All posts by Zaithoon Bin Ahamed

What’s New and What To Expect at WSO2Con USA 2017

Our countdown has begun for WSO2Con USA 2017 and we’ve just finalized the outline of our agenda.  As always, we promise to give participants three days of insightful talks, hands-on and interactive sessions, along with fun networking events from February 20-22 in San Francisco.

We’re still working out the finer details of our full agenda, but there’s something for CxOs, architects, and developers. A significant change in this time’s agenda is that we don’t have a dedicated day only for tutorials; our new structure allows you to start from a high-level introduction and then dive down to the details, including hands-on sessions, of your specific technology area.

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Here’s a sneak peek into what’s new, what not to miss, and what to expect.

What’s new?

  • Sessions that include knowledge sharing and technical expertise that will help startups to become global enterprises
  • An invigorating hackathon for developers to contribute to our community codebase and extension points
  • A special track to encourage participants’ requests to discuss other topics or technology areas not covered in the agenda or to repeat any sessions that were missed due to overlap

Things you don’t want to miss

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  • Opening keynote by WSO2’s Founder, CEO, and Chief Architect Sanjiva Weerawarana on how WSO2 can power your digital journey followed by a host of inspirational keynotes by industry experts
  • A dedicated strategy track specially designed for CEOs and CTOs focused on how you can address your enterprise IT challenges with middleware capabilities
  • Introductory, advance, and hands-on sessions as well as use cases and customer success stories related to the key technology areas integration, API management, security, analytics and IoT
  • One-on-one sessions with WSO2 experts to discuss your current enterprise requirements and challenges
  • An educational partner track that explains how WSO2’s Partner Program works and discussed best practices and success stories from current partners
  • Networking events and conference parties to mix and mingle with like-minded people, discuss projects, and exchange ideas

What to expect

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Dedicated technology tracks on:

    • API Management – Learn how APIs are the core of any connected business, exposing valuable services across customers, partners, and supplier channels. These sessions will also introduce WSO2’s API management capabilities to accelerate business innovation, enhance IoT initiatives, and facilitate applications delivery.
    • Integration – Learn how enterprises can leverage integration capabilities to seamlessly connect cloud-based, mobile, and on-premise systems. The session will also give you an overview and what’s new with WSO2’s integration offerings.
    • Analytics – Find out how analytics can revolutionize the way you understand and work with your data. The session will also include an introduction to analytics and explain how you can succeed with WSO2’s analytics capabilities.
    • Internet of Things – Become more familiar with what’s hot and new in the IoT world. The session will also explain how WSO2 can help you ramp up your mobile and IoT solutions while ensuring high scalability and flexibility.
    • Security – Know the importance of information technology security and learn how best to deal with the challenges. The session will also focus on how WSO2 addresses identity management across enterprise applications, services, and APIs.

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If you haven’t registered already, you have until October 31 to get our super early bird offer. Sign up now and don’t miss out!

Transform Your Enterprise IT: Integrate and Automate

Most enterprises deal with a variety of common IT problems to which they would find quick fixes. One such example is the need to maintain five different usernames and passwords to login to five different systems. Another typical example is the closing of a sales deal – the sales department would conclude the deal and ensure the goods are delivered; this would be updated on the sales records, however, when the finance department reconciles invoices against sales at the end of the quarter, there might be mismatches because the invoicing process was missed.

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To address these issues, most enterprises will use a combination of basic IT and collaboration software to manage day-to-day requirements. And over time, these requirements will change, prompting a slight shift in the enterprise’s IT landscape too. This may result in a situation where different teams within the organization will find the most efficient ways to carry out tasks and meet their IT requirements with the use of packaged software, possibly by building their own, or even subscribing to more SaaS-type offerings.

While this might temporarily fix specific problems, it will pose long-term challenges as such measures are often not pre-planned or do not follow a particular IT roadmap. The actual negative effects of individual teams working in silos would only be felt when the company starts to grow and the use of various systems increase as well. Eventually, the use of several systems that don’t talk to each other will cause operational issues and even hurt motivation among employees.

The recurrent problems with these multiple systems working in silos include extensive manual effort, errors, blame, rework, frustration, complaints, and the need to manage multiple passwords. These in turn result in inefficiencies.

To address these challenges, the enterprise needs an easy-to-implement, cost-effective solution. There’s no guarantee though that there would be a plug and play type of system or one that could be customized to meet the enterprise’s exact requirements. The enterprise would seek a unique, bespoke solution that would either mean they change the way they work with existing software or rethink the software itself.

The most viable option would be to integrate the systems (which, of course, have proven to be efficient to meet a specific requirement) used by different functions and then explore some sort of automation that will provide relief to employees.

WSO2’s highly-acclaimed open-source middleware platform has the capabilities that enable seamless integration of IT applications, thus streamlining day-to-day business activities of a given enterprise. This in turn will boost efficiency and integration across business functions and teams and improve overall productivity as well.

For instance, WSO2 Identity Server (WSO2 IS) can define an identification for a user in a particular organization, enabling him/her to log into multiple systems on-cloud or on-premise with a single username/password.

The enterprise too will benefit as WSO2 IS offers provisioning capabilities that allow your IT to register and auto-provision new employees across multiple systems as well as easily de-provision them when they leave the organization.

WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus can meet all your integration challenges with its capability to connect various systems that speak different languages. It also comes with a defined set of connectors to further support integration of systems, be it on the cloud or on-premise.

Once all of your systems have been integrated, you can leverage WSO2 Data Analytics Server (WSO2 DAS) to pull reports from different functions within your organization and automatically collate data that will translate to valuable information required to make business decisions. WSO2 DAS has in-built dashboard capabilities that will automatically create and publish dashboards on a real-time basis.

Moreover, all WSO2’s products are 100% open source, which gives enterprises the freedom of choice and empowers the business with limitless possibilities to expand.

Learn more about WSO2’s comprehensive and open platform for your connected enterprise.

For more details on how to establish friendly enterprise IT and get more love from your team, watch this talk by WSO2’s VP Operations, Shevan Goonetilleke.

Event-Driven Architecture and the Internet of Things

It’s common knowledge now that the Internet of Things is projected to be a multi-trillion dollar market with billions of devices expected to be sold in a few years. It’s happening already. What’s driving IoT is a combination of low-cost hardware and lower power communications, thus enabling virtually everything to become connected cheaply. Even Facebook talked about it in their recent F8 conference (photo by Maurizio Pesce). 

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And why wouldn’t they? A vast array of devices that make our lives easier and smarter are flooding the market ranging from fuel-efficient thermostats, security systems, drones, and robots, among others. The industrial market for connected control and monitoring has existed and will expand in automated factories, logistics automation, and building automation. However, efficiencies are being found with new areas. For instance, connected tools for the construction site enable construction companies to better manage construction processes. We are also seeing increased intelligence from what can be referred to as the network effect – the excess value created by the combination of devices all being on a network.

What’s remarkable is that all IoT protocols share one common characteristic, i.e. they are all designed around publish/subscribe. The benefit of publish/subscribe event driven computing is simplicity and efficiency.

Devices or endpoints can be dynamic, and added or lost with little impact to the system. New devices can be discovered and rules applied to add them to the network and establish their functionality. All IoT standards support some form of discovery mechanism so that new devices can be added as near seamlessly as possible. Over the air a message can be delivered once to many listeners simultaneously without any extra effort by the publisher.

Addressing The Challenges

All of this efficiency and flexibility sounds too good to be true? You guessed right. The greatest challenge with this is security and privacy. While most protocols support encryption of messages, there are serious issues with security and privacy with today’s protocols. There are many IoT protocols and the diversity indicates a lot of devices will not be secure and it is likely that different protocols will have different vulnerabilities. Authentication of devices is not generally performed, so various attacks based on impersonation are possible.

Most devices and protocols don’t automate software updating and complicated action is needed sometimes to update software on devices. This can lead to vulnerabilities persisting for long periods. However, eventually, these issues will be worked out and devices will automatically download authenticated updates. The packets will be encrypted to prevent eavesdropping and it will be harder to hack IoT device security, albeit this could take years. Enterprise versions of devices will undoubtedly flourish, thereby supporting better security as this will be a requirement for enterprise adoption.

Publish/subscribe generates a lot of excitement due to the agility it gives people to leverage information easily, thus enabling faster innovation and more network effect. Point-to-point technologies lead to brittle architectures that are burdensome to add or change functionality.

WSO2 has staked out a significant amount of mindshare and software to support IoT technologies. WSO2 helps companies with its lean, open-source componentized event driven messaging and mediation technology that can go into devices and sensors for communication between devices and services on hubs, in the cloud or elsewhere; big data components for streaming, storing and analyzing data from devices; process automation and device management for IoT and application management software for IoT applications and devices. WSO2 can help large and small firms deploying or building IoT devices to bring products to market sooner and make their devices or applications smarter, easier, and cheaper to manage.

To learn more about event-driven architecture refer to our white paper – Event-Driven Architecture: The Path to Increased Agility and High Expandability

Want to know more about using analytics to architect solutions? Read  IoT Analytics: Using Big Data to Architect IoT Solutions

 

Everything you need to know about architecture patterns: a quick reference for Solution Architects  

The success of a solutions architect depends on the approach taken from the beginning. The role can be challenging with the need to carefully balance the organization’s business as well as technical requirements. That’s why we had a dedicated track on architecture patterns at WSO2Con Asia 2016 held earlier this year  in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to help SAs understand today’s best practices and how they can deliver value more quickly. If you missed out, here’s a recap of the patterns we discussed with the link to recordings of each talk.

Iterative Architecture: Your Path to On-Time Delivery

Agility is key for enterprises to optimize business functions, introduce new business capabilities, and explore new markets. Thus, enterprise software systems should support both evolutionary as well as revolutionary changes that will impact core business functions.

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WSO2’s VP – Solutions Architecture, Asanka Abeysinghe, discussed the advantages of adopting an iterative approach when introducing architectural changes to support business and technical requirements. He demonstrates this with real-world examples of successful implementation of architectures in iterations. 

Breaking Down Silos with Service Oriented Architecture

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) has outrun the notion of systems silos with its use of standard protocols and specifications at integration points, which allows systems to communicate with each other in a much more flexible manner. Nadeesha Gamage, associate lead – solutions engineering at WSO2, explained the drawbacks of having a siloed architecture and how they can be avoided by moving to SOA, thereby enabling greater agility. He discussed how SOA can be broken down further to a finer-grained microservice architecture and, as a result, how an enterprise can benefit using the WSO2 suite of products. 

Event Driven Architecture: Managing Business Dynamics for Adaptive Enterprise

SOA implements a synchronous request-response model to connect remote processes in distributed system; it creates an inherent rigidity and additional dependencies when applied in modelling business processes and workflows. In contrast, event driven architecture (EDA) is based on an asynchronous message-driven communication model to propagate information throughout an enterprise, thus supporting a more natural alignment with an enterprise’s operational model and processes/workflows. In this session, Solutions Architect at WSO2, Dassana Wijesekera, analyzes key business challenges that encourage the use of EDA and discusses a pragmatic approach of designing and implementing an EDA using the WSO2 integration framework.

Moulding Your Enterprise with Resource-Oriented Architecture

An enterprise environment is typically heterogeneous, often spanning across organizational boundaries. Building such systems require tools that promote intrinsic interoperability and provide ease of integrating over boundaries. It also needs to use technology that promotes simplicity and is easy to handle. Resource-oriented architecture (ROA) supports this by focusing on entities and interactions for effective enterprise integration. Shiroshika Kulatilake, solutions architect at WSO2, explained the idea behind having a ROA in your organization, both externally and internally and also talked about how WSO2 technology can help you built your enterprise system in a resource oriented manner. 

Building Web Apps Using Web-Oriented Architecture

Web-oriented architecture (WOA) or SOA + WWW + REST  takes you several steps further by filling the blanks of SOA and helping you build an end-to-end complete web application. In addition to APIs, WOA identifies user interfaces and application states as first-class components of an architecture. Most of what we build today is actually WOA, though the abbreviation might not be that popular.

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Lead Solutions Engineer at WSO2, Dakshitha Ratnayake, discussed the changes to WOA over the years, today’s trends, and how you can leverage WOA to build web apps. 

Reinforcing Your Enterprise With Security Architectures

WSO2’s VP – Engineering, Selvaratnam Uthaiyashankar presented an informative session on

leveraging the extensive feature set and extensible nature of the WSO2 platform to provide a robust security architecture for your enterprise. He also explained some of WSO2’s experiences with customers in building a security architecture and thereby extracting commonly used security architecture patterns.

Understanding Microservice Architecture

Today many organizations are leveraging microservice architecture (MSA), which is becoming increasingly popular because of its many potential advantages. MSA itself is divided into two areas – inner and outer architectures –  which require separate attention. Moreover, MSA requires a certain level of developer and devops experience too. Sagara Gunathunge, architect at WSO2, presented an awareness session about MSA and also discussed WSO2’s strategic initiatives in both the platform level and WSO2 MSF4J framework level. 

Deployment Patterns and Capacity Planning

Identifying the right deployment architecture is key when providing smooth operation of a production system. In the next step, it’s crucial to determine the size of the deployment by understanding the number of servers/VMs/containers necessary to support the minimum, average and possible maximum load that the system is expected to handle. Solutions Engineer at WSO, Chathura Kulasinghe, in this talk focused on how you could take a fact based approach to determine the size of your deployment. 

Pattern-Driven Enterprise Architecture: Applying Patterns in Your Architecture

It’s no secret that architectural patterns help you build beautiful enterprise architecture. High-level patterns such as SOA, ROA, EDA, MSA and WOA provide many best practices for enterprise architects who are looking to evolve their existing enterprise architecture or for those creating newer enterprise architecture strategies. Mifan Careem, director – solutions architecture at WSO2, analyzed the good, the bad and the ugly (if any) of the various architectural patterns in his talk. He discussed practical examples of the patterns in practice and also went on to build a solution architecture from scratch using WSO2 components with the help of patterns. 

Still interested in meeting the experts and discussing these topics and more? Sign up now for WSO2Con EU, which will be held in London from June 7 to 9. Be sure to grab the early bird offer before May 8.

 

Introducing WSO2 Gateway Framework – A Slight Change in Course Post Alpha Release

In November 2015, we announced a high performance, lightweight, and configuration-driven message gateway – WSO2 Gateway – based on standard gateway patterns. We made available an Alpha version with a plan to announce general availability this year. This product provides fully decoupled protocol handling layers and message processing layers, making it easier for users to configure messaging behavior at each layer independently.

A few months later, and as we progressed with our GA release plan, we realized there was a broader need and changed our strategy to instead use this component as a framework for all WSO2 integration-based products: the gateway framework will become the core of other gateways, such as the API gateway of our API management offering, and power the next generation of our enterprise service bus.
The original gateway code is still accessible on GitHub.

WSO2 10 Years: We are Only As Strong as the Confidence of our People

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Many folks who’ve been around at WSO2 since its inception have great tales to tell, ranging from their first impressions, long hours spent before a product release, the many challenges faced, and funny stories behind the scenes. However, one thing is clear – WSO2 has inspired each of them in many ways and challenged them enough to be able to outperform and make great strides in their careers.

Recruitment for any startup is hard, especially if you don’t have a fancy office and no great success stories to share with potential employees. Back then too, all we had to convince people to join us was the confidence we had that this business will scale and a promise to inspire, challenge, and motivate them every day.

It was perhaps a Shifu-Po situation like in Kung Fu Panda where an empty scroll (supposedly sacred and powerful) is handed over – all there is in the end is confidence and ability to believe in what you do and do it with great confidence.
“I joined WSO2 in late 2005, a few months after its inception. I still remember the moment I walked in for the interview. At first, I wasn’t sure whether I’d want to work at WSO2 as it was a very small office with less than 20 employees. All that changed when I had my ‘interview’ with Sanjiva. In fact, it was more of a friendly chat. What keeps me motivated to date is the unique culture and the pioneering work we do. Over the years, I have learnt something new everyday! Looking back I’m happy that I decided to join this company.” – Afkham Azeez – Director, Architecture

“I cherish the opportunities I’ve got while working at WSO2 – Isamisa was around when the first secured messages were sent with a C Web service engine; I was also there when PHP was used to write completely secure Web services and clients. I still remember the day the first reliable message sequence was passed between a PHP client and a service. They were all first-ever moments and all of these were witnessed within the first two years of my WSO2 life. At that time, I did not know, or imagine, that the best was yet to come. With WSO2 Carbon, we redefined the middleware space … and I was fortunate to be part of that team. More than technical skills, it is people skills that I’ve developed. While it is a luxury to play a leadership role in one of the most smart teams in the world, it is also one of the most challenging jobs. The exciting part is that life is always full of challenges – you always have an opportunity to invent something new. And that is one of two key reasons that motivates me every morning to work for WSO2.”– Samisa Abeysinghe – Vice President, Delivery

So, is there a secret ingredient to success? Like Mr. Ping tells Po, it’s nothing! Many would say it’s the open culture, environment, and opportunity WSO2 has given them to brainstorm, throw in ideas, try things out, make mistakes and learn from them, and eventually be able to move forward with the best decisions – that’s how we’ve been able to innovate and thrive. And great ideas can come from anyone, whether you’re an intern, a senior person, or a clumsy ‘Po’ in the company, hence everyone’s ideas are equally important.

Senaka“My career at WSO2 began as an Intern of the C team in September 2007. Within the first year of employment, I was able to contribute to two major product releases and also earn membership at the Apache Software Foundation. WSO2 has helped me steer my career and enhance my knowledge and offered several other employee benefits to me too. The ability to tailor my work schedule based on various deadlines is one such advantage. I’m proud to a part of such an amazing team.” – Senaka Fernando – Solutions Architect

And sometimes, we take daring to new heights – doing whatever it takes to be where we have to be!

Jonathan“Upon arriving in Colombo for meetings in May 2010, my colleague and I were informed that the road from the airport to Colombo had been closed due to the flooding that had been affecting many parts of the city for several days. I was to appear on a panel at a conference event the next evening, and nobody seemed to know precisely where the problems were or what their scope was, and whether we would be able to make it to the event at all. We booked into an airport hotel for the night.  The next morning the road was still closed to most traffic, but some trucks and larger vehicles were able to wade through. We hired a car to take us to the flooded section, where SanjivaSanjiva Jeep was waiting for us in his oft-teased purple jeep, which made it through the flood zone with water up to doorframes but without major incident. No more would the purple jeep be the butt of jokes after such a heroic performance!” – Jonathan Marsh – Vice President, Strategy

The great lessons learnt possibly by each employee at WSO2 as well as the company as a whole is to not wait until everything is just right, but to move forward with confidence and implement and make the required tweaks as we go along. We’ve learnt that things will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less-than-perfect conditions. But what’s important is to get started now. With each step we’ve taken, we as a company have grown stronger, more skilled, more self-confident, more successful, and today we’re bigger and better.

As Po (or the Dragon Warrior) says “I’m not a big fat panda. I’m THE big fat panda.”

Happy Birthday, WSO2!

WSO2 Ten Years: Conflicts Con-quered! – Tales from the Other Side of WSO2Con (as told by the Crew)

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Ten years in business and (almost) ten WSO2Cons later, you’d think we would have learnt bitter lessons from potential disasters, but we like to play cool – until some disastrous consequence is staring at us right in the face. And it happens in the nick of time too, usually on the eve of the event, a few hours before, or just after kick-off. So, yes, despite the months of planning, Murphy’s Law somehow manages to raise its ugly head and bite us in the rear-end when we least expect it.

Behind all that glamour that our conferences are better known for there definitely are some deep, dark secrets that have been tucked away and only unraveled when we need a good laugh. Most of all, they serve as a reminder that these crazy, unnerving moments have most definitely made our conferences even more memorable and fun for the WSO2 Marketing Team. Here are some of the best ones yet!

Wi (without the Fi) on name tags

wso2con tagsIf you attended this specific conference (and no, we’re not telling you which one it was), we hope you didn’t save your name tag because it had what we term a ‘classic typo’ that’s unforgivable on many levels. How and when did we discover? The night before the conference, the crew, as usual, gathered to painstakingly insert each name tag into the plastic pockets and attach the chords. While chatting over pizzas, one of the crew members was in hysterical laughter and just continued to say “oh gosh, oh gosh, there’s nothing we can do now!” And then it was revealed – the back of each card had the WiFi code written

Wi – <code> (and no Fi). Because we couldn’t fix it, we had a backup plan to counter this major oversight; quickly distract all attendees when they attempt to turn the tag over and shout out the WiFi code, and make sure all attendees wear the tags showing the side with their details and not the other. We’d like to think our counter plan worked well.

Keynote speaker goes missing

Nope there were no abductions or kidnappings, but we were having spasms trying to locate wso2con missing keynotethe next keynote speaker (due to speak right after our opening keynote) who had mysteriously disappeared and wasn’t contactable either. The clock was ticking fast and, as a last resort, and thanks to one of our team member’s ability to combine miming and ballet skills, we were able to non-verbally communicate to Sanjiva (founder, CEO, and chief architect of WSO2 who was on stage delivering the opening keynote) to do whatever he had to do to keep going until we located our next speaker. The missing speaker magically showed up just in time. And no one dared to ask where he was (even though we had assumed at least a dozen reasons for his sudden disappearance), but the show went on.

Sri Lankan devil mask dancer trips on steps of the stage

For those of you who are familiar with Sri Lankan traditions, devil masks are typically used inwso2con dancer many ways to ward off evil. In this instance, however, there was a moment when we feared that the devil himself had dawned on us to ruin the opening act and cast a bad spell over the entire event. While everyone’s eyes were on what we hoped would be an unusual and interesting opening act, the crew was standing at the back with our hands to our hearts and praying that our good luck charms will overshadow this devil’s evil plan. It’s a good thing that opening acts last only about five minutes and the worst was soon behind us; we sent the devil back to where he belongs.

Failed effort to live stream another opening act

wso2con backstageThis was yet another attempt at showcasing ‘papare’ – a very lively genre of music encompassing a type of clarinet and drums, and popular at sports events in Sri Lanka. We weren’t able to find a good opening act in time in London, so we decided to let the famed papare play in Colombo and live stream the music. The last-minute plan would have been fantastic if we had paid a little bit more attention and hooked up the correct microphone to stream the sound too! Instead, there was a deafening silence in the room with video footage of a group of guys playing a bunch of instruments. And that was an epic failure. Sigh!

Fashion faux pas

wso2con talk2We don’t expect tech folks to be fashionistas, but when you have a techie with a not-so-great sense of fashion and feels the need to flaunt, you have a problem. And if this diva is your opening keynote speaker, it’s a much more serious problem. It’s a good thing that the crew can also double as the fashion police and avert a would-have-been major fashion disaster by rejecting and confiscating scary clothing and directing the individual to the nearest clothing store on the eve of the event. Or else the audience is sure to have been distracted by either a weird shade of pink that looks like someone barfed after eating a really bad strawberry mousse or the green goblin was melted in the ocean and splattered all over. Trinny and Susannah would be so proud of us!

Banner arrives after tutorial session

When we look back at this episode, we think of the phrase ‘that ship has sailewso2con bannersd’; however, that’s not what we told the person who had painstakingly wrapped the banner and hand-carried it on a flight all the way to the US from Sri Lanka because the item seemed too fragile to check-in and too important to risk losing (as per our brief to him). Well, what we hadn’t considered was that the extremely cooperative and helpful person was in fact flying in the next day. Was this revealed at the time of reclaiming the goods? Of course not. Who’d want to upset a completely jetlagged individual who needs to catch up on much-needed sleep after travelling halfway around the world. Again, we had an awesome backup plan; we picked our most alluring crew member to stand at the entrance and greet the participants with an inviting smile – better than a boring banner right?

Speaker booked to fly back home before his talk

And if you thought the late arrival of the banner was bad, here’s another episode of packingWSO2Con crowd off a speaker even before he makes an entrance. So, we’d like to blame our awesome travel team for the blooper, but we had to eat humble pie this time and write an apology to the irate speaker and explain the mix up and cancel and rebook him (and incur an additional cost plus a good telling off from the bosses). We’re generally pretty good at giving fantastic reasons and explanations for such screw ups and somewhat soften the blows (we’re the Marketing Team after all); however, we couldn’t spin a good enough story around this one so we bit this bullet and moved on. We also had another incident where the speaker showed up at the airport (for departure) a day after he was supposed to fly out. This was way beyond our borders, and thus beyond our control, but we had to make some quick amends to the agenda to fill the vacant spot.

Possible use case for WSO2 Connected Bathroom Manager

Remember this April Fool’s prank that was suppose to help enterprises implement more effective “swipe before you wipe” bathroom use policies? Well, we now have a great use case to showcase to our engineering folks and convince them that they have the first potential customer in-house! The Marketing Team’s requirement is very simple – alert individual to finish up ‘business’ (and wipe of course) ten minutes before they need to introduce the next speaker in the technical track they’re responsible for. The speaker had to intro himself in the end, but at least an unpleasant emergency at the session was averted. Phew!

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See more on our road to ten years here

WSO2 Ten Years: It Takes Two to Tango!

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Co-founder (and former Chief Technology Officer) Paul Fremantle knows how to party. The word around WSO2 is that Paul literally dominates the dance floor with his swift jive moves, headbanging, and jumping jacks!

WSO2’s success is a testament that the same levels of energy have been put into cracking the whip as CTO for most of the company’s 10 years to create innovative products that are being used by customers the world over.

So when did the dynamic duo get down to business?

After working together for 5 years at IBM, they became friends. In 2004, Sanjiva invited Paul to Sri Lanka to participate in the Lanka Software Foundation workshop on Apache Software. One day, over dinner, they joked about starting to work for themselves, and what followed was a 2-day brainstorming session a few months later in London between Paul, Sanjiva and another partner (who opted out not too long after things started to progress). The plans for project WSO2 were hatched “during a very long lunch at the Nando’s in Putney over some very spicy chicken” reminisces Paul. Thereafter, they rented a room in a cheap hotel inlodge Hotel Putney Putney (The Lodge Hotel) and spent time in a stuffy, windowless basement room planning and discussing WSO2. By December 2004, the building blocks for WSO2 had been visualized. Tragically, later that month, the devastating Asian Tsunami hit Sri Lanka and Sanjiva became involved in relief efforts back home. Plans for WSO2 were put on hold.

By around April 2005, Sanjiva had freed up some of his time to revisit the WSO2 idea and actually set up the framework for the company, while Paul was still doing time at IBM. From there, things progressed swiftly. By July 2005, Paul handed in his resignation  and the final paper work for WSO2 was completed. Although it was a major career decision for him, Paul had no doubts and felt that it was the right time to break away as opportunities like this didn’t present themselves often. Paul explains that he was really keen on the project, but at the time he never expected WSO2 to be where it is today.

Reminiscing their vision for middleware a decade ago

Paul says “it’s like lego.” “In a nutshell, it means you can collect the pieces you want to build what you need and then add anything more you need as you go along. This compares with having to build what you need from scratch every time, which would be the case if you used clay. “In the last 10 years the vision has come to pass; Sanjiva’s long range vision was broader than mine,” he adds.

In February 2015, Paul decided to step down as CTO and concentrate on his research into IoT secure middleware. He’s still an observer on the board though.

In a recent blog Paul says “you often meet people who wish to ensure they are irreplaceable in their jobs, to ensure their job security. I’ve always taken the opposite view: to make sure I am replaceable and so that I can move onto the next chapter in my career. I’ve never thought I was irreplaceable as CTO of WSO2 – I’ve simply tried to make sure I was adding value to the company and our customers. In 2013, I took a sabbatical to start my PhD and I quickly realized that the team were more than ready to fill any gaps I left.”

Paul-dancingLife moves on at WSO2, and hopefully the ‘gaps’ created on that dance floor at company parties due to fears of being pushed off by Paul would be now be filled too!

 

See more on our road to ten years here

WSO2 Ten Years: The Vision and Passion (and Color-Blindness and Pedantism) of its Founder

WSO2

It has been established that Founder, CEO, and Chief Architect of WSO2 Sanjiva Weerawarana is most definitely color-blind and is an aggressive perfectionist – now that’s a deadly combination!

Color blind? – Yes, if you can’t tell the difference between green and red, you can’t give feedback on color-related decisions and thus don’t have a vote on such initiatives even if you’re the CEO. But, his insistence on attention to detail in everything keeps everyone on their toes.

Besides some quirky traits, it’s Sanjiva’s vision for the industry and passion to do whatever it takes to get things done that has brought WSO2 a long way from its humble beginnings.

In 1997, he joined IBM in the US taking up work in research. While at IBM, he got involved (he says this happened by chance) in the research and development of XML (Extensible Mark Up language.) Sanjiva himself says that “during these early days of XML, the industry nor I knew exactly where XML would be twenty years down the line.” During his time at IBM he worked with the teams that developed XML, Web Services and service-oriented architecture (SOA). His thoughts on what these products could do were not shared by IBM at that time. Therefore, he decided to pursue his vision for enterprise middleware.

His experiences gained at IBM and the US gave him the inspiration to turn his vision into reality. He was motivated by his ideas for what could be achieved with open source software in the future. At that time, all contributions to open source software were from Europe and the US, and with English being the dominant language in software design and communication there was limited participation from Asia and countries like Sri Lanka. “In 2001, no one from this part of the world dealt in open source software” he says. He adds that working together with the Lanka Software Foundation, it was possible to focus on Sri Lankan expertise and understand the depth of talent available and waiting to be tapped. At the time, the focus was to ensure that talented young people had access to knowledge and information and exposure in the field. Today, Sri Lanka, albeit behind the US and Europe, is one the largest contributors of free open source software (FOSS).

Sajiva’s experience with the Lanka Software Foundation brought with it the realization that his vision for open source software could open doors and create opportunities. Another reason for his journey back home was to use his experience and expertise in a manner that would enhance the brand value of his homeland. He wanted to move away from the perception of Sri Lanka as an ‘outsourced labour market’ and highlight the intellectual wealth within the country and position the country on the global technology map as a manufacturer instead of being a mere solution provider. The idea was to explore commercial possibilities and, in the long term, build expertise.

In almost every speech Sanjiva delivers he quotes Steve Jobs’ ‘the journey is your destination’- the journey for Sanjiva and everyone at WSO2 has indeed been rewarding so far, and there’s miles more to go.

Not everyone is a perfectionist, but what’s significant is the progress made in the past 10 years that’s truly created a global impact.

Read Sanjiva’s blog – WSO2 at 10

 

Event-Driven Architecture for Online Shopping

Event-driven architecture (EDA) offers high agility and expandability to integrate with future applications while providing real-time analysis and monitoring as events occur, ensuring that today’s solutions will also meet long-term requirements.

WSO2 offers a full suite of open source components for both event-driven SOA architectures and Web services architectures to implement highly scalable reliable enterprise grade solutions. WSO2 is one of the only vendors that can deliver all components of the EDA and Web services  architectures. WSO2 is also open source and built to be enterprise grade throughout.

Another common use case of EDA is online shopping because it can vary considerably in complexity depending on the scale and ways in which goods can be sold or acquired, and the process of fulfillment. A typical example of an online retailer is presented in the diagram below.

online-sales

In this architecture, consumers have a possibility to communicate through a mobile app or go to a website to purchase goods. When they use a mobile app it can talk directly to the ESB. When coming in through a Web service it will typically initiate a process in an app server.

All information goes through the ESB, so requests to search, look for more information, place orders, query the status of orders, etc. are all processed through the ESB and lead to initiation of business processes or directly querying the database and returning a result.

A business process will coordinate fulfillment, determine if there is inventory or where the inventory is, and kick off a back-order process if required, which may then trigger processes to inform the customer about delivery dates. Shipping may be notified in a warehouse to initiate a delivery.

In this architecture, we assume the suppliers have an API to interact with the selling merchant so they can inform the merchant of their delivery and to place orders. Real-time inventory must be managed in the RDB and product information constantly ingested and updated.

Activity monitoring is used to collect data on all activities throughout the system, including the customer, so that metrics and big data can be analyzed. A CEP processor is included so real-time offers can be made to customers if analytics determine it would be beneficial. RDB is used with MB to log transactions and other mission critical data.