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Meet the Apatar team at OSCON and LinuxWorld: Email for a Free Expo Pass

Apatar team is getting ready to head out for two trade shows - OSCON and LinuxWorld.   Although the two conferences may sound similar to you, they are very different. As ZDNet’s Dana Blankenhorn puts it: 

1. OSCON is a theater. LinuxWorld is a show floor. 

2. OSCON is intimate conversation. LinuxWorld is hard negotiation. 

3. OSCON is beer. LinuxWorld is wine. 

4. OSCON is polo shirts. LinuxWorld is business suits. 

5. OSCON is a code wizard. LinuxWorld is a star salesmen.”  

I would like to invite you as a Naked Open Source blog reader to attend (passes will be provided by Apatar): 1. O’Reilly Open Source Convention, taking place in Portland, OR on July 23-27, 2007.  

O’Reilly’s OSCON is perhaps best conference for open source developers. Speakers include Chris DiBona from Google, Larry Wall creator of Perl, Guido Von Rossum creator of Python, Rasmus Lerdorf creator of PHP, Robert “roml” Lefkowitz, Matt Asay from Alfresco, Brian Aker from MySQL, Mitchell Baker from Mozilla, and many others.Parallel to OSCON, there will be an OSCAMP, an “open” space for meeting, for learning, for connecting, for writing code … The agenda is created and modified “on the fly” by the participants. You can add to the agenda any issue that importance to you. Most of the key points and next steps will be captured in Wiki online so that the entire Freedom/Libre/Open community can benefit from our work. To register for OSCAMP, follow the instructions on the Registration page.  2. LinuxWorld Conference and Expo, taking place in San Francisco, CA on August 6-9, 2007. 

LinuxWorld is a more business-oriented event, and a good place for to catch up with latest developments in the world of infrastructure, Linux and Open Source software. Speakers include Brian Aker of MySQL, Matt Asay of Alfresco, John Roberts of SugarCRM, Raven Zachary of The 451 Group, Andrew Morton of The Linux Foundation, Werner Vogels, VP and CTO of Amazon Web Services, Kevin Kettler, Chief Technology Officer of Dell, Diane Greene, President and CEO of VMware, Ron Hovsepian, President and CEO of Novell and many others.

Apatar at LinuxWorld

Attendees will be able to participate in the developer’s contest for the most innovative Apatar DataMap (and win a 80GB Video iPod), find out more about Apatar Data Integration, view live presentations and learn about the upcoming features.  If you are interested in attending any of these conferences, email me your name, and I will register you for the shows. 

Will Mashups Push Web 2.0 into the Enterprise Arena?

The short answer is, “yes,” but I believe it is conditional to certain changes that have to happen first. Let me focus on what prevents mashups from evolving into the enterprise space right now. According to Gartner, corporate developers spend approximately 65 percent of their effort building bridges between applications. Think about information that’s stored in a typical enterprise and how it interacts with information on the Web. The problem each enterprise faces is how to let customers, partners, vendors, and everyone else with interest in a company use the company’s data and services within their own enterprise applications. A sweet spot is a reliable way for the information to be used inside and outside of the enterprise easily. If you look closely, there is a disconnect between a huge amount of infrastructure being built for the future of “cloud computing,” and the capabilities of today’s companies to effectively link data between on-premise and on-demand applications.

But there are three problems with existing middleware products in the enterprise market:
a) The tools are expensive.
b) The tools are complex to install.
c) The tools are difficult to implement and maintain, and most require a serious work effort (architecture, configuration, programming, and custom coding and testing) before delivering any value to the end user.

What kind of middleware does Enterprise 2.0 need in the area of information integration?

I wrote about mashup building software tools in this post. Today these tools lack enterprise data integration capabilities, especially in the area of batch-type data integration, where large chunks of data (in the tens of megabytes, or even gigabytes range) have to be moved in and out. What we see now is mostly a web scrapping/RSS/light-weight XML approach to creating situational applications, or mashups. Enterprise 2.0 needs middleware that can access data both on a local network (like MS SQL/MySQL/Oracle databases and files), and on-demand applications and systems in “the cloud.” The tools should be much easier to implement and cost 5x to 10x less compared with traditional information integration tools available to the enterprise market from companies like Informatica, TIBCO, etc.

I separate all information integration into two distinct categories: batch and real-time. These categories have been powered by what we know as Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) respectively, where ESB inherited EII/EAI with the emergence of SOA. Designed for cloud computing, Middleware 2.0 across both of the above categories should come in as many as three packages:
a) Pure-play

b) Built into mashup building tools, such as Dappit, Teqlo

c) Built into emerging enterprise software available on-demand, such as DabbleDB, Blist, and Swivel.

During the next two to five years, Middleware 2.0 will evolve to quickly and inexpensively link “the cloud” and the existing on-demand and on-premise applications and databases across the enterprise.
My next post will be about the long tail of information integration. I will take on how the technology adoption of data integration tools looks today, and how it will look in the near future.

Three Trends Influencing Enterprise 2.0

In this post, I will describe the top three drivers influencing the adoption of Web 2.0 in Enterprise 2.0. In my next post, I will express my opinion on whether mashups are capable of pushing Web 2.0 into the enterprise arena.

Trend #1: Shift to Cloud Computing
In “cloud computing,” documents and business information are managed online. Google is rapidly building an amazing platform for rolling out on-demand applications on a worldwide scale. Very soon, Google Apps will be a good-enough solution for millions of small business to solve most document management and collaboration problems. Have an idea where all these multi-tenant applications and zetabytes of data will be hosted? Google will spend $500M $3B this year to build the largest data center in the world. Services like Amazon EC2 (covered here and here) offer pay-as-you-go fully managed server time. On-demand computing is going to completely change enterprise IT architecture. When it only costs $70 a month for a dedicated virtual server with fantastic connectivity 24/7, and you can turn them on and off as needed, why would you want to mess with hardware on-premises?

Trend #2: Growth of Web 2.0 Content and Infrastructure
Since 2005, many successful venture capitalists have been trying to find yet another promising Web 2.0 startup to add to their portfolios. Pundits speculate that during the last two years close to a billion dollars were invested into Web 2.0. During the next five to seven years all this money will pull off a lot of infrastructure with an enormous amount of content and data on it. But in order for a Web 2.0 company to secure longevity, aggregating terabytes of user-generated content and having lots of servers to serve traffic to gazillions of registered users is not enough. You’ve got to create an ecosystem. How will these newly-minted Web 2.0 companies create ecosystems? Ecosystems will come through APIs and data mashups with other websites. ProgrammableWeb maintains the best up-to-date API directory. Look at how fast APIs are being added to their database. In a very short period of time, the key advances of Web 2.0 (namely collaboration and new ways of sharing information) will become an attractive target to benefit enterprises.

Trend #3: Mashups
2007 has been named by BusinessWeek as “the year of the widget.” Widgets are small embeddable components that can seamlessly integrate on third party sites and can deliver content from beyond the realm of the site. To help users create widgets, a growing number of companies out there are developing mashup building tools:
I learned about Dapper at the Mashup Camp unconference at MIT on January 17, 2007 where I met Eran Shir and Jon Aizen, the company founders. Dapper is an impressive new online mashup tool that takes the concept to the extreme, making it possible to convert and reuse just about any source of information on the Web, including that in plain old HTML. This promising startup has recently closed a round of financing with Accel Partners.
DataMashups.com is a new highly Web-centric mashup tool complete with a WYSIWYG “edit” mode.
Grazr is an application development system for feeds and their GrazrScript is a programming language for feeds. John Musser of ProgrammableWeb posted a recent news update on Grazr closing $1.5 million Series A round of financing.
JackBe’s JackBuilder product is a browser-based mashup tool to create mashups called “Rich Enterprise Applications” or REAs. JackBuilder is an entirely Ajax based IDE that allows widgets, components, and services to be integrated together into enterprise mashups
All of these tools allow for building a quick and dirty SOA, and are aimed at technology enthusiasts. Focused on web screen scraping and RSS, today’s mashup design tools could hardly be applied across the enterprise sector. But that will change. Mashup technologies can and will disrupt enterprise applications. During the next three years, mashups will open up a new enterprise application market, providing business users and IT departments with a quick and inexpensive approach to develop and implement applications. And during the decade following 2010, maturing mashup building technologies will shrink the enterprise application market. In my next post, I will write about whether mashups are capable of pushing Web 2.0 into the enterprise space.

 

 

ETL vs. ESB

A few months ago, prior to the release of the Apatar Community Preview, Matt Asay asked me via email whether Apatar competes with ESB products, specifically with MuleSource and ServiceMix. After I responded to Matt by email, I thought about posting my response to a blog, and Matt said, “Go ahead.” In fact, two people asked me a similar question during the MySQL User Conference, which reminded me about the email that I’m posting below.

The short answer is that Apatar is an ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) technology; ETL does not compete, but compliments ESB products across different information integration scenarios. ServiceMix and Mule are ESB products. ESB is a standards-oriented (in the SOA age) EAI/EII technology. Therefore, I will address the comparison question, “ETL vs. ESB” from an ETL vs. EAI/EII point of view. EAI, by the way, is a term coined by Dave Linthicum in his book (published in 1999) called, “Enterprise Application Integration.”

ETL is geared toward data movement, typically in batch modes across the enterprise. It is “pull” technology and works on user’s demand or on schedule.

ESB is a “push” technology, sending messages when they occur.

ETL is a “pull” technology, works on demand/on schedule.
ESB is a “push” technology.
ETL cannot time-out, decay, or issue transactions to front-office applications during transformation processes.
ESB is capable of timing and decaying data in queues, escalating information content to the right decision-maker on that piece of content.
ETL is fully scalable, capable of loading massive batches of data in parallel.
ESB is not suitable for massive volumes of data because of its service bus architecture (by network, and source system speed to X transactions per second).
ETL can hook to ESB/EAI middleware as just another feed, if desired.
ESB’s primary job is to integrate applications, opposed to Data Migration, Replication, Data Warehousing, and BI.
I can also refer you to a comparison table I found at http://www.coreintegration.com/solutions/di.asp:

Feature
ETL
EAI
EII
Timing
Batch snapshots
Real time
Real time
Unit of work
Set of transactions committed within an ETL cycle interval
Single business transaction
Single business transaction
Historical Record
Yes
No
No
Persistent Auxiliary Tables
Yes
No. Transactions applied directly to applications’ tables
No. Virtual database
Application
Managerial reporting, trend analysis, multi-dimensional aggregation
Near real time synchronization of operational data where transaction commitment is dependent on state of related transactions
Near real time decision making based on most current information in operational systems. No update.
What it’s not
Not source of record. Does not support transaction processing
Not appropriate for ad-hoc analysis and reporting
Not a virtual data warehouse
At the end of the day, I think that business users have to consider their unique requirements, and pick the technology accordingly. There are different horses for different courses. Be it Apatar, Mule ESB, DataStage, Yahoo! Pipes–whatever works.
In my opinion, as more vendors enter the information integration space, they are confusing things even more because of the differences in technology they are offering. No two are alike, but all are calling themselves data integration vendors. Go figure.

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