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Cloud Computing a Key Subtopic at JavaOne 2009

Posted by editor on May 26, 2009 at 5:36 AM PDT

In looking at the personal Community One and JavaOne schedule Fabrizio Giudici recently posted, I was struck by the frequency of the the word "cloud" in his planned schedule. On Monday, June 1, at Community One, Fabrizio will be attending "Practical Cloud Computing Patterns." At JavaOne, he'll be attending "Google App Engine: Java Technology in the Cloud" (TS-3817) on Tuesday; "Continuous Integration in the Cloud with Hudson" (TS-5301), "Enterprise Build and Test in the Cloud" (TS-4230), and "Cloud Computing and NetBeans IDE Enable Army Research Lab's Next-Generation Simulation System" (BOF-4638) on Wednesday; and "Matchmaking in the Cloud: Hadoop and EC2 at eHarmony" (TS-5082) on Thursday.

What struck me about this was the fact that I was certain that cloud computing is not one of the "core" topic areas that are headlined in the formal JavaOne 2009 literature. If you look at the official list of JavaOne topics, you see:

  • Rich Media Applications and Interactive Content
  • Mobility
  • Services
  • Core Technologies

Where is the cloud in there? Well, it is there, actually, spread across multiple topics. For example, in the Rich Media topic:

... on the desktop the lines between local and network computing have grown increasingly blurry as content steadily migrates into the cloud.

Consumers have become increasingly comfortable letting their online activities move into the cloud...

And in the Services topic, you find:

The advent of cloud computing also offers core services such as identity, profile, social graph, etc. ...

In addition, cloud computing eliminates the need for companies to host and manage their applications on their own IT resources.

This topic area will address how the developer community can utilize SOA, Web-Oriented Architecture, Enterprise Integration, Open Services, and cloud platforms to more simply, rapidly, and economically build and deploy enterprise and consumer applications.

The cloud is also tucked into one of the subtopics listed for Services: "Web 2.0, Next Generation Web, and Cloud Services Platforms," which includes "Design & Deployment of Services in the cloud, including best practices for deploying services across mobile, desktop and TV Java Platforms." And the cloud is mentioned under "Cool Stuff" in the Services category:

New approaches such as ESB, SCA and Java Business Integration (JBI). Innovation in next generation web services and cloud platforms, clever application of technologies to craft new services, solutions or applications.

The hiddenness of cloud computing within the Services topic area may explain why the "Services" category didn't earn more votes in our poll last month that asked Which of the technologies highlighted at JavaOne 2009 is of greatest importance for the future of Java? In that poll, less than 5 percent of the votes were cast for the "Services" category. If I had put "Cloud Computing" into the poll instead of "Services", I'll bet we would have seen quite a different result.

Browsing the JavaOne 2009 schedule of sessions, there are about 10 sessions that have the word cloud in their title, including the very interesting sounding panel session "Cloud Computing: Show Me the Money" (PAN-5366). The panel members in this session are Jeff Barr (, Jeff Collins (Intuit), Adam Gross (, Simon Guest (Microsoft), Gregor Hohpe (Google), Raghavan Srinivas (Intuit), and Lew Tucker (Sun).

So, perhaps cloud computing doesn't have a sufficiently significant presence at JavaOne 2009 to warrant it being one of the headline topics you'd select if you had to break down all the JavaOne content into just four topic areas. But, it's still one of the major topics that will be discussed at the conference.

And, surely cloud computing will kind of lurk in the background in many technical sessions where it is not explicitly discussed, since the cloud is where a lot of new technology will be implemented, especially by start-ups. For start-ups, constructing and maintaining a rock-solid, scalable data center of their own is a distraction from the more important focus on developing their core product or service. Hence, for start-ups, contracting services from a cloud provider makes a lot of sense. And since start-ups by nature tend to apply the latest technology, you can see that a lot of the new Java technology that will be discussed at JavaOne will end up being implemented on the cloud. At least, that's how I'd do it if I was starting a web-based business today.

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Typo, of course: *** a bit IN ADVANCE OF its time ***

Well, maybe it's just me? ;-) Seriously, I was deeply interested in the Grid a few years ago and even wrote a small prototype. Probably the Grid was a bit beyond its time, but now that everybody speaks about the cloud, J1 is a good place to understand whether it's still buzzwords or the time has come. Furthermore, the cloud is going to make us rethink, and maybe completely rethink, architectures. So I think it's good to go and see the most about them.