaker.) The conference attendance seems to be a bit lower this year, but that's just a guess based on past years.

The drive here was kinda challenging as it was snowing like crazy so driving down the western side of the Eisenhower Tunnel was a it tough. Doing 20mph and fish-tailing in the snow next to a guard rail while driving down a mountain is kinda nerve wracking. But I made it here safely and we're in the same exact condo as last year. The snow makes me look forward to ski season with my kids.

I even ran into Gregor here this week. We even talked about a week ago about where we'd see each other next and neither of us realized the other was also speaking here this year. Kinda funny.

23 October 2007

Apache ServiceMix Webcast

Today Guillaume and I delivered a webcast on Apache ServiceMix. If you're interested, a recorded version of the webcast is available from the Open.IONA website and it is viewable for free.

21 October 2007

Back Up Your Entourage Data!

I'm only going to say this once - if you use Microsoft Entourage make sure to properly back up the ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data directory frequently!!! Having just gone through a horrid experience with this Microsoft product, I can't stress this point enough.

I don't use Entourage by choice. Enough said. This week I learned a valuable lesson about backing up this huge directory (>250mb). If Entourage has a problem using it the only way to easily get back the data is from a backup. BTW, the Entourage Help Page was helpful with this and I've found many other little tidbits of good info there or at the Entourage Help Blog.

18 October 2007

Dublin, Ireland Again

I'm back in Dublin again for more meetings. My flight on the way over got diverted due to a medical emergency and we had to land for a couple hours in Halifax, Novascotia Canada. That was a first time experience. This meant that my flight was delayed and I showed up to my own presentation with about 30 minutes left. Luckily James covered for me and handled things.

It was good to meet so many folks at these two days of meetings. There were certainly a lot of topics covered. Oisin and I even got to work together a bit talking about the Fuse Eclipse Tooling and how we're going to take it forward. Unfortunately this is another very short trip due to the EU. It's not fun traveling for a day to get here, stay for two days and travel for another day to get home. But I do like Dublin.

A Visual Representation of the Spread of Religion

I found this visual on the spread of religion via Dion and his latest Del.icio.us links this morning and it's fascinating. From an informational point of view, this is definitely interesting, but the delivery of the data in this manner is more of where my interest lies.

Representing complex topics in a visual manner speaks volumes to the human psyche. I find that breaking down thorny technical topics using this technique improves the speed of understanding and helps to break down complex barriers.

06 October 2007

Farewell to Business 2.0 Magazine Thanks to Time Warner

Recently I discovered that my favorite business and technology magazine, Business 2.0, was run out of business by the very company that acquired it back in 2001. Business 2.0 magazine is all about cutting edge technology and the business to make that technology successful and profitable, a veritable niche for sure. Though Business 2.0 has been through it's own problems, its content is unique, engaging and quite forward thinking. Unfortunately Time Warner, Inc. (the acquirer of Business 2.0) in its neverending quest to continue to grow in the name of profits, figured it had a better plan. Unfortunately the plan was a miserable failure, the guy that architected it is now gone and Business 2.0 is dead because of it.

Mark Glaser over at MediaShift has a good article on the subject titled Business 2.0 Closed Due to Corporate Neglect, Ad Woes. Unfortunately Mark's article does nothing to alleviate my contempt for Time Warner allowing Business 2.0 to be crushed by such a bad, bad plan >:-/.

04 October 2007

Fall Tech Conference Season

Somehow I have four conference speaking engagements left to do this year, three of which are international flights for me (at least I'll rack up more miles) and one that is in the Rocky Mountains here in Colorado. Below is the list:

When it rains, it pours.

03 October 2007

Integrating Apache ActiveMQ with JBoss

In November 2006, I wrote an article entitled 'Integrating Apache ActiveMQ with JBoss' that was published on the LogicBlaze website. This article got wonderful feedback and was used by many, many people. Unfortunately this article met the same fate as the LogicBlaze DevZone when LogicBlaze was acquired by IONA Technologies earlier this year. Since that time, I've been contacted by a fair amount of folks about this article, so I've gotten my hands on the original and added it to the ActiveMQ wiki to make it available to all the folks who are asking me for it recently. So if you're looking for this article, see Integrating Apache ActiveMQ with JBoss. Please be aware that this article focuses on integrating Apache ActiveMQ 4.0.1 with JBoss 4.0.4. Hopefully an updated version of this article will be published soon to the Open.IONA website soon.