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Janice Heiss Interviews Adam Bien about JavaEE and Cloud Computing

Posted by editor on July 30, 2009 at 5:59 AM PDT

Janice Heiss has just published her recent interview with Java Champion Adam Bien on the Sun Developer Network. Adam is the author of Real World Java EE Patterns -- Rethinking Best Practices. He was named a Java Rock Star for his JavaOne 2009 session "Energy, CO2 Savings with Java Platform, Enterprise Edition and More: Project GreenFire".

Project GreenFire is a project that aims to efficiently manage and control home heating to save energy. The project applies GlassFish, Java EE, EJB 3 timer service, JavaFX, SunSPOT, and more. Adam has deployed Project GreenFire in his own home, resulting in a 20-30% energy savings at present (his objective is to ultimately make the savings higher). While I wasn't able to attend Adam's prize-winning session at JavaOne, I did the privilege of speaking with him in a Community Corner 2009 podcast.

Adam has an interesting point of view on cloud computing. In response to Janice's question "What is your basic understanding of how cloud computing works?" Adam said:

I see two unrelated concepts called cloud computing. The first one is related to grid computing, where parallelizable tasks are distributed to independent computing nodes and then aggregated to a consistent result... The other paradigm is a virtual, private or public, data-computing center with an accessible API.

These paradigms also differ in their usage models. Grid computing is intended to be used by a few power users who need a considerable amount of computing power. On the other hand, in cloud computing, significantly more users access the machines with relatively low resource utilization.

If you think about something like Amazon Web Services, this makes a lot of sense. Many start-ups use Amazon because it's an inexpensive way to "have" a data center that will scale rapidly if the need for that ever arises (they hope will happen, of course). Most of these start-ups are offering services to individuals, and the sudden increase in required computing power would come from their service suddenly catching on, becoming suddenly popular.

Meanwhile, most of the work I've done has been in scientific/engineering data centers, where we've deployed clusters of high powered machines to automatically process sensor data streams (for example, from satellites) and apply complex mathematical modeling algorithms, and simulations. That's the grid computing application. This type of processing could also be done in the cloud, if we wanted to do it that way. As Adam notes:

While these two models are conceptually opposite, the underlying technology could be very similar.

Janice and Adam go on to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Java EE for the cloud, Rich Internet Applications (RIA) and cloud computing, and open source in the cloud. Adam closed with some comments on Java EE that many people might find surprising:

Java EE has become extremely lightweight. The whole GlassFish v3 EJB 3.1 container is smaller than one megabyte, can be dynamically installed and uninstalled, and is surprisingly "elastic." You can develop and deploy an application with only a few annotations.

Also, Java EE is supported by multiple application servers, so your application is not dependent on a single vendor. Since Java EE 5, applications have become portable as well: There is no vendor-specific code or even XML configuration required.

Moving your application from one server to another is not an empty slogan. Java EE is therefore more interoperable than the cloud itself and can be used as a lean abstraction layer between the bare cloud and your business logic.

Adam convincingly talked about the lightweight nature of modern Java EE in the Communtity Corner podcast he recorded with me at JavaOne. I think he's right about this.

As you can tell from the few snippets I've quoted here, every interview with Adam Bien yields a lot of very interesting, thought provoking conversation. Read Janice's complete interview with Adam for all the details.

In Java Today, Janice Heiss interviewed Java Champion Adam Bien on Java EE and Cloud Computing at JavaOne: " (JSC): What is your basic understanding of how cloud computing works? Bien: I see two unrelated concepts called cloud computing. The first one is related to grid computing, where parallelizable tasks are distributed to independent computing nodes and then aggregated to a consistent result. Frameworks like Hadoop, map-reduce algorithms, are an example of this approach..".

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Janice Heiss has just published her recent interview with Java Champion Adam Bien on the Sun Developer Network...