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Pivotal and Cloud Native Java

O'Reilly's annual Open Source Convention, better known as OSCON, is in full swing this week in Portland. Among the more joyful attendees at this year's event is James Watters, vice president of Product, Marketing and Ecosystem for Cloud Foundry at Pivotal. How do I know Watters is a happy camper? His latest blog post, in which, among other things, he enthuses about the dramatic uptick in conference sessions on microservices -- 30 this year, up from only one last year, which Pivotal presented.

"People are talking about writing apps in a new way," Watters said when I caught up with him on the phone. "And they're talking about using microservices and Spring Cloud to do it. I haven't seen that kind of excitement in the Java community to restructure these kinds of things in the enterprise space, maybe ever. So yeah, I'm kind of excited.

Pivotal recently released the beta of its Spring Cloud Services (1.0.0), which integrates the Cloud Foundry-based NetFlixOSS microservices framework with Pivotal's Java-based Spring programming tools. The company plans to make Spring Cloud generally available in the fall. Between now and then, Pivotal will be adding distributed tracing into the framework via something called Spring Sleuth, Watters said.

At the SpringOne2GX conference in Washington this fall, Netflix is expected to talk about how it has begun to adopt Spring Cloud, Watters said. "Instead of configuring their apps in a complicated way, they're like, 'okay great, you wrote a wrapper for us? Cool, we'll just use your wrapper.' There's a virtuous feedback loop between the Spring team and Netflix team right now."

Watters describes himself as a lifetime enterprise Java guy (he's been working with it since high school), who worked at Sun Microsystems for about eight years. In his post, he claims (I think rightly) that Pivotal has been at the "intersection of microservices, continuous delivery and multi-cloud portability since being founded in 2013."

"There are two camps today," he told me, "people who are interested in different flavors of containers, and people like us, who are interested in building and running microservices apps. We have large companies asking us to come in and do two-day workshops on that. That's really where the excitement is right now."

Without a microservices architecture, container technologies aren't nearly as useful, Watters argued. "You can't run legacy monolithic Java, like Oracle and WebSphere, in that environment."

We're seeing a new wave, he wrote, that "fundamentally alters application architectures and workflows for developers and operators building the next generation of data-hungry, digital experiences." He's talking, of course, about what some people are calling the cloud native revolution. The Cloud Foundry open Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) environment, of which Pivotal is the commercial maintainer, is a key enabling technology of that revolution.

"After our Spring Cloud product manager, Matt Stine, published "Migrating to Cloud-Native Application Architectures" for O'Reilly, we were just overwhelmed with requests from enterprises for workshops," Watters said. "We can't keep Matt off the road."

Cloud Native Java is especially appealing to enterprises that are looking to modernize their architectures, Watters said, because it leverages existing skill sets and allows for integration with legacy apps. From their perspective, he said, it's an "evolutionary approach."

In his post, Watters points to some telling successes of Pivotal's Cloud Native enterprise products. The company showcased 10 Fortune 500 companies at the recent Cloud Foundry Summit, all of which worked with the company on projects based on Cloud Foundry and Spring technologies. And downloads of Pivotal's Spring Boot rapid application development framework have gone through the roof. (More than 1.4 million downloads per month over the last year, he said. There's a graph.)

There's a lot more in Watters' post, which is well worth reading.

Posted by John K. Waters on July 22, 2015