JavaOne day 0: the cloud is here to stay
It was my first day at JavaOne 2010 today. And what a day!
The kick off for me was the Glassfish community event. The room was packed with Glassfish users and developers. It was nice meeting in person people I have been reading and interacting with online for such a long time.
There was a presentation on the Glassfish product roadmap and a break out for discussion of many Glassfish-related topics. I ended up in a very stimulating discussion about virtualization support in Glassfish. It is even more interesting in the light of what would be announced in the welcome keynote later on.
In the Oracle OpenWorld welcome keynote there were some announcements, all related to cloud computing. First HP presented their view of the data center of the future, and in their view the data center is a private cloud. They demoed software for automating private cloud design and deployment. Their offering for the private cloud consists in a lot of boxes connected through HP networking gear running operating systems, hypervisors and applications from multiple vendors.
Next came the Oracle keynote itself. From the moment Larry took the stage it was clear that his presentation would be all about the cloud. He started by defining cloud computing by comparing two services commonly associated with the term: salesforce.com and Amazon EC2. His vision is that cloud computing is more like Amazon EC2 than salesforce ( in other words, infrastructure as a service as opposed to software as a service). Next he announced Oracle's take on the private cloud market: a product that is a cloud in a box, tightly integrating hardware and software in order to deliver a high performance computer cluster for general purpose use.
During the announcement he stressed out that this system has been heavily optimized to make Java run as efficiently as possible. In fact he mentiobed Java as a key component many times, which means Oracle is not about to change their mind about the strategic importance of Java any time soon.
Going back to the Glassfish community discussion, the main question was: how can Glassfish integrate better with virtualized envirinments and the cloud? The question for me was strange at the beginning because i am used to think about application servers as being unaware of the details of the environment they live in. But as the discussion evolved it became clear that maybe there is value to be gained in making the application server more aware of the cloud resources. Things like provisionimg, auto-scaling and self-healing require a tigther integration between these worlds.
One thing finally hit me today: while the public clouds are about cost savings and elasticity, the private cloud is about simplifying IT provisioning and deployment. In fact, the cloud computing paradigm can be seen as a metaphor that glues together a number of ideas related to the simplification of IT service delivery. This is the common trait that even the PaaS and SaaS definitions share.
What is clear is that whatever happens next the cloud is here to stay. And Java and the JVM will play a signifficant part on it.